Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 21 October, 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

"Our Father"   [download]   [youtube]
Scripture Reading: John 17
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 46

I. The Noun
II. The Pronoun
III. The Encouragement
Psalms: 84:1-6; 10:13-18; 65:1-5; 103:8-15

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

The Lord Our Dwelling Place   [download]   [youtube]
Scripture Reading: Psalm 90
Text: Psalm 90:1

I. The Profound Reflection of Moses
II. The Practical Lessons for Us
Psalms: 27:1-5; 11:1-7; 91:1-4, 9-11; 90:1-7

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quote to Consider

Thomas Watson: "The affections in parents are but marble and adamant in comparison of God’s love to his children; he gives them the cream of his love—electing love, saving love. ‘He will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing’ (Zeph 3:17). No father [is] like God for love; if thou art his child thou canst not love thy own soul so entirely as he loves thee" (The Lord’s Prayer, p. 4).

John Gill on Psalm 90:1: "... but as the Lord had been in every age, so he now was the dwelling place of those that trusted in him; being that to them as an habitation is to man, in whom they had provision, protection, rest, and safety (cf. Ps. 31:2) so all that believe in Christ dwell in him, and he in them (John 6:56), they dwelt secretly in him before they believed; so they dwelt in his heart’s love, in his arms, in him as their head in election, and as their representative in the covenant of grace from eternity; and, when they fell in Adam, they were preserved in Christ, dwelling in him; and so they were in him when on the cross, in the grave, and now in heaven; for they are said to be crucified, buried, and risen with him, and set down in heavenly places in him (Gal. 2:20), and, being converted, they have an open dwelling in him by faith, to whom they have fled for refuge, and in whom they dwell safely, quietly, comfortably, pleasantly, and shall never be turned out: here they have room, plenty of provisions, rest, and peace, and security from all evils; he is an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the storm."

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

We welcome Bálint Vásárhelyi from Hungary to our worship services today.

Rev. McGeown’s bi-monthly letter is on the back table.

Monday Catechism:
6 PM - O.T. Beginners (Bradley, Alex & Kirstin)
6:45 PM - N.T. Juniors (Nathan, Jacob & Joseph)
7:30 PM - Heidelberg (Timothy & Jackie)

The Tuesday morning Bible study will be held this week at 11 AM. We will look at life in the heavenly millennium.

The Belgic Confession Class will meet this Wednesday, at 7:45 PM, to continue our study of article 16 on the justice of election and reprobation.

Rev. & Mary Stewart travel to S. Wales this Thursday for the lecture on "Martin & Katie Luther: The Reformation of Marriage." Please remember this witness and these saints in your prayers.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be "Paul: Administrator of the Mystery" (Ephesians 3:7-9).

Offerings: General Fund - £405.11. Donations: £10 (CR News), £30 (lecture).

Website Additions: 1 Danish, 1 Spanish, 1 Tagalog and 2 Italian translations.

PRC News: Hope PRC called Rev. Bruinsma. Randolph PRC called Rev. Marcus.

Addressing God as Our Father

Herman Hoeksema (Standard Bearer, vol. 31, issue 15)


... But what does it mean that we call Him our Father?

It surely expresses that He made us His children. And this is a profound mystery. Surely, you can teach the smallest child to address God in the words, "Our Father who art in heaven." Yet, the depth of truth expressed in these words is not readily fathomed. For it implies nothing less than that the infinite, glorious, adorable God, who is the implication of all infinite perfections, who is a light in whom there is no darkness at all, so made us, so formed us, that there is in us an affinity and likeness to the divine nature. As the apostle Peter expresses it in I Peter 1:4: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." It also means that on the basis of this likeness and this affinity, there is a communion of life and a communion of love between God and us. It signifies that He made us after the image of His eternal Son, so that in a creaturely measure we resemble Him and reflect His virtues, the virtues of knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. It means that there is between Him and us the living bond of love and fellowship, so that we can know Him and trust in Him and believe that He will give us every good thing, and that we delight in seeking His glory and walking in humble obedience to Him in the way of His precepts. It means, finally, that we have received the right of children, the right to be called by His name, to claim His care, and to dwell in His house for ever. It means that we have the right to the eternal inheritance of glory which He prepared for all them that love Him. All this is implied in the relationship between God and us that is expressed in the words, "Our Father."

We must not overlook the fact that here we have not the expression of a mere doctrine of the fatherhood of God or of the fatherhood of God in Christ Jesus. Nor are we discussing the law of God, that demands that we love the Lord our God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength: But this is a prayer. It presupposes, therefore, that in these two words he who prays and thus addresses God is conscious of this relationship and confesses all that is implied in it. He is consciously assured of his privilege to be called a son of God, and feels in his heart that God is not ashamed to be called his Father, and that He will not reject or repudiate him. He is confident that he may approach God, that he may expect all good things from Him, that he may dwell in the sanctuary of the Most High. He is conscious of the fact that God has made him a reflection of His own virtues, and that there is in his deepest heart a desire to be pleasing to Him whom he calls his Father: to be righteous, as He is righteous; holy, as He is holy; and to keep all His good commandments. He trusts that God loves him, and that He will surely give him all things necessary for soul and body, and in the end, eternal life in God’s own tabernacle forever. It is in that spiritual disposition of humble obedience, of filial love, and of childlike confidence that we approach the Most High in His sanctuary when we begin our prayers with the simple, but profound address: "Our Father."

The question must be asked: how is it possible that we can call God our Father? What right can we possibly have to call Him thus? How can we have the assurance in our hearts that we are His children? Whence is the confidence whereby we cry to Him, "Abba, Father?"

We certainly cannot possibly have that right by nature.

Many a modernist speaks of the universal fatherhood of God, and of the universal brotherhood of man, as if nothing happened to destroy that relationship since God created us after His own image. God, so they claim, is the Father of all men. And all men are children of God by virtue of their creation. Man was made after God’s image. That is the excellency of man above every other creature. That is his real worth. On this fact of man’s creation after the image of God modern man bases his right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, his right too to enter into the sanctuary of God and to address Him in the words, "Our Father."

This modern philosophy, however, completely ignores the tremendous and terrible fact and reality of sin and death. It is true indeed that God is our creator. It is true too that in creating us He made us after His own image, in true knowledge of Him, righteousness, and holiness. By virtue of this image of God in him, Adam was indeed the son of God (cf. Luke 3:35). But no longer is it possible to call upon God as our Father on the basis of that original relationship. For by the fall and disobedience of the one man, Adam, we lost all the rights and privileges of sons. We became aliens and strangers. We were expelled from Father’s house. The image of God was subverted into the very image of the devil, and we are by nature children of wrath. Thus the Lord spoke to the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem in John 8:44: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." And the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2:2-3: "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature children of wrath, even as others." This means that of ourselves, by nature, we have no right, neither are we spiritually capable to utter the first words of the Lord’s Prayer in spirit and in truth, and that modern philosophy of a universal fatherhood of God, which would place the address of this prayer upon the lips of every naked sinner, without Christ, is sheer presumption, provocative of the fierce anger of the Lord. Would not even a mere sinful man be provoked to wrath and indignation if a person from the lowest strata of society, notorious as a public enemy number one, would spread the story everywhere that he was his father? How abominable, then, in the sight of God must be the pride and presumption of the naked sinned, who walks in darkness and loves iniquity, who reflects the image of his father the devil, and who nevertheless insists that he may take the son’s prayer upon his lips and call upon the Holy One as his Father?

The address of the Lord’s Prayer, therefore, does not refer to the fatherhood of God in creation, but to that far richer and deeper fatherhood which He revealed and realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can distinguish between our legal and our spiritual, ethical sonship of God.

The eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has adopted us, who were not His children, and has conferred upon us all the legal rights of sons. That is, first of all, the confession of him that humbly enters into the sanctuary of God, crying, "Abba, Father." When he prays, and in his prayer addresses God as his Father, he thereby consciously and humbly confesses that of himself he has no right whatsoever to be called the son of God.