Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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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   [download]  [youtube]

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  [download]  [youtube]
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, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart or the elders

CPRC Website: • Live Webcast:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

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 (

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.

Upcoming Lectures:
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 [italics mine].

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 state.

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 religion.”

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 rug?

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.