Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Saturday, May 19, 2018

2018.05.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 12:1-2

Questions for Littles: By what are we surrounded (v1)? What two things should we lay aside? With what are we to run the race? Unto whom should we be looking (v2)? What has Jesus done with our faith? What was set before Jesus? What did He endure for that joy? What did Jesus despise? Where has He sat down?
In this week’s sermon text, we heard about the race that we have to run, and the difficult obstacles that hold us back—those weights and sins that we are to lay aside.

How are we to do this? It’s a “how” question with a … That’s right! A “who” answer! … “Looking to Jesus.”

Why look to Jesus? Well, in the first place (literally), because He’s the One who started our faith to begin with. The word that’s used isn’t just a word for getting the ball rolling. It’s a word for blazing a trail, cutting a path for the first time… He is personally and powerfully invested in your life!

And, in the last place (literally), we look to Jesus because when the last weight is laid aside, and the last sin is stripped away, it will be the Lord Jesus who has brought about every last bit of our sanctification.

Why? Because He loves to do it. Jesus went to the cross, considering it a small price to pay, because bringing glory to God was a large reward to gain. He rejoices to sit at the right hand of the throne of God. He rejoices to work faith in us, and to perfect faith in us.

And we should love to do it to. Don’t look to yourself, nor be discouraged by weakness. Look to Him, and be emboldened by strength. Don’t look to yourself, nor grieve over earthly enjoyments that you wish that you had. Look to Him, and be thrilled by the idea of experiencing His joy (cf. Jn 15:11, 16:24, 1Jn 1:4).

Finally, we should not only want to grow in grace for our own enjoyment. We should love to grow in grace for the Lord Jesus’s enjoyment. Don’t you love your Savior? Doesn’t it thrill you that He gets joy out of your running the race? Look to Him and to His joy!
What is the most difficult thing you’re going through? Is His joy bigger?
Suggested Songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or HB303 “Be Thou My Vision”

Friday, May 18, 2018

Don't Forget the Church Work Day Tomorrow!

Even chores are a joy, when done unto the glory of God, and all the more, when done in fellowship together! The following is a note from the deacons. We plan to begin around 8:30a.m. 
We plan to get several projects and clean up completed around the church and fellowship hall tomorrow.
The biggest tasks are to weed/mulch around both buildings, finish priming and painting the stairwell and install the Men’s Restroom dividers. 
General cleaning is needed and people, weather and time permitting there are other miscellaneous tasks/projects needing to be completed. 
Thanks to those who came out last Saturday and hoping to see many of you tomorrow. 
The Deacons

2018.05.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 14:32-41

Questions for Littles: To what place did they come in v32? What did Jesus tell the disciples to do? What was Jesus going to do? Whom did Jesus take with Him in v33? What did He begin to do? How sorrowful did Jesus tell them that He was (v34)? What does He tell them to do? Where did Jesus go in v35? What did He do there? What did He pray? What did Jesus first ask His Father to do in v36? Nevertheless, what does Jesus ask the Father to do? What does Jesus come and find the disciples doing in v37? Whom does Jesus single out to ask a question? What question does He ask? What command does Jesus give them in v38a? What warning does He give them in v38b? What did Jesus do in v39? What words did He speak? What did He find them doing again in v40? What did He do and say a third time in v41? What does Jesus tell them has come? What did He say was happening to the Son of Man? What does Jesus tell them to do in v42? Why?
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus was just as exhausted as His disciples. He was troubled, deeply distressed, exceedingly sorrowful.

How did the disciples respond? By sleeping. How did Jesus respond? By praying.

When push came to shove, there was something that Jesus wanted most of all: His Father’s ear.

Jesus knew that He had to go to the cross. He had set His face toward Jerusalem. He had told His disciples, over and over again, that He had to go and be crucified. So, is this prayer really an attempt to get out of the cross? No! For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.

But it was something that required endurance because of the greatness of the pain. So Jesus seeks refuge in His Father’s ear. He throws Himself down before His Father. He calls Him His Abba. He uses words of pleading: “if it is possible! … All things are possible for You!.” But He also uses words of trust: “not what I will, but what You will.”

Of course, God will always do His perfect will. But one of the reasons that He brings us to prayer is to remind us not only that His will is perfect, but that He is our Abba who cares very much for our pain in the midst of enduring that which is good and perfect but hard.

Of course, much more important than His being our great example in this situation was what Jesus was doing with His suffering, precisely so that we would never do it, and because we could not ever do it. The Son of Man was not a sinner. But He would suffer and die for our sins. Trusting in a Father who would forsake Him for our benefit. What a Savior, and what a salvation!
What times of prayer do you have set aside for falling upon Father’s ear?
Suggested songs: ARP143B “O Lord, My Spirit Fails” or HB398 “Sweet Hour of Prayer”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

2018.05.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 1:10-17

Questions for Littles: By what does Paul plead with them (v10)? What does he ask them to speak? What kind of mind should they have? What kind of judgment? What has Chloe’s household reported (v11)? What have they been saying, according to v12? What questions does Paul ask in v13? What is Paul glad about in vv14-16? What did Christ not send him to do (v17)? What did Christ send him to do? But not in what way? Why? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, an apostle pleads with the brethren by the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This must be something important! What is he pleading for? Christian unity!

Now this is the point at which some start nodding their heads. Surely, they think, this means that we shouldn’t emphasize doctrine so much.

But let us look at the kind of unity for which the Scripture here pleads:

Speak the same thing.

Be perfectly joined together in the same mind.

Be perfectly joined together in the same judgment.

This is decidedly not a situation of people being ok with a wide range of theological differences on important subjects!! Instead, this is a call for greater emphasis upon doctrine, so that everyone can be brought to the same conclusions.

The Bible does NOT celebrate doctrinal diversity, and neither should we!!

The stakes are high. The honor of Christ’s name and Christ’s cross are on the line.

The apostle goes so far as to say that he is glad that the only way that someone could honor him in this way is by making a mistake.

I wonder if you or I are like that: relieved when we don’t get much honor, because that means Jesus gets all of it? Relieved when a very unimpressive-sounding sermon is used mightily… because that shoes that Christ’s cross had the power, and we didn’t do much.
What opportunities are you taking to understand Scripture and theology better?
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or HB473 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

2018.05.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 22:1-19

Questions for Littles: What do vv1, 7, and 11 have in common? What long description does v2 make of Isaac? What do the instructions of Genesis 22:2 have in common with the instructions of Genesis 12:1? What time of day does Abraham get up in v3? What chore does he have to do before they leave? How many days does it take to get near the spot (v4)? Whom does Abraham say will go, and whom does Abraham say will come back (v5)? What question does Isaac have (v7)? What answer does Abraham give (v8)? What is Abraham going to do in v10? Who stops him (v11)? What does God say that He knows in v12? Why? What does Abraham see in v13? What does he do with it? What does Abraham call the place (v14)? After Abraham worships, what does the angel of Yahweh do a second time (v15)? By whom does God swear (v16)? What does God promise about the number of Abraham’s offspring (v17a)? What does God promise about the power of Abraham’s offspring (v17b)? What does God promise about the blessedness of Abraham’s offspring (v18)? 
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we heard about the great almost-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham. It is a very touching scene. “Father” “Here I am, my son” … how much it must have pained Abraham to do this.

And yet, he was certain that God would resurrect Isaac, even He should be killed. He tells the young men that they would both be coming back, and that’s exactly what happens in v19. He told Isaac that the Lord would provide for the burnt offering, and the Lord does provide in v13.

Then something curious happens. Before the Lord announces the blessing upon Abraham, there is a bit of an interlude. It would have taken a while to properly slaughter and drain an animal for the sacrifice. And yet, the Lord waits until Abraham has finished worshiping to respond with the blessing.

This is because the lesson is not so much in Abraham’s trusting the Lord as it is in the Lord’s provision. After all, the name of the mountain is not “Abraham will obey” but rather “Yahweh will provide.” It is the sacrifice of the ram, not the almost-sacrifice of Isaac that is in most central focus.

This, of course, is because the passage is primarily about Christ Himself. God’s Son. God’s only-begotten Son, whom He loves. God gave Him for us, and it is in this that we know love!

And so, God swears by Himself, since there is no one and no thing greater than Himself to swear by: the promised substitute will come from Abraham’s own flesh.
What place does worship have in your life? Does your worship show that  it is all about what God has done, and not about what you have done?
Suggested songs: ARP152 “Faith and Peace” or HB199 “Alas and Did My Savior Bleed”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

2018.05.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Revelation 4:8-11

Questions for Littles: How many wings do the four living creatures have (v8)? Of whom does this remind you, from Isaiah 6? But of what are these creatures full around and within? How often do they take a rest? What are they doing all this time without rest? What, specifically, do they say about God three times? And then what do they say about God? And then what? How does v9 begin? So, how often is v10 happening? Who falls down before Him who sits on the throne (v10)? What else do they do? What do they do with their crowns? Of what do they say the Lord is worthy (v11)? Why?
This week’s Call to Worship and Prayer for Help came from Revelation 4:8-11. Here, we have a window into the praise of heaven, and what we find is the most amazing creatures (v8-9), and the most honored among glorified humanity (v10-11) praise God for things that are only true of God, and not even the most glorified creature.

First, God is holy. He alone has holiness inherent to Himself. The only way anything else becomes holy is by association with Him, by being set apart unto Him or near Him. We should be amazed at
His holiness. These amazing creatures do not rest, day or night, in amazement at His holiness. They never tire of the holiness of God. They never begin to find it boring.

Similarly, only God is Almighty. Everything and everyone else is limited in power, and dependent upon God for their very existence from one moment to the next.
And only God is eternal—without any beginning. He just was.

It seems to be to this that the elders are responding when they answer, with praise of their own, the praise of the four living creatures. When they hear that God is the only eternally existent being—that He had no beginning at all—they are reminded that He alone is the Creator of all things. Everything literally owes its existence to Him.

And that, of course, includes us. There is no honor or recognition or authority that we have, except that which ultimately belongs to Him, and we must lay it at His feet! So, let us learn not only to be impressed with Him, but also (importantly) to be unimpressed with ourselves!
Of what are you most often tempted to be proud of yourself?
Suggested songs: ARP189 “Universal Praise” or HB137 “Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power”

Monday, May 14, 2018

2018.05.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 12:1-2

Questions for Littles: By what are we surrounded (v1)? What two things should we lay aside? With what are we to run the race? Unto whom should we be looking (v2)? What has Jesus done with our faith? What was set before Jesus? What did He endure for that joy? What did Jesus despise? Where has He sat down?
In the sermon this week, we heard about a group who are joining the heroes of faith that we have been learning about in chapter 11: us!

It is important that we get that sense: that glory is where “our people” are. It is so easy to look around at the people we rub elbows with every day and think of them as our people…

We are tempted to want to fit in here, when we should be thinking about being made fit for glory

We are tempted to want to be liked here, when we should be ravishing our hearts upon Christ’s everlasting love

We are tempted to want to be admired, when we should be adoring God’s glory.

There are lesser things that compete for our hearts. They are not sinful in and of themselves, but they weigh us down like wearing a lead suit. Habits. Hobbies. Little indulgences. Pass-times. Even certain friendships that we know keep us quite earthly-minded.

Then there are sins. And sin always turns our hearts away from God, against God. They are little claims to the throne. Little lies. A little gossip. A little laziness. A little lust. Indulging some bitterness or hostility in our hearts. Like vines, wrapping themselves around a runner’s leg, these don’t just slow us down but trip us up so we fall on our faces.

We lay aside weight, and run a little bit, and we are amazed to find that weight is back. We lay aside the sin, and run a little bit, and we are amazed to find that the sin is back.

Well, let’s not be amazed. Obviously, this was not a one-time thing. Otherwise, we would not be commanded to run with endurance.

It’s a race worth running, and there are real obstacles, but we have that promise that we will inherit the promises with them. Therefore, we also, let’s run!
What weights in your life keep you from living more zealously for Christ?
Suggested Songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths to You I Cried” or HB275 “Amazing Grace”