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, October 02, 2021

2021.10.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 23:13–25

Read Luke 23:13–25

Questions from the Scripture text: What three groups does Pilate call together in Luke 23:13? What does he say that they have done (Luke 23:14a)? But what has Pilate done, and what is his conclusion (verse 14b)? Whom does Pilate claim has come to the same conclusion (Luke 23:15a)? What does Pilate conclude from the fact that Herod sent Jesus back (verse 15b)? What does Pilate propose to do (Luke 23:16)? Why (Luke 23:17)? How many of them cry out (Luke 23:18)? With what timing? What do they cry about Jesus? Whom else do they cry out about? What had Barabbas done (Luke 23:19)? But whom did Pilate wish to release (Luke 23:20)? So what does he try? With what kind of voice do they now respond (Luke 23:21)? What do they begin crying out? What does the evangelist note about Pilate’s response in Luke 23:22a? What does he ask? What does he declare? What does he again propose to do? But what is their attitude (Luke 23:23a)? And what are they demanding, with what kind of voice? What ultimately prevailed (verse 23b)? Now what does Pilate do in Luke 23:24? And what else to whom (Luke 23:25)? What comparison does this verse restate? 

In our passage, the evangelist presents Pilate as acquitting the Lord Jesus three times, emphasizing that number: “Then he said to them the third time,” Luke 23:22. There are three just in this re-trial by Pilate: Luke 23:14Luke 23:20Luke 23:22. Since Pilate had already said this a fourth time (Luke 23:4, actually the first time), the number three seems to be important. 

This may just be to triply (completely) emphasize the innocence of Christ in the comparison in Luke 23:25. But, coming so closely on the heels of Luke 22:54–62, it seems to draw a contrast between Pilate’s acquittals and Peter’s denials. Though the disciples have forsaken Christ, and though the kings and rulers and peoples be taking counsel against Him, the Lord providentially attests Christ’s innocence—even on the lips of the one who delivers Him up to be crucified!

All of our hope rests upon the innocence of Christ. Not merely an innocence in Pilate’s eyes, but an objective innocence that holds up before God. We are like Barabbas, deservedly condemned, and with no right in ourselves to await anything other than to perish under the execution of justice. But God made Him who knew no sin to be sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. 

Ultimately, we are all either in the place of Barabbas (released, in exchange for Christ, Who becomes our Substitute) or of Pilate (Luke 23:13-14) and Herod (Luke 23:15) and the people (Luke 23:18Luke 23:21Luke 23:23). These knew the innocence of Christ. And they knew the claims of Christ that His innocence substantiated. And yet, whether out of cowardice, or indifference, or hostility, they all rejected Him and became complicit in His murder.

You know that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, Who came into the world to die for sinners: the innocent One for the rebellious. 

What are you doing with Jesus’s claims? Have you embraced Him, despite all that anyone else—or everyone else—might say? Have you humbly acknowledged that you deserved the penalty, but that His taking it in your place is your only hope?  

Sample prayer:  Lord, You became like us in every way, except without sin. Ours was the transgression, but Yours was the pain. Forgive us our sins, we pray, on account of Your having taken the punishment in our place, which we ask in Your atoning Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH336 “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”

Friday, October 01, 2021

Walking with God in His World and Word, in Ordinary Times and Hard (Family Worship lesson in Proverbs 1:20–33)

Pastor leads his family in a selection from “the Proverb of the day.” In these fourteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God has openly given us knowledge of Himself in His world and more personally and correctively so in His Word, and that we are to walk with Him by receiving instruction and correction in the ordinary way of our life, so that we may walk the same way when the hard times come.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

Christ the Utterly Victorious, Divine, and Universal King (Family Worship lesson in 2Samuel 22:38–46)

Who is this king who utterly destroys all his enemies and rules all nations? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Samuel 22:38–46 prepares us for the Evening Sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that what David was to some extent, the Lord Jesus would be in its fullest extent: the utterly victorious King over all the nations, in Whom we receive the mercy and power of Yahweh.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.10.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 22:38–46

Read 2 Samuel 22:38–46

Questions from the Scripture text: What has David done (2 Samuel 22:38a)? To what extent (2 Samuel 22:38-39)? How did this come about (2 Samuel 22:40-41)? To Whom were the enemies looking, with what response (2 Samuel 22:42)? And with what result (2 Samuel 22:43)? From what/whom else will the King be delivered (2 Samuel 22:44a)? Why (2 Samuel 22:44-46)?

Christ is the victorious and forever King. When we consider the last three verses more closely, we realize that their application in David’s life is the minor point, but their prophecy of Christ is the major point. In 2 Samuel 22:38–46, the verb stems are more appropriately translated in the future tense than the past. 

It is Christ, especially, against Whom all the peoples and nations strive, but who is Head over all (2 Samuel 22:44, cf. Psalm 2). 

It is Christ, especially, to Whom all foreign nations will come and bow the knee (2 Samuel 22:45-46, cf. Psalm 72).

Christ’s destroying of His enemies will be utterly complete. It will do no good to explain away the ruthless dominance of 2 Samuel 22:38-43 by thinking that it comes from some flaw in David as a man of war. Instead, we find that Christ Himself is a Man of war—something we would know from the prophecy about Him beginning in Genesis 3:15 and going through to the end of Revelation.

God’s anointed King is One who crushes the head of the enemy. It simply will not do to have a Christ Who leaves any enemies alive or any of the enemies’ works undestroyed. To a large extent David did not, and here in these nine verses, he prophesies that the Lord Jesus will not at all.

There is a strong emphasis on the completeness of the destruction: not turning back until it is done (2 Samuel 22:38), being so complete that that the enemies can never rise again (2 Samuel 22:39), beating them as fine as dust and dirt (2 Samuel 22:43).

Yahweh Himself gives this everlasting victory. So, it is especially Christ, who is the victorious and forever King. And His destroying of His enemies is utterly complete. The middle section (2 Samuel 22:40-42) of our portion tells us how this is: 

Yahweh Himself is fighting for His king (2 Samuel 22:40, or “as the King” in the case of Christ).

Yahweh Himself has determined the outcome (2 Samuel 22:41).

Yahweh Himself, Whom we have known from this Psalm to be the only possible help, has justly refused to be the help of the enemy (2 Samuel 22:42).

This last is a sobering reminder that the Lord is only the help of those who come to Him through Christ. There are many who think they hope in the Lord over all creation, but they don’t know Him as Jesus the God-Man, and He justly does not save or answer.

But if it is through Christ that we come, we can be absolutely sure that He saves completely and forever. Not one thing or being who is against Him and us will be permitted to stand!

What enemies and evils trouble you most in this world? How many of them will remain when Christ has finished with them? Why hasn’t Christ destroyed them already?

Sample prayer:  Lord, all who are against You must utterly perish. But we have been agaisnt You; have mercy upon us through Jesus Christ and His blood! And grant unto us to rejoice in the completeness, permanence, and certainty of Your victory in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH375 “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name”


Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Great Goodness for Which We Praise and Love Our God (2021.09.29 Prayer Meeting Lesson in Psalm 31:19–24)

God Himself is the treasure that He lays up for us and the protection that He provides for us. We praise Him for the miracle of His covenanted love to sinners and love Him Who first loved us.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

The Glorious God Is the One Who Gave Himself (Family Worship lesson in Colossians 1:15–18)

Who is the “Son of His love” in Whom we have redemption? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Colossians 1:15–18 prepares us for the second serial reading in Morning Public Worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Jesus is the Lord: the uncreated Creator of all things, Sustainer of all things, Ruler over all things… for Whom they all exist, and Who is glorified over them all.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.09.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 1:15–18

Read Colossians 1:15–18

Questions from the Scripture text: Of what is Christ the image (Colossians 1:15a)? What else is He, and over what (verse 15b)? How many things were created by Him (Colossians 1:16a)? Where? What kinds of things (verse 16b)? In addition to being created by Him, how were they created (verse 16c)? For Whom were they created? How else does Jesus relate to all things (Colossians 1:17a)? And how else (verse 17b)? What relation does He have to the church (Colossians 1:18a)? What, therefore, is the church called? In what two ways is He the head (verse 18b)? Between His relationship to the church and all created things, what is the result for Him (verse 18c)?

The glory of being redeemed in the Son is the truth about Who the Son is. He is not merely the “son of God” in the way that Adam is described to be in Luke 3:38, because He is not “created in the image of God” the way Adam is in Genesis 1:27

No, the Son is Himself the image of the invisible God, God’s display of Himself (v15a). In fact, He is the One Who created all things (Colossians 1:16a)—not only on earth but in heaven, not only visible but invisible, at every level of authority and power (verse 16b–c)! Indeed the apostle uses the language from Genesis 1 to declare the Son as the One through Whom Adam had to be created in order to be created in the image of God.

The Holy Spirit is saying the same thing in Colossians 1:15–17 as in John 1:1–4. The Son, the Word, is the uncreated Creator, God’s own display of Himself, by Whom and for Whom all creatures exist.

“He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15)

“And the Word was God” (John 1:1)

“the Firstborn over all creation, for by Him all things were created” (Colossians 1:15–16)

“without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3)

“that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities of powers” (Colossians 1:16)

“without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3)

“All things were created through Him” (Colossians 1:16)

“All things were made through Him” (John 1:3)

“And He is before all things” (Colossians 1:17)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God” (John 1:1)

“and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17)

“In Him was life” (John 1:4)

This is the One who has fully paid for the church by dying for her (Colossians 1:14). So, He is her head, as her Husband, and considers her to be His own body (Colossians 1:18a), for whom He paid the redemption price of Himself. In fact, this redemption cost Him both incarnation and death, but by going through death for His church, He became the firstborn from among the dead (verse 18b). Where the Head has gone, His body will follow. 

How glorious to have the Creator-Lord as our Kinsman-Redeemer! He is God the Word (John 1:1–18) and God the Son (Colossians 1:15–17), but He became a Man as well to offer Himself to die as the bride price for us sinners who needed forgiveness!!

The upshot of all this is that the Son’s glory in the church is the pinnacle of His glory in all creation and all authority. All those other things, even the highest and greatest of them, glorify Him because He created them (Colossians 1:16). But the church brings Him glory as His purchased bride, whom He leads out of death and into resurrection life. “That in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18c).

What effect does it have upon your heart, as a believer, to know that God the Son Himself gave Himself to purchase you as part of His bride? When you read that this was all done so that He would have the first place, how does this shape your aim in your day to day living? In what does it teach you to delight? What can take away this joy?

Sample prayer: O Jesus, our Creator, all things are from You, and through You, and to You. To You be the glory forever and ever, AMEN! Though You are God, You became a man to die for us. Forgive us for how forgetful we are of your love. And forgive us for how we keep losing sight of Your glory as the aim of our life and salvation. Grant that we would live our whole lives as a knowing of Your love for us and a loving of You and Your glory, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP110B “The LORD Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH288 “We Come, O Christ, to You”


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

God's Grace Sufficient Both through and in Weakness (Family Worship lesson in Exodus 6:28–7:7)

Why does this passage begin by repeating Moses's complaint and end by giving us his age? Pastor leads his family in today's "Hopewell @Home" passage. Exodus 6:28–7:7 prepares us for the first serial reading in Morning Public Worship on the coming Lord's Day. In these ten verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God works through those who are weak and sinful in order to show both that what He accomplishes through them is a display of Himself and His glory alone and also that even their obedience and service itself had to be produced by His grace.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.09.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 6:28–7:7

Read Exodus 6:28–7:7

Questions from the Scripture text: When does this come to pass (Exodus 6:28)? What did Yahweh say about Himself (Exodus 6:29a)? What did He tell Moses to say to whom (verse 29b)? And how had Moses answered (Exodus 6:30, cf. Exodus 6:12)? But what had Yahweh said to Moses (Exodus 7:1, cf. Exodus 4:16)? What is Moses to speak to whom and by means of him to whom (Exodus 7:2)? But what will Yahweh do to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:3a, cf. Exodus 4:21)? Why—to multiply what (Exodus 7:3b)? So, what will happen (Exodus 7:4a)? Why (verse 4b)? What will this accomplish (Exodus 7:5)? What were the immediate results of the Lord’s speech to Moses (Exodus 7:6)? How does Exodus 7:7 tie this passage back to the genealogy in chapter 6? 

By way of the genealogy in Exodus 6:14–27, the Holy Spirit has already answered Moses’s objection from Exodus 6:12 for us. Now, He repeats the objection in Exodus 6:30, as the Lord answers Moses as well. Moses may be Moses, and that’s a problem; but Yahweh is Yahweh, and that’s the solution: 

“I am Yahweh,” Exodus 6:29

“I will […] multiply My signs,” Exodus 7:3

“I will […] multiply […] My wonders,” verse 3. 

“I will lay My hand on Egypt,” Exodus 7:4

“I will […] bring My hosts […] out of the land of Egypt,” verse 4.

“I will […] bring […] My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments,” verse 4.

“the Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh,” Exodus 7:5.

“when I stretch out My hand on Egypt,” verse 5.

“when I […] bring out the children of Israel,” verse 5.

It’s all about Yahweh. It’s not about whether Moses’s lips will be up to the task (cf. Exodus 6:30). It’s about Yahweh making Himself known, His glory known, His covenant faithfulness known, His justice known. We make a great mistake, when we think about our circumstances and situations as if they are about us. 

In His works, just as in His Word, the Lord is always making Himself known.  We make a mistake when we are slow to obey out of fear that our weakness will keep the obedience from bearing fruit. And we make a mistake if our aim in obedience is more personal success than the display of God’s glory.

But God displays His glory and covenant faithfulness known not only in what He does through us, but also in what He does in us. And that’s the point of Exodus 7:6–7. We go from Moses saying, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh heed me” (Exodus 6:30) , to “Moses and Aaron did so; just as Yahweh commanded them, so they did” (Exodus 7:6).

What produces this change from halting, doubting disobedience to complete, exact obedience? Eighty year-old Moses and Eighty-three year-old Aaron were from a nation of families that Yahweh had set apart for Himself. And He displays His faithfulness not only by delivering them from Egyptians, but also by giving them increasing deliverance from their own sins.

And He still does that today! You can trust Him, dear Christian, to do that work in you so that you more and more serve and obey with the confidence that He will display His own glory through you.

What situation are you in, where you feel that you’re not up to it? What is God aiming at in that situation? Where can you get the faith to serve and obey in it? 

Sample prayer:  O Lord, You showed Your glory in the way that You chose to deliver Your people from Egypt. And infinitely more so in the way that You have delivered all Your elect by Christ. Forgive us for forgetting that You are showing that same glory, even through the most difficult circumstances and service to which You call us. But even for increased faith, You are the One to Whom we may look. Glorify Yourself in us by growing us in Christ, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

2021.09.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 13

Read 1 Corinthians 13

Questions from the Scripture text: What kind of authenticating sign would Paul be, if he had tongues signs even more than actually existed, but was missing the love sign (1 Corinthians 13:1)? If he has prophecy, and understands it all completely and believes it, but does not love, what is he (1 Corinthians 13:2)? If he performs great acts of self-sacrifice, what might he still not have? And what will it profit him (1 Corinthians 13:3)? What does love do (1 Corinthians 13:4a)? What does love be (verse 4b)? What two things does love not do (verse 4c-d)? What is love not (verse 4e)? How does love not behave (1 Corinthians 13:5)? What does it not seek? How does it not respond to offenses? What does it not think/calculate? What does love not rejoice in (1 Corinthians 13:6)? What does love rejoice in? What does love bear (1 Corinthians 13:7)? What does love believe? What does love hope? What does love endure? Which of the authenticating signs will never end (1 Corinthians 13:8)? What were currently partial at the time that Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 13:9)? Did God’s revelation remain incomplete? When the completion arrived what happened to partial words of prophecy and knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:10)? How does 1 Corinthians 13:11 describe the age of partial revelation? How does 1 Corinthians 13:12 describe the age of partial revelation? What three things outlast the age of partial revelation (1 Corinthians 13:13)? Which is the greatest of the three?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration all come from 1 Corinthians 13, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with If I Speak a Foreign Tongue

In chapter 12, the apostle had taught that the God’s Word was authenticated by gifts to display that it was the Lord Himself who was not only working faith in individual believers, but arranging them as members of the body, and making each a necessary and effective instrument of God in the lives of the other members of the congregation.

This focus on the Word is why prophecy in a known tongue is going to get such a hearty recommendation in chapter 14. The Word is what God especially uses to build us up. But here, in chapter 13, the focus is upon what the fruit looks like in a believer’s life, when he is being built up. Even during the age when the Spirit was giving new revelation, the authenticating signs that accompanied it did not compare with love. 

Love is the everlasting fruit of the Lord’s redemption and the Lord’s redeeming Word. Love was not only a sign that the effective Word was being spoken; it was a sign that the authentic Word had already begun to take its effect. There are other things that we might be tempted to be impressed by (1 Corinthians 13:1-3), but without love to authenticate them, we realize that they’re worthless. 

So, it’s important to know what this love looks like in the lives of believers. After all, one might be shocked by the assertion in 1 Corinthians 13:3 that giving everything for the poor and giving oneself up in sacrifice are not themselves tell-tale signs of genuine Christian love. Those are grand displays, but they are not love’s proving ground. 

No, what shows that love is real, and what shows that grace is real, is found in the condition of the heart and manner of interaction in the everyday nitty-gritty of life: Patience that maintains cheerfulness through the continual provocations of sharing life with sinners (1 Corinthians 13:4a). Kindness that steadily shows thoughtfulness and expresses tenderness (v4a). Gladness at others’ receiving words of praise and desirable possessions (verse 4b). Modesty that isn’t trying to be the one that gets noticed (verse 4c) or admired (verse 4d). This steady ooze of sweetness toward those around you in your everyday life—that’s what the apostle describes as the authenticating stamp of the Holy Spirit’s actually having laid hold of a person.

Now, there is much more that we could say about love in those verses, but that section from the middle of 1 Corinthians 13:5 to the end of 1 Corinthians 13:7 doesn’t get nearly enough consideration. 

Love is most easily identifiable when it is mistreated. How does love react then?

Love is not provoked—love refuses to take offense. It doesn’t calculate wrongs—there’s no keeping of score here. It doesn’t easily notice what ill has been done because it is busy delighting in what has been true. 

Love bears all things—love doesn’t say, “I’ve had it” or “I’m done.” It believes all things—if there’s a possible explanation with a good intention, that’s the one that love chooses to believe. It hopes all things—love doesn’t say, “this will never get better” but rather “it’s worth giving him another chance.” It endures all things—love says, “It’s worth it for me to carry the pain in order to continue in this relationship.”

“NO ONE loves like that, when they are mistreated!!” Exactly. Well, not exactly. And that is why love like this functions as an authenticating sign of the work of the Spirit in a person.

Jesus loved like that perfectly. And His loving is what is counted for us, as if we had done it, when we believe in Him. And because they are being made like Him, real Christians love like this more and more and more. 

The fact that love like this is so rare is why it works as a sign. Here is the authentication of the fact that the Holy Spirit has done real work in someone by His real Word: that person has come to love like 1 Corinthians 13 describes! The age of new revelation and its authenticating signs ended long ago. God has given us everything we need for the faith and hope that remain, but greater than these is the love that will continue even after faith becomes sight and hope has been fulfilled.

What other evidences do you tend to emphasize when thinking about how your Christian life is going? In what aspect of this description of love do you think you most need to grow? Who else (hint: they probably live with you) might be better able to answer this question for you? As you pursue loving more, what comfort do you get from Christ having done so perfectly?

Sample prayer: O God, Who are love in Yourself, we adore Your glory and holiness. How marvelous it is to us that You have chosen us in the Son of Your love, and have brought us into Your own love! Forgive us for how petty, bitter, hard, and mean we often are toward each other in our hearts and even in our interactions. Count Christ’s perfect love for us as if we had done it, and continue working in us to make us like He is, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH499 “If I Speak a Foreign Tongue”

Monday, September 27, 2021

2021.09.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 23:1–12

Read Luke 23:1–12

Questions from the Scripture text: Who arose and led Jesus to whom (Luke 23:1)? Before the Roman governor, what three accusations did they try out (Luke 23:2)? With which one does Pilate cross-examine (Luke 23:3a)? How does Jesus answer (verse 3b)? What does Pilate conclude from this (Luke 23:4)? Which other accusation do they retry now (Luke 23:5)? What part of this catches Pilate’s attention (Luke 23:6)? Why—what is he able to do now (Luke 23:7)? How did Herod feel about this at first (Luke 23:8)? Why, what did he hope for? But what results did he get (Luke 23:9)? What made a sharp contrast with Jesus’s silence (Luke 23:10)? When his hope is disappointed, and he sees the conduct of the crowd, what does Herod do (Luke 23:11)? And what is the result of this (Luke 23:12)? 

Last week, we saw that the first response to this Scripture is to praise God that this trial of our Lord Jesus occurred exactly according to God’s Word, precisely to accomplish God’s redemptive purpose. As Pilate and Herod, king and ruler, make friends in Luke 23:12, we see a fulfillment of Psalm 2 for which the apostles also praised Him in Acts 4:23–28. And their continued response in Acts 4 models two other apostolic applications of Christ’s trial and this passage: imitating Christ and trusting Christ.

Imitating Christ. In contrast to the raging and plotting and turmoil of the people and Pilate and Herod, the Lord Jesus is the picture of calm in this passage. In Luke 23:3, He answers Pilate with two words. And He says even less in Luke 23:9, “He answered him nothing.” 1 Peter 2:20–25 picks this up, presenting Christ’s conduct under unjust attack as a model for us: suffer patiently, suffer politely, suffer prayerfully, and suffer perseveringly. 

Suffer patiently. There, the apostle is urging us to do good, so that if we suffer it will be for doing good. It is then that we are doing something “commendable before God” if we take it “patiently” (cf. 1 Peter 2:20). He says that this was one of the reasons for Jesus’s own conduct under His suffering for us: “leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Suffer politely. Again, the focus is upon doing good. The apostle points out in 1 Peter 2:22–23a that Jesus “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten.” The word ‘politely’ hardly covers it, but the point of the text is this: Jesus understood that there was danger of multiple tongue sins, precisely because of the injustice of His suffering, including (but not limited to): deceit (exaggerating His own case), reviling (attacking with His mouth those in offices where God has placed them and therefore necessitating our respectful speech), and threatening.

Suffer prayerfully. 1 Peter 2:23b gives us a window into the heart of our Lord Jesus throughout this trial. He “committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” On earth, He was standing before those who were judging wickedly. But they are not the only judges, and they are not ultimately the judges of record. He committed Himself unto God. Considering what He was about to suffer for our sakes and our sin from the justice of this Judge, this is truly remarkable. The apostles in Acts 4 also made this application, not taking it upon themselves to mitigate the council’s threats but praying, “Now, Lord, look on their threats” (Acts 4:29). 

Suffer perseveringly. Jesus persisted in what He was given by God to do for us. He “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24a). He did this not only that we would be forgiven (“by Whose stripes you were healed”), but that in union with Him we would begin to live like Him: “that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness.” The apostles in Acts 4 conclude their prayer by asking to speak boldly (Acts 4:29b) and then follow their prayer by proceeding to speak boldly (Acts 4:31b). When we are punished for doing good, we glorify God under that persecution by persevering in doing that good all the more! Jesus died for us because we “were like sheep going astray” (1 Peter 2:25a), but His success under this very trial has resulted in our returning “to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25b).

Trusting Christ. Ultimately, this brings us back to Psalm 2. As Jesus stands before kings and rulers who conspire against Him, we are reminded that all of humanity is split into two camps: those who resist His reign, and those who kiss the Son. When nations and kings and rulers attack Christ by attacking His church, it is a right response to praise Him and to suffer well (patiently, politely, prayerfully, perseveringly), but our right response is not the ground of our blessing. Yes, Psalm 2 tells us, serve (Psalm 2:11a) and submit (Psalm 2:12a); but, that is not where blessedness comes from. “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (verse 2:12d)!

In what ways is the church generally, and are you specifically, being attacked for belonging to Christ or obeying Christ? How is your life exhibiting the responses of praising God and suffering well (patiently, politely, prayerfully, perseveringly)? What is your hope that this will turn out for your blessing?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are God, Who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them. And, these men did to Jesus what You had determined before, so that we could be atoned for by His holy blood. Grant unto us humble adoration of our Redeemer, so that we might love Him because He first loved us, which we ask in His Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH525 “Savior, Like a Shepherd, Lead Us”

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Lord Is Our Sure, Exclusive, and Necessary Help (2021.09.26 Evening Sermon in 2Samuel 22:29–37)

Since the Lord gives us nothing that we can handle and nothing that He can't handle, the Lord is our help regardless of the circumstance, the only help that we can ever have, and such a necessary help that growth in faith is not growth in independence but growth into more complete dependence.
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Suffering Like Jesus, through Faith in Jesus (2021.09.26 Morning Sermon in Luke 23:1–12)

Even as Christ was purchasing our forgiveness and our liberty to live righteously under His leadership, He was setting us an example of how to live righteously when suffering for doing good.

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“Of Good Works” part 2, WCF 16.1.1–2, Man Cannot Define Good Works (2021.09.26 Sabbath School in Heb 13:20–22, Matt 15:3–9, Isa 29:9–14)

Good works are only such as God hath commanded in His holy Word, and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.
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