Covenant Protestant Reformed
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 8 July, 2012
"Those that be planted in the
house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of
our God" (Ps. 92:13)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
The Pilgrim Psalms (5)
If It Had Not Been for the
Scripture Reading: II Samuel
Text: Psalm 124
I. The Meaning
II. The Worship
Psalms: 20:1-7; 144:1-8;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
The Pilgrim Psalms (6)
The Church’s Security
Scripture Reading: I Peter 1
Text: Psalm 125
I. The Meaning
II. The Explanation
Psalms: 46:1-7; 144:9-15; 48:1-9;
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of
the worship services, contact
If you desire a pastoral visit,
please contact Rev. Stewart
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
Quotes to Consider
John Calvin on Psalm 124:6-8
"... the faithful, purged from all false confidence, may
betake themselves exclusively to his succour, and depending
upon it, may fearlessly despise whatever Satan and the world
may plot against them. The name of God is nothing else than
God himself; yet it tacitly conveys a significant idea,
implying that as he has disclosed to us his grace by his
word, we have ready access to him, so that in seeking him we
need not go to a distance, or follow long circuitous paths.
Nor is it without cause that the Psalmist again honours God
with the title of Creator. We know with what disquietude our
minds are agitated till they have raised the power of God to
its appropriate elevation, that, the whole world being put
under, it alone may be pre-eminent; which cannot be the case
unless we are persuaded that all things are subject to his
John Calvin on Psalm 125:5
"The consequence is ... peace, which the Prophet desires may
be the privilege of Israel. He does not speak generally of
all the race of Abraham, according to the flesh; he rather
wishes that the Church of God may be purged of hypocrites,
who occupy a place in her, until God lift up his hand to
judgment. On this account I have said, that the peace of the
Church springs from this—that God, while executing his just
vengeance upon feigned and counterfeit Israelites, who rend
and tear in pieces her bowels, gathers together the upright
in heart, and openly shows by his blessing the fatherly love
which he bears towards them."
Announcements (subject to God’s
Julian and Douglas will be
setting up a book stall on 12 July in the Ballee
Playing fields in Ballymena. Please remember this witness in
your prayers, and if you are there, stop by with family and
The Reformed Witness Hour
broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be
"Let Not Our Trouble Seem Little to Thee" (Neh. 9:32-38).
S. Wales Lecture: Wed., 18
July, at 7:15 PM, "The NT Teaching on the Last Days."
Have you booked your place at
the BRF Conference? Although the forms (on the back
table) and payment should be in, there are still rooms
available for those who would like to come. Campers, don’t
forget to reserve your site.
Brian Crossett’s term as
elder expires in August. If any member would like to put
forward a name for consideration for this office, please
talk with Rev. Stewart or another elder.
£798.15. Building: £272.10. Donation: £200 (DVDs).
Website Addition: 1 Danish
translation and 1 Afrikaans translation were added.
Rev. A. Lanning (Faith, MI) declined the call to Randolph
PRC. Randolph’s new trio is Revs. Bruinsma, Eriks and Spronk.
Hope PRC called Rev. Griess (Calvary, IA).
Our Order of Worship
Prof. Herman C. Hanko (Standard
Bearer, vol. 61, issue 9)
With the many changes which are
taking place in the worship services these days, the votum
has been all but lost. Greater efforts are being made, in
the interests of novelty and innovation, to make the worship
services more informal and to involve in the worship
services the congregation itself. The result is that many
times worship services are begun in ways which seem strange
and foreign, if not downright profane. Upon ascending the
pulpit, the minister may greet the congregation with some
such words as: "Good morning, everyone," to which the
congregation responds. Or: "Good morning, God," with which
greeting the congregation joins. Or: "Will everyone shake
the hand of his neighbour?" followed by a lot of noise in
What is forgotten is that the
worship service is a solemn assembly in which the church of
our Lord Jesus Christ meets with her God in the worship of
covenant fellowship. It is not an informal gathering of
people; it is not a picnic where people who know each other
gather for some festivities; it is not even a business
meeting or convocation of people who have come to discuss
matters of mutual interest. The church gathers with her God
in worship. And the solemnity and wonder of it ought to be
The beginning of the worship
service is usually composed of three elements: the
salutation or greeting, the votum proper, and the
benediction. The salutation, at least in our circles, is
usually the words, "Beloved in our Lord Jesus Christ," or
"Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ." The votum usually
used is: "Our help is in the name of the Lord Who made
heaven and earth." The benediction follows upon this.
The word "votum" comes from the
Latin voveo, which means, "to vow, to pray to God for
something." Apparently, the idea is not so much ... to
consecrate or devote; rather the idea is to express
dependence upon God at the very beginning of the worship.
This votum took on different
forms in the history of the churches of the Reformation.
Luther, in Germany, made no use of a votum at all. He
usually began the worship services by announcing the singing
of a song. A Lasco did the same. At Strasbourg, where Calvin
spent a few years between his two stays in Geneva, the
German congregation began its services with the words, "In
the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Amen." Calvin, in the French church, used the same votum as
we use. Although the Synod of Dordrecht in 1574 ruled that
the votum used by Calvin ought to be used in the churches,
this was not commonly done. Many different forms were used
to begin the service. Sometimes the old formulas used in the
Romish church prior to the Reformation were kept: the
minister would begin with the words, "Peace be with you," to
which the congregation would respond, "And with thy spirit."
But gradually, in the Dutch churches, the form used by
Calvin was more and more accepted, and that has remained
true till today within those churches which have their roots
in the Netherlands Reformation ...
The votum in use among us—"Our
help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and
earth"—is the last verse of Psalm 124 ...
This "votum" in use in the
churches must be taken in connection with the entire Psalm.
Evidently, when Calvin introduced this in the French church
in Strasbourg, this meant a great deal more to the church
then than it does to us now. The Reformation faced foes on
every side: the pope with his armies of priests and prelates
who hated the Reformed people with a single-minded passion;
the armies of hostile world powers in Germany and France;
the people, who, moved by Rome and their clerics, often took
delight in doing what damage they could to the Reformation.
The whole movement was in constant jeopardy from a human
point of view. How significant it then was that the
congregation, when it would come together, would confess
before God that, though great and terrible dangers
surrounded them, the Lord was on their side; they were
escaped once again as a bird out of the snare; their help
was in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
While, certainly, this had
great meaning and significance for the people in those days,
nevertheless, the fact remains that the same is principally
true for the church in every age. Just that we do not know
overt persecution as our fathers did, does not mean that we
are not in constant jeopardy and danger. We are surrounded
by hostile forces on every side. The devil goes about as a
roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. His demons are his
minions who delight in the destruction of the saints—if that
were possible. The world is an alarming place, filled with
dangers and traps, ready to pounce on the unwary and lure
his soul into destruction. And our own weak and sinful flesh
is an ally to all these enemies and is constantly attempting
to tug us into the snares of evil. How dangerous a place
this world is! We would easily be swallowed up and the
waters would easily overwhelm us. To be overcome would be
the most logical and easily accomplished event in the world.
To destroy the whole church would be as easily accomplished
as swatting a mosquito—if ... "If it had not been the Lord
Who was on our side, now may Israel say ... Blessed be the
Lord, Who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth ... Our
help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth!"
You can sense the quiet
exultation that breathes in these words as the church of
Christ comes together once again on the Lord’s Day, after a
dangerous week in the world, and breathes out her confession
of hope and confidence in God, Who has safely guarded her.
It is well for us to consider
briefly the meaning of these words from Psalm 124. There are
just three or four remarks which ought briefly to be made.
In the first place, the church
confesses that her help is in the name of the Lord. The name
of the Lord is the Lord God Himself, but as He reveals
Himself to His church. Centrally, that name is Jesus—Jehovah
salvation. Thus, without going into detail on this matter,
the church confesses that her help is in Jesus, Who is the
revelation of God. That is why the name Jehovah is also used
here, for that name, more than any other, is the name which
describes the Lord God as the One Who is faithful and
unchanging to His covenant in Jesus Christ. No wonder the
name of Jehovah is described in Scripture as a high tower in
which we may find our refuge and hiding place.
In the second place, Jehovah is
said here to be the One Who made heaven and earth. The
reference is undoubtedly to His great power as He revealed
it in the work of creation. If Jehovah, the God of His
people, has made the earth and all its creatures, the stars
and planets and shining hosts of heaven, men and angels—and
devils—if our help is in His name, then surely we are safe
in this dangerous life.
Finally, therefore, the church confesses that her only
help is in Jehovah. It is a confession of our own weakness
and sin. It is a confession of our utter helplessness. It is
a confession not only that in Jehovah are we safe, but that
only in His name will we be safe for all this life till we
enter the everlasting Sabbath.