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Covenant Reformed News - May 2018

Covenant Reformed News


May 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 1



God’s Wisdom (1)

The pagan nations around Israel claimed to be wise. We read of “the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22) and “the wise men” of Babylon in the book of Daniel (e.g., 2:12-14, 18, 24, 27, 48). Even the Edomites had their own wisdom traditions (Jer. 49:7; Obad. 8). The Greeks especially had their philosophy, literally, their love of wisdom (cf. Acts 17:18-31; I Cor. 1:17-31).
But God revealed His true and saving wisdom to the nation of Israel. One section of our Bibles is even referred to as the wisdom literature, from Job to Ecclesiastes. The very subject of Proverbs is wisdom. This is a massive theme also in Ecclesiastes, another book written by Solomon. Job is filled with references to wisdom (e.g., Job 28). The Psalms refer frequently to wisdom and some are even referred to as wisdom Psalms (e.g., Ps. 37; 49; 73).
Among the Old Testament historical books, wisdom looms largest in I Kings and II Chronicles, because they speak at length of Solomon, the wisest man in all the earth (I Kings 4:29-34). Of the sixteen Old Testament writing prophets, Daniel stands out for his wisdom (Dan. 1:20; 2:20-23; 5:11-12; Eze. 28:3). In the New Testament, especially I Corinthians deals with wisdom for, in this inspired epistle, God’s wisdom in Jesus Christ is set forth to a congregation adversely influenced by pagan Greek ideas of wisdom.
Besides Solomon and Daniel, there are many other saints in Scripture who exemplify wisdom, such as Joseph, who became the prime minister of Egypt (Gen. 41:33, 39); Moses, who “was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” and to whom God “gave” “wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh” (Acts 7:22, 10); Bezaleel, Aholiab and other wise men and women who made the tabernacle (Ex. 31:2-6; 35:30-36:4); Joshua, who led Israel into the promised land (Deut. 34:9); Stephen the apologist, for the Jews “were not able to resist the wisdom … by which he spake” (Acts 6:10; cf. v. 3); and Paul, who was “a wise masterbuilder” (I Cor. 3:10).
Wisdom, however, is supremely and infinitely a perfection of God, and so it frequently occurs in doxologies. Glorious creatures in heaven ascribe it to God and the Lamb (Rev. 5:12; 7:12). Repeatedly, Jehovah is praised as the “only wise” God (Rom. 16:27; I Tim. 1:17; Jude 25).
So in the next few issues of the Covenant Reformed News, let us learn of God’s wisdom and grow in it ourselves by His grace. “For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it” (Prov. 8:11)!
In grasping the basic idea of wisdom—especially, the wisdom of God—two points are especially helpful.
First, wisdom involves means and ends. Ends are goals or purposes. Means are the ways to reach these ends or goals or purposes. Wisdom chooses worthy ends and appropriate or fitting means to attain these ends. We see this in the absolutely perfect God in Romans 11, which speaks of “the depth of the riches” of God’s “wisdom” (33), “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things” (36).
Since “all things” are “to him” (36), Jehovah is the highest goal or end or purpose of everything. Since “all things” are “of him” as to their source in God’s decree, and “through him” in God’s creation and providence (36), the Most High uses everything as the means to achieve the goal of His glory! This is His deep and rich “wisdom” (33)!
A second helpful idea in understanding wisdom is that of adaptation. This concept is closely related to that of means and ends. God righteously adapts all things as means to obtain His holy end: His own glory and its manifestation.
God’s wisdom is seen in His Persons. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity is perfectly adapted to the First Person. He is the “only begotten Son” who fits beautifully in His Father’s “bosom” (John 1:18). He is the “express image” of His Father (Heb. 1:3). He is the radiant effulgence of His Father’s glory (Heb. 1:3). He is the wonderfully self-expressing Word of His Father (John 1:14). Thus the eternal Son speaks of His infinitely joyous relationship with His Father, “I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” (Prov. 8:30). What a blessed adaptation!
Likewise, the Third Person of the Trinity is perfectly adapted to the First and Second Persons. The Holy Spirit is the personal breath of love that proceeds between the Father and the Son. The divine Spirit is the personal bond of love uniting the First and Second Persons. See how He is eternally and beautifully adapted for His role in the Godhead!
God’s wisdom is not only seen in His Three Persons but it is also evident in connection with His other divine perfections. We see this, for example, when we consider two attributes of God mentioned at the end of Romans 11.
First, Jehovah’s wisdom is an infinite wisdom: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord?” (33-34). God’s wisdom is perfectly adapted to who He is as the unsearchable and incomprehensible One.
Second, Jehovah’s wisdom is a self-sufficient wisdom: “who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” (34-35). God’s wisdom is entirely like Himself, needing no advice, counsel or help. “For,” as the apostle goes on to say, “of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (36)! Rev. Stewart
 

Does God Change? (1)

A reader asks, “How do we explain the ‘change’ from the believer’s formerly being in a state of wrath (Eph. 2:3) to being in a state of grace? Doesn’t this indicate a ‘change’ in God’s relationship to us? One moment, He is only wrathful towards us because we are not yet in Christ and in constant rebellion, but when we are saved we are no longer in that state. Doesn’t that indicate a change in God’s disposition towards men? (And therefore He is not ‘absolutely’ unchangeable but is changeable in one sense?)”
With this question, we are brought face to face with the infinite God and with His perfections. I have a sense, when I read a question such as this, of what Paul meant in Romans 11:33-34: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord?”
We are mere creatures created by God, upheld every moment by His power. Not only are we creatures but we are also sinful, with the power of our minds eroded by sin. After 2,000 years of New Testament history, during which the church has diligently searched the Scriptures to learn the truth of God, and written major confessions and profound books of theology, what we know today is not even a thimbleful of knowledge in comparison with all the oceans of the glory of Jehovah. It is my experience—and I think the experience of all God’s people—that I meditate on divine things over and over again to learn a little more about the wonders set forth in the Word. It is like climbing a steep, high mountain and then, having reached the summit and congratulating ourselves in attaining more knowledge of a subject in Scripture, we see before us more mountains to be climbed than we even knew existed. In heaven, we will be going “higher up and further in” in our understanding of God’s truth forever.
We read in several places in the Bible of earthly events that seemingly made God change His mind. One striking example is the statement that Jehovah repented that He had made Saul king (I Sam. 15:11). This seems to mean that, when God brought Saul to the throne of Israel, He thought that this was for the best for the nation. But when Saul sinned, it appears as if God realized that making Saul king was not such a good idea after all, so that He changed His mind. However, a few verses later, Scripture categorically says, “the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent” (29)! Repenting is a human, not a divine, activity!
God declares, most emphatically, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3:6). God’s unchangeableness is a divine attribute that brings us much comfort. He has promised to be our God and the God of our seed, and He never changes His promise (Ps. 102:27-28).
In attempting to understand this issue, we must remember, first of all, that Scripture, in speaking about God, uses many anthropomorphisms. If this word is unfamiliar to you, it means that human body parts, human emotions and human activities are ascribed to God. The Bible speaks of God’s arm and hand, His heart and mind, His love and hatred, His compassion and longsuffering, etc. We must not assume, in these expressions, that the Most High has a hand or arm or heart like ours. That would be foolishness. But if God could not be spoken of as having these human characteristics, we would hardly be able to speak of Him at all and Scripture would not be able to reveal to us anything about Him. God’s Word speaks to our limited and finite understanding.
We must be careful that we understand anthropomorphisms properly. The matter is sometimes presented as if our arms and hands, our love and hatred, etc., are the real arms and hands, and the real love and hatred, while God’s arms and hands, His love and hatred, are something like ours. The fact is that it is the other way around: God’s arms and hands are the true arms and hands; ours are merely shadows of His: like His but different, as different as the timeless God is different from mere man who lives his seventy or eighty years and then returns to the dust.
Repentance involves change but in God there is no change at all. What that means for us is that we sometimes become something we were not: we are angry with someone, but then we repent and are angry no more.
I remember well that, in dogmatics or theology class in seminary, we talked at length about this issue with our professor. In our discussions, he made very sure we understood exactly what an anthropomorphism is. He told us that we know almost nothing of God’s unsearchable glories, for He is infinite in all His Being and in all His activity. Our professor often said, not only in class but also in his preaching and congregational prayers, that, when we have said all we know about God, we have only mumbled a bit and stuttered a little, for He is infinitely greater than we can know.
If we asked him how such things could be, he would remind us that God is far, far beyond our puny comprehension and that we must remember too that every thought, every purpose, is eternally in the mind of God.
I can remember the expressions he used: Cain kills Abel eternally in God’s counsel; Christ accomplished His work eternally in the mind of God. From the perspective of God’s counsel, Jesus eternally died on the cross (Rev. 13:8) and eternally rose from the dead. Every thought in the mind of God is intimately related to every other thought so that His counsel is a most perfect plan that reveals all that He is and does. The counsel is eternal and, therefore, unchangeable. It is not governed by, nor subject to, time.
In short, Jehovah is the great, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise God, with whom is absolutely “no variableness” or even a mere “shadow of turning” (James 1:17). He alone can declare of Himself, “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3:14). He is always Triune (as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit); always perfectly blessed, rich and full; always sovereign, decreeing and governing all things in heaven, in the earth and in the seas (Ps. 135:6). He is always unchangeable in His manifold virtues, righteous will, glorious purposes and faithful promises in the Lord Jesus. Therefore, we are “not consumed” (Mal. 3:6)!
God willing, part 2 of this article will consider whether or not Jehovah changes in His disposition towards the elect before and after their conversion, and the error that He is “only wrathful” towards us prior to our regeneration. Prof. Hanko

