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Divine Purpose (Philippians 1)

In this pericope Paul speaks of his affirmed faith to the Philippians. While trials and difficulties may attempt to weaken our faith, Paul finds the opposite. The work of the gospel goes forward even in difficulty, and in that he finds joy and an affirmed faith in the purposes of God.

Worship Service

Theme of the service

In this pericope Paul speaks of his affirmed faith to the Philippians. While trials and difficulties may attempt to weaken our faith, Paul finds the opposite. The work of the gospel goes forward even in difficulty, and in that he finds joy and an affirmed faith in the purposes of God.

The Gathering

Prelude/Gathering Music: “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” [see music notes]

Call to Worship:
“Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124:8)
Come, let us worship the Lord!

Opening Prayer:
Let us pray.
Blessed are you, O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;
you have blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.
Blessed are you, our God and Father;
you have destined us in love to be your sons and daughters
in the person of your Son, Jesus Christ.
You have freely bestowed your grace upon us in your beloved Son.
You have made known to us in all wisdom and insight
the mystery of your will, the plan to unite all things in Christ.
You have sealed us with the promised Holy Spirit,
the guarantee of our inheritance.
Blessed are you, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
One God, forever and every. Amen.  (SNC 22)

*God’s Greeting and Congregational Amen!

*Song of Adoration: “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” [see music notes] [see also ELW 865; HW 7]

We Are Renewed in God’s Grace

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

Song of Acclamation: “And Can It Be” [see also HW80]

Testimony of Gratitude:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written: “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”  (Romans 1:16-17)

The Word of God is Proclaimed

*Song of Preparation: “Song of Foolishness/Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
(Dwelling with Philippians 1:12-21 p.46 and p.48, sung to  HYFRYDOL) [see music notes]

Prayer for Illumination

Reading of Scripture:  [see liturgy notes]
Acts 4:23-31
Philippians 1:12-21

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God! 

Sermon: Divine Purpose  [see sermon notes]

Prayer of Application

We Respond to God’s Word

* Profession of the Church’s Faith [see liturgy notes]

What benefits do you receive from knowing that God is in control?
This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort
since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance
but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father.
He watches over us with fatherly care,
keeping all creatures under his control,
so that not one of the hairs on our heads
(for they are all numbered)
nor even a little bird can fall to the ground
without the will of our Father.
In this thought we rest,
knowing that he holds in check
the devils and all our enemies,
who cannot hurt us without his permission and will.
(From Belgic Confession, article 13)

Anthem: “I Will Be With You,” Leah and Sean Ivory [see music notes] or

Hymn: “Goodness Is Stronger Than Evil” [see also ELW 721, GSW 27]

Prayers of the People

Offertory: “God of Grace and God of Glory” [see music notes]

*Psalm of the Day: Psalm 61

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me abide in your tent for ever,

find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations!
May he be enthroned for ever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!

So I will always sing praises to your name, as I pay my vows day after day.

*Song of Response: “God of Grace and God of Glory” [see also ELW 705, HW 211]

* Words of Sending:
Go forth in the name of the Lord.
This is God’s charge:
We should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
And love one another, just as he commanded us.
(based on I John 3:23)

*God’s Greeting and Congregational Amen!

Postlude: “God of Grace and God of Glory” [see music notes] [see also ELW 705, HW 211]

*Indicates standing if you are able.

 

The materials included here from THE WORSHIP SOURCEBOOK are used by permission from THE WORSHIP SOURCEBOOK, © 2004, CRC Publications. This permission is granted for one time worship use in an order of service for a congregation, or in a special program or lesson resource, provided that no part of such reproduction is sold, directly or indirectly. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

 

Liturgy Notes

  1. The passage from Acts 4 can be read very meaningfully when it is read by three different voices. The first voice is a narrator, the second voice (either a single voice or the congregation in unison) is that of the friends with Peter and John, and the third voice quotes the Psalm. The passage, then, is structured as follows:

First Voice/Narrator:

After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said,

Second Voice/Friends:

"Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant.

Third Voice/Psalmist:

'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.'

Second Voice/Friends:

For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

First Voice/Narrator:

When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:23-31)

  1. For the affirmation of the faith of the church, we suggest a selection which focuses on the divine purposes or providence of God would be consistent with the theme of this service. Within the service, we have provided a selection from Article 13 of the Belgic Confession of Faith that has been formatted as into questions and answers.  Another option would be to replace this with Q&As from Lord’s Day 9 and 10 of the Heidelberg Catechism as shown here:

Q.  What do you believe when you say, "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth"?

A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, 
who still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence, 
is my God and Father because of Christ his Son.

I trust him so much that I do not doubt 
he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, 
and he will turn to my good 
whatever adversity he sends me in this sad world.

He is able to do this because he is almighty God; 
he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.

Q.  What do you understand by the providence of God?

A.  Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God
by which he upholds, as with his hand,
heaven and earth and all creatures,
and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought,
fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness,
prosperity and poverty--all things, in fact,
come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand.

Q.  How does the knowledge of God's creation and providence help us?

A.  We can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well,
and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father
that nothing will separate us from his love.
All creatures are so completely in his hand
that without his will they can neither move nor be moved.

Sermon Notes

After reflecting on his deep bond with the Philippian Christians, Paul immediately begins to serve as their instructor.  He interprets the events that were taking place and helps them see God’s purposes in them. As their “pastor,” he addresses what has happened, what is happening now, how God is using it, and how they can expect God to use it in the days ahead.

Paul’s primary concern, of course, is the spread of the gospel. It’s been his passion throughout his entire ministry. In this passage he is reflecting some of his previous expressions: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel….” (Romans 1:16); God “…had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace…so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles….” (Galatians 1:15-16); and “…woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” (I Corinthians 9:16). It is to be expected, therefore, that Paul’s immediate concern during his imprisonment would focus on the spread of the gospel. Even if the motives of others are less than Paul would desire, his overriding desire is the spreading of the Gospel of Christ.

The context of Paul’s writing should also be considered. He is in prison. Though there is some uncertainty about where his imprisonment took place and how severe it was, several facts are clear. First, he is not imprisoned for some crime he has committed, but because he has been preaching the gospel of Christ. Second, the imperial guard (v.13) has been exposed to his behavior and witness. Third, others have been encouraged to be bold in their witness for Christ (v.14).

In these circumstances, Paul continues to exercise his trust in God (vss. 18-21). In his trusting, he sets a Christ-like example. His trust is not focused on his personal welfare or whether he will get out of prison, but rather that Christ will continue to be exalted. As such, he is a stirring example for all believers to “strive first for the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33) and to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). 

Music Notes

  1. Resources for prelude, based on the opening hymn “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”  and alternative harmonizations for that hymn can be found in:

LAUDA ANIMA [ ELW 865; HW 7; PH 478; PsH 475; RL144; RN 53;  TH 76; TWC 26; UMH 66; W&R 82]

  • Organ: 
    • Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving. set 5 Morningstar MSM-10-755 [1993] (E-M)
    • Farlee, Robert Buckley. Augsburg Organ Library – Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (E-M)
    • Hobby, Robert A. Partita on Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven. Concordia 97-6082 [1991] (E-M)
    • Hustad, Don. Three Organ Hymns for Weddings or General Use. Hope 341 [1970] (E-M)
    • Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice. vol. 6 SMP KK339 [1986] (adaptable for piano; E)
    • Manz, Paul. Two Pieces for Festive Occasions. Morningstar MSM-10-840 [1990] (M)
  • Piano:
    • Organ, Anne Krentz. Piano Reflections for the Church Year. Augsburg Fortress 11-11209 [2001] (E-M)
  • Handbells:
    • Dobrinski, Cynthia. Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven. Agape 1974 [1988] (3-5 octaves, level 3)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Burkhardt, Michael  As Though the Whole Creation Cried  vol. 2. Morningstar MSM-10-606 [2009]
    • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ. bk. 3 Ludwig O-10 [1986]
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]
    • Porter, Rachel Trelstad. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]
  1. We are suggesting the merger of two hymn texts found in “Dwelling with Philippians” (p.46 and p.48) for the Song of Preparation. We recommend pairing these texts to the tune HYFRYDOL in the following way:
  • v 1: “Song of Foolishness st.1; Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus st. 1
  • v 2: “Song of Foolishness st.2; Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus st. 2
  • v 3: “Song of Foolishness st.3; Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus st. 3
  • v 4: “Song of Foolishness st.4; Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus st. 4

Alternative harmonizations for this tune can be found in:

                HYFRYDOL

  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Burkhardt, Michael  As Though the Whole Creation Cried  vol. 2. Morningstar MSM-10-606 [2009]
    • Ferguson, John Festival Hymns for Organ Brass and Tympani. set 3 GIA G-4124 [1995]
    • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ. bk. 1 Ludwig O-05 [1975]
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]
    • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]
  1. The anthem suggestion “I Will Be with You” by Leah and Sean Ivory is published by GIA G-7091 [2008]. It is set for SATB voices and piano. (E-M)
  2. Suggestions for both offertory and postlude are based on the closing Song of Response, “God of Grace and God of Glory”:

CWM RHONDDA [ELW 705; HW 211; PH 420; RL 416; RN 301; TWC 669; UMH 577; W&R 569]

  • Organ:
    • Barr, John G. Three Preludes on Hymn Tunes. H. W. Grey GSTC 01079 [1992] (E-M)
    • Carlson, J. Bert. Augsburg Organ Library – Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7 [2003] (E-M)
    • Culli, Benjamin M. Musica Sacra: Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ. vol. 5 Concordia 97-7193 [2006] (E)
    • Haan, Raymond H. Welsh Hymn Tune Preludes. SMP KK426 [1989] (E-M)
    • Held, Wilbur. Those Wonderful Welsh. Set 2 Morningstar MSM-10-842 [1992] (E-M)
    • Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise. Set 6 Morningstar MSM-10-542 [2000] (E-M)
    • Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice. vol. 6 SMP KK339 [1986] (adaptable for piano; E)
    • Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (M)
    • Rotermund, Melvin. Five Preludes. Augsburg 11-6040 [1990] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Organ, Anne Krentz. Piano Reflections for the Church Year. Augsburg Fortress 11-11209 [2001] (E-M)
    • Shackley, Larry. Celtic Hymn Settings for Piano. Hope 8117 [2001] (E-M)
    • Shaw, Timothy. Great Hymns of Faith for the Church Pianist. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-2167-4 [2008] (M)
    • Wilhelmi, Teresa. Hymns…Light Jazz Style Word. 301 0136 315 [1997] (M)
  • Handbells:
    • McChesney, Kevin. God of Grace and God of Glory. Concordia 97-6584 [1996] (3-5 octaves, M)

 

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations

  • CSW: Contemporary Songs for Worship (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • ELW: Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Augsburg Fortress Publishing)
  • GSW: Global Songs for Worship (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • HW: Hymns for Worship (Calvin Institute of Christian worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources) 
  • PH: The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
  • PsH: The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • RL: Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
  • RN: Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
  • SFL: Songs for LiFE (children’s songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • SNC: Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • SNT: Singing the New Testament (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • SWM: Sing With Me (Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • TWC: The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing)
  • TH: Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great Commission Publications)
  • UMH: The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
  • WOV: With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)
  • W&R: Worship and Rejoice (Hope Publishing)

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