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Growing With Peter Series: The Man with the Mouth - Matthew 16

A service plan in a Lenten series focused on the use of our mouths in testimony about Christ, as exemplified by Peter.

Theme of the Service

We continue our journey with the Apostle Peter. In the Scripture passage for today we discover that Jesus is facilitating Peter's use of his mouth. Jesus challenges the disciples to verbally express their conviction about his identity. Peter eagerly answers. And Jesus explains that such a testimony is a gift of divine revelation.

So the theme of this service must be the use of our mouth in testimony about Christ. Much good can be spoken by a holy mouth. Many mistakes can be made, as Peter amply shows. But the effectiveness of any disciple of Christ must involve the disciplined use of the mouth. Mouths will be used in worship for song and testimony, and encouragement will be given for verbal discipleship throughout life.


Prelude: "O Come, My Soul, Sing Praise to God", Sedio (organ)
or: "O Come, My Soul, Sing Praise to God", Dobrinski (bells)

The Call to Worship

My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
(Psalm 71:8, 15)

*Song of Praise: "O Come, My Soul, Sing Praise to God/Bless Thou the Lord" PsH 297, TH 6

*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.

*Response: "I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord" PsH 169, RN 111, TWC 30


The Call to Confession

Our Prayer of Confession

Most holy and merciful Father,
We confess to you and to one another,
that we have sinned against you
in thought, word and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you
with our whole heart and mind and strength.
We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be,
so that we may delight in your will
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your holy name.
For the sake of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Assurance of God's Pardon:

Pastor: The Gospel of Christ speaks to us of the assurance we have of God's pardon. Please rise for the reading of the Holy Gospel.
(worshipers rise; readings are by lay persons)

*The Reading of John 4:1-6

The Gospel of Christ.
Thanks be to God!

*Song of Testimony: "There Is a Redeemer" RN 232, SNC 145

*Passing the Peace:

Pastor: The peace of the Lord be with you.
People: and also with you!
(The worshipers pass the peace to each other saying, "the peace of the Lord to you", and then are

Our Commitment to Holy Living:

Since we have been saved by grace, how shall we live in relationship to Him who saved us?
We will have no other gods before Him; we will not make for ourselves any substitute gods; we will not abuse the name of the Lord, but speak it only in reverence and love; we will honor the Lord's day through worship, witness and fellowship with His people.
How shall we live in relationship with others?
We will honor our parents and hold the family in high esteem; we will not abuse, hate or injure our friends or neighbors by words, gestures or deeds; we will not commit adultery, but live holy disciplined lives; we will not steal; we will not lie; we will not grasp for what we do not have, nor reject others for having it.
How does Jesus summarize these commandments?
He says that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, and by God's grace, we will do it!


The Children's Moment

The Readings of Scripture
(see liturgy notes)

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The Prayer for Illumination

O Revealing God,
you have made yourself known to us,
through your incarnate Word,
and your written word.
And now may the words of my mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen


(Growing with Peter - #5)
Text - Matthew 16:16

The Prayer of Application


Song of Testimony: "My Jesus, I Love Thee" (tune Gordon) PsH 557, RN 275, TH 648, TWC 100/101

Offertory: "My Jesus, I Love Thee", Sanders

The Prayers of the People
(see liturgy notes)

Words and Songs of Testimony and Profession
(see liturgy notes)

Psalm 23: "The Lord's My Shepherd" (tune Brother James' Air) PH 170/174/175, PsH 161, RL 89/90,
SFL 200/201, TH 85/86/87, TWC 330
Psalm 46: read in unison
Psalm 27 (anthem): "The Lord Is My Light", Allitsen
Psalm 116:
"I Love the Lord" (SNC 227:1, by choir)
"Psalm 116" (SNC 226; litany with sung refrain)
"I Love the Lord" (SNC 227:2, by choir)


*The Sending

In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15,16)

*The Benediction with congregational Amen!

*Closing Song: "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" PH 466:1,4, PsH 501:1,2,7, RL 362/363:1,6, RN 32:1,5, SFL 19:1, TH 164:1,2, TWC 130:1,5

Postlude: "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing", Cherwien

* - you are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes:

Peter was a man with a mouth. That's one of the ways in which he is always remembered. Sometimes he used it well with professions and sermons that energized and strengthened the church. At other times he spoke foolishly and needed to be rebuked. So a study of the life of Peter must include his use of his mouth.

It would be wise to help worshipers think about something they know so well, but often overlook. The ability to formulate thoughts into words and express them in a way that communicates with others is a powerful gift! But like other gifts it can be used to accomplish good, or harm. Peter illustrates that truth.

We suggest that you consider developing this message about Peter with several different themes running throughout it:

1. Peter is remembered most for what he said. His words are more memorable and influential than any actions on his part.
2. Some of his words were very damaging. He sometimes spoke very foolish and evil things and needed to be rebuked.
3. Many of his words did so much good. He professed his faith, gave testimony to others, and preached sermons that were used mightily by God's Spirit.

The text for this sermon (Matthew 16:16) is one of the best examples of his positive use of his mouth and becomes the foundation for the consideration of all other instances. The growth of Peter's own character in discipleship is marked by an increasing use of his mouth for the words and work of God. The same must be true for us.

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. All the hymns in this service serve as professions of faith - a most positive use of the mouth.

2. The organ prelude, based on the hymn tune "Tidings/Angelic Songs", can be found in The Praises of Zion by Mark Sedio, published by CPH 97-6728 [1998] (E-M). This tune is often paired with the text, "O Christians [Zion], Haste". The bell prelude arranged by Cynthia Dobrinski is titled "Tell the Good News" and is an Agape Publication for 3-5 octaves, 2211 [2002] (M). If you like to work creatively, try improvising your own prelude on this hymn tune - either on organ or piano - by combining and interspersing 8-measure phrases from the hymn with 8-measure phrases from Jeremiah Clark's Trumpet Tune in D Major as found inWedding Music Part 1, published by Concordia 97-1369 [1952] (E-M). Begin and end your improvisation with the Clarke composition. The two melodies work effectively together, but you will need to transpose the hymn into the key of D!

3. The offertory music is a hymn transcription (tune Gordon) for 3-4 octave handbell choir with a treble C instrument arranged by Patricia Sanders and published by Beckenhorst HB134 [1990] (E-M). This quiet, reflective setting serves well following the singing of the hymn - congregational members have the opportunity to turn the text over in their hearts after they have just professed it in song. An alternative piano offertory can be found in This Is the Day by John F. Wilson and published by Hope 243 [1992] (E-M).

4. The Choral Anthem is set for SATB voices and is a classic choral anthem for church choirs. It is composed by Frances Allitsen and published by Temple C116 [1956] (M). This setting of Psalm 27 is also published for solo voice.

5. The setting of Psalm 116 includes a responsive reading of the psalm with sung refrain by the congregation "sandwiched" between the choral introduction and coda taken from the African-American spiritual setting of Psalm 116. The 4-part setting printed in Sing! A New Creation works wonderfully with a choir or smaller ensemble.

6. The postlude is taken from Groundings, composed by David Cherwien and published by Augsburg 11-11119 [2001] (M).

Liturgy Notes:

1. Note that the flow of this worship service has a consistency to it that focuses on our verbal skills used to express our faith to the honor of God. Words are used to speak and sing. They are directed to God and to one another. This may not be immediately recognizable until the sermon identifies it, but the response to the sermon should be a conscious use of our verbal abilities to bring honor to God.

2. We suggest that the Children's Moment, which is placed very early in the service, be used to speak to them about their mouths and tongues, the privilege (and work) of learning to speak well, and the responsibility to use such an ability well. Warn them about bad words that injure others. Encourage them to use good words that bless others.

3. The Scripture Reading is intended to be a group drama reading and will require three participants. This reading is a composite of a half-dozen events in Peter's life that all have the same theme - the use of his mouth. The script is provided below. If you feel that six events make the reading too lengthy, be free to make selections that will shorten it. The readings here are selected from Matthew 16 and 26 and John 6 and 21. Readers should rehearse together ahead of time so the reading is done with expression and is easy to follow. Excellent Scripture drama readings can be found in The Dramatized Old Testament (two volumes, 1994) and The Dramatized New Testament, ed. Michael Perry, Baker Book House (1993). The readings for this service are taken from the New Testament volume. This material is used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright 1994. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company. Though these volumes are currently out of print, you may use these readings, but need to be aware that copyright restrictions exist. If you plan to use these in your worship, you will need to secure copyright permission for such use, by contacting Baker Book House, Permission Department, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287, or fax your request to Baker Book House, Permission Department, at (616) 676-9573, or email Permission is usually granted, without fee, for as many photocopies of each reading as there are parts for a worship service.

4. Because of the nature of this service we suggest that the Prayers of the People include the responses of the worshipers, so that they affirm the expressions of the prayer that are spoken by the leader. The prayer leader should explain that at multiple intervals during the prayer, when the words "Gracious God, hear our prayer.." they should respond in unison with "And in your love, answer."

5. The Response section of the service calls for Words and Songs of Testimony and Profession. We have made song suggestions, but you may use your own creativity. Some readers can offer testimonies and professions from Scripture, such as carefully selected sections of Psalms (23, 27, 46, 103, 116, etc.). Others may be willing to offer their personal testimony of God's care and direction. Or a creed or passage of Scripture may be chosen and printed as a corporate profession for the congregation to read in unison.


Cast needed: Narrator

Narrator: Scene One. When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples:

Jesus: Who do people say the Son of Man is?

Narrator: They replied: Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. And still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

Jesus: But what about you? Who do you say I am?

Narrator: Simon Peter answered:

Peter: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!

Jesus: Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.


Narrator: Scene Two. Jesus began to explain to his disciples:

Jesus: [I] must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law. [I] must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Narrator: Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

Peter: Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!

Narrator: Jesus turned and said to Peter:

Jesus: Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.


Narrator: Scene Three. .Many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. Jesus asked the Twelve:

Jesus: You do not want to leave too, do you?

Narrator: Simon Peter answered him:

Peter: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.


Narrator: Scene Four. Jesus told [his disciples]:

Jesus: This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered." But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.

Narrator: Peter replied:

Peter: Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.

Jesus: I tell you the truth, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.

Peter: Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you. (Pause)

Narrator: And all the other disciples said the same.


Narrator: Scene Five. (After Jesus was arrested) Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. She said, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee." But he denied it before them all:

Peter: I don't know what you are talking about!

Narrator: Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there: "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." He denied it again, with an oath:

Peter: I don't know the man!

Narrator: After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said: "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them:

Peter: I don't know the man!

Narrator: Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken:

Jesus: Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.

Narrator: And he went outside and wept bitterly.


Narrator: Scene Six. (Later, after Jesus had risen from the dead, he went to some of his disciples by the Sea of Galilee and had breakfast with them.) When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter:

Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?

Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.

Jesus: Feed my lambs. (Pause) Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?

Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.

Jesus: Take care of my sheep. (Pause) Simon, son of John, do you love me?

Narrator: Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time: "Do you love me?"

Peter: Lord, you know all things: you know that I love you.

Jesus: Feed my sheep.

All readers: The Word of the Lord.

(Scripture selections are from Matthew 16 and 26, John 6 and 21)

The Dramatized New Testament, ed. M. Perry (Baker Book House, 1993). Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1993. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.