Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 17 February, 2013

"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Ps. 92:13)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

John the Baptist’s Public Ministry (10)
The Baptisms of John and Jesus  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: John 3:22-4:3; Acts 19:1-7
Text: John 3:22-26

I. The Contemporaneous Activity
II. The Essential Unity
Psalms: 148:1-8; 25:15-22; 45:9-14; 131:1-3

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

John the Baptist’s Public Ministry (11)
John’s Comparison of Himself and Jesus  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: John 3:22-4:3
Text: John 3:27-36

I. Their Roles
II. Their Origins
III. Their Trajectories
Psalms: 45:1-8; 26:1-7; 2:1-8; 89:19-20, 24-28

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quotes to Consider

D. A. Carson on John 3:22-30: "This is the fourth successive section to point out ways in which Jesus fulfils and surpasses Judaism: in 2:1-11, Jesus provides new wine that vastly surpasses anything that contemporary Judaism could afford, and renders obsolete the stone jars of purification; in 2:12-25, Jesus displaces the temple and thereby intimates that the temple’s proper role is best seen as an anticipation of the ultimate point of mediation between God and man; in 3:1-21, Jesus fulfils prophecies of a ‘water and spirit’ regeneration, and proves in his death to be the ultimate antitype of the snake ‘lifted up’ in the desert; and hence (3:22-30) Jesus surpasses John the Baptist and any baptism or rite of purification he may represent."

D. A. Carson on John 3:23: "‘Aenon’ is a transliterated Semitic word meaning ‘springs’; both potential sites are well endowed with plenty of water (lit. ‘many waters’, which doubtless means ‘many springs’)."

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

The Standard Bearers and Beacon Lights are on the back table for subscribers.

Mrs. Callender and Linda thank the congregation and others from abroad for their cards, prayers and expressions of sympathy on the death of Mr. Callender. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" (Ps. 116:15).

The elders of Byron Center PRC approved the request of the CPRC that Rev. Spriensema come to N. Ireland for three weeks this summer.

Monday Catechism:
6 PM - O.T. Beginners (Bradley & Alex)
6:45 PM - N.T. Juniors (Nathan, Jacob & Joseph)
7:30 PM - Heidelberg (Timothy)

The Tuesday morning Bible study will be held this week at 11 AM. We will look at the signs of the times and the nearness of Christ’s return.

The Belgic Confession Class will meet this Wednesday, at 7:45 PM, to continue article 19 on kenoticism and the two natures of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) with Rev. R. Kleyn continuing his series on Joseph.

Offerings: General Fund - £679.20. Donation: £200 (DVDs).

Website Additions: 1 Italian and 1 Spanish translations were added, along with the Apostles’ Creed in both Twi and Fante (languages in Ghana).

PRC News: Rev. Overway accepted the call to Hope PRC. Faith PRC will call from a trio of Revs. R. Kleyn, Spronk and Van Overloop. Pastor Lau (CERC of Singapore) is in intensive care, being treated for a lung infection that makes breathing difficult. While he is stable, he remains very weak and requires the assistance of a respirator. Let us remember our brother and his family in our prayers.

John Calvin on the Baptism of John

(Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4, Chapter 15)


7. John’s baptism and Christian baptism

This makes it perfectly certain that the ministry of John was the very same as that which was afterwards delegated to the apostles. For the different hands by which baptism is administered do not make it a different baptism, but sameness of doctrine proves it to be the same. John and the apostles agreed in one doctrine. Both baptized unto repentance, both for remission of sins, both in the name of Christ, from whom repentance and remission of sins proceed. John pointed to him as the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world (John 1:29), thus describing him as the victim accepted of the Father, the propitiation of righteousness, and the author of salvation. What could the apostles add to this confession?

Wherefore, let no one be perplexed because ancient writers labour to distinguish the one from the other. Their views ought not to be in such esteem with us as to shake the certainty of Scripture. For who would listen to Chrysostom denying that remission of sins was included in the baptism of John (Homily on Matt. 1:14), rather than to Luke asserting, on the contrary, that John preached "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins?" (Luke 3:3). Nor can we admit Augustine’s subtlety, that by the baptism of John sins were forgiven in hope, but by the baptism of Christ are forgiven in reality. For seeing the Evangelist clearly declares that John in his baptism promised the remission of sins, why detract from this eulogium when no necessity compels it? Should any one ask what difference the Word of God makes, he will find it to be nothing more than that John baptized in the name of him who was to come, the apostles in the name of him who was already manifested (Luke 3:16; Acts 19:4).

18. Paul did not rebaptize

But they seem to think the weapon which they brandish irresistible, when they allege that Paul rebaptized those who had been baptized with the baptism of John (Acts 19:3, 5). For if, by our confession, the baptism of John was the same as ours, then, in like manner as those who had been improperly trained, when they learned the true faith, were rebaptized into it, ought that baptism which was without true doctrine to be accounted as nothing, and hence we ought to be baptized anew into the true religion with which we are now, for the first time, imbued? It seems to some that it was a foolish imitator of John, who, by a former baptism, had initiated them into vain superstition. This, it is thought, may be conjectured from the fact, that they acknowledge their entire ignorance of the Holy Spirit, an ignorance in which John never would have left his disciples. But it is not probable that the Jews, even though they had not been baptized at all, would have been destitute of all knowledge of the Spirit, who is celebrated in so many passages of Scripture. Their answer, therefore, that they knew not whether there was a Spirit, must be understood as if they had said, that they had not yet heard whether or not the gifts of the Spirit, as to which Paul questioned them, were given to the disciples of Christ. I grant that John’s was a true baptism, and one and the same with the baptism of Christ. But I deny that they were rebaptized. What then is meant by the words, "They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus"? Some interpret that they were only instructed in sound doctrine by Paul; but I would rather interpret more simply, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, in other words, the visible gifts of the Holy Spirit, were given by the laying on of hands. These are sometimes designated under the name of baptism. Thus, on the day of Pentecost, the apostles are said to have remembered the words of the Lord concerning the baptism of the Spirit and of fire. And Peter relates that the same words occurred to him when he saw these gifts poured out on Cornelius and his family and kindred. There is nothing repugnant to this interpretation in its being afterwards added, "When Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them" (Acts 19:6). For Luke does not narrate two different things, but follows the form of narrative common to the Hebrews, who first give the substance, and then explain more fully. This any one may perceive from the mere context. For he says, "When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them." In this last sentence is described what the nature of the baptism was. But if ignorance vitiates a former, and requires to be corrected by a second baptism, the apostles should first of all have been rebaptized, since for more than three full years after their baptism they had scarcely received any slender portion of purer doctrine. Then so numerous being the acts of ignorance which by the mercy of God are daily corrected in us, what rivers would suffice for so many repeated baptisms?