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Life Revealed (Philippians 2)

A worship service outline on Philippians 2.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

We reveal that the mind of Christ dwells in us, that we have a salvation which we are working out, that God is at work within us, in the manner of our living. We will shine like stars, bringing light to a dark world.


Prelude/Gathering Music: “O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High” 

Call to Worship

*Opening Hymn of Praise: “Fill Thou My Life, O Lord, My God”  [see also HW 142]

*God’s Greeting and Congregational Amen!

*Worshipers Greet One Another

*Song of Worship: “O God, We Kneel Before Your Throne” 

We Are Renewed in God’s Grace

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession:

We do not deserve your love
because we have sinned:
we have decided to love ourselves instead of loving you,
so we plunder your world to satisfy our greed,
and exploit each other to satisfy our lust,
despising anyone who inconveniences us
and fearing anything we do not understand.
Worst of all, we are ungrateful:
we forget your love and your promise.
we murmur and gossip,
we argue and complain like spoiled children
when the world we stubbornly try to re-create in our image
reveals how shallow we truly are.
Forgiving God, have mercy on us.

Assurance of God’s Pardon:

Be assured that: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Grateful Response:

By his resurrection you have reclaimed your creation.
By the power of your Holy Spirit you recover hope, restore joy,
and remind us that you are eternally faithful –
the only God we will ever need.
Please keep reminding us, until we understand:
in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
We have nothing to fear.
Glory to you, amazing God, now and forever. Amen! 

Song of Dedication: “You Who Know the Lord is Gracious

Testimonies of Faith:  [see liturgy notes]

Voice 1:

1 Light, space, zest— that's God!
   So, with him on my side I'm fearless,
      afraid of no one and nothing.

Voice 2:
 2 When vandal hordes ride down
      ready to eat me alive,
   Those bullies and toughs
      fall flat on their faces.  

Voice 3:
 3 When besieged,
      I'm calm as a baby.
   When all hell breaks loose,
      I'm collected and cool.
Voice 1:
 4 I'm asking God for one thing,
      only one thing:
   To live with him in his house
      my whole life long.
   I'll contemplate his beauty;
      I'll study at his feet.
Voice 2:
 5 That's the only quiet, secure place
      in a noisy world,
   The perfect getaway,
      far from the buzz of traffic.
Voice 3:
 6 God holds my head and shoulders
      above all who try to pull me down.
   I'm headed for his place to offer anthems
      that will raise the roof!
   Already I'm singing God-songs;
      I'm making music to God.
Voice 1:
 7-9 Listen, God, I'm calling at the top of my lungs:
      "Be good to me! Answer me!"
   When my heart whispered, "Seek God,"
      my whole being replied,
   "I'm seeking him!"
      Don't hide from me now!
Voice 2:
 9-10 You've always been right there for me;
      don't turn your back on me now.
   Don't throw me out, don't abandon me;
      you've always kept the door open.
   My father and mother walked out and left me,
      but God took me in.
Voice 3:
 11-12 Point me down your highway, God;
      direct me along a well-lighted street;
      show my enemies whose side you're on.
   Don't throw me to the dogs,
      those liars who are out to get me,
      filling the air with their threats.
Three Voices in unison:
 13-14 I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness
      in the exuberant earth.
   Stay with God!
      Take heart. Don't quit.
   I'll say it again:
      Stay with God.   

(Psalm 27, The Message)

God’s Word is Proclaimed

*Hymn of Preparation: “As Sons of the Day and Daughters of Light

Prayer for Illumination

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-16
Epistle Reading: Philippians 2:14-18

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God! 

Sermon: Life Revealed

Prayer of Application:

O Lord, take our minds and think through them;
take our lips and speak through them;
take our lives and live out your life;
take our hearts and set them on fire with love for thee;
and guide us ever by thy Holy Spirit,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Prayer at Eventide, William H.M.H. Aitken)

We Respond to God’s Word

*Song of Dedication:
Take My Life” [see also ELW 583, ELW 685, HW 158] or
Take My Life That It May Be

*Corporate Affirmation:

In our world,
where many journey alone,
nameless in the bustling crowed,
Satan and his evil forces
seek whom they may scatter and isolate:
but God, by his gracious choosing in Christ,
gathers a new community –
those who by God’s gift
put their trust in Christ.
In the new community
all are welcome;
the homeless come home,
the broken find healing,
the sinner makes a new start;
the despised are esteemed,
the least are honored,
and the last are first.
Here the Spirit guides
and grace abounds.
(“Our World Belongs to God”, art. 34) 

Song of Intercession: “Healer of Our Every Ill” [see liturgy notes] [see also ELW 612]

Prayers of the People

Offertory and Offering:

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” [see music notes] [see also CSW 14, ELW 815] or
Healer of Our Every Ill” [see also ELW 612]

We Are Dismissed to Live Out Our Faith

*Song of Commitment:

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” [see also CSW 14, ELW 815] or
O Christians, Haste[see music notes] [see also ELW 668]

*God’s Parting Blessing and Congregational Amen!

Postlude: “O Christians, Haste” [see music notes] [see also ELW 668]

*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.      Our Testimonies of Faith provides a time to verbalize the expressions from the Psalmist about the security and joy of knowing that the Lord is our light and salvation. David’s words are so rich. Having three voices read these words will enable us to hear it in a new way. We suggest the three readers be very familiar with the text so they can read with great feeling, standing next to each other on the podium. This paraphrase of Psalm 27 comes from Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Psalm into contemporary language – The Message.

2.      Our response to God’s Word needs to be made in the light of realistic awareness of the brokenness of our society and so several liturgical elements will join together in communicating that realism. The affirmation from “Our World Belongs to God” acknowledges that we are called together as Christ’s body in a very broken world; singing our intercessions with “Healer of Our Every Ill” turns our concerns into a prayer, and we suggest that the worship leader who will lead in the Prayers of the People pay attention to the concerns of each verse of the song and structure the prayer accordingly. It would be possible to conclude the prayer by singing the refrain once more.

Sermon Notes

In this next pericope, Paul becomes more specific about the exhortation he wants to give them. And in doing so, he always deals with them in situ, or in their own situation. He’s not concerned about some sort of ethereal or abstract Christian; he wants down-to-earth, right-there-in-Philippi Christians.

Location is important. It shapes the kind of service and witness that is required of us. Notice how Paul refers to a “crooked and perverse generation.. This was the community which imprisoned Paul and Silas as they arrived (see Acts 16). This was the city where pagan influences were powerful and pervasive. But Philippi is not unique. The same can be said of the cities and the cultures in which we all live. This is a fallen world and the spirit of disobedience is abroad in the land. Paul knew that so well for his world; he encourages us to keep that reality clearly in view as we think of our world. Those of us who pastor, preach, and lead worship must keep the perversity of our culture clearly in mind as we shape the call of the Gospel and the obedience it calls for.

This perversity of the world shapes the metaphors he uses for their role within it. To “shine like stars” represents his understanding of the role they are to fill in their surrounding culture. Does it remind you of other exhortations about serving as the light of the world, Matthew 5:14-16, Ephesians 5:8 and I Thessalonians 5:5,, and a follow up to Christ’s claim that he is the light of the world (John 8:12). To Paul, Christians who are marked by a responsive obedience, who work out their salvation with fear and trembling, and do it all from the purest of motives, not out of murmuring and arguing, will serve as life-and-light-giving forces in a corrupt culture.

Perhaps we may be tempted to feel a bit uncomfortable about Paul’s closing statement in this section. Does it perhaps sound strange for him to be looking for a reason to “boast” at the end of his journey that he did not work and labor in vain? We need not feel uncomfortable about that. Think instead of the desire of every parent to see evidence that their work as parents has been blessed and used by God to train a new generation to follow the Lord faithfully.  And think of the desire of every pastor to see evidence of good fruit being produced  in his congregation so that the blessing of God on such ministry efforts is obvious. Who of us doesn’t look for such reassurance? True, it can too easily turn self-centered. But when properly held, it is the desire to see God’s work legitimately going forward through us. Paul desires to see that evidence, even if he should have to die during this imprisonment – remember this is a prison epistle!  “Even if I am going to be executed…I will rejoice in the fruit I see in your lives!”  That’s a pastor’s passion; a parent’s passion.

Music Notes

1.      Resources for the suggested prelude/gathering music, based on the hymn “O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High” can be found below:


  • Organ:
    • Burkhardt, Michael. Partita on Deo Gracios. Morningstar MSM-10-844 [1992] ( E-M)
    • Gabrielsen, Stephen. Augsburg Organ Library – Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001]
    • Helman, Michael. Five for Autumn. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7671-8 [2004] (E-M)
    • Miller, Aaron David. Augsburg Organ Library – Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001]
    • Roberts, Myron J. Improvisation on the Agincourt Hymn. H. W. Grey GSTC 904 [1964] (D)
    • Willan, Healy. Ten Hymn Preludes. set 2 Peters 6012 [1957] (M)
  • Piano:
    • Chapin, Rachel. Greet the New Morn. Concordia 97-7273 [2008] (E-M)
    • Miller, Aaron David. Hymns in Jazz Style. Augsburg Fortress ISBN-13: 978-080067853-1 [2007] (M)

2.      The Song of Worship “O God, We Kneel Before Your Throne” is found in an anthem written by Roy Hopp and published by GIA G-5944 [2002]. It is set for both congregation and SATB choir with organ and optional brass quintet and timpani. It can also be found in hymn form in SNT 185.

3.      Offertory music suggestions, based on hymns in the response portion of the service can be found in the following resources:


  • Organ:
    • Honoré, Jeffrey. Augsburg Organ Library – Advent. Augsburg 11-11034 [2000]

HOUSTON [“I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”]

  • Organ:
    • Biery, James S. Twentieth Century Hymn Tune Settings. Morningstar MSM 10-863 [1995] (E-M)
    • Osterland, Karl. Lift One Voice. Augsburg 11-11039 [2000] (E-M)
    • Wold, Wayne. L. (1998) Augsburg Organ Library – Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Hamilton, Gregory. As the Grains of Wheat. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7577-0 [2003] (M)
    • Sedio, Mark. Once Led to Your Font. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7785-4 [2005] (M)
  • Handbells:
    • Behnke, John. I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light. Concordia 97-6611 [1996] (3 or 5 octaves, level 2)

4.      Alternative Harmonizations on “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” can be found in:

  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Sedio, Mark/Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. vol. 2 Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]

5.      Suggestions for Postlude Music are as follows:

ANGELIC SONGS/TIDINGS [“O Christians, Haste”]

  • Organ:

o    Sedio, Mark. Augsburg Organ Library – Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (E-M)

o    Sedio, Mark. The Praises of Zion. CPH 97-6728 [1998] (E-M)

  • Handbells:

o    Dobrinski, Cynthia. Tell the Good News. Agape 2211 [2002] (3-5 octaves with opt 2 octaves handchimes, level 3)

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)


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