Worship Helps for Trinity Sunday

Art: Creation of Adam
Artist Michelangelo

We like to think that we can take care of ourselves. God has given us many talents and gifts so that we can provide for ourselves and our families. And yet we shouldn’t forget that God is the one who ultimately provides all things. Apart from him we can do nothing. If it weren’t for our Triune God–our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier–we would be absolutely helpless and hopeless in our lives. Yes, apart from him we wouldn’t even exist. Our entire being depends on the Holy Trinity.

Worship Theme: We believe in the Triune God. “Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all else, hold to the true Christian faith. Whoever does not keep this faith pure in all points will certainly perish forever” (Athanasian Creed). The third and longest of the ecumenical creeds underscores the importance of this Sunday’s message. The doctrine of the Trinity is not a logical exercise or a dogmatic excursion. It’s central to our salvation. The Triune God is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Lose this doctrine, and as the Creed says, you lose it all. A Jesus who is less than God is also less than Savior. 

Old Testament: Genesis 1:1-2:3
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning-- the first day. 6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning-- the second day. 9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning-- the third day. 14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights-- the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning-- the fourth day. 20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." 23 And there was evening, and there was morning-- the fifth day. 24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-- the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

1. How did God create most everything in this universe?

2. What clue do we get in Genesis 1:26 about God’s unique makeup?

3. Why is God’s creation of human beings so unique?

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

4. Why are the key words of the apostolic blessing in verse 14 so important to our lives as Christians?

Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

5. According to Jesus’ words, what has been given to him?

6. How are we to make disciples of Jesus?

7. What promise does Jesus give his disciples?




Answers:
1. Almost everything in creation was brought into being simply by God speaking his powerful Word.

2. He says: “Let us …,” indicating his unique being of being one God yet multiple persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

3. God created Adam from the earth and breathed the breath of life into Adam. This account shows us how special human beings are in the eyes of God.

4. The word “grace” reminds us that God loves us because of the type of person he is and not the type of people we are. His “love” is undeserved and unearned; it’s free.  And through his love and the working of his Spirit in our hearts and lives, we are brought into “fellowship” with him. Our relationship with God is entirely his doing.

5. Jesus declares that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. The exalted Jesus, now even according to his human nature, has control over all things.

6. Jesus says that we should baptize in the name of the Triune God and teach everything that he has commanded. That’s how disciples (pupils) are made.

7. He tells us that he will be with us always, even to the end of the age (until he returns again). He gives us a big task-to preach the gospel in all the world-but he also gives us big promises!


Putting your faith into action

A reading from the Book of Concord for Pentecost 1
This eternal election of God is to be considered in Christ, and not without Christ.  However, this election is revealed from heaven through the preaching of His Word, when the Father says, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).  Christ says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Concerning the Holy Spirit Christ says, “He will glorify Me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14).  The entire Holy Trinity—God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—directs all people to Christ, as to the Book of Life, in whom they should seek the Father’s eternal election.  For whom the Father would save He would save through Christ.  Christ says, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). 
Christ, as God’s only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has announced the Father’s will to us.  In this way He has also announced our eternal election to eternal life.  He says, “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).  Likewise He says, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life” (John 6:40).  And again, “For God so loved the world‹, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). – Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI, God’s Eternal Election (paragraphs 65-67)

Hymns: 724; 280; 261; 590; 273

1  Thy strong word did cleave the darkness; At thy speaking it was done.
For created light we thank thee While thine ordered seasons run.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

2  Lo, on those who dwelt in darkness, Dark as night and deep as death,
Broke the light of thy salvation, Breathed thine own life-giving breath.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

3  Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous; Bright with thine own holiness,
Glorious now, we press toward glory, And our lives our hope confess.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

4  From the cross thy wisdom shining Breaketh forth in conqu’ring might;
From the cross forever beameth All thy bright redeeming light.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

5  Give us lips to sing thy glory, Tongues thy mercy to proclaim,
Throats to shout the hope that fills us, Mouths to speak thy holy name.
Alleluia! Alleluia! May the light which thou dost send
Fill our songs with alleluias, Alleluias without end!

6  God the Father, light-creator, To thee laud and honor be.
To thee, Light from Light begotten, Praise be sung eternally.
Holy Spirit, light-revealer, Glory, glory be to thee.
Mortals, angels, now and ever Praise the holy Trinity!

Text: Martin H. Franzmann, 1907–76, alt. © 1969 Concordia Publishing House.

All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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