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Covenant Reformed News - November 2018

 
 

Covenant Reformed News


November 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 7



Zechariah’s Day of the Lord (1)

When a Christian reads Zechariah 14, his main exegetical question can be expressed in one word: when? When did or when will these things come to pass?

Some very deliberately try to make this chapter fit with their millennial systems. The various forms of premillennialism seek to make it compatible with their idea of the millennium, a literalistic 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. Here one thinks of dispensational premillennialism (with its secret rapture and literal seven-year tribulation), historic Jewish premillennialism (without any secret rapture or literal seven-year tribulation) and historic non-Jewish premillennialism (like the former position only without its Jewish trappings). In fact, the various schools of premillennialism see Zechariah 14 as furnishing them with one of their best arguments for their millennium.

The distinguishing feature of postmillennialism is its claim that Jesus Christ will return to a Christianized world of great earthly peace and prosperity, in which most are believers. For them, Zechariah 14 must fit their eschatological scheme. However, the Second Helvetic Confession (1566) summarizes biblical and Reformed teaching: “we condemn the Jewish dreams that before the day of judgment there shall be a golden world in the earth; and that the godly shall possess the kingdoms of the world, their wicked enemies being trodden under foot: for the evangelical truth, Matthew 24 and 25, and Luke 21, and the apostolic doctrine in the second epistle to the Thessalonians 2, and in the second epistle to Timothy 3 and 4, are found to teach far otherwise” (11).

Others interpret Zechariah 14 as being fulfilled in events or ages that have happened or are happening or will happen. Some say that this chapter predicts the wars of the Maccabees in the middle of the intertestamental period. Others reckon that it prophesies the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70 or the New Testament age between Pentecost and the end of the world or the Lord’s second coming. To complicate things further, some see Zechariah 14 as speaking of two or more of the above events or periods.

Here are three simple arguments proving that Zechariah 14—here we are especially thinking of its first 15 verses—predicts Christ’s bodily return, including events that immediately precede it, and the new heavens and the new earth that it ushers in.

First, the chapter begins, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh” (1). An eschatological technical term, “the day of the Lord” in the Old Testament refers to a terrible divine judgment, such as the fall of Samaria or Jerusalem or Babylon, which pictures the end of the world (e.g., Isa. 2:12; 13:6; 34:8; Jer. 46:10; Lam. 2:22; Eze. 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7-8, 18; 2:2-3). The day of the Lord in the New Testament is the day of the Lord Jesus Christ: His second coming to raise the dead, judge the world, and usher in the eternal states of the glorified creation and the lake of fire.

Second, Zechariah 14 refers to the Lord coming with all His holy ones: “the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (5). This is the Christian hope: the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (“the Lord my God shall come”) accompanied by His holy angels and glorified believers (“all the saints with thee”). In His Olivet discourse, Christ spoke of “the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels” (Matt. 24:30-31).

Third, Revelation 21-22 explains the fulfilment of three aspects of Zechariah 14 in the new heavens and the new earth. One, with regard to light, Zechariah says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light” (6-7). John declares, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23). Two, concerning living water, we read, “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem” (Zech. 14:8). In “the city” (Rev. 21:23), the “new Jerusalem” (2), “he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1). Three, both proclaim the removal of God’s curse: “there shall be no more utter destruction [i.e., curse]” (Zech. 14:11) and “there shall be no more curse” (Rev. 22:3).

Here we anticipate an objection: “You have made a good case for Zechariah 14’s predicting the end of the world, including its immediately preceding events and the new creation it ushers in, with your arguments from ‘the day of the Lord’ (1), the Lord’s coming with His holy ones (5), and Zechariah’s prophesies of light, living waters and no curse as fulfilled in Revelation 21-22. But maybe it is only parts of Zechariah 14:1-15 that refer to Christ’s second coming? Perhaps other sections deal with the Maccabees or AD 70 or the New Testament age?”

We observe that Zechariah 14:1-15 consists of six clearly identifiable units: 1-2, 3-5, 6-7, 8, 9-11 and 12-15. Note that there is a temporal indicator in each of the six portions. Verse 1 speaks of “the day of the Lord,” taking care of the first section (1-2). As for the next portion (3-5), it contains the phrase “in that day” (4), referring back to “the day of the Lord” (1), and it predicts the Lord’s coming with all His holy ones (5). The first verse of the next three sections (6-7, 8, 9-11) all include “in that day” (6, 8, 9). This same temporal indicator also occurs in verse 13 in the last unit (12-15).

Furthermore, we will see in our future instalments on Zechariah 14, DV, that everything in the passage fits with this interpretation and nothing opposes it. Rev. Stewart

 

The Order of Regeneration and Faith

Galatians 3:2, 14 reads, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? ... That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” A reader comments, “This would seem to suggest that faith comes before regeneration, but we believe that regeneration is immediate and faith the result. Could you please explain?”

The question of the place of faith in the order of salvation as applied to the elect has exercised the church for many years. This was especially true of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands. The great Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck, even wrote a book entitled Roeping en Wedergeborte (English: Saved by Grace: The Holy Spirit’s Work in Calling and Regeneration). I believe that the order of salvation is regeneration, calling, faith, justification, sanctification and glorification. But Bavinck placed calling before regeneration for he believed in mediate regeneration, that is, regeneration by means of the preaching of the gospel. He reckoned that God used the call of the preaching to regenerate the elect, but totally depraved, sinner and so give him faith.

That discussion especially concerned the relationship between regeneration and calling through the preaching of the gospel. The present question is the relation between faith and regeneration. Nevertheless, the two are closely related.

It seems to me that there is an assumption of the questioner, namely, that the faith referred to is the conscious faith of the believer whereby he looks to Christ as his only Saviour and Lord. But Galatians 3:2-5 is not referring to the initial work of the Spirit by which God saves the sinner but to the extraordinary signs of the Holy Ghost, such as performing miracles (cf. 5), etc. These gifts were the fruit of conscious faith in Christ.

Regeneration, in which God begins His work of salvation in the heart of the elect sinner, is the gift of the new life that Christ earned for His people by His cross and resurrection (I Pet. 1:3). This work of the Holy Spirit occurs below our consciousness and principally contains in it the whole of our salvation: faith, conversion, justification, sanctification and glorification (Eph. 1:3). The “seed” of regeneration (I Pet. 1:23; I John 3:9) develops into all the other blessings consciously received by the child of God. It develops as an acorn contains the entire oak in seed form but does not produce the whole oak until it grows into a tree.

It is my judgment that Galatians 3:2-5 teaches that the Holy Spirit gave some in the early church the power to do miracles, speak in other languages, etc. My ground for saying this is that Paul speaks of receiving the Spirit “by the hearing of faith.” The genitive “of faith” is a genitive of source, that is, hearing has its source in faith. One must have faith (as a power) before one can truly hear the gospel and lay hold on it (faith as an activity). One will only hear the gospel, in the sense of believing it to be the saving Word of Christ to him, if the Spirit has first worked faith in his heart.

There is the two-edged sword of the gospel. Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 13:13, where He quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 to explain the (unbelieving) hearing of the gospel by those who do not have faith: “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” To those who believe, Christ proclaims, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matt. 13:16).

Now we need to say more about the order of salvation with regard to faith and regeneration. The Arminian heresy teaches that one must, by one’s own free will, ask for regeneration before one receives it. It was this carnal idea that faith precedes regeneration that prompted Billy Graham to write a book entitled, How to Be Born Again.

How foolish! One can no more give oneself the spiritual birth than one can give oneself a physical birth. Only those possessing spiritual life can manifest it in believing the gospel. Only those with a new heart can trust in Jesus Christ from the heart.

Without contradicting what has just been said and without falling into any form of Arminianism, there is a sense, however, in which regeneration and faith come logically and chronologically in exactly the same place in the order of salvation.

To explain, I need to distinguish more clearly two different aspects of faith: faith as a bond or a power and faith as an activity. Most are familiar with the latter so I will now set forth the former with the help of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7. The Catechism has spoken of the total depravity of those who are in the generations of Adam and Eve. The Catechism has said that the only way to be saved from this sinful state is by the Mediator, Jesus Christ. Then comes the inevitable question: “Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?” The answer is most emphatic: NO!

If all men are not saved, who then is saved? The answer is “only those who are ingrafted into [Christ] ... by a true faith.” The figure of grafting, used here, comes from John 15. It is a technique practised in horticulture. The figure is this. Christ is the vine. He lives out of His own life, which He gained through His mighty resurrection from the dead. Of ourselves, we are dead branches with no life. But we are grafted into Christ. It is His life that we receive at regeneration. It is new life, life free from sin, life greater than Adam possessed, life of covenant fellowship with the Triune God.

This life comes to us only through the bond of faith which grafts us into Christ. This is faith: the graft that binds us to Christ. Out of this graft or bond of faith comes the activity of faith, our receiving as truth all that God has revealed in His Word and resting in Jesus Christ crucified for all of our salvation.

Like regeneration, the graft of faith is given us by God without our being conscious of it at the time. This bond of faith is given to some covenant children even before they are born physically, like Jacob (Gen. 25:22-26; Hos. 12:3; Rom. 9:11-13). This faith puts us into union with Christ, our life. One cannot graft a branch into another tree without the life of the mother tree flowing into the branch. We received the life of Christ, eternal life, when we were born again or grafted into Him by a true faith. Out of this flows our conscious trusting of Him—the activity of faith. Let us abide in Christ and His love, as John 15 teaches! 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  
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Philippines Mission Newsletter - October 2018

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
OCTOBER 2018 NEWSLETTER

~ Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) ~

Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches and our sister churches, greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

A New Reformed Church!

On the fifth of August, after our two worship services, I announced to Provident Christian Church, “You are now officially a Reformed church.” And their response? They clapped their hands, joyously and spontaneously, in thanksgiving to God! “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved” (Ps. 47:1-4).

Before we had lunch together that Sunday, in the fellowship hall downstairs, I briefly explained the following two passages of Holy Writ and applied them to the happy occasion: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thess. 2:15).

The ground of the announcement that Sunday was the official adoption of the Three Forms of Unity by the Steering Committee on July 29. From 2012 into 2018, we missionaries taught them the Reformed symbols: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dordt. We also taught them the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches. One of us planted, another watered, but God gave the increase (I Cor. 3:6). Then, on July 29, the Steering Committee adopted the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order, together with the Psalter and the Forms in the back of the Psalter.

When I explained to the Steering Committee the implication of adopting the Three Forms of Unity, namely, that they are now officially Reformed, their faces beamed, and they exchanged hearty hand-shakes. We praise our gracious covenant God for guiding PCC to become a Reformed church of Jesus Christ.

ProvidentCC Oct 2018

More Reformed Believers!

Throughout the months of August and September, the men of the Steering Committee and I visited those who expressed, in writing, a desire to join the now Reformed, Provident Christian Church. We asked them the three questions in the Form for Public Confession of Faith. I explained the questions as follows:
1. Do you believe the doctrines of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God; do you believe the doctrines of the Apostolic Creed; do you believe the doctrines of the Three Forms of Unity, as taught by us missionaries here in this church?
2. Is it your deep desire, by the grace of God, to hold firmly to this doctrine, to reject all false doctrines, and to strive to keep the commandments of God in a new and godly life?
3. Are you willing to submit to the government of Christ through the office bearers of this church and to the discipline of the elders, if you should become delinquent?

As of now, there are about twenty-five, previously baptized, adult believers at PCC who “have made a confession of the Reformed religion, besides being reputed to be of a godly walk” (Church Order, Article 61). Besides these, there are about fifteen children and young people who will confess their faith, Lord willing, in time to come. We thank our heavenly Father for His work of grace in the lives of these believers.

More Reformed Office Bearers!

Having compiled a list of confessing members, we proceeded to nominate new office bearers at our monthly Steering Committee meeting on September 23. We missionaries advised the members of the Steering Committee, for the sake of a smooth transition, to nominate themselves as the elders and deacons of the congregation.

Brothers Bien Montoya and Alex Dela Rosa were nominated to be elders. Brothers Mitch Suarez and Jun Armas were nominated to be deacons. Those four names appeared in the bulletin on the Sundays of September 30 and October 7 for the silent approbation of the congregation. There were no objections.

ProvCC officebearers 2018

The council of PCC, from the left: Bro. Alex Dela Rosa, Bro. Bien Montoya, [Rev. D. Holstege], Bro. Mitch Suarez, and Bro. Jun Armas.

On October 14, I had the privilege of leading the first Reformed installation service of Provident Christian Church. All four men answered “yes” to the three questions in the Form for Installation of Elders and Deacons. All four men then signed the Formula of Subscription in front of church, for all to see. I preached a sermon on Acts 6:1-6 entitled “The First Deacons.” After the service, the whole congregation was invited to stay for lunch and we enjoyed a great time of fellowship.

Recently at PCC, I decided to preach through the book of Titus. What Paul exhorted Titus to do in the churches of Crete struck me as very similar to our task at PCC: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5). Things have now been set in order at PCC. Elders and deacons have been ordained. Lord willing, we will begin administering the sacraments at PCC, for the first time since becoming a Reformed church, this November.

The next step for them is to request membership in the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP), which we plan to do at the February meeting of Classis, DV.

A Visiting Pastor and His Family

From October 15-19, Rev. Joe Holstege, his wife Lisa, and their son Jacob visited us here in the Philippines. He had been preaching for the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore, a sister church of the PRCA (and soon, Lord willing, also of the PRCP). They decided to hop over the sea to visit us. During their five days here, they were able to experience some Philippine culture and to meet some Filipino believers. On the Wednesday night that they were here, they were able to visit with Rev. Vernon Ibe and his family, to see the new church building of the Berean PRC, and to give a speech at PCC on personal evangelism. I was told that my brother is mas gwapo than me. I will let you figure out what that means and judge whether or not it is true ☺

Minister group Oct 2018

Pray that Christ will continue to build His church at PCC, and throughout the Philippines, and that He will strengthen these newly Reformed believers to hold fast the traditions they have been taught.

In Christ,
Rev. Dan Holstege

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First PRC, Edmonton AB to Host Special Public Lecture THIS Friday Night, Nov.23

Edmon lecture pornography 2018

From First PRC-Edmonton comes this special invitation for THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, NOV.23:

The Evangelism Committee invites you to a public lecture entitled “Fighting for Sexual Purity: The Battle Against Pornography” this Friday, November 23, at 7:30 PM (Mountain time). Discussed will be the pervasiveness of this sin in the world and church, the dreadful and destructive consequences of this sin, how we may guard against it, and the hope for those presently caught in its grip.

All in the area are welcome and encouraged to attend!

A live-stream of the lecture will also be available online at our church website at www.edmontonprc.org.

Pornography Lecture battle 2

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - November 2018

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
http://www.limerickreformed.com/
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Undoubtedly the highlight in recent months was the baptism of Chester and Dale Mansona, two brothers who with their parents have been attending the LRF since April 2011. It has been my privilege to catechise them in Bible History, Heidelberg Catechism, Essentials, and a pre-confession class covering the Belgic Confession, the Canons, and some of our distinctive doctri-nal positions, such as common grace, the unconditional covenant, the Bible on divorce and remarriage, worship, the calling of church membership, etc. At the end of the summer, the CPRC Council interviewed Chester and Dale and approved their request for baptism. The happy occasion took place on September 2 and I preached on Colossians 3:1-4, “Seeking the Things Which Are Above.”

baptism 2018 1baptism 2018 2

Baptisms: Chester and Dale

Our official activities also began again after the summer break in the week commencing September 2. I have four catechism classes: two on Mondays with my three nieces, Anna, Lily, and Hope, via video link (Old Testament History for Beginners, Book 2; and New Testament History for Juniors); one on Wednesdays (Old Testa-ment History for Beginners, Book 2, with Sebastian, Jason, and—for the first time—Penelope; and one on Saturday mornings (Essentials of Reformed Doctrine) with Colm and Irini. The children are on Lesson 11, while the Essentials class, an adult class, is on Lesson 12 (the Mediator and his names).

In our Tuesday evening Bible study we re-cently finished the post-exilic historical books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther; and we have begun I Peter. Recent sermon series included Psalm 103 (eight sermons) from July 29 to September 16 and a series (ongoing) on the Miracles of Jesus. I preached on many of the healing miracles between June and December 2016, but now I am concentrating mainly on the other (non-healing) miracles of our Saviour: turning water into wine, multiplying bread, walking on water, cursing the fruitless fig tree, etc. In addition, we have just started the sacraments section of the Heidelberg Catechism again.

At the beginning of November, Chester and Dale Mansona, Larisa and I attended an “Answers in Genesis Conference” in Athlone, about one and a half hours northwest from Limerick. Not only were the speeches good, but we also met Janet Napier from the CPRCNI and two of her children, as well as James Steele, a friend of the CPRC from Londonderry, at the conference. We also met a lady from Limerick who has since started coming to our Bible studies—she is a neighbour of Noel Kelly, who also attends the Fellowship. She has agreed to bring Noel to the Bible study every week, and she has also expressed interest in coming to our services, but so far she has not come. Pat, another somewhat regular attendee, expressed interest in having his daughter visit our Bible study. He says that she needs good teaching, so we shall see if she begins to attend our studies on I Peter.

friends 2018 1

Friends at AIG Conference

Another very exciting recent development was an email I received on August 17 from a young man in his early twenties. His email was entitled, “Catholic Seeking Alternative,” in which he expressed his disgust at the recent scandals in the Roman Catholic Church. I met with him on his lunch break the next day and discovered that he had been reading the Bible and Reformed websites and had come across the LRF website. He has been attending the LRF ever since—many of the services and most of the Bible studies. There are hindrances to his coming, however. His mother suffers from a very serious illness, for which she recently had surgery, so that he has had to look after her and even bring her to the hospital on certain Sundays, a work of mercy. He is also only one of two qualified drivers in his household, which means that his family either need the car on Sundays or want him to drive them to various places. When he cannot get to the services, he listens to the sermons online. He also has friends whom he wants to invite to the LRF, but they are quite hostile to Protestantism. Until recently, he and his friends attended Mass regularly, which is quite rare among the youth. Some of his friends even tried to persuade him to attend the papal mass held by pope Francis in Dublin on August 26, but he declined to go. We continue to pray for him, his mother, brothers, and friends.

Colm Ring managed to persuade a goodly number of people to come to one of our worship services recently. He encountered a number of young men from the “Church of God” in Dublin singing hymns in Limerick city centre. He took the contact details of one of them and invited him to the LRF. The he called us to see if we would host them for Sunday lunch (Colm and Irini usually have Sunday lunch with us). We agreed, expecting three to five people. However, on Sunday morning, the day after the Creation Conference, a larger group arrived, 12 adults and 3 children! That same weekend, Sam Watterson and Manuel Kuhs were in Northern Ireland and we had also invited Emily-Kate and Felicity Kuhs to join us for lunch. With Colm, Irini, Emily-Kate, Felicity, the Church of God people, Larisa and me, we had 21 people crammed into our house, and we did have adequate food (stir fry) to feed them all, although we had only 11 chairs. I preached on LD 23 (“Righteous Before God”) and we had a discussion about regeneration with a couple of the men—the “Church of God” is an Arminian “Holiness” group. After lunch, three of the young men sang Amazing Grace for us and then they all headed up to Dublin. I am still in contact with the group and hope to arrange another meeting with them.

 cog members 2018

Church of God visitors

We have also had other visitors in the past few months: Brian and Holly Fournier and their four daughters, a Reformed Baptist family from Massachusetts (September 2); my parents (September 9); Todd and Julie Wagenmaker, parents of Bethany who attended the LRF in 2014 while on a study abroad program (October 7), and Rev. Ken Koole (October 17). Next weekend, we plan to have Julian and Marie Kennedy from the CPRCNI; and the following weekend, we look forward to welcoming Larisa’s mother, Cindi, and Larisa’s aunt, Lori, to the Emerald Isle.

koole limrf 2018

Rev. Koole and Bill

As you have probably seen, the RFPA has published two books that I have written: Grace and Assurance: the Message of the Canons of Dordt and Micah: Proclaiming the Incomparable God. Feedback has been encouraging.

Pray for us, as we do for you,

In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn and Larisa McGeown

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Reformed News Asia - October 2018

Issue 51 - October 2018
Pamphlets

We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
NEWPamphlet!
Ageing
By Rev. den Hartog Arie & Lubbers MaryBeth

"Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not..."  
Psalm 71:18 

"For I know [Abraham], that he will command his children and his household after him...."
Genesis 18:19 

Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

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

From the RFPA website:

In 1618-19 the great Synod of Dordt met to counter the Arminian error that was threatening the peace and welfare of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands. The fruit of their deliberations was the Canons of Dordt, a creed which has defined the Calvinist, Reformed faith for centuries.

This accessible commentary on the Canons leads readers through the comforting message of the creed: being wholly saved by God’s grace—not one’s own merit—comes with the steadfast assurance of eternal and unchangeable election.

 
Audio Recordings
Click to listen to some sermons from 1 Timothy by Rev Joseph Holstege

The Salvation of the Chief Sinner
Male Leadership in Public Worship
The Women Called To Learn Quietly


 
 
Upcoming Events!
 
Reformation Day Conference 2018

Come join us in commemorating Reformation day this November!

Details in the poster below.
 
Vacation Bible School 2018

Details for VBS 2018 are out!

Date: 11 - 13 Dec 2018
Theme: Are you a Christ-like Giver?
Text: Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
Location: CERC
Registration: 4 - 25 Nov 2018

For further queries please contact Cheryl, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
CKCKS Camp 2018

The annual CKCKS Camp is back again! Save the dates!

Dates: 19-22 Dec 2018
Location: Pasir Ris Aloha Loyang

More details to be out soon!
 
Past Events...
 
CERC 31st Anniversary

CERC celebrated her 31st anniversary on 23rd September, under the theme 'Wall of Fire' (Zec 2:5). An exhortation was given by Elder Lee, followed by song presentations and a video which consist of greetings from friends and sister churches. The cake this year was surrounded by some very exciting candles and firecrackers. We are thankful to God for His grace and presevation yet another year, in providing for our needs and keeping us as a faithful church. May we continue to do everything for God's glory.
Church photo!
Exhortation by Elder Lee
Song presentation by the youths
The very exciting anniversary cake
CERC's session members
 
Visiting Ministers

We welcomed Rev Daniel Kleyn, his wife Sharon; Rev Spriensma, his wife Alva; and Rev Joseph Holstege, his wife Lisa and their son, Jacob over the past 2 months into our midst. Thank God for their dedicated labour and that we could receive the word of God through the faithful preaching. 

Once again, we are very grateful to God for the pulpit supply over the year. May we continue to pray and trust in God in all matters. 
Rev Daniel Kleyn and Sharon at Glowing Candles Bible Study
Rev Joseph Holstege, Lisa and Jacob trying local food
 
Notes
 
Salt Shakers

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

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

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