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 - March 2016

Covenant Reformed News

March 2016  •  Volume XV, Issue 23

The Forty-Two Months


A lot of people wonder about the 42 months spoken of in the book of Revelation (11:2; 13:5). Are they literal or are they symbolic? When do they begin? When do they end?

Chapters 11-13 of Revelation contain five references to various periods of time, which I will quote in the order of their appearance in the inspired text. “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (11:2). “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth” (11:3). “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (12:6). “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (12:14). “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” (13:5).

You will notice that in these three chapters, we have the following three temporal terms: 1,260 days, mentioned twice (11:3; 12:6); 42 months, also mentioned twice (11:2; 13:5); a time, times and half a time, mentioned once (12:14).

Let us look carefully at these three temporal periods. First, if we reckon that there are 30 days in a month, how many days are there in 42 months? The answer is 1,260 days! Second, 42 months are how many years? Since there are 12 months in a year, 42 months are 3 ½ years, which is the equivalent of “a time [1], and times [2], and half a time [½]” (12:14), for 1 + 2 + ½ = 3 ½. Thus these three time periods are the same! The 1,260 days are equivalent to 42 months, which are equivalent to 3 ½ years or times.

Is there any indication in Revelation 11-13 that these three time periods are the same and coextensive? Yes. First, in Revelation 11, the 42 months are mentioned in verse 2 and the very next verse refers to the 1,260 days (3). Second, in Revelation 12, the woman or church in her place in the wilderness is fed for 1,260 days (6) and, in a parallel statement, we are informed that the woman in her place in the wilderness is “nourished for a time, and times, and half at time,” that is, 3 ½ times or 3 ½ years (14).

Having established that the 1,260 days are the 42 months, which are the 3 ½ years or 3 ½ times, we need to find out when they start and when they end.

In Revelation 12, the woman brings forth a male who is to rule the nations, Jesus Christ, who ascends to His throne in heaven (5). What happens the woman upon Christ’s ascension to, and reign from, heaven? “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (6). Thus the 1,260 days start upon Christ’s ascension and session at God’s right hand.

Moreover, with Christ’s ascension to His throne, Satan is cast out of heaven (9-10, 13) and persecutes the woman for 3 ½ times or years (13-14). Clearly, the 1,260 days and the 3 ½ years or times start at the same time, namely, with Christ’s enthronement in heaven.

When do the 1,260 days or 3 ½ times or years end? Well, when does the devil cease attacking the woman, the church? When does God no longer need to protect, feed and nourish the woman, His church, from the attacks of Satan? The answer is at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the devil will be cast into the lake of fire and the whole catholic or universal church will be glorified!

We see the same truth regarding the end of the 1,260 days or 42 months or 3 ½ times in Revelation 11. The two witnesses give their testimony for 1,260 days (3). After this comes the eternal reign of Christ over all kingdoms in the new heaven and the new earth (15), which follows the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment, including God’s rewarding His saints (18). From a study of the 1,260 days in Revelation 11, again we see that our period ends with the bodily return of the incarnate Son of God.

Putting all this together, when do the 1,260 days or 42 months or 3 ½ times in Revelation 11-13 start? With the Lord’s ascension and session. When does this period end? With Christ’s return, when “the kingdoms of this world [shall] become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (11:15).

In Christological terms, the 1,260 days or 42 months or 3 ½ times run from Christ’s session at God’s right hand to His bodily return at the end of the age. In terms of years, this period is from about AD 33 to the present day and onwards, a time of almost 2,000 years so far. In other words, the 1,260 days or 42 months or 3 ½ times are coextensive with the “last days,” another important biblical term for the time between Christ’s enthronement in heaven and His return on the clouds.

Thus we have the answer to the question, Are the 1,260 days or 42 months or 3 ½ times literal or symbolic? Obviously, they are not literal since a lot more time than 42 months have elapsed since Christ ascended to heaven! This period is symbolic, as one would expect in a book which tells us in its very first verse that the truth that it contains is “signified,” that is, presented in sign form (1:1). This is also in keeping with the other symbolic numbers in this last book of the Bible, like the 24 elders, the 7 seals and trumpets and vials, the 144,000 saints, etc. Rev. Stewart

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“The Interlude and the Seventh Trumpet,” 8 sermons on Revelation 10-11 in an attractive box set (CD or DVD), is available from the CPRC Bookstore for just £5/set (inc. P&P). Free video and audio of these sermons can be found on the CPRC website and YouTube site.
 

The Theodicy (1)


“We are often rightly told that God will not remember our sins and has removed them from us to an infinite distance (as far as the east is from the west) and buried them in the deepest sea. So how can those same sins be brought out into the open on the judgment day, with every believer being rewarded according to his works? Are our sins not to be brought up again as they are all atoned for and simply our works judged? Because surely the quality of the works will expose the sin inherent in them?”

I have given my answer to the reader’s question the title, “The Theodicy.” It is a term almost unknown in our day, being rarely, if ever, heard in any churches or found in any theological books and writings. That is sad. It is an important theological word that ought to be known by anyone who claims to be a Calvinist or a believer in the Reformed faith. Its demise in the church’s theological vocabulary is due to the fact that theology today is depressingly man-centred and no longer God-centred. The term “theodicy” directs our thoughts and theologizing to God, not to man.

The word means, literally, “the justification of God.” It refers to the final judgment when the end of this present world comes with the return of Christ. The theodicy is another word for the vindication of God in the judgment day when all men appear before the judgment seat of Christ. It does not concentrate on the judgment day as such but it points to the purpose for which all men need to be judged.

After all, there are many judgment days and many ways in which God judges men. God judges every deed of every man at every moment of this life. Scripture calls this judgment of God “conscience.” God testifies in every man’s conscience whether He approves of what a person does or whether He disapproves. God is judging that man not only but is informing that man of His judgment.

Every man is judged at the moment of his death, for at death he goes immediately to heaven or to hell. That too is the execution of God’s judgment.

But one all-important thing has not yet taken place: the justification of God in all His works, that is, the theodicy. Throughout the ages, men spin their own wicked theories about God to deny His judgment. At bottom, the problem is that they do not want God to have all the glory—yes, all the glory. So they whine about the fact that eternal predestination cannot be true and that it makes God unjust. This is especially true of reprobation. “How can it be true,” they say, “that a merciful God throws sinners into hell? In fact, how can there be a hell with its everlasting suffering, if God loves all men. How can God ignore all the good deeds the wicked do and send a man to hell for giving millions to charitable institutions? How can a person possibly say that a sinner is going to hell when he has never had a chance to accept Christ?” One would think they are more merciful and righteous than God Himself!

It is the same clamour that Paul already knew as an objection to sovereign predestination: “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will” (Rom. 9:19)? The answer to this question is, indeed, at least in the first place, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast though made me thus?” (20).

It is basically the same answer Jehovah gave to Job when he searched for an answer from God for his terrible afflictions: “Who do you think you are, Job? Do you think that I have to justify what I do? Do you, less than a speck of dust, have any business at all summoning me to the dock to explain what I do so as to justify myself?” When Job heard that, he cried out, “Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not ... I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:3, 5-6).

Do men fall on their faces next to Job and repeat his words that come as an agonizing cry out of their hearts? Oh, no. They rather join hands with the Arminians who were condemned by the Synod of Dordt. The Arminians claim that the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in election and reprobation make Him “the author of sin, unjust, tyrannical, hypocritical … that it renders men carnally secure, since they are persuaded by it that nothing can hinder the salvation of the elect, let them live as they please; and, therefore, that they may safely perpetrate every species of the most atrocious crimes; and that, if the reprobate should even perform truly all the works of the saints, their obedience would not in the least contribute to their salvation … that many children of the faithful are torn, guiltless, from their mothers’ breasts and tyrannically plunged into hell.”

Although these terrible charges against the truth were made four hundred years ago and although our Reformed fathers, in the “Conclusion” to the Canons of Dordrecht, “not only do not acknowledge, but even detest [them] with their whole soul,” people and theologians say the same things against the truth today. John Wesley, a heretic of the first class, made the same railing accusations, yet he is hailed today by supposedly Reformed theologians as the epitome of a Christian!

Does anyone really think that the eternal God of heaven who hears all these slanders against Him will let them pass? God is a jealous God. He will justify himself and show the entire world that He is good and righteous, and that all men are liars. Even Satan and his black host of demons will have to cringe in fear when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ and hear the great God justify all He has done in history. Demons, pompous theologians, so-called shepherds of the sheep, those admired and extolled by the ungodly, all without exception, shall bow their knees and “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11).

Those who are opposed to the truth of the sovereign God should ponder this: What are you going to say to the exalted Christ when He thunders from His great white throne, “Why did you not uphold My truth?”

The Most High will publicly, before the whole world, justify all He did as the sovereign God. How God justifies Himself in the theodicy is the answer to the question asked by the reader. We shall return to it next time, the Lord willing.    Prof. Hanko


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

 


Ballymena Lecture

"Our Identity in Christ"

In our Western world, there is a crisis regarding human identity, involving personhood, sexuality and gender, etc., with some reckoning they are merely evolved animals. But what does God’s Word say about the identity of His children in Jesus Christ?

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

Friday, 18 March
7:30PM

at the CPRC

This lecture will be streamed liveon the CPRC website

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S. Wales Lectures 

"Who Is in the
Image of God?"

In discourse by Christians, there is a lot of talk about the image of God. But what actually is it? Are unbelievers also in the image and likeness of God? What does Holy Scripture say? What is the testimony of the Reformed confessions? And why is the issue of the image of God so important?

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

Thursday, 7 April
7:15 PM

at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)

www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm

ALL WELCOME!


Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord

11 sermons on Zephaniah
on CD or DVD in an attractive box set

Though little known, Zephaniah is rich and profound. He develops the theme of the day of the Lord through his inspired book. Learn the eschatology of this minor prophet and what it says to us today about the day of our Lord Jesus Christ!

£12/box set (inc. P&P)

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

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.” Thank you!
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British Reformed Fellowship Family Conference

16-23 July, 2016

at Castlewellan Conference Centre
N. Ireland

Theme:
"Behold, I Come Quickly:" The Reformed, Biblical Truth of the End

Speakers:
Prof. D. Engelsma, USA
Rev. A. Lanning, Singapore

More information and booking forms available at
www.britishreformed.org
brfconference,weebly.com

Read more...

Covenant Reformed News - February 2016

CPRC News Header

Covenant Reformed News

February 2016  •  Volume XV, Issue 22



Rewards for the Saints at Thyatira and All Overcomers


In the last two issues of the News, we saw that the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29) was commended by Jesus Christ for five virtues or gracious activities: love, service, faithfulness, perseverance and good works: “I know thy … charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first” (19). In this concluding article, we will treat the threefold reward of grace that the Son of God gives to His saints at Thyatira and to all who overcome the world, the flesh and the devil by faith (26-28).

First, our Saviour promises, “And he [or she] that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him [or her] will I give power over the nations” (26). This encourages all God’s people to serve in the body of Christ in any way that they can, no matter how small. We are tempted to be discouraged because typically in the church we are only doing little things in a small sphere: “What is my labour in the congregation worth? Surely, it is of little importance!” Perhaps, the children and the elderly are particularly prone to think this way, maybe, in part, because they and their help have been sinfully slighted by more “able” members.

We must be confident of the mind of Christ regarding all our love, service, faithfulness, perseverance and good works in His church, no matter how small or apparently insignificant. The Lord thinks so highly of them—and remember that they are His works in and through us (26)—that He will reward us with the gift of ruling the world! We sow small ecclesiastical labours and we will reap massive cosmic and “political” rewards (cf. Gal. 6:8)! Moreover, we will govern the world from heaven and in the new heavens and the new earth, together with all the glorified saints and in Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Revelation 2:26 speaks of our “power [or authority] over the nations.” This too is significant. In this life, few Christians have civil authority (I Cor. 1:26-29). Some in the church are given spiritual authority by the Lord Jesus in the offices of pastor, elder or deacon. Even then ecclesiastical officer-bearers are forbidden to lord it “over God’s heritage” (I Pet. 5:3). “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” is the calling of all believers (Eph. 5:21). Yet, in the next life, Christ Himself will give us all the authority or right to rule over all the nations. This is an authority of which the President of the United States or the leadership of the United Nations or even the Antichrist, the man of sin and son of perdition (II Thess. 2:3), who will come at the end of this age, can only dream. Truly, “the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matt. 20:16)!

