Covenant Protestant Reformed
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 18 March, 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
Zechariah’s Night Visions (8)
The Flying Scroll
Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy
Text: Zechariah 5:1-4
I. The Vision
II. The Explanation
Psalms: 95:1-7; 122:1-9;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Coming to the Lord’s Supper
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-26
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
I. Those Who Should Come
II. Those Who Should Not Come
Psalms: 24:1-6; 123:1-4; 141:1-5;
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
Quote to Consider:
Matthew Henry on Zechariah
5:1-4: "What it was that the prophet saw; he looked up
into the air, and behold a flying roll. A vast large scroll
of parchment which had been rolled up, and is therefore
called a roll, was now unrolled and expanded; this roll was
flying upon the wings of the wind, carried swiftly through
the air in open view, as an eagle that shoots down upon her
prey; it was a roll, like Ezekiel’s that was written within
and without with lamentations, and mourning, and woe (Eze.
2:9-10). As the command of the law is in writing, for
certainty and perpetuity, so is the curse of the law; it
writes bitter things against the sinner. ‘What I have
written I have written and what is written remains.’ The
angel, to engage the prophet’s attention, and to raise in
him a desire to have it explained, asks him what he sees?
And he gives him this account of it: I see a flying roll,
and as near as he can guess by his eye it is twenty cubits
long (that is, ten yards) and ten cubits broad, that is,
five yards. The scriptures of the Old Testament and the New
are rolls, in which God has written to us the great things
of his law and gospel. Christ is the Master of the rolls.
They are large rolls, have much in them. They are flying
rolls; the angel that had the everlasting gospel to preach
flew in the midst of heaven (Rev. 14:6). God’s word runs
very swiftly (Ps. 147:15). Those that would be let into the
meaning of these rolls must first tell what they see, must
go as far as they can themselves. ‘What is written in the
law? how readest thou? Tell me that, and then thou shalt be
made to understand what thou readest.’"
Announcements (subject to God’s
Rev. Stewart’s bi-monthly
letter to the PRC is on the back table today.
Sunday Catechism: 10 AM
- O.T. Juniors
Monday Catechism: There
will be no catechism tomorrow evening so that the children
can review for the end of year test next Monday night.
Our Tuesday morning Bible
study meets at 11 AM on "Eschatology and Time." We will
continue our discussion on the "two ages."
Belgic Confession Class
meets Wednesday at 7:45 PM to study Article 14 on the
creation of man and the image of God.
The Mens’ Discussion Group
will meet Saturday, 24 March, at 8 PM at the Kennedys. A
resume of Daniel 11 and questions for Daniel 12 are on the
The Reformed Witness Hour
broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be
"Our Saviour’s Unique Suffering" (Lam. 1:12) by Rev. R.
S. Wales, 12 April, Rev.
Stewart, "God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Responsibility"
Ballymena, 20 April, Rev.
Stewart, "God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Responsibility"
Offerings: General Fund:
£492. Donation: £25 (CR News).
Admittance to the Lord’s Supper
by Prof. Ronald L. Cammenga
(an excerpt from the Standard
Bearer, vol. 73, issue 8)
Articles 61-64 of the Church
Order deal with the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. These
articles lay down the fundamental guidelines that safeguard
the administration of the sacrament in Reformed churches.
There is evident in these articles a deep concern for the
proper administration of the Lord’s Supper, the purity of
the sacrament, and the protection of the sacrament against
The concern of our Church Order
rests on the conviction of our Reformed fathers that the
proper administration of the sacraments is a distinguishing
mark of the true church of Jesus Christ in the world.
Neglect of the principles set forth in these articles in
many Reformed churches today is a glaring indication of the
extent to which these churches have forsaken their heritage
and come under the influence of apostasy.
The concern of the Church Order
is the responsibility of the consistory with respect to the
This is not to say that the
individual Christian has no responsibility for the proper
administration, of the Lord’s Supper. Not at all! The
individual Christian has a responsibility with respect to
himself. He must examine his own heart and life and be sure
that he partakes of the Lord’s Supper worthily. "But let a
man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and
drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh
unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not
discerning the Lord’s body" (I Cor. 11:28-29).
The individual Christian also
has a responsibility with respect to his fellow church
members. If he is aware that he is the occasion of offense
against any other member, he must clear up the offense
before coming to the Lord’s Supper. "Therefore if thou bring
thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy
brother hath ought against thee: leave there thy gift before
the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy
brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matt. 5:23-24).
