SERMON FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
THE HOLY TRINITY SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2017
JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT OUR WORK IS. Matthew 28:16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Today is Trinity Sunday. It is the day that we set aside to remind ourselves what the One true God tells us about himself. He is unique. As with all the doctrines of Scripture the doctrine of the Trinity ends in a mystery. The Triune God is One God in three distinct Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our text is the instruction that Jesus gave for his Church then and now. This Great Commission has been the work of the Holy Christian Church since our Lord spoke them 2000 years ago. JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT OUR WORK IS. Jesus has the authority to let us do his work. The Triune God gives us the tools to do his work. Jesus tells us we will never do God’s work alone.
1. The disciples had plenty of time to learn the truth that Jesus had arisen. All of them had the assurance that when he talked about having all power in heaven and on earth that he really did have that power. He let all hell know that he was the winner and hell and sin and Satan are the eternal losers. Still some doubted but the facts said there was no doubt about the truth of what Jesus said. All power in heaven and on earth was his.
If all power in heaven and on earth is his when do you find yourself wondering whether that’s really true? Does that mean that there God can’t control or is this just an example of a holy and unchangeable and almighty God saying have your own way but just remember that there is God’s way and wrong. All power in heaven and on earth is given to Jesus. We may not always be able to see it but Jesus said it was true. That is the Jesus that lived, died, and rose again and he did it all for you. He wanted you alive with him forever. He wants you to know that you are backing a winner or maybe we should say that the One who already won is backing you. If you see things happening in way that you know if not the way God wants things done it is only because people have chosen not to let God rule because they want to rule instead. The same thing is true of us. If things aren’t being done here the way God would want them done it’s because what we want and what we want to say is more important than what God wants. When that happens there is only one thing to do. Repen! JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT OUR WORK IS. Jesus has the authority to let us do his work.
Now let’s take that one step further. If we look ahead a little we will see that Jesus is telling us about his power because he wants us to know about our work. He is telling you and me that he has the power in heaven and on earth to equip you and me for the work he wants us to do.
Why would he need us to do his work? Why would he need our time, our willingness to serve, our cooperation, our devotion to his Word, our desire to study it, learn from it, grow from it? The fact is that he doesn’t need us. He lets us do his work because we need to do it to show how important our Savior God is to us. We need him and so do a lot of other people we might know. JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT OUR WORK IS. Jesus has the authority to let us do his work. The Triune God gives us the tools to do his work.
2. The tools God has given us to do his work of teaching all nations are simple and available. In fact we will use that one tool in all its forms today. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is called the Means of Grace. If you don’t know what that is let’s make it very simple. The gospel is given to us by God in three different forms. The most obvious is the Word of God, the Bible, particularly that doctrine we call the gospel that is all about what God has done for us. Beyond that are two very common and visible and tangible ways that God uses that Word. He used it this morning when Keaton Daniel Furr was brought into the Lord’s kingdom through the sacrament of Baptism. Soon we will use the other sacrament the Lord gave us and that is the privilege to attend his Lord’s Supper.
Those are the tools God has given us to do the work he has entrusted to us. Anything else is supportive to what God has given us. The place we worship, the people who lead us in our worship, the cooperation that allows us to focus on the work all support the essential thing that the Lord Jesus wants us to do. Preach the Word. As long as we aren’t so stubborn that we insist on doing things “my way or no way” the assurance we have is that Jesus assures us that we will never do God’s work alone.
3. What more could we ask for? God gives us all the power tools we need to do his work. Then he provides the power to make those tools do the work he wants them to do. There is one more thing that is absolutely essential if we remember that we are doing God’s work, not ours in God’s Church, not ours. We need God to be right there with us in everything we do. I’m sure none of us would ever admit it but I think we all know there are more times than we would care to admit that our actions and words are saying that we don’t want God to supervise what we’re doing or listening to what we are saying. We all have opinions. We all have things that we would like to offer because we think what we want to contribute will be a benefit to accomplishing what we want to do. That’s fine. The question is, are we letting God guide us. He may not give us all the answers to all the questions that we have but he has given us directions for how to do the work. That guidance is summarized in one simple word – love. We need to ask ourselves whether what we do or say is showing love to others or if we just expect other people to love us. We need to ask whether the things we want to say and do will contribute to reaching the goal we want to reach or if those things will hinder the work and maybe stop it altogether.
Another way to tell whether we are putting God’s power and God’s tools into action is to ask ourselves if we are showing respect for one another or if we are so wrapped up in ourselves that no one else matters. Are we so concerned about what we want and think that we can no longer trust one another to want the same goals? Are we so wrapped up in ourselves that we can’t even see that our own selfish stubbornness will not eliminate or weaken God’s power, it will simply keep us from taking advantage of the only power that will get God’s work done. No one should know better than each of us as individuals who depend on Christ’s forgiveness how important it is to show that we need it and we want to share it. Now is a time of testing what that is theory or fact for us. God’s power, his tools, his presence, his work are all facts for our Christian lives. God help us to make everything we do and everything we say prove how important that is to each of us now and as long as we have to do his work together. JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT OUR WORK IS. Jesus has the authority to let us do his work. The Triune God gives us the tools to do his work. Jesus tells us we will never do God’s work alone.