S-1124 6/07/09 Trinity Sunday/3B Hymns: (O) #23; (S)#245; (C) #239
Texts Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 2:14, 22-36; John 3:1-17
Theme: “A Limitless God With a Limitless Love” (John 3:16-17)
Question: “Do you know your limits?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Trinity Sunday is from the Gospel lesson: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17).
Saints in Christ, today we observe and celebrate the Festival of the Trinity. But how do we as Christians describe the Trinity? With what words do we paint the Trinity? How do we communicate the Biblical truth of the Trinity? Many of us (even pastors) often try to explain God. We use analogies, symbols, metaphors and the like to explain what the Trinity is. But there is no way to explain the Trinity. God only reveals Himself in the Bible as being Triune. He doesn’t explain Himself. He doesn’t try to impress us with the understanding of what that means.
We, intellectual people want to know. The bright minds of today, want to know how to put in words the Trinity when asked. This is something that has plagued us in the area of understanding. However, there is even a more puzzling and a greater difficulty in understanding WHY does the Lord love us so unconditionally as to use all of His being, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to work salvation and faith in us! Why does a limitless God has limitless love for us?
In today’s reading we get a little glimpse of that answer with the discourse between the Jewish leader Nicodemus and Jesus. Nicodemus is troubled by many questions. He has been raised as Jewish man attempting to follow the Law to the letter. And even though, He has done everything humanly speaking to earn God’s favor, be assured of God’s love, be certain of his salvation; he was never sure.
So he came at night. He came because he wanted to know the answers to his aching heart and Christ’s response amazes him. First, Jesus takes every human power away from him by saying you must be born from above. Second, Jesus gives him a lesson on the mighty power of God that is evident yet invisible and finally, Jesus gives him the comforting words of the text—the Gospel in a nutshell to assure Him of the Limitless God with a limitless love saying: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” PAUSE.
“Lost Dog!” The sign said.
Description: Black and tan mixed breed.
Left hind leg missing.
Blind in right eye.
Answers to the name, ‘Lucky’”
Now Lucky doesn’t seem like much of a dog. Not to me anyway. But there is someone who wants him back and he is willing to pay the price to do it. The funny thing is that Lucky doesn’t sound like a dog that’s even able to do a lot. He certainly isn’t worth the reward that’s offered. He has no pedigree, can’t see, can’t run, plagued by fleas… and yet someone wants him back. Someone loves him that much.
Have you ever felt like Lucky? Lost? Unable to do what needs to be done? We all feel that way at one time or another. Actually, God makes it quite clear that we were all like Lucky. The entire human race is “lucky”: lost in our sins, hell-bound, spiritually blind and unable to see God, unable to do what God wants us to do. And yet, God paid the price to have us back. The price He paid was more than a $500 reward. He paid the price not with gold or silver but with sending His only begotten Son who shed His own precious blood. Jesus suffered and died on the cross to have us found. Someone loves Lucky a lot. God loves us even more. You and I have already been found, and returned home to have a relationship with God again. PAUSE.
If we are honest, at times we don’t really equate ourselves with Lucky. Rather we might be tempted to think “If God loves Lucky He’ll surely love me, because I’m so much better than that.” At times we feel we deserve more from God than Lucky did because we think we are really good. But alas Isaiah says: “All our righteous deeds are filthy rags.” “No one does good not even one.” “Surely I was sinful from my birth.” etc. As far as how God should look at us in comparison to Lucky... the mangy dog is so much more worthy of God’s love. In our sin, we deserve only death and eternal punishment.
But that is not what we get. You and I are Lucky indeed. Why, you might ask? Because in the salvation act, there was no luck involved. This was planned before the foundations of the earth. God in love sent His Son, Jesus Christ into the world to redeem and restore them to a right relationship to the Father. Jesus in love goes to the cross to endure the punishment of hell and the wrath of God in our behalf. Jesus became the unlucky One to make us His very own BECAUSE He loves us. And the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son to remind us that we have a limitless God with limitless love.
How much are you loved? Study the text today. Don’t just go over the words quickly. Don’t be like someone who holds a sign of John 3:16 at a Basketball or a football game. Don’t just rattle the words without thinking about them. Study those precious words. Know those precious Words. Memorize those precious Words and learn the meaning of those precious Words. And when you do, you might grasp a hint of God’s boundless love for you.
In the text today, we see the enormity of the Limitless God with a limitless love to sinners like us. Continue to study the Hebrew and New Testament Scriptures and your eyes will be opened more just like Nicodemus were. As you read and study you will see clearly that Scripture paints this love on the canvas of human history showing God’s own Son in love saying yes to the Father’s rescue plan for a lost world. Scriptures takes me to the Garden of Eden to know that the plan of salvation is placed in motion; takes me to Bethlehem to remind me how God’s Son was wrapped in my flesh, takes me to Gethsemane to show me the pain and anguish He will suffer for my deliverance, takes me to Calvary to show me the Son weighed down with my sins, and takes me to the tomb to show me again that He died for me and sent down into hell’s depth to carry out this plan of loving me—the sinner.
A Limitless God with a limitless love is our God whom we worship and adore. A limitless God with a limitless love is the One who comes to us whether it is day or night. A limitless God with a limitless love is our Lord and God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I may not know how to explain the Trinity in a way that can be understood but I believe it in faith. I may not know why anyone would want to pay $500.00 reward for a dog that is worthless even if his name is “Lucky”. Yet someone did because he loved his dog. I may not know why God loves me so much. But it doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is that God thinks of me. For He is a LIMITLESS GOD WITH A LIMITLESS LOVE FOR US. His love for us can be known by faith, believed by faith and received by faith.
God’s boundless love is wrapped in the man-God Jesus Christ, who stretched His hands as far as He could on the wooden beams of the cross and died to comfort Nicodemus, you and me that His love is real, and His grace and forgiveness are ours today and always.
Won’t you join me in thanking our Triune God—who is—a Limitless God with a limitless love. Amen.
Now the peace of God…