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, October 10, 2020

2020.10.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 34

Read Genesis 34

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose daughter does Genesis 34:1 say Dinah is? Whom did she go out to see? Who saw her (Genesis 34:2)? What three ways is he described here? What three things does he do with her? What three further things does Genesis 34:3 mention about him toward her? To whom does he speak in Genesis 34:4? What does he ask? Who hears about Dinah’s defiling in Genesis 34:5? Why does he remain silent? Who comes to whom in Genesis 34:6? To do what? Who come in Genesis 34:7? How do they feel? What does verse 7 say is a disgraceful thing? What does Hamor say about Shechem in Genesis 34:8? What does he ask? For what else does he ask in Genesis 34:9-10? What does Shechem add in Genesis 34:11-12—what is he willing to do for what? Who answer in Genesis 34:13? What is the nature of their answer? What do they say that they cannot do (Genesis 34:14)? And why? What do they suggest is the one thing that needs to be changed for the two to become as one people (Genesis 34:15-16)? What leverage do they threaten if the Hivites do not get circumcised? Where do Hamor and Shechem go in Genesis 34:20? With whom do they speak? What do they tell them (Genesis 34:21-23)? What is the response (Genesis 34:24)? Who do what, when, in Genesis 34:25? What makes them able to do this? Whom do they kill in Genesis 34:26? What do they do? Who else come in Genesis 34:27? And what do they do? What seven things are specifically mentioned in Genesis 34:28-29? Who talks to whom in Genesis 34:30? Whom does he say they have troubled? Whom does he say is few in number? Against whom does he say they will gather? Whom does he say they will kill? Whom does he say they will destroy? What do they ask in Genesis 34:31?

What a grievous display Jacob and his family make of themselves in this passage. 

Dinah’s “the daughter of Leah,” but she wants to see “the daughters of the land.” What is the fashion of the day? What do they enjoy? How do they do things? Don’t look now, Israelite girl, but prince Shechem likes you—all the girls would kill to be in your place! 

Hamor is receptive toward his son (Genesis 34:4) and diligent in taking action (Genesis 34:6), and humble in manner of address (Genesis 34:8). He is well spoken (Genesis 34:9-10) and a good leader (Genesis 34:20-24).

But Jacob is none of these things. His fatherhood of Dinah in Genesis 34:1 sounds like merely a matter of genetics. He declines to speak (Genesis 34:5) not out of wisdom but leaving that entirely to his sons (Genesis 34:13). And even when the episode is over, he seems to care little for what has happened to the men of Shechem, or to his sons (morally), or to his daughter—in Genesis 34:30, he is obsessed almost entirely with his own plight and disadvantage!

The Lord tells us what to think of Shechem in Genesis 34:19, “he was more honorable than all the household of his father.” He may not know what “ought not to be done” (Genesis 34:7), but he is sincere as a Hivite can be in the love and affection (not violence) of Genesis 34:2-4Genesis 34:8Genesis 34:11-12Genesis 34:19.

And what the Lord tells us about Shechem is the opposite of what He tells us about the sons of Jacob. They are all wicked deceivers (Genesis 34:13) and expert and ruthless plunderers (Genesis 34:27-29), and two of them are even conscienceless murderers (Genesis 34:25-26, cf. Genesis 49:5–7)!

What a dreadful display of Dinah, and Jacob, and the sons of Israel! Sometimes the divine origins of Scripture are obvious. What people or religion would describe themselves this way in their origin story?

There are some portions of Scripture that shock us with how bad the church can be. In them the Lord does with us as He did with Ezekiel saying, “Do you this? I will show you yet more abominations than these!” And, He gives us a tour of the wickedness of the people.

When we think about it with respect to ourselves, we are amazed at what we are outside of Christ. We are humbled, so that we would not to think of any difference between us and the wicked as coming from ourselves. We are warned, so that we would not take lightly the potential for our remaining sin to spiral out of control. 

But we are especially to think about such passages with respect to our God. Behold His mercy, that He would set His love upon such wicked ones as these. Behold His patience, that He would bear with both individual believers and entire churches—here, the entire church in the world at the time!—and continue His saving work in history and the world. Behold His power, that He would overcome such sin in His people. With what marvelous grace the Lord works in and bears with His church!

Where are you taking your sin lightly? Upon whom are you in danger of looking down and despising? In what struggle with sin are you most encouraged by God’s patience and mercy shown here?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace!”

Friday, October 09, 2020

2020.10.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 9:1–11

Read Luke 9:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does Jesus call together in Luke 9:1? What does He give them? What two things does He send them to do in Luke 9:2? What does He tell them to take (Luke 9:3)? What four things does He specifically warn against? Where are they supposed to stay while in a city (Luke 9:4)? What might not happen (Luke 9:5)? What are they to do in that case? How does Luke 9:6 summarize the disciples’ mission? Whom does Luke 9:7 say has heard about Jesus, while the disciples are out on their mission? What three explanations were people making (Luke 9:7-8)? What was Herod trying to do (Luke 9:9)? Who return in Luke 9:10? What do they tell Him? Who find out that the apostles have returned (Luke 9:11)? Where do they go? What does Jesus do? 

The Lord Jesus so closely attends His appointed messengers that their words are attended with His power. He was sending them “to preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:2a), but so that the power of their preaching might be tangibly visible, He also “gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1). So, in addition to preaching the kingdom, they were also able “to heal the sick” (verse 2b).

These days, rather than these immediate displays of Christ’s power (cf. Hebrews 2:3–4), the Lord attends the proclamation of His Word with a more enduring display of His power in transformed lives (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5–10; Philippians 2:12–13).

Preachers ought not worry about themselves, for the Lord takes care of them (Luke 9:3), but hearers should note that even with this miraculous, apostolic preaching mission, the materially expressed thankfulness of the hearers was the Lord’s method of caring for His preachers (Luke 9:4-5), and He receives testimony against those who do not so respond.

And truly, our Lord is worthy of a response. The Lord Jesus is compassionate to receive all who come to Him (Luke 9:11b), and to speak His powerful Word to them (verse 11c, cf. Hebrews 2:12, Hebrews 3:12–4:2, Hebrews 12:25–29), and to heal all who are in need of healing (Luke 9:11d, cf. Philippians 1:6, Psalm 103:3). 

So, we are to respond to faithful preaching by taking care of the material needs of the preacher, but let us remember that it is both our reception of the preacher (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:9a) and our Christ-transformed lives (cf. verse 9b) that especially testify to the power of His Word (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5). Let us aim to live such lives that the world puzzles over the source of this new life as Herod did in Luke 9:7–9… such lives that even one like Herod would “seek to see Him.”

How does the power of Jesus’s Word show in how you have been responding to preaching?

Suggested songs: ARP19B “The Lord’s Most Perfect Law” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”


Thursday, October 08, 2020

(Family Worship in Luke 9:1–11) Recognizing and Responding to God's Demonstration of Power and the Spirit in Preaching

Does God still attend gospel preaching with miracles? What does this mean for us? Pastor leads his family in tomorrow's "Hopewell @Home" passage. In these eleven verses, we learn that God attends the faithful preaching of His Word with miraculously transformed lives. This is gladness and encouragement for those who receive that Word, but dreadful warning to those who are unaffected by it or even reject it.

Why and How to Pray for One Another's Health (2020.10.07 Prayer Meeting in 3John v2–4)

Often, we hear of a believer's health needs, or a believer asks us to pray for health needs. This Scripture gives us a plan for how to do so: pray first and foremost that their soul would do well, but pray further that God would do for their health whatever enables them to do well in all things.

(Family Worship in Ephesians 5:3–7) How Saints Battle Sexual Sin

What's the difference between believers and unbelievers, when it comes to sexual sin? What is an appropriate way to talk to your children about it? Pastor leads his family in tomorrow's "Hopewell @Home" passage. In these five verses, we learn that a believer's new nature is strengthened against sexual sin by thankfulness and weighty joy. A hearty keeping of the first and third commandments leads to a healthy keeping of the seventh.

2020.10.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 5:3–7

 Read Ephesians 5:3–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What three kinds of sin does Ephesians 5:3 mention? What should they not even do with such sins? Why? What other three things are not fitting (Ephesians 5:4)? What is, then, fitting? Who knows the truth in Ephesians 5:5? What four types of people does verse 5 mention? What do none of these types have none of? What does he command them not to let happen in Ephesians 5:6? What will people speak in order to defend the idea that Christians can be these types of people? Why shouldn’t the Ephesians listen to these empty words, according to the second half of verse 6? What should the Ephesian believers do with such people (Ephesians 5:7)?

Perhaps you have heard (or even spoken) such speech among believers as might hint at the enjoyability of sin, or the kind of talking that might cause one’s ears to perk up in curiosity about sin. Love doesn’t do that, says Ephesians 5:3. Rather, love speaks in a way that is fitting for saints.

Yes, our conversations should be different enough from unbelievers’ conversations that upon hearing us they would say (whether out of irritation, admiration, or otherwise), “they’re so holy.” That’s what it means to not even let those things in Ephesians 5:3-4 be named. That’s not “fitting for saints.”

When was the last time you heard a conversation in which each was encouraging the other to speak thankfully toward God? Well, that’s exactly what saintly speech sounds like according to the end of verse 4.

Why? Because that’s what heaven’s speech sounds like! You can see some samples in Revelation chapters 4–5. Those are the people (from every tribe, tongue, and nation) with whom believers are to be “partakers” (Ephesians 5:7) in the “inheritance of the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5). 

Still, the pull of the flesh is strong, and it makes us vulnerable to being “deceived with empty words” (Ephesians 5:6). When preachers realize that churchgoers still love their sin—or that the world hates to be told about its sin—they are tempted to speak empty words that soften the blow for “fornicators, unclean persons, or the covetous.” 

Don’t get sucked into such talk! Those are empty words that deceive even believers. Rather, think about the world with whom you are partakers: not the fleshly world of foolishness and filthiness, but the heavenly world of wisdom and delighting in God and His holiness!

Whenever we gather with one another in the church, our conversations should be like a visit to that heavenly world—mutual reinforcement in holiness, confidently hoping in our sure inheritance, and stirring one another up to give thanks to God in a virtuous cycle of building one another up in Him!

What are some things that you are thankful for? With whom do you plan to give that thanksgiving today? This Lord’s Day? What are some foolish and unhelpful conversations that you sometimes slide into at home or at church? How will you go about reversing them or avoiding them? Whom do you know who talks in a way that softens the blow for the wicked? Avoid them!

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

(Family Worship in 1Sam 19) God Sovereign over Our Destinies and Enemies

Are you sure of God's ultimate purpose for every moment of your life? What is God doing, when someone powerful and evil is trying to harm you? Pastor leads his family in today's "Hopewell @Home" devotional. In these twenty-four verses, we learn that God is ruling and overruling all things for Christ's glory and believers' good—even and especially the actions of our most powerful and wicked enemies.

2020.10.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 19

Read 1 Samuel 19

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Saul say to whom in 1 Samuel 19:1? Why was this a problem for Jonathan (cf. 1 Samuel 18:1–3)? Whom did Jonathan tell what in 1 Samuel 19:2? What plan does he tell David in 1 Samuel 19:3? About whom does Jonathan speak, to whom, and in what way in 1 Samuel 19:4? What points does he make in 1 Samuel 19:4-5? How does Saul initially respond (1 Samuel 19:6)? What does Jonathan do with David in 1 Samuel 19:7? What does he go out to do, when, in 1 Samuel 19:8? What happens to Saul in 1 Samuel 19:9, and what does David do? What effect was this originally supposed to have (cf. 1 Samuel 16:14–23)? But what has been the result recently (cf. 1 Samuel 18:10–11)? What is the result this time (v10)? What does David do? And what does Saul then do in 1 Samuel 19:11? Who warns David? What else does she do for him (1 Samuel 19:12-13)? What does she say to the messengers (1 Samuel 19:14)? What does Saul think this sickness is an opportunity to do (1 Samuel 19:15)? But what do the messengers find in the bed (1 Samuel 19:16)? What does Saul ask in 1 Samuel 19:17? How does she answer? Where does David go in 1 Samuel 19:18? To whom? What does he tell him? Who finds out about David’s location (1 Samuel 19:19)? What happens to the first group of messengers that Saul sends to Ramah (1 Samuel 19:20)? What happens to the second and third groups (1 Samuel 19:21)? Who goes in 1 Samuel 19:22? What happens to him (1 Samuel 19:23)? What does the prophesying involve this time, in his case (1 Samuel 19:24)? 

One of the tensions that is going to build in 1 Kings-2 Kings is the power of the prophet vs. the power of the throne. Wicked kings will resist God’s Word in the mouths of righteous prophets. Who will prevail? We know how that ends.

That tension is also the main theme of 1 Samuel 19.

God’s Word determines what happens in the present and future. He has declared Saul to be rejected as king (1 Samuel 15) and anointed David to be selected as king (1 Samuel 16:1–13). God’s Word still does the same for believers, because they have been called according to His purpose (cf. Romans 8:28).

But God’s Word is also in immediate control of every single detail. If God’s Word wants to take over a messenger, or a group of them, or three groups of them, it will take them all over. And even the king, in all of his fury, is powerless to resist of the Word of God takes him over. The naked pile of prophesying king testifies to this in 24 hours. There is no man to fear for those who fear God. He has absolute power over them.

Dear believer, the will that is determined to work all things together for your good is the will that continually rules and overrules what even the most powerful and most wicked do. That is great comfort in a world where many are very wicked, and many seem to be very powerful.

What wicked and powerful people seem to be a threat to you? What can they do to you?

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or TPH515 “More Than Conquerors”


Tuesday, October 06, 2020

2020.10.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 1:3–11

Read Philippians 1:3–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle do when he remembers them (Philippians 1:3)? How often does he pray for them (Philippians 1:4)? With what feeling does he pray for them? For what, specifically, does he thank God concerning them (Philippians 1:5)? In what do they have this fellowship? For how long? What confidence produces this joy (Philippians 1:6)? What makes it right for him to think this of them—in where does he “have” them (Philippians 1:7)? In what two things is he a partaker of grace? Who is a partaker of grace with him in these things? Who can see this (Philippians 1:8)? With Whose affection does the apostle long for them (verse 8)? In what two things does he pray that their love would abound (Philippians 1:9)? What would knowledge and discernment cause them to approve (Philippians 1:10)? What two characteristics of theirs would result from this approval? Until when? With what would they then be filled (Philippians 1:11)? By what do these fruits of righteousness come? Unto what end?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Philippians 1:3–11, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Blest Be the Tie That Binds.

A Christian is a marvelous thing. He is a work that was begun by God and is guaranteed to be completed (Philippians 1:6). Jesus is at work, filling His people with the fruits of righteousness (Philippians 1:11). This beautiful fruit is cultivated in the soil of love that is fertilized with the nutrition of knowledge and discernment (Philippians 1:9). 

As Christ grows us, we approve what’s excellent (Philippians 1:10), which means we love His church (Philippians 1:7) with Christ’s very own love (Philippians 1:8). We bear and forebear with its foibles, thinking of it as an assembly of co-partakers of grace (Philippians 1:7) with whom we have fellowship in the gospel (Philippians 1:4), and therefore thanking God for His church (verse 4), and praying for her with joy (verse 4). 

Among the other sweet fruits of righteousness, may the Lord grant unto us to long for one another with the affection of Christ, to be thankful for one another, and to pray for one another.

How often do you feel/express thankfulness for the church? Who can grow you in this? How?

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

Monday, October 05, 2020

God's Covenant Benefits (2020.10.04 Morning Sermon in 2Samuel 9) — Dr. C.N. Willborn

David and Jonathan had covenanted because God is a covenant God. As David shows covenant love to Mephibosheth, we see God's covenant love to us in Christ.

200th Anniversary Conference Q&A Session with Dr. Willborn

Q&A Session with Dr. Willborn

Bearing the Family Resemblance in Love (2020.10.11 Evening Sermon from Ephesians 4:31–5:2)

We have been called to be children of the Father, conformed to Christ, which is a call to walk in love. So, we must put off all that is incompatible with love, and put on the character of Christ: kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness… all out of love toward and for the pleasure of our heavenly Father.

2020.10.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 9

Read 2 Samuel 9

Questions from the Scripture text: What does David ask in 2 Samuel 9:1? Whom do they bring in 2 Samuel 9:2? What does David ask him (2 Samuel 9:3a)? What does Ziba answer (verse 3b)? What does the king now ask (2 Samuel 9:4a)? What does Ziba answer (verse 4b)? Then what does David do (2 Samuel 9:5)? What does Mephibosheth do when he comes to David (2 Samuel 9:6)? What does David ask, and how does Mephibosheth answer? What does David say he will do (2 Samuel 9:7)? What does Mephibosheth ask (2 Samuel 9:8)? What does he call himself? Whom does the king call in 2 Samuel 9:9? What does he tell him he has done? What does David tell Ziba to do in 2 Samuel 9:10? But where does David say Mephibosheth will eat? How many sons and servants did Ziba have for obeying this command? How does Ziba answer in 2 Samuel 9:11a? What does David repeat in verse 11b (cf. 2 Samuel 9:10)? What did Mephibosheth have (2 Samuel 9:12)? What role did all in Ziba’s house have? Where did Mephibosheth stay (2 Samuel 9:13)? What did he do? What comment concludes verse 13?

The ”kindness” mentioned in 2 Samuel 9:12 Samuel 9:32 Samuel 9:7 is “ḳessed”—covenanted, unthwartable love. Specifically, it is the covenant love of God (2 Samuel 9:3) that is between David and Jonathan’s family (cf. 1 Samuel 20:15). 

Praise God that, as He forms Christ within His people, He forms His own love within us (cf. Philippians 1:8). For, man’s “covenant” love is often treacherous, rather than loyal. But in this passage about David, the type (foreshadower/forerunner/intentional-picture-in-advance) of Christ, we have a glorious picture of the persistence, reliability, and abundance of the covenant love of Jesus.

This does bring up the question for us of whether we are striving for and enjoying this part of Jesus’s character being formed in us. We make covenant commitments, sacred promises, in our public professions of faith, at baptisms, when taking church office, and when entering into marriage. All of these are covenants and rest upon covenant commitment to our obligations.Are you seeing more and more of Christ in your own zeal and determination, as you keep those commitments?

Of course, one of the things that enables us to reflect Christ’s covenant commitment from within us is our safety and security in Christ’s covenant commitment to us. This is marvelously pictured to us in 2 Samuel 9:7. God shows us love that has been covenanted with our Representative, Christ. He has given us favored status; He has brought us under His protection; He has pledged unto us His provision. Many falter in their commitments because they are worried about, or dissatisfied with, how the other side (the leadership, the congregation, the spouse, etc.) is going to hold up their end. 

But, there is another party involved here. And the Lord Jesus ALWAYS holds up His end! Even when others are failing us (or our flesh feels sure that they will), David’s commitment to Jonathan and Mephibosheth is the tiniest little picture of God our Father’s commitment to us, and the Lord Jesus Christ’s commitment to us. You can follow through on your commitments before God and to others, because He is always following through on His commitments to you.

We find this idea daunting. We say, “I don’t have it in me to be faithful to work harder and be even more tender, when my wife only sees where she feels disappointed and is cold and prickly toward me” or “I just don’t have it in me to love and pray and serve even more for this congregation, when people only notice what they have against me and openly despise or reject me.” We are right; we don’t have it in us. That’s why it is so encouraging (though not particularly flattering) that the Lord has given us Mephibosheth as the picture of ourselves in this chapter. 

The analogy, of course, must fall short. David cannot indwell Mephibosheth by his spirit to restore his function to match his status. But our Lord Jesus has done just that with us. He has not only seated us at Heaven’s table as so many princes and princesses over all creation, but He has indwelt us by His Spirit to transform our character. He is working on us and in us until we behave entirely as the children of God. What wondrous, covenant love!

What covenant commitments do you most have trouble keeping? Who is keeping His commitments toward you in them? How is He doing so? How does this help you to keep yours?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone”