Order of Service, July 25, 2021


The sermon text for this Lord’s Day is Luke 15:25-32 which is the conclusion to the famed story of the “prodigal son.” This section focuses on the prodigal’s older brother. It turns out that this brother was the focal point in Jesus’ story because he represented those in Jesus’ audience that believed they, unlike the prodigal son, had no need to repent.

The hymns selected for the service begin with the same hymn used to begin the service last week. It retells the story of the text. Since the older brother trusted in his own righteousness, we will sing two hymns that instruct us regarding Christ’s righteousness imputed to repentant sinners. The final hymn offers praise to the Lord for taking this saving initiative.



Call to Worship:     Choir
What God Ordains
WORDS: Samuel Rodigast (1649-1708)
TUNE: Josh Bauder (2016)

Note: We begin with an old hymn made new by Josh Bauder. The choir will sing of our confident assurance that God is always good.



Hymn 20 (to tune 27, HYMN TO JOY)     Abba Father! We Approach Thee

Note: We began the service last week with this hymn and repeat as we conclude the story. James Deck, author of this hymn, wrote of his youth, “I hoped there was no God.” But his mother’s training pursued after him. He said, “She read to me of Jesus, Of all his grace and love.” It seems that his hymn is a personal testimony,

“Once as prodigals we wandered in our folly, far from Thee;
But Thy grace, o’er sin abounding, Rescued us from misery.”

Hymn 385      Jehovah Tsidkenu

Notes:  This song adds new lyrics to the tune of “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” It is a poem written by Robert Murray McCheyne, the 19th century Scottish pastor whose influence is still felt around the world. Through these lyrics he describes the process of his conversion, how he moved from utter disregard for Christ to declaring “Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.” Significant for our study is the repeated use of the Hebrew name which means, “the Lord our Righteousness.”

Scripture Reading:     Psalm 36:1-12

Note: In this Psalm, David excoriates the arrogant who have no fear of God. In contrast, he delights in the righteousness of God and revels in God’s steadfast love.

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn HBC 7     His Robes for Mine

Note: How is it that God can forgive sinners like us? By faith we are united with Christ. His righteousness is credited (imputed) to us and our sin was laid on him (imputed). Martin Luther called this a “marvelous exchange,” marking it as the grand core of gospel truth. (The line in the chorus, “God estranged from God,” is a poetic expression of the mystery of the incarnation that emerges at the cross. Technically, God the Son was never estranged from God the Father).

Message:      A Tale of Two Sons, Part 2
Text: Luke 15:25-32
Steven Thomas


Hymn Insert    Lord, ‘Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee

Notes: Josiah Conder’s hymn attributes our salvation to God’s gracious initiative, a theme reminiscent of Christ who came to seek and to save the lost (“Twas thy grace in Christ that called me”). He attributes our regeneration (spiritual life) to God’s grace that “taught my darkened heart and mind.” So together we praise the Triune God for seeking and saving our lost and helpless souls: “Undivided adoration to the great Jehovah give.”

Prayer Response:     David Snoeberger

Benediction:      John Miles