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His Friends and Servants

His Friends and Servants

As his friends and servants we seek heaven and flee the temptations of the world. The God who delivered his servant Daniel from the lion’s den also delivers us from the devil and keeps us safe until he brings us to heavenly glory.

This second book in the Tell His Wonders Bible story book series includes stories about Job and the patriarchs, Joseph and his brothers, several judges, King David, Daniel and his friends, and more.

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Behold, He Cometh! An Exposition of the Book of Revelation, by Herman Hoeksema

Behold, He Cometh! An Exposition of the Book of Revelation, by Herman Hoeksema

"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on...

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NEW BOOK on Preacher and Reformer Simon van Velzen (1809-1896)

NEW BOOK on Preacher and Reformer Simon van Velzen (1809-1896)

Watchman on the Walls of Zion: The Life and Influence of Simon van Velzen, by Rev Joshua Engelsma Simon van Velzen was a powerful preacher of the gospel. He was a reformer of the church of Christ in the Netherlands in the Secession of 1834. He was a seminary professor who influenced hundreds of future Reformed ministers. He was a faithful husband and devoted father. In his own day, he was held in high regard by such notable figures as Abraham...

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March 1, 2021 Standard Bearer preview article

March 1, 2021 Standard Bearer preview article

What sin destroyed, grace restores. In the fullness of time, He sent the eternal Word, Jesus Christ, to take our flesh and to atone for our sins. As our chief Prophet and Teacher, He “fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption” by His death on the cross (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 12). Now from heaven, He speaks to us the glad tidings of our salvation and gives us ears to hear and hearts to believe. He speaks to us words of instruction, rebuke, exhortation, comfort, and encouragement. Wonder of wonders, the Shepherd speaks and the sheep hear His voice!

By His work in us, Christ sanctifies our tongues and teaches us to use them rightly, to God’s glory and our neighbor’s edification. As His covenant friends, we delight to hear His voice and listen to His Word, and we also respond by speaking to Him in prayer and song. Such communication is at the heart of our daily experience of covenant friendship with God.

Consider two applications in closing. First, while learning to communicate rightly with others is important, most important is our communication with God. Imagine what one of your friends would think if you never listened to him and never spoke to him. That friend might think that you are not really friends. Now think about your friendship with God.

Do you love to listen to Him speak in the preaching and in the Bible? Do you speak to Him often in prayer? Second, what we have said about the gift of communication ought to make us grateful for it and motivated to make sanctified use of it.

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Whosoever Will, by Herman Hoeksema

Whosoever Will, by Herman Hoeksema
O, indeed, we must come to God. Whosoever will may come, means "whosoever will come to GOD may come to Him." We must come to God, not merely in order to obtain salvation, but to come to Him is salvation. It is not merely a means to an end, it is the end itself. We must come to God who is GOD, that is, not to a god of our own imagination, which is always an idol, but to the true and living God, as He reveals Himself to us in His Word. To God we must come, who dwelleth in the light that no man can approach unto; who is a light, and there is no darkness in Him at all; who is good, that is, the fullness of all infinite perfections, righteousness, holiness, truth, and grace, and in whose presence there is fullness of joy, pleasures forevermore! To God we must come, who is too pure of eyes to behold iniquity, who loveth the righteous, but who is angry with the wicked every day, and who is a consuming fire, the great, the glorious, the terrible God! We must come to Him, that is, we must enter into His blessed fellowship, into the secrets of his friendship, into his most intimate communion, so that we dwell in his house as friends with their Friend, taste that He is good, know Him as we are known, see Him face to face, walk with Him and talk with Him, love Him as we are loved, have our delight in His will, and glorify His name forevermore. Oh yes, to be saved is to be delivered from hell, provided you understand that the torture of hell is exactly that there one feels the wrath of God, and his being utterly forsaken by Him! To be saved, to be sure, is to go to heaven, and heaven is a beautiful place, a glorious house with many mansions, a new creation, and a new Jerusalem, with streets of gold and pearly gates, provided you understand that the heart of it all, and the very essence of it all is that God is there, the Father, and that there we shall forever walk in the light of the glory of God that fills the city! For to know God is life eternal (John 17:3). To come to God: that is our salvation! Read More

Ecclesiastical self-examination in the PRCA

Ecclesiastical self-examination in the PRCA

With the New Year upon us, it is customary to think of improving ourselves personally. Christians may want to read more, eat less, adopt an exercise regimen, develop different entertainment practices, or change spending habits. True, one person may be inclined to self-examination more than another, but we all do well to consider ourselves regarding correcting personal flaws and promoting spiritual growth. The apostle Peter warns that, if there is not growth in a man, he may well be led away with the error of the wicked and fall from his own steadfastness (II Pet. 3:17, 18).

But the new year also serves as an occasion for ecclesiastical introspection, what I have called “ecclesiastical self-examination.” Recommending this, I am well aware that, if there are only a few who are inclined to personal introspection, there are probably fewer yet inclined to reflecting on the spiritual condition of their church. But the Reformation calling in the motto Semper Reformanda expresses a biblical principle that requires churches to examine themselves. Serious and regular ecclesiastical self-examination is necessary.

So I return to the question: Are we willing and able to do this? Is the PRCA in her membership willing to be serious about examining herself in the light of the Word of God and making reforms by that Word of God? Are we? We must give more than lip-service to Semper Reformanda.

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Preparing for Dating and Marriage

Preparing for Dating and Marriage
Convinced that instruction on marriage is for God’s youth early on, Pastor Cory Griess has provided a distinctive devotional aid for family worship. Parents, do not delay! Before our children enter the dating scene, where feelings tend to inhibit clear Christian thought, we must ground them now in scriptural principles. The youth of the church will soon make pivotal decisions in their dating years that will permanently affect their married lives. Here is a biblical, insightful, and practical guide for Christian parents, many of whom have vowed at baptism to train their children in the doctrines of scripture to the utmost of their power.—Pastor Jonathan Mahtani Read More

Ecclesiastical self-examination

Ecclesiastical self-examination

In love for our denomination, therefore, this editorial begins to have us consider: “Are we asking all the right questions as we examine ourselves? What other questions could consistories and church visitors consider? As we ask these questions, are we doing so in keen consciousness of our calling in the Reformation principle Semper Reformanda? Being Reformed, are we in need of any further re-form? Are there other ways that our churches can examine themselves in the light of the Word of God, willing to be re-formed by that Word of God if necessary? And, is there any way to examine ourselves denomination-wide?”

The difficulties of such a careful and thorough ecclesiastical self-examination must not deter us from seeing the importance of the exercise.

A church must do more than pay lip-service to the motto, Reformed and always being reformed. Lip-service to the motto is praising it in special issues of the church magazine, but not acting upon it, improving ourselves year by year. Lip-service is explaining the motto over against other churches who do not embrace its principle or others who misuse it by always seeking change—for change’s sake—but then misuse the motto ourselves by not asking where we need reform.

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February 15, 2021 Standard Bearer preview article

February 15, 2021 Standard Bearer preview article
We see in Jonah clear proof that though Christ has taken the wrath of God against our sins on Himself and delivered us from the wrath to come, Christ’s work does not deliver us from the consequences of our sins, from divine chastisement, and from God’s holy anger against sin. That is what we forget when we think we can go on carelessly in our sin as though God does not see. That is how we behave when we use grace as an excuse for sin. Then we say with Jonah, “I am an Hebrew and fear the God who made all things,” and refuse to bow before Him. Read More

Two Books on the Awesome Mystery of Marriage

Two Books on the Awesome Mystery of Marriage

Better to Marry provides straightforward, practical instruction for single and married believers alike, taken directly from the classic Bible passages on sex and marriage. Two appendices treat the remarriage and prohibition of the remarriage of the "innocent party."

Marriage…is a Reformed pastor’s instruction and exhortation to married couples, especially young married couples, with the purpose that they glorify God in their marriages and enjoy the bliss of this blessed communion of life.

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Order

Order

The church today, guided by Scripture in worship and life, pays attention to good order. We have an order of worship which prevents the unexpected, the chaotic, and the inappropriate. We have a Church Order which spells out practically every aspect of congregational and denominational life. At our meetings we have agendas, and only a motion “to depart from the order of the day” allows us to proceed differently. Scripture calls us to withdraw ourselves from every brother that walks disorderly (II Thess. 3:6-11). A life of confusion is equated with every evil work (James 3:16).

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The Deposition of an Office-Bearer

The Deposition of an Office-Bearer

The officebearers, and especially the ministers, al­so promise that they will be always ready and will­ing to submit to an examination, or to the require­ment of a further explanation respecting any partic­ular article of the confessions above named. Such a requirement can be made upon the officebearer “upon sufficient grounds of suspicion and to preserve the un­iformity and purity of doctrine.” And if the office­bearer, minister, elder, or deacon, should ever refuse to submit to such an examination upon the grounds of suspicion, he would by that very act (de facto) be suspended from his office.

Of course, he may appeal to the broader gathering. But in the meantime he will remain suspended.

This, therefore, is another way in which a minis­ter, elder, or deacon may be suspended from his office.

And it is a very important way, because it con­cerns purely the matter of doctrine.

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Remembering the Schism of 1953: Schism It Was

Remembering the Schism of 1953: Schism It Was
Ours is a time when every discontented church member feels free to stir up the congregation against the consistory, or leave. Ours is a time when any minister who does not get his way in the church and can hoodwink enough members to support him divides the congregation and abandons the denomination. Ours is a time when groups of disaffected members, who dislike some decision or other, or who probably have lost control of synod, strike out on their own, to form a new denomination.  Read More

The Binding Decisions of a Reformed Synod

The Binding Decisions of a Reformed Synod

It cannot be said that Protestant Reformed people are wrapped up in the annual meeting of synod. Unless there is a case of special interest to the churches, visitors at synod are few. Seldom is the church building packed at the worship service with which synod begins. It is doubtful that the members wait with bated breath for the decisions of synod in the Acts.

Nevertheless, it lives in the congregations that synod is an important part of our church life. There is understanding that synod settles matters of dispute in the churches. The churches carry out the decisions of synod that bear on the denominational life. Consistories and individuals submit to decisions of synod with which they themselves are in disagreement. It is accepted that synod’s decisions will be considered settled and binding by all the consistories and by all the members.

This is as it should be. This is healthy. This is Reformed. The broader assembly of the churches, synod now in particular, is the necessary expression of the unity of the church of Christ. In keeping with the purpose of the unity of the church, synod serves for the mutual help of the congregations and represents the cooperative labor of all the churches of the denomination on behalf of Christ their common Head.

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