The Kingdom that Cannot Be Shaken - Sunday Worship
The third Sunday service plan in a series on Hebrews, concentrating on those passages from Hebrews which present the unshakable kingdom that Christ has established:
Also in this Series
Christ as the Mediator of God's Grace: A Series on Hebrews
This series of worship services explores the idea of Jesus Christ as the Great High Priest who mediates the New Covenant.
Theme of the Service
This is the third service in a series of four based on Hebrews. The overall theme of the series is "Christ as the Mediator of God's Grace." This service concentrates on those passages from Hebrews which present the unshakable kingdom that Christ has established:
In addition you may want to consider Isaiah 60:17-22 and Revelation 21 and 22.
As mentioned last week, it is often helpful in a series of messages to convey continuity by including certain parts of the liturgy each week in the same pattern. In this series the greeting, the service of confession, and the benediction/blessing could be the same.
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Opening Sentences from Isaiah 60:18, 20
No longer will violence be heard in your land
nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
and your gates Praise.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
Greeting from Revelation 1:4-5
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Hymn: "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus" PsH 406
Call to Confession - Hebrews 10:19-22
"Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
Prayer of Confession
Assurance of Pardon: Romans 5:1-2
"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God."
Sung Response of Gratitude: "And Can It Be" PsH 267, RL 451, RN 193, TH 455, TWC 473, UMH 363
God's Will for Our Lives: Hebrews 10:23-25
"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Our Statement of Faith: Belgic Confession Article 21 (at least the first paragraph "high priest forever") and/or Article 26 ("Mediator and Intercessor" --note how many footnotes refer to Hebrews)
Song: "We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise" SNC 12, RN 3
Our Statement of Faith: The Apostles' Creed (in unison)
The Pastoral Prayer
Prayer for Illumination
Scripture: Hebrews 12:22-29
Hymn: "When Peace Like a River" PsH 489, TH 691, TWC 519 UMH 377
Hymn: "Jerusalem the Golden" PsH 618, RL 579, TH 539, TWC 754
The Blessing: Hebrews 13:20-21
"Now may the God of peace,
who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great shepherd of the sheep,
by the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will,
working among us that which is pleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."
The passage from chapter 12 was selected because it contains many rich insights into the reign of Christ in his new kingdom. This passage speaks about Christ's new kingdom as "heavenly Jerusalem," "Mount Zion," and the "city of the living God." These word-pictures would have been rich in meaning to the believing Hebrews. The presence of angels and the firstborn whose names are written in heaven also add considerably to the richness of this kingdom-picture. Proclaim the promise of verse28 which declares that this "kingdom cannot be shaken," and notice that the center of the scene is Jesus Christ the mediator of the new covenant.
Such a rich kingdom view, of course, carries great challenge with it. The writer calls the listeners to be faithful and "not refuse him who speaks" (v.25) as well as to "be thankful" and "worship God acceptably with reverence and awe" (v.28). This passage gives an excellent opportunity to explore the relationship of the mediating work of Jesus, his eternal kingdom, and our response to him in obedience and worship.
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)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)
If you prefer a theme song or hymn that can be a constant for the entire series, we suggest two possibilities:
"Since Our Great High Priest Christ Jesus" PsH 230
"Before the Throne of God Above" (available on CCLI website, with license)
Additional songs that fit the theme well:
"Amazing Grace - How Sweet the Sound" PH 280, PsH 462, RL 456, RN 189, SFL 209, TH 460 TWC 502, UMH 378
"By the Sea of Crystal" PsH 620, TH 549
"Hail the Day" PsH 409, RL 331, TH 290, TWC 258, UMH 312
"Lord Most High/From the Ends of the Earth" SNC 47
"Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" PH 376, PsH 568, RN 196, RL 464, TH 529, TWC 558, UMH 384
"My Jesus I Love Thee" PsH 557, RN 275, TH 648, TWC 100/101, UMH 172
"O For a Thousand Tongues" PH 466, PsH 501, RL 362/363, RN 32, SFL 19, TH 164, TWC 130, UMH 57