Blog / Book of the Month / Sermon / Pr. Lucas Albrecht / Holy Trinity Sunday June 11th 2017 - / Matthew 28:16-20 / Three in One

Sermon / Pr. Lucas Albrecht / Holy Trinity Sunday June 11th 2017 - / Matthew 28:16-20 / Three in One

Sermon / Pr. Lucas Albrecht / Holy Trinity Sunday June 11th 2017 - / Matthew 28:16-20 / Three in One

 Text: Matthew 28.16-20 – Holy Trinity Sunday
Theme: Three in One

Intr –  What’s your favorite number?

I don’t know if we can pick out only one, but the most interesting I know is number 3. In all its results, this number always leads you back to itself.

_Any given multiple of 3, if you add one figure to another, you come to 3. e.g: : 3 x 33 = 99 //  9+9=18 //  1+8=9, which is 3 square.

_Any given multiple of 3, multiplied for any given multiple of 3, leads you back to 3.e.g:: 144 x 288 = 41472. 4+1+4+7+2 = 18 = 1+8 = 9 = 3 square

You can try also with any given number x 3.

In the Bible, there are some interesting things related to it too.

_12 tribes of Israel (1 + 2 = 3) //  12 Apostles // 3 wise Man from East, 3 crucified, in the 3rd Day He rose from the dead, on Pentecost 120 (1+2+0= 3) were gathered in Jerusalem./ 144 thousand from Revelation (1+4+4=9 is 3 X 3)

_Old Testament: 39 books  //  _New Testament: 27 books
Total - 66 books (6 +6=12 ,  1+2 = 3)

We could mention many other examples from daily life. Three places in the podium, three strikes and you are out (in baseball), three flags in the polls, S.O.S (3 dots, 3 traces, 3 dots in Morse code)... The list might cover many miles of Route 66... Yet the intention here is not to talk about superstition or numerology, but rather the marvelous creation of our God, reflected even in numbers.

The God of the Bible, which is One, has number 3 too: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is especially celebrated today around the World in the Christian Churches. In the Gospel for today, we see a clear, explicit reference to this Biblical Truth. And it is always important to be reminded about this Christian basic truth, without which no Church can really be Christian.


Let’s take a moment to cover biblical basics about the Holy Trinity. We can state it as clear and as plain as: "We declare that we believe and teach that there is one divine essence, undivided, etc., and yet, that there are three distinct persons, of the same divine essence and coeternal, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This article we have always taught and defended, and we believe that it has, in Holy Scripture, sure and firm testimonies that cannot be overthrown. And we constantly affirm that those thinking otherwise are outside the Church of Christ."[1]

Then some questions may arise:

Where is Trinity in the Bible? – It is a recurrent question that we can biblically address. There’s no place in the Bible where we read “Infant Baptism” or “Christ used wine in the Holy Supper” as well.  Yet they are solid, fundamental teachings. The Triune God can be found throughout the entire Holy Writ, from Genesis to Revelation.

Three Gods? Three Persons? One person, three manifestations of one God?... – If it sometimes looks a little hard to understand, it’s because it really is for our mind. Actually, it’s impossible. That’s why we remain with the Biblical teaching: there is only one God. But there are 3 persons in the Godhead. It is not that they are just three different manifestations of one God, like “Solid, liquid, and gas” are three different manifestations of water, but “Person” here means that which subsists by itself. They are distinct between each other, but equal in everything, co-eternal, and consubstantial, and each is God, whole and entire. "Of these Persons each one is the whole God, besides whom there is no other God." Luther.[2]

I can’t see…can I believe? – Well, do we believe that courage, respect, honesty, perseverance, patience, love….do we believe all these things exist? Well…how can we prove that? How can we show our eyes and intellect that they exist? Therefore, just because you can’t see or “prove” under human standards it doesn’t mean that it’s not true.

This is the Christian God. We can try to figure some analogies out as we try to explain it. But they would be still just a poor attempt to illustrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity. He is One in Three. He is Three in One. If we depart from this Truth, we depart from the Bible. We depart from faith.

2 - The GOSPEL

         One of the main reasons we have to believe in the Holy Trinity is because Jesus Himself speaks about it. Today’s Gospel shows Him asking us to, as we go, to make disciples by baptizing and teaching. And the Baptism is under a name: “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Three equal Persons in One God.

         Now, look closely to that: You are baptized in that name! You received that name. And, as we mentioned in a previous sermon, it’s not just a name like our human names which you can even change if you want. The name IS God. God IS the name. So you received the name of the Triune God. That’s why as my fellow pastor Tardelli puts it, “a Triune God is our only chance to experience  a healthy and well balanced spirituality”.[3] We have his name. We are His. We have by faith the healthy and well balanced food of the Word to nurture us, to keep us, and to make us go into the world with His Word.

         Another aspect of the Gospel I would like to mention here: The disciples met Jesus on the mountain, “And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him. But some doubted”. Isn’t that strange? The 11 had already seen Jesus several times after His resurrection. What’s the doubt all about? Well, a good way to explain it would be to point out that the verb here is the same used when Peter sank in the Sea during the storm, when he doubted before Jesus. Did he doubt that it was Jesus before him? Probably not. But he hesitated, he was afraid. Maybe that’s the same thing that happened there, on the mountain top. The disciples knew it was Jesus, more so when we see they worshipped Him. But maybe some of them were hesitant, afraid. Not sure what to do or what would come next.[4]

         I bet this is nothing strange to us too. We know Jesus, we believe in Him as our Saviour and Lord. We walk with Him. But when we face big challenges, when we are before dark days and sleepless nights, during times of trial and temptation, we doubt too. We hesitate. What will come next?

         Those comforting words of the Lord are for us too:

_”All authority was given to me”;
_Therefore – connected to the precedent phrase. Since He has authority, “As you go, make disciples…”
_I am with you always to the end of the age.”
         This is how Jesus responds to hesitation, doubt. He calms our hearts. He shows His authority and love. He gives us work to do. He walks with us always and every day.

         Have you ever thought about that? EVERY Day. Each Day. Today, tomorrow, the next day. Actually, I would say that’s something that’s hard for us to believe, or at least figure out. Because, who would do that? Or don’t we have those days when if possible even we would run away from ourselves?... Also, those days when we think He must be too busy, for you feel alone and abandoned. Then hear again: I am with you EVERY SINGLE day, to the end of ages. That’s how much and how long He can take us. He gave His life for you. He gave His name to you. How many places can you go and hear that you received God’s name and that one of the persons of that Godhead gave His life for you?

         Again the phrase: “A Triune God is our only chance to experience a healthy and well balanced spirituality”. God’s Law and Gospel provide us a spirituality that is not vague or uncertain, but one that connects real people to the real God.  That gives meaning to our existence.

And meaning to existence is something every human being craves for. Imagine for example your life was like: you could not begin your day without coffee. Every day you need at least one in the morning, maybe two, and in the afternoon again, perhaps one at night. Drinking a cup of coffee makes you feel better and comforted. One day without this taste is a less happy day. And if tomorrow’s breaking news announced that, "No more coffee would be sold ever again!" you'd be devastated.  Because your life declared: “I drink coffee, therefore I am.

Well, I never met anyone who lived this way.  However dependences of another kind are not too hard to find.

Shopping is an example. Without it some people experience anguish. Their lives exist around: “I buy, therefore I am. The same is true of money. At any sign of financial system going down the person’s life simply falls apart. “I have, therefore I am”. And power,  “I command, therefore I am”.  And these too: Sex, image,  clothes, compliments, appearances... these are all about what humans produce, command and control.  Well that is what humans think, that they can control. But over time each one of us finds out it isn't true. Also, to depend on what's human or natural is skating on the edge. Once these are gone - robbed, fall apart, come to an end or disappear - we see the fragile thread that held it all together.

“I believe, therefore I exist” it’s the phrase from God to our lives. “I have the name of the Triune God, therefore I am”, we can joyfully say. For it defines the only dependence that cannot be lost, overthrown or overcome. When faith is placed in Jesus we are children of the Triune God and by faith we have the unchanging foundation. We don’t depend on a cup of coffee to feel comforted nor spent lots of money to have love and grace. Faith is the unique and right connection that shows the right “I am” of our existence.  He shows us that existing is not to have but to be.  [5]


Our God is Triune, three and One. And in everything He does He always leads us back to Himself. For He is the Creator, Saviour and Comforter of our world, our life, our heart. The ultimate number 3 for our daily, practical life. Take a look on these examples:

 3 proofs of God’s love:
_Jesus Christ  _The Bible  _Life

3 main aspects of this love:
_unconditional  _universal _never ending

3 means of God’s action:
_Word  _Baptism _Lord’s Supper

The biggest command – to love God
_With heart _with Soul _with understanding

The 3 enemies to be overcome:
_The Devil _The World _Our Flesh

3 verbs of action
_Love _Live _Learn

3 actions of discipleship
_Baptize _Teach _Love

3 moments in which we can count on Him:
_Before _Now _After

3 ways of talking with God:
_prayer _praise _thanksgiving

3 ways of showing God’s love:
_To speak _To sing _To live

What draws us to the conclusion that, in the light of all these remarks of His love and presence in our lives, we have multiple reasons to thank Him because Christ is the same:
_yesterday   _today  _tomorrow

Cc – As a conclusion, I want to mention that whereas Christ asks us to “go to all nations”, in Canada we could say we have it the other way around. The nations are coming to us. How many languages, accents, and different cultures do we see around? The nations are around us. What are we doing to reach them?[6] Christ invites us: “Baptize and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you”. That’s the great mission we have before us in our 3 syllable city – Regina, in our 3 syllable country, Canada, with the 3 means of Grace – Word and the 2 Sacraments. There are many body, minds and souls that need it. Today. Tomorrow. Always. Amen.


[1] The Apology of The Augsburg Confession, Article I.
[2] Also, no Person does the other Person’s Work. The Father is the Creator. The Son is our Savior. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Faith Giver. For example, the Father didn’t die on the Cross, neither did the Holy Spirit, but the Son did. Jesus became flesh and died for us.
[4] Perhaps they even recalled that terrible Maundy Thursday – when they all were gone. They flew away. They didn’t know what to expect next. / Dr. Gerson Linden – Holy Trinity (Perícope -
[5] In this reality then comes the “I think, therefore I am”. And also, “I love, therefore I am”, “I serve, therefore I am”, “I respect, therefore I am”. And many other fruits that our Triune God brings forth into and through our being.
[6] Dr. Ely Prieto, sermon from 2013.