Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 8 March, 2015
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind ...” (Rom. 12:2)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM - Rev. M. McGeown
Samson’s Escalating War Against the Philistines
Scripture Reading: Judges 15:1-20
Text: Judges 15:1-20
I. A Devastating War
II. A Righteous War
III. An Unappreciated War
Psalms: 89:1-8; 97:8-12; 76:7-12; 116:1-8
Evening Service - 6:00 PM - Rev. M. McGeown
Samson Removes Gaza’s Gates
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 7:1-27
Text: Judges 16:1-3
I. The Miraculous Event
II. The Significant Victory
III. The Moral Weakness
Psalms: 118:20-29; 98:1-9; 48:8b-14; 24:6-10
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services,
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart
or the elders
CPRC Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live Webcast:
CPRC YouTube: www.youtube.com/cprcni
CPRC Facebook: www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
Quotes to Consider
Michael Wilcock: “There is in truth no such thing as
harmonious co-existence between church and world, for where
there is no conflict it is because the world has taken over”
(Judges, p. 142).
Matthew Henry: “God was righteous in it: the corn
and the wine and the oil which [the Philistines] had
prepared for Dagon to be a meat offering to him were
thus in the season thereof made a burnt-offering to
Michael Wilcock: “We, the readers, know what
Samson does not know. We are aware of how the story will
end. He went to Gaza; he could not resist a pretty
woman; and when he realised his enemies were lying in
wait for him, he seized the town gates bodily, uprooted
them, and carried them off. All good fun, at the time.
But there would be another woman, with more far-reaching
intentions; and another seizing, not of the gates but of
the man who took them away; and another visit to Gaza,
from which there would be no return” (Judges, p.
Kevin DeYoung: “Don’t reason with sexual sin,
just run. Don’t dabble. Don’t peruse. Don’t experiment.
Don’t ‘find yourself.’ Don’t test your resolve. Don’t
mess around. Just flee. We are to avoid the mistakes of
the foolish man in Proverbs 7 who hung around sexual
immorality, listened to its siren song, followed it
through town, and ended up losing his life. God doesn’t
ask us to get familiar with sexual immorality on the big
screen, TV screen or smart phone screen so that we can
engage the culture. He commands us to get away” (The
Hole in Our Holiness, p. 111).
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
We welcome Rev. McGeown, while Rev. Stewart is in the LRF.
The CPRC Council has unanimously voted to approve the
proposal from the CERC in Singapore that we establish a
sister church relationship. As you know, over the past year,
we have informed the congregation about the CERC and its
website, bulletins, magazine (Salt Shakers), etc., through
e-mails, the notice board in the narthex, etc. The six
letters of Rev. Lanning of the CERC to us and Rev. Stewart’s
letter to the CERC appeared on the back of our bulletin. Our
minister spoke about the CERC at last year’s Annual General
Meeting and we discussed the Singaporean church in every
household during Family Visitation 2014. The response was
uniformly positive. If anyone has any objections, he or she
should bring them in writing to a church office-bearer
before the next council meeting (13 April). Our sister
church relationship with the PRC and the CERC’s sister
church relationship with the PRC require that we inform the
synod of the PRC of our plan. If the 2015 PR Synod has no
legitimate objections, the sister church relationship
between CPRC and CERC would then be considered officially
We now have a defibrillator on the top shelf on the left in
the kitchen. Drs. Julian Kennedy & Jennifer Hanko, and
Philip Hall & William Graham are the operatives.
The 2015 Lord’s Supper dates are 29 March, 28 June, 27
September & 20 December.
Taylor, Josh, Corey, Bradley & Samuel (Beginners OT, book 1) - 5:30 PM
Alex, Nathan, Jacob & Joseph (Seniors NT) - 6:15 PM
Timothy & Chris (Essentials of Reformed Doctrine) - 7:00 PM
The Tuesday Bible study meets at 11 AM to consider “The Keys
of the Kingdom.”
The Belgic Confession Class will meet Wednesday at 7:45 PM
to begin Article 25 on “The Abolishing of the Ceremonial
Men’s Bible Study meets this Saturday at the Kennedys at
8:00 PM to study chapter 12 of Pursuit of Holiness on
“Holiness in Spirit.”
The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel
846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. R. Kleyn is entitled “Our
Substitute” (Isaiah 53:4-6).
S. Wales Lecture: On Thursday, 19 March, Rev. Stewart will
give a lecture on “The New Life Within Us” at the Round
Chapel in Port Talbot.
Lurgan Lecture: Rev. Stewart will speak at the Lurgan Town
Hall on “The Threat of Rome to Protestant Churches Today” on
Friday, 10 April, at 7:30 PM.
Offerings: General Fund - £1,040.31. Building Fund -
£271.12. Donation: £100 (translator fund), £50 (pamphlets).
Website Additions: 2 Indonesian and 1 Lithuanian (Heidelberg
Wisdom, the Principal Thing
Brian D. Dykstra
Proverbs 4:7-8: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore
get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee
to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to
thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she
deliver to thee.”
In this section of Proverbs 4, Solomon continues to tell us
the instruction his father David had given to him. Solomon
took this instruction to heart and faithfully passes it on
Solomon gives us an important truth: wisdom is the principal
thing. Wisdom is the ability to tell the difference between
what is good and what is evil. This is not good and evil in
the sight of man. We know how that can change. Some of us
have been around for awhile and have seen how social mores
have devolved. What used to be generally deplored and
thought shameful, even by the world, is now openly paraded
and thought to be something of which one may and should be
proud. This is good and evil as defined by God in His Word.
This is the standard which does not change. Wisdom gives us
the ability to see how God’s Word applies to every area of
The wisdom which comes from God is the principal thing.
Wisdom is the beginning of, and the most important thing in,
life. It comes first in the order of things which David told
Solomon he must acquire. David knew Solomon would rule after
him. Yet, David did not say that it would be most important
for Solomon to keep a close eye on his enemies. He did not
point out the importance of knowing how to wield power so
nobody would dare threaten his position on Israel’s throne.
David, because he had contemplated God’s law during his
years of service as a shepherd, and now because he had ruled
God’s people for a number of years, came to realize that
wisdom was what was most important in life.
The next command from David would seem to be obvious. If
wisdom is that important so as to be the chief thing in
life, Solomon had better get it. This implies effort on
Solomon’s part. When one gets something, obtains it for his
or her own possession; it was not a gift. You went out into
society and used your skills or knowledge to work for what
you wanted. Wisdom does not come through a passive life of
sitting back and being entertained or being constantly
connected to the internet or social media. In our digital
and electronic age, the world is putting up a constant
babble leaving us little room for quietly contemplating
spiritual matters. Getting wisdom takes the work of closing
out the world and its distractions for a time, and putting
the effort into personal meditation on God’s Word. That is
how we get wisdom.
David did not want Solomon to stop with getting wisdom. He
had to progress to the next step, getting understanding.
Just a few verses previous, wisdom and understanding were
referred to with a singular pronoun as though they were one
and the same. This time, however, wisdom and understanding
are not the same idea. Understanding included the idea of
using one’s experiences in life. Understanding is the
application of wisdom and life’s experiences so one
practices discernment in the wide variety of situations in
which we can find ourselves in life.
Solomon followed David’s advice. We are very familiar with
the story recorded in I Kings 3. God appeared to Solomon to
ask him what he desired. He asked for wisdom. What
percentage of people would give the same answer if presented
with such an opportunity?
We also have the example of Mary in Luke 10. Martha received
Jesus into her house and became very busy in meeting the
needs of her guests. Mary did not lift a finger to help,
much to the annoyance of Martha. After asking Christ to ask
Mary to give some help, the Lord pointed out that Mary chose
what was better, listening to His instruction. Mary viewed
Christ’s instruction as the principal thing.
David also commanded Solomon to exalt wisdom. We are to set
wisdom up to a higher elevation. We look up to wisdom
because of its value. We see wisdom’s superior character.
There are results for viewing wisdom as the principal thing,
getting wisdom and understanding, and exalting her. We are
promoted. We will be advanced, put above to a higher
spiritual level. Wisdom also brings honour when she is
embraced. We will hold wisdom tight so we will not let her
go. We have affection for wisdom for we see how valuable she
is to our life. Wisdom gives substance to our lives so we do
not walk in the vanities of this world. Wisdom gives us a
beautiful decoration of grace and a crown of glory.
Is this our nature, to believe that wisdom is the principal
thing? No. We would foolishly join the world in their
vanity, seeking pleasure in things the world has to offer,
and, in the end, finding that the world’s goods have no
lasting value. By God’s grace in Jesus Christ, we have new
hearts so that we will see God’s wisdom as the principal