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The world is an enticing place. We live alongside it, and it influences our lives in many different ways. Our human nature tries to pull us toward the lusts of the heart, yet the regenerated man within us pulls toward the cross of Jesus Christ. We are locked in a fierce battle both internally and externally regarding the world, and it is a daily struggle to fight against our sinful desires, which tempt us to go against our calling to love not the things of this world (1 John 2:15). There are many ways in which the world can compromise our countercultural calling, but let’s consider this topic by looking at the effect of the world on us as individuals and the effect of the world on the church.

 

The World in Our Life

We are surrounded by the world every day in all that we do, be it in work, in college, or the things we see and hear on our phones. There is the subtle whisper from the devil in all these things to compromise our faith and adhere to the thinking of the world. Our calling, however, is to reject the practices of the world and do those things that are good and pleasing in the sight of our Lord God. It would be good for us to look at specific examples of how the world infiltrates our life and misdirects our gaze away from Jesus Christ.

Music is one tool that the devil seeks to use to slowly cause us to compromise our faith. The lyrics are perhaps filled with profanity or sexual suggestion, yet we allow ourselves to continue to listen. There are inevitable excuses that arise: “It won’t affect me; I can withstand it”; or “It doesn’t matter as I’m not the one saying those things.” The words of 1 Thessalonians 4:7 give an answer to these excuses, reminding us that “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” This is our calling, a holy life in which we give thanks and praise to the name of Jehovah almighty who has given us life in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is out of this life, then, that we must live.

To live contrary to this life of Christ is to walk in the way of sin and in the way of disobedience. God’s Spirit works in us to do his good pleasure and works a fervent desire to devote our lives for the sake of our Lord. God’s word warns us in many places of the consequences of living a life of sin (Col. 3:5–6), and it specifically shows us our sins by way of the law. We have the law read out every Sabbath morning. There is no excuse for not being aware of the command of God. Beloved young people, cursing is a sin! Drunkenness is a grievous sin listed alongside such things as murder (Gal. 5:21) and fornication (1 Cor. 5:11)! To live contrary to God’s law is lawlessness. Or to put it more formally, it is “practical antinomianism.”

Anything that pollutes and poisons your mind with the wicked ways of the world must be put away in repentance. We are to turn and look to Christ Jesus, our perfect Savior, who has paid for these sins and renews our hearts and minds. This gospel is always the answer! Having been renewed in Christ, we are called to a life of good works out of which we are to show our thankful hearts, which rejoice in the knowledge of our salvation earned and given by the Lamb of God by whose blood we have been made partakers of the covenant blessings of salvation. Live for him, young people; put away those things that lead you to walk in sin and put on those things that Christ calls us to.

 

The World in the Church

The world can also affect the church. The devil subtly attacks the true church of Jesus Christ, and none are exempt from his lies. Tolerance is one way in which the church conforms to the thinking of the world. Look at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), for example. This is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States today, and in 2014 it voted to change its laws on marriage to allow same-sex marriage. As we know, this is contrary to what God’s word tells us in texts such as Leviticus 18:22 and 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. The clear evidence of God’s word shows that the tolerance of same-sex marriage by this denomination is a compromise of scripture. Sadly, the PCUSA is but one example among many in the mainline Protestant churches today. The world constantly pushes the church to adopt its ideology and practices. Modern Christianity as a whole promotes a “love-equals-acceptance” mentality, which seeks to meet the approval of the world.

From a more doctrinal perspective, one way in which many churches have compromised the truth of scripture is to accept the heresy of common grace, which states that God desires the salvation of and bestows his grace upon all mankind. Some claim that this doctrine makes it easier to witness, but such a witness is deceptive if it teaches a false gospel. We may not compromise our faith, but rather we are called to defend the truth set forth by scripture. We may think of Christ’s words in John 15:18–19, where he speaks of the hatred of the world toward anyone who loves and defends the gospel. Therefore, when the church compromises with the world, it says to Christ that he is not enough. It says that fear of man outweighs fear of God. Praise God that he preserves the truth of his word among us. It is a great joy for us to know that we suffer with Christ when the world persecutes us for our love for him, and if “God be for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?

Our answer to worldliness is rooted in sound doctrine, beginning with the doctrines of justification and sanctification in Jesus Christ alone. As we receive the lively preaching of the gospel, our souls are fed and our faith is strengthened. It is out of this faith, then, that we live for the cross of Jesus Christ and utterly reject the teachings of the world. Delve deeply into his word and seek to learn more and more about his wondrous work accomplished by Jesus Christ and applied to us by his Spirit!

We live in a world that seeks to silence the true gospel of Jesus Christ in favor of the sinful pleasures of this life and the high esteem of man. Who do you belong to? Do you show this? Utterly reject the lies of Satan promoted by this world, for there truly is nothing that compares to the glory that is to come. Defend the true church of Christ, and in your individual walk, live out of the new life of Christ by striving daily to praise his name. Live a life of holiness and repent of that worldly attitude and mindset that we are all prone to in our daily lives. Live for Jesus Christ, for he is your sure hope and salvation!

 

Originally published July 2021, Vol 80 No 7

A significant time in your life is the period in which you prepare to make confession of faith. Your preparation for this vow must be taken seriously. It is vital to live with both eyes on the goal of that preparation, which is, of course, the confession. Though your confession of faith is certainly not the final goal in this life, for you must always seek to cling tighter to Christ by faith, our focus here is on that time before a you make confession of faith and how you prepare to confess your love for the Lord Jesus Christ before the world. Let’s consider this preparation with respect to self, doctrine, peers, and God.

 

Preparing with Respect to Self

It would be good for us to begin by using the words of the form for the administration of the Lord’s Supper. “First. Rightly to examine ourselves.” Though the right to partake of the Lord’s Supper is something that proceeds from making confession of faith, it is vital for the child of God to examine himself and to cry out to God, “remember not the sins of my youth” (Psalm 25:7). As you mature in the faith, the Spirit will make you to realize the guilt of your sins and work in you to truly repent of those sins. This repentance manifests itself in the putting away of those sins and an earnest desire to walk in the way that is set before us by the law of God. The believer sees that he cannot do these things in and of himself, but with the eye of faith, he looks to Christ who alone is the Way and the One whose righteousness has been graciously imputed to him. Preparation of oneself to make confession is therefore evidence of the faith that has been given to a regenerated believer, and it is by this faith then that he looks to Christ alone as the one who has breathed life into his undeserving and lifeless soul.

 

Prepare with Respect to Doctrine

The first question you will be asked at your public confession of faith is whether you believe what is taught in your church represents “the true and complete doctrine of salvation.” In order to answer this question truthfully and in the affirmative, you must know the doctrines you are confessing. First and foremost, it is in God’s word that you will be able to learn the complete doctrine of salvation, which includes the wonderful truths that make up who God is and what he has done for us in Christ. Whilst making confession of faith, I recall meeting with an elder in the church to discuss the articles of the Belgic Confession, which are a good summary of our Reformed beliefs. Along with confessions, there are many good Reformed books that set out the doctrines to which we hold and explain them based on scripture. Among the most important of these are the doctrines of justification and sanctification, which are of paramount importance. These truths make up the gospel in which we rejoice, and the joy of our salvation flows out of them as we see the wondrous work of Christ Jesus all the more.

 

Preparing with Respect to Peers

Your preparation to make confession of faith must also extend beyond yourself. The way you speak, whom you keep company with, the things you listen to, and the things you do in your spare time are all important aspects of this preparation. A desire to praise God will radiate from your soul and will have an effect on your everyday life and decisions. Part of examining yourself, therefore, includes a search for those things which are a hindrance to your relationship with God. Scripture calls us to “put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11), which harm our relationship with God. In this we are made to submit to Jesus Christ, who is our mediator and our deliverer from all our sins.

 

The calling to put away those things that hinder our life with God must be met with a response that seeks to honour his name in the friendships that we establish. There are people in your life who will tempt you to let down your guard and break the vows you take by making confession of faith. As has been alluded to elsewhere in this month’s addition, this vow is before the face of God and is of great significance. It is a vow which states before the world that you belong to Christ Jesus, your faithful saviour. To hold onto friendships that will tempt you to break this vow is something you need urgently to re-evaluate. The calling you are given, then, is to establish friendships which encourage you to walk worthy of the vow you take. You are to surround yourself with others who have a fervent desire to speak of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His is the name that is to be upon your lips, and you are to speak of the “hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Young person, take action!

 

Prepare with Respect to God in Prayer

A fundamental truth for us to understand is our complete and utter dependence upon God for all things. Christ is the one by whom we have been given all the blessings of salvation, and it is from the hand of God that we receive our daily bread. It is God who causes us to cry out in despair for the sake of our sins. It is God who works in us, his elect people, to lift up our eyes to heaven and to see the One whose name deserves praise and worship, for he is the God of our salvation. What a privilege it is that we have been given the gift of prayer to speak with our heavenly Father. He hears our prayers and he answers them according to his will. Our prayers will not twist his arm, nor will they change his mind, but he gives us those things which we need in the way of prayer (Heidelberg Catechism LD 45 Q.116). A Christian who does not seek his Father in prayer has clearly not learned to trust God with a faith that believes his promises. God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those who ask of him out of a true faith. We are to rely upon him to build that faith which is to be confessed.

This life of putting on the new man and putting off the old is not a one-time thing you do only before making confession of faith. It is also not something that you should wait to do until after making that confession. Your calling lies in the present and cannot simply be left for another day. Look to Jesus Christ for the help and strength that you stand in need of. He earned all things for us by his willing sacrifice, and by his death our sins have been nailed to the cross. Prepare yourself then in terms of self, doctrine, peers, and in prayer before God. Prepare for the day in which you are to confess his most glorious name before all men.

 

Originally published May 2021, Vol 80 No 5

            Why has this happened to me? How is this for my good? It is so easy for us to complain when things don’t go our way and when things upset us. We have all had a time when we thought that we knew best and that God should have given us what we asked for. In my life, I have many times thought that God would give me something because it would surely help me spiritually and bring me closer to him, but God closed the door, and I was left wondering—is this right, Lord?

God’s will is perfect, and he is in sovereign control of all things. This is very important to understand, and questioning the will of God is wrong. It is questioning God’s sovereignty, and it suggests that God is not perfect. Of course, we know that God is perfect, and he cannot do any wrong, as this is what the Bible, God’s holy and perfect word, tells us. We see the sovereignty of God in Job 42:2, “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.” We see the perfection of God in Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Understanding and reminding ourselves of this is key for us to trust in God’s will, and it will ultimately lead us to be content in it.

Trusting in God’s will goes hand in hand with contentment. We simply must be content with God’s plan for us and our lives. Without being content in his will, we are effectively saying that we know best, and better than our God.

Prayer is a vital part of our Christian lives, and we are to pray for God’s will to be done and for us to be content in it. God is the one who has given us all things in life, and he hears every single one of our prayers. With this in mind, we should pray that God would give us the ability to trust in his will and to be content with it.

But how can we know what God’s will is for us? If someone says that he prayed to God and God directed him to choose a new college in a place where there is no suitable church for miles around, then how does this show him to be seeking to do God’s will, when he has put his spiritual life at risk for the sake of a college? To do God’s will for our lives we must be wise to make this decision. How do we obtain wisdom? We must read our Bible every day. God’s word directs us through life to make wise choices, as it is “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). After reading our Bible, we should pray that God would apply his word to our hearts and that it would cause us to grow in wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

When we look through the scriptures, we find many examples of people trusting God’s will and being content in it. Paul in prison knew that he was likely to be killed by his persecutors, yet still he prayed and sang praises to the Lord. What an example this is for us, who so often struggle to be content with the things that go on in our lives, even the minor things! The perfect example is the Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered on the cross and shed his precious blood for our sins. He was “brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa. 53:7). Imagine being accused and charged for a crime that you did not commit. No doubt you would protest and make sure your accusers knew that you were innocent. Yet our faultless Savior understood that God’s will was that he was to die on the cross for us, and he didn’t even open his mouth. That is perfect contentment in God’s will, and we can learn so much from this.

As many young people will be undertaking exams soon, you must remember that God is in control, and he will be with you: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deut. 31:6). A friend of mine was unsuccessful in her university application, which was of course very disappointing at the time, but her alternative to university led her down another route in which she met her husband. God’s plan for us all is perfect, and, although at the time we may not see how it helps us, it is for our good, and God will bless us. Thank him for all that he gives us, and “(i)n all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:6).

 

Originally published February 2021, Vol 80 No 2

The Tongue: The Untameable Sword

Joshua Harris

 

Our tongue is a remarkable piece of God’s creation of us, and it is something that we can quite easily take for granted. We use it to taste, swallow, spit, and speak. It is the tongue’s ability to allow us to speak that is my primary focus here in this article. I use my tongue every day, and I sin with my tongue every day. This is something that all Reformed Christians will confess, and it should be something that we are most aware of. Whether it be lying, backbiting, swearing, flattery, pride, or even the silence of our tongues, we must be aware that great evil can come out of our mouths if we are not careful.

We must also be careful with regards to what we watch and listen to, as these things can have a significant effect on us. The first few times of us hearing that word will be shocking to us, but if we continue watching and listening to these things, it won’t be long before such words will just pass over our heads, and they will become part of our thoughts and vocabulary. The things that come out of your mouth reflect the heart, and they eventually turn into actions. Ask yourself next time you hear bad language in music and other entertainment, “Is what I am hearing here of benefit to me spiritually, and what impact will it have on my relationship with God?” The words you hear will become part of your everyday speech, and you will most definitely not be glorifying God in that! Ephesians 4:29 puts it very clearly: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” We are commanded through the holy word of God to speak that which is good; therefore we must seek to obey the word through faith in Jesus Christ. May we be like the psalmist in Psalm 101:3 in saying that “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” It will cleave to us if we allow the devil to get a foot in the door, so be vigilant and live according to how God commands us.

Romans 1:28–31 give a list of sins which are of a “reprobate mind,” and one of these sins listed and warned against is being “backbiters.” This too is a sin of the tongue. It is not really a word which we hear too often now, so what does it mean? To be a backbiter means that you talk maliciously and gossip behind a person’s back. We have all been guilty of backbiting, and it is so easy for us to do! Backbiting, however, does no good to anyone, but does much harm instead. Our Lord Jesus Christ is our great example, for he never sinned, but rather lived a perfect life. He taught us to “love thy neighbour” (Matt. 22:39). Love is the opposite of backbiting, so let us refrain from such wickedness and be “peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9).

James 3:8 states that “the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” What an apt description of what we are like by nature! We are totally depraved, and we cannot do any good by ourselves, not even in our tongues. How often do we react angrily to someone and blurt out horrible words without thinking? It is impossible for man to tame the tongue, but nothing is impossible for God. Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we, his people, are changed. Through him the tongue becomes an instrument of righteousness and an instrument to praise God.

Our tongue can be used for evil, but it can also be used for good. In all that we do we must seek to glorify our great and holy God in heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:20 speaks of our need to “glorify God in your body,” and, like any part of God’s word, we should strive to obey this command out of thankfulness to him. If it were up to us, we would never be able to do any good. What about when you tell a loved one how much he means to you or when you politely say thank you to someone? These are nice things for us to hear, and it may feel good to say them, but if you do not say them to glorify God then you are not doing good. It is through Christ’s imputed righteousness that we are able truly to desire to glorify God’s name and do good not only with our tongues, but with our whole beings.

We should seek to use our tongues to glorify God. How do we do this? We must come before our Father in prayer, “sing praises unto our King” (Ps. 47:6) and engage in spiritual discussions with others to praise his name. Again, some will do these things to “feel good” and to make themselves look holy, but our desire to do these things should truly come from the heart and be to glorify God’s name. Our prayers must not use “vain repetitions” (Matt. 6:7), but we must carefully think about what we say and sing to God. We must think about what we are singing rather than how we sound or appear to others, for this is what the Pharisees were guilty of. They wanted to make people notice how “holy” they were by an outward show, but in their hearts they were not right before God. Make sure your prayers and praises truly come from a thankful heart. When you are hanging out with friends next time, think about whether what you are saying is for God’s glory, or if it is for your own earthly interests.

It is a gift to know when to speak—to be able to know when to open your mouth and when to close it—and it is a true blessing from God. It can be very easy to blurt out the first thought that comes into our heads, and sometimes we may even say that it “just comes out,” but we must stop ourselves and think whether what we are going to say is of worth. Sometimes also in our silence we are doing wrong. If you are at work and someone makes wicked comments about your Saviour or makes fun of your faith, what should you do? If you remain silent in that situation, it is sin against Christ. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). How easy it is to remain silent in a situation like this, but if you are true about your faith then you will speak up and defend Christ’s name. You know that feeling when you have done something wrong and your parents are ashamed of you. It is a horrible feeling, and we do not like to feel our parents’ shame on us! So then we do not want to upset them again, and we will not do that thing again. This is the case with our heavenly Father. What worse feeling than to feel his shame upon us! We must therefore be prepared to defend our Lord Jesus Christ in all places, and we must not take the easy option and remain silent.

Fellow young people, we are the future of the church. We are the future ministers, elders, and deacons of our churches. Be encouraged to glorify God’s name in your speech, and do not conform to worldly language. Your tongue must be holy before God, and it must reflect Christ, in whom we are able to do good and truly to glorify Jehovah almighty.

 

Josh Harris has recently moved to Grand Rapids, MI from Wales, where he attended Swansea Evangelical Reformed Church. He is now attending Hope Protestant Reformed Church and is studying biochemistry at Grand Valley State University.  

 

Originally published February 2020, Vol 79 No 2

I recently read an interesting article by Dale Mansona in the April 2018 issue of Beacon Lights about the life of a young Christian in Ireland, so I thought that I would share my experiences as a young Christian in Wales.
Although I grew up in a “Church in Wales” primary school, the school was filled with unbelieving families. This meant that the students with whom I spent seven hours a day had no thoughts whatsoever for the things of God. This meant that my best friends through the whole of my schooling were unbelievers. There are no Christian schools around where I live so I have always attended a state school, which means that in every lesson I am surrounded by individuals who have no appetite for the word of God. I have heard it said that if you spend all day, every day around the same people, then you will become like those people. This is most definitely true in my experience. By the time I was 15 years old, I was no different from those unbelieving friends, and I was looking for ways to distance myself from the church and those in the church. I find that very embarrassing to admit now and I am ashamed of this. Nevertheless, the Lord helped me spiritually through that difficult time and has brought me to where I am today—a God-fearing young man who is now a member of the church. I know that there are many who will take their Christian schools for granted and my plea to you is, please don’t! It is so important to be surrounded by the right group of friends and that is a lesson I have learned over time. 2 Corinthians 6:14 highlights our need for Christian friends over ungodly friends, as it states “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?”
The turning point for me was a visit that I made to the USA with my parents in August 2015 when I attended the Young People’s Convention at Camp Michindoh, in Hillsdale, Michigan. I was a little sceptical of attending the convention as I did not know a single person there, but I cannot stress enough what a wonderful week I had there. I made so many Christian friends, many of whom I see every year and I would class as my best friends (you know who you are!), and I was blessed by the preaching I heard, not just at the convention but also in the Protestant Reformed Churches that I attended with my parents.
Since that summer, things changed for me and I realised that I needed the Lord Jesus Christ. In Wales from my experience, Christians are seen as a bit weird and a bit crazy as the country is largely atheist. However, visiting the PRC showed me that there is nothing “weird” or “crazy” in believing in God and I learned and grew up so much in the time that I was there. I have now been to Michigan for three summers in a row and each time I go, I grow spiritually and build upon the wonderful friendships I have, with which the Lord has blessed me. I hope to be in the USA in August and I know that once again the Lord will strengthen me through Christian company and fellowship. I am very thankful for the Protestant Reformed Churches indeed for these memorable summers that I have spent in the USA.
Another encouragement to me has been the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference. We had a wonderful time there again this summer, this time in Wales, and we were truly blessed by the ministry of Rev. Lanning and Prof. Engelsma. It was very encouraging and enjoyable to have 15 of our friends from the conference staying with us afterwards, and we greatly cherish the times we are able to spend with our brothers and sister in Christ. Although I had a very difficult time spiritually for many years and it is difficult for me to think about those years without shame and sadness, it is important to remember that all that happened was part of God’s plan for me and he has made me value him all the more having seen first-hand the dangers of the world.
It has not been easy sailing since the summer of 2015. I have encountered many challenges along the way which have tested me and also showed me that I have a lot to learn. There are always new challenges facing me, but I trust in God and pray that he will help me overcome these challenges. These past two years in college (American equivalent of the last two years of high school) have been very difficult, as my friends in college have taken to going out drinking on a regular basis and developing very bad tastes in life. I recently received a comment from someone saying, “Why didn’t you come out (drinking) last night? You were the only person in the college not there.” Being told this kind of thing is difficult to take in, as you are being told that you are an outsider and you feel distant from your friends. Being young, it is easy to follow the crowd and be tempted to copy the wicked things done by those around you. I am the only Christian in my school, which has been very challenging especially when people around me don’t understand what it is to be a Christian. They seem to see going to church as a kind of club rather than a life commitment and they don’t realise that God and the church should be the priority in life. Some people have told me that being a boy makes it harder to be a Christian, as in a lot of cases it can be difficult to be different to other boys around you and if you are different then there will no doubt be “banter” over the differences. This wasn’t a problem for me, but the number of Christian jokes increased over the years and hurt, even though they were intended not to.
I am pleased to say that I have drifted from these friends since finishing college (I hope now to go to a university in Michigan, if the Lord wills it) and I feel that this is a burden lifted off me in many ways, as their bad influences have been removed from me. I have since realised the true importance of being surrounded by friends who share the same beliefs and love for God as I do, and I want to discourage anyone from hanging out with ungodly friends on a regular basis. You cannot have true fellowship with unbelievers and there is nothing that compares to being with my Christian friends with whom I can openly discuss godly things without fear of being ridiculed. Trust me, I know what will happen should you pick the wrong friends and none of it is good for your heart or soul.
The church we attend, Swansea Evangelical Reformed Church (try saying that quickly 5 times), is one of the only solid churches in the whole of Great Britain and we are very grateful for the ministry there by Rev. Neil Pfeiffer. We have about 30 regular attendees and there are only a handful of young people, which has been difficult especially since almost all of them live about 30 minutes away and, as few of us have cars due to their high cost to keep, we only see each other twice a week—on a Sunday in church and also at our young peoples’ meeting on a Friday evening. We had a split in our church five years ago which was a very tough time for all involved, but we have recently acquired our own church building and we can see that the Lord is blessing the work here in South Wales. This has been an encouragement for us and when you have less, you value the little things more and this has certainly been the case in the church for us.
My family and I would consider ourselves a Protestant Reformed family in our beliefs, so it has been a challenge to find a church that is suitable for us to attend. Although there are several differences in belief between us and the church, we realise that we are very fortunate to have a church to go to that teaches the word of God faithfully. We do, however, long for the day when a Protestant Reformed Church is established here in Wales.
It is easy to be discontent with what we have here with no Christian schools and the like, but one must look at God’s blessings to us and realise that he has been gracious to us, and when we see these blessings, we learn contentment.

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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