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 30, 2021

2021.10.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 23:49–56

Read Luke 23:49–56

Questions from the Scripture text: Who were nearby in Luke 23:49? What did these latter do? Who else was there (Luke 23:50)? To what did he belong? What kind of man was he? What hadn’t he done (Luke 23:51)? From where was he? What was he doing (cf. Luke 2:25, Luke 2:38)? To whom did he go (Luke 23:52)? To ask for what? What did he do with the body (Luke 23:53)? Where did he lay it? What day was this (Luke 23:54)? Which day drew near? Who were still doing what (Luke 23:55)? What did they observe? Where did they go (Luke 23:56)? What did they prepare? Then what did they do? According to what? 

In the centurion’s response, we see Rome flip from mocking Christ to honoring Him. In the crowd’s response, we see them flip from mocking Christ to honoring Him. In Joseph of Arimathea’s request and burying, we see him not only in his faithful consistency but also as a representative of the council, now not mocking Christ but honoring Him.

But now we turn to those who have been with Jesus the whole way: “the women who had come with Him from Galilee.” They are described this way in Luke 23:49 and then again in Luke 23:55. In Luke 23:49, they were lumped in with other acquaintances—we may assume at least John (cf. John 19:25–27) and hopefully other disciples. But by Luke 23:55, they are being described by themselves. 

Twice named as having come with Him from Galilee, and the second time by themselves, the point seems to be clear: these women have been with Him from the beginning, and here they are persevering with Him to the end. The apostles had fled at the arrest; the majority of them were at a distance during the crucifixion (Luke 23:49). They’re not even mentioned during the burial (Luke 23:50-55). But these women have stuck with Jesus. There’s a commendable perseverance to the end here. Every believer ought to seek grace from God to finish well, grace to persevere to the end.

But there’s not only perseverance but also diligence. It’s the preparation day (Luke 23:44), but after watching carefully at Christ’s death (Luke 23:49), they continue to observe carefully at His burial. They observe the tomb (Luke 23:55). They observe how His body was laid (verse 55). This implies that they have been following along with Joseph the whole time in Luke 23:50-54. They’re taking it all in, not from idle curiosity, but from an intent to do whatever they can. No doubt, they note that for whatever reason spices and fragrant oils have not been applied. Their diligence to observe identifies an opening for service. There is risk here in being identified with Christ. There is inconvenience and effort in all that needs to be done, late on this preparation day, during the feast—none of which they could have anticipated just 24 hours prior.

To perseverance and diligence, these dear women add extravagant generosity. Perhaps among the other Marys (cf. Luke 24:10) is Mary of Bethany, who had already spent a year’s wages’ worth of spikenard on Jesus; He had said it was to prepare His body for burial (cf. John 12:7). These spices and oils were not inexpensive! Of course, if they had remembered others of Jesus’s words (cf. Luke 24:6–8), they could have spared the expense. He would not be in the grave long enough to make use of the spices and oils. And the prophecy of Psalm 16:10 meant that the usual purpose of such spices and oils wouldn’t apply to the body of the Christ. Still, there is something commendable about their willingness to spend so lavishly upon Him; this was in keeping with what Luke has already said about them (cf. Luke 8:1–3).

Generosity in caring for Christ’s body is one great indicator of genuine perception of Christ’s love for us, and of genuine reciprocal love for Him. These women missed the opportunity to apply spices and fragrant oils to the corpse of Christ, but they would yet have opportunity to be generous to that body of Christ, which He calls “His flesh and His bones” (cf. Ephesians 5:30; 1Timothy 2:9–10; Acts 9:36–39). We too must wait until glory to serve our ascended Lord, but we too may serve His flesh and bones even now in the church.

Finally, in these women, we see a commendable obedience. If ever one might have let herself off easily for neglecting the Sabbath rather than remembering it, or spending it in any old way rather than consecrating it, it might have been one of these women. But they keep the Sabbath, and the Holy Spirit is careful to distinguish for us what drove this Sabbath-keeping. “They rested on the Sabbath” not according to tradition or out of social obligation but “according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). Jesus’s perfect Sabbath keeping was what was counted for them through faith. Jesus’s death on the cross had atoned for all of their Sabbath-breakings. 

But here was a way of responding in love to the Christ Who for them had perfectly lived and atoningly died: to love Him by keeping His commandments. For the Christian, the law of God is the royal law of their King, and the law of liberty of Him Who has delivered them from being ruled by self and sin. We had seen back in Luke 6:5 that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. They are closer to the eternal Lord Who died for them in the public worship on the Sabbath than they would have been attending to His spirit-less human body. And now believers may have the closest intimacy with the risen and ascended Messiah, the Lord from all eternity, as He leads them in public worship Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day.

How are you aiming at enduring to the end with Christ and in His service? In what parts of life might you be more diligent to observe how you may serve the Lord and His body? Where are there opportunities for your generosity unto Him? Which of His commandments presents you the best growth opportunity for loving Him in His own way?

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, in Your death for us sinners, God has demonstrated His love. Grant that we would love You because You first loved us. Give us perseverance, diligence, generosity, and obedience. Forgive us for when our dull hearts respond so weakly to Your great love for us. By Your Spirit of adoption, make us to walk in love as beloved children, even as You loved us and gave Yourself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma, through which we also ask this prayer, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH238 “Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee”


Friday, October 29, 2021

Gladdened by Praise, Prayer, & Presence (2021.10.27 Prayer Meeting lesson in Psalm 34:1–7)

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. This week, we’re considering the first seven verses. Believers are gladdened by praising the LORD; believers are gladdened by praying to the LORD; and, believers are gladdened by the presence of the LORD.
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2021.10.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 9

Read 2 Corinthians 9

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle say that he doesn’t even really need to write about (2 Corinthians 9:1)? About what has he boasted to the Macedonians (2 Corinthians 9:2a)? Whom has their zeal stirred up (verse 2b)? Why has he sent the brethren (2 Corinthians 9:3)? When would the apostle like for the Corinthians to have their part of the gift ready (2 Corinthians 9:4-5)? Of what Proverbs 11:24 principle does he remind them in 2 Corinthians 9:6? How much does he tell each to give (2 Corinthians 9:7a)? To which two ways of giving does he assume this will be opposite (verse 7b)? Which way of giving should be the result (verse 7c)? Who loves that kind of giver? What about what we need—who will supply that (2 Corinthians 9:8)? How often? How much sufficiency? In what situations? For what purpose? What does Psalm 112 say that god-fearing man does (2 Corinthians 9:9)? Who is the One who enables him to do this? For what kinds of people does the Lord supply and multiply what they need (2 Corinthians 9:10)? What does the apostle say is God’s reason for richly supplying the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 9:11)? What does he repeatedly say abounds back to God (verse 11, 2 Corinthians 9:122 Corinthians 9:13)? And what do the recipients of the gift end up doing for the givers of it (2 Corinthians 9:14)? What gift created these connections and makes all of this giving and praying and thanking and praising possible (2 Corinthians 9:15)?

Those who sincerely profess Christ would genuinely like to be people in whose actions and lives the glory of Jesus is seen and known. However, we imagine to ourselves that it requires some heroic effort that is always just out of our reach.

That’s not the picture given in this passage from which comes part of our upcoming Sabbath School lesson. Rather, the Scripture tells us that God has already abundantly supplied us, and He will continue to abundantly supply us. We have only to be generous with whatever He has given us, and follow His law.

Now, that last part is important. The text describes this as the fruit of “righteousness”—a word and idea that can’t just be defined as what people think is right, but only as what God Himself says is right. And here, as in other places, God prioritizes the needs of the saints in the supplying of material neediness. Did they have no poor in Corinth? It was a major city, with major sin; of course they did! But it was the saints in Judea who were the aim of “every good work.” And other parts of the Scripture, such as 1 Timothy 5 and the requirement to care for one’s own house, must direct the amount and target of our sacrificial giving.

We can see the ultimate reason why this is: the purpose of this giving is “thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:11)… many thanksgivings to God (2 Corinthians 9:12)… they glorify God (2 Corinthians 9:13).”

Here is both a reason that such giving is primarily to believers (only they know the true God in Jesus Christ, so that their thanksgiving abounds readily and properly), and also a reason that giving to unbelievers must always always be drowned in gospel announcement of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done (not just a compulsory word or two—for, how else will they connect it to the indescribably gift?)!

It is actually God’s gift to us in Christ that all that we have and all that we are can genuinely belong to Jesus—that we can act in every moment as if it belongs to Jesus and use every possession as if it belongs to Jesus. We don’t deserve to live such lives of worship unto Him. And this is a glorious fellowship beyond what we deserve to have with one another. But even these are just side benefits to the great and indescribable gift—Jesus Himself.

What part does thanksgiving have in your life? Who sacrificially gives of himself for you, and how/when do you pray for him/her? What time/possessions could you really be giving?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, grant that the seeds we sow in service to You would increase the fruits of our righteousness from You. Make us to see how this makes thanksgiving to abound unto Your glory. And make us to love Your glory, so that we will be eager to abound in good works. Forgive us for when we are selfish toward others, desiring to keep for ourselves what could better be used for their good. And forgive us all the more for when we are selfish toward You, not considering or desiring Your glory in our actions. By Your Spirit, make us to be like Christ, Your indescribable gift, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP112 “O Praise the Lord” or TPH187 “I Belong to Jesus”


Thursday, October 28, 2021

Three Benefits of Treasuring Christ (Family Worship lesson in Colossians 2:1–3)

What are some of the benefits of the apostle’s having come to know God as Triune in Christ? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Colossians 2:1–3 prepares us for the second serial reading in Morning Public Worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us treasuring Christ frees us to care despite the pain that comes with it, treasuring Christ knits our hearts together in love for Christ, and treasuring Christ forms the foundation of all true wisdom or knowledge.
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2021.10.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 2:1–3

Read Colossians 2:1–3

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle want them to do (Colossians 2:1)? Of what does he want them to know the greatness? For whom had he had this conflict? What was notable about these people? What effect did the apostle hope that this knowledge would have upon their hearts (Colossians 2:2)? On their relationship? Unto all of what riches? And unto what knowledge? Of both of Whom? What is hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3)? How much of it?

If the apostle rejoiced in sufferings (cf. Colossians 1:24), he must have been FULL of joy, for he had great conflict (Colossians 2:1). This is one of the great differences that genuine Christianity can make—not that it gets us out of suffering (the contrary is often true), but rather that it turns the suffering into fuel for rejoicing.

Genuine Christianity enables great caring. Perhaps you have heard someone express the idea that they were unable to keep caring so much because of how much stress or pain it caused. For the apostle, not only does he care deeply for the churches that he himself had planted and pastored, but he cares for Colossae, Laodicea, and for other churches that had never even seen his face in the flesh. Does this caring cause suffering? This letter is evidence of that!

But treasuring Christ enables the apostle to value suffering for Christ’s sake, and it is exactly this treasuring of Christ that these Colossians are going to need (cf. Colossians 2:4-10). So, he lets them know that not only is his own treasuring of Christ what has transformed his own suffering, but that what he is battling and suffering for is that they, too, may treasure Christ.

What is that believers’ hearts need? Treasuring Christ (Colossians 2:2a).

What is it that knits believers together in love? Treasuring Christ (verse 2b). The “persuasive words” of Colossians 2:4 will not be able to “deceive” (Colossians 2:4) or “cheat” (Colossians 2:8) them, if their congregational fellowship is built around treasuring Christ together. How important it is, dear believer, that your congregation’s fellowship not be built around hand-wringing over the times in the nation, or even hand-wringing over the deceptions in the church, but rather around the all-surpassing value of Christ, which soundly answers these problems. How important it is to have a congregation whose hearts are knit together in love by treasuring Christ exceedingly!

What is it that gives us assurance of understanding—with the riches, with all the riches that this assurance of understanding brings? It is to treasure Christ. The most important thing to understand is that “glorious mystery” of Colossians 1:27—God’s way of making and growing Christians is through union with Christ… their certainty of entering glory comes from the fact that the Lord of glory already dwells in them

This is the “mystery of God” from Colossians 2:2. God is Triune. He is Father, Son, and Spirit. God the Father has given His Son not only for us to die in our place, but also to us to be united to us and dwell in us by His Spirit. God the Son has not only died on the cross, risen again, and ascended into heaven, but He has come to reside in believers by His Spirit Who He gives to them. 

Any wisdom or any knowledge that does not point you back to this gospel of God becoming a Man to die for sinners is no true wisdom at all and no true knowledge at all. This gospel is the mystery of God, the story that no one could have anticipated, but that God has planned, and God has revealed: God has died for believers and come to dwell in believers. Whatever we see about Him in His world and in His word should make us marvel that THIS is the One Who died for us; THIS is the One Who dwells in us! And this is the treasure of all wisdom, and the treasure of all knowledge—to know this about the Christ Whom we treasure!

Who died to atone for sinners? Who dwells in believers? How does this impact your suffering? What part does this have in your fellowship? How does this relate to everything else that you know?

Sample prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we praise You that You have revealed Your triune nature by this marvelous salvation with which You have saved us. Not only has the Son been the One Who became man to atone for us, but now He has come and dwelt in us by the Spirit! Forgive us when we seek to have our hearts strengthened by lesser things, or when we build our fellowship upon lesser things, or when we seek our assurance from lesser things. Grant instead that our hearts would be strengthened by treasureing Christ. Grant that our fellowship would be built upon treasuring Christ. Grant that our assurance of understanding would come by treasuring Christ—all of which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or TPH508 “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

God Displays His Just Wrath (Family Worship lesson in Exodus 8:16–19)

What big lessons are there in this little account of a plague? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Exodus 8:16–19 prepares us for the first serial reading in Morning Public Worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us the justness of God’s wrath against sin, the enormity of God’s wrath against sin, the humiliation that we ought to experience over our weakness and wickedness, and the danger of being hardened by our encounters with God rather than softened by them.
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2021.10.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 8:16–19

Read Exodus 8:16–19

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom did Yahweh speak (Exodus 8:16)? To whom did He want him to speak? What was Aaron to stretch out? What was he to strike? What would happen to the dust? Where? Who does what (Exodus 8:17)? What does Aaron stretch out? What does he strike? What does it become? On whom and what? How does the second half of the verse emphasize the enormity of the plague? Who else tried this (Exodus 8:18)? With what success? And what result? To whom did they speak (Exodus 8:19)? What did they say? What happened anyway? Why? 

Justice/justness. The first application of this passage appears by way of what isn’t there: no going to Pharaoh and warning him, etc. We can see why. Pharaoh is hard. Either Exodus 8:8 was a lie, or he hasn’t kept his promise. It doesn’t offend our sense of justice that the Lord would inflict another plague upon Pharaoh. 

But would it offend our sense of justice if He did so with our nation, or our church? Or even to employ some chastening providence in our own sanctification? Though Pharaoh’s rebellion be more obstinate, there are ways in which our sins against grace have a heinousness to them that should shut our mouths under difficult providence—or, rather, open them in confession of sin and humble plea. God doesn’t owe us a warning, and He doesn’t owe us to do things the way that He has before.

Extensiveness/enormity. Though the river is a great feature of Egypt, it is not everywhere. Later, the Holy Spirit will tell us that the knowledge of God will one day cover the earth like the waters cover the sea. But one way the Bible often describes an innumerable multitude of things or people is by the phrase “the dust of the earth.” In the original, this exact phrase appears once in Exodus 8:16 and twice in Exodus 8:17

In the last of these instances, the exaggeration gets the point across: “all the dust of the earth became lice.” Of course, since there was some land left, not every particle underwent this conversion. But you get the idea: every man and animal in Egypt was covered with bugs.

Humiliation. If they weren’t functioning as God and Israel’s enemies in this passage, the reader could almost feel sorry for the royal sorcerers. They’re covered in lice, head-to-toe, and they’re expected to produce more. The Lord had permitted them to do so with the frogs (Exodus 8:7), but that hadn’t ultimately solved Pharaoh’s problem (Exodus 8:8). Now, they can neither reproduce the lice (Exodus 8:18a) nor eliminate them (verse 18b). They have to give a report to the boss, and they admit that this is beyond them, but can’t bring themselves to credit Yahweh—“This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19). 

Persistent hardness. At first, the conclusion to this plague looks similar to the others. “Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as Yahweh had said.” Pharaoh is exposed for what he is like. The LORD’s Word proves true. But there is one thing that is different. This time Pharaoh’s heart is so hard that we have no plea for relief. This means that his people miss out on the miraculous repeals that accompanied the first two plagues. Considering the extent of this plague, it was a hard judgment indeed upon the people that the lice had to die out from “natural causes” (the more ordinary providence of God).

In four, short verses this plague presents four frightful features of the judgment of God upon the wicked: the justness of it, the enormity of it, their humiliation by it, and their persistent hardness in it. God grant us grace that it shall not be so with us. How marvelous that He has given Christ to atone for all whom, by grace, He would bring to believe in Him.

Where can you see one or more of these features of God’s judgment in our nation? Upon certain parts of “the church”? What hope do you have of it not being so with you?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, how great is Your longsuffering mercy toward sinners! You owe us no warning, no call to repentance, and yet You have given us so very many of them. We plead for our nation and so much of the visible church, that You would deliver from hardness of heart. Grant that many’s eyes would be opened to the judgment that they deserve, and that their hearts would be softened to turn to Christ in faith. And grant unto us, too, to see the heinousness of our own sin, that we may hate it and lay hold of your mercy in Christ, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH2B “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage”


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The LORD Our Hero (2021.10.24 Evening Sermon in 2Samuel 23:8–39)

The LORD Himself is the great Hero among the mighty men. His worship is our highest honor. He honors us according to His grace. And His forgiveness is our only hope.
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Honoring the Crucified Christ (2021.10.24 Morning Sermon in Luke 23:47–53)


God honored Christ’s crucifixion by producing a drastic change in how He was treated generally, and an outpouring of love by those who were His already, by faith, specifically. How have you responded to the crucified Christ?


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“Of Good Works” part 6, WCF 16.2.3, Good Works Strengthen Assurance because They Come from Union with Christ (2021.10.24 Sabbath School in 2Peter 1:1–11, 1John 2:3–10)

Good works are produced by and in those who already possess a priceless righteousness before God in Jesus Christ. This is because they come through knowing Him, from our union with Him. In Him alone, we have everything that pertains to godliness.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

Lessons from Jesus in Trinitarian, Gospel Prayer (Family Worship lesson in Luke 11:1–13)

What was the difference between Jesus’s praying and John’s? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Luke 11:1–13 prepares us for the opening portion of Morning Public Worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray in light of the fact that Christ has come, making us to know God as Father, and pouring out His Holy Spirit, so that we may be sure of the consummate fulfillment of that kingdom that has come in Him.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.10.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 11:1–13

Read Luke 11:1–13

Questions from the Scripture text: What was Jesus doing (Luke 11:1)? What did the disciples ask when He finished? How does Jesus respond to whom (Luke 11:2)? How are they to address God? What is the first petition? The second? The third? For what manner of the doing of God’s will should they pray? What is the fourth petition (Luke 11:3)? What is the fifth (Luke 11:4)? What are the two parts of the sixth petition? About what hypothetical situation does He ask them in Luke 11:5-6? What does He challenge them that they would not do (Luke 11:7)? Why does He say that they would give the friend “as many as he needs” (Luke 11:8)? Which actions of the friend in the question does He use to describe praying in Luke 11:9? What will the Father do in response to each of these? What is the relationship of Luke 11:10 to Luke 11:9? What effect does this have, as Jesus urges them to be persistent in prayer? What new hypothetical questions does Jesus propose in Luke 11:11-12? What does He say about their character in Luke 11:13? But what does He say they know how to do? To Whom does He compare them? What good Gift will He much more surely give?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Luke 11:1–13, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Come, My Soul, with Every Care

If the Lord Jesus’s praying in Luke 11:1 is reflected in the petitions that He teaches them in Luke 11:2-4, then that gives us the content of the kind of prayer to which He is directing us in Luke 11:5-13. The teaching here is presented as a whole, bookended by “Our Father in heaven” in Luke 11:2 and “your heavenly Father” in Luke 11:13.

For what had John taught his disciples (Luke 11:1)? He was proclaiming the need for repentance (Luke 3:1–14) in light of the coming of the Christ who would pour out upon them not water but the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:15–16). And it is reasonable to conclude that he taught them to pray along similar lines.

Now Christ the King upgrades all of these things as He teaches us to pray. 

Not merely for the coming of the Christ, but for the consummation of His kingdom (Luke 11:2). 

Not merely for the requisite repentance but for sure and free forgiveness (Luke 11:4). 

Not merely for One who would pour out the Spirit, but for the instant, delighted, abundant giving of that Spirit by Him Whom we now know as Father (Luke 11:11-13).

The Lord Jesus teaches us to be ambitious and confident as we pray for spiritual things! And oh how comforting this is to us who need constant reaffirmation of God’s forgiveness, of God’s Spirit carrying us along in our repentance and service, and of the powerful and unstoppable progress of His kingdom, despite all that we might think we see in the world!

His instruction on praying for earthly things is, by comparison, modest. Daily bread in Luke 11:3. Sometimes requiring persistence in asking for bread, or whatever it is that we need (Luke 11:5-8). Still, even these prayers are to be offered in confidence that whatever is good our wise and good Father will give us (Luke 11:9-15, cf. Matthew 7:7–10). 

And of course, one of those good things He will give us is that ministry if His Spirit that stirs up our heart more and more toward spiritual things, as we serve our heavenly Father and King in every spiritual circumstance.

God grant that our praying would not be like John’s so much, but rather reflect that Christ has come, the Spirit has been given, and the kingdom is unstoppably coming! (cf. Acts 19:1–10)

What spiritual things are major items of prayer for you? What earthly things? In what manner do you pray?

Sample prayer:  Lord, how marvelous it is to know You as Father! We come, hardly knowing what gifts to call good. But You have not only told us what to ask for, but have indeed planned to give us everything good—and, most of all, to give us Yourself. The Baptizer’s disciples learned to pray for much, but You have taught us to pray for much more. Forgive us for when our praying only addresses the smallest things, or when our prayer for eternally weighty and glorious things comes to you in weak and wobbly unbelief. Help us, by Your Spirit, to be sure of those eternally weighty glories for which You tell us to ask, through Christ, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH518 “Come, My Soul, with Every Care”


Monday, October 25, 2021

2021.10.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 23:47–56

Read Luke 23:47–56

Questions from the Scripture text: Who saw the events of Luke 23:44-46 (Luke 23:47)? What did he do? What did he say? Who else saw (Luke 23:48)? What did they do? What other parties were there (Luke 23:49)? What did these latter do? Who else was there (Luke 23:50)? To what did he belong? What kind of man was he? What hadn’t he done (Luke 23:51)? From where was he? What was he doing (cf. Luke 2:25, Luke 2:38)? To whom did he go (Luke 23:52)? To ask for what? What did he do with the body (Luke 23:53)? Where did he lay it? What day was this (Luke 23:54)? Which day drew near? Who were still doing what (Luke 23:55)? What did they observe? Where did they go (Luke 23:56)? What did they prepare? Then what did they do? According to what?

An amazing thing happens when Jesus breathes His last. The mockery that has been thick up until that point suddenly ceases.

Rome honors him through the mouth of the centurion, Luke 23:47. He glorifies God. He praises Jesus as righteous.

The whole crowd who had come together to see the crucifixion honors Him, Luke 23:48. Suddenly, they are deeply moved by the profundity and sadness of what has just happened. They return home, beating their breasts.

A council member honors Him, Luke 23:50-53. Joseph of Arimathea is put by Luke into the class of Simeon and Anna, to whom he had introduced us back in chapter 2 (cf. Luke 2:25, Luke 2:38). He makes bold to request a favor of Pilate at the end of a very long day. He makes generous to offer a very valuable tomb.

His nearest and dearest honor Him, Luke 23:49Luke 23:54-56. These friends, and especially the women, observe and watch everything that is being done with Him. They have every intention of caring for the body of the One Who had so loved them. And perhaps most honoring of all, they are still careful to keep His commandment (Luke 23:56). This is surely a part of honoring Him, especially when they could so easily have rationalized breaking the Sabbath in just this one instance. 

Christ is honored now. His earthly work is finished. His body continues under the power of death for a time, but the rest of His humiliation is over. And how He shall yet be honored at the last day! Do you honor Him now?

How do you honor Christ in recognizing who He is? How do you honor Him in feeling deeply those serious spiritual events that occur? What are some of them? How do you honor Christ in courageous action and costly expenditure? How do you honor Christ in loving attention to the needs of His body? How do you honor Christ with respect to His commandments?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have finished Your work. You lived the righteous life, died the atoning death, rose again with power, ascended into glory, and are seated in royal authority. Even were you still humiliated, by Your Spirit helping us to behold Your glory, we ought to have loved and served and worshiped You. How much more ought we to love and serve and worship You now with our whole lives. What can we do in response to such sacrifice? Dear Lord, we give ourselves away, ‘tis all that we can do. In Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP72B “Nomads Will Bow” or TPH431 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”


Saturday, October 23, 2021

2021.10.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 23:47–56

Read Luke 23:47–56

Questions from the Scripture text: Who saw the events of Luke 23:44-46 (Luke 23:47)? What did he do? What did he say? Who else saw (Luke 23:48)? What did they do? What other parties were there (Luke 23:49)? What did these latter do? Who else was there (Luke 23:50)? To what did he belong? What kind of man was he? What hadn’t he done (Luke 23:51)? From where was he? What was he doing (cf. Luke 2:25, Luke 2:38)? To whom did he go (Luke 23:52)? To ask for what? What did he do with the body (Luke 23:53)? Where did he lay it? What day was this (Luke 23:54)? Which day drew near? Who were still doing what (Luke 23:55)? What did they observe? Where did they go (Luke 23:56)? What did they prepare? Then what did they do? According to what?

An amazing thing happens when Jesus breathes His last. The mockery that has been thick up until that point suddenly ceases.

Rome honors him through the mouth of the centurion, Luke 23:47. He glorifies God. He praises Jesus as righteous.

The whole crowd who had come together to see the crucifixion honors Him, Luke 23:48. Suddenly, they are deeply moved by the profundity and sadness of what has just happened. They return home, beating their breasts.

A council member honors Him, Luke 23:50-53. Jospeh of Arimathea is put by Luke into the class of Simeon and Anna, to whom he had introduced us back in chapter 2 (cf. Luke 2:25, Luke 2:38). He makes bold to request a favor of Pilate at the end of a very long day. He makes generous to offer a very valuable tomb.

His nearest and dearest honor Him, Luke 23:49Luke 23:54-56. These friends, and especially the women, observe and watch everything that is being done with Him. They have every intention of caring for the body of the One Who had so loved them. And perhaps most honoring of all, they are still careful to keep His commandment (Luke 23:56). This is surely a part of honoring Him, especially when they could so easily have rationalized breaking the Sabbath in just this one instance. 

Christ is honored now. His earthly work is finished. His body continues under the power of death for a time, but the rest of His humiliation is over. And how He shall yet be honored at the last day! Do you honor Him now?

How do you honor Christ in recognizing who He is? How do you honor Him in feeling deeply those serious spiritual events that occur? What are some of them? How do you honor Christ in courageous action and costly expenditure? How do you honor Christ in loving attention to the needs of His body? How do you honor Christ with respect to His commandments?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have finished Your work. You lived the righteous life, died the atoning death, rose again with power, ascended into glory, and are seated in royal authority. Even were you still humiliated, by Your Spirit helping us to behold Your glory, we ought to have loved and served and worshiped You. How much more ought we to love and serve and worship You now with our whole lives. What can we do in response to such sacrifice? Dear Lord, we give ourselves away, ‘tis all that we can do. In Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP72B “Nomads Will Bow” or TPH431 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”


Friday, October 22, 2021

The Heroe̵s̵ of Israel (Family Worship lesson in 2Samuel 23:8–39)

What does the list of David’s mighty men tell us about Israel’s heroes? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Samuel 23:8–39 prepares us for the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty-two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Yahweh Himself is the only true Hero of Israel, that worshiping Him is the highest of our duties, that He is gracious to honor His servants, and that His mercy and forgiveness are our only hope.
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2021.10.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 23:8–39

Read 2 Samuel 23:8–39

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose names are these (2 Samuel 23:8)? Who is chief among the captains (2 Samuel 23:2)? What was he called and why? Who was second among them (2 Samuel 23:9)? What had his group of three done with whom? What had Israel done? What did he do in 2 Samuel 23:10? Until what? Who gave him victory? What did the people finally return to do? Who was the third (2 Samuel 23:11)? Again, who were they battling, and what had the people done? But what did he do (2 Samuel 23:12)? And who brought victory? What kind? Whom does 2 Samuel 23:13 describe? Where had they come to whom? Who else was encamped where? Where was David, and where were the Philistines (2 Samuel 23:14)? What had David said (2 Samuel 23:15)? What did the three mighty men do (2 Samuel 23:16)? But what did David do? Why was it too valuable to drink and to be used for worship instead (2 Samuel 23:17)? Who was chief of what in 2 Samuel 23:18? How did he win this name? What place did he have among this three (2 Samuel 23:19)? To what did he not attain? Who was second of this second three (2 Samuel 23:20)? Who and what had he killed? Whom else in 2 Samuel 23:21? What was this Egyptian like? More than whom was he honored (2 Samuel 23:23)? To what did he not attain? What appointment did David give him? How many are listed in 2 Samuel 23:24-39? How many does this make in all (2 Samuel 23:39)? With whom does the list climax (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:10–47)? 

The Lord, our Hero, 2 Samuel 23:8-12. We’re tempted to read this as a list of heroes, plural. But it’s really a list of Hero, singular. David had mighty men (2 Samuel 23:8), who fought when everyone else ran (2 Samuel 23:92 Samuel 23:11). But, even with these mightiest of the mighty in the big three, it wasn’t they who brought about a great victory; it was Yahweh (2 Samuel 23:102 Samuel 23:12). Very few men ever rise to such greatness as David’s top three. But, if the Lord Himself is the true Hero, this gives to every single believer the privilege of participation in the greatest heroics. They’re just His heroics, through whatever duty He has assigned to us. 

The Lord, our Honoree, 2 Samuel 23:13-17. There’s more heroics with the second three, and “The Bethlehem Water Raid” is the kind of caper that lives on in lore. But the three warriors’ action is not the story here so much as David’s reaction. At first, we might think, “what a waste! 

After what they had just risked, isn’t it worse for him just to dump the water out than to drink it? Not if you understand the act of pouring. This is what’s called a drink offering. It’s an act of worship. After what these second three had done, the water was to valuable to use just for slaking thirst. There was only one activity to do with it that would appropriately reflect its value: worship. David recognized that men of loyalty like this, and courage like this, were not independent agents. They were the heroic gifts of his Lord. And therefore the water they brought was best used for honoring Him.

The Lord, our Honorer, 2 Samuel 23:18-382 Samuel 23:19 and 2 Samuel 23:23 tell us the main thing about Abishai and Benaiah as members of the thirty. It wasn’t so much their exploits themselves. It was the honor they gained thereby. Thirty men from a wide variety of parents and places, but all of them enabled by God unto an honor that He gave them. Yes, believers are to do all for the honor of God. But they are also to recognize that God is also pleased to give them honor. This is true on a macro-scale. The Scripture speaks in several places about God welcoming His saints into glory, giving them reward, giving them honor. 

The Lord, our Hope2 Samuel 23:39. In the other list, Uriah the Hittite appears somewhere in the middle (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:41), but it’s not difficult to recognize the events behind his appearing at the conclusion/climax of this list. David’s sins against him were immense. But David’s story as a whole has not been the story of his sin. Rather, the story has been one of God’s grace to a sinner, and through him to other sinners. And that becomes especially apparent when we remember that the story of David is really just beginning, because its climax is in Christ, and it has no conclusion, for it continues in His forever-kingdom.

Those who are familiar with all the Scriptures (cf. John 5:39–40) will not be surprised to learn that a passage about might men isn’t so much about those mighty men as it is about the Lord.

In what ways do you catch yourself trying to be the hero of your story? Who is its real hero? What is the most significant way that you can spend yourself? What Christian duties will lead to being honored at the last day (cf. Matthew 25:23)? How is your story ultimately not a story of your accomplishments; what is it a story of?

Sample prayer:  Our glorious, triune God, we praise and adore You, Who give us all good things and Who deliver us from every trouble unto everlasting blessedness. Our whole lives ought to be sacrifices unto You, which is our logical response of worship. Yet, You are pleased to reward and honor us, even for the good that is done only by the grace of Christ. The story of our lives would have been stories of great sin like that of Uriah, but You have made them stories of your great grace to us in forgiveness and through us in service to Your people. So, forgive us and use us we pray, in Jesus, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH447 “Christ, of All MY Hopes the Ground”


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Heavenly Glory in the Nitty Gritty Details of Life (Family Worship lesson in Colossians 1:24–29)

What does Christ’s glory have to do with our suffering, our calling, our learning, and our effort? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Colossians 1:24–29 prepares us for the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us how Christ’s exaltation in glory marvelously connects to the nitty gritty details of believers’ everyday lives on earth.
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2021.10.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 1:24–29

Read Colossians 1:24–29

Questions from the Scripture text: How does the apostle respond to his sufferings (Colossians 1:24)? For whom? What is he “filling up”? In what? For the sake of what? Which is whom? What did he become with respect to the gospel (Colossians 1:25)? How did he become one? For whom? To fulfill what? What does he call the gospel in Colossians 1:26? When and from whom was it hidden? To whom was it revealed when? Who willed the apostle to become a steward of the gospel (Colossians 1:27)? In order to make known what? Among whom? What is this richly glorious ministry (end of verse 27)? Of what does “Christ in you” give you a sure hope? What do the apostles preach (Colossians 1:28)? What two types of preaching are involved in this preaching of Christ? Whom do they warn? In what do they teach every man? In order to do what to them? What else does the apostle do to this end (Colossians 1:29)? How is he able to strive in this work?

The heights of Colossians 1 are as high as anywhere else in the Bible, as they trace the person and work of Christ. But it doesn’t stay in the eternal Godhead or the heavens where the crucified and risen God-Man reigns and intercedes in glory. This gospel comes down into the nitty gritty of the apostle’s life.

Rejoicing in Suffering, Colossians 1:24. With a Lord that glorious who has suffered that much for His body, it becomes not just tolerable but enjoyable to suffer for that same church. The afflictions of Christ have fully accomplished our atonement, and the application of that atonement to believers is appointed to come through other suffering of those who are united to Christ. Paul rejoices that his flesh has this privilege.

Fulfilling a Stewardship, Colossians 1:25. This isn’t just providentially appointed. Paul has a calling as an apostle that is an obligation. He’s a “minister,” which sounds lofty, but it just means “servant.” Paul doesn’t get to fulfill his own word. He has a stewardship from God. Christian ministry is counterintuitive to the flesh. Not only does he rejoice in suffering (Colossians 1:24); he is happy to be humbled (Colossians 1:25). 

Revealing a Mystery, Colossians 1:26-27. “Mystery” here (and throughout the New Testament) isn’t a puzzle to figure out, but a plan of God that He chooses to unveil at the proper time to the proper people. This one was hidden from ages but has now been revealed. This one was hidden from generations but is revealed to His saints. 

And this mystery is a biggie—“the riches of His glory” (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:8–9). What is as big as the glory of God? Only Christ. And here’s the amazing reality of the gospel: Christ dwells in, and joins Himself to, those who believe in Him. This is what makes everlasting glory such a sure hope. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Preaching a Messiah, Colossians 1:28. So Christ Himself is the mystery. That means that gospel preachers are preaching a doctrine, but they are preaching much more than a doctrine. They are preaching a person. But this increases what’s at stake in this gospel; those who reject it are not rejecting an idea but the infinitely glorious Son: “Him we preach, warning every man.” 

As believers are taught who Christ is, and come to believe in Christ, and come to be indwelt by Christ, this is the means by which they are perfected: “Him we preach, teaching every man… that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

Working a working work, Colossians 1:29. This isn’t a low effort task. The apostle has to “labor” at it and “strive” at it. But, it is a successful-effort task, because God is the one working His work mightily. Paul’s work works because it is God Who is working.

Suffering. Preaching. Working hard. In it’s actions, pastoral ministry doesn’t seem very impressive. But it’s suffering together with Jesus for the same things for which He suffered. And it’s preaching not only a doctrine but Jesus Himself. And it’s not just a man working, but Jesus working through him. So, on one hand, pastoral ministry is suffering, preaching, and working hard. But, gloriously, pastoral ministry is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. 

And really, this is true of every truly Christian life. It’s done in union with Christ. To serve Christ and show His glory. In dependence upon Christ. Is this true of your life?

Why can you rejoice in suffering? Who is being glorified by it, and who is being served by it? Whom do you serve and in what actions? Upon Whom do you depend in this work, and what by what habits of life and of mind do you exercise this dependence?

Sample prayer: Lord, You are the all-glorious God, and You have given Yourself both for us and also to us. Forgive us for depriving ourselves of joy in our suffering or the privilege of humility as servants; for, when we do this, we are not just miscarrying a duty but denying a person. You. Yet, it is exactly for our sin and folly that You have atoned, so forgive us and cleanse us and warn us and teach us—until at last You present us perfect in Yourself, Christ Jesus, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH447 “Christ, of All MY Hopes the Ground”


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Faithful, Personal God Who Sees All in Justice and Mercy (2021.10.20 Prayer Meeting lesson in Psalm 33:13–22)

In inescapable justice, the LORD sees all the wicked, and in inescapable mercy, the LORD sees all those hoping in Him.
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How an Army of Frogs Exposed Heart-Hardness by Humiliating Pharaoh (Family Worship lesson in Exodus 8:1–15)

Why a plague of frogs? Pastor leads his family in today's "Hopewell @Home" passage. Exodus 8:1–15 prepares us for the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord's Day. In these fifteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord bends all sinners' knees to Himself by humiliating them, but it is a saving mercy when behind the bent knee is a grace-softened heart that acknowledges that we ultimately belong to Him and must serve Him in all things and depend upon Him for all fruitfulness.
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2021.10.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 8:1–15

Read Exodus 8:1–15

Questions from the Scripture text: Who spoke (Exodus 8:1)? To whom? To whom did He send him? How was he to introduce his statement there? What was he to command Pharaoh to do? So that what could happen? What did He threaten if Pharaoh refused (Exodus 8:2)? What would bring forth these frogs (Exodus 8:3)? How many? Where would they go? Into whose house, specifically? Into whose bedroom, specifically? Onto whose bed specifically? Into who else’s houses? On whom? Into what two things? Even onto whom, specifically, would these frogs come up (Exodus 8:4)? How does Exodus 8:5 introduce again? Looking at the rest of the verse, what has happened between Exodus 8:4 and Exodus 8:5? Now to whom is Moses to speak? What is Aaron to do? With what? Over what three things? What would this cause? What does Aaron do in Exodus 8:6? Over what? What come up? What do they do to the land? Whom else does Yahweh permit to do this (Exodus 8:7)? How do they think they are doing it? But who still calls for whom in Exodus 8:8? What does he ask them to do? What does he promise that he will do? What does Moses ask Pharaoh to accept in Exodus 8:9? For what three groups does Moses say he would intercede? What would he ask Yahweh to do? Where would frogs remain? What time does Pharaoh choose (Exodus 8:10)? What does Moses say that this timing will make Pharaoh know? From which four places does he say the frogs will depart (Exodus 8:11)? Where will they remain? Where do Moses and Aaron go in Exodus 8:12? What does Moses do to Whom, concerning whom? According to what does Yahweh do (!!, Exodus 8:13)? What do the frogs do, from where? What do the people do with the bodies (Exodus 8:14)? With what result? What does Pharaoh see in Exodus 8:15? What does he therefore do? What doesn’t he do? What had predicted/determined this?

Whom will the people serve? Exodus 8:1 restates the struggle of this contest. Pharaoh wants the Hebrews to keep serving Him, but Yahweh specifically tells Moses to say that “Yahweh” demands that they “serve Me” (verse 1). Part of the plague is that Yahweh will make his servants worthless by covering them with frogs (end of Exodus 8:4). There are many things/ones competing for the service of God’s people. He will devastate all competition.

Who makes fruitfulness? Again, the Nile is specifically attacked (Exodus 8:3), as well as Pharaoh himself. His house, his bedroom, and his bed (verse 3). Even upon him himself (Exodus 8:4)! The frog was the image of Hekhet, a purported fertility goddess in Egypt. But she was also supposedly to multiply crocodiles to keep the frogs in check. Apparently, she fails spectacularly to contain them. 

Also, Pharaoh’s magicians are able to make more frogs (Exodus 8:7). But the last thing that Pharaoh needs is more frogs! So, the magicians’ failure results in Pharaoh asking the only ones who can help him with his “Yahweh problem” (Exodus 8:8, cf. Exodus 5:2). Still, he uses the words “sacrifice to Yahweh” instead of “serve.” Pharaoh is unwilling to concede. Sinners want to be served. They do not want to acknowledge dependence upon the Lord, and they do not want to tolerate others’ serving the Lord.

Who is in control? Moses offers Pharaoh, “glorify yourself over me when to intercede for you” (Exodus 8:9). Something in Pharaoh’s response shows that he is still trying to maintain some semblance of control, and Moses (perhaps facetiously, perhaps to teach him a lesson) reinforces that by letting him set a time for the frogs to be gone. Pharaoh’s selection of “tomorrow” in Exodus 8:10 is basically impossible, but Moses still says, “let it be according to your word.” The point is to use words that sound like Pharaoh being in control to  show how complete Yahweh’s control actually is. Whatever Pharaoh asks, Yahweh can do. It will be tomorrow “that you may know that there is no one like Yahweh.” The Lord is in complete control of all of history, and each of us must bow the knee.

How hard is Pharaoh’s heart? Pharaoh still refuses to heed them (Exodus 8:15). What’s worse is that he looks at the situation in Exodus 8:14 and actually thinks that “there was relief” (Exodus 8:15). Heaps upon heaps of dead frogs throughout the land? Is that relief? The whole land stank? Is that relief? Here’s a man who is irrationally committed to his wickedness. Just like everyone, apart from Christ, is irrationally committed to his wickedness. 

What other entities are competing for the service of Christ’s people? Who will win that contest? Who/what else is thought to make people fruitful in our culture? How are you tempted to buy into that idea? What do you need, in order to give in to God’s call to repentance?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, You alone are God. Grant unto us to serve You alone! Grant unto us to trust in You alone for fruitfulness! Grant unto us tenderheartedness when Your providence is designed to get our attention and call us to repentance. Forgive us for being so much like Pharaoh, and spare us from needing such miserable circumstances to reveal it from our hearts; for, we ask it through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage” or TPH2B “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage”


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Famous Last Words: Divine Revelation, Christ's Reign, and Glorious Revenge (2021.10.17 Evening Sermon in 2Samuel 23:1–7)

David's last words point us to the every-word-God's-very-own nature of the Scripture, the light-after-darkness and life-after-death reign of Christ, and the perfectly timed and executed utter burning of the wicked.
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Suffering by the Power of Him Who Predestined Our Salvation and Calling (Family Worship lesson in 2Timothy 1:8–12)

What can stave off discouragement in the sufferings of our callings? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Timothy 1:8–12 prepares us for the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the God Who predestined our salvation and our calling will carry us through whatever suffering He has ordained along the way. We know Him and His ability; He will keep us.
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2021.10.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Timothy 1:8–12

Read 2 Timothy 1:8–12

Questions from the Scripture text: What is Timothy not to be (2 Timothy 1:8)? Not of what? Not of whom? As what does the apostle describe himself? In what does he tell Timothy to share? According to what power would he be able to share in this suffering? What two things has God done to us (2 Timothy 1:9)? With what kind of calling has He called us? Not according to what, but according to what two things instead? In Whom was this grace given? When? When was this grace revealed (2 Timothy 1:10)? How? What did He do to death? What has He brought to light? Through what? What three things was Paul appointed to be to this gospel (2 Timothy 1:11)? What did this triple appointment require him to do (2 Timothy 1:12)? Nevertheless, how hasn’t he responded? What not—what two ways has he responded to the doctrine in this verse? What will Jesus Christ keep? Until when?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from 2 Timothy 1:8–12, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with I Know Whom I Have Believed

Timothy is going to suffer in the ministry, and the apostle wants him to be able to do so without embarrassment or encouragement. 

Paul tells Timothy not to be ashamed (2 Timothy 1:8a), just as Paul is not ashamed (2 Timothy 1:12b). 

Paul tells Timothy to share with him in suffering for the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8b), just as for the sake of being a preacher/apostle/teacher of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:11), Paul suffers (2 Timothy 1:12a).

For the Christian, the gospel is worth suffering for.  The gospel has secured the hope not only of those to whom he ministers to, but of the minister himself. A truly effective minister is one who can proclaim the goodness of the Scriptural gospel because he knows the goodness of the Scriptural gospel from profound life experience. This goodness Paul knew.

When you belong to God through the gospel, it is His power that enables you to share in suffering (2 Timothy 1:8c).

The gospel is not about “how to get saved” but about the God “Who has saved us” (2 Timothy 1:9a). 

Whomever God saves through the gospel God also calls with a holy calling (verse 9b).

This calling is not one that comes to us through anything we do, but through something that God has purposed this grace in Christ (verse 9c), long before we did anything. Indeed, before time began (verse 9d). 

What appeared in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection (2 Timothy 1:10a) was planned before time began. It is impossible that those He came to save should end up dead (verse 10b) and absolutely certain that they should have true life (verse 10c) and immortality (verse 10d). 

The blessings of the gospel are secured by the eternal purpose and power of God. He planned it before the world began. He carries it out. This is why the apostle is not ashamed: “I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able.” Paul’s certainty comes from the character of the God who purposed and the power of the God who carries it out. The day of glory is planned and certain.

What the apostle was sure of, and what he wanted Timothy to be sure of, is the same thing that you must be sure of, dear believer. What can suffering take from someone who has the hope of this gospel? If you have committed yourself into His care, then your everlasting blessedness is as sure as the purpose and power of God!

In what ways are you currently suffering? Which of them can undo the purpose of God? Which can overcome His power? If you’re a believer, why has God done this for you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are full of grace, loving from before time began and not doing according to our works but according to Christ’s worthiness. You are full of wisdom, purposing and planning all things well. You are full of power—stronger than death, able to give life and immortality, able to keep what we’ve committed unto You. Forgive us for when we are embarrassed or discouraged by our suffering, and grant unto us to live from the confidence of knowing You. This we ask in Your merciful, powerful Name, Jesus Christ, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH517“I Know Whom I Have Believed”


Monday, October 18, 2021

The King Who Took a Subject Home to Paradise by Not Saving Himself (2021.10.17 Morning Sermon in Luke 23:35–46)


While others doubted Him because He wasn’t saving Himself, Jesus was actually displaying Himself precisely by not doing saving Himself! By not saving Himself, He purchased and liberated an innumerable multitude of sinners who would come to saving knowledge of Him as the Christ, King, God, and Lord Who suffered the due penalty of their sins in order to bring them home to His Paradise.

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“Of Good Works” part 5, WCF 16.2.2, Good Works Express Thanks; the Best Work Is Worship (2021.10.17 Sabbath School in Psalm 116:12–19 and 1Peter 2:4–10)

In this Sabbath School class, we continued the second paragraph of WCF 16, here examining Psalm 116 and 1Peter 2 in order to understand that with good works being according to God's commandments, the best work is to obey the first Great Commandment. This means, especially, the public worship of God. How do we show thanksgiving for His mercy? By good works, and especially by the best work.
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Jesus Displaying Himself through Saving Sinners by Refusing to Save Himself (2021.10.15 Family Worship in Luke 23:35–46)

How can you go to Paradise? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Luke 23:35–46 prepares us for the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twelve verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that what the mockery in Luke’s account all had in common was “Save Yourself.” But Jesus was showing Himself to be the Christ, the Chosen One, the King, the God and Savior… precisely by not saving Himself from the cross. To this the criminal, Christ, and the creation itself all testified.
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2021.10.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 23:35–46

Read Luke 23:35–46

Questions from the Scripture text: What were the people doing (Luke 23:35)? What were the rulers doing? And saying? Who else mocked (Luke 23:36)? By doing what? And saying what (Luke 23:37)? What was written over Him (Luke 23:38)? In what languages? What did the inscription say? Who else blasphemed Him (Luke 23:39)? What did he say? What did the other criminal do (Luke 23:40)? Saying what? What did he point out was the same? But what was different about their condemnation (Luke 23:41)? What were they receiving? But what does he say Christ has done? Then to Whom does he speak (Luke 23:42)? What does he call Him? What does he ask Him to do? When? How does Jesus begin His response to emphasize the answer (Luke 23:43)? About what time does He promise? With Whom does He say the criminal will be? Where? What time was it (Luke 23:44)? What happened? Until when? What happened to produce this darkness (Luke 23:45)? And what happened to what veil? What does Jesus do at the beginning of Luke 23:46? Then to Whom does He speak? What does He say He is going to do? And then what does He do? 

Luke’s selections of what to report of Jesus’s time on the actual cross focus upon mocking and upon mercy.

First, there is the mocking of the rulers, the soldiers, and even one of the criminals. Luke 23:35 seems to imply that the people started the “He saved others…” sneering, and that the rulers were happy enough to jump in and join with them. The motivations are slightly different. For many of the people, the way the week had started (cf. Luke 19:38), they were probably hoping that Jesus would be the One who brought them out from under Rome. Surely, it was a disappointment to see the mocking sign in verse 38. For the rulers’ part, they had persistently resisted the idea that Jesus is the Christ, and they probably now feel vindicated.

The soldiers also mock (Luke 23:36). The sour wine is not the same as the wine-with-gall that Jesus refuses in other gospels. This particular wine was something that soldiers would drink when they were coming off of their shift. It’s part of the mocking. To their soldier sensibilities, a man can’t be a king who can save others if he can’t even save himself (Luke 23:37). Finally, one of the criminals mock, and the mockery is of the same kind: “if You are the Christ, save Yourself and us” (Luke 23:39).  

All of the mocking comes from the same wicked place of denying that Jesus is the Christ. It comes from a place of being spiritually dead and expresses a rebellion that deserves Christ’s wrath. Jesus has claimed to be the Christ, the King, the glorious One Whom you blaspheme if you mock Him (cf. Luke 23:38). Do you receive His claim—even when you do not experience the exact type of freedom which you had desired, and even when He does not seem to be defeating His enemies, and even when you are wickedly tempted to treat as insignificant His divine glory? If you do not receive Christ’s claims, you will receive wrath.

But in the second place, for those who receive Him there is mercy. Ironically, it may actually be the words of the mockers that the Lord uses to prompt the criminal that gets saved. He has heard the words… “the Christ” (Luke 23:35) … “the chosen of God” (verse 35) … “the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:37) … “the Christ” (Luke 23:39) … and now at the last “save Yourself and us” (verse 39).

But why “and us”? Is that what a great King would do? Let the guilty off? Keep those who are justly condemned from receiving the due reward of their deeds? 

This second criminal comes to a wonderful answer: yes! Yes, He would! That’s the explanation for why He does not “save Himself.” It’s not because He cannot. It’s because He will not. It’s because “this Man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41)—but look at the man on the other cross! And look at the people. And look at the rulers. And look at the Roman soldiers. These all deserve wrath. There is only One Who does not, and here He is on the next cross, precisely because He is the glorious One, the King, the Christ—dying for sinners.

So, he asks for mercy. He’s drawn the opposite conclusion from everyone else. Jesus is a King, and He is the only hope that this criminal has for not receiving the “due reward of our deeds.” He pleads the mercy of the King, “Lord, remember me.” He expresses confidence in the King, “when You come into Your kingdom.”

And Jesus rewards both the plea for mercy and the confidence. The criminal is correct about Jesus’s identity and power. Jesus is just a few hours from paradise (Luke 23:43). And the criminal is correct about Jesus’s compassion. The criminal is also now just a few hours from paradise. Three hours pass (Luke 23:44). The creation acknowledges its Creator in the darkening of the sun (Luke 23:45a). The temple acknowledges its obsolescence in the tearing of the veil (verse 45b). And Jesus asserts His authority—sending His soul exactly where three hours prior He had said it would go: into His Father’s hands. Into paradise.

And one criminal’s soul went with Him. Into the Father’s hands. In the presence of His Lord and King, Jesus. Into paradise.

Where will your soul go, dear reader, when it departs this world? If you trust in Jesus’s kingship, divinity, compassion, and power, you can know the answer: it will go to paradise! 

What have you done with Christ’s claims about Himself? When you leave this world, will you be receiving the due reward of your deeds, or will you be with Him in paradise? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the Christ, the chosen One, the King, the glorious One! If we receive the due reward of our deeds, then we will be justly condemned. Remember us from Your kingdom, and gather us to Yourself in paradise when it is time for us to leave this world. For, we ask it in Your Name, AMEN! 

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


Saturday, October 16, 2021

2021.10.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 23:35–46

Read Luke 23:35–46

Questions from the Scripture text: What were the people doing ( Luke 23:35)? What were the rulers doing? And saying? Who else mocked (Luke 23:36)? By doing what? And saying what (Luke 23:37)? What was written over Him (Luke 23:38)? In what languages? What did the inscription say? Who else blasphemed Him (Luke 23:39)? What did he say? What did the other criminal do (Luke 23:40)? Saying what? What did he point out was the same? But what was different about their condemnation (Luke 23:41)? What were they receiving? But what does he say Christ has done? Then to Whom does he speak (Luke 23:42)? What does he call Him? What does he ask Him to do? When? How does Jesus begin His response to emphasize the answer (Luke 23:43)? About what time does He promise? With Whom does He say the criminal will be? Where? What time was it (Luke 23:44)? What happened? Until when? What happened to produce this darkness (Luke 23:45)? And what happened to what veil? What does Jesus do at the beginning of Luke 23:46? Then to Whom does He speak? What does He say He is going to do? And then what does He do?

Luke’s selections of what to report of Jesus’s time on the actual cross focus upon mocking and upon mercy.

First, there is the mocking of the rulers, the soldiers, and even one of the criminals. Luke 23:35 seems to imply that the people started the “He saved others…” sneering, and that the rulers were happy enough to jump in and join with them. The motivations are slightly different. For many of the people, the way the week had started (cf. Luke 19:38), they were probably hoping that Jesus would be the One who brought them out from under Rome. Surely, it was a disappointment to see the mocking sign in Luke 23:38. For the rulers’ part, they had persistently resisted the idea that Jesus is the Christ, and they probably now feel vindicated.

The soldiers also mock (Luke 23:36). The sour wine is not the same as the wine-with-gall that Jesus refuses in other gospels. This particular wine was something that soldiers would drink when they were coming off of their shift. It’s part of the mocking. To their soldier sensibilities, a man can’t be a king who can save others if he can’t even save himself (Luke 23:37). Finally, one of the criminals mock, and the mockery is of the same kind: “if You are the Christ, save Yourself and us” (Luke 23:39).  

All of the mocking comes from the same wicked place of denying that Jesus is the Christ. It comes from a place of being spiritually dead and expresses a rebellion that deserves Christ’s wrath. Jesus has claimed to be the Christ, the King, the glorious One Whom you blaspheme if you mock Him (cf. Luke 23:38). Do you receive His claim—even when you do not experience the exact type of freedom which you had desired, and even when He does not seem to be defeating His enemies, and even when you are wickedly tempted to treat as insignificant His divine glory? If you do not receive Christ’s claims, you will receive wrath.

But in the second place, for those who receive Him there is mercy. Ironically, it may actually be the words of the mockers that the Lord uses to prompt the criminal that gets saved. He has heard the words… “the Christ” (Luke 23:35) … “the chosen of God” (verse 35) … “the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:37) … “the Christ” (Luke 23:39) … and now at the last “save Yourself and us” (verse 39).

But why “and us”? Is that what a great King would do? Let the guilty off? Keep those who are justly condemned from receiving the due reward of their deeds? 

This second criminal comes to a wonderful answer: yes! Yes, He would! That’s the explanation for why He does not “save Himself.” It’s not because He cannot. It’s because He will not. It’s because “this Man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41)—but look at the man on the other cross! And look at the people. And look at the rulers. And look at the Roman soldiers. These all deserve wrath. There is only One Who does not, and here He is on the next cross, precisely because He is the glorious One, the King, the Christ—dying for sinners.

So, he asks for mercy. He’s drawn the opposite conclusion from everyone else. Jesus is a King, and He is the only hope that this criminal has for not receiving the “due reward of our deeds.” He pleads the mercy of the King, “Lord, remember me.” He expresses confidence in the King, “when You come into Your kingdom.”

And Jesus rewards both the plea for mercy and the confidence. The criminal is correct about Jesus’s identity and power. Jesus is just a few hours from paradise (Luke 23:43). And the criminal is correct about Jesus’s compassion. The criminal is also now just a few hours from paradise. Three hours pass (Luke 23:44). The creation acknowledges its Creator in the darkening of the sun (Luke 23:45a). The temple acknowledges its obsolescence in the tearing of the veil (v45b). And Jesus asserts His authority—sending His soul exactly where three hours prior He had said it would go: into His Father’s hands. Into paradise.

And one criminal’s soul went with Him. Into the Father’s hands. In the presence of His Lord and King, Jesus. Into paradise.

Where will your soul go, dear reader, when it departs this world? If you trust in Jesus’s kingship, divinity, compassion, and power, you can know the answer: it will go to paradise!

What have you done with Christ’s claims about Himself? When you leave this world, will you be receiving the due reward of your deeds, or will you be with Him in paradise?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the Christ, the chosen One, the King, the glorious One! If we receive the due reward of our deeds, then we will be justly condemned. Remember us from Your kingdom, and gather us to Yourself in paradise when it is time for us to leave this world. For, we ask it in Your Name, AMEN!

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


Friday, October 15, 2021

God's Glorious Revelation, Reign, and Revenge (Family Worship lesson in 2Samuel 23:1–7)

Upon what do David’s brief last words focus? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Samuel 23:1–7 prepares us for the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us the importance of dwelling upon the divine nature of the Spirit-inspired Scriptures; the light-giving, life-giving, perfectly planned, perfectly sure, and everlastingly increasing reign of Christ; and, the sure and complete wrath of God upon the wicked.
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2021.10.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 23:1–7

Read 2 Samuel 23:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What words are these (2 Samuel 23:1a)? Whose son is he (verse 1b)? What was done to him (verse 1c)? What does verse 1d call him? Verse 1e? Who has spoken by him (2 Samuel 23:2a)? Whose word (verse 2b)? By what mechanism? Who is the Spirit called in 2 Samuel 23:3a? And in verse 3b? What does He say about whom in verse 3c? How does this just ruling occur (verse 3d)? To what three things does 2 Samuel 23:4 compare such a ruler? What does David say about his (his house’s) worthiness (2 Samuel 23:5a)? But what has God done anyway (verse 5b)? What is this covenant like (verse 5c)? How has David come to think of this covenant (verse 5d)? Who will make it effective (verse 5e)? What does 2 Samuel 23:6 call those who are against David? How can’t they be removed? Why not? So how must they be removed (2 Samuel 23:7)? And what will happen to these “thorns” (cf. Ecclesiastes 7:6; Isaiah 9:18, Isaiah 33:12) when this is done?

We’re coming down to the wire in 2 Samuel, with just a couple key passages after this one, but this one introduces itself as “the last words of David.” It starts in the present, with roughly a third of the passage spent on the glory of this particular revelation through David in 2 Samuel 23:1-3b. It looks forward to the future, with the next third of it spent especially upon the coming reign of Christ in 2 Samuel 23:3–5. Then, it looks all the way to the end, with the final third of it spent on God’s perfect revenge, 2 Samuel 23:6-7.

God’s glorious revelation, 2 Samuel 23:1-3b. The text could have skipped from verse 1a all the way to verse 3c: “Now these are the last words of David… He who rules over men must be just…” It is already a very solemn statement: the dying words of one of the greatest mere men ever to have walked the earth. But there are six more “saying introduction” formulae, with two additional identifications of who David is. 

Where our translation reads, “says David” and “says the man,” the word is actually a noun, “the utterance of…” (or “the oracle of…”), which is a common formula introducing a prophecy in the Old Testament. The other four formulae speak directly of divine inspiration:

  • The Spirit of Yahweh spoke by me. The Spirit is a Person who talks. And one of the ways that He talks is by use of a prophet.
  • His word was on my tongue. This gives us an even clearer picture of one of the mechanisms of divine inspiration. The tongue is David’s, but the words are God’s. Most famously,  2 Timothy 3:16 says all Scripture is God-breathed. This is what we mean, when we call the doctrine “plenary verbal inspiration.” Full/every—word—breathed by God.
  • The God of Israel said
  • The Rock of Israel spoke to me. David is not only the deliverer of these words but a recipient.

The end of 2 Samuel 23:1 gives us two additional descriptions of David. Not only did God raise him up, but has given him the title “anointed” (anglicized from the Hebrew as “Messiah,” and from the Greek as “Christ”). David is a type (forward-looking picture) of the antitypical (the true One to Whom the type looks forward) Christ. God does this not merely for David, but for Jacob, for Israel—for the people whom He has brought into covenant with Himself. 

The second description is that David is “the singer of Israel’s songs” (the sweet psalmist of Israel, 2 Samuel 23:1e). Yes, he had the privilege of providing much of the material for the building of that earthly temple that anticipated Christ as God’s dwelling with man. But, he had the even greater privilege of producing a preponderance of those songs by which Israel (old and new) would sing about Christ and sing in union with Christ. What a glory to have God’s words, by God’s anointed, even for the singing of God’s songs!

God’s glorious reign2 Samuel 23:3-5. David here is describing the justness (2 Samuel 23:3c) and godliness (verse 3d) of the ideal king. And the people thrive under such a king. His reign is like a sunrise that gives light and joy and renewal (2 Samuel 23:4a–b). His reign is like the newly invigorated life and freshness brought by a good rain (verse 4c–d, a great blessing indeed in an arid climate that depended so much on those seasonal rains to finally come).

But David is not like some earthly potentate declaring the greatness of his past reign as he prepares to go the way of all the earth and leave his kingdom in less capable hands. In fact, he doesn’t see his hands as like that, or those of his descendants (household, 2 Samuel 23:5a). As much of the rest of the Old Testament will show, David’s line will be full of inadequate saints as well as exceeding scoundrels. 

How then will such a good reign ever come? Because God has made an everlasting covenant with David (2 Samuel 23:5b). David already knows the identity of the forever-king promised in 2 Samuel 7. He will be the king that comes not as David’s way of saving God’s people, but as God’s faithfully promised (verse 5b) and carefully planned (verse 5c) way of saving David (verse 5d). The great kingdom is not ending with David; rather it will grow divinely with Christ (verse 5e).

We would be silly and shortsighted if we thought, “how glorious it would have been to be one of David’s subjects!” No, at the end of his life, David was thinking, “how glorious it will be to be one of Jesus’s subjects!” And now we who believe in Him are enjoying that glory.

God’s glorious revenge2 Samuel 23:6-7.  But not all belong to Christ through faith, and not all rejoice at His kingship. There are those rebellious ones that Psalm 2 describes, who resist the Lord and His Christ. They are indeed thorny (2 Samuel 23:6a). Who can handle them (2 Samuel 23:6-7)? In many ages, including our own, this has been one of the great questions of God’s people. Foundations are destroyed; what can the righteous try (cf. Psalm 11:3)? God can handle them (2 Samuel 23:7b) and will handle them: the thornier they are, the hotter they burn (verse 7c)!

One of David’s great achievements was finally bringing down the Philistines and all Israel’s enemies (cf. 2 Samuel 3:18). This was such a great part of what it meant to be God’s great, anointed king that other than the account of how the temple site came to be selected (chapter 24), the only material that appears after these “last words” is the listing and achievements of the mighty men against the enemies of God and His people (2 Samuel 23:8-39). Some of these enemies would resurge. Others would arise. God’s vengeance through David was not final. 

Not so with great David’s greater Son. “When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire He will take vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe” (2 Thessalonians 1:7–10). Or, in the words of 2 Samuel 23:7, “they shall be utterly burned with fire in their place.” How frightful is God’s glorious revenge—a terror to His enemies and consolation to His people!

Whose words are this Scripture passage, and all other passages of Scripture? What difference does that make for their authority? Their effectiveness? The greatness of the privilege of having them? Of what good things can you be sure, with Christ as your King? What great work of Christ in the last day can give you consolation when suffering under His enemies in the present day?

Sample prayer:  Our glorious, Triune God, You have given Your Son to be our glorious, messianic King. We praise You for the Word by which You declare Him to us, the perfection in which He rules over us, and the power with which He will avenge us! Forgive us for when we take Your Word lightly. Forgive us for when we fail to draw light and life from having Christ as our King. Forgive us for when we despair at the seeming successes of those who rebel against You. But, by this Your powerful Word, grant that Your Spirit would stir up our faith, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP11 “My Trust Is in the Lord” or TPH374 “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name”


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Rejoicing over God's Glory in Creation and Providence (2021.10.13 Prayer Meeting lesson in Psalm 33:1–12)

Of all creatures, redeemed sinners have most cause to praise the Lord. He has exerted His creation-power in creating them new in Christ, and His providence rules and overrules all events for their good.
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The Past, Present, and Future of our Reconciliation in God the Son (Family Worship lesson in Colossians 1:21–23)

How is Christ exalted in our lives as the redeeming God-Man? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Colossians 1:21–23 prepares us for the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Jesus is exalted in the past of our reconciliation by ending the enmity toward Him in our hearts and minds, and in the present of our reconciliation by our love for Him and pursuit of holiness, and in the future of our reconciliation by bringing us to final glory—ever and always by faith and hope in Him.
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2021.10.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 1:21–23

Read Colossians 1:21–23

Questions from the Scripture text: About whom does the apostle now speak (Colossians 1:21)? What was their previous status toward God? In the mind? How did they come to be alienated and enemies in the mind? What has God now done to them? In what have they been reconciled (Colossians 1:22)? What three conditions result from this reconciliation? Whose sight assesses this holiness, blamelessness, and being above reproach? In what must they continue, in order to be thus sanctified (Colossians 1:23)? What two conditions does this faith produce? From what does this faith keep believers from moving away? To whom does the apostle say this gospel has preached? Who is a minister (servant) of this gospel?

The apostle has been proclaiming Christ as the everlasting God in both creation (Colossians 1:15-17) and redemption (Colossians 1:18-20). Now he returns to the point that triggered this glorious excursus: that in Christ, God has given us redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. As he comes back to this point, he reminds us that since there is one Creator and Redeemer, the one and same gospel of His redemption is preached throughout all of the creation under heaven (Colossians 1:23). This is the gospel of which Paul is a minister. Now, he summarizes for them the past, present, and future of that redemption.

The past of believers’ redemption. We begin life as foreigners (alienated) toward Christ in our hearts/minds (Colossians 1:21). This is a very serious condition, because He has an everlasting kingdom, and only His citizens are blessed forever. But even worse than being foreigners is the fact that in our minds, and the wicked works that proceeded from them, we were enemies of this King. But how has the eternal Son dealt with His enemies whom He was determined to have as subjects? By taking to Himself a flesh and blood body in which to die for them (Colossians 1:22). When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son (cf. Romans 5:10a)!

The present of believers’ redemption. There is an emphasis at the end of Colossians 1:21 on how it is “now” that the Colossians have been reconciled. This is familiar to the glorious “now” in Romans 8:1, which emphasizes how now, already, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Here the point is the status and the experience of believers. 

Now, already, we have peace with God through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20). Now, already, we enjoy the fact that the enmity is killed, and we are sure that God is for us. And by the change of heart/mind He has given us, we are for that God Who is for us. We define holiness, blamelessness, and reproach according to what He sees them to be (Colossians 1:22). And we are trusting in Him to be the One who works to make us holy, blameless, and above reproach in His own sight. This is the glorious present of our redemption: God is for us, and by His grace, we are for God.

The future of believers’ redemption. Believers are sure to come to this state of blessedness. Why is this so sure? It comes in the same way that they came to Christ, and the same way they have proceeded with Christ: by faith and hope in Christ. There is not some next level of Christianity in which we must begin to produce our own life or goodness. From initial conversion to standing blameless before Him on the last day, it is all by believing in Him (Colossians 1:23a), by hoping in Him (verse 23b), by being steadfastly grounded upon Him as our foundation. Just as there is no other gospel for any creature anywhere (verse 23c), so also there is no other mechanism for the Christian life but faith in Christ Jesus.

Christ’s death the past of our redemption. Reconciliation in Christ the present of our redemption. And faith in Christ the guarantee of standing blameless before Christ as the future of our redemption. What a glorious redemption we have in our God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

How have the past, present, and future of your redemption glorified Christ? Knowing that this is the point of where you are in your experience of His redemption, how ought you to pursue living and growing as a Christian?

Sample prayer: Our God, we praise You for bringing us into the kingdom of the Son of Your love! We were foreigners and enemies, but You have demonstrated Your love by His dying for us, His enemies. Forgive us for when our own love grows cold, or our faith wanes, and stir us back up unto Yourself in Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH340 “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood”