Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 30 August, 2015
“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
Our Lord’s Teaching on Children
Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:1-14; 21:12-17; Mark 10:13-16
Text: Mark 10:13-16
I. Children and the Kingdom
II. Children and Humility
III. Children and Praise
Psalms: 128:1-6; 109:8-14; 127:1-5; 8:1-9
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Enjoying the Communion of the Saints
Scripture Reading: Romans 12
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 21
I. The Partires
II. The Calling
III. The Manner
Psalms: 122:1-9; 109:15-20; 137:1-9; 16:1-7
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
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
This morning we witness the baptism of Jorja Sarah
Carmichael, daughter of Lee and Cherith.
We welcome Marco Barone. Marco has moved to Ballymena from
Limerick in order to do a PhD. at Queen’s University in
Belfast. If anyone has any extra household items that they
do not want, please talk with Marco.
On the back table are Rev. Stewart’s bi-monthly letter to
the PRC, a letter from Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane,
Washington, and devotional booklets for September.
With sadness, the membership papers of Karen Campbell and
her three baptized children (Zoe, Amy and Lea), were sent to
her home at their request.
The Tuesday Bible study will meet at 11 AM for further study
on Jacob in Hosea 12.
The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel
846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Haak is entitled “True Faith” (II
Brian Crossett’s term as elder expires this August. Brian
has been nominated for an additional 3-year term. A vote by
male confessing members to approve/disapprove of this will
be held after the evening service on Sunday, 6 September
(Church Order 22).
Catechism begins on Monday, 7 September.
class 1) Taylor, Josh, Corey, Bradley & Samuel (Beginners
OT, book 2)
class 2) Alex & Nathan (Seniors OT)
class 3) Jacob, Joseph & Chris LouHing (Heidelberg
Catechism, book 1)
Timothy Spence appeared before the Council this past week to
make confession of his faith. Timothy showed a good
knowledge of and love for the doctrines taught in the CPRC.
Unless there are any lawful written objections, Timothy’s
baptism will be held on Sunday evening, 13 September.
There will be tea after the evening service on 13 September,
in connection with Timothy’s baptism and the visit of Peter Kleyn and Case Verbeek, two young men from the PRC in
Michigan. It is Group B’s turn on the tea rota.
The next Council meeting will be Monday, 14 September.
Upcoming Reformation Lectures:
“Jan Hus: His Martyrdom and Ecclesiology,” S. Wales,
Thursday, 8 October.
“Jan Hus: His Martyrdom and Ecclesiology,” Ballymena,
Friday, 30 October.
Offerings: General Fund: 16 August - £501.06, 23 August -
Website Additions: 1 Indonesian translation and the
Apostles’ Creed in 4 more languages.
(an excerpt from Prof. Engelsma’s pamphlet,
“As a Father Pitieth His Children: Reformed Child-Rearing”)
Discipline is no enemy of parental love for their children.
Rather, love demands discipline, if this love for children
reflects God’s love for His children. The experience of
every believer convinces him of the truth of this, for the
Heavenly Father disciplines every one of His children.
Scripture teaches this emphatically. It is the powerful
doctrine of Hebrews 12, not only that the God who loves us
also chastises us, but also that it is exactly His Fatherly
love that chastises: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure
chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons ...” (vv.
6-7). God’s discipline is severe: rebuking, chastising,
whipping. This is the figure; the reality is sickness,
poverty, persecution, and death. It was not yet unto blood
among the Hebrew Christians, but it might come to this.
Because of the severity of the discipline, the chastised
were discouraged, wearied, fainting, ready to throw in the
towel and quit—their hands hung down and their knees were
The purpose of God with this discipline is our profit, “that
we might be partakers of his holiness” (v. 10). For the
rearing of us, instruction alone is not enough, not even
when the Teacher is God and the teaching, His Word. Our
depravity is so great, that chastisement is needed, in
Earthly parents must learn from this aspect of Divine
Fatherhood. A love for our children that is lax, that
withholds discipline, is not the love of God for them; in
fact, the wisdom of Proverbs says that it is not love at
all: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that
loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (13:24). It is not an
imaginary danger in our permissive age, that there are, in
the church, children and young people who have everything
they desire; who may do as they please; and who are
unrestrained, except by some Eli-like pleading that has no
teeth in it.
