Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 24 February, 2008


"Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving,

and honour, and power, and might,

be unto our God for ever and ever" (Rev. 7:12)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Isaiah’s Vision of Christ’s Glory (5)

Isaiah’s Call to Preach (I)

Isaiah 6:9-10

I. The Clarity of the Preaching

II. The Result of the Preaching

III. The Purpose of the Preaching

Psalms: 34:1-10; 118:10-18; 119:65-72; 115:1-11


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Isaiah’s Vision of Christ’s Glory (6)

Isaiah’s Call to Preach (II)

Isaiah 6:9-10

I. Applying It to New Testament Preachers

II. Applying It to the Visible Church

III. Applying Its Context Today

Psalms: 84:1-6; 118:19-29; 147:9-18; 135:4-11


For audio cassettes of the worship services or CDs of the sermons, contact Sean Courtney (


CPRC website:


Quote to Consider:

Prof. Herman Hanko: "... [Ministers] must never forget that in the pulpit they are really nothing other than the mouthpiece of Christ and that therefore they are solemnly called to preach the whole of the Scriptures. God’s purpose must be accomplished and His cause justified. Besides, although it is the heartbreaking experience of all those who preach to see many leave the truth, this is to be expected, for this is the purpose of the gospel. The gospel saves, but it also hardens. It brings to glory, but it also condemns. It is the Rock of Ages, but it is also a stone of stumbling. And when it becomes evident to the faithful servant of God that the gospel also hardens, he stands aside that the purpose of God may be accomplished" (Mysteries of the Kingdom, p. 24).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The February Covenant Reformed News is available. The articles include "Wine in the Bible," "Preparing for Another World (2)" and "Is There Time in Heaven?"

We extend our sympathy to the Courtneys and Hallidays in the death of Roni’s mother this past Monday. The funeral was held on Wednesday.

Catechism Classes: Monday, 5:30 PM at the Murrays Monday, 7:00 PM with the Campbells at the manse

Membership Class: Tuesday, 8:30 PM at the Hallidays

Midweek Bible Study will be held on Wednesday, 7:45 PM, at the manse. We will study II Timothy 3:9ff. on the folly of false teachers manifested.

Offerings: General Fund - £469.40. Donations: £200 (General Fund), £180 (tapes), £50 (CR News), £8 (CR News).

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "Wait on the Lord" (Psalm 27:14).

Women’s Bible Study meets next week Tuesday, 4 March, 10:30 AM at the Murrays.

Upcoming Lectures: 7 March, Rev. Stewart, "God’s Magnifying His Word," in Limerick 

28 March, Rev. Stewart, "God’s Magnifying His Word," in South Wales

Plan on a congregational outing on Easter Monday, 24 March. More details later.

Anyone interested in attending the P. R. Young Peoples’ Convention on 14-18 July please see Rev. Stewart for more details.

Website Additions: 30 Italian, 1 Russian (the 107-page "Historical Introduction" from Voice of our Fathers by Homer C. Hoeksema), and 1 Ukrainian translations have been added. The Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds in Yoruba and Fon (languages in Nigeria and Benin) have also been added.

PRC News: Rev. D. Kleyn (Holland, MI) received the call to the Philippines. South Holland P. R. Christian School will start classes in their new building tomorrow.

Considering Venus

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,

and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,

and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (Gen. 3:6).

After the sun and moon, Venus is the brightest object in the sky. It dazzles the eye with its brilliant white light whether it is visible in the morning or evening sky. Venus can be especially beautiful when it is near the moon. Venus’ size, nearly the same as Earth’s, and proximity as the closest planet to Earth, puts it just at the cusp of the human eye’s ability to discern it not as a point of light, but as having size. Those who have particularly acute vision have claimed to see the slowly changing phases of Venus. This optical challenge is part of the allure of observing Venus.

It is understandable how such a bright, beautiful, purely shining object would be named after the Roman goddess of beauty. The Greeks called this planet Aphrodite, also their goddess of love and beauty. I doubt this is the "agape" love with which we are familiar from the New Testament, but is likely an ignoble form of attraction with which the Greek culture was intimately familiar.

It is a rare astronomical event for Venus to pass between the Earth and the sun. In 1761 Mikhail Lomonosov, a Russian scientist, used a telescope to observe Venus’ transit across the sun’s face. He wanted to measure Venus’ diameter. He experienced a little difficulty, however, when he noticed the edges of Venus’ disk were not sharp and crisp, but fuzzy. He quickly realized this meant Venus had an atmosphere!

About the same time, noted French scientist Pierre Laplace developed an idea called the nebular hypothesis. Laplace proposed that the planets condensed out of rings of gas left over from the formation of the solar system. The rings furthest from the sun cooled first, with the inner planets forming later. The belief among astronomers was that Mars was a planet past its prime, Earth was in the prime of life and Venus is what Earth was like many eons ago.

The late 1800s saw the rise of a scientific theory called "pluralism," the belief in the existence of life on an infinite number of habitable planets throughout the universe. This coincided with the period when Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution caught the public’s interest. The conclusion of the scientific community was that if organisms can develop and evolve on Earth, then why not on other planets? Venus, with its atmosphere (assumed to have oxygen) and nearness to the warmth of the sun, was thought a prime candidate for the development of life. Couple this idea with Laplace’s nebular hypotheses, and Venus was thought to be a swampy world, covered with dripping vegetation which flourished in a steamy climate in which some form of life was evolving. Venus was imagined to be a tropical paradise. In reference to these opinions, Richard Corfield in his book, Lives of the Planets, titles the chapter from which this information was taken, "The Greenhouse in the Sky: Venus."

The reality of this dazzlingly beautiful planet is in great contrast to what was once imagined. The first hint came in the 1920s when scientists began to study the light reflected by Venus to determine the chemicals its atmosphere contained. Scientists were surprised to find very little water vapour there (meaning Venus was not a swampy prehistoric Earth), but they did find an abundance of carbon dioxide, a gas which would trap the heat of the nearby sun.

Then in 1956 astronomers turned their radio telescopes toward Venus. They found that Venus was emitting great amounts of microwave radiation, a clue that the surface of Venus was very, very hot. In December of 1962, a space probe launched by the United States, Mariner 2, flew by Venus. Corfield reports the findings, "In fact, the results showed that the surface of Venus is not just hot, it is as hot as the interior of a self-cleaning oven ... [There are] no global oceans, no swamps, no giant tree ferns, no enormous insects, and no amphibian-like creatures crawling their way toward sentience."

Venus, despite its gorgeous appearance, is no Garden of Eden. The Soviet Union sent several probes to Venus’ surface in the 1960s and 1970s. These probes were built to withstand temperatures of 500 degrees Celsius and atmospheric pressures equal to being three thousand feet underwater. Soviet scientists were amazed their probes functioned for about an hour because they were designed to work for thirty minutes. Venus, once thought to be lush and verdant, was actually a caustic, extremely hot pressure cooker. Looks can be deceiving.

Eve saw the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Its fruit was not foul smelling nor was it corrupted with rot and worms. While holding it in her hand, the fruit did not ooze through her fingers in some sloppy, rotten mess. She saw fruit which had every appearance of being good. Her eyes were pleased with what she saw. To take and eat would make her wise. The fruit was alluring and desirable.

That is the story of sin. Satan presents the world of sin to us and our children in ways which appeal to us. Satan also knows that different temptations will be alluring to different people. What is tempting to one might hold no appeal at all to another. Yet, it is the same. Sin looks good to our weak flesh. To enter into its pleasures would bring us happiness and joy. Satan would have us believe that.

However, what are the spiritual effects of sin? Adam and Eve learned only too well. The happiness promised by Satan never materialized. Instead, Adam and Eve now fled in shame from God’s face. They couldn’t enjoy His holy company as they previously had. They found they weren’t happy at all, and we must remember that as yet, Adam and Eve had not learned that their Creator was the God of redemption. They were miserable as they wondered what God would do with them.

The next time we see Venus as the beautiful, glorious morning or evening star and are reminded of the goddess of love and beauty, keep in mind what lurks beneath her clouds. She is not what she appears to be. As we struggle daily with our sinful flesh, we must keep in mind the alluring nature of sin and temptation. What appears to be so inviting and pleasant, is actually very caustic for the soul. Give thanks to the God of our redemption who saves us from the lust of the eyes.

Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope P. R. Christian School