Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 26 December, 2010


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

and shall declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM - Rev. McGeown

Joseph’s Commandment Concerning His Bones   [download]    [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Genesis 50:1-26

Text: Hebrews 11:22

I. What He Commanded

II. Why He Commanded It

Psalms: 81:1-8; 84:1-6; 105:15-23; 105:24-37


Evening Service - 6:00 PM - Rev. McGeown

Moses Hidden By Faith   [download [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Exodus 1:1-2:10

Text: Hebrews 11:23

I. What Was Done

II. Why It Was Done

III. How It Was Done

Psalms: 67:1-7; 84:7-10; 91:1-8; 124:1-8


Contact Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quote to Consider

Homer Hoeksema: "Though [Moses’] parents may have been fearless by faith and may have disobeyed the command of the king, the fact is that they themselves were powerless. Soon the time would come when they could not hide the child any longer, and they were unable to offer open resistance to the king. The babe must be entrusted to the flags (reeds) of the river, exposed to hunger, to danger of drowning, and to danger of being picked up by one of the king’s spies and disposed of. Again, what an apparently bad moment God chose for the birth of Moses! Nevertheless, the birth of Moses was the manifestation of God’s wisdom. Again, we must remember that God is the God of history. He creates as well as employs men, time, and circumstances for the realization of his purpose. At best we choose the proper time, servants, instruments, counselors, etc. God forms them according to his purpose. Therefore, nothing can ever hamper him, because all things are designed by him ... All these circumstances must serve God’s wise purpose in the birth and preparation of the deliverer" (Unfolding Covenant History, vol. 3, pp. 225-226).

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

We welcome Rev McGeown to our worship services today. Rev. McGeown will be preaching from his series on Hebrews 11, "A Great Cloud of Faithful Witnesses."

A new Covenant Reformed News and a Reformed Perspectives on "Behold He Cometh (2)," are on the back table today.

The Lord’s Supper has been rescheduled for next Lord’s day morning, 2 January. The tea planned for last week is rescheduled for next Lord’s day evening, weather permitting.

A sign-up sheet for the congregational dinner is on the back table. The dinner will be held at Leighinmohr Hotel in Ballymena on Friday, 14 January, at 7:00 PM.

Catechism classes and Bible studies will not meet this week but will resume next week.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Confidence in Christ’s Coming" (Heb. 10:35-37) by Rev. Bruinsma.

Offerings: General Fund - £234.90. Donation: £50 (building fund).

Upcoming Lectures: Wednesday, 12 Jan., 7:45 PM - "Sins Against the Holy Spirit" (Rev. Kuiper)

Friday, 21 Jan., 7:15 PM in Porthcawl, S. Wales - "Scripture Alone" (Rev. Stewart)

Friday, 4 Feb., 7:30 PM in Lurgan Town Hall - "Predestination" (Rev. Stewart)

Website Additions: 1 Portuguese and 1 Chinese translation were added.

PRC News: Rev. Overway declined the call to Wingham.

The Faith of Joseph


by Rev. Herman Veldman

an excerpt from the Standard Bearer, vol. 56, issue 21


"By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones." Heb. 11:22

How often it happens that when one comes from nothing to something, he becomes a grief to others. He once knew misery and poverty and has now arisen to riches, fame and greatness. And how true it is that such often become inflated and conceited. Much worse this is when it happens in the spiritual sphere. When a church begins to bathe in luxury and plenty, it often happens that that church departs from the truth which it once knew and confessed and loses itself in the midst of the world. Yes, salvation is all of God and by grace; God will preserve His own, even unto the uttermost. But we do well always to bear in mind and heed the word of the Saviour: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God and of heaven.

How beautifully this applies to Joseph! Indeed, he had once known misery and shame in Canaan and also in the land of Egypt. He had risen to a position of honour and greatness. But, he never forgot his own or the cause of God’s covenant.

In Hebrews 11 the inspired writer singles out this event of Joseph’s life, that he gave commandment concerning his bones. Strange? No reference is made to his life either in Canaan or in Egypt. Why is this? The answer is undoubtedly that this event marks the climax of Joseph’s faith, beautifully set before us in this word of our God.

The promises or Word of God—this, in general, is the object of Joseph’s faith.

