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Worship 8:00 AM
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Hallowed Be Thy Name

Trinity Sunday

May 27, 2018

Lincoln Heights Lutheran Church

Hallowed Be Thy Name

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

This summer we will take a close look at the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Today is the first petition, Hallowed by thy name. Then after a short break for some readings from 2 Corinthians, we will conclude the summer with the other six petitions. Isaiah’s call into the public, prophetic ministry serves as an ideal account to illustrate the first petition, hallowed be thy name. We learn from this account in Isaiah 6 that God’s name is truly holy and we learn how we may keep God’s name holy. Help us do this, dear Father in heaven. Hear the Word of God through Isaiah:

Isaiah 6:1–8 (NIV84)
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. 2 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. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 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.” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 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!”

God’s Name is Truly Holy

Holy is often a word we use synonymously with perfect. It can and does indicate perfection. But holy also has the idea of being set apart from something else. Certainly the Triune God is set apart from sin. He is perfect and without sin. But Isaiah sees the Lord set apart from everything in our account today. The name for the Lord he first uses is the name for the master, the ruler. This is the powerful Lord Isaiah sees sitting on the throne. He has control of all things. He is exalted over all other beings. Even his robe shows his holiness. It fills the temple. God is truly holy, set apart from all else.

The angels get it. These angels, called seraphs, were also holy angels in the sense that they had no sin. But they get it! They understand the holiness of God is greater by far. So even though they have the honor of flying near the throne of the Lord God, they dare not show their faces or their feet. Though they have an exalted position so close to the Lord, they are all the more humble before him. Then they sing out their temple shaking song to each other: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

The seraph’s powerful song tells us first of all that God is three times holy. They exclaim him to be, “Holy, holy, holy.” While this is not an explicit reference to God as Triune, we can know from the rest of the Bible that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equally holy, equally God, the three in one God. The triple holy also emphasizes that the LORD is far superior and set apart from anything else in creation.

The name used by the seraphs has changed. Isaiah saw the Lord (capital L, lowercase o-r-d), the powerful master seated on the throne. The seraphs call him LORD (all caps), the God of free and faithful love. This is the LORD who makes and keeps his promises of salvation. He is the holy LORD who saves his people. The angels add a descriptive word to the name of the LORD. The NIV translates is as “LORD Almighty.” This gets the point across, but some of us have sung this song of the angels with the Hebrew word in the song. In The Lutheran Hymnal, the Sanctus sung before Communion goes like this: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of … Sabaoth.” When I was young, I thought “the Lord of Sabaoth” meant he was the God of the Sabbath Day, the day of rest. It did not make much sense because Sabaoth does not mean Sabbath. Sabaoth is the Hebrew for an army, a group of soldiers ready to fight for their king. We sing “Lord God of heavenly hosts” today. This is the LORD who controls the angels armies of heaven. They are ready to do his will.

When we pray, “Hallowed by thy name” think of the God of free and faithful love who commands the armies of heaven, the God who is three times holy and set apart from all creation. His name is certainly holy. The seraphs got it and covered their faces and feet. What is Isaiah’s reaction?

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.”

If the angels who have no sin are humble before the triple holy Lord God, a sinner before this holy God reacts like Isaiah reacts – in terror. Isaiah is certain that he is ruined. This is the end for him because he is looking upon the holy Lord God. There is no escape for him. Isaiah can offer no excuse for his own sin. He can only confess his sins to the holy LORD. Isaiah expresses his sinfulness as having unclean lips. He also says that he lives among other sinners but that is not an excuse. Isaiah gets it. He is a sinner in the presence of the holy God. Other people cannot help him. The sins of others are not his problem. His own sin is what causes him to be ruined.

Do we take our own sin too lightly at times, especially those sins of the lips? God’s name can slip off our lips in all kinds of ways that do not keep his name holy. It is used for surprise, anger, swearing and cursing instead of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. Whether or not we use God’s name in our speaking, we are too often quick with the put down, the insult and the come back instead of quick to forgive, build up and encourage. Do we sometimes forget that the Lord is holy all the time and not just on Sunday morning at church?

When we pray, “Hallowed by thy name,” remember the holiness of the LORD. He is set apart from all in creation, above the six-winged seraphs, three times holy and completely apart from sin. God’s name is certainly holy in itself and we pray in this first petition that we too may keep it holy.

Keep God’s Name Holy

How is God’s name kept holy by people whose lips are stained with sin? Isaiah did not know the answer but could only confess his ruin at seeing the holy Lord God. Then the LORD acts through his angels.

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Isaiah received this amazing experience of personal forgiveness from the holy, holy, holy Lord God of heavenly hosts. From the altar, the place of sacrifice, Isaiah received forgiveness. The seraph delivered forgiveness in the live coal from the altar of sacrifice and delivered the words of forgiveness from God to Isaiah. Just as certainly as God’s name is holy, so also Isaiah’s forgiveness is certain. God has declared that Isaiah is not guilty. The LORD of free and faithful love has atoned for Isaiah’s sins.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such an experience of personal forgiveness from the Holy God? I submit to you today that God still delivers his forgiveness to each of us. After facing the altar in the front of church while confessing our sins, the pastor turns around to face the congregation and announce: “As a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And while most pastors do not have six wings, we get to announce the same good news of forgiveness to people as the seraph did to Isaiah.

All believers have been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the authority to forgive sins in the name of the Triune God. Pastors do so publicly on behalf of the congregation. All believers can do so individually. Keep God’s name holy by announcing the forgiveness of sins to each other. Take away the burden of guilt and the shame of sin from individuals you know by telling them of the Holy Lord God who forgives sins.

Of course, our proclamation of forgiveness has no power without the sacrifice made at the altar. The altar was the cross and the sacrifice was the Lord Jesus Christ himself. The Holy Lord offers himself to pay for the sin of the world. Isaiah saw his robe fill the temple. At the cross, the holy blood of Christ covered the world’s sin. He is truly holy, set apart from the world, not only by his almighty power as God, but also by his amazing sacrifice for sinners. Our God is holy, holy, holy.

Today, our Lord Jesus Christ offers his true body and blood for us Christians to eat and drink. He delivers his full forgiveness of sins, not with a hot coal from the altar, but with his body and blood given and shed at the altar of the cross. When the elements of Holy Communion touch your lips today know for certain what the Holy LORD is saying to you. He promises just what he said to Isaiah: Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. This is personal. This is for you.

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!”

Emboldened by the forgiveness of his sins, Isaiah answers the call of the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah will proclaim the law and the gospel to the people. This was a call into public ministry. On Thursday, 30 men received calls into the pastoral ministry in our synod. The week before 136 men and women were called into the teaching ministry. These all answered with Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me!” The Holy LORD has sent them out to keep his name holy. These public ministers will keep God’s name holy by proclaiming in words and actions the pure Word of God, especially the good news of forgiveness in Christ alone. May the LORD bless all of them in their work.

There were more requests for teachers and pastors than graduates to fill those requests. If public gospel ministry has crossed your mind, think and pray about it. Talk to me or to others and see if you might one day be called by the LORD to keep his name holy in as a Christian teacher or pastor.

Keeping God’s name holy is not just or even primarily a called worker’s task. Every believer wants to keep God’s name holy. We all do this by taking his law seriously which will lead to daily repentance. We do so by believing the gospel which leads to daily forgiveness. We keep God’s name holy by the words we use and the actions we take. Luther says it this way:

God’s name is kept holy when his Word is taught in its truth and purity and we as children of God lead holy lives according to it. Help us to to this dear Father in heaven!

Amen.

Trinity Sunday

May 27, 2018

Lincoln Heights Lutheran Church

Hallowed Be Thy Name

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

This summer we will take a close look at the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Today is the first petition, Hallowed by thy name. Then after a short break for some readings from 2 Corinthians, we will conclude the summer with the other six petitions. Isaiah’s call into the public, prophetic ministry serves as an ideal account to illustrate the first petition, hallowed be thy name. We learn from this account in Isaiah 6 that God’s name is truly holy and we learn how we may keep God’s name holy. Help us do this, dear Father in heaven. Hear the Word of God through Isaiah:

Isaiah 6:1–8 (NIV84)
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. 2 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. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 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.” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 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!”

God’s Name is Truly Holy

Holy is often a word we use synonymously with perfect. It can and does indicate perfection. But holy also has the idea of being set apart from something else. Certainly the Triune God is set apart from sin. He is perfect and without sin. But Isaiah sees the Lord set apart from everything in our account today. The name for the Lord he first uses is the name for the master, the ruler. This is the powerful Lord Isaiah sees sitting on the throne. He has control of all things. He is exalted over all other beings. Even his robe shows his holiness. It fills the temple. God is truly holy, set apart from all else.

The angels get it. These angels, called seraphs, were also holy angels in the sense that they had no sin. But they get it! They understand the holiness of God is greater by far. So even though they have the honor of flying near the throne of the Lord God, they dare not show their faces or their feet. Though they have an exalted position so close to the Lord, they are all the more humble before him. Then they sing out their temple shaking song to each other: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

The seraph’s powerful song tells us first of all that God is three times holy. They exclaim him to be, “Holy, holy, holy.” While this is not an explicit reference to God as Triune, we can know from the rest of the Bible that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equally holy, equally God, the three in one God. The triple holy also emphasizes that the LORD is far superior and set apart from anything else in creation.

The name used by the seraphs has changed. Isaiah saw the Lord (capital L, lowercase o-r-d), the powerful master seated on the throne. The seraphs call him LORD (all caps), the God of free and faithful love. This is the LORD who makes and keeps his promises of salvation. He is the holy LORD who saves his people. The angels add a descriptive word to the name of the LORD. The NIV translates is as “LORD Almighty.” This gets the point across, but some of us have sung this song of the angels with the Hebrew word in the song. In The Lutheran Hymnal, the Sanctus sung before Communion goes like this: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of … Sabaoth.” When I was young, I thought “the Lord of Sabaoth” meant he was the God of the Sabbath Day, the day of rest. It did not make much sense because Sabaoth does not mean Sabbath. Sabaoth is the Hebrew for an army, a group of soldiers ready to fight for their king. We sing “Lord God of heavenly hosts” today. This is the LORD who controls the angels armies of heaven. They are ready to do his will.

When we pray, “Hallowed by thy name” think of the God of free and faithful love who commands the armies of heaven, the God who is three times holy and set apart from all creation. His name is certainly holy. The seraphs got it and covered their faces and feet. What is Isaiah’s reaction?

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.”

If the angels who have no sin are humble before the triple holy Lord God, a sinner before this holy God reacts like Isaiah reacts – in terror. Isaiah is certain that he is ruined. This is the end for him because he is looking upon the holy Lord God. There is no escape for him. Isaiah can offer no excuse for his own sin. He can only confess his sins to the holy LORD. Isaiah expresses his sinfulness as having unclean lips. He also says that he lives among other sinners but that is not an excuse. Isaiah gets it. He is a sinner in the presence of the holy God. Other people cannot help him. The sins of others are not his problem. His own sin is what causes him to be ruined.

Do we take our own sin too lightly at times, especially those sins of the lips? God’s name can slip off our lips in all kinds of ways that do not keep his name holy. It is used for surprise, anger, swearing and cursing instead of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. Whether or not we use God’s name in our speaking, we are too often quick with the put down, the insult and the come back instead of quick to forgive, build up and encourage. Do we sometimes forget that the Lord is holy all the time and not just on Sunday morning at church?

When we pray, “Hallowed by thy name,” remember the holiness of the LORD. He is set apart from all in creation, above the six-winged seraphs, three times holy and completely apart from sin. God’s name is certainly holy in itself and we pray in this first petition that we too may keep it holy.

Keep God’s Name Holy

How is God’s name kept holy by people whose lips are stained with sin? Isaiah did not know the answer but could only confess his ruin at seeing the holy Lord God. Then the LORD acts through his angels.

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Isaiah received this amazing experience of personal forgiveness from the holy, holy, holy Lord God of heavenly hosts. From the altar, the place of sacrifice, Isaiah received forgiveness. The seraph delivered forgiveness in the live coal from the altar of sacrifice and delivered the words of forgiveness from God to Isaiah. Just as certainly as God’s name is holy, so also Isaiah’s forgiveness is certain. God has declared that Isaiah is not guilty. The LORD of free and faithful love has atoned for Isaiah’s sins.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such an experience of personal forgiveness from the Holy God? I submit to you today that God still delivers his forgiveness to each of us. After facing the altar in the front of church while confessing our sins, the pastor turns around to face the congregation and announce: “As a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And while most pastors do not have six wings, we get to announce the same good news of forgiveness to people as the seraph did to Isaiah.

All believers have been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the authority to forgive sins in the name of the Triune God. Pastors do so publicly on behalf of the congregation. All believers can do so individually. Keep God’s name holy by announcing the forgiveness of sins to each other. Take away the burden of guilt and the shame of sin from individuals you know by telling them of the Holy Lord God who forgives sins.

Of course, our proclamation of forgiveness has no power without the sacrifice made at the altar. The altar was the cross and the sacrifice was the Lord Jesus Christ himself. The Holy Lord offers himself to pay for the sin of the world. Isaiah saw his robe fill the temple. At the cross, the holy blood of Christ covered the world’s sin. He is truly holy, set apart from the world, not only by his almighty power as God, but also by his amazing sacrifice for sinners. Our God is holy, holy, holy.

Today, our Lord Jesus Christ offers his true body and blood for us Christians to eat and drink. He delivers his full forgiveness of sins, not with a hot coal from the altar, but with his body and blood given and shed at the altar of the cross. When the elements of Holy Communion touch your lips today know for certain what the Holy LORD is saying to you. He promises just what he said to Isaiah: Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. This is personal. This is for you.

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!”

Emboldened by the forgiveness of his sins, Isaiah answers the call of the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah will proclaim the law and the gospel to the people. This was a call into public ministry. On Thursday, 30 men received calls into the pastoral ministry in our synod. The week before 136 men and women were called into the teaching ministry. These all answered with Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me!” The Holy LORD has sent them out to keep his name holy. These public ministers will keep God’s name holy by proclaiming in words and actions the pure Word of God, especially the good news of forgiveness in Christ alone. May the LORD bless all of them in their work.

There were more requests for teachers and pastors than graduates to fill those requests. If public gospel ministry has crossed your mind, think and pray about it. Talk to me or to others and see if you might one day be called by the LORD to keep his name holy in as a Christian teacher or pastor.

Keeping God’s name holy is not just or even primarily a called worker’s task. Every believer wants to keep God’s name holy. We all do this by taking his law seriously which will lead to daily repentance. We do so by believing the gospel which leads to daily forgiveness. We keep God’s name holy by the words we use and the actions we take. Luther says it this way:

God’s name is kept holy when his Word is taught in its truth and purity and we as children of God lead holy lives according to it. Help us to to this dear Father in heaven!

Amen.