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In the Lord (Philippians 4)

While realistically aware of the tensions and conflicts that can mar the community of Christ, Paul calls them to stand firm and rise to the joy and peace that Christ intends for his body in the world.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

While realistically aware of the tensions and conflicts that can mar the community of Christ, Paul calls them to stand firm and rise to the joy and peace that Christ intends for his body in the world.


Prelude / Gathering Music:

Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above” [see music notes]
Rejoice, O Pure in Heart

Call to Worship


O Lord Jesus,
You prayed for your disciples that they might be one,
even as you are one with the Father:
draw us to yourself that in common love and obedience to you
we may be united to one another,
in the fellowship of the one Spirit,
that the world may believe that you are Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
(William Temple, The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers 1881-1944)

*Song of Praise:

Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above” [see also HW 66] v. 1-2 or
Rejoice, O Pure in Heart” [see also ELW 873, HW 147] v.1-4

*God’s Greeting

*Sung Response:

Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above” [see also HW 66] v.3-4 or
Rejoice, O Pure in Heart” [see also ELW 873, HW 147] v. 5

Standing Firm

Reading of Philippians 4:1-7

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!



“Kwake Yesu Nasimama/Here on Jesus Christ I will Stand” [see GSW 34] or
My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” [see also HW 125]

Of the Same Mind

Reading of Philippians 4:2-3


Prayers for Healing [see liturgy notes]


Ososo /Come Now, O Prince of Peace” [see also ELW 247], or
Help Us Accept Each Other

Offertory and Offering “Ososo /Come Now, O Prince of Peace” [see also ELW 247]

The Peace of God

Sung Prayer: “Salaam/Peace” [see GSW 45]

Reading of Philippians 4:4-7


Affirmation of Trust: Psalm of the Day, Psalm 91 [see liturgy notes]

Whoever feels at home in the presence of the Most Glorious God
shall be able to pass the night
in the shadow of the Almighty One,
for that person can say to the Lord God,
“My sanctuary! My Place-to-stand! My God in whom I am trusting!”

Song response: “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful

The Lord God shall extricate you from the trap of the Hunter!
God will save you from the sting of Death!
The Lord shall cover you with God’s wings;
under God’s wings you can run to hide.
Do not be afraid of midnight terror
or of sickness that stalks people in the daytime
or of pain that creeps up on one in the twilight
or of crippling disease that strikes while the sun shines;
a thousand may collapse right next to you,
ten thousand may be struck down; but you shall not perish—
God’s truth shall protect you, fence you in,
while letting you see with your own eyes
how the godless are paid in full.

Song response: “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful

You have said, “The Lord God is my sanctuary!”
You have taken the Most Glorious God as your At-home!
Therefore Destruction cannot get you:
disaster shall never enter the door where you are living:
for God Almighty has made you a charge of God’s angels,
ordering them to guard you in all that you do.
They shall hold you up by their hands
so that you do not even stub your foot against a stone,
so that you can walk past roaring lions and poisonous snakes,
so that you can step on and crush the lion and even…
the Dragon!

Song response: “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful

[Then God’s voice itself ends the psalm]

 “Because he or she has held fast to me, I shall save them!
Because she or he knows my name, I shall deliver them!
I will heard each one when that person cries out to me;
I will be with them in the terribly dark days,
free them from the Darkness, and bring them glory!
I will let him and her live peacefully on and on ,
because I shall let them see my salvation!”
(Calvin Seerveld, Voicing God’s Psalms, 2005)

Song response: “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful

Rejoicing in God

Reading of Philippians 4:4

Anthem: “We Will Rejoice,” Roy Hopp [see music notes]

*Sending Prayer:

Go in love,

for love endures forever.

Go in peace,

for it is the gift of God.

Go in safety,

for we cannot go where God is not.

(Earle W. Fike, Jr., Book of Worship, 1964, alt.)

*Song of Faith:

“Always Rejoicing, Ceaselessly Praying” [Dwelling with Philippians p.??? sung to BUNESSAN] or
Benediction/My Friends, May You Grow in Grace

*God’s Parting Blessing with Congregational Amen!

Postlude: “The Rejoicing” G. F. Handel

*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 Prayer for Healing is intended to be a congregational response to the message of this chapter that has just been considered. This prayer should acknowledge the frequently fractured life of the church, confess our failures to be as united in service as God expects, and seek his forgiveness and our reconciliation for the sake of the work of the gospel.
  2. The Psalm of the Day for this service is Psalm 91. The version of it provided here has been translated and published by Calvin Seerveld (Voicing God’s Psalms, Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 2005) and can make the Psalm’s message very effective. We suggest that each section of the Psalm be ended with a sung response by the worshipers.  Please note that since that last section of the Psalm is identified as the voice of God we suggest that you consider a second voice to be reading this section.

Sermon Notes

In the first seven verses of this fourth chapter, Paul provides contrasting views of life in the body of Christ. Feel the dissonant directions as he writes them. First he expresses his love, and calls those who are his beloved, his joy and crown, to stand firm in the Lord. Suddenly, he shifts the scene and needs to deal with conflict and disagreement that has broken out and threatens to disrupt the life and witness of the church. And then turns his attention to the joyfulness, prayerfulness and gratitude that will lead to the peace of God.

How are we to combine these seemingly disjointed themes? Perhaps we cannot. And that is exactly the difficulty faced by all those who live and lead in the Christian church. Every local congregation has multiple faces.

Perhaps you will be able to weave all three of these things together into a sermonic whole.  However, you might be convinced you can do more justice to this section by a three part message separated yet woven together by prayers and songs. We recommend you consider the latter.

In part one, Paul expresses the deep love and hope of a missionary pastor for the community of Christ. “You are my brothers and sisters, my joy and my crown; you are my beloved.  I love you and long for you. And I exhort you to stand firm in the Lord”. There is beauty here, beauty in the deep spiritual bond between a shepherd and flock, a pastor and congregation. Rich is the pastor and rich is the congregation who live with such a bond!

But suddenly the sunshine clouds over because news has arrived of a conflict within this community that threatens its work and witness. He is not referring to conflict or attack from the world. This is conflict within - between co-workers, among people whose names are in the book of life, people who are loyal companions. Idyllic pictures of the church as a community where all live happily in love for one another all the time simply don’t match reality. In the approaching verses he mentions another enemy – worry. The community of faith ought to find worry incompatible with its life of faith, but all too often the two stand side by side. All those in church leadership roles know that so well. Yet these fractures and failures may not continue and others within the body must aid them in reaching agreement again. Rare is the congregation that does not urgently need correction, encouragement, exhortation and prayers to this end.

After dealing with this urgent need, Paul can return to the theme with which he began. Rejoice. He repeats it–rejoice! The passionate pastor calls his congregation to rise above the conflict and above the worry, through a life of gentleness, prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving. And the net result–the peace of God which surpasses all understanding! Healthy is the congregation who can combat their conflict and worry with prayer and thanksgiving. They know peace!

Music Notes

1.      Resources for the prelude and alternative harmonizations for “Sing Praise to God Who Reigns on High” and “Rejoice, O Pure in Heart” can be found in:


  • Organ:
    • Candlyn, T. and Frederick H. Prelude on Mit Freuden Zart. Abingdon APM-148 [1961] (E-M)
    • Ferguson, John. Three Psalm Preludes. Augsburg 11-10823 [1997] (M)
    • Haan, Raymond H. Canonic Variations on With High Delight. Concordia 97-6167 [1992] (E-M)
    • Leavitt, John. Three Hymn Preludes. Concordia 97-5894 [1985] (M)
    • Leavitt, John. With High Delight. Concordia 97-6845 [2000] (E-M)
    • Wolniakowski, Michael. Partita on With High Delight, Let Us Unite. Morningstar MSM-10-416 [1996] (M-D)
  • Handbells:
    • McChesney, Kevin. Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above. AGEHR AG23006 [1993] (2-3 octaves, M)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]


  • 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] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Innes, John. Majesty. Hope 269 [1985] (E-M)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ. vol. 2 CPH 97-6851 [2000]
    • Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]

2.      The offertory  music, based on “O So So / Come Now, O Prince of Peace” and alternative harmonizations of that global song can be found in the following resources:

       O SO SO

  • Piano:
    • Organ, Anne Krentz. Global Piano Reflections for Advent. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7576-2 (E-M)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Burkhardt, Michael  As Though the Whole Creation Cried  vol. 2. Morningstar MSM-10-606 [2009]

3.      The anthem “We Will Rejoice!” by Roy Hopp is published by GIA G-6356 [2004]. It is scored for SATB voices and Children’s Choir.

4.      We are suggesting pairing the text of “Always Rejoicing, Ceaselessly Praying” (Found in Dwelling with Philippians p. ???) with the tune BUNESSAN.

5.      The organ postlude suggestion “The Rejoicing”, by G. F. Handel is part of the Fireworks Suite. It can be found in “The Biggs Book of Organ Music, editor, E. Power Biggs, published by H. W. Grey GB645 [1979].

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)