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He Went All the Way - Hebrews 2

A service plan from the Apostles' Creed focused on the suffering and death of Christ in a series on the Apostles' Creed as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service
The Apostles' Creed

Theme of the Service

The first five sermons on the material of the Heidelberg Catechism dealt with the Trinity, God the Father and his work, and the identity and virgin birth of God the Son.

With this sermon we turn our attention to the suffering and death of Christ, including his crucifixion, burial, and descent into hell.


Prelude: "When Morning Gilds the Sky" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Call to Worship

*Song of Adoration: "When Morning Gilds the Sky" PH 487, PsH 438, RL 365, TH 167, TWC 99, UMH 185
or "We Come, O Christ, to You" PsH 238, TH 181, TWC 86 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting
Congregation of Jesus 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: "When Morning Gilds the Sky" (st. 5)
or "We Come, O Christ, to You" (st. 5)

The Children's Moment


The Call to Confession

Our Prayers of Confession [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]
Privately Offered Confessions
Sung Confession: "Lord, Have Mercy upon Us" PH 565, 572-574, PsH 258, RL 564-567, SFL 43, TWC 821, 823, WOV 604
or "Kyrie" RN 86, SNC 50, 52, WOV 601, 602

The Assurance of God's Pardon: Hebrews 10:14

God's Call to Grateful Obedience:

Hear, O people of God, the law which the Lord speaks in
your hearing this day, that you may know his statutes
and walk according to his ordinances.
Teach us, O Lord, the grace of your law,
and give us life by your Word.
The God who saved us in Jesus Christ gave this law, saying:
I am the Lord your God! You shall have no other gods before me.
We will worship the Lord our God and serve only him.
You shall not make yourself an image of anything to worship it.
Living no more in bondage to earthly gods,
we will worship the Lord our God in spirit and in truth.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord.
We will use the holy name of God with reverence,
praising him in everything we do and say.
You shall observe the Sabbath by keeping it holy,
for in six days you shall labor and do all your work.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be
glad in it.
The first part of the law is this great commandment:
That we love the Lord our God with all our heart,
with all our mind, and with all our strength.
The second part of the law is similar to the first: you shall
honor your father and mother, that you may live long
in the land the Lord your God is giving to you.
As children we will be obedient to our parents in the Lord;
as parents we will correct our children and guide them
in the training and instruction of the Lord;
we will respect the lawful authorities appointed by God.
You shall not murder.
We will be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave us.
You shall not commit adultery.
We will use our bodies in ways that are holy and honorable,
and abstain from immorality and impurity.
You shall not steal.
We will do what we can for our neighbor's good,
and work faithfully so that we may share with the poor.
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
We will speak the truth with our neighbor in love,
render judgments that are true and make for peace,
and not devise in our hearts any evil against anyone.
You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
We will be content whatever the circumstances
through the strength of Christ within us.
Thus we must love our neighbor as ourselves.
For the Lord requires of us to do justice, to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with our God. Amen!
[see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes; from TWS 132]

*Our Song of Profession: "In God the Father I Believe" PsH 518, TH 741
or "I Believe in God Almighty" SNC 175 [see <href="#music" >music notes]


The Prayer for Illumination

The Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 53:4-9
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The New Testament Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: "He Went All the Way!" (The Apostles' Creed - #6)
Text: Hebrews 2:14-15

The Prayer of Application


Anthem: "Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*Our Litany of Profession:

Is it significant that Christ was "crucified"
instead of dying some other way?
Yes. This death convinces me
that he shouldered the curse
which lay on me,
since death by crucifixion was accursed by God.

Why did Christ have to go all the way to death?
Because God's justice and truth demand it:
only the death of God's Son could pay for our sin.

Why was he "buried"?
His burial testifies that he really died.

Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?
Our death does not pay the debt of our sins.
Rather, it puts an end to our sinning
and is our entrance into eternal life.

What further advantage do we receive from Christ's sacrifice and death on the cross?
Through Christ's death
our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with him,
so that the evil desires of the flesh
may no longer rule us,
but that instead we may dedicate ourselves
as an offering of gratitude to him.

Why does the creed add, "He descended to hell"?
To assure me in times of personal crisis and temptation
that Christ my Lord,
by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul,
especially on the cross but also earlier,
has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell.
(Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 39-44)

*Song of Faith: "Christ, the Life of All the Living" PsH 371

The Prayers of the People

The Offertory
The Offering of Music: "Christ, the Life of All the Living"
or "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
Our Offering of Gifts for . . .


*Closing Hymn of Praise: "Praise the Savior Now and Ever" PsH 400, TH 243

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Moment of Meditation

Postlude: "Praise the Savior Now and Ever," Haan [see <href="#music" >music notes]

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

1. To think deeply about the suffering and death of Christ, we might want to wrestle with some questions. Why did he have to die? The Trinity had a plan to provide our redemption . . . but why did it have to include this? Couldn't there have been some alternate way? Perhaps providing extra divine knowledge to save us; or letting the angels and demons wage the war together with angels winning; or letting Jesus' ministry of healing and casting out demons suffice; or maybe Jesus suffering on the cross and being rescued by God at the last minute? Why did he have to go all the way to death?

2. The physical and historical evidence for Christ's physical death is very firm. The process of suffering (on many levels) culminated in physical death, evidenced by the removal of a body from the cross and burial in a tomb. That makes Christ unique among the leaders of world religions. In Christianity, the leader died as part of his ministry.

3. The purpose of Christ's dying is explained in the Heidelberg Catechism (Q&A 39-40); he bore the curse and only in that way could he pay for our sins. Sin and death go together ever since Genesis 3. Our text in Hebrews 2 tells us (1) he shared in our humanity, (2) he shared in death, (3) he destroyed him who holds the power of death, and (4) he provided freedom for us. This freedom for us captures the benefit of his death-freedom from slavery to fear, freedom to dedicate ourselves as an offering of gratitude, and freedom of deliverance from the anguish and torment of hell.

4. The benefits from this death that "went all the way" can best be expressed in our "changed death." Death is still a reality for us, but now it is a conquered enemy, it becomes a translation time for us, and we can be confident that Christ accompanies us on the journey. When death is changed for us, life is also profoundly changed accordingly.

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)

1. The suggestions for prelude are based on the hymn tune LAUDES DOMINI ("When Morning Gilds the Sky") and can be found in the following resources:


  • Albrecht, Timothy. Grace Notes VIII. Augsburg 11-10970 [1999] (E-M).
  • Haan, Raymond H. O Worship the King. Broadman 4570-42 [1979] (E-M).
  • Lutkin, Peter Christian. Hymn Tune Transcriptions. H.W. Grey [1908] (E-M).
  • Miller, Aaron David. Improvisations for the Church Year, vol. 2. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7676-9 [2004] (M).
  • Sedio, Mark. Organ Tapestries, vol. 2. Concordia 97-6861 [2000] (E-M).


  • Buckwalter, Karen L. Daystar. Flammer HP-5190 [1985] (3-5 octaves, E-M).

2. Alternative harmonizations for the opening hymn suggestions can be found in the following resources:

LAUDES DOMINI ["When Morning Gilds the Sky"]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Wold, Wayne L. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003].

DARWALL'S 148TH [Alternate tune for "We Come, O Christ, to You"]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Thiman, Eric. Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Oxford ISBN 0 19 323210 3 [1937].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Carlson, J. Bert. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003].

3. The suggestions for the Song of Profession are both settings of the Apostles' Creed. An alternative harmonization for piano on IN BABILONE can be found in Mark Sedio, Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2 (Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]).

4. Settings for the anthem based on Isaiah 53 are:

  • Laubengayer, Paul. Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs. Morningstar MSM-50-3025 [1993] (SATB with keyboard and treble instrument, E-M).
  • Lotti, Antonio. Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs. Ludwig L-1203 [1983] (SATB, E-M).

5. Suggestions for the offertory music can be found in the following resources:

JESU, MEINES LEBENS LEBEN ["Christ, the Life of All the Living"]

  • Leupold, A.W. An Organ Book. Chantry Music Press [1960] (E-M).
  • Peeters, Flor (1966-Peters). Augsburg Organ Library - Lent. Augsburg 11-11036 [2000] (E-M).


  • Organ, Anne Krentz. Christ, Mighty Savior. Augsburg 11-10819 [1997] (E-M).

HAMBURG ["When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"]

  • Burkhardt, Michael. Five Lenten Hymn Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-309 [1990] (E-M).
  • Cherwien, David. Lamb of God. Morningstar MSM-10-302 [1989] (E-M).
  • Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 1. SMP KK234 [1978] (E, adaptable for piano).
  • Young, Gordon. Hymn Preludes for the Church Service. Flammer 4188 [1964] (E-M).


  • Carter, John. Easy Hymns for 4 Hands. Hope 8146 [2002] (E).
  • Carter, John. The Wondrous Cross. Hope 1747 [1994] (E-M).
  • Schubert, Myra. Give Him Praise. Lillenas MB-511 [1983] (D).


  • Kauffmann, Ronald. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Agape 1226 [1986] (3-5 octaves, E).

ROCKINGHAM (OLD) ["When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"]

  • Burkhardt, Michael. Four Hymn Improvisations for Holy Week. Morningstar MSM-10-318 [1995] (E-M).
  • Haan, Raymond H. Contemplative Hymn Tune Preludes. Flammer HF-5103 [1980] (E-M).
  • Hobby, Robert A. Six Preludes for the Church Year. Morningstar MSM-10-716 [1996] (E-M).
  • Parry, Hubert. Seven Chorale Preludes, set 1. Novello 13684 [1940] (M).

6. The suggestion for the organ postlude, UPP, MIN TUNGA ("Praise the Savior Now and Ever"), is an excerpt from an organ partita.


  • Haan, Raymond H. Four Hymns of Rejoicing. Morningstar MSM-10-518 [1998] (E-M).

Liturgy Notes:

1. As we have mentioned before, you may relocate the Children's Moment to wherever it is best placed for the subject you will be talking about. If you leave it in this location, it will be convenient to talk about something relating to coming to worship, why we do it, what we do, why we sing, how and why we will confess our sins, etc. It is often wise to use the children's time as instructional in the acts and understanding of worship.

2. The Prayer of Confession today can be structured in several different ways. The worship leader can pray, or a printed prayer of confession can be prayed in unison, or silence may be offered for personal prayers. The "Kyrie" ("Lord, have mercy . . .") may be sung once or multiple times.

3. God's Call to Grateful Obedience here includes the Ten Commandments and a formulation of our response of dedication. This formulation is found in the Psalter Hymnal, page 1017, or The Worship Sourcebook, page 132.

4. The Litany of Profession includes the instructional statements of the Heidelberg Catechism and makes them our affirmation of faith. This is placed after the sermon as our expression of faith and understanding after having been instructed by the Word of God.