Thursday, January 31, 2019

2019.01.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 1:15-22

Questions for Littles: How did Paul intend to come to them before (v15)? What did he intend for them to have? Where did he intend to go (v16)? And where did he intend to stop, both on the way there and on the way back? Where did he hope they would help him go afterward? What did he not do lightly (v17)? What does he say about how easily he changes his mind? Who is the perfect example of faithfulness and consistency (v18)? And what is the perfect example of God’s faithfulness (v19)? How many of the promises of God are “yes” in Jesus (v20)? And in how many of them are “Amen”? To whose glory? Through whom? Who establishes believers in Christ (v21a)? And who has anointed the officers (v21b)? What has God done to confirm His Word to us (v22a)? Whom has God given for a similar purpose (v22b)? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, the apostle is beginning to explain how careful, intentional, and purposeful he had been in skipping his previous visit to Corinth. But this gets him onto God’s own carefulness, intentionality, and purposefulness: in other words, God’s faithfulness.

The turn in the flow comes from v17 to v18, where he is explaining that he doesn’t make plans lightly or change his mind easily. This characteristic, he says, is like God. The Lord had famously said that He is not a man that He should change His mind (Cf. Num 23:19). Rather, God’s yes is yes, and His no is no, and His plan is His plan, and His purposes will all be accomplished.

This discussion of God’s faithfulness brings him to an even more favorite topic: Christ Himself. For, Christ is really the One upon whom all the promises of God center. He alone reverses the Fall. He alone atones for our sin. He alone is our worthiness for any blessing at all. So, literally, every good promise that God has made has its “yes” in Christ.

Do you marvel at God’s faithfulness to His promises? If so, give Him frequent “Amens,” whenever you consider His good promises! This is one of the main reasons that He promises anything: to fulfill it in Christ, so that we will say “Amen,” and He will be glorified through us.

He already knows that He is faithful. But He makes special display of the glory of His faithfulness, when He brings it home to our hearts, and puts a God-glorifying “Amen” on our lips! So, He establishes our hearts in Christ, making us sure of the Savior. He seals us both by His Spirit and by baptism, which physically displays this spiritual sealing. And His Spirit works in our hearts, assuring us that the promise is unbreakable until the day that it is finally fulfilled!
Which of God’s promises is most precious to you? How does it get its “yes” in Christ?
Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry Before You Come” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

2019.01.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 14:1-5

Questions for Littles: Who were inheriting the areas in this passage (v1)? In what land were the areas? Who distributed this inheritance to them? How were specific areas selected (v2)? Who had commanded this? By whose hand? For whom? Who had given inheritance to the other two and a half tribes (v3)? What tribe received no inheritance at all? How were there still twelve tribe areas, since the Levites didn’t have one (v4)? How was it decided how to divide the land (v5)?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we again have a summary of the giving of the lands. This time, the emphasis is really on gift and inheritance. Of course, inheritance is a kind of gift. It is received not as earnings or wages or even deservings, but rather by virtue of a relationship and the generosity of another.

So v1a reminds us that the children of Israel inherited. And v1b reminds us that the land was distributed to them, and that this was given as an inheritance. Again, v2 begins by calling it an inheritance.

And the fact that it was by lot cannot mean “random chance” in the Bible but rather “selected by God’s providence alone.” Again in v3a, “Moses had given the inheritance…” And in v3b, “to the Levites he had given no inheritance…”

So the emphasis here is not that the land had been taken. Rather, the emphasis is upon the fact that the land was being given.

And though Eleazar and Joshua are named, it is really Moses who, humanly speaking, looms large over this passage, being named in three of the five verses. Of course, this is because Moses was the great representative of God—the prophet like whom One would some day arise as the Messiah.

But Moses is only at the center “humanly speaking.” It is Yahweh Himself who is the great Giver in this Scripture. And it’s not just a gift. It’s a commandment. There is not just generosity here. There is authority.

I wonder if you have learned to take comfort in that, dear Christian. Do you recognize that what you receive from the Lord comes not only from His tender, fatherly affection, but also from His almighty, kingly power and authority?

