Tuesday, June 2, 2015

“An Audience With God” (6:1-3)

S-1499 TS/3B 5/31/2015 Hymns: (O) #239; (S) # 246; LS. #496; #312; #237; (C) #244

Texts: Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 2:14, 22-36; John 3:1-17

Theme: “An Audience With God” (6:1-3)

Question: “Have you ever someone important?” The Festival of the Holy Trinity


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the Holy Trinity is the O.T. reading: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

Precious, beautiful and blessed children of the heavenly Father, in 1988 as I was considering entering the ministry I needed to be interviewed by the then District President Ray Hartwig. As I was preparing to visit with the DP, I was nervous, fearful and a little apprehensive to walk into that office.

In 2010, I met the President of our LCMS—Pastor Harrison. Again, as I was about to have an audience with him fear and trepidation overtook me as I walked into his office.

Now after all these years, I know that the fears of that day were overblown. Both of these men who are faithful in their service to the Lord and the Church. I really had nothing to fear. In fact, we turned out to be on the same team. Today I count them more than just colleagues in the ministry. I regard them as brothers and friends!

But on those days in my history the fear was real. You know that kind of fear. It grabs you and causes you to swirl with emotions. It manifests itself in beads of sweat, your heart beats faster, and your blood pressure rises. While there are times when fear is irrational, there are indeed times when fear is real. If we were to stand before judge in court with the power to throw us into prison that would be a healthy time for fear!

This kind of real and healthy fear is what we have in the text before us today. The prophet Isaiah is having an audience with the Holy God—the Only True God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At the sight that he sees, Isaiah is terrified and cries out, “Woe to me! “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.” A terrifying moment for Isaiah. This prophet standing in the presence of the King eternal is shaking in his boots because he knows he is toast on account of sin. Sin and holiness have nothing in common. How can he a sinner stand in the presence of God Almighty?

This holiness is manifested with the echo of the seraphim as they called out to each other speaking of the everlasting King, this Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the God who is greeted with the three times spoken, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” His holiness, His very being, repeated three times: Nowhere else in all the Old Testament is a name repeated three times. The Father is Holy, the Son is Holy, the Holy Spirit is Holy! This is what we just finished confessing in the Athanasian Creed. But in Scripture, only here in Isaiah 6 and in Revelation 4:8 is His Holy Name repeated three times - once for each member of the Trinity. PAUSE.

By the grace of God we have been brought here to this place to have an audience not with presidents of Districts, or Synod and not even the President of the US, but with God Himself—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We have every reason to be terrified just as Isaiah was—for we too, are sinners and we have no right to be in His presence.

By the Spirit’s power we have an audience with Jesus. Here we stand fearing for our very lives because of the sins we have committed. Our accuser the devil mount the charges but Jesus stand between us and God and gives us what we don’t deserve—forgiveness of sins and life and salvation.

However, since we have come here by God’s invitation—we come with joy and gladness realizing we come not to be judged or condemned but to receive from the only true God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit, His grace and compassions.

In the majestic means of the water and the Word we were washed and cleaned. As we gather in this holy place to praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit we receive the gift of His body and blood to take away our sins and assure us of our future with Him forever.

Children of the heavenly Father, on this Holy Trinity Sunday I remind you again of the honor and privilege you and I have an audience with God in the flesh. This is similar to the Gospel lesson where Nicodemus has an audience with Jesus. PAUSE.

This is glorious and marvelous indeed! By the grace of God both Isaiah and Nicodemus are shown miraculously how sins are forgiven. God touched Isaiah with the coal from the Altar and made Him pure. Likewise Nicodemus was told to look at the cross like the O.T. snake-bitten people looked at the bronze snake and were will be healed.

We, too, are the recipients of this glorious and amazing grace. God touches us by putting His body and blood on our tongues and lips and our sins are removed. He says to us: “Take and eat, take and drink this is My TRUE body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins!”

That is why when I commune I don’t like to take the body in my hand, I want it placed on my tongue just as the thrice Holy God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit did for Isaiah; and removed His sins from him.

In this house of worship we have an audience with God. He meets us here. Is this not what Jesus taught that He only eats with sinners?  He eats with us sinners because He knows we need Him desperately.  Only those aware of their sin and seeking the forgiveness and life offered by Jesus in His body and blood should come forward. We come forward singing, “So who am I, That I should live and He should die. Under the rod? My God, my God, Why have You not forsaken me? O taste and see the Lord is free.”

Yes, we come with joy and gladness because we know God intimately—Jesus has made Him known to us. He described the Father’s love in this way: For God so loved the world, and yes, that is you, that He gave fully His only-begotten Son, yes, the sinless Son now as the full payment for our sin, for your sin, so that everyone who believes in Him, and this faith is revealed through this gift of the Cross, would have not eternal condemnation, but would have the very Father of Jesus as our own Father, and this because we have been loved by the gift of this Son. We seldom give the 17th verse its due. For this loving Father did not send this beloved Son into the world to condemn us... rather, He came that we would be saved through Him.”

Precious, beautiful and blessed children of the heavenly Father, an early Christian Father, named Tertullian said of the Trinity... “Try to understand it and you will lose your mind. Deny it and you will lose your soul.” Thank God we don’t have to understand it but by faith worked in us through the Holy Spirit, believe and rejoice in it.

Remember, then, how easy it is to forget just how loving this Triune God is. We have the One God in three Persons whose whole being is to love His dear creation. He loves you. As you confess your faith using this long and precious Creed, I want you to think about its care and precision making Him known to us so that we would ever and always rely on the fact that we are saved through Christ; and by His pierced and loving hands makes it be possible for us to have an audience with God—even so, Amen.

Now the peace…


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