Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 12 September, 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 (3)

The Different Callings of the Two Churches    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Acts 12:1-13:4

Text: Acts 12:1-13:4

I. Jerusalem’s Persecutions by Herod

II. Antioch’s Delegation to Jerusalem

III. Antioch’s Missionary Work

Psalms: 146:1-8; 74:19-23; 44:18-26; 67:1-7


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

The Necessity of Prayer for Christians   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Psalm 50

Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 45

I. It is the Chief Part of Thankfulness

II. It is the Way of Receiving Grace

Psalms: 147:1-8; 75:1-4; 116:5-14; 50:9-15


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


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


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):

The 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.

Catechism books are on the back table—also for Lydia (and Campbell). The following catechism classes will start next Monday, 20 September at church:

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 September.

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 Rev. McGeown.

Website: 1 Portuguese and 2 German translations were added.

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 the saints.

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