Faith-Given and Fed - Matthew 16, Romans 10, HCLD 25

The second service plan in a Pentecost series, focusing on the life of faith that uniquely provides the identity of the Christian Church. The life of faith is dynamic and subject to many experiences and influences.

Worship Service
Also in this Series

The Church

This series of worship services explores the nature and the life of the Christian Church as the place where faith is fed and nurtured.

Theme of the Service

Last week we began a series that centers on the life of the worldwide Christian church that was drawn together by the Holy Spirit.

This week the worship service focuses on the life of faith that uniquely provides the identity of the Christian Church. The church is a body drawn and held together by faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is a gift from God, given through his Spirit. The life of faith is dynamic, subject to many experiences and influences.

Next week we will consider of the sacraments of the church that nurture and strengthen the life of faith, baptism and the Lord's Supper.

* * * * *

WE GATHER BEFORE GOD

Prelude: "Built on the Rock" [see music notes]

*The Call to Worship

*Song of Praise: "Built on the Rock" PsH 503, TH 351, TWC 705 [see music notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, who do you trust?
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.
Amen!

*Song of Praise: "We Come, O Christ, to You" PsH 238, TH 181, TWC 86 [see music notes]

The Children's Moment


WE ARE RENEWED IN GOD'S GRACE

The Call to Confession

The Prayer of Confession [see liturgy notes]

The Assurance of Pardon

Our Song of Dedication: "I Know Not Why God's Wondrous Grace" PsH 495, TH 705, TWC 493, UMH 714

God's Guide for Grateful Living


GOD SPEAKS FROM HIS WORD

*Song of Preparation: "Gift of Christ from God Our Father" SNC167 [see music notes]

The Prayer for Illumination

The Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-20
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The Epistle Reading: Romans 10:5-17
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: Faith-Given and Fed

The Prayer of Application


WE RESPOND TO GOD'S WORD

*Our Affirmation of Faith [see liturgy notes]

*Song of Faith: "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" PH 383, PsH 262, RL 446, TWC 552, UMH 452, TH 528
or: "This Holy Covenant Was Made" SNC 173 [see music notes]

The Prayers of the People [see liturgy notes]

The Offertory Prayer
The Offering of Music: "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" PH 383, PsH 262, RL 446, TWC 552, UMH 452, TH 528
or "This Holy Covenant Was Made" SNC 173 [see music notes]
We offer our gifts for..


WE LEAVE WITH GOD'S PRESENCE

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Song: "Faith Begins by Letting Go" SNC 172

Postlude: "Prelude and Fugue in F Major," J. S. Bach [see music notes]

* You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes:

"Faith" is a key word in the Christian Church and the Christian life. Yet it is also a word with much ambiguity that carries many dimensions of meaning that can lead to confusion. Our faith is what we believe and profess. Our faith is the way we live. We say that we "came to faith," "our faith is weak.or strong," or "our faith failed." We speak of the "faith of our fathers." Others talk about having "faith in themselves." Are we all talking about the same thing, or entirely different things?

First, it is necessary to clarify in this sermon what we mean by faith. Question and Answer 21 and 60 of the Heidelberg Catechism will be very helpful. Faith is centered in Jesus Christ. It consists of a "knowledge and conviction" and a "deep-rooted assurance" by which we accept the "perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ" as a gift of God.

Second, we must understand the words Jesus told Peter that faith was a gift from God. Though exercising and expressing our faith is certainly an act of our will, it is made possible by the work of God. Jesus' statement to Peter in Matthew 16:17 is corroborated by John 6:44, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Corinthians 12:3, Acts 16:14 and others. The Heidelberg Catechism also claims that the "Holy Spirit produces it in our hearts" (Q&A 65). The Holy Spirit doesn't usually do this immediately and supernaturally but rather through means such as the use of the Word of God and preaching of the holy gospel. (See Romans 10:14-17). Therefore, the church calls the preaching of the Word the primary "means of grace."

The life of faith is not static, but very dynamic. It may be strong, or it may be weak. It may hold fast, or it may fail. Calvin talks about how our faith can totter at times and needs to be propped up on all sides. In Mark 9:24 a father candidly exclaims that he senses belief and unbelief side-by-side within his own heart. Who doesn't experience this from time to time? So the confirmation and feeding of faith is vitally necessary. For this God has given two sacraments. We will spend the next four weeks examining baptism and the Lord's Supper, but for now we must note that these sacraments are God's method by which he feeds and nurtures our faith. As such, they are a supplement to preaching and are precious tools of the Holy Spirit.

These concepts have so many practical applications: for pastoral assurance that God is patient with us when our faith is weaker than we'd like, for encouragement to come faithfully to the preaching of the gospel, for the importance of remembering our baptism as we grow, for the regular commemoration of the Lord's Supper, for our prayer life, and for the need to give encouragement to one another. A healthy congregation will be one where we care for and nurture the faith of one another.

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)
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)

Prelude suggestions are based on the opening hymn "Bullt on the Rock" and can be found in the following resources:

KIRKEN ["Built on the Rock"]
Organ:
Childs, Edwin T. Organ Music for the Seasons, vol. 3. AugsburgFortress ISBN 0-8006-7564-9
[2003] (M)
Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise, Set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-757 [1994] (M)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, Set 8. Concordia 97-5342 [1979] (M)
Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year, vol. 10. Peters 6410 [1966] (M)

Handbells:
Helman, Michael. Built on A Rock. Alfred 19006 [2000] (3-5 octaves, level 3)

Alternative harmonizations for organ on the opening hymn can be found in:
Johnson, David N. Free Harmonizations of Twelve Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9190 [1964]
Wood, Dale. New Settings of Twenty Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9292 [1968]

If your congregation is not familiar with the tune EASTVIEW [a very good tune!] paired with the text "We Come, O Christ, to You" in some hymnals, consider pairing with an alternate tune; Darwall's 148th also sings well with the text. It is usually not wise to begin worship with an unfamiliar tune. The strength and beauty of this text warrants its use!

Alternative harmonizations for the song of preparation can be found in:

AR HYD Y NOS ["Gift of Christ from God Our Father"]
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH97-6851 [2000]
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 2. Ludwig O-07 [1983]
Hobby, Robert A. Three Evening Hymns, set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-514 [1998]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Albrecht, Mark. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

Suggestions for alternative harmonizations for the song of faith and for the offertory music based on which hymn you choose for that response are as follows:

OLIVET ["My Faith Looks Up to Thee"]
Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Hampton, Keith. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]

Organ:
Bingham, Seth. Twelve Hymn Preludes, set 2. H. W. Grey. GB152 [1970] (E-M)
Harris, David S. Ten Hymn Preludes in Trio Style. H. W. Grey. GB632 [1974] (E)
Osterland, Karl. Augsburg Organ Library - Lent. Augsburg 11-11036 [2000] (E-M)
Sedio, Mark. Organ Tapestries, vol. 2. Concordia 97-6861 [2000] (E-M)
Young, Gordon. Seven Hymn Voluntaries. Presser 413-41118-21 [1965] (E-M)

Piano:
Carter, John. Hymns for Piano II. Hope 8197 [2003] (E-M)
Gerig, Reginald. Piano Preludes on Hymns and Chorales. Hope 251 [1959] (M)

LASST UNS ERFREUEN ["This Holy Covenant Was Made"]
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]
Burkhardt, Michael. 5 Psalm Hymn Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-511 [1997]
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH97-6851 [2000]
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 3. Ludwig O-10 [1986]
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]
Johnson, David N. Free Harmonizations of Twelve Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9190 [1964]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Porter, Rachel Trelstad. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. Five Psalm Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-511 [1997] (E-M)
Callahan, Charles. Partita on Lasst uns Erfruen. Morningstar MSM-10-700 [1989] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 5. AMSI SP-102 [1985] (D)
Held, Wilbur. Hymn Preludes for the Autumn Festivals. Concordia 97-5360 [1976] (E-M)
Hobby, Robert A. Three Easter Hymn Settings. Morningstar MSM-10-421 [1999] (E-M)
Kemner, Gerald. Fantasies on Nine Familiar Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-5919 [1990] (M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 2. SMP KK235 [1982] (adaptable for piano, E)
Leavitt, John. With High Delight. Concordia 97-6845 [2000] (E-M)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 6. Concordia 97-5305 [1975] (E-M)
Rowley, Alec. Choral Preludes based on Famous Hymn Tunes, vol. 2. Ashdown [1952] (E-M)
Sedio, Mark. Augsburg Organ Library - Easter. Augsburg 11-11075 [2000] (E-M)
Sedio, Mark. Organ Tapestries, vol. 2. Concordia 97-6861 [2000] (E)
Stearns, Peter Pindar. Twelve Hymn Preludes for General Use. Flammer HF-5145 [1987] (M)

Piano:
Porter, Rachel Trelstad. Day by Day. Augsburg 11-10772 [1996] (M)

Handbells:
Dobrinski, Cynthia. All Creatures of Our God & King. Agape 1737 [1995] (3-5 octaves, M)
Honoré, Jeffrey. Alleluia Passacaglia. Agape 1552 [1992] (3-5 octaves, E-M)
Hopson, Hal. H. All Creatures of Our God & King. Agape 1546 [1992] (3-4 octaves, E-M)

Please note the different spirit present in the music and text of these two responses. OLIVET is more meditative while LASST UNS ERFREUEN is a praise profession.

The postlude suggestion "Prelude and Fugue in F Major" by J. S. Bach is one of his "Eight Little Preludes and Fugues" which can be found published in many different editions. It has also been transcribed for piano. (E-M)

Liturgy Notes:

1. We suggest that the service of confession and assurance be crafted only after the sermon has been written fully. Since the sermon will likely raise issues of the struggle of faith in the Christian life, the prayer of confession should anticipate what will be said in the sermon and provide reassurance for the weaknesses that will be addressed.

2. We offer the following as a suggestion for the Affirmation of Faith. This affirmation is taken from the Heidelberg Catechism. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. www.crcna.org. Reprinted with permission.

Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 25
It is by faith alone that we share in Christ and all his blessings:
where then does that faith come from?
The Holy Spirit produces it in our hearts
by the preaching of the holy gospel,
and confirms it through our use of the holy sacraments
.
What are sacraments?
Sacraments are holy signs and seals for us to see.
They were instituted by God so that by our use of them
he might make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel,
and might put his seal on that promise.
And this is God's gospel promise:
to forgive our sins and give us eternal life by grace alone
because of Christ's one sacrifice finished on the cross.
Are both the word and the sacraments then intended to focus our faith
on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation?
Right! In the gospel the Holy Spirit teaches us
and through the holy sacraments he assures us
that our entire salvation rests on Christ's one sacrifice for us on the cross.
How many sacraments did Christ institute in the New Testament?
Two: baptism and the Lord's Supper.

3. The Prayers of the People should be particularly sensitive to those who are struggling with faith that is weaker than they feel it should be. Such folks need to feel accepted and lifted up in prayer that God will hold their faith firm even when they feel assaulted by doubts, questions and intense struggles.

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