The Power and Mercy of Jesus  

Luke 7:11-17 

Prepared by: John Hazzard 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age,  according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory  forever and ever. Amen. 

In John’s Gospel we are told that not all of Jesus’s miracles and  episodes have been reported and written about, because if all had been  written down there would not be a book big enough to hold them. So  you may be wondering why this miracle made it into Luke’s sacred text.  As we begin to look at and study today's Gospel text, it soon becomes  obvious why Luke chose this miraculous event and included it in his  gospel. As a matter of fact if all of the other miracles that Jesus  performed were lost- or for whatever reason- were not recorded in the  sacred text, this miracle alone would be enough to reveal Jesus’s true  nature, and what he was sent to do as the Son of God and our promised  Savior.  

The day before today’s gospel text we saw a Roman servant, that  was on the brink of death, saved by Jesus from a distance. In our text  we might be caught up in the fact that Jesus actually raised a mother’s  only son from the dead. The man was dead and by the miraculous  power of Jesus, he was made alive again. But there is more going on  here than what we might realize. This event points to the true identity  and nature of Jesus Christ as true man and true God. We see the human  compassion that Jesus had, as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ,  while at the same time demonstrating his saving power and Grace. 

In our text we find that Jesus happened across a large funeral  procession on his way to a town called Nain. In those days a funeral  procession was quite the spectacle. There would be a large crowd  consisting of family members and friends that followed the deceased  who was carried in a bier (a b i e r is a basket like frame in which the  body of the deceased was carried from their home, out of the city to their  burial tomb). It was not uncommon for the family to hire musicians to  play music, and even higher mourners, to proceed with the family. They  wanted to be sure to honor and show respect for their deceased loved  ones. When I think about this large funeral procession, I imagine it  would have looked a lot like one of those funeral processions made  famous in New Orleans, where a jazz type band with trumpets,  trombones, and various other brass instruments play a slow methodical  melody that the people sort of saunter or walk to. As you might expect  it was a very sad and somber ceremony. Especially in this case.   

Our Text reveals, 11 Soon afterward Jesus went to a town called  Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12 As Jesus  approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried  out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow, and with her  was a large crowd from the town. I can’t imagine a more sad or heavy hearted situation. This poor widow, we are told, not only lost her  husband, but now lost her only son. She would now go through life  having no one to take care of her or provide for her. She would be left  totally destitute. She would pass from this world leaving no trace that  she or her family ever existed. This is a desperate situation that would  have rivaled that of Job’s. As sad as that seems, it was common for the  Jewish people of that day to believed that this kind of “bad luck” was the  result of a curse from God. A curse that was the result of some deviant 

misconduct committed by her. This poor woman would be thought to  have offended God to the point that God allowed these horrific tragedies  to fall on her. She herself probably wondered what great sins she  committed to fall this far out of God’s favor. The truth is that she didn’t  necessarily cause these events, Adam brought this on the world when he  committed the original sin and ate from “the tree of the knowledge of  good and evil”, casting us all, as his descendants, into sin.  

Our sermon text goes on to say, 13 When the Lord saw her, he was  moved with compassion for her and said to her, “Weep Not.” When  Jesus said these words to her he was not admonishing her, nor was he  trying to tell her to “Keep your chin up, things will get better”. I don’t  think he meant anything like that at all. What Jesus was saying was  “Weep Not”, I am going to intercede for you and things are going to be  made right once more. The text continues: 14 Then he came forward  and touched the bier, and the bearers stopped. And Jesus said, “Young  man, I say to you, rise!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and  Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized all of them, and they  glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God  has visited his people!” 17 This word about him spread throughout the  whole of Judea and all the surrounding region. It wasn’t the tears of the  mother that saved her son’s life. No human work can bring life. It is  only the mercy of God that makes life anew possible. It was Jesus’s  compassion, power, and authority that saved her son. Knowing this  should be a great comfort for us as well. It is written in John 14: “I am  the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except  through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”  

Someday we will all be called– by our faith in Christ– to receive our  eternal life, rescued from death and condemnation by the same 

compassion Jesus demonstrated for that weeping mother. We will all  feel a peace and cleansing like we have never felt before.  

Let me re-emphasize for you that not only are pain, suffering, loss,  and a general sense of vulnerability caused by sin, but death is the result  of sin as well. Death originated in Paradise due to sin inherited from  Adam and Eve. Therefore, all are born into sin and must experience  death. No amount of good works or deeds can save us. We can’t help  enough people with their groceries, hold enough doors, nor volunteer at  enough homeless shelters. Don’t get me wrong, we should be doing  these things. These things are all fruits of the Holy Spirit that are in the  faithful, but these actions in themselves will not justify nor sanctify us.  No one can stand in front of the judgment of God and survive on their  own merits or works. The only way is through The Justification we are  given because Jesus - living a perfect and sinless life- bore, all of our  sins for us and by his death became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Just  as Jesus’s life is infinite, His atoning sacrificial death on the cross is  infinite as well. Jesus’s infinite sacrificial death is like an ever flowing fountain of atoning waters that continuously covers our sins. We are  justified freely by the work of Christ. There is no doubt about it. The  justice that God demands of us, was met. Our sin debt was and  continues to be paid. As a result, God through his love can now invite  all those who will put their trust in Christ, to spend eternity with Him.  Romans 6:23 Tells us, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of  God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

  

You see, Jesus’s atoning sacrifice coupled with our faith in him,  makes sanctification given by the Grace of God possible. It’s not  enough to believe, you must have faith, True Faith. When we say we  believe we might say, I believe that George Washington was the first 

president of the United States. That would be something you believe to  be true. But, when you have faith, you are doing more than just  believing. In addition to believing, you completely and utterly trust  something or someone with every fiber of your being. There is no doubt  in your mind, your heart, nor your soul. It is so total and complete that it  becomes a part of you and shapes you. It is easy to say “I believe  something”, but it takes on a much deeper and personal meaning when  you have faith in it. When you have faith in something you trust it. This  is what God wants in our relationship with him. It is by this faith in  Christ, that we have both a temporal and eternal relationship with God.  Everyone knows that death is inevitable, but the heathen does not see  how the work of the cross and Christ is there to meet and help all those  who are faithful and righteous.  

God never intended for man to suffer. Quite the contrary God  gave us paradise and an eternal relationship with him. To continue to  live in a state of Grace, all we have to do is use the freewill that God  gives us, and have faith in him and his word. God gives richly if men  can endure and maintain their faith in him. We see this lesson and  understanding played out in Job’s life. Job’s faith never wavered. He  never doubted God, as a result he was restored and given twice as much.  God richly blesses those that endure and look toward him for guidance  in times of trouble, instead of turning away from him. 

Some of you may be wondering how people in the Old Testament  are saved. It is clearly stated in Acts 4: 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you  builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is  found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to  mankind by which we must be saved.” The bible clearly tells us that we  can only be saved through a faith in Jesus Christ. The bible teaches no  one can be saved apart from the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. So 

How Do Old Testament believers become Sanctified in the shed blood  of Christ? The Divine Word of God tells us in Hebrews Ch. 9: 15 For  this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are  

called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has  died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first  covenant. By the means of Jesus’s redemptive death those who are  called may receive their eternal inheritance. You see, The Mosaic  Covenant was like a will. Its laws and ceremonies would set God’s  people apart, serving to foreshadow the coming of the true messiah,  Jesus The Christ. This means that the saving grace of the cross has  retroactively saved the Old Testament people who were faithful. For  example, Abraham was saved by his strong faith, not by his works.  Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, symbolized Christ as our savior and  our Ultimate High Priest. During Yom Kippur, retroactive forgiveness  was given each year as the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to  present a blood sacrifice for the sins of the people that were committed  out of ignorance the year before. Thanks be to God that we all- past,  present, and future- have the ultimate High Priest who has ascended to  our Heavenly Holy of Holies to intercede on our behalf.  

We all know we are going to die, but the heathen does not see how  Christ is always there to meet and help us, the faithful and righteous.  Just as he was there to meet the mother’s dead son on the road to Nain.  We are all born into sin and must experience a physical death. The only  way we can be saved is by Christ crucified. Christ took on death and  God's wrath for us, so that we may be saved. As the True Lamb of God,  Christ saves us the believer. This gift can only be received by the Grace  of God when we are touched by the Holy Spirit and believe in the  Divine Word of God

What all this means is that we have an important choice to make.  We can either pay our sin debt ourselves with an eternal death, or we can  put our Faith in Jesus, lay our sins on him, and let Jesus pay our sin debt  for us. Just like the young man in Nain we can be brought back from the  dead to have eternal life because we have accepted Jesus Christ, the true  Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Through Jesus  Christ we have holiness and righteousness for we are told in II  Corinthians 5: 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that  in him we might become the righteousness of God. 

There is no better news. Christ placed our sins on himself and  gave to us that have Faith in him, his righteousness so we can be found  acceptable to God Almighty. This is the justification and the  sanctification that leads us on a straight and narrow path to Salvation.  When we pray “IN THE NAME OF JESUS” we are saying, “Oh God in  the name of Jesus in whom I totally and confidently stand”. Hebrews 9:  24 reminds us For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human  hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now  to appear for us in God’s presence.” We will never face our sin again  when we put our faith in Christ Jesus. Just as Jesus raised the young man  from the dead, he will come again to gather us all who have died to sin  so that we may have an eternal life with him. “Jesus is the way, the  truth, and the life.” Today is the day to put your total faith in Christ,  resting in the Peace of God, given through the intercession of Christ. 

THE PEACE OF GOD THAT PASSES ALL HUMAN  UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR  MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS… THE TRUE LAMB OF GOD  WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD. 

