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, November 28, 2020

The Reverent Life Is the Blessed Life (Family Worship in Proverbs 28:14)

What is the happiest sort of life? Pastor leads his family in a verse from the "Proverb of the day." In this verse we learn that the happiest life is the one that is actually spent trembling in wonder at and worship of God. The superficial lightness after which most of the world runs is actually a hard-heartedness toward God, whereas those who are tender toward Him have been giving the gift of seeing His glory and living for that glory —a gift that is part of the everlasting blessedness that Christ has won for believers.

Born Again and Nourished by the Imperishable Seed of the Word (2020.11.28 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald)

Hopewell Herald – November 28, 2020

Dear Congregation,

In this past week’s morning sermon, we heard that one of the ways that God is merciful to such sinners as we are is by giving us covenant children as His holy seed, and especially by bringing Christ into the world as the seed of the woman.

This theme of undeserved begetting and undeserved birth runs from Genesis 3 through John 3, holding out to us how merciful God is to dead and guilty sinners—and a great part of that mercy now stands before us in the form of His day and His worship tomorrow.

This week in the M’Cheyne plan, we were reading 1Peter 1, where we find this glorious passage:

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

“All flesh is as grass,

And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.

The grass withers,

And its flower falls away,

25       But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

1Peter 1:22–25

When we hear the Scripture read, and especially when we hear it preached (v25), there is something eternal and powerful going on, something that outlasts this world.

God’s living and active and powerful Word is what the Spirit used to give us spiritual birth (v23). It will not and cannot fail in us, and it is the means by which also He sanctifies us (cf. Jn 17:17), working in us that fervent love for one another from pure hearts that v22 commands:

2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

1Peter 2:2–3

And where, especially are we nourished by this “pure milk of the Word” that gives the growing and maturing that we need as those who have been given spiritual birth? It happens where we come to the Lord as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, who offer spiritual sacrifices. It happens in public worship!

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1Peter 2:4–5

Looking forward to growing together, by the pure milk of the Word, in this indestructible and glorious life that God has given us,


Whst It's Like When Yahweh Is with You (Family Worship in Genesis 39)

What happens to you, and how do you respond, when the Lord is with you? Pastor leads his family in tomorrow’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. In these twenty-three verses, we learn that sometimes when the Lord is with you, you end up in things like hard circumstances, facing severe temptation, repeated temptation, false accusation, and wrongful imprisonment. But, by the Lord’s being with you by His grace, you can be diligent and faithful in those circumstances and consistently resist severe temptation.

2020.11.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 39

Read Genesis 39

Questions from the Scripture text: Where had Joseph been taken (Genesis 39:1)? Who bought him from whom? What position did the buyer have? Who was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2)? With what result? Where was Joseph? What did his master see about him in Genesis 39:3? What did Joseph “find” in Genesis 39:4? What did he end up doing (Genesis 39:4-5)? What does verse 5 emphasize as the cause of all the prospering? How much did Potiphar entrust to Joseph (Genesis 39:6)? What little comment does v6 make at the end? Who notices (Genesis 39:7)? What does she do? What does he say his master has given him (Genesis 39:8)? What does he say his master has withheld from him (Genesis 39:9)? Against whom does he say he would be sinning if he did this? When did she try this (Genesis 39:10)? How did he respond every time? Who is in the house with Joseph one day (Genesis 39:11)? Who catches him, how (Genesis 39:12)? What does she say? What does he do? What does she see in Genesis 39:13? Whom does she call (Genesis 39:14)? What does she say happened (Genesis 39:15)? What does she hang onto for how long (Genesis 39:16)? Whom does she tell what in Genesis 39:17-18? How did Potiphar feel about her telling this story (Genesis 39:19)? What did he do with joseph (Genesis 39:20)? Who was with Joseph there (Genesis 39:21)? In whose sight did He give him favor? What did the prison keeper entrust to Joseph (Genesis 39:22)? What didn’t the keeper of the prison look into (Genesis 39:23a)? Why not?

What does it look like when God is with you?

Well, sometimes it looks like getting sold into slavery, lied about, and wrongfully imprisoned. We may be tempted to say about someone, “God can’t possibly be with him, if all of that is happening to him.” But this chapter won’t allow us to think that. It doubly emphasizes that Yahweh is with Joseph at the beginning of the passage in Genesis 39:2 and Genesis 39:3, and then again that this has not changed by the end of the passage in Genesis 39:21 and Genesis 39:23.

The Lord being with you is often a fact that you need to know from Scripture (like we do about Joseph) in hard situations, which we too can know about ourselves if we are in Christ Jesus (cf. Romans 8:28–39). 

But there are some specific ways in which we can see the Lord with Joseph here. 

We can see that the Lord is with us in every positive detail of every situation, even such a thing as Joseph ending up a house slave. Not only would field slave be a death sentence, but knowing the end of the story, we know how important it was that Joseph be where he was.

We can see that the Lord is with us in God’s giving us faith to trust in Him. Even Joseph’s Egyptian master was able to “see” that these things were from Yahweh, Genesis 39:3. This is almost certainly because of Joseph’s conduct and conversation. Surely, to remain faithful in such circumstances was a result of the Lord being with him.

We can see that the Lord is with us in God’s giving us wisdom and making that wisdom successful. “Yahweh made all he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:3, cf. Genesis 39:23c). Whether we acknowledge Him or not, the Lord is the One who has to grant unto us the success in what we do. Genesis 39:3 states it plainly.

We can see that the Lord is with us in giving us favor in others’ sight (“found favor in his sight,” Genesis 39:4).

We can see that the Lord is with us in giving us whatever authority or influence we have (“all that he had he put under his authority,” verse 4). 

We can see that the Lord is with us in blessing even those around us for our sake (“Yahweh blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake,” Genesis 39:5). Notice how that verse refers to Potiphar as “the Egyptian.” God often blesses unbelievers for the sake of the believers around them. And, that’s because it is really and especially for Christ’s sake that the Lord is blessing believers.

Finally, we can especially see that the Lord is with us in keeping us from sin. Look at how easily Jacob slipped into depression, but there is such diligence and wisdom and care here from Joseph. How? The Lord was with him. Look at how easily Judah plunged into sexual sin, but Joseph absolutely refuses to do so under great pressure. How? The Lord was with him. The reason that we can walk with God at all, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, is precisely because God is with us (cf. Philippians 2:12–13). 

What are some of the ways that you know and/or see that God is with you in your life right now?

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

Friday, November 27, 2020

The Very Worst Thing to Do and Very Best Thing to Rejoice Over (Family Worship in Luke 10:1–24)

Who are worse than Sodom? Who are more blessed than the kings and prophets? Pastor leads his family in tomorrow's "Hopewell @Home" passage. In these twenty-four verses, we learn that the Lord uses and blesses nobodies—and especially that there is nothing worse to do than to reject Christ and nothing more worthy of rejoicing over than that the Lord has chosen to give us Christ by faith.

2020.11.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 10:1–24

Read Luke 10:1–24

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does Jesus appoint in Luke 10:1? In what groups are they sent? Before Whom/what? To which places? What does He say about the harvest (Luke 10:2)? About the laborers? To Whom did He say to pray? That He would do what? Who is doing this very thing in Luke 10:3? What does He call those whom He is sending? What does He call those among whom He sends them? What are they not to carry (Luke 10:4)? Whom are they to greet? What are they to enter (Luke 10:5)? What’s the first thing they are to do there? What either will or won’t happen at that point (Luke 10:6)? Where else should they stay in that town (Luke 10:7)? What should they do with the good things they’re given? Why? In which cities are they to operate this way (Luke 10:8)? What are they to do in/from that house (Luke 10:9), and what are they to say in connection with that healing? What might a city not do (Luke 10:10)? What are they to do/say about the dust of their feet (Luke 10:11)? What are they to say in connection with that judgment (verse 11b, cf. Luke 10:9b)? What does Jesus say about such cities in connection with Sodom (Luke 10:12)? Who have it worse than Tyre and Sidon (Luke 10:13-14)? Why (verse 13)? What is the current condition of Capernaum (Luke 10:15)? What will happen to them? Who are hearing Jesus? (Luke 10:16)? Who are rejecting Jesus? Who are rejecting the Father?  Who return in Luke 10:17? With what affection? What do they announce? What does Jesus say that He had seen (Luke 10:18)? What authority does Jesus say that He gives them in Luke 10:19? But what are they not to rejoice in (Luke 10:20)? What are they to rejoice in instead? In what/Whom does Jesus rejoice (Luke 10:21)? Whom does He thank? For not doing what? And for doing what? Who decided to do it this way? What has been given to Christ by Whom in Luke 10:22? Who alone truly knows Who the Son is? Who alone truly knows Who the Father is? But then Who else? To whom does Jesus speak in Luke 10:23? Whose eyes does He tell them are blessed? Who has desired to see and hear what they see and hear (Luke 10:24)?

The Lord Jesus here sends seventy nameless persons out with a commission with similar authority to what He had given the twelve in chapter 9. Thus, He makes even more emphasis that service to Him in His power is not reserved for just a few. No, not only are we all to pray for the Lord’s ministry to be carried out with power (Luke 10:2), but we should not be surprised when He powerfully uses nameless ones such as we are. Nor should we be surprised if we are devoured in His service (Luke 10:3). He has taught us to expect these things in Scripture and given us many examples like this one.

There are two main ideas in their sending out and coming back, which two are related: there is nothing worse than to slight and reject the gospel of Jesus Christ, and there is nothing better than to receive and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is nothing worse than to reject the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon are synonymous not only with greed, but with the worst immoralities. But the passage drives home that cities like Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum have received something superlative (“mighty works” done in them, and “exalted to heaven,” Luke 10:13Luke 10:15). 

Of those to whom much is given, much is required. And, it is going to be worse for the “decent” people of these Israelite towns on Galilee than even for Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom! Why? Because they are about to hear not just Christ, but His servants. And, they are eventually going to reject the message of His servants, which Jesus will judge as rejecting Him (cf. Luke 10:16). Believers sit under those whom Christ has sent with His message. When that message is faithfully preached, let them have great care regarding what they do with it. For, there is nothing worse than to reject the message of Jesus Christ.

And there is nothing better than to receive and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. How joyous the seventy were in Luke 10:17! Every Christian, in whatever calling the Lord has given us, is susceptible to being puffed up when the Lord gives us little successes. But this is not the first and great thing to rejoice over. Rather, we are to “rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).  Indeed, there were prophets who worked great miracles and kings who accomplished great kingdom victories (Luke 10:24a), but these seventy nameless ones got the blessing of seeing and hearing what all those others longed for.

Let us be rejoicing so much over belonging to Christ and seeing His gospel continue to go forth in the world that we are not so susceptible to being overly impressed with whatever successes the Lord personally gives us in our callings, but rather thankful. 

What opportunities do you have to respond to the Word? In what manner have you been doing so?

Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

Thursday, November 26, 2020

How Parents Are to Love Their Children (Family Worship in Eph 6:4)

What does Holy-Spirit-sustained parenting look like? Pastor leads his family in tomorrow's "Hopewell @Home" passage. In this verse, we find that loving our children most of all means making it as easy as possible for them to love and obey the Lord, and applying to them the means of the Lord's grace.

2020.11.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 6:4

Read Ephesians 6:4

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom is Ephesians 6:4 addressed? What are they told not to do? To whom? To what are they in danger of provoking their children? What are they to do to their children instead? By what two means/activities are fathers to bring their children up? Whose training and admonition? 

We are culpable before God for our reactions. Often, I have heard a parent imply having had grown-up temper tantrums by saying, “my children make me so angry!” No they don’t. Your children do what they do, and you respond with that intemperate anger. Even if anger is a righteous response, you have a duty to self-control, a duty to restrain unnecessary severity, etc.

But children aren’t parents. There is understanding that there is a duty of a parent to remember that the child is weaker, less mature, not having had as much training or instruction. Yes, the child is responsible for his response, but the parent is responsible for giving that child every possible advantage for producing the right response. If the child is wrathful, certainly he breaks the commandment “honor your father and mother.” 

And yet, there is much that a parent can do that will make a difference in whether the child becomes wrathful or not. Our children give us many opportunities to see and respond to the sin that comes out of their hearts. We need not invent more of them; indeed, here the Lord positively forbids it!

But if we’re going to give them every possible opportunity to obey the Lord, there is more that we need to do than just being gentle and kind and respectful, and being careful of being illegitimately demanding. They have an enemy to battle against, and that enemy is within them. If they are going to honor and obey us, it has to be done “in the Lord” as Ephesians 6:1 says. 

How can they do that? Training and instruction. But not just any training and instruction. Even an animal can be trained through discipline and instruction. But that animal doesn’t have a sinful nature. Your child is up against infinitely more. 

Thankfully, your child has been blessed with infinitely better help than those animals. It’s the discipline of the Lord! It’s the instruction of the Lord! Job number one in not provoking your children to wrath is the means of grace in the congregation, week by week, and the means of grace in the home, day by day. 

And this includes all-day, every-day application of the Scriptures to everything they see and everything they do. God’s words need to be on your own heart, controlling your own life (Deuteronomy 6:4–6), then they need to be in your mouth and their ears continually (Deuteronomy 6:7), in away that shapes how they do everything (Deuteronomy 6:8a) and how they see everything (verse 6:8b), so that the family name on the mailbox and front door could read, “Scripture-saturated Family” (Deuteronomy 6:9).

Wrath is part of the folly in your child’s heart. But, the reason the rod of Proverbs 22:15 drives it far from him is that it’s the rod of reproof—it’s a rod that comes in the context of a life lived in the means of grace, provided and prospered by a Redeemer of astounding love and abundant grace.

He has laid out the equipment for combatting the source of wrath in the heart of your child. And, He has laid upon you the charge both of using that equipment and of not making yourself the occasion for provoking that wrath, if you can righteously avoid it.

What more/better use could you make of the means of grace for the children of your home and your congregation? What are some situations in which you could be less an occasion of their wrath?

Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the Lord” or TPH548 “Oh, Blest the House”

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Praise for Salvation against a Backdrop of Wrath (2020.11.25 Prayer Lesson in Rev 7:9–12)

In between the 6th and 7th seal, all of heaven praises God and the Lamb for saving wrath-deserving sinners.

Keeping a Tender Conscience by Trust in God (Family Worship in 1Sam 24)

Why doesn't David do the easy thing and kill Saul? Pastor leads his family in tomorrow's "Hopewell @Home" passage. In these twenty-two verses, we find that instead of smiting Saul, David's tender conscience smites him; because, instead of fearing what Saul may do, David trusts what the Lord will surely do.

