News

PRC Synod 2020 - Day 1 (Tuesday June 9)

TrinityPRC front 1

This morning the 2020 Synod of the PRC convened in Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI.

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At the pre-synodical service Monday night, Rev. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC) preached from Micah 6:8, setting the theme for this year's body: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

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In the opening session the following officers were chosen: Rev. R. Van Overloop, President; Rev. R. Kleyn, Vice-president; Rev. C. Spronk, 1st clerk; Rev. J. Engelsma, 2nd clerk.

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The new chair then addressed the delegates.

RVO address delegates

The Committee of committees was appointed to divide and assign the work of synod.

Committees report

BLooyenga CGriess

Elder B. Looyenga and Rev. C. Griess

clerka Spronk Engelsma

The Clerks - Rev. J. Engelsma and Rev. C. Spronk

EGuichelaar RBarnhill

Revs. E. Guichelaar and R. Barnhill

GFeenstra JLaning

Elder G. Feenstra and Rev. J. Laning

 Here follows the report of the clerk on Day 1:

  • Rev. Garry Eriks, president of Synod 2019 led the pre-synodical service last night, preaching on Micah 6:6-8, “What Is Required of Synod 2020.” This morning he led synod in opening devotions and declared synod properly constituted, after the credentials of the delegates were read and approved.
  • Delegates of synod are Revs. Eriks, Griess, B. Langerak, Spronk, & Van Overloop and elders Rick Gritters, Nick Kleyn, Dave Kregel, Brendan Looyenga, and Sid Miedema from Classis East. Delegates from Classis West are Revs. Barnhill, J. Engelsma, Guichelaar, R. Kleyn, & Laning and elders Glenn Feenstra, Brian Gritters, Jim Lenting, Jim Regnerus, and Alan Van Bemmel.
  • The officers of Synod 2020 are President—Rev. Van Overloop; Vice President— Rodney Kleyn; 1st Clerk—Rev. Spronk; 2nd Clerk—Rev. Engelsma.
  • Present at synod as advisors are Profs. Cammenga, Dykstra, Gritters, Huizinga, and Kuiper.
  • Chairman Rev. Van Overloop noted with regret that because of the restrictions due to Covid-19 synod is not able to enjoy the fellowship and advice of delegates from sister churches.
  • Approval was given to the work of the Board of Trustees in assisting Trinity PRC in determining that synod should meet because “the meeting of the synod of the PRCA is essential for the execution of the business of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America as a denomination.” The ground given for this determination, which allows synod to meet even though the Executive Orders of Michigan’s governor only allows for meetings of 10 people or less, is that the By-Laws of the PRCA designate synod to be the only body which conducts the business of synod.
  • Synod also approved a recommendation to adopt restrictions proposed by Trinity PRC. One of the restrictions mandates that attendance in the facility is restricted to delegates, advisors, the staff of Trinity PRC, the appellants and protestants, numbering no more than 35 persons.
  • Synod declared the protests against decisions of Synod 2019 of two individuals regarding Psalter Revision to be legal.
  • Synod declared an appeal against Classis East to be legal.

Seize the Little Foxes That Spoil the Vines!

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation - "Seize the Little Foxes That Spoil the Vines!"

Song of Solomon 2:15 - “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”

 

It is springtime; not only now in Michigan, but also in this passage of God’s Word. “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over, and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of the birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land” (vs. 11,12). I love Spring! Sitting the other morning on my front lawn, I saw a fox walk out of the woods with its prey in its mouth. A beautiful, sly creature, it crept across the lawn, looked around, and then continued on its way.

Why is God’s Word warning us to “take up the fox that spoil the vines”? What does that have to do with the love poem of the Song of Songs? Solomon is comparing his love and devotion for the Shulamite woman to his love and care of his vineyard. A lot of planning, work, and tender care is expended in the marriage relationship, and so also in the care of a vineyard. These both are earthly things that God has created to be a picture of his relationship to his church in Jesus Christ.

Often the church is compared to a vineyard. Just a couple of examples from the Old and New Testament are Isaiah 5:1-7 and Matt. 21:33ff. God expects the fruit of judgment, righteousness, and thankfulness from his church. In Old Testament Israel, instead of grapes there were only wild grapes. In the Matthew 21 passage, the Old Testament prophets as husbandmen did not bring to God the fruit of the land. And when he sends his own son, the Pharisees kill him.

