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, August 17, 2019

2019.08.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 17:1-8

Questions for Littles: How old was Abram in Genesis 17:1? How much time has passed since chapter 16? Who appears to Abram? What does He call Himself? What does He command Abram to do? What will Yahweh make between Himself and Abram (Genesis 17:2)? What will He do in that covenant? How does Abram respond in Genesis 17:3? How does God respond to that? What does God proceed to say about Himself in Genesis 17:4? What outcome will this have for Abram? What else is God changing for Abram in Genesis 17:5? What are some of the details in Genesis 17:6 about what God will do for Abram? With whom is this covenant established (Genesis 17:7)? How is this covenant relationship described? What else does God give them in this covenant (Genesis 17:8)?  
It has now been another 14 years that the Lord has not spoken to Abram—14 years of Abram living with the consequences of his sin. Yahweh shows up and announces, “I am God Almighty!”

Abram has every reason to expect to be destroyed, but instead this announcement of God’s power is the prelude to sustaining him. Not “be banished from before Me and suffer” but “walk before Me and be blameless.”

What follows is statement after statement of God’s commitment of Himself to Abram—and God also committing Abram to Himself.

This mutual commitment is called a “covenant,” and establishes that wonderful relationship: He will be “God to you and your descendants after you.”

This is so powerful that it even changes Abram’s identity—changes his name: Abraham.

And the Holy Spirit comes to us in the New Testament and tells us that when we trust in Christ as Abraham did, then we too are objects of this almighty power, objects of this unswerving commitment, this identity-changing relationship with the Lord.
What are some things God has committed Himself to do by His power for you? What are some things that He has brought you into a commitment to do toward Him?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH234 “The God of Abraham Praise”

Friday, August 16, 2019

2019.08.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 15:26-16:15

Questions for Littles: Who is coming (John 15:26)? Who will send Him? From Whom? What other Name does this verse give to the Helper? From whom will He proceed? What will He do? Who else will bear witness (John 15:27)? Why? What reason does Jesus give, in John 16:1, for telling them certain things in advance? What kinds of things will be done to them (John 16:2)? What will their persecutors think that they are doing? How does John 16:3 say it is that persecutors come to be like this? But why is Jesus telling them this now (John 16:4)? Where is Jesus going now (John 16:5)? What aren’t the disciples asking? What effect has His saying this had upon them (John 16:6)? What does Jesus say is to their advantage (John 16:7)? What advantage do they get from Jesus going away? Of what three things will the Spirit convict the world when He comes (John 16:8)? Why of sin (John 16:9)? Why of righteousness (John 16:10)? Why of judgment (John 16:11)? What does Jesus still have to say to whom (John 16:12)? Why doesn’t He do so now? Who will speak them to the things to come (John 16:13)? When? Whom will He glorify (John 16:14)? What will He take? To whom will He give it? What things belong to Jesus (John 16:15)? 
In this passage, the Lord Jesus warns them about the difficulties that will come upon them, so that when the difficulties come they will not be discouraged by the pain of it but rather encouraged by the fact of Christ’s word being fulfilled. Jesus also equips them to resist the idea that they have been put in such positions of difficulty because He is gone. No, actually, His leaving puts them in a position of greater strength.

His going away brings Him closer than He has ever been. For, He and the Spirit and the Father are One. It is He who will send the Spirit from the Father. It is what is His, and also what is the Fathers, that the Spirit will be giving to them. This has been a theme for two chapters now: the Triune God gives Himself to them in the Person of His Spirit.

And so He gives Himself to us! This is one reason why an obsession with displays of power is such a mistake when thinking about the Spirit. For the Spirit is given by Christ from the Father as the communication of a Person. And in what way does God communicate Himself to us? Words. In this case those “many things that [Jesus] has yet to say”—yes, those “things that remain.” Gloriously, you have the fulfillment of that in your very hands: a Bible with a completed New Testament.
How should you respond to having the Bible and the Spirit who gives Himself to you?
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH396 “Gracious Spirit, Dove Divine”

Thursday, August 15, 2019

2019.08.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 1:18-24

Questions for Littles: How long after his conversion did Paul go up to Jerusalem (Galatians 1:18)? Whom did he see there? How long did he spend with him? Whom else did he see (Galatians 1:19)? How does he reinforce the seriousness of this testimony in Galatians 1:20? Where did he then go in Galatians 1:21? Who still did not know him (Galatians 1:22)? What were they hearing about his preaching (Galatians 1:23)? How did they respond to this fact about his preaching (Galatians 1:24)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, the apostle proves the divine origin of His gospel by two important facts concerning the apostles and church in Jerusalem.

