Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church


Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 30 December, 2007


"Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving,

and honour, and power, and might,

be unto our God for ever and ever" (Rev. 7:12)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Spirit Convicting the World

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 20; John 16:8-11

I. His Three-Fold Work

II. The Vital Lessons

Psalms: 91:1-6; 109:10-16; 143:5-11; 119:137-144

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Gideon, Mighty Man of Valour (13)

Lapsing in Later Years

Judges 8:28-35

I. Gideon’s Lapse

II. Israel’s Lapse

Psalms: 148:1-10; 109:17-24; 144:9-15; 78:5-11


For audio cassettes of the worship services or CDs of the sermons, contact Sean Courtney (


CPRC website:


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. Donations: £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 added.

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 Classis East.

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. 11:6).

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 Word.

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 Corinthians 6:14-18.

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 Gloria!