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The One Who Brings Us to Share in Christ - John 16

A service plan from the Apostles' Creed focused on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in a series on the Apostles' Creed as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service
The Apostles' Creed

Theme of the Service

Our study of the Christian faith as guided by the Heidelberg Catechism now moves to the third person of the Holy Trinity. The theme of this service, therefore, will be the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

We will be guided by the balance in the statement of the Catechism that asks both about the identity/person of the Holy Spirit and about his work for and within us.


Prelude: "O Worship the King" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Call to Worship

*Song of Praise: "O Worship the King" (st. 1-4) PH 476, PsH 428, RL 2, TH 2, TWC 29, UMH 73

*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 of Response: "O Worship the King" (st. 5) [see <href="#music" >music notes]


The Call to Confession

Our Prayer of Confession

The Assurance of God's Pardon: Romans 8:15-17

Response of Praise: "How Great Is the Love of the Father" PsH 231, SFL 59

God's Call to Grateful Living: Romans 8:10-14

Anthem: "Be a New and Different Person," Christiansen [see <href="#music" >music notes]


*Song of Preparation: "Holy Spirit, Truth Divine" PH 321, PsH 423, TWC 303, UMH 465
st. 1-3 - All
st. 4 - Men
st. 5 - Women
st. 6 - All

The Reading of the Catechism
What do you believe
concerning "the Holy Spirit"?

First, he, as well as the Father and the Son,
is eternal God.
Second, he has been given to me personally,
so that, by true faith,
he makes me share in Christ and all his blessings,
comforts me,
and remains with me forever.
(Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 53)

The Prayer for Illumination

The Reading of Scripture: John 16:12-16; Acts 16:11-15
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: "The One Who Brings Us to Share in Christ" (The Apostles' Creed - #10)

The Prayer of Application


*Song: "For Your Gift of God the Spirit" (st. 1-3) PsH 416, TH 339, TWC 285

* Our Affirmation of Faith
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit
was given to the church.
In pouring his Spirit on many peoples
God overcomes the divisions of Babel;
now people from every tongue, tribe, and nation
are gathered into the unity
of the body of Christ.

Jesus stays with us in the Spirit,
who renews our hearts,
moves us to faith,
leads us in the truth,
stands by us in our need,
and makes our obedience fresh and vibrant.

The Spirit thrusts
God's people into worldwide mission.
He impels young and old,
men and women,
to go next door and far away
into science and art,
media and marketplace
with the good news of God's grace.
The Spirit goes before them and with them,
convincing the world of sin
and pleading the cause of Christ.

The Spirit's gifts are here to stay
in rich variety-
fitting responses to timely needs.
We thankfully see each other
as gifted members of the fellowship
which delights in the creative Spirit's work.
He gives more than enough
to each believer
for God's praise and our neighbor's welfare.
("Our World Belongs to God", st. 30-33)

The Prayers of the People

The Offertory:
The Offering of Music: "For Your Gift of God the Spirit"
or "Holy Spirit, Truth Divine"
or "Spirit Song" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
The Offering of our Gifts for . . .


*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Song: "God, the Father of Your People" PsH 322 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

Postlude: "God, the Father of Your People" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

1. The title for this sermon is taken from the words of the Catechism which stress that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to the point of "sharing in Christ." Pay attention to the identity of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity, but pay even more attention to his work.

2. Our faith is a Trinitarian faith, and the Apostles' Creed is Trinitarian in scope. So don't short-change the identity and work of the Holy Spirit. A quick reading of the Apostles' Creed could leave one with the feeling that, while the work of the Father and the Son is given careful attention, the Holy Spirit is given only one line. It is better to see all the remaining statements of the Apostles' Creed as expressions of what happens to us because of the work of the Holy Spirit. For most folks this is more difficult because, while we can picture the Father and the Son, the fact that the Holy Spirit always remained invisible makes it necessary for us to deal with his work without a mental image to draw on.

3. The Holy Spirit has sometimes been called the one who "bridges the gap." Two thousand years ago Jesus' ministry was carried out; he suffered, died, was buried, arose, and ascended to heaven. Today you and I live in the here and now. How can the "gap" be bridged between what happened in the distant past and the present in my life? The answer is the work of the Holy Spirit.

4. Our passage from John 16 casts the Spirit's work in that light. The setting of this passage helps us understand that Jesus was speaking on Thursday evening with the disciples in the Upper Room shortly before his betrayal and arrest. He is instructing the disciples so they will be able to understand what will be happening in the coming days. Notice the instruction he provides:

  1. He has previously said it is for their good he is going away so that he can send the Spirit to them (see 16:5-7).
  2. He identifies the coming Holy Spirit as the "Spirit of truth" (16:13).
  3. The ministry of the Holy Spirit will be that of guiding us "into all truth" (16:13).
  4. The Holy Spirit is not the originator of what he will teach us but will bring truth from the Father and the Son (16:13).
  5. The Spirit will take "from what is mine" and make it "known to you" (16:14-15).

5. These truths can be reinforced with other biblical teachings and narratives: Romans 8:15-16; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Matthew 16:17; Acts 16:11-15.

6. The message should conclude with an explanation and exhortation of the kinds of responses this ought to draw out of us-thankfulness, openness, faithfulness in walking with the Spirit, and prayer for the work of the Spirit in the lives of others.

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)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

1. The suggestions for prelude based on the hymn tune LYONS ("O Worship the King") can be found in the following resources:

  • Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 1. AMSI OR1 [1980] (E-M).
  • Haan, Raymond H. O Worship the King. Broadman 4570-42 [1979] (E-M).


  • Carter, John. Hymns for Piano II. Hope 8197 [2003] (E-M).
  • Schubert, Myra. Give Him Praise. Lillenas MB-511 [1983] (M-D).


  • Hopson, Hal H. Variations on "O Worship the King." Van Ness 4184-05 [1985] (3-4 octaves, E-M).
  • Larson, Lloyd. O Worship the King. Agape 1322 [1988] (2-5 octaves with organ, E-M).
  • McChesney, Kevin. O Worship the King. Beckenhorst BP207 [2001] (3-5 octaves, level 3).

2. Alternative harmonizations for the opening hymn "O Worship the King" can be found in the following resources:
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H.W. Grey GB 644 [1978].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Carlson, J. Bert. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003].

3. The SATB anthem "Be a New and Different Person" by P. Christiansen is published by Schmitt, Hall, and McCreary SCHCH 7619 [1976] (E-M).

4. Suggestions for the offertory music, based on the hymn tunes BLAENWERN, SONG 13, and SPIRIT SONG, can be found in the following resources:

BLAENWERN ["For Your Gift of God the Spirit"]

  • Wilson, Malcolm C. Meditation on "Blaenwern." Lorenz 20/1068L [1996] (3-5 octaves, level 2).

SONG 13 ["Holy Spirit, Truth Divine"]

  • Hildebrand, Kevin. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 3. Concordia 97-7052 [2004] (E).
  • Willan, Healy. Six Chorale Preludes, set 1. Concordia 97-3903 [1950] (E-M).


  • Carter, John. Today's Hymns and Songs for Piano. Hope 244 [1995] (E-M).


  • Dobrinski, Cynthia. Spirit Song. Agape 2072 [1999] (3-5 octaves, level 2).

5. Alternative harmonizations for the closing hymn "God, the Father of Your People" can be found in the following sources:

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980].
  • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 5. Ludwig O-14 [1992].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Organ, Anne Krentz. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000].

6. The organ postlude based on the closing hymn "God, the Father of Your People" (HOLY MANNA) can be found in the following resources:

  • Haan, Raymond H. O Worship the King. Broadman 4570-42 [1979] (E-M).
  • Held, Wilbur. Preludes and Postludes, vol. 1. Augsburg 11-9318 [1972] (E-M).
  • Wood, Dale. Wood Works, bk. 2. SMP KK400 [1989] (E-M).


  • Carter, John. Folk Hymns for Piano. Hope 240 [1987] (E-M).
  • Carter, John. Hymns for Piano II. Hope 8197 [2003] (M).

Liturgy Notes:

1. The Service of Renewal is designed to express the work of the Holy Spirit. We suggest a prayer of confession that is partially led by the worship leader but also leaves a time of silence for worshipers to make their own personal confessions. The words of assurance and grateful living also express the work of the Holy Spirit.

2. The affirmation of faith is taken from Our World Belongs to God, the Contemporary Testimony of the Christian Reformed Church. You may be selective in how much you include in worship. The entire Testimony can be found at the CRC website.

3. The children's moment, if you choose to include one, can be located in this service on the basis of what you choose to address in it. Granted, it is difficult to help children understand the concept of an invisible Holy Spirit without stirring up idea of "ghost"-which is not very helpful. If you choose to address the work of the Holy Spirit you may desire to place the children's moment near the reading of the Catechism and Scripture. If you choose to address some other idea you may place the children's moment earlier in the service.