Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 28 August, 2016
“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 Life of Jacob (3)
Jacob Finagles the Birthright
Scripture Reading: Genesis 25:7-34
Text: Genesis 25:27-34
I. The Preceding Years
II. The Scene Itself
III. The Spiritual Evaluation
Psalms: 103:1-7; 7:1-6; 119:9-16; 25:1-7
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
The Purposes of God’s Law
Scripture Reading: Romans 3:9-31
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 2
I. The Wrong Views
II. The Biblical Teaching
III. The Personal Conviction
Psalms: 106:1-7a; 7:7-12; 14:1-7; 119:25-32
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services,
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart
or the elders
CPRC Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live Webcast:
CPRC YouTube: www.youtube.com/cprcni
Quotes to Consider
Robert Harbach: “Esau despised the birthright! What height
of folly to give up God, Christ, and heaven for the riches,
honors, and pleasures of this world! ... Esau held his
birthright cheaply. He trampled it under foot. How many
professing Christians do the same! Their Christian baptism
is a sign of the birthright. How many young people sell
their birthright, deny their baptism, their Christian
training, and the responsibilities and privileges of the
Christian life for a mess of worldly advantage they think
they need” (Studies in Genesis, p. 518).
Homer C. Hoeksema: “What are the implications of this choice
[of pottage rather than the birthright]? Esau chooses for
the flesh over against the spirit, for the moment over
against eternity, for the world and its lusts over against
the covenant of God” (Unfolding Covenant History, vol. 2, p.
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
Some 2016 Acts of Synod of the PRC are available on the back
Philip Hall’s term as deacon ends in August. Church Order 22
advises that members be given “an opportunity to direct
attention to suitable persons,” so if you have anyone you
believe should be nominated for this office, please speak
with Rev. Stewart or an elder.
The Tuesday Bible study meets this week at 11 AM to continue
our study of the OT ceremonial law by looking at the law of
bodily discharges (Lev. 15).
Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel
846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Haak is “The Secret Providence of
God” (Job 19:21).
Monday evening’s Catechism classes begin 5 September. Books
are on the table.
5:45 PM - Taylor, Josh, Corey & Katelyn (Beginners NT)
6:30 PM - Bradley & Samuel (Juniors OT)
7:15 PM - Jacob, Joseph, Alex & Nathan (Heidelberg
Catechism, book 2)
The next council meeting is set for Monday, 5 September at 8
Belgic Confession Class resumes on Wednesday, 7 September,
at 7:45 PM to study Article 28 on “Every One Is Bound to
Join Himself to the True Church.”
S. Wales Lecture: Rev. Stewart will speak on Friday, 30
September, 7:15 PM on “Are Unbelievers in God’s Image?”
CPRC Reformation Day Lecture: Friday, 28 October, 7:30 PM on
“John Owen and the Death of Christ.”
Offerings: General Fund: £907.60. Donation: £400 (England).
New translations: 1 Spanish.
PRC news: First Holland will call from a trio of Revs.
Brummel, Huizinga and R. Kleyn. Rev. Griess is considering
the call to be third missionary in the Philippines.
Led in the Right Paths
Brian D. Dykstra
Proverbs 4:11-12: “I have taught thee in the way of wisdom;
I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps
shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt
I still remember when my wife and I took our first child
home from the hospital. I unlocked the door, stepped into
the kitchen of our Loveland, Colorado, apartment, and placed
the baby, who was safe and secure in her car seat, on the
kitchen table. The baby immediately began to cry. I looked
at my wife. I was wondering, “O.K., now what?” I knew
nothing about babies. I had held one baby one time in all my
life. I had no idea what this child wanted. Meeting the
physical needs of our children is challenging enough. What
about instructing them in the fear of God? So, what’s a
father to do?
We have a good example to follow here. The father in
Proverbs 4 taught and led his son. He was active in his
son’s life to point out how the son should live his life
before the face of God. The father was not a predestination
fatalist. He did not assume the attitude that the salvation
of his son was determined by God in eternity, so whatever he
does, or does not do, is of no consequence. How could his
actions affect God’s eternal determination of the destiny of
his son’s soul? If his son is saved, he’s saved. If he is
not, he’s not. It’s out of his hands and, therefore, there
is nothing he can do about it either way.
This father obeys his sovereign Lord. One aspect of being
sovereign is that one may do as one pleases. He is free to
do according to his own will. Nobody can tell him what to
do. Yes, God is sovereignly free. He will elect whomsoever
He will by grace alone.
Yet, there’s another aspect of sovereignty which we
sometimes forget. A sovereign king has the right to tell
those under him how he wants things to be done. God has told
us how He wants His children reared. We may not sit back and
hide behind the doctrine of predestination, as though we
have no work to do in the rearing of His children. God
commands us to teach and lead the children He has given to
us. We had better do as He commands or there will be
spiritual consequences, and God will hold us accountable.
This father taught his son. He pointed out the way marked
out by God’s word. He told his son what was good and what
was evil. God has the right to determine that and we have
the obligation to obey. Just as a father taught his son the
use of the bow and arrow to hit a target, the father pointed
out the mark of obeying God.
This father also led his son. He and his son walked the same
path of life, hand in hand, as a father leads his young son.
This was not some random wandering, “Let’s see where the
path happens to take us today.” The path was deliberately
chosen. The father had a certain goal to achieve. He was not
as a workman seeing whether or not he could bend a piece of
wood into an as yet undetermined shape as an experiment. He
was as a man placing his foot on his bow to bend it enough
so he could pull the bowstring tight over it. He has a
clearly defined goal, a dedicated purpose.
The father did not teach his son the way of the world or how
to measure up as a man in the eyes of society. He taught the
way of wisdom. This way was not some nearly overgrown, hard
to see path in the remote hills. This way had been travelled
many times by those who had gone before and it is easily
visible. The way is a course of life, one’s usual way of
living, conversing and acting. This was wisdom’s way, the
way of the skilful use of God’s Word to determine what
decisions to make in the different stages of life.
He led his son in paths which were right. The path did not
lead through brambles or patches of poison ivy. It did not
go by the opening of the bear’s den or on a narrow ledge
along the side of a windblown cliff. The path ran straight
and even. Also, this path had been used many times, so often
in fact, that it had nearly become a trench. It was a track
which had been used over and over again in the past. The
father led his son on the path which had been used
innumerable times by God’s people. It was nothing new. It
was an old path.
As a result of his father’s faithful instruction, the son
experienced benefits. First, his steps were not straitened.
This does not mean his steps ran straight and true to the
south or some other direction. This is “strait” in the sense
of a narrow, difficult passage. Think of the Straits of
Magellan. The son’s steps were not in a way which was
oppressive or difficult. Although the son would experience
the oppression of the wicked for his steps on God’s right
path, he would not feel that God’s hand was raised against
him in anger. He would not suffer the vexation of his soul
for turning onto the path of sin. His experience of covenant
fellowship with the Triune God in Jesus Christ would be warm
The second benefit for the son was that, when he ran, he
would not stumble. There is a pace to life as we walk before
God. Often the days move by in a regular rhythm. We live
each week in a routine. The weeks go by without any great
change. Life is a steady walk.
However, sometimes the pace quickens. Our children make
important decisions. Suddenly, big plans have to be made.
Perhaps there is a move to attend college or take a job in
another part of the country. To prepare for these great
changes, the pace of life quickens. We and our children run.
Because this son has been taught the way of wisdom and was
led in right paths, he will not stumble. He will discern the
temptations around him and avoid them. He will not stumble
into sin. He will not waver because his knees or ankles are
weak and feeble. He will run strongly and evenly with God’s
law to give him strength.
May God use our schools, and may teachers and parents do
their parts, to show His children wisdom’s way and the right
paths. Then God’s children will not stumble but will walk
the beautiful way of fellowship with Him.