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The Holy Trinity



Holy Trinity, series B
Lutheran Senior Services at Meramec Bluffs  
Ballwin, Missouri

Sun, Jun 3, 2012 

Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 The Triune God permeates, guides, and informs all we do as Christians.  So in our prayers and preaching we invoke the presence and blessing of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  In faith, we confidently receive God's saving blessings of Baptism, Absolution and Holy Communion, knowing that heir power and their effectiveness rest in the mysterious working of the Triune God.  We begin and end our worship in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, outside of worship, and we live every moment of this life provided for, redeemed, and sanctified by the Triune God as he prepares us for eternal life in his threefold, unified presence.  So today (as we ought to do every day) we celebrate these great blessings of God, and we meditate on the truth of God as Three in One and One in Three. 

2 As we meditate on the sacred mystery of the Holy Trinity today, St. Paul reminds us of

[Romans 11.33b]

. . . the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Certainly God as Trinity is a mystery rooted in the deep wisdom, rich knowledge, and unsearchable judgment of God.  It is beyond our intellectual ability to comprehend.  Nowhere else in life does 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.  Logically, scientifically, common-sense-wise, it just doesn't work.  But it is the truth about our God. 

So we do not strive to "explain" the Trinity. 

We dare not try to say how God is One in Three. 

We don't even attempt to say why God is Three in One. 

Instead, we listen in faith to what God says about himself, and as we listen, faith receives the blessing of the Triune God as a sacred blessing to be cherished.

3 As we search the Scriptures and hear God speak about himself, we see the that God reveals the unity of his nature in both the Old Testament and the New.  The blessed Moses, moved by God himself, proclaims to Israel:

[Deuteronomy 6.4]

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.

St. Paul echoes Moses in I Corinthians and says:

[I Corinthians 8.4b]

. . . there is none other God but one.

Clearly, there is only one God, and this God is one.

4 This one God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit throughout the Scriptures as well.  In the opening chapters of Genesis we read:

[Genesis 1.1-3]

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

God the Father is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  The Holy Spirit hovers over the face of the earth at its very creation—bestowing holiness upon all that is created.  And God the Son—the Word—is the agent by which God does his creative work.  In St. Matthew's gospel, we see the Trinity revealed as Christ is baptized in the River Jordan,

[St. Matthew 3.16-17]

. . . and lo, the heavens were opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Our God is one God and only one, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

5 Today, God uses this sacred mystery of the Trinity to humble us and remind us that certain things are indeed beyond our understanding.  We are people who

look to "science" to prove everything;

often depend solely upon experience to provide certainty for our lives;

and who long to be the final arbiter of our own truth.

By revealing himself as the Holy Trinity, God brings all that to a screeching halt.

God as Three In One cannot and will not be proven by any experiment. 

God as One In Three cannot and will never be declared certain and true by any experience good or bad. 

The truth of the Holy Trinity simply is not ours to define.

6 But this holy truth is revealed by God himself in the Scriptures.  And by this truth, today God opens our eyes to his manifold blessings.  As we ponder the unsearchable depths of the Trinity though, we see that by his truth, God also reveals the depth of our sin:

Sin that sits in our hearts and says, "I'll believe that when I see it." 

Sin that lives in our souls and drives us to demand proof for all things, even sacred things. 

Sin that endlessly questions God and demands answers on our own terms. 

We are all guilty of this sin, and today we stand convicted by the one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  So Christ tells us just what he told Nicodemus:

[St. John 3.11-12]

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

7 So today we confess our sinful desire for scientific proof of all earthly things.  We confess our sinful need for experiential certainty even of heavenly things.  We confess before almighty God that want to define our own truth and ignore the difficult truth of the Triune God.  As we confess, we turn in faith to the one who reveals the Trinity to us as our saving, gracious God.  With repentant hearts, we plead for mercy to Jesus Christ our Lord and by his grace, he shows us God in his Trinitarian fullness.

Christ reveals God as the Holy Trinity as he stands in the temple and declares:

[St. John 8.58]

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

By these words he reveals his eternal existence alongside the Father and the Spirit.

Christ reveals God as the Holy Trinity, because he is, as St. Paul says:

[Colossians 1.15]

. . . the image of the invisible God.

By his very presence among us he reveals the will and ways and words of God the Father.

Christ reveals God as the Holy Trinity when he breathes on the disciples and says:

[St. John 20.22]

Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

By these words Christ sends us the Holy Spirit—the heavenly Comforter, Advocate, and Guide.

Christ, and none other reveals that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

7 The Trinitarian nature of God indeed belongs to the "depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." (Romans 11.33).  We may never fully "understand" why it is true, or how God is in fact Father, Son, and Holy Spirit while remaining one, and only one God.  But by God's grace we certainly receive this God and his blessings into our lives.  By grace, God the Holy Spirit opens our hearts with the Word, and creates and sustains us in our faith.  By grace, God the Son forgives our sins, makes us new, and rescues us from sin, death, the devil, and hell working through his Holy Word and Blessed Sacraments.  By grace, God the Father welcomes us as his children in the blessedness of everlasting life, now, and at the consummation of the age.  Thus the Trinity is our greatest blessing.  Thus it is God's greatest mystery.  But by this mystery we and all around us have been created.  By this holy mystery we have all been redeemed.  And by this sacred mystery we are all made holy by the blessed work of our God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  May his name be ever praised.  Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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