Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 11 July, 2010


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

and shall declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Jehovah: Our Light and Our Salvation   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27

Text: Psalm 27:1

I. What?

II. Who?

III. With What Result?

Psalms: 104:1-7; 70:1-5; 97:8-12; 27:1-6


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Jesus Christ, our Advocate   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: I John 1:1-2:6

Text: I John 2:1-2

I. His Work of Advocacy

II. The Ground of His Advocacy

III. The Extent of His Advocacy

Psalms: 63:1-5; 71:1-6; 11:4-7; 130:3-8

Contact Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.

CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quotes to Consider:

John Calvin on I John 2:2: "Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretence extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation ... the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world."

A. W. Pink on I John 2:2: "... when John added, ‘And not for ours only, but also for the whole world’, he signified that Christ was the propitiation for the sins of Gentile believers too, for, as previously shown, ‘the world’ is a term contrasted from Israel. This interpretation is unequivocally established by a careful comparison of I John 2:2 with John 11:51-52" (The Sovereignty of God, pp. 317-318).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

Missionary-elect McGeown will preach for us at both services today. This past Monday, he accepted the call to be our missionary based in Limerick working with the Limerick Reformed Fellowship. His ordination is scheduled for Friday, 30 July at 7:30 PM in our new church building on Clarence Street.

Rev. Stewart is preaching for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship today.

Mr. Callender remains in Belfast City Hospital. This past week he had chest pain and trouble breathing and may have had a mild heart attack. He is now waiting for further tests to be done. Please remember this brother and his family in your prayers.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Living in the Power of God’s Promises" (Hebrews 13:5-6).

Douglas and Francesco are going to set up and run a book stall at the 12th of July at the Ballee Playing Fields in Ballymena again this year. Feel free to stop by the stall tomorrow.

The Council will meet Monday, 19 July, at 7 PM at the manse.

Offerings: General Fund: £383.86. Building Fund: £369.55. Donations: £200, £32 (pamphlets).

Website Additions: 1 German translation was added.

PRC News: Rev. DeVries accepted the call to Kalamazoo PRC; Wingham PRC will call a pastor from a trio of Revs. Eriks (Hudsonville, MI), A. Lanning (Faith, MI) and W. Langerak (Southeast, MI). Hope PRC called Rev. A. Lanning. Edgerton has a new trio of Cand. Holstege, Rev. A. Lanning and Rev. Marcus (Edmonton, Canada).

This is part 1 of the 39 e-mail by Prof. Engelsma on justification:

Dear European Forum (and, by this time I must add, the sizable contingent in North America and elsewhere),

The biblical ground for the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), that the good works of the saints merit righteousness and the eternal life that is based upon their righteousness, is the passages of Scripture that teach that God rewards the good works of His people. These passages, therefore according to Rome, are proof that justification is not by faith alone, but by faith and the meritorious works of the sinner himself.

In defending the gospel truth of justification by faith alone, it is necessary that we refute the teaching of Rome that the good works of the saints merit. This I did in the previous instalment.

The refutation consisted of declaring and then proving that the good works of the saints are not meritorious. Whatever God’s reward of these works may be, it is not the payment to the sinner of that which he has deserved and earned by his works. The sinner’s works do not put God in the sinner’s debt.

We must be clear about this: If our good works merit eternal life, justification is not by faith alone and salvation is not of grace alone. Nothing less than the whole gospel of grace is at stake in the controversy over meritorious good works on the part of the sinner himself.

Having refuted the Roman Catholic doctrine of meritorious good works, we now must give the right explanation of the Bible’s teaching that God will reward our good works. Rome’s explanation of the reward is erroneous. What is the proper explanation? And how is the promise of the reward related to the truth of justification by faith alone?

The Reformed faith does not, of course, deny that God will, and indeed does, reward the good works of the elect and justified sinner. Not only in a few, but in many places, the Bible teaches that God will reward the good works of His people, especially those that consist of suffering for Christ’s sake but also such a seemingly insignificant work as giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty neighbour in the name of Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 5:10-11, Christ promises a great reward to the citizens of the kingdom of heaven for their suffering of reproach and persecution: "Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven."

Revelation 11:17-18 promises that in the final judgment God will give a reward to His servants, to the prophets, to the saints and to those who fear His name.

In Matthew 16:27, Jesus promises that He will reward every man according to his work.

Matthew 25:21, 23 has the Lord rewarding His "good and faithful" servants for their good work by making them rulers over "many things" in the new world.

Verses 31ff. of Matthew 25, the account of the final judgment, teach that Christ the judge will reward the sheep on His right hand for their works of feeding Christ’s hungry brothers and sisters, showing them hospitality, visiting them in prison and other acts of charity.

Hebrews 6:10 assures the struggling Hebrew Christians that God is not unrighteous "to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints."

In an interesting passage especially for ministers of the Word and sacraments, Paul applies the truth of the reward of good works to pastors. Every preacher will receive his own reward from Christ according to his own labour (I Cor. 3:8). It is in this context that he warns some ministers, who are regenerated but whose ministerial work is shoddy, that they will be saved, but their work will be burned and they will suffer loss, evidently, loss of a certain aspect of their reward (v. 15).

The letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are full of promises of Christ’s reward of faithful work, both by the church and by the individual member, as well as of recompense of unfaithfulness.

These are only a few of the passages that teach the divine reward of good works. A concordance will indicate many other passages.

As to the nature of the reward, that is, what it consists of, Scripture makes plain that the reward will be eternal life itself in the resurrection body and soul in the new creation. The reward will be the coming perfect salvation, nothing less—the bliss of communion with God in the face of Jesus Christ and the glory of reigning with Christ over all things.

The reward of their good works for the sheep on Christ’s right hand in the final judgment will be inheriting the kingdom and "eternal life" (Matt. 25:34, 46).

Romans 2:6-11 teaches that God will render to those "who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality" the reward of "eternal life."

And to appeal to no other passage, Colossians 3:23-24 explicitly identifies the reward of good works as "the inheritance": "ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance."

Because the Bible teaches that the reward of the good works of the saints is eternal life itself, the RCC doctrine of a meritorious reward necessarily implies that our good works merit, that is, earn, or deserve, eternal life itself with all its bliss and glory. If our good works merit the reward, the boast of all those who may be saved shall forever be, "I earned this by my own good works." They will shout in the face of God and the Lamb, on the world’s last day, "Salvation is of me," rather than, "Salvation is of the Lord."

God forbid!

One other element makes up the truth of the reward: There are degrees of the glory of eternal life and salvation. And these degrees, higher and lower, are commensurate with the good works that God’s people performed in their earthly life in the world. According as they worked out of love for God and the neighbour and in accordance with the good works they performed, they receive from Christ greater glory, more honourable responsibility, a higher place in the everlasting kingdom of Christ of the new creation.

All elect, justified Christians will receive the same salvation and eternal life. All will be perfectly blessed and blissful. All will be glorious. But there will be differences of degrees of glory, just as also there will be degrees of shame and suffering in hell. And in both cases, the degrees of bliss and glory in the new creation and the degrees of suffering and shame in hell will correspond to the works the glorified or shamed persons did in this life. The apostles will be more glorious than we. The minister who worked sacrificially and diligently in the ministry will be more glorious than the one who too much sought his own ease and comfort, giving his works of making sermons, teaching catechism and visiting the needy a "lick-and-a-promise." to be continued ...