Covenant Protestant Reformed
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 6 May, 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 True Way of Worshipping
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 46
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
I. No to Making and
Bowing to Images
II. Yes to Remembering and
Listening to Jehovah
Psalms: 46:1-7; 135:1-7; 115:1-11;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
The Exaltation of Jesus Christ
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2
Text: Philippians 2:9-11
I. Its Glorious Meaning
II. Its Universal Confession
Psalms: 118:20-29; 135:8-14;
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
Quote to Consider:
John Calvin on Philippians 2:9:
"For it is the design of the Holy Spirit, that we
should, in the death of Christ, see, and taste, and ponder,
and feel, and recognise nothing but God’s unmixed goodness,
and the love of Christ toward us, which was great and
inestimable, that, regardless of himself, he devoted himself
and his life for our sakes. In every instance in which the
Scriptures speak of the death of Christ, they assign to us
its advantage and price;—that by means of it we are
redeemed—reconciled to God—restored to
righteousness—cleansed from our pollutions—life is procured
for us, and the gate of life opened."
Announcements (subject to God’s
We welcome Briana Prins
to our worship services today. Briana is finishing her
classes at the University of Limerick and will be returning
to the US soon.
The second offering this
morning will be for our building fund.
Everyone is welcome to stay for
tea after this evening’s service.
On the back table are
complete sets of the most recent volume (XIII) of the CR
News. These are available free, as are previous volumes.
Our Tuesday morning Bible
study meets at 11 AM on "Eschatology and Time." We will
discuss more NT texts on sin in the last days.
Belgic Confession Class
meets Wednesday at 7:45 PM to study Article 15 on original
Next Lord’s Day, Rev.
McGeown will preach for us while Rev. Stewart preaches
in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship.
The Reformed Witness Hour
broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be
"So I Prayed and Said…" (Neh. 2:1-10) by Rev. Haak.
The CPRC Annual General
Meeting will be held upstairs on Monday, 14 May, at 7:45
PM. All are welcome to join us to hear reports on the work
of the CPRC, including a report from our missionary, Rev
McGeown, a financial report, an audio-visual report, etc.
The Council will also present a proposal for the vote of all
male confessing members to purchase the manse from the PRC.
Tea will be served following the meeting.
Family Visitation is to
start Monday, 21 May.
Offerings: General Fund:
£881.22. Donations: £20 (DVDs), £200 (DVDs).
Website Additions: 1 Hungarian, 3 Afrikaans and 3
Spanish translations were added. Transcripts of some of the
Belgic Confession classes are also now on-line.
Incomparable Bearer of His People
Homer Hoeksema (Redeemed
With Judgment, vol 2, pp. 204-206)
Although Isaiah lived during
the time of Hezekiah, long before Judah’s captivity in
Babylon, the prophet sees the future captivity, the rise of
Cyrus to power, God’s judgment upon Babylon, and an end to
the captivity through Cyrus’ conquest and destruction of the
city and power of Babylon, the captors of God’s people.
With a view to the captivity,
therefore, Isaiah speaks words of comfort, salvation, and
deliverance to God’s people.
The comforting thought of the
text forms a sharp contrast with the preceding verses, which
mention the Babylonian gods Bel and Nebo. Bel was the chief
god of the Babylonians, likely similar in position among
their idols to the Greek god Jupiter (confer Daniel’s
Babylonian name Belteshazzar). Nebo, possibly similar to the
Greek god Mercury, was the god especially of the royal
family, as is plain from the names of many Babylonian kings
With holy sarcasm Isaiah speaks
of the fall of these gods. In the crisis of Babylon’s
judgment and destruction, the idols of Babylon appear as
vanity. Precisely at the crucial time and at the critical
moment, when the Babylonians need help, when they need
someone to protect them, when they need someone to carry
them and to deliver them, Bel bows down! Bel is stricken,
you might say, with a fatal heart attack. And Nebo stoops.
Nebo is paralyzed, as by a stroke. Bel and Nebo fall down,
and they appear as they really are—absolutely powerless to
do anything at all.
Cyrus and the hosts of the
Medes and Persians come and carry these idols away. They are
gods, after all, who must be carried about by men. This is
the nature of an idol, and this is the intention of the idol
worshiper, for he must have a god whom he can carry where he
wills. For this reason idols are vanity and emptiness. Will
Babylon’s gods save those who put their trust in them? No.
The Medes and Persians come and take up those gods and load
them on beasts of burden and on ox carts. Bel and Nebo can
do nothing about it, and they are themselves taken into
In sharp contrast with the
emptiness of the idols is the message of the text. God, the
incomparable bearer of his people, says, "Hearken unto me,
Jacob and Israel: I have borne you from your birth. I will
continue to carry you to the very end, and I will deliver
In order to understand these
words, we must keep in mind that they stand in direct
contrast not only with verses 1 and 2, but also with verses
5 through 7, which describe the doings of the idol
worshipers. Several thoughts are implied.
First, idol worshipers form
their own gods. They pour gold from a bag. They hire a
goldsmith to make an idol for them, and they furnish the
goldsmith with silver to make decorations for their idols.
Their idols are the choices of their own hearts, and they
decide what their gods shall be.
Second, the worshipers do with
their idol what they will. This is graphically described in
verse 7: "They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him,
and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place
shall he not remove." When they set an idol in its place,
the idol simply cannot move from that place. They determine
where the idol shall stand and how the idol shall be served.
The idol is not involved whatsoever in these decisions.
Third, the idol is absolutely
powerless to save its worshipers: "Yea, one shall cry unto
him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble"
(v. 7). This is also pictured in the first two verses,
according to which Bel and Nebo, the supposedly great gods
of the Babylonians are unable to help their worshipers
against the enemy. Instead the enemy simply loads them onto
ox carts and carries them away along with their worshipers.
Exactly at the critical moment, precisely when they need
help in the time of trouble, the worshipers of idols are put
to shame. Such is the true nature of all idols, not only of
idols of silver and gold, such as the Babylonians had, but
also of all idols today. An idol is someone who or something
that is worshiped next to or instead of the one true God as
he has revealed himself in his word. You do not need an
image of silver or gold to have an idol. You can have an
idol of the mind as well. You can have an idol that is a
false conception of God. You can have an idol who goes by
the name of the God of the Scriptures, but who is not a god
according to the Scriptures. Any god who is not the God who
has revealed himself in his word is an idol. And what has
been said about the idols of the Babylonians is true of all
Hence all trust in idols is absolutely vain.