Trinity Sunday Athanasian Creed
Today is Trinity Sunday, Later we will confess the Athanasian creed written to combat heresies that had arisen about the trinity, and all our readings are examples of our triune God in action. Last week we celebrated Pentecost the birthday of the church, and today we celebrate one of the key Christian truths, something that sets us apart from all other religions.
Today we remember the triune nature of our God. He is Father, He is Son, and he is Holy Spirit. three persons, but one God. It is an article of faith, we cannot comprehend it, our mortal minds cannot understand the trinity, we simple accept it as true but it remains a mystery. Jesus said "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, " and then he gave us the triune name; which through faith we accept as true. We receive faith when we are baptised into the name of Father Son and Holy Spirit, and that faith helps us to receive it. It's another mystery, the faith whch we receive in baptism helped us to receive baptism and the faith that it brings. The Holy Spirit can easily slip itself into that sentence it is after all the Holy Spirit which produces faith in us. The Holy Spirit, which we receive in baptism, helps us to receive the gifts of baptism, namely the Holy Spirit.
The only way we can believe in Jesus and desire to be baptised in his name is by the Holy Spirit. For adult baptisms it seems to make more sense, they hear the gospel proclaimed through the words of the bible. the bible is Spirit and truth so by hearing the words they receive the Holy Spirit, make the good confession that Jesus is Lord and saviour then desire baptism.
This confession is not from the sinful man but rather from the Holy Spirit dwelling in the person, it is by grace that they believe. Infants work in a similar way the words which are spoken in their baptism are the words of God. God told us to repent and be baptised receiving the Holy Spirit, It is a gift when you are an adult and it is a gift when you are just a little baby, neither understands it fully but neither has to. In our text we have the eleven, men who have lived with and been taught by Jesus throughout all his ministry, they saw his miracles, saw him die, have seen him rise from the dead, but still now at the end of his earthly ministry, even while worshipping him as God they doubted. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
This doubt didn't exclude them from God's ministry, rather in their doubt and our own we see our need for Jesus and his strength.
And babies need this strength just as much as we do, they are sinners justs as much as us, We are all born with original sin, the natural orientation away from God, so using Christ's command to go into all nations baptising them in the name of Father Son and Holy Spirit, we take it literally and say there are babies in the nations so they can receive God's gift of baptism to. Praise God for his mercy and grace.
Baptism is God's gift and we don't have to understand it, rather we receive it by faith. but as those babies get older and start learning things like speaking, reading and counting it would be very sad if they did not also start learning what their baptism actually means and what they were baptised into, thus we come to Jesus' words. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you."
We Christians do not know the will of God without being taught, His law is written on our hearts so we for the most part know right from wrong but we cannot know who God is and his bounteous love for us without being taught. and the only faithful teacher is the Holy Spirit. and the Holy Spirit works chiefly in the words of scripture. The church has it's creeds we have our book of Concord, their are countless Christian authors who write books to help us understand the gospel and God's love for us. But all these creeds, confessions and books must agree with the words in scripture. If what these sources say does not match up with scripture, then we don't want it. There are unclear passages in scripture, places where the greek is confusing and when the translation though clear has an unclear meaning, but for these passages we use the clear parts of scripture to interpret the unclear.
Teach. Teach your children at home, bring them along to Church, God is doing good through us and I pray confidently that our Sunday school that is starting will be a great blessing to our little tackers. Teach, your children and teach yourself. read your bible read other Christian books and see how well they hold up. read your catechism, or book of concord. Learn about the grace which God has shown on us and the wonders of his mercy. submit yourself to God's wisdom knowing that you will not be able to understand it all. much of the Christian faith is and will remain a mystery. a triune God doesn't make sense. and it's just as difficult to think of Jesus ad true man and true God. but Jesus taught it and we believe it.
The creeds ae good, they went through a long refining process and came out on the other side clear and useful. our catechisms and book of concord are also good, they give clear practical advice for people who are living as both saint and sinner in a sinful world. These teach us about God and his mercy they teach us they greatest command of Jesus which we are to keep. the ten commandments are amazing, obey them, keep them faithfully. Love God and love your neighbour. but most of all remember Christ command to put all hope and trust in him. in the payment of sin which he made on the cross. the payment for our sin and the forgiveness which he earned for us and graciously gives to us in word and sacrament. Keep his commandment to rely on him for all good things, repenting of your sin and turning back to him. and remember daily that he is with you always, bringing strength comfort, forgiveness and peace, Jesus Christ true man and true God, the first and the last, the Holy one who takes away the sins of the world, he is with you always to the very ends of the age. amen.