Sermon for Wednesday of Reminiscere, 2021

Text: Colossians 1:15-20; John 16:1-15

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It is a rather natural thing to divide the Apostles’ Creed into three parts. We, of course, confess the Holy Trinity. That is, that God is three in one. That there are three distinct persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – but yet only one God. We also confess that the Father is 100% God, the Son is 100% God, and the Holy Spirit is 100% God. This is starting to sound a bit like the Athanasian Creed, isn’t it?

Another way to look at the three articles of the Creed, though, is to look at God’s activity in each article. The First Article deals primarily with creation, the second with redemption, and the third with sanctification. Let’s have that be what guides us this evening.

We confess that God created the heavens and the earth. When we do that, we are saying that what the Bible says about creation is true. That is, that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, simply by the power of his Word. We are confessing that when the Bible says “day” it means the same thing that the word “day” means today. It is a 24-hour period of time. God created the heavens and the earth over a period of six 24-hour days. To confess anything else is to do violence to the Word of God. God didn’t just create the heavens and the earth, though. He didn’t just make everything and then decide he was done with it. He still remains intimately involved with it. He provides for all of the needs that every creature on the face of the earth has. To this day, our loving Father provides all that we need for the support and needs of our body. God designed the universe in this day. He gives man dominion over all things and provides for all of the needs of man through this creation.

When God created the heavens and the earth, in particular after he made man in his own image, he declared that everything was very good. It was perfect. Nothing more was needed. All of creation had everything it needed and God would continue to provide for all needs in abundance.

It didn’t last though. Along with his creative work, God gave a specific instruction to man: don’t eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat from that tree, you’ll die. Satan tried to convince man otherwise and succeeded. Satan said that God was a liar. Satan said that if they ate from that tree that the their eyes would be opened and they would be “like God.” Adam and Eve believed Satan and disbelieved God. The world has never been the same since. It wasn’t just Adam and Eve that were affected, though. All creation groans as a result of the sin of man. Death enters the world. The first blood is shed in order to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness – a nakedness that they didn’t even know before they fell into sin. The world is now under the power of the evil one. Yet, the promise of redemption comes right on the heels of God announcing the curse of the fall. God will “buy back” his creation from the evil one when the seed of the woman comes to crush the head of the serpent.

The second article of the creed speaks of this redemption. The Son of God himself is the one who comes to buy back God’s people from Satan. He doesn’t use the riches of this world, though. There aren’t enough riches in this world that could repay God for our sins. Only the perfect, spotless Lamb of God will be sufficient. Jesus pays the price for our redemption through the shedding of his holy, precious blood and innocent suffering and death. The whole world is reconciled to God through Christ Jesus. He overcomes death and grave through his death and resurrection. Salvation for all people is bought and paid for at the cross of Calvary.

That was 2,000 years ago, though. How does what happened so long ago benefit us today? This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. The Holy Spirit doesn’t come to do a new thing. The Holy Spirit comes to point us back to Christ. The Holy Spirit comes to bring the benefits of the cross – forgiveness, life and salvation – to us here and now.

And how does the Holy Spirit do this? He works through means. The Holy Spirit doesn’t whisper in your ear or speak through the trees or the wind. He works through means. We call these the “means of grace” or “Word and Sacrament.” Is God the Holy Spirit able to work in other ways? Sure. But God graciously puts himself in places where you can be certain to find him. You know that he comes to you in his Word. You can be certain that he comes in Holy Baptism because the Word of God says so. You can be certain that your sins are forgiven when your pastor tells you so because the Word of God says so. You can be certain that Christ’s body and blood are given for you to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of sins because the Word of God says so. The Spirit creates the Christian Church and works through the Church to forgive sins. He does that we, the redeemed may stand ready, sins forgiven, on the Last Day when Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead.

The Creed tells us about God. It tells us about how God has created us, redeemed us, and makes us holy. The creed tells of our salvation. In the beginning, God created a peace-filled world that was at peace with him. This peace is restored to us in Christ Jesus. This peace is sustained in us by the Holy Spirit as we are prepared to stand at peace in the presence of God for eternity.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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