Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 30 June, 2013

"But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious,
longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Administration of the Lord’s Supper
Christ’s Lordship Over the Holy Supper  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 11:17-12:6
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 13

I. The Appointing Lord
II. The Beneficent Lord
III. The Commanding Lord
Psalms: 24:1-6; 38:8-13; 99:1-7; 103:1-7

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Applicatory - Rest for God’s People (5)
Entering God’s Rest  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4
Text: Hebrews 4:12-13

I. By Knowing God’s Omniscience
II. By Experiencing God’s Word
Psalms: 95:6-11; 38:14-22; 139:1-10; 119:89-96

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

F. F. Bruce on Hebrews 4:12: "The words which follow—’piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow’—are to be understood as a ‘rhetorical accumulation of terms to express the whole mental nature of man on all its sides’ ... It would indeed be precarious to draw any conclusions from these words about our author’s psychology ... That the word of God probes the inmost recesses of our spiritual being and brings the subconscious motives to light is what is meant; we may compare Paul’s language about the coming day when the Lord ‘will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts’ (I Cor. 4:5)."

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

We welcome the visitors to our worship services today, especially Bob, Carolyn, Kyle, Briana, Andrew and Alicia Prins from Hudsonville, Michigan.

This morning we come to the Lord’s table. The Council has granted permission to partake of the Lord’s Supper to Bob, Carolyn, Kyle, Kristin and Briana Prins who are all confessing members in good standing of Trinity PRC.

The July issue of the Covenant Reformed News is available on the back table.

A draft of the new CPRC address and telephone list is also on the back table. Please correct or add to your entry, or place a tick by it if it is accurate.

All are welcome to stay for tea after the evening service today.

The Council meets tomorrow evening at 8:15 PM at the church.

Julian, Marie & Joseph Kennedy leave this week Wednesday for Trinidad and Tobago. They will be gone for about 7 weeks. May the Lord watch over them as they travel and visit with Marie’s family.

All are invited to a barbecue at the manse this Friday, 5 July. Please arrive at 6:30 PM or as soon as you can make it thereafter.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) is entitled "Husbands, Love With Purpose" (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Next Sunday, after the evening worship service, Mr. John VanBaren, an elder in Hope PRC, will be giving us a presentation on Myanmar. Tea will also be served.

All in the CPRC are welcome to attend David and Kristin’s wedding ceremony at the church on Tuesday, 9 July, at 12:30 PM. Tea will be served afterward.

S. Wales Lecture: Rev. McGeown will give the next lecture in The Rest, Porthcawl on Thursday, 12 September, on "God’s Sovereignty in Our Afflictions."

Offerings: General Fund - £765.05.

Website Additions: 5 Spanish and 2 Italian translations were added.

PRC News: Doon PRC called Rev. Haak.

Celebrating the Lord’s Supper

by Rev. G. Vanden Berg (Standard Bearer, vol. 42, issue 14)


The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is throughout a spiritual exercise. This must be emphasized because, unless we eat and drink at the communion table in a spiritual way, our celebration is nothing but an empty formalism. If we in a physical way only partake of the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, we eat and drink condemnation unto ourselves, for we have not then discerned the Lord’s body. In the true sense of the word, there is no celebration of the Lord’s death except through faith, which is "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." By it we transcend all that is visible in the sacrament, and penetrate into a hidden world, where we lay hold of unspeakable riches of communion with Christ.

It is for this reason that, immediately before the celebration of the sacrament, we are enjoined "to lift our hearts up on high in heaven, where Christ Jesus is our Advocate, at the right hand of His heavenly Father, whither all the articles of our faith lead us." We must not "cleave with our hearts unto the external bread and wine." That will not profit us in any way. We have come to the table of the Lord with a spiritual hunger and a spiritual thirst. We desire to be fed with the Bread of Life, which we cannot find in the earthly, physical bread that is before us. That Bread is in heaven at the right hand of God, and we attain unto Him only through faith. All the elements set before us are but signs which point to Him, and through which the truth as it is in Jesus is unmistakably set forth. These signs we must read with spiritual discernment, and understanding them through faith we shall experience the elevation of our hearts to the sphere where He dwells in communion with the ever blessed God.

In this activity there must be no doubt. To be fed with the heavenly bread, Christ Jesus, we must be assured that the sacrament has been instituted by Him, and that, therefore, He will also work through it applying the benefits of His redemptive work unto our hearts. He will certainly feed and refresh our souls through the working of the Holy Spirit, with His body and blood, as we receive the holy bread and wine in remembrance of Him. If we lack this faith we are unfit to celebrate His death, and we will fail utterly to grasp the meaning of the various elements that belong to this celebration.

The beauty of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper lies in the simplicity of the sacrament as observed in Reformed Churches. There is nothing ostentatious about it. Neither do we need to apologize for any lack of superficial ritual that aims only to make an impression upon the observer. The clamour to add gaudiness to the ceremony in order to make it more appealing and impressive must constantly be suppressed, and we must remain satisfied with the simple institution as Christ gave it to His church. The criticisms that our simple liturgical practices do not fit in the "modern age" and the insistence that these "outdated customs" be discarded may not dissuade us from obedience in observing this sacrament in the manner Christ taught us. We maintain in our Confession, "Therefore we reject all mixtures and damnable inventions, which men have added unto, and blended with the sacraments, as profanations of them: and affirm that we ought to rest satisfied with the ordinance which Christ and His apostles have taught us, and that we must speak of them in the same manner as they have spoken" (Belgic Confession 35).

The simplicity of the service aims to put the emphasis where it belongs. All the elements and procedures in the ceremony must point to and direct the faith of the church to CHRIST. It is His Supper, and everything connected with it must be designed to bring the communicant into conscious fellowship with Him. Any superficial additions which do not assist in realizing this end may, without loss to the sacrament, be profitably omitted. Such elements are not needed but are also not desired in the spiritual communion of the body of Christ. With this in mind we will make a few observations of the ceremony.


Bread and wine constitute the proper elements of the Lord’s Supper. We are aware that in some circles these are substituted with wafers and grape juice or wine diluted with water. This, however, is improper in spite of various practical arguments that are raised in defence of this practice. The substitution of bread by the wafer stems from the erroneous and superstitious notion that in some mystical way the bread of communion is actually transformed into the real body of Jesus Christ, and to then avoid the possibility of part of that body being wasted through the crumbling of the bread the wafer is used. The substitution of wine by grape juice is no doubt motivated by so-called temperance reasons and considers the use of any fermented wine to be sin; a consideration which can not be maintained in the light of Scripture. When the Bible speaks of wine, it does not mean grape juice but fermented wine.

Bread and wine therefore are proper symbols. They are physical elements taken from the world of our experience and designed to direct our faith to heavenly and spiritual realities. Bread is the staff of life. It is a basic food in our daily diet. In Scripture it is spoken of with a broader connotation denoting all the necessities of our natural life. Thus when we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," we ask God for such things as we stand in need of in the present world so that we may continue to live and serve Him as long as He is minded to have us here. Without bread we die. This basic essential of our physical existence is chosen by the Lord to signify our deepest and only spiritual need, the Bread of Life, Christ Himself. Without Him we die. Having Him we have all that is necessary. We lack nothing.

Wine in Scripture denotes joy, prosperity and luxury. As such it is the proper symbol directing us to the truth that all our joy, our eternal prosperity and our luxurious riches of grace are inherent in the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the flowing of His blood we, who are poor, are made rich. Through His blood we have the forgiveness of all our sins and to us is imputed perfect righteousness, which is the implication of all the blessings of eternal life.

Not only therefore are the bread and wine proper symbols to set before our consciousness the blessings of our salvation as these are all in Christ Jesus, but in the celebration of the Supper the bread must be broken and the wine poured out. This is essential because it proclaims to us the truth concerning the manner in which those blessings were obtained for us. The breaking of the bread signifies the breaking of the body of Christ on the cross, and the pouring of the wine represents the shedding of His precious blood as the atonement for our sins. It is not through any "whim of the will" or "works which we have done" that God saves us but the sole ground and foundation of our salvation is the cross of our Lord. Because His body was broken in death and His blood was poured out in payment of our guilt we have eternal life in Him. Believing this we receive the broken bread and poured out wine in which the truth is signified to us and sealed in our hearts, and we are assured of the blessings of God.