COVID-19 Updates

Update #42

Thursday, September 17, 2020

“The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things” (Proverbs 15:28).

If we would have to summarize the Proverbs which Solomon wrote by the light of God’s Spirit, then we can do that with the word ‘wisdom’. Solomon has spoken already about the necessity of true wisdom (due to our deep fall in Adam), about the nature of true wisdom (taught by God’s Spirit), about the secret of true wisdom (in the work of the Triune God in Jesus Christ), and about the teaching of this wisdom in the life of God’s children by God’s Word and Spirit.

But in our chapter Solomon may also speak about the fruit of true wisdom as it is revealed in our life and especially in our words. It is true, the Scriptures often speak about our words, for example in James 3. Oh, by our deep fall we use our tongue to dishonor God and to honor ourselves. Romans 3 says clearly that our throat is an open sepulchre, with our tongues we used deceit, poison of asps is under our lips, and our mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

And when we read how Proverbs 15 explains the mouth of the fools (vs. 2) and the perverseness of the tongue (vs. 4), then we must all tremble because Solomon can only conclude that those are the wicked, the scornful and the fools. The Lord is far from them and all they that wander far from Him will perish in their misery. Let us then examine ourselves before God.

The mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. That started already in Paradise where we answered the deceitful lies of the devil who told us that by eating of the forbidden fruit we would be as God, knowing good and evil. And the fruit by nature is that we cry out in words and deeds that we have no desire in the knowledge of God’s ways but rather want to live and die as fools without God. Is there then still a way to escape and receive salvation for such ones?

That is the wonder of free and sovereign grace which Solomon had learned in his life! And the Lord still adds a people that may learn that based on good grounds. The heart of the fools may be wicked, but the heart of the righteous studieth to answer. That means that the Lord renews the heart of a sinner and opens that which is by nature closed for Him. But when He does that, He also breaks that heart and makes it a contrite and guilty sinner before God!

They learn who they really are before an all-knowing and righteous God. How can you know that people? Solomon says that a broken heart is ‘studying to answer’. There comes a longing and a desire to receive an answer on all the questions and riddles of the heart regarding the way unto salvation. They ask: Lord, is there still salvation for such a sinner as I am? Touch my tongue with a coal of Thine altar to cleanse me from all my sins in the blood of Thy beloved Son.

They have learned that their tongue is a fire that kindleth great things; that it cannot be tamed but is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. That causes such a grief that they cry out for mercy and have no rest until they find it in Christ Who never used His mouth to sin, but Who spoke Wisdom and comforted the broken heart, speaking about Himself as the Way unto salvation.

But there is more. When the heart of the righteous studieth to answer, this also means that they are so afraid to speak quickly and sin with their tongue. Our annotations say that such people do not just pour out of their mouth whatever comes in their mind, but that they carefully consider what to say and what is good and edifying to be spoken. Their continual sigh is that they may be given to use their tongue and mouth to the honor and glory of the Triune God.

When Saul was stopped before Damascus, he received a desire not to use his tongue anymore to sin and to speak evil about the Lord and His people, but to speak about Christ that He is the Son of God. When Solomon’s heart was overwhelmed with the goodness of the Lord for such a wretch as he was, his mouth overflowed and he sang for aye the tender mercies of the Lord.

How do we use our tongue and lips? To God’s honor or to His dishonor? How sad is our situation when the Lord will ask us an account for each idle word that we have spoken! It is still the time of grace. Sinners can still be reconciled with God in Christ Who never sinned with His tongue. What a blessed people whom the Lord teaches that. That people is prepared in the time for the never ending eternity, where they may sing for aye the tender mercies of the Lord.

Arthur Hildersham, Dealing with Sin in Our Children. Sermons on Psalm 51:7 (2)

3. You must bring them with you to the church to the public worship of God quickly, even while they are very young, as soon as they can come and be there without disturbing the congregation, so that they may be acquainted with God’s worship and ordinance soon. Moses told Pharaoh in Exodus 10:9 that they must have their little ones with them to the solemn worship they were to do unto God in the wilderness, and would not accept liberty for all the rest unless they might have their little ones with them. And when Joshua, according to God’s commandment, read the law of God solemnly to the congregation of Israel (Joshua 8:35), they had their little ones with them in that solemn assembly. When Christ was preaching in the congregation, the people brought their little children unto Him (Matthew 19:13) so that their little ones might have the benefit of His prayers.

4. You who are parents must examine your children as to how they profit by the means of grace. You must test them as to how they understand, what they hear. Repeat it, and make it more plain to them, and, in repeating it, apply it also. Moses required the people in Deuteronomy 6:7 to teach that to their children which they heard from him.

They might have objected, “What need is there for that, seeing they are present in the congregation, and heard what was taught as well as we did?” Yes, but you must teach it to them again in spite of all that, more plainly and with more familiarly. Teach these things diligently to your children,” Moses said. Yea, whet and sharpen them upon your children (for so the word signifies); that is, so repeat and make things plain to them that you may apply them also and labour to bring them to some feeling and conscience of that which is taught them.

Oh, how would religion flourish! How would knowledge and grace grow in your children, if you who are parents would thus do your duty, if you would be teachers as well as we, and lay your helping hand to this work! The best ministry in the world will do little good, while you do nothing.

From the consistory – Church Functions.

Thankfully, we are able to hear God’s Word twice per Sunday, of which we may go up to God’s house once per Sunday, in contrast with many other areas. The other time we may hear God’s Word in our homes, and we sincerely hope that we all are faithful in listening to the services. It is also that time of the year when many of the church activities also resume.

House visitations: The consistory has again resumed house visitations and in the coming months will first try to finish off the ones who were not completed in the spring. When the elders call to arrange an appointment, please make time for these important soul visits. May the Lord grant there may be times of speaking heart to heart regarding the ways of the Lord.

Confession of faith class. The consistory wishes to confirm that the confession of faith class hopes to commence on Saturday September 26 at 6.30 PM in the reading room. All those who want to follow the confession class this year, are invited to come. If you have any questions or would like to speak with the minister, you may contact him.

Regular catechism classes will resume commencing on Sunday September 27. Those who were used to attending catechism on Sunday, will at this time now only be able to attend every other Sunday. We hope to have catechism most weeks, as the reading room can now be fully utilized. When it is time for baptism, the children will be in the baby room as there will be no babysit until further notice. This will allow for the full use of the reading room for catechism classes. For those who are able, you can attend catechism class on Monday nights, including the students who attend Courtland church. The locations and age groups for the various classes will be announced in the coming weeks. Young friends ask the Lord that He will bless the instruction to your soul. Then He will receive all the honor and glory He is worthy to receive.

Choir practice: There will be no choir practice in the coming months, but the consistory hopes to review this again in January.

Bible study group and Benjamin Youth Group hope to start on Wednesday September 23. We encourage our members and youth to attend these evenings.

Ladies Aid Martha has decided they will not meet until further notice. 

Mary’s Circle hopes to inform their members of the plans shortly.

Baptisms and The Lord’s Supper: We hope to continue with baptisms every other month, however at this time the Lord’s Supper cannot be held. 

May the situation of the world and the churches be bound upon our heart so that we all personally may become the guilty one before the Lord. May He remember us as a congregation, and may He work mightily by His Spirit in our heart while it is yet the time of grace. 

Church services Sunday September 20.

Norwich:

9:30 AM: A – Ro.

7:00 PM: Ry – Z.

Courtland:

9:30 AM: A – Ma.

7:00 PM: Mo –  Z.

Please note that the letters for Courtland have changed to more equally spread the people over the two services. We are glad that it works out this way and we may continue to have all people in church each Sunday. May the Lord graciously provide us with a blessing for the soul.

Our past updates have moved to a different page. To read them, click here.