Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and His Only Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!” [Isaiah 5:3b]
We praise the Father, Creator of heaven and earth. He is the one true God by whom all things were made. He is the beginning of our universe, our world and our lives. His word brought forth light. His hand formed the seas and the dry land. From the dust of the earth, He created man and from man He created woman. We call Him the Father because it is He and His creation that provides all our human needs.
We worship the Son, the only begotten Son of the Father who saves us all. He too was at the dawn of our creation, the beginning of our existence. The apostle John writes in the first verse of the first chapter of his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” [John 1:1-2]
Jesus Christ, being of one substance with the Father, came into our flesh and blood by the Holy Spirit. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14] Jesus Christ at the same time true and eternal God, begotten of the Father from all eternity, was also a true human being, born of the Virgin Mary.
We call upon the Holy Spirit for life. This is the Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son. This is the Spirit of God who was with the Word in the beginning. “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” [Genesis 1:2] The Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son by the will of the Father and the promise of Christ is the same Spirit given to the chosen people of God,
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.” [Ezekiel 36:27-28]
Three persons all of one substance, the Trinity, the Triune God is whom we give all glory, honor and praise. By His hand we were made, by His grace we are saved and by His Spirit we are sanctified.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” [Deut 6:4-5]
This is our Creed, a word from the Latin Credo meaning, “I believe”. We believe, teach and confess:
“…short, explicit confessions, which [are] regarded as the unanimous, universal, Christian creed and confession of the orthodox and true church of Christ, namely, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. We pledge ourselves to these and thereby reject all heresies and teachings that have been introduced into the church of God contrary to them. [Formula: SD, art. xii, par. 40]
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ gave us this teaching while he was here on God’s good earth. In John 14 verse 9, he tells Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” [John 14:9] In John 8 verse 18 Jesus says, “I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” [John 8:18] Again, in John 10 verse 30, Christ tells us, “I and My Father are one.” [John 10:30]
I repeat these words of our Lord to emphasize that it is not the words of man which define our faith but the words of God. Through the Holy Spirit we have been given the Scriptures to enlighten and teach ourselves and our neighbors of the infinite majesty, power and truth of the Triune God. The apostle John tells us, “…there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. [1 John 5:7]
This truth comes from above as Jesus teaches Nicodemus in our Gospel reading, “Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born from above.’” [John 3:3] The truth is that we must be born of the water and the Holy Spirit, from above, in order to be redeemed by the Son of God.
Our faith comes from above through our baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Father, who created us, sent His Son to free us from the grasp of sin, death and the devil. From this saving work of the Son we now become one in the body of Christ. The apostle Paul tells us, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” [1 Cor 12:27]
What does this mean for us? Very simply put the deceit and lies of our adversary still exist and continue to beat against our shield of faith. The Holy Spirit, our guide and counselor has come into our hearts to show us what is righteous and of God.
We are now the evangelists and teachers who bring the Word of the one true God to all people. We have been equipped for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. [Eph 4:12, 13a]
In the Spirit breathed words of the apostle Paul:
“…we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” [Eph 4:14-16]
This means the Lord God of all is in control. It is His word and Holy Spirit who speaks to His creation. We do not change the hearts of our neighbors. We do not work salvation for our fellow man. Who can save another’s life through their own death? No one! It is God and God alone who gives salvation to His creation.
Therefore, the only way for us to prevent the Holy Spirit from doing his work in the hearts of others is to do nothing. Some may say, “If I don’t do it, somebody else will.” and, “God is all powerful and does not need me to do His work.”
Although it is true, that it is the work of God and not our work that redeems our fellow man, we cannot call ourselves members of the body of Christ without following the commands of our Lord and Savior. We do not only deny our God by keeping silent, but we also hurt ourselves.
It is God’s command that we spread the good news of our salvation to all people; even those who believe in a false god. We may be a people of unclean lips but through Christ our iniquity is taken away and our sin is purged. Like the calling of Isaiah, we have heard the voice of our Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” [Isaiah 6:8]
We have all been born from above. The Holy Spirit now dwells in us and he speaks for us, “Here am I! Send me.” I will speak the truth. I will speak of what we know, and I will testify to what we have seen. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” [John 3:17]
Light has come into the world and whoever lives by the truth comes into the light …so that it may be seen plainly that what Christ has done has been done through God. [John 3:19a, 21b] Jesus Christ has been exalted at the right hand of the Father and has poured out His Holy Spirit so that you may see and hear. [Acts 32-33]
Therefore let all people and all nations know for certain that God has made this Jesus both Lord and Christ.
 Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord : The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 486 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000).