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 26, 2018

2018.05.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 12:5-11

Questions for Littles: What speaks to us as sons (v5)? Whose chastening and rebuke do we receive? How shouldn’t we respond? Whom does God chasten (v6)? Whom does God receive? When is God dealing with us as sons (v7)? What does v7 assume that all fathers will do with their children? If we have no chastening in our lives, then what aren’t we (v8)? How does v9 assume that children will treat their fathers? Of what does v9 call God the Father, and how does this relate to v3? Why does God discipline us (v10)? How does chastening seem for the present (v11)? What does it produce? 
In this week’s sermon text, we learned some comforting things about the uncomfortable situations in our lives.

First, our lives are never out of control. Well, sure, they are always out of our control. Any idea that we are ever in control is a lie that we tell ourselves. And, often, it’s the uncomfortable times that the Lord uses to expose the lie.

But the Lord is always in control. So, v5-6 call those uncomfortable times the “chastening,” “rebuke,” and even “scourging” of the Lord. But now we’ve gone from “lest you become discouraged” in v3 to a command “do not be discouraged” in v5.

Do not be discouraged! Why?

Reason 1: the Lord loves you. He loves you enough to do whatever is necessary to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Reason 2: the Lord receives you. Actually the word in v6 is more than that. He welcomes you. He takes you in. but sin cannot enter heaven. Heaven has a war against sin. That’s why righteousness is a peaceful fruit. That’s why being delivered from the ongoing presence of sin is worth whatever it takes.

Reason 3: the Lord treats you as a son. Being discouraged by His providence actually dishonors our heavenly Father and despises our fatherly God.

Does it not seem best to us? What is that next to the fact that it is what seems best to Him (v10)?

You may be in an uncomfortable situation now. If not, and if you live a bit longer, you will be in an uncomfortable situation soon enough. How do I know? Because the Scripture says that if you are without discipline, you’re not a true son.

And it’s guaranteed to be painful, v11. But do you know what else is guaranteed? The peaceful fruit of righteousness. The whole point of this isn’t the pain. It’s your true Father loving you and taking you to be with Himself forever
What uncomfortable situation are you in or have been in? What is your Father doing in it?
Suggested Songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or HB303 “Be Thou My Vision”

Friday, May 25, 2018

2018.05.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 14:42-52

Questions for Littles: Whom does Jesus tell them is coming in v42? Then who appears immediately, while He is still speaking (v43)?  What signal had Judas given them (v44)? How did Judas think Jesus would be led away? What does Judas do in v45? What does the mob do in v46? And what does one of the three who were with Jesus do (v47—we know it was Peter from John 18:10). Whom does Jesus address in v48? What does He ask them? In v49, what explanation does Jesus give for why He had to be taken this way? When they heard this, what did the disciples do in v50? What was one young man still trying to do in v51, when he was seized? What does that young man do when seized?
In the Gospel reading this week, we see Jesus betrayed, betrayed, and betrayed.

He knows that these betrayals are coming. As He says, “the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” He said of Judas, “See, My betrayer is at hand.” He had told the disciples that they would all abandon Him, and then in v50 “they all forsook Him and fled.”

But there is one more betrayal, albeit subtle. Notice that in this gospel, the Holy Spirit does not tell us that Jesus healed the servant’s ear, or even that Jesus said anything to Peter.

Instead, the entire focus is on the fact that the swords and clubs were unnecessary. The only problem with that is that Peter used his sword even though they were hopelessly outnumbered.

Isn’t it ironic? Peter, who had been warned that he would betray Jesus, probably thought that he was making a grand stand. And, in its own foolhardy way, it was kind of brave. But while Peter thought that he was defending Jesus’s well-being, what he didn’t realize is that he was betraying Jesus’s character.

“Have you come out, as against a robber…” Jesus says. And Peter acted exactly as if it was that kind of situation. As far as this particular gospel is considered, there’s a severed ear to prove it.

Jesus is not like the false god of Islam, who needs His people to kill in His behalf. He can defend Himself. He is not like the false philosophies of the world, whose adherents argue until they are blue in the face. He has sovereign power to change the hearts of those who disbelieve Him.

In fact, Jesus doesn’t need us at all. But He does give us the privilege of living as those who have hope, and of giving a ready and good answer for that hope. It is a weighty thing to have His name upon us. How will our lives reflect upon Him?

We hope that we will never be in danger of betraying Him like Judas, but is there a possibility that we may end up betraying Him like Peter? May He give us grace to live in such a way as brings honor to His name!
Where do unbelievers see you? How could you bring more honor to Christ at those times?
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or HB498 “Heralds of Christ”

Thursday, May 24, 2018

2018.05.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 1:18-25

Questions for Littles: What is foolishness to those who are perishing (v18)? To whom is the message of the cross the power of the cross? What has God done to the wisdom of this world (v20)? Through what did the world not know God (v21)? Through what did God save those who believe? What do Jews request (v22)? What do Greeks seek? But what do we preach (v23)? To whom is Christ crucified a stumbling block? To whom is Christ crucified foolishness? Who is the power of God and the wisdom of God, to those who are called (v24)?  
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn about how God is the One who has decided how to save. And He has made it all about His Son.

There are some who would make it all about their experience. They are looking for the dramatic—for a sign, like the Jews.

These people generally stumble at the cross. It isn’t a great experience to them, even though Jesus told them that it would be the “sign of Jonah,” for Himself to be in the earth for three days, this is just too unexpected, and too pathetic.

There are others who would make salvation all about their cleverness. They are looking for a theory or philosophy—for “wisdom,” like the Greeks.

These people generally scoff at the cross. God became a man? So that He could die? And then He un-died? To people looking for a life-theory or philosophy, dwelling on the cross just sounds utterly ridiculous and irrelevant!

But those who are being saved—whose eyes and heart the Lord has opened—know that the cross is actually the greatest example of both. It is the greatest experience in the world to come to know the One who died for you on the cross. It is the greatest display of wisdom in history that the living God has come up with a way to save sinners.

There are many practical matters to deal with in Corinth. And the apostle will deal with them. But all the way through, He will keep tying everything back to the message of the cross. Whether his readers are pleased with that tells us all about them: whether they are perishing or being saved.
How about you? Do you love to hear the message of the cross? Does it sound to you like the greatest experience that you could ever have of the power of God? Does it sound to you like the greatest display that there could ever be of the wisdom of God? If you cannot honestly answer that it is so, then do not sit their trying to quibble with this devotional in your heart. Instead, ask God that for the sake of Christ, He would make you spiritually alive! 
Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths” or HB199 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2018.05.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 22:20-23:20

Questions for Littles: Whose family is described in vv20-24? Whose age at death is given in v1 (the only woman in the Bible whose age at death is recorded)? What is Abraham looking for, for the first time since they came to Canaan? How much does he end up paying for it? What does He do with the field and the cave?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we see Abraham valuing the resurrection.

He’s not just looking forward to getting a new, improved body. If that were so, it would have been enough to bury his wife in someone else’s field.

But Abraham’s hope of the resurrection was tied to the covenant promises of God. And those promises said that God would be giving him that land as a possession.

In the end, Abraham ends up paying a king’s ransom—more than ten times what Judas takes for betraying Christ. But the silver is not important. He is trusting God to be his shield, and his very great reward.
What do your end-of-life plans say about your hope in God’s promises?
Suggested songs: ARP157 “Immortality and Resurrection” or HB425 “For All the Saints”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

2018.05.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 89:1-10

Questions for Littles: Of what will the psalmist sing (v1)? What would he make known with his mouth? How big are God’s mercy and faithfulness (v2)? With and to whom is this mercy found (v3-4)? What two assemblies, in which two places, especially praise Him (v5-7)? Whom does God scatter, as a part of His faithfulness (v8-10)? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Confession of Sin came from Psalm 89:1-10.

This Psalm begins by presenting us with something similar to what we have seen in Hebrews 2 and Hebrews 12… two worship assemblies in harmonious agreement with one another—one in heaven and one on earth.

What do the most glorious angels all agree upon? That none of them are even to be compared to the Lord.

Marvelously, those who surround the throne hold Him in reverence for His steadfast love (mercy) and faithfulness. That is to say that, even from the perspective of the holy angels, God’s redemption of His people on earth is at the center of all His glorious works.

And a big part of this is the Lord scattering His enemies. Yes, the Lord is full of love and mercy, and He is perfectly faithful. But that means that He is also full of hate: hatred of sin!

If we have known that God, who by right could have destroyed us, has instead given Himself to save us, then this psalm gives us instruction about what should be one of the main ways that we respond to His redeeming love and faithfulness: go to church. Participate in the assembly of the saints. Gather with the congregation on earth that joins the worship assembly in Heaven.
When you’re amazed at God’s mercy and faithfulness to save you by Christ’s cross, do you think, “I can’t wait to go to church?”!
Suggested songs: ARP189 “Universal Praise” or HB137 “Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power”

Monday, May 21, 2018

Psalm 22:27-28 - May 27 Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Praise

This coming Lord's Day, the first part of the worship worship service will be from the closing stanzas of Psalm 22. This "crucifixion psalm" has come up several times recently, because it recounts for us that joy which was set before Christ, and for which He endured the cross.

As our Lord suffered the penalty of our sin, He was sustained by the hope of Christian worship assemblies, in which He would declare His Father's name to His brethren and sing His Father's praise (cf. Ps 22:22-26).

The Lord delights in our Lord's Day services as a partial fulfillment of that, as congregations on earth join that perfect worship of the great congregation in glory. We hope to hear more about that, by God's help, in morning worship on June 3rd.

But, even more, there is coming a day when the Lord has gathered in His people from all nations to the end of the earth, and all families throughout history. And it is then that the ultimate fulfillment of Psalm 22:27-31 will have been completed.

Lord's Day morning, May 27, we will look forward to that day with joy, even as we have a foretaste of it in the Lord's Day worship assembly. Won't you join us for that?

Lord-willing, these will be our Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Praise:

(Elder) All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.
Psalm 22:27

Lord—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—Yours is the kingdom.
You rule over us, and indeed over all the nations.
Sit enthroned upon our praises this morning,
And help us by the ministry of Your Holy Spirit,
Which we ask through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
And Your people in this place say… AMEN!!
From Psalm 22:28

+ WE SING GOD’S PRAISE – HB501 The Ends of All the Earth Shall Hear

2018.05.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 12:3-4

Questions for Littles: Whom are we to consider (v3)? What did He endure? From whom? What will considering Him keep us from becoming? Unto what point have they not resisted (v4)? Against what are they striving? 
In the sermon this week, we received a word for a situation that we all go through: weariness and discouragement of soul. What can we do to keep weariness and discouragement at bay?

Consider Him.

It’s important to see that this is a continuation of the instruction in v2: “looking unto Jesus, the pioneer and guaranteed completer of our faith.”

Last week, we heard from vv1-2, that as we look unto Jesus, by faith, sitting at the right hand of the throne of God, we see the One who is at work in us, and whose handiwork every case of true faith has ever been.

Now, vv3-4 remind us that this exalted One has been not only where we are, but lower. Not only are we to consider Him, but we are to consider Him

Who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself.

What sinners? The crowd that said, “His blood be upon us and our children”? Yes. But not just the way you might think. Because some of those people, fifty days later, cried out, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Since this is the letter to the Hebrews, some of those people were likely in the congregation that first received it.

But they went from “Brethren, what shall we do?” to repenting and believing, to putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit of God… the same Spirit that teaches us to call God our Father and testifies that we are the children of God. (cf. Romans 8:13-17)

So what we have, when we take all these Scriptures together, is that Jesus endured hostility from sinners to save them from more than just the penalty of their sin. He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God and kept on saving us from sin… from the power of our sin and from the presence of our sin.

Jesus is the Finisher of our faith, and that finish comes, sometimes, through pain. Since He is suffering through it with us, let us be all the more strengthened to suffer through it with Him!
What are you suffering through right now? Who suffers through it with you? Why?
Suggested Songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths to You I Cried” or HB275 “Amazing Grace”