Summary: This focuses more on the Confirmation aspect of this Sunday than the Trinity aspect. The basic thrust is how much better it is for these confirmands to follow the Triune God than the devil.
Confirmation – Trinity Sunday
Did you know that there were confirmation classes in the Bible? Of course, they didn’t look exactly like ours. They didn’t have a blue book filled with a lot of “What Does This Mean’s” and “This Is Most Certainly True’s.” But even in the early New Testament times, there were catechism classes as the apostles traveled around and started churches filled with immature Christians. Back then, just as now, there were students of the Bible, and teachers who helped them grow in their knowledge. One of St. Paul’s confirmation classes was a church in a city called Corinth. This wasn’t the type of city where you would go for a family vacation. Corinth was a place with a lot of sin and a lot of temptation, so as you might imagine Paul was pulling out his hair as he tried to teach this class the truths about God. So if you ever thought you were a bad class for me during the times when you didn’t know your memory work very well (or at all), or came to class “forgetting” to bring your worksheet along with you, I just want you to know: you were a piece of cake compared to Paul’s Confirmation class in Corinth! Just read through 1st Corinthians sometime and look at the fits that this confirmation class gave Paul. But it ended well with this challenging group of students. They listened to their teacher bring the Word of God to them, and they grew. Our text is the last written words that we have from the teacher to his class. And as we look at these words today, on your Confirmation, which also happens to be Trinity Sunday, I hope to use these thoughts to encourage you to Entrust Your Time on Earth to the Triune God.
Entrust your time to the Trinity by aiming for perfection in your life. Look at the first words of our text, “Finally, brothers, good-bye. Aim for perfection.” In our classes over the past few years, we have learned that there are two powers in this world: the great, healing and forgiving power of the Triune God, and the destructive, vicious power of the devil. But because we cannot see these powers with our eyes, sometimes we forget that they are there. But they are there. In a few moments, you will make a promise to the Triune God in front of this congregation that you will abandon the devil and all his tricks. And Satan, he has a lot of tricks, but one thing he is going to whisper to you over and over throughout your life: take the easy way out! “Don’t be perfect, you’re never going to get there anyway! Just try to be pretty good. Take the easy way out.” That’s what he whispered to Adam and Eve “You want to know what good AND evil is like? Take the easy way out…just take a bite of this fruit and you’ll have it! (and don’t worry too much about how God said not to).” That’s what he whispered to Jesus as he was tempted in the desert, saying, “you don’t want to go through all that suffering and humiliation! Take the easy way out and just bow down to me, and I’ll give you the earth!” He said to these people, “God’s way is too hard! My way is a lot more easy and fun! Take the easy way out.”
And maybe the devil is right. Doesn’t God’s way seem hard: aim for perfection! God is saying, “don’t be satisfied with any sin in your life. Anytime you find yourself doing something sinful, thinking something evil, I want you to stop.” Friends will encourage you to take the easy way out by giving up many of the truths that you have learned these past few years about how God wants you to live. “Do you want to have fun by abusing your body by overusing things that will hurt it? Go ahead – take the easy way out. Don’t make yourself look like a nerd in front of your friends by saying no when they’re all doing it. Take the easy way out and join in with them just this once. Do you want the fun of marriage without the commitment of marriage? Go ahead – take the easy way out. Have fun with as many girls as you want. You’ll have plenty of time to be tied down to one person later.”
In just a few years, you 4 guys are going to be living on your own, in a college dorm room or your first apartment with a few friends of yours. Mommy isn’t going to be knocking on your door on Sunday morning to tell you to get ready for church. But you can bet that Satan will be right there, whispering to your tired self to take the easy way out that morning. “You’ve had a long week! This is your only morning to sleep in, or play golf. You go to school 5 or 6 days a week, you need to work today instead of church…God can wait until your life isn’t as busy as it is now. Go ahead – relax, take the easy way out.” You will be persuaded by so-called friends and self-made amateur theologians that if God loves you, he must want you to do the things that make you happy, even if that stuffy out-of-date Bible says it’s wrong.