Worship Helps for Trinity Sunday

Isaiah Angels
Artist: Gezusfreak

Worship Theme: On this Sunday we celebrate the mystery of God being three-in-one, a mystery he reveals both for his glory and on our behalf. Isaiah rightly trembled at God’s holiness. But to Nicodemus Jesus reveals something even more profound about the Trinity. The Father sent the Son to die in our place; whoever trusts in the Son, by the new birth the Spirit gives, has life with the Trinity forever.

Old Testament: Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

1. What did Isaiah have the unique privilege of seeing?

2. What was his initial reaction?

3. How did Isaiah receive a call into prophetic service to God?

Epistle: Romans 8:14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

4. What relationship does the Holy Spirit create between God and us?

5. What practical changes does the Spirit create in us when he makes us sons of God through faith in Christ?

Gospel: John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." 3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." 4 "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" 5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." 9 "How can this be?" Nicodemus asked. 10 "You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven-- the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

6. What did Jesus tell Nicodemus was the only way “to see the kingdom of God”?

7. What is this “new birth” all about?


Answers:
1. Isaiah saw God in his heavenly temple. Magnificent angels were singing the holiness of the Almighty God, into whose presence Isaiah had been brought. (Do you see God’s utter superiority as even holy angels cover their faces and feet before him? And do you hear a hint of God being three-in-one, as the angels sing, “Holy, holy, holy” to the One who rules all the angel armies?)

2. Isaiah was petrified in the presence of holy God. The LORD’s holiness made Isaiah’s sinfulness stand out even more (like dirt on a pure white shirt). Isaiah felt unworthy, and feared God would condemn him in court.

3. God called and purified Isaiah by having an angel touch a coal from the sacrifice altar to Isaiah’s lips. The LORD removed the guilt of Isaiah’s sin by the sacrifice of the holy Messiah whom Isaiah would describe in amazing accuracy.

4. We used to be God’s enemies, but those whom the Holy Spirit leads to trust in Jesus begin to see another side of God. He is our Father; we are his adopted sons.

5. Because the Father has adopted us, the Spirit shows us that we can come confidently before the holy, mighty God. Not only can we feel fearless, even comfortable (though still reverent) in his presence, but we can see ourselves as people sharing our brother Jesus’ eternal inheritance.

6. The only way for Nicodemus to see God’s kingdom was to be born again of water and the Spirit. Evidently, Nicodemus had refused to go down to the Jordan River and be baptized by John. Today too, without rebirth even smart, religious people who respect Christ do not have God ruling in their sinful hearts. Without rebirth no one is spiritual.

7. Just as no one decides to be born the first time, new birth is a gift from God, not a human decision. New birth involves trusting in what God has done to save us by sending his Son to live and die for us. It gives us eternal life.


Putting your faith into action
You can understand the sheer terror of Isaiah. Who was he to see the high and exalted throne?  Who was he to watch the seraphim? How could his eyes see the King? His unclean lips disqualified him. The same blessed angels come and touch his lips. His guilt is taken away. How can he not answer the summons of the Holy One of Israel? He volunteers for service, “Here am I.  Send me!” The same Savior touches us with the holiness of grace. Forgiven, we volunteer, “Here am I. Let me serve!”


A reading from the Book of Concord for Holy Trinity
Our churches teach with common consent that the decree of the Council of Nicaea about the unity of the divine essence and the three persons is true.  It is to be believed without any doubt.  God is one divine essence who is eternal, without a body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness.  He is the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible [Nehemiah 9:6].  Yet there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [Matthew 28:19].  These three persons are of the same essence and power.  Our churches use the term person as the Fathers have used it.  We use it to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

Our churches condemn all heresies [Titus 3:10–11] that arose against this article, such as the Manichaeans, who assumed that there are two “principles,” one Good and the other Evil.  They also condemn the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Muslims, and all heresies such as these.  Our churches also condemn the Samosatenes, old and new, who contend that God is but one person.

Through sophistry they impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Spirit are not distinct persons.  They say that Word signifies a spoken word, and Spirit signifies motion created in things. – Augsburg Confession, Article I, God, paragraphs 1-6



Text of the Hymn of the Day: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
Who was and is and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
Only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
Perfect in pow'r, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!


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