Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 16 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 Public Ministry (1)
The Voice Crying in the Wilderness  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Luke 3:1-20
Text: Luke 3:1-6

I. The Time When the Voice Cried
II. The Crowds That Came to Hear the Voice
III. The Message Declared by the Voice
Psalms: 145:1-8; 18:43-50; 74:1-2a, 9-12; 119:1-8

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Angels Ascending and Descending on Christ  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Genesis 28
Text: John 1:51

I. What It Does Not Mean
II. What It Does Mean
Psalms: 26:6-12; 19:1-8; 97:1-8; 80:1-3, 17-19

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

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quote to Consider

John Calvin on Mark 1:1: "... it is not without reason that Mark makes the beginning of the Gospel to be the preaching of John the Baptist. For the Law and the Prophets then came to an end (John 1:17). ‘The Law and the Prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached’ (Luke 16:16). And with this agrees most fully the quotation which he makes from the Prophet Malachi (3:1). In order to inflame the minds of his people with a stronger desire of the promised salvation, the Lord had determined to leave them, for a time, without new prophecies."

Herman Ridderbos: "The pronouncement in John 1:51 does not mention the ladder. It is, rather, the Son of man himself who links heaven and earth, while the angels who ascend and descend on him (as on the ladder in Jacob's vision) represent the heavenly powers at his disposal. But whereas elsewhere angels are attributes of the heavenly existence of the Son of man (cf. Matt. 13:41, 49; 24:30-31; 25:31ff.), the special character of their action here is that they maintain the link with heaven for the Son of man on earth (cf. Matt. 26:53; Mark 1:13; Luke 22:43). The author specifically has in mind here—as is evident also from the 'greater things' promised to Nathanael—the divine glory manifest in his descent as that of the incarnate Word (1:14; 2:11; 11:40; 17:14). From now on the disciples will be witnesses of that glory and will become conscious, as they join and follow him, of being under the 'opened' heaven. Accordingly, the statement is not related, as some interpreters would have it, to one specific event in the life of Jesus (e.g., the transfiguration) but much more to the continuing—and from now on intermittently visible—glory present in Jesus' self-revelation in words and works and in his constant communion with the Father (cf. 8:29; 12:28ff)" (The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary, p. 94).

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

We welcome all our visitors to our worship services today, including Henry & Barb DeVries from Randolph PRC and Kristin Prins from Trinity PRC, and Marco Barone from our mission work in Limerick.

This evening we will have a preparatory service with the view to partaking of the Lord’s Supper next Sunday morning.

Everyone is welcome to stay for tea after our evening worship service today.

The December Covenant Reformed News is available on the back table, along with Rev. McGeown’s bi-monthly letter and a missionary letter from the Philippines.

Standard Bearer subscriptions are due. Please pay £19 to Rev. Stewart or pay the RFPA ( directly via debit or credit card. If you would like to subscribe, please talk to Alison Graham.

Monday Catechism: 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 begin a new section on "The Nearness of Christ’s Coming."

The Belgic Confession Class will meet this Wednesday, at 7:45 PM, to continue article 18 on Christ’s covenantal human nature.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be "No Room for Mary’s Firstborn" (Luke 2:7) by Rev. Bruinsma.

Don’t forget to sign up for the congregational dinner to be held at Leighinmohr Hotel off the Galgorm Road in Ballymena at 7 PM on Friday, 11 January.

Ballymena Lecture: Friday, 8 February at 7:30 PM, Rev. Stewart will speak on "Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Hypo-Calvinism."

Offerings: General Fund - £747.55. Donations: £300 (DVDs), £1,000 (CR News and DVDs).

Website Additions: 3 Hungarian translations.

PRC News: Rev. W. Langerak declined Randolph PRC. Both Faith PRC and Hope PRC called Rev. Haak (Georgetown, MI).

Family Worship (1)

by J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, 1827
(preached in Brussels and published in Paris in 1827)


"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua, 24:15).

"Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!" We have said, my brethren, on a former occasion, that if we would die his death, we must live his life. It is true that there are cases in which the Lord shows his mercy and his glory to men who are already lying on the death-bed, and says to them, as to the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." The Lord still gives the Church similar examples from time to time, for the purpose of displaying his sovereign power, by which, when he is pleased to do so, he can break the hardest hearts and convert the souls most estranged, to show that all depends on his grace, and that he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy. Yet these are but rare exceptions, on which you can not rely absolutely; and if you wish, my dear hearers, to die the Christian’s death, you must live the Christian’s life; your heart must be truly converted to the Lord, truly prepared for the kingdom, and, trusting only in the mercy of Christ, desirous of going to dwell with him. Now, my brethren, there are various means by which you can be made ready, in life, to obtain at a future day a blessed end. It is on one of the most efficacious of these means that we wish to dwell today. This mean is Family Worship; that is, the daily edification which the members of a Christian family may mutually enjoy. "As for me and my house," said Joshua to Israel, "we will serve the Lord." We wish, my brethren, to give you the motives which should induce us to make this resolution of Joshua, and the directions necessary to fulfil it.

Motives: Family worship is the most ancient as well as the holiest of institutions. It is not an innovation against which people are readily prejudiced; it began with the world itself.

It is evident that the first worship which the first man and his children paid to God could be nothing else than Family Worship, since they constituted the only family which then existed on the earth. "Then," says the Scripture, "began men to call upon the name of the Lord." Family Worship must indeed have been for a long time the only form of worship addressed to God in common; for as the earth still remained to be peopled, the head of every family went to live separately; and, as a high-priest unto God in the place which was allotted to him, he offered unto the Lord of the whole earth the homage due to Him, with his wife, his sons and daughters, his man-servants and maid-servants. It was only by degrees that, when the number of men was greatly multiplied, various families happened to settle near each other; then came the idea of adoring God in common, and Public Worship began. But Family Worship had become too precious to the families of tile children of God to give it up; and, if they began to worship God with the families of strangers, how much more was it their duty to worship him with their own families! Thus if, leaving the cradle of the human race, we go to the tents of the patriarchs, we again meet with this Family Worship. Let us go with the angels to the plains of Mamre, when Abraham is seated at the door of his tent in the heat of the day; let us go in with him, and we will find that the patriarch, with all his household, worshipped the Lord together. "I know him," said the Lord concerning the Father of the faithful, "that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment." Public Worship was instituted by Moses; he gave numerous ordinances; a magnificent temple was to be erected. Will not Family Worship be abolished? No; by the side of that temple in all its magnificence, the lowliest house of a believer is to contain the word of God. "These words which I command thee this day," said the Lord by Moses, "shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Joshua, in our text, declares to the people that they may worship idols if they choose, but that he will not join in their profane festivities; and that alone in his dwelling he and his house will serve the Lord. Job "rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of his children; for he said, It may be that my sons have sinned!" David, whose whole life was one continual adoration of God, and to whom one day spent in the courts of the Lord was better than a thousand in the tents of wickedness, did not neglect the family altar; for he exclaimed, "That which our fathers have told us we will not hide from their children." If we pass on to the times in which our Saviour appeared, we find domestic instruction practised in the pious families of Israel. Thus St. Paul could say to Timothy, "From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grand-mother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." Jesus during his ministry laid the foundations of Family Worship among Christians, when he said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." St. Paul recommended it, saying, "Rule well your own houses; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Yes, my brethren, if we enter the humble dwellings of those primitive Christians, after having visited the tents of the patriarchs, we shall still find the same Family Worship offered up unto the Lord; we shall hear afar off those hymns, which may perhaps betray the presence of the disciples of the Crucified to their persecutors, and cause their destruction, but which joyfully arise to the throne of their Saviour, because it is better to fear him than to fear men; we shall see them assembled around the Sacred Book, which they afterward conceal with care, to preserve it from the hands of those who would fain destroy it.

Clement of Alexandria, an illustrious doctor of the Church, near the beginning of the third century, advised Christian husbands and wives to make it a daily practice to pray and read the Bible together in the morning, and he added, "The mother is the glory of the children, and the wife is the glory of the husband; all are the glory of the wife, and God is the glory of them all." Tertullian, shortly before gave this admirable description of the domestic life of a Christian couple; "What a union is that which exists between two believers, who have in common the same hope, the same desire, the same mode of living, the same service of the Lord; like brother and sister. united both in spirit and in flesh, they kneel down together; they pray and fast together; they teach, exhort, and support each other with gentleness; they go together to the house of God, to the table of the Lord; they share one another’s troubles, persecutions, and pleasures; they conceal nothing from each other; they do not avoid one another; they visit the sick and succour the needy; the singing of psalms and hymns is heard among them; they rival each other in singing with the heart to their God. Christ is pleased to see and hear these things; he sends down his peace upon them. Where two or three are thus met he is with them; and where he is the Evil One can not come." (to be continued ...)