May 26, 2002
The Abiding presence of the Lord
INTRODUCTION: Today is Trinity Sunday - the day in which we affirm that we worship one God in three distinct persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The word "Trinity" does not appear in the Scriptures - yet, the teaching of the Trinity appears on virtually every page.
On Trinity Sunday we recite the Athanasian Creed- the longest of the three ecumenical creeds - which is a clear explanation of what it means to believe in One God and three persons. The temptation for the preacher on Trinity Sunday is to draw out a long theological dissertation on this important doctrine. While it is true that we need to have a clear and correct understanding of what the Trinity is - we also need to have an answer to the question that might read as the following: "What does the Trinity have to do with my every day life?" "What does the Trinity have to do with me?" "What's the point of believing in three distinct persons and one divine Godhead?"
There is plenty that the Trinity has to do with your life. This morning, let's look at our Gospel lesson appointed for this day. This text is commonly referred to as the "great commission". By these words we hear of the church's mission - the rational of why we maintain a parochial school and involve ourselves in parish education. And finally, there's a promise that the Lord will sustain us no matter what the circumstance may be.
The church's mission is clear directive. We are to turn peoples into disciples. How do we do that?
What is baptism? It is not simple water only but it is the water comprehended in God's command and connected with God's word.
What does baptism give or profit? It works the forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this as the words and promises of God declare.
What word is this? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned.
How can the water do such great things? It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. Without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost.
What does my baptism signify? It signifies that the Old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Where is this written? St. Paul writes, Romans, chapter six: "We were buried with Christ by Baptism into death, that, like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
But we also teach!
What are we to do with these souls once they've been baptized? We teach! Disciples are made as we continue to teach, instruct and immerse Christians in the Word of God.
This is one of main reasons why we here at Zion support a Lutheran parochial school. Wyneken School is a direct arm of our total parish ministry. From our ver inception our congregation has supported a Lutheran school - we teach more then the three "R's" as other schools. We also place before our children at Wyneken a 4th R - a relationship with the Savior Jesus Christ.
Consequently our Sunday School and our Adult Bible classes are conducted here - so that we may grow in faith, knowledge, and in the fear of the Lord.
TRANSITION: Making disciples is the Church's mission but notice that it's all the Lord's doing. We baptized, we teach, but it is the Lord who works to will and to do His work in us. Through this process He has promised to sustain us.
The Lord promises to accompany us in this most noble task.
I am with you always - These are the last five words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. These are the Savior's last audible and distinguishable to man. This is not an idle wish or a hope - it is a living reality. Notice that in Matthew's gospel the Ascension account is not mentioned. There's a reason for this omission - it is understood that Jesus is with us always. He has not left us - He is constantly with us to bless and sustain us. In every circumstance He is with us. In all situations He remains in control especially when it appears that this around us are out of control. By these words we have Jesus' faithful promise. We are never, ever alone!
Jesus promises to remain with us throughout all time. He is with us even to the end of the age! There is never a moment in our life when we are left alone to fend for ourselves. God can never abandon us. The Lord will remain by our side before time runs out. When our time comes to an end Christ will be there. When time comes to an end of this earth Christ will be there. When the Lord appears in glory we will see Him face to face - as He really is- our eyes will be opened and we will behold His Glory.
CONCLUSION: How blessed we are to have the Lord by our side. He sustains us in our mission and blesses us with His presence. In our life and work the Lord in this most noble task accompanies us. He establishes us to be salt and light in this world. In all things begun, continued and ended in His name the Savior walks with and directs our path. How glorious it is to have the Trinity alive and active in your life!