Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Lord's Will Only from the Lord's Word [2023.11.25 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald]

Hopewell Herald – November 25, 2023

Dear Congregation,

What a frightful thing the judgment of the Lord is! And one of the ways that it appears in this life is when He gives us over to ourselves (cf. Rom 1:24, 26, 28).

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts […]
26 For this reason God gave them up to
vile passions […]
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in
their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting

This is one reason that we must always measure what the Lord is calling us to do by His Word—not by our feelings, and certainly not by trying to interpret providence (e.g. “opened doors” or “signs,” etc.). When God righteously judges someone, He not only gives them over to doing the things that deserve death, but even to approving those things (cf. Rom 1:31).

29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

If we are given over to ourselves, we might do any one of the things in that list, and tell ourselves that it is “the Lord’s will.” Too many times, I have heard that sort of justification even for things like marital infidelity or joining/staying in a church that denies the divinity of Christ, the inerrancy of Scripture, the gospel of salvation by grace alone, or the transformation of life that grace produces.

One of the fastest ways to run headlong into such a judgment of God is to think of the Lord’s will as something our feelings “tune in” through twists of providence, rather than something that we learn from the Bible, biblically understood. If we perceive the Lord’s calling by way of signs and feelings, we leave ourselves open to precisely this self-deception.

Even those who murder Jesus’s servants can do so, thinking that God has called them to this “service” (cf. Jn 16:2).

They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.

Thankfully, the Lord has given us His will in writing (cf. Isa 8:20), so that we don’t have to give in to claimed spiritual revelations that contradict His will (cf. Isa 8:19).

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

What a great gift, then, the Bible is!

And it is a great mercy of God that He has given to us to worship Him, largely by this very gift: reading the Bible, praying the Bible, singing the Bible, hearing the Bible preached, and having all of that Bible authenticated by Christ’s own biblical sign in the Supper.

Looking forward to that worship together,



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

▪Theology Simply Explained — WSC7, God Purposes All Things for His Glory 
▪Psalm 104:31–35, “Blessing the God Who Brings Us into His Own Joy
▪Isaiah 29:15–24, “God's Re-Creational Work
▪Titus 3:9–11, “Affirming the Difference That Grace Makes
▪Matthew 5:4–6, “Spirit-Given—and Satisfied—Groanings
▪Leviticus 17, “Consecrated Atonement and Life in Christ's Blood

LORD'S DAY – November 26, 2023 

9:50 a.m. Breakfast Line Opens

10 a.m. Sabbath School
Elder Rentschler will lead us in considering chapter 4 of the book Battleplan for the Mind—considering occasional biblical meditation.

11 a.m. Public Worship

Children’s Catechism for November 26
Q68. How is Christ a king? Because He rules over us and defends us.

Shorter Catechism for November 26
Q7. What are the decrees of God? The decrees of God are His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
[WSC 7 Simply Explained: “
God Purposes All Things for His Glory”]

Songs for November 26 morning service: 
TPH104B “How Many Works, Lord” [mp3]
ARP104E “Forevermore May the Lord’s Glory Stand” [mp3]
ARP23B “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” [mp3]

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service
Psalm 104.31–35

Scripture Readings and basis for confession of sin and petition for help
Isaiah 29:15–24
Titus 3:9–11

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing the sermon from Matthew 5:4–6 on “Blessed in Our Longing for Assured Blessedness

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 26, Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

3:00 p.m Evening Praise and Preaching
We will be singing at least ten Psalm selections and hearing the sermon from Leviticus 17 on “Holy Blood for Atonement and Life

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 29, Midweek Prayer Meeting. 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel. We will hear a sermon from Romans 9:19–24 then pray until just before 8 p.m.
• Monday, December 4, Session Meeting, 6p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. This is also the deadline for deacon candidate recommendations.
• Saturday, December 23, Men’s (and future men) breakfast, 7a in the Fellowship Hall

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