“In the Presence of the Holy God” (Isaiah 6:1-8)

The Holy Trinity
May 27, 2018

“In the Presence of the Holy God” (Isaiah 6:1-8)

What would it be like if you knew you were in the presence of the holy God? Try to imagine. Would it be cool, casual, awesome, inspiring, overwhelming? What would your reaction be? “Oh well, just another day in the park. Nothing to see here. Ho hum.” Or maybe you’d think: “Oh wow! I must be pretty special to be given this kind of revelation of God. Yay me!” Or would you be terrified and frightened, shaking in your boots, to be in God’s presence? Well, today on this Holy Trinity Sunday, we’ll find out what one man experienced. Because today we’re going along with Isaiah as he gets to be “In the Presence of the Holy God.”

(more…)

Advertisements
Published in: on May 26, 2018 at 7:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

“The Athanasian Creed: Incomprehensible?”

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, June 11, 2017

“The Athanasian Creed: Incomprehensible?”

Today is Trinity Sunday–or, more properly called, the Feast of the Holy Trinity–and as such, this is the one day in the year when we confess the Athanasian Creed. Actually, we believe, teach, and confess the Athanasian Creed 365 days a year; it’s just this is the one day in the year when we speak it aloud in church during the service.

You see, the church confesses three ecumenical creeds: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. They are called “ecumenical” creeds, because they are held all across Christendom.

(more…)

Published in: on June 10, 2017 at 7:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“The Living Room of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon” (Acts 2:14a, 22-36)

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, June 15, 2014

“The Living Room of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon” (Acts 2:14a, 22-36)

Today is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. On this day we sing hymns emphasizing the Trinitarian nature of the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On this day we say that really long creed with the funny name, the Athanasian Creed, which goes into the most detail on the relationship of the three persons in the Trinity. Today we are celebrating, not some dry doctrine with no connection to life, no, rather we are celebrating a living reality–the reality of who God is, as he is, as he has acted to save us and give us life, as he has revealed himself to us in Holy Scripture. Today we are confessing the truth of the Holy Trinity, over against all heretics that have arisen in history, from the Arians of the fourth century to the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses of our day. The living reality of the triune God and the true and saving doctrine concerning the same–that’s what this Holy Trinity festival is all about.

Now there is much about the mystery of the Holy Trinity that is hard for us to understand. How can there be three persons and yet only one God? How can this triune God have always been, uncreated, from eternity? I suppose that if we could fully understand God, we would have to be God!

But while there is much that remains hidden to us mortal creatures, there is also much that has been revealed. God wants us to know him, in a living, vital relationship, and to know what we need to know about him in order to be saved. And that’s where our Scripture readings today come in.

Today I want us to focus on one of the readings, the one from Acts chapter 2. This reading picks up where our reading from last week left off. It’s Peter’s Pentecost sermon. Last week we heard the first part of his sermon, the introduction, what I called the “front porch” of his sermon. Today we continue with the main part of that sermon, what I’ll call “The Living Room of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon.”

(more…)

Published in: on June 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“We Are Baptized for This Moment” (Acts 2:14a, 22-47)

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, May 26, 2013

“We Are Baptized for This Moment” (Acts 2:14a, 22-47)

Today is Holy Trinity Sunday, the day in the church year when we most give attention to the great biblical doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the truth that the one true God is the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For example, on this day we confess the Athanasian Creed–like the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene, a trinitarian creed and one we believe, teach, and confess all year round, but we speak the Athanasian Creed aloud on this day, since it goes into the most depth and detail on the doctrine of the Trinity.

Today is Holy Trinity Sunday. But really, every Sunday is a Holy Trinity Sunday, since we are gathered here, as we say at the start of the service, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Indeed, for the Christian, every day is a Holy Trinity Day, since each of us has been baptized in the name of the triune God, and we live in our baptism daily.

And that brings us to our message this morning, namely, “We Are Baptized for This Moment.” This is picking up on the theme of our synod’s national convention coming up in July, which is, “Baptized for This Moment.” And in that connection, we will be having a five-part Bible study by that title, starting this Wednesday. I hope many of you can come.

And so, for right now, we consider as our theme today: “We Are Baptized for this Moment.” Briefly now, I want us to focus on these three points: 1) We are baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. 2) We are baptized into a life of repentance and forgiveness. And 3) We are baptized for this moment–for witness, for mercy, and for life together.

(more…)

Published in: on May 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“Born of Water and the Spirit” (John 3:1-17)

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, June 3, 2012

“Born of Water and the Spirit” (John 3:1-17)

Do you know what day your birthday is? I do. My birthday is September 10. “What?” you say. “Pastor, I thought your birthday was in March.” Oh, you mean that birthday! Yeah, that birthday was March 7. But my other birthday, my re-birthday, was on September 10 of the same year. That was the day I was baptized. The first birthday was my birth according to the flesh. The second birthday, the day of my baptism, was my rebirth according to the Spirit. And, like me, what you really need is that baptismal rebirth, to be “Born of Water and the Spirit.”

(more…)

Published in: on June 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

“All Authority in Heaven and on Earth Has Been Given to Me” (Matthew 28:16-20)

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, June 19, 2011

“All Authority in Heaven and on Earth Has Been Given to Me” (Matthew 28:16-20)

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” If you had to vote on “What is the most puzzling statement in Scripture?” this might be it. What in the world is Jesus saying when he says, “All authority has been given to me?” “Given”? I mean, didn’t we just confess in the Athanasian Creed: “The Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal”? “And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or lesser than another”?

So how can the Son be “given” anything? “Authority”? He already had it, didn’t he? But Jesus says it’s been given to him. By whom? Why? For what purpose? And what does that have to do with us? Why is this good news? And so today, on this Trinity Sunday, we look at Jesus’ puzzling yet profoundly hope-filled and peace-giving statement: “All Authority in Heaven and on Earth Has Been Given to Me.”

(more…)

Published in: on June 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“A Trinitarian Pentecost” (Acts 2:14a, 22-36)

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, May 30, 2010

“A Trinitarian Pentecost” (Acts 2:14a, 22-36)

Our text today is the second reading, from the second chapter of Acts. Now if that sounds familiar to you, it should. We said the same thing last week, when our text likewise came from Acts 2, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the beginning of Peter’s Pentecost sermon. Today our reading continues on with Peter’s sermon. But wait a minute: Last week was Pentecost. Today is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. What are we doing with a Pentecost text on Trinity Sunday? That’s seems odd. Well, not really. And the reason is, as our text will show, this was a very Trinitarian Pentecost.

“A Trinitarian Pentecost”: What do I mean by that? I mean that in the event of Pentecost itself and in Peter’s preaching on that day, there is a very strong emphasis on the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And not as just some abstract doctrinal concept, a theory. No, this is reality going on here, a most blessed heavenly reality that is, at the same time, entirely down to earth. This is God in action, acting to save sinners, the likes of you and me. Today let’s find out more of the God who saves us, the God in whom our salvation rests and in whom we can have complete confidence. Today it’s “A Trinitarian Pentecost,” on Holy Trinity Sunday.

(more…)

Published in: on May 30, 2010 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,