IF THE SPIRIT OF HIM, – OUR GOD ALMIGHTY – WHO RAISED JESUS FROM THE DEAD IS LIVING IN YOU, HE WHO RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD WILL ALSO GIVE LIFE TO YOUR MORTAL BODIES THROUGH HIS SPIRIT, WHO LIVES IN YOU. (Romans 8: 11)
WELCOME TO OUR TRINITY SUNDAY WORSHIP.
OPENING HYMN (660): – UNTO GOD BE PRAISE AND HONOUR; to the Father, to the Son, to the mighty Spirit, glory – ever Three and ever One: power and glory in the highest while eternal ages run. Amen.
LET US PRAY:
ALMIGHTY CREATOR, GOD OF LOVE, we rejoice today that You made us and care for each one of us, that we matter so much to You, that You want to share with us Your gift of life and lead us into a living and loving relationship with You. GOD OF GRACE, we bless You for expressing Your love through Jesus Christ, through His birth, His ministry, His death, His resurrection and His glorious exaltation. GOD OF POWER, we thank You for continuing to bless us each day through Your Holy Spirit, nurturing our faith, renewing our vision, guiding our footsteps and equipping us to serve Your Holy Name. FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT, RECEIVE OUR PRAISE. GOD OF ALL, THREE IN ONE AND ONE IN THREE, we praise You that You have called us Your children, Your friends, Your people, and that You are always with us, whatever we may face. Receive our worship, offered to You in awe and wonder, in joy and thanksgiving. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, One, Eternal God. AMEN.
OLD TESTAMENT READING: – PSALM 51: 10-12; 15-17.
CREATE IN ME A PURE HEART, O GOD, AND RENEW A STEADFAST SPIRIT WITHIN ME. DO NOT CAST ME FROM YOUR PRESENCE OR TAKE YOUR HOLY SPIRIT FROM ME. RESTORE TO ME THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION AND GRANT ME A WILLING SPIRIT, TO SUSTAIN ME … O LORD, OPEN MY LIPS, AND MY MOUTH WILL DECLARE YOUR PRAISE. YOU DO NOT DELIGHT IN SACRIFICE, OR I WOULD BRING IT; YOU DO NOT TAKE PLEASURE IN BURNT OFFERINGS. THE SACRIFICES OF GOD ARE A BROKEN SPIRIT; A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART, O GOD, YOU WILL NOT DESPISE.
NEW TESTAMENT READING: – ROMANS 11: 33 – 12: 2.
OH, THE DEPTH OF THE RICHES OF THE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD! HOW UNSEARCHABLE HIS JUDGMENTS, AND HIS PATHS BEYOND TRACING OUT! WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD? OR WHO HAS BEEN HIS COUNSELLOR? WHO HAS EVER GIVEN TO GOD, THAT GOD SHOULD REPAY HIM? FOR FROM HIM AND THROUGH HIM AND TO HIM ARE ALL THINGS. TO HIM BE THE GLORY FOREVER! AMEN. THEREFORE, I URGE YOU, BROTHERS (AND SISTERS) IN VIEW OF GOD’S MERCY, TO OFFER YOUR BODIES AS LIVING SACRIFICES, HOLY AND PLEASING TO GOD – THIS IS YOUR SPIRITUAL ACT OF WORSHIP. DO NOT CONFORM ANY LONGER TO THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND. THEN YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TEST AND APPROVE WHAT GOD’S WILL IS – HIS GOOD, PLEASING AND PERFECT WILL.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”(Matthew 3: 16-17). Today it is TRINITY SUNDAY, – the Sunday after Pentecost. The word TRINITY is not in the Bible. Theologians sometimes speak of the TRI-UNITY of God, or a TRIUNE GOD, most relevantly expressed in the above quotation from the Gospel of Matthew. We believe that the One Living and True God (Deuteronomy 6:4) is the Creator of heaven and earth; who is eternal, almighty, unchangeable, indefinitely powerful, wise, just and holy. We believe that the One God eternally exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that these three are One God, co-equal and co-eternal, having precisely the same nature and attributes, and worthy of precisely the same worship, confidence, and obedience, – as defined in an Ecumenical Statement of the World Council of Churches. The Early Christian Church struggled for centuries over this doctrine. So called Ecumenical Synods have discussed the matter, first broken down into six separate statements to make it easier to understand, then concluded that: – GOD IS ONE IN ESSENCE AND THREE IN PERSON. When we say this we mean that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, but they are not three gods but only One God. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, the Spirit is not the Father, but each is God individually and yet they are together THE ONE TRUE GOD OF THE BIBLE. “Faith must be regulated by dogmas. The Trinity is a doctrine that all Christians believe, but no one fully understands the mysteries of our Almighty God,” – said the Professor of Dogmatics during my Divinity-studies, and since, being a Christian and serving as a minister of the Word, I accept this mystery. In 1774 a certain Ignaz Franz wrote a hymn of praise to the Trinity. Its verse three says:
– Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit, Three we name You; While in essence only One, undivided God we claim You. Then, adoring, bend the knee, and confess the mystery.
Indeed it is a mystery; bending our knees before our great God, – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, – let us offer ourselves as LIVING SACRIFICES, in view of God’s mercy, as our spiritual act of worship (Romans 12: 1) today. This is God’s message on this TRINITY SUNDAY.
RESTORE TO ME THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION AND GRANT ME A WILLING SPIRIT, TO SUSTAIN ME, asked the writer of Psalm 51(v.12) Out of the depth of His riches and wisdom, with His unsearchable judgements (Romans 11: 33), God has given His Son to save us from our sin. The only thing we must give up to receive His Salvation is that which is going to ruin us if we don’t. Therefore, God approaches us on the basis of His Grace and Mercy, so that through the power of His Holy Spirit He might bestow upon us the Richest Gift that one can ever experience: – Forgiveness of Sin and Life Eternal. If we are willing to give Him the place that belongs to Him, we can begin to know God in His ESSENCE, and to realise what it really means to live life at the highest value and in its richest quality. Our TRIUNE GOD has provided for us a TRINITARIAN SALVATION: – When we were lost in sin, our God acted in every Person of His being to save us. The Father gave the Son, the Son offered Himself on the Cross, and the Holy Spirit brings us through Jesus back to God. We were so lost that it took every member of the GODHEAD, – as the Bible often calls Him, – to save us. In faithful response to it, Paul urges us to offer ourselves as Living Sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12: 1).
A LIVING CHRISTIAN SACRIFICE IS ALIVE, HOLY, COMPLETE, VOLUNTARY, AND JOYFULLY SATISFYING. Some people look upon God as being tyrannical and unconcerned about the welfare of human beings. They unjustly blame Him for all tragedies and catastrophes when they are challenged to sacrifice themselves faithfully into the service of God. In its verbal form TO SACRIFICE is to make sacred. As a noun it can mean anything consecrated and offered to God or to a divinity, a destruction or surrender of something desirable in favour of a devotional act, or a painful loss of profit in order to satisfy the demands of a mysterious religion. If we would realize that sacrifice does not always involve suffering, we might be able to make a more positive response to the challenge of full dedication of all that we are to the will of God. Worldly success is built also on sacrifice. For instance, have you ever thought, that a young man who would be successful in playing football must make certain sacrifices in his life to discipline himself and put the game before his personal hobbies, pastimes and safety at times. He who makes no sacrifices will never be a top and effective football player. Successful home and family life is built on sacrifices that are made by each member of the family for the well-being of the whole group. Obtaining a high degree in education requires patient dedication; without sacrifice there is no success in any area of life. A number of things could be said concerning the nature of a Living Sacrifice: – In the Old Testament we read of the animals that were offered as burnt sacrifices. These sacrifices involved death, so that which was offered as a sacrifice was indeed a victim. – We think of Jesus as being one who sacrificed Himself, and this involved death for Him. Jesus deliberately chose to die so that He might glorify God and save people at the same time. This was the highest goal for Him. It brought greater joy than escaping the Cross ever could have brought, as He then sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12: 2). – Jesus was willing to become a dead sacrifice so that through His Resurrection, those who believe in Him might inherit life for evermore. Our message for today does not challenge us to die for our faith. It invites us to live for our God in complete dedication to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, empowered by His Holy Spirit forever. This is the clear pattern of the Holy Trinity, One, Eternal God ! – Many of us are afraid of the word HOLY. We need not be. It means, DIFFERENT, to be separated, or dedicated to God. It defines Faith in Action. Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan illustrates what it means to be a holy living sacrifice to God. He was available to render ministries of mercy to an unfortunate victim in time of need. The challenge of our text is of a dedication into the service of God.