Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 2 April, 2017

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind ...” (Rom. 12:2)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Conclusion to Christ’s Farewell Discourse (1)
Christ’s Prophecy of Excommunication and Martyrdom  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: John 15:18-16:11
Text: John 16:1-4a

I. The Profound Meaning of the Prediction
II. The Fundamental Problem With its Perpetrators
III. The Two Reasons for Its Utterance
Psalms: 121:1-8; 33:15-22; 44:17-26; 119:161-168

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

The Conclusion to Christ’s Farewell Discourse (2)
The Spirit Convicting the World   [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: John 16:1-22
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 18; John 16:4b-11

I. His Three-Fold Work
II. The Vital Lessons
Psalms: 122:1-9; 34:1-9; 68:16-20; 143:5-11

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart or the elders

CPRC Website: • Live Webcast:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quote to Consider

Leon Morris: “The work of the Holy Spirit in the church is done in the context of persecution. The Spirit is not a guide and a helper for those on a straight way perfectly able to manage on their own. He comes to assist men caught up in the thick of battle, and tried beyond their strength” (The Gospel According to John, p. 692).

Herman Hoeksema on Lord’s Day 18: “In that Spirit he is ever present with us. And that presence is full of grace. Through the Spirit he is gracious to us, causes us to taste his grace, and makes us partakers of all the blessings of grace he merited for us. This is the nature of the presence of our ascended Lord. And this presence is constant. He never leaves us. We are not always conscious of this blessed nearness of the God of our salvation, but his presence never fails. We may wander far away sometimes, as sheep that go astray, so that we are oblivious to his presence; but he never forgets us or forsakes us, nor does he ever fail to bring us back from our evil wanderings to the blessedness of his fellowship. But in the measure that we live by faith, hear his word, and walk in his way, we also experience that Christ, the ascended Lord, with respect to his Godhead, majesty, grace, and Spirit, is ever present with us. The consciousness of that presence is the joy of faith” (The Lord of Glory, pp. 67-68).

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

A letter from the Philippines in on the back table.

The Kennedys leave for the Philippines and Singapore tomorrow. May the Lord be with them and keep them safe in their travels. The Grahams will be filling in as caretakers for the next month.

Monday evening’s Catechism Classes are finished for the year. We thank the parents for their cooperation and diligence in preparing their children for the lessons.

The Council meets tomorrow evening at 7:30 PM.

The Tuesday Bible Study meets at 11 AM to consider the land and the patriarchs.

The Belgic Confession Class meets on Wednesday at 7:45 PM to continue our study of article 32 by looking at the nature of church authority.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846 MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. R. Kleyn is “Messiah Must Suffer” (Mark 8:31-32).

The next S. Wales Lecture by Rev. McGeown on “Why the Trinity?” is planned for Thursday, 6 April, at 7:15 PM in the Round Chapel, Margam.

Plan now to attend a CPRC lecture by Rev. Stewart on “Are All Men in the Image of God?” on Friday, 12 May, at 7:30 PM.

Offerings: General Fund: £1,002.84.

Finding Life in Unexpected Places

Brian D. Dykstra


“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Eze. 11:19-20).

The June 2004 issue of Sky and Telescope contained a remarkable article. “New Hope for Life Beyond Earth” was written by Paul Davies, a physicist at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology.

Davies begins by recounting the surprising discoveries of the research submarine Alvin. In the early 1970s, the Alvin explored volcanic vents on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. “Biologists were amazed to see a variety of organisms living near the vents, in total darkness, and at enormous pressures.” These organisms were called “hyperthermophiles,” which refers to living things which can live in very high temperatures. This term is in contrast to thermophiles, which are organisms that live in high temperatures.

More fascinating discoveries have followed. “A few years later Cornell astrophysicist Thomas Gold ... persuaded the Swedish government to back a controversial drilling project.” Davies continues, “... the borehole drilled in the remote forests of Sweden did turn up something important: traces of organisms living several kilometres keep in the Earth’s crust.”

Davies reports, “At first Gold’s claim to have found signs of life so far underground was greeted with scepticism and even outright hostility. Colleagues were openly scornful, and Gold had trouble getting his results published. But by the mid-1990s several other research groups were finding microbes a kilometre or so deep too. In particular, boreholes drilled in the Columbia River region of Washington yielded a rich harvest of organisms, some of which were extracted and cultured in the laboratory.”

“About the same time, the International Ocean Drilling Project was recovering rock samples from nearly a kilometre beneath the seabed that were literally seething with microbes. It began to seem as if microbial life pervades the Earth’s subsurface to a depth of some kilometres. Because temperature rises with depth due to Earth’s internal heat, these deep-living organisms are also mostly thermophiles or hyperthermophiles. While it is too soon to say how extensive this deep, hot biosphere may be, it is clearly widespread, and its existence must be factored into the story of life.”

As is typical, a few scientific facts lead to flights of fancy. Davies then explains the implications of the discovery of deep-rock microbes for the search for life beyond Earth. Since organisms can live in such extreme environments on Earth, there is more hope for discovering life on the moons of Jupiter and on the planet Mars. The article concludes with several new speculations about how life may have evolved on Earth. For example, Davies wonders whether life could have first evolved in rocks on Mars, then transported to Earth when something crashed into Mars, sending rocks (with microbes protected inside) into space. These rocks then could have come to Earth. One cannot help but wonder why evolutionists find the Genesis account to be less plausible.

Nevertheless, what a testimony of God’s power in creation in that He can put life in a place where we would not expect to find it! There is life in solid rock! What would appear to have no possibility of harbouring life, has life.

We are reminded of God’s power of regeneration. Ezekiel 11:19 speaks of God taking away our heart of stone and giving us a heart of flesh. We totally depraved sinners, who have no hope of producing any spiritual life of ourselves, have life implanted in us by God. Our stony hearts, hard, cold, lifeless and resistant to God’s precepts, have been replaced with hearts of flesh which are soft, warm, lively and pliable to God’s law.

The verse above is clear that regeneration is God’s work. We read nothing here of man first being willing to be the object of God’s work. Ezekiel does not say that we must accept God’s offer of a heart of flesh. It is not the case that the elect had stony hearts which were principally better than the stony hearts of the reprobate. God alone has placed life where we could never hope to find it of ourselves.

Ezekiel 11:20 tells us the purpose of this work. We will be His people and He will be our God. We will experience and express the life of God’s covenant. May God grant that our children give evidence of this new life in our covenant schools.