Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 1 February, 2009


"Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help,

whose hope is in the Lord his God" (Ps. 146:5)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Holy Spirit in Ephesians (10)

Keeping the Unity of the Spirit     [download]

Ephesians 4:1-3

I. The Meaning

II. The Manner

III. The Admonition

Psalms: 136:1-12; 14:1-7; 133:1-3; 122:1-9


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Deliver Us From Evil!       [download]

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52; I Peter 5

I. The Evil One From Whom We Must Be Delivered

II. The Evil From Which We Must Be Delivered

III. The Way in Which We Must Be Delivered

Psalms: 34:1-10; 15:1-5; 109:1-7; 119:121-128

Contact Sean Courtney ( for CDs of the sermons.

CPRC website:

Quote to Consider:

John Calvin on Ephesians 4:2: "Let us remember, therefore, that, in cultivating brotherly kindness, we must begin with humility. Whence come rudeness, pride, and disdainful language towards brethren? Whence come quarrels, insults, and reproaches? Come they not from this, that every one carries his love of himself, and his regard to his own interests, to excess? By laying aside haughtiness and a desire of pleasing ourselves, we shall become meek and gentle, and acquire that moderation of temper which will overlook and forgive many things in the conduct of our brethren."

Charles Hodge on Ephesians 4:2: "’Lowliness of mind’ includes a low estimate of one’s self, founded on the consciousness of guilt and weakness, and a consequent disposition to be low, unnoticed, and unpraised. It stands opposed not only to self-complacency and self-conceit, but also to self-exaltation, and setting one’s self up to attract the honour which comes from men."

See also the back of the bulletin for an article by Prof. Hanko on Ephesians 4:1-3 which was published in the Covenant Reformed News (August, 2002).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The Covenant Reformed News is available on the back table today.

The Council meets tomorrow, 2 Feb., at 7:30 PM at the manse.


Tuesday, 10:15 AM - Beginners OT Class at the Murrays 

Tuesday, 4:30 PM - Jacob Buchanan 

Tuesday, 5:30 PM - Jamie & Debbie Murray 

Tuesday, 7:00 PM - Campbells at the manse

Ladies’ Bible Study meets this week Tuesday, 10:15 AM, at the Murrays.

Midweek Bible Study meets on Wednesday, 7:45 PM at the manse. We will consider the "foreknown" Christ (I Peter 1:19-21).

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is "Labour Not to Be Rich" (Prov. 23:4-5) by Rev. Rodney Kleyn.

Offerings: General Fund - £399.30.

Upcoming Lectures: 

Portadown, Fri., 20 Feb., 8 PM - John Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation 

Limerick, Fri., 6 March, 7:30 PM - John Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation 

S. Wales, Fri., 20 March, 7:15 PM - John Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation

Website Additions: 1 Afrikaans ("Sovereign Election" by Rev. Van Baren) and 7 Italian translations were added.

PRC News: Rev. Eriks (Hudsonville, MI) declined the call to Calvary PRC. Rev. R. Kleyn (Trinity, MI) received the call to Byron Center PRC. Rev. Houck had heart surgery this past week to place a stint in a blocked artery. The surgery was successful and he has returned home.

Seeking The Unity Of The Church (4)

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).

In the last three issues of the News, we noted the following ideas expressed in this text: 1) In various ways, the Holy Spirit has made this admonition an extremely urgent one, one, therefore, to which we ought to give our careful attention. 2) The unity of the church is on the foreground here, that is, the unity of the church as it is manifested in the world in the local congregation and denomination. 3) This unity is not the false unity of modern ecumenism which seeks a unity on the lowest doctrinal level; it is a unity in Christ the Head of the church, and is, therefore, a unity of the mind of Christ and the will of Christ. 4) This unity is further defined in the text by pointing out that it is characterized by love and peace. 5) We do not create this unity; it is created by the Holy Spirit of Christ who works in the hearts of all the elect and who makes the church one in Christ as He leads into all truth and enables the saints to perform the will of Christ. Unity is therefore a gift which is given to us, a gift more precious than silver and gold. Our calling is to "keep the unity of the Spirit."

The calling we have to keep the unity of the Spirit involves several spiritual virtues. We are, says the apostle, to keep this unity "with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another."

These virtues are crucial. Without them it is impossible to keep the unity of the church. It is essential that we understand this, for these virtues to which the apostle calls attention are contrary to our natural inclinations and selfish tendencies to seek and exalt ourselves and to promote our own well-being as much as possible.

To seek the unity of the Spirit as manifested in the church requires of us that we recognize that the church is the most important institution in our lives, and that, therefore, it ought to be the very centre of our entire life in the world. The church is, to use a figure common among the Reformers, our mother. She gives us our spiritual birth into the family of God. She nourishes us, as infants and children, at her breasts, giving to us such food as is essential to our growth. She cares for us throughout all the days of our earthly pilgrimage, keeping watch over us, disciplining us when we stray, comforting us in our sorrows, strengthening us in our weaknesses, assuring us repeatedly that the end of our sojourn will bring us to the house of our heavenly Father. Without our spiritual mother we would never be able to make the spiritual journey of this life to heaven.

We are seeking the welfare of our own spiritual mother when we keep the unity of the Spirit revealed in the church. How foolish it is to disparage our own mother. How bent on spiritual destruction we are when we forsake mother, speak evil of her, do all in our power to make her work impossible. We do harm to our own spiritual life.

So frequently the church lies at the periphery of our life. It is an institution towards which we tip our hats on occasion. It is handy to have around when we need a baby baptized, or when we wish to marry, or when we are ready to be buried. We might even attend church with some regularity thinking in this way to maintain our tenuous ties with God and slipping into heaven by the back door at the last moment. We may use the church as a safety net so that we have something to fall back on when the going is difficult. But all this will not do. It is really rooted in selfishness. We seek ourselves, our own purposes, our own pleasures, our own name and honour. We set ourselves up above the church and, if we recognize the church at all, we do so to make the church serve our goals in life.

But the Lord requires something quite different from us. The church is far, far more important than any one of us. What happens to us personally is of little account; what happens to the church is more important than anything. The church must be at the centre of our lives so that all we do revolves around the church. To it we must devote our lives. For its good we must deny ourselves. What will benefit the church is far more important than what benefits us.

There are times when things do not go as we think they should in the church. There are events which disturb us. There are decisions taken which we consider less than wise. There are people who irritate us. There are sermons which we consider less than desirable. There are imperfections which we, in our own self-righteousness, cannot tolerate. But it remains our calling to put aside our own personal likes and wishes for the greater welfare of the church. For the peace of Jerusalem is far more important than any one of us and our own personal comforts or pleasures.

This does not mean that we overlook unconfessed sin, or tolerate false doctrine. The welfare of the church ought to be so much our concern that we seek the holiness of our fellow saints and the purity of the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. But when we help those entrapped in sin, we go with them to the cross, kneeling there at their side. When we pursue purity of doctrine, we do so with the desire to see "mother" remain or become the institution we need for ourselves and our children. We do so fully aware of the fact that every one of us is a great sinner, saved by grace, and that not one of us is capable of knowing fully the great, towering truths of God’s Word. Prof. H. Hanko