Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 28 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 (11)
The Day of the Lord’s Singing
Scripture Reading: Zephaniah 3
Text: Zephaniah 3:16-20
I. A Church Song
II. A Salvation Song
III. A Love Song
Psalms: 36:5-11; 130:1-8; 137:1-8; 147:1-8
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Lies: The Proper Works of the Devil
Scripture Reading: John 8:31-59
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 43
I. Resist the Devil
II. Love the Truth
Psalms: 15:1-5; 131:1-3; 34:8-16; 12:1-8
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:
CPRC YouTube: www.youtube.com/cprcni
CPRC Facebook: www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
Quotes to Consider
John Calvin on Zephaniah 3:17: “‘He will rejoice over thee
with gladness.’ This must be referred to the gratuitous love
of God, by which he embraces and cherishes his Church, as a
husband his wife whom he most tenderly loves. Such feelings,
we know, belong not to God; but this mode of speaking, which
often occurs in Scripture, is thus to be understood by us;
for as God cannot otherwise show his favour towards us and
the greatness of his love, he compares himself to a husband,
and us to a wife. He means in short—that God is most highly
pleased when he can show himself kind to his Church.”
John Gill on Zephaniah 3:17: “Every word carries in it
something very encouraging to the church and people of God;
and is an antidote against those fears and faintings they
are subject to; Christ ‘is in the midst of’ them; near at
hand to support and supply them, to assist and strengthen
them, to protect and defend them; he is not only near by his
essential presence, which is everywhere; and by his
providential presence, which is concerned with all his
creatures; but by his gracious presence, peculiar to his
church and people; and which gives them unspeakable joy, and
is a sufficient security from all fears and dismayings.”
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
Information on the PRC Young People’s Convention in Illinois
this summer is available on the bulletin board as you exit
the sanctuary (www.prcconvention.com).
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
covenant knowledge in Hosea.
The Belgic Confession Class will meet this Wednesday at 7:45
PM to start studying the apostolicity of the church in
connection with Article 27.
Ladies’ Bible Study meets this week at 10:30 AM at the
church to study lesson 11 of 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 “Wars and
Rumours of War” (Matt. 24:6-7).
The Council meets next week Monday, 7 March, at 8 PM.
CPRC, Friday, 18 March, 7:30 PM, Rev. Stewart on “Our Identity in Christ”
S. Wales, Thursday, 7 April, 7:15 PM, Rev. Stewart on “Who Is in the Image of God?”
Offerings: General Fund: £683.32.
Website Additions: 2 Hungarian translations.
Another Self-Evident Truth?
Brian D. Dykstra
Exodus 34:14: “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the
Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
In the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers of
the United States proclaimed that there were some truths
which were so clear that there was no need to prove them.
They called these truths “self-evident.” The first
self-evident truth listed is that “all men are created
equal.” It seems that today’s society would either add to
the self-evident truths or start off by stating that all
religions or gods are created equal.
A few months ago, I received an interesting document in the
mail at school. It is titled, “Core Values of American
Constitutional Democracy.” Here is the first paragraph:
Core democratic values are the fundamental beliefs and
constitutional principles of American society which unite
all Americans. These values are expressed in the Declaration
of Independence, the United States Constitution and other
significant documents, speeches, and writings of the nation.
Below are definitions of some core democratic values
Under the heading of “Fundamental Beliefs” are definitions
of ten terms: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness,
common good, justice, equality, diversity, truth, popular
sovereignty and patriotism. Here’s what is said about
diversity. “Variety in culture and ethnic background, race,
lifestyle, and belief is not only permissible but desirable
and beneficial in a pluralist society” [italics mine].
On 21 October, 2001, the Grand Rapids Press reported on the
ideas of religious diversity and equality. The article, by
Matt VandeBunte of the Press, was titled, “Poster Promotes
Religious Harmony.” Ada resident Frank Banko designed a
poster ten years ago which he hoped would promote peace
among religions. “The poster graphically unites the symbols
of 16 of the world’s major belief systems, including Islam,
Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, American
Indian, Taoism, Shinto, Christianity, Baha’i, Judaism and
Sikhism. The original poster featured those 12 symbols, and
the reissued poster adds four more: Unitarianism, Jainism,
Wicca and aboriginal spirituality. Beneath is a message in
18 different languages: ‘There will be peace on earth when
there is peace among the world’s religions.’”
Later the article states, “With the help of the poster,
Banko imagines peaceful diversity—in which people of all (or
no) religious beliefs exist in harmony—as a worldwide
reality.” Can you see the coming of anti-Christ and, more
importantly, hear the footsteps of Christ as He comes?
As for himself, Banko “considers himself a spiritual man but
does not attend worship services of any religion or
denomination.” Apparently he is an equal-opportunity
non-worshipper/believer. When all gods and religions are
considered to be equal, you end up with none.
Such is the trend in society as well. There is no absolute
standard of morality and truth. Whatever you believe is just
as valid as whatever I believe. The result is predictable.
The consequence is stated in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe unto them
that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for
light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet,
and sweet for bitter!”
In the Press of February 9, 2002, there were two small
reports from the news services of the Associated Press. I
found it quite interesting, and not all that surprising,
that the following two stories appeared in sequence. The
first headline read, “NEA wants to protect gays,” and
reported that the National Education Association, the
nation’s largest teachers union, “will ask school districts
to protect homosexual students and staff by adopting
policies that punish harassment and discrimination.” Also,
schools will “be encouraged to develop factual materials for
classroom discussions on homosexuality.”
The next article was headlined, “Judge Ousts Bible Classes.”
A public school district in Tennessee had been holding
30-minute weekly Bible classes for the last fifty-one years.
Students from Bryan College, a Christian College in Dayton,
Tennessee, taught the classes. A federal judge ruled the
classes violated the constitutional separation of church and
No, I am not advocating the harassment of homosexuals, nor
would I say that Christian parents meet the obligations of
their baptismal vows by sending their children to a public
school that has a thirty minute Bible class once a week.
Yet, the articles show society’s developing attitude.
In the same 9 February issue of the Press, there was a
letter in the Public Pulse by Harold Centers. It appears the
Saudi Arabian embassy sent out packages to public schools
which were intended to help students understand Islam.
Teachers appreciated the efforts of the Saudis. Yet, Mr.
Centers pointed out the Press had reported earlier (on 30
November) that the Michigan Education Association “is in favour of character education as long as it does not become
a way to put religion into the curriculum.” MEA spokeswoman
Margaret Trimer Hartley said, “We definitely drew the line
between teaching core democratic values and teaching
Another writer to the Public Pulse, Mark Fox, demonstrates
the world’s attitude toward Christianity. His letter
appeared in the 12 January, 2002, Press. He was responding
to a report of some Christians in New Mexico burning the
Harry Potter books they had purchased. Mr. Fox wrote, “It’s
disheartening to see intelligent children writing letters
contesting evolution, but it’s even sadder to see a
youngster burn a book that she may have delighted in reading
were it not for her parents’ adherence to a faith more
whimsical and fantasy-laden than a story about a wizard
could ever be. Such censorship is the heirloom of ignorance
that has kept fundamentalist Christians from advancing
intellectually since the Enlightenment.”
It is the training of covenant children that draws the ire
of many. They think we are passing to children a religion
based on fantasy. It is no wonder another writer to the
Public Pulse on 20 October, 2001, said that parents who
teach their children that the Bible is the only truth are
guilty of a terrible form of child abuse.
So, now that we know what the world thinks of us and that we
don’t hold to the core values of American constitutional
democracy as all Americans do, would we care to join them in
their manner of thinking and walk of life? How tolerant (the
virtue valued above all others today!) would you be if a
high school aged child began to experiment with other
religions or faced Mecca three times per day on a prayer
Last week’s song of the week came from Psalm 16. I thought I
would read it to see whether some part of it might address
the topic I had been contemplating for the next “back of the
note.” It did not require much time to reach verse four.
Neither did it demand any deep thought to understand how
applicable were the words, “Their sorrows shall be
multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink
offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names
into my lips.”
Isaiah 5:24 speaks of the end of those who call evil good
and good evil. “Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble,
and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as
rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because
they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and
despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” With verbs
such as “devour” and “consume,” and words as “rottenness”
and “dust,” that is not the company or end we would desire.
The command, and the reason for the command, in the verse
cited beneath the title above must be heeded. It strikes me
that God’s name in this verse is Jealous with a capital “J.”
In this verse, it seems that jealous is not just some word
used to describe an attribute of God, but that Jealous is
His very name! He is not a God with whom one should trifle
no matter what the tenor of the age!
Would you like to hear some more language which our
“tolerant” world would find offensive? In its explanation of
the first commandment the Catechism says that we avoid and
flee all idolatry “as sincerely as I desire the salvation of
my own soul.” The world would advise us not to be so
exclusive and narrow minded.
May God be pleased to use our schools to train His children
in the fear of His great name, which is Jealous, in a way
that is exclusive of all other gods.