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Knowing the Power of His Resurrection - Ephesians 1

A service plan from the Apostles' Creed focused on the physical resurrection of Christ from the dead in a series on the Apostles' Creed as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service
The Apostles' Creed

Theme of the Service

We have progressed to the article of the Apostles' Creed that affirms our belief in the resurrection of Christ on the third day. The theme of this service is, therefore, the physical resurrection of Christ.

The purpose of the service is to meaningfully show, as the Catechism teaches, that this is far more than doctrine and historical fact, but has far-reaching benefits for all who believe. The purposeful aim, therefore, is to draw the worshiper into an experience of the power of God that is ours through the resurrection of Christ.


Prelude: "At the Name of Jesus" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
or "You Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim"

The Call to Worship
Let us come to worship God, proclaiming with the angels that "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise." (Rev. 5:12)

Opening Prayer
We give you thanks, great God,
for the hope we have in Jesus,
who died but is risen and rules over all.
We praise you for his presence with us.
Because he lives, we look for eternal life,
knowing that nothing past, present, or yet to come
can separate us from your great love
made known in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (The Worship Sourcebook, N.1.44.1, p. 630)

*Song of Gathering: "At the Name of Jesus" (st. 1-4) PH 148, PsH 467, RL 336, RN 279, TH 163, TWC 266, UMH 168 [see<href="#music" >music notes]
or "You Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim" (st. 1-2) PH 477, PsH 477, TWC 103, UMH 181

*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: "At the Name of Jesus" (st. 5-6) [see <href="#music" >music notes]
or "You Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim" (st. 3-4)


The Call to Confession

Our Confession of Sin
If, at times, we deny you, God forgive.
When the risks of discipleship are high,
and we are nowhere to be found:
God forgive.
When we wash our hands of responsibility:
God forgive.
When we cast our lot with powerful oppressors
and seek to buy freedom with silver:
God forgive.
When fear keeps us from witnessing to your truth,
or prejudice keeps us from believing it:
God forgive.
In the bright light of Easter morning, O God,
our sin is exposed
and your grace is revealed.
Tender God,
raise us in your love so that, with joy,
we may witness to your awesome deeds,
in the name of Jesus, the risen one. Amen.
(The Worship Sourcebook, N.2.2.2, p. 637)

Our Assurance of God's Pardon
For your assurance this morning, please hear and receive the words the risen Jesus Christ
extended to his disciples after he was raised. As he showed them his hands and side, he said,
"Peace be with you." (John 20:19)

Anthem: "Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace," Matthews [see <href="#music" >music notes]


The Children's Moment

*Song of Preparation: "Since Our Great High Priest, Christ Jesus" PsH 230
or "Before the Throne of God Above" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Prayer for Illumination
God of life,
your Spirit raised Jesus from the dead.
Your Spirit inspired the prophets and writers of Scripture.
Your Spirit draws us to Christ
and helps us to acknowledge him as Lord.
We ask that you will send your Spirit now
to give us deeper insight, encouragement, faith, and hope
through the proclamation of the Easter gospel. Amen. (The Worship Sourcebook, N.3.1.1, p. 639)

Instruction from the Catechism
How does Christ's resurrection
benefit us?

First, by his resurrection he has overcome death,
so that he might make us share in the righteousness
he won for us by his death.
Second, by his power we too
are already now resurrected to a new life.
Third, Christ's resurrection
is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.
(The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 17)

The Reading of Ephesians 1:15-23
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The Reading of Philippians 3:7-11
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: "Knowing the Power of His Resurrection" (The Apostles' Creed - #7)
Text: Ephesians 1:18-20; Philippians 3:10

The Applicatory Prayer


Anthem: "He Has the Power," Roberts [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*Song of Celebration: "He Is Lord" PsH 633, RN 29, SNC 160, SFL 178, TWC 97, UMH 177

The Prayers of the People

The Offertory
The Offering of Music: "Halle, Halle, Hallelujah" or "He Is Lord" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
The Offering of our Gifts for . . .


*The Sending and Blessing
As Christ burst forth from the tomb,
may new life burst forth from us
and show itself in acts of love and healing to a hurting world.

And may that same Christ, who lives forever
and is the source of our new life,
keep your hearts rejoicing and grant you peace
this day and always. Amen!

*Song: "Halle, Halle, Hallelujah" (st. 3-4) RN 139, SNC 44, WOV 612

Postlude: "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

1. In this message you will likely experience the same ambivalence as in previous weeks. The subject matter seems to beg for a certain season for its consideration. Though this is an Easter message, it is as important on every other Sunday of the year as on Easter Sunday. This message is what all Sundays are about!

2. The dominant idea of both texts for this message is power. In Ephesians, Paul points to the power of God that raised Christ from the dead and "seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 1:19-20). In Philippians, Paul testifies that he wants to "know Christ and the power of his resurrection" (Phil. 3:10). These are familiar terms in our world. We are fascinated with power of all kinds today, sometimes deeply desiring it and sometimes terrified by it. But these passages are talking about God's power, not the human exercise of power. Though there are many displays of God's power throughout the Scriptures (in creation, in providence, in delivering Israel, in the miracles of Jesus, etc.) none of those matches the display on Easter when Jesus was raised, and in the subsequent exaltation of Christ to God's right hand.

3. But in these passages Paul goes the next step and wants us also to experience and appropriate this power. In both the Ephesians text and Philippians text he refers to our personal experience of it. He is not speaking of intellectually grasping it, but of personally experiencing it. Bring the message into our experience and ask how and in what way that can happen.

4. Lord's Day 17 of the Heidelberg Catechism aids us and teaches us how the experience of that power will occur. We experience that power when (1) we are reconciled to God and share in the righteousness he earned for us, (2) when we live the new (resurrected) life, and (3) as we anticipate our own personal resurrection.

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 based on the hymn tunes KING'S WESTON and HANOVER can be found in the following resources:

KING'S WESTON ["At the Name of Jesus"]

  • Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 3. Morningstar MSM-10-753 [1990] (M).
  • Johnson, David N. Easy Trios. Augsburg 11-9291 [1969] (E-M).
  • Powell, Robert J. Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart. Augsburg 11-10478 [1994] (E-M).
  • Schaffner, John Hebden. Organ Music for the Seasons, vol. 2. Augsburg 11-11010 [1999] (E-M).
  • Stearns, Peter Pindar. Twelve Hymn Preludes for General Use. Flammer HF-5145 [1987] (E-M).


  • Gramann, Fred. Fantasy on "King's Weston." Agape 1671 [1994] (3-6 octaves, D).

HANOVER ["You Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim"]

  • Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 1. AMSI OR1 [1980] (E-M).
  • Haan, Raymond H. Festival Hymn Preludes. SMP KK329 [1985] (E-M).
  • Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year, vol. 6. Peters 6406 [1966] (E-M).
  • Thiman, Eric H. Four Chorale Improvisations. Novello (Original Compositions No. 147) [1933] (M).
  • Young, Gordon. Chorale Preludes on Seven Hymn Tunes. Flammer HF-5002 [1960] (E-M).

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

KING'S WESTON ["At the Name of Jesus"]
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].

HANOVER ["You Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim"]
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Busarow, Donald. Thirty More Accompaniments for Hymns in Canon. Augsburg 11-10163 [1992].
  • Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H.W. Grey GB 644 [1978].
  • Thiman, Eric. Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Oxford ISBN 0 19 323210 3 [1937].

3. The anthem based on Isaiah 26:3 is a classic church choir anthem. While the formulation of the anthem text is dated, the music is still worthy of being sung. This SATB setting was composed by H. Alexander Matthews and published by Presser 312-20502 [1925] (E-M).

4. "Before the Throne of God Above" is a contemporary styled song by Charitie L. Bancroft and Vikki Cook that sings very well congregationally. The text fits well with the theme of the service; this music is published by PDI Praise [1997].

5. The SATB anthem "He Has the Power" by Leon Roberts is published by GIA G-2476 [1981].

6. Suggestions for the offertory music, based on "Halle, Halle, Hallelujah" or "He Is Lord," can be found in the following resources:

HALLE, HALLE ["Halle, Halle, Hallelujah"]

  • Behnke, John A. Three Global Songs. Hope 8057 [1999] (E-M).


  • Carter, John. Contemporary Hymns & Songs for Piano/4 Hands. Hope 8087 [2000] (E-M).

HE IS LORD ["He Is Lord"]

  • Bock, Fred. Organ Praise and Worship. Fred Bock BG0923 [1993] (E-M).


  • Hayes, Mark. Lord, Be Glorified. Word 301 0047 312 [1990] (M).

7. The suggestion for the organ postlude, CORONATION ("All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name"), can be found in the following resources:

CORONATION ["All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name"]

  • Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 1. AMSI OR1 [1980] (E-M).
  • Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 2. SMP KK235 [1982] (can be adapted for piano, E-M).
  • Langlais, Jean. Augsburg Organ Library - Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7 [2003] (M).
  • Whitford, Homer. Five Choral Paraphrases, set 2. H.W. Grey GB 355 [1949] (E-M).


  • Hayes, Mark. Lord, Be Glorified, vol. 3. Word 301 0084 315 [1995] (M).
  • Wilson, John F. This Is the Day. Hope 243 [1992] (E-M).

Liturgy Notes:

1. We have included a number of liturgical suggestions from The Worship Sourcebook in this service to aid you in drawing in the spirit and reference of Easter as this service develops. Obviously, you are free to include or exclude these as you feel led for your local situation. How much of it you include in the printed order of service will be determined by your local custom.

2. It would be helpful to use the Children's Moment to retell the story of Easter to them, explaining that your "other message" will also be about that. Children always love to hear the Easter story, and it's a good opportunity to tell them that this story "fits" every Sunday of the year. It would also be an opportunity to explain to them why it is that we always come to church on Sunday, the first day of the week. Help them to name this as "Easter-Day."

3. The three consecutive readings (the Catechism and two Scripture passages) should be handled smoothly with short but meaningful transitions showing the relationship between them. You can introduce the Catechism reading with a suggestion that we let the historic church speak to us about the benefits of Christ's resurrection. Bridge into the Ephesians reading with, "Now listen how deeply Paul desires that the Ephesians grow in that faith." And then as you move to the Philippians passage you could say, "And also listen how he desires that experience in his own life as well." Transitions are highly valuable points to aid understanding.