The Lord Jesus describes our reward further in this second statement: “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:27). You will have recognized that this verse cites Psalm 2:9, which is an Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messianic king. However, the “he” in Revelation 2:27 is the individual believer, as a consideration of the verse’s last clause and a comparison between verses 26 and 27 makes clear.

The idea is that Christ receives from the Triune God the authority to smash the ungodly nations. He then shares this holy duty with His elect, redeemed, regenerated and glorified people. Thus we are speaking here of our union with the Lord Jesus, especially in His kingly office (cf. Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 32). It also must be pointed out that we will be administering God’s judicial sentence upon His enemies and not our own sinful, personal vengeance during our earthly lives.

Again, the difference between our good works and our reward as God’s people is startling. In this life, we serve the body of Christ with love and faithfulness; in the next life, we are given the power to destroy the wicked! The text is very graphic. Whereas Christians are currently more used to wielding a vacuum cleaner or a pen or a spade, in the age to come God will give us “a rod of iron,” with the impenitent wicked being clay pots. We will shatter and smash them into pieces, even tiny shivers! This will happen not by political revolution nor by civil rebellion but by our spiritual glorification.

Our Lord Jesus also makes a third promise regarding our eternal inheritance: “And I will give him the morning star” (28). What is meant by “the morning star”? Christ Himself explains at the end of this book of Revelation: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (22:16).

If it strikes you as strange that Christ should give Himself to us as the morning star, you should recall that the Lord Jesus, the bread of life, gives Himself to us as the bread of life (John 6). In general, what else does our Redeemer give us apart from Himself and all things in Him?

So what is the idea of Jesus Christ as “the morning star”? It is an image of beauty and light, heavenly beauty and light. Moreover, the morning star is the herald of the dawn of the new day of rich covenant fellowship with the Triune God after death and in the new heavens and the new earth for ever!

Listen to Christ’s words: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:29). This includes, beloved child of God, believing, remembering and drawing comfort from Christ’s rich promise of a glorious reward to all who overcome by His grace!    Rev. Angus Stewart

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“The Seven Churches in Asia,” 12 sermons on Revelation 2-3 in an attractive box set (CD or DVD), is available from the CPRC Bookstore for £12/set (inc. P&P). Free video and audio of these sermons can be found on the CPRC website and YouTube site.

A Plethora of Languages and Christ’s Catholic Church


A reader from N. Ireland sent this question for consideration in the Covenant Reformed News: “Does Genesis 10:1-5 suggest a plethora of languages (dialects?) before Babel?” I am not quoting the text to which the brother refers because it gives us some of the genealogies of the sons of Noah. The reader himself can look up the verses.

What the questioner apparently assumes is that Genesis 10 precedes the confusion of languages in Genesis 11 chronologically (i.e., as regards time). However, that assumption is wrong.

It is true that the confusion of tongues at Babel is recorded in the next chapter but it is clear that the chronologies of Genesis 10 go beyond Babel chronologically, for verse 25 refers to the “division” at Babel.

In speaking of the children of Shem, Moses tells us that the covenant line that ultimately brought forth the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, was from this son of Noah, not Japheth or Ham. This was in fulfilment of Noah’s prophecy in Genesis 9:25-27. In connection with the line from Shem to Eber, Genesis 10:25 states, “And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided.” Then Scripture gives us the line of Joktan, Peleg’s brother in the rest of Genesis 10. The covenant line, through Peleg, is picked up again and extended in Genesis 11:16-32 from Eber to Abraham.

So the answer to the question above is simply this: Genesis 10 records genealogies chronologically beyond the division of the people at Babel. Scripture then goes on to record for us what took place at Babel in Genesis 11.

The event of Babel was such a tremendous event and so important for an understanding of Bible history that I am going to take the liberty to go beyond the question and say a few things about Babel.

The confusion of languages at Babel was not simply a work of God in which He gave various groups of people a language that they had never had before. The word “languages” is used in Scripture to designate much more than languages. It refers to the fact that God divided all the people of the earth into races. In fact, it was most likely that the three major “races” were created by God at Babel: the Jews and Arabians from Shem; the white race from Japheth; and the yellow and black races from Ham. Each race was not only different in colour, but also different in physical and psychical characteristics.

Gradually, as the races moved in different directions, each race was also given different parts of the world for its possession. Then each race, separated geographically, was in turn divided into individual nations.

God made such differences between the people for two important reasons.

The negative reason was a blow sent to men to prevent them from forming prematurely the Antichrist. Nimrod, the obvious leader of all that lived under his rule, was bent on building a tower that would keep all the peoples of the earth together so that they could accomplish a one-nation world to make war against God (Gen. 10:8-10). That effort, in building the tower of Babel, would have meant the obliteration of the line of God’s covenant and the prevention of the birth of Christ.

Henceforth, because of Babel, the history of the world is characterized by repeated warfare between the races and the nations in the endeavour of each to build a one-rule empire, but one in which each nation wants to be superior to all the others, e.g., Babel, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. The line temporarily ends with Rome, because the new dispensation is the time of the gathering of a catholic church. When that elect church is nearly gathered, the final Antichrist will rule.

In discussing all this, Scripture describes what happened at Babel as the “deadly wound” of one of the heads of the beast which will be “healed” (Rev. 13:3). The last Antichrist succeeds, under the sovereign providential government of Christ, to unite the world in one kingdom over which he rules. Babel was God’s way of preventing Antichrist’s rule until the catholic or universal church is gathered.

That is the positive purpose of Babel. Dividing the world into races and nations, God gathered a truly catholic church from all nations and tribes and tongues. I am not speaking of the false Roman Catholic Church but of Christ’s universal church of those elected from eternity, redeemed in the cross and preserved unto glory by the sovereign mercy of the living God.

I cannot go into the beautiful doctrine of the catholic church here. It is sufficient to say that it takes an almost infinite variety of people to reveal fully the riches of God’s grace! God’s grace is so rich and full that it is like a diamond, each facet of which reveals another colour found in one beam of light. Babel has served its purpose and all the catholic church will be gathered!    Prof. Herman Hanko (ermeritus PRC Seminary)

Homer C. Hoeksema: “Finally, for a little while at the very end of history, the wicked world will apparently succeed in overcoming the effect of Babel’s deadly wound; but that will be only to enable the final kingdom of Antichrist to fill the cup of iniquity to the very last drop in order that the wicked may be cast out into the everlasting confusion and desolation of which Babel is a picture. The only true and lasting unity is made from all the nations of the world in our Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and raised, through his Spirit, beginning on the day of Pentecost. There the difference in tongues falls away, so that in Christ Jesus the elect, new humanity, the church, is united in the bond of faith. That kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ shall have the everlasting victory. Babel is the name of the world. Babel is the world’s essential character. God confused them, and he shall confuse them in the end and forever. But they who love the Lord Jesus Christ shall inherit the everlasting kingdom” (Unfolding Covenant History, vol. 2, pp. 79-80; available from the CPRC Bookstore for £18, plus £1.80 P&P).

