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Author:Rev. George van Popta
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Congregation:Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church
 Ottawa, Ontario
Preached At:Ancaster Canadian Reformed Church
 Ancaster, Ontario
Title:Three Questions
Text:LD 8 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Songs: Hy. 4; Ps. 79:3,5; Hy. 30; Hy. 3; Hy. 5:1,2; Ps. 97:1,4,6

Reading: John 14

Text: LD 8
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Beloved congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ:

This morning the youngest born child of this congregation, Rhone Merrick Kampen, will be baptized. Baptized into the Name of the Triune God. A very significant event, for that child, his parents, all of us. For when he is baptized, he will come into contact with the Triune God. Rhone is a covenant child. Because he was born to believing parents, he is a covenant child-born within the circle of God's covenant. Because he was born within that covenant circle, he has come into contact with God-the Triune God.

The Triune God has some things to say to Rhone this morning (to us all, of course), but specifically to Rhone, when he is baptized. He answers three great questions. God gives the child the three great answers that man needs, even before the child is asking them. Rhone is not even able to ask the questions, but he has the answers already. As the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah in 65:24: Before they call I will answer. They will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer.

Before we even ask the questions, God gives us the answers. Our Triune God answers our questions in holy baptism. He answers them in the holy supper (last week). He answers them in the preaching of his word.

What are the these three great questions?

They are:

1. Who will care for us?; 2. Who will save us?; 3. Who will renew us?

Answer? The Triune God. God the Father cares for us; God the Son saves us; God the Holy Spirit renews us.

1) Who gives us food / drink / health / fresh air? Who created us / cares for us? God the Father.

2) Who frees us from the powers of sin / evil powers? God the Son.

3) Who changes us? Radically? Who breathes new life into us. God the Holy Spirit.

We see how important our confession of the Triune God is. Our whole life hinges on it.

Our existence is at stake in the love of the Father for us. We exist because God the Father created us. We confess our faith in God the Father and our creation. Very personal. We believe that God personally created us. We don't believe that some cold, distant power made us. (Evolution) But that God, the one whom we may call Father, created us. We owe our existence to him. Why do we exist? Why are we here? Because God Father created us. He formed man out of the dust of the earth and breathed life into him. It is he who formed each of us in the wombs of our mothers. He created the whole world / universe. Not only did he create it. He governs his creation. He rules over it. He provides for it. We have food and drink and clothing because God, our Father, provides for us.

And so we see that our existence is at stake in our confession of the Triune God. We need God the Father to provide for us. If there were no God the Father, we would have no one to care for us.

Our salvation is at stake. We are saved from sin and the powers of darkness because God the Son saved us. We believe in God the Son and our redemption. It was God the Son, none other, who became a man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He took upon himself our true human nature. He suffered the wrath of God against our sins. He died on the cross. In this way he brought the only and the perfect sacrifice for our sins. In this way he got for us the grace of God. Through the sacrifice of the Son of God we are righteous before God and we have eternal life. He set us free from the slavery of sin. He set us free from the bondage of the devil. In Jn 14 the Lord said that the prince of the world, the devil, was coming. He was coming to hound Christ to the cross. But the devil had no hold on Christ. He arose from the dead. Through faith in him, we are victors with him over the enemies of God. He ascended to heaven. He took our human flesh into the presence of God. The devil is still the prince of the world. He seeks to lead us astray from Christ. And some do let themselves be led astray. The only recourse we have is to continue looking to Christ. For there is salvation (from the grips of the evil one) only in Christ Jesus who died on the cross to set us free.

And so we see that our salvation is at stake in our confession of the Trinue God. We need God the Son to save for us. We could not and cannot save ourselves. Only our Lord Jesus, he who is true man and, at the same time, true God, is able to save us.

Not only are our existence and our salvation at stake in our confession of the Trinue God....

Our spiritual welfare is also at stake. We believe in God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force. He is God. In Jn 14 Christ called him "another Counselor". The Holy Spirit is another Counselor who came on the day of Pentecost to take the place of Jesus Christ who had ascended to heaven. Just as the first Counselor, Jesus, is a real person, so the Holy Spirit, the other Counselor, is also a real person. And this real person, God the Holy Spirit, works in our lives. He gives us faith to believe in the Lord Jesus. He makes us share in Christ and all the benefits of Christ. The Holy Spirit gathers us into the Church of Christ. He brings about the beautiful communion we have with God the Father and the Son as well as with our fellow believers. Through the Spirit's work, we are new people. He turns our lives around from sin to a life of service to God. He makes us love God. He makes us love to serve him and to do his commandments. Without the Holy Spirit working in our lives, we would not love God and we would have no desire to do his will.

Do not resist...

This is the God in whom we believe.

He is the God of our existence. Take away the Father, and we do not exist.

He is the God of our redemption. Take away the Son / deny that the Son is God / and you remain under the curse of God against sin.

He is the God of our sanctification. Take away the Holy Spirit, and our lives remain in the grips of sin. We cannot even begin to serve God and to love him or believe in him.

God is the God of creation, salvation, and the total renewal of life. That's what the scriptures speak about. And this God has pledged himself to you when you were baptized.

When you were baptized, God the Father promised that he would be your Father - that as a faithful Father he would give you all you need.

When you were baptized, God the Son promised that his blood would wash away your sins.

When you were baptized, God the Holy Spirit promised to renew your life, to give you faith, and to root sin out of your life.

Embrace these promises...

And this Triune God strengthens us when we go to the Lord's table. (last week) We go to the table because we are sinners. We go in humility realizing that we have offended God the Father greatly by our sins. But we also go remembering what God the Son has done. We remember and we proclaim his death realizing that his death paid for our sins. And we go to the table in order to be strengthened in the faith by God the Holy Spirit. He encourages us to keep looking to Jesus Christ. At the table he encourages us to serve God obediently.

This is our great God.

He has revealed himself to us, in his word. As both Art. 8 BC and LD 8 say, we have only one God. Not three Gods. But this one God has revealed himself to us in his word as the one true and only God who is distinguished in three persons. It is because God has revealed himself in this way in his Word that we believe this.

The word teaches us that there is only one God.

(Deu 6:4 NIV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (Isa 44:6 NIV) "This is what the LORD says-Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. (Isa 45:5 NIV) I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. (1 Cor 8:4-6 NIV) ... there is no God but one.... even if there are so-called gods ... for us there is but one God....

Only one God. Whoever says there are 2, 3, or 1000 gods is wrong.

However, in this one God there are three persons. Each of these three persons is God. It's not that each person is 1/3 God. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Human logic says: that doesn't work.

But the Christian faith does not ask us to bow before the irrational. The Christian faith does not say that we must, somehow, believe that 1 = 3. The Christian faith calls upon us to believe in this Tri - une God. To marvel at this great revelation that there are three persons in the One true God each of whom is God. And each of whom are intimately concerned about our salvation and welfare.

In Jn. 14 we read about each person of the Trinity. And we read about how they are one.

In v. 1 Jesus says: Trust in God, trust also in me. He would not call upon us to believe in him if he were not true God.

And then after saying in v. 6 that he is the only way to the Father, he says (v. 9ff): "He who has seen me has seen the Father.... I am in the Father and the Father in me."

Such a close relationship between the Father and the Son. They are one.

It goes on. V. 23: He who loves the Son will be loved by the Father. And the Father and the Son will come and dwell with him. V. 24: The Word which the Son speaks is, in reality, the word of the Father who sent the Son.

The Father and the Son are one. And together, the Father and the Son are one with the Holy Spirit.

V. 16: The Son promises that the Father will send the Holy Spirit. V. 26: He says that the Father will send the Holy Spirit in the name of the Son.

The Lord Jesus says that the Father will send the Holy Spirit. In 15:26 he says that he, the Son, will send the Holy Spirit from the Father.

And so we see that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all three, one. Each has his work. And together they work in perfect harmony - our one true and eternal God.

We are baptized in the name of this triune God.

We are greeted by Him at the beginning of the worship service. By Him who is, who was, and who is to come. That is God the Father. By the Seven Spirits who are before the Throne of God. That is God the Holy Spirit. By Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of kings on earth. That is God the Son.

And at the end of this service we will be blessed in his name. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, of God the Son, will be placed upon you. The love of God the Father will envelope you. And you will be placed within the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

And you will leave this place to enter another week of working for the Lord God. Will you do so?

Call to faith... Challenge... to obey...

You will leave a very rich person. You will leave with the treasure of the grace of the Son. You will enjoy this new week wealthy in the love of the Father And all week long you will rejoice in the treasure of fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

Allow the blessing of the Triune God to strengthen you and encourage you all week long. This is not just a Sunday thing. We don't only have something to do with God on Sundays. No. We have everything to do with God all week long.

All week long we are children of God the Father; servants of our Lord, God the Son; temples of God the Holy Spirit.

All week longs were are the baptized people of the Triune God. Baptized, cared for, redeemed, renewed and blessed.

Praise God our Triune God. Praise him, our heavenly Father, who together with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one true God, lives and reigns over us forever.


* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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(c) Copyright 2003, Rev. George van Popta

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