Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Sunday, June 21, 2020
We Confess Because of Our Value - June 21, 2020 - Third Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 07)/Father’s Day - Text: Matthew 10:5a, 21-33
Today we again celebrate a social holiday, that of Father’s Day. Indeed, it is well that we celebrate Father’s Day as we celebrated Mother’s Day because it is specifically through the vocation and gift of fatherhood and motherhood that God gives us the core of our families and as He instructs parents to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. So, we welcome especially our Father’s and wish you a blessed and happy Father’s Day. Now, let us get to our text.
There once was a young man, college age, who decided to take a summer job as a lumber jack in order to earn some money for the next school year. While visiting his home congregation, before heading up to the camp, he was approached by several of the members and ask how he thought he would fare at this camp. He was reminded by some that this was a very rough and rugged lumber camp that was known for its lack of Christians. He was also told stories of how years ago a man went there proclaiming to be a Christian and how he was mistreated and abused. The young man, self confident in his faith, answered that he thought he would be alright. After the summer months were over the young man returned to his home congregation before returning to college. When asked how he had fared at the lumber camp and if he was mistreated or abused for being a Christian he answered that he had no trouble, as he said, “no one found out that I was a Christian.” I do not know if this is a true story or not, but it does serve to some degree to illustrate our text for this morning. The theme of our text might be stated as, “confession is good for the soul,” whereas this story illustrates Jesus warning in the text that we be not afraid of men lest we fail to confess faith in Him, which would be devastating for the soul.
Our text is a part of Jesus commissioning His disciples before He sent them out to bear witness to Himself. He has told them a lot about Himself by this time, but they do not know everything about Him. He has even asked them to keep some of the things He has told them secret, at least until they fully understood what He told them. The same is true for us today. Jesus has told us a lot about Himself. We read about His life, the signs, wonders and miracles He performed, and the parables He spoke in His Word, the Bible. We are the students with His disciples that He is referring to in verse twenty-four of our text. There are some things in the Bible which we may not fully understand, but as we grow in our faith we will understand more fully, and then can even more fully and confidently bear witness of our faith in and relationship to Christ.
Jesus goes on to tell His disciple and us that we should not expect to be treated any better than He was treated while we are here on earth. We remember how He was beaten, mocked, and spat upon. He was even called Beelzebub, which is another name for Satan. As His students, His followers we can expect no better treatment. Of course, we can be and we must admit that we are often like the young man in our story who went to the lumber camp. How often do we find ourselves hiding the fact that we are a Christian so that others will not make fun of us? How often do we find ourselves sounding and acting like those around us so that we “fit in?” How often do we find ourselves keeping our mouths closed and not letting anyone know we are Christians? But that is not what our Lord wants from us? Perhaps you have heard the saying, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” When it comes to professing and confessing our faith, too often we do not do a good job, instead we fail miserably.
However, Jesus goes on to tell us that this cannot be so, that if we are Christians, we cannot hide that fact. All those things He told His disciples to keep secret, when they finally understood what it all meant, they could not keep it to themselves, but proclaimed it to the ends of the world. The same is true for us. Have you ever seen a new Christian? How bubbly they are. They want to tell everyone about their new found faith. We remember at Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when the Pharisees told Jesus to ask His disciples to be quiet, Jesus said that even if they were quiet the stones would sing praises. We are so excited about the good news of Jesus and eternal life that we can not keep quiet, but sing and shout His praise.
Now here at verse twenty-eight the stage is set. We have been given God’s Word, the Bible. We have been told how we can expect to be treated, and we have been told how we will not be able to keep quiet about our faith. Now Jesus puts our call to bear witness into perspective. Verse twenty-eight reads, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” He is not necessarily asking us to be martyrs, at least not for martyrdoms sake. As another saying goes, “Martyrdom is the gift you can only give once.” If it is possible to retreat from a situation without denying the truth of the Gospel, then it is better to leave and begin anew elsewhere than to be martyred. God is only calling us to not fear humans in our witnessing.
I agree with the commentator (Dr. Lenski) who put it this way, “What Jesus says is this: ‘If the disciple is going to yield to the low motive of fear, then let him be scared, not of the minor danger, but of the supreme danger.’” If we are going to be afraid of someone, it should be God who can do much more damage than any human being. The main point is that we should act with boldness. Why should we not be afraid? The reason is that Jesus will be there to protect us. He is the one who has given us life. Each one of us is a precious person to Him. He planned for our conception, birth, and life. He brought us to faith, some of us through Holy Baptism as we were brought in by our parents, some through His Word, either way, it is He who brought us to faith and He keeps us in that faith.
He has blessed us abundantly. My favorite example to show how much He has blessed us is this: Think about what we had when we came into this world. I will give you a hint, nothing. Now think about what we will take with us when we die. I will give you another hint, nothing. Now put these two together and you will have the answer to what is actually ours. Your last hint is nothing. Everything we have is God’s, He has loaned us everything we have to use while we are here on His earth, and He would have us use it to His glory. Obviously, if He has given us all of this we must be of some value to Him. In our text He says that we are worth more than many sparrows. There are other Bible passages which say the same thing, as in Matt. 6:26 when He says that the birds neither sow nor reap yet He takes care of them. We are of so much value to Him that He even knows how many hairs, or lack of hairs, we have on our head. With all this in mind it should be easy for us to not fear him who only can destroy the body. However, our young man in the lumber jack story is a good example of how easy it is for us to deny our faith in Jesus.
The ultimate value Jesus has given us is shown by the fact that He gave His life for us. Paul says that for a “very good reason” one person might die for another good person, but Jesus loved us so much and valued us so much that while we were His enemies, that is, while we were actively fighting against Him, which is our nature, He died for us. He lived the perfect life for us, in our place. He suffered the pangs of hell for all of our sins for your sins and for my sins, in our place. He rose on the third day declaring victory over sin, Satan, and death. He did all of this because of His great love for us, for you and for me, love which shows we are of such value to Him.
Our text ends with Jesus’ promise that if we will confess Him before men, He will confess us before His Father in heaven. As another commentator (Dr. Kretzmann) expressed it, “A confession of Christ in word and deed, an open proclamation of the truth and a steadfast defense of the truth, is demanded for every follower of Christ.” “There is no neutral ground: for every one the choice is only between confession and denial.” How do we confess Jesus? We confess our faith in Him by our deeds, what we do. We are all witnesses of Him. When it is known that we are Christians, others will look at us and judge what a Christian is by how we act. So, we definitely confess our faith in Jesus by our actions. If you are like me, however, sometimes we do not make a good or positive confession. Sometimes we make a rather bad or negative confession. And for these Jesus also offers us His forgiveness.
We also confess Him by our words. I have found it interesting or should I say thrilling that no matter how confusing our verbal confession, and our confession by action, of Him might be, Jesus uses it in great ways. Confessing our faith in Jesus does not mean giving an hour lecture or a testimonial of our faith. Confession of faith in Jesus may be as simple as being there for someone in their time of need. It may be as simple as a few words of comfort or encouragement. It may be answering a question a friend has about our church or our faith. We confess our faith in Jesus in many ways. Almost every Sunday morning we confess our faith through either the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed which are both confessions of our faith. It does not matter how we confess our faith, but rather that we do confess, because Jesus last words in our text are that if we deny Him, so He will deny us. He makes no bones about it. That means eternal death!
I believe that the young man in our story did confess his faith. He confessed that he had no faith, at least no faith in Jesus. Our whole text for this morning is a section of great encouragement. Jesus is speaking to us as He speaks to His disciples. He has come, and continues to come to us in His Word, bringing us to faith, strengthening us in faith and keeping us in faith in Him, and forgiving us when we fail. He reminds us that we should expect to be treated as He was, that we will not be able to keep our faith to ourselves, that we are to not be afraid of how we may be treated as others can harm us only in our body. He goes on to encourage us by telling us how valuable we are to Him and He ends by promising that when we do confess our faith in Him He also will confess knowing us to His Father in heaven, which means eternal life. This morning it is especially great to see our father’s confess their faith and bring their families to Divine Service. Finally, I pray that you will go boldly out into the world, into your various vocations and confess your faith by word and deed. And ultimately your confession will be a confession that rejoices and says, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Go with Authority - the Kingdom Is near - June 14, 2020 - Second Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 06) - Text: Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-20)
As I said last week, today our liturgical color has changed to green the color of growth. We now commence the Pentecost season and the non-festival portion of our church year calendar. We began our current church year back in December of last year and we moved to series A of our Lectionary or our Bible reading series. Let me remind you that in series A of our Bible readings we will for the most part be hearing Gospel readings from the Gospel of Matthew meaning that we will be growing in our Christian faith and life through the writings of the Gospel writer Matthew, as he was inspired to write by God Himself. This Matthew is the one who was a tax collector called by Jesus. He is Jewish and he is writing in particular to a Jewish audience. And with his accounting background you may notice his writing often include numeric references. So, let us get to today’s text.
The idolatry of our society has reached epoch proportions. That sounds like it would make a great newspaper headline, but what in the world do I mean? We are now, and have been, living in what sociologist call a pluralistic society. The ideologies, the philosophies, the theologies, the ideas and concepts of our world suggest that “broad is the way to heaven,” that there are many ways to the same god and the same heaven. How narrow minded are we Christians who believe, what the Bible says, that there is only one way to heaven and that way is through faith in Jesus. And unfortunately, many, too many, people, even some, which is too many, Christians, and I would suggest that even some among us here at St. Matthew have bought into this idolatry. This idolatry makes it easy for us to sit on our grace and do nothing, because if everyone is saved, why bother confronting others and showing them they are doomed. This morning I want to tell you some history. I want to tell you His story, that is, Jesus history.
Jesus is unlike anyone else who ever was or will be. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that He is truly God. He was born of a woman, Mary, so that He is truly human. Throughout His time on this earth, Jesus showed Himself time and time again to be God. The gospel writer John talks a lot about Jesus performing signs, wonders and miracles and that it is through these signs, wonders and miracles that Jesus shows Himself to be who He says He is, God in flesh, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. This fact, that Jesus is God in flesh, flies right in the face of many religious groups, non-Christian cults and sects today, especially those such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, the Muslims, and many others.
As true God, Jesus was able to see the real needs of humanity. I say the real needs because today we hear a lot of talk about meeting what are called the “felt” needs of people. You know how it is, a child comes and asks for candy because he is hungry. His “felt” need is candy. His real need is not candy, but real food to fill his hunger. Likewise, we often think we know what we need, after all, we can “feel” what we need, but that may not always be what we really need. Thanks be to God that Jesus can see into our hearts and lives and He knows what we really need.
We have a felt need. We are sinful human beings. We are born with a void. We are born in sin and we are in need. On our own we could and would search to have that need filled, but our filling that need would be to fill it with any of the philosophies or false theologies of the world. Again, we would fill the void in our lives with something comparable to a child who is hungry filling themselves with candy that is the type of “religion” we would find to fill the void of our lives. Jesus gives what we really need. He gives us His law which shows us our sins. One quick trip through the Ten Commandments reminds us of just how sinful we really are. But Jesus does not stop there, He also gives us His Gospel which tells us of our forgiveness. Jesus gives Himself. He has given His life for ours. He suffered the eternal death penalty for us in our place. He gives us forgiveness of sins and with forgiveness He gives eternal life. He also gives authority as we said last week. He does not give authority for lording it over others. He does not give authority for being bossy. He gives authority for sharing the good news of salvation with others. He gives authority for doing good, being kind, loving others and the like.
What is more, Jesus also gives special instructions. He gives instructions to His disciples and to us. We are not to stay safely in our homes, but we are to venture out into the hard, cold, cruel world and share our faith with others. And we do not do that alone, because we have His authority and His added promise that He will be with us always, even to the end of the world.
And Jesus gives us the message which we are to share. The message is that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. In Jesus’ day the Kingdom of heaven was right there, it was Jesus Himself. In our day, the Kingdom of Heaven is here, Jesus is with us and, at the same time He is seated at the right hand of the Father where He is watching over us, ruling over us, and interceding for us. This is Jesus’ history.
There is another history which goes along with this history and that is our history. Our history is that, although we are born in sin and daily sin much, adding to our sinfulness, yet, at our Baptism Jesus makes us a part of His Kingdom. He gives us faith, forgiveness, life and salvation. Today He continually gives us His means of grace, confession and absolution, His Holy Word and the Sacraments, Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. He gives us these means through which He comes to give us all His good gifts and blessings.
It is His Word which shows us that Jesus is who He says He is, that is that He is Yahweh, God. It is His Word which tells us what we are to do and not to do, what is sin and what is not sin. It is His Word which tells us what He has done for us. How He has given His life for ours. How He has created all things and still takes care of them. How He has purchased and won us, not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death. How He sends His Holy Spirit to bring us to faith, strengthen us in faith and keep us in faith until He comes again to take us to be with Himself in heaven.
Jesus sees the real need of humanity today and our real need is the forgiveness of sins. We confess that we are by nature, that is we are born, sinful and unclean. We confess that we have sinned against God by thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, what we call our sins of commission and by what we have left undone, what we call our sins of omission. Again, one quick trip through the Ten Commandments would be enough to shame us into knowing how sinful we really are. Without Jesus there is no forgiveness. With no forgiveness there is no hope. No hope for the world to come and, really, no hope for this world. Jesus meets our real need. He has given His life for us. He lived, suffered, died, rose for us, for you and for me. Jesus gives us forgiveness of sins and with forgiveness we have life, life in this world and life in the world to come, even eternal life in heaven.
Jesus gives us authority and a mission. The authority He gives is His authority. The authority He gives is to forgive sins and to proclaim the gospel. The mission He gives is to be loved by Him so that we can live our lives to His glory. And even more, Jesus gives us gifts, talents and abilities to carry out the mission He gives us. And He promises that He will be with us every step of the way, even to the ends of the earth.
The message He gives us to proclaim is the same message He gave His disciples to proclaim, that the Kingdom of Heaven is near, that Christ will come again, sooner than we know, sooner than we expect. He may wait another two thousand years. He may come next year. He may come next month. He may come tomorrow. We do not know when He will come, we simply know that we need to be ready. And understand this, we will see Him, either when He comes, or when we die, which also may come at any time. Again, the key is this, we need to be ready at all times to meet our Lord. Perhaps each morning as we get up we might look in the mirror and ask ourselves, are we ready if we are to meet Jesus today?
Jesus’ history and our history, are really only one history, at least for us Christians. Today we continue to celebrate Pentecost and God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. We celebrate that the Holy Spirit gives us faith, strengthens our faith, and keeps us in faith until Christ comes again.
We continue to make regular and diligent use of the Means of Grace, confession and absolution, the Word and the Sacraments, remembering that it is through these means that the Holy Spirit works in and through us. We also remember that, even though the Lord works through these means that does not mean that He is bound by these means, because He can and sometimes does work directly with us and through various other means when and where He chooses.
God gives and with His help, we respond to His glory. And our response is Gospel, because without His help we would not be able to respond. God gives. He gives life at conception, new life at Holy Baptism, faith, forgiveness of sins, life in this world, eternal life in heaven, gifts of talents and abilities, physical, social, emotional and spiritual blessings even beyond our counting, the sun and the rain, the moon and the stars, the seasons for planting and sowing, indeed, God gives us all things. Our only action, the only thing we do is respond and the only way we respond is through His giving us to respond. What a great God we do have.
Again, our liturgical color will remain green. Green is the color of growth. The idea is that during these Sundays we are to grow in our Christian faith and life. We do that through regular, diligent, daily reading of God’s Word. We do that through reading and rereading Jesus history. We do that through joining and combining His history with our history so that we have one history. My prayer for each one of you is that you will continue to make use of the means that God has given and that He will continue to work through those means in order to shape and mold you; in order to give you and strengthen you; in order that you might “freely give,” as you have freely been given to. To God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Sunday, June 7, 2020
The Gift of the Trinity - June 7, 2020 - The Holy Trinity/1st Sunday after Pentecost - Text: Matthew 28:16-20
Today we begin the long journey known as the Pentecost season also known as the non-festival portion of our church year. From now until the end of November our liturgical color is green which is the color of growth and our readings will be readings that are intended to help us grow in our Christian faith and life. As we alluded to last Sunday, today we celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday. Today we celebrate that we have a God who has revealed Himself to us as three persons in one God. I am sure that you have heard many explanations about the trinity and maybe you have tried to give an explanation for the Holy Trinity. It is not easy. We may explain the trinity of God as being like water, that is, water can be a gas, steam; a liquid, water; and a solid, ice; but these are not three different things, but only one thing, H2O, dihydrogen monoxide. We might say that God is like a tree which has roots, a trunk and leaves and yet there are not three trees, but only one tree. God is, and has revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but He is not three different Gods, only one God and three persons. See, trying to explain the trinity is a lot harder than admitting that we do not completely understand and will not completely understand until we reach heaven. So, we accept the words our Lord gives to us and go on. Personally, I think that God did not want us to dwell on His trinity so much, otherwise He would have given us many more details and He does not.
So, let us get to our text and see what He does tell us. Our text begins with Jesus meeting with His disciples after His resurrection. We read beginning at verse sixteen, “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted” (v. 16-17). Before His death and resurrection, Jesus told His disciples that He would go ahead of them and that they would meet Him at a predetermined sight, namely this mountain on which they were now.
The disciple came, our text says, and they worshiped Him. We are not told how they worshiped or what happened during their worship, simply that they worshiped Him. I would suggest that they worshiped Him in the same way that we worship Him, that is that as they approached their Lord they came with awe, respect and adoration.
But, Matthew says, “some doubted.” Can you imagine? After all that had taken place, some still doubted. After all the signs, wonders and miracles Jesus performed, after He healed, raised from the dead, cast out demons and the like, some doubted. Can you imagine? Here is Jesus, risen from the dead, standing in all His glory and yet even while He is on this earth there is still doubt. Not that we would ever doubt, right? For Jesus, there is a lot of work left to be done.
Our text continues with Jesus giving what we call the great commission or, what I have heard more correctly called, the Great Promise. We read at verse eighteen, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (v. 18-20).
Jesus begins by telling His disciple that all authority has been given to Him. Jesus has all authority. He is true man and true God. As true man He did not always fully use His all authority, but now that He has risen and is ascending into heaven He will be using His all authority. But even more, the implication is that Jesus gives that same all authority to His disciples and to us. Very often, when we hear a great commission sermon we hear about what we are to do, go out and make disciples, and we feel like we are left hanging because we do not know how we are to do it, to go out and make disciples. And besides, we cannot make anyone believe. So, we feel less than capable. And so, we make excuses or we simply do nothing. But, look at the text, Jesus begins with Himself, that He has all authority, and then He implies what He does, namely that He gives us the commission and He gives us the authority and He gives us a promise, to be with us. And that is quite a promise that He gives to us.
What has been called a commission is not a command, it is not an imperative, rather is it a statement, an indicative, that is, as we are going, as we are living our lives, as we are in the process of being in the Word, as we are being given the sacraments, we will make disciples. It is very much like the pitcher and cup illustration I like to use. God is like a bottomless (un-empty-able) pitcher of water. We are like glasses. Each week, every day, as we read the word of God, remember our Baptism, come to the Lord’s Supper, He fills us. Now, we can be selfish and always come back with a larger glass and never be filled, giving us a reason (at least in our own minds) to do nothing that the Lord wants us to do. Or, we could come once and be filled, then stay away. We stay away making other excuses, we don’t like the music, we don’t like the long service, we don’t like other people, we don’t like one thing or another. And what happens to water in a glass that does not get filled or refilled? It eventually evaporates, in other words, we could lose our faith. Or we could come each week and every day and be given God’s gifts, be filled by Him through His means of grace to the point that we are overflowing which is when we begin doing what God wants us to do, share our faith with others. We, here at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, are in a great situation. The Lord has blessed us with more blessings than we might think or imagine. He has seen fit to give us all His gifts, through His Word and His Sacraments. Through His Word and Sacraments He reminds us of His great love for us, so much so that He gave us His only Son to die on the cross for us. And now we hear Him tell us that He gives us the authority to share His good news with others and His promise to be with us as we do so. What a great promise, privilege, and responsibility.
Jesus does not just give the commission and the authority, He also gives the plan, or the means to get the job done, namely the Word and the Sacraments. Earlier in His ministry Jesus gave us His Supper, now in our text He gives us the sacrament of Holy Baptism. Jesus says we are to make disciples by baptizing, through the means of baptizing, so that baptism makes disciples. And there is more, He also gives us the means of the word. Along with baptism we are to teach. We are to teach using God’s Word. We are to teach all about Jesus and what He has done and continues to do for us. We are to share God’s Word which the Holy Spirit uses to work faith in the heart, which tells of forgiveness and of life and salvation.
Going back to baptism, Jesus gives us the baptism formula. He says that we are to baptize in His name, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. As we look at baptism we see that it is pure Gospel. Baptism is God’s doing and our being done to. This is seen best in the baptism of a little child, of a baby. What part is the baby playing? What is the baby doing? Nothing, except being given what God is giving. And that is what baptism is all about. God giving us His gifts. Our being given His gifts. Baptism is our being made disciples.
In baptism God tells us how to use His name, that we are to put His name on others. This idea of putting God’s name on someone is a very important thing. In the Old Testament, God’s putting His name on something or someone, meant that they belonged to Him. God put His name on the children of Israel and they were His. They were given His blessings and all that He had to give to them.
For us, at our baptism, God’s name being put on us means that God chooses us, He puts faith in our hearts, He gives us forgiveness, He writes our names in the book of heaven, He gives us His gifts. Notice that the focus is always on Him and what He does, not on us and what we do. The statement is often made by those who do not believe in infant baptism, that we should not baptize infants because they cannot believe. I contend, first that their focus is wrong, namely that they are focusing on the person rather than on God. Their focus is on the one being given to rather than on the one giving. Second, I contend that infants, that babies, can believe, it is just that they do not express their faith like you and I because they cannot talk. Infants believe in their parents, they believe their parents will care for them, will feed them only nourishing food, and the like. Infants do believe, because faith is a gift that is given by God in their hearts.
Finally, there is the question concerning how the water is to be put on. Here again we continue to focus on the wrong thing. If the way the water was to be put on was a big issue then God would have said do it this way or that. The way the water is put on is not the important thing so God leaves that up to us. The important thing in baptism is God doing His thing, His putting His name on us, His giving us faith, His giving us forgiveness. His giving us life and salvation.
When Jesus spoke on the mountain, He was not just speaking to His disciples, He was speaking to us today. We have the great commission and promise today. We have Jesus telling us that He has all authority, that He gives us all authority, that He moves in us to share our faith with others through our lives, in thought, word and deed.
Unfortunately, our American culture and society have moved us to use many excuses to keep us from sharing our faith with others. We have the excuse that we have no right to force our beliefs on others. God’s answer is that He gives us all authority, the right if you will, to share our faith with others and He also tells us that there is salvation in no other name than in His name. If we do not tell others then we contribute to their destruction.
Our excuse is that we do not know how to share our faith with others. God’s answer is that He gives us the means of grace, and in particular He gives us His Word to share with others. And even more in particular, whether we are aware of it or not, we do share our faith with others as we share His word through our very lives, in our thoughts, in our words and in our actions, as we talked about a few weeks ago. By bearing the name “Christian,” everything we do is a witness, and unfortunately, not always a good witness.
Our excuse is that we can’t. God’s answer is that He gives us the assurance that He is with us. We can’t is true. By ourselves we can do nothing. Dr. Martin Luther said it best in the explanation to the third article, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength . . . do anything,” and that applies to everything in our lives. By ourselves we can do nothing, but God does not tell us that we are to do this by ourselves. He tells us that He gives us the authority and that He will be with us to gives us the ability to do what He has for us to do. The focus is placed back where it belongs, on Jesus.
As we celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday let me assure you and encourage you, most importantly, no matter how often we fail to be the people God would have us to be, He forgives us. Did you notice that some of the disciples doubted, yet Jesus forgave them. We may doubt, but God forgives. He forgives, He loves us, He is with us, He gives us His authority, He blesses our lives, our thoughts, words and actions and makes them fruitful and ultimately He brings us to life eternal where He robes us with His robes of righteousness. And so we are moved to say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.