God is: Trinity
Updated: Jul 14
Beyond the limits of our understanding, is where God resides. Message from April 26th 2020
Greeting - Sunday April 26th
A few quick announcements that, if you’ve listened to our live streams in the past weeks, you’ve probably already heard, but here they are again…
On tuesdays we put out a “Bible Study Worksheet” to give us a little bit of a glimpse into what were going to be talking about
On thursdays we post a short little “Digital Devotion” to bring some comfort to anyone who needs it
We also have digital giving available through Venmo, if you feel like giving your tithes and offerings that way, just search for “ChristCommunityChurch27” or you can send it through the mail at 27 W. Genesee St
And that brings us current!
So-----if you wernt here last week, we started a new Sermon Series.
Im a big fan of using Sermon Series, as they give us a structure to follow as we try and understand the God of the universe.
Our Sermon series is titled “What is God like” and each week were going to be going through the different attributes of God….stretching our brain, and showing and talking about why its important for us to deal with these.
Last week we talked about God being “holy” meaning He is set apart from everything in all of the World.
This week-----were diving right into the deep end of the pool, and talking about The Trinity.
Were going to look at a few different verses to help us concrete on the reality of the Trinity, the first of which is:
Matthew 28:19 - “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
(→ Opening Prayer ← )
So, The Trinity.
I dont want to assume that everyone is already on the same page about this, and has the same knowledge set, so I'm going to start as simply as possible.
Christianity is a monotheistic religion. We believe in 1 singular, solitary God.
There isnt a god for spring time and harvest
There isnt a god of war and a god of peace
There isnt a god of hell and a god of heaven
There is 1 single God, and He is the God of everything in all of reality.
He is the God of every season on every planet
He is the God of every galaxy and every sun
He is the God of every molecule and every particle
He is the God of war and the God of peace
He is the God of hell and the God of heaven.
There is one, single, solitary, God - and His name is Yahweh
Deuteronomy 6:4 - “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one”
There is only one God.
But then we read verses like this:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 17:5 - And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
John 8:58 - “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
These verses tell us that Jesus is God.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit ……..What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
…..tells us that the Holy Spirit is God
So what do we do?
(expand on this----How do make sense of it?)
Do we chop up the Bible and assume that because it doesn’t make sense to us, that there must be some sort of flaw?
Do we use our human reasoning skills and the testimony of what we have been able to accomplish and comprehend throughout our history---as the barometer by which we measure if something is true or false?
Is our current ------ or future ----- ability as humans, the bottom line of how things are declared a fact?
Is there something beyond us?
SomeONE beyond us?
Someone capable of a level of intellect and knowledge that makes our best efforts look like filthy rags?
Is there truth out there that our human ability will fall short of explaining?
Is there a harmony within the pages of Scripture that we can see and read -------even though it may lie beyond our comprehension?
It’s super hard for me, myself, to admit that I dont know or understand something, and im sure that that applies to a lot of people listening today.
When we are confronted with something that lies beyond our ability to reason or make sense of, we need to be careful that we dont slide into the default of using human understanding as the benchmark of truth.
So when we read things in Scripture, certain verses, that seem like they contradict other certain verses, we need to remember that Scripture should be taken as a whole.
All of it.
Every verse - has been breathed out by God.
All of it is the Word of God, so we look at ALL of it when we come to certain verses that confuse us.
So when were confused by some verses saying God is ONE---- and other verses saying Jesus is God AND The Holy Spirit is God-----we look at the rest of Scripture.
When we do, we will see that::
Matthew 28:19, Jesus is telling us to baptize people in the name of The Father, & The Son, & The Holy Spirit-----He is putting all three of them on the same level.
Father , Son, Holy Spirit.
This is what The Trinity is. It is God.
Every time you say the word “God” when speaking to---or about the God of the Bible, you are saying “Father, Son, & Holy Spirit”.
When you sit down with your family and say your prayers “Dear God, thank you for this meal…”
You're saying “Dear Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.”
Because that is who God is.
God is “triune”.
He is 3 in 1.
But how can this make sense?
If there is only 1 of something, there can’t also be 3-----right?
It seems like a contradiction to say that He is 3 and He is 1.
I get it.
But we can say that this isnt a contradiction, because of the way that He is 3, and the way that He is 1.
You see, God is 1 in BEING, and He is 3 in PERSONS.
If you're going to try and write down a definition of the Trinity, write this down--- (x2)
If I said He was 3 in Being and 1 in Being, it would be a contradiction------
So the question is, what is the difference between “being” and “person”
My BEING is “what” I am---
My PERSON is “who” I am---
“What” I am, is a human.
