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, June 22, 2019

2019.06.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 12:10-20

Questions for Littles: What happened in the land (Genesis 12:10)? What did Abram do? Why? Where was he in Genesis 12:11? To whom did Abram speak? What did he tell her that he knows? Whom did he think would see her (Genesis 12:12)? What did he think they would do to him? What did Abram ask Sarai to do (Genesis 12:13)? What did he hope would happen? Where did Abram arrive in Genesis 12:14? What did the Egyptians see? Which Egyptians saw her in Genesis 12:15? What did they think? Whom did they tell? What happened to her? How did Pharaoh treat Abram (Genesis 12:16)? Why? What did Abram end up possessing? What did Yahweh do to Pharaoh in Genesis 12:17? Because of whom? Of what does verse 17 remind us about Sarai? Whom did Pharaoh call in Genesis 12:18? What does Pharaoh ask him (Genesis 12:18-19)? What does Pharaoh tell Abram to do? What does Pharaoh command his men to do to Abram (Genesis 12:20)?
If Genesis 12:4-9 showed us Abram’s faith, these verses show that he is still flawed.

A moment ago, Abram was believing that Yahweh would give the land of Canaan to his offspring, even though it was humanly impossible for him even to have offspring at that time. Now, he’s not trusting Yahweh to feed him in a severe famine.

A moment ago, Abram was believing that Yahweh would take care of him in a new land. Now, Abram is in another new land, but rather than trusting in Yahweh, he’s hatching a plan not only for himself to lie, but for his wife to tell a lie that would cause him to be an adulterer.

It had to be humiliating for the generation that first received the book of Genesis from Moses’s pen. They had just been delivered from Egypt through the various hardenings of that Pharaoh’s immoral heart. But, here in Genesis 12, they read about a previous Pharaoh having to rebuke Abram. God grant to us to be humble about ourselves and our earthly heroes!

But God also grant to us to be amazed at Him and adore Him. He protects Sarai from committing adultery. He enriches Abram. He humbles Pharaoh. And He does this all while Abram is in in the midst of sin. How powerful and merciful is our God!
In what situations that you have messed up has the Lord done good to you?
Suggested Songs: ARP90A “Lord, You Have Been” or TPH234 “The God of Abram Praise”

Friday, June 21, 2019

2019.06.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 13:36-14:7

Questions for Littles: To whom does Peter speak in John 13:36? What does he ask Him? Does Jesus tell Peter where He is going? What does Jesus say that Peter cannot do now? What does Jesus say that Peter will do afterward? What does Peter ask in John 13:37? What does he announce? What does Jesus ask in John 13:38? What does Jesus announce—what will happen before a rooster crows? What does Jesus say immediately after verse 38 (John 14:1). In Whom does Jesus tell them to believe? In Whom else? Where does Jesus tell them there are many rooms (John 14:2)? Why is Jesus going there? What will Jesus do later (John 14:3)? Why? What two things does Jesus say that they know in John 14:4? Who says that they do not know either of these things (John 14:5)? What does Jesus say is the Way to where He is going (John 14:6)? What does Jesus say is the Truth about where He is going? What does Jesus say is the life by which they may follow to where He is going? When does Jesus say that they know the Father and have seen the Father (John 14:7)?
This passage sounds like it is about a place. It’s a “where” question: “Lord, where are You going?” But this question doesn’t have just one “Who” answer, but two “Who” answers.

The first “Who” answer is Jesus’s Father. Peter, and all disciples, are entirely unreliable. They will abandon Jesus tonight. But His Father has never abandoned Him. Even before Jesus became a man, from all eternity, the Father and the Son have lived in mutual love. This is what is going to make the cross so devastating!

But the love of the Father and the Son for One Another doesn’t stop with them. The Father’s house doesn’t have one dwelling place but many. And, Jesus’s ultimate goal isn’t just to be with the Father. It’s to have the disciples with Him with the Father. Jesus is the second “Who” answer to the where question.

Thomas is pretty amazing. Jesus has just finished saying that they know both where He is going (the Father) and the way to get there (Jesus Himself) (John 14:4). Then, Thomas instantly says exactly the opposite of what Jesus says (John 14:5). This is what leads to one of the most memorized verses in Scripture.

But this verse is saying even more than “believing in Jesus is how to get to heaven.” Rather, it is saying that the Father is heaven. And Jesus is heaven. And Jesus is the way to the Father. Because Jesus and the Father are One. So, those who have Jesus do not have to wait until glory to have heaven. They have begun already to have their heaven!

No one has seen God at any time. Jesus, the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father—He has fully revealed Him (John 1:14)!
How can you have heaven now? In what moments do you most experience this?
Suggested songs: ARP157 “Immortality & Resurrection” or TPH270 “At the Name of Jesus”

Thursday, June 20, 2019

2019.06.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 12:11-21

Questions for Littles: What does the apostle say he has become in 2 Corinthians 12:11? Who has commended him? Who should have commended him? Whom was the apostle not at all inferior to? But what does he call himself? What had he performed among them in 2 Corinthians 12:12? What were the signs of an apostle? What did the apostle fail to do to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 12:13)? What is he hoping to do now (2 Corinthians 12:14)? What does he not what? What does he want instead? How does he describe his relationship with them? What is he willing to do for them (2 Corinthians 12:15)? How have the Corinthians responded to all the things that the apostle has done for them in love? What did he not do to them (2 Corinthians 12:16)? But what did the apostle do to them? What did neither he nor Titus nor the unnamed brother (Luke?) do to them (2 Corinthians 12:17-18)? But Whose opinion of the apostle is much more important than the Corinthians’ opinion (2 Corinthians 12:19)? What does he call them at the end of verse 19? At what is he aiming in all things? What does he fear (2 Corinthians 12:20)? What kinds of things is he hoping there will not be? Who would be humiliated by this (2 Corinthians 12:21)? Over whom would the apostle mourn?
Love. True love. That’s what this passage is about.

The apostle has been badly treated, but his goal is not to be treated well or thought of well. True love cares about others’ good even more than for others to feel good about them. He doesn’t want anything from them. He wants the wellbeing of them themselves.

True love doesn’t begrudge service. There are many who serve tirelessly, and the apostle does spend and be spent. But he doesn’t just serve tirelessly. He serves gladly. True love is glad to spend and be spent, even if he isn’t recognized by anyone but the Lord.

True love doesn’t just want its dear ones to receive good. It wants them to do good. What the apostle fears most for them is not that they would have hardship, but rather that they would be sinful. Contentious. Jealous. Wrathful. Selfishly ambitious. Gossipers. Conceited.

But we sin. What can true love do for us then? Well, the true love of the apostle really has its start as the true love of God (2 Corinthians 12:21). And God’s true love, and the apostle’s true love, aims at the Corinthians’ repentance. That’s what true love really wants: to see its dear ones turn away from sin!
Who truly loves you? What do they want for you? Whom do you truly love?
Suggested songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH32B “How Blessed Is He Whose Trespass”

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

2019.06.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 5

Read Judges 5
Questions for Littles: Who are singing in Judges 5:1? In the song, who was leading Israel in Judges 5:2? What did the people do? Who gets the praise for this? To whom is Judges 5:3 addressed? What are they supposed to listen to? Whose vigorous action is described in Judges 5:4-5? What was life in Israel like in Judges 5:6-7? How had Israel responded (Judges 5:8)? What other verse does Judges 5:9 sound like? What do Judges 5:10-12 say to do about the righteous acts of Yahweh? What details of the battle are given in Judges 5:13-23? Who is blessed in Judges 5:24-27? Who is mocked in Judges 5:28-30? Who must perish (Judges 5:31)? What will happen to those who love God? 
Israel learns to sing about the Lord’s righteous acts in this passage. The song starts off with a very vigorous description of the action of Yahweh in Judges 5:4-5. He’s not just going to battle. He’s ruling and shaking heaven and earth. He’s not just the “God of Israel.” He is “Sinai”—referring to when He burned and shook the mountain.

Israel was a mixed bag. It’s ironic that Barak would get to sing about leaders willingly leading, since he was such a coward. But, Ephraim, Machir, Zebulun, Issachar, and Naphtali did alright for their part. On the other hand, Reuben thought hard about helping, but decided to stay home with the flocks. Dan and Asher were too busy with their business on ships and the coast.

When the battle details themselves surface in the song, it sets us up for a big comparison/contrast of two women. Jael, Mrs. Heber, is the most blessed among women. The description of her execution of Sisera is a slow motion, blow-by-blow, hero story. Jael is contrasted with the mother of Sisera. Mommy is waiting by the window trying to figure out why it’s taking him so long to come home from what was supposed to be a light day of mopping up Israelites.

What is it that produces such a contrast? Judges 5:31 give us the answer. The Lord takes sides. But having the Lord on your side doesn’t just turn you into a tent peg wielding assassin. That was kind of specific to Jael. But when verse 31 generalizes, it gives us a different single symptom of Yahweh befriending someone: He makes that person to love Him. And that’s just the beginning. Once He starts the work, it’s like the early dawn sunrise: it is the guarantee of a love for God that will surely reach full strength!
Where does love for God come from? Then how can you get more?
Suggested songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH428 “Tis Not I That Did Choose Thee”

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2019.06.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 6:1-7

Questions for Littles: In what year did Isaiah see this (Isaiah 6:1)? Whom did he see? Where? What filled the temple? Who stood above the throne (Isaiah 6:2)? How many wings did each have? What did each do with those wings? What did they cry to one another (Isaiah 6:3)? By what were the door posts shaken (Isaiah 6:4)? With what was the temple filled? What did Isaiah say about himself (Isaiah 6:5)? What were his lips like? What had his eyes done? What did one of the seraphim do in Isaiah 6:6? What did he have to use to take the coal from the altar? To what did he touch it (Isaiah 6:7)? What did he say had been done when the coal touched Isaiah’s lips? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, Confession of Sin, Song of Adoration, and Announcement of the Gospel came from Isaiah 6:1-7. This is a familiar passage about the great glory of God. Uzziah had been king for more than fifty years, but he was not the great king. The Lord is not only high, but higher than high: high and lifted up. So great is His glory, that the temple is not even standing-room-only. It is no-room-for-anyone-to-stand. You mayn’t step upon the King’s robe, and the train of His robe fills the temple!

The attendants of this King are “burning ones” (what “seraphim” literally means)—these are literally creatures of flame. Still, they are dwarfed and awed by the Holy-Holy-Holy One. They mayn’t stand, so they hover. They mayn’t look, so they cover their faces. Their feet are unworthy to be seen.

They cry to one another with such force that this heavenly temple of this glorious vision is shaken by their voices. This is no earthly shack, but still the praise of God makes it tremble as in an earthquake. Such is the crying out about the holiness of God that it causes a heaven-quake!!

It’s no wonder, then, that Isaiah was concerned about how he had used his lips up to this point. As he hears the flame creatures, he realizes the one great purpose for which lips exist, and he realizes further that his own use of his lips has fallen so far short of this purpose that his very existence is self-destructive. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God… but all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God… so, woe is me, for I am undone!”

It is a conclusion that we must all reach now, from God’s Word, by God’s Spirit, lest we arrive at the throne ourselves on that Great Day, and hear that judgment pronounced by Him who sits upon it! Of course, the glory of the holiness that is on display is matched by an equally glorious display of mercy. A hovering seraph, who has been waiting for the King to will him into motion, flies into action. He takes a coal so hot that a flame-being must use tongs to handle it, and touches it to Isaiah’s lips.

That might sound like a recipe for lip-annihilation, but that is not the result. Rather, it is lip-atonement. The reason is truly astonishing: He who sits upon the throne was the sacrifice upon whom the fire of the wrath of the altar of God had been spent.

There is a very important passage in John 12, where John 12:40 quotes Isaiah 6:10 of this chapter, and then says about Jesus in John 12:41, “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.” Who is the Him? Yahweh of hosts (Isaiah 6:3). Here’s yet another declaration by Scripture that Jesus is Jehovah, the Christ is Yahweh Himself!

And He is Yahweh upon whom was poured all of God’s hatred and holy wrath against sin, for everyone who believes in Him. Oh, dear reader, I certainly hope that is you. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and You shall be saved!
Have you believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ as the true and Living God who gave Himself for you? 
Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH341 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”

Monday, June 17, 2019

2019.06.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 12:4-9

Questions for Littles: What did Abram do at the beginning of Genesis 12:4? Why? Who went with him? How old was he? From where did he depart? Who and what else did Abram take (Genesis 12:5)? To where did they come? Through what land did Abram pass (Genesis 12:6)? To what place? As far as what object? Who were then in the land? Who appeared to Abram in Genesis 12:7? What did He say? How did Abram respond? To which mountain did he then move (Genesis 12:8)? What did he build there? What did he do with it? What was Abram doing in Genesis 12:9? In what direction?    
Joshua 24:2 tells us where Abraham came from, not only physically but spiritually. Before this chapter, he was serving other gods. So, what happens in Genesis 12:4-9 isn’t just good. It’s literally miraculous. Faith like this doesn’t come from the heart of a lost idolater. It takes divine power.

Of course, that’s another problem. Sinners don’t deserve for divine power to help them. Sinners deserve for divine power to destroy them.

But verses 4-9 tell us that Abram obeyed Yahweh’s words. That he was in Canaan but not of Canaan. That worship was suddenly his top priority.

That’s grace. A completely undeserved and impossible turnaround. Blessing for someone who deserves only curse. Spiritual life for someone who only has death from himself.

It was grace that produced obedience. As Genesis 12:5 implies, there would have been a lot of logistics involved in Abram’s move. But, the primary thing Genesis 12:4 tells us is that the move was “as Yahweh had spoken to him.” God grant us the grace to have our choices ruled instantly, completely by His Word.

It was grace that strengthened Abram to resist the pressure to be like the world around him. He even targets “the oak of the teacher” in Genesis 12:6. The Canaanites were then in the land, and at a place that would have been important to their religion, Abram sets up an altar and worships Yahweh. God grant us the grace to serve Him in exactly those parts of life where the world around us offends Him most.

It was grace that made worship Abram’s top priority. What did Abram do in Shechem? A lot of things, but the only one that Genesis 12:7 tells us about is that he worships in response to God’s promise of something impossible—that the seed of a man who has no seed will inherit the land. What did Abram do between Bethel and Ai? Obviously much more than just “pitch a tent,” but the only thing that Genesis 12:8 tells us is that he worships. The main thing in Abram’s life has become worship. God grant us the grace to make worshiping Him the main thing in our life, regardless of what all the other things are.
What are some changes that you would make if you decided to “tear off the bandaid” and obey God instantly on things that you’ve been sluggish or slow to do thus far? What would your day look like if worship was the highest priority? What would your week look like?
Suggested Songs: ARP181 “God Our Only Good” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion”