Sermon for Trinity Sunday – Pentecost 1 June 7, 2020
Text: Matthew 28:16-20 ILCW – A 20:2198
Theme: The Great Commission: While You Go in Life…
Twelve men, just twelve Jesus chose personally to help Him. More would follow. But there were just twelve to begin. You know them as Peter, James, John, Andrew, and so on. But, don’t suppose that they were perfect when He chose them. These were no supermen – just ordinary folk like you and me. Among them you would find nearly every weakness and sin known to each of us.
Some were proud and ambitious, eager to get ahead. Some were timid and uncertain. At least one was an activist. I wonder if he organized marches. One wouldn’t believe something unless he could see it with his own eyes and touch it with his own hands. One was impetuous, sometimes speaking without first stopping to think. All were cowards to a degree. And one was a thief.
Would a president have chosen such a group of volunteers? Would a businessman have selected such partners? I doubt it. But with Jesus it was different. He intended to make these men over, to empty them of themselves and fill them with His power. In the end He succeeded, except for one. But at the start it was rough going.
Eventually, He told them that He was going away, and they would take over His work. But they would work not in their own strength; they would work in His strength. Under the power of the Spirit whom He would send them, they would be taught what to think and do. Not a one of them understood it. In time they would.
We can be the same. Just as they didn’t fully understand what God would do with their lives, often times we don’t either.
When Jesus’ dead and broken body was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb, these men felt an awful sense of loss and despair. Everything that made life worth living appeared to be buried with their Master. How could they go on in life? How could they go back to their empty way of living before they met Jesus?
Three days later their lives were turned upside down – again! And when they saw Him after His resurrection, they could hardly contain their joy. But their Master no longer spent all His time with them, as He had done before Good Friday and Easter. He came to them just a few times, talked with them, and even ate with them. But then He would go away again. He came through locked doors, and then disappeared right before their eyes. Perhaps such things indicated that another parting lay ahead. So, they listened carefully to every word He told them.
When a lieutenant in the army becomes an officer, we say that he has received a commission. The commission means new work, new opportunities of service, new responsibilities. It is also a great honor. Before He left for heaven, Jesus gave His followers a commission too. We call it The Great Commission. He gave them new work, new responsibilities, and the honor of serving as His mouth in telling others the Good News of a Savior from sin. They would help people who were outcasts, who were sick or in trouble, and those who were stuck in grief.
“Tell people,” He said, “of my life, my death, my resurrection and what God has done through it in forgiving their sin, restoring their relationship to Him, and in opening again the door to heaven. Do it not only by telling them; do it by baptizing them in the name of the Triune God – the Father, the Holy Spirit, and I have done this. We give you the blessings of salvation and new life with us through water and the Word. By faith you belong to us, not Satan anymore.
“Start here at home in Jerusalem. And then go out in every widening-circles to the ends of the earth. And when you can’t go any further, the believers after you will continue going in life. I am telling you to do this, because all life-giving power is given to me, whether it’s in heaven or here on earth. Forgive, renew, give hope for I have done everything necessary to bring them back to God.”
The time of parting drew near. But before it came, He told them to gather on a mountain in their home territory to the north – Galilee – the Eleven (for Judas was no longer among them). There He appeared to them. They fell down in worship before Him, but some were still perplexed and didn’t know what to think.
I know that many translations say that they doubted. But the Bible does not use the normal word for doubt or unbelief, as had been the case with Thomas on Easter. It uses the word for hesitation, uncertainty, not being sure of things. That’s not good either, but it’s not the same thing as outright doubt. I guess they didn’t know what to do or how to take things. That doesn’t surprise me, because that is sometimes how I feel about things too as a Christian, even as a pastor!
After this encounter with Jesus, they still had some time with Him before He left for His throne above. After a little while they returned to Jerusalem. And there on the Mount of Olives they watched as their Master returned to His rightful place above where He governs over all things with His divine authority. The authority that means the most for us is the divine authority with which He forgives us and tells us to proclaim the same to others because of what He accomplished for us.
They returned to their home to await the promised Holy Spirit. This time there was no weeping among them. There was only joy for before He left, their precious Lord promised that He would come back to take to Himself them and all who believe. Meanwhile, there was work to do.
It seemed like a daunting task – to go to the ends of the earth with the Gospel. How could they ever talk to people as well as the Master did? How could they teach, even remember everything He had taught them? There was so much. Would they say it correctly? Would they say enough? Would people accept what they had to say? Perhaps that was part of their hesitation and uncertainty.
Again, I can identify with that. Can’t you? How often aren’t we afraid and hesitant to say anything because our humanness makes us uncertain? Then Satan gets in the way, tempting us to doubt our God-given abilities. But we must recall that Jesus spoke the words of our text not only to the disciples with Him. He gave this Great Commission to the Church. How do we know that?
Well, there was no way that those 11 men would be able to go everywhere on earth and teach people in every century who needed to hear about a Savior from sin. That task would be passed down from generation of Christians to generation of Christians until the Lord would return at the end of the present age. It seems like a daunting task. How could we ever do it? That’s where Jesus’ final words become most important: “Surely, I am with you always until the end of the age.”
Usually, we apply those words in a general sense, like Jesus is always with His people, protecting them, holding them up. And that is true. But note the context in which He spoke those words. The context was that of being His ambassadors in the world, taking the Gospel to people who need to hear and believe in it.
I can’t convince anyone to believe these things. But as we heard in last week’s text, the Holy Spirit can and does. In reality, I can’t forgive anyone his sins either. I mean that I cannot wipe them out. Only God can do that. And He did it by sending His Son to take the payment for sin on Himself. To comfort my heart which is troubled, thinking that I might not say the right words about this, the Word of God made flesh, Jesus, promises, “I with you am.”
“I with you am.” No, I didn’t say that backwards. That’s actually how Jesus said it in the Greek language: “I with you am always.” “I with you – together!” That’s a Greek way of showing loving care. It is a Greek way of saying that the dear Savior was intimately entwined in their lives. While going in life, wherever, whenever, whatever they were doing, as they bore witness to the Gospel, He was going right along with them, in them as they lived for Him.
Did they hesitate? Do we hesitate? Sometimes. We think and say things like these men did at first. Things like: “Lord, we can’t do it. We don’t know how and what to say. We can’t survive alone in this oft-times troubled and hostile world, where strange viruses and lack of respect and uprisings occur, much less preach to it about You.” And He responds, “You don’t do it alone. I with you am – always. And where I am, the Father is too. For we are one. And we will send you the Spirit, who is one with us. He will be your power. I promise you. So, while you go in life, wherever you are, whatever you do, disciple all nations.”
He spoke to them, He speaks to me, He speaks to you, He speaks to His Church, He speaks to Christians everywhere. But He speaks lovingly as He gives us precious promises of His authority and of His abiding presence in us: “I with you am – always.”
The Twelve were simple men, ordinary people. We are too. But the Triune God can do so much with what we consider so little. God grant us faith to believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation 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 June 7, 2020
“Going…in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Mt.28:19
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! Set this glory of Yours above the heavens….Whenever I look at Your heavens, the works of Your fingers…How majestic is Your name!” (Psalm 8)
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
The Holy Trinity. In the early centuries of the New Testament era, the church did not celebrate a separate festival to commemorate the Triune nature of God. It wasn’t until the time of the Middle Ages that it was introduced to the church. However, by the 1500s it was fully embraced.
We need such a festival, maybe even more so today when the Triune nature of God is so readily rejected. To deny His person and work as Triune puts one outside of salvation. Thus, on this special day we unite with all Christians to rejoice in all that He does for us and to say: “I believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
To that end we pray: Almighty God and Father, dwelling in majesty and mystery, filling and renewing all things by Your eternal Spirit, and manifesting Your saving grace through Christ: in mercy cleanse our hearts and lips that, free from doubt and fear, we may ever worship You one God 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: Genesis 1:1-2:3
The doctrine of the Trinity is already revealed in the first chapter of the Bible. Although the work of creation is usually given to the Father, we know that the Word (Christ – John 1:1f) and “the Spirit of God” were present and active in all that was made.
The Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
Paul closes his second letter to the Corinthian Christians with an encouragement to live the Christian life in the harmony and peace which only the Triune God bestows on believers.
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 28:16-20
Jesus gives His Church the Great Commission to go with the Gospel in Word and Sacrament to all the world in the name of the Triune God. His presence will always be in them.
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Today’s Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: (Re: the Trinity) “We should stay with the true, ancient faith that there are three distinct Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – in the eternal Godhead. This is the most sublime and the first article of Christian faith We call it the article of the Holy Divine Threeness, but that is very poor language, for in the godhead the highest Oneness exists….Augustine, too, complained that he had no fitting word for the mystery. I may not say that there are three gods as there are three men or three angels. Rather, I must say that there is only one eternal God. To be sure, a threeness exists in the Persons of the one Godhead….One divine Essence and yet three distinct Persons. Threefoldness sounds strange. I cannot give this Being a fitting name.
(Re: the Great Commission) “Go! And do not be silent. You are not the only one to be saved; the remaining multitude of men should also be preserved. This is the noblest and greatest work and the most important service that we can perform for God on earth – to bring other people, and especially those who are entrusted to us, to the knowledge of God by the holy Gospel.” — Martin Luther on Matthew 28:19-20
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #195
Order of Worship:
The Common Service: page 15
The Ministry of the Word
2 Corinthians 13:11-14
Hymn Response: #270
Gospel Responses: pg,18
Athanasian Creed: pg.132
Sermon Hymn: #193
Sermon: Matthew 28:16-20 The Great Commission: While You Go In Life…
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory: Hymnal pg.20
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
Prayer: Hymnal pg.25
The Closing Hymn: #334
The First Sunday after Pentecost: The Holy Trinity – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Genesis 1:1-2:3 – The Creation of the World: 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was undeveloped and empty. Darkness covered the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was evening and there was morning—the first day. 6God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters, and let it separate the water from the water.” 7God made the expanse, and he separated the water that was below the expanse from the water that was above the expanse, and it was so. 8God called the expanse “sky.” There was evening and there was morning—the second day. 9God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so. ˻The waters under the sky gathered to their own places, and the dry land appeared.10God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathering places of the waters he called “seas.” God saw that it was good. 11God said, “Let the earth produce plants—vegetation that produces seed, and trees that bear fruit with its seed in it—each according to its own kind on the earth,” and it was so. 12The earth brought forth plants, vegetation that produces seed according to its own kind, and trees that bear fruit with its seed in it, each according to its own kind, and God saw that it was good. 13There was evening and there was morning—the third day. 14God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to divide the day from the night, and let them serve as markers to indicate seasons, days, and years. 15Let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light to the earth,” and it was so. 16God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17God set these lights in place in the expanse of the sky to provide light for the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19There was evening and there was morning—the fourth day. 20God said, “Let the waters swarm with living creatures, and let birds and other winged creatures fly above the earth in the open expanse of the sky.” 21God created the large sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their own kind, and every winged bird according to its own kind. God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them when he said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the waters of the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23There was evening and there was morning—the fifth day. 24God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures according to their own kind, livestock, creeping things, and wild animals according to their own kind,” and it was so. 25God made the wild animals according to their own kind, and the livestock according to their own kind, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its own kind. God saw that it was good. 26God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that crawls on the earth.” 27God created the man in his own image. In the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them. 28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29God said, “Look, I have given you every plant that produces seed on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that bears fruit that produces seed. It will be your food. 30To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning—the sixth day. 1The heavens and the earth were finished, along with everything in them. 2On the seventh day God had finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had been doing. 3God blessed the seventh day and set it apart as holy, because on it he rested from all his work of creation that he had done.
Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14 – Final Greetings: 11Finally, brothers, rejoice. Set things in order. Be encouraged. Agree with one another. Be at peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13All the saints greet you. 14The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 28:16-20 – The Great Commission: 16The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some hesitated because they were uncertain. 18Jesus approached and spoke to them saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.”
The Evangelical Heritage Version of the Bible, EHV, New Testament & Psalms ©2017
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 & Bible Study
Pentecost 1: Holy Trinity
|Some weekly activities are still curtailed.
Family Camp at Lake Ozark
See pastor for more info.
Midweek Bible Class has resumed; join us.
Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
We like to think that we can take care of ourselves. God has given us many talents and gifts so that we can provide for ourselves and our families. And yet we shouldn’t forget that God is the one who ultimately provides all things. Apart from Him we can do nothing. If it weren’t for our Triune God—our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier—we would be absolutely helpless and hopeless in our lives. Yes, apart from Him we wouldn’t even exist. Our entire being depends on the Holy Trinity.
The Epistle Lesson ((2 Co 13:11-14)
- Why are the key words of the apostolic blessing in verse 14 so important to our lives as Christians?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, recovering at home; Laurie Moon’s father under rehab care; Greg Miller, recovering from eye surgery; Casey Milam & family, Jodie’s son, what have contracted the Corona Virus and are under quarantine.
Gathering Guidelines we are allowed gatherings of 25% of capacity of the building. That would allow the great majority of our members to be present. If we include the fellowship hall it would allow everyone for sure. We still must practice distancing in a gathering. We know that some will still have relevant health concerns, and that’s alright. We encourage you to return when you are comfortable with it. For those attending, please watch your distancing. We will continue live-streaming our service for the immediate future.
Daily Devotions During the last 2 months, pastor has been writing brief daily devotions and sending by text message, email, and a few by surface mail. If you have not received them and would like to receive them, please let him know. He does not have everyone’s cell phone number in his phone. Also, if you would prefer to not receive them for a time, let him know that too. He knows that many things come to you daily by text or email and understands if you would prefer to not receive anything more at this time.
Meditations’ present series of devotions and copies of June’s Forward in Christ may be found in the narthex. Northwestern Publishing House is still offering Forward in Christ on-line for the month of June. After that, the online issue will not be continued. There are many materials they suggest at this time. You can see them all at: www.nph.net.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 20; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Offering: $1,284..
Check the weekly calendar for restarting some activities like Bible study. Plans have not yet been made for future events.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
The Second Sunday after Pentecost: Deuteronomy 11:18-21,26-28; Romans 3:21-28; Matthew 7:15-29
Answers to Today’s Epistle’s Brief Study:
- The word “grace” reminds us that God loves us because of the type of person He is and not the type of people we are. His “love” is undeserved and unearned; it’s free. And through His love and the working of His Spirit in our hearts and lives, we are brought into “fellowship” with Him. Our relationship with God is entirely His doing.
This week I am praying for……