Puffed Up to Pop - Luke 14, 18

A service plan in an Epiphany series in preparation for Lent based on Luke 14 and 18.

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

Those who seek God in humility can expect to be richly blessed and used. Those who have inflated ideas of their own importance, and who aim to impress God and others, can expect him to resist them. But in God's loving concern for his children, he will often deflate those who are puffed up so they can learn humility and once again travel the path to blessing.

Worship Service

We Gather in Worship

Prelude: "Galliard on 'Gather Us In' ", arr. Biery

Children's Introit: "God of Great and God of Small", Sleeth

The Call to Worship

*Song of Approach: "Gather Us In" SNC 8, WOV 718

*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: "Jesus Is Our King" RN 273, SNC 18

We Hear God's Word

The Reading of Scripture: Luke 14:7-14; 18:9-14

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The Prayer for Illumination

Sermon: Puffed Up to Pop
(Gems from Christ - #2)
Texts - Luke 14:11; 18:14

The Prayer of Application


We Respond to God's Word

Our United Profession:

My heart is not proud, O Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

(Psalm 131)

Responsorial: "Psalm 131: My Soul Is Still", Haas

The Pastoral Prayer

(See Liturgy Notes for prayer suggestions)

"Give Me a Clean Heart" SNC 64
"Spirit of the Living God" PH 322, PsH 424, RN 90, SFL 184, TH 726, TWC 297

The Words of Jesus for Our Obedience
(A responsive reading of the ten commandments from PsH, p. 1013)

Response: "Give Thanks" RN 266, SNC 216, TWC 496

Offertory Prayer

Offertory: "Give Thanks", arr. Wilson


We God Out to Serve God

*The Benediction with Congregational "Amen"

*Song: "Lord, Be Glorified" RN 172, SFL 71, SNC 43, TWC 537

Postlude: Prelude and Fugue in C Major, J.S. Bach

* - you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes

Review the fact that this message is the second in a series of sermons on the aphorisms (Gems) of Christ's teaching ministry. This one has a touch of surprise and humor in it and it would be well to begin with some very humorous illustrations of times when a boasting person is deflated by some quick experience or comment. It happens all the time.

In developing this truth from Jesus, you could set three stories before the hearers - the man who takes a front seat at the banquet and is asked to move to the rear (Luke 14), the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18), and Jesus' rebuke of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-12).

After opening up Jesus' teaching on the matter, you have to make a decision about the direction of the message: either you can focus on God's action in "popping the puffed up", or his effective use of those who are humble. In either case the message should illustrate how God's biggest work is done by those who are willing to be emptied and humble. Christ's incarnation, Mary's service, and the fruits of the Spirit all illustrate this. You will want to find several illustrations of the same in current experience.

Liturgy Notes

  1. The songs and readings have been selected to give worshipers an opportunity to express their understanding that we violate God's presence when we come with pride. Comments that introduce each song should highlight that thought.
  2. The reading of Psalm 131 should be introduced with reference to David and his experiences. He learned humility the hard way.
  3. The reading of the ten commandments is effective when done responsively and includes the New Testament references from the ministry of Jesus.
  4. If you prefer to include the Scripture Readings from the Common Lectionary for this Sunday, they are as follows:
    Isaiah 40:21-31
    Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
    1 Corinthians 9:16-23
    Mark 1:29-39
  5. If you are in need of suggestions and ideas for the Pastoral Prayer, we suggest something like this, either for your use, or to stimulate your creativity in crafting your own prayer:

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have shown your glory in the creation of the entire world. You have shown it in the gift of your Son to be our Savior. And you have shown your glory in the gathering of your church today, of which we are only one part.

We admit, Lord, that as we come into your presence today, we come with a sense of surprise. We find ourselves surprised that you would come and reveal yourself to us, insignificant as we seem to be. We are surprised that you pay such attention to each of us, one by one, with all our ups and downs. We are surprised that you are interested in who we are and what we need to become. And we're surprised that you have sent your only Son to redeem us. And we're even more surprised how patient and longsuffering you can be with all our weaknesses and failures.

We thank you with all our hearts for your gracious attention to us, and we pray that each of us today may know your loving care in our lives.
Include petitions for those who are children and youth
Pray for parents who are struggling with their responsibilities
Pray for the weak, sick, lonely, grieving, discouraged, those who live with chronic needs, etc.
Pray for those who find it hard to believe that God continues to lovingly walk with them.
Pray for those who do not know the Lord, that they may have a seeking heart and may learn the surprise of grace.

We give you thanks and praise for your entrance into our lives, for giving us joy in the surprise of your presence and your grace, and we ask for your help and guidance throughout the coming week.

May your presence give us security, and may your grace always give us hope. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Music Notes

  1. The prelude music can be found in "Twentieth Century Hymn Tune Settings Set 1" by James Biery, published by Morningstar (MSM-10-863 [1995]) (M). This arrangement of Marty Haugen's hymn is scored for organ with optional trumpet.
  2. The introit, written for unison voices, is published by Carl Fischer (CM-7808 [1973]) (E).
  3. The responsorial on Psalm 131 works well with either a choir or smaller ensemble singing the verses and the congregation responding with the refrain. The spirit of this song leads well into the pastoral prayer. It was written by David Haas and published by GIA in "Gather Comprehensive" (Leader's Edition).
  4. The two songs following the pastoral prayer are actually an extension of the prayer. They work well together - you may wish to have the congregation sing them at the conclusion of the prayer without any verbal introduction.
  5. The offertory music is a handbell arrangement by John F. Wilson for 3-5 octaves of handbells published by Agape (1771 [1995]) (E-M).
  6. The postlude can be found in many different editions of Bach's music. Normally considered one of the "little" preludes and fugues, this piece is standard repertoire for beginning organ students (E).

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