Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 1
"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 -
The Holy Spirit in
Keeping the Unity of the Spirit [download]
I. The Meaning
II. The Manner
III. The Admonition
Psalms: 136:1-12; 14:1-7;
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
Psalms: 34:1-10; 15:1-5;
Contact Sean Courtney
(firstname.lastname@example.org) for CDs of the sermons.
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
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.
10:15 AM - Beginners OT Class at the Murrays
PM - Jacob Buchanan
PM - Jamie & Debbie Murray
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.
Portadown, Fri., 20 Feb., 8 PM - John Calvin’s Battle for the
Fri., 6 March, 7:30 PM - John Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation
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
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
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.