Christian Ethics, Church History, Reformed Doctrine, Regulative Principle of Worship, Congregationalism, and of course, the Heidelberg Catechism are all topics that are discussed on The Semper Reformata Podcast, hosted by Bob McEvoy, the pastor of The Old Reformed Church at Ballymacashon, Killinchy, Co.Down, Northern Ireland.
Catechism Class - LD 7, Q24-25 The Trinity
Read: Matthew 3:16-17
Lord’s Day 8, Q/A 24 & 25 24. How are these articles divided? Into three parts: the first is of God the Father and our creation; the second, of God the Son and our redemption; the third, of God the Holy Ghost and our sanctification.:25. Since there is but one Divine Being,(1) why do you speak of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Because God. has so revealed Himself in His Word, that these three distinct persons are the one, true, eternal God.
How important is the doctrine of the Trinity? Is it really worth trying to understand such a complicated matter, when really, all a person needs to be Christian is a simple child-like faith in Christ? In this podcast Bob McEvoy underlines the seriousness of failure to believe in the Holy Trinity.
Read the Study Guide Notes HERE.
Acts-In-Replay Acts 4 - You WILL Be Hated
Jesus had said that His followers would be hated, and following that first miracle in Acts 3, that intense hatred is manifested. Our purpose in this study is to try to demonstrate the hatred the the secular world has for Christ, and for Christians, the breadth of that hatred, and its intensity, and to find an example in the disciples, of the correct Christian attitude in the face of this hatred.
READ THE NOTES HERE
Catechism Class - LD7D Q22, What we MUST believe.
Is Christian Doctrine important in this day and age? After all, aren't we all on a personal journey, each one seeking to find our own truth? The catechist certainly didn't think so, and neither does the Scriptures.
Listen to the Podcast to learn how vitally important it is to understand, believe and confess biblical doctrine.
Read the notes HERE.
Sermon Replay - Acts 3 Spiritual Sickness – Its Condition and Cure Demonstrated in the Lame Man
Text: Acts 3:1-19. Esp. V6.
A well known story! As children we sung a song about it in children’s meetings…. Peter and John went to pray; they met a lame man on the way. He asked for alms and held out his palms, and this is what Peter did say: “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” He went walking and jumping and praising God, walking and jumping and praising God. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Well, that just about sums it up for us!
But let’s think about this poor man…
READ THE NOTES
Catechism Class - LD7 Q22, The Greatest Commission
Heidelberg Q/A 22. What, then, is necessary for a Christian to believe? All that is promised us in the Gospel, which the articles of our catholic, undoubted Christian faith teach us in summary.
SPREADING THE GOSPEL. But what is the Gospel, and how is it to be proclaimed?
Read the NOTES on www.Semper-Reformata.com
Table-Talk - The Church God Alone Sees
LIVE TableTalk from Ballymacashon Church! Bob is joined by a group of Christian friends to chat about the church, - and to learn the difference between the church that we see, and the church that God sees. There was participation and conversation, and those parts of the lesson. have been edited out, so there's a couple of places with faded sound.
TableTalk happens twice a month at The Old Reformed Church at Ballymacashon!
Read the notes here!
Live with Callum Webster of The Christian Institute
Welcome to this very special bonus episode of the podcast. On Lord’s Day 6th June 2021 we were excited to welcome Callum Webster of the Christian Institute to our special afternoon meeting at Ballymacashon Congregational Church. This podcast was recorded live at that meeting and addresses three areas of critical concern for Christians:
Gay Conversion Therapy legislation.
Callum also spoke about the work of the Christian Institute’s legal department.
Sermon - Psalm 23
A really stale sermon this week. This one dates from 2013, and was preached at Templepatrick Reformed Church, and is reproduced here without editing.
Music: Psalm 23 sung to 'Bays of Harris' - thanks to Conor Quigley, www.ThePsalmsSung.org
Catechism Class - H/C LD7B Q21 "What is Faith?"
Q21: What is true faith? True faith is a sure knowledge whereby I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in his Word. At the same time it is a firm confidence that not only to others, but also to me, God has granted forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation, out of mere grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits. This faith the Holy Spirit works in my heart by the gospel.
For this lesson you'll need your Bible opened at Ephesians 2, and Hebrews 11.
Faith is one of those words we use frequently - yet we find it difficult to define - but faith is the ‘bricks and mortar’ of our Christianity. We need to talk about it and to try to grasp something of its meaning. FAITH is a vital truth, for as our instructor remind us in Q20, “… only such as by true faith are ingrafted into Him and receive all his benefits… (are saved). Thankfully we have the Scriptures to lay out the doctrine for us, and the Catechism to bring it all together in a concise way that we can understand it.
READ THE NOTES HERE.
Catechism Class - LD7,Q20, The Effectual Call of God.
In reformed circles we speak about God’s ‘irresistible grace’ or ‘the effectual call’ of God upon the life of the sinner. Since salvation is all of the Lord, it is God’s prerogative to save whom he will, and since he has chosen his own people from before the foundation of the world, those whom he calls to him will surely come. Jesus said, John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. And John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
READ: Romans 8:29-32, 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
But what about those scripture verses that teach us that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world? Even the mention of the doctrine of Irresistible Grace sends some evangelicals into apoplexy! So, in this lesson, we’re going to consider three common misunderstandings, which the catechism will help us to get some clarity on. UNIVERSALISM, the idea that Christ’s death is for all, so all humanity must already be saved. DECISIONAL REGENERATION, where the call of God can be rendered ineffective by human indecision. SEMI-PELAGIANISM, where God has gone most of the way for us to be saved, but there is still something we must do.
Listen to the podcast for some discussion of the issues.
READ THE STUDY GUIDE - CLICK THIS LINK.
Sermon - 'God Remembers.'
What does it mean that ‘God remembered Noah?’ Had he forgotten about him? No! When God REMEMBERS, - God ACTS! And that's good news for us, for Noah was a sinner, saved by grace through faith and God remembers US just as much as he remembered Noah! BUT there’s a negative aspect to this as well, for see who God did NOT remember. We are not told that God remembered all the millions of sinners who had perished in the flood. Just that He remembered Noah!
Oh, and who all were in the Ark? Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives... But was there another?
Click the LINK to READ THE EPISODE NOTES.
Catechism Class - LD6, Q18-19 Our Only Mediator.
The catechist wants us to ask, "But who is that Mediator who at the same time is true God and a true and righteous man?" He has been teaching us that in order to for us to be delivered from the dreadful consequences of our own sinful nature, we need a mediator, someone to represent us before God, one who is perfect man, without sin, and yet one who is fully God, able to bear in his human body the burden of God's wrath due to us, for our sins. But who is this God-Man, this mediator? His answer:-
A.Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
How do we know this? Because we are taught it in the Gospel, which is proclaimed to us in every book of the Bible, fully inspired of God, and in the OT and NT pointing us to Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour. So Q.19, From where do you know this?
A.From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise. Later, he had it proclaimed by the patriarchs and prophets, and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law. Finally, he had it fulfilled through his only Son.
Check out the episode notes: CLICK THIS LINK
Noah and the Great Flood.
Genesis 7 is a factual account of the flood. The day of God’s judgment is come, and the probation of mankind upon the earth is at an end. Like a judge sitting on the bench, professionally and precisely weighing up the evidence in his summing up, without emotion he passes sentence and decrees punishment. Judgment must happen and justice will follow and everyone will be able to say they get what they deserve.
Click this link to READ THE NOTES.
A New Universe.
2 Peter 3:3-14
The world is truly beautiful, and it is God’s wonderful creation. Everything in it should fill our hearts with joy. Yet the Bible tells us that one day, perhaps soon, everything in this world will be destroyed. Peter wrote, 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
What! God is going to destroy this wonderful world! And Peter wants us to be happy about that, in fact to look forward to it with great anticipation. To hasten his coming. 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?. But why? Why would we want to see this world destroyed?
In this TableTalk episode we look at 2 Peter 3:3-14, to help us get some clarity on the future, and to discover some really practical lessons for our lives, right now. You'll need your Bible!
To read the STUDY GUIDE - CLICK THIS LINK.
Catechism Class - LD5 Q15 The MYSTERY of Godliness.
In 1st Timothy 3:16, Paul confesses to the young pastor, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
One of the greatest mysteries of all (to us) is the Person of Christ, who was fully God, and fully man. 'God manifest in the flesh.' The catechist addresses this in Lord's Day 5-6 Q15-18. He reminds us:-
Q.15 What kind of mediator and deliverer must we seek? A. One who is a true and righteous man, and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is at the same time true God!
How can we hope to understand this? Only by rigidly sticking to the Biblical teaching on the matter. To attempt to work it out by human reason will lead us to error, as it has done many times in the past. The good news, is that because of Christ's atoning work at the Cross we have a Brother in Glory, who will lead us to glory also, and when we get there, we will fully understand the Mystery of Godliness.
To read the Study Guide, CLICK THIS LINK
Who Was Noah?
In this old stale sermon, extracted from a message preached at Templepatrick Reformed Church in 2017, we think about Noah, his Walk, his Work, his Warrant, his Willingness... and his Saintly Perseverance! And we have another look at Genesis 6:3, and whinge about the assault of Semi-Pelagianism upon the modern evangelical churches.
Read the notes HERE and HERE.
Catechism Class - Lords Day 5, Q12-15 The Greatest Escape.
The Hebrews author asks, "How can we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" What must we escape from, and how can we escape, when we are helpless in our lost human condition? We need a Rescuer, to come and save us. The catechist asks:
Q.12 Since, according to God's righteous judgment we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, how can we escape this punishment and be again received into favour?
Q.13 Can we by ourselves make this payment? A. Certainly not. On the contrary, we daily increase our debt.
Q.14 Can any mere creature pay for us? A. No. In the first place, God will not punish another creature for the sin which man has committed. Furthermore, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it.
Q.15 Q. What kind of mediator and deliverer must we seek? A. One who is a true and righteous man, and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is at the same time true God
A Rescuer has been sent, but if we neglect his rescue mission, there is no alternative. Our rescuer is God's sinless Son, Jesus - who perfectly fulfilled all the requirements, - The ONLY true and righteous Man - one who is at the same time true God.
Psalm 130, courtesy of www.ThePsalmsSung.org
Read the notes here: CLICK THIS LINK.
The Days of Noah, and the Context of Genesis 6:3
What does the Bible mean when it tells us in Genesis 6, “My spirit shall not always strive with man?” Can it be that God will awaken a sinner to his sins, open his sin-blinded eyes, reveal Christ to him, and then right at the very moment that he asks for forgiveness, find that God’s spirit has ceased to strive with him? Aren’t we assured that the call of God is effectual? In Romans 8, Paul teaches us, Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. In this sermon from 2017, preached in TRC, we were looking at Genesis 6, and seeking to understand the context of God’s stern warning, that his spirit shall not always strive…. With MANKIND.
Read the Study Guide HERE. CLICK THE LINK!
Catechism Class - LD4 Q9-11, Excuses!
The catechist deals with man's sin and the reason for it, teaching us that the responsibility for our sin and our condemnation under the law is entirely our own doing, the result of our original sin and continuing disobedience against God. Because He is JUST, he MUST punish crime and wrongdoing, and because He is JUST he will not demand that crime be punished twice, which is good news for those who have rested in Christ's atoning sacrifice for sinners. But for those who are unforgiven sinners, please don't expect God's mercy and long-suffering, his love and mercy to prevail on judgment day. God has already demonstrated his love for us at the cross. If we reject THAT love, that suffering, dying love for sinners, then when we stand before God with all our sinful works openly revealed, our condemnation will pronounced, and we will be forever lost.
The Catechist doesn't pull any punches, and neither should we...
Read the Study Guide by CLICKING THIS LINK.
Text . Romans 12:14-21
A self explanatory portion of scripture! May God give us grace, that with the help of the Holy Spirit we might be enabled to practice it in our own lives!
There are many modern ethical issues that face Christians. The issues facing Christians today have changed and become. ore complex, and even in our local context, we are faced with our own particular difficulties, victims of the troubles, dealing with the past, conflicting views of history, competing rights and responsibilities. But the challenge is the same. How will the Christian apply the Gospel in modern society, live out that Gospel and bring the good news to his pagan neighbours and friends?
In this extract from a sermon preached at Templepatrick Reformed Church, we learn about applying the Gospel in our modern world.
Read a transcript by clicking this link.
Catechism Class - LD3, Q7-8, The Fall of Man
Q7 “From where, then, did man's depraved nature come?” “From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise, for there our nature became so corrupt that we are all conceived and born in sin.”
In this class we are going to look at the Fall of Man, and the consequences that have resulted from it. Genesis 2:16-17 There was only one rule in paradise - Don’t eat the fruit from that tree! But Adam and Eve couldn’t even keep that one simple rule. They failed the obedience test, they ate the fruit of the tree and they fell from God’s favour:- Genesis 3:6-7
Read the STUDY GUIDE - Click here.
TableTalk - The Final Judgment. #1
I want to suggest that there is just ONE JUDGMENT DAY! When the Bible talks about this day, it always refers to it in the singular - the DAY of the Lord, the DAY of judgement - it never speaks of the future DAYS of judgment. See 1 Thessalonians 5:2.
To help us explore the Final Judgment Day, we are going to work through Revelation 20:11-15, and learn about THE GREAT WHITE THRONE.
History Podcast - The Gnostics
Who were the 'Gnostics?' - that mysterious heresy that embedded itself within the very early church? In this podcast we examine the 'cult' in the most basic manner - Not that's there's anything logical or understandable about Gnosticism!
Why would we bother trying to understand this heresy? Because in the modern church, there are activities and beliefs that seem to mirror some of the beliefs of these heretics. it's important that we learn from our history!
True Christian Love
Christians are to love one another, as a grateful response to the love we have experienced from Christ, our Savour, who loved us when we we were unlovable! But what will Christian love look like in practice? Paul sets at the standard we are to aim for in Romans 12:9-10
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
In this podcast, extracts from a sermon preached in 2017 at Templepatrick Reformed Church, we will seek to apply that teaching to our Christian lives.
Catechism Class - LD3 Q6, The Image of God
In this lesson we are looking at Lord’s Day 3, Q6 in the Heidelberg Catechism. In our last class, on Lord’s Day 2, we learned that we are miserable, wretched sinners, condemned under the law of God which we have wilfully broken. That divine law reveals to us just how far short of God’s righteousness we have fallen, when we measure up our own lives against God’s standards. But in Lord’s Day 3 the catechist teaches us that mankind wasn't made sinful. We were created in the image of God. So what does that mean, and what are the implications?
To READ THE STUDY GUIDE NOTES CLICK THIS LINK.
You are NOT the Centre of the Entire Universe!
It's true! As my granny would have said, "Catch yourselves on - who exactly do you think you are?" We are told nowadays that we should have self-esteem, follow our hearts and do what makes us happy. Paul's instructions to Christians in Romans gives us lifestyle instructions that are greatly different. He wrote, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Romans 12:3.
We should be looking at our own lives with a serious dose of self-criticism! yet at the same time, believers have each a unique place in the body of Christ, and there, - every one of us is important; so much so that we MUST play our part. Paul: 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. Romans 12:4-6
Let's get some perspective on our lives! This episode is an extract from a sermon preached at Templepatrick Reformed Church, Northern Ireland.
Catechism Class: Lord's Day 2, Q3-5, 'The Broken Law.'
Our instructor in the Heidelberg Catechism begins his teaching on the inherent Sin and Misery of mankind, in questions 3-5. Hw do we know we are sinners? Because the LAW of God sets the standards for our behaviour in life. The purpose of life is to love God and our neighbour. The law will convince us how far short of those ideals we fall. Far from loving God, in our natural state we hate him, and we hate many of our neighbours.
In this short class we explore this important topic, knowing that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.
Read the Transcript here.
Catechism Class - LD1 Q1, I am not my own!
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:20
How many of us think of ourselves as a 'self-made' man or woman? The Christian believer cannot think that way. In this episode of the Catechism Class, Bob looks at the classic wording of Lord's Day 1 in the Heidelberg Catechism, which reminds us that we are not 'our own - but bought with a price!' Christians belong to Jesus, who bought us and preserves us, and we should stop depending on ourselves and keep our eyes on HIM!
Study Guide Notes HERE
Gratitude for God's Grace, #1 - Romans 12:1
The sinner who has been saved from sin, through faith alone, by God's grace alone, in Christ alone, will be so grateful that the burden of guilt and condemnation has been lifted from them, that they will want to live a life that will be pleasing to God, to keep His law, and walk in His ways. In Romans 12-16, Paul lays out the practical implications of his doctrine of salvation. He begins with 'consecration' in Romans 12:1, and that's where we begin too, as we look at some practical teaching from Paul.
Listen to more sermons from Templepatrick Reformed Church. Click this link.
The Wigtown (or Solway) Martyrs
At Wigtown, (Dumfries and Galloway) two courageous women, Margaret Wilson and Margaret McLaghlin, were executed by drowning in the Solway Firth, for the crime of worshipping Christ, in accordance with His Word, without interference from the state.
Presbyterian Covenanters, they worshipped God in the fields and hills, singing Psalms and listening to faithful preaching. But that broke the law, which required people to attend the services of the Curates and Priests and Bishops of the Episcopalian Orders. Along with many other faithful Christians the two Margarets paid the supreme price, rather than deny their Lord.
Listen to the podcast, for an inspiring story of faith under persecution.
Psalm content with permission of Connor Quigley, www.ThePsalmsSung.org
TO READ THE TRANSCRIPT - CLICK THIS LINK.
Catechism Class, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 1A - My ONLY Comfort?
In this episode, Bob responds to the proposed 'Gay Conversion Therapy' ban, as the Class considers why the Heidelberg catechist begins with the question, "What is my ONLY comfort in life and death?" Can he really mean that there is no satisfaction in ANYTHING that this life offers, except the forgiveness of sin, found in Christ?
To read the notes, CLICK THIS LINK.
Corinth AD50 - City of Sin!
Paul arrived in Corinth from Athens in AD50, - but what did he find when he arrived in this sin cursed city, the pleasure-seeking Ibiza of the ancient world? In this podcast episode Bob McEvoy takes us through Acts 18:1-4, and explores the background of the city and the context of the passage. It's all about Corinth that you really need to know!
Notes Link: TO FOLLOW
Catechism Class - 'THE LAST WORD'
Have you ever wondered why Christians say 'Amen' at the end of their prayers?
In this 20 minute episode Bob looks at the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 52B, which deals with the coda to the Lord's Prayer.
Q128 How do you end your prayer? A. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. That is: All this we ask of you because, as our King, having power over all things, you are both willing and able to give us all that is good, and because not we but your holy name should so receive all glory forever.
Q129 What does the word Amen mean? A. Amen means: It is true and certain. For God has much more certainly heard my prayer than I feel in my heart that I desire this of him.
He doesn't even mention the 'Amen and Awomen' idiocy (Too ridiculous for words) and, as a real treat, the Catechism class now has new music! So now we're really cookin' on gas!
Get out your Bible and your copy of the Heidelberg Catechism and learn more about the Christian faith.
READ THE NOTES HERE. CLICK THIS LINK
Arthur Guinness, - Irishman, Evangelical Christian, Philanthropist.
With St.Patrick's Day looming on March 17, people all over the world will be celebrating Ireland's 'patron saint' with a glass of two of Ireland's alleged favourite beverage, - Guinness. Every bottle or can calls the signature of the founder, Arthur Guinness. But who was Arthur Guinness, what did he contribute to Irish society, and what would he think of the drunken crowds at a typical St Patrick parade? In this short episode, Bob McEvoy looks at the life and conversion of Arthur Guinness, and his philanthropic achievements, which improved life for many of his fellow countrymen.
Read the script: CLICK THIS LINK.
Sabbath Day Controversies #1.
There's controversy surrounding the issue of Sabbath Observance. In this sermon, preached at Templepatrick Reformed Church, Bob McEvoy looks at an incident found in Matthew 12, where Jesus and his disciples are accused by the religious hypocrites of the Pharisees of 'Sabbath Breaking.' What happened and why, and what can we learn from it?
Read the notes - CLICK THIS LINK.
In our year of Eschatology in TableTalk (Now extended because of the Covid-19 lockdowns) we have referred to the three systems of eschatology, - what Christians believe will happen in the future; what we sometimes call Bible Prophecy, but looking back over the series, it seems that I have totally ignored the postmillennialist viewpoint, and although I’m not a postmillennialist, I do think we should be fair to this viewpoint and give it some thought. So this lesson is about POSTMILLENNIALISM - THE PURITAN HOPE!
Read the NOTES HERE click this link.
Only Jesus Can Heal Broken Lives.
We live in a world that has been broken and scarred and ruined by sin, by the fall. That brokenness manifests itself in many different ways, both in society as a whole and in individual lives. The Lockdowns of 2020-2021 must surely result in a major increase in mental illness, broken homes, domestic violence, depression and even suicide. The bible tells us that all of these examples of human misery stem from the fall, and as such have a Satanic origin. As such, the only remedy is to have the effects of the fall reversed in the life of the sinner, and so the only answer to human brokenness is the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Luke 4:18-20 Jesus said of himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.
In this sermon, preached at Templepatrick Reformed Church, Bob McEvoy looks at a biblical example of human hopelessness, a slave girl with serious mental issues, the result of sin and the fall, - whose chains were broken, who was set free in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in Acts 16:16-19
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers.
Read the NOTES HERE.
(No, not this podcast - although that might be a fair and accurate description!)
People are made up of Body and Soul/Spirit, and that after we die, our soul/spirit lives on, in heaven with the Lord, until the resurrection day, when the dead shall rise – both the saved and the lost, the saved to be the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem, a new heaven and earth, reunited now with their physical bodies, now like Christ’s risen, glorified body. Between our physical death and the resurrection we are with the Lord, in paradise, we shall know each other, and shall have fellowship with each other. Families of every generation will be reunited.
The Roman Catholic Church has some different ideas. They believe in something called ‘PURGATORY’ – a place where the Christian goes after death, and before they are admitted to heaven. But is it BIBLICAL?
In this podcast, Bob take a look at the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory…
To read the notes CLICK THIS LINK.
'St' Patrick - Roman Catholic or Reformed? - APOLOGIES - the original upload had faulty audio, so this will hopefully be slightly better.
In this bonus episode for the Lockdown Patrick's Day, Bob looks back over some old, mouldy notes on Patrick, and rehashes them for the podcast - and he calls this a BONUS?
Still, Patrick did not have all the understanding or light which the reformers had, but his understanding of the doctrines of grace and his testimony to the saving power of God in Christ witness to a biblical faith, not unlike the faith of later reformers. Like Martin Luther, Patrick depended completely on God’s free and sovereign grace for his conversion, and on a bleak hillside, without the trappings of Roman sacramental religion, he eagerly grasped God’s offered salvation by faith alone.
Maybe we can learn something about him, and even we reformed Christians can benefit...
Music: Londonderry Air, Bjorn Lynne Neosounds.
Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 52A, Q127, The Lord's Prayer, "Lead us not into temptation'
I am Weak, but He is Strong!
Does God ever ‘lead’ us into temptation? The dichotomy between the sovereign rule of God over every aspect of our lives, and our requirement to stand firm, resisting temptation - and the resources available to us in the war against the evil one. We conclude that We are WEAK, but He is STRONG, so we must pray, "Jesus keep me from all wrong..."
To read the notes, please CLICK THIS LINK.
Amillennialists like Bob, believe that the Bible teaches that there is a day of General Resurrection, - just one day when the Lord will return with his saints and for his saints, to initiate the Judgement, to bring about the end of this world and the recreation of the new heaven and new earth.
But if the day of Christ’s return is the very last day of life on this earth, what about these bible passages that talk about one person being taken and another left behind? Don’t they suggest that after the second coming of Christ some people will be left on this earth to face a further period of earthly time?
That’s what we’re going to look at in this podcast.
To READ the notes, please click this link.
We are ALL Backsliders!
A sermon from 2017, based on Genesis 9:18-29.
The podcast is getting worse. Bob accuses us ALL of being BACKSLIDERS! How bad can this get? How can our secular occupation damage our Christian life, and lead us into temptation of sin? The underlying thesis in this rant is that like in the case of Noah, backsliders are believers who have failed to properly deal with the mortification of sin in their lives, and we ALL mess that up.
Listen and think - Do you agree? Read the notes and give your feedback at THIS LINK.
(Sermon preached at Templepatrick Reformed Church)
Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 51, Q126 “What is the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer?"
This podcast is a catechism lesson, based on Lord’s Day 51, - not that you’d think so, for in it Bob talks about the Total Depravity of Mankind, slabbers on about woke youth organisations, gives off about so-called ‘alternative lifestyles’ and why doing what ‘makes you happy’ can lead to the most awful, miserable unhappiness, depression and even suicide. Not content with that, he then tells Christians not to use ‘the blood of Christ’ as a ‘good luck charm’ and even bellyaches about people who say they forgive unrepentant terrorists! And he has the cheek to call this a catechism class! See what you think.
Read the STUDY GUIDE HERE.
The Semper Reformata Podcast theme: “In Another Time”
Background music: Short Lament. Tracks by Neosounds.com
38MPH gale blowing round the studio-pod.
Neighbour’s dog yapping to get in out of the 38MPH gale,
Overview of Romans 11: Israel's Future.
What is the relationship between the church and Israel? Or the Church and the secular state of Israel, or the church and the Jews? Specifically, what will the future hold for Christians and Jews? What does Paul mean when he says, And so all Israel will be saved...
In this podcast we attempt an overview of Romans 11, and look at its eschatological significance from a Reformed perspective. Read Romans 11 before you listen, and keep your Bible open as you follow Bob McEvoy through this fascinating chapter of God's precious Word.
To read the NOTES and Study Guide, CLICK THIS LINK
What the problem with good works?
Paul tells us that we are saved by grace alone, in Ephesians 2:8
James tells us that ‘Faith without works is dead.’ James 2:14-18.
At first when we read these two verses and place them side by side, there seems to be a contradiction. Paul telling us that our works are of no value in our salvation, James telling us that we cannot be saved without our works. In fact If we read on down the text in James, we discover that what he wrote in verse 14 is highly qualified and explained in verse 18. Where Paul is writing about how we are saved, how redemption is applied to our lives, James is writing about the outworking of that redemption in our daily life, in a changed attitude to others who live with us.
Read the notes by clicking this link.
What’s the best way to learn to trust God for everything in life, from the smallest problems, to the most basic human necessities? Could the answer be found right here in the Lord’s Prayer? Right here in this petition, where we are taught to ask God for the most basic essential of all, bread! The staff of life. If we can see that God provides so simple a need as a slice of bread, then our dependence on him will be improved, and our thankfulness be expanded.
To read the NOTE CLICK THIS LINK
Athens! - The Cradle of Democracy
For many of us the cities and regions of the ancient east that we read about in our bibles are simply names - and many of those names are unpronounceable! But some will know a little more than usual about the city of Athens. Some may even have been there on holiday! What was Athens like in the ancient world of the book of Acts, when Paul visited the city in Acts 17, and preached to the Areopagus? Understanding biblical background is a great help to understanding the Biblical text.
In this podcast, ‘Monday Extra’ - we look at Ancient Athens for beginners, and try to get a little flavour of what Paul would have discovered when he entered this famous city.
To read SERMON NOTES based around this podcast, click THIS LINK.
TableTalk Extra: Israel Now
Romans Chapter 10 Overview.
In Romans 9, we found that Israel had rejected the prophets, rejected the true religion of the Lord, and had finally rejected the Messiah himself. Paul gives two reasons for this, the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of mankind. What about Israel’s present state? The thesis of chapter 10 is that despite Israel’s rejection, salvation is possible for them, in Christ, as is the case for us all. Chapter 10 is about the spread of the Gospel.
TO READ THE NOTES CLICK THIS LINK
Lord's Day 49, Q124
The catechist is still teaching us how to pray, using the Lord’s Prayer as a model for our prayers, and reminding us that when we pray these petitions there is far more underlying truth than we sometimes think. We should mine that truth! So we come to the third petition in the prayer: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Compare that with Proverbs 14:1 The psalmist has the correct attitude in Psalm 40:8 That’s what we pray for in this petition of the Lord’s Prayer, - Lord, teach us, not only to DO your will, but to take DELIGHT in doing it.
To read the NOTES - click this link.
TableTalk at Ballymacashon.
Is there such a thing as ‘The Rapture of the Church?’ What do those Christian believers, who describe themselves as ‘pre-millennialists or dispensationalists’ actually believe, and can we explore the historic Reformation position of the Christian Church, and gain an understanding more in alignment with the biblical text?
What does it mean when Paul distinguishes between Jesus 'Coming for his saints' and Jesus 'Coming with his saints?' Are these two separate events, seven years apart, or two sides of the one eschatological coin?
We look at the 'Dispensationalist Rapture' and the Reformed/A-millennialist view, of the second coming of Christ, in the context of the General Resurrection of the Dead, at the Last Day.
To read the notes, click this link.
Overview of Romans 9
In chapter 9, Paul admits that Jewish unbelief, resulting in the crucifixion of their Messiah, has caused him great grief and even bewilderment. Of all men, the Jews should have known and recognised their Messiah, so Paul explains their lack of faith in the light of two great parallel concepts; the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man.
This is the first in a series of three podcasts and lessons focussing on the relationship between the Church and Israel in Romans 9, 10 and 11.
Read the notes HERE.
The Battle of Armageddon. What is it? When will it occur?
In a previous Table Talk, we looked at the subject of the ‘General Resurrection of the Dead.’ It’s a simple enough end-times position, but it seems to leave little room for this great battle, the conflict to end all conflicts, the Battle of Armageddon. So, let’s see what the common opinion and belief about Armageddon is, and then attempt to contrast that with a reformed viewpoint, - a non-millennialist standpoint that will be Biblical.
WARNING - THIS PODCAST ADVANCES A NON-MILLENNIAL VIEW OF END TIMES.
To read the notes, CLICK THIS LINK.
Is there such a thing as 'The Unpardonable Sin? A sin so egregious that it can never be forgiven? If so, what is it? In this sermon, we explore this important issue and draw some serious conclusions.
How does God reveal himself to a blinded, careless sinner? Through the work of the Holy Spirit. John 16:7-11 It is the Holy Spirit who, through the preaching of the gospel, convicts us of our sin, who makes us aware of the law we have broken, and the dreadful and just punishment that awaits us in eternity, and draws us to the cross, who gives us faith to trust in Christ and who regenerates our dead spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who REVEALS CHRIST TO US. The Pharisees have rejected the work of the Holy Spirit, and since it is only through the personal work of the Holy Spirit that a person can be saved, – they can NEVER EXPERIENCE FORGIVENESS!
Read the NOTES BY CLICKING THIS LINK
Jesus’ words are a warning to every unrepentant sinner. In the book of Acts chapter 28 Paul testified before King Agrippa. Agrippa was moved by his testimony. 28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. The unpardonable sin...
Catechism Class: Lord’s Day 48
Praying about the Kingdom of God. Q123
The catechist is teaching us about the Lord’s Prayer. We MUST consider carefully every line of the Lord’s prayer, so that we can use it as a tool, a model prayer, to shape the petitions of our daily prayers, to teach us how we should pray. Luke 11:1 So now we come to the second petition of the prayer, and our instructor in the Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What is the second petition? Your kingdom come. That is: So rule us by your Word and Spirit that more and more we submit to you. Preserve and increase your church. Destroy the works of the devil, every power that raises itself against you, and every conspiracy against your holy Word. Do all this until the fullness of your kingdom comes, wherein you shall be all in all.”
To read the NOTES CLICK THIS LINK
The catechist identifies four different features of God’s kingdom, and teaches us to pray about each of those features. My life is part of the Kingdom of God, His Church is part of His kingdom, His kingdom is the battle against evil and God’s kingdom has an eschatological, ‘end-time’ dimension. All of these areas are part of God’s Kingdom, but every constituent part is worth our prayers.
Sandy Peden Episode 4
We come to the last of our short history podcasts on the life of Rev Alexander Peden, the ‘Prophet of the Covenanters.’ Rev Sandy Peden was an enigma. He was a man of stern Presbyterian principles, who had, nevertheless a heart that was aching about the spiritual plight of Scotland and its people. He knew intimately the will of God concerning them, and saw its out-working in everyday occurrences.
Listen to the complete series, to get an inkling into the life of a man who was faithful to God, no matter what the cost, - not in depth, or with academic analysis, - but just enough to introduce ordinary Christians to our forefathers in the faith, and to perhaps inspire you to delve a little deeper yourself.
Explore more, CLICK THIS LINK FOR MORE COVENANTER HISTORY
‘Scotland’ by Henry Gorman
‘In another time’ by Roland Rudzitis
Catechism Class: Lord’s Day 47, Q 122
Really Knowing God.
"Hallowed be your name."
What does this mean? Does it, for example mean that God’s name is so holy that we should never even speak it? Let’s see what our instructor teaches… Remember the God’s NAME is a revelation of his nature. We want his revealed nature, his attributes, his Name to be rendered holy, in this world and in our lives. So we must know him, who he is and what he is like.
Q122. What is the first petition? A. Hallowed be your name. Grant us first of all that we may rightly know you, and sanctify, glorify, and praise you in all your works, in which shine forth your almighty power, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth. Grant us also that we may so direct our whole life – our thoughts, words, and actions – that your name is not blasphemed because of us but always honoured and praised.
To READ THE NOTES CLICK THIS LINK
The Ascension and Return of Jesus
In this sermon, Bob McEvoy looks at Acts 1:9-11, the account of the Ascension of Jesus, and sees in this important historical event the pattern and sequence of the Lord's Return. He challenges us to be ready...
'TableTalk' is a twice monthly event at Ballymacashon Old Reformed Church (Congregational) in Co.Down, Northern Ireland, and during 2020 the group had been discussing the doctrine of Eschatology from a reformed and evangelical perspective, while appreciating that other Christians have differing perspectives on 'end times' matters. This message, however, although relevant to the TableTalk theme, is from the archives!
In Part One of ‘The Keys of the Kingdom’ we looked at Matthew 16:19 and saw that our catechism instructor teaches us that the ‘Keys of the Kingdom’ is THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL, which opens the door to the kingdom of heaven for those who will come and be saved, and which closes the door of the kingdom of heaven to those who refuse to repent. There is a second way in which the ‘Keys of the Kingdom’ are employed –
CLICK THIS LINK TO READ THE NOTES
The Heidelberg Catechism Q85 “How is the kingdom of heaven closed and opened by church discipline?”
A. According to the command of Christ, people who call themselves Christians but show themselves to be un-christian
in doctrine or life are first repeatedly admonished in a brotherly manner. If they do not give up their errors or wickedness, they are reported to the church, that is, to the elders. If they do not heed also their admonitions, they are forbidden the use of the sacraments, and they are excluded by the elders from the Christian congregation, and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ. They are again received as members of Christ and of the church when they promise and show real amendment.
Sandy Peden - the 'Prophet of the Covenant'
You may have been wondering why students of the history of Scottish Presbyterianism sometimes refer to Sandy Peden as ‘The Prophet of the Covenant.’ There’s certainly quite a few strange stories about his strange abilities to discern events, and make uncanny predictions.
In this podcast I'll tell you about just some of those strange events…
Is the Pope the 'keeper of the keys?' What exactly are these keys, that we see crossed on papal insignia? The Heidelberg Catechism teaches us quite clearly what Jesus meant when he said to Peter, in Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Q 83. What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?
A. The preaching of the holy gospel and church discipline. By these two the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers and closed to unbelievers.
Q 84 How is the kingdom of heaven opened and closed by the preaching of the gospel?
A. According to the command of Christ, the kingdom of heaven is opened when it is proclaimed and publicly testified to each and every believer that God has really forgiven all their sins for the sake of Christ’s merits, as often as they by true faith accept the promise of the gospel. The kingdom of heaven is closed when it is proclaimed and testified to all unbelievers and hypocrites that the wrath of God and eternal condemnation rest on them as long as they do not repent. According to this testimony of the gospel, God will judge both in this life and in the life to come
In this simple lesson we look at 'The Keys of the Kingdom.'
Read the notes by CLICKING THIS LINK.
The Christian is FORGIVEN. The Christian will offer FORGIVENESS.
If you have read the Heidelberg Catechism, you will remember that it falls into three sections, Guilt, Grace and Gratitude. The premise is that if we understand how great our burden of debt and sin, and we come to realise how much it cost our Saviour to bear all of our sins upon the cross, we will respond with gratitude, repenting of our sins, and believing, trusting in Christ. We will bear the fruits of repentance in our lives, and one of those is to willingly offer the same forgiveness to those who have sinned against us.
In this edited sermon preached in 2018 at Templepatrick Reformed Church Bob McEvoy seeks to understand the true nature of the Christian Experience of Forgiveness, as taught in Matthew 18:21-35
Click this link to READ THE NOTES
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, He told them exactly how they are to approach God, what they are to say and how they are to address him. The Heidelberg catechist instructs us on what Jesus taught us to say when come to God in prayer….
Hint, - it's NOT 'Our Heavenly Mother!'
To read the NOTES CLICK HERE.
This week’s ‘TableTalk’ is very different. In this study I am going to look at a subject which can be upsetting, if not downright alarming. It is not suitable for children, or those who are nervous, for it will evoke images of the lost dead. We shall ask firstly, is there a difference between the resurrection body of the lost, and the resurrection body of the saved, and secondly, will there be a difference between my present body and my future, resurrection body? When we search the scriptures, we are confronted with two marked contrasts...
Get the STUDY GUIDE / NOTES HERE
The Lord’s Prayer – Overview
Text. Matthew 6:9
Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 45C2 – Q119
The catechist has introduced us to the Lord’s Prayer, which is the model prayer for all our prayers. So in this episode, we move on to look at the model prayer itself, and before we examine the petitions in the prayer, make a few important general observations about it.
To Read the NOTES CLICK HERE
Sermon recorded live at Ballymacashon Church on Sunday 10th January, 2021. Acts 16:25
“What must I do to be saved?” is quoted in thousands of evangelistic sermons.
The prison officer’s question has been written in the minds of thousands of people, and I’ve no doubt has been instrumental in awakening people to their need of salvation. So, it is our responsibility to read the passage, in context, and with a correct understanding of the work of God in salvation and the correct response of men and women to that work of God.
Live recording - so the sound quality is a little 'echoey.
Read the notes HERE
A recorded Bible Study, similar to those given at 'TableTalk' @ Ballymacashon Church.
How many resurrections will there be, and when? And how will God raise from the dead those whose bodies have been cremated?
To read the notes, CLICK THIS LINK
It’s the ‘Killing Times.’ That period in Scotland’s history between the Great Ejectment of the Minsters in 1662 and the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of William of Orange, which began in 1688. It was a bloodthirsty time, as the troops and soldiers loyal to the King, King Charles II tried with violence and execution to quell the passion of the Scottish Covenanters, those presbyterians who rejected Anglicanism and prayer-book style worship, and the governance of the church by Bishops and Archbishops. Presbyterians who believed that Christ alone is the head of his church, and that no earthly king has the right to consider himself in any position of authority in Christ’s kingdom on earth.
Many Presbyterian pastors resisted the encroachment of the king's writ over the church, among them Sandy Peden, 'Puir Auld Sandy...'
An address given in 2017 at Templepatrick Reformed Church, asking what Martin Luther would think of modern evangelicalism, and looking at some of the key differences between Luther's thought and modern church doctrines and practices.
Click HERE to read the Study Guide
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 45C, Q118-119
Q.118 What has God commanded us to ask of him?
A. All the things we need for body and soul, as included in the prayer which Christ our Lord himself taught us.
Q.119 What is the Lord's prayer?
A. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Find the notes here.
Martin Luther and the Papal Indulgence.
In 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 theses against Indulgences, and so began the Protestant Reformation. In this lecture, given in 2017 at Templepatrick Reformed Church, Bob McEvoy will outline the eternal dangers that Luther saw in the indulgence. Based on Romans 5:8-9
Read the Notes for this episode here:
It’s Scotland, and it’s 1662, the year of ‘the Great Ejectment.’ King Charles II was tightening his grip on the church by controlling its clergy, using the chain of authority through archbishops and bishops, and loyal land owning patrons who were influential in clergy appointments. But around one third of ministers left or were forced to leave rather than accept the dictates of the so-called Patronage Act. They were excluded from their pulpits, to be replaced in most parishes by Episcopalian curates.
Among those ejected was the minister of New Luce, in Galloway, Rev Alexander Peden, dubbed by history as ‘The Prophet of the Covenant.’
Peden, only three years in his charge, would never return to a regular pulpit, but his ministry was far from over, as we shall learn in this new series of podcast episodes - coming soon on The Semper Reformata Podcast.
Peden took to the fields and the roads, he lived in caves and sheds, he ate berries and whatever he could glean from farmers and supporters. He preached in the open air and administered the sacraments in barns and at conventicles; he was hunted and condemned by the government, exiled, imprisoned, and he still kept on preaching and witnessing for Christ, and preaching the gospel.
This will be the story of Rev Alexander Peden, - Puir Auld Sandy.
How should we pray? What should our prayers consist of? Learn from the Heidelberg Catechism, Q117
Q.117, What belongs to a prayer which pleases God and is heard by him?
First, we must from the heart call upon the one true God only, who has revealed himself in his Word, for all that he has commanded us to pray.
Second, we must thoroughly know our need and misery,
so that we may humble ourselves before God.
Third, we must rest on this firm foundation that, although we do not deserve it, God will certainly hear our prayer for the sake of Christ our Lord, as he has promised us in his Word.
Read the notes: https://saltyscrivener.uk/2020/12/31/catechism-class-lords-day-45b-q117/
Music: "In Another Time" by Exacttrax
Who wants to sit and listen to a sermon in this day and age? We have so many modern, excellent methods of communication nowadays. Our minds are bombarded with moving images from the time we can can sit up in our prams. We have electronic communications, visual aids, modern psychologically efficient teaching methods, reaching the learning styles of the individual student … Is it any wonder that some modern Christians find a 35 minute monologue from a pulpit a bit off-putting! Yet preaching is God’s ordained method for reaching sinners, and bringing them to faith in Christ. In this podcast, we will learn a little bit about preaching from Paul the Apostle. The teaching in this Podcast is based on 1 Corinthians ch 2, verse 3.
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How to Cope With the Darkness of 2020
This edition of the Semper Reformata Podcast by Bob McEvoy features a sermon from Ballymacashon, preached on the last Sunday of 2020, exhorting the congregation to see that despite all the darkness of 2020, we can still trust and hope in the Lord for our comfort and salvation.
Scriptures used: Psalm 42 and John 1:10-13
To read the Study Guide notes, go to https://saltyscrivener.uk/2020/12/26/2020-hindsight/
Table-Talk from Ballymacashon
With talk of a new 'Covid Passport' being mooted in the UK, and elsewhere, some Christians are thinking it's related to the infamous "Mark of the Beast" - 666, in the Book of Revelation. But is it? In this live podcast, Bob McEvoy, the pastor of Ballymacashon Old Reformed Church (Congregational) in Northern Ireland looks at the possibilities...
Read the notes at https://saltyscrivener.uk/2020/12/10/666-and-the-covid-passport/