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Jesus, the Great High Priest - Sunday Worship

The first Sunday service plan in a series on Hebrews, focusing on Jesus Christ as the Great High Priest who mediates the New Covenant.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

The first service of this series focuses on Jesus Christ as the Great High Priest who mediates the New Covenant. Although this is a broad theme which focuses on both Christ's act of salvation through his suffering on the cross and his ongoing mediation, it is the main theme that runs through the whole book of Hebrews. Here are some selections from Hebrews which serve as key texts for these themes:

Christ as the Great High Priest
Hebrews 1:3
Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Hebrews 10:19-25

Christ as the Mediator of a New Covenant
Hebrews 8:6-7
Hebrews 9:11-15
Hebrews 12:24
Hebrews 13:20-21

* * * *

God's Greeting from Revelation 1:4-5
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Hymn: "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" PH 376, PsH 568, RN 196, RL 464, TH 529, TWC 558, UMH 384

The Call to Confession: Hebrews 10:19-22
"Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon: Romans 5:1-2
"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God."

Sung Response of Gratitude: "And Can It Be" PsH 267, RL 451, RN 193, TH 455, TWC 473, UMH 363

God's Will for Our Lives: Hebrews 10:23-25

"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Our Statement of Faith: Belgic Confession Article 21 (at least the first paragraph "high priest forever") and/or Article 26 ("Mediator and Intercessor" --note how many footnotes refer to Hebrews)

Hymn: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" PH 403, PsH 579, RL 507, SFL 52, TH 629, TWC 622

Pastoral Prayer and Prayer for Illumination

Scripture: Hebrews 4:14-5:10


Hymn of Response (Depending on the focus of sermon, choose one of the following songs.):
"Before the Throne of God Above" (available on CCLI website, with license)
"Since Our Great High Priest Christ Jesus" PsH 230
"In Christ Alone" (copyright 2002 Thankyou Music, available through CCLI)
"What Wondrous Love Is This" PH 85, PsH 379, RN 277, SFL 169, TH 261, TWC 212, UMH 292


Hymn: "Alleluia, Sing to Jesus" PsH 406

The Blessing: Hebrews 13:20-21
"Now may the God of peace,
who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great shepherd of the sheep,
by the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will,
working among us that which is pleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."

Sermon Notes

For the sermon, we suggest that you develop the idea of Christ's High Priesthood, noting that he is given that description in Hebrews 4:14. From Hebrews 5:1-10, you can explain that this is a divinely given role as High Priest-not something he took on himself (5:4,5) but a role to which he was called by God (5:4-6) and for which he was qualified by his obedience (5:7-10). After having explained the foundation of his priesthood, you can return to chapter 4 and show the resulting benefit of it: We can hold firmly to the faith we profess and approach the throne of grace with confidence (4:14-16).

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)

If you prefer a theme song or hymn that can be a constant for the entire series, we suggest two possibilities:
"Since Our Great High Priest Christ Jesus" (PsH 230)
"Before the Throne of God Above" (available on CCLI website, with license)

Additional songs and hymns that fit well with this service:
"Amazing Grace" PH 280, PsH 462, RL 456, RN 189, SFL 209, TH 460 TWC 502, UMH 378
"By the Sea of Crystal " PsH 620, TH 549
"Hail the Day" PsH 409, RL 331, TH 290, TWC 258, UMH 312
"How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" PsH 487, RL 364, TH 647
"My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less" TWC 517
"Now Behold the Lamb" SNC 144
"O For a Thousand Tongues" PH 466, PsH 501, RL 362/363, RN 32, SFL 19, TH 164, TWC 130 UMH 57
"Prince of Peace" (copyright 1994 by Marc Imboden, available through CCLI)
"Savior Like a Shepherd" PH 387, PsH 591, TH 599, TWC 522, UMH 381
"When Peace Like a River" PsH 489, TH 691, TWC 519 UMH 377

Liturgy Notes

Often in a series of services it is helpful for certain parts of the service to remain the same throughout the series. In this series the greeting, the service of confession, and the benediction could remain the same.