- It challenges us to co-operate with God’s good purpose for us in every area of life, through all three Persons of the Godhead. It calls for something more than Sunday-morning-religion. It invites us to an acceptance of a full awareness of the stewardship nature of life towards the Holy Trinity, One, Eternal God.– There is no appeal to fear as a motive for surrender in this text, but rather it is an invitation to volunteers who on the basis of gratitude are not conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but transformed by the renewing of their mind. – Our Saviour God is the Good Shepherd who LEADS His sheep. He is not a driver who compels us to go where we do not wish to go. Only those who have enough gratitude to motivate them to surrender, will respond to this gracious invitation. Christian joy makes a life worth living and a living sacrifice worthy and possible.– Our God will be fully satisfied with us and our service if we fully dedicate ourselves to His will.– We will experience an inward satisfaction and joy that will prove invaluable if we will make a full response and give ourselves unreservedly and unconditionally into the service of our loving God. – God will continue to reveal to us from day to day His WAY OF LIFE through Jesus Christ, empowering us with His Holy Spirit.
The Holy Trinity, One, Eternal God so loved us that He spared not His Son but gave Him up for us. We cannot outgive God. The more we give of ourselves, the more we shall receive from Him, through the power of His Holy Spirit.
LET US PRAY:
HOLY TRINITY, ONE, ETERNAL GOD, Your purpose is for all, for You are the Lord of heaven and earth, the Creator, and Ruler over the history of mankind. You are always at work, always involved in our lives, calling, guiding, speaking and responding. Everyone is important to You, no matter who they are, each having a place in Your plan. So, then, we pray for all in our Covid-19 infested world who feel they are without help, comfort or healing. For all who search for meaning to their lives, a sense of direction, a goal to strive for. May they find the Way, the Truth and the Life. Son of God, Your love is for all, for You lived and died for others, reaching out to both rich and poor, righteous and unrighteous; nobody is outside Your care, no one beyond Your grace. So, we pray for all in our world today who long for healing, love and comfort. For those in hospitals, orphanages and those who face the trauma of bereavement. May they discover in You the love that will not let them go, and the unique source of Resurrection and life. May they find the Faithful Friend who will be with them till the end of the age, in whose name they can always access God, their refuge and their strength. Spirit of God, Your peace is for all, for You are at work in every heart, seen or unseen, recognized or unrecognised, striving to break down barriers which keep us from one another, from ourselves and from You. We pray, then, for all in our world who hunger for peace – all who are tormented by fear, torn by doubt, troubled by anxieties, or tortured by guilt. May they find peace in body, mind and spirit. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless Your Church and all Your children here and everywhere. Be with our loved-ones as we bring You our world, thankful that it is also Your world, precious to You and shaped ultimately by Your will. Remake, redeem, renew it through Your sovereign power. May all people everywhere come to know Your purpose and become living sacrifices to enjoy the new life You so yearn to give us, to the glory of Your name. AMEN.
THE LORD’S PRAYER: – OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN …
CLOSING HYMN (CH-659): – ALL PRAISE AND THANKS TO GOD, The Father now be given, The Son, and Him who reigns with them in highest heaven, – The One, Eternal God, whom earth, and heaven adore; for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore. Amen.
THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU; THE LORD MAKE HIS FACE SHINE UPON YOU AND BE GRACIOUS TO YOU; THE LORD TURN HIS FACE TOWARDS YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE. (Numbers 6: 24-26) MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BE WITH YOU ALL. (2 Corinthians 13: 14) AMEN.