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The Honorable Family - Ephesians 6, HCLD 39

A service plan focused on how to respect, honor and obey those who are given authority over us in a series on the Ten Commandments, as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

The second table of the law begins with the fifth commandment. We are taught how to love our neighbor by learning how to respect those in authority over us. The theme of this service is how to respect, honor and obey those who are given authority over us.


We suggest a number of resources that will be valuable tools for you in this study of the Ten Commandments.

  • 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 of these commandments and 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.
  • The Ten Commandments: Manual for the Christian Life, Jochem Douma, tr. Nelson D. Kloosterman, Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1996.
  • Mere Morality: What God Expects from Ordinary People, Lewis B. Smedes, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1983.

Catechism References:
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 39
Westminster Larger Catechism, Q.122-133
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.63-66


Prelude: "For the Beauty of the Earth" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
and/or: "All Things Bright and Beautiful"

Introit: "All Things Bright and Beautiful," Ferguson [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Call to Worship

*Song: "For the Beauty of the Earth" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of Christ, in whom do you trust?
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 of Response: "You Are Our God; We Are Your People" PsH 272, SFL 203


The Call to Confession:
What is the great and first commandment?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.
What is the second commandment like it?
Love your neighbor as yourself.
What does this mean?
Love is the fulfilling of the law.
To what does this call us?
To a life of faith working through love. (The Worship Sourcebook, 2.7.5, based on Matthew 22:37-40)

Our Prayer of Confession [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]
Let us respond to God's call and confess our sins before him:
O Lord, our Lord,
even as your son Jesus learned obedience to his parents,
and therefore grew in wisdom and favor,
We know that you call us to the same in our families and in society.
Yet, we confess that we have been careless in our parenting,
We have frequently disobeyed as children,
We have at times treated our employees unjustly in the workplace,
and we have tried to set our own rules.
Forgive us, Lord, when we have taken authority without honor,
and have demanded respect without integrity,
and have given obedience only grudgingly.
Forgive us and make us more like Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Assurance of God's Pardon

The Call to Grateful Living: Romans 12:9-13

Song of Response: "The Ten Commandments" PsH 153: 1, 6, 9
or: "The Lord Is God, the One and True God" RL 65, SNC 73


The Reading of the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 39 [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Song of Preparation: "O God in Heaven" PsH 587 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Prayer for Illumination

The Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The New Testament Reading: Ephesians 6:1-9
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: The Honorable Family
Shaping Our Gratitude 7

The Prayer of Application


Anthem: "Guide My Feet" PH 354, SWM 93 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*Our Renewed Vows of Obedience [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Hymn of Response: "Lord, Be Glorified" RN 172, SFL 71, SNC 43, SWM 206, TWC 537

The Prayers of the People
Sung: "As Your Family, Lord, Meet Us Here" SFL 65, SNC 246, TWC 773 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Offertory:
The Offering of Music: "As Your Family, Lord, Meet Us Here" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
or: "Lord, Be Glorified"
or: "In Our Households, Heavenly Father"
We offer our gifts for..


*Words of Sending: 1 Peter 2:17

*Sung Response: "In Our Households, Heavenly Father" PsH 586 [see <href="#music" >music notes]
or: "As Your Family, Lord, Meet Us Here" SNC 246:5

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

Postlude: "Prelude and Fugue in D Minor," J. S. Bach [see <href="#music" >music notes]

* You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes

In writing this sermon, it may be helpful to consult the material of the Westminster Larger Catechism (Questions 123-133), which treats this command much more extensively than the Heidelberg Catechism does. The Westminster speaks of "superiors" (those who are in a position of authority over someone), "inferiors" (those who are under authority), and "equals" (those in the same role). Then the Westminster spells out that there are duties and sins of superiors, inferiors and equals. Though conditioned by its historical context, these insights are helpful in considering this commandment.

A pastoral caution is also in order as you prepare this sermon. It should be written with sensitivity, conscious of the fact that some of the congregation-perhaps children of all ages who have been abused, neglected, or disappointed by their parents or parents with regrets at their actions or sorrow over their children's disobedience-may find this a painful subject. Therefore, the instruction of this sermon should be mixed with a good bit of grace, patience, forgiveness, and forbearance.

Some years ago when Hurricane Andrew swept through southern Florida, the devastation was awful. A TV crew was filming the destroyed homes when they encountered one that remained standing on its foundation. The reporter interviewed the owner of this home and asked how his home managed to remain standing while so many others were destroyed. The answer was insightful: "I built this house myself and built it according to the Florida building code. When the code called for 2x6 trusses, I used 2x6 trusses. I was told that a house built according to code could withstand a hurricane. I did, and it did. I supposed no one else around here followed the code." His comments could well be a commentary on the home and family life in our culture.

God's purpose for giving this commandment and the instructions of Ephesians 6 involves several key ideas:

  • Human beings have a fallen nature and will not automatically know how to live right. We all find it surprisingly easy to disobey and rebel.
  • The early years of life are the years in which our character, conscience, and value system is formed, and therefore we are placed under those who instruct and form us.
  • The home is the basic place where such formation begins. Therefore, parents are the first-line of "superiors" who are responsible for our formation and training.
  • Others, in various relationships in our lives, stand in a similar relationship to us as parents do, and deserve similar respect and honor, such as our leaders and supervisors at school, work, and society.
  • We must learn to respect those in authority over us in all areas of our lives.

The motive for such behavior is twofold. First is the civil motive where we structure respectful relationships in this manner for the sake of society as a whole. Second is the Christian motive: we live this way in grateful obedience to God who redeemed us through Jesus Christ.

This truth warrants application on a number of levels. It seems wisest, therefore, to directly address all ages instead of having a separate "Children's Moment."

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)
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)

We are suggesting an intergenerational choir provide the anthem music for this service. Children and adults singing together can powerfully and visually depict the family as the theme of the service.

Suggestions for prelude can be found in the following resources:

DIX ["For the Beauty of the Earth"]

Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 4. Morningstar MSM-10-754 [1991] (E-M)
Ferguson, John. A Thanksgiving Triptych. Morningstar MSM-10-603 [2001] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. 6 Hymn Settings for Epiphany. Morningstar MSM-10-206 [1999] (E-M)
Jordan, Alice. A Season and A Time. Broadman 4570-37 [1977] (E-M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 5. SMP KK323 [1984] (adaptable to piano; E-M)
Leavitt, John. Christmas Suite. Augsburg 11-10857 [1998] (E-M)
Manz, Paul. Three For Epiphany. Morningstar MSM-10-203 [1992] (E-M)
Wold, Wayne L. Augsburg Organ Library - Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (E-M)
Wold, Wayne L. God with Us. Augsburg 11-10975 [1999] (E-M)

Honoré, Jeffrey. Dance Africana on "Dix". CPH 97-6745 [1999] (3-5 octaves with opt.
percussion, level 2)
Kinyon, Barbara Baltzer. Two Hymns of Praise. Beckenhorst HB53 [1985] (3-4 octaves, E-M)

ROYAL OAK ["All Things Bright and Beautiful"]

Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 6. Morningstar MSM-10-763 [2002] (E-M)
Kolander, Keith. (1998) Augsburg Organ Library - Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7
[2003] (E-M)
Miller, Aaron David. Improvisations for the Church Year, vol. 2. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-
8006-7676-9 [2004] (E-M)
Visser, Larry. The Creation. Wayne Leupold WL600164 [2002] (M)
Wood, Dale. Wood Works on International Folk Hymns. Sacred Music Press 70/1070 S [1995]

Kinyon, Barbara. All Things Bright and Beautiful. Agape 1733 [1995] (2-3 octaves) (E)
Larson, Katherine Jordahl. All Things Bright and Beautiful. CPH 97-6878 [2000] (3-5 octaves,
level 2)
Siebert, Roberta. All Things Bright & Beautiful. Flammer HP-5277 [1989] (3-4 octaves with
organ, (E-M)

The Introit "All Things Bright and Beautiful" arranged by John Ferguson is published by GIA G-3104 [1987]. It is scored for SATB or two-part voices, alto and bass xylophones and flute or piccolo; E-M. It is very effectively sung with both adult and children's voices.

Alternative harmonizations for the opening hymn can be found in:

DIX ["For the Beauty of the Earth"]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]
Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980]
Thiman, Eric. Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Oxford ISBN 0
19 323210 3 [1937]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Organ, Anne Krentz. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]

Notice the text: "for the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child."

Please note that the Hymn of Preparation does have alternate tune suggestions if you are not familiar with the printed melody.

The "anthem" "Guide My Feet" is taken directly from the new children's hymnal "Walk with Me" and can be shared by adults and children.

The sung section of the Prayers of the People is adapted from SNC 246. Sing stanza 1 as printed and replace stanza 2 with the text:

"For our parents, Lord, we give thanks,
For our parents, Lord, we give thanks,
For our parents, Lord, we give thanks,
O Lord, we give thanks."

Stanzas 3 and 4 can conclude the song. The text of the entire song could be scripted out as there are no copyright restrictions for these words.

Suggestions for offertory music based on hymns within the service can be found in:

KUM BA JAH ["As Your Family, Lord, Meet Us Here"]

Behnke, John. A. Variations on Kum Ba Yah. Morningstar MSM 10-893 [1993] (E-M)

Sanborn, Jan. Piano Music for the Care of the Soul. Ron Harris RHP0403 [1997] (E-M)
Carter, John. Easy Hymns for 4 Hands. Hope 8146 [2002] (E-M)

Wilson, John. Kum Ba Yah. Agape 1650 [1993] (2-3 octaves, M)

LORD, BE GLORIFIED ["Lord, Be Glorified"]

Bock, Fred. Organ Praise and Worship. Fred Bock BG0923 [1993] (E-M)

Hayes, Mark. Lord Be Glorified. Word 301 0047 312 [1990]
Organ, Anne Krentz. Come to Us, Creative Spirit. Augsburg Fortress 11-11043 [2000] (M)
Wilson, John F. A Sacrifice of Praise. Hope 347 [1994] (E-M)

CAPTIVITY/KAS DZIEDAJA ["In Our Households, Heavenly Father"]

Burkhardt, Michael. Five Psalm Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-511 [1997] (E-M)
Sedio, Mark. The Praises of Zion. CPH 97-6728 [1998] (E-M)

David, Anne Marie. Here I Am, Lord. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7566-5 [2002] (E-M)

An alternative harmonization for the closing response hymn can be found in the following resource:

CAPTIVITY/KAS DZIEDAJA ["In Our Households, Heavenly Father"]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. Five Psalm Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-511 [1997]

The postlude suggestion, "Prelude and Fugue in D Minor" by J. S. Bach, is one of the Eight Little Preludes and Fugues and can be found in many different editions.

Liturgy Notes

1. The prayer of confession is tailored to the content of this commandment. This may be read by the worship leader as representative of all, or it may be read in unison by all worshipers.

2. We suggest that the words of the Heidelberg Catechism be read responsively with the congregation. You may either design this so that the worship leader reads the question, and the congregation responds with the answer, or vice versa. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission.
What is God's will for you in the fifth commandment?
That I honor, love, and be loyal to my father and mother
and all those in authority over me;
that I obey and submit to them, as is proper,
when they correct and punish me;
and also that I be patient with their failings-
for through them God chooses to rule us. (Lord's Day 39, Heidelberg Catechism)

3. For each Sunday in this series, the service will include a section after the sermon entitled "We Respond with Our Renewed Commitments." The Commandments, in one of its forms, should be the substance of this commitment. There is a variety of resources you may draw from. Section 2.7 of The Worship Sourcebook(pp. 127-137) provides a variety of resources for this purpose. The Psalter Hymnal (pp. 1013-1018) provides additional responsive readings of the Ten Commandments.
To reprint responsive readings of the Ten Commandments for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom us, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. . Reprinted with permission.