Sermon 30 May 2021


Trinity Sunday Isaiah 6 Romans 8 and John 3:1-17

Many of us know the love of the Father we have responded to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and we have felt the quickening of the heart that the holy spirit gives us as we serve worship and adore God But explain the trinity? That seems so complex but in today’s readings they really help us to understand and encounter God in his Glory and rejoicing in our adoption to Sonship through the Spirit so that are very being cries out Abba Father and do we are conscious of the route to the Father having been opened to us by the suffering of the Son.

In our Isaiah reading from Isaiah 6 we get this, And the Seraphim cried out Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of hosts the whole earth is full of his glory and the foundation of the thresholds shook at the Voice of him who called as the house of God was filled with smoke.

It seems that when God is in the house there is often shaking and stirring as In our readings last week in Acts 2:1.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place and suddenly a sound came from heaven  like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting.

When most of think about the Holy Sprit we rightly think of the Dove of the Holy spirit as it is pictured in our stained-glass creation window, but on most occasions The spirit comes as fire He came as Fire to Moses in the dessert and to Elijah and to Isaiah and now at Pentecost to the disciples gathered.

As Jesus spoke with Nicodemus that night that Nicodemus came secretly to chat with Jesus, well, Nicodemus just did not understand about the need to be born again, I am with Nicodemus on this; Nicodemus from his world view thought Jesus was asking him to reverse nature and get back inside his Mother’s womb, preposterous and impossible.

Jesus told him that spiritual rebirth had to be from above From God and he told him about the Wind of the Sprit  these were difficult things for a Jerusalem Theologian to accept.

The wind says Jesus blows where it will, where it pleases, you can hear it but not see it you cannot tell where it comes from or whiter it goes! Well today the Met office might be able to fill in some of our gaps on knowledge, but what Jesus says still holds true we do not really know exactly how winds are formed nor where they will end up.

So, Jesus says we cannot explain the wind, so it is with those born of the Spirit the words for wind and Spirit are the same  TO PNEUMA.

Barrett says the Spirit like the wind is entirely beyond the controls and comprehension of man it breathes into our world from another world. One can never determine its origin or destiny  Nicodemus is invited by Jesus into the realm of God where those born of the Spirit have their origin and destiny in the mystery of God. Despite Jesus’s explanation Nicodemus (maybe like you and me) just did not get it.

But Nicodemus should have known these scriptures: For life that transcends the human spirit is not a new idea.

Isaiah 40:7  Ezekiel 11:19-20  Joel 2:28- 29  Job 34:14

Isaiah 40:7

English Standard Version

The grass withers, the flower fades
    when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
    surely the people are grass.

Ezekiel 11:19-20

New International Version

19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Joel 2:28-29

New International Version

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

Job 34:14-15

English Standard Version

14 If he should set his heart to it
    and gather to himself his spirit and his breath,
15 all flesh would perish together,
    and man would return to dust.

 Someone once said just like most people cannot explain quantum physics or how the universe was made so it is with the whole matter of Father Son and Holy Spirit. As Augustine said our hearts are restless until they find their place  with you” Jesus is aiming for Nicodemus’s heart and soul not his intellect. And that is the same for you and me.

Jesus in Verses 1-12 of John 3 gets Nicodemus and by default you and I to move from earthly things to heavenly things (not that the earthly is not important see Jesus’ use of examples from nature in all his parables) so vs12. I have spoken to you of earthly things, and you do not believe how then wil you believe if I speak of heavenly things.

Nicodemus and You and I are told that no one (vs 13) has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven; the Son of Man and you and I and others often say Oh such and such has died now she is in heaven ,Now Jesus’s mission is to get us to heaven but not before he has died on the Cross and been raised first and therefore shown us the way.

In a sense Nicodemus is like us he wants a nice cosy chat with Jesus, one dark night he wants to have his conversation in secret , but what they discussed must be the most reported on “secret conversation” ever,

Jesus’s  sole aim is to fit Nicodemus for Heaven eternity, Nicodemus is a Pharisee a member of the Jewish Ruling Cou8ncil but for Jesus Nicodemus is a human being loved by God made in his image and so Jesus tells him a story about a  previous pandemic. This previous pandemic was not a disease it was a pandemic of poisonous biting snakes in the desert from which there was no earthly escape. These snakes killed people. John 3:14 but there was a way of being healed.

John 3:14-15

New International Version

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Everyone who looked at the Bronze make that Moses had made was healed.

This is the Trinity at work.

Jesus is communicating the love and judgement of the Father.

The saving work of the Son of God and the Sprit who draws all men to himself.

The key of course is love seen in John 3:16 Just as Abraham presented his son Isaac for Sacrifice God allowed through his fatherly love and greater plan for Jesus to be killed.

For God so loved the world so much that whoever believes in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life”

No one least of all me can explain the Trinity but somehow at the Cross we see the totality of Gods love revealed God’s father like Love/ the saving action of the Son/ and the Spirit sustaining, and overshadowing are combined.

Remember both Nicodemus and Jesus were  living in the  Ancient world Persia and Greeks, and Barbarians had devised terrible ways of killing people and the Romans had perfected crucifixion has their No 1 execution method. So, no wonder Nicodemus baulked at a suggestion that Jesus, a great teacher as Nicodemus acknowledged, should even contemplate death by lifting up; the idea was abhorrent, just what was Jesus getting at?

But God did have a plan; at that point in history in Israel, in Jerusalem, God’s love says Jesus is to be uniquely demonstrated in the Laying down of his own life. The Father says Jesus did not send Jesus into the world to condemn it but to save it.

The Father Loves

The Son dies

The Spirt enables this all to happen THIS is the Trinity in action.

We in the 21st Century reading and rereading +  listening to Isaiah 6 and Romans 8 and John 3 can only cry out Holy Holy Holy

Jesus answered Isaiah’s cry for help He was the Sent one.

He made the Holy known. Everything that The Psalmist yearned for that Isaiah glimpsed that Nicodemus even in his confusion deep down like you and me knew that he wanted; this is made true in the Person of Jesus Christ.

God bless you as you live out life in the community Of Father Son and Holy Spirit. Tudor Roberts

 

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ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity: We beseech thee, that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.

Holy God,

faithful and unchanging:

enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,

and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,

that we may truly worship you,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Almighty and eternal God,

you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

and live and reign in the perfect unity of love:

hold us firm in this faith,

that we may know you in all your ways

and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,

who are three Persons yet one God,

now and for ever.

 


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