Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 12
generation shall praise thy works to another,
declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)
- 11:00 AM
The Different Callings of the Two Churches [download]
Reading: Acts 12:1-13:4
Persecutions by Herod
Delegation to Jerusalem
74:19-23; 44:18-26; 67:1-7
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
The Necessity of Prayer for Christians [download]
Reading: Psalm 50
Catechism, Lord’s Day 45
I. It is the
Chief Part of Thankfulness
II. It is the
Way of Receiving Grace
75:1-4; 116:5-14; 50:9-15
Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship
Quote to Consider:
Herman Hoeksema: "If ever I felt as if by my
prayer I changed the mind of the everlasting God, never would I have the
courage to utter another petition! We do not approach the overflowing
fount of all good in order to pour anything of ourselves into it and add
to its sparkling goodness—but with the empty cups of our existence, that
they may be filled by Him."
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
Standard Bearers, the August CR
News, and Rev. Stewart’s bi-monthly letter to the PRC are
available on the back table today.
A proof of a new CPRC address/phone list is on
the back table. Please look over your details and make corrections and
additions, or tick it is correct.
books are on the back table—also for Lydia (and Campbell). The
following catechism classes will start next Monday, 20 September at
6:00 PM -
Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex (NT History for Beginners)
6:45 PM -
Zoe, Amy & Lea (NT History for Seniors)
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Nation Against Nation"
(Matthew 24:6-7) by Rev. Bruinsma.
Next Lord’s Day evening will be a preparatory
service with the view to celebrating the Lord’s Supper on 26
Tuesday morning Bible study starts next week, 21
September, at 11 AM at church. We will be studying II Thessalonians. A
crèche will be provided. All are welcome. Flyers on the back table can
be passed on to family and friends.
On Wednesdays this year we will be studying the
Belgic Confession. We will start meeting on Wednesday, 22 September
at 7:45 PM at church. All are welcome. Flyers on the back table can be
passed on to family and friends.
An organizational meeting for a Ladies Coffee
Morning/Discussion will be at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, 22
September, at church. Ask Susan for more information.
Membership class (Anga, Jamie & Debbie) will
start next Thursday, 23 September at 7:30 PM at church.
Rev. Stewart & Rev. McGeown are planning to
exchange pulpits on Sunday, 10 October, due to Manuel & Emily-Kate’s
wedding on 8 October.
S. Wales Lectures: Friday, 15 October, on
"Charismaticism" by Rev. Stewart, 3 December by Rev. McGeown and 21
January by Rev. Stewart.
Offerings: General Fund: £399.49. Building Fund:
£408.27. Donations: £200 (DVDs), £200.
If you would like to receive the Limerick bulletin
by e-mail each week, please contact
Website: 1 Portuguese and 2 German translations
This is part 1 of the 40th email from Prof.
Engelsma on justification:
Dear European Forum,
In the preceding instalments, I considered the Roman
Catholic, Arminian and Federal (Covenant) Vision objection to the grand
gospel-truth of justification by faith alone that consists of their
appeal to the biblical teaching that God will reward the good works of
I showed from Scripture that God certainly promises
to reward the good works of His people.
The reward will be eternal life, body and soul, in
the new creation, sharing the glory of the risen Christ by reigning with
Him over all things. To this reward belongs that each elect, believing,
holy child of God will have that measure of glory that corresponds to
the good works he or she did during his or her earthly life. There will
be degrees of life and glory, even as there will degrees of suffering
and shame in hell. However much he got it wrong in other respects,
especially in the whole of his "Purgatorio," the great medieval poet
Dante was right in his portrayal of degrees of suffering and bliss.
But the appeal to the biblical truth of the reward
does not refute justification by faith alone, nor support the heresy of
justification by faith and works, because the promised reward will not
be meritorious, but gracious.
When the Reformed faith denies that the reward will
be meritorious, it means that good works do not deserve the reward; that
good works do not obligate God or put Him into the believer’s debt; that
they are not in any respect whatever the believer’s contribution to God,
as though the believer by them is giving to God something of his own,
something that God has not Himself given to the believer; and that the
reward is payment earned.
The Bible, which certainly teaches a reward of good
works, also teaches that the reward will be gracious. This, the Bible
teaches in the following truths.
The elect, believing saint is conceived and born dead
in sin by nature, incapable of any good, whether the ability to perform
good works or the ability of a free will, that is, the ability to choose
for God and the good. He has nothing, absolutely nothing, that he can
contribute of himself to God and His kingdom (Eph. 2:1ff.).
The ability to know, love, will and do the good is
the gift of God to him by the regenerating Spirit of Christ, in grace
(John 3:3ff.; Rom. 8:1ff.). God must "create us unto good works,"
according to Ephesians 2:10, that is, perform a work upon us and in us
comparable to His marvellous work of creating the universe in the
beginning. Otherwise, we would not be able to perform one good work.
Notice, too, in Ephesians 2:10, that good works do not precede salvation
(described here as a new creation), or condition our salvation, or
deserve salvation. We do not work to be saved. But we are saved in order
to work, and good works are the result and fruit of gracious salvation.
This is, O, so clear in Ephesians 2. There is no excuse for the teaching
that good works earn or condition salvation.
Further, not only does the Spirit of Christ give him
the ability to do the good, but the Spirit of Christ works the actual
willing and doing, so that the performance of good works is the almighty
doing of the Spirit in him and through him. According to Philippians
2:13, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good
pleasure." This is not a denial that the believer truly does them, nor
any minimizing of the importance and worth of his good works. It is,
however, the clear reminder that these works do not originate from him
and that the actual doing of them is not in his own strength, but that
they originate from grace and that the actual doing of them is the
product and working of grace in his life.
Still more, the ultimate source of these good works
of every believer is the gracious, eternal counsel of God. Ephesians
2:10, quoted above, teaches that not only has the believer been created
unto good works, but also that God has ordained all the good works
beforehand that we perform. The meaning is that in His eternal counsel,
when God chose each of us unto salvation in the decree of election, He
also ordained all the good works that each of us would perform in our
lifetime. It was not so that He merely ordained that all of us would
perform good works, leaving it up to us or circumstances to determine
which good works and how many. But He ordained all the particular good
works that each one would perform. He ordained that Paul would withstand
Peter to his face because of Peter’s compromise of the gospel at
Antioch. He ordained that Luther would stand at the Diet of Worms and
make his testimony before the princes of this world. He ordained that I
would explain and defend the truth of the gospel in this e-mail and that
you would read it with some profit.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that our good works are not
our contribution to God, but His gift to us. Inasmuch as the decree of
election in which He also ordained our works is a gracious decree, His
ordaining our works is a gracious gift of them to us.
Here we must notice something about a life of good
works that we all too often forget. Serving Christ by our good works is
a privilege, and not only our duty. We are indebted to God that we may
perform good works. It is not so that we are indebted to God for
forgiveness, peace and hope, but that God is indebted to us for the good
works we do. Good works are an aspect of His salvation of us, and we are
indebted to Him for the right and ability to do them.
What is the alternative?
The shame, folly, vanity and misery of a life of evil
deeds, in the service of the devil!
The one who performs good works has the right and
privilege of serving the one, true God and His glorious Son; the right
and privilege of living a meaningful, worthwhile life in the world. And
by such a life, he escapes the shame and misery attending a life of evil
works. And this says nothing yet about the reward in the life to come.
That our good works are God’s gift to us, and a
privilege for us, is true regarding all our good works, including
bearing reproach, enduring hardship and suffering persecution for God’s
sake. Specifically concerning suffering, Philippians 1:29 says that is
given to us to suffer for Christ’s sake.
This aspect of our good works being God’s gift to us,
and not our contribution to God, must live in our consciousness more
than it does, altogether apart from our controversy with Rome and the
others about meritorious good works. All too often, I find myself
thinking that I am doing something for God, especially when the way and
work become difficult and costly. The truth is that God is graciously
privileging me to work some little thing on behalf of His Son.
We must thank God for our good works.
... to be continued