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Washed People - Romans 6, 1 Corinthians 6, HCLD 26-27

The third service plan in a Pentecost series, centered on the meaning of the sacrament of baptism and the importance of remembering this event.

Worship Service
Also in this Series

The Church

This series of worship services explores the nature and the life of the Christian Church as the place where faith is fed and nurtured.

Theme of the Service

The next two worship services focus on the sacrament of baptism. Today the focus is on baptism in general, and next week we will concentrate more specifically on the baptism of infants.

What does it mean that we are baptized? And what is the significance of Paul's statement that in baptism we are "buried with" Christ and are raised to live a new life? (Romans 6:4) What are some of the implications of Corinthians when Paul says "But you were washed.sanctified.justified."? (1 Corinthians 6:11) In this service we will center on the meaning of baptism and the importance of our remembrance of our baptism.

* * * * *


Prelude: "Lift Your Heart to the Lord" [see music notes]
"God, You Call Us to This Place"

*The Call to Worship

*Song of Praise: "God, You Call Us to This Place" SNC 14 [see music notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, who 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 Praise: "Lift Your Heart to the Lord" PsH 309, SFL 63, TWC 771

The Children's Moment [see liturgy notes]


The Call to Confession

The Prayer of Confession

The Assurance of Pardon: Romans 6:5-7 [see sermon notes]

Our Song of Dedication: "Baptized in Water" PH 492, PsH 269, SFL 60, TWC 758

God's Guide for Grateful Living: Romans 6:8-14


*Song of Preparation: "How Great Is the Love of the Father" PsH 231, SFL 59
or "Crashing Waters at Creation" SNC 237 [see music notes]

The Prayer for Illumination

The Readings from Scripture: Romans 6:1-14 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: Washed People

The Prayer of Application


*Our Affirmation of Faith: [see liturgy notes]

*Song of Faith: "We Know That Christ Is Raised" PH 495, PsH 271 (sung to tune 512), RL 528, UMH 610 [see music notes]

Reaffirmation of Baptism Vows: SNC 240 [see liturgy notes]

The Prayers of the People [see liturgy notes]

The Offertory Prayer
The Offering of Music: "We Know That Christ Is Raised"
or: "Sing! A New Creation" [see music notes]
We offer our gifts for..


*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Song: "Sing! A New Creation" SNC 241 [see music notes]

Postlude: "Sing! A New Creation"
or "Crashing Waters at Creation" [see music notes]

* - You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes:

Our baptism is not very real to many of us. Some of us were baptized as infants when we were unable to understand or even be aware of it. Also, since we are only baptized once, it's easy for us to assume that our baptism is a thing of the past. Yet, our baptism is essential to our identity. Just as circumcision was a mark of identification in the Old Testament, God uses baptism in the New Testament to give identity to Christians.

In the first five chapters of Romans, Paul speaks about sinful humans receiving salvation by faith in Christ. In chapter 6 he begins speaking about the new life we have because of our faith in Christ. He anchors this new life in our baptism because we are baptized into Christ. And then he becomes even more specific. Just as Christ died, was buried and raised, so we have died, been buried and are raised with him. This all takes place "through baptism" (see Romans 6:4).

In the passage from 1 Corinthians Paul speaks about this to the church there. Their past is sinful. But (the big word!) things are different now. And though he doesn't specifically mention the sacrament of baptism, his description of the "new day" in their lives in clearly a commentary on the significance of what is represented by their baptism.

The Confessions help us understand this washing. Note carefully how Q&A 69-73 of the Heidelberg Catechism explain and reinforce this understanding of baptism, and note how the Belgic Confession (article 34) articulates this very fully: "It washes and cleanses (our soul) from its sins and transforms us from being the children of wrath into the children of God." Later in the same article it says that the sacrament signifies ".washing, purifying, and cleansing our souls of all filth and unrighteousness."

This understanding of the profound spiritual significance of baptism has several very powerful benefits for the believer. It clearly establishes our identity as "washed persons," a very significant element in establishing our sense of self-esteem as we grow. It challenges us to live in a certain way as a "new person." And it puts the spotlight on the significance of the Christian home and family because we encourage the baptism of infants.

To help worshipers realize the important role of baptism in shaping identity, this service includes a reaffirmation of baptism vows. We must remember our baptism intentionally, thoughtfully and repeatedly.

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)

Prelude suggestions, based on the opening hymns of the service, can be found in the following resources:

Biery, James. Augsburg Organ Library - Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 9. AMSI SP-106 [1992] (E-M)
Johnson, David N. Hymns Settings for Organ. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7498-7 [2002] (M)
Johnson, David N. Twelve Hymn Settings for Organ. Schmitt 7634 [1976] (E-M)
Pachelbel, Johann. Selected Organ Works, vol. 4. Barenreiter 1016 (E-M)
Sedio, Mark. Eight Hymn Introductions. Morningstar MSM-10-836 [1991] (E-M)

SALVE FESTE DIES ["Lift Your Heart to the Lord"]
Callahan, Charles. Partita on Salve feste dies. Concordia 97-6821 [1999] (M)
Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise, set 5. Morningstar MSM-10-760 [1998] (M)

Alternative harmonizations for the opening hymn and the song of dedication can be found in:

Alternative Harmonizations for Organ:
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations, bk. 5. Ludwig O-14 [1992]
Johnson, David N. Free Organ Accompaniments to Hymns, vol. 3. Augsburg 11-9189 [1966]

If your congregation is not familiar with "Lift Your Heart to the Lord," consider having a vocal ensemble lead the congregation in singing the verses with the congregation joining on all refrains.

RESTORATION/ARISE ["Crashing Waters at Creation"]
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Busarow, Donald. Thirty More Accompaniments for Hymns in Canon. Augsburg 11-10163 [1992]

A hymn concertato on "We Know That Christ Is Raised" could effectively be sung by both congregation and a vocal ensemble - choir or praise team.

ENGELBERG ["We Know That Christ Is Raised"]
Choral Resource:
Hopson, Hal. Concertato on "We Know That Christ Is Raised". H. W. Grey GCMRO3566 [1989]
(SATB, congregation, organ, opt. brass and handbells; E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Wasson, Laura E. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

Suggestions for offertory music are as follows:

ENGELBERG ["We Know That Christ Is Raised"]
Callahan, Charles. Voluntary on Engelberg. Morningstar MSM-10-702 [1990] (M)
Cherwien, David. (1999) Augsburg Organ Library - Easter. Augsburg 11-11075 [2000] (D)
Cherwien, David. Gotta Toccata. Augsburg 11-11008 [1999] (D)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 1. AMSI OR1 [1980] (E-M)
Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise, set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-757 [1994] (M)
Powell, Robert J. Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart. Augsburg 11-10478 [1994] (E-M)
Wallace, Sue Mitchell. Hymn Prisms. Hope 270 [1985] (E-M)
Wood, Dale. Preludes and Postludes, vol. 3. Augsburg 11-9320 [1974] (E)

Additional suggestions for offertory music as well as postlude suggestions can be found in the following resources:

EBENEZER/TON-Y-BOTEL ["Sing! A New Creation"]
Burkhardt, Michael. Seven Hymn Improvisations and Free Accompaniments, set 1. Morningstar
MSM-10-847 [1992] (E-M)
Hildebrand, Kevin. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol 3. Concordia 97-7052 [2004] (E-M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 3. SMP KK278 [1983] (E-M; adaptable for piano)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 8. Concordia 97-5342 [1979] (M)
Miller, Aaron David. Augsburg Organ Library - Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (M)
Purvis, Richard. Seven Chorale Preludes. Fischer 0 3450 [1949] (POP; M)
Willan, Healy. Ten Hymn Preludes, set 2. Peters 6012 [1957] (M)

Medema, Ken. Sanctuary. Genevox 4181-16 [1989] (M)
Shackley, Larry. Celtic Hymn Settings for Piano. Hope 8117 [2001] (E-M)
Wilhelmi, Teresa. Hymns.Light Jazz Style. Word 301 0136 315 [1997] (M)

McChesney, Kevin. Once to Every Man and Nation. Alfred 18556 [1999] (3-5 octaves, level 3)

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

RESTORATION/ARISE ["Crashing Waters at Creation"]
Dahl, David P. Hymn Interpretations. Augsburg 11-10972 [1999] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Preludes and Postludes, vol. 1. Augsburg 11-9318 [1972] (E-M)
Linker, Janet. Sunday Morning Suite. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7560-6 [2002] (E-M)

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

Liturgy Notes

1. It would be ideal to schedule a baptism for either this service or the next since the service focuses on the sacrament of baptism. In this service, the reaffirmation of baptism vows is part of our response to the Word. If you have a baptism, it would likely be in place of this reaffirmation service, though it is possible to merge the two.

2. We encourage you to use the Children's Moment to speak about baptism. Hopefully, conversations about baptism will be stimulated at home by what is said at church.

3. We offer the following litanies for use in this service. These, or sections of these, can be used in the service of renewal as part of the assurance of pardon or as affirmations of faith in response to the sermon. These affirmations are taken from either the Heidelberg Catechism (Lord's Day 26-27) or the Belgic Confession (articles 33-34). The articles from the Belgic Confession of Faith are reformulated as litanies for congregational use. The material here is quite lengthy so you will want to select what to use very carefully.
[To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission.]

Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Days 26-27

How does baptism remind you and assure you
that Christ's one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally?
In this way:
Christ instituted this outward washing
and with it gave the promise that,
as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body,
so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul's impurity,
in other words, all my sins.

What does it mean to be washed with Christ's blood and Spirit?
To be washed with Christ's blood means
that God, by grace, has forgiven my sins
because of Christ's blood poured out for me in his sacrifice on the cross.
To be washed with Christ's Spirit means
that the Holy Spirit has renewed me
and set me apart to be a member of Christ
so that more and more I become dead to sin
and increasingly live a holy and blameless life.

Where does Christ promise that we are washed with his blood and Spirit
as surely as we are washed with the water of baptism?
In the institution of baptism where he says:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
This promise is repeated when Scripture calls baptism
the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins.

Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?
No, only Jesus Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.

Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins?
God has good reason for these words.
He wants to teach us that the blood and Spirit of Christ wash away our sins
just as water washes away dirt from our bodies.
But more important, he wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign,
that the washing away of our sins spiritually
is as real as physical washing with water.

Belgic Confession of Faith Article 33-34

Why has God given us the sacraments?
We believe that our good God,
mindful of our crudeness and weakness,
has ordained sacraments for us
to seal his promises in us,
to pledge his good will and grace toward us,
and also to nourish and sustain our faith.

What are sacraments?
They are visible signs and seals
of something internal and invisible,
by means of which God works in us
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So they are not empty and hollow signs
to fool and deceive us,
for their truth is Jesus Christ,
without whom they could be nothing.

How many sacraments do we have?
We are satisfied with the number of sacraments
that Christ our Master has ordained for us.
There are only two:
the sacrament of baptism
and the Holy Supper of Jesus Christ.

What is the first sacrament of the Church?
Having abolished circumcision
which was done with blood,
God established in its place
the sacrament of baptism.

What does Baptism signify?
By it we are received into God's church
and set apart from all other people and alien religions,
that we may be dedicated entirely to him,
bearing his mark and sign.
It also witnesses to us
that he will be our God forever,
since he is our gracious Father.

And what else does it mean?
In this way he signifies to us
that just as water washes away the dirt of the body
when it is poured on us
and also is seen on the body of the baptized
when it is sprinkled on him,
so too the blood of Christ does the same thing internally,
in the soul, by the Holy Spirit.

4. The "Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows" can be a very meaningful way to respond to the Word of God regarding baptism. If you have Sing! A New Creation in your pews, a responsive reaffirmation of baptismal vows is provided on p. 240.

5. The Prayers of the People for this week should include intercessions for people considering baptism, those recently baptized, children baptized in their infancy, parents who took vows for training their children, those who have been baptized but are turning away from God, etc.