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Seeking His Kingdom - Luke 17, Matthew 6, HCLD 48

A service plan from the Lord's Prayer focused on advancing the Kingdom of God in a series on prayer as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

The central idea of this service is the reality of the kingdom of God which Christ brings. The intent of the service is to move us toward greater obedience to the King so that his reign will be manifested increasingly.


We suggest a number of resources that will be valuable tools for you in this study of the Lord's Prayer.

  • Each week we will provide references for you from the Heidelberg Catechism and both the Larger and the Shorter Westminster Catechism.
  • The website of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary also provides sermon ideas for each Lord's Days.
  • Comfort and Joy: A Study of the Heidelberg Catechism, Andrew Kuyvenhoven, Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1988.
  • Our Only Comfort: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (vol. 2), Fred Klooster, Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2001.

Catechism References:
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 48
Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 191
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 102

* * * * *


Prelude: "Rejoice, O Pure in Heart" [see music notes]
or: "Lift Up Your Heads, O Gates"
or: "The King of Glory Comes"

*Call to Worship
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty-
he is the King of glory. -Psalm 24:7-10, NIV (TWS, 1.2.4)

*Opening Praise: "Hail to the Lord's Anointed" PsH 72:1,5,6

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of Jesus Christ, where is your trust placed?
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.

*Response of Praise: "Rejoice, O Pure in Heart" PH 145,146, PsH 561, TH 604, UMH 160,161

WE ARE RENEWED IN GOD'S GRACE [seeliturgy notes]

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of God's Pardon

Response of Thanks: "Jesus Shall Reign" CEL 375, PH 423, PsH 412, RL 233, RN 296, TH 441, TWC 745, UMH 157, WR 341[seemusic notes]

God's Call to Kingdom Living: Matthew 5:1-12


Prayer for Illumination

Old Testament Scripture: Psalm 2

New Testament Scripture:
Spoken: Luke 17:20-21
Sung: Matthew 6:33 ("Seek Ye First") CEL 713:1, PH 333:1, PsH 209:1, SFL 155:1, TWC 447:1, UMH 405:1, WOV 783:1, WR 349:1
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sermon: Seeking His Kingdom
Prayer Patterns 4

Prayer of Application [see liturgy notes]
Our Father in heaven,
may your kingdom come.
Rule us by your word and Spirit in such a way
that more and more we submit to you.
Keep your church strong, and add to it.
Destroy the devil's work;
destroy every force which revolts against you
and every conspiracy against your Word.
Do this until your kingdom
is so complete and perfect
that in it you are all in all. Amen. (from the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 48)


*Song of Response: "O Christ, the Great Foundation" PH 443, SNC 177, TWC 709 [seemusic notes]

Prayers of the People [see liturgy notes]

We offer our gifts for .
The offering of music: "O Christ, the Great Foundation" [seemusic notes]


*Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Song: "Bring Forth the Kingdom" RN 153, SFL 154, SNC123, SWM 236

Postlude: "Allegro Maestoso (with trumpets and horns)," Handel [seemusic notes]

*Please stand if you are able.

* * * * *

Sermon Notes

It might be helpful (and interesting) to begin with a "quiz" for each listener. For what are we praying in this petition? Is it that a Christian nation will come into existence and honor God in everything that happens in our land? Is it that more souls may be saved and come to know Jesus? Is it that the end of the world will come soon, and we'll be taken to heaven? Is it that we will become more Christ-like people living like our King? The idea of the kingdom of God is sometimes associated with each of these views. However, in this particular message, we are on the last of these ideas.

To some degree the terminology in this petition is familiar to Bible readers. The Bible speaks frequently about God as King (Psalm 10:16), Jesus as King (Zechariah 9:9), bringing the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17), calling us into his kingdom (Luke 12:32), and eternal life as the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:34). The idea is prevalent; however it is a very difficult one for us to understand because the kingdom is invisible.The point of Luke 17:20-21 is exactly that! Regardless of how you resolve the textual question in verse 21 ("within you" or "among you"), the point remains that this kingdom, in contrast to Rome, Syria, Greece, Egypt and our own nation, is invisible. And because it is invisible, the hearers of our sermon may have difficulty grasping the idea. We tend to prefer what we can see and touch!

Yet, this concept of the kingdom is a fundamental idea in Scripture, in the ministry of Christ, and also in our prayer petitions. Like other kingdoms this one has a ruler, authority, sphere of domination, subjects, enemies, and a future. However, this kingdom is spiritual, not political. The prayer of this petition, combined with the urgent plea of Christ in Matthew 6:33, calls the followers of Christ to be preoccupied with the health and strength of this kingdom as it is influenced (both positively and negatively) by our behavior and by the life of the Christian church. Underlying that reality is the fact that the coming of this kingdom is both an established fact and a process.

Notice how the four key ideas of the Heidelberg Catechism are so helpful in understanding the "kingdom coming" that we pray for—when we are ruled by God's Word and Spirit, when the church is strong and growing, when warfare takes place against the devil, and when Christ increasingly becomes "all in all."

Here is an illustration of one of these points, the church as the coming kingdom: One day Richard Halverson, at that time the pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. and later the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, was flying into Washington as dusk settled over the city. He pressed his face against the window to catch a glimpse of Fourth Church, but was unable to see it. And then he began clicking off the names of parishioners he knew who were scattered about the city here and there and there and there.working. He thought of them all as disciples living out their faith. And then the thought hit him, "There's the church, all over the city!"

As a followup on this illustration, we encourage you to gather a list of the members of your congregation in many neighborhoods, businesses, vocations, organizations, and activities. Make the list very comprehensive and diverse. If you have Powerpoint, perhaps you can flash a scrapbook of pictures on the screen to shows all these activities. If you don't have Powerpoint, read the list in a way that will create a picture in your listeners' minds of believers scattered to many locations and vocations—the scattered church bringing the kingdom! You may also consider posting these pictures on posters around your worship space or narthex.

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
CEL Celebration Hymnal (Word Music/Integrity Music)
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)
SWM Sing With Me (children's songbook; 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)
WR Worship & Rejoice (Hope Publishing Company)

Suggestions for prelude which are based on the themes [or tunes] of the opening litany and hymns can be found in the following resources:

MARION ["Rejoice, O Pure in Heart"]
Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 5. Morningstar MSM-10-755 [1993]
Haan, Raymond H. Four Hymns of Rejoicing. Morningstar MSM-10-518 [1998] (E-M)
Jordan, Alice. A Joyful Noise. Broadman 4570-62 [1984] (E-M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 6. SMP KK339 [1986] (adaptable for piano; E)
Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year, vol. 6. Peters 6406 [1966] (M)

Innes, John. Majesty. Hope 269 [1985] (E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH 97-6851 [2000]
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]

VINEYARD HAVEN ["Lift Up Your Heads, O Gates"]
Dahl, David P. Hymn Interpretations. Augsburg 11-10972 [1999] (E-M)
Powell, Robert J. Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart. Augsburg 11-10478 [1994] (E-M)

KING OF GLORY/PROMISED ONE ["The King of Glory Comes"]
Burkhardt, Michael. Five Psalm Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-511 [1997] (E-M)
Wold, Wayne L. Augsburg Organ Library - Advent. Augsburg 11-11034 [2000] (E-M)
Wold, Wayne L. God with Us. Augsburg 11-10975 [1999] (E-M)

Organ, Anne Krentz. Come to Us, Creative Spirit. Augsburg Fortress 11-11043
[2000] (M)

Honoré, Jeffrey. The King of Glory. Concordia 97-6528 [1995] (3-5 octaves with opt.
percussion, M)

The opening hymn "Hail to the Lord's Anointed" is arranged as a concertato by Roy Hopp. This piece is published by Selah 241-072 [1989] and scored for SATB, congregation, brass quartet and organ. (E-M)

Alternative harmonizations for the open response of praise and the response of thanks can be found in:

MARION ["Rejoice, O Pure in Heart"]
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH 97-6851 [2000]
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]

DUKE STREET ["Jesus Shall Reign"]
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 3. Ludwig O-10 [1986]
Johnson, David N. Free Harmonizations of Twelve Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9190 [1964]

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

Congregational song setting of the Lord's Prayer are as follows:

GREGORIAN [The Lord's Prayer (UMH 270)
LANGDON [The Lord's Prayer] (PsH 207)
MALOTTE [The Lord's Prayer] (RN 177)
MELITA [The Lord's Prayer] (TH 725)
ST. MICHAEL [Our Heav'nly Father] (RL 262)
VATER UNSER [Our Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth] (PsH 208)
VATER UNSER [Our Father, Clothed with Majesty] (PsH 562)
Our Father in Heaven (PH 571)
Our Father in Heaven (SNC 196)
The Lord's Prayer/Our Father (SWM 174)

Offertory music suggestions and alternative harmonizations on the closing hymn can be found in the following resources:

AURELIA ["O Christ, the Great Foundation"]
Barr, John G. Three Preludes on Hymn Tunes. H. W. Grey GSTC 01079 [1992] (E-M)
Burkhardt, Michael. Six General Hymn Improvisations, set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-534 [1999]
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 5. AMSI SP-102 [1985] (E-M)
Hildebrand, Kevin. Musica Sacra: Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 3. Concordia 97-7052
[2004] (adaptable for piano; E)
Hobby, Robert A. The Church's One Foundation. Morningstar MSM-10-527 [2004] (M)
Honoré, Jeffrey. Classic Embellishments. Augsburg 11-11005 [1999] (could include solo
instrument; E-M)
Jordan, Alice A. Joyful Noise. Broadman 4570-62 [1984] (E-M)
Kemner, Gerald. Fantasies on Nine Familiar Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-5919 [1990] (M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 5. SMP KK323 [1984] (adaptable for piano; E-M)
Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year, vol. 10. Peters 6410 [1966] (M)
Van Twillert, Willem. Drie bewerkingen over Passiekoralen. Musiscript MG004 [1987] (E-M)

Marohnic, Chuck. Piano Meditations. Morningstar MSM-15-823 [2000] (jazz styled; M)
Organ, Anne Krentz. Piano Reflections for the Church Year. Augsburg Fortress 11-11209
[2001] (E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations, bk. 5. Ludwig O-14 [1992]
Thiman, Eric. Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Oxford ISBN 0
19 323210 3 [1937]

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

The organ postlude "Allegro Maestoso (with trumpets and horns)" by G. F. Handel can be found in "Suite from Water Music" published by Fischer F.E.S. 5753 [1954] (E-M).

Liturgy Notes

1. For the prayers of confession each week, you may either rely on your own formulations for this prayer or draw from the many resources available in The Worship Sourcebook (section 2.2).

2. In this service the Prayer of Application is the time when the worshipers take the words of the Heidelberg Catechism (Lord's Day 48) on their lips. We have adapted the words of the Lord's Day so it can serve as our prayer. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission.

3. For the Prayers of the People, we offer another alternative this week. Previously we have suggested the possibility of an extended paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer with phrases from one of the catechisms or a prayer that is structured according to the Lord's Prayer with each line expanded according to the prayers written by the leader. This week we suggest that the congregation sing the Lord's Prayer, using the suggestions in the music notes, after the worship leader has led in verbal prayer.

Also in this series:

Continuing to Pray - Luke 18, HCLD 45
Praying Is for Children - Luke 11, HCLD 46
Take the Name and Hold if High - Psalm 34, 86, HCLD 47
Learning His Will - Matthew 7, HCLD 49
Bread for Today - Exodus 16, HCLD 50
The Forgiveness Matter - Psalm 32, Matthew 6, HCLD 51
Calling for Deliverance - 1 Corinthians 10, HCLD 52
The God Who Is Big Enough - Luke 11, Romans 11, HCLD 52