Sermon for the Festival of the Holy Trinity May 30, 2021
Text: John 3:16-17 3 Year Series B 21:2263
Theme: God Loves.
Think for a moment, what is your favorite Bible verse? There is an old legend which claims that whenever a sinner is brought to saving faith the angels of heaven enter his or her name in the margin of a huge Bible next to the verse that helped bring that person to faith. It’s only a legend, of course, and legends aren’t all true. But if it were true, to what verse might your name be attached?
All are great Bible verses along with many others because all of them are the Word of God. But if the legend were true, I wonder how many have their names written next to this: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
That verse is a sparkling gem of the Scriptures. Some people call it “the Gospel in a nutshell” because it’s got the “tasty meat” of our salvation presented in just a few words. It’s such good news to hear, news that all people need to hear: God loves. So simple, so beautiful, so precious that even a small child understands it. Yet so complex, so intricate, so elaborate, that adults will never plumb the fullness of its depths this side of heaven. God loves. He loves…
I. …the world. This is not about plants, animals, stars, planets, and all creation. Rather “the world” here means the “inhabited world,” the world of people. God loves them all – unlimited, unrestricted, unrestrained. Not just some – God loves the world.
Did God really mean that? Did He have any idea how the world would mushroom in size? Its population today is over 7 1/2 billion. Some claim that will double in 20 years. And don’t forget the billions who have lived since the dawn of time. God loves them all. That’s universal love, boundless, all-inclusive.
Did Jesus really know what He was saying? After all He spent His 33 years on earth in only one tiny land called Israel. He never flew around the world, made mission trips to foreign lands, or went to any other part of the world that we know today. Yet, He speaks of the world. He doesn’t say, “God loved the people in Israel.” He doesn’t say, “God loved my people, the Jews.” He says the world! Years later the Apostle Paul used the same word when he wrote about redemption saying: “God was reconciling the world to
Himself in Christ” (2Co.4:19).
Always it is the world that God loves because He knows that all the people of the whole world need Him. He came to prepare salvation for every single one of them. He did it so that many would “come from the east and the west and take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt.8:11). God’s love knows no limits. It excludes no one. He came for all and wants all to come to Him. God loves the world.
In and of itself that is a wonder of all wonders. And along with it goes the truth that He also loves me! It’s what the “whoever” in Jesus’ words assures me. “Whoever” is broad enough to include the whole world and narrow enough to mean me. You and I can write our own names into that “whoever.” I can say He loved Edwin Lehmann and wants Edwin Lehmann to believe in Him so that Edwin Lehmann “shall not perish but have eternal life.” Say it with your own name in there.
Oh, Jesus knew what He was saying about God’s love when He said this. God loves the world. That’s universal love. And because of that I know He loves me! That’s personal love. He loves all. Thank God for that because as I look at us, I see nothing in any of us that would cause Him to love us. Yet, God loves…
II. …and He gave His only begotten Son.
He gave that Son because He knows just how much we all need Him. Everyone needs Him because “each have turned to their own way” (Is.53:6). God told Isaiah (1:2), “I raised my children and helped them grow, but they have rebelled against me. Oxen know their owners, and donkeys know their masters who feed them, but (my children) don’t know (their) owner, my people don’t understand who feeds them” (GWN). It’s sad when people don’t even remember the Parent who brought them into this world. But the Parent never forgets, and He still loves us. He loves the world unconditionally, even if it doesn’t return His love.
Thank God for that because as I look at myself, I see nothing in me that would cause Him to love me. I haven’t done anything worthy of such love. So often I have acted as though I didn’t even know Him. Why should He love me for such abusive treatment of Him? If someone treated me the way I have often treated Him, I’d give that person nothing of my time or attention. We tend to love
someone or something because they give us something in return.
For example, I love my car because it’s dependable, economical, and useful to me. Its performance makes it worthy of my love. But if the conditions changed and I started having all kinds of problems with it that stranded me and cost me lots of money, would I love that car so much anymore? I doubt it. In fact, it would make me angry.
It works that way with people. We tend to love that which we feel is worthy of our love. Human love can be so conditional. But God’s love is unconditional. Imagine the mess we would be in if it weren’t unconditional because we have failed Him in our sin.
Yet, God loves for His love is more than an emotion based on what we do. His love is an activity by which He draws unworthy sinners to Him. To do that He gave us His Son who has been with the Father through all eternity. The Father gave that Son to die on the cross for sin. He did it not because He sees something to love in us. No. He did it because we sin against Him. It was the only way He could bring us back to Him. He who is perfect had to do it – the Perfect for the imperfect. It could not happen any other way.
That’s divine, saving love. It doesn’t demand the humanly impossible; it gives the divinely possible. It doesn’t require us to meet Him halfway; it assures us that He went all the way for us. It offers forgiveness and eternal life to babies who cannot do anything to earn it, as well as to old timers who have broken God’s law throughout a lifetime. It gave a murderer on the cross the hope of heaven and it opens the door of heaven to us as well. It happens because God loves…and gave His only begotten Son.
If ever, dear friend, you feel worthless and blue, despairing and in need, remember this: God loved the world. It means He loved you too and sacrificed His only begotten Son to redeem you…
III. …Believe it!
It’s done; it’s complete; it’s finished. But unless it’s received, God’s love, in the end, does the individual no good. So, His Word invites, “He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Faith is the key to enjoying God’s love and its saving gifts. Without such faith His act of love goes for naught in your life.
Think of it in terms of a birthday gift someone gives you. That person wraps the gift beautifully with all kinds of ribbons and fancy trimming. He takes a card and writes your name on it, attaching it prominently to the gift. He places it before you and says, “Here. This is yours. It’s my gift to you. I don’t demand anything of you, and I’ll never take it back. It’s for you.”
There’s no doubt; the gift is yours. Would you turn your back on it and walk away? Unthinkable! But that is exactly what so many do to the greatest gift of gifts – eternal salvation. They refuse to believe and resist the work of the Spirit, calling them to faith in the Word and Baptism. They walk away from God the Father who gave His Son for them…from God the Son who gave His life for them…and from God the Holy Spirit who seeks to draw them to the enjoyment of God’s saving blessings in their lives. They walk away in unbelief. What a tragedy. God never intended for any to be left out. “He did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” Yet, people walk away, and will eternally condemn themselves before Him.
But the Father never gives up. He offers the gift time and time again. He lets His Word be heard. He sends the Holy Spirit. He never withdraws or turns away. Like the father of the Prodigal Son, He stands at the door, scanning the horizon, waiting for a glimpse of his children to return. And when he sees them coming, he runs to meet them, lavishing His good gifts upon them. It’s the way God loves. Believe it! God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(Member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com You can also find us on Facebook
The First Sunday after Pentecost: The Holy Trinity May 30, 2021
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” Is. 6:3
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Praise the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary. Praise Him in the expanse that shows His might. Praise Him for His acts of power. Praise Him according to His abundant greatness. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” (Psalm 150)
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
The Holy Trinity. For centuries the Sunday after Pentecost has been celebrated as the Sunday of the Holy Trinity. It ends the festival half of the church year with one grand, joyous reminder of the Triune God’s love and care in providing for our salvation.
In our modern times we need such a day like this for the numbers of those who reject the teaching of the Trinity seems to be increasing. He is three persons, and yet only one divine Being. How does 1+1+1 equal 1? Man’s reason cannot unravel that mystery. It is a truth to be believed, not to be proven to the satisfaction of human reason. It’s what makes God, God. To lose the Trinity is to lose God, and to lose God is to lose salvation.
Therefore, we pray: Almighty God, dwelling in majesty and mystery, filling and renewing all creation by Your eternal Spirit, and manifesting Your saving grace through our Lord Jesus Christ: in mercy cleanse our hearts and lips that, free from doubt and fear, we may ever worship You, one, true, immortal God, living and reigning now and forever. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 6:1-8
The holy God reveals Himself to Isaiah in a vision. His triune nature is reflected in the song of the angels that glorifies Him. He cannot tolerate sin in His presence, so He atones for it and removes the sinner’s guilt. Then God sends forth the redeemed sinner to proclaim His Word.
The Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:14-17
All whom the Spirit gives faith are God’s sons – male and female alike. The term “son” reflects the special relationship that exists between the Father and Jesus. That is ours through faith. So we cry, “Abba, Father!” No longer afraid because of sin, we rejoice to be His children and heirs.
The Gospel Lesson: John 3:1-17
By nature we are dead in sin. Neither the flesh nor reason can raise us to life. Only God can. Through Word and Baptism the Spirit creates faith within us, for no one could believe on his own that God loved us enough to sacrifice His only Son. Freely the Trinity bestows such gifts.
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Today’s Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “There is beauty in simplicity. Some of the most beautiful and precious truths of our Christian faith are expressed in language so simple that even a child can understand them. The familiar and beloved verse before us today is a classic example: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16) That’s the Gospel, the simple but surpassingly beautiful, good news that is at the very heart of Christianity. May we never grow tired of hearing it but rejoice in it daily and share it eagerly.” – author unknown
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity! (Christian Worship #195 st.1)
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Opening Hymn: #195
Order of Worship: The Common Service: page 15
The Ministry of the Word
Psalm of the Day: #150 pg.122
Hymn Response: #278
Gospel Responses: pg,18
Athanasian Creed: pg.132
Sermon Hymn: #263
Sermon: John 3:16-17 God Loves.
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory & Offering Hymnal pg.20
The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
Prayer: Hymnal pg.25
The Closing Hymn: #332
Pentecost 1 – Trinity Sunday – Series B
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 6:1-8 – Isaiah’s Vision and Commissioning
1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two they covered their faces. With two they covered their feet. With two they flew. 3One called to another and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Armies! The whole earth is full of his glory! 4The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of the one who called, and the temple was filled with smoke. 5Then I said, “I am doomed! I am ruined, because I am a man with unclean lips, and I dwell among a people with unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies!” 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, carrying a glowing coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7He touched my mouth with the coal and said, “Look, this has touched your lips, so your guilt is taken away, and your sin is forgiven.” 8Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am. Send me!”
Lesson: Romans 8:14-17 – Heirs with Christ
14Indeed, those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery so that you are afraid again, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we call out, “Abba, Father!” 16The Spirit himself joins our spirit in testifying that we are God’s children.
17Now if we are children, we are also heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, since we suffer with him, so that we may also be glorified with him.
Gospel Lesson: John 3:1-17 – God So Loved the World
1There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these miraculous signs you are doing unless God is with him.” 3Jesus replied, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Unless someone is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5Jesus answered, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God! 6Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh. Whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be surprised when I tell you that you must be born from above. 8The wind blows where it pleases. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9“How can these things be?” asked Nicodemus. 10“You are the teacher of Israel,” Jesus answered, “and you do not know these things? 11Amen, Amen, I tell you: We speak what we know, and we testify about what we have seen. But you people do not accept our testimony. 12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven, except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. 14“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Pentecost 1 – Holy Trinity
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
On this Sunday we celebrate the revealed description of the Triune God who works on our behalf. Isaiah trembled at God’s holiness. But to Nicodemus, Jesus explains the greatest revelation of the Three-in-One God. The Father’s love plowed through the offense of sin and sent the Son to die on our behalf. The Holy Spirit opens our hearts to believe and gives us a new life as his gift.
The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 6:1-8 (answers are found on the back side)
- What did Isaiah have the unique privilege of seeing?
- What was his initial reaction (also would be yours)?
- What amazing thing happened to Isaiah?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Bill Buchanan; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam; William Moon; Patsy Mickelson; Lance Milam; Jodi Milam; Pastor Tim Buelow and Kathleen Huff in W. Virginia, both recovering from foot surgery; Pauline Jaeger, Randy’s mother, diagnosed with cancer, considering options for treatment; families recovering from Covid and other illnesses.
Book of Psalms The new WELS psalter, a forthcoming book edited by the WELS hymnal committee, is valuable not only for choirs or for Sunday worship. It’s also valuable for personal or family devotions. Two videos and Christian Worship: Psalter Preview feature six psalms from the new psalter. For more information visit christianworship.com/preview/psalms.
Forward in Christ’s latest edition for June has arrived. Copies for family and friends may be found in the narthex. There are also plenty of copies of the Meditations daily devotional booklet there. The next series, continuing through August, begins this week.
No Face Mask Regulations Facemasks are no longer required in a church setting. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, you may do so. Masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer are in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Today we will begin to pass the offering plate during the service again, since it is a part of our custom of worship.
June 6-8 – Family Campout for area WELS and ELS congregations at Heit’s Point
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 19; Bible Class: 12; Offering: $814; Midweek Bible Class: 5.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 2: Deuteronomy 5:12-15; 2 Corinthians 4:5-12; Mark 2:23-28 (Series B)
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- He was given a view of heaven. Magnificent angels were singing the holiness of the Almighty God. The ultimate authority and superiority of God was evident as high ranks of angels stood before God with great reverence covering their faces and feet. They sang “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty”—like the hymn that has become a favorite in Christian worship.
- Isaiah was petrified in the presence of a holy God. God’s pure holiness only made his sinfulness stand out even more (like dirt on a pure white shirt). The sense of unworthiness was mixed with the fear of condemnation.
- God purified him with touching of a coal to his lips. He removed the guilt of sin because they were atoned for by the Christ whom Isaiah would soon describe in amazing prophetic accuracy.
This week I am praying for……