Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 16 March, 2008


"Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:

Sing forth the honour of his name:

make his praise glorious" (Ps. 66:1-2)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

God’s Way is in the Sanctuary

Psalm 77:13

I. The Psalmist’s Trouble

II. The Profound Answer

III. The Joyful Wonder

Psalms: 107:1-9; 119:33-40; 73:12-18; 77:7-13


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Covenant Children

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27; Ephesians 1; 6:1-4

I. The Meaning

II. The Baptism

III. The Calling

Psalms: 84:4-12; 119:41-48; 25:6-12; 71:14-19


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


CPRC website:


Quote to Consider:

John Calvin on Psalm 77: "In the time of sorrow, we are always desirous of finding some remedy to mitigate its bitterness; but the only way by which this can be done is, to cast our cares upon God. It, however, often happens, that the nearer he approaches us, the more, to outward appearance, does he aggravate our sorrows. Many, therefore, when they derive no advantage from this course, imagine that they cannot do better than forget him. Thus they loathe his word, by the hearing of which their sorrow is rather embittered than mitigated, and what is worse, they desire that God, who thus aggravates and inflames their grief, would withdraw to a distance. Others, to bury the remembrance of him, devote themselves wholly to worldly business. It was far otherwise with the prophet. Although he did not immediately experience the benefit which he could have desired, yet he still continued to set God before his view, wisely supporting his faith by the reflection, that as God changes neither his love nor his nature, he cannot but show himself at length merciful to his servants."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

Please leave the back two rows of chairs which are on the carpet for those with small children.

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

Women’s Bible Study meets Tuesday, 18 March, 10:30 AM at the Murrays.

Membership Class: Tuesday, 8:15 PM at the Hallidays

Midweek Bible Study meets Wednesday, 7:45 PM, at the manse. We will study II Timothy 3:15 on knowing the Scriptures.

Offerings: General Fund - £598.70.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "The Power of Christ’s Resurrection" (I Cor. 15:3-4).

Francesco De Lucia is due to arrive late Tuesday afternoon. We are arranging tea after the evening service next Lord’s Day to welcome our brother.

Next Lord’s Day, we will have preparatory with a view to celebrating the Lord’s Supper on 30 March.

Upcoming Lecture: 28 March, "God’s Magnifying His Word," in South Wales

Plan on a congregational outing on Monday, 24 March. Venue under review.

Website Additions: 1 Italian ("A Compendium of the Christian Religion," an abbreviation of the Heidelberg Catechism recommended by the Synod of Dordt), 1 Dutch, 2 Hungarian (ecumenical creeds) and 2 Slovakian (ecumenical creeds) were added. An improved Italian translation of the Heidelberg Catechism was also added.

Considering Sunspots

How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even

to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm?

and the son of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:4-6).

Sunspots are dark splotches which appear on the sun’s surface. They have different sizes and shapes. The larger ones are a few times greater than Earth’s diameter. Sunspots can last for as long as a few days to several weeks. They drift across the sun’s face as they travel with the rotation of the sun.

Sunspots are the result of the sun’s magnetic field. We are familiar with Earth’s magnetic field with its north and south poles. The sun’s magnetic field, however, is far more complicated. Observing solar activity, of which sunspots are an important indicator, is much more important today than ever before. Solar activity affects major power grids and satellite communications. With modern society’s increasing reliance upon cell phones, global positioning technology and Automated Teller Machines, governments are willing to spend millions of dollars for continuous space-based solar observations.

The sun’s surface temperature is normally about 10,000° F. Where there is organized magnetic activity on the sun’s surface, the temperature decreases to about 7,600° F. This decrease in temperature results in the dark patches which we can observe.

The development of the telescope in the 1600s opened the way for the study of sunspots. An interesting discovery was made regarding sunspots soon after. The number of sunspots increases and decreases over an 11-year cycle. At present the solar cycle is at its minimum of sunspot activity. The next sunspot peak is expected to be in 2011 or 2012. Some scientists, sceptical of popular claims regarding man-caused global warming, postulate that observed climate change could be related to variabilities in long-term solar activity.

Sunspots have even had a role in European philosophy and church history. An ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, taught that the sun and heavens were ideal, an embodiment of unblemished perfection. Aristotle’s teachings influenced the Roman Catholic Church. Rome taught the heavens were perfect, giving us a picture of God’s perfection. Heavenly bodies were thought to be the perfect shape, a sphere. Earth was not a perfect sphere, but was rough with mountains and valleys because of the effects of the sin of man.

Chinese astronomers could have been the first to notice sunspots. They had recorded them already in 28 B.C. Some sunspots are large enough to be seen with the eye when the sun is observed at sunrise or sunset through a haze or mist. (However, be aware there are those who warn against ever looking directly at the sun with unprotected eyes.)

When Europeans witnessed sunspots, there was confusion about what they could be since many believed the concept that the sun could have no blemish. What were they seeing? The observed motions of the planets did not match early mathematical predictions. Some scientists believed the cause of this discrepancy to be a planet which orbited the sun even closer than did Mercury. They had already named the planet Vulcan, and it was thought the spots observed on the sun might actually be moons, Vulcan or some type of cloud. It was Galileo who, after careful observation in the early 1600s, first asserted that sunspots were actually part of the sun itself. It was a striking discovery, especially for the Roman Catholic Church. The heavens were not pure.

When Adam sinned, he sinned as the head of creation, all creation. His sin did not affect just the Earth, but the heavens were sullied as well. How did the sun and the night sky appear to Adam before his fall? How much more clearly did they speak in praise of the Creator? What was their original state?

Bildad, part of whose speech is quoted above, knew the heavens were not pure. Not everything spoken by Bildad and his two friends met with God’s approval, otherwise they would not have been directed in Job 42 to bring animals to Job for sacrifice and have Job pray for them. Here, however, Bildad speaks the truth. "How then can man be justified with God?" If the stars, once thought to shine in perfection, are not pure in God’s sight but bear their blemishes, are we to stand before Him and claim to be holy of ourselves? God is not merely a little holy, somewhat holy, or even mostly holy. Jehovah is perfect holiness itself. God’s holiness is what makes our sins so offensive to Him, and why the suffering required to pay for them was so deep and bitter.

Would we dare claim to be personally worthy to enter His fellowship? Are our spiritual blemishes insignificant or few? At the time this article was written, the sun displayed no large sunspots. Our Dutch grandmothers would have been pleased to keep their houses so spotless. Can we claim a time when our spiritual blemishes are at a minimum? Have we experienced days when we can assert our hearts display no spot of sin? If any were to make such a claim, wouldn’t this serve as clear evidence that one simply does not understand the nature of sin?

For years the sun and stars stood as examples of purity. Yet, Bildad knew the stars were not pure in God’s sight. If the stars are not pure, how can we be? We are lowly creatures. Bildad unflatteringly, but accurately, likens us to worms. Give thanks that Jehovah can make our hearts completely clean by the blood of Christ, and that some day His people will stand in glory before Him in spotless robes of white!

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