Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 13 December, 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

The Interlude and the Seventh Trumpet (8)
The Blowing of the Seventh Trumpet
  [download]  [youtube]
Scripture Reading: Revelation 11
Text: Revelation 11:14-19

I. The Major Errors
II. The Eschatological Fulfilment
III. The Joyful Utterances
Psalms: 145:10-18; 119:81-88; 2:6-12; 68:1-4, 34-35

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

The Corinthian Collection on the First Day  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 16
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 38

I. Why?
II. Where?
III. How?
Psalms: 92:1-8; 119:89-96; 41:1-6; 112:1-6

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:

Philip Edgcumbe Hughes on Revelation 11:15-19: “The last of the trumpet blasts presages the clearing of the way for final judgment and the Lord’s everlasting rule in the new heaven and earth. The loud voices in heaven herald the momentous consummation of all God’s purposes for mankind and the world, as the eschaton, the Day of the Lord, the last day of the last days, is reached and the true king and lord of all is conclusively shown to be the Lord and his Christ and not Satan, whose arrogant clutching at the kingship of the world is revealed as totally futile and worthless. Though the absolute sovereignty of Almighty God was never insecure, the world went after a false god and a false king (cf. Mt. 4:8-10; Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4); but now, redeemed by the incarnate Son, the world is brought back to its true allegiance. It is in this sense that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of the true God.”

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

Public worship is a sacred and holy calling to seek and exalt the Triune God in Jesus Christ. As such, all should be punctual and prepared for the worship services. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee” (Ps. 63:1-3). “When the congregation is to meet for publick worship, the people (having before prepared their hearts thereunto) ought all to come and join therein; not absenting themselves from the public audiences through negligence … Let all enter the assembly, not irreverently, but in a grave and seemly manner” (The Westminster Directory for the Publick Worship of God).

RFPA Updates and Rev. Stewart’s bimonthly letter are on the back table.

This evening will be a preparatory service with the view to partaking of the Lord’s Supper next Sunday morning, 20 December.

Monday evening’s Catechism classes (No classes 21 Dec., 28 Dec. & 4 Jan.)
5:45 PM - Taylor, Josh, Corey, Bradley & Samuel (Beginners OT, book 2)
6:30 PM - Alex & Nathan (Seniors OT)
7:15 PM - Jacob, Joseph & Chris (Heidelberg Catechism, book 1)

The Tuesday Bible study meets at 11 AM to look at kingship in Israel.

The Belgic Confession Class will meet this week Wednesday at 7:45 PM to study our calling regarding the catholicity of the church in connection with Article 27.

Men’s Bible Study meets this Saturday, at the Kennedys at 8 PM to study Respectable Sins, chapters 17 & 19 on “Judgmentalism” and “Sins of the Tongue.”

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Bruinsma is entitled “Mary’s Miraculous Conception” (Matthew 1:18).

The next Council meeting is Monday, 4 January, at 7 PM.

The congregational dinner is scheduled for Friday, 15 January, at the Ramble Inn.

Upcoming Lectures:
CPRC, Wed., 13 Jan., 7:30 PM, Rev. Decker on “God’s Beautiful Covenant of Grace”
S. Wales, Thurs. 28 Jan., 7:15 PM, Rev. Stewart on “Our Identity in Christ”
CPRC, Fri., 18 March, 7:30 PM, Rev. Stewart on “Our Identity in Christ”

Offerings: General Fund: £849.00. Building Fund: £212.21. Donations: £700 (website), £50 (website).

Website Additions: 2 Indonesian and 2 Spanish translations.

Serving From Pure Hearts

Brian D. Dykstra

Haggai 2:11-14: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.”

God had brought His people back from captivity. Their captivity was a result of their own idolatry. God, in faithfulness to His holiness, had repeatedly warned His people through His prophets that there would be serious consequences for their sins.

The history of Israel’s return is given to us in Ezra. Immediately upon their arrival in Jerusalem, the people set up the altar and began the regular offering of sacrifices to God. Two years after their return, the foundation of the new temple was laid. Because of their own discouragement and the opposition of their enemies around them, the rebuilding of the temple was suspended for sixteen years.

As the delay lengthened, putting off the work became a way of life. There were many reasonable sounding excuses which they could give. It simply wasn’t the proper time yet to rebuild the temple. There were other, more pressing matters which demanded their attention first. They had to have shelters for their own heads, didn’t they? They had to secure the means necessary to provide for their daily bread, didn’t they? Certainly, God would understand! Besides, the daily sacrifices are being made! That should be enough to have God look down on them in mercy!

Under these conditions, God sent Haggai to tell them to start rebuilding the temple, whether or not they thought it was time. In the verses quoted above, God tells the Jews that the work was delayed because the sinful condition of their hearts hindered them.

As they began to build the temple, would the Jews be driven by the proper motive? By nature we can be impressed and satisfied with what is only superficial. This was another danger the Jews of Haggai’s day would face. Now that they are building His temple, they believed God had to accept them no matter from what kind of heart their work proceeded. In his commentary on this passage, John Calvin notes this. He points out that “the people might understand, that it was not enough to satisfy God, though they spared neither expense nor labour in building the Temple: but that something greater was required, even to worship God in it in a pure and holy manner.” Several paragraphs later Calvin writes, “Hence this definition must be borne in mind—that works, however splendid they may appear before our eyes, are of no value or importance before God, except they flow from a pure heart.”

We are not rebuilding a temple, but our forefathers built—and we are maintaining—a covenant school. We do this because it is demanded of us as part of our covenant service to God. This school is a means to keep the vows made by us when we brought our children to be baptized.

It takes much effort and considerable expense to support our schools. How often do we as parents and teachers (students too?) give of our time and abilities grudgingly? Such labour can become a burden which seems heavy to bear. Besides, isn’t it somebody else’s turn to pitch in by now? How often do we contemplate the number after the dollar sign on the cheques which we write for tuition and drives, and wonder what fun we could have with that kind of money? Why should I and my family always have to go without some nice things which otherwise would be available to us? Such thoughts of the heart make our works unclean.

Once the cheques have cleared and the work for the school is done, do we ruin a day of godly instruction by turning to, or making too important in our lives, worldly entertainment and amusement? Do we countenance Hollywood’s “beautiful” people taking God’s name in vain so we can watch a “good” story? Do we laugh with the world as various sins are portrayed as funny or just innocent fun? Is the temptation of the big game enough to cause us to “just take off” one Sunday afternoon or evening? Is what we have had our children taught in school contradicted by how we live the rest of our lives? We instruct our children by how we use our “free” time also. Such actions in our lives make our works unclean.

So, is there a temptation not to try since we cannot offer perfect works? Zerubbabel, the leader of the Jews at that time, continued to work. He trusted God could take his works, though imperfect, and use them for the true building of His church. God promised Zerubbabel to “make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:23). God will also seal us with Christ’s blood to be of service to Him. May we by God’s grace support our schools from pure hearts.