Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 2 October, 2016
“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
Philemon: An Object Lesson in Forgiveness (7)
God’s Good Purpose in Onesimus’ Departure
Scripture Reading: Philemon 1-25
Text: Philemon 15-17
I. The Good Purpose
II. The New Relationship
III. The Great Blessing
Psalms: 121:1-8; 11:1-7; 139:7-14; 133:1-3
Evening Service - 6:00 PM - Rev. M. McGeown
Philemon: An Object Lesson in Forgiveness (8)
Paul’s Satisfaction of Onesimus’ Debt
Scripture Reading: Exodus 22:1-31
Text: Philemon 18-20
I. The Debt Owed
II. The Promise Made
III. The Benefit Sought
Psalms: 63:1-8; 12:1-8; 49:1-9; 15:1-5
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
Quotes to Consider
Merrill C. Tenney: “In this letter are found all the
elements of forgiveness: the offence, compassion,
intercession, substitution, restoration to favor and
elevation to a new relationship. Every aspect of the divine
forgiveness of sin is duplicated in the forgiveness which
Paul sought for Onesimus” (New Testament Survey, p. 317).
Vatican II of the false Roman Church: “Sins must be
expiated. This may be done on this earth through the
sorrows, miseries and trials of this life, and, above all,
through death. Otherwise, the expiation must be made in the
next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments
... The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even
when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for
it, or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or
cleansed. They often are. In fact, in purgatory the souls of
those who died in the charity of God and truly repentant,
but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for
their sins and omissions, are cleansed after death with
punishments designed to purge away their debt” (Apostolic
Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences, Art. 1,
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
We welcome Rev. McGeown who will be preaching for us today.
Rev. Stewart is taking the services in the LRF.
At last week’s meeting, Philip Hall’s nomination for an
additional 3-year term as deacon was approved. His
installation will be held next Sunday, 9 October.
Monday evening’s Catechism classes:
5:45 PM - Taylor, Josh, Corey & Katelyn (Beginners NT)
6:30 PM - Bradley & Samuel (Juniors OT)
7:15 PM - Jacob, Joseph, Alex & Nathan (Heidelberg
Catechism, book 2)
The Tuesday Bible study meets at 11 AM to study the New
Testament references to the issues of Leviticus 15.
Belgic Confession Class meets this Wednesday at 7:45 PM to
discuss Article 28, looking at joining a faithful church.
Ladies’ Bible Study meets this Friday at 10:30 AM at the
church to study the Proverbs study sheets on Christian
Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel
846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Bruinsma is “Unmarried and Devoted
to God” (I Cor. 7:34).
The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, 10
October, at 8 PM.
CPRC Reformation Day Lecture: Friday, 28 October, 7:30 PM on
“John Owen and the Death of Christ.” Flyers are on the back
Offerings: General Fund: £1,042.30. Donation: £100
PRC news: Due to the retirement of Rev. DenHartog at the end
of this year, Southwest PRC will call from a trio of Revs.
Huizinga, W. Langerak and McGeown.
As the Shining Light
Brian D. Dykstra
Proverbs 4:17-18: “But the path of the just is as the
shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect
day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at
what they stumble.”
Solomon has just warned us not to enter the path of the
wicked. We should not set even a first footstep on that
path. Our sinful flesh would find it appealing and, having
tasted the way of evil, we would find it difficult to leave.
Solomon also warned us about the character of those on the
wicked path. They do not seek our good, for their motivation
is their desire to see others fall.
Through Solomon, God now encourages us by displaying the
antithetical contrast between the path of the just and the
way of the wicked. Keeping this instruction in mind will
help us to walk the right path.
Solomon speaks first of the path of the just. The just are
those who are upright. They can stand before God as those
who have no guilt of sin clinging to them.
Some claim they have attained justification before God
themselves. They have performed an abundance of good works
and fought successfully against their sinful natures. Their
remaining flaws are mere foibles which make them no worse
than others. They have subdued the man of sin and now are
without sin. They have finally conquered sin in their flesh.
The Reformed believer knows better. Yes, we are just and can
stand before God the judge as those who have no sin.
However, we know this is all of Christ. The perfectly
righteous One took all our sins upon Himself and carried
them to the cross where His shed blood covered our every
sin. That was not all. God then took Christ’s perfect
obedience and credited that to our accounts. We are just by
the faith which joins us to our perfect mediator.
These just have a manner of living their lives. There is no
boasting in self-righteousness. They do not carry themselves
as holier than others. They live humbly before God knowing
they have been saved by grace alone. They are prayerful,
confessing sin and its origin in themselves, then giving
thanks for what God has done for their salvation.
This path is as a shining light. Although this light is
bright, not being as a candle or firefly, it is not harsh.
It is not the type of light which makes one cover one’s eyes
with the hands for protection. It is not annoying or
blinding. It is not as the early morning or late evening sun
which blinds you as you drive to or from work causing you to
lower your car’s visor.
This light sparkles pleasantly and glitters with joy. This
light brings out brilliant colours making the Creator’s
world glorious and a joy to behold. It’s the light that puts
the velvety glow on a violet’s petals, the playful, myriad
sparkles on a mountain lake and varies the emerald hues of
green on the verdant hills of Northern Ireland.
This light shines more and more. It is as the dawning of a
new day. The first faint glow of light filters into the
eastern sky. Then the sun appears and rises higher in the
sky until it reaches its zenith. Strangely, there the sun
stops and we have the perfect, complete and finished, light
of the noon sun. God’s children will reach that point on the
path of the just. God will give us joy and blessing. Our
sorrows will be gone. We will walk in the perfect day of
God’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth.
We know all too well that the increasing shining of the
light does not mean that our lives are characterized by
steady spiritual growth and constant improvement in living
in the fear of our great God. Clouds of trouble, anxiety and
discontent sometimes gather. We avert our furrowed faces
from the light. There are eclipses of the sun for God’s
people. David fell into the sins of adultery and murder.
Peter denied his Lord. We can all look at our lives and see
that it is so. We give thanks that God promises grace for
each day and also works repentance in our hearts. Our God’s
countenance is gracious and forgiving, an ever faithful,
The way of the wicked is not anything close to the path of
the just. It is dark there, completely dark. God does not
strategically place mirrors of common grace to reflect a bit
of His light on the way of the reprobate wicked to show them
He desires their salvation if only they would accept His
gracious offer of salvation. It is only darkness. It is a
way of gloominess where the dismal darkness never lifts. It
is the darkness of sin. They love to have it so. Their
spiritual father is Satan who cannot abide the light. They
love the lie, prefer to hear the lie and desire to walk the
path of the wicked either in wilful ignorance or bold
The darkness of the wicked way causes them to stumble. They
fall into sin since they have no light and truth. It is
foolishness! If you are in the dark and keep falling, find
some light for your safety! It is obvious! When my children
were very young, they would sometimes neglect to put away
some of their toys. As a father of little children, it did
not take me long to learn that one should never walk into a
dark room. Turn on the light first! Stepping on a small
metal aeroplane or Lego building block is not pleasant in
bare feet. It was a lesson quickly learned.
Still, the wicked will have nothing to do with light. They
hate it. They would prefer to walk over hot coals on their
way to destruction than to dip their feet in God’s stream of
cool, living water. Such is the nature of fallen man.
Those are the two paths. They have nothing in common. They
do not intersect and they certainly do not end in the same
place. God has warned us not to set foot upon the way of the
wicked for it brings certain ruin. He understands as well
our weakness and our frailty in that our flesh finds the way
of the wicked appealing. He has graciously placed us on the
path of the just. He has promised us that even our worst
sins cannot separate us from His love. He will walk with us
on this path as our Father.
May God work in the hearts of our children so they discern
the differences of these two paths, and live and walk the
way of the just, the way illuminated by the life-giving
light of their faithful Father’s face.