Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland

Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland

Website

83 Clarence Street,

Ballymena BT42 3NR, Northern Ireland

Services: 11:00 A.M. & 6:00 P.M.

RevAStewart

Pastor: Rev. Angus Stewart

7 Lislunnan Rd.

Kells, Ballymena, Co. Antrim

Northern Ireland BT42 3NR

Phone: (from U.S.A.) 011 (44) 28 25 891 851

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Covenant Reformed News - October 2018

 
 

Covenant Reformed News


October 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 6



The Christian’s Wisdom

Fearing the Lord is the repeated definition of wisdom in the Old Testament wisdom literature: “the fear of the Lord ... is wisdom” (Job 28:28; cf. Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10). The great reality is Jehovah, the Creator, Lord, Saviour and Judge who is revealed in sacred Scripture. We must adapt all of our thinking and behaviour so that it is in accordance with Him. He must be the end and goal of our existence!
Let us consider how this applies to the Christian home. God sees and judges all that goes on. Therefore, we must fear Him and change our ways where necessary. The husband is the head of the house, who must rule in the love of Christ and according to God’s Word. Thus there must be no bullying or lording! The wife is to submit to her husband in the Lord, without manipulating him to get her own way. Covenant children must honour their parents and obey them in the Lord, without answering back. James 3:17 describes “the wisdom that is from above,” which must be exercised in our homes and elsewhere, as being “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
What is it to be wise on the Lord’s day? It is to adapt all things in the light of the reality of Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week. It is our wisdom to keep God’s law out of gratitude (Deut. 4:6), including the fourth commandment. We must come to both the services of a faithful church, as those who are prepared spiritually to hear and obey God’s Word. We train our children to do this in wisdom too! We must be wise, building our Lord’s days upon the rock of Christ’s words and not upon the sand of worldly pleasures (cf. Matt. 7:24-27). For example, the believer does not book flights that schedule him to be in an airport or flying on the first day of the week.
Proverbs speaks of three major ways of identifying a fool. First, he caves in to peer pressure (e.g., 1:10-19; 2:12-15; 4:14-17). This involves getting in with a “bad crowd” and joining them in their sin. This is not adapting oneself to God and His Word (wisdom); this is adapting oneself to ungodly people and ways (folly).
Second, he is seduced by women (e.g., 2:16-19; 5:3-23; 6:23-35; 7:4-27; 9:13-18). Going the way of fornication and adultery leads to everlasting hell. Likewise, there are silly women who are deceived by lustful men who tell them what they want to hear, namely, that they are beautiful and wonderful, merely in order to get them into bed.
Third, he does not listen to (godly) parents. Frequently God addresses us in Proverbs as “My son” (or daughter) and commands us to “hear” Him (1:8) or something similar (e.g., 2:1; 3:1, 11, 21; 4:20; 5:1). Our earthly fathers and mothers speak to us after the same fashion. Not heeding those who love us dearly and those to whom God has (ordinarily) granted greater wisdom is the way of disaster.
Proverbs has a lot to say about rightly receiving godly rebukes (e.g., 9:7-9; 24:25; 27:5-6; 28:23). It is wisdom to hearken to the brotherly admonition of church office-bearers. How often do we become angry when rebuked or even huff like little children!
Our need for wisdom touches upon so many different areas of our lives. First, wisdom is necessary for the right use of our tongues. When we utter foolish, hurtful words behind the backs of others or on Facebook or in the church or in our families, our tongues are “set on fire of hell” and that fire can spread quickly (James 3:5-6). How difficult it is to “tame” our tongues (7-8)! “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (1:19-20).
Second, we need wisdom with regard to discipline. Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us how we must understand and receive discipline at God’s hand: “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” In the light of God’s wise and beneficial discipline of us, we discipline our children: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (22:15).
Third, wisdom enables us rightly to work and rise from sleep. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Prov. 6:6-11).
Fourth, we need wisdom to avoid the foolishness of comparing ourselves with others: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (II Cor. 10:12).
The book of Proverbs especially calls young men (and women) to grow in wisdom. Why? Because ordinarily they have a greater lack of wisdom than they think. Because young people must make big decisions as regards friendships, education and work, courtship and marriage, church, etc. Because often they reckon that they can make these decisions alone, especially without the advice or even approval of faithful parents.
Let us all confess our foolish sins and receive forgiveness in Christ crucified. Let us pray for wisdom: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Let us cry out for it “as silver” or “hid treasures” with all our hearts (Prov. 2:3-4). Rev. Stewart
 

The Salt of the Earth

A reader asks about Matthew 5:13: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
The most common view is that the salt refers to Christians who bring about the day in which all believe in the Lord Jesus so that the kingdom of God is established here on earth. One way to do this is to Christianize all the institutions of life (the home, the church, the schools, the state, the work place and marriage). This is the postmillennial interpretation of the text. If God’s people do what they can to make this world Christian, they will bring about the kingdom of heaven here in this world.
It is, of course, a ridiculous idea that we can bring about the establishment of the kingdom of Christ. As one man said to my grandson who was applying for studies in a Christian college, “I am building the kingdom with my chain saw.” He probably meant that he was using his chain saw to rebuild houses destroyed by a hurricane.
Jesus smashes that interpretation with His statement that the kingdom of heaven comes not with observation, for the kingdom is within God’s people (Luke 17:20-21).
I have no interest in an earthly kingdom for in such a kingdom its citizens are still sinners, including me. I want and need and look forward to a kingdom where I will be forever beyond and free from sin to worship the Lord. This is a spiritual kingdom which will come only “within” me, worked by the Holy Spirit who applies to all the elect the blessings of the cross of Jesus Christ. A chain saw or any other earthly tool will not build the kingdom of heaven, no matter how well it is wielded.
Salt is necessary for animals and human beings to live and function properly. That is why huge tribes of barbarians at the beginning of the medieval period would travel long distances for salt. That is not the idea of Matthew 5:13, however, for it speaks of “the salt of the earth.”
Looking elsewhere for the meaning, we note that for many ages salt has been used to preserve many things, chiefly meat, especially before refrigeration. While salt is not intended to preserve meat for a long period of time, it worked well for a while.
Jesus calls His elect people “the salt of the earth” near the start of His Sermon on the Mount and immediately after the beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12), which define the nature of the true citizens of the kingdom of heaven. The citizens of Christ’s kingdom are not characterized by building houses with chain saws; they are defined as those who are poor, meek, spiritually hungry and thirsty, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers and persecuted. These are strange characteristics of citizens of an earthly kingdom but they perfectly fit these citizens because the kingdom of God is spiritual.
Jesus goes on to say that, because the citizens of the kingdom of heaven possess these characteristics, they are able to be the salt of the earth. Their presence on the earth is the only reason why the world continues to exist. If it were not for the presence in God’s creation of these elect citizens of the kingdom of heaven, the world would be destroyed. Salt preserves things and so the citizens of the kingdom of heaven are essential for the preservation of this present creation until all the elect are saved.
Remember, first, that God’s elect are not a mob from which some may be taken or some added without doing any damage to the whole. God’s people are the body of Christ (I Cor. 12), an organic whole in which each member is necessary for the whole and has his or her individual place, a place different from that of every other saint.
Second, each elect member is preserved and cannot be lost (John 10:28-30). The world has to last until the last elect is born and brought to faith in Christ.
Third, the world and every creature is formed by God for the salvation of His elect. That is why Holy Writ can say that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Reprobation is necessary for election and manifests the strict justice of God.
Remember when God told Abraham that He was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Abraham knew that righteous Lot lived in Sodom and he wondered whether a just man would also be destroyed with the wicked. Fearful of calling into question the purposes of the mighty God, Abraham asked indirectly for Lot’s salvation, pleading for the sparing of the cities. God assured Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom even if there were only ten righteous people there (Gen. 18:17-33).
II Peter 3:9 is another such passage, though it is often twisted in support of the heresy of an ineffectual divine desire to save the reprobate. The church of Peter’s day was being persecuted. Because the Lord did not return immediately to save His church, His promised second coming seemed to have failed. Peter reminds the saints that God is not slow in fulfilling His promise but rather that all the elect must be saved before Christ can come again. If Jesus had returned when the saints wanted Him to come, we would never have been saved! But God is longsuffering toward us, and Christ will not come until all the elect are born and brought to saving faith. Are absolutely all men the objects of the divine longsuffering? No! God’s longsuffering saves (II Pet. 3:15)!
Finally, we ourselves also wonder why heaven does not burst open so that the holy wrath of God drives the wicked into hell. The world is full of people who ignore Him, deny Him and blaspheme His name with terrible curses. They openly deride the Scriptures and walk in the most horrible sins, often while working to make these sins enshrined in civil law. About 125,000 unborn babies are murdered every day in our world; homosexuality is openly practised before the very face of God. Our world not only does these things but it takes pleasure in those that do them (Rom. 1:32). Wickedness is made legal so that to call these things sin may be opening oneself to punishment by the state.
To sum it all up, God loves His elect and gave Christ for them only. He cannot destroy all the wicked until the last elect is saved. Somewhere in our corrupt world is the God-fearing couple from whom that last elect will be born.
When persecution comes and God’s people are hard-pressed by the hatred of the wicked, and we wonder why Christ does not come to rescue them, let us remember that He will come but that the whole church must be born and born again first. 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.html
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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CPRC Reformation Day Lecture

Two Men From Trier:
Karl Marx (and Communism) and Caspar Olevianus (and the Heidelberg Catechism)


2018 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx from Trier, NW Germany. Trier is also the city of Caspar Olevianus, one of the principal authors of the Heidelberg Catechism. This speech will compare and contrast these two men from Trier: their lives, their main works, their ideas and the results of their ideas. Key issues in the clash of worldviews between Marx’s communism and Olevianus’ Reformed faith include origins, alienation, work, private property, class struggle, the good life, marriage, history and the end times!

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

Date: Friday, 26 October, at 7:30 PM

at Covenant Protestant
Reformed Church

(83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR)

All are welcome! 

www.cprc.co.uk


Unable to join us in Ballymena? The lecture will be streamed live at http://www.cprf.co.uk/live.html

South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 22 November
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Angus Stewart


Subject:
Two Men From Trier:
Karl Marx (and Communism) and Caspar Olevianus (and the Heidelberg Catechism)


Venue:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm
 
 
Grace & Assurance:
The Message of the Canons of Dordt

by Martyn McGeown
(384 pp., hardback)


In 1618-1619, the great Synod of Dordt met to counter the Arminian error that was threatening the peace and welfare of Christ’s churches in the Netherlands. The fruit of their deliberations was the Canons of Dordt, which set forth the scriptural truth of unconditional election (and reprobation), limited (or particular) atonement, total depravity, irresistible grace and the perseverance of the saints.

This accessible commentary on the Canons leads readers through the biblical and comforting message of the creed: being wholly saved by God’s efficacious grace, we have the steadfast assurance of our eternal election and blessed glorification.
Only £19.80 (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!

Zechariah’s Burden Upon Israel

9 sermons from Zechariah 12-14
on CD or DVD in an attractive box set


Powerful prophecies of the Messiah, the gracious pouring out of the Spirit, the preservation and unity of the church, the climax of the holy 
war, the fulfilment of the feast of tabernacles, the entire sanctification of the whole world—without any hint of premillennialism! 

(1) God’s Preservation of Besieged Jerusalem (12:1-9)
(2) The Pierced One and the Spirit of Grace (12:10-14)
(3) A Fountain Opened (13:1)
(4) The Departure of the False Prophets (13:2-6)
(5) The Sword Awakening Against God’s Shepherd (13:7-9)
(6) Zechariah’s Day of the Lord (14:1-15)
(7) Jehovah’s Gracious Kingship Universally Affirmed (14:1-15)
(8) All Nations Keeping the Feast of Tabernacles (14:16-19)
(9) Holiness Unto the Lord! (14:20-21)

£8/box set
(inc. P&P)

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

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
Read more...

Covenant Reformed News - September 2018

 

Covenant Reformed News


September 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 5



God’s Wisdom (4)

The wisdom of God was personally manifested in our Lord Jesus. According to His human nature, Christ grew in wisdom as He developed as a boy: “the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). As a teenager, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (52).
He is the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2: “the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” He was wiser than Solomon (Matt. 12:42; Luke 11:31), for in Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Yea, He is the very “wisdom of God” (I Cor. 1:24)!
The wisdom of God in Christ is declared in the gospel. The last verse in the most systematic presentation of the good news of salvation closes with this fitting doxology: “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen” (Rom. 16:27). This is entirely appropriate, since Romans sets forth man’s terrible sin and God’s justifying righteousness (ch. 1-5); the marvel of sanctification and assurance (ch. 6-8); double predestination, and the salvation of believing Jews and Gentiles (ch. 9-11); and rich ethical teaching on godly living, including in church and state (ch. 12-16).
I Corinthians 1:17-31 explains that the gospel proclaims salvation through the crucified Messiah, which is foolishness and weakness to the world, but the wisdom and power of God. Jehovah has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save His people and to confound those who think themselves to be wise. The Triune God hides these things from “the wise and prudent,” but reveals them to “babes” (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21).
Saul of Tarsus is a prime biblical example of God’s wisdom in conversion. Remember what he used to be: he “was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious” (I Tim. 1:13), yet the Most High transformed him into the apostle Paul (1, 11-12)! No wonder he exclaimed, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (17)! In Jehovah’s wisdom, He made Paul a model to display His longsuffering: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (16).
Consider the wonder of God’s wisdom in preserving all whom He saves—billions of us, in all ages and all around the world; each with his or her own particular sins and weaknesses; and all under attack from the world, the flesh and the devil! Thus the penultimate book of the Bible concludes with this paean of praise: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).
What about God’s wisdom in sacred Scripture? No other book can compare to it! We have the inspired, inerrant and infallible Bible, which has been preserved faithfully to all generations. It is complete, all-sufficient and supremely authoritative. These “holy scriptures,” Paul states, “are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 3:15).
Whether they like it or not, all the world will be utterly convinced of God’s wisdom at the final judgment. The last day will be the great theodicy, when Jehovah’s wisdom will be displayed publicly to all men and angels, elect or reprobate, holy or wicked. In all His works and ways, the Triune God will be seen as just and wise and good—undeniably! On that glorious day, “at the name of Jesus every knee [shall] bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And ... every tongue [shall] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11). Be wise and bow now in repentance and faith in Christ crucified and risen! Rev. Stewart
 

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Live Video Streaming 
The CPRC broadcasts both its Lord’s day services at 11 AM and 6 PM (UK time) free on-line (www.cprf.co.uk/live.html). Why not watch and worship with us? This is especially helpful for those who have no faithful churches in their area or those who are on holiday or those who are at home on a Sunday because they are sick or caring for those who are ill.
 

Does the Bible Merely Contain Men’s Opinions?

Question: “In I Corinthians 7:6, where Paul speaks of the due benevolence that spouses owe each other sexually, he explicitly says that it is not a direct commandment from the Lord, but rather something he states ‘by permission’: ‘But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.’ What do we make of this?”
There has been, over the years, a great deal of discussion over such a text as this. The problem includes verse 12 of this same chapter, as well as II Corinthians 8:8. These texts have been used by the enemies of divine inspiration to attempt to prove that the Bible frequently contains merely men’s personal opinions.
However, we believe in the Bible’s verbal inspiration. Every word in Scripture is directly inspired by God and is not to be considered merely as an opinion or word which the writer inserted in addition to what the Holy Spirit breathed forth.
The battle with the critics is not to be construed as an argument or debate in which each party attempts to come up with superior proof that is totally convincing. We believe without any question at all that Scripture is verbally inspired by God by means of the Holy Spirit: every word is His word. The basis for our firm belief is the testimony of Scripture itself; it is not merely our private conviction. While I dare say that the proof for the infallible inspiration of the Bible is to be found in every page of Holy Writ, the two main texts are II Timothy 3:16 and II Peter 1:20-21.
This means that we are to explain the text to which the questioner refers (as well as similar texts) as part of the infallibly inspired Word. Let me be clear on this point. When I say that this text is part of the infallibly inspired Scripture, I do not mean that God infallibly inspired Paul to tell those to whom he wrote that God inspired Paul to say that these words were Paul’s words and not God’s words, that is, that these words were formally inspired but not materially, i.e., inspired in what they say. I mean that they were inspired materially as well as formally. What Paul writes is also the truth of God.
Prof. Engelsma states, “Single life is good inasmuch as marriage is not an absolute requirement for Christians. This is the apostle’s point in verse 6: ‘But I speak this by permission, and not by commandment.’ He has just exhorted men and women in the church to marry and to live together sexually (vv. 2-5). Someone might suppose that this was a command to all without exception. Not so, says Paul in verse 6. To marry is permitted, not commanded. Therefore, single life is an option for the Christian. Singleness is an earthly way of life in which the believer may serve the Lord as much as is marriage” (Better to Marry, pp. 43-44; available from the CPRC Bookstore for £8.80, inc. P&P).
With this question, I am prompted to mention an element of inspiration that requires further explanation. Often the appeal is made, as I said, to this and similar passages to prove that there is a “human side” to inspiration in which the “secondary authors” were permitted to express their own opinions. They claim that the opinions of men that are not inspired by God are to be found throughout Scripture. God is said to be the primary Author and men the “secondary authors.”
Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), made this distinction between “secondary authors” and a primary Author. But let it be underscored: Bavinck did not mean that the so-called “secondary authors” were permitted to express their own opinions. He believed firmly in the infallible inspiration of the whole of Scripture. He believed that God was the Author of the Bible but that He used men to write the Scripture, men with their own personalities, abilities, places in history and knowledge of God’s creation. Their personalities give the Bible a human flavour, for the identity of the penmen God used to write different parts is impressed on their writings. But God breathed forth every word by His Spirit (II Tim. 3:16). That was Bavinck’s position.
While I do not disagree with what Bavinck said, I prefer not to use the distinction he used. God is the Author of Scripture, the sole Author. There were no “secondary authors.” God used men but they did not function as mere secretaries who were taking down dictation. Gordon Clark, in his book God’s Hammer, calls attention to the fact that Jehovah is in sovereign control of all things as He works out His eternal plan (Eph. 1:11). God eternally ordained that He would prepare a book, inspired by Himself, in which He would tell His beloved church of all His mighty works, especially salvation by grace alone through the cross of Christ.
God ordained all the men He would use over some 1,500 years: Moses, David, Isaiah, Paul, etc. He eternally determined their gifts and abilities so that they were perfectly qualified to write the parts of Scripture He assigned to them. In God’s mighty providence, all that He determined was carried out: the times of the births of the Bible’s penmen; the circumstances of their upbringing; and their roles in their homes, their societies and their nations (e.g., Paul was born a Roman according to God’s decree).
Thus God is the Author. The writing of Scripture was a miracle so that all the qualities and experiences of those whom He used to write the Bible lie on the surface of their writings, but they were “moved the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:21). The word “moved” in this verse is the same word as is used to describe how a ship at sea is borne along by the wind, as it goes from its point of departure to its point of arrival.
Fallen man finds God’s Word distasteful for it proclaims that he is a hell-worthy sinner. Scripture declares the glorious “good news” that God saves His elect through the wonder of the cross of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead.
It tells of what God requires of His regenerate children. These demands are contrary to the sinful nature that we carry with us to the grave. We are comforted by our victory in Christ, the forgiveness of our sins in His blood and the hope of glory when we join the church of all ages in heaven.
To mess around with the Word in order to justify one’s own desires and longings is to slap God in the face, deny the infallible Scriptures and continue to revel in sin. This is what much of the church does today with its approval of homosexuality, women in church office, transgenderism, feminism, abortion and other abominable practices.
Thank God for the gospel found in the pages of His infallible Word that is our strength and guide through all of life. 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.html
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, 27 September
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Martyn McGeown


Subject:
The Development of God’s Covenant (3): Abraham
 
The last two speeches traced the revelation of God’s one everlasting covenant of grace from Adam through Noah. This lecture will follow that history through the line of Shem to Abraham. What continuity is there in the Abrahamic covenant with the covenants with Adam and with Noah? What development is there? With whom is the Abrahamic covenant established, what is its sign and what does the covenant with Abraham reveal about our Lord Jesus Christ?

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

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

CPRC Reformation Day Lecture

Two Men From Trier:
Karl Marx (and Communism) and Caspar Olevianus (and the Heidelberg Catechism)


2018 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx from Trier, NW Germany. Trier is also the city of Caspar Olevianus, one of the principal authors of the Heidelberg Catechism. This speech will compare and contrast these two men from Trier: their lives, their main works, their ideas and the results of their ideas. Key issues in the clash of worldviews between Marx’s communism and Olevianus’ Reformed faith include origins, alienation, work, private property, class struggle, the good life, marriage, history and the end times!

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

Date: Friday, 26 October, at 7:30 PM

at Covenant Protestant
Reformed Church

(83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR)

All are welcome! 

www.cprc.co.uk


Unable to join us in Ballymena? The lecture will be streamed live at http://www.cprf.co.uk/live.html
 
The Belgic Confession 
Volume 1


by David J. Engelsma
(368 pp., hardback)


Founded on holy Scripture, the Belgic Confession defines sound, health-giving doctrine for Reformed churches and believers. This truth is rich, lovely and powerful. The Confession also authoritatively exposes contemporary heresies. As they read this commentary, all believers who love the biblical and Reformed faith will be guided in the beautiful truth of the “old paths.” Volume 1 covers Articles 1-21 of the Belgic Confession.
Only £19.80 (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 Reformed Family—According to the Word of God

11 British Reformed Fellowship Family Conference addresses
at Hebron Hall, Wales
(21-28 July, 2018)
on CD or DVD in an attractive box set

 
6 Main Conference Addresses
1. The Divine Origin of the Family (Rev. A. Lanning)
2. The Authoritative Content of the Gospel (Prof. D. Engelsma)
3. The God-Fearing Man and His Virtuous Wife (Rev. A. Lanning)
4. The Reformed Family: Parents and Children (Prof. D. Engelsma)
5. It Is Good to Be Single
(Rev. A. Lanning)
6. Unbiblical Divorce and Adulterous Remarriage: A Scandal (Prof. D. Engelsma)

5 Other addresses
7. Hating Our Family: Necessary for Christian Discipleship
(Rev. M. McGeown)
8. The God of the Living
 (Rev. A. Lanning)
9. The Family and Education
(Mr. Pete Adams)
10. The Eunuchs Who Keep God’s Sabbaths (Rev. A. Stewart)
11. Spousal Abuse in the Christian Community (Prof. D. Engelsma) 

£12/box set
(inc. P&P)

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

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
Read more...

Covenant Reformed News - August 2018

 
 

Covenant Reformed News


August 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 4



God’s Wisdom (3)

The two previous instalments explained the basic idea of wisdom and showed how it is manifest in God’s Persons, perfections, decree and works of creation and providence.
Jehovah displayed His rich wisdom through the whole history of Old Testament Israel, involving Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the exodus, the wilderness wanderings and the conquest of Canaan; the periods of the judges and the united monarchy of Saul, David and Solomon; the divided kingdoms of Israel in the north and Judah in the south; the conquests by the Assyrians and the Babylonians; the return from the captivity and the 400 silent years.
Turning to the pages of the New Testament, who can fail to be impressed by the profound wisdom of the Triune God? It begins with John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, the prophesied “Elijah” (Mal. 4:5; Matt. 11:14; Luke 1:17), who ushered in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. Though never did a man teach as He taught, the wicked Jewish leaders conspired to have Him crucified. However, His sacrificial death is the atonement for all the sins of His elect church, and it was swiftly followed by His victorious resurrection and the outpouring of the blessed Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Much of the rest of New Testament Scripture is occupied with the gathering of the catholic or universal church of Jews and Gentiles.
Regarding this wonder, Paul exclaims, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:8-11).
In Romans 11, the same apostle explains how Jehovah uses believing Jews and Gentiles to provoke each other to a holy jealousy (11-15), until all of elect Israel and “the fulness of the Gentiles” are brought to salvation immediately prior to the Lord’s second coming (25-26; II Pet. 3:9). No wonder that Paul cried out, “O the depth of the riches ... of the wisdom ... of God!” (Rom. 11:33). Rev. Stewart
 

Did God Pray to God? (2)

In the last issue of the News, I answered the question of whether Christ prayed to Himself in Gethsemane (and elsewhere) in the affirmative. He, who personally was God in our flesh, prayed to His Father who was the Triune God, not the First Person of the Trinity. We also saw that this question involves the great mystery of the Trinity and the marvellous wonder of God becoming flesh in the Person of the eternal Son.
We ought to provide more detail to this answer, though we shall understand it only in a small measure. God is so infinitely great in His Being and in His works, that we shall never understand His greatness though we have eternity to contemplate His majesty. Our knowledge of Jehovah, even when we will be sinlessly perfect, will always be a smidgen, compared to His unsearchable riches because of our limited human minds.
But we must come to some knowledge of what the Scriptures teach for they instruct us in a very wonderful truth.
In short, the truth is that all the works of God are done by the holy Trinity. Never is one work solely the business of the First Person; another work, the business of the Second Person; and a third work, the business of the Third Person.
I already mentioned God’s work of creation. That work was not performed by the First Person of the holy Trinity to the exclusion of the Second and Third Persons. Already in Genesis 1, creation is described as the First Person speaking His powerful and creative word. That personal Creator Word is identified in other parts of Scripture as God’s Son (John 1:1-3, 18). Also, in Genesis 1:2, the Holy Spirit is specifically mentioned as brooding upon the face of the deep.
Scripture says more than this. It designates God’s Word as Christ, that is, Immanuel, God with us in the flesh (Matt. 1:23; John 1:14). John 1:1 declares that the Word “was with God” and “was God.” Both are true. He was Himself God but also “with” God, that is, distinct from God (the Father) yet with Him. Colossians 1 speaks of the One “in whom we have redemption through his blood” (14), who is also “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth ... all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (15-17).
Hebrews 1:2, in an equally marvellous passage that proclaims the excellency of Christ far above all the Old Testament types and shadows, extols Him as the One “by whom also he [i.e., God] made the worlds.”
In Proverbs 8, in what is one of my favourite passages in the Bible, where Christ is given the name “wisdom,” Scripture puts in the mouth of wisdom these words: “The Lord [i.e., the Triune God] possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old ... When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above ... Then I was by him, as one brought up before him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” (22, 27-28, 30).
These passages of Holy Writ are so profound that they will not be fully understood by the church until the Lord Himself returns. But they do teach that even eternally, as well as in God’s work of creation, Christ had a significance distinct from that of the Triune God.
The same is true of our Lord’s birth. We use the active voice when we confess such truths as Christ entered our flesh, the Son came into the world to take on Himself our human nature and the guilt of our sins, etc. The Scriptures make clear that the incarnation was not the work of the Second Person alone but is also the work of the other divine Persons. Gabriel told Mary how it was that she would be the mother of the Lord: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). The incarnation of our Saviour was the work of the Triune God!
God is the Father of Christ. Thus Christ (according to His divine nature) is His own Father (with respect to His human nature).
So it is with Christ’s resurrection. Scripture uses both expressions to describe it: Christ “rose” (active) and He “was raised” (passive) from the grave (e.g., I Cor. 15:4; Rom. 4:25). When the angels at His sepulchre announced to the women the glad tidings of the resurrection, they said, “He is not here: for he is risen” (Matt. 28:6). The text does not say He “was raised” (passive) but it states He “is risen” (active).
In Psalm 2:7, we read, “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Paul, in his sermon at Antioch in Pisidia, quotes this verse as proof that Jehovah raised Christ from the grave: “God ... hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33). The Triune God raised Christ and He arose by His own divine power.
One truth of Scripture that we ought never to forget is that the Bible is the infallibly inspired record of the revelation of God. Jehovah reveals Himself in all His works and purposes. Primary in this revelation is God’s purpose to glorify Himself in all He does, for He alone is worthy of all praise and honour, now and forever. His revelation is not a revelation in which bits and pieces of His glory are revealed, here a little and there a little, so that we have to sift through the works of God that we may know Him. God is one, so also is His revelation one. Nor does the First Person of the holy Trinity reveal Himself here, the Second Person there and the Third Person in yet a third place.
The Triune God reveals Himself in all His glory and infinite blessedness in Jesus Christ. One revelation; one mighty work. As far as the present issue is concerned, the Triune God reveals Himself in the incarnation, the ministry, the suffering and death, the burial and resurrection, the ascension and glorification, and the second coming of Christ, when He will make all things new and execute God’s fierce judgments against the ungodly. It is not one Person of the Trinity but the Triune God who says, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).
I do not hesitate to say that the name “Father” refers always in Scripture to the Triune God. But, as I said in the previous article, the Trinity itself is revealed to us in the fact that each work of God is performed with one Person in the foreground: God as Father in creation, God as Son in redemption and God as Holy Spirit in sanctification (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 8).
Christ came in a state of humiliation to be followed by His state of glorification. Even as He walked among us, in all respects like us (except that He was totally without sin), the glory of His divine nature shone through the veil of His human nature like a flash of lightning, in His words and especially in His miracles. The disciples saw it and knew He was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16; John 2:11).
But the Scriptures teach us that the surpassing glory of our Saviour is especially in the cross. While Christ was in His state of humiliation, in His life and ministry, and while on the cross doing battle with the powers of darkness and earning our everlasting salvation, His divine nature was hidden behind His human nature—except, perhaps, when He died. Even the centurion saw His divinity flash through His human nature at the moment when He died (Mark 15:39). There were those who could see His divinity in His state of humiliation but it was by faith only, for it was hidden to the unbelieving eye.
All the work of Christ is summed up in Psalm 40:6-8, quoted and explained in Hebrews 10:5-9. God Triune came into the world in the Second Person of the Trinity who lay as a baby in the manger in Bethlehem. God Triune was a man in the Person of the Son. God Triune suffered and died in the incarnate Second Person. God Triune arose in the Person of the Son for God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.
In glory, when we shall see Christ, we shall, in fact, see the Triune God. Jesus said to Philip, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 14:7).
The glory and blessedness of being united by faith to Christ is that we shall not only see God in Him, but really and truly live with the holy Trinity in covenant fellowship through Christ into whom we are engrafted by faith.
In other words, Yes, Christ did always pray—in Gethsemane, as well as all the other times in His life—to His Father, the Triune God. In a sense, therefore, He prayed to Himself. Yet it is also clear that He was conscious of Himself, and prayed, as the Son in our flesh, and not as the Second Person of the Trinity only, as we saw last time in our explanation of “not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39).
Hebrews 5:7-9 reveals something of this: “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son [i.e., ‘Though he were Son’], yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
For many years I did not dare to preach on this text in Hebrews 5, though I wanted to do so. Finally, I did. Afterwards, I regretted that I had tried. I felt as though I had failed. It was too profound for me. We stand before a mystery, the great mystery of our salvation!  Prof. Hanko

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

FRIDAY, 31 August, 2018
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Angus Stewart


Subject:
Christ Our Sacrifice in Isaiah 53
 
Leviticus 1-7 sets forth 4 bloody sacrifices and the 6 stages in offering them. Isaiah 53 extols God’s suffering servant using sacrificial language and ideas. Come to learn more of our Saviour’s redemptive work, fulfilling the Old Testament sacrificial system!

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

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

 
 
Behold, I Come Quickly

by David J. Engelsma
& Andrew Lanning
(174 pp., softback)


This superb new book sets forth the Reformed and biblical truth of the end in ten relatively short chapters!
1. The Second and Quick Coming of Christ: The Signs 
2. The Reformed Belief Concerning the Rapture and the Antichrist
3. The Coming World-Conquest of the Beast From the Sea
4. Jesus’ Coming as a Thief in View of Great Apostasy and Abounding Lawlessness
5. The 2 Witnesses of Revelation 11
6. The Final Judgment
7. Methuselah
8. The Hope of Creation for Christ’s Coming
9. Disorderliness and the Second Coming of Christ
10. Dispensationalism, J. N. Darby and Powerscourt
Only £5.50 (inc. P&P)

Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Earnestly Contending for the Faith (Vol. 2)

8 sermons on Jude 12-25 on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

 What terrifying imagery does Jude use regarding heretics? What has Enoch to do with the Lord’s second coming? How should we witness to those ensnared in filthy errors? There is lots to learn from the second half of Jude!

1. Images of False Teachers (12-13)
2. Enoch’s Prophecy (14-15)
3. Complainers! (16)
4. Mockers in the Last Time (17-18)
5. Dividers! (19)
6. Keep Yourselves in the Love of God (20-21)
7. Two Ways of Witnessing (22-23)
8. Jude’s Concluding Doxology (24-25)

£8/box set (inc. P&P)

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

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
Read more...

Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - August 2018

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Ballymena, NI

17 August, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

BRF Conference

The British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference at Hebron Hall, Cardiff in Wales (21-28 July) was the most international of the 15 biennial conferences to date. Apart from those from the various parts of the British Isles, saints flew in from Canada, the US, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Singapore, and Australia, meaning that the only continent that was not included was Africa.

We were delighted that as many as 116 people booked in for the conference and we had 11 day visitors, most of whom came back again and again! The size and catholicity of the gathering, plus the fine Welsh venue, made for what many thought was the best BRF conference yet for fellowship. The Lord also gave us sunny and warm weather.

BRF Conf 2018 group

Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning were warmly welcomed back as our main speakers. Because of her recent cancer operation, sadly Mrs. Ruth Engelsma was unable to be with us.

Our two American brethren developed the conference theme of “The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God” in their 6 main conference addresses: “The Divine Origin of the Family” (Rev. Lanning), “The Authoritative Content of the Gospel” (Prof. Engelsma), “The God-Fearing Man and His Virtuous Wife” (Rev. Lanning), “The Reformed Family: Parents and Children” (Prof. Engelsma), “It Is Good to Be Single” (Rev. Lanning), and “Unbiblical Divorce and Adulterous Remarriage: A Scandal” (Prof. Engelsma). The family is a beautiful, biblical subject that is often unfolded in preaching and writing in our circles, yet the speeches were marked not only by their depth but also by their freshness!

Rev. Martyn McGeown's opening address (“Hating Our Family: Necessary for Christian Discipleship”), the Sunday sermons by Rev. Lanning and myself (“The God of the Living” and “The Eunuchs Who Keep God's Sabbaths”), Mr. Pete Adams' presentation (“The Family and Education”), and Prof. Engelsma's special lecture (“Spousal Abuse in the Christian Community”) developed important aspects of the grand theme of the family.

Thanks to the sterling work of Stephen Murray, all of these 11 presentations can be watched free online, along with the videos of the 7 question and answer sessions that followed the 6 main speeches and the special lecture by Rev. Lanning and Prof. Engelsma ( www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Y5Eq5r6y2EGXxIszbEuErsISIdc4Uvd ).

These 11 addresses will soon be made into attractive box sets of CDs and DVDs that will be available for sale at £12 in the UK (inc. P&P). The cost is $20 for those in America. Mary and I will be traveling to the US on 24 September, DV. If you place an order with us before then (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), we can bring your box set with us in our luggage. Otherwise, we will post/mail it to you from Northern Ireland. You can pay us through Mary's US bank account (check payable to “Mary Stewart” and mail it (with your name and address) to Mr. Fred Hanko, 7341 Pinegrove Dr., Jenison, MI 49428) or the Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA), which will take your payment from the CPRC Bookstore's bill.

Despite the difficulty of getting a proper range of books, box sets, and pamphlets from the CPRC Bookstore in Northern Ireland across the Irish Sea to the conference on Wales, we still managed to sell almost $1,000 of Reformed materials. Beside this, a number of people bought individual issues of the British Reformed Journal and/or subscribed to this semi-annual periodical (for ways of doing the latter, see www.britishreformed.org/membership).

The membership of the British Reformed Fellowship voted to hold the next conference in Castlewellan Castle, Northern Ireland (11-18 July, 2020). The glorious subject is to be union with Jesus Christ. Having served the BRF conferences so well in the past, Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning were chosen as the two main speakers. Bear this in mind over the next two years, for hopefully we may see you there!

CPRC

A number of this year's conferees from outside Europe spent time in Northern Ireland before and/or after the week in Wales. Thus the CPRC had Brazilian, American, Singaporean, Canadian, and Australian visitors on the three Lord's days before, and the two Sundays after, the conference. Some of our international guests were also able to join us at the congregational barbecue at the CPRC manse (3 August). Communion with Reformed believers from various parts of the world is always very encouraging for the members of the CPRC!

Behold I Come CPRC 2018

The latest addition to the CPRC Bookstore, with its more than 150 titles, is Behold, I Come Quickly (www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore.htm). This excellent little volume by Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning consists of the ten main speeches at the previous BRF conference in 2016 and costs just £5. It is also available from various Protestant Reformed congregations in America and Canada, especially Byron Center PRC, the main distributor in North America; the RFPA; the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) in Singapore; the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP); and (soon) Launceston Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia.

The youngest member of the CPRC is now little Grace Mae Crossett, daughter of David and Kristin (née Prins). Grace was baptized on Sunday, 8 July, with members of the Prins family from Michigan being present for the occasion.

The last couple of months have been a somewhat lean period for translations (www.cprf.co.uk/languages.htm). Our thanks to Ivan Ortu in Sardinia (6 Italian), and Raoul and Tania Valeev in Belgium (1 Russian). Currently, Carol Nienhuis is helping Mary by linking our many hundreds of translations. When these and many other links and webpages are converted to the new style, the whole CPRC website will be mobile friendly and have a new look (www.cprc.co.uk).

I am to speak at the RFPA Annual Meeting on “The RFPA, the CPRC, and the Spread of the Truth” in Grace PRC, Grand Rapids on Thursday, 27 September at 7:30 P.M. I will be preaching at both of the Sunday services in Wingham PRC in Ontario (30 September) and at the evening Lord's day service in Zion PRC (7 October), D.V. It will be good to meet the saints in both of these churches for the first time. Other speaking details of the trip have not yet been finalized. Rev. Ken Koole will be preaching in Ballymena in our absence, and for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF).

Thank you for your support and prayers. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you, your families and your churches!

Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart

Read more...

Covenant Reformed News - July 2018

 

Covenant Reformed News


July 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 3



God’s Wisdom (2)

In the previous instalment, we saw from Romans 11:33-36 that God’s wisdom is both infinite and self-sufficient, just as He is both infinite and self-sufficient. Now we shall turn to Proverbs 8 to make four additional points regarding this divine perfection.

First, God’s wisdom is eternal. Wisdom declares, “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world” (22-26). This is a poetic description of God’s only begotten Son, the eternal wisdom of God (Belgic Confession 8). God never was without His wisdom!

Second, God’s wisdom is omnipotent. Thus He proclaims, “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength” (Prov. 8:14). God’s wisdom never fails, nor is it ever impotent or weak. The divine wisdom never desires an end without obtaining that end by using the most appropriate means.

Third, God’s wisdom is true. He professes, “For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips” (7). Jehovah never lies as a means to attain His end. The all-wise God never adapts Himself to uttering falsehood.

Fourth, God’s wisdom is righteous. The divine wisdom states, “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them” (8), for “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (13). God’s wisdom is always virtuous and perfectly good; it never resorts to wickedness.

In keeping with this, we read in Proverbs 6, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (16-19). Here we learn that the Most High hates and abominates iniquity, the bodily parts employed in sin and wicked people.

The God who is wise in His Persons and perfections is also wise in His eternal decree. The purpose or goal of the whole created universe is that infinite majesty is ascribed to God through all eternity: “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever” (Rom. 11:36). Absolutely “all things,” “yea, even the wicked,” are means to that supreme end (Prov. 16:4). Everything is decreed, created, preserved and used by Jehovah for His honour, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen”!

In God’s eternal wisdom, all things are adapted to the highest end: His glory! Jesus Christ serves Jehovah’s honour. The elect church serves the Lord Jesus, the great servant of the Trinity, and so God’s glory. Reprobation serves the elect church which serves Christ and so God’s praise, as do “all things” in creation and providence, in heaven and in earth. All of this is according to God’s wisdom in His eternal decree or counsel.

God’s first work outside Himself is that of creation—the product of astounding wisdom! “The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens” (Prov. 3:19).

No wonder the divine wisdom confesses, “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men” (8:27-31).

Genesis 1 describes the all-wise God’s preparation of the world for man. He created the sky on day two for man needs air to breathe. The dry land and vegetation of day three provided terra firma and food for humanity. The sun, moon and stars of day four give us light. The fish, birds and animals made on days five and six serve mankind in many ways. All these things are perfectly adapted as means to serve man as the subordinate end, so that man may serve God his Creator (Belgic Confession 12).

Yet foolish man claims that the universe is not the product of the wisdom of God. Instead, it is a random occurrence involving trillions of accidents merely according to lucky chance and going all the way back to a gigantic explosion. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). 

Let us also consider Jehovah’s great work of providence: His upholding, governing and directing of all things, according to His eternal purpose. Think of all the stars in the heavens, the myriad fish in the depths of the sea and the many nations of the earth. What infinite and omnipotent divine wisdom is required to sustain and rule over 7 billion people every second of every day! We sing with the psalmist, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” (104:24).

Of all the figures in the Old Testament, it is perhaps Joseph’s life that most displays God’s wisdom. Delivering the family of Israel from the famine in Canaan was the end for which Jehovah employed him: “God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen. 50:20; cf. 45:5, 7-8). The strange means to achieve that wise end included the sin of Joseph’s ten brothers in selling him into slavery; his imprisonment for a crime that he did not commit; his interpretation of the dreams of the butler, the baker and Pharaoh; etc.  Rev. Stewart
 

Did God Pray to God? (1)

A reader asks, “In the garden of Gethsemane, did Christ pray to the Triune God and thus to Himself, as the Second Person? Or is it wrong for us to say that He who is God prayed to God?”

The question the reader asks is a difficult one. It deals with the great mystery of the Trinity, that God is three in Person and one in essence or Being. It also deals with the doctrine of Christ, the eternal Son of God in our human nature, a nature that was like us in all things except our sin. The creeds of the church have defined this doctrine thus: The Second Person of the holy Trinity, namely the Son, united in His Person the fulness of the divine nature and a complete, though sinless, human nature. Our Lord Jesus Christ was as much a human as any of us. In fact, Paul tells us in Romans 8:3 that Christ came “in the likeness of sinful flesh:” not in sinful flesh but in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came with all the weaknesses of our flesh, the powers of which were eroded by sin and subject to death.

It feels here as if one ought to take off his shoes for he is standing on holy ground. About all we can do is bow in awe and wonder at the marvel of Immanuel: God with us. One hears the voice of the Canons of Dordt warning us that we ought not inquire too far into the deep things of God. Our minds are so small, our understanding so limited and our thought so under the curse of death that we, it seems, should put our hands on our mouth lest we say something foolish and thus put a blemish on our infinitely holy God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Yet the Bible tells us that our Lord prayed. He prayed often and He sometimes prayed all night. He prayed to God and addressed God as His Father. How are we to explain this?

The explanation that Christ prayed only to the First Person of the Trinity will not do, for that position makes a division between God the Father (and the Holy Spirit) and God the Son. Israel must learn to say, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4). The Scriptures teach us everywhere that the Triune God is one God. Not the First Person of the Trinity to the exclusion of the Second and Third; not the Second Person of the Trinity to the exclusion of the First and Third. God is eternally three Persons in one divine nature—always and in all He does.

He, as the Triune God, is Father. He is the Father of all His elect family. The Triune God begets them through regeneration. He loves them eternally. Not one of the three Persons love the church; not two of the three Persons loves the church. All three Persons in the union of one nature or essence unchangeably and eternally love the church.

On the other hand, the Triune God did not become man. The First Person, the Father, did not become flesh. There was an old heresy condemned by the church as Patripassianism, the notion that the Father suffered on the cross. The ancient church father, Tertullian, explained that to mean that those heretics put to flight the Holy Spirit and crucified the Father (Against Praxeas 1).

Because the Lord our God is one Lord, it is impossible that one Person of the holy Trinity does some work to the exclusion of the other two Persons. Yet there is a certain priority of Person in each work. The Heidelberg Catechism in Lord’s Day 8 speaks of God the Father especially in connection with our creation, God the Son and our redemption, and God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification. Thus the revelation of God includes the truth of three Persons in God united in their essence and work.

The key is the word “revealed.” God reveals Himself through these works as the God who is three in Person and one in essence.

That Christ is divine need not be proved here. Every creed of the Christian church, beginning with Nicea in AD 325, teaches this biblical doctrine emphatically. Nicea even says of Christ that He is “true God of true God.” Not to be overlooked is our Lord’s emphatic statement to the Jews: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).  Our Saviour cannot possibly mean that the First Person of the Trinity and Christ, to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit, are one.

John 1:1-3 speaks of the logos, another name for Christ, as the One through whom God, the Triune God, created all things. The same is true of Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:2. Even in the Old Testament, Christ, called by the name “wisdom,” is spoken of the One through whom the world was made (Prov. 8).

Nor is the Holy Spirit neglected in the work of creation (Gen. 1:2).

The Second Person of the Trinity was not the author of redemption alone. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (II Cor. 5:19). Nor is God spoken of here as the First Person of the holy Trinity. The Triune God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ.

Did Christ, in His human nature, pray to the Triune God, addressing Him as His Father? Of course, He did. Moreover, when He prayed to the Triune God, calling Him “my Father,” Christ said, “not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). The first will here is Christ’s human will and the second will is that of the Triune God.

It is at this point that the miracle of the incarnation becomes very deep and Scripture has very little to say about it, for our understanding is very limited. Most probably the Bible is silent because we are too lacking in understanding to grasp the mystery of God become flesh (I Tim. 3:16).

When our Lord asked who touched Him, after a woman was healed by making contact with the hem of His robe unbeknownst to Him, Christ’s human nature was reflected in this consciousness, according to which He, in fact, did not know who touched Him. The same is true of Jesus when He said that He did not know the time of His second coming (Matt. 24:36), where Christ refers to the Triune God as “my Father.” However, according to His divine nature, He knew all things!  Prof. Hanko

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

FRIDAY, 31 August, 2018
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Angus Stewart


Subject:
Christ Our Sacrifice in Isaiah 53
 
Leviticus 1-7 sets forth 4 bloody sacrifices and the 6 stages in offering them. Isaiah 53 extols God’s suffering servant using sacrificial language and ideas. Come to learn more of our Saviour’s redemptive work, fulfilling the Old Testament sacrificial system!

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

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

 
Behold, I Come Quickly

by David J. Engelsma
& Andrew Lanning
(174 pp., softback)


This superb new book sets forth the Reformed and biblical truth of the end in ten relatively short chapters!
1. The Second and Quick Coming of Christ: The Signs 
2. The Reformed Belief Concerning the Rapture and the Antichrist
3. The Coming World-Conquest of the Beast From the Sea
4. Jesus’ Coming as a Thief in View of Great Apostasy and Abounding Lawlessness
5. The 2 Witnesses of Revelation 11
6. The Final Judgment
7. Methuselah
8. The Hope of Creation for Christ’s Coming
9. Disorderliness and the Second Coming of Christ
10. Dispensationalism, J. N. Darby and Powerscourt
Only £5.50 (inc. P&P)

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Earnestly Contending for the Faith (Vol. 2)

8 sermons on Jude 12-25 on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

 What terrifying imagery does Jude use regarding heretics? What has Enoch to do with the Lord’s second coming? How should we witness to those ensnared in filthy errors? There is lots to learn from the second half of Jude!

1. Images of False Teachers (12-13)
2. Enoch’s Prophecy (14-15)
3. Complainers! (16)
4. Mockers in the Last Time (17-18)
5. Dividers! (19)
6. Keep Yourselves in the Love of God (20-21)
7. Two Ways of Witnessing (22-23)
8. Jude’s Concluding Doxology (24-25)

£8/box set (inc. P&P)

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Covenant Reformed News - June 2018

 

Covenant Reformed News


June 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 2



Does God Change? (2)

The question addressed in the last Covenant Reformed News brought up Ephesians 2:3, which describes believers prior to their conversion: “Among whom [i.e., the ungodly] also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Some wrongly understand “wrath” as the equivalent of hatred. Thus they teach that God hates the elect before He regenerates them. Since Scripture clearly declares that Jehovah loves His chosen ones before their spiritual birth (4-5), before their physical birth (Rom. 9:10-13), before the cross (I John 4:9-10) and even before the foundation of the world (Jer. 31:3), their doctrine is that God both loves and hates those chosen in Christ prior to their conversion.

If the Most High is able both to love and hate His elect before their effectual call, then, they claim, He can both love and hate the reprobate, those from whom He sovereignly wills to hide spiritually the gospel so that they do not believe and are not saved (Matt. 11:25-27). The Westminster Confession summarizes the Bible’s teaching on reprobation: “The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice” (3:7).

The intent of their appeal to Ephesians 2:3 is to support the well-meant offer: an earnest (though completely useless) divine desire or wish to save all men head for head. This position needs, first, a general or universal love or grace of God which passionately wills to save the reprobate, that is, to elect, redeem, regenerate, effectually call, give faith and repentance to, justify, illuminate, indwell, sanctify, seal, preserve, comfort and glorify those whom He has eternally appointed “to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.” What a glaring contradiction!

Second, this view requires an explanation or justification of a divine attitude—or, rather, attitudes!—of hatred and love towards the reprobate. Hence the appeal to Ephesians 2:3. If God can both love and hate the elect (prior to their regeneration), then He can both hate and love the reprobate (in time)!

The first insuperable problem with this scheme is that Holy Scripture nowhere teaches that Jehovah loves the reprobate. Instead, it repeatedly states that He eternally and justly hates them for their sins (e.g., Ps. 5:5-6; 11:5-6; Prov. 16:4-5). Whereas the dogma of the well-meant offer is “Jacob have I loved and hated, but Esau have I hated and loved,” what the Bible actually says is this: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:2-3).

Second, if the Most High really hates all the objects of His wrath, then He even hates the Lord Jesus! Scripture reveals that Christ is our propitiation (Rom. 3:25; I John 2:2; 4:10), that is, the One who, under the terrible burden of God’s wrath, bore the punishment due to the elect for all their sins (Heidelberg Catechism, A. 17).

Third, and similarly, if Jehovah hates all the objects of His wrath, then He also hates believers! Thus holy David speaks of his experience of Jehovah’s “wrath” and “hot displeasure” (Ps. 38:1), and “anger” and “hot displeasure” (6:1). Every saint knows this divine chastening (1), “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6; cf. 7-8).

What a wretched, comfortless message for the child of God that necessarily follows from the erroneous interpretation of Ephesians 2:3 by those who twist it in support of their well-meant offer: not only did Jehovah hate each and every saint before their regeneration, but He also hates us now, after our conversion! What a terrifying thought for the distressed Christian: “God loves and hates me, and He also loves and hates those who will perish everlastingly!”

So what, positively, does the phrase in Ephesians 2:3 mean? By itself, “the children of wrath” could refer to people who indulge in sinful anger. The other option is that the text refers to God’s wrath. I am not aware of anyone who holds the first position.

While the elect were unregenerate, we were under “the wrath of God,” for we walked in “ungodliness and unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). In this, we were just like the reprobate, as Ephesians 2:3 says, “even as others.” Moreover, we “were by nature the children of wrath” (3). That is, we did not become such by, for example, picking up vicious habits but we were born totally depraved. We were the children of wrath innately and inherently, as those conceived and born in sin (Ps. 51:5).

The elect before their new birth were under God’s wrath and, especially at certain times, we deeply felt it! We experienced guilt, shame, the fear of death and the apprehension of hell awaiting us, as those who were not right with God and under His wrath.

Jehovah never has hated and never will hate His elect in Jesus Christ; we are the objects of His love alone—eternally and unchangeably (Eph. 1:4; 2:4). It would have been unjust for God to lavish the experience of this love upon us while we walked in unbelief. Instead, He manifested His righteous wrath upon us in our sins.
Through faith in Christ, we are now reconciled to God and know His love towards us. If we walk impenitently in iniquity, our loving God shows us His anger and chastises us, in order to bring us back into the enjoyment of His fatherly embrace.  Rev. Stewart
 

Divide the Baby in Two!

A reader asks, “When Solomon ordered a living baby to be cut in half (I Kings 3:23-28), was he not guilty of sin against the sixth and/or the ninth commandments?”

We must, first of all, have the situation before us. Two female prostitutes came to Solomon with a problem. Each of them had given birth to a baby which they took with them to bed each evening. During one night, one mother lay on her baby and smothered it. But she exchanged her dead baby for the living baby, and acted as if the living baby were her baby and the dead baby were her friend’s baby. They could not resolve the dispute between them, so they went to King Solomon to settle the problem.

We must remember that this incident is recorded in Scripture in order to demonstrate the wisdom of Solomon. Solomon was the wisest man in the world at that time for, in answer to his prayer, God had given him this amazing wisdom (5-14). As such, he was a type of Christ, the eternal wisdom of God (Prov. 8; I Cor. 1:24; Col. 2:3). From a certain point of view, it is surprising that the Bible should choose this incident in Solomon’s reign to demonstrate his profound wisdom. After all, both women were prostitutes and one would expect that they would be punished for their immoral lives.

Solomon’s decision was not a shot in the dark, so to speak. Nor did he really intend to commit himself to murder, when he suggested that the living child be cut in half. His command to divide the baby in two was based upon a knowledge of human nature, that God has so created women that they have an inner longing to bring children into the world and care for them. A mother would give her life for her child. The baby whom a mother bears is more important than anything else in the world. The baby is part of her life.

Scripture suggests this as well. Where this is not evident in a mother, the horrible power of sin has overcome her. Isaiah reminds Judah of God’s faithfulness, when they claim that He has forgotten them: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isa. 49:15; cf. John 16:21).

One woman who stood before Solomon had such a strong love for her child that she was willing that, rather than see it killed, she would give it to the other woman. On the other hand, that other woman would just as soon see it die, rather than her companion have it. 

What a terrible sin it is for a woman in our day, for no other reason than to satisfy her selfish desires, to abort her baby before it is born or forsake it when it is born. Such a mother acts contrary to her created nature and is so self-centred that she will give up the fruit of her womb. She would rather lose her child than give up her pleasures.

I had an uncle and an aunt who were foster parents to a boy with Down’s syndrome. His biological parents, both with careers, could not be bothered with him. He grew up under Christian influences in the home and church, made confession of faith in the church and still serves as an usher. He is a godly man who is faithful to the truth.

But part of sin in this world is the fact that, if we want something badly enough but cannot have it, we would rather that no one have it. A child, fighting over a toy truck with his brother, would rather that his mother not allow his brother to have the truck either, if he cannot have it. Jealousy is a strange sin! We would rather that no one has what we want than another get it.

There is one more possibility, although it is somewhat speculative. It is, however, possible and there is some reason to adopt it: the true mother of the baby was converted through this dramatic incident in her life. God may have showed her the sin of prostitution, and made her aware of her need to repent and seek His mercy.

If this is true, Solomon may have seen this in her and determined that the baby was her child. The reasons why this could be true are, first of all, that the inspired Scriptures use this incident in the life of Solomon to demonstrate his wisdom. Wisdom in the Bible is a spiritual attribute. James tells those to whom he writes that, if they lack wisdom, let them ask of God (1:5).

There is a worldly “wisdom,” James also tells us, but it is “earthly, sensual, devilish” (3:15). It is a sort of wisdom that solves purely earthly problems. Only God’s people have the true wisdom that is “from above,” and is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (17). Solomon possessed true wisdom which he asked of God.

I cannot imagine that Scripture would use this incident to display Solomon’s wisdom, if that wisdom were merely an earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom. It would, it seems to me, be all that, if Solomon made his decision solely on his knowledge of sinful human nature.

If what I propose is correct, then Solomon saw in the true mother not only a purely natural yearning for her baby but a spiritual love: she viewed her baby as a covenant child who had a place in the church of Christ. The thought of such a baby being slain was more than she could bear. The sin of killing it was almost as bad as that of those Israelites who offered their children to Moloch in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. It was, she thought, better that her adversary have her baby than that it should die.

Her adversary, on the other hand, did not care about spiritual things. That the infant was a covenant child was of no concern of her, nor did she even think in these terms. Divide the baby in two! That would be better than if her adversary kept the baby, while she had no children.

This interpretation appeals to me very much. Solomon was, after all, a type of Christ. He was a type, as the ruler of a beautiful and wealthy kingdom. He sought the spiritual welfare of those under him. So the Lord Jesus is King of a heavenly kingdom, far surpassing the kingdom of Solomon in glory and riches. Christ establishes His kingdom for His blood-bought people whom He saves in the line of generations: believers and their children who are precious in His sight (Gen. 17:7; II Tim. 1:5). Here was a mother who had no love for God’s covenant, and a mother who suddenly saw the amazing truth that Jehovah saves believing parents and their children to bring them into His own covenant life. She understood that and so did Solomon. He, in his God-given wisdom, knew how covenant mothers love their children! Prof. Hanko

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

21-28 July 2018

Hebron Hall
Conference Centre

South Wales

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

Speakers:
Prof. David Engelsma
Rev. Andy Lanning

All are welcome to attend the worship services and lectures.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
for the conference programme
or check the conference website
http://brfconference.weebly.com/
Here We Stand
Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of
the Reformation

(208 pp., softback)

The massive development of the sixteenth-century Reformation included the crucial issues of justification by faith alone, the supreme authority of Scripture and biblical worship. This book also covers two lesser-known, yet highly significant, aspects of the Reformation: the unique progress of the Reformation in the Lowlands and the Reformers’ response to the Anabaptist radicals. The chapters of Here We Stand are written by Prof. Ron Cammenga (editor), Rev. David Torlach, Prof. Barry Gritters, Rev. Martyn McGeown, Prof. Russell Dykstra and Rev. Steven Key.

£8.80 (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!

Jonathan: David’s Covenant Friend

10 sermons by Rev. Martyn McGeown on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

This new series of sermons from passages in I & II Samuel sets forth the beautiful character of Jonathan: his courage, humility and faithfulness, especially in his covenant friendship with David, a glorious type of Christ our King!  “Whatever fitness he might have shown for the kingdom, had he been called to it, a more unselfish, warm-hearted, genuine or noble character is not presented to us in Scripture than that of Jonathan” (Alfred Edersheim).

(1) Jonathan’s Preemptive Strike at Geba (I Sam. 13:3)
(2) Jonathan’s Daring Attack at Michmash (I Sam. 14:1-23)
(3) Jonathan Transgresses Saul’s Oath (I Sam. 14:24-45)
(4) Jonathan Befriends David
(I Sam. 18:1-4)
(5) Jonathan Intercedes for David
(I Sam. 19:1-7)
(6) Jonathan: A Friend in David’s Need (I Sam. 20:1-23)
(7) Jonathan Helps David Flee From Saul (I Sam. 20:24-42)
(8) Jonathan Strengthens David’s Hand in God (I Sam. 23:16-18)
(9) David Laments for Jonathan
(II Sam. 1:17-27)
(10) David Shows Kindness for Jonathan’s Sake (II Sam. 9)

£10/box set (inc. P&P)

LIsten free on-line
or order from the
CPRC Bookstore
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(028) 25891851

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