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, August 28, 2021

2021.08.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 22:35–53

Read Luke 22:35–53

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Jesus ask the disciples in Luke 22:35? How do they answer? What does He tell them to take now (Luke 22:36)? And to buy? What reason does He give in Luke 22:37? What do they produce in Luke 22:38? How does He answer? Where does He go in Luke 22:39? How does Luke tell us that this was predictable? Where do they arrive in Luke 22:40? What does He say to them? Where does He go (Luke 22:41)? What does He do? What does He say in this prayer (Luke 22:42)? What response does He receive in Luke 22:43? For what does He use this heaven-sent strength (Luke 22:44)? What does He do in Luke 22:45? What does He find? What does He ask them (Luke 22:46)? What does He tell them to do instead? But what appears and when (Luke 22:47)? Who went before them? What did he do? What does Jesus ask him (Luke 22:48)? About what do His disciples now ask (Luke 22:49, cf. Luke 22:38)? But what does one of them do (Luke 22:50)? What does Jesus say in Luke 22:51? What does He do? Now to what four groups does He speak in Luke 22:52? What does He ask them? What does He point out in Luke 22:53? What does He call that moment?

That which must be fulfilled. The evangelist shows us the connections between Luke 22:35-38 and Luke 22:47-53. The reason for the speech in Luke 22:35-36 is so that it might be fulfilled that He is numbered with the transgressors (Luke 22:37). Then the Lord Jesus points out in Luke 22:52 that they have “come out, as against a robber.” 

This also solves the curious question of what the two swords of Luke 22:38 are enough for. He teaches us to make good use of God’s means: moneybags, knapsacks, etc. (Luke 22:36a). And the idea of a sword for every man implies that the equipment to defend oneself or participate in just war are part of the means that God provides, and which we ought to make use of (verse 36b). But for what are two swords enough?

We only have to wait eleven verses to find out. We know from the other gospels that there are three apostles with Him by Luke 22:49. James and John apparently have one sword, and they ask Jesus if this is the time to use it. Peter isn’t named in Luke 22:50, but again from the other gospels we know that it’s he who doesn’t bother asking. But while there is an appropriate time for using the sword, Jesus quickly corrects its use in this case, in Luke 22:51. After all, this is exactly what He had said (Luke 22:37) must be accomplished: their “hour and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53).

The strength in which it was fulfilled. The Holy Spirit has Luke place the account of our Lord’s prayer between the two sections referenced above. Luke 22:39-45 are sandwiched between Luke 22:35-38 and Luke 22:47-53. This section itself is bookended by Jesus’s two admonitions to the disciples to pray, lest they enter temptation (Luke 22:39-40 and Luke 22:45-46). This places Luke 22:41-44 at the heart of the section as a whole.

Jesus doesn’t just tell the disciples that they need to be praying; He knows this fact from His own experience. Even as He knows what must be accomplished (Luke 22:37) and what hour this is (Luke 22:53), He Himself needs prayer to be strengthened unto submission. He Himself prays in Luke 22:41, and when the response is for an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43), He uses the strength to pray even more earnestly (Luke 22:44).

What is He praying? That if it is God’s will/possible (Luke 22:42a, cf. Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36), the cup of the cross would be taken from Him. But He knows that it is not actually possible. Still, expressing His horror and agony at the prospect in prayer is a means by which He submits Himself to His Father’s will. And this submission is the strength in which He now greets Judas, corrects Peter, and heals Malchus. 

What a marvelous thing is the temptation-thwarting, submission-enabling power of prayer! And if our Lord Himself needed it, how much more do we! But if we believe in Him, not only is His submission counted for us, but it is also what we are being conformed to. Dear Christian, watch and pray so that you would not enter into temptation. And as you do so, rejoice that even in your watching and praying you are being conformed to Christ!

What times do you have set apart each day and week for watching and praying against temptation? Where in your life have you found it to be a battle to submit to the Lord’s providence and commands?

Sample prayer:  Our merciful God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—You have alll power and goodness in Yourself. But we are weak and sinful in ourselves. We thank You that You have made Your righteousness ours in Jesus Christ. We marvel at Your love Lord Jesus, that You humbled Yourself to become a Man so fully that even Your dependence is a model for our own dependence. Grant unto us the ministry of Your Spirit, by Whom we would be watchful and prayerful as a right use of the greatest means that You have given us: Yourself. Which we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP191 “I Love the Lord” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”


Friday, August 27, 2021

Wrath-Deserving Sinners Treasured Instead for Christ's Sake (2021.08.25 Prayer Meeting lesson in Psalm 28)

What believers most cry out for is that they may be treated not as they deserve but rather as God’s treasure, for the sake of God’s anointed. Thus, trusting in Him is expressed as prayer, which results in help and rejoicing.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.08.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 4:21–23

Read Philippians 4:21–23

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Paul say to do with the believers (Philippians 4:21)? How many of them? What does he call them? In Whom? What does he call his coworkers? What do they do? Who else greets them from Rome (Philippians 4:22)? How many of them? Especially whom? What blessing does he give them in Philippians 4:23? Whose grace (cf. Philippians 1:2)? With how many of them? How does he conclude the letter? 

Greetings for all. The letter had been sent “to all the saints” but particularly “with the bishops and deacons” (cf. Philippians 1:1). Probably, it had been delivered to the officers, but the apostle there and now here wants to make sure that the letter is not just received to the church generally but that each one receives the letter personally. 

Each of us would do well to receive Scripture this way. It is breathed out by God—like having a living, breathing conversation with Him. And it is useful to prepare the man (singular!) of God for every good work. 

Greetings for saints. The man who has written how obsessed he is with Christ reminds them that they are set apart as holy precisely by their being joined to the One with Whom the apostle is obsessed. They are “every saint in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:21). How treasured they must know themselves to be, when his love for them is identified with his love for Christ!

Greetings from brethren. The brethren who have been with Paul in Rome have heard his prayers for the Philippians, and his dictation of the letter to them. They share his treasuring of Christ. They have been learning from the letter as it was written, and from the ministry of the man who wrote it. So of course, they too love the Philippians in Christ, and greet them.

Greetings especially from among Caesar’s household. These particular greetings would give the Philippians great joy. Not only has the gospel penetrated Caesar’s household so that there are brother-saints among them now, but these perhaps would know some of the retired centurions among the Philippian church. 

Greetings and Grace from Christ Himself. Ultimately, Paul’s love for them and the brethren’s love for them come from the Lord Jesus Christ. But Paul isn’t writing as his own man. He’s writing as a slave of Christ (Philippians 1:1), an apostle of the Lord Himself. And the Lord Jesus Christ gives more than just greetings; He gives all that He is for all that we need. Blessing for those who deserve only curse. Power for those who have only weakness. Goodness for those who have only wickedness. 

Sometimes, the grace is said to come from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is itself proof enough of Christ’s divinity: grace originates in Him as much as in the Father. But here it is Christ alone Who gives all the grace they need. He is the God of grace!

What believers do you know, treasure, and greet? How does it appear in your heart and behavior that you do so with the affection that you have for Christ? Who greets and treasures you with this affection? With what does Christ greet you, if you are His by faith?

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, our God, we praise You for Your mercy, joining Yourself to us and setting us apart as holy in Yourself. Forgive us for when we have not loved those who are Yours with the love that we have for You. By Your grace, make us to love them with Your love. For in You is everything that we need, and we look to You for this grace in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH405 “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”

Thursday, August 26, 2021

2021.08.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 21:1–14

Read 2 Samuel 21:1–14

Questions from the Scripture text: What had happened, in what days, and for how long (2 Samuel 21:1)? What did David do about this? What did Yahweh answer? What does He call Saul’s household? Whom does the king call in 2 Samuel 21:2? Who were the Gibeonites? What had Israel sworn (cf. Joshua 9:3–27)? But what had Saul done? Why? What does David ask the Gibeonites in 2 Samuel 21:3? What does this imply they had been doing, and to which God had been listening? What kinds of things do the Gibeonites emphasize that they don’t want (2 Samuel 21:4)? What does David reply? About whom do they speak in 2 Samuel 21:5? What accusation do they make? For what do they ask in 2 Samuel 21:6? Before Whom would the Gibeonites hang them? What do they highlight about Gibeah of Saul? What does the king promise? Whom does the king spare (2 Samuel 21:7)? Because of what kind of oath? Whom does he take instead (2 Samuel 21:8)? To whom does he deliver them (2 Samuel 21:9)? What do they do with them? What time of year does this occur? Who does what in 2 Samuel 21:10? For how long? What doesn’t she permit? Who is told in 2 Samuel 21:11? What does David gather from whom in 2 Samuel 21:12? And what does he gather additionally in 2 Samuel 21:13? What does he do with all these bones in 2 Samuel 21:14? What does God finally do?

An offended God. The honor of God’s Name is the backdrop for much of this passage. In Joshua 9:18–19, the oath made in Yahweh’s Name was upheld even though it had been made to deceptive Canaanites. 

Man-centered as we are, we lack appreciation for how seriously God takes the honor of His Name. But Israel’s sworn oath is mentioned in 2 Samuel 21:2. And the hanging is before Yahweh in 2 Samuel 21:6. This is mentioned again in 2 Samuel 21:9. And the offensiveness of Saul’s action seems to be that it is against having been chosen by Yahweh (end of 2 Samuel 21:6). Even Mephibosheth’s safety in 2 Samuel 21:7 is for the sake of God’s Name, “because of Yahweh’s oath that was between them” (verse 7). And the entire episode is ultimately about atoning for offense so that prayer will once again be heard (2 Samuel 21:14).

To be sure, we easily deceive ourselves about how offensive to God our actions are. There are many who profess the Name of Christ, and unflinchingly worship in ways that the Lord has not commanded—which God Himself refers to as hating Him in the second commandment. Saul, similarly, had once let God-condemned animals live in an act of claimed devotion to make sacrifices (cf. 1 Samuel 15:15). Now 2 Samuel 21:2 of our passage tells us that Saul had convinced himself that he was being zealous for God’s people when he broke the oath in God’s Name—perhaps even feeling like he was making up for sparing Agag in 1 Samuel 15. But our God rejects worship that comes in disobedience (cf. 1 Samuel 15:22–23). Good intentions don’t make up for disobedience.

A merciful God. The greatness of the offense against God makes His mercy in the passage even more remarkable. The first mercy is the mercy of revelation. We remember that when Saul was rejected as king, part of the judgment included losing access to the Word of God. But when David inquires now, Yahweh answers (2 Samuel 21:1). This by itself is a great mercy.

Also, Yahweh accepts the death of a substitute. Some find it controversial that the seven descendants are punished for Saul’s sin. But God’s prohibition in Deuteronomy 24:16 had to do with the execution of criminal justice by the state. Indeed, all of humanity is condemned for the sin of our first father. And Christ is condemned for the sin of all who are His. 

It is a great mercy that the Lord accepts a substitutionary atonement here. Saul is already dead and cannot be executed for the sin. But he sinned not merely as a private person but as a king, and therefore as a nation. So what is required is not so much avenging judgment as curse-removing atonement. Not only is hanging indicative of a curse (cf. Deuteronomy 21:23), but this hanging is “before Yahweh” (2 Samuel 21:62 Samuel 21:9), and the bodies are left exposed, which was ordinarily forbidden precisely because it indicates accursedness before God (cf. Deuteronomy 21:23 again). So, God is mercifully accepting cursing upon a few in behalf of a nation.

Surprises of mercy among God’s people. The main character of the passage (as always) is the Lord Himself. But, sprinkled through it are surprises of mercy that are easy to miss. The first actually comes from the Gibeonites. God has been offended for the oath of Yahweh that has been broken, but David wants to know what will enable the Gibeonites to bless Israel (the inheritance of Yahweh) instead (2 Samuel 21:3). The Gibeonites aren’t interested in money (2 Samuel 21:4a) or even blood (verse 4b). David is stumped (verse 4c), but the Gibeonites’ focus is on what to do before the face of Yahweh (2 Samuel 21:6). The sense of the text actually seems to be that the Gibeonites’ request comes from a desire to see Israel restored to a place of blessing!

Secondly, there’s the actions of Rizpah. Two of the deceased are her sons, but she sets up sackcloth camp and fends of predators from all seven (2 Samuel 21:10). This is remarkable, since five of them were sons of Merab (the first daughter of Saul to be treacherously given to another instead of David) that had been brought up in the house of Michal (the second daughter of Saul, who had been treacherously given to another, but later became a haughty queen who had a falling out with David). The task is a horrible one—due to the curse, she may not retrieve the bodies, so she lives on a rock, in a tent made of sackcloth, getting no rest day or night, attending to decomposing bodies, including those of her own two sons. This is a (unimaginably grievous and horrific) labor of love.

Finally, there’s the actions of David himself. The temptation might be to distance himself from the house of Saul, or even to pile on in this season of judgment. But he understands how atonement and forgiveness bring reconciliation—probably in no small part from the Lord’s own dealings with David. With the rains falling again (2 Samuel 21:10), he’s willing not only to take care of the bodies of the seven, but to recognize that they have borne that which was necessary for the restoration of their house. So, he collects the bodies of Saul and Jonathan to be buried with them in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father. It’s even implied that this last act of David’s own mercy is part of what God is responding to when He begins again to listen to prayer for the land (end of 2 Samuel 21:14). 

Ultimately, this is also the mercy of God. He speaks to His people. He accepts substitutionary atonement for them. And in His mercy, He even makes His people merciful.

How do your priorities and habits reflect God’s priority upon the honor of His Name? In your life, how have you seen the mercies of His Word, His atonement, and His sanctifying grace?

Sample prayer: Our glorious God, all things exist for the honor of Your Name. Yet, when we had sinned against You in our first father Adam, You showed Yourself to be our gracious God by giving Your Son to be an atonement for us. Even so, how often we fail to prioritize Your glory or recognize Your grace! Forgive us and by Your Spirit cleanse us, we pray, for the sake of Your love and the Son Whom You gave in that love. Make us those who love Your glory and grace, AMEN! 

Suggested Songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH431 “And Can it Be That I Should Gain”

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Sustaining Grace Strips Excuses, Exposes Rebellion, and Sweetens Service (Family Worship lesson in Exodus 4:10–17)

Why do Moses’s responses kindle Yahweh’s wrath against him? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Exodus 4:10–17 prepares us for the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eight verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the fact that we are weaklings who must be sustained by sovereign grace strips away our excuses against serving God, exposes our rebellion against serving God, and sweetens our service to God by dependence upon Him and fellowship with Him.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.08.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 4:10–17

Read Exodus 4:10–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What new objection does Moses raise in Exodus 4:10? What does he say hasn’t made a difference(!)? With what question does Yahweh challenge him in response (Exodus 4:11)? What does He say will make the difference (Exodus 4:12)? Instead of raising objections, what tactic does Moses try in Exodus 4:13? Now what is Yahweh’s disposition toward him (Exodus 4:14a)? Whom does Yahweh say is already on the way to help (verse 14b)? What difference will there be between Moses’s current attitude and Aaron’s? How will each relate to the other in the speaking process (Exodus 4:15-16)? What does Yahweh command him to take (Exodus 4:17)? 

Accusing God. I hope that when you and I have complained about our circumstances or abilities, we have not realized that we were accusing God. Frighteningly, Moses cannot make that claim. In Exodus 4:10, he says “neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant.” His point is jarring: Your Word hasn’t done anything to improve the situation.

Yahweh’s answer is that He Himself is the solution. Moses’s inabilities are in the Lord’s intentional providence (Exodus 4:11) so that the Lord Himself will be Moses’s ability (Exodus 4:12). This is a principle that holds for each of us: His grace is made perfect in weakness (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9), so that we will boast in Him alone (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26–31). 

Refusing God. With his claim to having “an ability problem” shot down, Moses now exposes a much more sinister one in Exodus 4:13: a willingness problem. He now pleads that the Lord send literally anyone else. It turns out that he has not been unable so much as he has been unwilling.

Angering God. One of God’s perfections is that, for the sake of the elect Whom He is saving, He is slow to anger; but, His wrath is a perfection, and He wills to display it (cf. Romans 9:22–24). While God’s patience with Moses throughout this passage is very encouraging to those who turn to Him in repentance and faith, His anger in Exodus 4:14 is a warning to Moses, Egypt, Israel, even all of us.

This is the end of the conversation. The Lord tells Moses how it’s going to go, even revealing that Aaron is already on his way out to meet him (Exodus 4:14). Not only Moses’s weakness (which God would overcome) comes in the providence of God, but even Moses’s wickedness (which God would overlook and atone for, cf. Romans 3:25–26) is accounted for in the marvelous providence of God. 

God isn’t asking Moses to be anything more than a mouth (just as Aaron is going to be his mouth, Exodus 4:15-16) and a stick (like the one in Moses’s own hand, Exodus 4:17). The words are not from the mouth but from the person. The power for the signs is not in the stick. Just so, God Himself is all of the wisdom and the power, and Moses is none of it. 

In the end, the fact that this isn’t really a negotiation is marvelous grace, isn’t it? It seems that if it were up to Moses, he would not be saved at all, not be used at all. But it’s not up to him. Comparatively, in the Exodus, Moses is a mouth and a stick. God alone is the Savior.

How have you been accusing God in your situations? How have you been refusing God in not carrying out your calling? How has God been marvelously gracious in saving you, or in using you, despite your unwillingness?

Sample prayer:  Lord, Yours is all of the glory. Yours is all of the wisdom and the power. To us belongs shame and confusion of face, for we use our weakness as an excuse rather than an opportunity to boast that You are strong. And we groan against what You have called us to do. But to You belongs marvelous grace. Save us by Your grace through the atoning blood of Christ. Sanctify us by Your grace in cleansing us from it. And use us by Your grace for Your merciful, wise, and powerful work in this world, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

2021.08.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Peter 1:3–9

Read 1 Peter 1:3–9

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the apostle doing unto God in 1 Peter 1:3? What does he call God? What has God done to us? According to what characteristic of His? Through what action of Christ’s? Unto what kind of inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)? What will not happen to it? Where is it reserved? And what keeps believers who are on earth (1 Peter 1:5)? Through what? For what? When will this salvation be revealed? But what can believers already do about it (1 Peter 1:6)? Even though what else may be happening now? What do such events “test by fire” (1 Peter 1:7)? How precious is it? What three things does this genuine faith bring? When? What haven’t we done with Christ (1 Peter 1:8)? Yet, what have we still done with Him? What do we not do with Him now? What are we doing instead? And what does this believing cause us to do—with what kind of joy? What, then, are we already in the process of receiving (1 Peter 1:9)? What is the end of our faith?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration all come from 1 Peter 1:3–9, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Rejoice, Believer, in the Lord

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… who has begotten us.” God is worthy of praise for all of His perfections and for all of His works, but for the believer, our greatest cause for praise goes to who God is in Himself, because He Who has eternal fellowship within Himself has brought us into that fellowship. 

Before God saved us unto an adoption in which we have Him as Father, He has from all eternity, in Himself, that from which all true fatherhood and sonship springs. The highest reason for the Christian to “greatly rejoice” that we are already receiving salvation is that it is this rejoicing which makes us to praise God. 

“to a living hope.” Jesus’s resurrection means that our hope is alive. His ascension into heaven, where He sits on the throne, means several other things about this hope. It is incorruptible; just as God is the incorruptible God because He is perfect and cannot change at all, let alone become less good, the incorruptibility of our hope means that it can never become less good. 

Our hope is undefiled; just as our High Priest is holy, harmless, and undefiled, so our hope is perfectly pure and holy. It is not a hope for satisfying the fleshly lusts, but for satisfying the holy desires of that new nature that we have by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Every pure and right desire of this nature will be abundantly and eternally satisfied.

Our hope is unfading. It is not like the borrowed glory on Moses’s veiled face, which was fading away. It is a participation in the glory of Christ Himself; its intensity and brilliance can never wane or fade. We cannot see it now with eyes of flesh, so we must look upon it through the lens of passages like this, with eyes of faith. Behold your unfading hope!

“who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation.” By the end of 1 Peter 1:9, we find that believers are already receiving the end (goal) of our faith: the salvation of souls. It is this salvation which 1 Peter 1:5 tells us will also be revealed in the last time. We already have it, and we know wonderful things (1 Peter 1:4) about it, but we don’t see it yet. 

Well, there is actually something that helps us to see it more: “various trials.” They grieve us “now for a little while,” but they are also proving the genuineness of our faith. Because our hope is bound up in a resurrected, reigning Christ, the trials can’t destroy our faith but rather prove its imperishable nature. 

Suddenly, we see that for believers, trials are a mechanism by which God shows the true quality of our faith: much more precious than gold. Gold? Even fire does not destroy it but only purifies it, but in the end gold perishes. Faith in Jesus Christ? That’s forever. And when He appears, this will be found to His praise, honor, and glory.

“joy inexpressible and full of glory.” One of the marvelous things about the salvation to come is that faith already enjoys the great part of it: “Jesus Christ, Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice.” 

Loving Christ and rejoicing over Christ are the essence of faith. Loving Christ and rejoicing over Christ are the great part of our inheritance and our salvation. When trials come, they show us that they cannot separate us from Him Whom we most love, and over Whom we rejoice. If we are already rejoicing with joy inexpressible, what will it be like when we see Him Whom we love and over Whom we rejoice? The thought should ravish the already-inexpressible-rejoicing heart.

Blessed be God indeed!

Through what trials are you going? What are they showing about the quality of your faith?

Sample prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, how glorious You are from all eternity! And yet You have given the Son for us, so that by Your Spirit, we might also know You as our Father in Christ. Forgive us for how often, in our trials, we focus on the trials themselves rather than what they are showing us about Yourself, our inheritance, and the faith that You have given us. Grant that we would so love Jesus, and so rejoice over Him, that even grievous trials would make Him and our faith more precious to us, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH486 “Rejoice, Believer, in the Lord”

Monday, August 23, 2021

Don't Speak in the Hearing of a Fool (Family Worship lesson in Proverbs 23:9)

Pastor leads his family in a verse from “the Proverb of the day.” In this Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that how our words are likely to be received is a factor in considering whether to speak them—particularly that if we are with or near a fool, it is better to keep our mouth shut.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.08.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 22:21–34

Read Luke 22:21–34

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose hand does Christ mention in Luke 22:21? With Whom is it?  Where is it? What does Jesus call Himself in Luke 22:22a? What determines how/where He goes? But what/whom does this predetermination not absolve (verse 22b)? What do they begin to question (Luke 22:23)? Among whom? What else are they doing among themselves (Luke 22:24)? About what? Who knows about these things (Luke 22:25)? About whom does He first speak to them? What do these kings do? With what do they credit their authorities? How should this relate to the dynamic among Christ’s disciples (Luke 22:26)? What must the greatest do? What must someone who governs do? Who is supposed to be greater (Luke 22:27)? But how was Christ, the Greatest, among them? What does Christ now call them (Luke 22:28)? How does He respond to their being brought low with Him—what does He bestow upon them (Luke 22:29)? What was the pattern for this? In what action(s) is their receiving of the kingdom displayed and enjoyed (Luke 22:30)? Whom does the Lord now address in Luke 22:31? Who has asked for him? To do what? But what has countered this (Luke 22:32)? What has Jesus prayed for him? What will he do? What does Peter need to do at that point? What does he now say to the Lord (Luke 22:33)? How does Jesus answer him—what will Peter do before when (Luke 22:34)?

Immediately upon the Lord Jesus presenting Himself as believers’ ultimate provision (Luke 22:19-20), we get a rapid-fire series of examples of how badly we need that provision. 

Betrayal, Luke 22:21-23. Jesus ties the news of the betrayer to the Supper itself with the conjunction “but” (more literally “nevertheless”) at the beginning of Luke 22:21 and by highlighting the betrayer’s hand being on the table. Our potential for such wickedness in the face of such goodness is a very big deal. Even the fact that it comes under the reality of God’s sovereign providence (Luke 22:22a) does not remove the horrific guiltiness that the betrayer bears (verse 22b). And apart from Jesus’s grace, every one of His followers is a potential betrayer (Luke 22:23).

Rivalry, Luke 22:24-30. The Spirit takes us from one dispute in Luke 22:23 to a rather disturbing one in Luke 22:24. The potential Christ-betrayers are arguing about which of them is the greatest. They are acting exactly like the wicked world (Luke 22:25). Each wishes to get to the top, even if it comes at the cost of the others. Christ’s kingdom (Luke 22:16) and kingship (Luke 22:27) are exactly opposite. Again, He draws attention to the table and their need for Him. Their privilege is not in high status but in suffering (Luke 22:28). The way up is the way down, both for Christ (Luke 22:29) and for them (Luke 22:30). And again, the Lord Jesus draws attention to the table.

Arrogance, Luke 22:31-34. The Lord calls him Simon in Luke 22:31, not the strong name, “Rock.” The Lord tells him that Satan himself has asked for him. The Lord tells him that He has prayed for him. Even with that prayer, and what Peter is up against, Jesus tells him that he will stumble and return in Luke 22:32. Peter’s disagreement with Jesus in Luke 22:33 implies greater confidence in himself even than in Jesus’s own prayers. The horrible arrogance! And Jesus basically tells him so (Luke 22:34). Still, just as it’s Jesus Who provides at His own table, so also it is Jesus Who provides for Peter through His prayers (Luke 22:32a) and even provides Peter himself for the strengthening of his brethren (verse 32b). 

Betrayal, rivalry, and arrogance are just three examples of why we desperately need Christ as our sacrifice, Christ as our life and goodness, Christ as our help and Mediator. 

How have you seen your own neediness of Christ? For these needs, how is Christ abundantly sufficient for that need? How has He assured you that He has given Himself to be your sufficiency?

Sample prayer: Lord Jesus, our God and Savior, we praise You for Your perfect covenantal faithfulness, when we are prone to betrayal. We praise You for Your humbly giving Yourself up for us, when we so easily indulge a spirit of rivalry. We praise You for the perfection of Your strength, when we who are weak have only illusions of our own strength. And we praise You most of all that You have made Yourself ours. As You display and do at Your table, give Yourself to us we pray, in Your own Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”


Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Glorious, Gracious Fruit of Christian Generosity (2021.08.22 Evening Sermon in Philippians 4:18–20)

True Christian generosity bears the fruit of plenty for God's saints, praise unto God, pleasing God, provision from God for the giver, and parental and perpetual glory unto God.
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The Kind of Person Jesus Saves: Sinners! (2021.08.22 Morning Sermon in Luke 22:21–34)

As soon as Jesus has just instituted the Lord's Supper for giving Himself to us and assuring us of the covenant that He secures by His blood, the Spirit shows us how greatly we need Him and His blood.

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WCF 15.6.1, The Nature and Duty of Private Confession (2021.08.22 Sabbath School in Psalm 32, 51)

Every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof
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