Sermon for Holy Trinity Sunday
Good evening members of Grace:
Just a quick reminder that if you see this before 10:45AM on Sunday, please do join us for our first “parking lot” worship service today. As we cannot open the church for the washrooms, please do use the washroom before you leave for the service.
If you cannot make the live service in the parking lot here is a video of the sermon: https://youtu.be/0-nqlU9Pfy4
Note: All Scripture quotations in the sermon are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, ESV Text Edition: 2016. Copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The sermon text for Holy Trinity Sunday is the Gospel reading from Matthew 28:16-20:
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Introduction: Young children, around kindergarten or grade one, tend to believe in God: they believe that there is a Creator and God who made them. Perhaps this is because we are all made in the image of God which means we have the ability to worship and love God. But as some individuals grow older their pride and listening to other voices causes them to reject God and creation and become atheists. Atheists must have a difficult time understanding why they are here on Earth, what the purpose of life is and what their part is in life. I can only imagine their confusion and sadness. I doubt many of them truly believe they are here by a random accident. But for us Christians on this Holy Trinity Sunday, we do not have this problem. We believe God who speaks to us through His Holy Word, the Bible, that He is our Creator and He made us and loves us. We know where we are from, where we are going, and what God has called us to do until we get there. We have purpose in life.
Part 1: We know where we are from
We know where we are from. God’s Word tells us that He created the world in six, twenty-four hour days. He created the world and the seas and their proud waves, He separated the land from the water and made all the plants and animals and insects and everything else that lives on the Earth. He made the sun and the moon and the stars and all the universe as well. And after God made everything and saw it He saw that it was good. And finally God made Adam, the first man, and from his rib Eve, the first woman, and the first human family was made. God made them in his image which means we have the ability to know and worship God, we have intelligence and can gain wisdom and we have a soul which will never die. And so we know where we are from.
When you know where you are from you have peace and clarity. We have peace because we know we have a Heavenly Father and are not left orphans and all alone in this world. This gives us great peace and we don’t have to spend time and emotional energy like the atheists wondering where we are from. We are part of God’s family. And when you know where you are from you have clarity: you don’t get distracted by wondering about your origins so you can enjoy life more and you know not only God made you but that you are going to God after you die. This is a wonderful blessing.
Part 2: We know where we are going
We know where we are from and we know where we are going. Where we are going after we die is where Christ has gone before us: we will have a resurrection like our Lord’s and go and be with our Triune God in the newly created Earth.
St. Peter tells the crowd in Jerusalem in his Pentecost Day sermon where we are going when he says: “…this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’” (Acts 2:23-28) St. Peter explains that King David, who was a prophet, knew that though he would die that he should not be shaken because God would be with him and give him a bodily resurrection from the dead. Because Jesus died for our sinful rebellion against God we to will have a resurrection. David says God will not abandon his soul to Hades or hell but it will live before Christ in heaven after our earthly body is laid to rest before Christ returns to give us a resurrection on the Last Day. Christ has made known to us the paths of life and that path of life is to trust in Christ and rise from the dead and live face to face with our Triune God in heaven, the restored creation. Being face to face in God’s presence is what will give us gladness in heaven.
When you know where you are going you have hope and courage. We have hope because we know that however we die, we will rise again! Sin and death cannot end our existance. Our life and forgiveness is from God in Christ. So we live in hope no matter how hard our everyday struggles are and how hard life is today. We live in hope because we know Christ will return and we will be given a bodily resurrection and be with our Lord forever. Knowing where you are going also gives you courage. Right now the world is scared to death of the coronavirus: the world is at a standstill because people are so scared of getting the coronavirus and dying. This is logical if you are an atheist because all you have is life in this world, after you die you have nothing left, no hope. We know that we will die in some way, whether it be by the coronavirus or some other reason. But we also know we will rise from the dead and so that gives us courage and we walk around with a different attitude and countenance than unbelievers. Now, we don’t treat the coronavirus lightly or do brash and foolish things and we try to lessen its spread for the sake of our neighbour, but we don’t live in fear of any disease because we know we are pilgrims on our way to heaven. This present Earth and this life is not where we will be forever so we have courage.
We know where we come from and we know where we are going. This helps us greatly in understanding life so we are not confused about life like atheists who do not know what the purpose of life is.
Part 3: We know what Christ has called us to do until we get there
We know what the purpose of life is because Jesus tells us the purpose of life in our Gospel reading as He tells us what He has called us to do in this life until He takes us to be with Him in heaven.
Jesus words to His eleven disciples give us all our marching orders, His mandate for how we are to live awaiting His return: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
What is the purpose of life? It is first to worship God. Second it is to lovingly serve our neighbour in the different vocations that God has given us on Earth. Solomon speaks about this in the book of Ecclesiastes where he says in life we should take joy in our earthly toil. That’s Solomon’s way of saying one of the purposes of life is to serve other in society in some form of work or service. And the third purpose of life and living Jesus gives us here and it is to share the Good News of His saving incarnation, death and resurrection with the world. Jesus is talking about evangelism. That’s our third purpose, to share Jesus not with those far off in other countries, the evangelists when all around, but with those in our circle of family, friends, classmates, co-workers and neighbours. Note that our purpose in life is not a self-centred purpose, it projects outward to our neighbour for their eternal good.
When you know your purpose in life, what you are called to do, you have direction and focus. Our direction in life is not to live self-centred lives with ourselves as idol where we are caught up in sins of anger, malice, gossip, lust and greed. No, Christ calls us to love and service of others. And so our direction in life is corporate. Our families are to be directed outward in mission. As we help and serve our neighbour we seek to share the Good News of Christ with them and eventually give them a copy of the Holy Bible. But even before that we invite them to church (when the church is allowed to reopen) so that they may see the love of the Christian fellowship and hear God’s Word preached and receive His Holy Sacrament. This is how we are to direct our families. And when you know what your purpose is in life you have focus. By God’s grace we stay focused on our mandate of evangelism as we go through the stages of life. We get older but our focus does not change, maybe only the age of the people we share the Gospel with changes.
As we invite people to church Jesus tells us that we are to baptize them into His triune name once the believe and accept His divinity and saving work for them, a faith they receive by God the Holy Spirit. Then they are baptized into the Church, God’s family on earth.
And finally we are to teach them to observe all that Christ has commanded us. What does this mean? Here, Jesus is commanding us to teach them how He has commanded us to live, in worship of God and in love toward one another. We are to put the needs of others above our own, not to love money, to serve others. Jesus says love fulfills the Law and that is how we are to live.
Christ’s promise to us is no matter what happens in life, no matter how hard it is, He is always with us. He is with us right until the end when He returns. No matter how many years get added to our life and to this world’s history before Christ returns He will be with us.
Conclusion: Young children naturally believe in God, in having a Creator, and so they are not confused about where they have come from. The atheists do not know this and so they live in a constant search for their origins and for the origins of life and ultimately the purpose of life. Thanks be to God we do not have this pain or this confusion for we know where we’re from, where we are going and what God has called us in Christ to do until we get there. In Christ’s Holy Name. Amen.