Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 3 January, 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 (1)
The Utter Consumption of All Things
Scripture Reading: Zephaniah 1
Text: Zephaniah 1:1-6
Psalms: 148:1-6; 119:129-136; 102:23-28; 50:1-6
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord (2)
The Day of the Lord’s Sacrifice
Scripture Reading: Zephaniah 1
Text: Zephaniah 1:7-11
I. The Rich Idea
II. The Historical Event
III. The Eschatological Time
Psalms: 148:7-14; 119:137-144; 94:1-8; 79:1-6
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
Quote to Consider
David W. Baker: “The centre of Zephaniah’s
prophecies—uniting the book not only structurally ... but
theologically—is the concept of the Day of [the Lord]. While
not the first (cf. Am. 5:18-20; 8:9-14; Isa. 2; 13; 34; Joel
2) nor the last (cf. Jer. 46-51; Ezk. 7) of the prophets to
write on this subject, such devotion to a single theme is
not found in any other” (Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah, p.
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
Standard Bearers and 2016 BRF Conference booking forms are
on the back table.
The next Council meeting is tomorrow night, 4 January, at 7
The Tuesday Bible study meets this Tuesday at 11 AM to study
Hosea on kingship.
The Belgic Confession Class resumes this Wednesday, when we
will consider catholicity in the local church and missions.
The Ladies’ Bible Study meets this Friday at 10:30 AM at the
church to study chapter 7 of the I Peter study guide.
Men’s Bible Study will meet at the Kennedys this Saturday at
8 PM to discuss chapters in Repectable Sins dealing with
lack of self-control, envy, jealousy, etc.
The church visitors arrive on Saturday morning. A sign-up
sheet to have them over for dinner is on the back table. We
will be having tea after the evening worship service next
Sunday, 10 January. It is Group A’s turn on the tea rota.
The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel
846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Bruinsma is entitled “Watching for
Christ’s Return” (I Thess. 5:1-6).
Catechism classes resume Monday, 11 January.
Have you signed up yet for the congregational dinner,
scheduled for Friday, 15 January, at the Ramble Inn? A menu
and sign-up sheets are on the back table.
CPRC, Wed., 13 Jan., 7:30 PM, Rev. Decker on “God’s
Beautiful Covenant of Grace”
S. Wales, Thurs. 28 Jan., 7:15 PM, Rev. Stewart on “Our Identity in Christ”
CPRC, Fri., 18 March, 7:30 PM, Rev. Stewart on “Our Identity in Christ”
Offerings: General Fund: £555.40. Donation: £56 (C. R.
Website Additions: 1 Hungarian and 1 Portuguese translations.
PRC News: The new trio for the Philippines is Revs. Griess,
Huizinga and Mahtani.
Thank you for your prayers for us, encouraging words and
support throughout 2015. We are grateful that the Lord has
enabled us as a congregation to grow together spiritually
this past year. Truly He has blessed us “with all spiritual
blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye
know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor.
15:58). Pastor & Mary Stewart
Those Important Early Years
Brian D. Dykstra
What was no secret to covenant parents has finally been
“discovered” by educational researchers. Ron Koehler is the
Director of Communications Services for the Kent
Intermediate School District. He writes a monthly editorial
in the Kent School News, a publication of the Kent ISD. In
the October 2001 issue, he declared, “It seems so simple.
The more kids learn before they go to school, the better
they’ll do after they enroll ... We now know that children
learn far more during their formative years than we could
have imagined even 10 years ago ... Many parents,
particularly those of low socioeconomic status, are unable
or unprepared to help their children in these areas. Schools
can and should play a role in insuring these children are
healthy and ready to succeed when they enroll.”
Mr. Koehler had written of the importance of children’s
early years in the September 2001 issue of the same
publication. He stated, “Giving toddlers a helping hand
before they enter school is a concept educators,
particularly elementary school teachers, can readily
embrace. Too many children have deficits that snowball into
an avalanche of distractions and difficulties as they move
through school. Research shows timely intervention with
families and children before kindergarten can often make the
difference between success and failure.”
Covenant parents have long been aware of the importance of
the early years of a child’s life. There are several texts
in Proverbs which speak of the instruction of young
children. We know of the early upbringing of Moses by his
parents before he was grown and went to live in Pharaoh’s
Moses’ early instruction is an example of the importance of
early childhood training. What could Moses’ parents have
taught him before he was grown and became the son of
Pharaoh’s daughter? There were no Psalms yet so they could
not teach him some early version of Psalter numbers. There
were musical instruments then, but I cannot think of any
songs believers sang in Genesis. Lamech had something of a
song to which he asked his wives to listen, but it is not
the type of song Moses would have been taught as a positive
example of song singing. There would be no framed copy of
the Ten Commandments on the wall of Moses’ childhood home to
which his parents could refer as they instructed him.
Although there must have been some oral traditions and
stories passed on, there was no Bible in the home. As of
yet, Moses’ parents could not even instruct him of the
beauty of the name of Jehovah.
Still, Moses’ parents had some essentials for the early
training of this child. He would have been taught that there
was only one true God. This would have been unique in a
world where idols were viewed as having only local
influence. Israel’s God was not limited to the area of the
promised land. The proper worship of God through sacrifice
as illustrated by the story of Abel must have been taught.
These early saints must have known and taught their children
how to call upon God in prayer since God’s people had been
doing so from the days of Enos. Moses’ parents knew of God’s
covenant with Abraham and God’s promise that Abraham’s seed
would be given the land of Canaan. For some four hundred
years, Joseph’s body witnessed to them that some day they
would be delivered from Egypt and make their homes in the
Though Moses’ parents were of the low socioeconomic class
for whom so much concern is expressed today, their
instruction had lasting results. We are concerned about how
much influence the world has on our children. Imagine if a
child were taken from your home and brought to one of the
world’s richest families where no earthly pleasure would be
denied and everything could be afforded. Pharaoh’s house was
no friend of Christ’s church. The royal court fully expected
to be able to use Moses against his own people or they would
not have taken him. Certainly, with Egypt’s advanced
knowledge, they would be able to undo the feeble efforts at
instruction by parents who were of a despised nation of
Yet, God preserved the instruction of Moses’ parents in his
young heart. Moses knew God as the only God and that He
alone was to be feared. Moses knew of living an antithetical
life. He did not partake of the pleasures of Egypt and throw
in a little worship of God on the side as a sort of
spiritual-cultural exchange. He refused Egypt’s royal family
with all it had to offer and preferred identification with a
lowly people composed of slave labourers. Moses would not
look to Egypt as the land of his hope and desire. He looked
for a better country, one even better than the physical land
of milk and honey.
The world will countenance our godly instruction of His
children for a time. Our children, even the littlest ones,
learn that there is only one God of Scripture to be loved,
feared and served. They learn of living a life of sacrifice
and self-denial. They learn to pray with reverence to God
from the time a few uttered syllables pass for an “Amen.” In
these days of a troubled world, they learn to look for
Christ to return to take His people to a better country. May
our covenant God be pleased to use our efforts at home and
here in our school just as He did for Moses’ parents in
their faithful home.