The incident recorded in this text is also recorded in Genesis 50:24-26. Two things are recorded here: the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and Joseph’s commandment concerning his bones. And, of course, these two matters are related as cause and effect. Without the one the other would be impossible. If the children of Israel do not return to Canaan, Joseph’s commandment is absurd.

Faith is never based upon reason. We never believe because we understand. We believe only because the object of our faith is in the written Word of God. Remove this Word of God and all possibility for believing falls away. To be sure, faith is never irrational or unreasonable. Faith is never based upon reason; but neither does it ever violate our reason. The resurrection of the dead, for example, is above my understanding, but it is not contrary to my understanding that an almighty God can raise the dead. But, we believe, not because we understand, but only because God has revealed it in His Word.

Faith clings purely and unconditionally to the Word of God. How fundamental this is! Yes, the devil can attack us in so many ways. The only ground and object of our faith is the promises, the Word of God. We must never argue with the devil. We must answer him, as Jesus did, with the infallible scriptures. O, if we lose the Word of God we lose all. Then our faith has lost everything.

This applies particularly to Joseph. First, Joseph believed in the departure of Israel into the land of Canaan. This he knew only through the Word or the promise of the Lord. Indeed, at the time of this text all things surely appeared hopeless. Genesis 50:23 speaks of the third generation. These children were surely settled in Egypt. Besides, why return to Canaan? They had left there because of a famine. That Joseph knew was only because God had once promised this and they knew this in the way of tradition inasmuch as yet there was not written word of God. Notice, too, what Joseph says to his brethren, Gen. 50:24. He tells them that the Lord will surely visit them. He does not use any "if" clause. He simply tells them that the Lord will surely visit them and return them to Canaan. Neither does Joseph say: "Remember what God has told you, how He promised you that you will return to the land of promise; and now it is up to you to do your part and realize this promise of the Lord." This may sound very pious to many people. But, this would make God’s promise very conditional. And there is really nothing pious about that. Indeed, how different is Joseph’s address to his brethren.

Secondly, Joseph gives commandment concerning his bones.

We may well ask the question: why? What difference does it really make where we are buried? Joseph is, of course, thinking of his burial and grave. The answer to this question cannot be in doubt. Canaan was the land of the promise and therefore a type and symbol of the heavenly Canaan. With this commandment, therefore, Joseph expresses his faith in the resurrection of the dead. He does not desire to be buried in Egypt, because he knew that the children of Israel would not remain there. He did not want his bones to be left behind because he belonged, not in Egypt, but in Canaan. He would be with the people of God also in their death because he knew that with them he would rise again at the resurrection into the new heavens and the new earth.

Does this faith of Joseph also apply to us? O, we can understand that also the place of our burial can have significance. We, too, wish to be buried with the people of God because we would rise with them. But, fundamentally, the question is: do we believe in God’s Word, His promise that He will bring us surely into that land of everlasting and immortal glory? Then we, too, live in principle in Canaan, the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the heavenly City of God that has foundations ...

... How wonderful is this faith of Joseph! Let us review Joseph’s life, in Canaan and then in Egypt. Now we understand the wonderful character of Joseph’s faith. Shall he forsake the religion of his fathers and select Egypt as his own? His own people had treated him shamefully. Egypt had treated him wonderfully. Shall he continue to cast in his lot with this Israel, or shall he choose Egypt, be buried there, receive all the honours of a great and imposing funeral? Is he not ashamed of Israel; shall he not hesitate to associate with a crowd of wanderers who have no home, no possessions, no land, who have nothing but a promise which more and more appears absurd and impossible? Yet, Joseph remains faithful. And when his dying lips bid farewell to his brethren it is only to speak once more of the promise, once more of that other country, to express that he, too, as his father, be buried there. All his life he had walked by faith. And the Lord does not desert him now.

And what shall we say? Are we walking in the way of the faith of our fathers, as parents and as children and also as young people, so that, when dying, we may still speak of the promises of the Lord? Is our eye focused upon Canaan, the heavenly Canaan, the City that has foundations? Or, are we indifferent to these things, carnal and worldly minded, lovers of the pleasures and treasures of this world? I know that only the grace of God can and will save us to the uttermost. Nevertheless, let us study the faith of our fathers, hide it in our hearts, love the truth and walk in it to the glory of Him Who alone called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.

Apart from this faith all is darkness.

In this faith we are always more than conquerors.