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Dying for Good Health - Ephesians 4, HCLD 33

A service plan focused on on the key parts of the life of sanctification, the "dying away" of the old self and the "coming-to-life" of the new in a series on the Ten Commandments, as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

Last week we began a new season and a new series. This series focuses on the Ten Commandments. They are the rule that God gives his children for the sake of shaping lives of grateful obedience to God as their deliverer. We suggest you consult the introductory explanations of last week concerning the purpose of God's commandments and their place in the Christian life.

Last week the need and motive for grateful obedience was our subject. This week we focus on the key parts of the life of sanctification, the "dying away" of the old self and the "coming-to-life" of the new, as the Heidelberg Catechism expresses it. These words are an exact reflection of Paul's exhortation in Ephesians 4:20-24 to "put off" the old self and "put on" the new self. We consider these words this week under the title "Dying for Good Health."


We suggest a number of resources that will be valuable tools for you in this study of the Ten Commandments.

  • Each week we will provide references for you from the Heidelberg Catechism and both the Larger and the Shorter Westminster Catechism.
  • The website of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary also provides sermon ideas for each of these commandments and Lord's Days.
  • Comfort and Joy: A Study of the Heidelberg Catechism, Andrew Kuyvenhoven, Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1988.
  • Our Only Comfort: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (vol. 2), Fred Klooster, Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2001.
  • The Ten Commandments: Manual for the Christian Life, Jochem Douma, tr. Nelson D. Kloosterman, Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1996.
  • Mere Morality: What God Expects from Ordinary People, Lewis B. Smedes, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1983.

Catechism References:
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 33
Westminster Larger Catechism, Q.99-102
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.41-44


Prelude: "Lift High the Cross" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Call to Worship

*Song: "Lift High the Cross" PH 371: 1-2, PsH 373: 1-2, 5, RL 415: 1-2, 5, RN 297: 1-2, SFL 171: 1-2, 4, SWM 243: 1-2, 4, TH 263: 1-2, 5, TWC 229: 1-2, UMH 159: 1-2 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

*Song of Response: "Lift High the Cross" PH 371:4, PsH 373:6-7, RL 415:5, RN 297:5, TWC 229:5, UMH 159:4


The Call to Confession [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

Our Prayer of Confession

The Assurance of God's Pardon

The Call to Grateful Living

Song of Response: "The Ten Commandments" PsH 153: 1, 9


The Children's Moment [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Song of Preparation: "In Christ Alone" SWM 208

The Prayer for Illumination

The Reading of the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 33 [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

The Reading of Scripture: Ephesians 4:17-28
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: Dying for Good Health
Shaping Our Gratitude 2
Text: Ephesians 4:20-24

The Prayer of Application


Anthem: "Be a New and Different Person," Christiansen [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*Our Renewed Vows of Obedience [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Song: "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" PsH 545

The Offertory
The Offering of Music: "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
We offer our gifts for..

The Prayers of the People


*Words of Sending: Matthew 16:24-25 or 1 Peter 2:9-10 [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

* Song: "Go Forth for God" RN 291, UMH 670, PsH 325
or: "Bring Forth the Kingdom" SFL 154, SNC 123

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

Postlude: "Fanfare," Mathias [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes:

One Presbyterian pastor who normally participates in the examination of new candidates for the ministry explains that near the end of every examination he always asks the same question. "What would you die for?" He claims that the answers are always very fascinating. He also is convinced that the answers given provide an interesting insight into the heart and soul of the candidate. (You might want to ask that of your hearers, and we should probably ask it of ourselves!)

In Lord's Day 33 and in Ephesians 4, God is calling us to good health-not the preoccupation with physical health that many have today (good as it is), but spiritual health. A theological term for this is sanctification, which is what happens to us after we have come to know the freedom that Christ gives us through the grace of God. Scott Hoezee, on the website of the Center for Excellence in Preaching of Calvin Theological Seminary, speaks about the dying and rising that leads to wholeness, expressed in Lord's Day 33 as the "rhythm of the gospel."

Lord's Day 33 is best understood by seeing that it is close on the heels of Lord's Day 32 which speaks about doing good after we've been delivered from our misery by God's grace through Christ (see Q&A 86). The life that experiences the freedom of Christ is a life that involves dying and rising: dying to the old self (see Q&A 89) and rising of the new self (see Q&A 87). Only that rhythm can produce "good" (see Q&A 91).

Paul speaks that truth in Ephesians 4. This chapter begins with "then" or "therefore" (see last week's sermon on Romans 12:1). After three chapters of speaking about salvation by grace through faith as a gift of God, he moves to the implications and responsibilities of achieving good health as a new person. In verses 22 and 23, he points to the "old self" and the "new self." One must give way to the other. Much of the material he writes in chapters 4-6 identifies the marks of the old self which must die and the marks of the new self which must come alive. You will find the same pattern in the epistle to the Colossians. Achieving spiritual health (sanctification) is a very dynamic process. These concepts echo and amplify the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:24-26. (Through trying to save our life we losing it, and through losing our life we find it.) It's not only the rhythm of the gospel; it's also the sign of the healthy Christian life.

This is a good point to introduce the proper attitude towards the Ten Commandments, which we will begin studying next week. Many may resist a study of God's law because it seems that they are all "shall not" statements or simply because they don't like "laws" which tell us what to do or restrict our freedom. Yet, it is through these ten statements that we discover more clearly than ever how to die and rise again, what is old self and what is new self, how to love God and our neighbor better than ever.

Music Notes:
Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
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)
SWM Sing With Me (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Suggestions for prelude and alternative harmonizations based on the opening hymn can be found in the following resources:

CRUCIFER ["Lift High the Cross"]

Burkhardt, Michael. Six General Hymn Improvisations, set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-534 [1999]
Busarow, Donald. Processional on "Lift High the Cross". Concordia 97-5442 (M)
Callahan, Charles. Partita on Crucifier. Concordia 97-6456 [1994] (E-M)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 9. Concordia 97-5556 [1980] (E-M)

Carter, John. The Wondrous Cross. Hope 1747 [1994] (E-M)

McChesney, Kevin. Lift High The Cross. Lorenz HB 230 [1988] (3-4 octaves, M)
Moklebust, Cathy and David. Lift High the Cross. Choristers Guild CGB 193 [1997] (3-5
octaves/organ, E-M)

Choral Resource:
Christiansen, Paul J. Lift High the Cross. Celebrations Unlimited CU 154 [1984] (SATB with
keyboard; E-M)

Alternative Harmonizations for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Cherwien, David & Wasson, Laura E. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

The anthem "Be a New and Different Person" written by Paul J. Christiansen is published by Schmitt, Hall, McCreary SCHCH 7619 [1976] and scored for SATB acapella voices (E-M).

Suggestions for offertory music based on the sermon response song can be found in the following resources:

TEMPLE ["Make Me a Channel of Your Peace"]

Carter, John. Contemporary Hymns & Songs for Piano/4 Hands. Hope 8087 [2000] (E-M)

Wagner, Douglas E. Make Me a Channel of Your Peace. Agape 2064 [1998] (3-5 octaves, level

The organ postlude "Fanfare" by William Mathias can be found the collection The Oxford Book of Wedding Music published by Oxford ISBN 0-19-375119-4 [1991] (M).

Liturgy Notes:

1. The format and structure of this service is very similar to last week. Since these two services are the introduction to a study of the Ten Commandments, we encourage similarity in these two. Beginning next week, each service should be shaped by the content and theme of the specific commandment being considered.

2. We suggestion that the Service of Renewal be designed similarly each week of this series so that the focus continues to be on God's Law, which convicts us of our sins (and prompts us to confess) and shows us how to shape our life of gratitude. You will find many resources for designing this part of the service in The Worship Sourcebook, pp. 81-111.

3. The Children's Moment, shortly before the sermon, provides an opportunity to speak about the substance of the sermon. Though it may be difficult for them to grasp the idea of "dying" and "rising," examples such as the seed that is planted (and seems to die) and then sprouts or the caterpillar that turns into a butterfly, will help them understand. You may also wish to use examples of things we must give up (identify some bad habits) in order to be a better person.

4. We suggest that the words of the Heidelberg Catechism be read responsively with the congregation and so we have printed them here in case you do not have access to them. You may either design this so that the worship leader reads the question and the congregation responds with the answer, or vice versa. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission.

What is involved in genuine repentance or conversion?
Two things: the dying-away of the old self,
and the coming-to-life of the new.

What is the dying-away of the old self?
It is to be genuinely sorry for sin,
to hate it more and more,
and to run away from it.

What is the coming-to-life of the new self?
It is wholehearted joy in God through Christ
and a delight to do every kind of good as God wants us to.

What do we do that is good?
Only that which arises out of true faith,
conforms to God's law,
and is done for his glory;
and not that which is based
on what we think is right
or on established human tradition.

5. For each Sunday in this series, the service will include a section after the sermon entitled "We Respond with Our Renewed Commitments." The commandments, in one of its forms, should be the substance of this commitment. There are a variety of resources you may draw from: Section 2.7 of The Worship Sourcebook(pp. 127-137) provides a variety of resources for this purpose, and The Psalter Hymnal (pp. 1013-1018) provides additional responsive readings of the Ten Commandments.
To reprint responsive readings of the Ten Commandments for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission.

6. The Sending captures God's action of sending us forth to carry out the renewed vows of commitment we just made. We've suggested two possible passages in this service. Still other possibilities can be found inThe Worship Sourcebook, pp. 351-355.