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Grace and Peace (Philippians 4)

Paul’s closing words to this church reveal his deep bond with them. As the church which he loved so much, he opens his heart to make it clear that his prayer for them is to know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ as the supreme good.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

Paul’s closing words to this church reveal his deep bond with them. As the church which he loved so much, he opens his heart to make it clear that his prayer for them is to know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ as the supreme good.


Prelude/Gathering Music: Settings of Psalm 84 and Psalm 122 [see music notes]

*Call to Worship

Psalm of the Day: 122

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

2Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.

3Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.

4To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.

5For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.

6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.

7Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”

8For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”

9For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.   [Psalm 122]

*Song of Approach: “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling” [see also TH 492]

*God’s Greeting and Congregational Amen!

*Song of Praise: “Amid the Thronging Worshipers

We Are Renewed in God’s Grace

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of God’s Pardon: Psalm 130:3-4

All: Thanks be to God!

*Song of Thanks:

Grace Alone” or
Amazing Grace (How Sweet the Sound)” [see also ELW 779, HW 94, SNT 214] 

Call to Obedience: Philippians 2:12-15

Offertory and Our Offering: “Amazing Grace (How Sweet the Sound)

God Speaks through His Word

Prayer for Illumination

Sung Scripture: John 14:27 “Peace I Give to You,” L. Visser, [see music notes] [see liturgy notes]

Reading of Scripture: Philippians 1:1-11 and 4:21-23

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!


Prayer of Application

Our Response to God’s Word

*Our Sung Response: “O Christ the Same

*Our Affirming of God’s Truth to Us: [see liturgy notes]

“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)

We give thanks to you, O God.

“For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain” (Philippians 1:21)

We give thanks to you, O God.

“He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory….” (Philippians 3:21)

We give thanks to you, O God.

“Therefore God also highly exalted [Christ] and gave him the nam e that is above every name…..” (Philippians 2:9)

We give praise to you, O Christ.

“I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)

We give praise to you, O Christ.

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by become like him in his death….” (Philippians 3:10)

We give praise to you, O Christ.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

We live in your strength, O God.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

We live in your peace, O God.

“And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

We live in your provisions, O God.

*Song of Dedication: “I Then Shall Live

Prayers of the People

We Leave to Live Before God

* Final Words: Philippians 4:21-23

*Passing the Peace to Each Other [see liturgy notes]

*God’s Parting Blessing and Congregational Amen!

*Song of Parting: “On Our Way Rejoicing”, [Dwelling with Philippians 4:21-23 p.???, sung to KING OF GLORY or CRYSTAL]

Postlude: “Rejoice, O Pure in Heart

*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 anthem, Peace I Give to You, is a direct proclamation of the text of John 14:27. Though this is to be sung by a choir, it should be understood to be the proclamation of Scripture. To assure that it is understood that way, it might be wise to have it introduced by someone with simply, “Hear Word of the Lord from John 14” before the choir begins.

2.      The Litany of “Affirming God’s Truth to Us” is intended to be a reinforcement of the key passages in the book of Philippians. To place them in this form involves not only hearing them passively, but actively responding to them.

3.      We suggest you consider three different ways in which the peace can be passed to one another at the close of the service. Rereading Paul’s words in Philippians 4:12-22 will set the stage for this. The response of those listening should be a willingness to pass Christ’s peace to each other. We suggestion three possible ways: (1) verbally expressing “The peace of Christ to you” to one another, (2) singing “Grace and Peace to You” from SNT 131, or (3) singing “Grace to You and Peace” from SNT 192. It would be especially meaningful to have worshipers face each other while they sing.

Sermon Notes

Since this is a very personal letter from two specific people to a particular group of people, our consideration of it must be personalized.

Paul and Timothy are the embodiment of God’s grace; they are people to whom God has graciously reached. Paul, a persecutor brought to Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road (see Acts 9:1-18), and Timothy, a Gentile (see II Timothy 1:5-7 and 3:14-15) instructed in the Christian faith by his mother and grandmother, come together  from very different paths.  Yet here they declare themselves to be “servants” (“slaves”) of Jesus Christ. As such, they are models for the Philippian Christians.

The members of the church at Philippi (“saints!”) each have their own story, too. In Acts 16:11-15, we read of the conversion of Lydia (and perhaps others with her who were gathered for prayer and worship), and verses 16-34 tell of the conversion of the Jailer. In both instances a family was involved. We must picture all the others to whom God has reached as this church was formed. But in verses 35-40 of Acts 16, we see another side of the city: its opposition to Paul and his ministry. So it was a gathered church in a somewhat hostile context.

Each of us is, therefore, prodded to examine our story. We are saints! How, when, and through whom did God reach to us? How did God gather the worshiping community of which we are a part? As we gather, do we consider ourselves to be “servants”? What about our context could be considered hostile?

The greeting here from the two saint-servants to the gathered congregation is most significant. The greeting is not really from the two pastors, but from God through the pastors. The pastors are only the means through which the grace-and-peace greeting is provided.

These are words of warm welcome. Sinners need not wonder if they are welcome in the presence of God. Worshipers need not wonder if they are fit to come to worship. All who come are greeted with “grace and peace.” It’s God’s great welcome!

Today, too, as the Christian Church gathers in worship, many may (consciously or subconsciously) wonder if they are fit to be present, if the welcome is wide enough to include them. Paul and Timothy leave no doubt about the welcome. And the opening of each worship service should have a welcome that is as wide and warm as the greeting of this epistle.

Music Notes

1.      The suggestions for prelude, based on tunes associated with Psalms 84 and 122 can be found in the following resources:

      Psalm 84

        GENEVAN 84 [PsH 84; RL 111]

  • Organ:
    • Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year. vol. 5 Peters 6405 [1966]

                ST. EDITH [PsH 243; TH 492]

  • Organ:
    • Young, Gordon. Chorale Prelude on St. Edith. Galaxy GMC 2162 [1959]

            Psalm 122 


  • Organ:
    • Bach, J. S. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. Marks 114 [1955] (E-M)
    • Bach, J. S. Music for a Celebration. Set 4 Morningstar MSM-10-579 [2005] (E-M)
    • Bach, J. S. The Biggs Book of Organ Music. H. W. Grey GB 645 [1979] (E-M)
    • Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm. Twenty-one Chorale Preludes. Augsburg 11-9506 [1967] (E_M)
    • Pachelbel, Johann. Selected Organ Works. vol. 4 Barenreiter 1016 (E-M)
    • Stoldt, Frank. Five Hymn Settings. Morningstar MSM-10-931 [1988] (M)
  • Piano:
    •  Gerig, Reginald. Piano Preludes on Hymns and Chorales. Hope 251 [1959] (E-M)

2.      Alternative Harmonizations suggestions for offertory music based on “Amazing Grace – How Sweet the Sound” can be found in:


  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980]
    • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]
  • Organ:
    • Gehring, Philip. Augsburg Organ Library – Lent. Augsburg 11-11036 [2000] (E-M)
    • Haan, Raymond H. The King of Love. SMP KK277 [1983] (E-M)
    • Held, Wilbur. Preludes and Postludes. vol. 1 Augsburg 11-9318 [1972] (E)
    • Hobby, Robert A. For All the Saints. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7537-1 [2002] (E-M)
    • Martin, Gilbert. Two Preludes on American Hymn Tunes. H. W. Grey GSTC 962 [1972] (E-M)
    • Schalk, Carl. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ. Vol. 1 Concordia 97-7001 [2002] (E-M)
    • Young, Gordon. Preludes on the Familiar. Fischer 0 4886 [1972] (E)
  • Piano:
    • Albrecht, Mark. Timeless Hymns of Faith. Augsburg 11-10863 [1998] (E-M)
    • Carter, John. Folk Hymns for Piano. Hope 240 [1987] (E-M)
    • Carter, John. Gospel Treats for Jazz Piano. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7759-5 [2005] (M)
    • Leavitt, John. How Sweet the Sound. CPH 97-6891 [2000] (gospel style) (M)
    • Sanborn, Jan. Piano Music for the Care of the Soul. Ron Harris RHP0403 [1997] (M)
    • Schrader, Jack. Amazing Grace. Hope 8138 [2001] (M)
    • Schubert, Myra. Give Him Praise. Lillenas MB-511 [1983] (M-D)
    • Sowash, Bradley. We Gather Together. Vol. 1 Ausgburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7562-2 [2002] (D; jazz)
    • Stevens, Wendy Lynn. How Sweet the Sound. Augsburg fortress ISBN 978-0-8066-9696-6 [2009] (E-M)
  • Handbells:
    • Dobrinski, Cynthia. Amazing Grace. Lake State HB 00067 [2000] (2-3 octaves, E-M)
    • Kauffmann, Ronald. Amazing Grace. Flammer HP-5207 [1986] (3 octaves, E-M)

3.      The anthem “Peace I Give to You” by Larry Visser is scored for SATB voices and piano. It is published by GIA G-6850 [2006].

4.      The postlude, based on “Rejoice, O Pure in Heart” concludes the series with the theme of joy that permeates the book of Philippians.

        MARION [ELW  873; HW 147; PH 145; PsH 561; TH 604; TWC 34; UMH 160; W&R 113]

  • Organ:
    • Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving. set 5 Morningstar MSM-10-755 [1993] (E-M)
    • Haan, Raymond H. Four Hymns of Rejoicing. Morningstar MSM-10-518 [1998] (E-M)
    • Jordan, Alice. A Joyful Noise. Broadman 4570-62 [1984] (E-M)
    • Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice. vol. 6 SMP KK339 [1986] (adaptable for piano; E)
    • Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year. vol. 6 Peters 6406 [1966] (M)
    • Sinzheimer, Max. Twelve Hymn Preludes and Improvisations. Concordia 97-4769 [1967] (E-M)
    • Travis, Albert L. Toccata on Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart. Morningstar MSM-10-705 [1993]
  • Piano:
    • Innes, John. Majesty. Hope 269 [1985] (E-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)