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Covenant Reformed News - February 2018

 

Covenant Reformed News

February 2018  •  Volume XVI, Issue 22



The Crowding Out of the Church

In general, twenty-first century Protestantism suffers from the terrible malaise of a gross ignorance of biblical and Reformed ecclesiology, faulty and false doctrines concerning the church, and a grievous under appreciation of Christ’s bride and body. Among the factors that produce and/or reinforce a low and erroneous view of the church is the misunderstanding of other spheres, institutions or parties, including work, oneself, the family and the state, which we shall consider in turn.
First, for some, the church is largely crowded out by work (the sphere of employment). Some are workaholics, labouring very long hours or often away on business trips, so the church gets short shrift in their lives. Some move home or attend university with little or no thought given to the presence or otherwise of a faithful congregation, manifesting the three marks of a true church, in the area (Belgic Confession 29). Some are given to “the love of money” which is the root of all sorts of evil (I Tim. 6:10), including slighting the church of which Christ is the head. Some professing believers break the fourth commandment by performing labour that is not a work of necessity or mercy, thereby incurring guilt before God, and depriving themselves of the means of grace and much-needed fellowship with other believers in the instituted church.
Second, there is the problem of unbiblical individualism (the sphere of self). Everything is all about me, my needs, and, hence, what the church can do for me. There is little or nothing about other saints and their needs, and what I can do for them. Little or no thought is given to the church or its head, the Lord Jesus Christ, just me!
Over against this, the Apostles’ Creed speaks of “the communion of the saints,” which is explained in the Heidelberg Catechism: “First, that all and every one who believes, being members of Christ, are, in common, partakers of Him and of all His riches and gifts; secondly, that every one must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members” (A. 55).
Typically, selfish people do not like being under authority (even where it is properly exercised) or having people over them (even if they are seeking to serve them in Jesus Christ) or being told what to do (even if this is done righteously and humbly) or being held accountable (even if it is to the Lord’s church and to Him).
This individualistic attitude has a hard time understanding, practising and living the biblical truth of the church. Such people struggle to submit to, enjoy and rejoice in scriptural ecclesiology. They kick against being part of a body and being under the Good Shepherd’s under-shepherds. In so doing, sadly, such people harm others and especially themselves.
Third, some have a wrong view of marriage and the home (the sphere of family). Consider a husband who is overbearing towards his wife and lords it over his household. Absolutely everything in the home has to come under his attention and suit him. Those who abuse their authority in their household will find it very difficult to submit and behave wisely in “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). If such a man is unemployed, with no boss to submit to or obey, his problem will be exacerbated because he is not used to being under anyone.
Likewise, there are wives for whom it is all about their husbands and children. The real issue is the home and the family. As long as they are okay, who cares about Christ’s body? The church is unnecessary or, at best, peripheral; never central.
For such husbands and wives (and their children), it is all about me and my family. The biblical place and significance of the church cannot be properly grasped and enjoyed.
However, the truth is that there should be no conflict: me versus the church or my family versus the church. The proper relationship is that of reciprocity. Believing husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children and individuals need and help the church. The church, in turn, needs and helps Christian husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children and individuals.
Fourth, there is the deification of the state (the sphere of civil government). In the twenty-first century, many states, especially in the West, are acting like God and are being regarded by many as if they were a sort of God. Professing Christians need to be careful lest their hearts and minds are secularized too!
The welfare state promises to give, through our taxes, cradle to grave security, if you can make it to the cradle without having been cruelly murdered in the womb. So who needs the God of providence and the church’s diaconate?
The politically-correct state seizes divine prerogatives by redefining person (in order to kill unborn babies), marriage (to promote homosexuality) and gender (to further transgenderism). All of this is contrary to God’s Word (Ps. 139:13-16; Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 1:26-27), as proclaimed by the true churches of Jesus Christ.
The moralizing state redefines love as first tolerance, and then approval and even celebration of sin, especially sexual sin. It then redefines God as the soppy, immoral god of left-wing love. Who then needs the real God of love and the love of God in the cross of Jesus Christ, and the Ten Commandments as the summary of love for God and one’s neighbour, as proclaimed by Christ’s church?
The deification and absolutizing of the state is reflected in the well-nigh ubiquitous phrase: “the government,” as if the civil government is the only government that exists. What about God’s sovereign and all-encompassing government or the government of a business or family government or individual government or church government? The state’s unwarranted encroachment into the God-given spheres of the home, the church, work, etc., is bad enough but the Christian must not allow such usurpations to take over his own thinking!
Where this soul-deadening, secularizing, statist view steals the hearts and minds of professing Christians, they will have low views of the need of the church, the offices of the church, the authority of the church, the work of the church, etc. The leviathan, politically-correct state must not overshadow the believer’s vision of, and love for, God’s glorious church, the bride of Christ for whom He shed His atoning blood, and whom He sanctifies and cleanses by His Word (Eph. 5:25-27)! Rev. Angus Stewart
 

