Sermon for 06.04.23 “Beyond us, with us, in us”

The Holy Trinity, June 4, 2023
Text: Matthew 28:16–20
Theme: Beyond us, with us, in us
Other Lessons: Genesis 1:1–2:4a; Psalm 8; Acts 2:14a, 22–36

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

B. The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.

C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 507:1 Holy, Holy, Holy

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, blessèd Trinity!


A. I draw your attention to the graphic in the bulletin that helps to
explain the Trinity:
1. “The Father is God”
2. “The Son is God”
3. “The Holy Spirit is God”
4. “God is the Father”
5. “God is the Son”
6. “God is the Holy Spirit”
7. “The Father is not the Son”
8. “The Father is not the Holy Spirit”
9. “The Son is not the Father”
10. “The Son is not the Holy Spirit”
11. “The Holy Spirit is not the Father”
12. “The Holy Spirit is not the Son”
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B. Three distinct persons.
1. One God.
2. And it’s right here in our text from Matthew 28.
3. Jesus says:
Matthew 28:18–19 (NASB95)
18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been
given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
4. Got all that? Do you understand the Holy Trinity?
1. God is beyond us.
A. The Trinity is far beyond our comprehension.

B. Oh, we can say the words.
C. We can picture it.

D. We can confess it.
E. But on this side of heaven, we can’t fully grasp the mystery of three in

F. We can’t get our heads around the essence and relationships involved in
our God as the Trinity.
G. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try.
1. One illustration is water.
A) Water can be a liquid.
B) It can be frozen as ice.
C) It can be heated to become steam.
2. Yet in each state, it is still H2O, it is still water.
A) Three in one.
B) However, the analogy, helpful in some ways, fails in one crucial way.
C) You can’t have ice, steam, and liquid all at the same time.
D) You have either steam or ice or liquid.
3. But the Father is always God;
A) never is there a time he is not God.
4. The Son is always God;
A) never a time he was not.
5. The Holy Spirit is always God;
A) never a time he was not.
6. All three persons are always and fully God at the same time.
H. Another illustration: an apple.
1. You have:
A) the outer peel,
B) the inner core,
C) and the meaty center.
2. One apple and three parts.
3. Again, comparing the Trinity to an apple is helpful in some ways but
fails in one crucial way.
A) The peel is only part of the apple.
B) The core is only part of the apple.
C) Same for the tasty part inside.
I. But the Father is completely God all the time,
1. not just part of God,
2. not just a third of God.
J. The Son is completely God all the time.
K. The Holy Spirit is completely God all the time.
L. Are you beginning to see how even our best attempts to grasp the mystery
of the Trinity fall far short?
1. That’s only the start of it.
2. Go back to the Old Testament Reading for today.
3. It’s the account of God creating everything.
4. Did you catch the possible reference to the Trinity in verse 26?
Genesis 1:26 (NASB95)
26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;
and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky
and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing
that creeps on the earth.”
5. “Let us make man in Our image.”
A) Now consider how impossible it is to comprehend our God in all his power
and immensity and majesty.
M. A third illustration: to better understand the universe we live in,
astronomers have programmed the Hubble telescope to send back pictures of
the universe beyond our planet that boggle the mind.
1. We can see far distant galaxies, and now astronomers estimate the
observable universe contains two trillion galaxies.
2. Remember from science class that light travels 186,000 miles per second
or about six trillion miles in a year.
3. It would take over 158,000 light-years to reach even one of the closest
4. The universe is about 96 billion light-years in diameter, and expanding
even farther and farther every minute we’re in church (“How Many Galaxies
Are There in the Universe?” The Nine Planets,
N. Very simply, our triune God is so far beyond us that we’ve just barely
scratched the surface of who he is and what he can do.
1. But he has revealed himself to us as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2. Three in One.
3. The Trinity.
4. We believe this.
5. We confess this.
6. Even if he is far beyond our comprehension.
7. And that’s okay!
2. God is with us.
A. But, thankfully, our triune God is not only beyond us. He is also with
B. The very last promise Jesus gives us in Matthew, the last words of our
Matthew 28:20 (NASB95)
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age.”
C. With that promise, everything changes.
1. He is no longer merely the distant, too-big-to-know God.
2. We know him as the God who comes to us, is with us, and always will be
with us.
D. Let’s go back to the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, to chapter 1.
1. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream to tell him he must not divorce
Mary, even though she is with child.
2. Rather, Joseph is to give the baby a special name, Jesus, for this child
will grow up to save his people from their sins.
3. Then the angel reveals to Joseph that with Jesus a prophecy will be
Matthew 1:23 (NASB95)
SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”
4. God in all power and immensity and majesty becomes one of us, fully
5. The Father sends his Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and the small
child in Mary’s arms is now God with us in fulfillment of that prophecy.
E. Now jump ahead thirty years.
1. Jesus appears at the Jordan River.
2. John is baptizing the people who have come to him in repentance.
3. He looks up and sees Jesus wading into the water.
4. He resists baptizing Jesus:
Matthew 3:14 (NASB95)