2020.11.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 24

Read 1 Samuel 24

Questions from the Scripture text: From what had Saul returned in 1 Samuel 24:1? What was told him? Whom did he take with him in 1 Samuel 24:2? To do what? To where does Saul come in 1 Samuel 24:3? Where does he go to do what? Who else is in there? What do David’s men say to him in 1 Samuel 24:4? What does David do? But what happens to David in 1 Samuel 24:5? To whom does he speak in 1 Samuel 24:6? What does he say about his situation, and how does this compare to what they had said in 1 Samuel 24:4? What did David do to his servants in 1 Samuel 24:7? What does Saul do? Where does David go in 1 Samuel 24:8? What does he call Saul? What does David do when Saul looks back? What does David now ask (1 Samuel 24:9)? What does he point out in 1 Samuel 24:10? What does he call Saul now in 1 Samuel 24:11? What does he point out about his own actions? What does he point out about Saul’s actions? Upon Whom does David call to set things right (1 Samuel 24:12)? What does he promise about his own hand? What does he quote in 1 Samuel 24:13 (cf. Proverbs 20:11)? What does he call Saul in 1 Samuel 24:14? What does he call himself? Again, upon Whom does he call to vindicate and deliver him (1 Samuel 24:15)? What does Saul now call David in 1 Samuel 24:16? What does Saul do? What does he say about David in comparison to himself (1 Samuel 24:17)? Upon what basis? Whom does Saul say delivered him into David’s hand (1 Samuel 24:18, cf. 1 Samuel 24:4)? What does Saul now acknowledge that David is not (1 Samuel 24:18-19)? What does Saul say, in 1 Samuel 24:20, that he surely knows? What does he say will happen to Israel? What does he ask David to swear (1 Samuel 24:21)? What does David do (1 Samuel 24:22)? Where does Saul go? Where does David go?

“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice, and kill Saul in it!” So might have sung the men of David in v4. Indeed, the Lord had promised to David that he would be king, and the question of how that promise might or might not get answered is on people’s minds (cf. 1 Samuel 24:20).

But that’s not the question that should have been on David’s mind, and it’s not the question that the Spirit places on our minds in this chapter. No, that question is: “will David try to compel God’s promise, or will he rather comply with God’s precepts?”

At first David listens to his men. He’s got the fabric to prove it at the end of v4. But thankfully, he doesn’t smite Saul. Instead, his heart smites (literal translation of 1 Samuel 24:5) him. David didn’t even kill Saul, and he’s still remorseful for doing as much as he did do. Praise God! And just in time, because he has to give his men the theological reasoning (1 Samuel 24:6) by which he restrains them from finishing the job (1 Samuel 24:7).

But then David becomes an example of Christ for the Christian. Do not repay evil for evil, but overcome evil with good; leave room for the vengeance of the Lord (1 Samuel 24:17, cf. Romans 12:17–21, 1 Peter 2:20–25). Rather than prove himself the enemy that Saul suspected (cf. 1 Samuel 24:131 Samuel 24:17-19), David has shown himself the son that Saul has betrayed (cf. 1 Samuel 24:111 Samuel 24:16). 

The key to keeping your head like this, forgiving like this, and restraining yourself like this is to trust that the Lord is in control, and that He takes seriously, and judges, and responds to the things that men do. So David won’t touch Saul because Saul is the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 24:6). And David is content to let the Lord judge Saul (1 Samuel 24:12a), so he doesn’t need to avenge himself on Saul (verse 12b). And David is content to let the Lord judge himself (1 Samuel 24:15a), and entrust both his case and his deliverance to the Lord (verse 15b). 

Even Saul learns to talk this way, at least for a moment (1 Samuel 24:19-21). David doesn’t put much stock in it; rather than go home to be son-in-law, he and his men go back up to the stronghold (1 Samuel 24:22). Will the language of God judging, controlling, avenging, and rewarding be just a way of talking that we use around others who talk the same way? Or will it control what we do so that our heart smites us when we do wrong, and we are enabled by trust in God to overcome evil with good?

Who has been giving you the “opportunity” to bless the one cursing you and do good to the one abusing you?

Suggested songs: ARP109A “God of My Praise” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Worthy in Jesus and Dressed Worthily by Jesus (Family Worship in Matt 22:1–14)

What does it mean that “many are called, but few are chosen”? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. In these fourteen verses, we learn that though many hear the gospel preached, no one is worthy of its blessings. Christ alone can be our worthiness. And, each one for whom He is our worthiness, also receives the blessing of being dressed worthily by Christ for that blessedness. Jesus earns our heaven for us. And Jesus outfits us for the heaven that He has earned for us. Anyone who is missing one of these is missing both of them, because both come in the same Christ in Whom the saved were chosen.

2020.11.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 22:1–14

Read Matthew 22:1–14

Questions from the Scripture text: How was Jesus speaking to them (Matthew 22:1)? What is this parable describing (Matthew 22:2)? What has the king arranged for his son? What is Jesus using this marriage to describe? Whom does the king send out in Matthew 22:3? Whom are they to call? But with what result? Whom does the king send out in Matthew 22:4? What does he tell them to say? How do they respond in Matthew 22:5? To what do they go instead? How do others respond in Matthew 22:6? What do they do? Who hears about this (Matthew 22:7)? How does he respond to this, and what does he do? What is the situation in Matthew 22:8? What does he say was wrong with those originally invited? Where does the king send them to invite guests now (Matthew 22:9)? Whom do they gather (Matthew 22:10)? Now what is the condition of the wedding hall? But what does the king see in Matthew 22:11? What does the king ask him in Matthew 22:12? How does the man respond? What does the king say to do in Matthew 22:13? Into where is the garment-less man cast? What is Jesus’s summary (Matthew 22:14) of why the first invitees, and also the garmentless man, were destroyed?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Matthew 22:1–14, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place.

Either destroyed in wrath outside or blessed in the marriage of the Son. Those are the only two outcomes that people have in this parable. There’s no neutral location to end up. The non-blessed outcomes in the passage are either being destroyed and burned (Matthew 22:7) or outer darkness in weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13). That means that it’s extremely important to know: how can you end up in the blessed group? 

You would think that the answer is to be worthy. But all those who receive invitations initially are unworthy (end of Matthew 22:8). They show their unworthiness first by lack of interest in the kingdom (Matthew 22:3), then by positively making light of the kingdom (Matthew 22:5), and in some cases even abusing and killing the servants of the kingdom (Matthew 22:6).

So, are the ones who end up inside worthy? Well, they may be made worthy by the garments that are given to them, but they obviously did not have these garments from themselves. We know this because of where they are found (Matthew 22:9Matthew 22:10). They are not there because of their worthiness. But, the ones who are properly there are all made worthy. Matthew 22:11-12 shows not that you can “get into heaven then kicked out” but rather that there is a requisite holiness that God gives to all whom He brings to heaven. “Without holiness we will not see the Lord” (cf. Hebrews 12:14). 

Ultimately, the point of the parable is not difficult, because Jesus brackets the whole thing by telling us just what that point is: “The kingdom of heaven is like” (Matthew 22:2)… “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). 

That is to say: God does much inviting of unworthy people to heaven, but it is only those whom He chooses to give the ability to respond rightly, and the proper outfitting for glory, who will enjoy His glorious blessing instead of enduring His glorious wrath.

For you, there are many important applications here: Abandon all illusions of your own worthiness. Guard your heart against being over-impressed with your property and tasks in this world, or under-impressed with communion with God and service to Him. Know the danger of transferring resistance to God’s Word onto resistance to God’s messenger. Trust only in Christ as your worthiness, but pursue holiness to be made fit for that for which He is worthy. Pursue that holiness in dependence upon Him. Be sure that whether or not you belong to Jesus is infinitely more important than anything else for you. Treat other people as if it is the most infinitely important thing for them as well. And, rejoice that even though absolutely none of us is worthy, He still chooses to save from among the many who hear the call.

If you go to heaven, how will you have gotten there? What will He have done for/to you to get you there?

Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

Monday, November 23, 2020

Who Christian Children Are and What Christian Children Do (2020.11.22 Evening Sermon in Ephesians 6:1–3)

Children are counted among the saints. Children are expected to be in worship; the worship is for them just as for others. Children must obey their parents. Children are expected to care about the Lord. Children are expected to care about what is right. Children are expected to obey from the heart. It is not merely a manner of complying but of honoring. Children are expected to prioritize obedience to parents. Children are expected to keep the commandments. Children should expect God to bless them.

Day of Worship 9, Legalism (2020.11.22 Sabbath School)

Sabbath School lesson in Ryan McGraw's "The Day of Worship." In Chapter 9, we consider what legalism is and what legalism isn't.

A True Savior for Terrible Sinners (2020.11.22 Morning Sermon in Genesis 38)

God's redemption is for great sinners, in order that it may display His even greater grace. For such terrible sinners as we are, there is a true Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

2020.11.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 38

Read Genesis 38

Questions from the Scripture text: With info about whom does Genesis 38:1 interrupt the Joseph story? Whom does he leave? To whom does he go? Whom does he see in Genesis 38:2? What does he do with her? Whom does she bear him in Genesis 38:3-5? Now what happens in Genesis 38:6? What was Judah’s firstborn like (Genesis 38:7)? Who did what to him? What did Judah tell whom to do in Genesis 38:8? Why did Onan make sure not to actually father a child (Genesis 38:9)? What did the Lord think of this (Genesis 38:10)? And what did He do? What does Judah tell Tamar to do now in Genesis 38:11? Why didn’t he want her to marry Shelah? What happens in Genesis 38:12? Where does Judah go? Who was there, doing what? Who finds out (Genesis 38:13)? What does she do, and where does she go (Genesis 38:14)? Why? What does Judah think she is (Genesis 38:15)? Why was he willing to be wicked with her (Genesis 38:16)? What did he promise to her in return for being wicked (Genesis 38:17)? Since this is in the future, what does she demand now (Genesis 38:18)? Once she has become pregnant from Judah, where does Tamar go, and what does she do in Genesis 38:19? Whom does Judah send to get his signet, cord, and staff back (Genesis 38:20)? What happens with the Adullamite’s harlot search in Genesis 38:21-22? Why isn’t Judah willing to let even more people know that he is looking for the harlot (Genesis 38:23)? What does Judah now find out in Genesis 38:24? What does he demand to happen? What does Tamar present in Genesis 38:25? What does Judah admit in Genesis 38:26? What do they find out at the birth in Genesis 38:27? What does the midwife do in Genesis 38:28? But who comes out first (Genesis 38:29)? And who second (Genesis 38:30)?

Oh how dreadful is Judah’s fall! He leaves the covenant community that has been limited by the grief of his father (Genesis 38:1a), and proceeds to repeat the intermarriage error of Genesis 6:1–7, with similarly dreadful effects. His sons are so wicked that the Lord keeps striking them down in judgment, as if to say from heaven about each of them what Judah says about himself in Genesis 38:26: they’re even more wicked than this Canaanite woman Tamar.

And we know she’s wicked. Wicked enough that the proper response to her actions is that she be executed (cf. Leviticus 21:9; Deuteronomy 22:21). But in this case, she’s the least wicked one in the lot. We’ve seen his fathers commit sins like the lie in Genesis 38:11 (cf. Genesis 38:14) and self-righteousness in Genesis 38:24. But Judah is not even following even in the good footsteps of his deeply flawed fathers. There’s no mention of him building altars or worshiping. To their adulterous marriages, he now adds joining himself to a prostitute, and even worse in his ignorance.

Here is great wickedness! But against this backdrop, we marvel to see God’s even greater grace. God’s grace gives the repentance in Genesis 38:26. God’s grace gives children when there would be no other opportunity (Genesis 38:26-27, cf. 1 Chronicles 2:5). God’s grace that is free, according to His pleasure (chooses Perez, not Er or Zerah).

But ultimately, God’s grace gives Jesus Christ. This is the line of Jesus Christ! And He is the reason that God forgives even sinners like Judah and Tamar through faith in Him, and is with sinners such as Joseph (cf. chapter 39) to keep them from sins like Judah’s and sustain them in righteousness. 

What kind of people does Jesus save? About whom do you need reminding that God can save?

Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, from the Depths to You I Cried” or TPH340 “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood”