Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 23
"Happy is he
that hath the God of Jacob for his help,
whose hope is
in the Lord his God" (Ps. 146:5)
Morning Service -
The Holy Spirit in
The Earnest of the Spirit [download]
I. The Meaning
II. The Purpose
III. The Goal
2:1-7; 16:5-11; 73:23-28
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Thy Kingdom Come [download]
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
Day 48; Isaiah 52
I. The Meaning of the Kingdom
II. The Prayer for the
2:7-12; 98:1-8; 145:10-17
Contact Sean Courtney
(email@example.com) for CDs of the sermons.
Quote to Consider:
John Calvin on Ephesians 1:14: "[The Spirit as an
earnest] is twice used by Paul in another Epistle (II Cor 1:22; 5:5).
The metaphor is taken from bargains, in which, when a pledge has been
given and accepted, the whole is confirmed, and no room is left for a
change of mind. Thus, when we have received the Spirit of God, his
promises are confirmed to us, and no dread is felt that they will be
revoked. In themselves, indeed, the promises of God are not weak; but,
until we are supported by the testimony of the Spirit, we never rest
upon them with unshaken confidence. The Spirit, then, is the earnest of
our inheritance of eternal life, until the redemption, that is, until
the day of complete redemption is arrived. So long as we are in this
world, our warfare is sustained by hope, and therefore this earnest is
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
We welcome Sam, Chris, Manuel, Emily-Kate, and Inga
to our worship services today. After this evening’s service, everyone is
invited to stay for tea and fellowship with these young people
On the back table are CDs of Prof. Engelsma’s recent
radio interview on the 4th commandment and the Lord’s Day. It can
also be listened to on-line.
Standard Bearer subscriptions are due. You may
pay your subscription directly to the RFPA or pay £17 to Rev. Stewart.
Tuesday, 10:15 AM - Beginners OT Class at the Murrays
PM - Jacob Buchanan
PM - Jamie & Debbie Murray
Tuesday, 7 PM
- Campbells at the manse
Ladies’ Bible Study meets this Tuesday, 25
November, 10:15 AM at the Murrays.
Midweek Bible Study meets this Wednesday, 7:45 PM
at the manse. We will study I Peter 1:10-12 on the OT prophets searching
their own prophecies.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is "Those Born of God Love One Another"
(I John 4:7-8).
Offerings: General Fund - £468.85.
Lectures: Limerick, Fri., 5 Dec., 7:30 PM, "The Reformation’s
Teaching on the Church"
Fri., 12 Dec., 7:15 PM, "The Reformation’s Teaching on the Church"
Thurs., 8 Jan., 7:30 PM - Prof. Gritters, "Music’s Indispensable Place
in (the) Reformation"
Fri., 20 Feb., 8 PM - Lecture on John Calvin
PRC News: Byron Center PRC will call from a trio of Revs. Eriks
(Hudsonville, MI), R. Kleyn (Trinity, MI), and Slopsema (First, MI).
David’s Exemplary Prayer
Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation (Psalm 35:3b)
Psalm 35 was the basis of Hope School’s first
Song-of-the-Week this school year. David, the man after God’s own heart,
wrote this psalm. It is a prayer. The matter of prayer in the life of
God’s covenant people was so vital to those men who established Hope
School some three generations ago that prayer is listed in Hope School’s
constitution as one of the purposes of Christian instruction. Under the
Purpose Statement of our Constitution we read, "[Hope School] shall
teach that prayer is the chief part of the thankfulness that God
requires of us and through prayer God gives His grace and Holy Spirit
only to those who pray continually." David’s prayer as recorded in Psalm
35 is an example for us and our covenant children.
David experienced great distress at the time when he
wrote this psalm. We do not know the source of David’s trouble. It is
likely David wrote this psalm at the time when Saul sought to kill
David. Saul recognized David would begin a new dynasty which would rule
over Israel. Although Saul’s son Jonathan would willingly and gladly
serve in David’s court, Saul wanted David killed so Jonathan could be
Israel’s next king.
In this psalm David tells God of his distress.
David’s enemies falsely accused him. These enemies persecuted David and
returned evil for his kindness. Though David fasted and mourned when his
enemies were sick, they rejoiced and mocked David in his adversity. The
enemies opposing David were not limited to the weak and powerless in
society either, but David was opposed by the king and the members of his
court. David’s enemies were powerful and had influence. They would use
their influence to turn the common people against David. These great
difficulties caused David to wonder whether God would deliver him from
his enemies’ hands.
David knew his troubles were not matters which he
could solve by himself. He needed help, powerful help. Rather than
turning to men for aid, which David knows would be vain, David begins
his prayer by asking God to help him. David writes, "Plead my cause, O
Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight
against me." David will not rely upon his own strength. David wants God
to judge his cause and fight his enemies.
David petitions God for many important things in this
prayer. David asks God to take up various weapons to fight his enemies.
He asks for the angel of the Lord to chase them. He also asks that the
destruction which his enemies hoped to see befall David by means of
their plots and schemes would actually come upon them.
There is also the petition of David which appears at
the beginning of this article. There is something which David longs to
hear. David wants God to speak to him, but David is not looking for some
casual, "over the backyard fence" conversation. David yearns for God to
speak to his soul. David wants to hear Jehovah say to him, and
for the Lord to say it in such a way that David is completely convinced
of its truth, that Jehovah is his salvation. If David could know that
and be absolutely convinced of its truth, he would be confident of the
outcome of his present distress. What an encouragement it would be for
David to hear that the Almighty God is his salvation.
We must ask, however, whether this prayer is one that
God would hear and answer affirmatively. The Heidelberg Catechism,
which is also mentioned in Hope’s Constitution as a foundation of the
school and its instruction, states in Question and Answer 117 the
requisites of prayers which are acceptable to God.
First, prayers must come from the heart and be
addressed to the one true God. David certainly does that in this psalm.
Also, petitioners to God must know their need and misery so that they
humble themselves. David does mention in his prayer some aspects of his
behaviour to indicate his innocence, but he certainly does not boast of
himself. In verse 24 David asks God to judge him not according to his
righteousness, but according to God’s righteousness. David meets
this standard of proper prayer as well. Finally, those who go to God in
prayer must be persuaded that God will do what He has promised in His
Word, not for our sakes, but for Christ’s. David had the promise of God
given to him through Samuel that God had rejected Saul and chosen David
to be king. God would hear this prayer. David would know that Jehovah is
his salvation. God would even bring this salvation from David’s line
when the promised Messiah would come.
We and our children also face powerful enemies.
Sending our covenant children to our Christian schools does not mean
that Satan considers them out-of-bounds to his temptations. Satan is
busy in our schools, and he works hard in them. When our children walk
through the doors of our Christian schools, they do not mystically leave
their weak and sinful flesh behind. They will still have to struggle
with the old man of sin as they face a variety of temptations. Sin will
be evident in our schools.
What can we do? We must follow the example of David
in this psalm and go to our faithful Lord in prayer. We must petition
God, and our children must be taught to make this their prayer too, that
our Lord will speak to our souls that the Almighty and Faithful One is
our salvation. Please, we must not view too narrowly Jehovah’s
covenantal assurance that He is the salvation of us and our children.
God’s covenant is not established with me (singular) and my (singular)
children. Neither does God save a bunch of individuals. God saves a,
that is one, church. God’s covenant is made with believers
(plural) and their (plural) seed. Covenant parents will band together to
maintain Christian schools because the instruction they want for their
children, they also want for the covenant children of other believing
parents as well.
May God use our schools to instruct His children that
Jehovah is their salvation. We must not teach them to pray that God will
influence their free wills so they accept His offer of salvation. We
will not tell our children their prayers are to be a list of the works
they have done for God as if good works can merit anything with Him.
Rather, let us teach our children to pray that the one true God will
tell their souls that He, for Christ’s sake, is their salvation.
Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope Protestant
Reformed Christian School, Grand Rapids, Michigan