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Paul's Humanity (Philippians 2)

A worship service outline based on Philippians 2: 19-30 focusing on the importance of being one body in Christ.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

While there were times when Paul worked alone, he constantly reinforces the idea that the body of Christ is a community. He needs others in his ministry, and he wants others to desire the same. In the body of Christ we both need and value each other.


Prelude/Gathering Music:

Built on the Rock” [see music notes] [see also ELW 652, HW 135]
We Have Come to Join in Worship

Introit: “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place,” Allen Pote
[see music notes]

Call to Worship

*Opening Song: “We Have Come to Join in Worship

*God’s Greeting with Congregational Amen!

*We Greet One Another

*Song of Faith: “Built on the Rock” [see also ELW 652, HW 135]

A Call to Remember Our Baptisms [see liturgy notes]


Renunciations and Affirmations

Prayers of the People

Charge and Blessing

Sung Response: “Take, O Take Me As I Am” [see also ELW 814]

Offertory: “Baptized in Water” [see music notes]

God Speaks to Us through His Word

Sung Prayer for Illumination: “Speak, O Lord” [CSW 17]

Gospel Reading: Matthew 4:18-22 [see liturgy notes]

Epistle Reading: Philippians 2:19-30

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: Paul’s Humanity

Prayer of Application

We Respond to God’s Word

*Song of Commitment: “We Are Call to Be God’s People

*Profession of the Church’s Faith:

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!

2My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

3Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.

4Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.

5Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

6As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

7They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

8O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!

9Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.

10For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.

11For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.

12O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.     

[Psalm 84 NRSV]

Prayers of the People [see liturgy notes]

We Leave to Live as the Body of Christ

*Song of Commitment: “Friends in Faith

*Words of Sending [see liturgy notes]

*God’s Parting Blessing with Congregational Amen!


Friends in Faith[see music notes] or
We Are Called to Be God’s People

*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.      We suggest that “Remembering Our Baptisms” would be an excellent way to lead others in their renewal in God’s grace. Too quickly we lose sight of our baptism and its implications. The remembrance of our baptism (see SNC 240 as a guide) is best if it includes several elements—a verbal encouragement to think back to the day of their baptism, the presence of water to see and hear, a reaffirmation of our baptismal vows, and words that encourage our faithfulness.

2.      The Scripture reading from Matthew 4 is included in this service as a companion to the reading from Philippians 2 since it shows the value Jesus placed on relationships with others such as his disciples who would join him in ministry, give him encouragement, and could be mentored by him. You may want to note this so all worshipers catch the connection between these two passages.

3.      The Prayers of the People will be most meaningful in this service of worship is those prayers focus on the relationships within the body of Christ. Give thanks for those who work with us, encourage us, and grow with us. Intercede for God’s blessing on all who partner with us and make it a prayer that values the community of the Body of Christ.

4.      It would be very appropriate to end this service with words of sending that come from Paul in other epistles such as I Corinthians 12:27-31, Ephesians 4:1-6, or Colossians 3:12-17, or other similar passages.

Sermon Notes

This passage provides a unique opportunity to glimpse into the human heart of Paul in a way few others do. We think of Paul preaching powerfully, establishing churches, writing epistles, and enduring persecution and hardship. But here is a Paul who needs and warmly values personal relationships. Paul, who can write so stirringly about such big things like the gospel of grace, the sovereignty of God, electing grace, the final consummation, and many other mighty themes, is also the Paul who can love friends, experience a deep bond with them, value their companionship, worry about them when they are sick, and miss them so very much when they are gone. Here is the human Paul! In one chapter of his life the Pharisees were his closest associates and he persecuted believers for them; in another chapter he spent much time alone in transitioning into his new role after meeting on the Damascus Road and the church found it hard to accept him at first; and now we see him in deep relationships of ministry with  others.

When we read and study this section well, we will also recall the deep bond of love between David and Jonathon; between Jesus and his friends Peter, James, and John; his comfort at home with Mary, Martha and Lazarus; and Paul’s deep pathos in the letter he wrote to Philemon about his beloved friend Onesimus. And we’ll also better understand passages like the sixteenth chapter of Romans when it seems strange that the inspired Word spends a whole chapter bringing greetings from a lot of people we don’t even know. Warm, trusting, loving relationships run through all these passages and stories. We can’t live without others.  We can’t serve well without others. And the church can’t function well without community. Paul drew strength from such relationships, but he also used them as an opportunity to mentor others in their spiritual growth.

We all know how precious emails or phone calls can be from valued loves ones who are away. In our times of sickness we know how much we value those who care for us. I’ve even noticed, in reading Obituary notices, how often a special word of thanks is expressed for a nurse who cared particularly well in one’s closing days.

Well, here is Paul in prison, giving us reflections on how valued Timothy and Epaphroditus were both to him and to them. Notice the phrases that are used about Timothy – “I have no one like him…like a son with a father he has served me….”  Remember that when Paul addressed this letter he included Timothy as one with him.  Throughout Paul’s letters we hear that Timothy was his constant companions, instructed by Paul, considered his child in the Lord, a special deputy and fellow-worker, a minister of the gospel, and often sent on missions by and for Paul.

And about Epaphroditus we hear words like this – “brother, co-worker and fellow-soldier…he had been longing for all of you….” We know less about Epaphroditus than Timothy, but he was clearly a spiritual leader in Philippi, had been sent to bring gifts and care to Paul while in Prison, had become dangerously ill and both Paul and the Philippians had been alarmed about his condition, and now he desires to return home and Paul encourages them to give him a very warm welcome.

The Church may be built by the Gospel, but it becomes healthy through vibrant relationships!

Music Notes

1.      Suggestions for prelude and alternative harmonizations for the opening hymns of the service can be found in the following resources:

KIRKEN [“Built on the Rock”]

  • Organ:
    • Childs, Edwin T. Organ Music for the Seasons. vol. 3 AugsburgFortress ISBN 0-8006-7564-9 [2003] (M)
    • Culli, Benjamin M. Heavenly Father, King Almighty. Concordia 97-7155 [2006] (E-M)
    • Culli, Benjamin M. Musica Sacra: Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ. vol. 5 Concordia 97-7193 [2006] (E)
    • Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise. Set 2 Morningstar MSM-10-757 [1994] (M)
    • Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations. Set 8 Concordia 97-5342 [1979] (M)
    • Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year. vol. 10 Peters 6410 [1966] (M)
  • Piano:
    • Miller, Aaron David. Chorale Preludes for Piano in Traditional Styles. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-7903-3 [2008] (M)
    • Raabe, Nancy M. Grace and Peace. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7760-9 [2005] (M; jazz influence)
  • Handbells:
    • Helman, Michael. Built on A Rock. Alfred 19006 [2000] (3-5 octaves, level 3)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Johnson, David N. Free Harmonizations of Twelve Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9190 [1964]
    • Wood, Dale. New Settings of Twenty Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9292 [1968]

HOLY MANNA [“We Have Come to Join in Worship”]

  • Organ:
    • Cherwien, David. (2003) Augsburg Organ Library – Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7 [2003] (E-M)
    • Cherwien, David. Groundings. Augsburg 11-11119 [2001] (E-M)
    • Cherwien, David. Interpretations. bk. 9 AMSI SP-106 [1992] (E-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)
  • Piano:
    • Bottomley, Greg. Piano Sunday Morning. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-6384-1 [2009] (M)
    • Carter, John. Contemplative Folk Tunes for Piano. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-5977-5 [2001] (E-M)
    • Carter, John. Hymns for Piano II. Hope 8197 [2003] (M)
    • Larkin, Michael. Simple Gifts Piano Meditations on American Hymn Tunes and Spirituals. Morningstar MSM-15-836 [2006] (E-M)
    • Miller, Aaron David. Chorale Preludes for Piano in Traditional Styles. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-7903-3  [2008] (M)
    • Organ, Anne Krentz. Reflections on Hymn Tunes for Holy Communion, vol. 2. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-7909-5 [2008] (M)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980]
    • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ. bk. 5 Ludwig O-14 [1992]
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]
    • Organ, Anne Krentz. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

2.      The Introit anthem “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling” by Allen Pote is a setting of Psalm 84 that is published by GIA G-5945 [2002]. It is scored for SATB voices, keyboard and flute.

3.      The offertory music serves also to close the renewal of baptism section of the service. Suggestions for the offertory music “Baptized in Water” can be found in the following resources:


  • Organ:
    • Behnke, John. Praise and Thanksgiving. CPH 97-7014 [2003] (E-M)
    • Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving. set 4 Morningstar MSM-10-754 [1991] (M-D)
    • Callahan, Charles. Thanksgiving Suite. Morningstar MSM-10-600 [1988] (E-M)
    • Christiansen, David. O Christ Victorius. Concordia 97-7259 [2007]  (E-M)
    • Miller, Aaron David. Eight Chorale Preludes. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7756-0 [2005] (for manuals only – easier with some pedal;  E-M)
    • Powell, Robert J. Organ Tunes from the British Isles. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-7874-6 [2007] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Davenport, Rudy. Morning Has Broken. Morningstar MSM-15-833 [2005]  (E-M)
    • Raney, Joel. Meditations for Quiet Worship. Hope 8320 [2007] (E-M; contemporary pop style)
    • Sanborn, Jan. Piano Music for the Care of the Soul. Ron Harris RHP0403 [1997] (M)
    • Shackley, Larry. Celtic Hymn Settings for Piano. Hope 8117 [2001] (E-M)
    • Wilhelmi, Teresa. Hymns…Light Jazz Style. Word 301 0136 315 [1997] (E-M)
  • Handbells:
    • Page, Anna Laura. Morning Has Broken. Jeffers JH S9190 [1996] (3-5 octaves, level 3)

4.      Suggestions for postlude music, based on the closing hymns of the service can be found in the following resources:

RESTORATION/ARISE [“Friends in Faith”]

  • Organ:
    • Dahl, David P. Hymn Interpretations. Augsburg 11-10972 [1999] (E-M)
    • Held, Wilbur. Preludes and Postludes. vol. 1 Augsburg 11-9318 [1972] (E-M)
    • Linker, Janet. Sunday Morning Suite. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7560-6 [2002] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Bottomley, Greg. Piano Sunday Morning. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-6384-1 [2009] (M)
    • Carter, John. Folk Hymns for Piano. Hope 240 [1987] (E-M)

AUSTRIA/AUSTRIAN HYMN [“We Are Called to be God’s People”]

  • Organ:
    • Jordan, Alice. A Season and a Time. Broadman 4570-37 [1977] (E-M)
    • Paine, John Knowles. The Complete Organ Works of John Knowles Paine. (ed. Leupold) McAfee [1916] (D)
    • Purvis, Richard. Seven Chorale Preludes. Fischer 0 3450 [1949] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Bottomley, Greg. Piano Sunday Morning. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-6384-1 [2009] (M)
    • Gerig, Reginald. Piano Preludes on Hymns and Chorales. Hope 251 [1959] (M)

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)