Saturday, November 18, 2023

The Glory of Biblical Meditation, and the Adultery of Unbiblical Meditation [2023.11.18 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald]

Hopewell Herald – November 18, 2023

Dear Congregation,

In last week’s Sabbath School discussion, we considered knowing God through the means that He has provided over-against trying to have sentimental or superstitious experiences of Him.

But a god whom we know primarily through our feelings is not the true and living God, but a god of our imaginings who has not existed, will not exist, does not rule, cannot save, is not worthy of worship, and cannot help us.

The true and living God has given us His Word. He has given us His own way of worshiping. He has created all things, and rules all things at all times. He has redeemed us once for all, and He works in us by His Spirit Who uses His means. When we have fellowship with Him in Word, sacrament, and prayer, we know that this fellowship is not a mere figment but actual communion with the living God.

But false spirituality does something worse than deceive us. It despises God. While Spirit-given faith results in knowing and loving Him Himself, manmade spirituality knows and loves an idea or feeling that we prefer instead. This is how someone gets to the place where Scripture-rich, simple worship “does nothing for him.” The fact that it is God Himself that we have in such worship means nothing to that person; he continues to long after the sensation or experience which he prefers. It is as adulterous as a wife who prefers the fantasy in her mind to the man who sits at her dinner table.

O, dear believer, the living and true God has given Himself to us! And He has appointed to us means by which He does so, so that when we experience Him in those means, we may have confidence that it is indeed His Spirit Who is communicating Himself to us. Meditation (or worship) without the means misses out on this glorious reality: the living God has given Himself to us!

Looking forward to coming Him together, as He gives Himself to us in Christ, by His Spirit, and enables us to give ourselves to Him, in Christ, by His Spirit,



Audio lessons to help you prepare for the Lord’s Day:

▪Theology Simply Explained — WSC6, Guarding Monotheism in Light of the Trinity 
▪Psalm 104:27–30, “How Taking Providence Personally Gives Us Joy and Hope
▪Isaiah 29:1–14, “God Humbles the Proud
▪Titus 3:3–8, “Affirming the Difference That Grace Makes
▪Matthew 5:1–3, “Jesus, Priceless Treasure
▪Leviticus 16, “A Yearly Picture of an Effectual Sacrifice

LORD'S DAY – November 19, 2023 

9:50 a.m. Breakfast Line Opens

10 a.m. Sabbath School
Elder Patterson will lead us in considering chapter 3 of the book Battleplan for the Mind—defining biblical meditation from the Old Testament, defining it from the New Testament, and considering how these teachings from the Bible were understood and applied by our Puritan fathers.

11 a.m. Public Worship

Children’s Catechism for November 19
Q67. How is Christ a priest? Because He died for our sins and pleads with God for us.

Shorter Catechism for November 19
Q6. How many persons are there in the Godhead? There is but one only, the living and true God.
[WSC 6 Simply Explained: “
Guarding Monotheism in Light of the Trinity”]

Songs for November 19 morning service: 
ARP104D “How Many Works, Lord” [mp3]
ARP104E “Forevermore May the Lord’s Glory Stand” [mp3]
TPH491 “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” [mp3]

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service
Psalm 104.27–30

Scripture Readings and basis for confession of sin and petition for help
Isaiah 29:1–14
Titus 3:3–8

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing the sermon from Matthew 5:1–3 on “Jesus, Priceless Treasure

Lord’s Supper! (Please see the section at the end of the Worship Booklet on how rightly to prepare for and take it).

1 p.m. Coffee Fellowship and Catechism Class

1:30 p.m. Fellowship Lunch
Memory Verse for November 19, Matthew 5:1–3, And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

3:00 p.m Evening Praise and Preaching
We will be singing at least ten Psalm selections and hearing the sermon from Leviticus 16 on “A Yearly Picture of an Effectual Sacrifice

Hopewell this Month

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for November
Fayetteville ARP in Fayetteville, TN

November Psalm of the Month
ARP104E Forevermore May the Lord’s Glory Stand


Upcoming Events

Wednesday, November 22, Midweek Prayer Meeting. 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel. We will hear a sermon from Romans 9:14–18 then pray until just before 8 p.m.
• Saturday, November 25, Men’s (and future men) breakfast, 7a in the Fellowship Hall
• Monday, December 4, Session Meeting, 6p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

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