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An attractive box set of 9 CDs entitled “The Church’s Invisibility, Unity and Catholicity,” on Belgic Confession 27, is available from the CPRC Bookstore for £10/set (inc. P&P). Free audio of these classes can be found on the CPRC website.


UPCOMING LECTURES

(1) S. Wales Lectures

"The Love of the World"

Both John and James (and therefore the Holy Spirit) forbid friendship with the world (I John 2:15-17; James 4:4). But what is “worldliness”? How can I avoid worldliness, on the one hand, and world flight (Anabaptism), on the other hand? Come to hear the truth from the Word of God!

Speaker: Rev. Martyn McGeown

Thursday, 25 February - 7:15 PM

at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)

(2) "Who Is in the Image of God?"

In discourse by Christians, there is a lot of talk about the image of God. But what actually is it? Are unbelievers also in the image and likeness of God? What does Holy Scripture say? What is the testimony of the Reformed confessions? And why is the issue of the image of God so important?

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

Thursday, 7 April - 7:15 PM

at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)

www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm

ALL WELCOME!

Read more...

Covenant PRC, N.Ireland Newsletter - February 2016

CPRC News Header

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,


Church Visitors


2016 PRCdelegatesRev. Nathan Decker (Trinity PRC) and Elder Pete VanDerSchaaf (Faith PRC) were this year's church visitors (9-16 January). Besides their official visitation with the CPRC Council (11 January), Rev. Decker did a fine job with both Sunday services, a Bible study on the purpose and role of our ecumenical and Reformed creeds, and a special lecture on “God's Beautiful Covenant of Grace” (13 January).


As well as advertising the speech by word of mouth, flyers through peoples' doors, a trailer after our Northern Ireland Reformed Witness Hour broadcast, notification through the Covenant Reformed News and Facebook, the Ballymena Guardian (7 January) and the Belfast News Letter (9 January) carried short articles. Even the latter, though only one paragraph and tucked away at the bottom of a piece about Christians in the Ulster rugby team, brought a lady visitor. The lecture was well attended and has received a lot of hits on-line (audio and video). A good number of books were sold.


While Rev. Decker was preparing his speech, Pete helped us collate and staple hundreds of copies of the new CPRC Book Catalogue (www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore/BookstoreCatalogue2016.pdf).

Our two American brethren also visited a number of our members in their homes. Their last evening with us was occupied with our annual congregational dinner. Rev. Martyn McGeown, Manuel Kuhs, and Chester Mansona of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF), as well as other friends of our congregation also joined us. Erik Prins (Trinity PRC) even flew in from Germany. The length to which single men will go for a good meal! William Graham, as always, gave a superb quiz, and Pete may be the only church visitor who has ever been on the winning team!


South Wales

Our last lecture in the Round Chapel in Port Talbot in South Wales went very well (28 January). The subject, “Our Identity in Christ,” covered the loss of man in contemporary secular thought and presented the comfort of our union with the Lord Jesus.


David Hutchings, a friend in South Wales, has been promoting the speeches that Rev. McGeown and I give in Port Talbot. Through the special Facebook page he created for this purpose, three new contacts came to this lecture. Two other young men also attended for the first time. Twenty-two people were present—a good number for us. Some £200 worth of books and box sets of CDs and DVDs were sold, and a lot of free PR pamphlets were taken.


The speech was followed by a good and wide-ranging question time. Though I only touched on the subject in passing, “Our Identity in Christ” raised queries in many minds about the image of God, so I told the saints that it will be the subject of my next lecture in South Wales, DV.


Other News


The Belfast News Letter (29 January) published a letter I submitted on “Deformed Lutheranism and Unreformed Rome Commemorating the Reformation Together” (www.cprf.co.uk/articles/lutheransromereformation.html). We reprinted about 800 copies of Rev. Ron Hanko's very short but incisive pamphlet, “Some Further Objections to the Free Offer of the Gospel” ( www.cprf.co.uk/pamphlets/furtherobjectionstofreeoffer.htm ).


Our latest box set of CDs and DVDs contains 8 sermons on “The Interlude and the Seventh Trumpet” (Rev. 10-11). Since they cover the mighty angel astride land and sea, and the two witnesses, they have proven especially popular on YouTube.


The preaching of late is on the second table of the law (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Days 39-44) and the three chapters of one of the less-known, but significant, minor prophets: “Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord.” Recently, Tuesday morning classes on Hosea have covered Israel's kingship and God's covenant. Our Wednesday night class has been exploring two attributes of Christ's church: catholicity and holiness (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/belgicconfessionclass.htm). All are beautiful and rich subjects, for there is such a depth to God's Word!


The last couple of years have seen a number of large expenditures (for a church our size), most of which consisted of one-off items. Just when our bank account was running low, on top of the generous giving of the congregation, we received substantial donations from outside the church from saints in Northern Ireland, Australia, the U.S., and England. The Lord graciously provides for His people at the right time.


Since my last bimonthly letter, we have added 26 translations to our website ( www.cprf.co.uk/languages.htm ). These have involved believers in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America: (Brazilian) Portuguese 4 (including a very lengthy article, “The Image of God in Man: A Reformed Reassessment”), Hungarian 6 (Covenant Reformed News articles), Italian 3 (by Marco Barone), Afrikaans 5 (by Nic Grobler, a Reformed elder in South Africa), Indonesian 5 (including Rev. A. Brummel's pamphlet, “Bringing Forth Children in an Age of Selfishness”), and Korean 3 (by a Korean theological student in W. Michigan).


Castlewellan NI BRFC 2016As you should have seen from the bulletins in the various Protestant Reformed Churches, the booking form for the 2016 British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference is now available (http://brfconference.weebly.com/). You are warmly invited to join us at Castlewellan Castle, Northern Ireland for a week this summer (16-23 July). Prof. D. Engelsma and Rev. A. Lanning are our speakers on “Behold, I Come Quickly: The Reformed, Biblical Truth of the End.” Already we have a goodly number of people signed up or seriously considering coming.


May the Lord bless and keep you, your families and your churches in our ungodly world!


In Christ,
Rev. and Mary Stewart

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Covenant Reformed News - January 2016

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Covenant Reformed News

January 2016  •  Volume XV, Issue 21



Thyatira: A Persevering and Working Church
 

In the last issue of the News, we saw that the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29) was characterized by three graces: love, service and faithfulness. The Lord Jesus Christ also mentions a fourth quality of this congregation: its patience, that is, its perseverance: “I know thy … charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience” (19).

Perseverance is a wonderful grace in believers and church members. The Greek word used in our text means “remaining under,” that is, remaining under a burden placed there by the Lord, without buckling under it. A congregation which perseveres is one that sticks to its calling and presses on in its obedience to the living God without being disheartened, quitting or compromising.

This spiritual grace is especially necessary for church office-bearers but it ought to be a quality evident in all the members of the body of Christ. Those who do not persevere in godly church life will never achieve much in the kingdom of God, and their lives will be filled with gnawing regrets and discontentment.

It is relatively easy to do your bit when the sun is shining and all are applauding you on every side. But the grace of perseverance is vital to keep on loving your fellow church members, year in and year out, even if you learn more about their annoying ways and weaknesses.

We also need to persevere in our service to the body of the church, even if we get little thanks, or if we are treated poorly, or if we see little or no fruit for our labours, or if the church does not grow or becomes smaller.

Each church member must persevere in faithfulness. We must not give way to despairing thoughts like these: “I don’t feel like doing this any more. Sure, no one will notice if I just stop or slack off from church work. Other people don’t seem to be pulling their weight, so why should I bother?”

We must all be very clear as to the reason why we labour in the body of our Lord Jesus Christ! Our primary motivation must be love of the Triune God in gratitude for His great redemption of us from our sins through the cross of our Saviour, the incarnate Son of God. What drives us in our service must not be the desire to be seen or praised of men, like the Pharisees (Matt. 6:1-18). Our standard is not the behaviour of other church members, never mind the weaker ones in the congregation. Our rule is God’s inspired and holy Word!

So persevere in loving the saints; persevere in service in the church; persevere in faithfulness to your calling as a member of a true manifestation of Christ’s body! Here you see how the fourth virtue of the church at Thyatira qualifies the previous three.

Christ’s fifth word of commendation regarding Thyatira concerns its “works:” “I know thy works … and thy works” (Rev. 2:19). Twice this verse speaks of “works.” The first refers generally to everything the congregation does; the second refers to good works.

What qualities does the infinitely holy and just God consider necessary for good works? First, their source is love for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Second, their standard is the law of Jehovah. Third, their goal is the glory of the covenant God. The nature of the good works in view in our text is especially service in the body of believers, and the characteristics of such service include faithfulness and perseverance.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said about Thyatira, “I know thy good works!” What a commendation! What an encouragement!

To all of this our Lord adds a very important concluding statement: “I know thy ... charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first” (19). The italicized words refer to Thyatira’s works, her good works—not their quality (as such) but their quantity.

Christ here tells this congregation that they are doing works of loving, faithful, persevering service and that these good works are more than they were in their beginning! Are you doing more good works than last year? Than five years ago? Than 10 years ago? Even if you say, “I don’t know,” Christ knows!

By Jehovah’s covenant grace, Thyatira was performing more good works. It was “stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58). And it was abounding more and more in good works! Surely, great rewards from the liberal God will be given to such people—the reward of grace, as it is rightly called!

Christ declares that “he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end” (Rev. 2:26) will receive an exceeding great and precious reward. The Lord Jesus speaks to all seven congregations in Revelation 2-3 of “him/he that overcometh” but to Thyatira only does he add, “and keepeth my works unto the end.”

Thus we learn that the good works of the church at Thyatira—the loving, faithful, persevering service in the church by the saints—are here called Christ’s works! He performed these works in each and every member of the congregation and over many years. They are His works because they were performed by the church’s members through Christ’s own Spirit whom He purchased for His people on the cross.

We too must understand, beloved, that our good works are Christ’s works. Christ is working spiritually in the hearts and lives of believers in true churches so that they faithfully serve their fellow saints in love. What an amazing thing!

Christ personally promises and gives rewards to all who overcome and keep doing His works to the end. We will consider our gracious and rich reward in the next issue of the News, D.V.   Rev. Angus Stewart, pastor of Covenant PRC, Ballymena
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“The Seven Churches in Asia,” 12 sermons on Revelation 2-3 in an attractive box set (CD or DVD), is available from the CPRC Bookstore for £12/set (inc. P&P). Free video and audio of these sermons can be found on the CPRC website and YouTube site.

Our Old Man and New Man (3)
 

Our readers will recall that in the last two issues of the News, I was discussing the Bible’s teaching concerning “the old man” and “the new man” in the child of God. I explained that Scripture repeatedly speaks of a war that goes on and must go on between these two—in the very life of the believer and, indeed, in the whole of his Christian life. The battle is unending and bitterly serious, sometimes leaving the saint weary beyond description and even, occasionally, overcome by the power of his wicked flesh.

Nevertheless, in this life-and-death battle that goes on in the Christian, the new man, the Christian from the viewpoint of God’s work of grace in him, always has the victory. The Scriptures assure us of this and urge us on to be steadfast in the battle because we need not doubt that the victory will come. We are united to Christ by faith, which faith is the victory that overcomes the world (I John 5:4).

We need to be assured of our victory, because the battle is fierce and we ourselves experience times when our evil flesh seems indeed to have triumphed and we are all but buried beneath the load of our sin and guilt.

The certainty of victory lies, first of all, in our union with Christ. Christ is the Captain of our salvation, and He fought and utterly defeated our enemies: Satan, his demons, the wicked world and our own sinful flesh. The sacrament of baptism signifies and seals this victory in the elect, for it is a sign that we have been crucified with Christ and also raised with Him (Col. 2:11-12). Immediately after saying this, Paul reminds us of our regeneration: that is, of the creation of “the new man” in us (13). The victory is certain because Christ on His cross blotted “out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (14-15).

