Sunday, May 26, 2002


Trinity Sunday
May 26, 2002
Matthew 28:19-20
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?
We baptize.

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!

Sunday, May 19, 2002


Pentecost Sunday
May 19, 2002
John 16:5-11
When the Counselor comes
“Now I am going to Him who sent me”

Introduction:  Today is Pentecost.  It is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit promised by the Savior. In our text for today Jesus refers to the Spirit as the Comforter. Other words that could be inserted here is an advocate, a helper, a counselor a supporter and a sponsor.   What does Jesus mean when He says that He will send the comforter?   The comforter is often called an advocate. An advocate is a defense attorney; one who speaks for a defendant before the judge in a court of law. As Jesus promises us that the comforter will come this can only be good news for us; for it is the Spirit Himself which will plead our case before the mercy seat of God.

Jesus speaking these words reminds us: “it is a good thing that I go (back to the Father) for unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”   Jesus has ascended back to the Father and the Spirit has come. So what will the Spirit do now that He has come? Jesus answers this question in the words of our text for this morning.

When the good counselor comes…He will convict the world of guilt.

In regards to sin

Because men in and of themselves do not believe in Jesus. There is a line drawn in the sand as far as the Christian and the world is concerned. That line is the line marked by Christ. Two weeks ago the members of our confirmation class confirmed their faithfulness to the Savior. In the same service we re-affirmed our loyalty to Christ. They renounced the devil and all of his works and all of his ways. They declared that they would remain faithful to Christ and even suffer death rather then fall away from the true of the Christian gospel. Such is the line drawn in the sand by the Christian.  

He’ll talk about sin and the fact that natural men do not believe in Christ.  In and of himself natural man cannot come to Christ by Himself. His sin blinds him to God. This is what Paul explains to us in 1 Corinthians 2:14 when he says: “But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”  It will take the Holy Spirit to bring man to the knowledge of salvation. Natural man can know naturally that there is a God, namely that God exists through creation and the conscience. 

Creation tells us that there is a God who has established this world. The conscience tells us that there is a system of justice and natural law common to all men.  It is only by the Holy Spirit working through His Word that man comes to the knowledge of God. This is what we call Spirit directed supernatural or revealed knowledge of God.        

Transition:   When the Spirit comes He will convict the world concerning sin and concerning righteousness.

The Spirit will convict the world in regards to righteousness

Jesus said: “Because I am going back to the Father, where you can not see me no longer.” For a period of 40 days Jesus walked and talked and conversed with His disciples to convince them that He was truly alive and risen from the dead. On the 40th day He Ascended into heaven. That was His coronation day. He now lives and reigns with the Father forever and ever. We cannot see the Savior any more. The Spirit has appeared to convict and convince us that Jesus continues to rule and reign throughout all eternity. Because of the Holy Spirit’s activity we are convinced that our sins truly are forgiven.  The Holy Spirit assures us that though our sins rise up to condemn us that in Jesus Christ all sin is forgiven - period!  It is the Holy Spirit that converts and persuades us that we truly are forgiven.

He speaks to this world about what is right in God’s sight.  In this natural world, which is shrouded by sin, it is often hard to discern what exactly is the will of God our Father. It is the Holy Spirit, the helper that enables us to see the will of God for our lives. How can we discern the will of God for our lives? We find God’s will being perfected in us as He turns us back to His Word. It is there, in the Word, that we see clearly what God would want us to know. It is only in and through the Word that we know God’s perfect will. Peter reminds us in his second epistle: “no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”  2 Peter 1:21 or as David reminds us in Psalm 119:105 “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” 

Transition:   When the Spirit comes He will convict the world concerning sin, concerning righteousness and concerning judgment.

In regards to judgment

Because the prince of this world now stands condemned. Jesus entered time and space to defeat the works of the world, the devil and the flesh. On the cross sin, and Satan fell; their power was swallowed up in defeat. The Holy Spirit convinces us that this is in fact a reality. Because of the empty tomb this thing we commonly call death has also been defeated.  Our common enemies have all been defeated.

The old evil foe – the devil - he is already sentenced to death. The devil stands convicted. He is already defeated. He cannot harm you: “for greater is he that is in you then he that is in this world.” Our advocate the Spirit reminds us of this reality – in Christ we stand victorious for all of our enemies have been trampled under the Savior’s feet.

Conclusion: The Spirit has been sent to convict the world and convince the Christian that Jesus is in charge of our life and our future. The Savior rules upon His throne and the Spirit stands as our advocate to defend and sustain us. The Advocate, the Spirit of truth, convicts the world with respect to sin, righteousness and judgment. He stands for you to intercede and plead your case before the Father. All is well as the Spirit has come as promised by the Savior.

Sunday, May 5, 2002

Confirmation 2002

Confirmation Sunday
May 5, 2002
John 6:47
"I tell you the truth, he who believes in Me has everlasting life"

INTRODUCTION: Every confirmation class leaves their mark in one way or the other in the hearts and minds of parents and family; pastor and teachers, as well as congregation. To be sure, you have left your mark - thank you for allowing me to be a part of your spiritual development!

Your class is a bellwether group. Half the class I have been privileged to have baptized. The others have transferred into our congregation. But each of you has made Friedheim your home; a house and haven of peace. You were all born the year of our Lord 1987 or in the early months of 1988 when we were making plans to celebrate our congregation's 150th anniversary. Some of us can remember the way the church was decorated before 1988 - you cannot! Look at the pictures taken when you were baptized - the church interior looks far different then it does today.  

It's been over 30 years since we had a confirmation class larger then yours. The class of 1971 had eighteen members - yours has 15 - another milestone. Your class will participate in presenting a time capsule for the church cornerstone - something we haven't done in 100 years

The Lord has brought you to this point in time - What about your future? Let's consider the verse you have selected. Jesus says in John chapter six:   "I tell you the truth, he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47)

I.         Jesus tells us “I tell you the truth…”

A.      By these words we are given a sure and certain truth – Jesus cannot lie.

1.       The words and promises of Jesus are all true – these truths remain timeless.  They are not regulated by society, the world’s thinking or the current thinking (conventional thinking) of our day. Jesus’ eternal truths are sure to you each and every day.

2.       Each of these promises, which the Lord has given to you are personally yours. All the Lord asks of you is to rely upon them each and every day of your life.

B.       We can depend upon Jesus and His Word for He has bound Himself to His Word.

1.      In the world in which we live – a world that has mitigated and watered down the truth to whatever is relative for the moment – you have been given Jesus’ final word, which cannot disappoint us. Jesus will never, ever, leave you frustrated. His Words are just and true.

2.       Use that word daily; spend time with the Savior each and every day. Since Jesus gives you His word use it daily. Spend time with the Savior on a daily basis. Mark the words of the Psalmist well:  "May the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to Your o Lord, my strength and my redeemer." Make these words your words. (Psalm19:14)

TRANSITION:  Not only does Jesus give you His Word and promises which are true - He gives you an eternal plan of salvation.

II.       Jesus continues "…he who believes in Me…"

A.     Jesus' message is a personal invitation given to you. Notice how Jesus says the same thing in the third chapter of John's gospel "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." (v. 16) Consider the words of this phrase.

1.        "he" - whoever - you may write your name here! Jesus' invitation is personal

2.        "who believes" - take God at His word.  To believe simply means to take God at His Word. It means to place our entire life into the hands of God.  You and I pray this every morning and every evening whenever we pray the morning and evening prayer when we say: "…into Thy hands I commit my self; my body and soul and all things…" 

3.       "in Me" - Jesus Christ is His name - He is not one among many - He is our one and only true God, He is my Lord and my God.

B.       What Jesus has promised He means for all people.

1.        I bragged you up as a class in early December then on the day of the service someone stepped on someone's feet and you couldn't get the passage out! But you know the verse so well!  "All those who heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds" You are a witness to these things - may the Lord Jesus use you to tell the good news and to share Jesus and His love.

2.        But Mary kept all these things pondering them in her heart."  Meditate on God's blessings as He continues to work the same miracle in your life as He did in the lives of Mary and Joseph the shepherds and all who have met and found in Jesus to be the way the truth and the life. 

TRANSITION: The promises are not for you only today - they reach into time -even beyond time - they reach into eternity.

III.     "…He who believes in Me has eternal life"

A.      Life - This is another promise the Savior has given to you

1.        The life Jesus gives you is more then mere existing. Jesus has said in John chapter twenty "I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly (John 21:25)

2.        The life Jesus promised for you is a daily new experience with God. He desires to walk next to you each and every day. Each day fill your moments with Him. "Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you."  (Psalm 55: 22)

B.       The life Jesus promises for you is eternal

1.        It is a life, which will not end.  In this life everything has a beginning. In this life everything has an end. Your life with God is different. The life He has planned for you is a life, which will not end.

2.        The eternal life Jesus has planned for you is in reality your destiny. Mark the words of the hymn writer well. "I'm but a stranger here, heaven is my home - heaven is my fatherland, heaven is my home" (TLH #660 stanza 1) 

CONCLUSION: Class of 2002 this is your day - what a day it has become. Your future is secure as long as Jesus remains in the center. Fare thee well O child of God - Fare thee well O chosen one - Remember the things which were taught you - cling to that which is good. Remember the Savior walks with you - "I tell you the truth - he who believes in me has eternal life."