More than a term or some Symbols…..

The Triune God is the ONLY True God


                  The title of today’s Opening Hymn, # 195, one of our hymnal’s “Trinity emphasis” hymns, sets the tone for our service as today we celebrate “The Festival of the Holy Trinity.” 

            Trinity Sunday is that date on the church calendar when Christians traditionally concentrate their attention on the mysterious, yet marvelous doctrine of our Triune God.  Although the Scriptures nowhere contain either the word “Trinity” or the word “Triune,” the teaching that our God is a “three-in-one God” is thoroughly Biblical.  What we teach is that our God is one “Essence,” (or Being) Who reveals Himself through three distinct, unique persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This doctrine of the Trinity is clearly set forth in both the Old and New Testaments.  In addition to the Trinity-emphasis found in today’s hymns, the Athanasian Creed, which will be included in today’s worship service, is a centuries-old, detailed statement of belief that focuses extensively on the doctrine of the Trinity. 

            Our Psalm Reading for this Trinity Sunday expresses a believer’s earnest desire that all people might know, believe in, and praise the One true God.   The Children’s Lesson, using the traditional Christian symbol for the Trinity of the circle and triangle, will talk about the “separate-sameness” of our three-in-one God – the only true God.     The Old Testament Lesson is the account of Isaiah’s call.  We see two subtle references to the 3 in 1 God, first in the threefold repetition of praise: “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty.”  Also in the Lord’s statement, “Who shall I (singular) send, and who shall go for us (plural).”   Our New Testament Lesson is the account of Paul’s bold proclamation of the 3 in 1 God during his stay in Athens – the intellectual center of the Roman world.   Paul declares that all the other gods the Greeks (and all others) worshiped were idols, but that he had come as the spokesman for the one true God who proved His legitimacy by creating the world and by raising Jesus from the dead.  Today’s Gospel Lesson is the account of Jesus’ baptism, in which the Lord publicly reveals Himself as all three Persons at the same time as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   Finally our Sermon is based on Numbers 6:22-27, and is sometimes known as “the Aaronic blessing.”  We typically (including today) close our worship services with this blessing from the Lord.  The blessing is divided into three parts, which describe the work of the three persons of our Triune God.   First, regarding the Father (the Lord bless you and keep you);   then, the Son (the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you);  and, finally, the Holy Spirit (the Lord look upon you with favor and grant you His peace). 


A History of “Trinity Sunday” and the Pentecost/Trinity Season of the Church Year

                  The inaugural Sunday of the “Non-Festival Half” of the Church year is the Festival of the Holy Trinity.   A “new” festival when compared to the other festivals in the first half of the church year, The Festival of the Holy Trinity did not find its way onto the official Church Calendar until 1334, although an annual festival in honor of the Holy Trinity had been observed as much as four centuries earlier.   Trinity Sunday celebrates the entire teaching of Scripture as a revelation of the one true, three-in-one God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The color for the Festival is white.   One of Trinity  Sunday’s “special” customs involves the reading of the longest of the three Christian Creeds, the Athanasian Creed, during the public worship service.                  

                The non-festival half of the Church Year spans the summer and fall seasons of the regular calendar.   It begins on Trinity Sunday, also known as the First Sunday after the Festival of Pentecost.   It is worth noting that the Trinity season is the only season of the Church year that is named after a specific doctrine of Scripture, and has thus been identified only by the two northern European Christian denominations: namely, the Lutheran Church and the Episcopal Church.   The majority of the Christian denominations refer to the non-festival portion of the Church Year as the Pentecost Season, or the Sundays after Pentecost. 

            The Trinity/Pentecost Season is from 22 to 27 Sundays in length, depending on when Easter falls.   There is no particular theme which unites these Sundays together, although the emphases of most services and sermons is on the Christian’s life of sanctification.   Often Lutheran ministers will use this portion of the church calendar to engage in “series preaching,” covering over a number of Sundays such matters as:  The Ten Commandments, the parts of the Lord’s Prayer, or the entirety of a New Testament epistle, among others.   

            There are a few special days that the church in worship observes during this non-festival portion of the church calendar.  They include:  Reformation Day (October 31); “All Saints Day” (November 1);  and  Thanksgiving Day (in the U.S.A on the fourth Thursday in November;  in Canada on the second Monday in October).   Many congregations also hold a Mission Festival Sunday during this season, and some churches (particularly in farming communities) choose to observe a Harvest Festival in the late fall.




The Athanasian Creed


            The Athanasian Creed is the third, the longest, and the least used of the three “ecumenical” (accepted church-wide) creeds of the Christian Church.  The other two ecumenical Christian creeds (a creed is “a statement of what we believe”)  are the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.     

            While we are not certain of the name of the person who “authored” this creed, we do know that it received the designation “Athanasian” as a tribute to Athanasius, one of the prominent, orthodox leaders of the early Christian Church.  Athanasius lived from 293-373 A.D., and not only was he very influential in supporting and defending the doctrines of the Nicene Creed but he was also prominently and personally involved in the actual development of that statement of belief.  (The Nicene Creed was prepared in its initial form for the 1st Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church held at Nicea in 325.   The more detailed version that we use today [with the 591 A.D. addition of the “filioque,” expressing that the Spirit  proceeds from the Father and the Son] is actually the Niceno-Constantinopolitan version, produced by the 2nd Ecumenical Council of the Church, at Constantinople in 381 A.D.)  

            The best information we have today about the date and place of origin of the Athanasian Creed suggests that it was written possibly in North Africa, but more likely in southern France sometime between 435 and 570 (when Venatius Fortunatus of Poitiers wrote a short commentary on the creed).

            The writing of the Athanasian Creed was made necessary because orthodox (true-teaching) Christians were forced to defend the Church’s Biblical doctrine concerning the God it worshiped.  The post-Nicean Christian Church felt compelled to develop this written statement of what the Scriptures teach about the true God specifically for this reason:  certain false beliefs and teachings (various forms of Unitarianism and tri-theism) about God were being vigorously promoted by certain individuals and groups desiring to operate under the umbrella of the Church.  However, while they might have technically been “in” the church,  in practice through their heretical teachings those individuals and groups had already departed from the Christian Church (and were misleading others with their false beliefs). 

            The Athanasian Creed’s primary purpose was to set down in detail what the Scriptures specifically  teach about the Triune God and about the incarnation of God (that is to say, the Second Person of the Trinity’s becoming truly human while at the same time remaining entirely divine).    The Creed emphasizes the Unity of the Godhead……that we worship ONE God.  However, it carefully points out the Plurality of that One divine Essence…..that there are three distinct persons of the Godhead.  In so doing, this longest of the three Ecumenical (accepted Church-wide) Creeds meticulously states the differences and distinctions that the Bible teaches concerning those three persons of that one God….the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.    This is a most complicated doctrine, one not understood by our human reason, but rather one which is simply presented to us in Scripture as fact, and which is to be accepted by us by faith.                 

            Because it focuses on the Triune God whom we worship, The Athanasian Creed is traditionally used by Christian Churches on Trinity Sunday.  Following that centuries-old practice, we will make use of this statement of our Christian faith by reading it responsively during this morning’s service. 


            Please Note:    The closing words of the Athanasian Creed say that all people will finally “give an account” before the judgment seat of Christ.  This phrase comes from Bible passages such as  the following:


Matthew 12:36            But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.


Romans 14:12              So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Cf. Heb 4:13; 13:17; 1 Pet 4:5).


This refers to the fact that all people will rise on the Last Day to appear before Christ, the Judge of all.


2 Corinthians 5:10      For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


            Sometimes Christians who know that the way to heaven is by faith in Jesus Christ alone (and not by works – Ephesians 2:8,9) are troubled by the words of the Creed: “And they that have done good will go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.  (See John 5:29). These words do not mean that we earn heaven by good works. Romans 3:28  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.  (Cf. John 3:16-18).

            Since true faith is invisible, Christ will prove that believers had faith by pointing out the “fruits” of that faith (Matthew 25:31-46).  Only believers can produce such fruits of faith, done out of love for the Lord, which God recognizes as “good works,” for Hebrews 11:6 declares that “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

            Christ kept the commandments for us all, as our Substitute, and by faith His perfect obedience is credited to us as our own obedience.  Scripture says that all of our Savior’s righteous works are credited to the account of believers (2 Cor. 5:21).  For Jesus’ sake, by God’s grace, our failures have been entirely forgiven;   this God promises when He says that He will forget the sins of His believers (Jeremiah 31:34).    On Judgment Day, Christ will not mention the sins of believers, but will recognize their fruits of faith in Him  (“good works”).  Furthermore, He will reveal the “motive of their own works” (that they were moved by Spirit-given faith and love for Him;    Matthew 25:40 “Whatever you did…..You did  for Me”).  On the other hand, Christ will point to the unbelievers’ absence of “Godly,” faith-inspired good works (and not to their secular, and self-serving good deeds which did not flow from faith, in spite of how numerous those good deeds might have been) as the evidence that they did not possess faith in Him and thus, that their eternal condemnation by virtue of their unbelief is warranted.     It will be just as Christ said: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).




Welcome to Grace Lutheran Church If you are a first-time guest today, we are honored that you’ve chosen to worship with us this morning.  If you’ve been with us before, we’re glad to have you back!  If we can do anything to make your time among us more edifying and enjoyable, please speak with one of our ushers, our Pastor, or the person sitting next to you.  We’ll be pleased to serve you in whatever way we can.   We also invite you to join those around you for some good conversation, coffee, and other refreshments at the conclusion of today’s service in our gymnasium/fellowship fall.  Finally, after our fellowship time, please remain with us for our Sunday School and Bible Class.   May God’s love and His forgiveness through Jesus Christ bring you peace and be with you throughout this day and this week.


Pre-Service Prayer O Heavenly Father, please guide me in wisdom and truth through Your Holy Spirit, as I spend this hour meditating on Your Word and rejoicing in Your limitless love for me.  Assist me in being attentive in heart and mind to Your Word, as well as to the hymns of praise, the various petitions, and the prayers of thanksgiving my voice directs toward You.  Use this worship service, O Lord, to deepen my love for You, to strengthen my trust in You, and to renew my commitment to You.  All this I ask for the sake of and in the name of Your One and only Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior.  Amen.



The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831



Prayer upon entering the sanctuary                                                                                      Pre-service Music


We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation to Worship


The Invocation

We begin this service


In the name of the Father, Who gave His Son into death for us

and raised Him in glory on the third day;


And in the name of the Son, Who laid down His life

only to take it up again on the third day;


And in the name of the Holy Spirit

 through Whom Christ was made alive,

Who has worked saving faith in our hearts,

Who lives in us now through the Word,

and Who will one day give life to our mortal bodies.   Amen.



Our Psalm for This Morning                                                                                                      Psalm 86:1-12


P:  Turn your ear, O Lord.    Answer me, for I am poor and needy.    Guard my life, for I am favored by You.   You are my God.   Save Your servant, who trusts in You.


C: Have mercy on me, O Lord,   +   for I call to You all day long.   +   Bring joy to the soul of Your servant   +    for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

P:  Indeed, You, Lord, are good and forgiving  and abounding in mercy to all who call to You.   Give ear to my prayer, O Lord.   Pay attention to the sound of my cries for mercy.   In the day of my distress I will call to You,   because You will answer me.   


C: Have mercy on me, O Lord,   +   for I call to You all day long.   +   Bring joy to the soul of Your servant   +    for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.


P:  There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord.  There are no deeds like Your deeds.      All the nations You have made will come.    They will bow before You, O Lord,   and they will give glory to Your name,  Because You are great and do marvelous deeds.    You alone are God.    Teach me Your way, O Lord.  I will walk in Your truth.  Give me wholehearted commitment to fear Your name.


C: I will thank You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,   +   and I will glorify Your name forever.    +   For great is Your mercy toward me,   +   and You have delivered my soul from the depths of the grave.


after which the Congregation  may be seated for



Opening Hymn                                                              Hymn 195   ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”


1 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!   Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,   God in three persons, blessed Trinity!


2 Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,   Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,   Who was and is and evermore shall be.


3 Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,   Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,

Only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,   Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.


4 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!   All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,   God in three persons, blessed Trinity!



After which, the Congregation will rise as


We Make Confession of Our Sins To God


Pastor God, our Heavenly Father, invites us to come into His presence and to worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.


Congregation    “Holy and most merciful Father,     I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions; Each day I turn away from Your Will.    I have left

 undone those things which You have asked me to do,    and I have done those things which You tell me not to do.    I do not love You or my neighbor the way I should.     Because of these,    and all of my other sins,    too numerous for me to recall,      I acknowledge that I deserve nothing less than Your punishment      both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for the evil that I have thought, spoken, and done,     and trusting in the perfect life,   and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray:    Lord, forgive me all my sins,      restore to me the joy of Your salvation,   and strengthen my weak faith through the promises of Your divine Word     that I may obtain Your promised grace.


Pastor          “Find comfort for your souls, then, in these words of our Lord:   “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just,  and will purify us from all unrighteousness,  because we have One Who speaks to the Father

 in our defense — Jesus Christ, the  Righteous One.   We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”   And now, upon this, your voluntary confession,  I, because of my office as a called servant of God’s Word,  announce the grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place of, and according to the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   May the peace of God be with you.  Amen.”


Praise God from Whom all blessings flow


Praise Him, all creatures, here, below

Praise Him above You heav’nly host.

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.   Amen.


The Prayer For Trinity Sunday


Almighty God and Father,   +   dwelling in majesty and mystery,   +   filling and renewing all creation by Your eternal Spirit,   +   and manifesting Your saving grace through our Lord Jesus Christ:   +   in mercy cleanse our hearts and lips,   +   that, free from doubt and fear,   +   we may ever worship You,   +   the one, true, immortal God,   +   together with Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ,   +   and God the Holy Spirit,   +  living and reigning,  now and forever.   +   Amen.


after which the Congregation will be seated as


We Give our Attention to God’s Word


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                              Matthew 28:19


Go therefore and gather disciples from all nations, baptizing

them in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


The Separate Sameness of our Triune God


The Old Testament Lesson                          Isaiah 6:1-8


In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two they covered their faces. With two they covered their feet. With two they flew. 3 One called to another and said,  Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies!

The whole earth is full of his glory!   4 The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of the one who called, and the temple was filled with smoke.   5 Then I said, “I am doomed!  I am ruined, because I am a man with unclean lips, and I dwell among a people with unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies!”     6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, carrying a glowing coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with the coal and said, “Look, this has touched your lips, so your guilt is taken away, and your sin is forgiven.”    8 Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”    Then I said, “Here I am. Send me!”



The New Testament Lesson                                                                                                        Acts 17:16-34


16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was very distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he led a discussion in the synagogue with the Jews and those who feared God, as well as with those who happened to be in the marketplace every day.   18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also debated with him. Some said, “What is this seed picker trying to say?” Others said, “He seems to be someone who is proclaiming foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.


19 They took him and brought him to the council of the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are talking about? 20 You seem to be bringing in some ideas that are strange to our ears, so we want to know what these things mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there enjoyed doing nothing more than telling or listening to something new.)


22 Then Paul stood up in front of the council of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 For as I was walking around and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar on which had been inscribed, ‘To an unknown god.’ Now what you worship as unknown—this is what I am going to proclaim to you.    24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made with hands. 25 Neither is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, since he himself gives all people life and breath and everything they have. 26 From one man, he made every nation of mankind to live over the entire face of the earth. He determined the appointed times and the boundaries where they would live. 27 He did this so they would seek God and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘Indeed, we are also his offspring.’   29 “Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and planning. 30 Although God overlooked the times of ignorance, he is now commanding all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he appointed. He provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”


32 When they heard about the resurrection from the dead, some of them started to scoff. But others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 So Paul left the council. 34 However, some men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them were Dionysius (a member of the council of the Areopagus) and a woman named Damaris, as well as others with them.



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                 Matthew 3:13-17


13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John at the Jordan. 14 But John tried to stop him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?”    15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, because it is proper for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John let him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, he immediately went up out of the water. Suddenly, the heavens were opened for him! He saw the Spirit of God, descending like a dove and landing on him, 17 and a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my Son, whom I love. I am well pleased with him.”


after which the Congregation will rise to join in


The Athanasian Creed



P:    Whoever will be saved, shall, above all else, hold the true Christian faith.

C:    Which faith, except everyone keeps whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish eternally.

  • And the true Christian faith is this,



C:    That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.

P     For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.

C:    But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.




  • Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.

C:    The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Ghost uncreated.

P:    The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.

C:    The  Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.

P:    And yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal.

C:    As there are not three Uncreated nor three Incomprehensibles, but one Uncreated and one Incomprehensible.


P:    So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty.

C:    And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.

P:    So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.

C:    And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

P:    So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.  

C:   And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.


P:    For as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord,

C:    So the true Christian faith forbids us to say that there are three Gods, or three Lords.

P:    The Father is made of none: neither created nor begotten.

C:    The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten.

P:    The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.



  • So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

P:    And in this Trinity none is before or after other; none is greater or less than another;




  • But the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal:

P:    So that in all things, as was said before,



  • The Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped.


  • He, therefore, that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

C:    Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

P:    For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man;

C:    God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world;

P:    Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.


C:    Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood;

P:    Who, although He is God and Man, yet He is not two but one Christ:

C:    One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God;

P:    One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.

C:    For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;


P:    Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;

C:    He ascended into heaven; He sits on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

P:    At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies,

C:    And will give an account of their own works.

P:    And they that have done good will go into life everlasting;

C:    And they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.


P:    This is the true Christian faith

C:    which, except a man believe faithfully and firmly,  He cannot be saved.


after which, the Congregation may be seated


The Sermon Hymn                                                                                                  ‘Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”


Joyful, joyful we adore You,   God of glory, God of love!

Heav’n and earth bow down before You,        Praising You, our Lord above.

You our Father,   Christ our Savior,       With the Spirit faith provides,

Life eternal we’ve been granted, gracious gift that e’er abides.


You are giving and forgiving,      Ever glorious, Ever blest.

Source of every kind of blessing,    Giver of eternal rest.

You have claimed us as Your children        Heaven’s heirs through faith alone —

In the Rock of our salvation,      Jesus Christ, our Lord, Your Son.


Lord, receive our prayers and praises,    weak and humble though they be.

Yours the power, Yours the glory,   Both today and endlessly.

None beside You, None before You,    God of mercy, full and free.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ever blessed Trinity.

after which the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for     


The Greeting       Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ!   O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.  Amen.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                    based on Numbers 6:22-27


22 The Lord told Moses 23 to speak to Aaron and to his sons and to tell them to bless the Israelites with these words:


       24 The Lord bless you and keep you.

       25 The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.

       26 The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.


27 In this way they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.


More than the Image of a Circle and a Triangle,

Our Triune God Is The ONLY True God


following the sermon the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Blessing       To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God, our Savior, be glory, majesty, power, and authority…now and forever.  Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.       However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address :   (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745), or

2) You can donate on our website:


the Congregation will please rise as the offerings are brought to the altar

We Offer Our Prayers to the Lord


Today’s Special Prayers

Included in our Prayers today:   Intercessory Prayers for:

Dan Beck, who is contending with pancreatic cancer;  also

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for:

Megan and Kris Arthur, whose anniversary is June 16th, and

Michael and Ann King,  whose anniversary is June 17th.


A Responsive Prayer for this Trinity Sunday


P  Let us pray to the blessed Holy Trinity and the Undivided Unity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, on behalf of the whole people of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

     O  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You have revealed Yourself to us as one God in three Persons so that we may worship You and live in communion with You.


C  Bless and sustain Your Church in heaven and on earth +    so that Your people everywhere may hold to the true Christian faith   +   without compromise or corruption,  + and continue to boldly confess You as both God and Lord.


P:  O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You call us to believe faithfully in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ who suffered for our salvation, rose again the third day from the dead, and ascended into heaven.  


C: Equip and encourage pastors everywhere   +    to proclaim the riches of Your wisdom and knowledge   +      so that Your people may hear and believe both the Law and Gospel,    + be saved from sin, Satan, and eternal death,   +    and rejoice in Your mercy both now and forever.


P  O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as You sent the prophets to proclaim Your holiness and goodness to Your people, so also You send missionaries today to proclaim Your glory in all the world.   


C: Especially give to our church body the resources,   +   the opportunities,   +   and the commitment   +    to begin new missions around the globe and close to home,    +    so that many more people may believe in Jesus Christ   +     and not perish but have everlasting life through faith in Him.


P  O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Your name is excellent in all the earth and Your glory is above the heavens and extends over all nations and peoples.    


C: In Your wisdom uphold and protect our nation and its leaders,   +    especially our president,   +   our governor,    +    and all who make and carry out our laws,   +   so that we may be a people at peace among ourselves    +     and a blessing to all the nations of the world.


P  O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, through Your almighty power You created and You sustain the heavens and the earth, the sun and moon and stars, the waters and great sea creatures, the mountains and all trees, the beasts and all cattle that they might serve Your blessed purposes.


C: Use that same power   +    to Bring to repentance and saving faith   +    those who deny You as the Creator and Sovereign Lord of all that exists.     +     Also, lead every one of us     +    to be good stewards of all the gifts You have given us   +    for our good and for Your glory.


P  O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we also pray that You would heal and restore all who suffer illness or injury in body and soul.  Through Your Word and Sacraments, grant Your companionship and peace to all who are hospitalized, ill or house-bound.


C: O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,   +    You give everlasting life to all who trust in You  +    and remain in the one, true Christian faith.   +     We give You our thanks   +   for bringing us to that same true and saving faith.    + Enable us to be good examples   +  of faithfulness and holy living before others,   +   as we serve You here   +    with all that we are and posses.   +     And finally,   +   when our last hour comes,   +    bring us all home to heaven,   +   where we will worship You forever   +    as the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity.


P  Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves and all others for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.      We offer this prayer in His name, and continue now by also praying:



C: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

We Leave with the Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction


P:        Brothers and sisters, go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.   Serve the Lord in gladness.   And receive, now, with believing hearts, the blessing of your Lord.


The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord look upon you with favor, and grant you His peace.    Amen.


The Closing Hymn                                                             Hymn 326 “May the Grace of Christ, our Savior”


1 May the grace of Christ our Savior   And the Father’s boundless love

With the Holy Spirit’s favor   Rest upon us from above.


2 So may we abide in union    With each other and the Lord,

Gathered here in blest communion   By the power of his Word.


3 Now with all the saints in heaven    Thanks and praise to You we sing

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three in One, our Triune King.


Silent Prayer, Announcements, Post-service music




Last Week at Grace   Attendance: 63   Communed: 54    Online views: 9    Sunday School: 3       Sunday Bible Class: 25   Online views: 9     Budgetary Offerings:  $3476     Online Budgetary Offerings: $223.76     Capital Improvement: $110


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today                        Choir Rehearsal, 8:40 a.m.                                                      Worship Service, 9:30 a.m 

                       Fellowship 10:40 a.m.                                Bible Class and Sunday School, 11:05 a.m. 

                       Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday        Morning Bible Study, 10:30-11:30 a.m.                       Church Council Meeting, 6 p.m.

Saturday        Outreach Calling/Visitation, meet at church at 10:00 a.m.

Sunday          Morning Worship, with the Lord’s Supper 9:30 a.m.                         Fellowship, 10:45 a.m.  

                       Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.


Serving Us NEXT SUNDAY (6-19)              Elders — Vic Walker, John Johnson               Fellowship:   Mary Karloski

Altar Guild – Tina Wambold, Harriet Johnson               Ushers – Terry Bruns, Tim Huebner, Tom Otto


Birthdays and Anniversaries This Week            June 16 – Ed Bratton      June 16 – Megan and Kris Arthur;    

June 16 – Addison Arthur;        June 17 – Michael and Ann King;       June 17 – Jamaica and Tony Hoyord;


Church Council Meeting THIS TUESDAY  – Please keep in mind that our next Council meeting is this coming Tuesday, June 14, at 6 p.m.

2 Corinthians Bible Sstudy                                                                                                                                                   Bible Study – Lesson Five


The Glory of the Gospel Ministry

2 Corinthians 3:7-4:6

To the legalistic “Judaizers,” who tried to join the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Old Testament covenant law, the Old Testament legal code was the high-water mark of Biblical revelation. The human standard against which all others are compared were patriarchs like Abraham and prophets like Moses. For example, the woman at the well asked our Lord, “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You … ?” (John 4:12).  She expected the answer to be, “No,” because she could not believe such a thing could be true.  Most Jews prided themselves on being the physical descendants of Abraham (John 8:33).  Some once asked our Lord, “Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” (John 8:53).   In the verses we will be studying in this lesson, Paul summarizes the main emphasis of the book of Hebrews:   namely that the new covenant/testament (Gospel) is vastly superior to the old (the Law).   The (Jewish) self-appointed, false apostles who were causing such trouble in Corinth prided themselves on their understanding and proclamation of the old covenant-Law.    In contrast, Paul is confident of the superiority of the Gospel ministry He has been given by the authority of Christ and his conversion by God the Holy Spirit.

The Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai with awesome evidences of God’s glory, such as thunder and lightning and trumpet-like blasts. No one was allowed to get close to that mountain, or they would die (see Exodus 19:16-26). The people were so terrified that they pleaded with Moses to intercede with God, so that He would not come to speak directly with them lest they perish (Exodus 20:18-21). Great glory was associated with the old covenant, including the Shekinah (the “Glory of the Lord”…..see Exodus 16:7, 10; 24:16-17; 28:2, 40; 29:43; 40:34), but the glory of the new covenant/Gospel was far greater. Our Lord’s glory was revealed through His incarnation  (John 1:14).   Men also saw God’s glory in connection with Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:9, 14). His glory was revealed to His three disciples at His transfiguration (Luke 9:31-32).  It was demonstrated through His many miracles (John 2:11). And, when He returns to this earth for the Final Judgment, He will be coming in all of His glory (Luke 9:26; 21:27).

In verses 9 and 10, Paul shows logically that the glory of the new covenant must be greater than the glory of the old covenant, which inevitably produced condemnation (rather than salvation).  The Law of Moses set a standard of righteousness which no sinful person could ever satisfy.  As a result, it could not save anyone, but could only condemn humanity as both the inherited and actual sinners we all are.   On the other hand, the new covenant/Gospel emphasizes the gift of God’s righteousness given to every unworthy sinner, through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.    Consequently, if the old covenant had glory (and it did), how much more glory does the new covenant/testament….namely, the Gospel….have!

In these verses Paul chooses to make use of some Old Testament imagery that well illustrates what he is saying, based on the events recorded in Exodus 34:29-35.     While the Holy Spirit inspires Paul to speak about the story of Moses’ shining face, He allows the Apostle to provide us with details not found in the Exodus account.   Those new details perfectly fit the point Paul makes about the contrast between the glories of the Old and New Testaments/Covenants.

Exodus 34 informs us that when Moses met with God on Mount Sinai, his face glowed brightly.   Moses was not aware of it the first time this happened. The people were afraid to approach him, but he called them to come near to him. His face was reflecting the glory of God, and so every time he spent time with the LORD, his face would glow brightly.   Afterward Moses would come to the people to tell them what God had said.   When he finished speaking to them, Moses immediately would put a veil over his face.   Whenever he went to speak with God, he unveiled his face and did not replace the veil until after he had spoken to the Israelites.

If a person reads these words carelessly, he might attempt to explain Moses’ actions in a way that does not jibe with the text of Exodus or with Paul’s words in the verses before us today.   It could easily lead us to conclude that Moses veiled his face so the people would not be overcome by the glow coming from it.   If that were true, then Moses’ putting on that veil would be the figurative equivalent of you or me dimming our high beam headlights for an oncoming vehicle.  However that can’t be correct.   That’s because we’re told that Moses left his face uncovered until AFTER spoke to the people.   Only afterward did the veil go on.   And it stayed on until just before he spoke with the LORD again.   Then it was removed and stayed off until after he addressed the Israelites.  So….what was the purpose of the veil?    Paul tells us in verse 13.    It was because the “glory-glow” began to fade.  The longer Moses was away from God’s presence, the more the glow on his face dimmed.  Each encounter with God was like recharging the batteries that powered the glowing face of Moses.  Moses did not want the people to see the glow of God’s glory dimming, and so he covered his face during that time when the glory was fading.

Paul’s point is this: the glory Moses experienced in conjunction with the handing down of the Law was a fading glory until it could be replenished.   In stark contrast, the glory which Paul enjoyed in conjunction with the new covenant was unfading:“Indeed, if what is fading away was glorious, how much more glorious is that which is permanent!” (verse 11). Moses needed a veil because the glory of the old covenant, as great as it was would fade away.  The messengers of the good news/Gospel do not need a veil at all, because the greater glory of the Gospel never fades: “But all of us who reflect the Lord’s glory with an unveiled face are being transformed into His own image, from one degree of glory to another.  This, too, is from the Lord, Who is the Spirit” (verse 18).

This new covenant glory is manifest “in the person of Christ” (4:6).   We can recall that Moses begged God to “see His glory” in Exodus 33:18.   The LORD made it very clear that Moses could see only a portion of His glory.   Specifically, Moses was not allowed to view the face of God (Exodus 33:20, 23), lest he perish.    This greater glory of the Gospel, which we enjoy along with Paul, is the glory that allows us to believe in Christ and be saved for eternity.  Undoubtedly, compared to glory of the Law that condemns us, the Gospel’s glory is greater by far.

God the Holy Spirit is the One Who “lifts the veil” by granting us the faith to see the glory of God in the face of Christ.   The Old Testament often pointed ahead to the new covenant (e.g. Jeremiah 31:31-34).   Paul had the privilege of proclaiming that greater glory of the Gospel.   And if there were Jews in Corinth who prided themselves on their old covenant expertise and ministry, they were the ones who were mistaken and misguided – not Paul.

Our certain “hope” of seeing God’s glory in heaven through faith in Christ gives Christians boldness when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel (3:12), even in the face of opposition, rejection and persecution.   Whether people receive us and embrace the message of the Gospel that we present, or whether they reject both the Gospel and us, must never discourage our spirit or diminish our confidence when it comes to bringing the Gospel to others.    We have confidence that the Gospel ministry is glorious now, and for all eternity.    Think of Stephen, standing boldly before his Jewish opponents, who are about to kill him.   His words to them offer no concession or compromise whatsoever.   Stephen could speak the Gospel boldly because, whether in life or death, he was certain of the heavenly glory that God promised him (and all who believe in Christ), and that was precisely what he beheld as they stoned him to death (Acts 7:55).

As a way of illustrating this, let’s suppose that you’re employed by a company that’s about to make a massive layoff of staff.   You and your boss aren’t on particularly good terms.   Your boss calls you in to his office and asks you for an honest appraisal of his leadership.   The fact is, he’s a very poor leader.  How confident will you be in telling him he is doing a miserable job, knowing that tomorrow he could decide that you won’t have a job any longer?    But now let’s suppose you already have interviewed with another company, and they have hired you, starting tomorrow, with a significant increase in salary.   In fact, your new employer is buying the company you now work for, and you are going to become your boss’s boss the very next day.   Would that change the confidence and directness with which you might speak to your present boss?

Every Christian should such boldness when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel.   Our confidence shouldn’t be based on the responsiveness (or lack thereof) of those to which we speak.   Even though our message is true and glorious, and even if we proclaim it with enthusiasm, that doesn’t mean people will receive and believe it.  Paul explains why, using as his illustration Moses’ veil.   He tells us that those who hear the gospel as unbelievers have hearts that are veiled.  They’re spiritually blind to the Gospel.   He said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 2, when he declared that the wisdom of God is foolishness to those who are lost.    Without the working of the Holy Spirit in their hearts through the Word, no one will ever trust in the wisdom of God.

What that is true of everyone (including ourselves) that was particularly true of the Jews in Corinth – about which Paul is writing.   Those Judaizers had plagued the church at Corinth with their false, legalistic teaching, suggesting that they were experts in teaching the Old Testament….and that Paul was the fraud and false teacher.   They thought that because they were native Jews, they not only “owned” the promises of the true God, but they also had a superior ability to interpret the Old Testament.   However, Paul knew that they – of all people – were particularly blind to the real message of the Old Testament…..which pointed ahead to the coming Messiah.  A veil was over their hearts and minds……hardening their souls against the real message of the old covenant – even though they heard it read regularly in the synagogue and temple (3:14).     That veil could only be removed by faith in Christ, and that only can occur through the enlightening work of God the Holy Spirit.    Regarding them, Paul said “a veil lies over their hearts” (3:15) whenever  the Law of Moses is read.

It’s the same today for many unbelieving souls.   True liberty from spiritual bondage can only come through faith in Christ worked by God the Holy Spirit in a person’s heart.   And that’s why Paul (and we) can speak the Gospel confidently.   We know that no one can, or ever will, believe the message of the Gospel by virtue of his or her wisdom, let alone through the persuasiveness of any speaker.    The only way anyone will ever understand and believe the Gospel is because the Holy Spirit has illuminated the heart, mind and soul of the unbeliever to do so. That’s why there is never any reason for any minister, Christian, congregation or church body to ever water down the Gospel.   It doesn’t do any good (but does a lot of bad things).   The Holy Spirit, alone, is the Agent Who miraculously brings unbelieving hearts to faith, and to eternal life.

That truth provided Paul with a tremendous amount of assurance and comfort in his ministry, and so he didn’t lose heart.   Did he feel he had done a poor job in Troas?    Feeling he’d done a good or a poor job wouldn’t make him any more effective.    After all, it is God Who calls and equips us for service, and Who makes us adequate to proclaim His Gospel.   God the Holy Spirit doesn’t just work through us in spite of our weaknesses;   He works through our very weaknesses.    When we recognize how weak we really are, then we can rely on Him to make us Spiritually strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).  The key to Paul’s positive spirit is not his skill, or his persuasive powers; the key is God’s grace to him in Christ.   Notice that Paul says, “as a result of the mercy shown us,” in the first verse of chapter 4.   Mercy is extended to someone who is unworthy…..and we all are!   Praise God that He doesn’t just bless those things that we do well;    in His grace, He shows us mercy when we are pitiful and pathetic.

I’ve been a pastor for nearly 39 years.   In all that time I have never walked away from a pulpit (or podium) thinking that I really did a great job of preaching God’s Word.   In fact, I’ve often walked away wondering if I should ever go back.   I do think that once in a while I do a little better on some messages than at other times…..but always it could be better – oftentimes, much better.   And yet the most interesting thing in all of this is that when I think I’ve done some of my worst work, it seems like there’s always someone who says his or her faith was enriched and blessed by my miserable message.    The God Who has been gracious to me by saving me, an unworthy, undeserving sinner, is the God Who continues to show mercy to me by using my weak words and limited abilities to bless the faith of others and to bring praise and glory to Himself.

That assurance isn’t just for me.  It’s for each of you too.   It frees us from succumbing to that ever-present sense of f inadequacy that nearly all of us feel.  That assurance also encourages us to reject any and all of those means and methods which are unworthy of the Gospel….but which are all too common in today’s church.   Let’s remember that the Gospel isn’t some broken down, used car, that requires manipulation, deception and deceit to sell it to someone. The Gospel is glorious.  It belongs to God and it’s perfect already – it can’t be improved upon.  It can only be diminished and damaged….maybe, even destroyed by meddling human hearts and minds.   And it’s not you or me, but God the Holy Spirit who does the “saving.”    The Gospel only brings glory to God and saves souls when it is properly proclaimed in its simplicity and truth, always empowered by the Holy Spirit.    Our job is never to convince or to convert anyone;    we’re only supposed to communicate the truth as simply and accurately as we can. We dare not ever modify, adjust, or water down the message of the Gospel, adulterating it so that it will be more palatable and acceptable to unbelievers.   That’s because the Gospel is not palatable….ever.    People believe the good news and trust in Jesus as the Savior because they have been supernaturally, miraculously enlightened by the Holy Spirit…..period!     When they are Divinely quickened, they can do nothing but believe.    We can see this in Paul’s conversion (see Acts 9:1-19).     And, dramatic thought it was, it’s critical for us to recognize that Paul’s conversion was not the exception but is the rule.   It’s the way every unbeliever is saved—miraculously, supernaturally, by the power of the Holy Spirit.     And that’s why we only need to preach the truth of the Gospel…..with no gimmicks or modifications, simply trusting in God to save the lost (to bring the Spiritually dead to life, to give sight to the spiritually blind), by His grace and by His power.

If unbelievers don’t receive and believe our message, there’s a good reason.    Not only are they naturally predisposed to hate God and reject the truth of the Gospel, they are spiritually blind, which keeps them from seeing the truth and believing in Christ.    That’s the point that Paul makes in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. Satan, the god of this world, has blinded the minds of unbelieving people, so that they cannot and will not believe the Gospel and be saved.    Only the Holy Spirit working through the Means of Grace can overcome Satan’s, this wicked world’s and the sinful nature’s combined spiritual blindness and instead override mankind’s unbelief.    But when people will not believe, we should not assume automatically that it is because of a deficiency in our message or methods, so that we are tempted to alter God’s word to make it more palatable, or “effective.”   If it’s true (and it is!) that we have been saved in spite of our sin and spiritual weakness, then it’s just as true that anyone who rejects the truth of the Gospel does so – not because of our weaknesses as spokesmen and women for the Gospel, but due to their spiritual blindness and rejection of the truth.

Paul reminds us that whenever we preach the gospel as we ought, we are not preaching ourselves but Christ. Those who are converted through our ministry and message shall never be grounds for pride and boasting on our part. At the same time, those who are not saved through our preaching and ministry should not become a blow to our confidence.   All we are are the Lord’s servants who preach the Gospel for Christ’s sake, and for the glory of God.  It’s not about our egos….at all.   Yes, there is a personal blessing that we might enjoy when God uses us as human instruments to bring someone to faith.   But the credit and glory always – only – go to the Lord.

God alone effects the salvation of lost souls.     At his best, Elijah could not convert the nation of Israel. At his worst, Jonah could not prevent the conversion of the entire population of Nineveh.    The Savior Who gave us the Great Commission is the same almighty God who called forth light in the midst of the darkness.    He said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.   He’s the One Who has called us to be His lights to shine the Gospel into this sin-darkened world.  And He Who caused the light of faith to burn brightly in our hearts also causes others to see the light of Christ and believe in Him.

By every outward appearance, Paul was a miserable failure.   He was not wealthy. He didn’t have a lot of followers. He had no home that he could call his own, and he suffered greatly at the hands of men, of nature, and even at the hands of a demonic adversary.    To any number of people it might have appeared as though Paul’s life was a failure and his ministry a flop.    In reality, Paul was blessed beyond his expectations.   He was deeply aware that it was a gracious privilege for him to be a minister of the Gospel.  That knowledge gave him great boldness and encouraged him as he spoke the Gospel in all its simplicity and clarity, certain that God the Holy Spirit would not allow His Word to return empty, but would nevertheless accomplish His blessed purpose of saving souls through the fragile, flawed minister that Paul knew he was.

As we look at the ministry God has given us, we also might feel like abject failures, even as we long for success and congregational growth.   Our problem isn’t a poor self-image that needs to be perked up.   What we need is a clearer grasp of Whose work it is that we are doing, and Who it is that converts souls.   It is a privilege to serve the LORD of our salvation and – particularly – to bring His saving Word to others…..even when our efforts for Him are not successful, opposed, rejected, or persecuted.   And let’s never become discouraged and succumb to the pressure to tone down the message of the Gospel or to jazz up its presentation in order to attract unbelievers.   Saving souls for Christ’s kingdom is always an impossible task.   Then again, it is never dependant on our own strengths, abilities or persuasiveness.   It’s true that you and I are not adequate to be ministers of the new covenant/the Gospel.  However, God has called us to serve Him by proclaiming it in our day and age to any and all persons He allows us to reach.   And He has given us, in the Gospel, all that is necessary to convert a soul from unbelief to faith.   Sometimes I wonder if our egos aren’t too big….that we put the onus on ourselves as the ones who have to “do this” and “avoid that” in order to bring souls to faith in Christ.   It’s not up to us.  We can’t enhance the Gospel, we can only damage it.   When it comes to saving souls, God the Holy Spirit is the Agent for conversion.   Paul understood that.   We must too.   Your calling and mine is not to persuade or please men with our message, but to please God by proclaiming His message, trusting Him to establish faith in the hearts of those who hear the Gospel message we present.  

An additional thought……..these words from Paul should raise a note of concern about those in our day who wave “seeker-friendly church” banners.   Certainly we don’t want to cause unnecessary offense in non-Scriptural areas when it comes to our ministry.    In fact, Paul tells us in I Corinthians 9 that he gladly surrendered his rights and personal preferences when it came to preaching the Gospel to others.   But he was never willing to compromise the Gospel in order to make it more appealing to the lost.    Some disturbing tendencies exist in the “seeker-friendly” approach that many churches – including some Lutheran congregations – are taking today.   The first is the false assumption that there are “seekers” who might be “won for Christ” if only the church removes some of the “barriers” to their belief.   Well…..the Bible tells us that there are none who seek after God (Romans 3:10-11).    Those who come to God are actually drawn against their will to the true God.   Conversion never comes about by man’s choice, desire or effort (Romans 9:16), but solely through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 6:37, 44; 8:43-47).   God elects/chooses them.   They don’t choose Him.   The seeker-friendly church places far too much emphasis on man’s role and decision in salvation and far too little emphasis on the faith-imparting, faith-sustaining work of

God the Holy Spirit.    Second, the “seeker-friendly” approach places too much emphasis on pleasing the unbeliever – whatever it takes — as though the unbeliever is a kind of potential customer, rather than on pleasing and being faithful to God.    I am not saying that this movement has nothing whatsoever to commend it, but there is a tremendous amount to this approach that faithful Christians have to question and challenge.

Finally, I’d like to offer a word of encouragement to parents who agonize, like Paul, over the spiritual well-being of their children.   Are your children out of the home, far away from your supervision?   Have you come to the realization that you can’t force your children to trust in Christ, desire His Word, or live a godly life?   If so, then you see life in this sinful world as it really is.  When we’re concerned about the eternal welfare of others – especially of those close to us – and yet we realize that we’re not in control of their response to the Word of God, we might question whether or not we’re the ones who should even be serving their souls.   Well……that’s exactly what God has called us to do for Him (and for them) through the power of the Holy Spirit.  After all, we’re just the mouth-pieces….but mouth-pieces we must be for Him.   Let the Spirit do His work, using His Word, which enlightens, empowers and changes lives.   Our task is to faithfully proclaim the Word of the LORD, and then to pray to Him, imploring our gracious God to do what we can never do – remove the veil of blindness from men’s eyes, lead them to repent, bring them to a saving knowledge through faith in Christ, and guide them in godly living, so that they too might honor and glorify God… we wish to do.