We are moved to great love and gratitude by His generosity. But let us also be moved to great peace and confidence by the authority with which He commands our inheritance!
What claim do you have upon an inheritance from God? How? Who is your representative?
Suggested songs: ARP180 “Christ Shall Have Dominion” or TPH89B “My Song Forever Shall Record”

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

2019.01.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 46

Read Psalm 46
Questions for Littles: Who is our refuge and strength (v1a)? What else is He (v1b)? What, therefore, won’t we do (v2a)? When (v2b)? And when else (v2c)? And when (v3a)? And when (v3b)? What was one event when these things literally happened? What water from v4 is not water of judgment? Whose city does this river make glad? What else does v4 call this city? Who is in the midst of her (v5a)? What does this keep from happening to her? Who helps her (v5b)? When? What happened when the nations raged (v6a)? What happened when the Lord just uttered His voice (v6b)? Who is with us (v7a, v11a)? What is our refuge (v7b, v11b)? What are we encouraged to do (v8a)? In this case, what works specifically are we to behold (v8b)? And v9? What are these raging and warring nations commanded to do (v10a)? Who wins this battle for supremacy among the nations (v10b)? In all the earth (v10c)?  
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Confession of Sin all came from Psalm 46. Here is a great psalm of confidence in the Lord. If God is our refuge—where we go to be safe—and our strength, then what danger should really cause us to fear?

Really, there is only one that comes close. The judgment and wrath of God Himself. This is the danger that removes the earth. This is the danger that casts mountains into the sea. The flood (and the burning of fire at the return of Christ) are utterly terrifying.

But think about the flood. Who, in the flood, had God as his refuge and strength? To whom was God the present help in trouble? This is the great safety of Noah. Not the ark. But Him who is causing the devastation, destruction, and desolation beneath the ark.

Did you catch that in v8? “Come, behold the works of the Lord.” What works? “Who had made desolations in the earth.” The world-destroying power of God is actually a comfort to those who know that this world-destroying power is for them, not against them.

If by having God as our refuge, we have faced down God’s own wrath, then what have we to fear from men, and governments, and armies, and nations? There were plenty of those in place, when the earth had been “filled with violence” in Genesis 6, and God destroyed them all with one great stroke. Just so—it can be fearful when nations rage and kingdoms move. But our God’s power is such that the mere uttering of His voice makes the earth to melt!

“Yahweh of Hosts” is a name that highlights this. Not only is He the Creator of all, so that everything depends upon Him, but one of the things that He created are the angel armies—the hosts—that are under His command. But He is not just our God of unlimited power, He is our God of amazing grace!

“God of Jacob” is a name that highlights this. He doesn’t use the name “Israel,” that covenant name of faith. No, there is plenty of “Jacob” left in believers in this life. That name, of course, highlighted how Jacob was a heel-grasper, who from the womb lived by his wits: manipulating, tricking, and stealing however he could to get his way. This was anything but a man of faith.

No, God does not shrink from identifying Himself with people who need such grace as we do. He is a God of amazing grace!
What current situations seem most difficult? How will you remember God’s power in it? 
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or TPH46A “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength”

Monday, January 28, 2019

190128FW Genesis 4:1-5 - The Difference between a Cain and an Abel

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, example of a family worship lesson in Genesis 4:1-5

2019.01.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 4:1-5

Questions for Littles: What did Adam do to Eve in v1? What did she do? What does she say? What does she name the second son (v2)? What does he do? What job does Cain do? How long does Cain take to bring an offering (v3)? How long does it take Abel to bring his offering (v4)? Which offering does he bring? What does Yahweh think of Abel and Abel’s offering? What did Yahweh think of Cain and Cain’s offering (v5)?
In the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we have the sober reminder that since all children of believers are born sinners, each must be saved through his own faith from sin and guilt and Hell.

We don’t find out that “Cain was of the evil one” (cf. 1 Jn 3:12) until we see the fruit of his life. From the beginning, his parents are hopeful. Eve, who has received that name because she is the mother of all the living, triumphantly names her son “Cain” (gotten/gained/ acquired), declaring that it is in conjunction with Yahweh that she has gotten him.

Yet, the fruit of his life begins to appear long before he becomes the first murderer. The timing of Cain’s offering does not bode well. Most English translations say something like “in the course of time” at the beginning of v3. Literally, it is “at the end of days.” Yahweh is an afterthought to Cain, getting the leftovers. Abel, however, brings unto the Lord the first and the best.

What made the difference between the two? Hebrews 11:4 tells us: faith. It was not so much what kind of sacrifice. After all, the Lord would later command grain and drink offerings, and indeed Jesus affirms even the tithing of spices. No, the reason that it was a more excellent sacrifice is that it was offered by confidence in God’s promised salvation.

Cain, however, is not hoping in God’s salvation, but in his own performance. He expects God to be grateful for these afterthought/least portions that he has brought. How do we know? Because when God does not show the regard for his offering that Cain expects, Cain becomes angry and sullen.

Children of believing homes must learn to be grateful to God for His mercy in placing them there. But let them guard against being impressed with themselves or desiring that others would be impressed with them. Instead, let them see that God’s salvation is for God’s glory—displaying Himself as infinitely worthy by mercifully saving those who are infinitely unworthy. Let them come by faith, for it is Christ Himself whom God regards!
What do you offer God? Why? How? Why would He have regard for your offering?
Suggested Songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Saturday, January 26, 2019

2019.01.27 Corporate Confession of Sin

Our confession of sin for this Lord's Day morning--like the Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration--comes from Psalm 46. As we have our thoughts shaped by this Psalm through the first portion of the service, the Scripture exposes us as not resting in the Lord as we ought to. Praise God that it does not take perfect or even mighty faith in Christ, but only the weakest genuine faith, to be joined to Him, and counted righteous on the merits of His perfect resting!

2019.01.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 4:1-7

Questions for Littles: What did Adam do to Eve in v1? What did she do? What does she say? What does she name the second son (v2)? What does he do? What job does Cain do? How long does Cain take to bring an offering (v3)? How long does it take Abel to bring his offering (v4)? Which offering does he bring? What does Yahweh think of Abel and Abel’s offering? What did Yahweh think of Cain and Cain’s offering (v5)? How does Cain respond? What does Yahweh ask Cain in v6? What does He promise Cain in v7? What does He warn Cain that his sin wants to do to him? What does He command Cain that he must do to his sin?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, worship takes center stage.

By the Lord’s grace to them, Adam and Eve are getting along. The consequences of their fall into sin were not the final word on their marriage. In fact, Adam knows his wife so well that it results in their having a baby!

Eve is so excited about the baby that she declares that with Yahweh, she has acquired the child. In fact, the same Hebrew letters that make the preposition “with” can also just be the sign of the direct object. It’s possible that she actually thinks that the baby she has just borne is somehow connected to Yahweh Himself.

This isn’t too far-fetched. We know the incarnation is now a reality and that it wasn’t plan B—God planned this from before time began (Rom 8:28-29). If she knew that she was going to bear someone who could crush the serpent, perhaps the Lord blessed her to understand that He Himself would be one of Her descendants. So there’s worship in her childbearing.

And there’s worship in the boys’ work. Of course, there’s a timing difference. Cain brings an offering “at the end of days.” Offering to the Lord is the last thing on his mind. Abel is exactly the opposite. He brings the first part and the  best part.

Third, there is worship in mortification. That’s a big word that means the process by which the Lord enables us to kill sin. Here, we see him giving Cain instruction and urging him that he would indeed be accepted if he repented.

But there is more here than the “if you do well.” There is also the warning about what sin is like. It is such a ruthless oppressor and hunter that if we are not actively killing our sin, then our sin will be actively killing us. The Lord presents this tension in such a manner to communicate that these really are the only two options.
How do you worship the Lord in your family relationships? In your work? In killing sin?
Suggested Songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH130A “Lord, from the Depths to You I Cry!”

Friday, January 25, 2019

190125FW John 8:12-20 - Jesus Is the Only Light by Which We May Know God

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in John 8:12-20

2019.01.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 8:12-20

Questions for Littles: Who speaks in v12? What does He say about Himself? What will happen to those who follow Him? Who complain about his testimony (v13)? What do they claim as proof that Jesus is not telling the truth? What does Jesus say about His own witness (v14)? What two things does He say that He knows, that He also says that the don’t know? How do they judge (v15)? Whom has Jesus judged so far? With whom will He eventually judge (v16)? What kind of testimony does Jesus say is true in v17? Whom does He present as His two witnesses in v18? What do the people want to know then (v19)? Now what two things does Jesus say they do not know? How can it be true that they don’t know Jesus? Where was Jesus when He taught these things? Why couldn’t anyone lay hands on him? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus announces Himself as the light of the world. This isn’t just external light, but internal light.

The darkness of v13 is stunning. They are unable to see Jesus. They are unable to believe in Him. In fact, Jesus tells them that they do not know where He is from or where He is going. In other words, they do not know the Father at all. What a tragedy!

They understand that Jesus is saying this, but they don’t understand what the significance of it is: that His Father is the living God! They are actually dull-witted enough to follow that statement up by asking as to the location of His Father! Jesus makes it more plain: “You know neither Me…” stop right there!

Here, we see that there is knowing Jesus, and that there is really knowing Jesus. When He says, “you do not know Me,” Jesus is not saying, “you do not know many facts about My life.” Instead, He is saying that they have not come to Him to follow Him. So, they are walking in darkness, and have no light.

It seems like a catch 22. If you don’t know Jesus, you won’t have light. But you need to know Jesus to get light!