The Law of Christ (2)

We continue with our response to a reader’s question: “I would like to ask your view of the law of Christ (I Cor. 9:20-21). What exactly is the law of Christ and how does it, if at all, differ from the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament?”
God’s writing His law upon our hearts (Jer. 31:33) is possible only because of our Lord’s amazing sacrifice on the cross. If I may put it that way, the deepest depth of Christ’s suffering was when He cried out in utter anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). It was an awful cry of abandonment: “why?” Yet, even then, His cry was, “My God, my God.” That is, even at that terrible moment, Christ was saying, “Even though I know nothing but pure wrath, I still love thee, O My God!” In other words, He kept the law of God, not only in the years of His ministry but even as He experienced hellish agonies. It was perfect obedience. He earned it for us. That is why the law is now written on our hearts. Christ did what we cannot do: keep God’s law. His motto was “I come to do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:9).
Our Heidelberg Catechism speaks of a “must” regarding good works (Q. 86). The “must” arises out of our salvation. We are told that we must do good works because we are saved. We are told in the gospel that we can do good works as an incentive to do them. We are told in the Word that we will do good works. The “must,” the “can” and the “will” all come together in us by God’s work. The broken sinner is so happy to hear that he is justified by faith alone without his works that he, in thankfulness to God, does them through the power of divine grace.
Our good works are God’s working in us. Paul, in Philippians 2:12-13, urges us to work out our own salvation. The reason we are admonished to work out our salvation is because God has made it completely possible, for He, so the text tells us, not only makes us willing to do it but also He Himself works in us the very work He calls us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 is especially clear. Paul has said that salvation is God’s work entirely and never ours. We are saved by grace through faith—and neither grace nor faith are of ourselves but are gifts of God (8). Paul tells us how it is possible for us to do good works, even as those saved by grace through faith without works. We are God’s “workmanship” (10). The word means, God’s masterpiece, like the work of the greatest artist on a canvas. We are God’s workmanship because we show forth the skill and glory of the One who changed us from sinners to saints.
But what about our good works? Well, for one thing, He made us what we are so that we could do good works: “we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (10). Even these good works are decreed for us—every one of them—in God’s eternal counsel: “good works, which God hath before ordained” (10). God determined them; Christ earned them, all of them, on His cross. They are part of our salvation. Our good works are God’s gift through Christ. Wonder of wonders, God determined that we should walk in them! It is all of God!
The complaint is made that this doctrine makes man a robot. How can a work be our work and God’s work? Cannot these deniers of sovereign grace see that God is almighty? He does marvellous things! The Canons of Dordt call this work of God as great a wonder as His creation of the universe, for it is “mysterious,” “ineffable,” beyond our understanding (III/IV:12). We, weak and insignificant creatures, cannot fully understand any of God’s works. Can we explain how a baby is formed in the womb of its mother? Comes to birth? Takes his or her place as an adult in God’s world?
Nevertheless, God has revealed a bit to us. Our good works are emphatically our good works. So much are they our good works that we are judged in accordance with our works and our good works by grace are even rewarded! How can this be?
When God begins the work of salvation in us at our new birth, He gives us the gift of faith. That faith, as Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, teaches us, is a living bond that unites us to the risen and exalted Christ so that His heavenly, resurrection life becomes ours. That faith our God brings to consciousness in us by the preaching of the gospel so that faith enables us to do two things. First, it makes us receive as truth everything God has revealed to us in His Word. Second, it causes us to put all our trust and hope for every speck of our salvation in Christ alone. It enables us to lay hold of Him, seek our salvation in Him alone and cling to Him in all our grief. Without Him, we have nothing; with Him, we have everything. It is in this way that we do good works because God works in us in Jesus Christ and by faith in Him.
Our Heidelberg Catechism begins with the one question without an answer to which I cannot live: “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer, so simple, so plain, so child-like, so all-encompassing: “That I belong to Jesus. He bought me with His blood!” That is all—even for a child. I need no more than that.
The best illustration is to be found in the horticulturist’s work of grafting. If the branch of a Macintosh apple tree is cut off the tree, it would soon die, for its life comes from the tree. If it is grafted into a Gala apple tree, it will live, because it is grafted into a tree from which it gets its life. Though it be grafted into a Gala apple tree and draws its life from that tree, it will continue to bear Macintosh apples.
So we, grafted into Christ, do bring forth fruit. It is our fruit, no one else’s. Yet all the life in us that produces good works is Christ’s life. Salvation is in God alone, for He it is that must and will receive all the glory, both now and forever. Prof. Herman 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, 22 February
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Martyn McGeown


Subject:
The Covenant of God
 
The Bible is divided into the Old and New Testaments (or covenants). Reformed theology is often called “covenant theology.” The Christian life, church, family and home are often called “covenantal.” God is the covenant God. Come to learn about the meaning and the importance of 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

21-29 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/
1834: Hendrick de Cock’s Return to the True Church

by Marvin Kamps
(512 pp., hardback)

The book recounts the reformation of the church in the Netherlands in 1834, when Hendrik de Cock testified against the false doctrines and unspiritual character of the state Reformed church. After having been unceremoniously suspended and deposed from office, he led his congregation to return to scriptural teaching and the biblical worship of God in Christ Jesus. This book narrates one man’s struggle against the perversions of Scripture by the vast majority of ordained pastors in the state Reformed church with its million or more spiritually sleeping members.  De Cock’s courageous testimony has inspired the witness of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world until this day. Read this stirring account and be galvanized to fight the good fight of the church militant!

£24.00 (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!

The Sacraments

6 classes on
Belgic Confession 33
on CD in a box set 

 Most people know what the two Christian sacraments are but how do we prove this? Why did Christ give us only two sacraments? What is the point of them? How do we benefit from them? How are Word and sacrament related? Listen and learn! 

(1) Introduction and Rome’s Sacramentology (Eph. 5:22-33)
(2) The Criteria for Determining the Sacraments (I Cor. 11:17-34)
(3) Exsurge Domine and the Rationale of Two Sacraments (I Cor. 10:1-22)
(4) Similarities and Differences Between the Word and the Sacraments (Gen. 17:1-14)
(5) The Component Parts of the Sacraments (Gen. 17:1-14)
(6) The Perspective and Purpose of the Sacraments (John 6:27-51)

£6/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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Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - February 2018

CPRC News Header

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Ballymena, NI

9 February, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Church Visitors

Rev. Nathan Decker (Trinity PRC) and Elder Sid Miedema (Byron Center PRC) were this year’s church visitors in the CPRC (18-25 January) and the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF) (25-29 January). It was good to have both of these men back with us again!

CPRC supper 2018
Annual Congregational Dinner

Their first engagement was the CPRC annual congregational dinner (19 January). Besides members and friends of the church in Ballymena, Rev. McGeown, Colm Ring, Manuel Kuhs, Chester Mansona, and Sam and Jason Watterson of the LRF made the four-hour journey to join us (and that is only one way!). After a good meal, William Graham asked the questions for an excellent table quiz.

PRC church visitors 2018
Chester Mansona, Sid Miedema, Rev. Decker, Rev. McGeown

Rev. Decker preached at both of our Sunday services (21 January) and led a fine Bible study on Psalm 73 at the church on Tuesday morning. On the next night, his lecture on “Living Wisely in a Digital Age” was well attended and the on-line video has attracted a lot of interest ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=TorlK7c_CYw ).

Besides the official church visitation with the CPRC Council, our two American brethren had dinner with several families and visited with other saints. On the morning of their departure for Limerick, they even fitted in breakfast with a former member (Kristin Crossett) and a current member (Carolyn Prins) of the church that Rev. Decker pastors.

Teaching in the CPRC

“Ezekiel’s Prophecies Against Tyre” (Ezek. 26:1-28:19) was the subject of a recent 4-sermon series in the CPRC. God judged that wealthy island trading centre so that it was reduced to a rock upon which fishermen repaired and cleaned their nets. The prophet pictured the city as a great ship filled with international merchants and all their wares, but it was going to sink to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The king of Tyre thought that he was wiser than Daniel and even a god. His realm was another Eden for precious stones and gold, and he was like Adam or a cherub guarding the garden. Yet he was a fallen son of Adam and the image of Satan, and he would soon be cast from his garden of God and destroyed. The 4 sermons are on-line in audio (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/OTseries.htm) and video ( www.youtube.com/user/CPRCNI ), and soon will be available in a box set of CDs or DVDs for just £6.

In our Tuesday morning Bible study, we have been considering the Feast of Tabernacles, the most joyful of the Old Testament feasts. We have looked at its institution in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and its celebration in Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, and I Kings. More material is to come, including 4 major Old Testament passages and John 7.

Since the middle of November, our Wednesday night doctrine class has been studying the subject of baptism in connection with Belgic Confession 34. Our treatment has included the baptismal formula, the administrators of baptism, the requirements for a valid baptism,
immersionism, the mode of baptism, the meaning of baptism, etc. ( www.cprf.co.uk/ audio/belgicconfessionclass.htm ). It is a rich subject that opens up a lot of Scriptures.

The fortnightly Ladies’ Bible Study, which meets on Friday mornings, is now discussing Rev. Smit’s book, The Fruit the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The fortnightly Saturday night Men’s Bible Study has begun Studies in Acts by Mark Hoeksema. These fine RFPA resources are already proving beneficial to our members. Almost all of the copies of Rev. Brian Huizinga’s “Keeping the Sword Drawn” brought over by the two church visitors have gone already ( www.cprf.co.uk/pamphlets/keeping sworddrawn.pdf ). Some of the saints in the CPRC are also using a yearly Bible reading programme that Mary prepared from two existing programmes.

Others

“God’s Saving Will in the New Testament” was the subject of a lecture I gave in South Wales on 25 January. There are two main Greek words that deal with willing, determining, desiring, wishing, etc., in the New Testament. What does a study of this concept in the New Testament reveal about the will of God’s decree and the will of His command? We had a blessed night of fellowship with the saints, including with Timothy Spence, a member of the CPRC who is at a university in South Wales. Also a good number of books and box sets were purchased. The video is on-line ( www.youtube.com/ watch?v=rPml_52T__0 ).

The last couple of months have seen 14 translations added to our website (www.cprf. co.uk/languages.htm): 6 Hungarian (by 2 young men who are coming to the 2018 British Reformed Fellowship Conference), 6 German (on Pentecostal issues by a brother who last did some translations for us in 2010), 1 Italian (by a Calvinistic Baptist in Sicily), and 1 Hindi (Prof. Engelsma’s pamphlet “Try the Spirits” by Sam Salve in India).

We added our second video with French subtitles, thanks to Timothée Rapak of Reims. This brings our foreign language videos to 28 ( www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Y5Eq5r6y2HmXGp8oXTSI2QS6_FJYjyJ ). The USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia often feature in the top 5 countries using the CPRC YouTube page. However, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, of all places, have broken into the top 5 in recent times!

We continue to get a lot of good feedback. “I love the steadfast, Calvinist, Reformed theology [of the CPRC] on the internet. Bless you!” (Florida, USA). “Just a note to say thank you for the great book, Knowing God and Man. I couldn’t lay it down once I started reading it. It is profound truth and an absolutely brilliant book. I will be using its contents for many references” (Northern Ireland). “I read the excellent article on the subject of Lefèvre [‘Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples: Pioneer of French Reform’]...I would love to quote it in an essay I’m writing to raise awareness of Lefèvre and his influence on the Reformation in France” (France). “Thank you for the books you kindly sent me. They will be very useful in the year ahead and also for the British Reformed Journals. The materials you send me are so appreciated in these days of Arminian churches” (England). “I have been a long-time reader of your website and have encouraged many to read your articles. One of the members of our church has recently translated some articles for you into Portuguese” (Australia).

Bookings for the 2018 British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference in Hebron Hall, Cardiff (21-28 July) are coming on very well. Already we have heard from people in Germany, Wales, America, Northern Ireland, Brazil, England, Australia, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, etc., that they are coming. The theme of “The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God” will be developed by our two main speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning. The two-day trips include a fifteenth-century castle and Wales’ most popular heritage attraction, which is also one of Europe’s leading open-air museums. Much more information, including prices and the booking form, is on-line ( http://brfconference.weebly.com ). The North American booking secretary is Briana Prins (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Do join us!

Thank you for your support and prayers in Christ,
Rev. & Mary Stewart

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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for February 2018

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

RWH logo 1

revrkleynRev. Rodney Kleyn, pastor of Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA), begins his four-month service for the RWH program, giving a special series on the Old Testament book of Ruth, as evidence of God's great covenant faithfulness to His people (cf. schedule of messages below).

FEBRUARY 2018

February 4 - God Chastens an Unholy Family, Ruth 1:1-6

Rev. Rodney Kleyn

February 11 - The Conversion of Ruth, Ruth 1:7-18

Rev. Rodney Kleyn

February 18 - The Homecoming of Naomi, Ruth 1:19-22

Rev. Rodney Kleyn

February 25 - The First Meeting of Boaz and Ruth, Ruth 2:1-17

Rev. Rodney Kleyn

 

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!

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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Myanmar Report of Rev. Titus - January 2018

Myanmar Mission Report - January 2018

Dear brethren,


Greetings in our sovereign and gracious covenant Lord's name. Blessed New to you all. This is the First letter that I wrote to you in this new year. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements in 2017.

A year is speedily gone and a new year started, the time of our Lord Jesus returns in one more year near, for that we are thankful, then new creation will start for the final fulfilment of His covenant of grace.

Thank you very much for all the cards that you send us in covenant love. We (my wife Certe, our children, and myself) do not know how to express our joy seeing them; some time we like to cry for joy knowing we have brothers and sisters in the Lord for His covenant sake. And I like to tell you that, that is the first time in our life that much cards received in one time; so first time has a lot to say in one's life. Thank you and the Lord's blessings on you all in 2018.

That reminds us Ps. 133 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." And our Apostle's creed, "I believe an holy catholic church: the communion of saints." We are united in His truth, that is a real beauty.

When, my wife and I were in U.S., there were many places that we enjoy very much visiting. Among them, some of the place for me, personally, were, visiting the RFPA building. The Lord used books and Standard Bearer to lead me to know the truth and to know you all. My life was richly blessed by those books, and I am translating some of the books from that publishing, so to see it face to face was really something special for me, I could not express it with words. Some pastors think that, to preach good news in the only important thing, and they even suggest that I should not translate books rather preach gospel; but I think books are like coffee to American. When I was in U.S., even before breakfast, you drink at least a cup of coffee, but if I ask you, what will be your main source of energy, your will tell me food, but coffee also have a very important role in American's life. In that way, the Bible and preaching are our main spiritual food, but books also very important. Books still talk and preach after that person died. Even, e g. Hoeksema still talks to us with his triple knowledge volumes and others books also the same.

And visiting PR Seminary classes and attended some classes there, from the day that I learned PR distinctives, I am so eager to see that school; for your kindness, I could made that dream come true. Thanks to you all and to our faithful covenant Lord.

Titus RCvideos class 2017

Thursday Bible classes begin again; now the first hour, we listen Prof. Cammenga's seminary lectures on "Soteriology," that is doctrine of salvation. Now we reached third lecture of four; the second hour we discuss our Essentials of Reformed Doctrine. Now I am discussing the means of grace, preaching especially, how to make sermons Reformed way, especially for Ah Lin; the rest also as leading their small groups, they said very helpful. For me also, all the books on preaching are in English, this is the first time I am putting them in Burmese language, quite a challenge, because, Burmese language does not really concern "Tenses of Verb." It is kind of spoken written language; e g. I can say "I come yesterday," which is very wrong in English but it is perfectly OK in Burmese, I think you will notice in my report as well, when I write English that kind of thing always there. But we enjoy very much in learning together.

And on Thursday night, I have another Bible class to equip two young men from our congregation to become new elder and deacon, so that we may have rotation of office bearers. Since the Bible said, " In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (Titus 2:7 KJV)" I am teaching them, all the things that necessary to know as officers of His covenant Church. They are brought up under my pastoring from their very young, so class is like lecturing. They dare not to ask me questions, so I have to encourage them: "do not afraid me but ask me and have dialogue with me." I hope slowly they will do that.

I am still busy, editing my KJV Burmese translation, I am now editing the book of Revelation, the last one, very soon NT will be ready to publish. Evening services Heidelberg Catechism, now eight time just started, reached LD 7.

For Sunday Digest, now I started translating, the book of Judges, reach chapter 8, I reached translating "Come, Ye Children," by Gertrude Hoeksema, "Jeroboam Teaches Israel to Worship Idols." I am translating, "Unfolding Covenant History," by Homer C. Hoeksema, I am translating the topic "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." I send Sunday Digests as attachment.

Catechism classes, younger one, Heidelberg Catechism, by Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma; this week we reach lesson 48. Older youth, I am teaching them our Belgic Confession itself now, reach Art. (11).

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, not just when I did ended.

In my congregational prayer as well as in personal prayers, I continue to pray, always for you, especially the long struggle that the Lord sent to your midst to end. The Lord's blessings to you all.

Your brother,
Rev. Titus

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New Issue of "Salt Shakers" Magazine - January 2018

SS 47 Jan 2018 Page 1"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has now released the January 2018 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#47),their youth magazine.

The January 2018 issue of "SS" is once again filled with interesting and instructive articles, and our PRC young people especially are encouraged to make it part of their reading content.

Below you will find a note from the "SS" Committee introducing the contents of this issue and images of the cover and table of contents. The entire issue is also attached here in pdf form.

Beloved Readers,

Salt Shakers is pleased to bring you Issue 47, the first issue of 2008! 
This issue, we begin our consideration of a new theme which highlights the important calling of holiness in our lives. We pray that our readers may be edified to this end through the excellent Reformed articles in this edition.
We thank the Lord for His continued grace in sustaining this magazine. May it ever redound to His glory! 
Our heartfelt appreciation also goes to all our writers for their contributions to Salt Shakers!
In the January 2018 issue:
  • Calvin's Instruction on Church Membership Aaron Lim
  • Scripture's Covenant Youth (X): David - Prof. Herman Hanko
  • Are Unbelievers in God's Image? (V) - Rev. Angus Stewart
  • CKCKS Camp Review: Examine Yourselves - Nichelle Wong
  • In the Year of the Dog - Daisy Lim
  • Raising a Covenant Family - Rev. Arie Den Hartog
  • A Letter to My Unforgiving Self (I) - Marcus Wee
  • The Importance of Family Devotions - Rev. Ryan Barnhill
  • Reformed Polemics for the Reformed Believer - Rev. Nathan Langerak
  • Rejoicing and Weeping Together (I): Introduction - Lim Yang Zhi
  • Bold to Witness  - Rev. Stephan Regnerus
  • Holiness: A Conscious Choice - Eld. Lee Kong Wee
Remember to pass the salt!
Pro Rege,
Chua Lee Yang, On Behalf of the Salt Shakers Committee
SS 47 Jan 2018 Page 2
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Covenant Reformed News - January 2018

Covenant Reformed News

January 2018  •  Volume XVI, Issue 21



Pulpit Failure Regarding Ecclesiology

Through compromising with the ungodly world, liberal Protestantism has lost the infallible Scriptures, the blood of Christ’s cross, the gospel of grace, etc. Thus it is apostate and a manifestation of the false church. However, not all is well with evangelicalism either. One of its big problems is that of a low, sub-biblical and non-creedal view of the church. Why? How has this widespread malaise gotten hold?
A major reason is that of pulpit failure. Ecclesiology, the doctrine of the church, has not been, and is not being, properly taught by many ministers (and their theological colleges). Why is this?
First, in some congregations, the “three Rs” are preached but little more or else. By the “three Rs,” we do not mean the traditional trio of reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. Instead, we are referring to ruin by the fall, redemption by the cross and regeneration by the Spirit. While these things are indeed fundamental and massive biblical truths that are necessary for salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ, they are not the whole of God’s revelation. Often, ecclesiology and other things are totally or largely left out.
A second factor in pulpit failure regarding ecclesiology for some is that of the Sunday evening gospel service. Thereby at least half of the church’s sermons consist of the potted gospel addressed to the unconverted. This gives little preaching time to cover the truth of the church (and other biblical subjects) and so build up the people of God in this area. (Contact us, if you are in the British Isles and would like us to post to you a free copy of the pamphlet “Reformed Evangelism and the Sunday Evening Gospel Service.”)
A third reason why many ministers avoid or skate around the doctrine of the church is that they know that it is an issue on which many of their members disagree. In non-Reformed and non-creedal churches, there is an ever-increasing number of controversial topics. The temptation, and often the practice, is to steer clear of ecclesiology (and other subjects) out of the fear of upsetting and losing members. It is especially easy to understand the attraction of this for a minister of a small church: “If we lose any more people, our congregation will no longer be viable!”
However, this failure to teach ecclesiology (or any other biblical doctrine) is wrong. The apostolic example and requirement for the Christian pastor is that he declare—not a little or some or most of but—“all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), as did Paul, that “wise masterbuilder” of the church (I Cor. 3:10)! An undershepherd who avoids or sells short God’s truth about His church is not feeding Christ’s sheep with the rich and varied diet of Jehovah’s inspired Word that is necessary for their spiritual health and strength.
Various practical problems especially arise in congregations where ecclesiology is not properly taught. The loss of the scriptural office of deacon (I Tim. 3:8-13; Acts 6; Phil. 1:1) is one example; unbiblical “committee men” are often substituted in their place. Without the robust doctrine of the church taught in the Word of God, elders can soon be reduced to mere figureheads or yes-men. Where the full, biblical and Reformed ecclesiology is not found, it is much easier for the minister to become the tyrannical lord of the congregation. Moreover, the members of the church will be ill equipped to contradict the usurpation that is the appointment and “rule” of women office-bearers (I Tim. 2:11-15). With little or no knowledge of the doctrine of the church, most people will blindly go along with lay preaching, contrary to the Reformed faith and confessions (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. & A. 158).
If sins or abuses arise in the congregation or denomination, the ill-taught member will not know if he or she can protest, or how to protest. Those bereft of Scripture’s wholesome ecclesiology are defenceless against strong-arm tactics by despotic office-bearers. All they are able to do is moan about it, because they are not empowered and equipped to use the God-honouring, ecclesiastical means for redress. Likewise, without the glorious, biblical doctrine of the church and its worship, congregations are wide open to modern “will worship” (Col. 2:23) and false ecumenism (II Chron. 19:2), despite the lamentations of those who retain some fear of God. What a foolish notion many have, that it is okay if ecclesiology gets short shrift in the preaching for it is of little practical value! Carnal men who think they know better than God are the occasion of the tears of the faithful and the apostasy of the church.
Once ignorance, apathy and errors regarding ecclesiology set in, it is usually very difficult to address and correct these problems by teaching. Tragically, many of the people begin to enjoy their increasingly man-centred church and its governance by man’s wisdom. As the prophet of God lamented, “My people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31)!
Sadly, with the loss of vital ecclesiology and Christian knowledge in general, as well as the resulting waning of godliness, the biblical and creedal teaching of the Calvin Reformation is largely seen as too difficult and too costly. There are so few who are interested in the election of the church, the church militant, true doctrinal church unity, the holiness of the church, the regulative principle of church worship, covenant baptism, the office of deacon, elders overseeing the Lord’s supper, church discipline, church order, church government, Christ’s kingship over His church, spiritual church authority, the three marks of a church (faithful preaching, sacramental administration and church discipline), the necessity of joining a true church, etc. Sometimes the ignorance of ecclesiology is so deep and the people are so entrenched in false paths that they perversely slander the biblical, Reformed and creedal teaching as if it were Roman Catholicism! Rev. Stewart
 

The Law of Christ (1)

A reader asks, “I would like to ask your view of the law of Christ (I Cor. 9:20-21). What exactly is the law of Christ and how does it, if at all, differ from the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament?”
There is much confusion on this issue, especially in the controversy over the error of Antinomianism. There is a growing notion abroad, fanned by the Federal Vision, that the good works of the law have to be performed by the believer and added to faith in order to secure salvation. It is all part of a conditional salvation, which makes our salvation rest on our works. Those who deny conditional salvation are then slandered as hyper-Calvinists. The truth concerning God’s moral law plays an important part in the controversy but there are few who understand it properly, i.e., biblically.
The Decalogue was given to Israel from Mount Sinai. It is a codification of God’s law that is imbedded in the creation itself. According to Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 2:14-15, even the pagans, who do not have the sacred Scriptures, know the law in their consciences but God gave it to His people from Sinai on two tables of stone.
The Ten Commandments are, therefore, God’s unchangeable moral will for man whom He originally created in His own likeness. The Triune God formed every creature with the specific purpose of glorifying Him in its own unique way. Man was created to glorify God by living a holy life as He Himself is holy, and thus representing the Most High as head of the creation.
That man fell does not change the law in any respect, as the Arminian alleges. The keeping of the law is the fundamental way in which man must live as God’s friend-servant and that remains true for all time. Whether man can keep that law or not makes no difference. This is the conditio sine qua non for man to have fellowship with God. Even though man’s depravity is so complete that he cannot even will to do what God commands, he is still required to keep the law and violation of it means everlasting hell.
God is the infinitely holy One. He created man in His own image, which included holiness. If man (in Adam) refused to obey that law and fell into total depravity, this is not God’s fault but man’s own fault. That law remains unchangeably the same throughout history and into eternity. There is no difference between the law of the Old Testament and the New.
God had another purpose in mind in giving Israel His law from Sinai. God had eternally determined to save a church out of the fallen human race through His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The law was given as a schoolmaster to lead Israel to Christ (Gal. 3:24). To fallen Adam and Eve, God promised the seed of the woman who would crush the head of Satan and deliver His people from the misery of sin and death (Gen. 3:15). Believing Israel lived in constant anticipation of the coming of that Deliverer.
But they often had to be taught to look for their Redeemer, even as we need to be taught the same as we await our Lord’s second coming. One means was the law, which, as Paul expresses it, was a schoolmaster to bring the people to Christ.
It worked this way. God had, in His saving grace, so worked in the hearts of His people that they heard and learned that salvation included a keeping of the law. “Do this,” God had said, “and live.” But believing Israel, hearing this, could only cry out in anguish, “We can’t, we can’t.” And the law said, “Cursed is he that keepeth not all the words of this law” (cf. Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10). It was to them that the gospel came: “Look to Him who is to come. Hope in the promise of God who will send the Redeemer!”
The words of our Lord must have come as refreshing water to the thirsty soul, when He cried to those who were labouring and heavily laden with the curses of the law crushing them, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “You do not have to keep the law in order to become God’s people. I have come to do what you cannot do!”
The law still has that purpose today, as our beloved Heidelberg Catechism has it: “Whence knowest thou thy misery? Out of the law of God” (Q. & A. 3).
The law says, “Keep me and live, and accursed art thou if thou keepest me not.” All I can say is, “I can’t, I can’t. Woe is me.” It is the gospel that comes with good news: “Go to Christ, go to Him. In Christ and His work, not yours, is hope to be found.”
When I go to church, it is after a week of toil in which I have sinned. The burden of sin weighs heavily on my soul. I do not come to church, in the first place, to hear the minister say to me, “You must do this; this is your calling. I admonish you that you must fulfil this command to come to God.” My only response is, “I tried. I can’t. Is it all hopeless?” I go to church to hear what Christ did for me! That is the gospel! That is what I want to hear! That is what I need!
But there is more. Christ not only paid the necessary cost of eternal hell for us but He also earned for us the fullness of salvation, now and eternally in heaven. While this includes all the blessings of salvation, I want to call your attention to one in particular.
After a description of Israel’s terrible sins in Ezekiel 16, God speaks of His covenant promise in verses 60-63. God says that His anger towards us for breaking His law is pacified (63). Besides this covenant blessing of the forgiveness of sins, there is another blessing of the new covenant: God’s writing His law in our hearts.
Hebrews 8:8-10, quoting Jeremiah 31:31-33, says, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel ... Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers … For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.”
It is the same law given to Adam at his creation and codified for Israel at Sinai that is now written in our minds and on our hearts. That is, salvation by Christ has as one of its wonderful blessings the spiritual ability to keep God’s law (though never perfectly in this life).
By His irresistible grace in the new covenant, God has written on our hearts the law of love, love for Him and our neighbour, as summed in the Decalogue of Moses. For us, the Ten Commandments have become the law of Christ! 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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Ballymena Lecture

Living Wisely in a Digital Age

 This very practical speech will address a serious concern in our day: the attachment of many young people (and adults!) to their phones and digital devices. Is this healthy? Does this serve real flesh-and-blood or face-to-face contact? How does this affect family life and the friendships of Christian youth?  What of their church life and the communion of the saints? What of the dangers of pornography? 

Speaker:
Rev. Nathan Decker
(Michigan, USA)

Wednesday, 24 January 
at 7:45 PM

Venue:
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

(83 Clarence Street,
Ballymena BT43 5DR)

All are welcome! 

www.cprc.co.uk

Rev. Decker will also preach at both Lord’s Day services on 21 January
The sermons and lecture will be streamed live 
at www.cprf.co.uk/live.html
 

South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 25 January
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Angus Stewart


Subject:
God's Saving Will in the New Testament
 
What does the New Testament say about what God wishes, wills, desires or wants? Does He ever desire anything He does not get? Does He ever want anything He decrees will not happen? How do Gods’ eternity, unchangeability and omnipotence fit  with His wishes? And what does all this say about Christ and His cross?

NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

www.cprc.co.uk
www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm
Walking in the
Way of Love


A Practical Commentary on I Corinthians

by Nathan Langerak
(432 pp., hardback) 

Walking in the Way of Love, volume 1, is a commentary on, and application of, chapters 1-9 of I Corinthians. Directed toward the believer and the true church of Jesus Christ, the book teaches the vitally important way of true love, over against the foolish chatter about love spoken by the world and the apostate church.

Here is rich fare: the cross as the wisdom and power of God, the Spirit searching the deep things of God, carnal Christianity, apostolic ministry, church discipline of those living in fornication, the believer and going to court, singleness and marriage, Christian liberty, ministerial support and much more!.

 £17.50 (inc. free 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!

Righteousness by Faith Alone

12 sermons on
Romans 4 on
CD or DVD 
in a box set

 
Justification by faith alone is biblical and Reformation truth. But there are rich aspects of it that you are not aware of!
  
(1) Abraham’s Justification)
(2) The Justification of the Ungodly
(3) David and the Non-Imputation of Sins
(4) David and the Imputation of Righteousness
(5) The Time of Abraham’s Justification
(6) The Abrahamic Land Promise and Justification
(7) The Logic of Faith Alone
(8) The Necessity of Faith Alone
(9) The God of Justification
(10) Abraham’s Justifying Faith
(11) Abraham’s Unwavering Faith
(12) Jesus Raised Because of Our Justification

£10/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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