Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
30 December, 2007
and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving,
and power, and might,
be unto our
God for ever and ever" (Rev. 7:12)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
Spirit Convicting the World
Catechism, Lord’s Day 20; John 16:8-11
91:1-6; 109:10-16; 143:5-11; 119:137-144
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Gideon, Mighty Man of Valour (13)
in Later Years
Psalms: 148:1-10; 109:17-24; 144:9-15; 78:5-11
cassettes of the worship services or CDs of the sermons, contact Sean
Quotes to Consider:
George Smeaton: John 16:8-11 is, "perhaps, the
most conclusive passage on the Spirit’s work in connection with
conversion in the whole compass of Scripture ... [It] is the locus
classicus to which all fitly turn, whenever discussion is raised
or inquiry awakened as to the way in which the Spirit applies
redemption" (The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, pp. 186, 189).
A. W. Pink: "It is because of their
self-confidence and carelessness that sometimes the most gracious and
experienced suddenly find themselves surprised by the most awful
lapses. When the preacher bids his hearers beware that they murder
not, blaspheme not, turn not apostates from their profession of faith,
none but the self-righteous will say with Hazael, 'But what, is thy
servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?' (I Kings 8:13).
There is no crime, however enormous, no abomination, however vile, but
what any of us are capable of committing, if we do not bring the cross
of Christ into our hearts by a daily mortification."
Alfred Edersheim on Judges 8:28, 33-35: "...
for ‘forty years in the days of Gideon,’ ‘the country was in
quietness,’ and, however imperfect in its character, the service of
Jehovah seems to have been, at least outwardly, the only one
professed. Matters changed immediately upon his death. Presently the
worship of Baalim becomes again common, and especially that of the
‘Covenant-Baal’ (Baal-berith). There is a sad lesson here. If Gideon
had made a spurious ephod, his people now chose a false
‘covenant-god.’ And, having first forsaken the Covenant-Jehovah, they
next turned in ingratitude from their earthly deliverer, ‘neither
showed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal.’ Thus sin ever brings
its own punishment."
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
We welcome Francesco De Lucia to our worship
services today. Francesco will be with us until 9 January.
Bible reading programmes for the new year are
on the back table.
A sign-up sheet for the congregation dinner
is on the back table. The dinner is scheduled for Friday, 18 January,
at 7 PM at the Leighinmohr Hotel.
Catechism Class: Monday, 5:30 PM at the Murrays
Thursday, 7:00 PM at the Hamills
Midweek Bible Study resumes this week
Wednesday, 7:45 PM, at the manse.
Offerings: General Fund - £879.50.
£200 (Building Fund).
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "God’s Wise Leading of
His Church" (Exodus 13:17-22).
Next Lord’s Day morning, a second offering will be
taken for our building fund.
Women’s Bible Study meet on next week Tuesday,
8 January, 10:30 AM at the Murrays to study Lesson 6 on diligence.
Upcoming Lectures: 17 Jan., Rev. Kleyn, "Living
Antithetically In A Technological Age," in Limerick. 1 Feb.,
Rev. Stewart, "Lessons from the Reformation for Today," in S. Wales.
Website Additions: 7 Italian translations were
PRC News: Faith PRC Council has approved a
request for a group of their members to organize as a daughter
congregation. That request will be brought to the May meeting of
Scripture and the Covenant Home by Cornelius Hanko
Upon entering a covenant home one often sees a
Bible lying on the living room table. This is certainly to be
commended, particularly if the Bible is used as much as it is in
evidence. The Bible should have a central place in our homes. No item
should be considered more important than that. No duty should be
considered greater than the function of the father in carrying out his
prophetic, priestly office in the family.
Moses instructed Israel, saying, "These words which
I command thee this day, 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 (Deut. 6:6-7). If that was
the calling of the father in the old dispensation, that is certainly
no less true today. Jesus told the Jews of His day, "Search the
Scriptures ... they are they that testify of me" (John 5:39).
This is not some good advice that we may accept or
reject as we see fit. This is not an admonition that would be very
profitable for us to heed, if we had the time and the opportunity.
This is God speaking to us! His Word never returns void! It is only
when we take heed to His word that we can say, "The statutes of the
Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is
pure, enlightening the eyes ... More to be desired are they than gold,
yea, than much fine gold, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them is
great reward" (Ps. 19:8, 10-11). Or again, "Thy word is a lamp unto my
feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps. 119:105).
This applies to children and young adults, as well
as to mature believers. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his
way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word" (Ps. 119:9). This
applies, first of all, to us personally. There is nothing so essential
to our daily lives as children of God as our daily devotions. The
daily newspaper can better pass unread, our best meal can better be
left untouched, than that we neglect our private devotions. We can
well appreciate the fact that we have our Sunday worship services to
attend, that we have opportunity to study the Scriptures in our
societies or groups, that we have our daily devotions with our
families, that we help our smaller children with their Bible lessons,
but none of these takes the place of our personal, daily devotions.
Never may we offer the excuse that we are too busy. Rather, as Luther
said, the busier we are the greater is our need for daily devotions.
Certain principles must always be kept in mind.
First, the Bible is the infallibly inspired, inerrant, and
authoritative Word of God. It is even verbally inspired. When man
speaks, man may criticize; but when God speaks we must be attentively
silent, with the prayer on our lips, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant
heareth." Scripture is God speaking to us through Jesus Christ, who is
the "Way, the Truth, and the Life." He is the Bread of life. He is the
Water of life. He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Light
that leads us into the eternal day.
Moreover, we must be receptive to the Word.
Maintaining that God speaks to us through His Word and by His Spirit
in our hearts, we must be prepared to receive His Word. This means
that we must have a definite time of day, a quiet surroundings, and
take time to do as they did in Ezra and Nehemiah’s day, "So they read
in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the proper sense,
and caused them to understand the reading" (Neh. 8:8).
Our purpose must be to be enlightened in the truth
and doctrines of God’s Word, to be strengthened in the faith, and to
grow spiritually, to live lives to the glory of our God. "But we all,
with open face beholding as in a glass [i.e., the mirror of the Word]
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to
glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (II Cor. 3:18). Our lives are so
much richer than the lives of the saints of the old dispensation. They
had God’s promises, but were still waiting for the fulfilment of those
promises. They were like children, who were taught by pictures, types
and shadows, signs and wonders, accompanied by the voice of the
prophets. Their whole life was a picture of the spiritual realities
still to come, when the Saviour would be born. We have come to the
fulfilment of the promises, come, as it were, to maturity, so that God
now deals with us as spiritual adults. We must always bear that in
mind when we study the Old Testament; the New is the fulfilment of the
Old. Only then can we understand that the prophets spoke a language
that harmonized with their times, looking forward to the day when the
wolf and the lamb will dwell together in heavenly perfection ... (Isa.
God’s Word is its own interpreter, so Scripture
must be compared with Scripture. Therefore it is important to have
handy a good Concordance, a Bible Atlas, and a good Bible Dictionary.
There are many valuable methods of Bible study. One
may study the Bible, as it were, with a telescope, to search out God’s
glorious revelation of Himself in His dear Son Jesus Christ, as the
God of our salvation. Or one may study the Bible, as it were, through
a microscope, to draw out golden nuggets from the gold mine of God’s
We can study one particular Book of the Bible. This
is recommended especially when we study the prophecies, the epistles,
or the Book of Revelation. We should read the entire Book repeatedly,
in order to grasp the main thought, and then we should study each part
in more detail.
We can also study the Scriptures by dealing with
concepts. Some Bibles have marginal references which direct us from
one passage to another, which deal with the same subject. Reference
Bibles often give a list of subjects in alphabetical order and show
where in the Scriptures this subject is treated. We may be interested
in a concept like affliction, righteousness, or marriage; the subject
index can prove to be a big help in our study. Studying words can be
both interesting and profitable. For example, the word for "knowing"
in Scripture has a far broader meaning, both in the Old and New
Testament, than a mere intellectual knowing. Often is included the
idea of fellowship, intimacy, choice, approval, or blessing (Gen. 4:1;
18:19; Ps. 1:6; Rom. 8:29-30; etc.).
It is good to copy a certain passage, pin it up on
a bulletin board, or carry it with you, to refer to it whenever the
opportunity offers, as it unfolds to you new depths of truth, new
riches, new comfort. Still better, memorize favourite passages or
chapters to have them at your finger tips.
Lists of names, genealogies, and the Mosaic laws
can be very interesting and instructive, if we take the time and
effort to study them, comparing one passage of Scripture with another.
Thus, for example, compare Jesus’ cleansing of the leper with the laws
of Moses, or compare Deuteronomy 7:2-3 and Deuteronomy 22:10 with II
Besides our personal devotions, we should never
neglect our daily family devotions. This is a must in every Christian
home, beneficial for every member of the family mutually and
individually. Since the spiritual bond is stronger than any other, the
reading and study of God’s Word knits the family together in the
strongest manner possible.
Much more can and should be said about this all
important subject. Let each seek out various methods of making the
reading of God’s Word an interesting and integral part of our lives,
drinking from the living waters of the Fountain of life. Let us always
bear in mind that, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (II Tim. 3:16-17). Soli Deo