The first fact is that His gospel did not come from them, but directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. We can put the apostle’s statements here together with the account in Acts and arrive at a complete, composite account.

After his conversion, Paul preached in synagogues on his own for three years, before going up to Jerusalem. There, over the course of 15 days exclusively with Peter, it was discovered that the gospel that he had been preaching was identical (can you imagine someone getting as far as 15 minutes with either Paul or Peter if they were preaching a different gospel, let alone 15 days?!). At this point, Paul returns to Damascus and begins his new ministry there.

The second fact is that His gospel was attested to the churches of Judea, even though they did not know him personally. Theological discussions in Judea started taking a new turn: “Even Paul, who used to persecute us for saying this, is now saying the exact same thing by the instruction of the Lord Jesus Himself!”

It became one of the primary things for which they were glorifying God.

“But they were hearing only, ‘He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God in me.”

We too ought to be able to make both of these points: “I get my doctrine directly from the Scriptures” (and then be able to back up our doctrine from the Bible) at the same time as saying, “And it is exactly the same doctrine that these other faithful ones preach” (and then be able to show how it is identical to what is in our confessional documents).
In order to grow your understanding of theology from the Scriptures, what are some gifts Jesus has given you? What are some good ways to make sure that your theology agrees with the faithful ones who have gone before you?
Suggested songs: ARP117B “O, All You Nations” or TPH461 “Blessed Are the Sons of God”

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

2019.08.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 10:6-16

Questions for Littles: What did the children of Israel do in the sight of Yahweh (Judges 10:6)? What did they do with the Baals? What did they do with the Ashtoreths? What did they do with the gods of Syria? What did they do with the gods of Sidon? What did they do with the gods of Moab? What did they do with the gods of the Ammonites? What did they do with the gods of the Philistines? What did they do with Yahweh? What did they not do with Yahweh? What was hot in Judges 10:7? Against whom? Into whose hands did He sell them? For how long did these nations harass and oppress the children of Israel (Judges 10:8)? Which regions of Israelites suffered (Judges 10:8-9)? How distressed was Israel? To Whom did the children of Israel cry in Judges 10:10? What did they say? How did they say they had sinned? How does Yahweh respond (Judges 10:11-14)? From whom has He delivered them in the past? And what has Israel done every time that He saved them (Judges 10:13)? What does Yahweh say He will do now? To Whom does He tell Israel to go ahead and cry out now (Judges 10:14)? How does Israel respond in word (Judges 10:15-16)? What is it that Yahweh cannot bear?
The Lord piles up words to show how Israel has piled up unfaithfulness. What is their repentance worth to Him? It is never sincere and always falls apart.

If we pay careful attention to His answer to them in Judges 10:11-14, it will help us pay careful attention to the statement in Judges 10:16.

Ultimately, Yahweh is not moved by the repentance that is in them, but by the compassion that is in Him.

In fact, we learn from the rest of Scripture that a true repentance that sticks is only a gift of God’s mercy, in which we receive the influence and effect of God’s power.

Ultimately, we are saved only and entirely by that which is in God, and not at all by anything that is in us.

And the portrait of it here at the end of this passage is wonderful: what is in God is an inexplicable, marvelous compassion toward those whom He has taken to be His own: He cannot bear their suffering.
What difficult situation(s) are you in? What attitude does the compassionate God have toward you in that situation? Where does your hope lie?
Suggested Songs: ARP181 “God Our Only Good” or TPH478 “Jesus Loves Me”

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

2019.08.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 6:11-16

Questions for Littles: What does the apostle call Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11? What does he tell him to do with “these things” (envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings, desire to be rich, foolish and harmful lusts, greediness)? What six things does the apostle tell him to pursue? What does he command him to “fight” (1 Timothy 6:12)? Of what does he command him to lay hold? What has he confessed? Before whom? Now, before whom does the apostle urge Timothy (1 Timothy 6:13)? What is this commandment aiming at for Timothy’s life (1 Timothy 6:14)? When will Jesus appear (1 Timothy 6:15)? What titles does this verse give him? What does He alone possess (1 Timothy 6:16)? Where does He dwell? What can no man do? What rightly belong to Him?
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Confession of Sin came largely from 1 Timothy 6:11-16.

The Christian life involves fleeing from some things and hotly pursuing other things.

If we trust in Christ to save us from envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings, desire to be rich, foolish and harmful lusts, and greediness, then we are not to be passive about them. We are to run from them.

But there is no neutrality. We don’t run from these by returning to some kind of zero position. We run from them by pursuing righteousness. Chasing hot after godliness. Striving for an ever-strengthening faith. Fostering an ever-increasing love. Actively building patience. Exercising gentleness more and more.

The Christian life is a fight, says 1 Timothy 6:12. Faith is a fight. Not some form of inactivity. In fact, it is often a fight against trusting in our own activity—but that is a fight all the same.

Those who live this way are living out their confession, just as Jesus died out His confession. We confess that Christ is the Lord who died to save us. And we live this way because He is the Lord who died to save us. Jesus confessed before Pilate that He is the Lord who came to die, and He lived out His confession by dying that death.

But He did not remain dead! He is the great and living God-Man, seated on a throne so glorious that we cannot even see Him! And our flight and chase and fight must end in glorious victory, sustained by such a Savior as this.
What part of fleeing remaining sin and chasing hot after godliness feels most like a fight for you right now? How (‘whom answer’!) can you be sure of a good outcome in this fight?
Suggested Songs: ARP130 “Lord, from the Depths” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace!”

Monday, August 12, 2019

2019.08.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 16

Questions for Littles: Who is the primary subject of  Genesis 16:1? Whose wife is she? What has she not done? What does she possess? To whom does Sarai speak in Genesis 16:2? What explanation does she give for not having borne children? What solution does she come up with? What does verse 2 say that Abram did? Who is, again, the main subject in Genesis 16:3? How long had Abram dwelt in Canaan? What happened when he followed Sarai’s advice (Genesis 16:4)? When she had conceived, what happened to Sarai in her eyes? Whom does Sarai blame for her becoming despised (Genesis 16:5)? What does she call for to happen? What does Abram say in Genesis 16:6? What does he permit Sarai to do? How does Sarai treat Hagar? What does Hagar do, when she is treated badly? Who intervenes in Genesis 16:7? Where does He find her? What does He call her in Genesis 16:8? What does He ask her? What answer does she give? What two things does the Angel of Yahweh command her in Genesis 16:9? What does He promise her in Genesis 16:10? What does He tell her about her baby in Genesis 16:11? What does He command her to do to her baby? Why? What does He tell her about her baby in Genesis 16:12? What does Hagar call Him in Genesis 16:13? What was the well called (Genesis 16:14)? Where is it? What does Hagar do in Genesis 16:15? What does Abram do? From where would he have learned to name the boy this? How old was Abram when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16)?
God’s ordinary way just doesn’t seem to be  working, and unbelief displays itself in multiple ways. Sarai’s unbelief displays itself by her taking charge. For her, waiting and trusting have their limits, and now it’s time to jump into action and get creative. Abram’s unbelief displays itself by giving in, getting lazy, failing to lead. Even Hagar’s unbelief is on display—in this case by rebelling against authority and by running away from her situation.

The Lord addresses the weakest of the three—Hagar—and makes yet another great promise. He is not discouraged by the passage of time, and He is not even limited by their unbelief, which He announces that He will overcome!

And we who have the cross to hold onto have the best evidence of all that the Lord will most certainly overcome all obstacles to do His good will toward us.
In what areas of life do God’s ordinary ways not seem to be working for you? Which of the patterns of unbelief in this passage seem to be your particular temptation in this area? How can you know that the Lord will fulfill His good will toward you?
Suggested Songs: ARP23 “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious”