Saturday, June 08, 2024

Sinner-Friendly Worship [2024.06.08 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald]

Hopewell Herald – June 8, 2024

Dear Congregation,

God’s love for sinners is counter-intuitive to people who are addicted to this world and to our sin. It’s quite literally insane that people think that the hatefulness of “pride month” is loving, when what is loving is to point out that the irrationality and self-destruction of our sin is a clue that we are under the wrath of God. God lovingly announces His wrath against our sin, because He is lovingly announcing that, in Christ, He offers His own righteousness to those who are under wrath! That’s true love.

“Seeker-friendly” worship is, of course, worship as God has commanded—because sinners do not seek Him apart from Him seeking them! But even “sinner-friendly” worship is counter-intuitive. It is not friendly to sinners to give them worship that feels comfortable and familiar. Truly sinner-friendly worship is worship that makes them uncomfortable on account of its unfamiliarity and other-worldliness.

It is evangelistic to give those who attend not what they expect, but what they couldn’t have expected in any other way than from God’s Word (not from the surrounding culture, or even from the church culture).

“But if all prophesy [i.e. “preach” in the local language, not a foreign language, like tongues would be], and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.” 1Corinthians 14:24–25

Happily, worshiping this way is a great blessing for believers as well. By catering neither to worldliness, or to earthly “church culture,” simply biblical worship inclines our hearts and minds more and more to the culture of the church in heaven. The more we are devoted to (and delight in) the simple, plain worship that is truly heavenly, the less we will be beholden to the outwardly impressive but earthly (either “contemporary” or “ancient” flavors) worship that fetters our hearts to earth.

Looking forward to evangelizing and being evangelized by God’s worship together,


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

▪Theology Simply Explained — CC96, Learning Purity from Marriage 
▪Theology Simply Explained — WSC35, God's Work to Fit Us for Glory 
Psalm 119:33–40, “A New Song for God's Ultimate Work” 
Isaiah 60, “The Dawning of the World of Light” 
1John 4:21–5:3, “Freed by Love to Love the Law” 
Matthew 9:9–13, “What Men of Grace Have Found” 
Numbers 13–14, “God Is, and Does, As He Says

LORD'S DAY – June 9, 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 9. Q96 What does the seventh commandment teach us? To be pure in heart, language, and conduct. [CC 96 Simply Explained: “Learning Purity from Marriage”]

Shorter Catechism for June 9. Q35 What is sanctification? Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness. [WSC 35 Simply Explained: “God's Work to Fit Us for Glory”]

Songs for June 9 morning service: 
ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” [mp3
ARP76 “God Is Truly Known in Judah” [mp3
ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” [mp3]

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service
Psalm 98

Scripture Readings and basis for confession of sin and petition for help
Isaiah 60 
1John 4:21–5:3

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing the sermon from Matthew 9:9–13 about “Jesus, True Friend of Sinners

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 9, Matthew 9:13, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

3:00 p.m Evening Praise and Preaching
We will be singing at least ten Psalm selections and hearing the sermon from Numbers 13–14 about “Great Is They Faithfulness

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 12, Midweek Prayer Meeting. 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel. We will hear a devotional from Benjamin Rupe 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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