Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 23 November, 2008


"Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help,

whose hope is in the Lord his God" (Ps. 146:5)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Holy Spirit in Ephesians (2)

The Earnest of the Spirit    [download]

Ephesians 1:14

I. The Meaning

II. The Purpose

III. The Goal

Psalms: 23:1-6; 2:1-7; 16:5-11; 73:23-28


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Thy Kingdom Come     [download]

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48; Isaiah 52

I. The Meaning of the Kingdom

II. The Prayer for the Kingdom

Psalms: 24:1-6; 2:7-12; 98:1-8; 145:10-17


Contact Sean Courtney ( for CDs of the sermons.

CPRC website:

Quote to Consider:

John Calvin on Ephesians 1:14: "[The Spirit as an earnest] is twice used by Paul in another Epistle (II Cor 1:22; 5:5). The metaphor is taken from bargains, in which, when a pledge has been given and accepted, the whole is confirmed, and no room is left for a change of mind. Thus, when we have received the Spirit of God, his promises are confirmed to us, and no dread is felt that they will be revoked. In themselves, indeed, the promises of God are not weak; but, until we are supported by the testimony of the Spirit, we never rest upon them with unshaken confidence. The Spirit, then, is the earnest of our inheritance of eternal life, until the redemption, that is, until the day of complete redemption is arrived. So long as we are in this world, our warfare is sustained by hope, and therefore this earnest is necessary ..."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

We welcome Sam, Chris, Manuel, Emily-Kate, and Inga to our worship services today. After this evening’s service, everyone is invited to stay for tea and fellowship with these young people from Limerick.

On the back table are CDs of Prof. Engelsma’s recent radio interview on the 4th commandment and the Lord’s Day. It can also be listened to on-line.

Standard Bearer subscriptions are due. You may pay your subscription directly to the RFPA or pay £17 to Rev. Stewart.

Catechism: Tuesday, 10:15 AM - Beginners OT Class at the Murrays

Tuesday, 4:30 PM - Jacob Buchanan 

Tuesday, 5:30 PM - Jamie & Debbie Murray 

Tuesday, 7 PM - Campbells at the manse

Ladies’ Bible Study meets this Tuesday, 25 November, 10:15 AM at the Murrays.

Midweek Bible Study meets this Wednesday, 7:45 PM at the manse. We will study I Peter 1:10-12 on the OT prophets searching their own prophecies.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is "Those Born of God Love One Another" (I John 4:7-8).

Offerings: General Fund - £468.85.

Upcoming Lectures: Limerick, Fri., 5 Dec., 7:30 PM, "The Reformation’s Teaching on the Church" 

S. Wales, Fri., 12 Dec., 7:15 PM, "The Reformation’s Teaching on the Church" 

Limerick, Thurs., 8 Jan., 7:30 PM - Prof. Gritters, "Music’s Indispensable Place in (the) Reformation" 

Portadown, Fri., 20 Feb., 8 PM - Lecture on John Calvin

PRC News: Byron Center PRC will call from a trio of Revs. Eriks (Hudsonville, MI), R. Kleyn (Trinity, MI), and Slopsema (First, MI).

David’s Exemplary Prayer

Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation (Psalm 35:3b)

Psalm 35 was the basis of Hope School’s first Song-of-the-Week this school year. David, the man after God’s own heart, wrote this psalm. It is a prayer. The matter of prayer in the life of God’s covenant people was so vital to those men who established Hope School some three generations ago that prayer is listed in Hope School’s constitution as one of the purposes of Christian instruction. Under the Purpose Statement of our Constitution we read, "[Hope School] shall teach that prayer is the chief part of the thankfulness that God requires of us and through prayer God gives His grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually." David’s prayer as recorded in Psalm 35 is an example for us and our covenant children.

David experienced great distress at the time when he wrote this psalm. We do not know the source of David’s trouble. It is likely David wrote this psalm at the time when Saul sought to kill David. Saul recognized David would begin a new dynasty which would rule over Israel. Although Saul’s son Jonathan would willingly and gladly serve in David’s court, Saul wanted David killed so Jonathan could be Israel’s next king.

In this psalm David tells God of his distress. David’s enemies falsely accused him. These enemies persecuted David and returned evil for his kindness. Though David fasted and mourned when his enemies were sick, they rejoiced and mocked David in his adversity. The enemies opposing David were not limited to the weak and powerless in society either, but David was opposed by the king and the members of his court. David’s enemies were powerful and had influence. They would use their influence to turn the common people against David. These great difficulties caused David to wonder whether God would deliver him from his enemies’ hands.

David knew his troubles were not matters which he could solve by himself. He needed help, powerful help. Rather than turning to men for aid, which David knows would be vain, David begins his prayer by asking God to help him. David writes, "Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me." David will not rely upon his own strength. David wants God to judge his cause and fight his enemies.

David petitions God for many important things in this prayer. David asks God to take up various weapons to fight his enemies. He asks for the angel of the Lord to chase them. He also asks that the destruction which his enemies hoped to see befall David by means of their plots and schemes would actually come upon them.

There is also the petition of David which appears at the beginning of this article. There is something which David longs to hear. David wants God to speak to him, but David is not looking for some casual, "over the backyard fence" conversation. David yearns for God to speak to his soul. David wants to hear Jehovah say to him, and for the Lord to say it in such a way that David is completely convinced of its truth, that Jehovah is his salvation. If David could know that and be absolutely convinced of its truth, he would be confident of the outcome of his present distress. What an encouragement it would be for David to hear that the Almighty God is his salvation.

We must ask, however, whether this prayer is one that God would hear and answer affirmatively. The Heidelberg Catechism, which is also mentioned in Hope’s Constitution as a foundation of the school and its instruction, states in Question and Answer 117 the requisites of prayers which are acceptable to God.

First, prayers must come from the heart and be addressed to the one true God. David certainly does that in this psalm. Also, petitioners to God must know their need and misery so that they humble themselves. David does mention in his prayer some aspects of his behaviour to indicate his innocence, but he certainly does not boast of himself. In verse 24 David asks God to judge him not according to his righteousness, but according to God’s righteousness. David meets this standard of proper prayer as well. Finally, those who go to God in prayer must be persuaded that God will do what He has promised in His Word, not for our sakes, but for Christ’s. David had the promise of God given to him through Samuel that God had rejected Saul and chosen David to be king. God would hear this prayer. David would know that Jehovah is his salvation. God would even bring this salvation from David’s line when the promised Messiah would come.

We and our children also face powerful enemies. Sending our covenant children to our Christian schools does not mean that Satan considers them out-of-bounds to his temptations. Satan is busy in our schools, and he works hard in them. When our children walk through the doors of our Christian schools, they do not mystically leave their weak and sinful flesh behind. They will still have to struggle with the old man of sin as they face a variety of temptations. Sin will be evident in our schools.

What can we do? We must follow the example of David in this psalm and go to our faithful Lord in prayer. We must petition God, and our children must be taught to make this their prayer too, that our Lord will speak to our souls that the Almighty and Faithful One is our salvation. Please, we must not view too narrowly Jehovah’s covenantal assurance that He is the salvation of us and our children. God’s covenant is not established with me (singular) and my (singular) children. Neither does God save a bunch of individuals. God saves a, that is one, church. God’s covenant is made with believers (plural) and their (plural) seed. Covenant parents will band together to maintain Christian schools because the instruction they want for their children, they also want for the covenant children of other believing parents as well.

May God use our schools to instruct His children that Jehovah is their salvation. We must not teach them to pray that God will influence their free wills so they accept His offer of salvation. We will not tell our children their prayers are to be a list of the works they have done for God as if good works can merit anything with Him. Rather, let us teach our children to pray that the one true God will tell their souls that He, for Christ’s sake, is their salvation.

Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope Protestant Reformed Christian School, Grand Rapids, Michigan