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Planks and Specs - Luke 6

A service plan in an Epiphany series in preparation for Lent focused on forgiving others, recognizing our own faults, and building up the body of Christ.

Worship Service
Also in this Series

Gems for Christ

In this series we explore Jesus' teaching ministry and receive his instructions for living as disciples.

Theme of the Service

This service of worship is built around another "Gem" from the teaching ministry of Christ. Jesus is concerned about how easily relationships among believers are fractured because we are blind to our own faults yet quick to criticize the faults of others. This service of worship, therefore, aims to help us listen to the Lord on the matter, honestly examine our relationships with others, own our faults, and learn more charitable ways to deal with the faults of others. In songs, prayers, and professions we speak about the life of the body of Christ and aim for greater health in the church.


Prelude: "I Was Glad They Came to Call Me", Stoldt [organ], J.S.Bach [organ, instrument and organ, or piano]

(See "music notes" at the end of this service for information on where this music and other suggested music for this service may be found.)

*The Call to Worship and God's Greeting:

How good and pleasant it is when all of us live together in unity.
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron's beard,
down on the collar of his robes.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
Come, let us worship the Lord as his children!
We come as children of the Lord.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

*The Worshipers Greet Each Other

*Song: "I Was Glad They Came to Call Me" PsH 122, or

"Psalm 122: I Rejoiced When I Heard Them Say" RN 117, SNC 7


The Call to Confession

Our Sung Prayer of Confession: "Lord, I Pray" PsH 268, SFL 37

The Assurance of God's Pardon - 1 John 2:1,2

God's Call to Grateful Living - Ephesians 4:29-5:2 and Matthew 22:37-40

*Song of Commitment: "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" PsH 545


The Children's Moment

Scripture Reading: Luke 6:37-45

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The Prayer for Illumination

Sermon: Planks and Specks
(Gems from Christ - #3)
Text - Luke 6:42


The Pastoral Prayer
Sung Prayer: "Lord, I Want to Be a Christian" (vv.2-4) PH 372, PsH 264, RN 145, SFL 40, TH 530, TWC 563
Spoken Prayer

Song: "Help Us Accept Each Other" PH 358 (tune: Baronita), TWC 437 (tune: Beck)

Our Corporate Profession:

The church is a gathering
of forgiven sinners,
called to be holy,
dedicated to service.
Saved by the patient grace of God,
we deal patiently with others.
Knowing our own weaknesses and failures,
we bring the good news to all sinners
with understanding of their condition,
and with hope in God.

We grieve that the church
which shares one Spirit, one faith, one hope,
and spans all time, place, race, and language
has become a broken communion in a broken world.
When we struggle for the purity of the church
and for the righteousness God demands,
we pray for saintly courage.
When our pride or blindness blocks
the unity of God's household,
we seek forgiveness.
We marvel that the Lord gathers the broken pieces
to do his work,
and that he blesses us still
with joy, new members,
and surprising evidences of unity.
We commit ourselves to seeking and expressing
the oneness of all who follow Jesus.
From Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony,
Articles 42, 43, ©1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI,
1-800-333-8300. Used by permission.

Our Offerings:
Our offerings of tithes and gifts for kingdom causes
Our offering of fellowship by signing the Friendship Folder
The offering of music: "They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love", Held [organ]
OR: "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace", Carter [piano, 4 hands]
OR: "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace", Wagner [handbell anthem]


*Song of Commitment: "Father, Help Your People" PsH 607

*The Benediction

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.

Postlude: Trumpet Tune in D Major, Johnson [organ]

* - you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

This aphorism/gem is found in a section of Luke's gospel that includes excerpts from Jesus' sermon on the mount. So the development of this sermon will require that you become familiar with the spirit and intent of the entire sermon on the mount. Be sure to read Matthew, chapters five through seven.

Several considerations beg for attention in this message. Jesus deliberately uses a hyperbole again to make his point more clear. The striking contrast between a plank and a speck must not be missed. But, is he telling us that we may not hold opinions or judgments about others? If not, what kinds of judgments must we reject? What is the hypocrisy that he is condemning? It will be necessary to clarify the distinction between acceptable judgments and unacceptable judgments so that the intent of this text is not compromised.

To make this message pastorally helpful hearers must be able to go away from it with a better understanding of how to be a Christian critic yet able to affirm others and make a valuable contribution to the life of the body. There are behaviors that we must criticize, but there are very damaging and unacceptable ways of doing that. Guidelines will be needed for believers to follow.

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)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Music Level Key: E = Easy, M = Medium, D = Difficult

1. The organ prelude music can be found in Five Hymn Settings by Frank Stoldt, Morningstar
(MSM-10-931 [1988]) (M) and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by J.S. Bach, Marks 114 [1955] (E-M). The instrumental arrangement is published by Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-355267-1[1930]).
The piano prelude music can be found in Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by J.S. Bach, arranged by Myra Hess, Oxford U. Press [1954] (M).
2. The two suggestions for the opening hymn reflect two alternative style settings of Psalm 122.
The first is an example of historic Christian hymnody, the second is a contemporary liturgical folk setting.
3. The organ offertory music can be found in the following: Preludes and Postludes vol. 1
Augsburg (11-9318 [1972]) (E). The piano offertory is a one piano/4 hands arrangement by John Carter in Contemporary Hymns and Songs for Piano, Hope (244 [1995]) (M). The handbell arrangement by Douglas Wagner entitled Make Me a Channel of Your Peace is published by Agape (2064 [1998]) [E].
4. Postlude music can be difficult to select. Where possible, suggestions are made that are
based on the closing hymn. Often transcriptions are not written in a way that is effective for postludes. Think of postlude music as transition music -- from worship to fellowship. Normally suggestions of non-hymn based music will correspond with the "flavor" of the closing hymn and be written in the same key as that hymn - or in a closely related key. This Trumpet Tune in D Major by David Johnson is published by Augsburg (11-805 [1962]) (E-M).

Liturgy Notes:

1. We suggest that the theme of this service be transparent from the very beginning. The Call to Worship raises the matter of relationships at the outset by taking the thoughts of Psalm 133 and formulating them into a responsive litany. The Sung Prayer of Confession raises the corporate voice of the congregation to seek God's grace and Spirit to handle our offenses in a more saintly manner. You will notice that God's Call to Grateful Living addresses this matter also.

2. The Children's Moment is placed before the message so that the leader can explain to the children what the heart of the sermon is. In some churches they will be leaving for their own worship time and will not hear the message. Children are generally able to identify with others who have been hurt by someone who has been inconsiderate and mean to them. Finding and relating a specific instance of such hurt, and then explaining how Jesus would handle it differently, will be helpful for communication with them.

3. If you prefer to include the Scripture Readings from the Common Lectionary for this Sunday, they are as follows:
2 Kings 5:1-14
Psalm 30
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Mark 1:40-45

4. The Pastoral Prayer is placed immediately after the message so that it becomes a time when the worshiping community responds candidly and faithfully to God on the matters that his word has addressed. Notice that we sing the first section of the prayer, and when "Lord, I Want to Be a Christian" is introduced it should be made clear that this is prayer, sung to God. The spoken prayer should include three stages of expression - (1) our thanks for God's mercy, his gracious forgiveness, and his willingness to be so patient with us; (2) our request for wisdom and humility to see ourselves and our weaknesses as He see us, and the ability to recognize when we've been overly judgmental toward others; and finally (3) requests for guidance and direction in our marriages, families, and greater community to establish and nurture relationships that will affirm and encourage each other and always treat each other fairly. The song following the pastoral prayer continues the request for God's help in our relationships.

5. The corporate profession of faith is intended to give the worshiping body an opportunity to express their understanding of who they are, and their commitment to continue in obedience. It is taken from "Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony", written by a Synod-appointed committee of the Christian Reformed Church and included in the Psalter Hymnal on p. 1032. For copyright permission, please contact CRC Publications at (616) 224-0819 or