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Archive for May 2018

Touched by an Angel

Touched by an Angel
Isaiah 6:1–8
Holy Trinity
May 27, 2018

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today the Church celebrates Trinity Sunday. Many people ask why have a special Sunday, since we worship the Holy Trinity every Sunday? Well let’s back up to last week for a moment, the day of Pentecost, when the promised Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. The church moves into the 2nd half of the church year, that focuses upon the life of the church, but still we always proclaim Christ and Him crucified. In the life of the church we need to talk and learn more about the Holy Trinity, if we fail to teach the holy Trinity we will miss the beautiful salvation that Christ accomplished for us upon the cross. So we have a special Sunday to teach the Holy Trinity, which is often marked by the Athanasian Creed one of the Three Ecumenical Creeds.

To better understand the Athanasian Creed and the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, let’s look at the Old Testament reading for day.

Isaiah receives a vision from God, where he sees God sitting on the throne and seraphim, high ranking angels with 6 pairs of wings. Isaiah 6:3 (ESV) 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

First of all we must recognize that only God is Holy. Nothing is Holy, unless God makes it Holy. Also, notice that Holy is repeated three times, a beautiful example of the Holy Trinity, three persons of God, but only one God. If this doesn’t make much sense to you, you are in good company, because this is beyond human understanding, but it is how God describes Himself through His Holy Word.

The foundations were shaking at these words, then Isaiah realized that He is standing in the presence of God.

Isaiah 6:5 (ESV) 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Isaiah realizes that God is Holy and that sinners cannot stand in the presence of God as Moses wrote in

Exodus 33:20 (ESV) 20 But,” [God] said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”

But there is an exception as

Judges 13:22–23 (ESV) 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.”

The exception or should I say the atonement was made with the burnt offering in vs 23 also in Isaiah’s vision.

The atonement that was made for Isaiah when an angel touched Isaiah with a burning coal that came from the altar of the Lord.

This is a wonderful illustration of what takes place in the Lord’s Supper. A messenger, i.e. your pastor takes bread and wine now with the promise of God from the altar is the body and blood of Christ which touches your lips. There are some Christians who receive the host, the bread directly into the mouth instead of the hand which also parallels this account of Isaiah.

So just as Isaiah’s sins had to be atoned for so that he could stand in the presence of God, so also our sins need to be atoned for so that we also may stand before the presence of God in heaven.

Luther in the Large catechism notes as he writes about the Lord’s Supper: Although the work took place on the cross and forgiveness of sins has been acquired, yet it cannot come to us in any other way than through the Word. If I may add especially when that Word of promises is placed upon our lips in the from of Bread and Wine, the Body and blood of Jesus.

We need to realize without the atonement given through the burning coal, Isaiah would have died. The atonement is a must for Isaiah and us.

Let’s move to the Creed, which appears next in the service. The opening words strike us immediately: Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic or if you want to say the Christian faith.

Notice the word must. Must is there, because this is what you need to believe. But we don’t like the word must, because it sounds a little exclusive. Our sinful nature at its heart is a universalist who believe that all people will go to heaven. But the Christian faith is not a universalist faith.

You heard in the Gospel reading John 3:16–17 (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Notice it names believing with not perishing. That Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it,

Let me add the next verse John 3:18 (ESV) 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Also in Mark 16:16 (ESV) 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

We are not universalists in the Lutheran Church. We follow what God’s Word says, and the Athasian Creed articulates very clearly what the Holy Scriptures teaches about going to heaven, and yes there is actually an eternal torment in hell for those to do not keep the Christian faith. This is a must.

We also see the relationship of the Holy Trinity our slavation: The father sends the Son into the world to accomplish our salvation our atonement on the cross. The Son sends the Holy Spirit we heard last week also from the Gospel of St. John: John 16:7–9 (ESV) 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;

So here we have it, the Father sends the Son who sends the Holy Spirit, who creates faith within us and keeps us in the true faith of Jesus the Christ the Son of God, who presents us to His Father. If we don’t follow what Scriptures teach about the holy Trinity, we lose our salvation.

The creed continues: Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally. And the catholic faith is this [defined right here], That we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.

Watch the wording, the creed doesn’t say that we understand the Holy Trinity, but that we Worship the Holy Trinity. The rest of the creed focuses on the distinction of the 3 persons of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who Jesus is, and what Jesus accomplished. As we know it is always about Jesus, his incarnation, His Atonement, His Resurrection, His Ascension, and His return on the last day, which the Creed also notes very well.

Once Isaiah receives this atonement, God send Him out Isaiah 6:8 (ESV) 8 “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

This is why we use the Athasian Creed for it articulates extremely well the Christian faith. It tells us that the Christian faith is not about a youth group, choir, praise band nor a building, all of which we are blessed to have, but the Christian faith is always about Christ and His incarnation, His Atonement, His Resurrection, His Ascension, and His coming again on the last day.

If we water down the creed and our Liturgy we create a generic worship that will produces a generic god, that doesn’t save. No need to have a Savior if there is no hell. So we keep the three ecumenical creeds, as we remember Trinity Sunday, for like Isaiah we also have been touched by an angel with the Holy, as God touches us through His Word and Sacraments. For this is what the catholic, or Christian faith teaches. In His Holy name Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

May 23, 2018 at 1:14 pm