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Let Scripture Speak - John 10

A service plan for October leading up to Reformation Day focused on the authority of Scripture as a guide for believing and living in a four-week series on truths from the Reformation.

Worship Service
Also in this Series

Reformation Truths

This series of worship services explores the four main teachings of the Protestant Reformers

Theme of the Service

This service is the second of four that focuses on major Reformation Truths. Last week the subject was "God Is Sovereign." This week the subject is the authority of Holy Scripture. In this service we will declare that the Bible is our authoritative guide for believing and living.


Prelude: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" [see music notes]
or: "Psalm 46: God, Our Help and Constant Refuge"

The Call to Worship
God invites us into his strong and healing presence with these words:
"I am the Lord, who heals you."
Diseased, depressed, dysfunctional, defeated,
we come hungering for health that only God can provide.
God calls us to bring open eyes, hearing ears,
and tender hearts turned toward him, the Great Physician.
We bow before him in faith and expectancy! (TWS 1.2.27, based on Exodus 15:26; Isaiah 6:10)

*Song: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" PH 259/260, PsH 469, RL 179, TH 92, TWC 43, UMH 110 [see music notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
People of God, who do you trust?
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: "Psalm 46: God, Our Help and Constant Refuge" SNC 183 [see music notes]
or: "God Is My Rock / El Señor Es Mi Fuerza" PsH 610


The Call to Confession

Our Prayer of Confession [see liturgy notes]

The Assurance of God's Pardon: Isaiah 1:18

Anthem: "Followers of the Lamb," Dietterich [see music notes]

*God's Will for Grateful Living: [see liturgy notes]
You shall have no other gods before me.
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever!
You shall not make for yourself an idol.
In Christ we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God,
for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-
the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Honor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land
the Lord your God is giving you.
Children, obey your parents in everything,
for this pleases the Lord.
You shall not murder.
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
You shall not commit adultery.
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your body.
You shall not steal.
Those who have been stealing must steal no longer,
but must work, doing something useful with their hands,
so that they may have something to share with those in need.
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Instead, speaking the truth in love,
we will in all things grow up into him
who is the Head, that is, Christ.
You shall not covet your neighbor's house
or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (TWS 2.7.16, from Exodus 20)


*Song of Preparation: "Blessed Jesus, At Your Word" PH 454, PsH 280, RL 530, RN 93, SFL 56, TH 303, UMH 596 [seeliturgy notes]
or: "Guide My Feet" Gather Comprehensive 707, PH 354

The Prayer for Illumination
Gracious God,
we do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from your mouth.
Make us hungry for this your Word,
that it may nourish us today
in the ways of eternal life.
Through Jesus Christ, the bread of heaven. Amen (TWS 3.1.13)

The Reading of Scripture: John 10:22-42
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: Let Scripture Speak
Text: John 10:35
Reformation Truths #2

The Prayer of Application


*Song: "Lord, We Hear Your Word with Gladness" SNC 89 [see liturgy notes]

*Our Corporate Profession of Faith:
What is true faith?
True faith is a knowledge and conviction
that everything God reveals in his word is true.
The Bible is the Word of God,
record and tool of his redeeming work.
It is the Word of Truth,
fully reliable in leading us
to know God
and have life in Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells God's mighty acts
in the unfolding of covenant history.
It is one revelation in two Testaments,
which shows a single plan of salvation,
and reveals God's will infallibly.
As God's people hear the Word and do it,
they are equipped for discipleship,
to witness to the good news:
Our world belong to God
and he loves it deeply.
Is God's Word sufficient for you?
We believe that this Holy Scripture contains
the will of God completely
and that everything one must believe to be saved
is sufficiently taught in it. (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 21, Belgic Confession, art.6, Our World Belongs to God, art.35-36)

*Song: "How Firm a Foundation" PH 361, PsH 500, RL 172, TH 94, TWC 612, UMH 529
or: "Thy Word" SNC 86

The Prayers of the People

The Offertory:
The offering of music: "How Firm a Foundation" [see music notes]
or: "Thy Word"
We offer our gifts for.


*Words of Sending: Colossians 3:15-17

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Song: "God, the Father of Your People" PsH 322

Postlude: "God, the Father of Your People" [see music notes]

*You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes

It might be helpful to establish the setting for this sermon by reminding the listeners that this is "Reformation Month" (if necessary, reviewing the importance of the Protestant Reformation) and reintroducing the series of four messages that focuses on "Reformation Truths." A quick review of the sovereignty of God as explained last week will set the stage for this week's message on the authority of Scripture.

"Back to the Bible" was one of the major cries of the reformers. Where does authority and truth come from? Does it come from natural reason, the traditions of the church, the decisions and statements of church councils and the Pope, or only from the Bible?

The consistent belief of all the Reformers was that ultimate authority comes only from the Word of God, i.e. Holy Scripture. "Don't tell me what natural reason, the traditions of the church, church councils or popes say," they claimed. "Tell me what the Bible says!" Our text, from John 10:35, represents the conviction of Jesus that the Word of God cannot fail and presents truth. To this text, they added others to support and corroborate it: John 7:37-44, John 17:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:19-21. After their careful study of the statements of Scripture, they concluded that Scripture is organic and has produced an infallible source of truth for us.

But they also went another step and insisted that the believer not only profess confidence in the authority of the Bible but also use it to guide thinking and living. 2 Kings 22 tells us the story of how Josiah put the Bible to work. Nehemiah 8-9 and 2 Timothy 3:17 also tell us of another such instance.

This message cries for pastoral application, not the kind that quickly produces guilt in listeners for failing to read their Bible enough, but even more of the kind of positive application which points to our wealth in having the promises and truths of God "made sure." We can find our direction through life. We can rest on promises in our suffering. We can know of the certainty of salvation because God's Word is sure! The challenge is that we must be sufficiently aware of the enemies of God's truth, stand our guard, and be unapologetic in our efforts to understand it properly.

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)

Prelude suggestions and alternate accompaniments for the first two hymns of the service are as follows:

EIN' FESTE BURG ["A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"]

Bach, Johann Christoph. Music for a Celebration, set 4. Morningstar MSM-10-579 [2005] (E-M)
Bender, Jan. Festival Preludes on Six Chorales. Concordia 97-4608 [1963] (M)
Bish, Diane. The Diane Bish Organ Book, vol. 1. Fred Bock B-G0548 [1980] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 1. AMSI OR1 [1980] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Hymn Preludes for the Autumn Festivals. Concordia 97-5360 [1976] ( E-M)
Helman, Michael. Five for Autumn. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7671-8 [2004] (E-M)
Hobby, Robert A. For All the Saints. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7537-1 [2002] (E-M)
Johnson, David N. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Augsburg 11-822 [1965] ( M-D)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 2. SMP KK235 [1982] (adaptable for piano; E-M)
Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (M)
Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm. Music for a Celebration. Set 4 Morningstar MSM-10-579 [2005]
Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm. Twenty-one Chorale Preludes. Augsburg 11-9506 [1967] (E-M)
Walcha, H. Chorale Preludes, bk. 1. Peters 4850 ( M)
Whitford, Homer. Five Choral Paraphrases, set 1. H. W. Grey [1941] (E-M)
Young, Gordon. Organ Album. SMP KK 280 [1983] (E-M)
Young, Gordon. Seven Hymn Voluntaries. Presser 413-41118-21 [1965] (E-M)

Gerig, Reginald. Piano Preludes on Hymns and Chorales. Hope 251 [1959] (M)
Wilhelmi, Teresa. Hymns.Light Jazz Style. Word 301 0136 315 [1997] (M)

Tucker, Margaret. Variations on "A Mighty Fortress". Morningstar MSM-30-800 [1987]
(3-5 octaves, M-D)
Wagner, Douglas E. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Agape 1256 [1986] (3-4 octaves, E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Busarow, Donald. Thirty More Accompaniments for Hymns in Canon. Augsburg 11-10163
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH97-6851 [2000]
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 2. Ludwig O-07 [1983]
Wood, Dale. New Settings of Twenty Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9292 [1968]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Organ, Anne Krentz. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

MICHAEL ["Psalm 46: God, Our Rock and Constant Refuge"]

Burkhardt, Michael. All My Hope on God Is Founded. Morningstar MSM-10-734 [2001] (E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]

The anthem "Followers of the Lamb" by Philip Dietterich is arranged for unaccompanied SATB voices with optional tambourine part. It is published by Agape AG-7223 [1977] (M).

Suggestions for offertory music, based on the preceding hymn response in the service, can be found in the following resources:

FOUNDATION ["How Firm a Foundation"]

Bish, Diane. The Diane Bish Organ Book, vol. 4. Fred Bock B-G0776 [1985] (M-D)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 9. AMSI SP-106 [1992] (E-M)
Goode, Jack. Seven Communion Meditations. Flammer HF-5084 [1976] (E-M)
Haan, Raymond H. Four Hymns of Rejoicing. Morningstar MSM-10-518 [1998] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Seven Settings of American Folk Hymns. Concordia 97-5829 [1984] (E)
Kosche, Kenneth. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 2. Concordia 97-7015 [2003] (E)
Linker, Janet. Variations on "How Firm A Foundation". Concordia 97-6586 [1996] (M)
Murphree, Claude. Toccata on How Firm a Foundation. H. W. Grey GSTC 813 [1955] (M)

David, Anne Marie. Here I Am, Lord. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7566-5 [2002] (M)
Medema, Ken. Sanctuary. Genevox 4181-16 [1989] (M)

Choral Resource:
Rutter, John. How Firm A Foundation. Hinshaw HMC-667 [1983] (SATB with organ; E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980]
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Wellman, Samuel. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]


Carter, John. Today's Hymns and Songs for Piano. Hope 244 [1995] (E-M)
Hayes, Mark. Lord Be Glorified. Word 301 0047 312 [1990] (M)

Suggestions for postlude, based on the closing hymn of the service, can be found in:

HOLY MANNA ["God, the Father of Your People"]

Cherwien, David. Augsburg Organ Library - Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7
2003] (M)
Cherwien, David. Groundings. Augsburg 11-11119 [2001] (M)
Haan, Raymond H. O Worship the King. Broadman 4570-42 [1979] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Preludes and Postludes, vol. 1. Augsburg 11-9318 [1972] (E-M)
Wood, Dale. Wood Works, bk. 2. SMP KK400 [1989] (E-M)

Carter, John. Folk Hymns for Piano. Hope 240 [1987] (E-M)
Carter, John. Hymns for Piano II. Hope 8197 [2003] (M)

Liturgy Notes:

1. Because the theme of this service is our allegiance to the Word of God, we suggest that the service of renewal include that we have often failed to give God's Word the right to guide us, that we have refused to listen to it, and that we often have deliberately turned in another direction even when we have heard it. These thoughts should form the prayer of confession.

2. God's Will for Grateful Living is similar to the one included last week, a combination of Exodus 20 and other parallel passages of Scripture that have the authority to direct how our life of gratitude is to be structured.

3. Notice how two songs, "Blessed Jesus, at Your Word" and "Lord, We Hear Your Word with Gladness," have been carefully placed in prominent locations in the liturgy. A brief moment to point worshipers to the words of these songs would help singing be more thoughtful. In both songs, we are positioning ourselves before the authority of God's Word, aiming to respond with obedience and praise.

4. Our Corporate Profession of Faith combines words from the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and Our World Belongs to God. Each of these three directly addresses our conviction of the authority of God's Word. When the three are put together this way, we have a meaningful combination of our convictions about the Word and our intentions to obey it.
To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission.