The Festival of the Holy Trinity    June 04, 2023   

The First Sunday After Pentecost

We believe in the one, true Triune God…….Do You?


In the nearly 20 years that have transpired since the terrorist  attacks occurred on 9/11 much has been

 written in an attempt to prove  that the religions of Isalm and Christianity are similar.   For example, in connection with the terrorist attacks and their aftermath, unionistic worship and prayer services were held in Washington DC and elsewhere to demonstrate the spiritual unity that supposedly exists between the Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other faiths.   But this kind of “ecumenical unionism” does not honor God.  In fact, services like that are a disservice to the One Who is the true God. 

            Legitimate Christianity recognizes that, to worship the true God, a person must believe that God is “Triune” – as the Bible presents Him.  And to be saved one must trust for his/her salvation in the life, death and resurrection of the Second Person of the Trinity, the God-Man, Jesus Christ. 

            The world’s various religions might all claim to worship “god,” but – other than true Christianity – no world religion teaches either of those just-stated truths.   Consequently no other religion, aside from the Christian faith, can provide eternal salvation and the assurance of everlasting life in heaven……regardless of what politicians, misguided clerics, or the general population might want to believe to the contrary.

            And that is why you and I need to personally embrace in faith, and zealously defend the Biblical doctrine that God is Triune.  As those who know the truth about the only True God, we can never give anyone the impression any time, anywhere, that all gods and all religions are equal…..or that god is generic and accepts the various praises of all the world’s different religions under their different names for him.  

            Today in our country, but also throughout much of the world, it is not politically correct to claim that there is only one God (our God), only one way to heaven (through faith in Christ, alone), and that ours is the only true religion…..while all the others are merely religious frauds and fakes that damn their adherents rather than save them.

            We teach and believe what Jesus taught about Himself:   that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life….and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).    This truth, which Jesus declared out of His love for all our souls, is actually regarded today by some as “hate speech,” because it affirms the exclusivity of our Christian faith as the only religion that can save souls.  In fact, to put every god of every religion on an equal footing is to say that Jesus Christ is not the Chief Cornerstone on which everyone’s eternal futures are built….and that His name is not the only name by which anyone must be saved (contrary to what Acts 4:12 teaches).     The all-gods/all-religions are equal view might be popular, but in all reality it is a damnable lie. 

            Our God is truly unique and exclusive.  He says about Himself, “I am the LORD; that is My name!   I will not give My glory to another, or My praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8).   He has revealed this and much more about Himself to us in the Scriptures, as well as through the power of the Holy Spirit, Who created and continues saving faith in our hearts through the Word.  Our amazing Triune God has created and preserves us, has redeemed us, has converted us, and continues to sanctify and grow us in the one, true faith!     That same Triune God graciously called you and me out of the darkness of damnable unbelief, into the marvelous light of the one, true, saving faith in Him alone.   In fact, He has given us the one name under heaven by which you and I are saved:  JESUS CHRIST.  

            May God grant that – regardless of that many in our day choose to believe about “god” (that is politically-expedient but spiritually damnable) – You and I will continue to believe firmly and faithfully that the only true God is the Triune God.   And may we also continue to teach others about Him as the only God that exists, so that they might believe in Him too, and so that many more souls will be eternally brought into Christ’s Kingdom.

            That the Triune God is infinitely beyond our sin-limited human understanding is undeniable (that’s why He’s God…and we are not!).  However, He hasn’t left us without essential some information about Him.  He has revealed His love and forgiveness to us through His Son, as well as various aspects of His character, and about  His will for our lives through the Spirit-given Holy Scriptures.  

            You and I cannot make sense of the Biblical teaching (or doctrine) of the Trinity – namely, how our God can be three distinct Persons, and yet at the same time be essentially One God.   Nevertheless, this Triune God graciously has chosen to make us part of His family of believers for today and for eternity.   In response, we gratefully owe this one, true, Triune God all our praise, thanks and glory, now and forever!  

            Today, of course, is the Festival of the Holy Trinity – that special Sunday of the Church Year when we Christians celebrate our conviction that there is only one true God:  the Triune God of the Bible.   And so it is for good reason that we’ll begin our service this morning the way we always begin our worship:   “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”   Those words are intended to announce to everyone here that the God we worship is the only true God, revealed in Scripture as the three-in-one God.   It also should remind each of us of the unique, special relationship that we have with Triune God because of our baptism.  He is our true Father and we are truly His children.  When we were baptized, we were taken into God’s family of believers in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We are here this morning to give our attention of some of what God’s Word says about Who He (the true God) is.   May we also use this worship period to listen to His Word, to offer Him our prayers, and to sing our praises to the Triune God Who has made us, saved us, and sanctified us.


The Athanasian Creed


            Within our Christian faith we frequently speak about the three “Ecumenical” (in-common/church-wide) Creeds.   They are: the Apostles’ Creed;  the Nicene Creed;  and the Athanasian Creed.   Personal adherence to the truths expressed in these creeds is properly considered to be essential if a person is going to be regarded as a faithful Christian.   That’s because these three creeds contain both the fundamental “basics” of Christianity, as well as  the rejections of some specific false — even heretical — teachings that no true Christian can embrace. 

Typically within our worship services we utilize the Apostles’

and Nicene Creeds (primarily because of their brevity in comparison to the Athanasian Creed) as the means through which we express or confess our common Christian faith. 

            However, as a special feature of our service today, we will be including the public confession of the Athanasian Creed, which is a 15 centuries-old, detailed statement of belief that focuses extensively on the doctrine of the Trinity.  (For historic background and additional theological information on the Athanasian Creed, please turn to the third and fourth pages of this worship flyer.) 

            Of course, it’s one thing to recite (or read from today’s worship flyer) the words that have been used to formulate those three  creeds.,   It is entirely another matter to genuinely confess and embrace those basic principles of faith in ones heart and to express them through a person’s words and actions.

            The reason why in our worship service this morning we’ll confess our faith using the Athanasian Creed, with its detailed exposition of the Trinity doctrine” is because, of course,  today is “The Festival of the Holy Trinity.”  

The Teaching that God Is Triune

            Because God is so infinitely “beyond” us sinners, in terms of our ability to grasp or comprehend Who He is

 and what He does, the Bible’s teaching (doctrine) of the Trinity is both marvelous and mysterious to us at the same time.   Interestingly, the Bible contains neither the word “Trinity” nor the word “Triune.”  Yet the teaching that our God is “three-in-one” is thoroughly Scriptural.   Hundreds of passages in the Old and New Testaments (some of which will serve as  our Scripture lessons today) teach us that God operates as one divine Essence, yet also as three distinct Persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – within that one Essence.

This Morning’s Scripture Lessons

            Our Psalm Reading praises God for His glory, His creative power, and His salvation (especially worked through the Son of Man/Savior, who has been exalted to rule over all things). 

            Our Children’s Lesson will talk about how there is only one, true God (not many different Gods), Who alone can save us. This One True God loves us and blesses us with many good gifts.  He also wants us to love Him and live for Him.  

            In the context of the Lord’s warning to OT Judah that He will discipline them for dishonoring and disobeying Him, today’s  Old Testament Lesson speaks about the work of all three persons of the Trinity:   the Father as the Sovereign LORD over everything (using Babylon to discipline Judah);   the Spirit Who inspired Isaiah to write these words, and the Son as the Redeemer of Israel. 

            Our New Testament Lesson also speaks about the different work that the three persons of the Trinity perform: the Father, Who created and has predestined/chosen us for salvation;   the Son who secured our salvation through His redemptive work; and the Holy Spirit, Who has worked in our hearts the faith to believe in the true God. 

            Today’s Gospel Lesson is the story of Nicodemus visiting Jesus at night, and the ensuing discussion about the need for everyone to be “born again” (converted) through the activity of the Holy Spirit.   Christ also speaks about His redemptive work (comparing Himself to the Bronze Serpent in the wilderness).   And He utters what is (probably) the best-known passage in the Bible: John 3:16…..which speaks of God the Father sending His Son to be the world’s Savior, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life in heaven. 

            Finally, our Sermon is based on Jesus’ “Great Commission” from Matthew 28:19-20 .  Through it, as well as references to Genesis 1:1, 2, & 26, plus Acts 2:22-36,  we’ll consider more fully the doctrine (Biblical teaching) of the Triune God and why we are blessed to know, believe in and worship our Three-in-One (Triune) God.


The History of “Trinity Sunday” and the Pentecost/Trinity

(Non-Festival) portion of the Church Calendar

            This morning is also the inaugural Sunday of the “Non-Festival Half” of the Church year.  It is commonly known as the Festival of the Holy Trinity, or as Trinity Sunday.  A relatively “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, secular calendar.   It begins on Trinity Sunday, which is 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.   However, on their “church calendars” only two northern European Christian denominations (the Lutheran Church and the Episcopal Church) identify their non-festival Sundays as “Sundays after Trinity.”  The majority of Christian denominations prefer to refer to the non-festival portion of the Church Year as the Pentecost Season, or the Sundays after Pentecost.  On our bulletins we typically use both designations.

            The Trinity/Pentecost Season is from 22 to 27 Sundays in length, depending on when Easter occurs.  There is no particular theme which unites these Sundays together, though the emphases of most sermons and services are on the Christian’s life of sanctification.   Often Lutheran pastors 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 Lord’s Prayer, various parables or Biblical Doctrines, or even an entire New Testament epistle, among others.   There are a few special days that the “church-in-worship” observes during this non-festival part of the church year.  They include:  Reformation Day (Oct 31); “All Saints Day” (Nov 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, while others (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(s) who “authored” this creed, we do know that it received the designation “Athanasian” as a tribute to Athanasius, one of the most significant, prominent, orthodox leaders of the early Christian Church.  Athanasius lived from 293-373 A.D.  Not only was he very influential in supporting and defending the doctrines of the Nicene Creed, he was also prominently and personally involved in the actual development of that statement of belief.  (Athanasius and others prepared the Nicene Creed in its initial form at the 1st Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church held at Nicea in 325.    Today we use its successor version (with refined wording and more detail) which is actually known as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.  It was produced by the 2nd Ecumenical Church Council, held at Constantinople in 381 AD.   (One final refinement would come in 591 A.D.  with the addition of the “filioque,” [Latin for “and the son”], which expressed the Biblical truth that the Holy Spirit is sent forth [or proceeds]  from both the Father and the Son).

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

            What made the writing of the Athanasian Creed necessary was this:  orthodox (true-teaching) Christians were being forced to defend the Church’s Biblical doctrine concerning the God it worshiped.  The post-Nicean Christian Church eventually felt compelled to develop this written statement of what the Scriptures teach about the true God specifically because 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 reality their heretical teachings meant that those individuals and groups had already departed from the true Christian faith (and were confusing and misleading others – even destroying true faith –  with their false ideas).

            The Athanasian Creed’s primary purpose was to set down in exacting detail what the Scriptures 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 gives us concerning those three persons of that one God….the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.   Without a doubt, the doctrine of the Trinity is a most complicated one, something which our human reason cannot comprehend, but which Scripture simply presents to us as fact, and which is to be accepted by us through humble faith.                  

            Because it focuses on the Triune God whom we worship, The Athanasian Creed is traditionally used by many Christian Churches every 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 on the Last Day all people (those who will rise from the dead, as well as those still living)  will appear for judgment 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 grace, through 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 must, or even could, earn heaven by good works.   For Romans 3:28, among many other portions of Scripture, clearly teaches: “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”  (See also  John 3:16-18).

            But since true faith is invisible, Christ will prove that believers had faith by pointing out the visible evidence, or “fruits,” of that faith (see Matthew 25:31-46).  Only believers can produce such real fruits of faith, done out of love for the Lord.  These “godly deeds” alone are recognized by our Lord as “good works.”   Which is precisely what He teaches us in Hebrews 11:6, which declares that “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Furthermore, we know and believe that Christ kept the commandments flawlessly for us all, as our

Substitute, and that by faith His perfect obedience and righteous works are credited to us as if they were our own obedience and righteous acts (2 Cor. 5:21).  It is for Jesus’ sake then, and by God’s grace alone, that 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 also 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 and love for 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, 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 want 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 in our fellowship hall after today’s service is concluded.  And finally, we invite you to remain afterward to participate with us in our Sunday School and Bible Class.   May the comfort of 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 God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in Whose name I am baptized and into Whose fellowship I have been received, be with me and bless my faith this morning as I meditate on Your Holy Word.  Heavenly Father, thank You for all the blessings You have given me; especially for sending Your Son to die for my sins.  Dear Jesus, I praise You for having redeemed me from my sins by sacrificing Yourself for my sake.  Holy Spirit, for having sanctified me through bringing me into the true faith and safeguarding me in this faith, I worship You today.  O Triune God, through Your almighty power, graciously enable me always to believe, and obey, and evermore to worship and confess You; my Creator, my Redeemer, and my Sanctifier — the One true God, eternal and all-glorious, forever and ever.  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



Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                Pre-worship music


Let Us Praise The Lord


The Introduction and Invitation to worship


The Invocation

We make our beginning

In the name of the Father….

 Who created and preserves this world and every one of us,

and Who gave His Son into death for us    and raised Him in glory on the third day;


And of the Son,

Who became fully human in order to be our Savior-Substitute,

Who laid down His life only to take it up again on the third day,

Who rules over all things from heaven for the good of His Church,

and Who will return in glory on the Last Day to deliver that Church;


And of the Holy Spirit

through Whom Christ was made alive,     Who has worked and sustains saving faith in our hearts,

Who lives in us now through the Word,       and Who will one day give life to our mortal bodies.



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 Your 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



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

choir sings verse 2 alone;   trumpet by Taylor Ashley


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           Let us join in confessing our sins to God our Father.


Congregation            Almighty Lord God, we have come together to stand in Your presence,   +   to hear Your Word, and to worship You.


Pastor           But who may appear in Your presence, Heavenly Father, and who may call on You for help?


Congregation            He who has clean hands and a pure heart;   +   He shall receive blessings from the Lord.


Pastor           O holy and righteous God, You alone can make us clean.  We have rebelled against You and become worthless.  But Your mercies never end;  they are new every day.  At Your command and promise, therefore, we come to You and confess our sins.


Congregation Miserable person that I am,   +   I confess and lament to You, O most holy God,  +   that I  am a weak and sinful creature,  +  guilty of every sin, of unbelief, and of blasphemy. +   I also confess that Your

Word has not brought forth good fruit in me.   +   I hear it, but do not receive it earnestly.   +   I do not show works of love toward my neighbor.  +  I am full of anger, hate, and envy.   +   I am impatient, greedy, and bent on every evil.   +   Therefore my heart and conscience are heavy.   +   Lord, I ask You, free me from my sins,   +   strengthen my faith,   +   and comfort my weak conscience by Your divine Word,  +   that I may obtain Your promised grace


Pastor            Having faithfully confessed your sins, now hear Your heavenly Father’s promise of forgiveness to you.  Jesus explained God’s will and promise as clearly as possible in John 6:40 when He said,  “For

my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise Him up at the last day.”  And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of the Living Word, I proclaim the grace and mercy of God to all of you, and according to the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, and in His place, I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Peace be with you.  Amen.


Our Response of Faith and Praise                                                           “Our Heav’nly Father, Gracious Lord”

                                                                              To the tune of “Almighty Father, Strong to Save;” (CW 517)   by cwh


Our Heav’nly Father, gracious Lord,  Who by the power of Your Word

Created and sustains each thing, and all that live.

 Your praise we sing….

Our Father, Who in mercy still, Guides everything by Your sure will.


We praise You, Christ, God’s only Son,   by Whom salvation has been won.

For us You lived, and for us died, that we might all be justified,

Raised from the dead, on high to reign.

We know that You will come again.


We worship, You, O Spirit sent,   active in Word and Sacrament.

You bind the Church, below, above, in faith in Christ’s redeeming love.

Sustain this faith, our whole lives through,

and day by day our hearts renew!    Amen.


Our Psalm for This Morning                                                                                                               Psalm 8


P:         O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

C:         You have set Your glory above the heavens.


P:         From the lips of babies and infants You have established strength because of Your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

C:         When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place,  what is man that You are mindful of him, and the Son of Man that You care for Him?


P:         Yet You made Him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned Him with glory and honor.

C:         You have given Him dominion over the works of Your hands;


P:         You have put all things under His feet:  all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,  the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

C:         O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!



We Hear God’s Word          


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                       Deuteronomy 6:4,5


Hear, O Israel:   The LORD our God, the LORD is One.  

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.


ONE is better than Two, or even a Lot More



The Old Testament Lesson                           Isaiah 48:9-19


9 For my name’s sake, I am slow to express my anger.  So that I will be praised, I will hold it back from you.  As a result, you are not cut off.   10 You see, I refined you, but not in the same way silver is refined.  I tested you in the furnace of affliction.  11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I will act.  Why should my name be defiled?  My glory I will not give to another.  12 Listen to me, Jacob.  Listen to me, Israel, whom I called.  I am he. I am the first.  I am also the last.  13 It was my hand that laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens.  I summon them and they stand together.  14 Gather together, all of you, and listen.  Who among them announced these things?     The Lord loves him.  He will carry out his desire against Babylon, and his arm is against Chaldea.   15 I, yes I, have spoken. I am the one who called him.   I have brought him, and his mission will succeed.  16 Come close to me and hear this.  From the beginning, I have not spoken in secret.  From the time it first existed, I was there.  And now God the Lord has sent me with his Spirit.  17 This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.  I am the Lord your God,  who teaches you how to succeed, who leads you in the way you should walk.  18 If only you would have listened carefully to my  commandments!   Then your peace would have been like a river,  and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.  19 Your descendants  would have been like sand, and the children from your body like grains of sand.  Their name would never have been cut off or destroyed

from my presence.



The New Testament Lesson                                                                                                  Ephesians 1:3-14


3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.  4 He did this when he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ. He did this in accordance with the good purpose of his will, 6 and for the praise of his glorious grace, which he has graciously given us in the one he loves.   7 In him we also have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in keeping with the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. 9 He made known to us the mystery of his will in keeping with his good purpose, which he planned in Christ. 10 This was to be carried out when the time had fully come, in order to bring all things together in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth.  11 In him we have also obtained an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in keeping with the purpose of his will. 12 He did this so that his glory would be praised as a result of us, who were the first to hope in Christ.  13 In him, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and in him, when you also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own possession, so that his glory would be praised.


A Sequence Hymn                                                                                               Joyful, Joyful We Adore You

                                                                                               To the melody of “Ode to Joy” or “Austria”   (CW 277)  by cwh


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.         Amen.


After which the Congregation will rise for


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                          John 3:1-22


There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these miraculous signs you are doing unless God is with him.”   3 Jesus replied, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Unless someone is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”   4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”  5 Jesus answered, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God! 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh. Whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be surprised when I tell you that you must be born from above.  8 The wind blows where it pleases. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”   9 “How can these things be?” asked Nicodemus.   10 “You are the teacher of Israel,” Jesus answered, “and you do not know these things? 11 Amen, Amen, I tell you: We speak what we know, and we testify about what we have seen. But you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.  14 “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 The one who believes in him is not condemned, but the one who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. 19 This is the basis for the judgment: The light has come into the world, yet people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. 20 In fact, everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, or else his deeds would be exposed. 21 But the one who does what is true comes toward the light, in order that his deeds may be seen as having been done in connection with God.”


After which the Congregation will be seated for


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.

P:    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.


P:    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,


  • 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.

C:    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.



The Hymn of the Day                                                              God the Father, gracious Lord     meter 7777D

                                                                                                                                                   to the tune of “Come You Thankful People, Come” ;   by cwh


God the Father, gracious Lord,  May Your name be e’er adored.

All exists by Your command   In the sky or sea or land.

Precious Father, You know all –   When each hair and sparrow fall.

Guide and guard me from all harm  With Your strong, protecting arm.


Jesus Christ, my Lord, God’s Son,   Who, for me, salvation won –

You Who hung on Calvary    Bore my sins and set me free!

You, my ever-faithful Friend,   Who will love me to the end,

By Your grace in heav’n I’ll live.   Heart-felt praise to You I give.


Holy Spirit, Light Divine,    Through the Means of Grace, please shine

In my heart again today,   Drive sin’s darkness far away.

Keep me in Your Word, so true,   Day by day my faith renew.

Use me, Lord, as You know best   Serving here – in heav’n to rest.


Blessed Holy Trinity,   Glorious in Your majesty,

Father, Spirit and the Son –   Savior-God, the Three-in-One –

From sin’s curse You set me free   Heaven’s mine – eternally.

All I am, to You I owe,   Source from Whom all blessings flow.     Amen. 


after which the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Pre-Sermon Greeting


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every Spiritual blessing in Christ.   Amen.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                  Matthew 28:19-20


19 Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.”


The God We Worship


Following the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Post-Sermon Blessing


May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our fathers.  

May He never leave us or forsake us.  

May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways.  Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers 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, please) to our church address:   (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745); or

2) You can donate through our website:


After which the Congregation rises for prayer


Today’s Special Prayers


We include in our prayers these couples

who are celebrating wedding anniversaries this week:   

Tim and Diane Pfortmiller  (Monday), and  Zak and Elissa Ferguson (Tuesday)


Our Prayer for This Trinity Sunday


P:    Finally, O Lord, into Your hands 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 Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


Pastor: The Lord be with you.


Congregation:      (Sung)   And also with you



Pastor: Lift up your hearts.


Congregation:      (Sung)    We lift them up unto the Lord



Pastor:   Let us give thanks to the Lord our God


Congregation:      (Sung)    It is good and right so to do.



The Words of Institution                                                                                                Spoken by the Pastor


Pastor: The peace of the Lord be with you always.  


Congregation       (Sung)    Amen.



The Distribution of the Sacramental Elements




(Please read the following if you have not spoken with our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)


To our Guests this morning,  we appreciate your presence among us.  It is an honor to have you join with us as we worship our Lord and listen to His Word.   We truly consider it a privilege to spend this time with you!   It is our hope that you will both return in the future to worship with us again, and – perhaps – that You will even choose to become part of our congregation’s membership and our Synodical (WELS) fellowship, so that you might become even more involved in worship, study of God’s Word, and in Christian ministry and fellowship with us.

In connection with our worship as Christians, we regularly celebrate the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion.   But, as a key part of our church’s Biblically-based communion practice, before we can ask anyone to commune with us, we are compelled to first sit down with that individual and establish (upon a comprehensive study of the teachings of Scripture) that we are united in full doctrinal/ teaching fellowship…….which Scripture requires of any and all Christians before they can commune together.  

Accordingly, we can offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who have completed that course of study, and who have chosen to become confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation or of one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) or Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) congregations.

For some guests, this Biblical practice of “Close Communion“ is both unfamiliar and (perhaps)  uncomfortable.   We realize that, unfortunately, few churches today continue to employ it…..though, in the past, nearly all did.    It is not necessarily easy to observe others receiving the Lord’s Supper, while being asked – respectfully — to refrain from receiving it.   Please be assured that we are not judging your faith in Christ.   Nor it is our desire to offend you.   But it also is not our desire to offend or disobey our Lord’s expectations for the proper use of His Supper.   Indeed, we must all obey Him above all others, and we want to.   Consequently, if you have any questions or concerns about our use/practice of the Lord’s Supper, please feel free to speak with our Pastor after theservice, or at your convenience, so that he might share with you the Biblical rationale for our approach to receiving and sharing the Lord’s Supper.   In addition, a brochure can be found in our tract/brochure rack in the entryway, which is entitled “Our Communion Practice.”   It provides our guests and friends with a Scripture-based explanation for our understanding of and use of the Lord’s Supper.    

Finally, please know that we truly are grateful for your participation – as a fellow Christian – in this morning’s worship service.   We also thank you for your patience and understanding, and for respecting this Biblical approach we must take as we endeavor to faithful make us of our Lord’s Supper.   May God bless and keep you always!





Distribution Hymn                                                                                                                            Hymn 310

                                                                                                                   “I Come, O Savior, To Your Table”

                                                                                                              Verses 1-5;    Verses 6-10;    Verses 11-15


  1. I come, O Savior, to Your table, For weak and weary is my soul;

O Jesus You alone are able To satisfy and make me whole:

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. Oh, grant that I in manner worthy May now trust solely in Your Word

And, conscious of the sins before me,  Look only unto You, O Lord!

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. Unworthy though I am, O Savior, Because I have a sinful heart,

Yet You Your lamb will banish never, Nor will Your faithfulness depart.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. Oh, let me loathe all sin forever As death and poison to my soul

That I through willful sinning never May see Your judgment take its toll!

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. Your heart is filled with fervent yearning That sinners may salvation see

Who, Lord, to You in faith are turning; So let me too come trustingly.

 Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. Weary am I and heavy laden, With sin my soul is sore oppressed;

Receive me graciously and gladden My heart, for I am now Your guest.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. You here will find a heart most lowly That feels unworthy in Your sight,

That duly weeps o’er sin, yet solely Your merit pleads, as it is right.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. By faith I call Your holy table The testament of Your deep love;

For by Your gift I now am able   To know the heart of God above.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. What higher gift can we inherit? It is faith’s bond and solid base;

It is the strength of heart and spirit, The covenant of hope and grace.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


10.This feast is manna, wealth abounding Unto the poor, to weak ones power,

To angels joy, to hell confounding, And life for me in death’s dark hour.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


11.Your body, giv’n for me, O Savior, Your blood which You for me did shed,

These are my life and strength forever, By them my hungry soul is fed.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


12.With You, Lord, I am now united; I live in You and You in me.

No sorrow fills my soul, delighted   It finds its peace on Calvary.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


13.Who can condemn me now? For surely    The Lord is near, who justifies.

No hell I fear, and thus securely With Jesus I to Heaven rise.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


  1. Though death may threaten with disaster, It cannot rob me of my cheer;

For He Who is of death the Master, With help and strength is always near.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


15.My heart has now become Your dwelling, O blessèd, holy Trinity.

With angels I, Your praises telling, Shall live in joy eternally.

Lord, may Your body and Your blood Be for my soul the highest good!


After the distribution of the Lord’s Supper,    the pastor will invite the Congregation to rise



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing




Brothers and sisters, now go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.   And Serve the Lord in gladness.


The LORD bless you and keep you,

The LORD make His face 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 334    “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”


Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;   Praise him, all creatures here below;

Praise him above, ye heav’nly host;   Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!


silent prayer, announcements, post service music







Last Sunday                                   Attendance: 60   (Online 18)    Bible Class: 22     (Online 8)

Sunday School: 2       Tuesday Bible Class: 9    Online offerings: $288.10

Budgetary Offerings  $7852.16       Special Gift to the Seminary:   $6000

Ladies of Grace offering: $500       Memorial for Everette Hoins: $50


Birthdays and Anniversaries    June 05 – Tim & Diane Pfortmiller;

June 06 – Zak and Elissa Ferguson;    June 10 – Ella Quinlan


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church


Today           Morning Worship with communion, at 9:30 a.m.     

                      Fellowship 10:45am    Sunday School/Bible Class, 11:05am

Tuesday Morning Bible Class, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Saturday       Outreach Calling/Visitation, 10 a.m.

Sunday         Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.   Fellowship Period, 10:45 a.m.

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


Serving Us Next Sunday (6-11)      Elders:   Tim Pfortmiller, Terry Bruns  

Ushers:     James Boatright, Jim Winnat, Jim Taylor

Fellowship:   ?????            Altar Guild:   Christine Quinlan, Linda Winnat


Meditations Reminder   Copies of the latest edition (from May 28th through the end of August)  of Meditations, an excellent daily devotional booklet, are available for each family on the entry table.  Please do take home your copy today.


Section Five:   Miscellaneous Parables


The Parable of The Patched Garment And The Wineskins

(Matthew 9:16,17; Mark 2:21,22; Luke 5:36-39)

Jesus has been baptized by John, thereby authenticating the ministry of John as well as giving public witness of his identity as God’s Son and chosen Messiah. He has returned from the wilderness to Galilee and chosen his disciples. He has worked his first miracle (turning water into wine) in Cana of Galilee. He has returned to Jerusalem for the Passover. He has made his way back to Galilee, where he has set up headquarters at Capernaum. He has gone throughout the region proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God and healing many sick and demon-possessed people.

He has been ministering publicly long enough for the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law to become familiar with him and his message and to form some opinions about him. What do the following references tell you about the doctrine and practice of these religious leaders?



  • Matthew 6:5
  • Matthew 6:16-18
  • Luke 11:37-54
  • Luke 16:14

Is Jesus a friend or foe to them? Why?



  • John 1:13-22
  • Luke 5:17-26
  • Luke 5:27-32

Read Luke 5:33-39 in light of the last two references from Luke 5 we just studied. This was obviously not an honest question. It was meant to discredit Jesus. What did the question imply about Jesus and his disciples?

The Pharisees assumed that fasting won brownie points with God. Jesus answer implies that fasting isn’t a deed that impresses God. It is a sign of sorrow. When Jesus said his disciples shouldn’t fast in sorrow, because the bridegroom was with them, what was he claiming about himself?

The parable Jesus then speaks about the garment is designed to lead the Pharisees to conclude that their teaching doesn’t match Jesus’ teaching. Explain the difference and how the parable illustrates the incompatibility of the two.

The parable of the wineskins indicates that it is impossible to package Jesus’ message in the structure of Old Testament Law. Explain how the parable illustrates that and why the point of the parable is true.

This parable has to do with mixing up the Law and the Gospel. How do the following examples illustrate an improper use of Law and Gospel?
All you have to do to get to heaven is believe in Jesus and live a good life.

We really feel good about our church! We’re growing by leaps and bounds, we always have something going for every age group, and people say that we’re the friendliest group around!

No Christian who appreciates what Jesus did for them would EVER have done what you did! Does Jesus’ death for you mean ANYTHING to you at all?

The Ten Commandments are a real comfort to me because they keep me on track in my walk with God.

Children In The Marketplace

(Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:29-35)

This parable is directed to the Pharisees and experts in the law. How did these people regard John’s ministry? (See Luke 7:29,30) What did they think of Jesus? (See notes on the parable of the Wineskins)

Jesus compares the religious leaders of his day to children at play. In verse 32, what are we told about the way that children act when it comes to choosing what to play.

How did the religious leaders also act this way? (See vv. 33,34). In verses 33 and 34, what are we told about the different nature of John’s
and Jesus’ ministry?

Our sinful nature also resists both the Law and the Gospel. List some examples.


Parables Proving The Person Of Christ


 (Matthew 12:22-30; Mark 3:22-27)

What precipitated the parable-based teaching of this section? (See vv 22-24)

List the arguments Jesus uses to show how ridiculous and simple-minded the accusation that Jesus is driving demons out by the power of the devil is. (v26-29)
What conclusion, arising from Jesus’ obviously real and God-given miracle-working power, did the Pharisees not want to accept? Why not?

Many today want to find some reason to dismiss anything about Jesus that points to his divine nature. Why is it simple-minded for someone to think he can separate Jesus from his miracles and end up with “Jesus, the great humanitarian-teacher”?