Or, if he has knowledge that a brother is walking in sin, in
order that the sacraments not be profaned and in order to
gain the brother, he must deal with the brother in the way
prescribed in Matthew l8:15-20.
But the focus of Article 61 is
the responsibility of the consistory with respect to the
administration of the Lord’s Supper. The elders of the
church have the calling from Christ to guard the sacrament.
In the past this responsibility was often referred to as the
elders’ calling to "fence" the sacrament.
Article 61 makes plain that
this calling means not only that the elders bar from
partaking those who are living impenitent in sin. But the
calling goes further. The elders are to do all in their
power to assure that those who do partake are worthy to
In order to assure that only
those who are worthy partake of the Lord’s Supper, Article
61 requires of consistories that they admit to the sacrament
those who "... have made a confession of the Reformed
religion, besides being reputed to be of a godly walk ..."
Confession of faith is the way to the Lord’s table.
This confession is to be a
confession of "the Reformed religion." Faith is necessary
for a right partaking of the Lord’s Supper. But faith is
knowledge. Only those are to be admitted to the Lord’s
Supper who have a knowledge of the fundamentals of the
Reformed faith. If one’s knowledge is deemed deficient, the
consistory ought to delay admittance to the Lord’s Supper in
order that further instruction can be received.
Faith is also confidence. The
knowledge of the Reformed faith is not merely, therefore,
head knowledge. But there must also be expressed the
personal conviction on the part of the one making confession
of faith of his own heartfelt belief of the truths of the
Word of God.
If this faith is a genuine
faith, it will also be a faith that produces the fruit of
holiness. This, too, must be a concern of the consistory in
those who are admitted to the sacrament: "... besides being
reputed to be of a godly walk." For this reason, novices and
strangers must not be admitted to the Lord’s Supper. It may
very well be that they are walking godly. But the consistory
must know this about them. The consistory must be
sufficiently acquainted with those whom it admits to the
Lord’s Supper that it can testify to the uprightness of
their walk of life.
If a confession of faith is
required of those who are to partake of the Lord’s Supper,
it is plain that Article 61 prohibits young children from
partaking of the sacrament. Paedo-communion, a practice
gaining acceptance in many Reformed and Presbyterian
churches in our day, not only runs counter to Reformed
tradition, but is contrary to the Scriptures. It ought to be
plain that no child can carry out the requirements of I
Corinthians 11 with a view to partaking of the Lord’s
Supper: self-examination (v. 28); discerning the Lord’s body
(v. 29); judging ourselves (v. 31).
This is not to deny that there
are varying degrees of understanding on the part of those
admitted to the Lord’s Supper. This is certainly the case.
There are those of greater and lesser intellectual capacity
who confess their faith and seek to come to the Lord’s
table. More will be required of those brought up in the
church all their lives than of those quite new to the faith.
Those who are new to the faith will often require private
instruction by the pastor before making confession of faith.
All these factors must be taken into consideration by a
consistory. Still there must be a sufficient grasp of the
fundamentals of the faith and evidence of the putting of the
teachings of the Word of God into practice in everyday life
It ought to be plain that
Article 61 opposes the practice of open communion, that is,
the practice of opening the Lords table to all who desire to
partake. Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is not merely a
matter of the individual conscience. Consistories must
exercise proper supervision. For this reason it is a good
practice that on the Sunday of the administration of the
Lord’s Supper, a notice be placed in the bulletin that
supervision is exercised over the administration of the
sacrament, so that only those who are members in good
standing or those who have received special permission from
the consistory may partake.
Does this mean that the
churches ought to practice "closed" or "close" communion?
Closed communion means that admittance to the Lord’s Supper
is granted only to those who are members of the congregation
or are members of a sister church.
Our churches practice close
communion. This allows for those who are not members of our
churches or of a sister church to partake after they have
received special permission from the consistory. This may
include those who are in the process of joining the
congregation, or those who for one reason or another are
unable to partake of the sacrament in their own
congregation. It may be that they are forced to be absent
from their own congregation temporarily because of work
assignment or because they are pursuing an education.
These will be rare exceptions. A consistory must exercise
good judgment in each of these cases, granting special
permission to partake only to those who make "... a
confession of the Reformed religion, besides being reputed
to be of a godly walk ..." In this way, the sacrament will
be protected, lest it be profaned and the wrath of God fall
on the whole congregation (Heidelberg Catechism,
Lord’s Day 30, Q. & A. 82).