Covenant Protestant Reformed
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 24 June, 2012
"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 - Lord’s Supper
The Pilgrim Psalms (2)
The Saint on His Way [download]
Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy
Text: Psalm 121
I. The Source of Our Help
II. The Scope of Our Protection
Psalms: 18:1-7; 141:6-10; 16:1-7;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM - Applicatory
The Pilgrim Psalms (3)
The Saint at His Arrival
Scripture Reading: Psalm 122
Text: Psalm 122
I. The Gladness
II. The Wonder
III. The Prayer
Psalms: 84:1-6; 142:1-7; 87:1-7;
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of
the worship services, contact
If you desire a pastoral visit,
please contact Rev. Stewart
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
Quotes to Consider
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.: "One
wonders how deeply affected modern believers are by the
opportunities that we have to enter along with other
believers into the house of God. Do we find the suggestion
to go to church a pleasant one? Are God’s people the delight
of our existence? Or do we find more excitement over the
prospect of going out to the ballpark? Is being with the
ungodly a more enjoyable prospect? A truthful answer to this
question could tell us an amazing amount of information
about ourselves and our relationship to the Lord and to his
people" (The Journey Isn’t Over, pp. 47-48).
Announcements (subject to God’s
After a week of
self-examination, confessing members in good standing are
called to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
Your participation in the Lord’s Supper is in part a witness
that you repent of your sins, believe that Jesus Christ is
your righteousness and desire to live a new and godly life.
As this heavenly food can be taken to one’s judgment (I Cor.
11:28-30) and as the common reception of this food is a
confession of doctrinal unity (Acts 2:42), the elders
supervise the partaking of the sacrament. Visitors from
other denominations must request permission from the
The Council has granted
permission to Kristin Prins, a member of Trinity PRC,
to partake of the Lord’s Supper this morning.
On the back table today is a
Rev. McGeown’s bi-monthly letter.
Our Tuesday morning Bible
study meets at 11 AM on "Eschatology and Time." We will
discuss the "last days" in the Old Testament prophets.
The Reformed Witness Hour
broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be
"The Power of the Pulpit" (Neh. 8) by Rev. Haak.
Have you booked your place at
the BRF Conference yet? Booking forms are on the back
table. We would like to have bookings in by 1 July. For
those who would like to camp, don’t forget to reserve your
site through Lorne House.
S. Wales Lecture:
Wednesday, 18 July, at 7:15 PM, Rev. Stewart on "The New
Testament Teaching on the Last Days."
Gareth & Leona Halliday
requested baptism for their daughter, Emilia Rose.
The council approved this request and baptism is set for the
morning of 22 July.
Offerings: General Fund:
£515.65. Donations: £150 (CR News).
Website Additions: 1
Italian, 1 Danish and 2 Afrikaans translations were added.
PRC News: Rev. Marcus declined the call to Hope PRC.
Prof. Gritters and Pete VanderSchaaf left this past Thursday
for Germany to visit Dr. Jurgen Klautke and the saints of
the BERG (Confessing Protestant Reformed Church). Rev. Smit
was able to preach and give speeches to the saints of the
CERC of Singapore during their annual June Camp. Prof.
Dykstra and his wife are leaving Wednesday for Singapore to
provide further pulpit supply for the CERC.
The Idea and Importance of the
Rev. James A. Laning (Standard
Bearer, vol. 82, issue 12)
The sacraments are holy,
visible signs and seals given by Christ to the church to
confirm the faith of His covenant people. They are not empty
signs, as some make them out to be. Rather, they really are
means of grace by which the Spirit of Christ strengthens the
faith that He has worked by the preaching.
They are not empty signs, but
seals. They seal unto us God’s promise, and thus confirm or
strengthen our faith. Therefore, to understand the
sacraments one must understand what is meant by a seal.
The Sacraments as Seals
There are many kinds of seals
that are used to assure people of something. A seal on a
letter assures the reader that the signature at the bottom
is genuine. A seal on a medicine bottle serves to assure the
buyer that no one has tampered with the bottle’s contents.
Similarly, the sacraments are seals, which means they are
something that God uses to assure us.
The truth of which the
sacraments assure us is this: God is really giving to us the
salvation in Christ that He has promised. By means of the
sacraments Christ assures God’s people that as really as
they receive the sacrament, so really do they receive the
invisible grace that is signified by it.
The sacraments have this
assuring effect upon God’s people because Christ has added a
promise to the sacraments. The Heidelberg Catechism
points this out in its explanation of both baptism and the
Lord’s Supper. The believer confesses that Christ has added
this promise to baptism:
That I am as certainly
washed by His blood and Spirit from all the
pollution of my soul, that is, from all my sins, as
I am washed externally with water, by which the
filthiness of the body is commonly washed away (A.
And then he goes on to confess
that Christ has added the following promises to the Lord’s
... first, that His
blood was offered and broken on the cross for me,
and His blood shed for me, as certainly as I see
with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and
the cup communicated to me; and further, that He
feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life,
with His crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly
as I receive from the hands of the minister, and
taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord,
as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ (A.
This explains why the believer
has his faith strengthened by means of the sacraments. It is
because Christ has added a promise to the sacraments. He has
promised to give His people the very blessings that they see
signified by the sacraments.
It is Christ’s promise that
assures us. And it is because Christ has added His promise
to the sacraments that they function as seals that assure
us, strengthening our faith.
A Real Means of Grace
What has just been said serves
to point out that the sacraments really are a means
of grace. Although receiving the sacraments is not necessary
for salvation, there really is grace that comes to us by
means of the sacraments.
There are many churches (e.g.,
most Baptist churches) that deny that baptism and the Lord’s
Supper are means of grace. They often refuse to call these
two by the name of sacraments, and instead prefer to call
them ordinances. We use both terms (ordinances and
sacraments) to refer to them. But the latter term they
reject. The term sacraments comes from the Latin term
sacramentum, and has long been used by the church to
refer to a church ordinance that is both a sign and a means
of grace. Therefore, those who deny that baptism and the
Lord’s Supper are means of grace often refuse to call them
But means of grace they are,
and they are such because of the promise that Christ has
attached to them. But this is precisely the point that many
deny. Where did Christ attach a promise to these two
ordinances? That is the question many ask us when we confess
that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are sacraments. And again
the Heidelberg Catechism [Q. & A. 71, 77] serves as
an instructor through which our fathers point us to the
correct answer ...
This promise is repeated by the
holy apostle Paul, where he says: "The cup of blessing which
we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the
body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread and one
body; because we are all partakers of that one bread" (I Cor.
This is where our fathers found
the promise that Christ attached to the sacraments. They
found it first of all in the words Christ spoke in
connection with the institution of each sacrament. Then,
secondly, they found this promise repeated in other places
in the New Testament. Our fathers rightly saw that when the
Scriptures called baptism the washing away of sins (Acts
22:16), and when Christ called the bread His body and the
cup His blood (Mark 14:22-24), this amounted to a promise to
give along with the sign the grace that it signifies. This
promise, however, is only to the elect, and they alone are
the ones that receive grace by means of the sacraments.
A Particular Means of Grace
When considering the
sacraments, it is of utmost importance that we distinguish
the signs (i.e., the sacraments) from the grace that they
signify. The minister administers the sacrament; Christ
gives that which is signified by the sacrament. This is the
official Reformed position, as it is confessed in Article 34
of the Belgic Confession: "Therefore the ministers,
on their part, administer the sacrament and that which is
visible, but our Lord giveth that which is signified by the
sacrament, namely, the gifts and invisible grace."
The sign is not the same as the
grace that it signifies. Some who receive the sacrament
receive only the sacrament, and not the grace.
Since the sacraments confirm
faith, one must have faith to be blessed by them. The Spirit
works faith by the preaching of the gospel and confirms it
by the use of the sacraments. The sacraments are a secondary
means of grace, used to confirm or strengthen the faith that
is already there. Therefore one must have faith, in order to
receive the blessing of having that faith confirmed by the
The thing signified is received
only by those who believe the Word. The grace signified is
found in the Word, which is Christ. So only those who
believe the Word receive the grace that is signified by the
sacrament. Thus the sacraments must be used in connection
with the preaching of that Word, in order to function as a
means of grace to those who use them rightly, partaking of
them by faith ...