Covenant Protestant Reformed
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 22 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 - Baptism
The Pilgrim Psalms (8)
The Necessity of God’s Blessing
Scripture Reading: Psalm 127-128
Text: Psalm 127
I. In All Things
II. In Our Children
Psalms: 24:1-6; 145:14-21; 37:3-9;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Scripture and the Fear of the Lord
Scripture Reading: Psalm 19
Text: Psalm 19:9
I. The Relationship
II. The Fruit
Psalms: 111:1-2, 7-10; 146:1-10;
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 127:1:
"It behoves us to remember ... that since the minds of men
are commonly possessed with such headstrong arrogance as
leads them to despise God, and to magnify beyond measure
their own means and advantages, nothing is of more
importance than to humble them, in order to their being made
to perceive that whatever they undertake it shall dissolve
into smoke, unless God in the exercise of pure grace cause
it to prosper."
J. Alexander: "Men are fond
of talking about being the architects of their own fortune,
and our ears are wearied with hearing of ‘self-made men;’
but unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain
who build it. Hope itself becomes more secure, and energy is
more constant, when they are founded on the belief that all
is under the Almighty guidance. Our happiness in duty is
greatest, when we feel that we are conducted through all our
changes by an overruling power, which uses us for ends far
above our comprehension."
John Murray: "The fear of God is the soul of godliness
... If we are thinking of the [marks] of biblical piety none
is more characteristic than the fear of the Lord" (Principles
of Conduct, p. 229).
Announcements (subject to God’s
With joy we witness the baptism
of Emilia Rose Halliday this morning. May the Lord be
with Gareth & Leona as they fulfil their vows, raising her
in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
Everyone is invited to a
barbecue at the manse this week Friday, rain or shine.
We will be joined by about a dozen guests who will be in the
area for the BRF Conference. Please come at 6:30 PM or as
soon as you can thereafter. If anyone would like to help at
the manse this week with yard work (trimming bushes
and hedges, gathering clippings, sweeping, weeding, putting
in fence posts, painting the fence, etc.), please talk with
The BRF Conference
starts this Saturday. Next Lord’s Day, there will be worship
services at Lorne House (10:30 AM and 7:00 PM) as well as in
our own building. Speeches will be held throughout next
week. Conference programmes are on the back table. Meals at
the conference centre should be booked in advance. For
information about arranging a meal, talk to Mary Stewart.
The Reformed Witness Hour
broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be
"Jerusalem Filled With Boys and Girls Playing" (Neh. 11).
Preaching schedule at the
CPRC for the next four weeks:
29 July - Prof. Engelsma in
the morning and Rev. McGeown in the evening
5 August - Prof. Hanko in the
morning and Prof. Engelsma in the evening
12 August - Prof. Engelsma at
19 August - Prof. Hanko at both
Men’s Bible Study is
scheduled for Saturday, 11 August, on Disciplines of a
Godly Man, Chapter 5, "Friendship." Notes are available
on the back table.
£445.02. Donations: £25 (DVDs), £100 (CR News).
Website Addition: 1
Portuguese translation was added.
Randolph PRC called Rev. Spronk (Peace, IL).
Martin Luther’s Exposition of Psalm 127,
for the Christians at Riga in Livonia (1524)
Solomon composed this psalm.
Not only was he enlightened by the Holy Spirit, but as he
daily exercised his administrative functions and mingled
with people, he learned from frequent experience how vainly
unbelief burdens itself with worries about feeding the
belly, when in fact everything depends on God’s blessing and
protection. For where God withholds his blessing, we labour
in vain; where God does not protect, our worry is futile ...
First we must understand that
"building the house" does not refer simply to the
construction of walls and roof, rooms and chambers, out of
wood and stone. It refers rather to everything that goes on
inside the house, which in German we call "managing the
household" [haushallten]; just as Aristotle writes, "Oeconomia,"
that, is pertaining to the household economy which comprises
wife and child, servant and maid, livestock and fodder. The
same term is used by Moses in Exodus 1[:20–21], where he
writes that God dealt well with the two midwives and "built
them houses" because they feared him and did not strangle
the children of the Israelites; that is, he helped them to
obtain husbands, sons and daughters, and enough of whatever
goes along with keeping a family. Solomon’s purpose is to
describe a Christian marriage; he is instructing everyone
how to conduct himself as a Christian husband and head of a
Reason and the world think that
married life and the making of a home ought to proceed as
they intend; they try to determine things by their own
decisions and actions, as if their work could take care of
everything. To this Solomon says No! He points us instead to
God, and teaches us with a firm faith to seek and expect all
such things from God. We see this in experience too.
Frequently two people will marry who have hardly a shirt to
their name, and yet they support themselves so quietly and
well that it is a pleasure to behold. On the other hand,
some bring great wealth into their marriage; yet it slips
out of their hands till they can barely get along.
Again, two people marry out of
passionate love; their choice and desire are realized, yet
their days together are not happy. Some are very eager and
anxious to have children, but they do not conceive, while
others who have given the matter little thought get a house
full of children. Again, some try to run the house and its
servants smoothly, and it turns out that they have nothing
but misfortune. And so it goes in this world; the strangest
Who is it that so disrupts
marriage and household management, and turns them so
strangely topsy-turvy? It is he of whom Solomon says: Unless
the Lord keeps the house, household management there is a
lost cause. He wishes to buttress this passage [Ps. 127:1a]
and confirm its truth. This is why he permits such
situations to arise in this world, as an assault on
unbelief, to bring to shame the arrogance of reason with all
works and cleverness, and to constrain them to believe.
This passage alone should be
enough to attract people to marriage, comfort all who are
now married, and sap the strength of covetousness. Young
people are scared away from marriage when they see how
strangely it turns out. They say, "It takes a lot to make a
home"; or, "You learn a lot living with a woman." This is
because they fail to see who does this, and why He does it;
and since human ingenuity and strength know no recourse and
can provide no help, they hesitate to marry. As a result
they fall into unchastity if they do not marry, and into
covetousness and worry if they do. But here is the needed
consolation: Let the Lord build the house and keep it, and
do not encroach upon his work; the concern for these matters
is his, not yours. For whoever is the head of the house and
maintains it should be allowed to bear the burden of care.
Does it take a lot to make a house? So what! God is greater
than any house. He who fills heaven and earth will surely
also be able to supply a house, especially since he takes
the responsibility upon himself and causes it to be sung to
Why should we think it strange
that it takes so much to make a home where God is not the
head of the house? Because you do not see Him who is
supposed to fill the house, naturally every corner must seem
empty. But if you look upon Him, you will never notice
whether a corner is bare; everything will appear to you to
be full, and will indeed be full. And if it is not full, it
is your vision which is at fault; just as it is the blind
man’s fault if he fails to see the sun. For him who sees
rightly, God turns the saying around and says not, "It takes
a lot to make a home," but, "How much a home contributes!"
So we see that the managing of a household should and must
be done in faith—then there will be enough—so that men come
to acknowledge that everything depends not on our doing, but
on God’s blessing and support.
... Solomon here wishes to
sanction work, but to reject worry and covetousness. He does
not say, "The Lord builds the house, so no one need labour
at it." He does say, "Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain" [Ps. 127:1a]. This is as
if he were to say: Man must work, but that work is in vain
if it stands alone and thinks it can sustain itself. Work
cannot do this; God must do it. Therefore work in such
manner that your labour is not in vain. Your labour is in
vain when you worry, and rely on your own efforts to sustain
... Thus, the meaning is this:
God commanded Adam to eat his bread in the sweat of his face
[Gen. 3:19]. God wills that man should work, and without
work He will give him nothing. Conversely, God will not give
him anything because of his labour, but solely out of His
own goodness and blessing. Man’s labour is to be his
discipline in this life, by which he may keep his flesh in
subjection. To him who is obedient in this matter, God will
give plenty, and sustain him well.
... Unless the Lord keeps the
city, the watchman guards in vain.
In the first verse he rebuked
covetousness, worry, and unbelief in every, household in
particular. In this verse he does the same thing for a whole
community. For a whole community is nothing other than many
households combined. By this term we comprehend all manner
of principalities, dominions, and kingdoms, or any other
grouping of people.
Now the blind world, because it
does not know God and his work, concludes that it is owing
to its own cleverness, reason, and strength that a community
or dominion endures and thrives. Accordingly, they gather
together great treasures, stuff their coffers, construct
mighty towers and walls, provide suits of armour and vast
supplies of provisions, enact wise laws, and conduct their
affairs with courage and prudence. They just go ahead in
their arrogance without even consulting God about any of it,
like those who built the Tower of Babel [Gen. 11:1–9].
Meanwhile, God sits above and
watches how cleverly and boldly the children of men proceed,
and he causes the psalmist to sing in his praise, "God
brings the counsel of the nations to naught" [Ps. 33:10].
Again, "God knows the thoughts of man, that they are vain"
[Ps. 94:11]. And yet again, "He takes away the spirit of
princes, and deals strongly with the kings of the earth"
[Ps. 76:12]. He allows such cities and dominions to arise
and to gain the ascendancy, for a little while. But before
they can look around he strikes them down; and in general
the greater the kingdom, the sooner. Even though they
flourish for a short time, that is in the sight of God
little more than a beginning. Never does one of them arrive
at the point it strives to reach ...