Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
9 E Homestead Ave. Palisades Park, NJ 07650 201-944-2107 Sundays 11:00 a.m. We preach Christ crucified (1. Corinthians 1,23)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Psalm 145,1.3-4.7.13; Liturgical text 3317
Tag der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit (Trinitatis)  045 weiß 
Barnabas, Apostle, Martyr in Salamis, Cyprus 61
11. Juni 2017 

1. O Jesus Christ, blessed are You, who dwells between the cherubim in the firmament of heaven; watch over us, guide us and protect us, so that we may praise Your Triune Name forever.  Amen. (Gradual).  
2. Blessed be the Holy Trinity and Undivided Unity. I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your Name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation will commend Your works to another, and will declare Your mighty acts. They will pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness and will sing aloud of Your righteousness. Your reign is an everlasting reign, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all His words 
and kind in all His works. 
  3. In the Athanasian Creed we confess this truth: »Blessed be the Holy Trinity and Undivided Unity.« Around 490 the last of the three great creeds of the Western Church was composed. The creed is attached to Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria for he was an outspoken theologian and confessor of what the Athanasian Creed affirms. Simply stated: We believe in 1 God who is comprised of 3 Persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
4. There are three monotheistic religions in the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam; about one-half of the world’s population believes in 1 God. The Christian faith is unique from Judaism and Islam; for both of those religions say there is only 1 God and He is only 1 Person in the Godhead. We find this concept of the Trinity particularly articulated in the Gospel according to St. John, where Jesus says: »When the Helper, the Holy Spirit, arrives, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me« (John 15,26). 
5. Of what does the Holy Spirit bear witness about Jesus? A: God the Father sent Jesus to redeem fallen mankind; this redemption was finished when Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose from the grave. This is the foundational proclamation of the apostles and the Church; the Holy Spirit bears witness to this in our Scriptures where the Gospels, the Epistles and the Revelation all teach and confess what Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection mean for the world: sin has been atoned for, death is undone by life and hell’s gates closed to us but heaven’s gates stand wide open to welcome us into God’s presence and fellowship. 
6. Our creeds teach us the core of what we believe, teach and confess. The Athanasian Creed teaches that the Christian faith confesses that there is 1 God comprised of 3 Persons and that Jesus, the 2. Person of the Triune God, is both God and man in one Person. This Triune God is the God who has had mercy upon us. The Father created us, the Son redeemed us and the Holy Spirit has sanctified us and made us holy. In His Very Divine Nature, God is loving and merciful. God can get angry, punish us and discipline us, but He does not do this out of hatred, anger or spite rather, He disciplines us as a father disciplines his child. Wise King Solomon tells us: » God corrects those whom He loves, as a father corrects the son in whom he delights« (Proverbs 3,12). God is a loving Father who delights in welcoming home His children who have strayed away, He forgives them and assures them that they are His dear children. Jesus taught the apostles this truth on Maundy Thursday: All that the Father has is Jesus’; the Holy Spirit takes what is Jesus’ and declares it to us (John 16,15). The real work of the Trinity is focused on Jesus and giving to us the blessings that are His. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in Substance, have the same will and carryout that will with unified purpose. 
7. Trinity Sunday focuses our confession upon the personableness of God. He is not some detached, transcendent Deity dwelling in the clouds far above men and women. He is not some Deistic Watchmaker who merely shows up once in a while to make sure His creation is still ticking along nicely. He is not petulant and cruel to mankind like Zeus’ modus operandi far too often in the Greek myths. He is not some neutral Force that we can tap into and use for good or evil. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are Persons. That is something we can comprehend. We can relate to persons, speak to them and seek to understand them. As we can interrelate to each other, so can we interrelate with God. Men and women are created in the Image and Likeness of God. We can relate and interact with God in a different and higher way than can the animals. And this is why when mankind fell into sin, God did not abandon us to an eternal separation from His presence. For what use is existence to the creature if it cannot know its Creator (Athanasius § 11). God saves and redeems us from our sin and its consequences; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit each have their unique role and duty in redeeming us. 
8. Bishop Athanasians described our salvation this way: „Jesus became man so that we might become divine; and He revealed Himself through a body so that we might receive an idea of the Invisible Father; and He endures insults from men so that we might inherit incorruption“ (Athanasius § 54). This is why the Athanasian Creed confesses: „It is necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ“ (§ 27). This incarnate Christ „suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He will return to judge the living and the dead“ (36-37). »Christ’s reign is an everlasting reign, and His dominion endures throughout all generations.« 
9. »The Lord is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works.« After Adam and Eve had fallen into sin, the Lord promised a redeemer would be for from Eve’s lineage. The history of the old testament is how the Lord carried forth this promise from generation to generation. The majesty of the Truine God is seen in His fulfilling His words: God the Father who create us, God the Son who redeemed us and God the Holy Spirit who has sanctified us will keep us unto the return of Christ. At that time, Adams’ fall will be undone and Eve’s children will dwell eternally with her most precious offspring, Jesus who is both her Lord and her Son in the flesh.  Amen. 
10. Let us pray. O Triune God, You are praised for mighty deeds; pour upon us grace and truth so that we may glorify Your Name rightly and confessionally.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.  
All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.  

Athanasius, On the Incarnation

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