Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 3 October, 2010


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

and shall declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Jerusalem and Antioch (5)

The Work of Antioch’s Missionaries (I)   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Acts 13:4-16; 38-52

Text: Acts 13-14

I. The Methods They Employed

II. The Difficulties They Experienced

III. The Report They Gave

Psalms: 122:1-9; 77:7-13; 22:27-31; 66:1-7


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Jerusalem and Antioch (6)

The Work of Antioch’s Missionaries (II)   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Acts 14

Text: Acts 13-14

I. The Methods They Employed

II. The Difficulties They Experienced

III. The Report They Gave

Psalms: 138:1-6; 77:14-20; 147:1-5, 19-20; 67:1-7


Contact Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quote to Consider:

Form for the Ordination of Missionaries: "This divine charge was also carried out by the church of Antioch, when they, after fasting and prayer, laid their hands upon Barnabas and Saul and sent them away to preach the gospel also unto the Gentiles (Acts 13). And when they on their first missionary journey had arrived at Antioch in Pisidia, they testified to the contradicting Jews: ‘Lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying: I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles; that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 13:46, 47)’" (The Confessions and the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches, pp. 301-302).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The second offering this morning is for our building fund.

Monday Catechism classes: 

6:00 PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex (Beginners NT History) 

6:45 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea (Seniors NT History)

The Council will meet tomorrow, 4 October at 7:30 PM.

Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM. We will look at II Thessalonians 1:4f. on love enabling perseverance.

Ladies Discussion will be at 11 AM this Wednesday, 6 October. The Standard Bearer articles on "Royal Children" which we will discuss are on the back table.

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We will look at "There Is Only One God"—considering the Being and perfections of Jehovah. The audio of the last class is on-line.

Thursday membership class: 7:30 PM.

Rev. McGeown will preach for the CPRC next Lord’s Day and Rev. Stewart will preach for the LRF (the Stewarts will be in Limerick to attend Manuel and Emily-Kate’s wedding on Friday).

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Gospel Preached to All Nations" (Matthew 24:14) by Rev. Bruinsma.

S. Wales Lectures: Friday, 15 October, on "Charismaticism" by Rev. Stewart, 3 December by Rev. McGeown and 21 January by Rev. Stewart.

Website Additions: 1 Portuguese, 2 German and 1 Latvian (the Athanasian Creed) were added to the website.

Offerings: General Fund - £537.74. Donations: £25 (DVDs), £8 (books).

If you would like to purchase a bound volume of the past year’s Standard Bearers (volume 86) for £20, contact Rev. Stewart by the end of October.

PRC News: Wingham PRC will call from a trio of Revs. Bruinsma, A. Laning, and Koole. Cornerstone’s new trio is Revs. Bruinsma, Rev. Haak and W. Langerak.

This is part 2 of the 40th email from Prof. Engelsma on justification:

Ephesians 2:10 also emphasizes the importance of our doing good works. So important is this that God ordained the good works we should perform. The text is the death of the antinomian heresy (grace means the licence to sin), as of all carelessness in the life of the believer.

We have no right to perform good works. We lost this right in our fall in Adam. We now deserve only to serve Satan with the cruel service of the slave-labour of sinning.

This points out another way in which it is true that the reward of our good works is gracious. Christ earned for us the right to perform good works. It cost God His own Son to get for us the right to live a life of sanctification, that is, perform good works. "[Jesus Christ] gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself, a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14).

Then there are these biblical truths, that I only mention. If God judged us strictly on the merits of our good works, our good works would damn us, for every one of them is defiled and tainted with sin, and God demands perfection.

Our good works, like us ourselves, need forgiveness of their imperfection and sinful taint. God graciously does forgive our good works, as well as our completely evil works. This is grace.

Also, the reward is infinitely greater and more glorious than any and all of our good works. There is no equivalence between the works and the reward, as there must be if the reward is meritorious. The reward is eternal life and sharing the glory of the exalted Christ in body and soul in a marvellous new creation forever. And when I look at my few, puny, insignificant good works, all of which grace produced in me and all of which I defiled by not loving God and the neighbour as I ought to have done, I marvel at the sheer grace of God in promising me a reward, and such a reward, for these trifles. And the idea of marching into the final judgment waving these little, defiled things as deserving what awaits me is to me (and this is grace also) not only the height of wickedness, but also the height of absurdity, as though one should offer to the brain surgeon who has accomplished a successful, lifesaving surgery over hours of time a bouquet of wilted flowers as payment.

The truth of the reward is that God out of pure grace is pleased to reward His own gift to us and His own work in us. Not because He is indebted by our works, but because He is surpassingly gracious, always giving, always giving more, until it bids fair to take our breath away, He rewards our good works, every one, never overlooking a single one, although when we stand before Christ we do not remember them ("Lord, when saw we thee an hungered," etc. [Matt. 25:37]). "Grace for grace" is the wonderful way of our God in Jesus Christ with us (John 1:16).

And Scripture is careful to guard the truth of grace, particularly regarding the reward of good works, in the very passages that emphatically teach the reward of good works. I take one example. Matthew 25:31 teaches that heaven and the perfected kingdom of God will be the reward of the good works of the sheep on Jesus’ right hand: "Come ... inherit the kingdom ... for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat" (vv. 34-35). Lest we suppose that the good works merit the reward, Jesus will say, right then at the moment that there could be misunderstanding, "ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (v. 34). The kingdom we inherit is a gift of grace, given us in the eternal decree of election, before we ever did a good work, and not on the basis of any good work, for the decree itself ordained the good works for us.

Not our good works, but the obedience of Christ for us and in our stead, especially His satisfactory suffering and death, merited for us the reward of eternal life. And we have all these merits, not by working, but by believing on Him, by believing only. And His work was well-deserving of the reward for Himself and for us. For He was the eternal Son of God, so that His obedience has infinite worth and value. And He who is the form of God humbled Himself, even to the accursed death of the cross out of perfect love for God and perfect love for us.

Pleading those merits, and those only, let us stand daily in the courtroom of God; let us enter the judgment at the moment of death; and let us stand one day before the Christ of God on His great white throne. Justification by faith alone!

Very briefly, I add the following concerning the reward of grace.

First, the promise of a reward is intended by God to be an incentive to perform good works, not the only incentive, not even the most important (surely, gratitude and in that gratitude seeking the glory of God are the main motives of the Christian life), but an incentive, and an incentive that evidently we need. Especially does the truth of a coming reward encourage us when we suffer and become discouraged. "If so be that suffer with him, that we may be glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:17-18).

Second, regarding the differing measures of the reward corresponding to the good works of each believer, there is more than an external relationship. That is, the correspondence is not simply something like this, that God numbers up the good works and notes their value and gives a man a higher place in heaven that accords with the number and value of the works. But the correspondence is more internal and necessary. One’s work in the covenant and kingdom on earth expands his capacity for glory in the coming world. The more one gives himself to God and the neighbour, the more one is zealous for the truth, and especially the more one suffers for Christ’s sake here (we must not shrink from suffering; we must not despise suffering; we must not underestimate the value of suffering for us ourselves), the greater becomes his spiritual capacity for the life and glory that awaits. Each of us is being fitted by God now, by means of our good works, for the degree of glory He has ordained for us and will give us.

And this is yet another important aspect of the motivating reward of grace: for the most part the reward is future, consisting of what God will give us at the return of Christ and in the final judgment. Yes, there is also reward now—precious reward—and not least the privilege itself of serving God. But it is also true that here often the holy life is unnoticed, unappreciated, scorned, and persecuted. Not in this life, but in heaven, we have the reward.

For it, therefore, we are to labour, endure, suffer, and abound in good works.

"Come, Lord Jesus, with the reward of grace!

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma