Sermon on Luke 18:9-17, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost (C), about the Pharisee and the tax collector. Exploring the themes of self-righteousness and righteousness by faith, repentance and forgiveness, and what is the nature of God that He forgives the repentant sinner?
Sermon on various Old Testament texts, for Trinity Sunday. How is the groundwork laid in the Old Testament for the full revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament? How are they in harmony, and what is the reason we should seek correct knowledge about God as Trinity? How does it relate to us?
Below are some notes from a Bible study I previously did on this topic, and most of the Scripture references from the sermon are found below, along with many others.
The Trinity: Hints and Allusions in the Old Testament
While the revelation of the Trinity is clear and unambiguous in the New Testament, the ancient Christians also gathered testimonies about the Trinity from the Old Testament, “even though they seemed somewhat obscure. They did this in order that they might use them against heretics and to show that from the very beginning God had thus revealed Himself and that the church of all ages had thus known God, invoked and worshiped Him” (Chemnitz, p. 66).
Several guidelines show where such clues or references to the Trinity occur:
- “When Scripture speaks of God in the plural:” Genesis 1:1-3; 1:26, yet at the same time the verbs used of God are in the singular, and Deuteronomy 6:4 stresses the unity and uniqueness of God, apart from all others. There is One God, but more than one person. See also Genesis 3:22; 6:3; 11:5-7
- “Whenever you read in Scripture that God is speaking about God, as a person about a person, there you are safe in affirming that the three persons of the Deity are indicated. For when two persons are named at the same time, the person of the Holy Spirit who is speaking in the Scripture is indicated, in accord with the statement in 2 Peter 1:21.” Cf. 2 Samuel 23:2. Examples: Hosea 1:7; Genesis 19:24; Isaiah 60:19; 42:1; 52:13.
- “When the name of God (Yahweh; LORD) is repeated two or three times in the same sentence, it is certain that a difference in persons is indicated even though obscurely, as in Psalm 67:6-7; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 6:3; Numbers 6:23-27; Isaiah 33:22.
- Often the context indicates a difference in persons, while united in essence, for example Exodus 23:20-21, the angel of the LORD bears God’s name (Cf. Isaiah 42:8). Exodus 33:17-23. Also, see how God raises up a son, and gives Him the name Yahweh: Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-16. The third person, the Holy Spirit, is indicated as the One speaking, for example Psalm 33:6 “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the Spirit of His mouth.”
Other significant passages: Daniel 9:19; Psalm 2:7; 110:1 (dialogue within the Trinity); Isaiah 48:16; Genesis 18:2, 16-22; Judges 13:15-25; Zechariah 12:10. Many more passages could be added to these, that follow the pattern of the rules above. Others refer to God as Father (ex. Deuteronomy 32:6; Psalm 89:26); still others refer to the Son (ex. Proverbs 30:4; Daniel 7:13-14) or make reference to appearances of the Son of God as the Angel of the LORD, not to mention prophecies of His future incarnation as Messiah. There are also many places that refer to the Spirit of the LORD (ex. Isaiah 11:1-2; 63:9-10).
While these passages in themselves would not present a fully articulated teaching of the Trinity as we find in the New Testament, they show that the NT teaching is entirely consistent with that of the OT, and that hints and clues run throughout the OT.
Chemnitz, M. (1989). Loci Theologici, Vol. 1. (J. Preus, Trans.) St. Louis: CPH.
Sermon on Genesis 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-21, for Pentecost, on the relationship (or reversal?) of the Tower of Babel and the speaking in tongues on Pentecost. What does the Bible teach about the origin of languages and people groups? What implication(s) does this have for the evil of racism? What miracle happened to break the language barrier? What were the "mighty deeds" of God that the apostles gave witness to? How is the Gospel spreading across the world today? What still needs to happen for more people to hear God's Word?
Sermon on Matthew 2:1-12, for the Epiphany of Our Lord, about the visit of the Magi (Wise Men) and separating tradition from what we can know from Matthew's account, and then observing how God worked through this marvelous situation. How does this relate to our own journeys in life, and God's care and providence. Where should those journeys lead?
Sermon on Luke 2:22-40, for the 1st Sunday after Christmas, about Jesus' blessing by aged Simeon and Anna. How are these elderly believers example to us of a lifelong commitment of faith? How does God sustain faith? What is our response to God's Promises? What is the significance of Christian community, in relation to our faith?
Sermon on Matthew 11:25-30, for Christmas Day, about how the incarnation is God's way of revealing His eternal, invisible, incomprehensible nature to us in the visible, tangible and comprehensible flesh and blood of His Son Jesus. How is Jesus the exact imprint of the Father? How do we know if the Son has chosen us to know the Father? Merry Christmas everyone and celebrate the incarnation of our Lord!
Sermon on Matthew 1:12-25, for Christmas Eve, about the fundamental question "Who is Jesus?" and the answers that we find both in His genealogy and in the gift of the two names: Jesus and Immanuel, that are give to us this Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!
Sermon on Micah 5:2-5a, for the 4th Sunday in Advent, about the prophecy of the Messiah's birth in Bethlehem. What clues does Micah reveal about the Savior? What would Israel's experience during the wait be? How would God work mighty things out of the lowly and despised?
Sermon on Zephaniah 3:14-20, for the 3rd Sunday in Advent (3 Yr), about Zephaniah's "sunburst of joy" that comes at the end of a book of harsh judgment and gloom. How do we rejoice, when we are in the midst of dark days? What is the great surprise about God singing? Why is God joyful, and how does that translate to us? Who is this message meant for?
As a personal note, this was one of my favorite sermons to write recently, as I continuously marvel at the thought that God sings over us. I hope you enjoy and give praise to God for all that He has done and who He is!
Sermon on Luke 3:1-14, for the 2nd Sunday in Advent (3 Yr lectionary...switched back). How do we respond to John the Baptist's sharp call to repentance? How do we see unrepentance in our own lives? How does God break through that unrepentance? What does it look like to bear fruits in keeping with repentance? How do we "see the salvation of God" in Jesus Christ?
Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year (1 Yr lectionary), about the suddenness of Jesus' 2nd coming, and how to be ready for His return. What is Paul's illustration about drunkenness or sobriety, and how does that inform our readiness for Christ's coming?