Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Saturday, January 30, 2021

2021.01.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 45:1–15

Read Genesis 45:1–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What couldn’t Joseph do in Genesis 45:1? What did he cry out? Who was left? What did he do? What else did he do in Genesis 45:2? Who heard? What did Joseph say to whom (Genesis 45:3)? What did he ask? What couldn’t they do? Why? Then what does he ask them to do (Genesis 45:4)? Now how does he identify himself—what detail does he add? But what does he tell them not to do (Genesis 45:5)? Why? What was happening? What information does he reveal to them in Genesis 45:6? What has God done (Genesis 45:7)? For what two reasons? In comparing both actors, whose action was small enough as not to count (Genesis 45:8)? Whose action overruled? Where did God send Joseph? Into what three positions/statuses was He bringing Joseph? To whom does Joseph now send them (Genesis 45:9)? At what pace? Whose message are they to deliver? What are they to say in Joseph’s behalf? What does Joseph want his father to do? When? Where would Jacob dwell (Genesis 45:10)? Near to whom? With whom? And whom else? With what? And what else? What will Joseph do (Genesis 45:11)? To prevent what? Why is this necessary? Now what does Joseph point out to his brothers in Genesis 45:12? What does he tell them to tell Jacob in their own behalf (Genesis 45:13)? How does he summarize their mission? What does he reemphasize about its speed? Then what does Joseph do to whom (Genesis 45:14)? And what does he do? What two other things does Joseph do to whom in Genesis 45:15? Then what are they finally able to do with him?

The Holy Spirit makes it rather easy to see the main point of the passage:

“God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5).

“God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth and save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7).

“So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:8).

“God has made me Lord of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:9).

It is exactly this sovereign control and perfect wisdom of God that the brothers (and even Jacob) have failed to grapple with. This is why they are dismayed in Genesis 45:3. Perhaps Joseph is na├»ve to think that they are upset with themselves in Genesis 45:5. Perhaps he can see something that we don’t. From their behavior so far, and how they’ll still be thinking in another 17 years (cf. Genesis 50:15–18), it certainly seems that they are primarily afraid of revenge. But God’s sovereign control and wisdom is exactly why revenge is the last thing on David’s mind (cf. Genesis 50:19–21).

Joseph’s message is simple: your sin is culpable, but shouldn’t cause dismay or paralysis. Rather, be grateful for what God has done, and respond in kind. With five more years of famine coming, now is the time for decisive action to lay hold of that deliverance that God has provided (Genesis 45:6Genesis 45:9-11Genesis 45:13). “Hurry,” he tells them at the beginning of Genesis 45:9, and he tells them to say the same thing to their father, “do not tarry.” Again in verse 13, “you shall hurry and bring my father down here.”  

Yet, it is only after he has not only wept over Benjamin (Genesis 45:14), but kissed and wept over them (Genesis 45:15) that the brothers feel free to talk with him again. The dismay dissolves, and the paralysis passes. Whether it is the forgiveness of others who meant evil and did evil, or the need to take quick and decisive action, what we need for the task before us is to recognize God’s sovereign control and perfect wisdom.

Whom do you need to forgive? What has God done for you through their harmfulness? What dismaying or deflating situation are you in? How does God’s control over it and wisdom in it free you to take decisive action?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH231 “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right”

Friday, January 29, 2021

Rejoicing over Christ's Work Begun and Completed (Family Worship in Philippians 1:3–6)

What makes the apostle rejoice so much over the Philippians? Pastor leads his family in tomorrow’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. In these four verses, the apostle expresses abounding joy over the Philippians’ receipt of the gospel, growing in the gospel, and participation in his own ministry of the gospel—most of all because he is laser-focused upon the Day of Christ, and these are all indicators of a begun-work that will be gloriously completed in that day!

2021.01.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 1:3–6

Read Philippians 1:3–6

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle do, to Whom, about whom (Philippians 1:3)? When? What else does he do in his prayers (Philippians 1:4)? In how many of them? With what emotion/affection? Especially for what does he request and thank (Philippians 1:5)? In what have they had fellowship? When/how long? With what other emotion/affection (Philippians 1:6)? Who began what? In whom? What else will He do? Until when?

In Hebrews 13, the Holy Spirit teaches us to care about whether we are making it a joy for Christ’s appointed spiritual leaders to shepherd our souls. The Philippians seem to have taken such teaching to heart, as the apostle Paul testifies of how joyously he both remembers and prays for them (Philippians 1:3-4).

Later in the letter (Philippians 2:12–13), he will specify how the completion of God’s work in them will come about. But here, he highlights it as the cause of his joy. He’s not just grateful that they are sharing in and supporting his ministry (Philippians 1:5), or that they’re behaving better than those more troublesome congregations in Galatia and Corinth. He’s rejoicing that these are evidences of a divine work that has been begun in them.

All of God’s works aim at one thing: the day of Jesus Christ. The day when Christ returns. The day when Christ judges. The day when Christ is glorified by the perfect completion of His work in every single one whom He has saved. The day when we come into the final and full experience and enjoyment of Him and His glory forever.

The day of Jesus Christ is what God is aiming at as He works in His people. And when they give evidence of this gracious work and its guaranteed completion, it is a joy to those whom He has appointed as shepherds in that work.

By what earthly shepherds is Christ continuing His work in you? How are you bringing them joy by your fellowship in the gospel with them? How are you aiming at the day of Jesus Christ in all that you do?

Suggested songs: ARP87 “The Lord’s Foundation” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Beware the Deceitfulness of Covetousness (Family Worship in Luke 12:13–34)

What does covetousness look like in our hearts? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. In these twenty-two verses, our Lord Jesus exposes that sometimes covetousness in our hearts is disguised as righteous indignation, sometimes as planning or preparedness, sometimes as celebration or enjoyment, and sometimes even as worry or anxiety.

Responding Rightly to Distresses by Resting in Christ and His Righteousness (2021.01.27 Prayer Meeting Lesson in Psalm 4)

Some respond to distress by betrayal, some by fury, and some by despair. But we must respond by remembering our God's character, commitment, and consistency as He takes us for Himself in Christ and His righteousness.

2021.01.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 12:13–34

Read Luke 12:13–34

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the man in Luke 12:13 want Jesus to do? What does Jesus ask him (Luke 12:14)? Of what does He tell them to beware (Luke 12:15)? Why? What then does He speak to them in Luke 12:16? Who is its main character? What does his ground do? What problem does this present in Luke 12:17? What does he decide to do in Luke 12:18? To whom does he speak in Luke 12:19? Of what does he inform his soul? What does he command his soul? Who speaks to him in Luke 12:20? What does He call him? What will be required of him when? What problem does this pose? Who is like that rich man—what two things are true of him (Luke 12:21)? To whom does He speak in Luke 12:22? What does He tell them not to do? About what? Why (Luke 12:23)? What should they consider (Luke 12:24)? What don’t ravens do? Who feeds them? About what comparison does He ask? What does He ask in Luke 12:25? What does He ask in Luke 12:26? What are they to consider in Luke 12:27? Who clothes them (Luke 12:28)? What does Jesus ask in verse 28? What does He call them? What does He tell them not to do in Luke 12:29? Not to have? Who seek them (Luke 12:30)? Who knows about the needs? What, then, are they to seek (Luke 12:31)? What will happen? What else are they not to do (Luke 12:32)? What does Jesus call God here? What well-pleases Him? What should they do (Luke 12:33)? What will this provide for them? Where? With what advantages? What will also be there (Luke 12:34)?

Covetousness deceives us in many ways (Luke 12:15). Jesus’s answer to the man in Luke 12:13 exposes what was really behind his (possibly right) inheritance claim: the desire to possess an abundance of things, which is the path to destruction and perdition (cf. 1 Timothy 6:9–10). 

The rich man in Luke 12:16-20 is a fool, because he sees enjoying himself as his primary purpose and the storing up of wealth as the way to achieve it. But his covetousness has deceived him into forgetting that he actually exists for God and that our souls will long outlive anything we store up in this world.

The poor (or middle class) also reveal that they are making the same mistake, whenever they worry about earthly provision. Food and clothing are actually basic necessities (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6–8). But to worry about them is to forget that God exists, that He cares about us as a Father.

If it is the Father’s pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32), then don’t we know that it is also His pleasure to take care of everything that is needful as He does so (Luke 12:31)? The reason that the charitable act in Luke 12:33 provides “money bags in the heavens” is not that it is a meritorious work, but rather that it is a work that flows from a heart that is freed to that giving by the certainty that my Father will still take care of me.

If He is my Treasure, then my heart will be freed from the deceitfulness of covetousness to serve Him (Luke 12:34). Is your heart freed by trust in Him?

What earthly possessions are precious to you? What are you trying to accumulate? What are you worried about in the near/longer future? How do each of these threaten to keep you earthly-minded?

Suggested songs: ARP100 “All Earth with Joy” or TPH532 “Be Still, My Soul”

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

2021.01.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 2:1–11

Read 2 Samuel 2:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What two things does David ask of Whom in 2 Samuel 2:1? What answers does Yahweh give? Who go with him (2 Samuel 2:2)? Whom else (2 Samuel 2:3)? Whom do they bring? Who come in 2 Samuel 2:4? To do what? What is the first thing they tell him, upon his inauguration? What does he do in response (2 Samuel 2:5)? Who and who else does he say will repay them (2 Samuel 2:6)? What does he tell them to do (2 Samuel 2:7a) and for what two reasons (verse 7b)? But who does what, to whom, where (2 Samuel 2:8)? Over whom (2 Samuel 2:9)? Who did what for how long in 2 Samuel 2:10? Who followed David? Who did what, where, over whom, for how long (2 Samuel 2:11)? 

David has been anointed king by God’s prophet for a very long time. In this passage, he is finally anointed king in Israel. A small section of Israel, anyway. Hebron/Shechem is by the cave of Machphelah, with the bones of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The location and the tribe are important, but small.

Of course, what God’s prophet/Word have said isn’t that important to Abner, son of Ner. He’s been chairman of the joint chiefs, as it were, and he doesn’t intend on giving up his position (2 Samuel 2:8). The church is full of Abners and Alexanders (the coppersmith of 2 Timothy 4:14). Their influential position is worth enough to throw God’s appointed man under the bus. So, Abner installs Ishbosheth, and all Israel follows for two years (2 Samuel 2:9-10).

Everyone except, perhaps, the men of Jabesh Gilead. Though Jabesh Gilead isn’t in Judah, the men of Judah have taken note of their bravery when all the rest of Israel fled in 1 Samuel 31:7–13. Perhaps, the men of Judah are suggesting that such a group may be willing to go it alone with new king in 2 Samuel 2:4. At the very least, they would know that loyalty, bravery, and proper mourning are extremely important to David (cf. 2 Samuel 1).

So, David not only commends and blesses them (2 Samuel 2:5-6), but also informs them of the next opportunity to go against the crowd to do the courageous and right thing (2 Samuel 2:7).

In every age of the church, doing things God’s way, and honoring and being led by His appointed men, puts us in a minority. But, it is always blessed and victorious to be in a minority with God. We know the rest of the story—that God’s anointed king comes out on top. That’s true whether you’re the men of Jabesh Gilead being invited to follow David in 2 Samuel 2, or if you’re in a small minority of those committed to Christ’s own ways in His church in 2021. God’s anointed King always comes out on top.

What are some ways in which churches are tempted to choose their own way of doing things instead of following King Jesus? What might be the cost for being in the minority who follow Him? But what will you gain?

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH542 “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Man Leveled, and Christ Exalted, by His Grace (2021.01.24 Evening Sermon in Philippians 1:1–2)

Christ's grace exposes how we have all been leveled in the fall, by raising us up only in Him—by which He is exalted not only as our only hope, but as very God of very God… the God of grace and peace!

Christ's Grace That Forgives Us and Transforms Us (2021.01.24 Morning Sermon in Genesis 44)

Sometimes, when the Lord puts our faith to the test, part of the reason is to display His work of His grace that He has been doing in us.

Sanctification, part 4, WCF 13.2.2 (2021.01.24 Sabbath School Lesson)

WCF 13.2
This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man;(g) yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part:(h) whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war; the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.(i)
(g) I Thess. 5:23. (cf. 5:12–28)
(h) I John 1:10 (cf. 1:5–10); Rom. 7:18, 23 (cf. 7:14–25); Phil. 3:12 (cf. Php 3:7–16).
(i) Gal. 5:17 (cf. 5:13–26); I Pet. 2:11.

2021.01.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 55

Read Isaiah 55

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does Isaiah 55:1 address? What does it tell them to do? Without what? What questions do Isaiah 55:2 ask? What does it say to do instead? With what commands does Isaiah 55:3 further define “coming” and “buying”? What does God say that He will make/cut with them? How does He describe this covenant? As what three things does Isaiah 55:4 say that this “David” is given to the people? Whom else will this David/Anointed/Messiah/Christ call (Isaiah 55:5a-b)? Why/how/when (verse 5c-e, cf. John 12:27–32)? What two things does Isaiah 55:6 say to do? When? For what does this imply a limited time? How does Isaiah 55:7 further define this seeking and calling? What two things are to be forsaken? What two things will Yahweh do? Whose God does it call Him? How does Isaiah 55:8 relate to verse 7a–b? What does Isaiah 55:9 add as a primary difference (in addition to not being wicked, cf. verse 7a–b)? What does rain do—and not do—until when (Isaiah 55:10)? What similarly will do—and not do—what (Isaiah 55:11)? What will those redeemed from wickedness do (Isaiah 55:12a-b)? What else will do what with them (verse 12c-e)? What will replace what (Isaiah 55:13a-b)? What is being undone? What will be displayed (verse 13c–d) for how long? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Isaiah 55, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched.

The chapter begins with images of thirst (Isaiah 55:1 a–b,e)  and poverty (verse 1c) and hunger (verse 1d, v2) and purchase (verse 1 d, f, Isaiah 55:2 a–b) and slaking thirst (verse 1e, verse 2b) and eating (verse 2c). These are images that look forward to Jesus’s own preaching in His earthly ministry. And, as with Jesus, these are illustrations for spiritual neediness and satisfaction.

The command to listen (Isaiah 55:2c) is tied to the promise about the Word in Isaiah 55:10-11. This instruction is not about physical neediness and provision (though the Lord does that too). Rather, it is about how the once-condemned soul can come to delight (verse 2d) and live (Isaiah 55:3b). The condemnation has been borne by another (chapter 53), the blessedness has been announced (chapter 54), and now with a dozen imperatives in the first seven verses, the prophet urges the most unlikely candidates possible to come into that blessedness.

The mechanism by which that blessedness comes is listening (Isaiah 55:2c), coming to the Lord by the inclining of the ear (verse 2c), and hearing (Isaiah 55:3b). But how can we, who are dead, do even this? We are acquainted with the frustration of sitting before our Bibles or under preaching, unable even to focus our thoughts upon the Word, let alone warm our hearts by it, or stir up our wills to keep it. Even in the hearing of the Word, it is the Word itself that does the work. God Himself has sent it, like rain, with the life and power within it to restore that which is parched (Isaiah 55:10). And He has commanded that His own life-giving provision will not fail (Isaiah 55:11).

Our assurance of this is established not only by God’s power to be able to give our souls life, and His declared plan that this is how the life comes, but especially in His everlasting covenant promise by which He has pledged Himself to us (Isaiah 55:3c). This covenant has been made in the greatest possible grace (“sure mercies”—immovable faithful ḳessed) and Guarantor (“David”—Christ, great David’s infinitely greater Son, the forever-King of 2 Samuel 7).

This is great news not only for Israelites (Isaiah 55:4), but for sinners from all the nations (Isaiah 55:5a-b), who have been promised to Christ (verse 5c–e). For, we all have the spiritual poverty (wickedness and unrighteousness!, Isaiah 55:7a-b) that is a prerequisite for this blessedness. If we turn to Him (verse 7c, e), we receive not only mercy (verse 7d) and forgiveness (verse 7f), but even those infinitely (Isaiah 55:9a) godly and righteous thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8, verse 9b–c) that we utterly lack (Isaiah 55:7a-b, Isaiah 55:8-9). 

You cannot turn over a new leaf to come to God; rather, if you turn to Him, He provides the new leaf—a new and eternal life! This is why our rejoicing in this utter blessedness (Isaiah 55:12a-b) and complete reversal of all curse (verse 12c–Isaiah 55:13b) is a credit not to us but to the everlasting honor and praise of Yahweh (verse 13c–d)!

What life do you have from yourself? By what mechanism, especially, has Christ given you to have vitality from Him? What use are you making of it? How do you respond when He gives it to you?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH440 “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched”

Monday, January 25, 2021

2021.01.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 44

Read Genesis 44 

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Joseph tell the steward to do in Genesis 44:1–2? Where, specifically, does he say to place the cup and each man’s money? When do the men leave, with what (Genesis 44:3)? What does Joseph tell the steward to do/say in Genesis 44:4-5? How do the brothers respond and with what logic (Genesis 44:6-8)? What two-pronged solution do they propose (Genesis 44:9)? How does the steward modify the proposal in Genesis 44:10? How does the search go, and with what result (Genesis 44:11-12)? How do the men respond, and how many go back, and with what (Genesis 44:13)? How are the men described in Genesis 44:14? What do they do? What does Joseph say to them (Genesis 44:15)? Who answers (Genesis 44:16)? What is his explanation for what has happened? How is his proposal different from Genesis 44:10? But upon what does Joseph insist (Genesis 44:17)? Where does Judah go in Genesis 44:18? For what does he ask? Of what does he remind Joseph in Genesis 44:19-23? What details does he fill in for Joseph in Genesis 44:24-29? What does he say will happen if Benjamin does not return (Genesis 44:30-31)? How does Judah support His request for substitution in Genesis 44:32? What substitution does he request (Genesis 44:33)? For whose sake (Genesis 44:34)? 

In this chapter, Judah’s character and leadership seem to blossom. Joseph puts them through the ultimate test to see if they will turn on Benjamin, but Judah comes out self-sacrificing and courageous. He even understands God’s sovereign providence and admits their guiltiness (Genesis 44:16). This really brings to the forefront two questions.

The first is: how? How did Judah get to be like this. So far, what we have primarily seen from him is that he thought it would be a good idea if they turned a profit off of Joseph’s demise and didn’t have to get their own hands dirty (Genesis 37:25–28), and that he was a covenant-people-abandoning, daughter-in-law abandoning philanderer (cf. chapter 38).  So how does that man from chapters 37–38 become this man of chapters 43–44, especially as we see him in this chapter?

Grace. Grace actually transforms people from the heart.

And that brings us to the second question: why? We know that this can only happen by God’s changing Judah. But Judah doesn’t deserve to be changed. Now, that’s an important point for us, dear reader, because neither do we deserve to be changed—even though that’s the only hope we have. 

God has forgiven Judah. For the sake of his coming descendant, our Lord Jesus Christ Who will receive as Judah deserves, Judah can receive what Christ deserves for him—that he would be transformed. 

For us whom He transforms, there’s another layer to this why. There’s the why of what caused it: God’s free forgiveness in Jesus Christ. And there’s the why of for what purpose we are forgiven: to bring glory to Jesus Christ, to the praise of God’s glorious grace.

In this chapter, Judah is being used to advance the deliverance of the family from famine. But he is being used to do something much bigger than that: to bring glory to Jesus Christ as the One Who wins not bare forgiveness, but also transformation in which we are renewed in our hearts and actions unto the praise of His grace!

What opportunities do you have to show Christ’s grace in/toward you? How can you be enabled to take them?

Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”