May 27, 2018
The Holy Trinity—
Just Praise Him!
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (NIV1984)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Daughters. Over the course of the last 30+ years I have learned some rather interesting things about daughters. One of the first things I learned is that I will never completely understand my daughters! On countless occasions— far too many for my little mind to remember— my daughters would do something or not do something, say something or not say something and I simply could not understand why. It made absolutely no sense to my male mind. On more than one occasion— especially when my daughters were very young— I would find myself standing in front of one of them completely confused. In exasperation I would say, “What am I going to do with you?” In their own sweet innocent way they would look up at me, smile and say, “Just love me Daddy! Just love me!” Keep that thought in mind for just a moment.
I openly admit that today, Trinity Sunday, is one of if not the most difficult Sunday for me to stand up here in God’s pulpit and preach to you, God’s people. Why? Because I know! I know that no matter how hard I try, no matter how well I prepare, no matter how many illustrations and no matter what analogy I use, I know that if I try to logically explain to you what Scripture clearly teaches concerning the Triune God— three individual Persons within one divine essence— you have every right to leave here today and say, “I still don’t understand it!” So today, my friends, I am not even going to try! Instead of trying to explain the unexplainable, I am going to encourage you to simply do what my daughters did whenever they could see how confused I would get whenever I tried to understand them. Today, my friends, as we lift up our eyes, as we lift up our hearts and as we lift up our voices to the God of heaven let’s study this awe-inspiring portion of His holy Word under the theme: The Holy Trinity— Just Praise Him! Praise Him for who He is! Praise Him for what He has done!
Praise the Holy Trinity— for who He is! And who is He? Look at the opening four verses of our text. Here the prophet Isaiah gives us two awe-inspiring answers to that question. First, Isaiah very clearly reveals to us that the Triune God is the God who is majestic in power! Look at verse one. The name that Isaiah uses here for the “Lord,” our God, is the Hebrew word “Adonai.” This name emphasizes the authority, the superiority and the power of our God! He is the only almighty God of heaven and earth! The “Lord’s” majestic power is then brought out in the fact that He is “seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe fills the temple.” Not even the best special effects artists in Hollywood could ever give us an accurate rendition of what Isaiah describes here in our text. Our God is the King of kings and the Lord of lords! Our God is “Adonai,” the God whose majestic power soars above and beyond anything and every one in existence!
Now look at verse two. Our God has “seraphs” as His servants! Our God is the God who is so majestic in His power that even these high-ranking angelic beings openly express their humble obedience in His presence. Look at what Isaiah says, “Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.” The act of covering their faces and covering their feet— even as they are prepared to serve their majestic powerful God in whatever way He commands— openly reveals both their humility and their obedience.
Now before we move on to the second answer that Isaiah gives to us concerning who our God is, let’s take a moment to pause and apply these words to our own hearts and to our own lives. It’s good for us to remember that the God whom you and I worship, the God whom you and I serve, the God before whom you and I willingly bow, the God before whom we will one day stand for judgment is “Adonai.” This is the God of unlimited majestic power. This is the God who created everything that exists by simply speaking the words— “Let there be…and there was….” (See for example Genesis 1:3) This is the God whose majestic power sustains and rules the entire universe. This is the God whose majestic power provides for all of your needs and preserves your life. This is the God whose majestic power protects you as you journey through this world. So praise your Triune God, my friends! Praise Him for His majestic power! Praise Him by following the example of the “seraphs” and rendering unto Him your humble obedience and service.
The second awe-inspiring answer that Isaiah gives to us concerning who our God is, is found in the fact that the Triune God is the God who is majestic in holiness. Look at verses three and four of our text, “And they (the seraphs) were calling out to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.”
Like the presence of the Triune God in the activity of creating the world— “In the beginning God (the Father) created the heavens and the earth…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters…and God said… (Here we need to remember that in John chapter one Jesus is described as “the Word.” John also says that, “through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made”; like the plural “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness”(Genesis 1:26); like the three-fold blessing that the Lord God gave to Moses to give to Aaron to place upon God’s people, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26), the three-fold “Holy, holy, holy” of the seraphs in the heavenly Temple is what is called an allusion to the Trinity. While the teaching of the Holy Trinity is taught most clearly in the New Testament Scriptures, the teaching of the true God being three Persons in one divine essence is consistently taught throughout the entire Bible.
Through the voice of the seraphs calling back and forth to each other in a way that caused the heavenly Temple to shake, you and I are reminded of the fact that our God, the Triune God, is majestic in His holiness! The Hebrew word which is translated here as “holy” emphasizes the fact that our God is in His essence, “holy, pure, entirely without evil, set apart as being intrinsically sacred, perfect, free from moral imperfection.” The fact that our God is majestic in His holiness also reminds us of the fact that our God requires that everyone who wants to live in His presence in His heavenly home must be “holy” just as He is “holy” (Leviticus 19:2), they must be “perfect” just as He is “perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
That realization is what led Isaiah to lament, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Whether it was Isaiah or Peter (Luke 5:8) or Paul (Romans 7:14-24) or you or me— whenever we mortal sinful human beings are confronted by the God who is both majestic in power and majestic in holiness we automatically realize that we are doomed! We have no excuse for our sin. We have no way to make up for our sins. We have no power to change our sinful condition. All we deserve to receive from the Triune God is His punishment both now and in eternity!
That powerful truth, my friends, brings us to the second reason why we are to praise our Triune God! We praise Him because of what He has done for us sinners! And what has our Triune God done for us? Look at verses six and seven of our text, “Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’”
While Isaiah did indeed recognize the seriousness of his sin he also realized that there was nothing he could do about his sin. So the Triune God, the God who is majestic in power, the God who is majestic in holiness, the Triune God reached out to save Isaiah. He sent one of His seraphs, one of His humble obedient servants to take a coal from the altar, the place where sacrifices were made, and touch Isaiah to emphasize that it was God who completely took away all of Isaiah’s guilt, it was God who completely atoned for all of Isaiah’s sin!
It’s not difficult to apply this gracious truth to ourselves is it, my friends. When we recognize the true depth of our sin, when we recognize just how helpless we are to save ourselves from our sins, our Triune God reaches out to save us! God the Father reached out to save us by sending God the Son into this world as our true Brother. God the Son reached out to save us by living a perfect life in our place and then innocently suffering and dying on the cross (Pointing to the cross) to pay the debt of our sin. God the Holy Spirit reaches out to save us by using His holy Word and His holy Sacraments to say to us, “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for”! Whenever we lift up our eyes to the cross and see what the Holy Trinity has done for us, whenever we open up the holy Scriptures and hear what the Holy Trinity has done for us, whenever we receive His holy Supper and personally experience what the Holy Trinity has done for us— how can we not praise Him!
“Just love me Daddy!” Those innocent heartfelt words of a child serve as a very good example for us to follow as we gather together on this Trinity Sunday. Just as I am not able to explain the unexplainable to you, so also you are not able to comprehend the incomprehensible. The one true God, the God who is three separate Persons in one divine essence is so awesome and so awe-inspiring that my encouragement to you this morning is very simply this: Just praise Him! Praise the Holy Trinity for who He is! He is the God who is majestic in power. He is the God who is majestic in holiness. Praise the Holy Trinity for what he has done for you! He is the God who reaches out to you, lifts up your eyes to the cross (Pointing to the cross) and assures you, “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for”!
Praise the Holy Trinity!
To God be the glory!