Parents must start early, showing that disobedience to God’s
Law, including disrespect for parental authority, is sin and
chastising wilful disobedience to that Law in appropriate
ways—a rebuke, a slap on the hand of the very young, a
spanking on the rear of the older child with a stick. If
nothing else motivates parents, let this move them, that
without the holiness produced by discipline also the
covenant children shall not see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).
It is necessary that our love discipline; it is equally
necessary that our discipline be administered out of love.
In the very passage in which He stresses the urgency of
discipline, the Lord points out, and warns against, an all
too common failure of us parents in the discipline of our
children. Referring to the earthly fathers who corrected us
and to whom we gave reverence, the apostle says, “For they
verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure
...” (Heb. 12:10). This is contrasted with God’s chastising
us for our profit. This rings painfully true to the
experience of us parents. How often are not our screams of
rebuke and our blows of chastisement, personal rage and
displeasure, with no purpose in the child’s welfare
We are inclined to overlook that, in those places where the
New Testament expressly addresses the duty of parents in
child-raising, e.g., Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21.
Scripture warns fathers against provoking their children to
wrath. Colossians 3:21 adds, “lest they become discouraged,”
i.e., broken in spirit. This evil is the abuse of parental
authority—the exercise of authority cut loose from love; a
harsh, selfish exercise of discipline. Many children are
ruined by laxity; I wonder whether as many are not ruined by
this tyrannical, love-less rule. Every disciplinary act must
be done by us parents (and by the Christian school
teacher!), consciously, out of love for the child as
covenant child of God. Every disciplinary act must be done,
consciously, with the purpose that the child be turned from
sin unto holiness. Every time the parent raises his hand in
discipline, he must remember that his hand is the hand of
God (cf. the Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 104).
Concerning this discipline, parents must be patient.
Patience is a marvellous perfection of God in His dealing
with us sinners; and it must characterize us. Our children
are sinners; they are bad sinners—no one knows this like a
Reformed believer; we also know whence they came by their
sinfulness. Without becoming tolerant of sin, we must be
patient with our sinful children. Thus, also, we will have
hope, when, at times, we do not see the fruit that we desire
Parents ought never to lose control of themselves in
discipline, not even when the children have sinned grossly.
It is possible for us virtually to destroy our children with
rage, with condemnation, with ridicule, and with beating. We
should call to mind our own plea of the Heavenly Father, in
Psalm 38:1: “O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither
chasten me in thy hot displeasure.”
Rebuke must be wisely mixed with praise of the children when
they do well. Some parents refuse to praise, or reward,
their children, as a matter of principle. This is a mistake.
Let God, once again, be our example: He praises and rewards
His children, for doing that which is their duty and for
doing that which He Himself works in them. We all know that
this is a strong incentive to obedience, glad obedience. So
it is with our children. Praise encourages them. How
discouraging, if all they ever hear from us is criticism.
God is the best Pedagogue: not for nothing is the Fifth
Commandment the first commandment with promise (cf. Eph.
If we are willing to discipline, we are ready and eager to
forgive, when, by the discipline, the Holy Spirit has worked
repentance in the child. We must express forgiveness to the
child, “God forgives you; and I forgive you.” Then, we must
forget about the fault.
... We love our children as covenant children, for God’s
sake, not at the expense of God’s glory. Our friendship with
them is in the Lord Jesus, not regardless of Him. Not every
one of the children of believers is a covenant child of
promise (Rom. 9:8). When one’s own child, by unbelief and
unrighteousness, denies Christ, the parent faces the choice:
my Christ or my child; and he chooses Christ. Then Christ
sends the sword into our very family “to set a man at
variance against his father, and the daughter against her
mother ... and a man’s foes shall be they of his own
household.” Whoever, then, “loveth father or mother more
than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or
daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:34-39).
Of course, the resort to church discipline may have as its
happy outcome the child’s repentance and salvation; and for
this the parent never ceases to hope and to pray.
This is Reformed, biblical child-rearing: love them; live
with them in friendship; and discipline them, taking the
Fatherhood of God as pattern.
If God’s Fatherhood of us cost Him His own Son, we cannot
expect our child-rearing to be easy, painless, and cheap.
But it is possible. Good rearing and a good family-life are
possible, still today. It is required of all parents who
name the Name of Christ. The possibility is not ourselves,
not at all. The possibility is the blessing of
God—sovereign, covenant grace—besought fervently in prayer,
for “except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain
that build it” (Ps. 127:1).