The good news is that we can ask Jesus for all that we need. Since He gives light, then we can say with confidence, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!
How does your prayer life reflect a desire to know Jesus better? When you have spiritual difficulty, how do you typically respond?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

Thursday, January 24, 2019

2019.01.27 Congregational Prayer for Help from Psalm 46:4-11

Our prayer for help for this Lord's Day comes from Psalm 46:4-11. Upon being called to worship from the same Psalm, we will cry out for help unto Him who is our Mighty Fortress, before following with the song by that name, which is also a paraphrase of this Psalm

190124FW 2Cor 1:8-14 - God WILL Give You More Than You Can Handle

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in 2Corinthians 1:8-14.

2019.01.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 1:8-14

Questions for Littles: What doesn’t the apostle want them to be (v8)? About what? How bad was there trouble? What kind of “sentence” had been pronounced upon them in this part of their lives (v9a)? To make them trust in Whom? What does God do? What had He done (v10a)? What will He continue to do (v10b-c)? Who gets to participate in believers’ deliverance from God (v11a,c)? Why does God deliver in this way (v11b)? Whose (what’s!) testimony is at the center of their rejoicing in v12? How had they NOT conducted themselves? In what three ways had they conducted themselves INSTEAD? And more abundantly toward whom (end of v12)? In what activity, was the apostles conduct “toward” the Corinthians (v13)? What does he want them to do about himself and his companion ministers (v14)? In whom?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we continue learning last week’s lesson of the usefulness of our troubles. In particular, we learn the usefulness of troubles that we have no chance at being deluded enough to think that we can handle. It’s amazing that anyone ever had the rubbish idea that God would never give you more than you can handle, when Scripture constantly tells us that we can’t handle anything!

Here, the volume of that message gets turned up a notch. God intentionally gives believers the kind of trouble that would make an apostle despair of life. Why? So that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. However well intentioned, those who tell believers that God is not giving them more than they can handle are robbing them of the very faith in which there is resurrection power!

Of course, if we can handle nothing, and God has to handle everything by His grace, where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us in v12. It leaves us not depending upon fleshly wisdom, which could never avail anyway. It leaves us focusing instead upon single-mindedness toward Him (simplicity). It leaves us focusing instead upon Godly sincerity. It leaves us freed from trying to preserve ourselves, in order to attend to serving others.

And, of course, it also leaves us thanking God for how HE has enabled others to serve us from the midst of their troubles. It wasn’t only the Corinthians unto whom the apostle had written and “all the more abundantly” ministered. It was unto us, today.

In all of this wonderful, gracious work that God does, He not only blesses us, but He gives us opportunity to participate in His blessing others. By being those through whose prayer He saves (v11a). By being those from whose circumstances others learn (vv12b-13a). By being those on account of whose circumstances thanksgiving abounds to God (v11cv14)!
Through what troubles is God taking you? Taking other believers? For what reasons? 
Suggested songs: ARP173 “Dependence on God for Salvation” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Morning Worship Documents for the Upcoming Lord's Day (2019.01.27) Now Available

The Worship Folder and Service Notes for the coming Lord's Day morning are now available. Please avail yourself of them as you prepare for and anticipate corporate worship! As always, the Service Notes will be continually updated at the green link, right up until the service begins.

2019.01.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 13:7-33

Questions for Littles: What does God tell Joshua to do with the land in v7a? To which tribes? How much of Manasseh? With whom had the other half of Manasseh inherited (v8)? Who had given it to them (cf. v32a)? What was his title? What kind of topography had they inherited (v9, v11, v32b)? Whose kingdoms had these areas been (v10, v12a)? What were the people like (v12b)? Although the land was conquered, who were not driven out (v13)? Which tribe had received no inheritance (v14a, v33a)? What (Who!) was their inheritance (v14b, v33b)? Which tribe’s inheritance is described in vv15-23? What kind of topography did it have (v16)? What cities (v17-20)? Which ruler and rulers had it had (v21)? Whom else had they had to defeat? Which tribes inheritance is described in vv24-28? Which cities (vv25-27a)? What topography (v27)? What king (v27)? What (half!) tribe’s inheritance is described in vv29-31? What topography and cities? What king?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we again have a passage about promises kept. It doesn’t make for great devotional topic variety, but it does make for great devotional comfort, and we will soon grow accustomed to this being the topic of our Joshua passage! After all, the great theme of the book, as recognized in one great commentary by the same name, is “No Falling Words” (cf. 21:45 and again in 23:14).

So, there is the kept promise of God about the land of the 2½ tribes. Plains, river valleys, rivers, a great mountain slope. This was premium real estate. They had been granted it almost a generation ago now, but only the wives and children had been able to begin settling down. Truly possessing the land had had to wait. And now they were coming back. Promises kept to the 2½.

And there is the kept promise of God about the land of the 9½ tribes. The reason the 2½ were free to come back now was that the land west of the Jordan had been conquered. In exchange for the land east of the Jordan, they had promised to fight with their brothers of the 9½. The fact that they can come back now shows that God has kept the promise of subduing the land on the west.

Which brings us, of course, to the promise kept by the 2½ tribes. Any measure of faithfulness by men is a gift from God. When it happens among the people of God, it is a display of His character in them. How many peoples in world (or church) history have made a contingent promise, but then kept it even after they really had an opportunity to take their share and cop out? Even man’s kept promises testify to God’s grace!

Finally, there is the most important kept promise of all. In all Scriptural likelihood, in the New Heavens and New Earth, there will be a region that corresponds to what was then the promised land. Even so, the land itself was not the point of the land! Rather, nearness to the Lord Himself was the point of the land. Levi got left out of the land promise (awwwww!) because he received its benefit far more directly in the priesthood (AHHHH!).

What do all believers ultimately receive? Better than the best of both!  New Heavens and New Earth, with the dwelling of God among His people. Adoption by God. Union with Christ. The indwelling of the Spirit. Promises kept!
When, in your life, do you take time to rest in, relish, and rejoice God’s kept promises?
Suggested songs: ARP180 “Christ Shall Have Dominion” or TPH89B “My Song Forever Shall Record”

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2019.01.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 104

Read Psalm 104
Questions for Littles: How does this Psalm begin in the first two lines of v1 and end in the last two lines of v35? With what is God clothed (v1-2)? What are like house and chariot for Him (v2-3)? What was the Lord’s part in creation (v5)? In the flood (v6)? In the restoration (v7-9)? What has the Lord done for His various creatures, according to v10-14 and v16-22? What three things did God invent/create for man, and for what purposes (v15)? What does man spend his day doing (v23)? How does God’s work compare (v24-26)? For what do all creatures depend upon the Lord in v27-28? For what do they depend upon Him in v29-30? What belongs to the Lord in v31a? In v31b? How do v33-34 correspond to that? Comparing v32 and v35a, what do those verses show about God? With their placement in the middle of delighting in God and glorifying Him, how are we to respond to these truths about the Lord? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration all came from Psalm 104. This Psalm puts God in His place.

It praises Him as the Creator of an amazing world with amazing variety. It praises Him as the One who sustains all of His creatures from the smallest to the largest, from the least intelligent to man, from the defenseless to the powerful.  It praises Him as the One who continuously rules and overrules everything according to His sovereign will.

Man works hard to grow and process wine, and oil, and grain. But it is the Lord who invested these with the ability to gladden man, and give him strength and health. Our ability to work and produce and enjoy are all great privileges, because they are ways that God has permitted us to imitate Him in the creation.

But that’s just the point: even with all of our privileges, we are creatures. He is the Creator. Let us also imitate His generosity, His tender care. Generosity and kindness are becoming to those created in the image of such a Lord as we know and worship.

Still, let us not miss that the Lord saved the first half of v35 for the final thing for which to praise the Lord: His wrath and justice. With a Lord so glorious, it is the greatest of evils to fail to praise Him, let alone even to rebel against Him! Therefore, it is one of His great glories that He does not leave this unpunished.

As we obey the command at the beginning and end of this Psalm, to bless the Lord and praise Him with our whole soul, let us recognize the One in whom all of these meet: His generosity, His love, His power, His justice, His wrath—all are best seen in the cross of Christ!
For which of God’s attributes, do you most need to increase appreciation? How will you? 
Suggested songs: ARP104C “The Trees of the Lord” or TPH219 “O Worship the King”

Monday, January 21, 2019

Upcoming Sermon: January 27, 2019 - Genesis 4:1-5 - "Covenant Children"

In the morning sermon text on the coming Lord's Day, Adam and Eve start bearing children into the newly minted Covenant of Grace. The results are mixed, as we see childbearing by faith, working by faith (and not), and worshiping by faith (and not). More sobering, we will see that how we respond when confronted by the truth of our falling short may reveal a deeper underlying problem and might portend greater griefs to come. Won't you join us for worship, the 27th, at 11:00a.m.?

2019.01.20 Morning Sermon - Life for Sinners

The audio for yesterday's morning sermon has been uploaded. God has given life to sinners! Rather than seeing the account of the fall end with "dying you shall die," we found that it ended with, "living you shall live." In Genesis 3:20-24, we saw life praised by the redeemed, life provided for the fallen, life pictured in a sacrifice, and life promised in the Lord's preserving plan and power.

2019.01.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 3:20-24

Questions for Littles: What does Adam call his wife (v20)? Why? Of whom is she the mother? Who made tunics for Adam and his wife (v21)? Of what did He make them? What else did He do? Whom did Yahweh say the man had become like (v22)? In what way? What might the man put out his hand to take? To do what with it? Why? Where did Yahweh send the man (v23)? To do what? What did God place at the east of the garden of Eden (v24)? What else did He place? What did it do? To guard what?
The Scripture for this week’s sermon was all about life.

First, we saw life praised. Adam has heard what the Lord said about his wife. She would be the mother of the Seed who would crush the serpent’s head. She would also be the mother of the entire line of those between whom and the serpent the Lord would put enmity. She is going to be the mother of all the living.

Isn’t that amazing, after man’s fall into sin? There is going to be a line of the living! In honor and praise of this wonderful fact, he renames his wife “life.”

Next, we saw life provided. Adam and Eve had failed to cover themselves with the fig leaves. Yet, the problem wasn’t so much that their skin was exposed as it was that their sin was exposed. Now, God Himself provides the covering. This is a covering that will protect them physically, as they are put out of paradise into the harsher world. And, they know that it covers them spiritually as well, for God Himself has provided it.

Third, we see life pictured. The only true way to the only true life is through Jesus Christ. We have no righteousness or life in ourselves. We cannot even die or suffer well enough to satisfy God’s justice for our sin. Were we to try, it would go on for all eternity and never be sufficient. But, we see Adam and Eve with a covering that is sufficient for them. What is that covering? A substitute. We do not know if it were a lamb or a cow. But we do know to whom it points forward: the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world—Jesus Christ!

Finally, we see life promised. God does not destroy the tree of life. In fact, we will see it again in the New Heavens and New Earth. What He does do is block off the way to it via Eden. He puts the cherub there to indicate that God’s presence is still available, and He puts the sword there to indicate that the way to His presence is going to be by some other means.

In other words, there will be a new way into the presence of the Lord. Hebrews calls it, “that new and living way, which is His flesh.” Jesus, the Son of God made man, and crucified, and risen… He Himself is the way, the truth, and the life.
What habits do you have of rejoicing over and responding to God’s life for you?
Suggested Songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

Saturday, January 19, 2019

2019.01.20 Corporate Confession of Sin from Romans 1

Our confession of sin tomorrow morning comes from Romans 1. It's so easy to identify that our culture demands approval for perversion. It's more difficult to identify that the roots of all of these sins still infect our hearts and lives. Praise God for His sanctifying and persevering grace!

2019.01.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 3:20-24

Questions for Littles: What does Adam call his wife (v20)? Why? Of whom is she the mother? Who made tunics for Adam and his wife (v21)? Of what did He make them? What else did He do? Whom did Yahweh say the man had become like (v22)? In what way? What might the man put out his hand to take? To do what with it? Why? Where did Yahweh send the man (v23)? To do what? What did God place at the east of the garden of Eden (v24)? What else did He place? What did it do? To guard what?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we have the first big act of faith, the first display of redemption, and the first protective act of discipline.

You might not think a husband’s new nickname for his wife would be a big moment in redemptive history, but here is a big one. Adam has just heard that there is going to be a Redeemer who crushes the serpent. He has just heard that there is an entire line of those who will live, and that they will come from his wife.

Suddenly, “Mrs. Man” isn’t a good enough name for her. Now, she’s “Eve”—“Life”! He’s heard about all his misery, but his primary response is to trust in the promise about Jesus. Hallelujah!

This passage also describes the first display of redemption—a substitutionary sacrifice. Scripture tells us that death entered the world through sin, but the first one isn’t Adam or Eve. It’s the animal that died so that they could be covered. Notice also that the Lord Himself personally clothes them.

What a glorious picture of what God did with His Son—not just providing a sacrifice, but personally clothing sinners with His Son’s righteousness.

Finally, this passage displays God’s protective discipline. The tree of life belonged to the covenant of the garden. It signified the everlasting life that Adam would have earned had he kept that covenant. He had no right to what it represented, so he had no right to it. Not now.

But we do see that tree again—on either side of the river in Revelation 22. The paradise of God still exists (Rev 2:7); it’s just reserved for glory in the New Heavens and Earth (Rev 22:2).  When the Scripture says that the flaming sword “guards the way,” it is not so that we may never get to it; rather, it is so that we would do so only through Christ!
How have you responded to the good news about life in Jesus? How are you covered—by whose sacrifice? Who has done this? Will you one day eat from the tree of life?
Suggested Songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

