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 17, 2020

2020.10.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 35:1–8

Read Genesis 35:1–8

Questions from the Scripture text: Who speaks to Jacob in Genesis 35:1? Where does He tell him to go? What does He tell him to do there? How does God describe Himself in verse 1? What does Jacob say to whom in Genesis 35:2—what three things does he command? Where does he say that they are going in Genesis 35:3, to do what? What does he call God in this verse? What do they all give Jacob in Genesis 35:4? What does he do with them? What keeps the cities around them from pursuing them in Genesis 35:5? To where does Jacob come in Genesis 35:6? In what land? Who else comes there? What does Jacob build there (Genesis 35:7)? What does he call the place? Why? Who dies there (Genesis 35:8)? Where do they bury her? What do they call the place? 

God is the true Hero of the story of any believer’s life.

He reminds Jacob of this in Genesis 35:1, referring back to when He had appeared to Jacob in chapter 28, and made promises which He has now kept. Jacob, however, hasn’t held up his end—as rather hideously exposed both in chapter 34 and now in Genesis 35:2 and Genesis 35:4, where we discover that he knows that there are foreign gods being worshiped in his home that he has done nothing about until now. Even Genesis 35:8 is a subtle reminder of the sin out of which the Lord has saved Jacob. In Genesis 27:44, Rebekah had suggested that they would see each other again in a few days, but she is never mentioned again. He didn’t get to bury his mother; only Deborah, his mother’s nurse.

But, behold the grace of God! Even after all God has done for Jacob, and Jacob persisting in this level of sin, God is still bringing Jacob near to Himself to worship. The altar is at the center of the passage. 

God commands the altar in Genesis 35:1

The need to come to the altar is what demands the repentance in Genesis 35:2 and Genesis 35:4. Jacob explains in v3, “I will make there an altar to God.” He reminds them of God’s goodness to that point. The implication is that they cannot come before this holy and good God with their lives defiled by idols.

It is so that they can safely build the altar at Bethel in v7 that God protects them in their way in Genesis 35:5-6.

It is comparatively easy to recognize that God’s worship is an appropriate response to His grace. Here, we are also meant to see that God’s worship itself is a gift from Him by that grace. 

In His grace, He is patient with us and willing to have us come near. In His grace, He protects and provides for us so that we are able to come. And then in His grace, God displays Himself to us and reminds us that He is the great Hero of His people’s story.

To what goodness of/by God should you be responding to with worship? How does His worship provoke you to repentance? How does His worship preserve your remembrance of His goodness?

Suggested songs: ARP80 “Hear, O Hear Us” or TPH413 “Revive Thy Work, O Lord”

Friday, October 16, 2020

2020.10.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 9:12–17

Read Luke 9:12–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What time was it (Luke 9:12)? Who came to Jesus? What did they tell Him to do? Why? What does He tell them to do instead (Luke 9:13)? What challenge do they say is a problem with this? How many men were there (Luke 9:14a)? What does Jesus tell them to do? How do the disciples respond (Luke 9:15)? What four things does Jesus do to the loaves and fish in Luke 9:16? Who set them before the multitude? What do all do (Luke 9:17)? How much do they eat? What are taken up afterward?

When the Lord Jesus had sent His disciples to preach, He taught that they should live by the generosity of those to whom they ministered (Luke 9:2–5).  Now, He teaches them that they also should be generous to those to whom they minister.

This can be a difficult thing for all believers (not just pastors and elders), since around the world and throughout history so many of them have been poor. But, we learn that even when we have little, our Lord would have us to be generous with it. 

There are twelve of them (Luke 9:12), and they only have five loaves and two fish (Luke 9:13). But, it was not from ignorance of how much they had that the Lord Jesus told them, “You give them something to eat,” but rather to show that we should be hospitable without being grudging (cf. 1 Peter 4:9). 

Ultimately, blessing comes from heaven, just as Jesus demonstrated even by His looking up to heaven in Luke 9:16. And, His means of providing is often to pass it through one another’s hands so that while He is the One making the abundant provision, we have the privilege of participating by a generous spirit. 

He had the disciples sit the people down (Luke 9:14), so that they might be put in the place of leading the people to expect that they would be fed by Jesus. And, the Lord put the blessed and broken food into the disciples’ hands, so that they might be put in the place of generosity and distribution.

Christ is able to make a little bit abound. And, He gives us a sweet fellowship when He makes us to depend upon Him together in tight circumstances, and when He grants to us to be generous toward one another in tight circumstances.

It is then, also, that He glorifies Himself and His generosity and power and wisdom, when these are the means by which He is pleased to provide for us. Let us learn to desire to see this part of His glory, so that when we have little, we help one another to cheerfully hope in Christ. And, let us learn to be generous toward one another with what little we have, that Christ may be glorified for His rich abundance.

How have you been helping others to be thankfully expectant toward Jesus? How have you been exercising generosity and hospitality? How has Jesus abundantly provided for you?

Suggested songs: ARP112 “O Praise the Lord” or TPH112 “O Praise the LORD! That Man Is Blest”

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Darkness Exposed by Light and Changed into It (Family Worship in Eph 5:8–14)

Why should believers so eagerly both find out and do whatever pleases the Lord? Pastor leads his family in today's "Hopewell @Home" passage. In these seven verses, we learn that Christ exposes that we are darkness to make us into darkness-exposing light.

Praying in the Holy Spirit to Build Ourselves Up (201014 Prayer Meeting Lesson in Jude v20–21)

Let us pray not according to our impulses but according to the Holy Spirit's written Word. Let us pray not in our power, but depending upon the Holy Spirit's power in our weakness. Let us pray in confidence that the Holy Spirit is also praying for us! Let us pray in the Holy Spirit!

Covenant Bonds in the Blood of Jesus (Family Worship in 1Samuel 20)

What is stronger than the blood and love that hold a family together? Pastor leads his family in yesterday's "Hopewell @Home" passage. In these forty-two verses, we learn that while God has created our families to hold together in bonds of love and blood, there is a greater bond in the covenant love and blood of the Lord Jesus.

2020.10.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 5:8–14

Read Ephesians 5:8–14

Questions from the Scripture text: What were the Ephesians before (Ephesians 5:8)? What are they now? How should they walk? In what three things is the fruit of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:9)? What are they to find out (Ephesians 5:10)? With what are they not to have fellowship (Ephesians 5:11a)? What should their conduct do instead (verse 11b)? What is shameful even to speak of (Ephesians 5:12)? What does the light do to those things (Ephesians 5:13)? What two things are we commanded to do by the light of Christ in Ephesians 5:14? 

The apostle has been teaching us that Christ’s salvation is a life-transforming salvation. Believers are a new creation (Ephesians 2:10), with a new calling (Ephesians 4:1), and a new character (Ephesians 5:1). 

The contrast between the old and the new is put quite starkly in Ephesians 5:8—not just that we were once in darkness, but that we ourselves were darkness. Not just that we have come into the light, but that we ourselves are now light. 

When he tells us to walk as children of light, He is picking up on the fact that the God of Whom we are beloved children (Ephesians 5:1) is the God Who is light, and in Whom there is no darkness at all (cf. 1 John 1:5). “Now that you are light,” says the apostle, “keep making step by step in your forward progress as lightlings.”

So, what does a lightling look like as it walks? It’s fruitful. The Spirit of God, the Spirit Who is producing light in us, bears fruit in us: all goodness, righteousness, and truth. The fruit of consistency with God’s character, God’s standards, and God’s Word. The kinds of things that we should determinedly discover, constantly finding out whatever pleases the Lord (Ephesians 5:10).

Lightlings do works (Ephesians 2:10) that are fruit of the Spirit’s light in them. But those who are still darkness do works that have none of this fruit in them at all—unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Everything that we do is either a fruit of light, or else it is an unfruitful work of darkness. So, when lightlings and darklings come across one another, the fruitlessness of the darkness is exposed by the fruitfulness of the light. 

This is an uncomfortable thing for those who are darkness. It’s hard to be someone in whom the miracle of new creation has not taken place, when everyone around you is popping out light-fruit. The temptation for those who are lightlings is to “tone it down” to make it easier for the darkness to be around them. 

But to tone it down is to stifle the fruit, to hide the light, and even to have some share in the darkness continuing to be unfruitful. Are we really willing to have a share in the kind of thing that it is even shameful to speak about (Ephesians 5:12)? 

Or, would you rather have a share in that exposing of darkness that Jesus uses to actually turn darkness into light (Ephesians 5:13)? 

Christ is that awakening, resurrecting, shining light described in Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 52:1, Isaiah 60:1–3. And when He saves us, He turns us into lightlings that expose others as darkness Whom He may save and transform into light. 

So, don’t shrink back from bearing that light-fruit and the discomfort that can come to the darkness when it is exposed. Instead, since He has transformed you into light, SHINE!

Around whom are you embarrassed to shine by walking in goodness and righteousness and truth? Whom should you seek to please when around those people? How is this actually good for those people?

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Praising & Led by Jesus on Earth as They Do in Heaven (Family Worship in Rev 19:1–9)

For what do they praise God in heaven? Who leads them in this worship? Pastor leads his family in yesterday's "Hopewell @Home" passage. In these nine verses, we learn that in glory, glory, the God-Man leads worship as they praise His judgments, vengeance, faithfulness, and grace. We, too, rejoice to be led by Him in our assemblies on the Lord's Days, even as we walk through all of the events through which He displays these glories of His.

2020.10.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 20

Read 1 Samuel 20

Questions from the Scripture text: What does David want to know about in 1 Samuel 20:1? What do they disagree about in 1 Samuel 20:2-3)? What does Jonathan offer in 1 Samuel 20:4? What test does David propose in 1 Samuel 20:4-7? How does he challenge Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:8? How does Jonathan answer (1 Samuel 20:9)? What part of the plan does David ask about in 1 Samuel 20:10? Where do they go in 1 Samuel 20:11? What will Jonathan do if it is good news (1 Samuel 20:12)? Whom will Jonathan send if it is bad news (1 Samuel 20:13)? For what promise of kindness (covenant love) does Jonathan ask (1 Samuel 20:14-15)? Who cuts the covenant in 1 Samuel 20:16? What does he say? Who vows in 1 Samuel 20:17? Why? What details does Jonathan add to the plan in 1 Samuel 20:18-22? Who will be the one who comes now, in either case? What will he do? How will David know if there is safety (1 Samuel 20:21)? How will he know if it is dangerous (1 Samuel 20:22)? How does Jonathan refer to the covenant (1 Samuel 20:23)? How long does it take Saul to notice David’s absence at the New Moon feast (1 Samuel 20:24-27)? Whom does he ask about it? What does Jonathan say as David’s excuse (1 Samuel 20:28-29)? How does Saul answer Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:30)? What reason does Saul give Jonathan for why David needs to die (1 Samuel 20:31)? What does Jonathan ask in 1 Samuel 20:32, and how does Saul respond (1 Samuel 20:33)? Now how does Jonathan respond—what specifically grieves him, despite what Saul has just done (1 Samuel 20:34)? Which scenario from 1 Samuel 20:20-22 does Jonathan play out in 1 Samuel 20:35-40? What does David do in 1 Samuel 20:41? What do they both do? Who weeps more? In what condition does Jonathan tell David to go in 1 Samuel 20:42? Why does he say they are able to do this?

King Saul’s obsession with being in control actually ends up with him trying to kill (in 1 Samuel 20:33) the son for whose sake just moments earlier (in 1 Samuel 20:31) he had claimed to need to dispose of David. Not only has Saul lost control of the kingdom, but he has lost control of himself.

Thankfully, Scripture constantly teaches us that it is not the apparently powerful rulers of the earth who are actually in control. It is ultimately God’s covenant—His binding commitment of Himself to sinners whom He would save for Himself in Jesus—that is ultimately in control. It is what Yahweh is doing that matters, and what matters most about what we do is its being done before the face of Yahweh. The Lord who rules and overrules everything in accomplishing His plan of redemption is in control of history as a whole and of every particular moment.

David and Jonathan know this. Back in 1 Samuel 18:3, they had cut a covenant with one another, and we see throughout this chapter that while they navigate what to do about Saul, their great hope for both this life and the next is that Yahweh is in control.

In 1 Samuel 20:8, when asking Jonathan to help him figure out what kind of danger he’s in, David asks him to deal “kindly” (ḳessedly, “according to covenant love”) with him “for you have brought your servant into a covenant of Yahweh with you.”

In 1 Samuel 20:12, when telling David how he plans to help him, Jonathan says, “Yahweh God of Israel!” will witness (the fact that the Lord witnesses them is actually implied; the words “is witness” do not appear in the original).

In 1 Samuel 20:13, Jonathan calls for Yahweh to judge him if he is unfaithful, and blesses David with the blessing that Yahweh would be with him. And in 1 Samuel 20:14, he requests in return that David would show him the covenant love of Yahweh. So, in 1 Samuel 20:16, when Jonathan cuts a new covenant with David’s household, he says “Let Yahweh require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

When expressing the accuracy or reality of what he is describing, in 1 Samuel 20:31 Samuel 20:21 Jonathan says, “as Yahweh lives.” And even before they find out what Saul is going to do, the way Jonathan expresses his being bound to David by covenant in 1 Samuel 20:23 is, “Yahweh be between you and me forever.”

So, when they discover David’s peril, and they are saying their goodbye, Jonathan says, “Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of Yahweh, saying, ‘May Yahweh be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever’” (1 Samuel 20:42).

David and Jonathan do what they have to do. They figure out the danger. They say the goodbye that is necessary to respond to it. But, it is ultimately before the face of their covenant God and in dependence upon their covenant God that they live. Not out of fear of Saul’s power and attempt at control, but out of confidence in the Lord’s power and absolute control.

Who seem to be the powerful controllers in our world? What are some legitimate precautions to take? Who is really in control, and what is He doing? How, and to whom, have you been bound to show covenant love before God and in dependence upon God?

Suggested songs: ARP80 “Hear, O Hear Us” or TPH426 “How Vast the Benefits Divine”

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

2020.10.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Revelation 19:1–9

Read Revelation 19:1–9

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose voice did the apostle hear in Revelation 19:1? What were they saying? What four things did they attribute to the Lord our God? For what specifically (Revelation 19:2) were they praising her? What had she done to the earth? What had she done to His servants? What do they praise the Lord for in Revelation 19:3? Who, specifically, fall down in Revelation 19:4? From where does the voice come in Revelation 19:5? What does He say to do? With what words does He further describe “His servants”? Which ones are to participate in this praise? What is the response to this command in Revelation 19:6? What does their combined voice sound like? For what characteristic of God are they praising Him? What do they urge one another to feel in Revelation 19:7? What do they urge one another to give to God? On what occasion—what has come? Who has made herself ready? How had she done this—what had been granted to her (Revelation 19:8)? What is the “fine linen” here? To whom does the angel in Revelation 19:9 speak? What does he tell him to do? Who are blessed? What does the angel say about this statement?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Revelation 19:1–9, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns.

The reign of king Jesus is glorious and certain. He sits on the throne already, and He has told us in advance about the defeat of those who oppose Him and His saints. 

But Jesus doesn’t just defeat the wicked who hate Him and His church. He judges them “with righteous judgments.” 

Revelation 19:2 is part of joyous worship and celebration, but it is a sobering reminder of the realities through which the Lord is bringing us in our lifetime. For the Lord Jesus to judge the kingdom of Satan, the harlot, for corrupting the earth, there must be a time in which the earth is corrupted. For the Lord Jesus to avenge upon the harlot the blood of the saints, there must be a time during which they are murdered by the harlot.

So, in passages like this one, the Lord reminds us that He is already sitting on the throne. The Judge who inflicts the final punishment and vengeance is the Lord who rules and overrules even now. But He is not a passive heavenly Spectator.

There’s a first person possessive pronoun in Revelation 19:5 that should thrill us: “praise our God, all you His servants.” The worship of heaven is being led not by someone from the multitude around the throne, but by Someone who sits upon the throne.

When we come to public worship services that we have learned (from places like Psalm 22, Hebrews 2, Hebrews 12, etc.) are personally led by Jesus from glory, part of what we are doing is entering into His holy triumph. Even in the age of a corrupted earth and the slaughter of saints, Jesus already reigns. And He reigns in the same wisdom and love and power that we will be praising when He judges the great harlot.

So, when we come to the public worship on the coming Lord’s Day, let us “shout, for the blessed Jesus reigns”!

Where do you see the corruption of the earth. How are believers being attacked, or even killed? What is Jesus doing right now, while that happens? What will He ultimately do about it in the end?

Suggested songs: ARP72B “Nomads Will Bow” or TPH411 “Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns”

Monday, October 12, 2020

Presuppositions of Isaiah 58:13–14: Gift of Gospel Joy, Not Demand of Legal Misery (2020.10.11 Sabbath School)

We continue through Ryan McGraw's helpful little book, "The Day of Worship," by considering those presuppositions with which the Spirit-inspired prophet expects us to read Isaiah 58:13–14. We find that a well-kept Sabbath is a special indicator of the gospel age, in which God's people know Him to be One Who loves to give joy (as opposed to demanding or enjoying our misery)

Fighting Sexual Sin, and All Sin, by Thankfulness and Reverence to God (2020.10.11 Evening Sermon in Ephesians 5:3–7)

The dear children of God ought not look like (and don't look like) the sons of disobedience. Those who are forgiven begin to think and speak and act in the way that is fitting for saints. And thanksgiving is a most fitting way of thinking and speaking, which thanksgiving also combats fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness.

2020.10.12 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 an ugly picture this chapter paints of Israel (Jacob) himself—the ultimate patriarch of that people who would bear his name. By the end of the chapter, he’s moaning at how dreadful this has all been for him (Genesis 34:30), but nearly everyone else has fared worse, and he’s done precious little to stop it. Dinah has been defiled by fornicating with Shechem. Hamor and Shechem (and the rest of the city) have been murdered. Simeon and Levi have fared even worse, having become murderers. The rest of the fathers of the tribes have become wicked deceivers and vile plunderers. An entire city of children and women have been taken captive as the slaves of these murderers and plunderers. And Jacob has done nothing to prevent any of it—only whined about it afterward as if he has been some kind of victim in all of this.

But what a glorious picture this paints to us of God and His Word.

Surely, this is one of the ways His Word shows itself to be genuine. It is unthinkable that Israel would include such an account of its father and of the fathers of the twelve tribes. But the Bible tells us the truth about these men. And about ourselves. There is no “power of positive thinking” in the Bible. Only amazing-er grace for amazing sinners.

And when we ask, “Can these really be the sort of people out of whom the Lord would build His church,” the answer is, “these are exactly the sort of people out of whom the Lord has built His church!” It is not unlike the ignorant, selfish, contentious bunch that were chosen for apostles, or that last and least of the apostles who got his start as being the most venomous opponent in the land against Christ and His church—the chief of sinners.

The more that we are amazed at our sin, the more that we are more amazed at God’s grace. 

When we first fled to Christ and trusted in Him, we knew ourselves to be hell-deserving and Him to have endured that Hell despite His righteousness. 

But, as we have walked with Him, we have often come up against places in His Word that brought us to a clearer understanding and deeper appreciation of how bad our sin is. For the believer, this is a godly sorrow that has multiple marvelous effects: we are more impressed with Christ’s righteousness, we are more dependent upon Christ’s atonement, we are more grateful for the perfect godliness to which we will finally be brought, and we are more cautious against that sin that remains.

Behold the mercy and patience and power of God—that He would save and bear with and perfect such sinners as His people are!

What is one way that you know your sin now, more than when you first came to believe in Jesus? What does this show you about God, and how does this help you trust and love Him more?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH413 “Revive Thy Work, O Lord”

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Amazing Sinners Saved by Amazing-er Grace (2020.10.11 Morning Sermon in Genesis 34)

God Himself is the only true Hero of the salvation story. Those whom He saves are rather amazing sinners, but salvation is the story of His even more amazing grace.