Saturday, June 01, 2024

Humility to Depend Upon the God of Grace [2024.06.01 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald]

Hopewell Herald – June 1, 2024

Dear Congregation,

Humility, by its nature, is underrated. Even those who think of humility usually think of it in terms of humility before men. But one of the great keys to all of life, and especially Christian living, is humility before God.

This is true for ordering our lives, for the heart-embrace of a desperate need of Him that structures each day around worship times that He Himself has told us to set aside, morning and evening (Gen 1:5b, 8b, 13, 19, 23, 31b; Ex 29:38 –39; Deut 6:7b). And for maintaining not only set times of prayer but a continual lifting up of our heart to Him in prayer (Php 4:6; Eph 6:18; 1Th 5:17). And, of course, for recognizing our neediness (and His generous provision!) in a Sabbath kept by delight (Isa 58).

But one of the places that humility before God is most needed is in our conduct in our church membership. Humility to accept the local church as the design of Him upon Whom we are entirely dependent (Rom 12:3–16). Humility to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb 10:19–25). Humility to accept that we must function in the body (1Cor 12:15–19) and that we need the functioning of the rest of the body (1Cor 12:20–26). Humility to receive instruction, correction, and oversight from ordained (literally, God-given/Christ-given) leadership (Eph 4:11–16; 2Tim 3:14–4:5). Humility to know that the ordained soul-shepherds will give account to Christ for the shepherding, and the implication that we will give account to Christ for how we received being shepherded (Heb 13:17; 1Pet 5:1–11).

It takes humility to admit to oneself: “I’m a sheep. I’m not so wise as I think or feel. I’m not so correct in my opinions or justified in my irritations and my judgments. I’m a sheep, and I need shepherding, and I specifically need the shepherding that Christ has given in my church.” And this is a necessary humility.

On a couple occasions, I have heard men (usually on the brink of apostatizing the faith or leaving a faithful church for self-destructive reasons) ask with feigned sagacity “why don’t you think people want to get shepherding?” The implication in those situations was that “it won’t change anything” because the elders of the church wouldn’t turn around and do what those who are in seasons of spiritual sickness and rebellion are saying that the church should do. Only the Chief Shepherd of the church is perfect, but the undershepherds in a faithful church are godly and mature. They’re not perfect, but most of the time the answer to the question of why people don’t want to get shepherding is usually pretty simple: they lack the humility, the biblical self-awareness, to say “I’m a sheep.”

May that Lord bring those who have shipwrecked their souls to repentance, but this pastoral letter obviously isn’t for them. It’s for you who read and heed it. It’s for us who are following biblical religion, biblical family life, biblical worship, biblical piety, etc., because we are utterly dependent upon the God of the Bible. It’s for those whose dedicated adherence to the means of grace proceeds from delighted dependence upon the God of grace. May God, by His grace, continue to give us the requisite humility to depend upon Him. There is great comfort, and steady direction for life, in being able to say, “the Lord is my Shepherd.” But in order to say it honestly, we also need to be able to say, “I’m a sheep.”

Looking forward to gathering together with our undershepherds, through our Chief Shepherd, to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls,



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

▪Theology Simply Explained — CC95, The Weightiness of Marriage 
▪Theology Simply Explained — WSC34, When Electing Love Becomes Adopting Action 
Psalm 119:25–32, “The Two Ways” 
Isaiah 59, “Salvation by the Triune God Alone” 
1John 4:12–20, “Freed from Fear by What We See” 
Matthew 9:1–8, “The God-Man's Glory in Our Greatest Need” 
Numbers 12, “Power and Prayer When Attacked

LORD'S DAY – June 2, 2024 

9:50 a.m. Breakfast Line Opens

10 a.m. Sabbath School
We are preparing our minds and hearts for public worship by studying our Confession of Faith from Scripture, affirming that Scripture is our only ultimate authority, but also discovering that what we confess is thoroughly Scriptural.

11 a.m. Public Worship
Children’s Catechism for June 2. Q95 What is the seventh commandment? The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery. [CC 95 Simply Explained: “The Weightiness of Marriage”]

Shorter Catechism for June 2. Q34 What is adoption? Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of, the sons of God. [WSC 34 Simply Explained: “When Electing Love Becomes Adopting Action”]

Songs for June 2 morning service: 
ARP119D “My soul Clings to the Dust” [mp3
ARP76 “God Is Truly Known in Judah” [mp3
TPH130A “Lord, from the Depths” [mp3]

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service
Psalm 119.25-32

Scripture Readings and basis for confession of sin and petition for help
Isaiah 59
1John 4:12–20

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing the sermon from Matthew 9:1–8 about “Christ’s Greatest Miracle

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 June 2, Matthew 9:6, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

3:00 p.m Evening Praise and Preaching
We will be singing at least ten Psalm selections and hearing the sermon from Numbers 12 about “Humility’s Strength and Station

Hopewell this Month

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for June
Hanmaum ARP in Madison, AL

June Psalm of the Month
ARP76 God Is Truly Known in Judah

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, June 5, Midweek Prayer Meeting. 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel. We will hear a sermon from Romans 15:17–21 then pray until 8:15 p.m.
• Saturday, June 22, Men’s (and future men) breakfast, 7a in the Fellowship Hall
• Monday, July 15, Session Meeting, 6p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

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