Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 14 February, 2016
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind ...” (Rom. 12:2)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord (9)
Instruction, Destruction and Confession
Scripture Reading: Zephaniah 3
Text: Zephaniah 3:6-10
I. The Divine Lesson
II. The Fiery Day
III. The Pure Lip
Psalms: 34:1-10; 126:1-6; 33:13-22; 68:30-34
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 7:1-24
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 41
I. The Two States of Our Life
II. The Two Parts of Our Nature
III. The Two Sides of Our Calling
Psalms: 122:1-9; 127:1-5; 45:9-14; 50:18-23
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services,
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart
or the elders
CPRC Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live Webcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live.html
CPRC YouTube: www.youtube.com/cprcni
CPRC Facebook: www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
Quotes to Consider
John Calvin on Zephaniah 3:9: “As to the world all, it is to
be referred to nations, not to each individual; for it has
not been that every one has called on God; but there have
been some of all nations, as Paul also says in the first
chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians: for in
addressing the faithful, he adds, ‘With all who call on the
name of the Lord in every place’—that is, not only in Judea;
and elsewhere he says, ‘I would that men would stretch forth
hands to heaven in every place’ (I Tim. 2:8).”
John Calvin: “Therefore, while the Lord forbids fornication,
he at the same time forbids us to lay snares for our
neighbor’s chastity by lascivious attire, obscene gestures,
and impure conversation ... If the Lord requires modesty of
us, he condemns whatever opposes it. Therefore, if you
aspire to obedience, let neither your heart burn with wicked
lust within, nor your eyes wantonly run into corrupt
desires, nor your body be decked for allurements, nor your
tongue seduce your mind to like thoughts with filthy words,
nor your appetite inflame it with intemperance. For all
vices of this sort are like stains that despoil chastity of
its purity” (Institutes 2.8.45).
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
On the back table today is Rev. Stewart’s bimonthly letter
to the PRC.
The Rock Whence We Are Hewn is now available for RFPA
Bookclub members. If you would like Rev. Stewart to pay this
for you, give him £21.
Monday evening’s Catechism classes
5:45 PM - Taylor, Josh, Corey, Bradley & Samuel (Beginners OT, book 2)
6:30 PM - Alex & Nathan (Seniors OT)
7:15 PM - Jacob & Joseph (Heidelberg Catechism, book 1)
The Tuesday Bible study meets this Tuesday at 11 AM to study
Hosea on the covenant.
The Belgic Confession Class meets this Wednesday at 7:45 PM
to continue our study of Article 27, looking at attacks on
the holiness, beauty and glory of Christ’s church.
Ladies Bible Study meets this Friday at church at 10:30 AM.
We will be discussing lesson 10 in Studies in I Peter.
The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel
846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. R. Kleyn is entitled “Signs of
Jesus’ Coming” (Matt. 24:8).
S. Wales, Thursday, 25 Feb., 7:15 PM, Rev. McGeown on “The Love of the World”
CPRC, Friday, 18 March, 7:30 PM, Rev. Stewart on “Our Identity in Christ”
Offerings: General Fund: £900.01. Building Fund: £241.55.
Donations: £200 (DVDs).
Website Additions: 1 Italian and 1 Spanish translations.
PRC News: The new trio for the second missionary to the
Philippines is Revs. Griess, Holstege and Huizinga.
Brian D. Dykstra
I John 5:4: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the
world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith.”
Of course, it does not happen very often for me, and it
seems to be happening with less frequency, but every now and
then some stray thoughts, events and memories fall into
place. You would think the accumulating years would give the
mind more raw materials of facts and memories to combine.
With enough facts and memories floating around up there,
shouldn’t some combinations of thought spontaneously
combust? Unfortunately, there seems to be some statute of
limitations on the laws of probability which prevents such
occurrences. With that in mind, here we go.
One of the thoughts caused by the September 11 attacks was a
desire for the heavenly kingdom to come. Wouldn’t it be nice
to be rid of this world of hate for, and rebellion against,
God and live in the realm of His peace? While having such
thoughts, I read the passage cited above. I realized the
coming of God’s kingdom would not send this world to
oblivion. This world will be cleansed by fire and a new
heaven and earth would be made. We, God’s people, will
overcome this world. From an earthly point of view, our
overcoming this world appears improbable at best.
While musing about our overcoming this world, I remembered a
little event from my halcyon days of study at Hope College.
I was working on a research paper which I no longer
remember, and I was staking my claim to a study carrel
adjacent to a window on the second floor of the old library.
On the desktop some unknown earlier researcher had left a
message in light pencil. It read, “The meek shall inherit
the earth, if that’s all right with you.” It appears others
recognize the paradox as well. Yes, indeed, when it comes to
overcoming or inheriting something which is desired by many,
the meek would not be likely to come out on top.
There are those who have overcome some aspect of this world.
The business world has Bill Gates and Microsoft. There’s a
man who has the ability to anticipate uses for computers
before others, then capitalize on the opportunity. How far
do the meek advance in the business world?
Championship athletic teams have athletes recognized for
their superior talent. I remember reading about a right
fielder for the New York Yankees during their great seasons
in the 1930’s and 40’s. He said that whenever he was in a
game which the Yankees needed to win to keep their place at
the top of the baseball world, he always liked to look over
to centre field and see Joe DiMaggio standing there. He felt
confident about the game’s outcome. Athletic competition
does not favour the meek either.
There is also the world of the military. The weapons of the
United States have overcome the Taliban more quickly than I
thought possible. It was eye-opening to read of the advances
in our nation’s weapons since the Persian Gulf War. Do you
suppose meekness is the dominant personality trait of pilots
catapulting off the decks of aircraft carriers?
From an earthly perspective, do we possess the needed
characteristics to overcome the world? I know we all have
our unique personalities and abilities, but I don’t feel
poised to overcome the world.
If the civil government during a previous administration had
been able to break Bill Gates’ Microsoft into several
divisions, Mr. Gates would not have been pleased to hear
that I had been put in charge of part of his company. He
would immediately run to the stock room and check his supply
of red ink.
In my earlier years, I spent a bit of time chasing baseballs
and softballs in centre field. I really enjoyed soaking in
the warmth of the sun while defending the green turf.
However, if I were to appear in center field wearing Yankee
pinstripes, the owner and manager would not experience the
calm confidence Mr. DiMaggio inspired.
Back in my Hope College days, I was walking on the outskirts
of campus when two Marine recruiters stopped me and asked
when I was going to come to their office and enlist.
Although their uniforms looked very sharp, little did they
know the tremendous guilt I felt when, while hiking on the
old family farm with my father, I shot and killed a
chickadee. I had taken a friend’s dare because I knew I
couldn’t possibly hit such a small and flitting target. I
can still see both halves of the feathered fellow lying on
the snow. I am no warrior.
How is it possible for us to overcome this world? It won’t
happen because of our abilities and strengths as
individuals. Such a victory is not possible even if we were
to rely on our collective abilities and strengths.
Such a victory is ours only because of our faith, which we
know is a gift from God. Our children have been singing of
the Church’s ultimate victory in the last two Songs of the
Week. Psalter #20 stanza three says, “The wicked His anger
will drive from their place, The upright in rapture shall
gaze on His face.” Verse three of Psalter #21 reads, “Tho’
base men walk on ev’ry side, His saints are safe, what-e’er
betide, Protected by His Name.”
God has been pleased to give us the faith needed to know, of
a certainty, that Christ shall return as Judge to punish the
wicked and reward those who have been imputed His
righteousness. We have the sure hope of our Father’s
protection until He gives the victory because His name,
Jehovah, tells us that He never changes.
We live as those who expect to overcome the world. By living
for His kingdom and being governed by His Word, our children
learn to expect the final victory. For as long as they can
remember, our children have seen father and mother praying
to the God nobody at the table can see. They learn there
must be something real about the unseen spiritual realm.
There must be more in existence than what we can see with
our eyes. Though the power of the anti-christian world grows
and iniquity increases, “when the time appointed is come ...
our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven ... to declare
himself judge of the quick and the dead ...” (Belgic
Overcome and inherit the earth? Who? Us? Yes, us! We, our
faithful forefathers and the covenant seed God has been
pleased to give us will overcome the world and inherit the
earth through the humiliation and exaltation of our Lord