1st Sunday after Pentecost – Holy Trinity – Service Folder & Announcements
First Lesson: Genesis 1:1-2:3
Psalm of the Day: Psalm 150
Second Lesson: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 28:16-20
Sermon Text: Matthew 28:16-20
Welcome to worship today at Morrison Zion Lutheran Church. We exist to glorify God. We have set out to do this by gathering around the Gospel so that we may grow in the Gospel and go to others with this Gospel.
In Christ Jesus, dear fellow redeemed:
Here’s your public service announcement. Next Sunday is Father’s Day. Those of you that have fathers, now you have no excuse. I told you. Go buy him a gift. My family is not here, so I’m not begging. I’m just helping you all here. I’m aware of this because this last week I was previewing different Father’s Day “thank you father” videos to possibly show at worship, like we’ve done for Mother’s Day. I think we’ve done it on Father’s Day in the past.
There was one that stuck in my mind a little bit. It was kind of interesting. The dad was helping a kid learn to ride a bike. You can picture that, right? He was running behind the kid on the bike, holding on, and he let’s go. One of two things are going to happen, right? The kid is going to keep peddling, or gravity is going to win because if you don’t keep peddling, gravity is undefeated. That’s what is going to happen. So dad is running along behind and let’s go. The kid keeps riding and they jump up and down to celebrate. It’s kind of neat.
I thought about it in this context. Here’s Jesus. He came to earth. He lived perfectly in the place of all people. He died as the punishment for everyone’s sins. After his death on Good Friday, he rose from the dead that Easter morning. Now we read about him telling…it mentioned the Eleven, this could be the 500 disciples at once in Galilee that Paul talks about, a group of believers. He’s there talking to them and says, “You’ll be my witnesses in Jerusalem…” He had said that, and now he says, “You’re going to go and make disciples of all nations.” In a sense, isn’t that Jesus running behind us and either we’re going to peddle or gravity is going to win? We’ve got the most important message in the world. Either we’re going to share Jesus and make disciples and he’s going to bring people to faith, or we’re going to skin our knees.
Jesus I understand is true God, and he knew what was going to happen, but from my point of view, if I’m Jesus and I’m giving this task to the church on earth, I’m wondering, “Are they going to peddle, or is gravity going to win?” Especially when you look at what I read to you. Did you pay attention to that? They are there in Galilee and it mentions the Eleven. Could have been more there. But it says they see Jesus and they worshiped him, which makes sense. Many of them had seen Jesus on Easter evening when he appeared in the locked room. He appeared to them a number of times. They had heard the reports from one another. They had seen Jesus alive, but look at the statement that follows “they worshiped him.” Does that strike you as odd? “…but some doubted.” What were they doubting? Their eyes could see him. Isn’t that interesting?
Here’s one thing you can learn. The holy ministry, it exists to proclaim the Triune God. To baptize in the name of the Triune God. To teach everything that we know about the Triune God. To make disciples by going, by baptizing, by teaching. That’s the commission he has given to us. But look at who he gives this commission to. If you want to look at who the holy ministry was first entrusted to, it’s not perfect people. It’s people that are just like you, just like me. They struggled at times with doubts. They were looking at Jesus face to face and they still struggled with doubts. So if one of your excuses is “I can’t proclaim the Trinity. I can’t do that because I’m imperfect and I don’t know everything,” get over yourself. God gives the holy ministry to imperfect people.
The ministry exists for the same purpose as every Christian exists…to proclaim the Triune God, to let people know who God is and what God has done for us, to let us know that yes, we are sinners. Every single one of us. We struggle with our doubts. We struggle with our worries. We struggle with all kinds of this and all kinds of that. We all are fighting different battles. But it all has to do with the fact that we are sinners. And yet God has still entrusted to us this task of making disciples.
To help us do it, he gives us the holy ministry to prepare God’s people for works of service, to teach and equip us so that we can do the teaching God has called us to do. He has called each and every one of us to make disciples by going, baptizing and teaching.
Think about it. You’re teaching someone all the time, aren’t you? I don’t quote my pastor. I quote my dad. If you’re a dad, if you’re a parent, if you’re a spouse, you spend a lot of time with someone, don’t you? What they know about the Triune God is often going to be learned from you. If you have children and you think the primary teachers of them of the Triune God is a pastor or some teachers in a school, your kids are in trouble. If you aren’t teaching them, they’re going to be in trouble. This is what God has called all of us to do…proclaim the Triune God. But he gives us this ministry to equip us.
Remember this about the ministry. This is something we should learn about today. It is entrusted to imperfect people. Just because you get to wear a gown and stand in front of people doesn’t mean you’re all of a sudden perfect and never do anything wrong. You’re going to be who you are before you got the gown. You’re going to be who you are when you take the gown off. Just like all of you are different, everyone that serves in the public ministry is going to be different. They’re going to have different gifts. They’re going to have different talents. They’re going to have different abilities. For us, as a congregation, at this point in time of our history, this is important to remember. When we call a second pastor, I guarantee he won’t be just like me. Lord help us if he is. You don’t need two of me. You already have one. But remember, because we’re different, different doesn’t mean better and worse. Different just means not the same.
This is God’s plan. He gives different gifts. He gives different abilities. We should use those different gifts and abilities to proclaim the Triune God. That’s the task that he gives you the ministry for. And that’s the task you can demand of the ministry. Proclaim the Triune God to us. But you can’t necessarily demand that they do it a certain way or with a certain outlook on life or with certain natural skills.
This last week on Thursday night before church, one of the people sitting in the pew said to the pastor who is serving you at the present time, “You’re too sassy!” I don’t know where they get it from but that’s what they said to me. Maybe. It’s who I am. I enjoy that kind of stuff and I’m going to use those gifts because that’s what God has made me as. The next pastor comes and if they’re an introvert or they’re different, so what? If they proclaim the Triune God, that’s what God has called them to do. If they prepare you to proclaim the Triune God, that’s what God has called them to do. If they aren’t all the same as all the other called workers that we have, so what?
In reality, who do you think it is that wants you to compare one teacher against another and say one is better or worse or one pastor against another and say one is better or worse? Who do you think that comes from? Do you think that’s the Holy Spirit working in your heart? I don’t think so! I think that’s Satan. Satan wants you to take your eye off the message, your ear off the message, your focus off the message and put it on the messenger and critique the messenger and say “They shouldn’t be doing it this way. They shouldn’t be doing it that way.”
I remember when I first got here. Remember we used to get dunk tanks all the time? Summer services. I’d have an old shirt and tie on, and I’d climb in the dunk tank and get thrown in because I think it’s hilarious. I remember the first time I did it, someone cornered my wife and said “Pastors shouldn’t do that.” It’s because we weren’t used to it, right? The next year I did it again and the same guy went to my wife and said, “Yeah, I was wrong. This is a good idea.”
Whether it’s a good idea or not, what it comes back to is are they proclaiming Christ? We’re all going to be different. Make sure we’re proclaiming Christ. Both the people called to the holy ministry, and you! God has given that power to you. Last week we looked at how he poured out the Holy Spirit on you so that you prophecy in his name. He gives you the ministry so that, well, what did he say? God gave some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up and we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by every crafty and cunning teaching. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him, who is our head, that is Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 4:11-15.) That’s the purpose for the ministry.
Demand that of the ministry. Demand that of yourself. And where you have failed, know that in Christ you are forgiven. Then share that forgiveness with others. Amen.