Printable PDF: 6-7-2020 Trinity Sermon
Pastor David Clark ~ Matthew 28:16-20 ~ June 7, 2020 ~ Trinity Sunday
REMOVING CHRISTIAN DOUBT
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Historians name the ages of history: the Renaissance, the Dark Ages, the Age of Enlightenment. Some have tried to name the age in which we live, but no names have really caught on, so I’m going to take a stab. I think we are living in the age of doubt. What is healthy and what is not? What about our society?
Since faith is the opposite of doubt, a person of faith might wonder about having doubts. But doubt for a Christian does not mean denial. You may be uncertain how we have one God who is also three persons, but that doesn’t mean you deny the Trinity.
None of us would describe doubt as a good thing. So, what do we do? This portion of Matthew’s gospel is considered by many to be the second most familiar portion of the Bible after John 3:16. But the word that jumps off the page when I read it is, “doubt.”
- Jesus supplies the purpose.
Jesus knew his disciples had doubts, but he didn’t tell them to figure it out on their own. That would be like asking kindergartners (or even the 8th graders) to figure out the best way to learn while they are in school.
Jesus took away doubt by giving them a specific purpose. 19aTherefore go and make disciples of all nations. They were to do for other people, what he had done for them. They were to teach people to follow Jesus.
We are here to be those disciples. We need to continue to grow in our faith and in our Christian life. In our highly competitive and technologically savvy world, no one would say an eighth grade education is adequate. Nor is an eighth grade spiritual education adequate. To remove doubt we need to continue to be taught as his disciples.
It doesn’t end there. The Triune God also gives us this purpose to GO and make disciples. In other words, to live as his disciples before the rest of the world and enlist others who do not know Jesus or who have an incomplete understanding of what Jesus has done and to make them disciples.
- Jesus supplies the tools.
But how do we do that? Changing a car headlight was like that. I got a new headlight and my Phillips screwdriver and found there were no Phillips screws. There was this little star imprint on the screw. I couldn’t fix it because I didn’t have the right tool.
Jesus supplied the tools they would need to make disciples. 19bbaptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20aand teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Jesus removed doubt by using a “one size fits all” tool. He promised that by applying water in the name of the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – all people become his disciples. No matter your parents or your circumstance, baptism works.
To show his love for all people, he used the most common element on earth, water. He gave it power through his word so that no one would doubt. So the power is not in the amount of water used, or the person applying it, or the age of the person baptized. The power of God is in his Word and allows that water to change sinful hearts.
There will always be a temptation to use tools of our own. No one has ever been threatened, loved, or argued into the kingdom of heaven. No one has ever found their own way there either. That only comes through the use of his tools. Jesus wanted us to be sure how disciples are made.
- Jesus supplies the help.
Some people need even more reassurance. The first time I ever did an evangelism call, the pastor for whom I was working gave me a list of homes and gave me this extensive instruction: “Go, do it.” It would have been nice if he had come with me to show me how to do such a call. Jesus supplied help to the disciples. 20bAnd surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
There weren’t too many disciples at that time in Christianity. Eleven guys were going to be responsible for the spread the gospel to the entire world? How would that have made you feel? …a little doubt? …fearful? Would you have felt better if Jesus had been there to help? Jesus assured them that they would never be alone. He would always be with them.
You and I can be overwhelmed with the thought of discipling the world. We can be overwhelmed thinking about just the U.S. or Arizona or Maricopa County. Even if it is just Glendale, it can seem overwhelming. But what about your neighborhood, or even your own house? Even that may make us doubt or be afraid. What if someone came with you to help?
Jesus is with you. You are not alone. If you are unsure about what to say, maybe a little afraid, Jesus tells you, “I am with you. You do not need to be afraid.” The same God who overcame death on a cross through his resurrection from the grave, is here with us, hearing our prayers, speaking to us in his Word.
Jesus may have ascended into heaven but he never really left his disciples. The same is true for you. He is always with you. He wants you to be sure of his love.
It seems that not much has gone right recently. That alone would make it easy to doubt. Thank your Triune God that you have a solution for all doubt in Jesus. He will replace that doubt with confidence. Amen.