Now in our text, the bridegroom says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vine.” The vine is the church. Little foxes spoil the vines, especially the vines that are blossoming with buds. What are these foxes? Most commentators see these foxes as false teachers who undermine the fruitfulness of the church. We read in Ezekiel 13:4, “O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the desert.” This most likely refers to jackals, scavengers; the simile stresses the selfish, greedy, and callous nature of the false prophets. Yes, false teachers and doctrines are indeed a tool of Satan to bring destruction and disarray in God’s vineyard. But the text speaks of “little foxes.” It is springtime, and there are these cute young little foxes. How fun to watch them dart around and roll in the grass. Surely, little foxes cannot be so dangerous. Little foxes are symbolic, representing all that would spoil and damage the church, so that they do not bring forth the fruit that is expected. The power of darkness wants to destroy the work of God in his vineyard. While the church will not be destroyed, it can be damaged by the little foxes.

Do you see in the church how pride could be such a little fox? How can you put your finger on it? It is not a censurable sin. How about a critical attitude, is that so bad? Let us go on to see and recognize other little foxes: covetous thoughts, slander, bitterness, envy, wrath, a combative attitude, too high an opinion of self or one’s own thoughts, condemning others, self-love, personal agendas, or anything that disrupts the unity of the church. How the devil delights to take these sins to bring saint against saint, church against church. Is sabbath desecration or the entertainment that you watch or listen to leading you to distance your self from the fellowship of the church? While in our homes in the past months, one could listen to a sermon with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cinnamon roll in the other. How easy it was. Now that we can finally return to worship in church, will it seem to some that the leeks and garlic of Egypt are preferable?

The calling of Christ to us is to seize those foxes in our lives and in our families. Maybe it is friends that are leading us astray. We must cast out of our homes, lives, and churches whatever hinders the fruit that we are to bear.

What do we do to one another in the church, and especially to the blossoming vines, the young children? Do we speak evil of other church members or voice church disagreements that we might have in front of our impressionable children? How little foxes can damage the roots of the vines or knock the blossoms off from the vine! What a terrible witness we can be at a time when we are trying to evangelize and bring others to Christ!

The words, “Take us” in our passage is one word in the Hebrew which means to seize, to catch, to take up, trap those little foxes and remove them from the vineyard. Around the outside edge of the vineyard would be hedges to keep others from intruding or harming the vineyard. In the center of the vineyard would be a tower with a watchman inside to guard the vineyard. Are we being watchful? What things are bringing ruin and being destructive for Christ’s vineyard? As the husbandman must care for the vineyard lest the weeds take over, so we also need to weed out, seize, grab, and catch these little foxes that spoil the vineyard. These little foxes can be so elusive and so stubborn, not easy to catch and remove. May the elders in the church be diligent watchmen in removing the little foxes that disrupt the life of the church.

Diligent prayer, a searching of the Word of God, and a searching of our own hearts and lives are necessary. Cast out whatever hinders us from being a well-tended vineyard that produces the abundant fruit of thanksgiving. There will be grapes to harvest in the way of repentance and God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of one another. Oh, that is easy to say, but it is so hard to do! How we need to fly to Jesus Christ our Savior! How we need to mortify our flesh, putting off all these: “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” How desperately we need humility and the denying of self. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Col. 2 12-15).

 

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, June 7-13, 2020

Philippians 4 7Today, June 7, is the twenty-third Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun worshiping publicly again, though it still be with tight COVID-19 restrictions (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). As more of our churches re-open for public worship and others wait for permission (especially our sister churches and the saints in India), we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to be content in His way. And may we together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit continue to worship our unchanging Father, whose grace is sufficient for all our needs.

Psalm 42:1,2,5 - As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

God reveals in His Word and sacraments His great love to us. By faith, we know that love. Faith is a sure knowledge of all that God reveals in His Word, and a hearty confidence, that not only for others, but for me also is by His grace forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and the hope of eternal life. There is certainty because it is Christ that brought me to the banqueting house. It is not I who with a fickle love chose Him. It is not I who by my own beauty allured Him. It is not by my works performed that drew His attention. No, He, by His grace and mercy, sought me and bought me and brought me to His house of wine. By faith, I experience this love and break forth in singing! There is no doubt or fear in the child of God regarding Christ’s love for us. It is certain!

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "His Banner over Me Was Love," his latest special meditation

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  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, these PRCs are live-streaming services (whether full or partial). You are encouraged to worship with one of these congregations: Byron Center PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM (EST); Calvary PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM CDT;  Crete PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM CDT; Doon PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM; Faith PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST); First PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); First PRC-Holland at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM; Georgetown PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Grace PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM EST; Hope PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Hope PRC-Redlands, CA at 10 AM and 5 PM (PST); Hudsonville PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST; Hull PRC at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM; Loveland PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM MST; Lynden PRC at 10:00 AM PST; Pittsburgh PRC at 9:30 and 5 PM EST; Southeast PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM EST; Southwest PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 (EST); Trinity PRC at 9:30 and 5:00 (EST); Zion PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST).

  • Rev. J. Mahtani was installed this morning as the thirteenth pastor in the history of Hope PRC-GR (Walker). Rev. C. Haak led the service. Tonight Rev. Mahtani will preach his inaugural sermon.

  • Today Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC) declined the call to Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN).

  • Rev. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC) is considering the call to Kalamazoo PRC (received May 18).

  • Last Sunday Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) declined the call to First PRC of Edmonton, AB.

  • The Council of First PRC, Edmonton has formed a new trio: Revs. G. Eriks, N. Langerak, and J. Engelsma. The congregation plans to call June 14 from this trio.

  • The Council of Unity PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. G. Eriks, C. Haak and E. Guichelaar. A congregational meeting is scheduled for June 17, 2020, 7:30 PM, Lord willing.

  • The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio for minister on loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). Due to continued restrictions in Singapore, the CERC has asked that the calling of a new minister on loan be put on hold for now.
  • Did you know... that
    • Hope PRC (Walker, MI) met in Covenant CHS gym today so that the whole congregation may worship and witness the installation and inaugural sermon of her new pastor, Rev. Jon Mahtani, and still maintain social distancing?
    • Zion PRC (Jenison, MI) returned to public worship for the first time today, while Doon PRC (IA) has expanded to two-thirds (from one half) the number of congregants who may attend each worship service?

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

TrinityPRC new sanctuary 2018
Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI, host of PRC Synod 2020

PRC Synod 2020:

  • The Board of Trustees and the Council of Trinity Protestant Reformed Church (the convening church for Synod 2020) have been forced to make restrictions on the meetings of the synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches which begins its meetings on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic and the consequent Executive Orders of Michigan’s governor make it necessary to limit the attendance at synod’s meetings to “those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary” (Executive Order 2020-77) to conduct the business of synod, i.e., the delegates, the advisors, the staff of Trinity PRC, the appellants and protestants, which number shall be no more than 35 persons. Those who attend must observe COVID-19 safety protocol. Attendance at the pre-synodical worship service on Monday, June 8, is limited to the delegates, the advisors, the Council members of Trinity PRC and their spouses, but it will be live-streamed. We accept this as the will of our heavenly Father for the meetings of this year’s synod, and ask that you remember the meetings of synod in your prayers.
  • Watch for daily reports on Synod's work at this page of the PRC website.

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PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and has entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements, but there are other activities that are hoped can still be carried out. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as they continue their labors this spring and summer.

  • Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted in Michigan, the seminary is open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf and epub) form only at present. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan and his family plan to return to the States this week. Plans are for him to begin his internship July 1 in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess.

ephesians 4 3

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • We are now in the phase one of the post circuit breaker period and the authority has not lifted the restrictions on public worship and overseas travel. As these measures continue to affect our pulpit supply, our calling of MOL and coming together again physically to worship, pray that we have a quiet and peaceful heart to wait upon the Lord to bring to pass all these restrictions. Pray that God will sustain us in our waiting and that we put our trust in the Lord and His mercy, knowing that His will is always good for us.
    • Pray for journey mercies for brother Josiah and his family as they leave Singapore for US on Thursday, 11 Jun 20, this week. Brother Josiah will soon begin his internship under Rev. Cory Griess, in First PRC of Grand Rapids. Pray that God will use this internship to further develop his gifts and grant him a profitable experience so as to prepare him for the ministry of the Word.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted recently. You may find it on this page.

~ Berean PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on our Facebook page. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via Facebook live, the Lord willing.

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. L. Trinidad will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila is under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) [started June 1]. The guidelines are as follows: distancing with Face masks, 21 yrs. old below and 60 yrs. old above still under the 24-hour curfew, for other people the curfew hours from 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The permitted transportations are Cars, Pickup, SUV, AUV, Van, and Buses.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. Holstege will livestream for our morning family worship today (https://youtu.be/SnquWdDGMXE). The elders have sent a link to a worship service with a sermon by Rev. Rodney Kleyn for our afternoon family worship.

Next Sunday (June 14), Lord willing, we will have one regular worship service at 9:00 am for those who are able to attend according to the IATF guidelines for modified GCQ. The worship service will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend. Rev. Holstege will preach for us, DV.

The Essentials of Reformed Doctrine class will resume today at 1:30 on Zoom.... All the youth should prepare to join on their computer or other device at home. They will learn Lesson 12.

~ The PRCP Classis is scheduled to meet in our church building this Friday, June 12, but in compliance with the requirements of the GCQ.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.

Faith Practice SKey
Do you desire to know more of what the PRC holds to doctrinally and practically? Read this valuable resource to learn more!

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Are you interested in the PRC? Would you like to learn more about her? Are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. These too can be used for family or personal devotions, as well as for personal comfort and peace in seasons of fear and distress.
     
  • The Reformed Book Outlet is making plans to re-open soon - stay tuned for details! If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Beginning this month, Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home misisonary) will deliver the messages, with a special focus on missions. Today's message is titled "The God-Sent Ones" based on John 17:18. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

    • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL.  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!

 SS June 2020 cover
June 2020 issue of Salt Shaker magazine has just been released!

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.

  • The newest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.
  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still being tentatively planned for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. The facility director thinks that the camp will be open and running by then. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the retreat is closed! For further updates, please visit our Facebook page Colorado Young Adults Retreat 2020. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.

Matthew 28 19 20

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has been writing short meditations for the PRC website. You may find those here.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published last month (May). You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of confinement).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores plans to lead them by Zoom (morning service only).
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occidental is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine. Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.

  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world are experiencing severe restrictions too, besides a recent locust infestation and more.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: Likewise, do continue to pray for the saints in Kolkata as they are still in the midst of the lockdown imposed by the Indian government and as they recover from the aftermath of the cyclone three weeks ago. Pray that God will provide all the necessary means for our missionary pastor, Rev Singh, to care for His people in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines and economic hardships.
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His Banner Over Me Was Love

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

His Banner Over Me Was Love

Song of Solomon 2:4 - “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

 

Many of us have been cooped up in our homes, unable to socialize or worse, not able to enjoy the fellowship of the saints worshiping together in God’s house. Oh, how good it is now that we can once again go to church twice on Sundays.

This book is a song sung between King Solomon and the Shulamite. As they sing together of their great love for each other, they are a picture of the love between Jesus Christ and His church. It is an intimate love, longing for each other and delighting in one another. The bridegroom’s left hand is under her head, and with his right hand he caresses her. He whispers his love to his bride, and the bride expresses her love to him. We have a celebration of Christ’s love for His church and every individual believer personally. “His banner over me is love.”

Can we know this love, not only intellectually but also experientially? Do you know it? We can! He tells us of His love. That is what make worship so joyful. At the beginning of the worship service, He says to his bride, “Beloved.” The gospel is preached, and He tells us that though we are black, we are comely (Chap. 1:5). We are black or dark with sin. We are black with suffering persecution, as one forced to work long under the hot sun; compared to the dwellings of nomadic Arabians in the desert. Outwardly, the true church is not glorious but suffers in this world, especially from hypocrites; yet she has true, inward beauty. She is washed from her sins, delivered from the power of sin, clothed with the righteousness of Christ Jesus.

The relationship between Christ and His people is not merely one of faith or service, important as these are. Believers are loved by Christ , and they in turn, love their Lord. We know that love because the gospel reveals it. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:9,10). We know it through the preaching of the gospel. We know it when we celebrate the sacraments. Oh, how we love coming back again to worship in church!

“He brought me into the banqueting house.” How did he bring us? He chose us in eternity to be the bride of Christ. Christ Jesus suffered and died to purchase us as His bride. By His Spirit and by His Word He draws us to Himself in faith and love. The literal wording in Hebrew for “banqueting house” is “house of wine.” Wine is the symbol of joy, happiness, fullness, and exuberance. The wife of Solomon says, “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love” (Chap. 2:5). This expression means ‘love sick’—being full of and satisfied with His love. This must be the song of Christ’s bride, the church, and every individual believer within her.

God reveals in His Word and sacraments His great love to us. By faith, we know that love. Faith is a sure knowledge of all that God reveals in His Word, and a hearty confidence, that not only for others, but for me also is by His grace forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and the hope of eternal life. There is certainty because it is Christ that brought me to the banqueting house. It is not I who with a fickle love chose Him. It is not I who by my own beauty allured Him. It is not by my works performed that drew His attention. No, He, by His grace and mercy, sought me and bought me and brought me to His house of wine. By faith, I experience this love and break forth in singing! There is no doubt or fear in the child of God regarding Christ’s love for us. It is certain!

But we do not always walk on that high plain, do we? There are times that we wonder and even question His love. The Shulamite woke up in the night and did not find Solomon in bed with her. She stated “I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.” So also, the Church and individual believers at times question, “Where is my beloved?” It seems that He is gone from us, gone from the bed of intimacy. When we walk in the way of sin, we will not experience God’s favor or love. He will seem far from us, just as we do not feel the sun’s light and warmth when a cloud covers it.

David surely experienced this when he was walking in sin. By withdrawing from us, Christ causes us to seek Him, to seek Him diligently.

How delightful is knowledge of Christ’s love for His bride, the church: more lovely than the earthly love of a husband for his wife. We read in vs. 5 and 6, “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.” The result of knowing Christ’s love is comfort, satisfaction, joy, and peace. Completely satisfied, more so that any other comfort can bring. We go up to God’s house feasting, feasting on Christ Jesus in the word preached and the sacraments portrayed and enjoyed. May you and I be overwhelmed as we worship and live before Him.

Read The Song of Solomon. The expressions used in this wonderful book speak of physical love and describe the gestures and attitudes that are familiar to us in our human understanding of marital love. God has seen fit to represent His love for His people in the institution of marriage (Eph. 5:22-33). Yet the love of God in Christ Jesus transcends all earthly relationships. His love is eternal, infinite, and unchanging.

Experiencing Christ’s love for us, my we sing:

Thy love to me, O Christ, Thy love to me,

Not mine to Thee I plead, Not mine to Thee.

This is my comfort strong, this is my joyful song,

Thy love to me, thy love to me.

 

Thy record I believe, Thy word to me;

Thy love I now receive, full, changeless, free-

Love from the sinless Son, Love to the sinful one,

Thy love to me, Thy love to me.

 

 

Read more...

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, May 31-June 6, 2020

John 14 16Today, May 31, is the twenty-second Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

Today is also Pentecost Sunday, the day we mark our ascended Lord's gift of the Holy Spirit (and all the riches of His grace) to us His church and people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. May we celebrate this event with the joy of the Spirit, magnifying our Savior for all the treasures of salvation He has obtained for us and bestowed on us through His Messenger.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. ~ John 14:16-18

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We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun and may begin worshiping publicly again, though it be with tight restrictions yet (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). More of our churches are beginning for the first time today (and in the weeks ahead), while in other parts (Indiana, Iowa, and Loveland, CO, and in Canada, for example) some are continuing with varying numbers of the congregation.

As many of our congregations and fellow believers (including our sister churches in the UK, the Philippines, and Singapore) continue to experience the temporary loss of this freedom, we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to be content in His way until these restrictions are removed. And may we together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit continue to worship our unchanging Father, whose grace is sufficient for all our needs.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Now what does all this have to do with Pentecost? Or perhaps we should put the question this way: what does Pentecost have to do with all of this? 

The answer is that it was on Pentecost day that all that we have described concerning the office of believers became reality through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the exalted Christ upon the church. This is pointed to specifically with respect to the office of prophet by the Apostle Peter, according to the passage in Acts 2 which we quoted at the beginning of this discussion. When the Spirit was poured out as the Spirit of the exalted Christ, the prophecy of Joel 2 was fulfilled. The effect was that all God's people became prophets—sons and daughters, old men and young men, servants and handmaidens. And the same was true with respect to the office of priest and king. 

This marked a tremendous change in the life of the church. It introduced something which was heretofore unheard of and never before experienced. We are accustomed to the fact that all Gods people have a three-fold office—perhaps too accustomed sometimes. For that reason, too, we probably do not always appreciate Pentecost as we should.

~ Homer C. Hoeksema in "The Office of Believer and Pentecost"

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  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, these PRCs are live-streaming services today (whether full or partial). You are encouraged to worship with one of these congregations: Byron Center PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM (EST); Calvary PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM CDT;  Crete PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM CDT; Doon PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM; Faith PRC at 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM (EST); First PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); First PRC-Holland at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM; Georgetown PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Grace PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM EST; Hope PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Hope PRC-Redlands, CA at 10 AM and 5 PM (PST); Hudsonville PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST; Hull PRC at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM; Loveland PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM MST; Lynden PRC at 10:00 AM PST; Pittsburgh PRC at 9:30 and 5 PM EST; Southeast PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM EST; Southwest PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 (EST); Trinity PRC at 9:30 and 5:00 (EST); Zion PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST).

  • Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC) is considering the call to Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN; (received May 17).

  • Rev. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC) is considering the call to Kalamazoo PRC (received May 18).

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) is considering the call to First PRC of Edmonton, AB (received May 3)..

  • On May 3 Rev. J. Mahtani accepted the call to Hope PRC-GR. Lord willing, he will be installed on Sunday June 7, with Rev. C. Haak leading the service.

  • The Council of Unity PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. G. Eriks, C. Haak and E. Guichelaar. A congregational meeting is scheduled for June 17, 2020, 7:30 PM, Lord willing.

  • The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio for minister on loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). From the CERC in Singapore's bulletin we find this update: This past week, we have written to MOM to enquire about New Employment Pass (EP) application for foreigners during this COVID 19 Pandemic period. MOM replied that they will not issue any New EP during this time. Session has sent a note to Grandville PRC to request them to put on hold the extension of call for Minister on Loan (MOL) to Singapore. Let us continue to pray that the Lord, for the sake of His church, will bring to pass this Circuit Breaker period so that we can resume to request for a MOL to serve in Singapore.
  • Did you know... that
    • Edgerton (MN) PRC's Evangelism Committee "decided to broadcast the sermon series on the Lord's Prayer on KDWC 99.3 FM on Sundays at 2 PM. A new sermon will be played each week for the next several weeks. Do what you can to let others know about the opportunity to listen!"
    • the Reformed Witness Hour is available on your favorite podcast - Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes? Visit these sites and search for the RWH!

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Special note re PRC Synod 2020: The Board of Trustees and the Council of Trinity Protestant Reformed Church (the convening church for Synod 2020) have been forced to make restrictions on the meetings of the synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches which begins its meetings on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic and the consequent Executive Orders of Michigan’s governor make it necessary to limit the attendance at synod’s meetings to “those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary” (Executive Order 2020-77) to conduct the business of synod, i.e., the delegates, the advisors, the staff of Trinity PRC, the appellants and protestants, which number shall be no more than 35 persons. Those who attend must observe COVID-19 safety protocol. Attendance at the pre-synodical worship service on Monday, June 8, is limited to the delegates, the advisors, the Council members of Trinity PRC and their spouses, but it will be live-streamed. We accept this as the will of our heavenly Father for the meetings of this year’s synod, and ask that you remember the meetings of synod in your prayers.

Front May 2020 3PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and has entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements, but there are other activities that are hoped can still be carried out. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as they continue their labors this spring and summer.

  • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions (stay-at-home order now entended to June 12), seminary is open only for essential operations at this time. The staff can try to assist you with any needs, however. Call or email the seminary with your important needs.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf and epub) form only at present. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!

ProvidentChristianChurch 2014
Provident PRC in Marikina, the Philippines

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • Bro Josiah Tan will bring his last message this morning. We are thankful to God for providing us, our brother to lead in worship and to speak a word of edification. Let us continue to pray for him and his family as he prepares to return to US to start his Internship and complete his seminary training. He will be leaving on 11 Jun 2020. This afternoon service, the elder will be reading a sermon based on this Psalm under the theme “This God is our God and our Guide”.
    • This past week, we have written to MOM to enquire about New Employment Pass (EP) application for foreigners during this COVID 19 Pandemic period. MOM replied that they will not issue any New EP during this time. Session has sent a note to Grandville PRC to request them to put on hold the extension of call for Minister on Loan (MOL) to Singapore. Let us continue to pray that the Lord, for the sake of His church, will bring to pass this Circuit Breaker period so that we can resume to request for a MOL to serve in Singapore.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted recently. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. stewart continues to lead the services via live-stream.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Read the new May 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!
    • Sadly, given the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (in God's sovereign decree), the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference has been rescheduled to (basically) the same week next year. Thus the BRF Conference will not be taking place in 2020. Instead, it is rescheduled to 10-17 July, 2021. Same venue: Castlewellan Castle (http://castlewellancastle.org/). Same theme: Union With Christ. Same speakers: Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning (USA), with John Perkins (England) giving the special lecture. For more on the BRF, see https://www.britishreformed.org/

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC: Rev. V. Ibe will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on our Facebook page. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via Facebook live, the Lord willing.

~ PRC of Bulacan: The consistory began public services again today, with limited numbers of members present per government guidelines. We rejoice with these saints!

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. D.Kleyn will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila will be under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1, 2020. The guidelines are as follows: distancing with Face masks, 21 yrs. old below and 60 yrs. old above still under the 24-hour curfew, for other people the curfew hours from 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The permitted transportations are Cars, Pickup, SUV, AUV, Van, and Buses.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Holstege will livestream for our morning family worship today (https://youtu.be/IrzdVU5XIfM). The elders have sent a link to a worship service of Lynden PRC with a sermon by Rev. Rodney Kleyn for our afternoon family worship. ...The Council has decided to begin regular church worship services again starting on June 14, Lord willing, in compliance with the IATF guidelines for GCQ and with the following arrangement: There will be one church worship service on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m.

~ The Consistories of PRCP churches are consulting with one another to convene the scheduled Classis Meeting on June 12, 2020.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.

good news afflicted
Do you desire some good gospel comfort in these troublous times? Read this resource for peace and hope in Jesus Christ.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Are you interested in PRC doctrines and practices? Would you like to learn more? Are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. These too can be used for family or personal devotions, as well as for personal comfort and peace in seasons of fear and distress.
     
  • The Reformed Book Outlet is temporarily closed for the safety of our volunteers. If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Continuing this month, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) has some special messages based on the end of Hebrews 10. Today's message is titled "The Necessity of Church Membership" based on Hebrews 10:25. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

    • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL.  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!

 SaltShakersLogo

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.
  • From the Beacon Lights staff: Due to our printer not being able to print the magazine right now because of COVID-19, we have decided to put the May issue of Beacon Lights on our website, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to read the month’s issue. Visit us at beaconlights.org to read the May issue.

  • A new issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the April 2020 issue here.
  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still being tentatively planned for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. The facility director thinks that the camp will be open and running by then. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the August 3–6 Colorado Young Adults’ Retreat has opened at www.lovelandprc.org/retreat. Registration will be open for one month, or until capacity is reached. Post-high young adults are welcome to join us August 3-6 for a young adults retreat in the Rocky Mountains. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.

Mark1615 1

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has been writing short meditations for the PRC website. You may find those here.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published this month (May). You may find that here.

    • (From the PRC Contact Commitee) Our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. ...We submit this disappointment to the good providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of confinement).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores plans to lead them by Zoom today (morning service only).
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occidental is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine (now extended through May 30). Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.

  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world are experiencing severe restrictions too, besides a recent locust infestation and more.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: Do continue to pray for our brethren in Kolkata as they assess the damage suffered due to the recent super cyclone. Pray for our missionary pastor, Rev Singh as he cares for the saints in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines.
Read more...

A Vision of God's Glorious Holiness

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

A Vision of God's Glorious Holiness

Meditation on Isaiah 6: 1-3

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto the other another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

What a vision is given to the prophet Isaiah! A terrible thing has just occurred. The godly king, Uzziah, had died. What an unsettling blow to the people. Uzziah had kept the wheels of commerce spinning and the walls around the nation secure. Now that he has died, people are wondering whether the good times will continue, whether their nation would be secure. I know that many are asking those same questions at this time in our nation and in the world.

Isaiah is being called to address Judah who is walking in sin. Isaiah’s task will not be pleasant. He must bring a message of God’s judgment and a time of captivity in Babylon. Jerusalem will be destroyed. Israel will be redeemed by judgment! It is not a word that the people want to hear and his message will not be received well at all. Isaiah will endure much opposition and suffering. Isaiah must have the unshakeable conviction that he speaks the word of God according to the mandate of God Himself. The wicked will be revealed as they contradict the prophet and refuse to listen. But God’s true people need to hear this word to be assured of the comfort and hope of his prophecy.

To strengthen this servant of God, he is given a vision of God’s glory! In his vision, Isaiah sees the heavenly temple. God is sitting on a high and exalted throne and the Lord’s garments filled the temple so that there is no place left to stand. Pictured first is the sovereignty of God. In addition, Isaiah sees seraphim, angels of some sort standing above the temple. They are calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is filled of his glory.” As Isaiah stands in the doorway, the posts of the door shake and tremble and the room is filled with smoke.

The meaning of the vision centers on God. He is the highly exalted Lord of heaven and earth. He is glorious in His appearance and holy in his nature as judge of heaven and earth. His throne is described in vs. 1 as “high and lifted up.” But that throne is not in a palace, but there in the temple! The idea is that God is present with his people in covenant fellowship. Where the Lord dwells in his royal majesty and glory, there is no room for any other than the exalted Lord. This is still true in your and my hearts. God and God alone!

The glory of God is in all of his virtues, but what is especially brought forth is the glory of His holiness. This is the virtue whereby God is eternal and unchangingly consecrated and dedicated to Himself alone. The word “holy” is repeated three times. It is the Hebrew way of expressing the greatness and superlative holiness of God. It also pictures all three of the persons of the Godhead being full of holiness. As king and judge, He demands that His creatures be consecrated to Him in all that they are and all that they do. With those who are consecrated to Him, He is full of favor, grace, and love. Against all the wicked, God manifests His holiness in wrath and as a consuming fire! That the whole earth may be filled with His glory means that no place shall be left for the wicked.

While this is a glorious vision, it is also frightening. We see that in Isaiah’s reaction, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah recognizes his own sin and unworthiness. He also must go and speak the word of God to a people of unclean lips. What a difficult calling! He must take a message of trouble, of judgment, of destruction and death, and of captivity to others. That message must be brought against Judah.

We also today, as a church, must bring that message to a world in trouble and sin. And in order to do so, we need, like Isaiah, to see God’s glory and holiness and our own sins and unworthiness so that we do not self-righteously exalt ourselves above others. This is true of every child of God.

How wonderful that in order for Isaiah to speak God’s word, the Lord sanctifies him. The live coal taken from off the altar of sacrifice represents the love of God whereby He is appeased by the blood that was shed. That coal was laid upon the unclean lips of Isaiah, and he is told that his iniquity is taken away, and his sin purged. Now Isaiah is fit to be the instrument to bring not his own word but the word of God. The blood of Jesus has been shed upon the cross, so that all those who are His have their sins removed, and by Christ’s Spirit we are sanctified to be instruments of His peace.

God asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” May we answer with Isaiah, “Hear I am; send me.” This is a difficult task, because many today, as in Isaiah’s day, do not want to hear about their sin and God’s judgment upon the sinner. But it is also a glorious task, for pointing to ourselves, we declare that there is blood that was shed for the remission of sins. “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). The whole earth is filled with his glory!

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Though the darkness hide thee,

Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,

Only Thou art holy; there is none beside thee,

Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

 

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