Friday, January 18, 2019

2019.01.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 8:1-11

Questions for Littles: Who went to the Mount of Olives (v1)? When did He leave there (v2)? Into where did He come again? Who came to Him? What did He do for them? Who brought someone to Him in v3? Whom did they bring? What did they call Jesus (v4)? What did they say had happened? What did they claim that the law says should be done (v5)? What were they doing to Jesus (v6)? What did they want to do to Him? What does Jesus proceed stoop down and do? By Jesus’s answer in v7, what does it seem they had wanted Him to be the one to do? Whom does He say should throw the first stone? What does He do again in v8? What do those who had heard Him do (v9)? How many accusers were left? What does Jesus ask her (v10)? What does He command her to do from now on (v11)?
In the Gospel reading this week, we had a passage that is bracketed by the critical-text (used for ESV, etc.) but well attested by both the received-text (KJV/NKJV) and the majority text. The critical text is assembled, in large part, by compiling bits and pieces, recovered relatively recently, from ruins of desert sects and secluded monasteries. Then committees of critical scholars guessed, in each instance, at what might have been changed into something else and why. One of the complaints that the psychologizers have against this passage is that it doesn’t “fit” in its spot in John’s gospel. What a mistake!

There’s a wonderful thing that happens in this passage that occurs the day after the feast has ended. Jesus has gone up to the mountain, and everyone has returned to their homes (tents!). Jesus comes back from the mountain to the people. Remind you of anyone? Why are the people still here? Which people are still here? It’s those thirsty people whom He had called to Himself on the last day of the feast! vv1-2 set this up. The people came to Him.

What does He do to slake their thirst? He teaches them. He’s surrounded by a crowd of the thirsty, and soon arrives a crowd of the hostile. Scribes and Pharisees, trying to get Jesus to condemn a woman without the two or three witnesses that the law requires. Trying to get Jesus to cast the first stone. Trying to get Jesus to violate both Jewish and Roman authority structure by authorizing and participating in an execution.

Now Jesus, who has been on the mountain, writes with His finger on the ground. Who else in the Bible writes with His own finger? At the very least, Jesus is identifying Himself not as Moses who came down from the mountain, but as God who met him on the mountain.

Almost certainly, He is writing the ten commandments on the ground. It has its desired effects, and the scribes and Pharisees can’t stand His demonstration that they have broken the exact same law that she has broken—that there is something worse than by stoning that each of us deserves.

Now, here is a problem for each of us, and a problem that the woman still has at the end of the passage. She has not been condemned by a stoning tribunal, but there is another judgment coming. And she will not be any more successful at not sinning after this event than she had been before. Now what?

This presses upon me and upon you how badly we ought to thirst for Jesus’s righteousness to be our righteousness. He has the right to cast the stone. Worse, He has the right to cast body and soul into Hell. And He will be wrong if He doesn’t. This is the very reason that He came to suffer it in our place! When we come to Him to teach us, He teaches us the law that sends us to cling to Him alone for life. Are you thirsty?
What is your hope for when you stand before Him who wrote the ten commandments with His finger?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

Thursday, January 17, 2019

2019.01.20 Congregational Prayer for Help from Psalm 104

Our prayer for help for this Lord's Day, from Psalm 104 to go along with the song of adoration, which paraphrases that Psalm, "O Worship the King" - you can prepare for the entire service via the service notes via the green link at

2019.01.17 Hopewell Herald

Hopewell Herald – January 17, 2019

Dear Congregation,

This week’s morning sermon text has kept me thinking about how we have not perished, but rather been given life—and that life abundantly—in Christ Jesus.

And this the Lord did for us at the cost of His Son, so that He might clothe us with His Son. What cause for thankfulness, and love, and zealous service, and obedience!

How appropriate it is, then, that we also hope by God’s help to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. There’s a busy couple days before the Lord’s Day, but we must certainly not let them be so busy that we fail to anticipate and prepare for the Table.

Looking forward to Word, sacrament, and prayer with you,


Immediately following the Men’s Breakfast this saturday, at 8:00a.m., we will be having a congregational work-day to knock out several tasks to make our campus more hospitable for the upcoming Winter Theology Conference. All who can participate in the work day or help with lunch for the workers, please contact the Johnstons.

And don’t forget MEN’S BREAKFAST, Saturday, at 6:30a.m. We look forward to good fellowship and food, earthly and spiritual, as we continue to study Ecclesiastes together.

We are hoping for a large number of guests for the Winter Conference, and Elder Mangum is compiling a list of available hosts’ homes. If you are willing to be blessed by sharing your space and time with other believers in town for the conference, please communicate to Charlie your details (which nights, room for how many in beds, room for how many on couches, room for how many in sleeping bags, family/ages preferences, etc.).

LORD'S DAY – January 20, 2019

10 a.m. Study Class
Westminster Confession for Study Classes. We’ll be continuing the 4th subject: The Trinity.

11 a.m. Morning Worship
Children’s Catechism for Jan 20
Q. 105. What is prayer? A. Prayer is asking God for things which he has promised to give.

Shorter Catechism for Jan 20
Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment? A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor's wealth or outward estate.

Hymns and Psalms
+ SONG OF ADORATION – HB26 O Worship the King

Basis of first portion of worship service
Scripture Readings
Old Testament – Joshua 13:7-33
Epistle – 2Corinthians 1:8-14
Gospel – John 8:12-20

Sermon Scripture text and topic
In Genesis 3:20-24 the Holy Spirit gives us the first example of a believer expressing faith, the first display of the covering of sin, and clear instruction that the way to life is not backward to Eden, but forward to Christ.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
As we come to show forth the Lord’s death until He comes, we do so by feeding upon Him by faith at His table. As we learned recently in John, this “feeding” is a coming to Him, beholding Him, believing in Him, abiding in Him, and having Him as our life and our purpose (cf. Jn 6:35,37,40,45,47,56,57). You may wish to employ the attached document as you prepare for this holy meal.

12:45 p.m. Catechism Class

1 p.m. Food Fellowship
There is an open invitation each Lord’s Day to join the several households of the church family that stay to eat and worship together throughout the afternoon). During the meal we have an open mic time, and the “Pastor’s Memory Challenge.”

▫Memory Verse for Jan 20
(Genesis 3:20) And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.

2:30 p.m. Church-Family Worship
The weekly p.m. service includes an extended singing time of favorites selected by the congregation, a Scripture teaching time from “the epistle reading,” and elder-led prayer. All are welcome to this worship time!

Hopewell this Month

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for January:
In Christ Church in Los Angeles, CA

January Psalm of the Month

Our ushers for the month of January are: Elijah Loud (head usher), Thomas Johnston, Nathan Buonomo, Andrew Buonomo

Congregational Prayer Requests (new/updates in bold)
▪ The Winter Theology Conference, February 1-3
▪ Jeff and Carrie Maskevich and family for her recently discovered cancer
▪ Pray with KC for her friend Kathy who is in chemo and radiation for grade 3 adenocarcinoma of her abdomen and pelvis, asking for peace, guidance, healing & not reacting to the chemo drugs on the 24th or 14th; and, other acquaintance Linda who doesn’t seem to know the Lord, and just lost 21 year old son
▪ Pray with E&S E for provision and wisdom for their new home construction project. It has been exhausting, and they feel needy of strength and good decision making
▪ Pray with D&M G for her mother who is back in the hospital; and, pray for comfort and against bitterness for husband Amos and six children (ages 2-12) of a nearby Amish lady who was killed by a drunk driver in front of her 9 year old son while they were bicycling; and, for son Jeremiah with wife Julianna: marriage, work for him, and their walk with Christ
▪ Pray with SG for young Jedediah Vick (along with parents Austin and Esther) who has been diagnosed with meningitis.
▪ Pray with J&H H for his father’s cancer, and sweetness in their remaining time together; and for his youngest brother; and for his sister-in-law and family as she faces and fights stage three breast cancer
▪ Pray with G&M H for grown children James, Paul, and Holly, that the Lord would turn them back to Himself and bring the stability of His peace, joy, and wisdom into their lives
▪ Pray with R&M J for physical and spiritual comfort in the wake of the departure to glory of their baby in the womb; and for 7 & 9 year old karate classmates of Thomas, whose father is dying
▪ Pray with C&T P for her brother Todd, needing to live a life of faith in and love to Christ; for the Lord’s mercy and healing in her many health issues
▪ Pray with J&D P for her brother-in-law, Tracy Seat, recovering from a pneumonia bad enough to put him on IV antibiotics and cause concern that a return of cancer might be the underlying cause
▪ Pray with D&K R for their family’s growth in godliness, especially dying to self, godly speech, and Lord’s Day keeping
▪ Pray with J&M R for Mariah’s adoption; and for friend Del Bailey and family in his recent cancer diagnosis with very poor prognosis
▪ Pray with GR for friend Abby to come to faith in Christ
▪ Pray with JR for believing friend Jeanette Cary who is in poor health
PRAISE with D&D R for Ms. Margarite’s recovery from flu and pneumonia; continue to pray for her health and comfort as a resident @Magnolia
▪ Pray with R&R T for her siblings (brother and 2 sisters) who are not believers, and especially wisdom and grace toward the sister who is particularly hostile
▪ Pray with S&V Y for him as he quits smoking; and for continued health for Brittney, wife of Andre, with peace and joy for their entire family, after her strokes
▪ Please pray with In Christ ARP Church in Los Angeles, CA, throughout the month of January
▪ Please pray for all ARP presbyteries, churches, and agencies

Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if vocal, in a known tongue. (WCF 21.3)