Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 20 January, 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 (4)
The Nature of Christ’s Baptism by John  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Matthew 3; Luke 19:45-20:8
Text: Matthew 3:13-15

I. The Popular Misconception
II. The Biblical Teaching
III. The Significant Dialogue
Psalms: 149:1-6; 22:15-21; 45:1-7; 2:1-8

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

John the Baptist’s Public Ministry (5)
Christ’s Baptism by John  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Luke 3:1-24, 37-38
Text: Luke 3:21-22

I. His Baptism by Water
II. His Baptism by the Spirit
Psalms: 122:1-9; 22:22-26; 133:1-3; 2:1-8

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

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quote to Consider

Jay E. Adams: "The baptism of John was for sinners. Christ was not a sinner. John’s baptism represented repentance for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus Christ could neither repent nor receive forgiveness of sins. This baptism of John was to prepare the way for the Lord by preparing a people ready for Him. Jesus did not need preparation for receiving Himself. The unwillingness of John to baptize Jesus indicates that he considered it an improper thing that Jesus should be classed with the others who came to His baptism. John never changed his mind about this. But something—something that Jesus said—did so change his point of view that he readily baptized the Lord" (The Meaning and Mode of Baptism, p. 16).

James W. Dale: "‘The baptism of John’ was for sinners; demanding ‘repentance,’ ‘fruits meet for repentance,’ and promising ‘the remission of sins.’ But the Lord Jesus Christ was not a sinner, could not repent of sin, could not bring forth fruit meet for repentance on account of sin, could not receive the remission of sin. Therefore the reception of ‘the baptism of John’ by Jesus is impossible, untrue, and absurd. Again: The baptism of John was ‘to prepare a people for the Lord.’ But to address such a baptism to the Lord (preparing the Lord for himself) is absurd. Therefore the reception of John’s baptism by the Lord Jesus is impossible, untrue, and absurd. It is just as absurd to suppose that he received this baptism formally but not substantially. A baptism exists only while its essence exists. The essence of John’s ritual baptism is found in its symbolization of purification in the soul through repentance and remission of sin. But in the Lord Jesus there was no basis for such symbolization, and consequently there was no basis for the baptism of John. The idea that John’s baptism could be received representatively is just as impossible" (Christic Baptism and Patristic Baptism, pp. 27-28).

R. C. H. Lenski on Mark 1:9: "From the Baptist’s general work Mark proceeds to the inauguration of Jesus into his office as our Saviour."

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

Rev. Stewart’s bi-monthly letter to the PRC is on the back table.

The dates for the Lord’s Supper in 2013 are 31 March, 30 June, 29 September and 22 December.

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 continue our discussion of "The Nearness of Christ’s Coming."

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

Men’s Bible Study will meet this Saturday at 8 PM at the church.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be "Taking the Whole Armour of God" (Eph. 6:13) by Rev. Bruinsma.

The council’s next meeting will be Monday, 4 February, at 8:15 PM.

Ballymena Lecture: Friday, 8 February at 7:30 PM, Rev. Stewart will speak on "Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Hypo-Calvinism."

Offerings: General Fund - £549.55. Gift Aid: £3,902.50.

Website Additions: 1 Italian, 1 Spanish, and 3 Hungarian translations.

PRC News: Hope PRC called Rev. Overway (Doon, IA).

Family Worship (3)

by J. H. Merle D’Aubigne
(preached in Brussels and published in Paris in 1827)

And what delight, what peace, what real happiness a Christian family will find in erecting a family altar in their midst, and in uniting to offer up sacrifice unto the Lord! Such is the occupation of angels in heaven; and blessed are those who anticipate those pure and immortal joys? "Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." O what new grace and life piety gives to a family! In a house where God is forgotten, there is rudeness, ill-humour, and vexation of spirit. Without the knowledge and the love of God, a family is but a collection of individuals who may have more or less natural affection for one another; but the real bond, the love of God our Father in Jesus Christ our Lord, is wanting. The poets are full of beautiful descriptions of domestic life; but, alas! how different the pictures often are from the reality! Sometimes there is a want of confidence in the providence of God; sometimes there is love of riches; at others, a difference of character; at others, an opposition of principles. O how many troubles, how many cares there are in the bosoms of families.

Domestic piety will prevent all these evils; it will give perfect confidence in that God who gives food to the birds of the air; it will give true love toward those with whom we have to live; not an exacting, sensitive love, but a merciful love, which excuses and forgives, like that of God himself; not a proud love, but a humble love, accompanied by a sense of one’s own faults and weakness; not a fickle love, but a love unchangeable as eternal charity. "The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacle of the righteous."

And when the hour of trial comes, that hour which must come sooner or later, and which sometimes visits the homes of men more than once, what consolation will domestic piety afford! Where do trials occur if not in the bosoms of families? Where, then, ought the remedy for trials to be administered if not in the bosoms of families? How much a family where there is mourning is to be pitied if it has not that consolation! The various members of whom it is composed increase one another’s sadness. But if, on the contrary, that family loves God, if it is in the habit of meeting to invoke the holy name of God, from whom comes every trial, as well as every good gift; then how will the souls that are cast down be raised up! The members of the family who still remain around the table on which is laid the Book of God, that book where they find the words of resurrection, life, and immortality, where they find sure pledges of the happiness of the being who is no more among them, as well as the warrant of their own hopes. The Lord is pleased to send down the Comforter to them; the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon them; an ineffable balm is poured upon their wounds, and gives them much consolation; peace is communicated from one heart to another. They enjoy moments of celestial bliss. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." "O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave! Thine anger endureth but a moment: in thy favour is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

And who can tell, my brethren, what an influence domestic piety might exert over society itself? What encouragements all men would have in doing their duty, from the statesman down to the poorest mechanic! How would all become accustomed to act with respect not only to the opinions of men, but also to the judgment of God! How would each learn to be satisfied with the position in which he is placed! Good habits would be adopted; the powerful voice of conscience would be strengthened: prudence, propriety, talent, social virtues, would be developed with renewed vigour. This is what we might expect both for ourselves and for society. "Godliness hath promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

Directions. If you wish to profit by all the blessings of Family Worship, what are you to do? What measures are you to follow? We have still, my brethren, to give you a few.

And first, so far as it is in your power, let not these exercises of domestic piety be wanting in spirituality, truth, and life; let them not consist merely in reading certain passages, and repeating certain forms of prayer, in which the heart is not concerned. It would, perhaps, be better to have no Family Worship than to have such as this. These dead forms are still to be found in some families. But at the present day, when the Church is every where struggling to rise out of its ruins, and when the wind of which Ezekiel spoke is breathing every where upon the dry bones to impart life unto them, we must return to Family Worship and revive it, not in a state of languor and death, but in a state of life and strength. How shall we attain this object? Let us perform the exercises of family piety, not merely as though it were a good work which we ought to accomplish, for then we might fall either into the error which we have just pointed out, or into pride; but let us perform them rather like miserable beings who want riches; as famished creatures, who want food to nourish that which is most noble in them. Do it as a duty, if you choose; but do it rather on account of your own wants. The little child knows how to ask for a piece of bread, or even for its mother’s milk; and do not we know how to go to God and ask of him his pure and spiritual milk? "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled."

We will give you another rule, my brethren: do not adhere too exclusively, too servilely to any one particular form. First establish such a service in accordance with your own wants and those of your family; let there be entire liberty; let it be conducted one day in one manner, and the next in another, if you choose; let it be prolonged at one time and abridged at another. Perhaps it were better that this exercise should not, at first, embrace all the members of your household, but should have a smaller and more intimate sphere; this will make it more easy and edifying. Follow these various suggestions; the great matter is, that God be not forgotten under your roof. "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

But how are these moments consecrated unto God to be occupied.

In the first place, the Word of God should, of course be read, and sometimes, perhaps, other Christian books. In how many families that admirable Book, that Book of the nations, has been in all ages, and is still the most precious of treasures! In how many dwellings has the Bible diffused righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, and submission to all authorities appointed by God! The various books which compose the Bible are almost all of a different nature from one another; it were difficult to have a greater variety in one volume, though the same Spirit of God is in each. This circumstance makes it remarkably appropriate for the nourishment of families; and hence so many poor and obscure families in Protestant countries, possessing that Book, do without any others, and by it are brought to the acquisition, not only of eternal life, but of a remarkable intellectual development. The child, the old man, the woman, and the full-grown man alike find something to interest them there, and to lead them to God. There is something for every situation in life ... (to be continued)