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, January 05, 2019

2019.01.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 3:16-19

Questions for Littles: To whom does God speak immediately after to the serpent (v16)? What will happen to her sorrow and conception? Who will multiply them? What will happen to childbirth? Whom will she desire to control? Who will crush her? To whom did God speak after to the woman (v17)? What is the first thing that God points out that Adam has done? What was the second thing that Adam had done? What does God actually curse? How will Adam eat of it? For how long? What will the ground bring forth (v18)? What will he have to eat? By what will he eat bread (v19)? Until what happens? From what was Adam taken? What is he? To what will He return?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we will be seeing some of the grievous results of the fall. The woman’s anguish in general will increase, including and especially pregnancy and childbirth. However, it applies to more of her life, as certainly being a mother of sinners will be agonizing all their lives long.

Her marriage is going to be painful as well. 15 verses after v16, the Lord will say to Cain, “sin’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it”—using the exact same language as with the woman and her husband. Sin didn’t desire to have a cozy relationship with Cain; it desired to control him. And Cain wasn’t being instructed to take the lead with sin; he was to ruthlessly dominate it. The curse at the end of v16 is that women will try to control their husbands, and that husbands will ruthlessly dominate them—both exactly opposite God’s design.

For the man’s part, he has already admitted (!!) that he has opposed God’s design (“because you have heeded the voice of your wife”) and God’s command. The garden had been his special gift—even before he received his wife and the promise of children. Now he has lost everything. His work will be agonizing. The ground will rebel against him, just as he has rebelled. And he will die (“all the days of your life” … “till you return to the ground” … “to dust you shall return.”).

But let’s go back to the beginning of v16 for a moment: “I will multiply.” Who will multiply her anguish? The Lord. The Lord who just finished cursing the serpent. The Lord who promised that she would have many godly seed. The Lord who promised that she would have a Seed who crushes the serpents head—who undoes all of this misery.

Yes, the curse is a penalty for sin. But it is a penalty that comes within the promise and hope of grace. Whether it is seen in believers’ faith, promised land productivity, or godly families, these are all ultimately reminders that the creation that now groans is sustained by the grace of God as it awaits the revealing of the sons of God at the return of the Son of God. No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found!
What agony have you experienced? How has Christ blessed it to you? What relief from the agonies of the curse have you experienced? How do these point you to the resurrection?
Suggested Songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the Lord” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

Friday, January 04, 2019

190104FW John 7:14-36 - God's Truth, Righteousness, and Power for Us in Jesus

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in John 7:14-36

2019.01.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 7:14-36

Questions for Littles: Who goes to the temple in the middle of the feast (v14)? What does He do there? What do the Jews notice that Jesus knows (v15)? How does Jesus explain why He has learned theology so well (v16)? Whom does Jesus say will be able to recognize His true theology (v17)? Whose glory does Jesus seek (v18)? What does Jesus accuse them of seeking to do in v19? Whose law does this break? Of what do the people accuse Jesus (v20)? What were they willing to do on the Sabbath (v22)? What had Jesus done on the Sabbath (v23)? What does Jesus call their judging Him for this (v24)? What did some of them who were actually from Jerusalem say in v25? What do they wonder in v26? What do they think they know about Jesus (v27)? Whom does Jesus say actually knows where/Whom He is from (v28-29)? What did they try to do in v30? Why couldn’t they? What did many do in v31? Whom did they again send to take Him in v32? What does Jesus say is going to be a problem for those who hope to capture Him (v33-34)? Where do they think He might be talking about (v35)? 
In the Gospel reading this week, we see how soul-killing man-fearing is.

The people assume that their leaders know what they’re talking about. If they pretend that no one is trying to kill Jesus, then they’ll believe that over Jesus’s own testimony. If they say Jesus’s healing was Sabbath-breaking, then it must have been. If they think that Jesus is the Christ, then maybe He really is. After all, only someone who had gone to Pharisee or Priest school would know their Bible doctrine, right?

Jesus points out that His Sabbath keeping was superior to theirs. He teaches that honoring God and seeking only God’s glory is a surer path to true doctrine than theology school. Throughout the passage, He is repeatedly teaching that they don’t know either from where He’s come or to where He’s going. All of the assumptions that they make by going with the crowd have set them at odds with the Scripture.

Why? Because they are more interested in appearances than in true righteousness (v24). If you and I worry about our own glory in front of others, then we will end up speaking not from Scripture but from ourselves. What about you? Are you searching the Scriptures to know God truly and trust in Christ?
What habits do you have in place for Scripture study? How do these habits also help protect you from the fear of men and desire for popularity? 
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH539 “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?”

Thursday, January 03, 2019

190103FW 1Cor 16:1-12 - Ways that Jesus Ministers to Our Bodies and Souls

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in 1Corinthians 16:1-12. Please excuse the baby crying through the first half, but this is "real" family worship!

2019.01.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 16:1-12

Questions for Littles: For what does the apostle want the Corinthian church to collect (v1)? Who else is collecting for the saints? On which day of the week are each of them to contribute (v2)? What will this mean that they will not have to do when the apostle Paul comes? How does he say for the collected money to go to Jerusalem (v3)? Whom does he trust to make the decision for whether he would take the collection too (v4)? Where would Paul pass through before coming to them (v5)? How quick would his visit with them be (v6-7)? But where is he staying for now (v8)? Until when? What two factors mean that he will stay in Ephesus for a while (v9)? Whom does he tell the Corinthians to treat well (v10)? Why? Where does Paul expect Timothy to end up (v11)? Whom did Paul want to send to Corinth (v12)? Why isn’t he there yet?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we see some of the means that the Lord uses to take care of His people.

One, vv1-2, the Lord uses the collections on the Lord’s Day to take care of His people—not just in our own congregation, but in taking care of others. The saints in Corinth and Galatia were very Gentile. The saints in Jerusalem were very Jewish. But on Lord’s Days, these saints were all connected by the Lord’s instruction for collection for one another.

Another means that the Lord uses to take care of His people is wisdom and godliness, vv3-4. Paul is humble and careful with the handling of money. He doesn’t throw his weight around. He doesn’t carry the money himself. He doesn’t even pick who will carry the money. He leaves that entirely to the people who are contributing—including whether or not he even goes along! Rather than being proud and careless, apostolic faith is humble and careful.

A third means that the Lord uses to take care of His people is hospitality and fellowship, v5-12. Whether it’s Paul with the Ephesians, or Paul with the Corinthians, or Timothy on his way to the Ephesians, the Lord has ordained for His ministering servants to be taken care of by His saints.

Finally, the Lord uses our duty to care for us. That sounds odd, but we can see it in v9. Paul knew what path to take: the one where there was much ministry to be done, and much opposition to be overcome. This is very different than what many believers in our day consider “an open door.” They usually mean the easiest way, the path of least resistance. But the path of most service is usually easier to identify, though it be more difficult to navigate. One of the ways that God takes care of us is by making the right path plain upon the principle of duty.
How does God supply your earthly needs? How is He using you to supply others?
Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH174 “The Ten Commandments”

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

190102FW Josh 11:16-23 - Our Infinitely Faithful, Just, Merciful, and Generous Covenant God

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in Joshua 11:16-23

2019.01.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 11:16-23

Questions for Littles: What regions did Joshua take (v16)? What did he do with their kings (v17)? How quickly did this happen (v18)? Who made peace with Israel (v19)? What happened to all the others? Why would kings and peoples keep fighting Israel, even though they kept defeating everyone (v20)? Why would God harden their hearts? What did He decide that they would not receive? Whom else did Joshua utterly destroy with their cities (v21)? Where did some remain (v22)? How much of the land did Joshua take (v23)? And to whom did he give it? How was the dividing up of the land decided? According to Whose Word was all of this done?  
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we have a summary of Israel’s taking the land. There are several things that we see emphasized in these few verses.

vv16-19 emphasize how complete the possession of the land was. v20 explains why: because the Lord hardened their hearts. To many, that seems unfair. But that’s exactly the opposite of the message here. It’s not fairness that they fail to receive; rather, fairness is exactly what they get. Mercy is not fair. But mercy is what they receive.

Interestingly, the explanation for the entire Gibeonite situation is now exactly this: the Lord’s mercy! That’s the clear implication of v19 with v20. They serve as a reminder that they didn’t deserve to be there.

Even the Anakim (giants) are defeated, with the exception of the ancestors of Goliath (!!). So, while the Lord is keeping His promises to all of Israel (v23), there is still that reminder that final victory and inheritance have not yet come. It’s like when Hebrews 3-4 reminds us that Joshua did not bring them into the final and full rest of the Lord.

If mercy is what the Gibeonites have received, then how much more the Israelites have received! And yet, mercy is still what Israel continues to need.