 

7

Proverbs 8: 22-31 

Psalm 8 

Romans 5: 1-5 

John 16: 12-15 

“The Simple Trinity” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

One of the most confusing things to talk about let alone  understand in our Christian faith is the Trinity. But what makes it  difficult isn’t that it is complex, it isn’t. Rather, what makes it  difficult is that it is quite simple; we just don’t like the simplicity of  the Trinity for we keep on asking how. We want the Trinity to be  complex and full of depth. We want images and metaphors and  example to help us understand. But we don’t necessarily get that  in Scripture. Instead we get brief matter-of-fact statements that  quickly dive into the importance of the Trinity. Most of the time the  Trinity is just a given as the narrative within Scripture progresses.  Such cases include the various times God says, “Let us…” Who is  this “us”? Well it’s the Trinity obviously. That’s the thing, the  Trinity is treated more as a given. Yet throughout history many  have grown dissatisfied with the lack of answers to the question,  “How is this so?” So out of a desire of answering this question,  which Scripture does not answers, many have abandoned  Scripture, using human knowledge to fill in the gaps. 

The picture you see in today’s bulletin, next to the sermon  title is a perfect representation of the simple Trinity. There is only  one God, not three Gods, but within God there are three distinct  separate persons who are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That  is the simplified Trinity.

The Father is not the Son nor is He the Spirit. The Son is not  the Spirit nor is He the Father. The Spirit is not the Father nor is  He the Son. But the Father is not one God not the Son a different  God and the Spirit another God, but that there is only one God  and all three persons are that one and only True God. What I just  there is no different than my prior simplified statement of the  Trinity, just with more elaboration. But the elaboration is  necessary because unfortunately in the quest to know more,  some heretical beliefs about the Trinity have risen, and it is the  addressing of these heresies that has led to the simple Trinity  being stretched out into what we now know as the Athanasian  Creed, which we will soon read. 

The simplicity of the Trinity still exists in this Creed, but it  unfortunately has to be repeated and reworded multiple times in  order to address each heresy that popped up during the times of  the early Church. Since then more new and interesting heresies  related to the Trinity have arisen. But if we just ignored all the  clutter of heresies in our age, to include all the attempts to explain  the Trinity by making it more complex than it needs to be, then we  get one simple explanation: There are three persons but only one  God. That’s all we need, but because we are uncomfortable with  having faith in God’s Word which doesn’t elaborate on such, we  must add counters to all the heresies which muddy the simple  Trinity. 

Faith in God’s Word… do you remember what I say  regarding the Lord’s physical presence in the Bread and Wine?  Lutherans simply believe and have faith in Jesus’ promise that the  bread is His body and the wine is His blood. We believe He is 

telling the truth. Then the question comes, well then how is it  true? We don’t go there. We never address how the Bread is His  literal Body nor the Wine Blood because He never told us in all of  Scripture; we simply have faith in His word. No fancy arguments  that have no Scriptural grounding; just faith. The same applies to  the Trinity. No fancy arguments; just faith. 

So what are some of the things we do believe regarding the  Trinity in accordance with our universal faith? One, we believe  that even though through the Creeds we acknowledge that God  the Father is creator of Heaven and Earth, we also affirm that all  three persons were involved in the Creation. In Genesis, God  said, “Let us.” In John 1:3, “All things were made through Him,”  aka Jesus. 1 Corinthians 8:6, “yet for us there is one God, the  Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one  Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through  whom we exist.” These are examples that affirm that God the  Father was not alone in the creation. And if the Son and Holy  Spirit were both involved in the creation then they are not  themselves created, but that should be implied if we believe that  all three are one God. Yes Jesus was begotten and the Holy Spirit  proceeds out of the Father and Son, but neither are created. Thus  from there very beginning there was one God and three persons. 

Another, we believe that all three persons are equal in power  and majesty, unlimited and eternal, and that not one person in the  trinity is neither greater nor lesser than any of the others. If one  was greater than another, then that would imply there are more  than one God, but because there is only one God then all three  persons must be equal. Now God the Father is the head of the 

Trinity, but that is not because he is more powerful or more  majestic or greater than the others. It also does not mean he has  more authority than the others, but out of respect to the  relationship the Son and Spirit have towards the Father, the  Father is the head and the other too honor Him. This is in line with  the fourth commandment, “Honor thy Father.” It is also in line with  Hebrews 5:4-5, “And no one takes this honor for himself, but only  when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not  exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him  who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”  The Father does not have more honor or authority than Christ, but  out of respect toward the relationship between Father and Son,  and because it is not proper to place honor upon yourself, the two  and the Spirit honor each other. 

And that leads to the final belief, we believe that the three  persons, though one God, are distinct from each other. Their  distinction is not found in their power or majesty as we  acknowledge that they are equal in all respects. Their distinction  is found in how they relate to each other and to us. There is only  one Father, not three. There is only one Son, not three. There is  only one Spirit, not three. The Father is the father in relationship  to the other two. He is the head of the Trinity, but only in  relationship and not out of prowess. 

The Son is the Son in relationship to the Father, and unlike  the Father, under the command of the Father, which He is not,  took the form of a man in order to die on the cross for our sake.  The Father did not, nor the Spirit, die on that cross, only the Son.  As God, whom the Son is fully, He is still equal in everything to 

the Father. As a human, whom the Son is fully and willfully took  on, He, like all humans, is subordinate to the will of God. His  divinity did not turn into humanity or the other way around. He is  not confused. He is in perfect unity with Himself as both God and  man. God did not become man, but rather God took humanity into  himself for it was the Son alone that became man. 

And the Spirit is the Spirit in relationship between the Father  and the Son, proceeding from both, but not created by either,  being in equal power to the two. The Spirit is to us the source of  our faith in Jesus Christ who is our Savior. Jesus is not the source  of our Faith in Him, but according to our Small Catechism, “I  believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in  Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has  called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified  and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers,  enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth,  and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.” And in today’s  Gospel, the entirety of it, is all about how the Spirit of Truth, which  is the Holy Spirit, will testify to us on behalf of the Father the truth,  will reveal all this to us and within us, so that through the Spirit we  may see Christ for who He is and have true faith in Him. The  Spirit does not speak on His own authority, but of the Father’s.  This does not mean that the Spirit is lesser than the Father, but  that He respects the Father as head. The Spirit is still equal in  everything to the Father, but the Spirit’s role in this Trinitarian  relationship is not to be the head but the one who provides for us  faith in the salvation which was one for us through Christ.

So there are three persons in the Trinity. All three are distinct  in their persons, but all three are one and the same True God for  there is only one God, not three Gods. 

Everything I’ve said this far is the plain and simple Trinity  revealed to us in Scripture. There are many things about Him we  do not know nor could ever fathom as fallen human beings. There  are things about God that He did not reveal to us intentionally, but  there are a few important things that are revealed in Scripture.  Instead of making things up to describe God, which unfortunately  might lead to a complete misunderstanding of God, Why not just  refer to the few in number simple references God makes to His  Triune nature. And instead of becoming dissatisfied with the lack  of robust theological hooks, let us have a quiet faith comfortable  with the fact that there are many mysteries about God that we will  never truly grasp in this life, focusing instead on that which is  revealed to us in scripture: the Father is God, Jesus is God, the  Spirit is God, but there are not three Gods but only One God. 

Let us pray, 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all three of you  are equal in power and all are one. Guide us in the one and only  true catholic, or universal, Christian faith, so that in faith toward  you the Triune God and all the promises fulfilled in Scripture we  all may be sanctified and united as one holy Church. In your holy  name we pray, again: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Acts 16: 6-10 

Psalm 47 

Revelations 22: 12-17, 20 

John 17: 20-26 

Memorial Day Weekend 

“Soldiers with Christ” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

In our opening Hymn, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, the  official words of the last verse ends with As He died to make men  holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on.  Some people misinterpret this entire song to be about the end  times/revelation, but the hymn is all about how the end times are  already here, we’ve been living the end times for the last two  millenniums. That is why the opening line begins with, “My eyes  have seen,” have seen is past tense thus with regards to the  coming Lord our eyes do not see in the now nor will we see in the  future, but in the past our eyes have seen the coming Lord. And in  the next verse, when it opens with, “He has sounded forth the  trumpets that shall never call retreat,” again the sounding of the  trumpet is referenced as a past event, thus “sounded”. If we view  this song not as an ode to events yet cometh but as a continual  arc that began with the birth of Christ to today then we see the  intended meaning behind Julia’s poem of which the words to this  hymn originate from. 

We are an army of Christian Soldiers and the trumpet call to  forward march has already been sounded. This trumpet call is the  cross where Jesus gave himself up to save us from our sins. This  trumpet call is the Great Commission which Jesus gave before He 

ascended. This trumpet call is Pentecost when the tongues of fire  filled the disciples with the Holy Spirit. Christ sounded the trumpet  call of forward march for his holy army of Christian Soldiers and  now that he has sounded forth salvation He, God who never goes  back on His Word, will never call retreat. The March has started  and it will keep on moving forward until it has reached its course.  That is why we end each verse with the line, “is marching on.” In  the present we are conducting the continual action of marching. 

But if that is the case then that would mean the battle is still  on going, though the battle we face is one of reaching out to  others, spreading the Good News with the Holy Spirit as our  guide. The terrible swift sword we wield is the Word of God, and  the real enemy we vanquish, put to death, with such a sword is  the slavery of Satan. Yet in war there will be casualties. There  always is. During the first couple centuries of Christianity there  was so many martyrs, those who were put to death simply for  being a Christian. And it wasn’t just us foot Soldiers who were put  to death, our Commander, Jesus Christ, willing gave up His life  for the sake of this glorious mission. 

Freedom never comes free, as a nation we understand this,  but even more so as Christians for we know that the only way to  true freedom – freedom from sin, freedom from the sting of death,  freedom from satanic slavery – is through the blood stained cross.  It is chiefly for this reason why we say the original words to the  Hymn rather than what’s found in our hymnal, “let us die to make  men free.”

To say, “As he died to make men holy, let us live to make  men free,” is wrong on so many levels. The first is that it is  bearing false witness as they changed the lyrics without any  mention that they completely reversed one of the lines. The  second is that it doesn’t make sense as there is no comparison to  Christ dying and us living. It is grammatically accurate to say that  we live because Christ died, but it isn’t grammatically, let alone  logically, accurate to claim we should live just like how Christ  died. Third, its offensive to all Soldiers who lost a brother in arm  knowing full well the consequence of war, for all of us Soldiers  willingly signed our right to live when we gave our oaths waiting  for Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty to call us to arms. War is bloody,  but for the sake of freedom and preserving freedom it is  absolutely necessary. 

I saw something circulating yesterday. It mentioned how  Memorial Day is the most expensive holiday of the American  calendar, for on this day behind every hot dog and beer and ice  cream cone and firework and boating activity we recognize the  blood of every Soldier who laid down their life so that we may all  be free. Free to practice our faith. Free to speak our minds. Free  to be the press. Free to assemble unrestrained. Free to complain  about the government and know that our grievances are heard.  Free to bear arms and thus defend our nation from domestic  tyranny. And so many other freedoms. Know all of this is already  ours by right of God, God-given rights, but fallen humans will  continue to try and snatch these freedoms away from us, and thus  blood is spilled to preserve them.

And to those out of good intention changed the lyrics of this  hymn through deceptive means I understand that you want to  promote life and that you don’t want to see people suffer and die,  but now that you have already changed the latter half to “let us  live” are you now going to also change the first half of the line to,  “as he lived to make men holy”? Are you going to be like Peter  who begged Jesus to live rather than to choose death? The same  Peter who was then immediately received these not-so-nice  words from Jesus, “Get behind me Satan.” Guess what, I just  found out that several churches, to include the ELCA, is doing just  that, trying to write out the passion story. 

Freedom comes at a cost. The Salvation we have in Jesus  Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the freedom to do good works, the  keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, the fruits of the Spirit, all of this  came at a cost. A sacrifice had to be made for the forgiveness of  all mankind, so Jesus became that sacrifice for us all. 

Freedom comes at a cost. Do you think that Satan was just  going to allow Jesus to rescue the slaves of his deathly domain  without a fight? The arms of Satan reaches out throughout the world; influencing the culture at every turn. As we Soldiers of God  go out into the outer world to save sinners with the Word of God  as our sword, Satan will use his demonic influence to have  preachers and lay leaders and missionaries and biblical teachers  suffer jail, starvation, joblessness, homelessness, abandonment,  and even execution. He does this to silence us or terrify us into  compliance. But God shall never call retreat, so we march forward  through tyranny and deadly pestilence, not fearing the potential 

loss that the Devil may thrust our way but having faith, hope, and  love in God above all else. 

Freedom comes at a cost. On this Memorial Day Weekend  we recognize the cost of freedom. Do you think that King George  was just going to let us be a free nation after all the acts of evil  tyranny he dumped on the colonists: the extreme taxes, the taking  away of guns, the forcing of Soldiers into people’s homes, the  church burnings, the property damage, and the consequences of  speaking up against the King? America had had enough. And as  one they rose up behind chants of “Don’t tread on me” and “Give  me liberty or give me death.” The option for us was to either live  under the boot of tyranny, or rise up risking life for the sake of  liberty. So there are actually three options, “liberty, death, or  getting trampled under the boot of the king. With don’t tread on  me as the rally cry, the last of the three options became null. Thus  either we fight for liberty or we die trying. 

The colonists weren’t free, and living wasn’t going to make  them free. If they were unwilling to risk life then a militia, which is  the people, would have never formed and the Revolution would  have never of been waged. George would have remained our  King, and evil would have won. But we rose up, and with God on  our side, though there were casualties, we won and became a  nation of the free. Those who died to free our land and those who  died to maintain our freedom will never be forgotten. 

Same applies to the wars thereafter. Through the civil war  we fought to preserve the God-given rights of all Americans  regardless of who you where or what you looked like. Had 

Soldiers not risk their lives for the union’s cause, choosing to  stand down and peacefully do nothing, we would still see slavery  today. But many good men lost their lives in the hopes that all  regardless of their skin color would be truly free. Through WW2  we fought to rescuing the Jews in the concentration camps and  rescue the invaded western countries from Nazi Germany as  Soldiers willingly risked their lives on the European front. You also  have 1812, WW1, the Pacific front of WW2, Korea, Vietnam, the  Middle East. 

We have lost so many, but instead of hiding from the tragedy  of war by choosing to live submissively to evil, we should give  respect where respect is due. Let us respect our fallen comrades.  Preserve and defend the good things they died for. And hold on to  this one hope, that the Soldiers who died knowing Christ are not  only Soldiers of Christ, but are Soldiers with Christ. 

Let us pray, 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, on this weekend guide our minds to  appreciate the freedom we have while also acknowledging the  cost that had to be paid for such freedom; whether that is freedom  from political tyranny won by the blood of men or freedom from  demonic tyranny won by the blood of Christ. In your most glorious  name we pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Proverbs 8: 22-31 

Psalm 8 

Romans 5: 1-5 

John 16: 12-15 

“The Simple Trinity” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

One of the most confusing things to talk about let alone  understand in our Christian faith is the Trinity. But what makes it  difficult isn’t that it is complex, it isn’t. Rather, what makes it  difficult is that it is quite simple; we just don’t like the simplicity of  the Trinity for we keep on asking how. We want the Trinity to be  complex and full of depth. We want images and metaphors and  example to help us understand. But we don’t necessarily get that  in Scripture. Instead we get brief matter-of-fact statements that  quickly dive into the importance of the Trinity. Most of the time the  Trinity is just a given as the narrative within Scripture progresses.  Such cases include the various times God says, “Let us…” Who is  this “us”? Well it’s the Trinity obviously. That’s the thing, the  Trinity is treated more as a given. Yet throughout history many  have grown dissatisfied with the lack of answers to the question,  “How is this so?” So out of a desire of answering this question,  which Scripture does not answers, many have abandoned  Scripture, using human knowledge to fill in the gaps. 

The picture you see in today’s bulletin, next to the sermon  title is a perfect representation of the simple Trinity. There is only  one God, not three Gods, but within God there are three distinct  separate persons who are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That  is the simplified Trinity.

The Father is not the Son nor is He the Spirit. The Son is not  the Spirit nor is He the Father. The Spirit is not the Father nor is  He the Son. But the Father is not one God not the Son a different  God and the Spirit another God, but that there is only one God  and all three persons are that one and only True God. What I just  there is no different than my prior simplified statement of the  Trinity, just with more elaboration. But the elaboration is  necessary because unfortunately in the quest to know more,  some heretical beliefs about the Trinity have risen, and it is the  addressing of these heresies that has led to the simple Trinity  being stretched out into what we now know as the Athanasian  Creed, which we will soon read. 

The simplicity of the Trinity still exists in this Creed, but it  unfortunately has to be repeated and reworded multiple times in  order to address each heresy that popped up during the times of  the early Church. Since then more new and interesting heresies  related to the Trinity have arisen. But if we just ignored all the  clutter of heresies in our age, to include all the attempts to explain  the Trinity by making it more complex than it needs to be, then we  get one simple explanation: There are three persons but only one  God. That’s all we need, but because we are uncomfortable with  having faith in God’s Word which doesn’t elaborate on such, we  must add counters to all the heresies which muddy the simple  Trinity. 

Faith in God’s Word… do you remember what I say  regarding the Lord’s physical presence in the Bread and Wine?  Lutherans simply believe and have faith in Jesus’ promise that the  bread is His body and the wine is His blood. We believe He is 

telling the truth. Then the question comes, well then how is it  true? We don’t go there. We never address how the Bread is His  literal Body nor the Wine Blood because He never told us in all of  Scripture; we simply have faith in His word. No fancy arguments  that have no Scriptural grounding; just faith. The same applies to  the Trinity. No fancy arguments; just faith. 

So what are some of the things we do believe regarding the  Trinity in accordance with our universal faith? One, we believe  that even though through the Creeds we acknowledge that God  the Father is creator of Heaven and Earth, we also affirm that all  three persons were involved in the Creation. In Genesis, God  said, “Let us.” In John 1:3, “All things were made through Him,”  aka Jesus. 1 Corinthians 8:6, “yet for us there is one God, the  Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one  Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through  whom we exist.” These are examples that affirm that God the  Father was not alone in the creation. And if the Son and Holy  Spirit were both involved in the creation then they are not  themselves created, but that should be implied if we believe that  all three are one God. Yes Jesus was begotten and the Holy Spirit  proceeds out of the Father and Son, but neither are created. Thus  from there very beginning there was one God and three persons. 

Another, we believe that all three persons are equal in power  and majesty, unlimited and eternal, and that not one person in the  trinity is neither greater nor lesser than any of the others. If one  was greater than another, then that would imply there are more  than one God, but because there is only one God then all three  persons must be equal. Now God the Father is the head of the 

Trinity, but that is not because he is more powerful or more  majestic or greater than the others. It also does not mean he has  more authority than the others, but out of respect to the  relationship the Son and Spirit have towards the Father, the  Father is the head and the other too honor Him. This is in line with  the fourth commandment, “Honor thy Father.” It is also in line with  Hebrews 5:4-5, “And no one takes this honor for himself, but only  when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not  exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him  who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”  The Father does not have more honor or authority than Christ, but  out of respect toward the relationship between Father and Son,  and because it is not proper to place honor upon yourself, the two  and the Spirit honor each other. 

And that leads to the final belief, we believe that the three  persons, though one God, are distinct from each other. Their  distinction is not found in their power or majesty as we  acknowledge that they are equal in all respects. Their distinction  is found in how they relate to each other and to us. There is only  one Father, not three. There is only one Son, not three. There is  only one Spirit, not three. The Father is the father in relationship  to the other two. He is the head of the Trinity, but only in  relationship and not out of prowess. 

The Son is the Son in relationship to the Father, and unlike  the Father, under the command of the Father, which He is not,  took the form of a man in order to die on the cross for our sake.  The Father did not, nor the Spirit, die on that cross, only the Son.  As God, whom the Son is fully, He is still equal in everything to 

the Father. As a human, whom the Son is fully and willfully took  on, He, like all humans, is subordinate to the will of God. His  divinity did not turn into humanity or the other way around. He is  not confused. He is in perfect unity with Himself as both God and  man. God did not become man, but rather God took humanity into  himself for it was the Son alone that became man. 

And the Spirit is the Spirit in relationship between the Father  and the Son, proceeding from both, but not created by either,  being in equal power to the two. The Spirit is to us the source of  our faith in Jesus Christ who is our Savior. Jesus is not the source  of our Faith in Him, but according to our Small Catechism, “I  believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in  Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has  called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified  and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers,  enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth,  and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.” And in today’s  Gospel, the entirety of it, is all about how the Spirit of Truth, which  is the Holy Spirit, will testify to us on behalf of the Father the truth,  will reveal all this to us and within us, so that through the Spirit we  may see Christ for who He is and have true faith in Him. The  Spirit does not speak on His own authority, but of the Father’s.  This does not mean that the Spirit is lesser than the Father, but  that He respects the Father as head. The Spirit is still equal in  everything to the Father, but the Spirit’s role in this Trinitarian  relationship is not to be the head but the one who provides for us  faith in the salvation which was one for us through Christ.

So there are three persons in the Trinity. All three are distinct  in their persons, but all three are one and the same True God for  there is only one God, not three Gods. 

Everything I’ve said this far is the plain and simple Trinity  revealed to us in Scripture. There are many things about Him we  do not know nor could ever fathom as fallen human beings. There  are things about God that He did not reveal to us intentionally, but  there are a few important things that are revealed in Scripture.  Instead of making things up to describe God, which unfortunately  might lead to a complete misunderstanding of God, Why not just  refer to the few in number simple references God makes to His  Triune nature. And instead of becoming dissatisfied with the lack  of robust theological hooks, let us have a quiet faith comfortable  with the fact that there are many mysteries about God that we will  never truly grasp in this life, focusing instead on that which is  revealed to us in scripture: the Father is God, Jesus is God, the  Spirit is God, but there are not three Gods but only One God. 

Let us pray, 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all three of you  are equal in power and all are one. Guide us in the one and only  true catholic, or universal, Christian faith, so that in faith toward  you the Triune God and all the promises fulfilled in Scripture we  all may be sanctified and united as one holy Church. In your holy  name we pray, again: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Acts 10: 24-27, 34-48 

Psalm 145 

Revelations 21: 1-5 

John 13: 31-35 

“Baptize All Nations” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

Within the universal church, there is a divine revelation that  all Christians will at one point struggle with and that is the concept  of Original Sin. Especially in today’s age when people have a  visceral reaction to the very mention of sin, as increasingly all  actions should be deemed permissible according to the culture.  The core of the struggle is simple, for Origin Sin is the concept  that we are all born already damned to Hell. Who in their right  mind would damn an innocent child who from our perspective has  done absolutely nothing wrong to eternal suffering? No one, yet  according to Scripture we are not born saved, and that causes  many great discomfort. 

I have talked to many well-meaning people and in my youth  have been talked to myself as one such well-meaning person  about the horrifying yet deeply Christian, I say foundationally  Christian, belief that because of Original Sin we are all born  automatically sinful and because God cannot have any sin within  Him that would mean we are all born automatically damned to  Hell. In my youth I said how can God be so evil, to not allow  humans to be born automatically good? In my well-meaning, good  intention filled heart, I truly wanted to believe that humans are  born good. But I was naïve. I was a product of humanism and 

secularism. I listened to human emotions rather than divine  Scripture. 

How often I have met a Christian who didn’t understand the  full depth of what it meant to be born a sinner. How often I have  met a Christian who was so enslaved by their own emotions that  they abandoned Scripture. How often I have met a Christian  whose love for humanity was so great that their love for God  became faulty. 

I say this because if we were born good then why did Christ  come to save us? When Christ came, he did so because not one  person was ever truly good. All have failed God. Christ came and  died on the cross not to condemn us but to save us… save us  

because we were all already condemned; each and every one of  us. I understand no one wants to say a baby is conceived already  a sinner, but according to Psalm 51, we are, for it reads, “Surely I  was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”  

We are conceived as sinners, and this is a tragedy that we need  to acknowledge, not to but people down, but lift all nations up. 

If I am good then I don’t need Christ, but because all are  born evil, slaves to Satan, all are in desperate need of Christ in  their lives. And by all, I mean royal “All”. This is why Christ  commands us to baptize all nations, because there does not exist  one person who does not need Christ, and there is no point in our  life when we do not need Christ. The pioneer in Alaska is just as  in need of Christ as the mother in Africa. The politician is just as in  need as the electrician. An enemy Soldier is just as in need as the  paraplegic veteran. The hospice patient is just as in need as the 

infant babe. All are in need and will always be in need, from  conception to death, of the amazing saving grace which comes  from Jesus Christ alone. 

But to the one who is concerned over the salvation of their  grandparent or loved one or child there is hope. For we profess  that through Baptism the Holy Spirit enters into us and provides  for us the one thing that we lacked at conception, the one and  

only thing that supersedes our sinfulness, and that is faith in  Jesus Christ. In our Baptism we all know that we have indeed  been adopted into the Family of God, that God has indeed placed  his seal upon our foreheads, and that the seed of faith which no  human can cultivate was planted into us via the Holy Spirit. This is  what it means to be baptized. 

And to those who are the source of our deep concern, let it  be known that there are no qualifications that needs to be met for  someone to be baptized. You don’t need to be a rational thinker to  be baptized. You don’t need to be a good person to be baptized.  You don’t need to be wise to baptized. Nor believe in God to be  baptized. The gift of baptism is granted unconditionally for God  does not desire a select group of individuals to be baptized; He  wants all nations to be baptized. And it is through Baptism that the  Holy Spirit provides for you faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ  and the knowledge of God. 

Now many well-meaning people in their struggle with  Original Sin may be led to claiming that all are born good and  eventually learn evil. But I say stop running away from the Bible  and instead use the tragedy and horror of the fallen human 

condition to enflame that compassion I know you all have for  humanity. And let that compassion, guided by the Holy Spirit, lead  you to following the Great Commission, to teach, preach, and  baptize. If we see an infant child, instead of avoiding the problem  of Original Sin by claiming the child doesn’t need Christ because  they are already good, let us be compelled to realize that if said  child was baptized then the Holy Spirit will enter into them and  God the Father will look upon the child the same way He looks  upon all his adopted children. 

Now, as a caveat, I understand there are those who never  had the opportunity to be baptized, what about them? To that  question I ask were the Jews who died before Jesus truly  abandoned by God? No, for right after Jesus died Scripture tells  us that the Saints rose from the grave. Because of this I say this,  God does not withhold his grace and mercy from those who die  due to miscarriage. I say this because I have met several people  who truly believed in Original Sin and after a miscarriage was  distraught because they never had the opportunity to baptize their  child. They were so filled with grief as they cried over the  possibility that their child was in Hell. No, your child is not in Hell. I  congratulate you for your compassion and love, as well as your  faith which God has blessed you with. I praise God for your love  toward your unborn child, toward your acknowledging the fallen  human condition, and the absolute need for Baptism which would  have provided faith for your child. To you I say be free from your  shame and be free from your despair for your child is with God.

It is this type of love that I wish all Christians to have; to have  so much compassion in their hearts that they both despair over  the unbaptized and desire quick baptism for all nations. 

And once baptized, some hope from Romans 8, “Who shall  separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress,  or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword…  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him  who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels  nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor  height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to  separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Once  Baptized always Baptized, for nothing on earth or in heaven or in  hell can null and void the union granted to you through the power  of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

This is the love Peter had for Cornelius and his entire family. Cornelius, a centurion and the Italian Cohort which would mean  he would have been a commander for as many as 1000 Soldiers,  was a devout gentile believer who feared God and was loved by  the whole Jewish nation. After an angel of the Lord visited  Cornelius, ordering Him to send for Peter, Cornelius, a Soldier,  did as he was commanded. In preparation for Peter, Cornelius  gathered his entire household, relatives, and friends. Being a high  ranking Soldier, I imagine he was quite effective at gathering a  large crowd. And if he did this, then it would be obvious that there  would have been present infants and the elderly. So when Peter  and some other apostles arrived and spoke the good news to  them imagine the shock on Peter and his fellow apostles’ faces 

when they saw the Holy Spirit rest on every single individual  whom Cornelius gathered. 

Originally Peter wasn’t going to offer them baptism, for he  didn’t want to mingle with Gentiles. It was only at the insistence of  God that Peter went to speak to the Gentiles. And upon seeing  the Holy Spirit rest upon every single Gentile person present, did  Peter realize that the Baptism is truly for all nations, thus he  commanded them all to be baptized. So on that day Peter  baptized not only Cornelius, but his entire household, his  relatives, and his friends, which undoubtedly would have led to  the inclusion of also their households. 

So it doesn’t matter, Gentile or Jew, Male or Female, Black  or White, Rich or Poor, Infant or Elder… baptism is for all nations. 

Let us pray, 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise you for allowing us to join  your holy family through baptism and ask that you daily work  within us so that we continue to cherish and trust in the promised  fulfilled through this holy sacrament, desiring all nations to  experience this comfort and to be filled with faith. In your holy  name we pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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