Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 3p (sermon at 3:45); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

How Jesus Cures Our Unbelief (2021.11.28 Morning Sermon in Luke 24:36–43)


Christ gives us peace by assuring us of His resurrection


(click here to DOWNLOAD video/mp3/pdf files of this sermon)

WCF 16.2.7–9, Glorious, Heavenly Fruit of Good Works (2021.11.28 Sabbath School in John 15:5–8, Philippians 1:3–11, 1Peter 2:11–12, Ephesians 2:4–10, Romans 6:15–23)

Good works glorify God and fit us for glory.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.11.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 6:32–40

Read John 6:32–40

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does Jesus say is the giver of true bread (John 6:32)? What is the bread of God (John 6:33)? For what do they ask (John 6:34)? What does Jesus call Himself in John 6:35? What two things will never be done again by a person who comes to Jesus for life? But what does Jesus say that His hearers are not doing (John 6:36)? Who will come to Jesus (John 6:37)? What will Jesus not do with those who come to Him? From where has Jesus come (John 6:38)? What has Jesus not come to do? What has Jesus come to do? Whose will does Jesus describe in John 6:39? To whom has the Father given particular people? What will Jesus not do with any of those people? What will Jesus certainly do with all of those people? What has the Father willed to give to everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him (John 6:40)? What will Jesus do with that person on the last day?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration come from John 6:32–40, so that we may see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.

The people had asked for bread like manna (cf. John 6:30-31). What could be better than free bread from heaven that is so nourishing and tasty (cf. Exodus 16:31, Exodus 16:35) that the Scripture nicknames it “the bread of angels” (cf. Psalm 78:24–25)? 

The true bread from heaven is infinitely better (John 6:32-33). Manna gave earthly life to Israelites for forty years. The bread from heaven, the Lord Jesus Himself, gives life to the full, to the whole world, forever and ever.

Of course, they want this bread, and Jesus doubles up on the invitation. And what a marvelous invitation!: come to Jesus (John 6:35a), and believe in Jesus (verse 35b), and all true needs will be fulfilled (verse 35a–b). It is impossible that you be rejected (John 6:37). And, His supply and strength are so secure that it is impossible that you be lost and absolutely certain that you be raised to everlasting life (John 6:39John 6:40). 

So why don’t they accept it? Because they can’t. The ability to come to the Lord Jesus for life comes from the same Father, in the same electing love, and the same almighty power, as the Lord Jesus Himself. We can no more bring ourselves to the Lord Jesus, than we can bring the Lord Jesus down from heaven to us. The Father has to give both (John 6:32b, John 6:44). 

And of course if the Father, Who gave Christ, now also gives to you to come to Christ, it is utterly impossible that you be lost! It is the Father’s resolute determination to save you, and the Son’s perfectly harmonious resolute determination to do it—repeated three times in John 6:37-38John 6:39, and John 6:40!

So, dear reader. Come to the Lord Jesus. It will be no excuse at last to say, “I can’t.” Indeed, if you feel that you cannot, be of good cheer. He Himself gives also the ability to come. And when you do, it will be with the gratitude of one who knows that the Lord has given all by His hand, and with the confidence of one who knows that you can never be taken from His hand (cf. John 10:27–30)!

In what ways are you have difficulty resting in and being satisfied by the Lord Jesus? Who can do something about that? If you come to Him, what will He do about it and for how long?

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, You are the Bread of Life Who came down from heaven for us. Apart from You, we have no life. Apart from You, we can do nothing. Apart from the drawing of Your Father, we can’t even come to You. Yet, so often we fail to hunger for You or put our trust in You. Forgive us for how much we have depended upon, delighted in, and devoted ourselves to things apart from You. Grant that we would have all our life in You, all our joy in You, and devote ourselves to You, which we ask through Christ, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP125 “All Like Mount Zion Shall Endure” or TPH524 “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”


Monday, November 29, 2021

2021.11.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 24:36–43

Read Luke 24:36–43

Questions from the Scripture text: What was still happening in Luke 24:36 (cf. Luke 24:35)? Who suddenly stood where? What did He say to them? But how did they respond (Luke 24:37)? Because what had they assumed? What two questions does He ask them in Luke 24:38? What, specifically, does He tell them to behold, in order to verify identity (Luke 24:39a)? What, specifically, does He tell them to touch, in order to identify physicality (verse 39b)? What does He show them in Luke 24:40? What is still their response (Luke 24:41)? What is preventing them from believing at this point? What are they doing instead? Then what does He ask them? What do they give Him (Luke 24:42)? What does He do with it (Luke 24:43)?

As the Lord displays proof of His resurrection to His disciples, He does similarly for us. It is of utmost importance that we realize that His resurrection from the dead is an historical fact (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:5–8).  And the Scripture teaches us that His resurrected body is the template for our future resurrected bodies (cf. Philippians 3:20–21). Jesus Christ is the proper study and delight of every Christian, and so we come with eagerness and adoration to a passage that teaches us about His resurrected body.

Christ’s resurrection body is imbued with power, Luke 24:36. “Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them.” They knew that this was impossible, so they jumped to conclusions (Luke 24:37) and were terrified. It is true that Obadiah thought this could be done with Elijah (cf. 1 Kings 18:12), and other prophets thought this indeed had happened in 2 Kings 2:16. And the Spirit did it to Philip in Acts 8:39–40. But there is no mention here of the mediation of the Spirit, and we have a second instance in John 20:26. This is something that Jesus’s resurrection body simply can do. 

Christ’s resurrection body bears the marks of our redemption, Luke 24:39a, Luke 24:40. Various deniers of Christ’s death and resurrection have resorted to “lookalike” theories. But Jesus is urgent that the disciples would see that it is He Himself. And His ultimate proof of identity is “behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself.” There is only one Redeemer, and He bears the marks of our redemption, even in His glorified body. In John’s apocalypse, He is described as appearing as a lamb as though it had been slain.

Christ’s resurrection body is a real, physical body, Luke 24:39b. Even if it is Jesus, how do they know that it isn’t just the appearance of a body? Jesus invites them to lay hands on Him and discover that He has flesh and bone. He has a real, physical body. In the resurrection, we will have real, physical bodies. We will inherit a real, physical world. In the biblical view of things, the physical is not beneath or less important than the spiritual. Our current bodies are temporary, but there are permanent ones coming. And they are real bodies. Jesus’s real, physical body demonstrates that we who believe in Him have been made right with God (cf. Romans 4:25).

Christ’s resurrection body is capable of food and fellowship, Luke 24:41-43. They still aren’t able to take in the reality of what has happened, but now it is not because of the doubt that Jesus mentioned in Luke 24:38, but because this seemed something too joyous to be true. 

Jesus seems to enjoy their joy and seek to provoke it by His request in Luke 24:41. As they marvel and worship, He asks for some of whatever they’ve been having as an evening meal. They have broiled fish for supper and honeycomb for dessert. He eats it, and He does so in their presence. We can look forward to the enjoyment of food in the new creation, and we can especially look forward to table fellowship with our Lord. For now, He brings us to a table on earth, where we may eat bread and wine in His presence, and our faith can feed upon and commune with Him Who sits enthroned in glory.

Why is it important to you, personally, that Christ has been raised from the dead? What are you looking forward to, with regard to His resurrected body? What are you looking forward to, with regard to your own resurrected body?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we adore You, Who died and rose again for our poor sake. Forgive us for when we are unmindful of the reality of Your resurrection, or when we think or live as if for this life only we have been saved. Grant that we would serve You and enjoy you with our bodies now, even as we look forward to serving You and enjoying You with our bodies in the future. Which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP157 “Immortality and Resurrection” or TPH358 “Sing Choirs of New Jerusalem” 


Saturday, November 27, 2021

2021.11.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 24:36–43

Read Luke 24:36–43 

Questions from the Scripture text: What was still happening in Luke 24:36 (cf. Luke 24:35)? Who suddenly stood where? What did He say to them? But how did they respond (Luke 24:37)? Because what had they assumed? What two questions does He ask them in Luke 24:38? What, specifically, does He tell them to behold, in order to verify identity (Luke 24:39a)? What, specifically, does He tell them to touch, in order to identify physicality (verse 39b)? What does He show them in Luke 24:40? What is still their response (Luke 24:41)? What is preventing them from believing at this point? What are they doing instead? Then what does He ask them? What do they give Him (Luke 24:42)? What does He do with it (Luke 24:43)? 

As the Lord displays proof of His resurrection to His disciples, He does similarly for us. It is of utmost importance that we realize that His resurrection from the dead is an historical fact (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:5–8). And the Scripture teaches us that His resurrected body is the template for our future resurrected bodies (cf. Philippians 3:20–21). Jesus Christ is the proper study and delight of every Christian, and so we come with eagerness and adoration to a passage that teaches us about His resurrected body. 

Christ’s resurrection body is imbued with powerLuke 24:36. “Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them.” They knew that this was impossible, so they jumped to conclusions (Luke 24:37) and were terrified. It is true that Obadiah thought this could be done with Elijah (cf. 1 Kings 18:12), and other prophets thought this indeed had happened in 2 Kings 2:16. And the Spirit did it to Philip in Acts 8:39–40. But there is no mention here of the mediation of the Spirit, and we have a second instance in John 20:26. This is something that Jesus’s resurrection body simply can do. 

Christ’s resurrection body bears the marks of our redemptionLuke 24:39a, Luke 24:40. Various deniers of Christ’s death and resurrection have resorted to “lookalike ”theories. But Jesus is urgent that the disciples would see that it is He Himself. And His ultimate proof of identity is “behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself.” There is only one Redeemer, and He bears the marks of our redemption, even in His glorified body. In John’s apocalypse, He is described as appearing as a lamb as though it had been slain. 

Christ’s resurrection body is a real, physical bodyLuke 24:39b. Even if it is Jesus, how do they know that it isn’t just the appearance of a body? Jesus invites them to lay hands on Him and discover that He has flesh and bone. He has a real, physical body. In the resurrection, we will have real, physical bodies. We will inherit a real, physical world. In the biblical view of things, the physical is not beneath or less important than the spiritual. Our current bodies are temporary, but there are permanent ones coming. And they are real bodies. Jesus’s real, physical body demonstrates that we who believe in Him have been made right with God (cf. Romans 4:25). 

Christ’s resurrection body is capable of food and fellowshipLuke 24:41-43. They still aren’t able to take in the reality of what has happened, but now it is not because of the doubt that Jesus mentioned in Luke 24:38, but because this seemed something too joyous to be true. 

Jesus seems to enjoy their joy and seek to provoke it by His request in Luke 24:41. As they marvel and worship, He asks for some of whatever they’ve been having as an evening meal. They have broiled fish for supper and honeycomb for dessert. He eats it, and He does so in their presence. We can look forward to the enjoyment of food in the new creation, and we can especially look forward to table fellowship with our Lord. For now, He brings us to a table on earth, where we may eat bread and wine in His presence, and our faith can feed upon and commune with Him Who sits enthroned in glory. 

Why is it important to you, personally, that Christ has been raised from the dead? What are you looking forward to, with regard to His resurrected body? What are you looking forward to, with regard to your own resurrected body? 

Sample prayer: Lord, we adore You, Who died and rose again for our poor sake. Forgive us for when we are unmindful of the reality of Your resurrection, or when we think or live as if for this life only we have been saved. Grant that we would serve You and enjoy you with our bodies now, even as we look forward to serving You and enjoying You with our bodies in the future. Which we ask through Christ, AMEN

Suggested songs: ARP157 “Immortality and Resurrection” or TPH356 “Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain” 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Christ's Death's Infinite Worth for Us (Family Worship lesson in 2Samuel 24:17–25)

Why the extended interaction and negotiation about the site and the sacrifice? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Samuel 24:17–25 prepares us for the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s hand was against Christ on account of our sin, that God paid an infinite cost for this sacrifice, and that God has accepted this sacrifice to remove from us our guilt and punishment and to listen to our prayers.
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2021.11.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 24:17–25

Read 2 Samuel 24:17–25 

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom did David speak (2 Samuel 24:17)? Whom had he seen? Doing what? What two things does David say about himself? What does he call the people? What does he ask about them? What request does David make? What two objects does he ask that Yahweh’s hand be against? How is the latter ultimately true? Through whom does God respond (2 Samuel 24:18)? Where does he tell David to go? What does he say to set up there? Unto Whom? According to what does David respond (2 Samuel 24:19)? But Who has commanded it? In 2 Samuel 24:20, who “looks”? Whom does he see doing what? Where does Araunah go? What does he do? Before whom? To what extent? What does Araunah ask (2 Samuel 24:21)? What does David say he wants to buy from Araunah? In order to build what? For what outcome? But how does Araunah preface his offer (2 Samuel 24:22)? What three additional things does he offer? At what cost does Araunah offer all of this (2 Samuel 24:23a)? And what is his desire in offering these things (verse 23b)? What does the king insist that he will do (2 Samuel 24:24a)? What does the king insist that he will not do (verse 24b)? What does David buy from Araunah at what price? What does David build (2 Samuel 24:25)? What does he offer? What does Yahweh heed? What happens in response? 

The LORD has already stopped the plague, and now He allows David to see the Angel. The one through whom the LORD had begun to chasten Israel (cf. 2 Samuel 24:1) now becomes the mediator for Israel. We never were able to answer the question in 2 Samuel 24:17, “what have they done?” Surely, Israel had done wickedly, despite David’s question. But his request would be answered. 

The LORD’s hand would indeed be against David’s Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s immediate response is to send Gad the prophet (2 Samuel 24:18) with instruction to erect an altar. We see a little here about the inspiration of Scripture. The words come out of Gad’s mouth (2 Samuel 24:19a), but it is the command of Yahweh (verse 19b). 

David wants to buy the threshing floor (2 Samuel 24:21). Araunah wants to give him more (2 Samuel 24:22a) but free of cost (verse 22b). But David refuses to offer a burnt offering that costs him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). On the one hand, this reflects the marvelous costliness at which the LORD purchases the salvation to which that sacrifice points. On the other hand, we are reminded that the sacrifice that cost Christ everything must by necessity cost us nothing. 

Looking forward to Christ, David’s sacrifices are accepted (2 Samuel 24:25), and salvation comes not just to Israelites but to foreigners who have been joined to Israel. Foreigners like a Jebusite, whose land the LORD specifically chose for this sacrifice (2 Samuel 24:18). A foreigner who received the king of Israel as his own king (2 Samuel 24:20-21). A foreigner who was willing to give all that he has to the LORD for the LORD’s cause (2 Samuel 24:22-23a). A foreigner whose hope was in the LORD accepting Israel’s mediator (verse 23b).The LORD’s Christ still receives foreigners as subjects and mediates for them as Priest. 

Christ gave a sacrifice, at infinite price. He atoned for sin, turned away God’s wrath, and is gathering to Himself subjects whom He redeems from all the nations. 

What has God paid for your forgiveness? What can you pay for it? But how much should you be willing to give in response to that? What is a specific way you can go about doing that? 

Sample prayer: O Lord, truly we have done wickedly, and yet You have chosen us in Christ to be Your sheep. Against Yourself, You have taken the penalty for our sin. Forgive us for when we think we could ever participate in making up for our sin—or when we are unwilling to deny ourselves and offer our bodies as living sacrifices in response to Your mercy. Help us, we pray, to be Christ’s glad subjects, which we ask through HIM, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH354“Not All the Blood of Beasts”

Thursday, November 25, 2021

2021.11.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 2:16–19

Read Colossians 2:16–19 

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom should believers let judge them in these matters (Colossians 2:16)? What five matters are named? Is the fifth one singular, or plural? What does Colossians 2:17 say these plural sabbaths, and these other four things, were? Who gave these “shadows” and where? When would the body, to which these shadows belonged, come? Who is the body to which they belonged? Of what might believers be cheated (Colossians 2:18)? Whom should they permit to cheat them? In what two things might such cheat-ing religion delight? Into what might such cheat-ing religion intrude? What kind of mind does such religion demonstrate? What does this fleshly mind do to a man? What does holding fast either to shadows or to manmade ideas in religion keep us from holding fast to (Colossians 2:19)? 

 What sorts of things threaten to keep us from holding fast to Christ? 

Holding to shadows and outward forms, Colossians 2:16-17. The Mosaic administration had food laws, feast days, and sabbaths that were shadows of Christ. In every age, there have been Christians who were tempted to observe such regulations—and even those who have judged others for not keeping them. But finding meaning in the shadow, after Christ has come, is a diversion from clinging to Him Who is the Substance (body). Rather than the multiple high-day sabbaths of the Jewish calendar, they were to cling to Him Who revealed Himself as the LORD of that Sabbath which had been instituted even in the Garden of Eden. In the New Testament, Christ is even more obviously the Substance of such ordinances as baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and especially the New Testament Sabbath, which Scripture actually calls “the Lord’s Day.” We must be careful to engage Him Himself in these ordinances and not focus on the rites and external forms. 

Observing man-made religion, Colossians 2:18. If we are to beware of missing Christ Himself as the Substance of biblical religion, much more must we resist any religion whatsoever that hasn’t been given to us by God. For, we cannot give Christ to ourselves. What fools we would be if we invented religious things to do and claimed that the substance of them was Christ! It’s ironic to come up with rituals that purport to express or foster humility (Colossians 2:18), when the very coming up with it is an act of arrogance—taking for oneself the divine prerogative of inventing religion. False teachers had introduced such things in Colossians, as well as the worship of angels. But how could a fleshly mind create true religion, when we have no access to genuinely spiritual things “which he has not seen”? 

These are things that cheat us, Colossians 2:19 (Colossians 2:18a). From Christ, our Head, alone is the whole body nourished. From Christ alone is the whole body knit together. From Christ alone can the whole body grow. God alone gives the growth, and He has given that growth in Christ alone. Adding anything because it feels meaningful, or we think it feeds us or grows us, is to cheat ourselves of Christ. 

Hold fast to Christ, the Substance—Christ, our Head! 

What are some man-invented religious observances that people today think are spiritually meaningful or helpful? Why is it so important not to observe them? 

Sample prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You have given Yourself to be our spiritual life in Jesus Christ. You alone can give life and growth, but we cheat ourselves and let others cheat us by failing to engage Christ in the religion that He has commanded. Even worse, we have even thought that manmade religious days and actions could have spiritual value. Forgive us, O Lord, and make us to cling instead to Christ. For we ask it through Him, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH354“Not All the Blood of Beasts"

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

2021.11.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 9:8–12

Read Exodus 9:8–12 

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom does Yahweh speak in Exodus 9:8? What does He tell them to take? From where? Who is to scatter it? Toward where? In the sight of whom? What will the ashes become (Exodus 9:9)? Where? What did it cause? One whom and what? Where? What did they take (Exodus 9:10)? From where? Before whom? Who scattered them? Toward where? And what did the ashes cause? On whom and what? In Exodus 9:11, who were now unable to do what? On what men, specifically, were the boils? But what did Yahweh do (Exodus 9:12)? And what didn’t Pharaoh do? Just as what? 

We sinners justly deserve God’s wrath, which makes it so glorious when instead we receive His mercy! 

This justness is on display when (as with the third plague, cf. Exodus 8:16) the LORD skips the ordinary command (“let My people go that they may serve Me”) and warning (“but if you do not let them go, I will…”). Indeed the Lord could immediately cast Pharaoh and all Egypt (and all Israel!) into Hell, and He would have been righteous and just to do so. And the Lord would have been righteous and just to cast you, dear reader, immediately into Hell. But He has not done so, for here you sit, reading His Word and this little exposition of that Word. 

This brief account proclaims the justness of what the LORD is doing in at least two more ways. One is the source of the ashes that Moses is commanded to throw (Exodus 9:8Exodus 9:10). The furnaces in Egypt were brick kilns and represented the Israelites’ slavery and subjugation. 

The bricks had also featured prominently in Pharaoh’s initial, rebellious response to Yahweh’s identification of Israel as His servants rather than Pharaoh’s (cf. Exodus 6:6–19). A third display of Yahweh’s justness in this brief plague account is what comes upon the magicians of Egypt. They, too, had figured prominently in Egypt’s resistance to the signs and punishments by which the LORD had exerted His glory (cf. Exodus 7:11, Exodus 7:22, Exodus 8:7, Exodus 8:18–19). We have not seen or heard from them in the past couple plagues; their entire role in this episode is being unable even to stand before Moses now (Exodus 9:11). 

Under every pain, we would do well to identify ways in which that chastening would have been just the beginning of a perfectly just penalty from the Lord for our sin. Often, there is some providential detail—some specific thing in the situation—by which the Lord highlights His justness to us. But this much emphasizes to us His mercy. 

It is marvelous that the Lord is merciful even to Pharaoh here. He specifically commands that Pharaoh should witness this with his own eyes (end of Exodus 9:8), and Moses obeys (Exodus 9:10). God gives Pharaoh the opportunity to see his own wickedness against the backdrop of God’s power and justness. But this mercy heaps coals of fire upon Pharaoh’s head (cf. Proverbs 25:21–22, Romans 12:20) because apart from restraining or regenerating grace, when the Lord causes Pharaoh’s heart to set in its current condition (Exodus 9:12a), he rejects even this mercy of God (verse 12b). 

How about you, dear reader? Seek from the Lord the twin mercies of an opportunity to see your sin in light of Him and the mercy of a softened heart that is not justly set in its sinful condition! 

There is also great mercy here to Moses and to Israel. This hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was an integral part of the LORD’s promise to redeem His people (cf. Exodus 4:21). The fact that this is going “according to plan” strengthens assurance of their redemption and inflames adoration of their Redeemer. 

But the greatest mercy is to us who have come to know that Jesus is both Yahweh and Christ. For, the deliverance from Egypt (to which Pharaoh’s hardening was vital) was itself an integral part of the Lord coming into the world as the Christ, so that He might bear for us the Hell that we justly deserved and might redeem us by His precious blood! 

What current circumstances make you cry out for (and thankful to be sure of) God’s just wrath? How are you responding the calls of His Word and work for your own repentance? Where can you get the mercy of a softened heart in order to respond better? 

Sample prayer: Glorious, Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we praise You for the perfect justice in which You vindicate Yourself upon all the wicked. And how greatly we have deserved the condemnation ourselves. But we adore You all the more that You have shown us mercy instead. In that very mercy, grant Your Spirit’s blessed work upon our hearts that we might be softened unto repentance and might rejoice in Your redeeming us through Christ, through Whom also we pray this, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH340“There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Grace in the Midst of Chastening (2021.11.21 Evening Sermon in 2Samuel 24:11–16)

When a chastened sinner receives God's Word, that's grace. God provokes David to make a request known to Him about which kind of chastening to receive; so also we are urged to come with confidence to His throne of grace. Finally, God's gracious mercy relents even in the midst of chastening—something which we may hope for under any chastening, because this is the sort of God Who has taken us for Himself.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this sermon)

How We Can See Christ's Glory (2021.11.21 Morning Sermon in Luke 24:13–35)


Christ, Who so desires that we would see His glory, accomplished that desire in His life by suffering and death and resurrection, and accomplishes that desire in our life by His Word, sacrament, and Spirit.

(click here to DOWNLOAD video/mp3/pdf files of this sermon)

WCF 16.2.6, Good Works Silence Enemies (2021.11.21 Sabbath School in 1Peter 2:11–25)

Even if good works are not used of God to silence our enemies through conversion now, they will especially shame and silence our enemies in their condemnation on the last day.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.11.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 4:14–16

Read Hebrews 4:14–16 

Questions from the Scripture text: Who is our great High Priest ( Hebrews 4:14)? Through what has He passed? To what, then, should we hold fast? What do we not have, according to Hebrews 4:15? Like whom was Jesus tempted? In how many points was He tempted as we are? What is the difference between Jesus’ response to temptation and ours? To where, then, should we come (Hebrews 4:16)? In what manner should we come to the throne? What kind of throne is it for us? What do we hope to obtain and find at the throne? When should we come to the throne of grace for mercy and grace? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration come from Hebrews 4:14–16, so that we may see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Behold the Throne of Grace! 

In this Scripture, we see that we must hold fast to our confession of Jesus as our High Priest—that is, to hold fast to Jesus Himself. We do so because He is worthy, and because we are needy. 

First, He is worthy. Jesus is the Son of God (Hebrews 4:14), and so there is no more powerful or glorious High Priest possible. 

Jesus is able to sympathize with our weakness, with our neediness, so there is no more appropriate High Priest possible. He was made like us in every way, and in all points tempted as we are. 

And, Jesus is sinless, so there is no more effective High Priest possible. He does not have sin of His own to cleanse, and He offers Himself as the actual perfect sacrifice. The unspottedness of the former sacrifices could only hint at that perfection which is a reality in Christ. Whatever Jesus does on our behalf in glory is always effective. 

Second, He is gracious. In our union with Christ, we come together all the way to the throne of glory. What do we find there? That the throne of glory is for us a throne of grace. Our Mediator, our great High Priest, is not bowed down before the throne. He is seated upon it! 

The wonder of all of this is that we do not have to wait until we are strong or pure to go there. And that is good, because right now is our time of need. Right now is when we need mercy. Right now is when we need grace. Right now is when we need help. And right now, already, we may come. 

When and how do we do that? Every time that we pray, we do that. But we especially do it when we are together, gathered as His church, gathered as those who confess Him together. 

Which do you forget about most easily: Jesus’ power, sympathy, or sinlessness? How will you go about learning and reminding yourself of it, to help you hold fast to Him? 

Sample prayer: O Lord Jesus, You are worthy! You are God from all eternity, Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Spirit, one God from everlasting to everlasting. And You humbled Yourself to become like us in every way, except without sin. How marvelous that You can sympathize with our weakness! Indeed, weak we are. And wicked. Yet, through Your blood our guilt has been eliminated. And, in Your divine life and resurrection power, we have abundant provision for all our need. So, help us by Your Spirit to make liberal use of Your throne of grace, and grant us the faith to know You Yourself there, in Your gracious provision, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP183 “Under His Wings” or TPH522 “Behold, the Throne of Grace!”

Monday, November 22, 2021

2021.11.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 24:13–35

Read Luke 24:13–35

Questions from the Scripture text: How many of whom were traveling where (Luke 24:13)? What were they doing on the way (Luke 24:14)? Who drew near (Luke 24:15)? What did He do? What was done to them, with what result (Luke 24:16)? What did Jesus ask (Luke 24:17)? What did He note about them? Who answered (Luke 24:18)? What does he ask? With what question does Jesus respond (Luke 24:19)? What did they call Jesus? What did they say had been done to Him by whom (Luke 24:20)? But what had they hoped (Luke 24:21)? And why do they think this hope has disappointed? To whom does he refer in Luke 24:22? What does he say they had done? By saying what (Luke 24:23)? And had others done (Luke 24:24)? What does Jesus say about them for this (Luke 24:25)? What does He ask (Luke 24:26)? Where does He begin in Luke 24:27? And through how many of the Spirit-inspired books of the Old Testament does He take them? What does He specifically explain? To where do they draw near (Luke 24:28)? What does He indicate? But how do they respond in Luke 24:29? What are they doing in Luke 24:30? What does He do? What happens to their eyes (Luke 24:31)? What doe they know? And what happens to Him? What do they ask one another (Luke 24:32)? What do they do when (Luke 24:33)? Where do they go? Whom do they find? Whom else? What do the disciples in Jerusalem tell them (Luke 24:34)? And what do Cleopas and his friend tell them (Luke 24:35a)? What detail really stuck out to them (verse 35b)?

Sometimes the Scriptures catch our attention by a surprising response. These disciples seem distressed and disappointed. The initial discussion is pretty animated with the “conversing and reasoning” in Luke 24:15. Then their explanation is dejected in Luke 24:19-24 with the “But we were hoping” of Luke 24:21. To distressed and disappointed disciples, we might have expected some sympathy, but Jesus’s response is, “O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe!” (Luke 24:25). Surprising.

But often, when what we desire is sympathy, what we need is rebuke. While they were incredulous that Jesus didn’t seem to understand them, their real problem was that they had not understood His Word.

And if we haven’t seen that the Bible is about Christ—Christ crucified and Christ glorified—then we haven’t understood His Word either. That’s what the whole Bible is about: “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets […] all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). 

“If only I could see Jesus.”

Well, Jesus was there. But what they needed was to hear Jesus (His teaching from all the Scriptures) and for Jesus to make Himself known to them in the breaking of the bread. How often we feel like we want a particular experience of Christ, but what we really need is to attend upon His ordinary means! He is the One Whom makes Himself known to us, and He has chosen the means by which to do so. When we are distressed and disappointed, what we need is to believe all that Christ has spoken in His Word and by that Word, together with His sacrament, to know Him.

May His Spirit grant that our hearts would burn within us while He talks to us (Luke 24:32) and that we would know Him in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35).

Over what have you been distressed and disappointed? What do you need in the midst of that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You filled Your Word with truth about Yourself, Your crucifixion, and Your glory. Forgive us for being foolish and slow of heart to believe. Grant that Your Spirit would make our hearts burn within us at Your Word and make us to know You in the breaking of the bread. For we ask it in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”


Saturday, November 20, 2021

2021.11.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 24:13–35

Read Luke 24:13–35

Questions from the Scripture text: How many of whom were traveling where (Luke 24:13)? What were they doing on the way (Luke 24:14)? Who drew near (Luke 24:15)? What did He do? What was done to them, with what result (Luke 24:16)? What did Jesus ask (Luke 24:17)? What did He note about them? Who answered (Luke 24:18)? What does he ask? With what question does Jesus respond (Luke 24:19)? What did they call Jesus? What did they say had been done to Him by whom (Luke 24:20)? But what had they hoped (Luke 24:21)? And why do they think this hope has disappointed? To whom does he refer in Luke 24:22? What does he say they had done? By saying what (Luke 24:23)? And had others done (Luke 24:24)? What does Jesus say about them for this (Luke 24:25)? What does He ask (Luke 24:26)? Where does He begin in Luke 24:27? And through how many of the Spirit-inspired books of the Old Testament does He take them? What does He specifically explain? To where do they draw near (Luke 24:28)? What does He indicate? But how do they respond in Luke 24:29? What are they doing in Luke 24:30? What does He do? What happens to their eyes (Luke 24:31)? What doe they know? And what happens to Him? What do they ask one another (Luke 24:32)? What do they do when (Luke 24:33)? Where do they go? Whom do they find? Whom else? What do the disciples in Jerusalem tell them (Luke 24:34)? And what do Cleopas and his friend tell them (Luke 24:35a)? What detail really stuck out to them (verse 35b)?

Sometimes the Scriptures catch our attention by a surprising response. These disciples seem distressed and disappointed. The initial discussion is pretty animated with the “conversing and reasoning” in Luke 24:15. Then their explanation is dejected in Luke 24:19-24 with the “But we were hoping” of Luke 24:21. To distressed and disappointed disciples, we might have expected some sympathy, but Jesus’s response is, “O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe!” (Luke 24:25). Surprising.

But often, when what we desire is sympathy, what we need is rebuke. While they were incredulous that Jesus didn’t seem to understand them, their real problem was that they had not understood His Word.

And if we haven’t seen that the Bible is about Christ—Christ crucified and Christ glorified—then we haven’t understood His Word either. That’s what the whole Bible is about: “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets […] all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). 

“If only I could see Jesus.”

Well, Jesus was there. But what they needed was to hear Jesus (His teaching from all the Scriptures) and for Jesus to make Himself known to them in the breaking of the bread. How often we feel like we want a particular experience of Christ, but what we really need is to attend upon His ordinary means! He is the One Whom makes Himself known to us, and He has chosen the means by which to do so. When we are distressed and disappointed, what we need is to believe all that Christ has spoken in His Word and by that Word, together with His sacrament, to know Him.

May His Spirit grant that our hearts would burn within us while He talks to us (Luke 24:32) and that we would know Him in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35).

Over what have you been distressed and disappointed? What do you need in the midst of that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You filled Your Word with truth about Yourself, Your crucifixion, and Your glory. Forgive us for being foolish and slow of heart to believe. Grant that Your Spirit would make our hearts burn within us at Your Word and make us to know You in the breaking of the bread. For we ask it in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”


Friday, November 19, 2021

2021.11.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 24:11–16

Read 2 Samuel 24:11–16

Questions from the Scripture text: What is David doing when in 2 Samuel 24:11? But what comes to whom else? What instruction is Gad to give him (2 Samuel 24:12)? What three options is he to offer (2 Samuel 24:3)? What does David say about himself in 2 Samuel 24:14? What does he choose? Why? What does he not wish to happen? What does Yahweh send (2 Samuel 24:15)? Until when? How many died? What was the Angel about to do at the appointed time (2 Samuel 24:16)? And what does Yahweh do? What does He say? Where was the Angel of Yahweh at this point? Whom does David now see (2 Samuel 24:17)? To Whom does he speak? What does he say about himself? What does he say about the people? For what does he ask? 

As this chapter takes us toward the selection of the location for the altar and the temple, it holds before us the God Who is merciful to sinners.

His Word meets us in our guilt, 2 Samuel 24:11. David’s heart has already smitten him (2 Samuel 24:10). That’s a horrible place to be as a believer. But God is merciful and doesn’t leave His servant stewing long in that condition. He sends the prophet in 2 Samuel 24:11. We needn’t stew long either. We may read and meditate upon Scripture about Christ’s atonement for us. We are never more than six days away from gathering into glory through the risen Redeemer. The God Who was providing Israel with the temple that would point forward to Christ and His sacrifice was displaying His mercy here by engaging His guilty servant.

Even His discipline comes graciously, 2 Samuel 24:12-13. When Gad arrives, not only has the Lord’s Word engaged His servant, but it does so surprisingly. David is given the option of how God would respond. God already knows, of course, what He is going to do. But by coming to it in this way, He displays condescension and mercy—stooping down to a level of interaction to which the sinful creature has no claim. But the Lord gives it by His grace. 

Dear believer, when God listens to your praying, when He puts His words in your mouth in your singing, when He gives you fellowship with Himself in the Supper… how marvelous it is that the holy God stoops down to engage you and be engaged by You! And here we see that this holds true even in His discipline (cf. Hebrews 12:5–9).

When suffering for our sin, we may still hope in His character, 2 Samuel 24:14-16. It seems that David is happy with almost any of the options, just as long as man and his cruelty are kept out of the equation. This leaves options one and three, famine and plague. 

The LORD chooses the shortest one (plague, 2 Samuel 24:15), and 70,000 Israelites are quickly wiped out. That’s roughly 5% of the number of fighting men from the census (though the plague doesn’t seem to be limited to fighting men). 

The big story of the plague, however, is that David’s hope about the Lord “His mercies are great” (2 Samuel 24:14) proves true. “Yahweh relented from the destruction” (2 Samuel 24:16). This is the story not only of the plague, but really of the temple and of all human history. We completely deserve His wrath, but He is pleased to display His character in saving us through Christ and His atonement.

Dear Christian, the same character of God displayed in the cross of Christ is on display in His dealings with you. As counterintuitive as it sounds, you can count on Him to be surprising in His gentleness and mercy!

In what situations has the Lord surprised you with how mercifully it turned out? What aspect of His character does this display? What is the greatest display of this?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, how marvelous is your stooping down to us. You made us in Your own image. You gave us to know You and enjoy You. You promised salvation and provided atonement. You bend down Your ear to hear us. You give us to have fellowship with You. Even in Your discipline, You are gentle and patient, and You engage us in fatherly love. Forgive us for how little we take advantage of our access to You and how unthinkingly and unfeelingly we often are when we do engage You. Grant that Your Spirit would bless unto us this study of Your Word that we might know You and Your love, and be full of worship and love unto You, which we ask through Christ, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH450 “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”

 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Nearness and Fullness of God Our Savior (2021.11.17 Prayer Meeting Lesson in Psalm 34:15–22)

In vv1–7, David enlists help praising the Lord, recounting what the Lord has done for him. In vv8–14, David urges other saints to trust in the Lord as he has. In vv15–22, David assures them that his own experience has been according to the Lord’s enduring character. Our omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent God is always near and will always completely deliver those who are righteous before Him through faith in Christ.
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2021.11.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 2:11–15

Read Colossians 2:11–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What has happened to those who are in Christ (Colossians 2:11)? Without what was the circumcision made? By what was this circumcision made? Who/Whose is this circumcision?  How else is this circumcision described in Colossians 2:12? Who has done this work through our union with Christ? What else had He done? What condition are we in apart from Christ—what two ways does Colossians 2:13 describe it? What has God done to once-dead believers? What had to be done to their trespasses in order for God to make them alive? What had to be wiped out for us to be forgiven (Colossians 2:14)? What has Christ done to this certificate of debt? Whom did He disarm (Colossians 2:15? What else did He do to them? By doing what?

The apostle has been exalting Christ as God Himself in-fleshed (incarnated) to be our Redeemer—and therefore as our complete and only hope and help. Now, he continues by opening how the covenant signs in both the Abrahamic/Mosaic administrations and the New Testament administration have their substance in Christ.

We didn’t need the putting off of a part of our flesh, which is what physically happens in a circumcision. We needed the putting off of our entire fleshly self (Colossians 2:11c). There was no hand and no knife that could do this (verse 11b), but Christ has done this (verse 11a)!

The new sign, baptism, doesn’t focus upon removal from ourselves but rather union with Christ—not so much the undoing of our earthly self, but God the Son and God the Spirit coming for us and to us from heaven (cf. Romans 10:6–13; Galatians 4:3–7). Just as with circumcision, what we do on earth is a reminder that God Himself does what we cannot do; we can only pour water, but God has sent His Son, and the Lord Jesus has poured our His Spirit. 

And this is what accomplishes that removal of our fleshly self to which circumcision looked forward. In fact, union with Christ gives us not just burial of our former self because the Christ to Whom we are united has died (Colossians 2:12a, cf. Romans 6:3, Romans 6:5–7), but also an even greater resurrection, because the Christ to Whom we are united was raised from the dead (Colossians 2:12b, cf. Romans 6:4, Romans 6:8–11). The person we are in Him isn’t dead in trespasses (Colossians 2:13a) but alive and forgiven by Him (Colossians 2:13b). Nothing—not even our former (now-cancelled!) guilt before God’s law can hold back the life of Christ in us (Colossians 2:14). And if that guilt and law have no power over us, much less do all the supposedly powerful enemies over whom Christ has triumphed (Colossians 2:15).

Circumcision displayed the need for a Christ (Colossians 2:11). Baptism displays a Christ Who has met that need in His incarnation, death, resurrection (Colossians 2:12-13)—a Christ who applies Himself to us by the pouring out of His Spirit!!

Now, how can those who know that Christ is God, who know that Christ has become man for us, who know that Christ died so that our former self and our guilt could be eliminated in Him, who know that Christ has risen again so that we might have indestructible life to walk in newness of life, and who know that Christ Himself pours out His Spirit so that the third Person of the Trinity is applying Christ and His benefits to us— … how could those who know these things turn from such a God and such a Christ to anything else for their hope or help for righteousness or holiness?!

That’s the question that you face in your spiritual life and growth, dear Christian. And your baptism answers that you can’t, that you mustn’t. You must stick completely and confidently to Christ!!

What are you tempted to think is going to make the difference in your spiritual growth going forward? Who is Christ, and what does your baptism say you have in Him?

Sample prayer: Lord, You Yourself are our salvation—our forgiveness, the end of our former life, the substance of our new life, our victory over the devil, our victory over sin. You are God, and You have given Yourself not only for us but also to us, in order to be ours. Forgive us for when we forget what we have in You and either despair over growth or think that something else is what is really going to make it effective. Thank You for our baptisms; make us to heed what they signify and seal to us we ask in Your Name, AMEN!!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH193 “Baptized into Your Name Most Holy”


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

2021.11.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 9:1–7

Read Exodus 9:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Yahweh command Pharaoh by Moses in Exodus 9:1? What does He warn him not to do (Exodus 9:2)? What six livestock does He specifically threaten (Exodus 9:3)? What will Yahweh make (Exodus 9:4)? How much of the Israelite livestock will die? What does Yahweh appoint in Exodus 9:5? How does Exodus 9:6 relate to Exodus 9:4-5? What did Pharaoh send to see in Exodus 9:7? 

This is the fourth time in five plagues that the Lord has given the demand at the end of Exodus 9:1. And it’s the fourth time (cf. Exodus 4:23, Exodus 7:14, Exodus 8:2) that this word for “refuse” in Exodus 9:2 is used for Pharaoh’s rebellion. At this point, it starts to feel tedious to the reader, but this isn’t fiction it’s history. 

And in this fallen world, life—and especially sin—is tedious indeed. Egypt is being systematically devastated, but Pharaoh’s hardness of heart (Exodus 9:7) just keeps on keeping on. Sin looks so inviting in the moments of our lives; it’s good to have Scripture passages like this to help us see that it is unattractive, unrewarding, and offensive to God.

The Lord warns that His hand will be very heavy on Egypt (Exodus 9:3). This may be an intentional intensification over/against the magicians’ calling the lice the “finger of God” in Exodus 8:19. Indeed, it’s not just language being intensified. Exodus 9:3 identifies as God’s targets not only multiple animals who represent various Egyptian ‘deities’ but also which provide milk, transportation, labor, and clothing. All of these die (Exodus 9:6; a few other kinds of beasts will remain in order to be destroyed later by the hail).

But blessed be the Name of our God, Who is just as miraculous in the preservation of His people! Not one of all the livestock of the children of Israel died (Exodus 9:6). Indeed, it was this latter miracle—Israel’s livestock NOT dying—that Pharaoh sent to inquire about in Exodus 9:7. Dear believer, do you not see how powerful and merciful is Your God to preserve you and what is yours? Surely, nothing can touch you except that it be for Your good. Government agencies panic when a plague goes through the livestock, because they can’t stop the spread. But it is easy for your God to protect and preserve you.

So, lest we be hardened in our sinfulness, let us look to God for the grace that brings to our hearts His softening goodness. And thus let us despise our tediously persistent sin and delight in our almightily merciful God.

From what sin might you be refusing to turn? What are some examples of how God has miraculously protected and preserved you in this life? How about eternally?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are marvelous in Your persistent goodness, but we are astonishingly persistent in our sinfulness. Forgive us, and deliver us, we pray! And grant that we would see what a marvelous difference You have made in protecting and preserving us, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH525 “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

What We Need Is Jesus (2021.11.14 Morning Sermon in Matthew 17)


What we need is to see Jesus's glory, to depend upon Jesus's glory, and for Jesus to express and exert His glory.

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2021.11.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 4:6–7

Read Philippians 4:6–7

Questions from the Scripture text: For what may we be anxious (Philippians 4:6)? In how many things are we to make our requests known? By what two actions? With what attitude? With what from Himself will God respond (Philippians 4:7)? What does it surpass? What two things will it guard? Through whom?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration come from Philippians 4:6–7, so that we may see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Believers have peace with God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7), but we often fail to rejoice in Him (cf. Philippians 4:4). The path to obeying the “always” rejoicing of verse 4 is a “never-fretting” and “always-praying” in Philippians 4:6. Thankfully, believers have the divine assurance of Philippians 1:6 and Philippians 2:13 of God’s working in us. The peace of God does not depend upon our performance of what Philippians 4:6 commands. But, the God upon Whom we depend has appointed what verse 6 commands as the means by which His peace will guard our hearts.

What are the means by which His peace takes up a fortified position around our heart and refuses to allow in anxiety so that we can always rejoice?

Prayer. Orienting oneself to God. Coming before His presence and directing our hearts and mouths toward Him. Bowing down in posture and spirit to lay our souls before Him as an act of worship. Something that sinners may only do through the blood of Christ.

Supplication. A specific part of praying that comes from personal neediness and knowing God as gloriously abundant to supply all our needs. Also called petition, this aspect of prayer is a glorifying and enjoying of God’s sufficiency, as the purpose of our neediness. It is an eager looking forward to how He will be praised in meeting those needs. His grace is sufficient for us, and in this part of prayer is our rejoicing in weakness, because His strength is made perfect in it.

Thanksgiving. Equal parts gratitude and submission, this part of submission looks backward at how perfectly God has always answered the prayers of His people generally and our own particular prayers specifically. And thanksgiving looks forward, knowing that where God’s grace has enabled us to ask well, we shall have it; but, wherever we have asked poorly or insufficiently, His mercy will give us according to His wisdom instead. How can anxiety survive, when it is being suffocated by thankfulness for what God is going to do, without even the need of knowing what that will be?

Requests. This is asking for specific action by God to intervene, perhaps for ourselves but especially on behalf of others. We tell Him exactly what it is we hope He will do. What a liberating truth! When made with the gratitude and submission of thanksgiving, we are free to offer our actual desires unto God. 

You don’t have to figure out the right thing to ask for. As His Word shapes and corrects our thoughts, our requests will be more and more in line with what we can know from His Word that He will do. But, wherever we are at in our Christian growth, we don’t have to shrink from expressing our desires to Him. He has specifically commanded us to do so!

When we consider the four words for prayer from Philippians 4:6, we see how well-suited are God’s means to God’s ends when it comes to His making His peace to guard our hearts. Wonderfully, He promises that this peace of God will far outpace the extent to which we can understand how this would work. But, we can see that these particular aspects of prayer are specially designed anxiety-killers.

And, if we find that our use of the means is lacking, we may present ourselves to Him, lifting up our insufficiency to pray well, gratefully submitting to His wisdom in His ongoing work in our lives, and asking specifically that through His granting us to grow in praying the way that is directed here, He would remove our anxiety.

What part of the praying described above seems most alien to you? Whom can you ask for help to conform your praying more to this? In what manner should you be asking for that help? Since Philippians 4:6 is a command from God, what else should you be doing besides praying?

Sample prayer:  Our gracious God, we praise and thank You for giving us peace with Yourself in Christ Jesus. Forgive us for when we are anxious and prayerless, and grant Your Spirit’s help in prayer, so that the peace that You have given us will also guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP55C “But as for Me, I’ll Call on God” or TPH520 “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”


Monday, November 15, 2021

2021.11.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 9:37–45

Read Luke 9:37–45

Questions from the Scripture text: How long after the transfiguration is Luke 9:37? Where do they come? Who meets Jesus? Who cries out to Jesus in behalf of whom in Luke 9:38? What is happening to his son (Luke 9:39)? Whom has he asked for help (Luke 9:40)? With what result? In response, what does Jesus call whom (Luke 9:41)? What does He ask them as a group? What does He tell the man to do? What happened when Jesus approached the child (Luke 9:42)? What does Jesus do to the spirit? To the child? To the father? At what were all amazed in Luke 9:43? At what were they marveling? Who talked to whom? How does Jesus preface His statement to them (Luke 9:44)? What does He say is about to happen to Whom? How do the disciples receive His statement (Luke 9:45)? Why didn’t they ask Him to explain it?

In a parallel passage, Jesus tells the disciples that the reason that they couldn’t cast the demon out was because of their unbelief (cf. Matthew 17:20). And Peter just yesterday had to be reminded from heaven who Jesus is and that he should therefore listen to Him (cf. Luke 9:35). So, it is not actually as surprising as we might originally think to hear Jesus’s outburst in Luke 9:41.

But He has more on His mind than the persisting unbelief of the eleven. One of them is about to betray Him into the hands of men (Luke 9:44). The hands of men who are fallen in Adam. The hands of men who are susceptible to harm and death and demons (as this child was, and his helpless father) because they are ultimately Hell-deserving. 

It's a real question with a glorious answer: “how long shall I be with you and bear with you?” The answer is: until He has atoned for their sin, earned their blessedness, and accomplished their redemption.

It is shameful that we are not more amazed at our Lord Jesus. Here, the people were amazed at the earthly relief given to one child (Luke 9:43a), but our Lord Himself turns and reminds His disciples that He has come for so much more ((Luke 9:44). 

Christ has defeated sin and death and Satan himself! Oughtn’t we be amazed more? Oughtn’t we marvel more? The Lord grant that we could not rightly be called an “unbelieving and perverse generation.”

How do confidence in and amazement at Jesus show in your worship? Your work?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for bearing with us and atoning for us. We believe; forgive us for our unbelief! And grant the ministry of Your Spirit to grow us in faith in You, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”


Saturday, November 13, 2021

2021.11.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 9:37–45

Read Luke 9:37–45

Questions from the Scripture text: How long after the transfiguration is Luke 9:37? Where do they come? Who meets Jesus? Who cries out to Jesus in behalf of whom in Luke 9:38? What is happening to his son (Luke 9:39)? Whom has he asked for help (Luke 9:40)? With what result? In response, what does Jesus call whom (Luke 9:41)? What does He ask them as a group? What does He tell the man to do? What happened when Jesus approached the child (Luke 9:42)? What does Jesus do to the spirit? To the child? To the father? At what were all amazed in Luke 9:43? At what were they marveling? Who talked to whom? How does Jesus preface His statement to them (Luke 9:44)? What does He say is about to happen to Whom? How do the disciples receive His statement (Luke 9:45)? Why didn’t they ask Him to explain it? 

In a parallel passage, Jesus tells the disciples that the reason that they couldn’t cast the demon out was because of their unbelief (cf. Matthew 17:20). And Peter just yesterday had to be reminded from heaven who Jesus is and that he should therefore listen to Him (cf. Luke 9:35). So, it is not actually as surprising as we might originally think to hear Jesus’s outburst in Luke 9:41.

But He has more on His mind than the persisting unbelief of the eleven. One of them is about to betray Him into the hands of men (Luke 9:44). The hands of men who are fallen in Adam. The hands of men who are susceptible to harm and death and demons (as this child was, and his helpless father) because they are ultimately Hell-deserving. 

It's a real question with a glorious answer: “how long shall I be with you and bear with you?” The answer is: until He has atoned for their sin, earned their blessedness, and accomplished their redemption.

It is shameful that we are not more amazed at our Lord Jesus. Here, the people were amazed at the earthly relief given to one child (Luke 9:43a), but our Lord Himself turns and reminds His disciples that He has come for so much more (verse 43b). 

Christ has defeated sin and death and Satan himself! Oughtn’t we be amazed more? Oughtn’t we marvel more? The Lord grant that we could not rightly be called an “unbelieving and perverse generation.”

How does confidence in Jesus and amazement at Jesus show up in your worship? In your work?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for bearing with us and atoning for us. We believe; forgive us for our unbelief! And grant the ministry of Your Spirit to grow us in faith in You, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”


Friday, November 12, 2021

Perceiving Christ's Divine Glory (Family Worship lesson in Luke 9:27–36)

What is the message of the transfiguration? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Luke 9:27–36 prepares us for the sermon in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Christ displays His divine glory especially in accomplishing His death and in addressing us with His Word.
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2021.11.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 9:27–36

Read Luke 9:27–36

Questions from the Scripture text: About whom does Jesus speak in Luke 9:27? What does he say some of them will not do before what? How long after verse 27 does Luke 9:28 take place? Whom does He take? Where? To do what? What two things change in Luke 9:29? What happens to His robe? Who appear in Luke 9:30? What do they do with Him? How do they appear (Luke 9:31)? What do they speak about? How does it describe His departure happening? Where? What had been the condition of Peter and those with him (Luke 9:32)? When this changes, what do they see about Him? Whom else do they say? What were they about to do in Luke 9:33? Who speaks to Whom? What does he say about being there? What does he suggest they make? For whom? Why is he speaking this way? What is Peter still doing in Luke 9:34? What comes? What does it do? How do they feel? What comes out of the cloud (Luke 9:35)? Whom does the voice say Jesus is? What does the voice tell them to do to Jesus? When the voice ceases, who is there (Luke 9:36)? What do the disciples do now? Whom do they tell, when, about what? 

Often we think of the Transfiguration as a glorious vision. But the point of the event isn’t so much Jesus’s appearance as it is Jesus’s words.

In Luke 9:26, He had warned of being ashamed of His words. Now, He says that there are some standing there who will not taste death until they see the kingdom (Luke 9:27), eight days after which statement, He takes Peter, John, and James up the mountain to pray (Luke 9:28).

But the message that they ultimately receive when they “see the kingdom of God” is actually, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” The very words of Christ in Scripture are more sure, more glorious than even His transfigured appearance on the mountain (cf. 2 Peter 1:18–19, which literally say that the prophetic word is “more sure”).

Peter, as he often does, plays the part of our representative saint. With Jesus, Moses, and Elijah there, for some reason he thinks it’s his place to speak up in order to keep them from parting (Luke 9:33). The text even notes that he didn’t know what he was doing.

We’re like Peter—not humble enough about ourselves and our well-intended but misguided ideas, and nowhere nearly enough impressed by our Lord Jesus. Moses was a great prophet. Elijah was a great prophet. But Jesus is infinitely above both. Of Him God says, “This is My beloved Son.” Being ashamed of His Words is symptomatic of the same condition in which we don’t stop to hear His Words for ourselves.

To us, as to Peter, God says, “hear Him!” Though we ought to be grateful for God’s servants, let us be sure that it is the Lord Jesus Himself Whom we hear and revere. And let none of us ever be preoccupied that “our voice” would be heard but rather earnest that Christ’s voice would be heard. Let us not desire that others would be impressed with us, or fall into being overly impressed with others, but let us all desire the glory of Christ and be impressed with Him!

With whom are you too impressed? What activities need to take a back seat to private reading of Scripture, family reading/teaching of Scripture, and the hearing of Scripture preached in public worship?

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, we praise You for Your perfect and powerful words in the Bible. Forgive us for how, even with You, we are quick to speak and slow to listen. Grant unto us the ministry of Your Spirit that we would hear, believe, love, and follow Your Word, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Living in Light of Christ's Glory (Family Worship lesson in Luke 9:18–26)

How do we keep from being ashamed in the last day? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Luke 9:18–26 prepares us for the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that by living in light of the glory of Christ on the last day, we will cling to Him more than to life itself and not be ashamed of Him or His Word.
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2021.11.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 9:18–26

Read Luke 9:18–26

Questions from the Scripture text: Who was with Jesus at first in Luke 9:18? What was He doing? Who joined Him? What did He ask them? What three responses do they give in Luke 9:19? What does He now ask them in Luke 9:20? Who answers? What does he say? How does Jesus respond to this in Luke 9:21? What four things does He say must happen to Whom in Luke 9:22? To Whom does Jesus speak in Luke 9:23? What will those about whom He speaks desire in verse 23? What three things that does He say they must do? Who will lose his life (Luke 9:24)? Who will save it? What can a man gain without profit (Luke 9:25)? When will it not profit him? How does Jesus describe the destroyed or lost man in Luke 9:26—of Whom is that man ashamed? Of what is that man ashamed? Who will be ashamed of him? When? What three glories does Jesus mention in connection with that day?

“Just think of all that you can have in this life, if you come to Jesus!” I heard many such presentations of Christ when I was younger. But here comes Jesus in this passage and says, “Take up your cross for My sake… lose your life for My sake…”

Yes, we gain more than we could ever lose, but only if we view Christ as worth infinitely more than all else.

And that’s just the point of Luke 9:26. Are we ashamed of Christ? Let us remember the day when He is coming in His glory. Let us remember the glory of His Father. Let us remember the holy angels. 

Let us remember that the ones whose opinions we should least care about in all existence are the very ones before whom we are tempted to be ashamed. Jesus equates those who are ashamed of Him before them to those who lose their lives by trying to save it (Luke 9:24), those who are destroyed or lost (Luke 9:25), and those of whom the Son of Man will be ashamed in the last day (Luke 9:26).

Finally, note that little phrase in Luke 9:26, “and My words.” Quite often, believers allow themselves to be intimidated in conversation about right and wrong, about the exclusivity of Christianity, about anything in the Scriptures. But we must remember that these are Christ’s personal words, and He takes it personally if we are ashamed of plain Bible teaching.

So, let us make sure that not only our lips on the Lord’s Day, but our lives and lips when we are out among unbelievers would answer the question of “Who do you say Jesus is?” by “the Christ of God”!

What circumstances in your life most test your allegiance to Jesus and His words?

Sample prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the Christ of God, and You suffered and died and rose again for us. Forgive us for when we are unwilling to take up our cross or lose our life for Your sake—and forgive us all the more for when we are ashamed of Your words. Grant us to rejoice over You and Your words—and especially so when You come in Your glory, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP45A “My Heart Is Greatly Stirred” or TPH375 “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name”


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Wisdom of Words of Wisdom (Family Worship lesson in Proverbs 10:11–14)

Pastor leads his family in a selection from “the Proverb of the day.” In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that a great part of righteousness and godliness is preparing and disseminating wisdom for our speaking.
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Gracious Benefits of Good Works (Family Worship lesson in Genesis 22:1–19)

For what purpose is God “testing” Abraham? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Genesis 22:1–19 prepares us for the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nineteen verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God tests the faith that He has given us in order to show the fruit of it, in order to generously reward us for works His grace has given, and to use us and our works in His ongoing work.
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2021.11.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 22:1–19

Read Genesis 22:1–19

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Genesis 22:1 say that God was doing to Abraham? What three things does God say about Isaac to Abraham in Genesis 22:2? When did Abraham get going (Genesis 22:3)? What did he do, and whom did he take? How had he determined where to go? How long did it take him to get there (Genesis 22:4)? What instructions did he give the young men (Genesis 22:5)? Whom did he say would go? Whom did he say would come back? What did Abraham give Isaac to carry (Genesis 22:6)? What did Abraham carry? What do Abraham and Isaac call each other in Genesis 22:7? What does Isaac ask? What is Abraham’s answer in Genesis 22:8? What four things does Abraham do when they arrive at the spot in Genesis 22:9? What does Isaac do (and not do)? What does Abraham do in Genesis 22:10? Who calls out to him in Genesis 22:11? From where? What does He say at first? What does He tell Abraham not to do in Genesis 22:12? What does He say that Abraham has shown? What does Abraham see in Genesis 22:13? What does he do with it? What does Abraham call the place (Genesis 22:14)? Why? What happens after the burnt offering and the naming of the place in Genesis 22:15? By what does the angel of Yahweh swear in Genesis 22:16? To what action does He say that He is responding? What will He do to Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 22:17)? What will Abraham’s descendants possess? In whom will all the nations of the earth be blessed (Genesis 22:18)? Because of what? Where does this passage “end up” (Genesis 22:19)?

God has already made promises to Abraham that include the things that are promised by the end of this passage. So, what does it mean that God was “testing” Abraham in Genesis 22:1, and “now I know that you fear God” in Genesis 22:12, and “because you have done this thing” in Genesis 22:15, and “because you have obeyed My voice” in Genesis 22:18? God is showing some things about how good works function in those who have been made right with God by faith.

First, good works show that God has not just done things for us, and promised things to us, but is also doing the corresponding work in us. Several times so far in Genesis, Abraham’s doubt and fear have led to sin. But God now “tests” him to give an opportunity for the faith that has grown to express itself. Didn’t God know before this event that Abraham feared God? Of course! But what Genesis 22:12 is saying is that when believers demonstrate Godly character,  God observes not merely the action but His work of grace in the heart that is producing that action.

Second, God has chosen to do much good in response to good works. There is an expression of His justice and His pleasure in what is good that God delights to reward them. We know that Abraham does not do well enough to be worthy of reward. Yet here, and many other places in Scripture, God is still pleased to reward those imperfect good works for the sake of Christ from Whom comes any and all goodness in us. The reward is not according to our merit, but according to His grace and Christ’s own merit.

Third, God has chosen to do much good by means of believers’ good works. It is this son Isaac, whom Abraham was willing to devote to God by death, that God will devote to Himself by his life—God will bring the Christ through Isaac, and God will bless all the nations of the earth through Isaac, in part because Abraham has obeyed God’s voice.

Ultimately, however, we still deserve that death, represented in the knife. And we still deserve the wrath of Hell, represented in the fire. But God Himself will indeed provide the Lamb. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world—even our Lord Jesus Christ! Abraham did not withhold his only son, whom he loved (Genesis 22:2Genesis 22:16), but God spared him. Yet, when it came to God’s beloved Son, with Whom He is well-pleased (Matthew 1:1; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5), God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all (Romans 8:32)!

What makes you righteous in God’s sight? What use, then, are your good works?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, You have promised everlasting blessedness, and You have secured it in Christ. Forgive us for when we think that we may earn blessing or that blessedness relies upon us. But forgive us also for when we think that good works are not worthwhile, or that You wil not reward them. Grant unto us to walk in those good works that You have prepared beforehand, knowing that they will come through Christ, for Whose sake also You will reward them. We ask this through His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP78B “O Come, My People” or TPH234 “The God of Abraham Praise”


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Singing Newly the Songs of God (Family Worship lesson in Psalm 98)

What does it mean to “sing a new song”? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Psalm 98 prepares us for the first portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we are not to sing God’s songs as dead repetition, but as genuine interactions with Him, as He advances His work in redemption. In this way, His songs are new as Christ comes, and ascends, and the gospel goes forth to all the nations—even unto the last and great day, in which the creation itself will rejoice with the children of God (cf. Romans 8:18–26).
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2021.11.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 98

Read Psalm 98

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom are we to sing (Psalm 98:1)? What kind of song? Why—what has happened to occasion this new song? What has Yahweh made known (Psalm 98:2a)? What has He revealed (verse 2b)? In whose sight? What has He remembered (Psalm 98:3a)? Who has seen this (verse 3b)? Who, then, is to shout joyfully to Him (Psalm 98:4)? Into what are they to break forth (verse 4b)? What priestly instruments are named in Psalm 98:5-6? What parts of creation join this praise in Psalm 98:7-8? At what point (Psalm 98:9) has all of creation become the church?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration come from Psalm 98.

There is little that will give us a bigger view of God, more honest view of ourselves, and therefore a more damning view of our sin than beholding God as Creator, Redeemer, King, and Judge.

Here is a Psalm that claims to be a “New Song” on the occasion of the Lord’s having won the victory, kept His covenant, spread His church, and returned to judge.

What has gained Him the victory? Not the works of men sustained by Him, but only His own work. His right hand. His holy arm. Because there was none to save, the Lord Himself has come to do the saving—by Himself alone. Hallelujah! (cf. Isaiah 41:28–42:4; Isaiah 59:16–21)

He revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. How? By displaying the Pharisees, who deluded themselves into thinking they were doing a great job of obeying the commandments? No! But by displaying His Son as the payment for sin, showing God’s righteousness to be so complete and so exact that nothing less could ever satisfy it (cf. Romans 3:21–26).

What’s wonderful is that Jesus isn’t just displayed to the nations (at the cross, at Pentecost, and in the spread of the gospel), but He is the Savior of the nations. All who believe into Him are engrafted into Israel. God’s covenant love and covenant faithfulness to Israel (Psalm 98:3) turn the entire earth into His redeemed worshipers (Psalm 98:4).

The nations—and indeed the entire creation (cf. Psalm 98:7-8)—become members of the sacred assembly.

Not only do they sing and shout, but the priestly instruments which were ordained by King David are commanded here to accompany the singing (Psalm 98:5-6). In great David’s greater Son, the priesthood may be abolished, but there is still a melody (grace, Colossians 3:16) played upon an instrument (our hearts, Ephesians 5:19).

This is a song for when all nations shout before their King (Psalm 98:6) upon His coming in glory to be Judge of all (Psalm 98:9)! It’s a salvation song. It’s a Christian song. It’s that New Song that we will sing forever and ever in glory. May God fill our hearts with its praise already now, while we continue to wait for its final fulfillment!

How has God displayed His righteousness and salvation? How does it increase your praise to God to remember that you didn’t contribute anything to your salvation? Who will so praise?

Sample prayer:  Lord, in Jesus You have displayed not only Your righteousness and salvation but even Your very Self. Forgive us for when we are overly impressed by created things, or under-impressed by You, our Creator and Redeemer. We have robbed ourselves of the joy and peace that comes from confidence in Your victory and Your justice. But You, O God, have redirected our faith once again to Yourself, in Whom we rejoice, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the Lord” or TPH98A “O Sing a New Song to the Lord”


Monday, November 08, 2021

2021.11.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 24:1–12

Read Luke 24:1–12

Questions from the Scripture text: On which day does this occur (Luke 24:1)? What time of day? Who was with them? To where do they come? Bringing what? But what do they find (Luke 24:2)? Where do they go (Luke 24:3)? What do they not find? What is their condition as a result (Luke 24:4)? But who stood by them? Wearing what? Now what is the condition of the women (Luke 24:5)? What do they do? But what do the men ask? What do the men announce in Luke 24:6? What do they remind them that Jesus had done? Where? What three things had Jesus said must happen to Him (Luke 24:7)? What do the women do in Luke 24:8? Where do they go in Luke 24:9? Whom do they tell? Which women, specifically, tell it (Luke 24:10)? To whom? To the apostles, what did the words seem like (Luke 24:11)? How do they respond to the women? Whom does Luke 24:12 mention responding differently? Where does he go? At what speed? What does he do when he gets there? What does he see? Then where does he go? And what does he do?

He is risen (as the angels say in Luke 24:6). It is fleshly to desire that our Christianity be about what we do—or even about what God’s grace enables us to do. And it’s a commendable thing that these precious women loved our Lord dearly and wished to serve even His dead body. But, His body didn’t need this particular sort of service, because He had already planned and accomplished something far greater than they could imagine. The passage communicates this through the play on the word “find.” They did find the stone rolled away. They did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Now, their being “greatly perplexed” (Luke 24:4) doesn’t necessarily mean that they were coming here to make religion all about their service. The passage itself chalks it up to a faulty memory (cf. Luke 24:8). But there is that fleshly tendency in all of us, and it gets exposed when God surprises us with something better than what we had wanted to do for Him. 

It’s often that way with God: we wish to serve in a particular way, but He doesn’t cooperate, because He has something infinitely better. It’s often this way, for instance, with those who cut their Christian teeth on man-centered worship with various parts and performances that have been invented by man, but come to a better understanding (or to a congregation with a better understanding). They can hardly be disappointed that they no longer get to do their formerly favorite part of worship, when they learn how personally and powerfully Jesus Himself leads all of the Scripture-commanded worship actions from glory. These precious women at the tomb can hardly be disappointed that they didn’t get to bathe the body of Jesus in spices and oils, when they learn that this is because He has risen from the dead.

Christianity is actually pretty simple. You can’t bring Him down from heaven or raise Him up from the dead (cf. Romans 10:5–10). Believe in your heart. Confess with your mouth. Walk/live according to this faith. Love Him in the ways that He gives to you to do so. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to do all of the seemingly more amazing things that your love for Him might have wanted.

This is a glorious reality. The women in Luke 24:4 are greatly perplexed. The “eleven and all the rest” (Luke 24:9) are not able to believe in Luke 24:11Luke 24:12 leaves us with Peter “marveling.” Something has happened that so defies comprehension that they need angels to command them to “remember” (Luke 24:6) just so that they will be enabled to remember (Luke 24:8) that Jesus has actually told them exactly what would happen (Luke 24:7). 

The resurrection of Christ can seem, to someone who grew up in church, to be an easy thing to believe. After all, he’s heard the words, sung the songs, hunted the eggs. But if this reality isn’t enormous to you—if it isn’t something that it takes the almighty power of God just to realize and even then you feel yourself dwarfed by it—then you’re probably not really believing it.

Think about these women who had been told this directly by Jesus. Still, it seems so far out of the range of possibility that they don’t even remember until this encounter with the angels.

Think about the eleven, who had seen Him do so many miracles, including multiple resurrections. And they had heard Him tell about His coming death and resurrection on many occasions. Still, when it’s “just” faithful women in front of them, rather than gleaming angels, “their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24:11). 

Think about Peter, who is probably showing more faith at this point than the others (we find out from John that he had sped and beat Peter there but still that he didn’t go in), but he can still hardly believe it. He marvels. 

The resurrection is such a glorious reality that it takes the miraculous work of God in the heart to enable us to believe it and appreciate its greatness.

What are ways you thought you were going to serve the Lord, but didn’t end up getting to? What evidence is there in your own heart that you’re embracing the greatness of the truth of the resurrection?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are worthy of all love and service. Thank You for all of the ways that You have given unto us to love You and serve You. Forgive us for when we are disappointed at not getting to love and serve You in other ways, and remind us that our religion is really about Your glorious actions. Exert Your almighty power to sustain us in believing, and in confessing, and in walking by faith we ask, through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP157 “Immortality & Resurrection” or TPH357 “The Day of Resurrection!”