Is this not the same with us, dear Christian? We have received the opposite of what we deserve. Instead of our destruction, the Lord has treated us as His own children and given us an inheritance! And yet, we’re not there yet… there’s plenty left to be delivered of to remind us that we are still, continuously in need of the Lord’s mercy and grace!
Where, in your life, do you take time to remember the mercy you have received, and the mercy you still need? What is a proper response to each of these?
Suggested songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH429 “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2019.01.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 73

Read Psalm 73
Questions for Littles: How does the Psalm summarize its teaching in v1? But what does the Psalmist immediately admit about himself, concerning faith in God’s goodness, in v2? What are some things that he had noticed about the wicked in vv3-12? What did he conclude about himself and his godliness in v13? What circumstance from v14 had led him to decide that there was no point in being godly? But what would he have done if he had spoken like that out loud (v15)? When he tried to figure this out, what happened (v16)? What ended up making the difference (v17)? Whose end does he understand in v17-20? What does he conclude had been his problem in vv21-22? Who is always with him? Who will receive him into glory? Whose end is he learning about now? What does that teach him about what to value in v25? What does that teach him about whom to depend upon in v26? What will happen to those who are far from God (v27)? What is good in v28? What is the ultimate purpose of trusting in the Lord in v28?  
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, Confession of Sin, and Song of Adoration came from 73:15-28. Here, we learn the value of true worship—because it teaches us what a true life of thanksgiving looks like.

It looks like remembering what our end could have been (losing everything we have on earth, and falling into destruction as we are condemned by God).

It looks like remembering what our end is instead (enjoying the glorious holiness of God forever and ever).

It looks like realizing that we have, now already, Him who is the heavenliness of heaven. We are continually with Him! It is He who holds us by our right hand! It is He who guides us with His counsel! Who is He? The glorious One who will receive us into His own glory.

It looks like concluding that if we have Him, we have already, now, in heaven and earth, more property than we could ever hope to desire. God is our portion forever.

It looks like concluding that if we have Him, we have already, now, more power than we could ever fear to need. God is the strength of our heart.

Is God near to us? Then we have not kept our hands clean in vain. Are we far from God? Then we are on the cusp of eternal destruction.

Why have we trusted in God? Not so that we can get all the other earthly stuff that we love, but so that we can realize and tell all that God is more glorious and worthy than all else combined!
What trials do you have right now? What earthly things do you desire? How does God compare? How has your life been showing a desire to tell others His praise? 
Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion, Lord”

Monday, December 31, 2018

181231FW Gen 3:12-15 - Gospel of Serpent-Crushing Grace

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in Genesis 3:12-15

2018.12.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 3:12-15

Read Genesis 3:12-15
Questions for Littles: Whom did Adam blame for his eating (v12)? Whom did Adam blame for the woman? To whom did Yahweh God speak next (v13)? What did He ask her? What did she answer? Whom did she blame? To whom did Yahweh God speak next (v14)? What does He ask the serpent? How does He begin His address to the serpent? Onto what will the serpent go? What will the serpent eat? How long will this curse, humiliation, and defeat continue with the serpent? What will Yahweh God put between the serpent and the woman (v15)? Between whom else will Yahweh God put enmity? What kind of wound will the woman’s Seed give the serpent? What kind of wound will the serpent give the woman’s seed?
In the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we saw Adam and his wife challenged by God and give poor excuses. The woman uses the ever-popular “the devil made me do it.” Adam, even worse, goes with, “my wife made me do it, which is really Your fault, God.”

Do you know who doesn’t get challenged by God? Do you know who isn’t given a chance to offer his reason? The serpent! God just curses him. And, even though God gets Adam and his wife’s ridiculous excuses out in the open first, He doesn’t say a word of penalty to them until after He has finished declaring the curse upon the serpent.

Why does He do this? At least in part, because the curse upon the serpent includes the gospel for the sinful man and woman. They had failed to put enmity between themselves and the serpent? God will restrain their sin by putting that enmity between them Himself. They are sentenced to death, but God is going to create for Himself a covenant family people who are at odds with people who belong to the serpent.

And, from this covenant family people, God will bring a Descendant for whom the serpent is no match. The best the serpent will be able to do is inflict some pain, but the Descendant will deliver the death blow on behalf of the entire covenant family!

Before Adam or his wife hear a word of punishment, they already know about the Savior who will defeat the serpent. And we know that He will defeat the Savior by taking their punishment! Has He taken yours?

We deserve Hell. We deserve worse than anything that ever comes to us in this life. But the God whose holiness and justice are so entire that our sin cannot go unpunished is also the God whose grace is so great that He doesn’t intend for us to hear the bad news of His wrath apart from the good news of His salvation. The Savior has come. He has crushed the serpent’s head. He has suffered fully all that we deserve for sin. Is He your Savior? Cling to Christ. Place yourself entirely in His hands and at His mercy. For He is full of mercy, and He will save you!
What do you deserve? What has God done about it? And what have you done about that?
Suggested Songs: ARP72B “Nomads Will Bow” or TPH358 “Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem”