People of God, this is Trinity Sunday. Of course, every Sunday is Trinity Sunday, since we worship the God who is One and Three. But today, rather than assume the Trinity in everything, we are going to consider the Trinity; particularly in how God relates to worship in Isaiah 6.
It is not enough to ride around with our “God bless America” stickers, because virtually, the “God” of Americans is becoming less and less the God of the Bible. You do not have to peruse too long the popular level discussions on religion to discover that there is a new aggressive atheism in our society. I say aggressive, because the modern atheist is no longer hiding in a suit in small secular universities. Now, they are the superstars of major universities. Students flock all over the world to study under them. Christians are usually marginalized in their classes. Christopher Hitchens—who died recently—was known for his winsome rhetoric; Richard Dawkins makes dogmatic assertions about the progress of science as if it were the gospel; Sam Harris possesses a youthful and persuasive appeal; and, of course, the ever insufferable comedian Bill Maher. These are only a few names that are part of this “New Atheism.” They are a passionate group of people with an open agenda to the world, and their agenda is “to make the Christian God look as imaginary as Zeus or the pink unicorn.” In light of their constant media appearances, they may actually be making a few converts on the way. But, of course, we in the evangelical world have nothing to fear. After all, over 80% of Americans believe in God. They fight vehemently to get God back in the government schools; they fight so that prayer will once again be re-instituted in these schools. They fight for the God-agenda. So, what have we to fear? The answer is everything, for if we fight in the name of an unnamed God, we are no better than the atheist. We may make a few converts on the way, but these converts will be like seeds which fall into the ground and are swallowed up. Continue reading Trinity Sunday Sermon: Heavenly Worship That Changes the World, Isaiah 6:1-7
Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Prophet Isaiah (chp. 50) speaks by the inspiration of the Spirit of the obedient servant. He writes that the servant is ready to confront His accusers because He knows that Yahweh will be His help. He writes that the servant did not hide his face from mocking and spitting. The suffering servant was obedient to the Father; even to the point of death (Phil. 2). He embraced His mission with unyielding commitment. He embraced His mission for the glory of the Father, the exaltation of His name, and the salvation of the world.
The suffering servant entered Jerusalem in cheers only to be crucified a few days later. But none of this was unexpected. He knew the crowds would cry out His Name; He knew that some would follow and some would turn away. The Servant of Yahweh knew that His death would mean the bringing in the world, so He suffers and dies that those in Him might live.
As the Holy Week commences, we know that Yahweh will vindicate His servant, and because He is vindicated we too are vindicated in Him.
Let us Pray: Almighty and everliving God,
in your tender love towards us
you sent your Son to take our nature upon him,
and to suffer death upon the cross;
grant that we may follow the example
of his great humility
and share in his glorious resurrection:
through him who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
The Missouri Synod Lectionary Readings for this Sunday connect the Isaiah 42 with the narrative in John 9. Isaiah makes messianic-like prophecies that One would come to lead the blind and literally take them from darkness into light. Jesus is leading the blind man to new pastures. As a result, he shames the wisdom of the proud (Isa. 42:17).
Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are going to read a section of Isaiah 7 this morning. Of course, Isaiah 7 is well known for its 14th verse, which reads: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” But there is much more to this prophecy in Isaiah. In fact, we can say that this prophecy goes all the way to chapter 9. And since the other sections of Isaiah are rarely mentioned during this time of the year, I want draw your attention to a brief section of Isaiah 8. The prophet says: “Don’t call a conspiracy all that this people call a conspiracy; and don’t fear what they fear.” In other words, if you are going to fear someone, fear Yahweh. The King James translates this word “conspiracy” as a “confederacy;” that is, an “alliance.” The prophet is saying that when you consider the nations and their plans don’t follow their alliances and their conspiracies, follow Yahweh’s conspiracy; the alliance he is building through the One who is to come.
In our own day, we are exposed to all sorts of conspiracy theories. But always remember whose conspiracy you are embracing; whose plans you are endorsing; whose Messiah you are following. Make no mistake: there is a conspiracy, but it is a divine conspiracy. Yahweh is building His kingdom through humble worshipers who by their faithfulness day by day are bringing Messiah’s claims to every area of life. The alliance, the conspiratorial gathering begins this morning. Today, Yahweh calls us to meet with Him and He is going to tell us what His plans are, and then He is going to cleanse us, commune with us, and lastly, He will commission us to do what we were created to do: to fear God and walk in His holy ways all our days.
Brother and Sisters, the prophet Isaiah declares in Psalmic nature the care of Yahweh for His people. In chapter 43 he writes:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
God preserves His own, just as the Warrior/Shepherd preserves and prepares a meal for His sheep in the presence of His enemies. But what is most striking in this passage of Isaiah is that the telos/purpose/end of this preservation according to verse 21 is that “the people Yahweh formed for himself…might declare His praise.” We are created, preserved, and sustained that we might find our greatest end the declaration of Yahweh’s kingship in all places and especially in the midst of the congregation. As Calvin writes:
“This, then, is the end of our calling, that, being consecrated to God, we may praise and honor him during our whole life.”
English Standard Version.
 (from Calvin’s Commentaries, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Note: I am in the process of transferring all my sermons to wordmp3.com. This is my first sermon at Providence Church (CREC) in October 5th, 2008.
SERMON AUDIO LINK
Isaiah 5:1 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? 5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. 6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!
“Their foot shall slide in due time.” This was the dreadful text in Deuteronomy heard that day when Jonathan Edwards announced the doom of those who “brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit.” Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God seems to be a prevailing theme in the mouth of the prophets. But the anger of God in the Scriptures does not arise out of nothing; it arises in response to the unfaithfulness of His people. Our text this morning in Isaiah 5 reveals the response of an angry God.
It was the Danish poet and author Hans Christian Anderson who once wrote that “Where words fail, music speaks.” Indeed nothing is more memorable than music. We may not know the complexities of Luther’s theology, but we all know the splendor of his Reformation hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
When the prophets’ words fail to reach the expected result—which is repentance—God may often use other means to bring about His message. God may make a man marry a prostitute to convey His message; He may lead a man to the middle of a valley filled with dry bones to convey His covenant promises; or He may make a man sing, so that the music may speak to their unrepentant hearts. Continue reading Sermon: Isaiah 5:1-7, Wild Grapes