Saturday, March 13, 2021

When Do You Begin Preparing for the Lord's Day? (2021.03.13 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald)

Hopewell Herald – March 13, 2021

Dear Congregation,

An ARP pastor friend wrote to his congregation yesterday morning encouraging them to be forward-thinking about preparing for the Lord’s Day—not only by logistical things like setting out clothes Saturday night, but also by a mental and spiritual preparation throughout the weekend (he was writing on Friday morning).

This combined well for me with recent reading through Leviticus and into Numbers about all that Israelites had to pay attention to in order to be ready for worship. Thankfully, Christ is our worthiness and cleanliness. But that doesn’t mean that we have no preparing to do!

Indeed, as Jeremiah Burroughs discusses several times in his wonderfully helpful Gospel Worship, the keeping of the heart is something constant: we should continuously be thinking and feeling and living in such a way that takes into account that on the coming Lord’s Day we must come again into the public assembly and even to the Lord’s table.

This is some of the logic the Spirit employs in Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 5–6. Why should we have the Word of God on our hearts and on our lips? Why should we be discussing it with our children going out and coming in, and rising up and laying down? Why be continually bathing our wives with the Word? Why bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord? Why daily family worship? In part, because we are a people set apart to God for worship in that holy assembly in which we are filled with the Spirit and address one another with the Word in song.

For some years now, it has been my privilege to serve you in preparing household/individual devotional helps that have exactly this in mind as we worship God throughout the week. This used to be entirely following up upon previous texts (as we move sequentially in each part of the service) until one father’s suggestion that moving from review to preview would emphasize this preparation even more.

So, on the Monday, we redigest the passage from the Lord’s Day morning sermon. On the Tuesday, we prepare in the passage for the first portion from the coming Lord’s Day service. On the Wednesday, we prepare in the passage from the first serial reading. On the Thursday, we prepare in the passage from the second serial reading. On the Friday, we prepare in the passage for Lord’s Day afternoon. And on the Saturday, we prepare in the passage for the next day’s Lord’s Day morning sermon.

Those who have used these devotionals have found that reviewing/preparing throughout the week has been a great help to participating well in the public worship and profiting much from the means of grace in it. Then also, the connection between the two has increased the various families’ participation in and profit from their own family worship.

Whether or not you make use of what is furnished to help you, the responsibility remains: both in how you live throughout the week, and how you worship throughout the week, remember that come the next Lord’s Day, you will be a participant in the Lord’s holy assembly on the Lord’s holy day.

When He says “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” He emphasizes the holiness of that day. But the holiness of that day is observed not only in the glorious privileges of the day itself, but in carefully living out the rest of the week in a way that enriches the holiness of the holy day.

Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work. And six days shalt thou have individual worship and family worship in a way that anticipates and flows from public worship. Looking forward to that public worship with you,


p.s. Two reminders for tomorrow: turn your clocks forward, and don’t forget the budget meeting.

LORD'S DAY – March 14, 2021

9:50 a.m. Breakfast Line Opens

10 a.m. Sabbath School
This week, we’ll continue studying the Scriptures behind WCF 14, “Of Saving Faith”


11 a.m. Public Worship

Children’s Catechism for March 14
Q72. How many commandments did God give on Mount Sinai? A. Ten commandments.

Shorter Catechism for March 14
Q80. What is required in the tenth commandment? A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.

Psalms and Hymns
TPH450 “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”   
ARP22C “I’ll Praise You in the Gathering” 
TPH159 “Abide with Me”

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service
Psalm 18:1–6

Scripture Readings and basis for confession of sin and petition for help
2Samuel 6
Luke 14:25–35

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing from Genesis 47:27–31 about What to Do with Me When I’m Dead

Lord’s Supper! (Please see the section at the end of the Worship Booklet on how rightly to prepare for it and take it)

1 p.m. Coffee Fellowship and Catechism Class

1:15 p.m. Fellowship Lunch & Open Mic Time
Members are encouraged to bring way more than enough, so that there will be plenty for everyone, including any members or guests who are deciding last-minute whether or not to stay.

At open mic time, we’ll begin with birthdays and anniversaries and recitations of the memory verse:
Genesis 47:30but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” And he said, “I will do as you have said.”

2:30 p.m Psalm/hymn Sing

3:30 p.m. Evening Sermon from
Philippians 1:22–26, Why Believers Are Still Alive

Hopewell this Month
Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for March
Madison-Monrovia ARP Church in Madison, AL

March Psalm of the Month
ARP22C I’ll Praise You in the Gathering

Upcoming Events

•March 14, Annual budget meeting
•March 15, Stated Session meeting, 6p
•Wednesday, March 17, Prayer Meeting. 6:30p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. We pray for a solid hour, splitting into groups to balance praying corporately with giving everyone an opportunity to pray out loud as much as possible.
•March 19, Presbytery Worship Service, 7p in the chapel
•March 20, Leadership (men’s and boys’) breakfast, 6:30a in the Fellowship Hall
•March 20, Presbytery business meeting, 8:15a in the Fellowship Hall

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