Saturday, May 22, 2021

When the Gospel Is Bad News; Session Meeting Digest, Lord's Day Prep, etc. (2021.05.21 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell 'Harbingerald')

Hopewell “Harbingerald” – May 21, 2021

It was an unusually busy week, in many ways, for me. Thank you for understanding. Some items that are usually included in the early week “Harbinger” appear here for the first time this week. I’m sorry that your use of them for Lord’s Day preparation is a few days shorter this time around. Note also the attachment of the Session Meeting Digest from Monday night’s meeting.

This week, I also received a pdf of our packet for the General Synod meeting June 8–10. There are a number of important items, especially a memorial from 1st Presbytery to bring ARP diaconates back toward their original biblical parameters, and the ongoing work of the Restructuring Committee to decentralize and decommercialize ministry from being a function of Synod and agencies to being a function of Presbyteries/Sessions, centered upon the ministry of Word, Sacrament, and Prayer.

Please continue in prayer for our Session, Presbytery, and Synod!


Dear Congregation,

In Luke 2:34–35 this week, I noticed two important things.

34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

The first is that the gospel is good news that isn’t good for everyone. There are many for whom the redemption and kingship of Christ is very bad news. “This Child is destined for the fall of many.” Many do not bow the knee, kiss the Son, and trust in Him. So, they will indeed perish when His wrath is kindled but a little (cf. Psalm 2:11–12).

The second thing is that those who love Jesus the most are hurt the deepest, when He is rejected by the many. In addition to atoning for believers’ sins, the cross was the great instance in which our Lord was “a sign which was spoken against.” In addition to atoning for believers’ sins, the cross was a great instance of “the thoughts of many hearts revealed.”

Yet, it was not only at the cross that our Lord Jesus is God’s great sign which reveals the thoughts of the hearts of those who speak against Him. This happens whenever Christ is preached, and to a large extent in churches and cultures that resist His kingship. What does our level of grief and indignation at this tell us about the level of our love for Jesus?

Surely, we do not love Him as we ought. But He has loved us perfectly! And He is perfecting believers’ love. This He does most of all in the public administration of the ordinary means of grace, of which He has composed His worship. He sets Himself before us as the especial display of the glory of God, even as He uses the means by which He does so to conform our own love to His perfect love.

Looking forward to beholding His glory and having our love increased by His grace together,


The links are now active for audio/video and transcripts of the preaching and teaching from the 12th, as well as the last two weeks’ Prayer Meeting lessons
2021.05.16 Sabbath School MP3 PDF ("Of Saving Faith" part 11, WCF 14.3.2 How Satan Attacks Faith, and How We Stand)
2021.05.16 Morning Sermon Video MP3 PDF (Joel 1:1 –3, “The Lord Demands Your Attention to His Word, Working, and Worship”)
2021.05.16 Evening Sermon MP3 PDF (Philippians 2:25–30, “Trusting the Lord Jesus for Being Like the Lord Jesus”)
2021.05.12 Prayer Meeting Lesson MP3 PDF (Psalm 18:1–19, “Personal Prayer and Its Infinitely Powerful God”)
2021.05.19 Prayer Meeting Lesson MP3 PDF (Psalm 18:20–30, “Unassailable Confidence from the Justness of the God Who Justifies Us in Christ”)

The new Hopewell Directory project is being spearheaded by Tami. If you would like to be included in the directory, please contact her with names, birthdates, anniversaries, postal address, email addresses, phone numbers, and a recent household photo.

LORD'S DAY – May 23, 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” — this week, especially Scripture’s teaching on how true faith must at last get the victory.


11 a.m. Public Worship

Children’s Catechism for May 23
Q82. What is the second commandment? A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Shorter Catechism for May 23
Q90. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation? A.
That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Psalms and Hymns
TPH464 “The Beatitudes”   
ARP54 “By Your Name, O God” 
TPH42C “As Thirst the Hart for Water Brooks”

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service
Matthew 5:1–12

Scripture Readings and basis for confession of sin and petition for help
2Samuel 13:1–22
Luke 18:18–34

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing from Joel 1:4–12 about Made to Mourn the Loss of Public Worship

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 a generous amount of extra food, so that there will be plenty for everyone, including for 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:
▫Memory Verse for May 23, Joel 1:9The grain offering and the drink offering have been cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests mourn, who minister to the Lord

2:30 p.m Psalm/hymn Sing

3:30 p.m. Evening Sermon from
Philippians 3:1–3, The Great Effort, Intense Emotion, and Willing Sacrifice of True Christian Life and Ministry

Hopewell this Month

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for May 
Prosperity ARP Church in Taft, TN

May Psalm of the Month
ARP54 By Your Name, O God

Upcoming Events

• Wednesday, May 26, 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.
• June 18, Hopewell Church Covenant Family School invites the entire congregation to the graduation of its three seniors, Friday, June 18, 7p.m. with dessert reception following.
• June 19, Leadership (men’s and boys’) breakfast, 6:30a in the Fellowship Hall
• June 21, Monthly Stated Session meeting, 6p

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