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, March 07, 2020

2020.03.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 4:1-11

Questions from the Scripture text: Who led Jesus (Matthew 4:1)? To where? To have what happen? By whom? What had Jesus done (Matthew 4:2a), and what was His condition (verse 2b)? What did the devil question in Matthew 4:3? What did he tempt Christ to do? What did Jesus answer—what had God given Him (Matthew 4:4)? Where did the devil take Him in Matthew 4:5? What did he tempt Him to do (Matthew 4:6)? What did Jesus answer—what must we not do to God (Matthew 4:7)? Where did the devil take Him, and what did he show Him, in Matthew 4:8? What did he tempt Him to do (Matthew 4:9)? What did Jesus answer—Whom may we worship (Matthew 4:10)? What happened in Matthew 4:11?
Why would the Holy Spirit take Jesus into the wilderness? Because it was there that Jesus would accomplish everything that the devil unwittingly tried to get Him to do the wrong way.

Jesus showed Himself the true Son of God by holding to His Father’s Word, trusting His Father’s character, and being content with His Father’s provision.

Jesus brought ALL of God’s promises to fruition by NOT putting the Psalm 91 promises to the test.
Jesus earned His Messianic kingdom by perfectly keeping the first commandment and worshiping God only.

Where Adam had failed as “the son of God” (Luke 3:38) to be content with the food that he was given, and Israel in the wilderness had failed as God’s “firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22) to be content with the food that God had given them, or believe His promises, or worship Him only—the Lord Jesus Christ perfectly succeeded in all of these!

This is the righteousness that is counted for us in Christ and makes us perfectly right with Christ. This is the righteousness in which God is growing us, as He continues (and will complete) the work of making us perfectly like Christ. This is the righteousness that God commands us as citizens of His kingdom, and beloved children who are to bear the family resemblance: Be content with His provision, confident in His faithfulness to His promises, and committed to His glory alone in all things.

Praise God—Jesus has done this as the Representative of all who trust in Him!
In which of the three temptation areas in this passage do you most struggle? What difference does it make to you that Jesus has done it? If you believe in Him, what is He doing in you?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

Friday, March 06, 2020

2020.03.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 2:39-52

Questions from the Scripture text: According to what had Joseph and Mary performed all things (Luke 2:39)? Where did they go? What happened to the child there (Luke 2:40)? How often did Joseph and Mary keep the command to go up to Jerusalem for Passover (Luke 2:41)? What happened this particular time (Luke 2:42-43)? When did His parents discover the problem (Luke 2:44)? How long did it take to find Him (Luke 2:45-46)? What was He doing (verse 46b)? Who was astonished and why in Luke 2:47? Who was amazed and why in Luke 2:48? What did Jesus not understand in Luke 2:49? What did His parents not understand in Luke 2:50? Where did Jesus go in Luke 2:51? With whom? What did He do there? And what happened to Him there (Luke 2:52)?
What a blessed earthly home the heavenly Father gave His Son!

Joseph and Mary were godly. So, for Christ—as necessary for us and for our salvation—“all things were performed according to the law of the Lord” (Luke 2:39), and they went up every year (as commanded in God’s law) for Passover (Luke 2:41).

But it is important to see that this Scripture specifically highlights “their city” (Luke 2:39) as the place where the Lord Jesus “grew and became strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). And it was specifically as Jesus went home with His parents and submitted Himself to them (Luke 2:51), that He “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

It was absolutely necessary that He attend upon the great moments of the public means of grace. But, it was especially day by day in the ordinary means of grace in Joseph and Mary’s home, and week by week in the ordinary means of grace in the Nazareth synagogue, that the God of heaven grew His Son on earth.

If this is how God has grown His only begotten Son (in His human nature), then we mustn’t wonder that this is how He grows those children whom He has adopted in the Son. Dear Christian, this is where your Father grows you, strengthens you in the Spirit, and grows you in wisdom and favor with God and men! Day by day, in the ordinary means of grace in your home. Week by week, in the ordinary means of grace in your local church!

(in fact, there are no more “high days” or “annual feasts” because we go weekly now into the holy of holies in glory).

And for those of us who are parents (or children), if in our perfectly righteous Savior’s formative years it was necessary that He have parents who led Him in and brought Him under the ordinary means of grace—how much more necessary it is for our children who share the sin and slowness of Joseph and Mary (and their own fathers and mothers—us!)?

Praise be to God for the ordinary means of grace. In Christ’s life. In our lives. In our children's lives.
How dedicated are you to daily means of grace at home? How dedicated to attendance upon the weekly means of grace in your local church? Who has appointed these for you?
Suggested songs: ARP131 “My Heart Is Not Exalted, Lord” or TPH322 “Once in Royal David’s City”

Thursday, March 05, 2020

2020.03.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 1:1–2

Questions from the Scripture text: Who wrote this letter (Ephesians 1:1)? What is his title? Of Whom is he an apostle? How did this come about? To whom is he writing—what title does he give them? What else does he call them? In Whom are they faithful? What two-part blessing/greeting does the apostle pronounce upon them (Ephesians 1:2)? From what two Persons does the apostle pronounce these?
Immediately, in the opening of Ephesians, we know that this is going to be a glorious book about Jesus Christ!

This letter has been particularly precious to the church throughout the ages.

  • For its unfolding of the eternally loving and powerful plan of God to save His elect. Unto His glory in Christ. (Ephesians 1:1-23)
  • And for its exposition of justification by grace alone through faith alone. Only in Christ. (Ephesians 2:1–10)
  • And for its teaching about reconciliation of believers to God and to one another. Both in Jesus. (Ephesians 2:11–22)
  • And the gathering in of the reconciled into one church. In, and accomplished by, Jesus. (Ephesians 3:1-21)
  • And the gift to the church by the ascended Jesus of the officers of Jesus who train the members of the body of Jesus in the Word of Jesus so that they can all minister to one another. (Ephesians 4:1–16)
  • And the transformation of believers into their new characters. Conforming them to Jesus. (Ephesians 4:17–5:4)
  • And the great war that is waged—primarily in the ordinary spheres of life. Between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of Jesus. (Ephesians 5:5–6:9)
  • Only by the power of Jesus and the armor of Jesus. (Ephesians 6:10–22)

Do you recognize the pattern? What is the theme of this wonderful book about salvation, justification, reconciliation, evangelism, the church, Christian living, and Christian warfare? That all of these things are only for Jesus’s glory, only by Jesus’s power, only through Jesus’s method, only by faith in Jesus and fellowship with Jesus!

So, it is no surprise at all that Jesus is central to the blessing at the end of the book (Ephesians 6:23–24). And here in Ephesians 1:1–2, even in the “customary” greeting, Paul tells us.

  • That he is an apostle. “Of Jesus Christ.” 
  • And he is writing to those who are saints and faithful. “In Christ Jesus.”
  • And greeting them with grace and peace. “From… our Lord Jesus Christ.”

He’s setting us up for the entire letter. That our salvation (and his apostleship) is “by the will of God.” That our being set apart in the church and grown in godliness is “in Christ Jesus.” And that both the grace by which we wage the warfare and the peace in which we are reconciled to God as not only His allies but His children come from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

And of course, at the very heart of all of this. Is Jesus!
In what parts of what Ephesians teaches do you most need to grow? How does it connect to Jesus?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

2020.03.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 2:19–21

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Samuel’s mother used to make for him (1 Samuel 2:19)? How often did she bring it to him? When? Whom would Eli bless (1 Samuel 2:20)? To whom specifically is he speaking? From whom does Eli bless Elkanah to receive offspring? In response to what? Then what would Elkanah and His wife do? Who visited Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:21? With what results? And “where” (in what way) was Samuel growing? 
The Lord’s answers to our prayers are always better than we know or imagine.

Back in 1 Samuel 1:10–11, all Hannah had asked for was that she would have a son who could serve the Lord all his life.

This request most certainly came true. The second half of 1 Samuel 2:21 reminds us much of Luke 2:40 and Luke 2:52. The Lord gave her Samuel, and now Samuel is not only offered to the Lord, but he is growing in stature (needs a new robe every year! 1 Samuel 2:19) and wisdom and favor before the Lord, 1 Samuel 2:21b (and men). Praise the Lord; He answered Hannah’s prayer!

But sandwiched between that answer is the extraordinary blessing of God’s high priest blessing Elkanah and Hannah personally (1 Samuel 2:20a), the ordinary blessing of them going home (verse 20b), and the rather surprising blessing of her bearing three sons and two daughters (1 Samuel 2:21b). God answers prayer! Both Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 1:11 and Eli’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:20a. Six children in total. Praise the Lord; He answered Hannah’s prayer even more than she could have imagined!

Yet, the greatest answer to her prayer is actually at the end of 1 Samuel 2:19. In 1 Samuel 1:11, Hannah had prayed, “O Yahweh of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me.” Now suppose that Hannah had a good, full life with Elkanah and the five children at home and Samuel up at the tabernacle… and then died in her sin. What affliction she would then have been in!

But the Lord answered her prayer that He would look upon her and remember her in the most ultimate sense—and we can see that in both the yearly sacrifice in verse 19 and the boy Samuel himself in verse 21. That yearly sacrifice would involve animals who would be killed (for the wages of sin is death) and then burned (for our sin deserves not only death, but the fiery fury of the wrath of God). This pleases God—not merely because His holiness and justice are satisfied and glorified in this picture of His wrath, but because His redeeming love and saving power are displayed… and, even more so displayed are His perfect Son and that Son’s forthcoming perfect work!

The saving work of Jesus! This is the ultimate answer to Hannah’s prayer that the Lord would look upon her in her affliction. This is the ultimate answer to every prayer of every believer.

And, dear Christian, this is the ultimate answer to every one of your prayers. Whatever else you might ask, you may not receive it in the specific details that you mentioned, but the Lord is doing so much more than you could know, AND He is doing the one thing that we can know for sure: every possible good for every believer, because He hears us through Christ and His sacrifice, and responds to us to apply Christ to us until at last He has made us perfectly holy and happy forever!

This boy Samuel would grow to be a mighty prophet. Through his word and ministry, the Lord would bring David to the throne. And through more fulfillment of His Word, the Lord would bring great David’s greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ—the ultimate answer to all believing prayer, and the One in whom all the promises of God find their “yes” and “amen”!
For what have you been praying? How much do you know of what God is doing in response? If you trust in Christ, what do you know for sure that God is doing? Do you trust in Christ?
Suggested Songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” or TPH434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone”

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

An audio recording of a sample family worship lesson in today's Hopewell @Home Passage. The psalmist urges us to sing a new song--a holy response to the great works of God in Christ that were to come later 

2020.03.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 98

Read Psalm 98
Questions from the Scripture text: To whom are we to sing (Psalm 98:1)? What kind of song? Why—what has happened to occasion this new song? What has Yahweh made known (Psalm 98:2a)? What has He revealed (verse 2b)? In whose sight? What has He remembered (Psalm 98:3a)? Who has seen this (verse 3b)? Who, then, is to shout joyfully to Him (Psalm 98:4)? Into what are they to break forth (verse 4b)? What priestly instruments are named in Psalm 98:5-6? What parts of creation join this praise in Psalm 98:7-8? At what point (Psalm 98:9) has all of creation become the church?
Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration come from Psalm 98 in order to sing God’s thoughts after Him with Joy to the World!

There is little that will give us a bigger view of God, more honest view of ourselves, and therefore a more damning view of our sin than beholding God as Creator, Redeemer, King, and Judge.

Here is a psalm that claims to be a “New Song” on the occasion of the Lord’s having won the victory, kept His covenant, spread His church, and returned to judge.

What has gained Him the victory? Not the works of men sustained by Him, but only His own work. His right hand. His holy arm. Because there was none to save, the Lord Himself has come to do the saving—by Himself alone. Hallelujah! (cf. Isaiah 41:28–42:4; Isaiah 59:16–21)

He revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. How? By displaying the Pharisees, who deluded themselves into thinking they were doing a great job of obeying the commandments? No! But by displaying His Son as the payment for sin, showing God’s righteousness to be so complete and so exact that nothing less could ever satisfy it (cf. Romans 3:21–26).

What’s wonderful is that Jesus isn’t just displayed to the nations (at the cross, at Pentecost, and in the spread of the gospel), but He is the Savior of the nations. All who believe into Him are engrafted into Israel. God’s covenant love and covenant faithfulness to Israel (Psalm 98:3) turn the entire earth into His redeemed worshipers (Psalm 98:4).

The nations—and indeed the entire creation (cf. Psalm 98:7-8)—become members of the sacred assembly.
Not only do they sing and shout, but the priestly instruments which were ordained by King David are commanded here to accompany the singing (Psalm 98:5-6). In great David’s greater Son, the priesthood may be abolished, but there is still a melody (grace, Colossians 3:16) played upon an instrument (our hearts, Ephesians 5:19).

This is a song for when all nations shout before their King (Psalm 98:6) upon His coming in glory to be Judge of all (Psalm 98:9)! It’s a salvation song. It’s a Christian song. It’s that New Song that we will sing forever and ever in glory. May God fill our hearts with its praise already now, while we continue to wait for its final fulfillment!
How has God displayed His righteousness and salvation? How does it increase your praise to God to remember that you didn’t contribute anything to your salvation? Who will so praise?
Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the Lord” or TPH98A “O Sing a New Song to the Lord”

Monday, March 02, 2020

2020.03.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:16

Questions from the Scripture text: What are we to have dwell in us (Colossians 3:16)? In what manner? To that end—what are we to do to one another? In what three things are we to teach and admonish one another? What are we to do with these psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? What are we to have in our hearts (cf. Colossians 3:19)? To whom are we to sing? 
Believers have grace in their hearts from the Lord Jesus Christ, a grace by which He makes His Word to dwell in us richly, as we teach and admonish one another in congregational song.

The main command in this passage is to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. What a blessed command! And yet, it is one of the least-kept commands in our churches today. For, the number one way that we do this, according to the text, is by teaching and admonishing one another in psalms—even if hymns and spiritual songs are not two types of biblical psalms (as the majority of the church believed them to be for 1800 years).

And it is not only a blessed command and a largely unkept command, but it is a most necessary command. In the preceding verses, there is a sort of anatomy of the Christian’s walk in this life—a delightful combination of characteristics in our relationships that flow our of love from a heart ruled by the peace of God and thankfulness.

And how are such hearts and lives produced? By letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! In all wisdom! And what is one key means by which God gives us this wisdom and indwells us with His Word? A teaching ministry that happens in congregational song. An admonishing ministry that happens in congregational song.

So, yes, we must conclude from this that it is Christ’s Word that we should be singing. With what else are we to admonish each other? The thoughts and feelings of mere men?! God forbid that we would ever read Colossians 3:16 that way.

But it also means that we are to sing by grace. That what we are doing as we teach and are taught, and what we are doing as we admonish and are admonished, is something that can only come by Christ’s power and goodness not our own. It can only be through the grace of Christ that we teach and admonish rightly. And the fleshly heart lacks no humility to receive the Word, but through the grace of Christ we may receive it humbly and be changed by it.

Finally, if we know our own sin, we will realize that it is also only through the grace of Christ that we can truly give thanks to God the Father. For only the grace-transformed heart truly acknowledges who God is and how good He has been to such sinners as we are.

Only Christ’s word. Only by Christ’s grace. Addressing one another through Christ. Addressing God through Christ. This is that congregational singing that God has commanded, and by which His Word comes to dwell in us richly!
What are some things that you can do before and during worship to obey this verse better?
Suggested songs: ARP22C “I’ll Praise You in the Gathering” or TPH22C “Amid the Thronging Worshipers”