The Christ who began the good work in us will perform it until it is completed in the resurrection of our bodies (Phil. 1:6). We experience that victory in this life. We do not give up the battle in discouragement. We fight in a way analogous to the victory of an army against an invader. The battle is really won but mopping-up operations have to be carried on for several weeks after the battle is over. We are engaged in these mopping up activities, while our enemies have been principally defeated.

We are victorious over our sinful flesh in the prayer for forgiveness. We pray, as the publican did, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). The publican went home justified—assured in his heart that all his sins are so forgiven that he is righteous in God’s sight. God sees no sin in him. That is victory for it is God who is our Judge!

We are victorious when we fall into sin, and lie wounded and bleeding on the side of the pilgrim’s road we walk. So wounded are we that we sometimes consider giving up, for the cost of battle appears too great. But we do not give up. We fight off our weariness and continue on our path with a determination that comes from our Lord who fights in us to give us the victory He has won on the cross.

We are victorious when we walk with God in the blessed consciousness of the covenant He established with us in Jesus Christ, for it is with us as it was with Enoch, who “had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb. 11:5).

We are victorious when we come to the cross of Christ to seek help in time of need in the confidence that “it behoved him [i.e., Christ] to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (2:17-18).

We are victorious when we know assuredly that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” and so we “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (4:15-16).

To cheer us in the battle, God gives us the picture of the Christian warrior (Eph. 6:10-17), victorious in the fiercest battle. His spiritual armour is defined, and he is urged to withstand the fiery darts of Satan and to stand in the confidence of the armour with which he is protected. The picture is of a warrior, bloodied and wounded, weary with a weariness that reaches his bones, a broken sword in his hand, his helmet knocked askew, who can hardly lift his arm to slay yet another enemy, yet he is still standing: “and having done all, to stand” (13). The battlefield is littered with the dead whom he has slain, but he remains on his feet! This is the victory he has in Christ Jesus, the Captain of his salvation, whose warrior he is. The perfect rest of heaven is guaranteed him with the Lord’s words ringing in his ears: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant ... enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21)!    Prof. Herman Hanko (emeritus, PRC Seminary)
 
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Heidelberg Catechism (1563):
Q. 88. Of how many parts doth the true conversion of man consist?
A. Of two parts: of the mortification of the old, and the quickening of the new man.
Q. 89. What is the mortification of the old man?
A. It is a sincere sorrow of heart that we have provoked God by our sins, and more
and more to hate and flee from them.
Q. 90.  What is the quickening of the new man?
A. It is a sincere joy of heart in God, through Christ, and with love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works.
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A box set of 12 CDs or DVDs of the 2014 BRF Conference entitled “Be Ye Holy: The Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification” is available for £12 (inc. P&P) from the CPRC Bookstore. You can also listen or watch these lectures free on-line.
 

Ballymena Lecture

God’s Beautiful Covenant of Grace

 God’s covenant with His beloved people in Jesus Christ runs through the whole of sacred Scripture, yet it is often overlooked or misunderstood. So what is God’s covenant? What is its beauty? And how does it comfort and encourage us as the children of God?

Speaker: Rev. Nathan Decker, USA

Wednesday, 13 January
7:30PM

at the CPRC

This lecture will be streamed live on the CPRC website
___________

S. Wales Lectures

(1)

"Our Identity in Christ"


In our Western world, there is a crisis regarding human identity, involving personhood, sexuality and gender, etc., with some reckoning they are merely evolved animals. But what does God’s Word say about the identity of His children in Jesus Christ?

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

Thursday, 28 January
7:15 PM


at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)

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

(2)

"The Love of the World"


Both John and James (and therefore the Holy Spirit) forbid friendship with the world (I John 2:15-17; James 4:4). But what is “worldliness”? How can I know if I am worldly or if my church is worldly? How can I avoid worldliness, on the one hand, and world flight (Anabaptism), on the other hand? Come to hear the truth from the Word of God!

Speaker: Rev. Martyn McGeown

Thursday, 25 February
7:15 PM


at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)

ALL WELCOME!
 

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Covenant Reformed News - December 2015

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Covenant Reformed News

December 2015  •  Volume XV, Issue 20


Thyatira: A Church of Love, Service and Faithfulness
 

Since many people have a hard time keeping straight the seven churches of Revelation 2-3, I will start with four simple facts about the congregation in Thyatira (2:18-29). First, Thyatira was the smallest town or city amongst those mentioned in Revelation 2-3. Second, though this congregation was in the smallest of the seven cities, Christ’s letter to it is the longest in Revelation 2-3. While Ephesus gets 7 verses (2:1-7), Smyrna gets 4 verses (8-11), Pergamos gets 6 verses (12-17), Sardis gets 6 verses (3:1-6), Philadelphia gets 7 verses (7-13) and Laodicea gets 9 verses (14-22), Thyatira receives a whopping 12 verses. Third, Thyatira was the city of Lydia, “a seller of purple,” “whose heart the Lord opened,” whose household was baptized and who hosted Paul and his companions (Acts 16:14-15, 40). Fourth, Thyatira was the church of “that woman Jezebel” (Rev. 2:20).

So there you have it: the church in Thyatira was in (a) the smallest city yet it received (b) the longest letter; it was a congregation famous for two women: (c) Lydia, her actual name, mentioned in Acts 16, and (d) Jezebel, her “spiritual” name, mentioned in Revelation 2.

The first strength of the church of Thyatira that is highlighted by the Lord Jesus Christ is love: “I know thy ... charity” (19). Whereas the standout, positive feature of Ephesus was labour, persevering labour even in disciplining false apostles (1-3, 6), the main virtue of the congregation in Thyatira was love.

Theirs was a love for the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They loved Jesus Christ, who loved them and bought them with His own precious blood. They loved one another, as brothers and sisters in the Lord; they loved their neighbours; they even loved their enemies, desiring their salvation, praying for them and doing good to them.

What a high and beautiful commendation uttered by the Son of God Himself: “I know your love!” Would He say this about our churches? Is the first of the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit evident in our congregations (Gal. 5:22-23)? Do our churches exemplify the love of I Corinthians 13?

The second virtue of the Thyatiran congregation is its service: “I know thy ... charity, and service” (Rev. 2:19). The saints ministered to each other, as Christ’s willing slaves who serve the Lord.

In today’s terms, this would include the members of the church gladly giving others lifts to public worship, serving tea at meetings or bringing meals to the sick, visiting the afflicted, eagerly helping in the various ministries of the congregation, assisting the young mothers or elderly, etc. Their attitude was not: “Do I have to! Surely somebody else could do it!” In the church of Thyatira, the members believed in helping one another and this was their practice too, their holy service as a kingdom of priests, working together in Christ name as a harmonious body.

The source of their service was their love: “I know thy … charity, and service” (19). Because of their Christian love, they were willing volunteers in the service of the Triune God and one another. Because of their love, they wanted others to join them in the worship of the Lord, and so they evangelized and sought to bring others under the preaching of God’s Word, that they too may believe in Jesus Christ crucified.

What about us? “I know their love and their service? Because they love Me, they are a serving congregation.” Is this what Jesus Christ in heaven says about our churches? And what about each of us individually? What service of your fellow saints do you do? How do you assist and aid them out of Christian love?

The third gracious characteristic of the congregation in Thyatira is its faithfulness: “I know thy … charity, and service, and faith” (19). That the idea of the word here rendered “faith” is that of faithfulness is seen from the development of the verse. Out of their “charity” or love sprang “service” which was characterized by faithfulness. In other words, they were faithful in their service because of their love for the living God and their neighbour.

The office-bearers and members of the church in Thyatira were faithful in their loving service in little things, as well as big things. They showed faithfulness towards all the saints, not only the more comely parts of the body but the less comely parts too. The excellent motto of the congregation in Thyatira was “Faithful, loving service!”

What do you think of this church? Would you want to be a member of a church like Thyatira? Perhaps you think that you could do with being served and helped, and maybe you really could do with such assistance. The implied exhortation is that we need to serve others, especially our fellow saints in Jesus Christ, who taught us, “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:27-28).

This is a high calling of service, the imitation of our Saviour, but it is the calling of every Christian and every member of a true church. The godly Christian life and the life of faithful church membership are not easy but they lead to perfect joy in heaven with the Lord, and great peace and blessedness here below!  Rev. Stewart
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“The Seven Churches in Asia,” 12 sermons on Revelation 2-3 in an attractive box set (CD or DVD), is available from the CPRC Bookstore for £12/set (inc. P&P). Free video and audio of these sermons can be found on the CPRC website and YouTube site.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Our Old Man and New Man (2)
 

I shall have to summarize the questions asked in this issue of the News, for the questioner sent in more material than we have room for in this article. The issue involves the New Testament concepts of our “old man” and our “new man.” The questions ask for these terms to be identified and the concepts explained.

The questioner especially refers to two texts: Ephesians 4:22-24 and Colossians 3:9-11. The texts seem to convey the idea that in the life of the Christian this work of God is completed (Col. 3:9-10) and yet the believer is admonished to put off the old man and put on the new man (Eph. 4:22-24).

The questioner further says, “This leads to a wider question concerning the nature and extent of the change that has taken place in the believer. What is the believer’s relationship to the old man and the old nature?” He then points out that II Corinthians 5:17 speaks of the believer as a “new creature.” He reminds us that Ephesians 2:3 teaches that we “were by nature children of wrath.” Are we to infer from this that when we were quickened we were given a new nature? If so, where do the struggles of Romans 7 come from?

The questioner ends with saying, “I recognize these are fundamental questions but the answers sometimes given are anything but clear.” To this, I will definitely add a loud “Amen.”

In the last issue of the News, I defined some key terms. I can now go ahead and answer the questions submitted.

In a certain spiritual sense, the regenerated Christian is a schizophrenic person: that is, he has a split personality, as it were. Paul writes of this in Romans 7, a passage appealed to by the questioner, that, although he wants to do the good, he does not do it: “For the good that I would I do not” (v. 19). He also writes that the evil that he does not want to do, he does: “but the evil which I would not, that I do” (v. 19). As any Christian knows from his own experience, both of Paul’s statements are true. Paul does both: he hates sin, but does it; he wants to do the good, but does not do it. And both can and often do happen at the same time. A regenerated Christian finds himself hating sin but doing it, in spite of his desire not to do it; and he finds himself striving to do good, but he sins nonetheless.

I have found that a good way to explain this aspect of the life of the child of God is to use the analogy of the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel was composed of two elements: the elect and the reprobate. The elect were those who served God and the reprobate were the carnal element in the nation who turned the people again and again to idols. Both lived side by side. This situation in the nation is analogous to the regenerated Christian who has a new heart which cannot sin but also a totally depraved nature. Between these two is constant warfare, both tugging the child of God in opposite directions.

Paul describes this bitter and awful conflict in Galatians 5:17, where by the word “flesh” Scripture refers to our depraved natures: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Before our spiritual renewal, we were “children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3). Moreover, our old natures remain totally depraved even after our regeneration.

In the nation’s history, the reprobate element were many times in control of the nation and the nation as a whole sinned by doing all the evils that the wicked nations outside of Israel did. The elect were still present, for God told Elijah that he had reserved unto himself seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal (I Kings 19:18). But even the elect remnant did not always remain holy in their lives; they too fell into idolatry. This situation is analogous to the elect Christian who sometimes falls into many sins. His totally depraved nature is dominant in his life. He engages in many sins and seems to be a wicked man. The life of regeneration is hidden by the sins of his evil nature.

But at other times, the new man in Christ has control of his life. He lives in fellowship with God, prays fervently, enjoys His favour and walks in good works. This is analogous to Israel when the elect were in control of the nation and the nation served God, worshipped in the temple, brought sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin and were clearly a nation dedicated to God. Such was the situation in the nation during the reigns of David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah. Yet the wicked were still present in the nation.

This is the battle that goes on in the Christian all his life. It begins at the new birth and continues till he dies.

One more point in the analogy. When the nation of Israel as a nation lived faithfully in the service of God, their service was never perfect. Even at the peaks of Israel’s life of obedience to God, there was much that was sinful. And when the wicked had control of the nation and the nation as a whole walked in all the ways of the heathen, the nation was never totally like the heathen, for the elect were always present.

And so it is with the Christian. Even when the child of God lives a worldly life so that one seeing him would think him an ungodly man, the Spirit does not depart from him, but continues his work of grace so that the elect, sinning child of God, repents, turns to the cross of Christ for forgiveness and enjoys God’s favour again.

But when the Christian lives in obedience to God, because of his evil nature, he still is far from perfect. The authors of our Heidelberg Catechism were profound in their understanding of human nature and remind us of two things: even our best works are corrupted and polluted with sin, and we have only a small beginning of the new obedience (Q. & A. 62, 114).

We cannot conclude with our emphasizing that, in spite of the hardships, the regenerated in Christ is always victorious. It is not as if the outcome of the battle is ever in doubt. Nor is it ever true that the Christian attains perfection in this life, as some claim. But I reserve this word of great comfort to the next issue of the News.    Prof. Hanko
 
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A box set of 12 CDs or DVDs of the 2014 BRF Conference entitled “Be Ye Holy: The Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification” is available for £12 (inc. P&P) from the CPRC Bookstore. You can also listen or watch these lectures free on-line.
 

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

God’s Beautiful Covenant of Grace

 God’s covenant with His beloved people in Jesus Christ runs through the whole of sacred Scripture, yet it is often overlooked or misunderstood. So what is God’s covenant? What is its beauty? And how does it comfort and encourage us as the children of God?

Speaker: Rev. Nathan Decker, USA

Wednesday, 13 January
7:30PM

at the CPRC

This lecture will be streamed live on the CPRC website
___________

S. Wales Lecture

"Our Identity in Christ"


In our Western world, there is a crisis regarding human identity, involving personhood, sexuality and gender, etc., with some reckoning they are merely evolved animals. But what does God’s Word say about the identity of His children in Jesus Christ?

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

Thursday, 28 January
7:15 PM


at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)

www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm


ALL WELCOME!
 

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Covenant PRC-NI Newsletter - December 2015

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11 December, 2015

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Two Pallets

      On Thursday, 3 December, two pallets of Reformed literature from the US were delivered to the CPRC manse.  They contained many boxes of specific titles:  the last two British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) books, The Reformed Worldview and Ye Are My Witnesses; Federal Vision:  Heresy at the Root and Our Goodly Heritage Preserved from the RFPA; Christ's Spiritual Kingdom from Redlands PRC; our Reformed creeds, both the green hardback and the pink softback versions; A. W. Pink's The Sovereignty of God; three books of sermons by John Calvin; and Don Doezema's three-volume Upon This Rock.  Other boxes were packed with pamphlets from various PR evangelism committees and the daily devotionals from the Psalms.  Besides these were many other individual titles from the RFPA.

rfpabooks dec 2015

      It was a busy day with the opening of the boxes, checking them all off, putting CPRC stickers at the back of the many hundreds of books and pamphlets, and arranging them on our shelves.  Over the next few days, the excess books were transported to church, where some filled out the bookcase in the narthex and others were stored in boxes upstairs.

      Amazingly, though we had deliberately let our stock run low, we did not run out of a single book, but it was getting mighty close.  Now our spiritual arsenal has been replenished!  With the arrival of the beautiful new hardback on Gottschalk by Connie Meyer, we created a webpage to let our online customers know that it is now available from the CPRC Bookstore.

      Our thanks to the staff at the RFPA for packing all these materials for us and taking care of the paperwork for the transportation.  We are also grateful to the saints at AIM (Active in Missions) who gave us $1,000 towards the cost of the shipping at the American end.

Hus Lecture

      This year, 2015, was the 600th anniversary of the martyrdom of Jan Hus, the great pre-Reformer from Bohemia.  I had been looking forward to this commemorative year for some time, as it would give me an opportunity to study this great man, his life and his doctrine of the church.

Jhus 2015

      I gave a lecture in South Wales on “Jan Hus:  His Martyrdom and Ecclesiology” (8 October) with a good number in attendance.  This trip to Wales also enabled Mary and me to meet up with Timothy Spence, a member of the CPRC, who is studying medicine at Cardiff University.

      On 30 October, this speech was given as a Reformation lecture in the CPRC, this time with slides of quotations from Hus and pictures of the key locations in his life, including Husinec (where he was born), Prague (where he was a university lecturer and preacher at the Bethlehem Chapel), Kozi Hradek (the castle where he wrote much of his great work, De Ecclesia), and Constance (where he was burnt at the stake).  We had a fine night.  Advertising included an article in the Ballymena Guardian (29 October), and the English Churchman carried a report of the event (13 & 20 November).  The audio (www.cprc.co.uk/ huslecture.mp3) and the video (www. youtube.com/watch?v=ED8fpNVZ07M) of the lecture are both online.

Other News

      I had a letter exchange with a humanist in the pages of the Belfast Telegraph regarding the redefinition of humanity (9-17 November).  Alongside the evolutionary and politically-correct redefinitions of mankind, persons, marriage, gender, love, bigot, etc., is the redefinition of the omnipotent, holy God as the pathetic god of one attribute: an unrighteous, ineffectual love (www.cprf. co.uk/articles/redefininghumanity.html).

      Recently, the 13 CPRC catechumens had their midyear test; they did well. 

      The church has now set up the minister's pension.  The UK civil government is rolling out a programme that requires all employers to provide a pension to their employees.  Julian Kennedy, one of our deacons, spent many hours arranging this on behalf of the church council.

      “Christ's Intercession” is the subject of the latest CPRC box set of CDs.  It explains the character, extent, content, and mode of our Lord's intercession, as well as errors and mistrust concerning it, in connection with Belgic Confession 26.  Our Wednesday night doctrine class has now moved on to the next article on “The Catholic Christian Church” (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/belgicconfessionclass.htm).  What great and comforting truths!

tapeset dec 2015

      32 translations have been added to our website in the last two months (www.cprf.co.uk/languages.htm):  14 Spanish (baptism and the church), 9 Hungarian (Psalm singing, plus Calvin's sermons on election and reprobation, etc.), 7 Indonesian (Christian education by Brian D. Dykstra of Hope PR School, etc.), 1 Portuguese (God's uncommon grace) and 1 Nepali (Heidelberg Catechism, our 40th on-line language of this beautiful creed).

      The booking form for the 2016 British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference (“Behold, I Come Quickly:  The Reformed, Biblical Truth of the End”) should soon be coming out (http://brfconference. weebly.com).  We hope to see many of you at Castlewellan Castle, Northern Ireland (16-23 July)!

      Thank you all for your cards, support, and prayers!

In Christ,
Rev. and Mary Stewart

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