Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sermon June 14-15, 2014 LSB

Title: The Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father and the Son!
Text: Matthew 28:16-20

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

There’s a story told - and I take it to be a parable because I hope it’s not true - of a country church which had a creeping vine - perhaps an ivy plant - growing up by the porch doorway. Over the doorway was a text carved in stone, "We preach Christ crucified". Over the years the plant grew steadily and a branch gradually spread over the doorway. The first word of the text covered by the leaves of the plant was "crucified" which reduced the text to "We preach Christ". Well, we might think, that’s unfortunate but the essential part of our faith is still there. As time went on the branch spread further and covered over the word "Christ". Now, this was serious, but no-one seemed to notice, and the message of the church to the world outside was reduced to "We preach" - it had no message; the church was merely a talking shop. - Owen Bourgaize

Today we celebrate the work of our loving God - Father, Son + and Holy Spirit, the diversity of the Godhead and the unity of the Godhead. One God manifest or made known in three persons for the redemption of the world through the working of the Spirit until Christ Jesus returns.

The Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father and the Son!

 Jesus had named a certain mountain in Galilee to His disciples, where He would meet them after His resurrection, but neither the time of this meeting nor the location of the mountain is known. It had been the Lord’s express command that they assemble there, and after they had received the confirmation of this word by the message of the women on Easter morning, they went to keep the appointment.

When He appeared before them, some of them fell down before Him in glad adoration, but others still were in doubt. They could neither believe the fact of His resurrection nor that it was actually their Lord who here appeared before them. Jesus therefore drew nearer that they might recognize Him. But He depended for the effect of His presence upon His words. The speech of Jesus was friendly and intended to take away all apprehension of whatever kind among them all.

His final commission is a wonderful bit of solemn oratory – marching orders if you will. As He stands before them, in His spiritual body, true man as ever during His earthly life, but no longer in humility and weakness: all power in heaven above and on earth beneath is given to Him. He is the almighty God, with unlimited authority. And since this is true, therefore they, in going forth, in doing the work of their apostolic mission, should make disciples of all nations. The whole earth should be their sphere of activity. And this discipling should be done by two means of grace.

First there is the means of making disciples by baptizing in the name of the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; into God’s name, as confessing the name which summarizes the entire Christian creed. The second means of making disciples is that of teaching them to observe closely all things which Jesus has committed to His disciples, to expound or to preach forth to them the counsel of God to their salvation. Not human notions - but the Word of the Gospel - the inspired Word of God shall be the content of all preaching in the Church of Jesus Christ, no more, no less. And if His commission is carried out in this manner, then His promise also will stand secure, that He will be with us all the days until the end of time. When this age comes to its close, when He Himself will usher in the new age by the dawn of His Judgment Day, then only will the work of the Church have come to an end.

Kretzmann Popular Commentary of the Bible NT vol. 1 Pg 162

The Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father and the Son!

Just a bit of observation that I read which can be also applied to our congregation of Peace and its 50 years of mission and ministry in Waterford.

It is said:

"The longer a church has been in existence, the more its resources go toward its own preservation rather than toward outreach and evangelism. Our tendency is to design ministries that meet our own needs as opposed to the needs of those who have not yet entered the kingdom." - Alan Nelson

If you’ve been in a budgeting meeting here at Peace you know this truth. It becomes evident real fast that the money needed to maintain this congregation and the basic costs of operation, take a greater portion of what is given than it used to, which leaves the mission and the ministry to those outside our church - who need to still hear the gospel message – unreached.

Sure, we send a good portion of what we have for mission to St. Paul’s in Pontiac and this is a good and faithful outreach, but what also about those in our community, how can we reach them and with what means?
The Great Commission is to 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It is through the sending of the Holy Spirit that the Christian church was founded and begun on the day of Pentecost, that we celebrated last Sunday, and it is through His working that it will continue to grow.
Martin Luther had this to say about the working of the Holy Spirit:

Such great things have the Apostles declared to us, through the Holy Spirit, who descended upon them from heaven, as even the angels would gladly look into.  When this Spirit opens our eyes and makes us see what the Gospel is, we shall have an appetite for it and a joy in it, although we cannot behold it with bodily eyes, but must believe that we are partakers and fellow-heirs of the righteousness, truth, salvation, and all the blessings which God has to bestow.  For since He has given us His only Son, that highest good, He will also, through Him, give us all good things, riches and treasures, whereof the angels in heaven have all their joy, and of which they are most desirous.  All of this is offered to us through the Gospel, and if we believe we shall also have a similar desire for them.

Luther’s exposition of 1 Peter 1:12

The Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father and the Son!

God has called us as His body of believers here at Peace and through His work to make disciples, to proclaim Christ and his gospel, to baptize and to teach.

Our VBS outreach is one way you can help and get involved in the mission of this church. Tell a family with children you know. Bring a child of a friend yourself. Serve as a teacher or helper. Put up flyers, spread the news and God, through His Spirit, will bring those to faith in His way and in His time.


I was once again at Lakeland Place - a senior residence in Waterford -  last Sunday, sharing the word of the Lord with about 16 of the saints who are unable to get to church on their own. I enjoy this ministry and outreach greatly as I lead them in a few hymns, readings, prayers and a message of teaching. Usually I get to preach a bit longer as we don’t use our order of service or have as many responses. And when I asked the people to join with me in the Lord’s Prayer after our special prayers, it never ceases to amaze me how many and how strong they all are in praying this wonderful prayer together.

One man came up to me after the service and said, “Brother Russ, you’re not a typical Lutheran, are you?” To which I replied … “Well, I believe I am, what do you mean” “Well he said, Lutheran’s that I know seem more interested in keeping their faith to themselves but you seem pretty bold in proclaiming Christ.”

After a minute of thought I said, “The Lutherans I know proclaim Christ and Him crucified. That is what I preach and teach at my church and that is the joy that those whom I serve cling to as well.”

It did give me pause though … Have we let the vine cover the mission message over the door of our church … and over the door of our hearts? Do we have a zeal for the lost? Do we take the gospel to those outside our walls or do we go home to our lives content to just resume our day to day existence until the next Sunday comes … whether next week, next month or next year?

Jesus Christ is our righteousness. It is He to whom the Spirit points and gathers those who will believe. Even when we think we fall short in our words and actions the Spirit uses the gospel to achieve His goals.


In an online devotion from the Rev. Scott Murray, he tells the story of a young woman who was invited to one of his Bible Studies from the people at church. This woman was from another denomination and was drawn to a greater understanding of God’s word.

Dr. Murray writes:

“She was deeply interested, first, because of the depth of the theology. There was none of the "lite-ness" that she despised from her experience. But she had an "ah-ha experience" when we spent some time in Article 3 of the Formula of Concord: "The Righteousness of Faith before God." She was flabbergasted that confessional Lutheran theology was so simple, that it taught that all our righteousness in the presence of God was through Christ and was conferred through faith. She asked: "Do you mean that Christianity is that easy?"


Our God, Father, Son + and Holy Spirit has seen to your redemption. God has called you by the gospel, given you faith to believe and by the Holy Spirit will keep you in the faith to your reward that awaits all who trust in Christ. Is Christianity easy? No, because it cost Christ everything. Is it that simple? Yes it is."

The Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father and the Son, for you!

May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with you all now and forever!


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