Covenant Protestant Reformed
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 9 December, 2012
"Those that be planted in the
house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of
our God" (Ps. 92:13)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
John the Baptist's Birth and Preparation (6)
John in the Wilderness
Scripture Reading: Hosea 2
Text: Luke 1:80
I. The Fact of It
II. The Misrepresentations of It
III. The Significance of It
Psalms: 104:17-24; 18:28-35;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Sin, Sickness and God’s Glory
Scripture Reading: John 9
Text: John 9:1-3
I. Sin and Sickness
II. Sickness and God’s Glory
Psalms: 145:15-21; 18:36-42;
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of
the worship services, contact
If you desire a pastoral visit,
please contact Rev. Stewart
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
CPRC YouTube: www.youtube.com/cprcni
Quote to Consider
Bishop George Horne: "This dispensation in
the case of the Baptist [who lived for some years in the
wilderness], like many others relative to the prophets, was
extraordinary and miraculous; consequently, not to be
literally copied in any one, but in similar circumstances
and under a supernatural direction" (Considerations on
the Life and Death of St. John the Baptist [Oxford:
Clarendon, 1769], p. 39).
Dale G. Robinson: "We
can answer the question Was John the Baptist an
Essene? in a simple word: No. Any connection
between the two is only speculation based on the
similarities discussed here. interestingly, the
writers of the New Testament did not mention the
Essenes at all, and Josephus in his
accounts did not connect the two. We see no
reflection of Essene teachings in John's
teaching only similarities. the only thing that
similarities prove is that they are similar.
Both John and the Essenes drew on Hebrew
Scripture and the apocalyptic mood of the day.
We see God's hand on John as he went about
preparing the way for the Coming One, the Lamb
of God, Jesus. His heritage is forever. The
heritage of the Essenes, as important as it is
to our understanding of the first-century world,
lies in dusty ruins" ("Was
John the Baptist an Essene?" Biblical
Illustrator [Fall 2004], p. 50).
Hughes Oliphant Old: "The
wilderness had always been a place of repentance, a place of
preparation, a place of beginning anew. It was in the
wilderness that God had for forty years prepared the
children of Israel to enter the promised land. When the
people had been prepared by learning the discipline of the
law and by all the trials, wandering, and testings that we
read about in the story of the Exodus, then they were led by
Joshua across the Jordan River into the promised land" (Guides
to the Reformed Tradition: Worship, p. 9).
Announcements (subject to God’s
Theological Journal, a special issue on Herman Bavinck,
is available free on the back table today.
subscriptions are due. Please pay £19 to Rev. Stewart or pay
the RFPA (www.rfpa.org) directly via debit or credit card.
If you would like to subscribe, please talk to Alison
6 PM -
O.T. Beginners (Bradley, Alex & Kirstin)
6:45 PM - N.T.
Juniors (Nathan, Jacob & Joseph)
7:30 PM - Heidelberg
(Timothy & Jackie)
The Tuesday morning Bible
study will be held this week at 11 AM. We will look at
the end of this world in Revelation.
The Belgic Confession Class
will meet this Wednesday, at 7:45 PM, to continue article 18
on Christ’s temptations.
The Reformed Witness Hour
broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be
"God’s Command to Husbands and Wives" (Eph. 5:33) by Rev.
Next Lord’s Day evening will be
preparatory with the view to partaking of the Lord’s
Supper on 23 December.
The congregational dinner
will be held this year at Leighinmohr Hotel in Ballymena at
7 PM on Friday, 11 January. A sign-up sheet is on the back
Offerings: General Fund -
£630.04. Building Fund - £237.44. Donation: £31.
Website Additions: 1
Italian, 1 German, 1 Danish, 1 Spanish and 1 Kabyle (a
Berber language in Algeria) translations.
Rev. William Langerak
Standard Bearer, Volume 84/2008, Issue: 11
Rev. Langerak is
pastor of Southeast Protestant Reformed Church
in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
How easy it is to forget we live in the wilderness! With
solid homes, comfortable clothes, fine food, and
every convenience readily available—beds queen
size and king, cell phones and Internet, refrigerators and microwaves, RVs and SUVs,
doctors and hospitals—the wilderness seems
quite far away. But in the wilderness we
live, and there we shall die.
God did not create the world as such. The blame
lies with Lucifer, who, beginning with Eden,
transforms all he touches—from lush lands to
golden cities—into wilderness (Isa.
Spiritually, it is all wilderness, a waste-howling place (Deut.
great and terrible (Deut.
a solitary way where the soul faints (Ps.
men are entangled, shut in (Ex.
and die, their carcasses wasted and then
To travel there is to pass through the shadow of
It is a perilous place (II
a land of darkness (Jer.
great winds (Job
thorns and briars (Judges
hunger and thirst (Num.
fierce enemies (Jer.
and wild dragons, fiery serpents, and scorpions
And in the wilderness
expect to encounter the seven-headed scarlet
beast and its mysterious bejewelled rider, drunk
with saint-blood and blasphemous—Babylon the
Great, Mother of harlots, Abomination of the
Israel spent a long season in the
passing from one to another—Etham, Shur, Sinai,
Paran, Zin, Kedemoth, even Sin. And from the
moment they entered the wilderness they lusted exceedingly (Ps.
disobeyed and tempted God (Num.
They provoked Him to wrath and grieved Him (Deut.
Even after they entered Canaan—an imperfect
picture—they were never very far from more
Bethaven, Judah, Gibeon, Ziph, Maon, Engedi,
Moab, Jeruel, and Tekoa. In one of them, young
David would keep sheep from bears and lions (I
In another, John the Baptist would be a voice
crying, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (Mark
God always brings His church through the
grace, He transforms that perilous place into a
So in the wilderness,
Moses found safety from Pharaoh (Ex.
David hid from Saul and Absalom, and Elijah from
And how God has cared for His people there! In
its darkness, He appeared in blazing glory (Ex.
To the wandering He gave a law, a reason to
worship and give thanks (Lev.
He forsook them not, but by cloud and fire led
in the way they should go, gave His good Spirit
to instruct them, and sustained them so they
lacked nothing (Neh.
He made them to go forth as sheep, guided them
like a flock (Ps.
and delivered them in their distress (Ps.
For the hungry and thirsty He furnished a table,
rained bread from heaven (Ps.
and brought geysers from the rock (Ps.
He numbered them (Num.
humbled them, and proved them (Deut.
He carried them as a man bears his son (Deut.
and kept them as the apple of his eye (Deut.
How comforting that the ministry of Jesus began
in the wilderness. Among wild creatures, hungry, thirsty, and
sorely tempted, Christ overcomes the Beast (Mark
In the wilderness Jesus feeds the multitude (Matt.
seeks that which is lost (Luke
and is lifted up that whosoever believes on Him
should not perish (John
Because of His covenant of peace, they dwell
safely there (Eze.
He gives His church eagle's wings to fly to her
place, nourishes and keeps her safe from the
And He transforms that waste-howling
wilderness into a
new thing (Isa.
He pours out His Spirit from on High so that the
barren place becomes fruitful (Isa.
the solitary place becomes glad, the desert
place blossoms as the rose, and waters break out
into streams (Isa.
Even the animals shall honour Him (Isa.
He shall comfort all the waste places and make
them again like Eden, the garden of the Lord,
where joy and gladness are found, thanksgiving
and the voice of melody (Isa.
Out of the wilderness He comes forth, like pillars of smoke, and the
church also, leaning upon her beloved (Song