Printable PDF: 7-25-2021 Pentecost 09 Sermon
The Three-fold Benediction Pentecost 09 Sermon July 25, 2021
Numbers 6:22-27 Pastor Myrl Wagenknecht
22The Lord told Moses 23to speak to Aaron and to his sons and to tell them to bless the Israelites with these words: 24The Lord bless you and keep you. 25The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. 26The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace. 27In this way they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.
The Aaronic blessing is very familiar to us because we use it after many of our worship services and Bible classes. Through Moses at Mount Sinai, the Lord God told Aaron as high priest that this was the way he was to bless his chosen people, the Israelites. This was the way to put God’s name on these people. The priests were to label Israel God’s People. The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would identify himself in this THREEFOLD BENEDICTION. In this blessing the Father blesses and keeps them; the Son blesses and is gracious to them; the Holy Spirit blesses them and gives them peace.
- The Lord (Father) blesses and keeps us.
God blesses by giving us life. Since the Apostles’ Creed begins “I believe….” Martin Luther properly explains the First Article in the first person. I believe that God made me and all creation and that he gave me my body and soul, my eyes, ears, head, hands, feet, and all the members of this body.
I also believe that God blesses me and preserves me by giving me food and drink, house and hope, property and goods, spouse and children, and all that I need to keep my body and life. He guards and protects me from all harm and danger.
All this God does not because I have earned or deserved it, but he richly and daily cares for me purely out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy; for all this I ought to thank and praise, serve and obey him.
- The Lord (Son) blesses and is gracious to us.
God the Father so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son to save us from our sins. God the Son blesses us with redemption. I believe that the Lord, the second person of the Trinity, the Word made flesh, and Angel of the Lord, the suffering Servant, the Messiah came in human flesh. I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten from all eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer.
I was a lost and condemned creature, so Jesus purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and the power of the devil. He redeemed me not with gold or silver, or platinum or diamonds, but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death. He went to the cross for my eternal salvation.
All this the Lord Jesus did that I should be his own. The Father made me to be his. The Son restored me to be his own. He bought me to live under him in his kingdom, to be a sheep in his flock, to be a member of his Church. Now I am to serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. You may not see this righteousness and innocence in looking at me, but God says I am justified. He declared my sins forgiven. He put his Name on me in baptism and since that baptism, pastors have blessed me with this Aaronic benediction. This everlasting blessedness means that just as he has risen from death and lives and rules eternally, I too will live with him in heaven eternally.
No wonder Luther ended this explanation with the exclamation, “This is most certainly true!”
- The Lord (Holy Spirit) blesses and gives us peace.
I need the Lord the Holy Spirit because I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ my Lord nor come to him, so the Lord the Holy Spirit working in full harmony with the Father and the Son, has called me by the Gospel. By this means of Grace, either in Word or Sacrament, he has enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. This is what I believe about the Trinity. This is how the Lord blesses me.
But it is not just for me. In the Nicene Creed we say, “We believe…” The Third Article explains that what the Spirit did for me, in the same way he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian Church he daily and fully forgives all sins to me and all believers. This Church is the workshop of the Holy Spirit. The tools are the Gospel in Word and Sacraments. The product is God’s Chosen people, the new Israel, the real descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The triumphant climax of the work of the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord is on the last day when he will raise me and all the dead and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true!
In addition to the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed we have a third creed: the Athanasian Creed. This gives us a very clear description of the Trinity. God is one God; yet God is three persons. Pick up your hymnal this week and read it on page 132. The Father is Lord. The Son is Lord. The Holy Spirit is Lord. But there are not three Lords but one Lord. The Father is Eternal. The Son is Eternal. The Holy Spirit is Eternal. Yet there are not three Eternals, but one Eternal.
The true God is Triune, the Great I AM, YAHVEH, Jehovah. This is the God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush. This is the God who told Aaron and his sons to bless his people. This is God who as the Father so loved the world he had created and though we rebelled against him, he sent his Son to redeem us and gave us his Spirit so we would believe in him and have everlasting life. This is most certainly true! Amen!
Please stand –
The Lord, God the Father, bless and keep you.
The Lord, God the Son, make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord, God the Holy Spirit, turn his face toward you and give you peace.