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.www.youtube.com/cprcniwww.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
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South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 24 May, 2018
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Martyn McGeown


Subject:
The Development of God’s Covenant
 
God’s covenant is a relationship of intimate fellowship that Jehovah establishes and maintains with His people in Jesus Christ. Like many doctrines, the covenant is revealed progressively through Scripture. How did God reveal His covenant to Adam, to people before the Flood, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses and Israel, and to David? How is there development between these different administrations of the covenant? What is the unity of the covenant? How does God reveal Christ in the covenant?

Margam Community Centre
Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

www.cprc.co.uk
www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm
www.limerickreformed.com
 

British Reformed Fellowship Family Conference

21-28 July 2018

Hebron Hall
Conference Centre

South Wales

Theme:
The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God

Speakers:
Prof. David Engelsma
Rev. Andy Lanning

Check the conference website
for more details and booking forms
http://brfconference.weebly.com/
T Is for Tree:
A Bible ABC


by Connie Meyer
(32 pp., hardback)


This alphabet book is a beautiful collection of Bible passages, short rhymes and attractive illustrations designed to teach young children of their heavenly Father’s almighty power and His faithfulness to fulfill the promises He makes to them as children of His covenant. Use this book to instruct your children in the truths of salvation for all of God’s people and especially His littlest lambs (John 21:15). T Is for Tree also makes a fine gift.

£11.00 (inc. P&P)
Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851
.
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Earnestly Contending for the Faith (Vol. 1)

8 sermons on Jude 1-11 on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

Many church leaders and professing Christians are crippled by a politically-correct “niceness” towards heresy and false teachers. How does Jude teach us to view heretics and their wicked doctrines? How does this short epistle equip us to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3)?

(1) Jude’s Distinctive Epistolary Greeting (Jude 1-2)
(2) Jude’s Epistolary Change of Mind (Jude 3)
(3) Ungodly Men Corrupting the Grace of God (Jude 4)
(4) The “Prior” of the False Teachers (Jude 4)
(5) God’s Certain Punishment of the Ungodly (Jude 5-7)
(6) Filthy, Rebellious Dreamers (Jude 8)
(7) Michael’s Disputation With Satan Regarding Moses’ Body (Jude 9-10)
(8) The Old Testament Forefathers of Heretics (Jude 11)

£8/box set (inc. P&P)

LIsten free on-line
or order from the
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
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Myanmar Report - May 2018

Myanmar map 2

Dear brethren,

Greetings in our sovereign and gracious covenant Lord's name. I pray that you all will be in good health and peace of the mind for His mercy.

