Our Triune God, Part I

Opening:

The Nicene Creed begins:

We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible
.

I am preaching a sermon series on beliefs which Christians have always held in common. From the days of the early church Christians have held strong to the belief in the Trinity. We have believed:

  1. God is three persons.
  2. Each person is fully God.
  3. There is one God.[1]

Today, protestants and Catholics together believe in the Trinity.

Today, I wish to begin a three week series on the Triune God. Today, I will talk about God, the Father, but I will also introduce the idea of the Trinity.

My Theme:

The church has always believed in the Trinity. God the Father is fully God, but not all there is to God. God is three persons, each person is fully God, God is one.

Application:

when we have unity in diversity we are reflecting the Trinity. Let’s have unity in diversity in the church, our families and society.

Applications:

Apply the idea of unity, diversity, harmony, love, submissiveness

I usually like to introduce a topic, but this is tough. Let me jump in talking about some significant takeaways regarding the Trinity:

Think with me about unity in diversity, are we very good at it?

Can a football team win if they are not united?

Can society be united with different cultures blended together?

I don’t think our society has been too successful at this lately. It seems like people naturally segregate themselves, but that is not how it needs to be. I don’t know that it is always wrong as long as it is not done with hate. If we can still come together in love for a common purpose then that is wonderful. That is exactly what happens in family. When a family is successful there is unity in diversity. Actually, in marriage there is unity in diversity. Male and female come together and they are now a family. There can be, and should be, mutual submission in family. There should be self sacrifice in family. Marriages fail for many reasons, but a major reason is that there is diversity, but the unity does not last.

So, with society we can have unity in diversity. I have one example now and another at the end of the sermon.

The first is WWII:

I was the youngest of three children born to parents whose lives had been shaped mainly by work. Hard, honest labor. They met and married during a difficult time in the United States, on the heels of the Great Depression. As giant walls of dust rolled over Texas, blown east from the Dust Bowl, fear of unemployment haunted every hardworking person in America. In 1934, one out of every four people couldn’t find work, crops withered, banks failed, and families in every neighborhood risked foreclosure and homelessness. That’s when I came along. Actually, I was a “mistake.” I know this because my parents told me. My father escaped unemployment, and, as the nation recovered, he thrived in the insurance business—business— in no small way due to his strong work ethic and positive mental attitude. Then, while he was driving to enjoy a few pre-Christmas days of vacation at my grandfather’s bay cottage near Palacios, Texas, a startling announcement came over the radio in our new 1941 Ford. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor; the United States had declared war on Japan; and on top of all that, it was announced that we would also enter the fight against Hitler in the carnage of Europe. My father immediately turned the car around and headed for home. “This is no time for a vacation,” he said quietly as my mother began to weep. A short time afterward, he resigned his job selling insurance, and we moved from my sleepy little hometown of El Campo to Houston, where he began work in a defense factory in support of the war effort. Too old for military service, this was my dad’s way of serving his country. He said it was the least he could do. He supplemented the lost income by working double shifts.[2]

I was not alive during World War II, I don’t know if you know that. I know I look much older than I am. What I have learned and been taught is that America came together. We were diverse, but we were united. Everybody came together for the common cause of defeating the axis powers.

  1. God the Father is fully God
    1. Genesis 1:1 opens with: “in the beginning God created.
    2. We see God the Father all the way through the Old Testament.
    3. The Son and Holy Spirit are obedient to the Father’s will.
    4. God is Spirit (John 4:24).
    5. Jesus was submissive to the Father: Luke 2:49; 22:42; John 6:40: For my Father’s willis that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
    6. I like what one theologian writes: Thus, while the persons of the Trinity are equal in all their attributes, they nonetheless differ in their relationships to the creation. The Son and Holy Spirit are equal in deity to God the Father, but they are subordinate in their roles. Moreover, these differences in role are not temporary but will last forever: Paul tells us that even after the final judgment, when the “last enemy,” that is, death, is destroyed and when all things are put under Christ’s feet, “then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one” (1 Cor. 15:28).[3]
    7. God the Father planned and directed creation and redemption through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
    8. The Father and Son work together like a Father and Son on earth.
  2. God the Father is not all there is to God.
    1. God is three persons.
    2. We see evidences of the Trinity in the Old Testament as well.
    3. Would anyone like to name one?
    4. The spirit moved along the waters… (Gen. 1:2)
    5. Genesis 1:26: “Let ‘us’ make man…” God uses a plural pronoun.
    6. There are many other places in the Old Testament, but I just wanted to share a few.
    7. God is Spirit and the New Testament teaches that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. (Col. 1:15) So, some believe that when God appears in the Old Testament that is really Jesus.
    8. So, God is 3 persons.
    9. Each person is fully God.
    10. God is one.
    11. I heard it said, “one what, three who’s. I like that.
  • The church has always believed this.
    1. I quoted the Nicene Creed about this in the beginning: We believe in one God,
      the Father almighty,
      maker of heaven and earth,
      of all things visible and invisible
      .
    2. That was in 325 AD
    3. Luther, for instance, affirmed the Apostles Creed as well as the Chalcedonian and Nicene formulations, and defended the use of terms like Trinity andhomoousios against Martin Bucer who protested that we must use strictly biblical language. Writing to distinguish his cause from the Anabaptists, Luther even went so far as to declare:
      1. “We do not reject everything that is under the dominion of the Pope. For in that event we should also reject the Christian church. Much Christian good is to be found in the papacy and from there it descended to us” (quoted in Timothy George,Theology of the Reformers, 81-82).
    4. Applications
      1. In the Trinity we have unity, diversity, harmony, love and submissiveness.
      2. Since there is unity in diversity in the Godhead, that means that we can have unity in diversity in the church.
      3. We must be united with the church as much as we can.
      4. We must seek out diversity in gifts, talents, cultures in the church. (Gal. 3:28)
      5. We can have unity in diversity in marriage.
      6. We must try to be united as families.
      7. We can have unity and diversity in family.
      8. God is perfect and God is love. There is absolute love in the Triunity of the Godhead. This is encouraging.
      9. We must pray to the Father through the Spirit in the name of Jesus. John Piper says: So my conclusion is: Let your normal, regular praying be prayer to the Father through the Spirit in the name of Jesus, but realize that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are persons and to speak to them as a saved sinner would, cannot be unnatural.
      10. Jesus modeled obedience to the Father, even though the Father is not greater than the Son. We can be submissive and obedient to authorities. We can be submissive and obedient to loved ones.
      11. When our family, or church exhibits faithfulness, love and harmony we are reflecting the Trinity. That is amazing.
      12. So, how are you doing with unity? Do you need to heal a relationship?
      13. How are you doing with racism? You know those thoughts that come to mind about certain groups? We can be united in diversity.
      14. How are you doing with humble submission and service? Jesus was humbly submissive to the Father.
      15. Serve someone this week in honor of Jesus.
      16. Heal a relationship this week in honor of the Trinity.
      17. If you use social media, don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Love people.

Close:

The trinity is difficult to understand:

As C.S. Lewis put it:

“If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”

My Theme:

The church has always believed in the Trinity. God the Father is fully God, but not all there is to God. God is three persons, each person is fully God, God is one.

Applications today:

When we are united in diversity with harmony, love and submissiveness we are most reflecting the Godhead.

John 17:20-21:

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Let’s be One as a church, but let’s go further and be one with other churches.

September 11, God bless America

After September 11 our country came together like I have never seen it. The day after our congress came to the front steps and sang “God Bless America.”

A video such as:

 John 20:21:

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

 

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

[1]  Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 239.

[2] Swindoll, Charles R. (2012-02-02). Saying It Well: Touching Others with Your Words (p. 143). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.

[3]  Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 249.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s