Gold Star Membership

Did you know that the RFPA publishes more books than the four new book club releases that we send to book club members each year?

For example, just this past year we started reprinting Herman Hoeksema’s Lenten meditations from When I Survey, publishing these meditations in six separate books. The first book, The Amazing Cross, came out earlier this year in March. The second book, The Royal Sufferer, is scheduled to be released in March 2019. We also published a children’s book, T is for Tree, in April 2018. Another children's book will be released mid-December 2018, His Mercy Endureth Forever.

If you would like to receive all of our books, sign up for GOLD STAR membership by calling (616-457-5970) or emailing (mail@rfpa.org), and we’ll add you to the growing list of people who receive all of our new publications.

 

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New competitive pricing for children's books!

We're lowering our prices just in time for Christmas!

Come, Ye Children: A Bible Storybook for Young Children (was $47.95... NOW $36.95)

Gottschalk: Servant of God (hardcover) (ebook) (was $17.95... NOW $13.95)

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC (was $17.95... NOW $13.95)

His Mercy Endureth Forever: Psalm 136 ($13.95)

Book club members get 15% off the retail price on all children's books.

   

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READ KNOW GROW

READ KNOW GROW
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” 1 Timothy 4:13.

#ReadRFPAbooks

“In his inscrutable wisdom God determined from all eternity that he would be revealed to his people through the Bible, his written revelation, the entirety of which we new dispensation believers now have in our hands. And the Bible as a written revelation must be read. God could have revealed himself savingly in Jesus Christ through some other means, but he determined that he would be revealed through a written revelation that must be read. That the revelation of God comes to us in a book with words that are written and must be read is the proof that reading has a significant place in God’s covenant… The necessity and urgency of reading in the covenant is indisputable and could not be emphasized too strongly” (Rev. Brian Huizinga, Standard Bearer, Vol 90, Issue 6, 12/15/2014).

The world we live in is filled with digital technology that can easily distract us and quickly consume much of our time. Using digital technology requires very little effort of our minds, shrinking our attention spans and discouraging us from reading anything which is not brief or easily skimmed. But we are called to read scripture and good, Reformed literature—reading that requires deep and critical thinking. Therefore we must constantly remind one another to read! We must encourage each other to persevere in our reading! May we be a people who understand the importance of reading good Reformed literature and who actively encourage our friends and family members to read! See our complete book selection at rfpa.org.

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1834 Has Arrived!

Anxiously awaiting the book to be carefully unloaded!

 

The new author, excited that his new book has finally arrived.

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Did you know?

Did you know that in 1999 the total # of Book Club members was 780.

The Goal? 1,000!

Now in 2014, we have a total of 1,227 Book Club members!

Become an RFPA Book Club member today and build your library!

Books

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The Fruit of the Spirit: Meekness

Meekness

Rev. Smit opens chapter 9 of The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ by explaining that Holy Spirit works meekness in the hearts of all the elect upon whom he bestows the gift of salvation.  All who are saved become meek.  It is a virtue that was exhibited, as Rev. Smit explains, by Moses, John the Baptist, Paul, and many other saints (pg. 128).  Saints are meek because they are renewed in the image of Jesus Christ, who was meek.  Rev. Smit connects the humility of Christ to the meekness of saints when he defines meekness.  “As Christ was humble, and demonstrated that humility in his work of redemption, so must we be of the same mind and in that lowliness of mind esteem others better than ourselves (pg. 129).”

Rev. Smit helpfully contrasts meekness and humility with the sins of selfishness, vainglory, and pride (pg. 129-131).  Against that backdrop of sin Rev. Smit holds up a beautiful description of meekness: “Meekness is a matter of how lowly we value ourselves – before God chiefly and also in comparison with others" (pg. 131).  Rev. Smit writes that a meek person “concludes” that “he is the least of all God’s saints" (pg. 131).  That is a powerful statement!  Do you esteem all other saints better than yourself?  Not some – all?  Not only the minister, the office bearers, or those who are known for their spiritual maturity, but even those who seem to be less comely – do you see them all as better that yourself?  And because it is a tendency to elevate certain people in the congregation, such as office bearers, it is good that they too be reminded to see themselves as the least of all God’s saints.  If we are struggling to be esteem ourselves of less than others we need to look to Christ and see that as sinners the only worth and value “we have is of, in, by, and because of Christ alone" (pg. 131-132).

That attitude of meekness before God and others must come to expression.   Do you display meekness in your life?  Rev. Smit gives good direction for displaying meekness in the last part of the chapter.  I encourage you to find 15 minutes in your day (that’s all it takes!) to read this chapter and think about how to put the Christian virtue of meekness into practice.  

Other articles by Rev. Spronk on The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ:

The Fruit of the Spirit: An Introduction

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

The Fruit of the Spirit: Longsuffering

The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

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This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk blogs for us several times a month, taking us first through a brief study of Richard Smit's newly released book, The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.

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NEW Book, NEW Author

                1834: Hendrik de Cock's Return to the True Church

A gripping account of one man’s struggle against a spiritually desolate state church, this book witnesses to the sole authority of sacred scripture and the binding authority of the Reformed creeds.

Learn how, by God’s grace, Hendrik de Cock led his congregation out of the perverse wilderness of the state Reformed Church of the Netherlands, returning to the biblical worship of God as set forth in the Reformed creeds.

Written by new author: Marvin Kamps. Available Spring 2014.

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The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

Faithfulness is Success

One of the questions at the end of chapter 8 of The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ which discusses the fruit of the Spirit called faithfulness asks, “in what ways are we prone to become weary in well-doing?”  A common reason for discouragement is lack of success.  Why expend the effort if the desired result does not come to fruition?  

The repeated admonitions brought by elders seem only to be met with stubborn resistance.  The hard work expended by a Christian man to provide for his family and for kingdom of God doesn’t seem to get him anywhere.  The mother works to keep the home in order only to see her work undone in a short amount of time by unappreciative husband and children.  The loving rebuke of a friend that you didn’t want to bring but knew you had to is met with anger and may mean a relationship is ended.  

Success, as we define it to mean that we obtain the objective we desire, seems unattainable.  Why then should we do our duty?   Why not throw in the towel?  We are reminded by Scripture that we are called to be faithful not successful.  

In chapter 8 Rev. Smit provides a helpful explanation of faithfulness.   For your own benefit read:

Pg. 116 for a definition of faithfulness.
Pgs. 116-119 for a discussion of Christ’s faithfulness.
Pgs. 119-120 for an intriguing list of saints noted for faithfulness in the Bible.  
Pgs. 119-122 for a discussion of the faithfulness required of office-bearers and their wives, children, employees.
Pgs 123 for a warning against unfaithfulness.
Pgs. 124-125 for an explanation of the benefits of faithfulness.

 

Now what if we do not enjoy immediate benefits when we faithfully perform our duty?  Rev. Smit reminds us that the “faithfulness of the believer to Jesus Christ throughout his life in his station and calling, even unto his last fleeting breath, yields the fruit of a crown of life.”  Faithfulness, even if it does not yield the results we desire in this life, will be rewarded by God in the next life.

Don’t be discouraged.  Leave the results in the hands of God.  Faithfully perform your duties as a servant of Jesus Christ.  In the eyes of God that’s success.  

 

Other articles by Rev. Spronk on The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ:

The Fruit of the Spirit: An Introduction

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

The Fruit of the Spirit: Longsuffering

The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

______________________________________________________________________________________

This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk will be blogging for us several times a month, taking us first through a brief study of Richard Smit's newly released book, The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.


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The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

Are you good?

Is man basically good? Are you good? ‘Yes,’ is the answer of many who know nothing about Scripture, and therefore who know nothing about the true definition of goodness. In Chapter 7 of The Fruit of the Spirit Rev. Smit provides an excellent explanation of what the Bible says about goodness.

Definitions are important, and once again Rev. Smit provides a helpful definition of goodness on page 105:

We believe that the goodness of the child of God by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit is the ability to do to others morally pure acts—that is, acts that have a proper and honorable purpose with respect to our Father in heaven and with respect to the person to whom we perform some particular act of goodness, such as giving food or words of encouragement to a fellow saint.

The definition implies that human beings are not basically or naturally good. Rev. Smit takes for granted that goodness is a characteristic only of a “sanctified and godly believer.” Without the sanctifying operation of the Holy Spirit, which is preceded by the regenerating work of the Spirit, no one can be or is good. Believers are able to produce the fruit of goodness “by the miraculous grace of the Holy Spirit (pg 113).” Thus, goodness is one of the wonderful benefits of salvation God graciously gives to his people.

Rev. Smit explains how the goodness of saints is a reflection of the goodness of God (pg 105-106).  That goodness of God is also revealed in the face of Jesus Christ (pg 107-108).  As believers we should see the goodness of God and the goodness of Jesus Christ as a standard for us to follow in seeking to be good unto others.  Additionally, the motive of our goodness is the knowledge that God is good to us in the salvation he has given us as a free gift.

So, as the objects of God’s grace who are sanctified by the Spirit, we are to be good to others. (Remember Rev. Smit explained in chapter 5 that the 2nd set of 3 fruits – longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness – highlight how we are to behave outwardly to the neighbor.) What is the good goal of the Christian in his interaction with others? How is goodness displayed? Read pages 108-111. Take the instruction to heart and apply it to your life, and you will cultivate the fruit of goodness in your life.

It seems appropriate to end this post with the questions Rev. Smit asks on page 112.

  • For what would you like to be remembered?

  • Your sports trophies?

  • Your hobbies?

  • Your skills?

  • The money and possessions you have acquired and can pass on to your children?

  • Should we not desire to be remembered for the virtue of goodness that shined clearly and brightly in our lives and labors through our actions to others unto the glory of God?

  • Should we not desire to be remembered as those who did good to others, even to our enemies, with the good desire that they might fully enjoy the truth of our only comfort in life and death in Jesus Christ alone?

 

Other articles by Rev. Spronk on The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ:

The Fruit of the Spirit: An Introduction

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

The Fruit of the Spirit: Longsuffering

The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

______________________________________________________________________________________

This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk will be blogging for us several times a month, taking us first through a brief study of Richard Smit's newly released book, The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.

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The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

Retaliate with Gentleness

In chapter 6 of The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Rev. Smit explains the lovely Christian characteristic of gentleness. Towards the end of the chapter Rev. Smit speaks of the connection between gentleness and the characteristics of love and peace, which precede gentleness in Gal. 5:22-23. Christian love is characterized by gentleness. And the fruit of gentleness is peace. If we desire to experience the joys of love and peace in our relationships with God and our relationships with others, then we must pray for the Spirit of Jesus Christ to produce in us the virtue of gentleness.  

Rev. Smit carefully lays out all the aspects of gentleness. It is a “virtue of God" (see pg 80-81). It is displayed by God’s grace to sinners in Jesus Christ (pg 82-83).  Jesus Christ demonstrated gentleness during his earthly ministry and provided an example for us to follow (pg 83-87).  It is the opposite of “brutality, hostility, and harshness (pg 88-89).” It is not the same as “natural gentleness" (pg 88). The source of gentleness for Christians is the “love of Christ" (pg 90). It is worked in Christians by the Spirit of Jesus Christ through the means of the word and prayer (pg 91). It is a kindness that is unconditional, constant, holy, and righteous (pg 92-94).  

Instead of commenting any further on the chapter, I decided to share a few of Rev. Smit’s keen insights with you.  Hopefully they will be enough to encourage you to pick up the book and the read the chapter.  

About the woman taken in adultery Rev. Smit writes: “The Pharisees were brutal and selfishly harsh with that woman. . . . Unwittingly, the Pharisees were a tool in the hand of the Lord to bring the woman to the right place: her merciful savior. Christ in his mercy was kind unto her" (pg 84-85). 

About Peter’s denial of Jesus Rev. Smit writes: “Jesus did not destroy Peter, nor did he yell angrily across the courtyard at Peter. Jesus looked right into the heart and soul of Peter, so that Peter remembered that Jesus foretold that Peter would deny Christ exactly as he had just done. Jesus brought Peter to repentance with that gentle but soul-piercing look of mercy" (pg 86).

About our natural reaction to the sins others commit against us Rev. Smit writes: “to those who provoke us by their sins, we are prone to retaliate in kind, but never in kindness" (pg. 93).   

About the blessing of gentleness Rev. Smit writes: “Where we exercise kindness one toward another, strife and schism stop and healing and the enjoyment of blessed peace begin.  Where there is that peace, there is the enjoyment of having our gentle savior, by his word and Spirit, dwell within and among us.”  

These were some of my favorite statements.  Read the chapter and tell me yours.

 

Other articles by Rev. Spronk on The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ:

The Fruit of the Spirit: An Introduction

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

The Fruit of the Spirit: Longsuffering

______________________________________________________________________________________

This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk will be blogging for us several times a month, taking us first through a brief study of Richard Smit's newly released book, The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.

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