The month of March was quite special for us, because [for] the first time we are going to have a seminar without one of you come over and teach. So, preparing for that, I stopped writing Sunday Digest, and translating of KJV, [and] Thursday Bible classes. But I continued to edit the KLV Burmese, [and have] reached chapter 14. [I continue] preaching on the Heidelberg Catechism, and am up to Lord's Day 20.

At, seminar, as many as 38 people all over the country and from various denomination came. Two weeks seemed to be a very short time. The men learned a lot in these short two weeks. Especially, the second subject, which is called "Reformed Man." In that subject, I compared the present day so-called Christian viewing [of] their family, wife, children, work, money, modern things, and what the Bible taught us, especially Reformed view. They all are very much surprised and started to say, "We Burmese Christian never view [things] in those ways."

E. g., seeing our wives as our sisters in that Lord, when we get to heaven, we will not be husband and wife rather brother and sister in His covenant family. The same with our children, they are actually created by God Himself through parents, so the real owner is our Covenant God, not the parents. In this area also, when we get to heaven, we will not be parents and children, rather we all will be brothers and sisters in His big covenant family. So, [to] take care of them is covenant duty, so working for the family is not secular thing for the Reformed man but sacred thing, doing covenant duty for His glory; in other words, serving Him. In our Burmese cultural setting, doing religious means sacred thing, so have to forsake all earthly bounds and ties. The result is, feeding the children, working to earn a living to raise family is secular. But, I taught reverse with this popular view and set forth our covenant view.

To love our wives in our duty [is] not a shy-thing; we love our wives because the Bible demands it. I point out the texts, "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband." (1 Corinthians 7:3 KJV) "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (1 Peter 3:7 KJV) And many others to show the relationship between believing husband and wife is the picture of God's covenant of grace in Jesus Christ for His elect Church. They all love that very much, and they expressed they will not be the same when they return home.

All these things, I can teach only because you invited me and my wife to live among you and learned about your way of Reformed living; during three weeks, I opened my eyes as wide as I can to learn how you live as Reformed people, now I can teach that experiences to my people; thank you for that. And actually the success of this seminar is the fruit of your labors.

[in the] morning, Belgic Confession, I explained all the words are written in blood of Reformed believers, so that we must study with respect. And, to [be] call[ed] Reformed [we] must have confession; without confession, cannot be called Reformed church.

Weather is extremely hot; last year, only the month of May, hot as now. This year is special, but for His mercy, we did not fell sick during the seminar. And, after the seminar, Rakhine state churches demanded me to pay official visit, as well as, Nagah Land also asked me to come over to their place. I promised them, if the Lord wills, I will come, at least two weeks and teach in their places.

We are so much thankful for all the Face-time and Whatsapp videos calls during all the two week seminar, every morning, that gave us real encouragement. Thank you very much for supporting my ministry, without your help I cannot do all the things that I do for His people.

Please continue to pray for us, so that the Reformed truth that we hold dear as PR churches will be through out generations. In my congregational prayer, I continue to pray, always for you, so that you also will have covenant strength to go on in the precious truth that you now have with you many, many generations to come.

The Lord's blessings to you all.

Your brother,
Rev. Titus

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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for May 2018

RWH logo 1

First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI and the Reformed Witness Hour Committee announce the messages scheduled for May 2018 on the RWH radio/Internet program.

revrkleynRev. Rodney Kleyn, pastor of Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA), concludes his four-month service for the RWH program, giving special messages for Ascension Day, Mother's Day, and Pentecost (cf. schedule of messages below).

May 6 - Our Ever-living Intercessor, Hebrews 7:25

May 13 - The Praiseworthy Woman, Proverbs 31:10-31

May 20 - The Pouring Out of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:1-4

May 27 - The Intercession of the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:26-27

You are encouraged to listen to these important messages and to let others know about them too. Help spread the word about the Reformed Witness Hour, now in its 77th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!

Check out our new website, launched on May 2, 2018!

RWH Facebook image

Use the attached flyer (pdf) to spread the news of these important gospel messages!

PO Box 1230, Grand Rapids MI, 49501 | reformedwitnesshour.org | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Reformed News Asia - April 2018

Issue 48 - April 2018
Pamphlets

We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
NEWPamphlet!
COVENANT GODLY LIVING
By Rev. Carl Haak

"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."
Genesis 17:1

“The covenant is that truth of Scripture, from its beginning to its end, of the bond of friendship with God given to us through the blood of Jesus Christ, in which God becomes our God and we are made His people, who now live under the blessing of God and desire to show forth His praise in all we do. Covenant, godly living emphasizes that this covenant is not simply an external code, that religion is not merely an outward matter, but that true covenant living is fueled by personal godliness. Covenant, godly living - that is, the truth of God's gracious covenant as applied to our life in our home, in our marriage, and in every aspect of our walk."

Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.
 
Featured Book
For local orders (Singapore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.
THE AMAZING CROSS
by Herman Hoeksema

From the RFPA website:

“The vicarious suffering of the Lord must occupy a central place in the consciousness of faith and in the preaching of the gospel. On the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ depends all of salvation.”

So states the author of these powerful meditations on the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, giving us all the reason we need to read them and digest them, to believe on the Christ presented in them and magnify the God of our salvation whose work is set forth in them.

 
Audio Recordings
Series of sermons on the Suffering of Jesus Christ focusing on the words of Jesus while He was hanging on the cross by Rev. A. Den Hartog:

Father Forgive Them
The Salvation Of An Evil Doer At The Cross
Eli, Eli. Lama Sabacthani?
Good Friday Gospel Meeting - It Is Finished

 
 
Upcoming Events!
 
CERC Sports Day

Date: 1 May 2018
Venue: Bishan Active Park
Time: 9am - 1pm

This year, we will be revisiting some old but familiar games played especially by the older generations. All members, of all age groups, are encouraged to join and have a time of fun/sports together.
 
CERC Church Camp 2018

The highly anticipated 2018 Church Camp will be held from June 12-15, 2018 (Tue-Fri). More details will be announced closer to the date.

Date: 12-15 June 2018 (Tue - Fri)
Venue: Bayou Lagoon Park Resort, Meleka
Theme: Holiness: Not a Condition but a Necessity (1 Peter 1:16)
Speaker: Rev. A. den Hartog

For more information, please contact Ishu Mahtani at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Past Events...
 
Wedding of Yang Zhi and Nicole
This March, Yang Zhi and Nicole were united in holy matrimony. We rejoice with them and pray the Lord's blessings upon their union.
 
 
Infant Baptism of 3 children
Early this April, we were blessed to witness the Infant Baptism of not 1 but 3 infants- Micah Liu, Jedidiah Lee and Lydia Boon! We rejoice with their parents, thanking God and praying for God's blessings upon the them as they bring up their covenant child in the fear of the Lord. 
Baptism of Micah, son of Paul and Anthea
Baptism of Jedidiah, son of Kong Wee and Dorcas
Baptism of Lydia, daughter of Cornelius and Jemima Joy
 
Notes
 
Salt Shakers

Salt Shakers is a bi-monthly magazine published by the youth in Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC). Included in each issue are writings pertaining to both Reformed doctrine and practical theology. Contributors to Salt Shakers include our pastor, youth and members of CERC, and pastors and professors from the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. Salt Shakers also features articles from the Standard Bearer and other Reformed publications. Click here to access.

 
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

Lord's Day services on Sunday at 930 am & 2 pm ~ 11 Jalan Mesin, #04-00, Standard Industrial Building, Singapore 368813 ~ Pastor: Rev Andy Lanning  ~ www.cerc.org.sg 
 
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Covenant Reformed News - April 2018

 

Covenant Reformed News

April 2018  •  Volume XVI, Issue 24



“Lead Us Not Into Temptation” and Pope Francis

In a video in December, 2017, Pope Francis claimed that “lead us not into temptation” is a bad translation of the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. However, this is a very accurate rendering of the words of the Lord Jesus in the original Greek.

The Pope made this outrageous statement because he cannot reconcile Christ’s teaching with his own base view of God’s sovereignty. Semi-Pelagianism, which is akin to Arminianism, is Rome’s historic position. However, contemporary Romanism and its Pope have degenerated such that they are more accurately described as Pelagian, which is even further from the truth than the heresy of Semi-Pelagianism.

Francis and the Roman Church believe that man is not totally, but only partly, depraved and so is able to do good works that please God (contra Rom. 3:9-20). According to them, Jehovah loves and wants to save everybody, and so Christ died for all head for head (contra Matt. 11:25-27; Eph. 5:25). Every pleasant thing is grace to all men absolutely and is proof that God loves everybody (contra Rom. 11:7-10).

This is a wicked denial of the biblical and Reformed truth of God’s particular grace and love in His election, Christ’s redemption and the salvation applied by the Holy Spirit (John 17; Rom. 9:6-24; Eph. 1:3-14; I Pet. 1:1-12). It should not be too much of a surprise to Christians that this is the heretical papal position. Even more disturbing is that the views in the previous paragraph are also the teaching of most of Evangelicalism!

For the Roman church and its pontiff, God’s sovereignty is an extremely meagre thing. According to their position, Jehovah could accurately be presented as the great spectator who watches the earth (and weeps!). He does not govern everything in the world and thus He is not truly sovereign at all!

So the Pope reckons that, when Jesus taught us to pray, “lead us not into temptation,” He is wrong, for only the devil leads into temptation. Thus Francis opts for the recent French Roman Catholic false retranslation of the sixth petition, which in English would read, “do not let me fall into temptation.” Thus the alleged vicar of Christ corrects the true Christ! The papal antichrist thinks he knows better than the biblical Christ!

The truth is that the Triune God is absolutely sovereign over all things, including every sin and every temptation. Absolutely everything, including every sin and every temptation, was included in God’s eternal decree. Yet Jehovah does not approve of sin and is not soft towards it. Instead, He hates it—always, infinitely! Absolutely everything, including every sin and every temptation, occurs in God’s providence in time. The Most High orders, bounds and disposes all things, whilst always hating sin and punishing it, either in the impenitent sinner or in Christ, the gracious substitute for all those the Father eternally gave Him (John 17:2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 24).

Note carefully that God does not sin or engage in any evil activity. Instead, it is man and fallen angels who sin and break Jehovah’s commandments. Contrary to extreme hyper-Calvinists, God is not the author or doer of sin, for such is blasphemy (Belgic Confession 13; Canons I:15). Men and demons are the authors and doers of sin.

The Westminster Confession provides a superb summary: “The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is, nor can be, the author or approver of sin” (V:4).

We need to distinguish carefully. There is a difference between tempting and trying. The devil and his angels (and other sinful human beings) tempt us: they want us to sin because they love evil and wish to ruin us. On the other hand, God tries and tests His people. He does not love sin; He hates it. He does not hate us; He loves us. He uses difficult circumstances to try and test us for our good and to purify us by His grace.

To put it slightly differently, of course, it is God the sovereign Lord who leads us into temptation, for everything is under His control. On the other hand, Satan tempts us, wanting us to fall into sin and desiring to destroy us.

Do you have this straight, believer? First, as regards God, He does not tempt anyone (James 1:13); Jehovah tries us and tests us and leads into temptation. Yea, He leads us into temptation in order to try and test us. Second, Satan tempts us, as the one who loves evil and wants our ruin in sin. Third, the authors or doers of sin are fallen angels and fallen humans, who wickedly yield to temptation.

Only in Christ crucified and risen is the believer free from the guilt, punishment and dominion of sin. Only by the power of Jesus’ Word and Spirit is the child of God able to overcome temptation. Thus we pray the sixth petition: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; that is, since we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand a moment; and besides this, since our mortal enemies, the devil, the world, and our own flesh cease not to assault us, do Thou therefore preserve and strengthen us by the power of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, but constantly and strenuously may resist our foes, till at last we obtain a complete victory” (Heidelberg Catechism, A. 127). Rev. Stewart
 

Do Not Tell!

A reader asks, “Why did Christ command those whom He healed not to tell who healed them, yet we are commanded to witness of Him?”

In addition to the historical fact that Jesus commanded some whom He healed not to reveal who healed them, He also told only a few who He truly was. First, He said He was the Christ to the Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). Second, He identified Himself as the Son of God to the man born blind whom He healed (John 9:35-37).

It is striking that both instances are recorded in John’s gospel narrative, for John’s express purpose in writing his gospel, under divine and infallible inspiration, is given in chapter 20:31: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

A third incident in which Christ declared who He was is recorded in Matthew 16:13-20. This passage describes Jesus’ question put to His disciples: “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” After receiving the answer, Jesus put the same question to the disciples. Peter, speaking for all of the disciples, said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus confirmed this truth by telling them that this confession would be the rock on which He would build His church. Yet, even then, Jesus “charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”

Why the command not to tell? Setting aside for the moment Jesus’ injunction to His disciples in Matthew 16, we should notice that both the Samaritan woman and the man born blind were already inclined to think that He was the Messiah. The woman from Samaria hinted at this when she said that she knew and believed that the promised Messiah would come. She as much as asked Him, “Art thou that Messiah?” 

The same was true of the blind man. He called Jesus “Lord,” which name already set Jesus aside from others whom the blind man knew. But his question is also a sort of revelation of his inward questioning: he wanted to believe but was not sure Jesus was the promised Messiah. In other words, both the Samaritan woman and the man born blind saw that Jesus was divine, that is, the Son of God. God had put this faith within their hearts.

But with so many others who were healed, this was not the case. They did not have this saving faith. Again, it is John who gives us insight into this matter. At a very early time in our Lord’s ministry, after He had cleansed the temple (John 2:14-22), we read that Jesus was in Jerusalem where He performed many miracles and many believed on Him. But, John adds, “Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (24-25).

In other words, many believed in Jesus only as a miracle-worker. They did not see Him as the Samaritan woman and the man born blind saw Him, as the promised Messiah, the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent and deliver them from their sins. Jesus knew all men, including who were and who were not true believers. He knew that most of them who swarmed around Him did so because of His eloquence as a preacher and His ability to perform miracles. 

Again John makes this clear when Jesus had fed the crowds with five loaves and two fishes. When He would not be their king and would not feed them with earthly bread, and when He pointed out to them that He was the Bread of Life and that faith that He was from God was required of them, we read “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).

When Jesus turned to His disciples and asked them whether they wanted to leave as well, their answer, with Peter again as the spokesman, was, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (68-69).

By all this, I do not mean to say that many of those who believed in Christ only for the miracles were not God’s elect. Later history tells us that there were thousands who were the chosen people of God, though as yet they did not believe in Christ as God’s Son.

In the purpose of God, that true faith in the hearts of His people had to wait for Pentecost. Even the disciples who possessed true faith did not understand Christ’s work in its entirety. Just before Christ’s ascension into heaven, they asked, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). In their carnality, they kept thinking of an earthly kingdom. It was only after the Spirit of Christ was poured out that all became clear: the cross, the resurrection, the ascension and the New Testament church. The Spirit made all the difference, for the Spirit, as Christ Himself had told them, would lead them into the truth and make all Christ’s work plain (John 16:13).

How frequently the same mistake is made by today’s throngs that fill mega-churches. They believe in a Christ who does healing miracles today (or so the Charismatics claim) or that faith in Him will guarantee a trouble-free life here in this world of sin and darkness or that believing will give them prosperity and wealth. They may claim to follow Christ but they are following a phantom. More subtly, many claim to believe in Christ because He loves all men, gives them a chance to be saved and lets them have a gloss of religion while their hearts remain in the world.

True faith confesses that we are totally depraved sinners who cannot believe of ourselves and who do not deserve salvation. We know our sins and realize that only God can save us by the power of His irresistible grace. We know that our salvation was accomplished in the cross and to that cross we flee with broken hearts and cries of sorrow.

So, my answer is this: Miracles themselves were only signs of Christ and what He did as Saviour. Healing blindness is a sign of Christ’s gift of healing our spiritual blindness. Making the lame walk was a sign of Christ’s work of enabling us to walk in the way of His commandments. Raising the dead points to Christ’s work of raising us from our spiritual death to new and heavenly life. And so it was with all the miracles. But the faith of many ended with miracles. Christ does not want to be known merely as a miracle-worker. He is the Saviour and Redeemer of His people, and faith in Him brings true heavenly salvation and deliverance from all our physical and spiritual ailments and troubles in the next world. That He saves me is the greatest miracle of all!  Prof. Hanko

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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British Reformed Fellowship Family Conference

21-28 July 2018

Hebron Hall
Conference Centre

South Wales

Theme:
The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God

Speakers:
Prof. David Engelsma
Rev. Andy Lanning

Check the conference website
for more details and booking forms
http://brfconference.weebly.com/
Study Guides

Ideal for individuals or groups, each study guide contains a brief overview of the book, short remarks on each passage and questions for study. 

Studies in Ruth - C. Haak
(36 pp. Softback, £3.30)

Studies in Ezra - B. Gritters
(40 pp. Softback, £3.30)

Studies in Malachi - C. Haak
(72 pp. Softback, £4.40)

Studies in Acts - M. Hoeksema
(176 pp. Softback, £5.50)

Studies in Romans - M. Hoeksema
(96 pp. Softback, £4.40)

Studies in Philippians - C. Haak
(30 pp. Softback, £3.30)

Studies in I Thessalonians - C. Hanko
(29 pp. Softback, £2.75 inc.)

Studies in II Thessalonians - C. Hanko
(22 pp. Softback, £2.75)

Studies in Hebrews  NEW!  - M. Hoeksema
    (88 pp. Softback, £4.40) 

Studies in James  NEW! - M. Hoeksema 
    (63 pp. Softback, £3.85)

Studies in I Peter - C. Hanko 
    (80 pp. Softback, £3.85)
Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
on-line, by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851
.
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Baptism: Formula, Administrators, 
Validity, Mode and Meaning


11 classes on Belgic Confession 34 (Vol. XXVI)
on CD in an attractive box set 

 Some dismiss baptism as of little importance. Yet Christ appointed it as a sacrament (Matt. 28:19), and all the issues addressed in these audios arise from Scripture and in the life of His church!

(1) The Importance and Beginning of This Article (Matt. 28)
(2) God’s Fatherhood and the Baptism Formula (Matt. 28:11-20)
(3) The Administrators of Baptism (Acts 8:5-40)
(4) What Constitutes a Valid Baptism? (I Tim. 2:11-15)
(5) Mode [1]: 7 Arguments Against Immersionism (Acts 9:1-20)
(6) Mode [2]: Responding to Immersionist Arguments (Matt. 3)
(7) Mode [3]: Immersion, Sprinkling and Pouring (I Peter 1:1-12)
(8) Meaning [1]: Old Testament Baptisms (Heb. 9:6-23)
(9) Meaning [2]: Baptisms Administered by John (John 1:19-42)
(10) Meaning [3]: Baptisms by or Upon Christ or His Disciples (Gal. 3:22-29)
(11) Meaning [4]: Reformed Doctrine and Ephesians 4:5 (Eph. 4:1-16)

£12/box set (inc. P&P)

Listen free on-line
or order from the
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
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Young Men's Conference This Saturday, April 28 - Georgetown (MI) PRC

run fight lead WEBSITE header

Young Men's Conference (High School / College), "Run, Fight, Lead!" is THIS Saturday, April 28, from 8-12:30, at Georgetown PRC.

Run, Fight, Lead! is a Christian Young Men's Conference for high school and college age young men. The goal of the conference is to equip and encourage Christian young men to grow in Biblical manhood.

The topics will follow the theme of Run, Fight, Lead! Running from lust and pornography and instead running toward biblical manhood and Godly dating and marriage. Fighting against, gossip, bullying and hate while fighting for truth, peace and love. Leading Christian brothers out of sinful rebellion and leading them in the way of holy obedience.

The conference speakers and their topics will be:


Rev. Mahtani – Run, Fight, Lead!
Rev. Spronk – Social Media
Rev. Eriks – Dating
Justin Visser – Pornography
Karl Dykstra – Life After High School & Biblical Manhood

There will also be a multi-generational panel following the speakers to address questions.

The conference will begin at 8am with breakfast and coffee and will finish around 12:30pm.

GTPRC2012

Breakfast Included! Register Today! Wednesday, April 25, is the FINAL day to register.

For more details and to register please visit georgetownprc.org/runfightlead

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