Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 18 July, 2010

"One generation shall praise thy works to another,
and shall declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Famine of the Hearing of God’s Word   [download]   [youtube]
Scripture Reading: Amos 7:10-8:14
Text: Amos 8:11-14
I. The Meaning
II. The Cause
III. The Effect
Psalms: 81:8-12; 71:7-13; 74:7-12; 19:7-10

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Remembering Jehovah Who Prospers Us   [download]   [youtube]
Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 8
Text: Deuteronomy 8:18
I. Remembering That Jehovah Prospers Us
II. Remembering in What Jehovah Prospers Us
III. Remembering Why Jehovah Prospers Us
Psalms: 8:1-9; 71:14-19; 124:1-8; 16:5-9

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

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:


Quotes to Consider:

Prof. H. Hanko: "But to be faithful ... is also to have a deep appreciation for that heritage [of the truth]. We always, as is true of the church of all ages, are in peril of forgetting it. Or, which is worse, we are in danger of becoming so accustomed to it that we begin to take it for granted and fail to realize its worth ... A church can make herself unworthy of being the beneficiary of a great treasure. God sent in judgment upon the nation of Israel a famine of the Word because Israel no longer considered it the priceless treasure it was. Thankful appreciation is always the key to faithfulness. And such thankful appreciation is humble recognition that what we receive is given in grace" ("The Much That Is Required," Standard Bearer, vol. 65, issue 2).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

Missionary-elect McGeown will preach for us at both services today, while Rev. Stewart preaches for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

Mr. Callender returned home from hospital this past Wednesday. Let us continue to remember our brother and his family in our prayers. [Since the bulletin was produced, Mr. Callender is back in the hospital—this time the Royal Victoria. He has had a heart-attack and acute kidney failure.]

The Beacon Lights are available for subscribers today.

The Council will meet this Wednesday, 21 July, at 7 PM at the manse.

Missionary-elect McGeown has bought a car and plans to move to Limerick this week and take the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF) services next Lord’s Day, 25 July. He and Sam Watterson (of the LRF) are renting a house together. The house is well positioned, being near the centre of Limerick, shops and the University of Limerick and central for the people in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF). It has 5 (or 6 bedrooms) and 3 bathrooms so it is ideal for having people stay over (e.g., PRC church visitors and friends) and has enough other rooms for Mr. McGeown to have a study and be able to hold LRF Bible studies and catechism classes, etc. Let us thank God for the provision of an "able minister of the new testament [i.e., covenant]" (II Cor. 3:6) and pray for our brother, the LRF and their witness in the days ahead.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Golden Key of Prayer" (Jeremiah 33:3).

The ordination of Missionary McGeown is scheduled for Friday, 30 July, at 7:30 PM in the new CPRC church building.

Our church dedication service is scheduled for Thursday, 5 August, at 7:00 PM beginning with the tape-cutting ceremony.

Offerings: General Fund: £555.76. Donations: £5.

Website Additions: 1 German translation was added.

PRC News: Trinity called Rev. Spronk (Peace, IL). Edgerton called Rev. A. Lanning (Faith, MI). Cornerstone will call from a trio of Revs. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh, PA), A. Lanning and Spronk.

This is part 2 of the 39 e-mail by Prof. Engelsma on justification:

Last week’s instalment ended with this paragraph: 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."

For the rest, I dare not make specific application. For there will be surprises as Christ equitably distributes His rewards. The first here will be last there and the last here will be first there. Rewarding His people will be part of the great work of Christ as judge. Only He has the knowledge and only He has the wisdom rightly to reward. Of this I am sure, many laymen and laywomen who received little attention in the church in this life will be more glorious than many a minister who did receive the praise of men (and not necessarily wrongly) here. The wife and mother who bore patiently with a rough husband (or even an unbelieving husband) raised her children in the fear of God and prayed night and day, though taken for granted by her fellow saints, will be more glorious than many a professor of theology.

Because the quality and the circumstances of the work count for much with Christ, and not simply the quantity, the malefactor on the cross who confessed Christ—who alone confessed Christ—at that crucial moment—though he had but one good work may be more glorious than many who rather matter-of-factly, but not insincerely, confessed Christ their life long.

An example that illustrates the idea of degrees of glory is that of glasses filled with wine (I choose wine because the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:21 represents the reward of eternal life as entrance into the joy of our Lord and wine is a symbol of that joy). When the multitude no man can number receive eternal life in body and soul in the day of Christ, all the glasses will be full of wine. But the glasses are not of the same size. Some are larger and more capacious than others.

That the reward includes the degrees of glory is clearly taught by the Bible. This is taught by all those passages that promise a reward according to one’s works. Not only does this refer to the basic nature of the works, that is, that eternal life itself accords with the basic nature of the works of one’s life (their goodness), but it also refers to the quality and number of the works, that is, that the degree of the glory of eternal life that each receives accords with the quality and number of his works.

In Luke 19:11ff., the faithful servant who gained ten pounds for the king is rewarded with rule over ten cities and the faithful servant who gained five pounds gets a reward of rule over five cities. These are degrees of the glory of ruling with Christ in the new world.

And I Corinthians 3:8 promises faithful ministers that each one will receive not the same reward in every respect but his own unique reward according to his own unique labour.

This then is the truth about the reward of good works: There certainly will be a reward of our good works. The reward will be eternal life itself in varying degrees of bliss and glory. And the varying degrees of glory will correspond to, and marvellously accord with, the good works that the elect believers did in their earthly life.

The reward, however, is not of merit, as I demonstrated in the previous instalment. When we receive the reward, we will not receive it as something we deserve by virtue of our works. This includes as well the degree of glory we receive. When the apostle Paul sits high up, very near the Lord Jesus Himself, at the table of the great marriage supper of the Lamb and His bride, he will not say, or think, I deserve this by all my apostolic labours. Nor did the apostle ever work with this notion or purpose. Nor do we work now with the notion and purpose that we earn eternal life and a future glorious position.

When Christ bestows the reward, He will not be paying wages for which we obligated him by our working.

What then is the explanation of the reward of works?

If the explanation is not merit, what is it?

When the Heidelberg Catechism considers the Romish argument against justification by faith alone and for justification and salvation by meritorious works in Question 63 (which I also referred to in the previous instalment), "What! Do not our good works merit, which yet God will reward in this and in a future life?" Its response is, "This reward is not of merit."

The Catechism does not deny, or in wise minimize the importance of, the truth of the reward of our good works.

It only denies that this reward is a meritorious reward.

Then the Catechism completes its response to Rome’s argument for justification by meritorious works: "... but of grace."

The reward is a gracious reward, a reward, therefore, that is in harmony with the biblical teaching of justification by faith alone and salvation by grace alone.

This, I take up, finishing my explanation of the reward of good works, in the next instalment, God willing.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma