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What's in a Name? - Hebrews 1

A service plan from the Apostles' Creed focused on the names given to God the Son and what these tells us about his nature and identity in a series on the Apostles' Creed as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service
The Apostles' Creed

Theme of the Service

After two weeks of focusing on the work of God the Father, we now turn to God the Son. This first message will examine the names that the Son has been given-Jesus, Christ, only begotten Son, Lord-in the Apostles' Creed.

These names clearly establish the identity of the second person of the Trinity. Through them God the Father reveals himself, his intentions to save, and his plan that salvation come through this Son. We find great confidence in our salvation as we understand the identity of the Son who became our Savior.


Prelude: "Blessed Jesus, at Your Word" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Call to Worship: Numbers 6:27 [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Song of Gathering: "Blessed Jesus, at Your Word" PH 454, PsH 280, RL 530, RN 93, SFL 56, TH 303, UMH 596
or "We Come, O Christ, to You" PsH 238, TH 181, TWC 86

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


The Call to Confession

Our Confession of Sin: "Psalm 51" SNC 50 [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

Our Assurance of God's Pardon
Who is in a position to condemn?
Only Christ,
and Christ died for us,
Christ rose for us,
Christ reigns in power for us,
Christ prays for us.

Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.
The old life has gone; a new life has begun.

Believe the good news of the gospel:
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. (from Rom. 8:34 and 2 Cor . 5:17; as found in SNC 52)

Our Response of Praise: "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" PsH 487 RL 364, TH 647

God's Call to Grateful Obedience [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]


The Children's Moment

Sung Response: "Jesus, Name Above All Names" RN 26, SNC 114, TWC 106

The Prayer for Illumination

The Reading of the Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The Reading of the Epistle: Hebrews 1:1-4
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sermon: "What's in a Name?" (The Apostles' Creed - #4)

The Prayer of Application


*Our Affirmation of Faith

But why are you called a Christian?

Because by faith I am a member of Christ
and so I share in his anointing.
I am anointed
to confess his name,
to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks,
to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil
in this life,
and afterward to reign with Christ
over all creation
for all eternity.

Why do you call him "our Lord"?

not with gold or silver,
but with his precious blood-
he has set us free
from sin and from the tyranny of the devil,
and has bought us,
body and soul,
to be his very own.
(Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Days 12 and 13)

*Song of Adoration: "Join All the Glorious Names" RL 369, TH 301, TWC 85
or "Since Our Great High Priest, Christ Jesus" PsH 230

The Prayers of the People

The Offertory
Our Offering of Music: "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
Our Offering of Gifts for . . .


*The Benediction with Congregational Amen.

*Moment of Meditation

Postlude: "Join All the Glorious Names" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

1. When the Heidelberg Catechism begins to explain the identity of the second person of the Trinity, it begins with the significance of the names he has been given. That may seem strange in our culture, since we do not normally attach such significance to our names or the names of our children. We must stretch across a cultural divide to study names!

2. Perhaps a good place to begin is to examine the significance and meaning of the name "Christian." See Lord's Day 12. Explain the origin of this name (see Acts 11:26) and compare it with the names of other world religions, usually named after their leaders or founders. The Catechism gives us a thorough exposition of the implications of taking the name "Christian" upon us. Perhaps it warrants some cautions about taking the name too flippantly sometimes.

3. In order to fully understand the "Christ" after whom we are named, it will be necessary to explain the meaning of each name he is given-Jesus, Christ, only begotten Son, Lord. The catechism will be very helpful in this. Notice from Matthew 1 how intentional God was in naming the Son. Each of these names points to the anointed and powerful role of Christ. It is a natural step, therefore, to include a consideration of the opening paragraph of Hebrews. This passage speaks clearly about:

a. the function of the Son-creator, revealer, heir, and sustainer (see vv. 2-3)

b. the glory of the Son-expressing the radiance of God's glory (see v. 3)

c. the exaltation of the Son-seated at the right hand of majesty in heaven (see v. 4)

Therefore we are called to understand that, as Christ is superior to angels, so is the name of Christ superior to theirs. His ministry of redemption is unique. Only he can do it. Therefore only he is able to carry these names.

4. Perhaps you will want to include some pastoral cautions and challenges relative to our use of these names. We need to be clear and convinced of the identity of Jesus Christ, in contrast to the confusion of our world. While we aim to understand these names intellectually, this in itself is insufficient until we use the names to call on the Lord and "profess his name." The ministry of music often leads us to take the names of the Son of God on our lips, and this should be done only with integrity. The heart of Christian witnessing is to tell what Christ has done on our behalf. And to call him "Lord" implicitly obligates us to full and willing obedience.

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 are based on the hymn tune LIEBSTER JESU ("Blessed Jesus, at Your Word") and can be found in the following resources:


  • Albrecht, Timothy. Grace Notes X. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7561-4 [2002] (M).
  • Bach, J.S. The Liturgical Year (ed. Riemenschneider). Ditson [1933] (M).
  • Burkhardt, Michael. Six General Hymn Improvisations, set 1. Morningstar MSM-10-846 [1992] (E-M).
  • Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 1. AMSI OR1 [1980] (E-M).
  • Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (M).
  • Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 8. Concordia 97-5342 [1979] (M).
  • Purvis, Richard. Seven Chorale Preludes. Fischer 0 3450 [1949] (E-M).
  • Rinck, Christian Heinrich. Music for a Celebration, set 3. Morningstar MSM-10-565 [2004] (E-M).


  • Kerr, J. Wayne. Liebster Jesu. Choristers Guild CGB-131 [1992] (3-4 octaves + flute, E-M).

2. An alternative harmonization for organ on "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" [ST PETER] can be found in Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes arranged by Eric Thiman and published by Oxford ISBN 0 19 323210 3 [1937].

3. Alternative harmonizations for "Join All the Glorious Names" [DARWALL'S 148TH ] can be found in the following resources:

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Thiman, Eric. Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Oxford ISBN 0 19 323210 3 [1937].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

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

4. The offertory suggestions based on ST. PETER ("How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds") can be found in the following sources:


  • Albrecht, Timothy. Grace Notes VIII. Augsburg 11-10970 [1999] (E-M).
  • Beck, Albert. Seventy-six Offertories on Hymns and Chorales. Concordia 97-5207 [1973] (E).
  • Haan, Raymond H. O Worship the King. Broadman 4570-42 [1979] (E-M).

5. Suggestions for the postlude can be found in the following sources:

DARWALL'S 148TH ["Join All the Glorious Names"]

  • Callahan, Charles. Partita on Darwall's 148th. Morningstar MSM-10-848 [1992] (E-M).
  • Harbach, Barbara (2002). Augsburg Organ Library - Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7 [2003] (M).
  • Jordan, Alice. A Joyful Noise. Broadman 4570-62 [1984] (E-M).
  • Wold, Wayne L. Prelude, Meditation and Finale on Darwall's 148th. Augsburg 11-10809 [1997] (M).


  • Kinyon, Barbara B. Rejoice, the Lord Is King. Agape 1931 [1998] (3 octaves, level 3).
  • Page, Anna Laura. Rejoice, the Lord Is King. Alfred 16460 [1996] (3-5 octaves, level 2).

Liturgy Notes:

  1. Because of the theme of this service, we suggest that you craft the Call to Worship around the concept of Numbers 6:27. We come to worship as the children of the Lord-that is, those on whom he has put his name! Though the previous verses are normally used as a benediction at the close of worship, opening with this idea will raise the sights of worshipers to the privilege of carrying God's name.
  2. If you have Sing! A New Creation (SNC), you will find several helpful responsorials for the confession and assurance. (See SNC 50-55.)
  3. As noted in previous services, it is wise to have a variety of options at hand for including God's Call to Grateful Obedience-not only the Ten Commandments, but a variety of other Old and New Testament passages will serve this purpose. (See The Worship Sourcebook, page 126 and following.)