Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church


Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 1 October, 2006


"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises

unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in

the morning, and thy faithfulness every night" (Psalm 92:1-2)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Carnal Christians (1)

I Corinthians 3:1

I. The Issues

II. The Meaning

Psalms: 34:1-10; 64:1-4; 50:16-22; 119:97-104


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Carnal Christians (2)

I Corinthians 3:2-4

I. The Proof

II. The Diet

Psalms: 99:1-7; 64:5-9; 63:1-8; 119:57-64


For audio cassettes of the worship services, contact Sean Courtney (

CPRC website:

Quotes to Consider:

Erroneous View of the Scofield Reference Bible: "Paul divides men into three classes: ... [1] ‘natural,’ i.e. the Adamic man, unrenewed through the new birth ... [2] ‘spiritual,’ i.e. the renewed man as Spirit-filled and walking in the Spirit in full communion with God ... and [3] ‘carnal,’ ‘fleshly,’ i.e. the renewed man who, walking ‘after the flesh,’ remains a babe in Christ (I Cor. 3:1-4)" (pp. 1213-1214).

Matthew Henry on I Corinthians 3:1-3: "They were still mere babes in Christ. They had received some of the first principles of Christianity, but had not grown up to maturity of understanding in them, or of faith and holiness; and yet it is plain, from several passages in this epistle, that the Corinthians were very proud of their wisdom and knowledge. It is but too common for persons of very moderate knowledge and understanding to have a great measure of self-conceit. The apostle assigns their little proficiency in the knowledge of Christianity as a reason why he had communicated no more of the deep things of it to them. They could not bear such food, they needed to be fed with milk, not with meat ... It is the duty of a faithful minister of Christ to consult the capacities of his hearers and teach them as they can bear. And yet it is natural for babes to grow up to men; and babes in Christ should endeavour to grow in Stature, and become men in Christ. It is expected that their advances in knowledge should be in proportion to their means and opportunities, and their time of professing religion, that they may be able to bear discourses on the mysteries of our religion, and not always rest in plain things. It was a reproach to the Corinthians that they had so long sat under the ministry of Paul and had made no more improvement in Christian knowledge. Christians are utterly to blame who do not endeavour to grow in grace and knowledge."

Charles Hodge on I Corinthians 3:2: "Every doctrine which can be taught to theologians, is taught to children. We teach a child that God is a Spirit, every where present and knowing all things; and he understands it. We tell him that Christ is God and man in two distinct natures and one person for ever. This to the child is milk, but it contains food for angels. The truth expressed in these propositions may be expanded indefinitely, and furnish nourishment for the highest intellects to eternity. The difference between milk and strong meat, according to this view, is simply the difference between the more or less perfect development of the things taught. This view is confirmed by those passages in which the same distinction is made. Thus in Hebrews 4:11-14, the apostle speaks of his readers as having need of milk and not of strong meat. The reference is there to the distinction between the simple doctrine of the priesthood of Christ and the full development of that doctrine. The important truth is that there are not two sets of doctrine, a higher and a lower form of faith, one for the learned and the other for the unlearned; there is no part of the gospel which we are authorized to keep back from the people."

Calvin on I Corinthians 3:2: "I have fed you with milk. Here it is asked, whether Paul transformed Christ to suit the diversity of his hearers. I answer, that this refers to the manner and form of his instructions, rather than to the substance of the doctrine. For Christ is at once milk to babes, and strong meat to those that are of full age (Heb. 5:13-14) the same truth of the gospel is administered to both, but so as to suit their capacity. Hence it is the part of a wise teacher to accommodate himself to the capacity of those whom he has undertaken to instruct, so that in dealing with the weak and ignorant, he begins with first principles, and does not go higher than they are able to follow (Mark 4:33), and so that, in short, he drops in his instructions by little and little, lest it should run over, if poured in more abundantly. At the same time, those first principles will contain everything necessary to be known, no less than the farther advanced lessons that are communicated to those that are stronger. On this point read Augustine’s 98th homily on John. This tends to refute the specious pretext of some, who, while they do but mutter out, from fear of danger, something of the gospel in an indistinct manner, pretend to have Paul’s example here. Meanwhile, they present Christ at such a distance, and covered over, besides, with so many disguises, that they constantly keep their followers in destructive ignorance. I shall say nothing of their mixing up many corruptions, their presenting Christ not simply in half, but torn to fragments, their not merely concealing such gross idolatry, but confirming it also by their own example, and, if they have said anything that is good, straightway polluting it with numerous falsehoods. How unlike they are to Paul is sufficiently manifest; for milk is nourishment and not poison, and nourishment that is suitable and useful for bringing up children until they are farther advanced.

For ye were not yet able to bear it. That they may not flatter themselves too much on their own discernment, he first of all tells them what he had found among them at the beginning, and then adds, what is still more severe, that the same faults remain among them to this day. For they ought at least, in putting on Christ, to have put off the flesh; and thus we see that Paul complains that the success which his doctrine ought to have had was impeded. For if the hearer does not occasion delay by his slowness, it is the part of a good teacher to be always going up higher, till perfection has been attained."

Albert Barnes on I Corinthians 3:3: "The envy here referred to, was that which arose from the superior advantages and endowments which some claimed or possessed over others. Envy everywhere is a fruitful cause of strife. Most contentions in the church are somehow usually connected with envy."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The second offering this morning will be for our building fund.

Catechism: Monday, 6:30 PM with the Campbells at the manse. Tuesday, 7 PM at the Murrays. Thursday, 7 PM at the Hamills.

The Council will meet this Monday at 7:30 PM at the manse.

Our Mid-Week Bible Study is Wednesday at 7:45 PM at the manse on the Unconditional Covenant and the Federal Vision (note the PRC News on the back of the bulletin).

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 8 October (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Shall We Transgress in Forming Mixed Marriages?" (Neh. 13:23-29).

Upcoming Lectures: Tuesday, 31 Oct., Limerick, "God’s Unconditional Covenant" Friday, 17 Nov., S. Wales, "God’s Unconditional Covenant"

Last Week’s Offerings: General Fund - £830.60. Donations: £140 (tapes).

PRC News: "Southwest PRC Evangelism Committee is sponsoring a very important lecture by Prof. Engelsma. The title of the lecture is ‘The Latest Attack on Grace in the Reformed Churches: Justification by Works - A Covenant Heresy.’ Prof. Engelsma’s lecture will challenge a false teaching that is currently being promoted in Reformed and Presbyterian churches called ‘federal vision.’ The word ‘federal’ in this topic refers to the truth of God’s covenant. The teaching of federal vision is a serious denial of the Reformational doctrine of justification by faith alone and by grace alone. But what is particularly significant about this latest heresy is that there is much discussion in it about the covenantal perspective of our salvation. The idea of the covenant promoted by the teachers of federal vision is a covenant conditioned on the works of faith by the believer. This particular dimension of the controversy should be of special interest to all Protestant Reformed people for two reasons. The blessed truth of the covenant has been developed by the grace of God in the history of the Protestant Reformed Churches. And the controversy over the conditional covenant that arose in the 1950s caused the split in our denomination in 1953. We urge all our people to come to this lecture for their own understanding of the errors of the teaching of federal vision and for mutual encouragement as we together as God’s people continue to promote and defend the glorious truth of the covenant that God in His great mercy has given to the Protestant Reformed Churches. The lecture will be given on Friday, October 27, at 8:00 PM, in Grace Community Church, located at 3500 New Holland Street in Hudsonville, Michigan. We are also trying to encourage people from churches outside of our denomination to come to this lecture. Please try to help us do this in any way you can by inviting relatives and friends."