But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You,
and do You come to me?”
5. But Jesus insists.
6. He says he needs to fulfill all righteousness.
7. So John scoops up the water, and the Father’s voice booms from heaven:
Matthew 3:17 (NASB95)
and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in
whom I am well-pleased.”
8. The Holy Spirit lands on Jesus in the form of a dove.
9. See the Trinity there? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
F. Yet what is Jesus doing in the water?
1. Why is he baptized?
2. He does not need to be.
3. He does so because He is taking his stand with us.
4. He will not be separate from us but is already standing alongside us.
5. His righteousness, his sinless life and the purity of his mission to
save us, will be accomplished as he begins his public ministry to live up
to his name.
6. Jesus, right from the start, is saving his people from their sins.
G. Now it’s three years later still, and Jesus hangs on a cross.
1. He is taking on himself anything and everything that would keep us at a
distance from our God.
2. He takes our punishment:
A) the agony of our sins,
B) the sorrows of death,
C) and even the horrors of hell, which is the complete separation from God.
3. In a mystery beyond our understanding, Jesus, the Son of God, goes
through that hellish abandonment when he cries out:
Matthew 27:46 (NASB95)
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI,
A) What we deserve, Jesus serves, and we are promised an eternal life that
is always with our triune God.
H. What happens next once again boggles the mind.
1. Jesus rises from the dead on Easter morning.
2. He is victorious over death.
3. He has conquered the sin that leads to the grave.
4. He has crushed all the powers of hell.
5. Never again will those evil forces make any claim on him.
6. He is given all authority.
7. So He will never leave or forsake us.
8. He will always be close to us.
9. As the apostle Peter says in his sermon from the reading in Acts:
Acts 2:32–33 (NASB95)
32“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
33“Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having
received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured
forth this which you both see and hear.
I. This we believe because we have been baptized into the name of the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus told the apostles to
do in our text.
1. When the water was scooped up and poured over me, over you, when those
precious words were spoken along with our name, we were brought into the
eternal presence of the triune God. Sin forgiven.
2. Jesus living up to his name as we are saved from our sins.
3. The prophecy fulfilled once again in our own lives, for Jesus, our
Immanuel, is with us.
4. The God who is beyond us is now the God who is with us always:
A) forgiving our sins,
B) saving us from death and the devil,
C) raising us up to life eternal.
J. The apostle Paul says it this way:
Romans 6:3–4 (NASB95)
3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
have been baptized into His death?
4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that
as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we
too might walk in newness of life.
3. God is in us.
A. Beyond us:
1. yes.
B. With us:
1. definitely.
C. In us too.
1. Thanks be to God!
D. Jesus speaks about making disciples by baptizing and by teaching all
that he has commanded:
Matthew 28:19–20 (NASB95)
19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age.”
1. So, just as we turned baptizing in his name into being baptized into his
name, so here we turn the teaching into learning all that he has commanded.
E. How does that happen?
1. By the power of the Holy Spirit working through God’s Word.
2. Whether in a Bible class or sermon or devotion or conversation or
podcast or radio message or wherever else God’s Word is purely taught, the
Holy Spirit works in us to teach us what Jesus has said and done.
F. For example, in Psalm 8, King David looks at the heavens, the moon, the
stars and asks:
Psalm 8:4 (NASB95)
What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care
for him?
1. David sees the enormity of God.
2. He knows the majesty of God.
3. Yet he believes that God is mindful of him.
4. He trusts that God will care for him.
5. And so he praises this God of creation who is with him.
G. Like David, we are able to praise God:
1. The beauty of His creation.
2. The gift of life.
3. Family and friends that surround us
4. The purpose of work to which we have been called.
5. All the other “daily bread” with which the Lord has blessed us.
6. In a way, we hallow the Lord’s name, the name into which we have been
7. Who brings this all to my mind, to my lips, from within me?
A) The Holy Spirit does this as He works in us to:
1) teach us,
2) shape us,
3) form us,
4) nurture us,
5) transform us into disciples who have learned what Jesus has spoken to
his disciples.
H. The creation that once was so immense and beyond us has now become a
moment of praise:
1. for the Father who creates such a world of beauty,
2. for the Son, who is with us always,
3. and for the Holy Spirit, who teaches us what Jesus has said and done for

A. We will not grasp the mystery of the Trinity on this side of heaven,
even though we confess it with whatever creed we use in our worship.
1. We will not comprehend just how majestic and immense our God is, but we
are to believe He is always with us as the living Lord of all.
2. We will not understand how He is three persons yet only one God, but we
learn what He has done for us and praise Him for it all.
B. While the Mystery of the Trinity Is beyond Us, Our Creator God Is Always
Present with Us through the Exaltation of His Son and in Us by the
Sanctifying Gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

C. Let us pray:
LSB 507:4 Holy, Holy, Holy
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, blessèd Trinity!
Text: Public domain
D. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.