Treasures of Heaven - Sixth Sunday of Easter - Matthew 6
A worship service for the sixth Sunday of the Easter season based on Matthew 6.
Also in this Series
This is a series continuing the songs and themes of Easter’s victory during the fifty days of Eastertide that lead up to Pentecost
Theme of the Service
This is the sixth Sunday of Easter, which should be the time of encouragement. While Christ has conquered this world and its power, his power has also been given to us to conquer our worldliness.
Easter season ought to be a deeply devotional time to do our personal reflections about the power of the resurrection in our lives. Therefore, our focus on the importance of the resurrection of Christ still continues. That is why we should now lift our priorities in our lives beyond this world to the heavenly realm, committing ourselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
WE GATHER IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Prelude: "The Lord, My Shepherd, Rules My Life" [see music notes]
The Call to Worship
People of God, worship the living God today!
Remember that out of nothing God created the heavens and earth.
Remember that God raised Jesus
from the powerlessness of death
to the power of his right hand.
Remember that not even the gates of hell
can stand against God's purpose.
Behold your God, who reigns now and forever! [TWS, p. 55]
*Song: "He Is Lord" PsH 633, RN 29, SNC 160, SFL 178, TWC 97, UMH 177
*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.
*The Passing of the Peace [see liturgy notes]
WE CELEBRATE OUR SALVATION
The Call to Confession
Our Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, you have raised Jesus from the grave and crowned him Lord of all.
We confess that we have not bowed before him
or acknowledged his rule in our lives.
We have gone along with the way of the world
and failed to give him glory.
Forgive us and raise us from sin,
that we may be your faithful people,
obeying the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who rules the world and is head of the church, his body. Amen. [TWS, p. 638]
The Assurance of God's Pardon: Ephesians 2:4-7
Response of Praise: "Lead Me, Guide Me" PsH 544, RN 176
God's Call to Resurrection Living
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By his mercy we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of
Jesus Christ from the dead.
In this we greatly rejoice, even though we have been distressed by various trials,
so that the proof of our faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable,
even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [1 Peter 1:3-7, paraphrased]
*Song: "I Serve a Risen Savior" PsH 405, TWC 248, UMH 310
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS WORD
The Children's Moment
Song: "Come to Us, Beloved Stranger" SNC 153
The Prayer for Illumination
The Reading of Scripture: Matthew 6:19-21
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
Sermon: "Treasures of Heaven"
The Prayer of Application
WE RESPOND WITH THANKS AND HOPE
*Song: "How I Love You, Lord, My God" (st. 1, 3, 5) PsH 18
The Pastoral Prayer
The Offering and Offertory: "Give Thanks to God for All His Goodness" [see music notes]
WE REMEMBER AND CELEBRATE AT THE LORD'S TABLE [see liturgy notes]
*Our Profession of Faith: The Apostles' Creed (in unison)
The Institution of the Lord's Supper
Our Participation in the Bread [see music notes]
Song and Reading of Scripture
Our Participation in the Cup [see music notes]
Song and Reading of Scripture
The Prayer of Thanksgiving
WE GO OUT IN EMPOWERED FAITH
*Doxology: "Hope of the World" (st. 5) PH 360, PsH 524, RL 414, TH 594, TWC 434, UMH 178
*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!
A Time of Meditation [see liturgy notes]
Postlude: "Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing" [see music notes]
* you are invited to stand
In North American society today, one of the biggest temptations is seeking after the treasures of the world. We are bombarded with commercials that promise us happiness. "If I only had a 50-inch plasma TV, then I'd be happy!" But as many know, if only they would stop to think about it, wealth does not bring true joy. Our joy only comes when our treasure is in heaven. We must not treasure earthly things; rather, we must store up treasures in heaven.
One of the steps in studying this text is to uncover the meaning of the word treasure. What is the word treasure referring to, especially when it comes to the treasures of heaven? Looking at other places Jesus uses this word in the book of Matthew helps clue us in.
Connected to the idea of treasure in heaven is the question of reward. Why do we do good works at all? Reward is definitely one of the motives that the Bible talks about as a reason for doing good works. Treasure in heaven is an eternal investment! But how does this bring glory to God? It is important to explore this concept, but don't let it sidetrack the sermon too much.
The point of this text is verse 21: "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." The danger in preaching this text is that one could focus solely on the do's and don'ts of the faith. It is important to notice that Jesus is after our hearts in this text. God wants our love and devotion.
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
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)
1. The role of the choir or ensemble in this service is to reinforce the encouraging nature of this service. The musicians should lead in a simple but powerful manner—with either unison singing or in parts, unaccompanied where possible.
2. The music suggestions for the prelude based on the hymn tune CRIMOND ("The Lord, My Shepherd, Rules My Life") are as follows:
- Harbac, Barbara. Augsburg Organ Library – Easter. Augsburg 11-11075  (E-M).
- Held, Wilbur. The Lord Is My Shepherd. Morningstar MSM-10-420  (E-M).
- Carter, John. Songs of the Shepherd. Hope 1967  (E-M).
3. The offertory music on the hymn tune GENEVAN 98/118 ("Give Thanks to God for All His Goodness") can be found in the following sources:
- Bier, James. Rendez a Dieu . Augsburg 11-11007  (E-M).
- Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 6. Morningstar MSM-10-763  (E-M).
- Farlee, Robert Buckley. Many and Great. Augsburg 11-11033  (E-M).
- Hamersma, John. Composers Workshop, series 1. Calvin College (M).
- McKay, George Frederick. Suite on Sixteenth Hymn Tunes. H.W. Grey  (E-M).
4. You may wish to sing during the participation in the bread and the cup. We offer the following suggestions:
- "As We Gather at Your Table" (SNC 245)
- "Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ" (PH 514, SNC 258, WOV 754)
- "Clothe Yourself, My Soul, with Gladness" (PsH 305)
- "Come, Risen Lord, as Guest among Your Own" (PsH 308)
5. Postlude arrangements on GELOBT SEI GOTT ("Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing") can be found in the following sources:
- Holman, Derek. Postlude on a Melody by Melchior Vulpius. Jaymar  (D).
- Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 1. SMP KK234  (E, could be adapted for piano).
- Leavitt, John (1991). Augsburg Organ Library – Easter. Augsburg 11-11075  (E-M).
- Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 5. Concordia 97-5257  (E-M).
- Martin, Gilbert M. The Bristol Collection, vol. 2. Flammer HF-5078  (M).
- Peterson, Lynn L. Organ Music for the Seasons, vol. 2. Augsburg 11-11010  (E-M).
- Willan, Healy. Six Chorale Preludes, set 1. Concordia 97-3903  (E-M).
- Keller, Michael R. Alleluia, He Is Risen. Agape 1221  (3-5 octaves, M).
- In your preparation for planning this service and in leading it, review the material about the season of Easter so that your own spirit is fully prepared and in tune with the spirit of the season. This readiness will influence your words and the manner in which you lead worship so that the tone of this service from the beginning will reflect the spirit of Easter.
- This service includes "The Passing of the Peace." It is helpful to distinguish between "greeting each other" and "passing the peace." The former usually includes "good morning" and some chatting. The latter is the distinctively Christian greeting of "The peace of Christ be with you" or "Christ's peace to you."
- The service of confession anticipates the message and calls us to confess how we have minimized the power and influence of Christ's resurrection in our lives and testimony.
- God's call to resurrection living is intended to build our thanks after the assurance of pardon, but also to anticipate the message of the sermon.
- The children's moment should continue to focus on the Christ who has risen. Children should be encouraged to experience the power of Christ's resurrection even in their early lives. To help them do this you could, for example, bring in seeds that have sprouted and talk about how death brings about new life. Our death, like the death of a seed, does not end our life. Instead, we who believe in Jesus will live beyond the grave, just like Christ does. We must die to the treasures of this world and live our lives in light of our eternal life.
- The pastoral prayer, sometimes called the "prayers of the people," should not only include intercession for people who are sick, having problems, and so on. It should also include the petition of having obedience and spiritual progress in Christian life.
- The part of the service titled "WE REMEMBER AND CELEBRATE AT THE LORD'S TABLE" is optional if your worship schedule does not call for the sacrament. You may continue immediately to the part "WE GO OUT IN EMPOWERED FAITH" without breaking the flow of the service.
- "A Time of Meditation" is a short time for reflection (no more than 3 minutes) to give people a time to reflect about the application of God's word in their daily lives. We suggest no music during that time, only silence and serenity. The reason for doing this is that usually after the service people immediately do some activities and tend to ignore the impact of the service on their life.