Holy Trinity Sunday (A)
June 11, 2017
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The text that I have chosen for this morning’s sermon is the Gospel, which was read a few minutes ago.
Every time we gather here in God’s house for worship the first thing we do, or one of the first things we do, is what’s called the “Invocation”. The Invocation, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” reminds us that we’re meeting together as God’s people and that we are in His presence. We invoke God’s presence because we need Him to be here with us to give us the gifts He has promised to give. The Invocation is also the time during which we recall the time water was poured on our heads as the pastor said, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. It was at this time that our Heavenly Father adopted us as His special children, gave us the Holy Spirit, and washed us with the forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus. So, as we gather today in God’s presence to celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we remember that we have been baptized into His Holy, Divine, and Triune Name.
The text for today’s sermon is the Gospel reading, but I want to start by hearing from Isaiah. He writes, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” There are a lot of people who say you’re nothing more than an evolutionary quirk – that your ancestor was merely a bunch of chemicals in a swamp that came to life when just the right conditions combined to turn that lifeless blob into a living cell. That cell evolved into an amoeba, the amoeba evolved into a tadpole which evolved into a monkey which evolved into you. This is what science, education, and the government wants you to believe. And there’s not much room out there in the world for those who would assert that there is a creator, and kids in every corner of the country are told that there’s no place for a creator in the discussion, only a Big Bang.
But there is a creator and there’s only one Creator. There no such thing as Intelligent Design, Darwin missed the boat on evolution, scientists ignore true science, and the Creator didn’t use evolution to bring forth life on earth. Our world, and everything in it, was created when God said, “Let there be…” That’s it! The Word of God created all life, your life, and you’re baptized in the Name of your Creator. He created you, He knit you together in your mother’s womb, and He put His Name on you. As the Lord said in Isaiah 43, “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my Name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” God created you, He gave you life, and now He sustains your life.
In Martin Luther’s Explanation to the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed he begins by talking about creation and then moves into how God sustains us. He writes, “He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life…all this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy”. Since the fall into Sin, God could’ve just left us to fend for ourselves, He could make things really hard on us, but He didn’t. Instead He sends the sun and the rain, He causes the crops to grow, He gives us medicine and technology, teachers and law enforcement. He’s controls what goes on in this world and He’s involved in our lives. As our Creator, He wants to be part of our lives, He wants us to be part of Him, after all as He says in Genesis 1, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
But we know what happened to that image don’t we? Genesis 1 and 2 tell the beautiful story of creation and how everything was good and perfect. It didn’t take long for that to get messed up though for in chapter 3 we have the story of the worst thing ever, the Fall into Sin. The Fall corrupted the image of God that’s within us, Sin spoiled Eden, and God’s perfect creation was ruined. God in His anger cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden with curses of pain and hard work. That curse has continued down to us as we have sin and sorrow, pain and hardship. This is the curse of Sin, and without the grace and mercy of God, no one would survive, and all would be lost. But you’re not lost for you’re not just baptized in the Name of the Creator, you are baptized in the name of the Redeemer.
The Redeemer, Jesus Christ, came into this fallen world, a world that was and is filled with sin, disease, death, crime, and hatred. The Word that was spoken in order to create, came to its creation that was in desperate need for re-creation. Paul writes in Romans, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Everything was corrupted when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit – not just people, everything – land, animals, weather systems, the oceans – and that’s precisely why the Redeemer came. The first man, Adam, failed the Creator so there needed to be a New Man, a New Adam, who would save us.
This Redeemer is the perfect picture of God’s grace and mercy. He could’ve wiped out all that He had created and started over, but instead He sent His Son to redeem us from sin and corruption. He redeemed us not with gold or silver, but with “His Holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.” This was the only way to make up for our sin and our corruption. It was the only way that we could be recreated and be restored to the image of God. Now we look forward to the day that God says will be beyond anything we can imagine. He says in Isaiah 65, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” On that day we’ll be restored to perfection and we’ll get to live in an Eden free of the corruption that ruined the first Eden. No more sorrow, tears, pain, or curses, only the blessings that come from living with God. And until that day comes, Christ has given you the Counselor, the Holy Spirit.
When you are baptized, you’re baptized into the Name of the Holy Spirit who sustains you as you are daily under attack by the devil. Jesus says that the Devil “was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” and he is. The Devil doesn’t want you to be recreated and he doesn’t want you to know that you are God’s child, so he attacks you, he seduces you with lies, and he tricks you. In the face of these attacks, what can we do? Under our own power, nothing right? That’s why the Holy Spirit was sent to us – so that we would be called by the Gospel, enlightened with His gifts, and kept in the true faith. The Holy Spirit reminds us that we are God’s children, created by the Father and redeemed by the Son, forgiven, and never forgotten.
We are forgiven, you, right now, are forgiven because you are baptized and the Name of God is etched in your heart. There aren’t any sins hanging over your head, purgatory isn’t waiting for you, and God’s not angry with you. You are forgiven because you have been redeemed. The Lord says in Isaiah, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” When the Holy Spirit brought you to faith He called your name, when you were baptized, He labeled you as His. You are redeemed, you are bought back, from sin and corruption because Christ died for you! His passion paid the price for your corruption and His death has removed the curse of God and replaced it with God’s eternal blessing. In our Gospel, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” That authority is the authority He gave to the disciples to proclaim the forgiveness of sins. I now have the authority, and I exercise that authority, when I tell you that your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You are redeemed, you are forgiven, and you are re-created by God Himself.
As new creations then you and I both seek to live as God wants us to live. What this means is that we live as those who have been baptized and have the name of God put on us. Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” You are a disciple and you have been taught, and you are being taught what Christ has commanded throughout the Holy Bible. Some of this by the power of the Holy Spirit, you do quite well, other commandments, by your own power, you don’t do well at all. But this is again where the Holy Spirit sustains us. He gives us the strength through our baptism and His Word to live in a Christian manner, and He gives us forgiveness through the same things when we fail. As Luther says, the Old Adam is drowned and the New Adam brought forth whenever we confess our sins and remember our baptism, and this is something we don’t do just once a week, or once a month, or even once a day, it’s something we do all day, every single day that we wake up and take a breath. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do it because we’re not alone, rather as Christ has said, “Behold I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
Every Sunday we begin our service with the Invocation, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” and every Sunday we end our service with the three part Benediction, “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and to be gracious unto you, the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace”. We begin in the Name of the Triune God, we end in the Name of the Triune God, and we live in the Name of the Triune God. Everything we do, we do to the praise and honor of His Name which has been placed upon us. That Name was put on you when you were baptized and brought to faith, and you have Christ’s promise that He will be with you every day as you face temptations, as you sin, and as you honor Him with your life. This is the promise of the Triune God for you; the promise of the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Now the peace which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen