Weekly Sermon Quote – October 25, 2020

In the context of making this statement in my sermon yesterday, I quoted one of my favorite statements of Luther which I have taped to my computer so that I read it every day: “When I look at myself, I don’t see how I can be saved. But when I look at Jesus, I don’t see how I can be lost.”

P.S. By the way, these selected sermon quotes from my sermons that appear periodically are selected and then worked up by our church secretary (our daughter Esther!).

God’s Goodness to Us

Two special things took place for us yesterday.

Yesterday morning I had the joy of baptizing our sixth grandchild. Here we are with the grandparents on both sides of our precious children and grandchildren. We are humbled by God’s goodness and filled with gratitude. Please pray earnestly with us that little Hendrick may soon come to know the Lord in Spirit and truth through saving faith and repentance, and may be a stalwart son of Christ’s church all of his life.

Last evening I had the privilege of preaching again to the Heritage Reformed Congregation of Grand Rapids for the first time in seven weeks due to having been afflicted for some time with the coronavirus. The sermon was on Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34). What a joy it is to serve this dear flock again—my favorite church on earth! I love them more than ever. Pray with me that I may increasingly experience, by God’s grace, my inaugural text for them many years ago: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5).

The Man of God: His Shepherding, Evangelizing, and Counseling Labors

In his senior years, Pastor Al Martin, with the faithful assistance of a team of people, was able to complete the publication of a very important 3-volume work (1900 pages in all) on pastoral ministry. We received the third and final volume today, “The Man of God: His Shepherding, Evangelizing, and Counseling Labors,” together with this picture of him receiving the final volume.

Like the other two volumes, this volume is packed full of valuable and practical assistance for ministers and elders; it is a must read for church office-bearers.

Volume 3: https://bit.ly/35oISeZ

Three volume set: https://bit.ly/2HyLbnm

The Synod of Dort: Historical, Theological, and Experiential Perspectives

Today we received from a German publisher (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) a book that I co-edited with Martin Klauber, “The Synod of Dort: Historical, Theological, and Experiential Perspectives” (235 pages). In addition to the editors, chapters are written by W. Robert Godfrey, Matthew Harding, Dan Borvan, Greg Salazar, R. Scott Clark, Michael Horton, Don Sinnema, David McWilliams, Charles Telfer, R. T. te Velde, and Joel Kim. Topics include the Synod of Dort on the free offer of the gospel, particular redemption, church and state, piety, Reformed experiential preaching, the Holy Spirit, and the French response, as well as strategic thinking and relevance of the Synod for today. This is a great book for the informed reader who wants to know more about this landmark international Synod but also serves as an introduction for the educated reader who knows little about this Synod. It contains a great deal of significant material that is applicable for the church today. http://bit.ly/BeekeSoD

The Scandal of Stumbling Blocks: Avoiding Spiritual Harm

I am grateful to be able to announce that RHB just received the first of four paperback books we are publishing by the great Scots theologian, James Durham, on the subject of scandal. This first volume, “The Scandal of Stumbling Blocks: Avoiding Spiritual Harm”—which has been carefully edited for modern consumption—helps us to be encouragers rather than obstacles in the lives of believers. Forthcoming volumes to be published in the next year or two will deal with three additional themes: Making Church Discipline Edifying, Combating the Plague of Error, and Healing the Wounds of Schism.

Every Christian should read these books!

Get your copy here: https://bit.ly/3onVpbs

Q&A Session on Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

Doing a Q&A session on suffering and God’s sovereignty here with the moderator, Pastor Carey Hardy, and Pastor Anthony Kidd at the conference yesterday at the Twin City Bible in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, just before Pastor Kidd preached the last powerful sermon from the final verses of 1 Peter 2.

Mary and I arrived home a few hours ago, grateful to have felt God’s help through this conference. I just did a chapel message for our elementary and high schools and now need to get ready for our HRC Denominational Synod meetings that take place tomorrow.

Please pray that God will guide our churches to do His will and serve His glory in this important gathering. Thanks so much for your prayers for me in the last month—I am deeply grateful.

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

The Queen and I are in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where Pastor Anthony Kidd from Los Angeles and I are delivering six messages on the theme, “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God,” for the Twin City Bible Church. (Anthony and I also spoke together at this conference two years ago; I thank God for his gifts and friendship.)

Last night I preached for the first time since recuperating from Covid-19, and felt helped by God both in content and in strength of voice (which is now up to about 80%). God is so very good, and we are deeply grateful.

We just had a delightful 2-hour lunch with the three couples above. From right to left are Anthony and Sherry Kidd, Pam and Carey Hardy, Danny and Emily Gumprecht. (Carey and Danny are two of the church’s four pastors.) Please pray for continued strength for us throughout this weekend, and going forward.

A Beautiful Fall Day in Michigan

An incredibly beautiful day here. Just finished having an October dinner with the Queen on the deck—not a common experience in Michigan! Blessings in Christ to you and yours for tomorrow.

Lord of Harvest, Send Forth Reapers…

Our Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary surrounded by the splendor of God’s creation. While this earth remains, “seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22).

We are deeply grateful to God for the blessing of training theological students at PRTS for the harvesting of souls, and we pray for more years to do so. “The things that thou [Timothy] has heard of me [Paul], among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

For the Triune God’s glory, the maturation of saints, and the salvation of the lost, will you please pray with us this renowned refrain:

Lord of harvest, send forth reapers.
Hear us, Lord, to Thee we cry;
Send them now the sheaves to gather.

Wedding of Stephen VanDyk and Abigail Kosachuk

Yesterday I had the privilege of officiating the wedding of a young 30-year-old couple, Stephen VanDyk (a member of our HRC denominational church in Jordan, Ontario) and Abigail Kosachuk (a member of our HRC church here in Grand Rapids). The wedding took place in Bronson, Michigan followed by a tent reception (the weather couldn’t have been better) at the home of the bride’s parents in Coldwater, Michigan.

Happily, my weak post-COVID voice held up relatively well as I preached at the couple’s request from Psalm 37:3-7 on four essential ingredients in a truly happy marriage: “Trust in the Lord” (v. 3), “Delight thyself in the Lord” (v. 4), “Commit thy way unto the Lord” (v. 5), and “Rest in the Lord” (v. 7).

Pray with me that this dear couple will be blessed with this kind of God-centered marriage for decades to come, if our Lord tarries.