Monday, May 27, 2013

Sermon for 5/26/13--The Feast of the Holy Trinity




Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

God is all about giving you things. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each Person of the Holy Trinity is about giving you gifts. Just like our earthly fathers, our heavenly Father gives us life through our earthly fathers. And just as an earthly father is supposed to provide for and care for us, this too is the means by which our heavenly Father gives us what we need to live. And if your earthly father is no good at it, or doesn't do it, your heavenly Father won't forsake you but still take care of you some other way. But more than just clothing and shoes and food and drink and house and home, your heavenly Father given you the gift of His Son, Whom He sent into the world to save you from your sins. Your Father is the giver of gifts. 

The Son's gift to you is obedience to the Father. How is Jesus' obeying His Father a gift to you? Well, earthly fathers would take it as a gift if our kids actually did everything we told them to. But that would be a gift for us dads! When Jesus obeys His Father, it's not for the Father's sake but for yours. When the Father tells the Son to come to this world and save sinners, Jesus obeys. And that is what saves us. Jesus' gift to you is that He does the Father's will. His gift to you is that He takes on human flesh for you, takes on your sins, and suffers and dies for them on the cross to forgive them. The Son's gift to you is His being lifted up on the cross. His gift to you is His resurrection by which your death is defeated. All that Jesus does for your salvation is a gift from Him to you. He does it freely out of His own will of mercy and grace and in obedience to His Father.

And the Holy Spirit gives gifts. First of all, the Holy Spirit is Himself a gift who "proceeds" from the Father and the Son. The sending of the Spirit is another gift of Father and Son to us. The Spirit's gift is to make us children of God by giving us a new birth from above. This He does by sprinkling us with the blood of Jesus through the water and the Word of Holy Baptism. In fact, every gift the Spirit has for us is about delivering Jesus' forgiveness to you. He gives you the gift of new life at the font. He gives the gift of forgiveness in preaching and Holy Absolution. He gives the gift of Jesus' body and blood in the Supper. The Spirit's gift is to make you holy. And He does that by delivering to you the gift of the forgiveness of sins by water, word, body and blood.

So then we see what our sin is and what our repentance is on this Holy Trinity Sunday. At its root, all sin is idolatry. Sin is not just the breaking of rules; it’s when we refuse to fear, love and trust in God above all things. It's rejecting the gifts of the God who gives them to us. We have the Father who created us and takes care of us and sent His Son. Yet we love the things of this creation more than we love God. We love our possessions and toys and our money and most especially ourselves. These are the things we put first in our life. Christ gives the gift of Himself for our salvation, to forgive us our sins. Yet we love our sins more than such forgiveness. We would rather hold a grudge against someone or continue in our nasty habits than repent and have those sins wiped out. The Holy Spirit gives us the Word and Sacraments and we toss those aside for more exciting things, so that living daily in our baptism or hearing Christ's Word or coming to His Supper are no big deal. We can take them or leave them as if they're no more important than anything else we have or do in our lives. Every gift from the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is so easily rejected. That is what sin is. We must repent of the idolatry that causes us to reject God's gifts.

Where, then, is our hope in this True God forgiving us? Well we already said He gives us His gifts. Jesus tells us that the flesh is idolatrous and self-loving. But you have something else. You have a new birth from above by water and the Spirit because the Father has sent the Son and the Son was lifted up for you. The same Father, Son and Spirit who give you every good gift—He gives those gifts to save us from our idolatry, to put to death our sinful flesh and give new birth to us by water and the Spirit and the Word. In Christ, by Baptism, you are a new creation. Baptized in Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, you are now a child of God. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, your pastor speaks the Word of Christ to forgive you all your sins. Your Father loves you. The Son loves you. The Holy Spirit loves you. They provide for you, forgive you and make you holy. No other god can even pretend to come close to what the True God is and has and does for you. Every false god demands something from you. But the True God is all about giving His gifts to you—now and forever. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen.

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