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June 16 Sermon

Sermon Holy Trinity Sunday  John 8:48-59

 

Gracious Father – Please breathe Your Spirit into us and grant that we may hear and in hearing be led in the way You want us to go. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Are you a spiritual person?

If so, what does that mean? Is it about my getting God involved in my life, or is it about God getting me involved in His life?

The conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees in the Gospel makes it very clear they could not comprehend who God is and what God does. It’s impossible to apply scientific, logical, human reasoning to how God works, because God is far above such categorization.

Today is Holy Trinity Sunday-- one of those humanly illogical truths. God is three persons in one and one God in three persons-- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each is 100% God, and yet there are not three Gods, but one God.

This was the issue the Pharisees had with Jesus of Nazareth being the Son of God in human flesh. How could He be the same God that was before all things and created all things? Jesus being 100% man and 100% God, but still only one-person-- created total disorder in Jewish thinking. They couldn’t figure Jesus out, and so they concluded He was demon-possessed. People who can’t figure Jesus out today, just pretend He doesn’t exist. But if we are confused about who God is, what He does is even more confusing.

No God would associate with sinners. No God would love sinners and would die to redeem all sinners: liars, murderers, drug dealers, haters, adulterers, thieves, gossipers, rapists, terrorists, child abusers, those jealous, envious, indifferent, selfish sinners--Jesus took every sin, paid for them all--to redeem every man, woman and child to be His own. What kind of God would do that?

Progressive religion and spirituality begin by telling God how He can make my life better. The focus is inward and self-serving, which is idolatry. In a sincere, faith based spirituality, the things of God never start with us -- they start with God--THE One who was before the foundation of the world and who created all things.

Christianity is about God getting us involved in His life.

It’s about God’s mercy calling to us and drawing us to Himself. Religion and spirituality start and end with God. If religion has no other purpose than to make this life better, then the god you choose to worship is irrelevant, as long as that god fulfills your needs and does what you want. But the truth is that God— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; is not primarily interested in making your life better – He wants to make life eternal. And those two things are vastly different. To make your life eternal is to know Jesus as LORD and Savior. But we all know, the things of this life and the things of God often clash, because they have different goals, and different means to reach them.

Take suffering for instance. If God is supposed to make my life better, why should I have to suffer? People often think God punishes us with suffering. He never, never, never causes us to suffer, but He can use suffering to get our attention; to direct our eyes and minds on Him.

Another example of such a clash would be wealth. If God is supposed to make my life better, then He should make me wealthy—give me everything I want. When we love our stuff more than God, looking for our happiness in $ and worldly goods – how will we ever learn to trust God for what we need? Which worldly God will be there when it all runs out?

Life in CHRIST is bigger than everything in this world. God is working in your life - not to fix this life – but to give you real life, eternal life, which the world cannot offer. The Festival of the Holy Trinity is about our God who created us, drawing us to Himself through Jesus. It is about the promise of the Holy Spirit presence to always be with us. In knowing Jesus, we know the Father. Jesus said in the Gospel reading that He is no mere man; He is the great I AM. He is the God who created all things, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush, the God who led His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, the God who gave David his kingdom and Solomon his wisdom . . . that same God has come to us in human flesh to unite Himself to us and we to Him.

The Jews Jesus was talking to could not understand or accept that kind of a God. A God who comes to us and serves us –just didn’t make sense and so they called Him a hated Samaritan, demon possessed--crazy, and picked up stones to kill Him.

But don’t be quick to judge, because we, too, wonder why a holy God would love and serve sinners like us--people who take His forgiveness for granted with unholy living. Our stones may not be heavy and hard, but don’t we act the same way when we resist God’s Word and the work He calls us to do?

Jesus showed divine patience and love with the Jews then, and with us today. Patiently, loving us, that by the power of the Holy Spirit– we might believe. That’s what it means to be spiritual. We glorify God— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; because He has shown His mercy to us. Amen