Lungs, liver, skin, kneecaps, pancreas, gall bladder, spirit, soul, what I am is human.
“Who” I am, is Jacob.
Father, husband, son, brother, loud, energetic, abrasive, confrontational, etc
I am not a trinity, because I am 1 Being and I am 1 person.
Thats not the case for God.
He is 3 in Person and 1 in being.
What is He?-------He is God.
Who is He? -------- He is Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.
1 in BEING and 3 in PERSON.
So that… kind of makes sense, right?
I mean, its still kind of “out there”.
Humans are 1 in Being, and 1 in Person, so its hard to wrap our brains around the idea that God is -----different.
How can He be 3 persons and 1 being at the same time?
Well….He’s God, so…..yeah
I think the main reason this is hard for people to do, because by our nature, we all want a god that can easily be explained and understood and fit nicely within the confines of what I am able to understand, accomplish, and make sense of. We want a God that fits within our boundaries of logic and reason.
We all, by our very nature, want to be the final say of what is and isnt, and we use our ability to comprehend and understand things as the tool by which we declare what is and isnt.
If we cant understand it or make sense of it, we study and work and try and research and read and write and talk and explore and test and question and do everything possible to try and quantify it-----and if we cant:
we say that we just dont know enough yet OR---
write it off as false OR ---
make up some weird version of things and say that that is true,
All to make ourselves feel like were still in control.
Humans have always done this.
When we reach the end of our human ability to reason and explain, we invent the most nonsensical things out there, instead of admitting that we arent the height of uderstanding.
There was a time when humans believed that the earth was flat….
We believed that the sun revolved around the earth…...
Some people believe that star constellations control their emotions..
We claim there are dozens of genders….
We claim that pregnant women dont have humans inside of them…..
And some people still believe that fish transformed into monkeys who then transformed into humans.
All of this is a desperate attempt to ensure that our thinking and reasoning skills are the benchmark of if something is true, or false…...instead of admitting that there is more out there that we can’t make sense of.
This is how God revealed Himself to us.
He shows us who and what He is, in terms that we can SOMEWHAT understand----but in it, it demands that we acknowledge that He is beyond us.
And we can either admit that there is something beyond our ability-----or we can human our way into distorting reality
Yes there are some people who make the claim that: “Yes there is more out there that we dont understand….but we will someday. Our knowledge isnt there …..yet…. But it will be.”
But-------all of that comes short when it reaches The Trinity.
All of our human logic and reasoning skills crash like waves when they reach the coastline of The Trinity.
The reality of The Trinity is where human understanding meets its match.
This is how we get all the analogies of the Trinity, that end up teaching something wrong about God
Some of the analogies people have used to try and explain the Trinity:
“God is like water” It can be ice, liquid, or vapor---but it’s all still water.
That would be a good analogy, if the same water could be ice, liquid, and vapor simultaneously--- because God is always Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, at the same time. Jesus didnt change forms and become the Spirit. The Father didnt become the Son.
He is never “just the son” or “just the Spirit”. God is always and simultaneously, 3 in person, and 1 in being. The water analogy falls short.
“God is like the sun” Theres the physical sun up in space, the light, and the heat.
This would be good, if we were talking about a different religion, because Jesus and the Holy Spirit don’t “come from” the Father. The Father didnt create the Son or the Holy Spirit. All 3 of them are distinct, individual persons, all of whom are the one God. The sun analogy falls short.
“God is like an egg” Theres the shell, the yolk, and the white.
This would be good, if each of the three persons of the Trinity were only ⅓ of God. As if God were a pie chart split into 3rds. But, that’s not the case. The Father is fully God, the Son is fully God, and the Holy Spirit is fully God. The egg analogy falls short.
Heres a good one that shows how humans want to put themselves at the center
“God is like me.” I am a father, a husband, and a son, but I am only one being”
This one is false, because The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are individual persons, separate and distinct from each other. They each have their own “center of consciousness”, have their own thoughts, and minds different from the other Persons of the “Godhead”, yet they are all still one being.
God is not kind of like us ---- but different.
We are 1 in being, and 1 in person. We are singular.
God is 1 in being, and 3 in person. He is a Trinity.
Never is He not 3 persons, and never is He not 1 being.
He is always, simultaneously, all 3 persons, while remaining 1 being.
Never is He not 3, and never is He not 1.
He will always be 3 without sacrificing His one-ness----
And He will always be 1 without sacrificing His three-ness---
All three persons are co-equal, co-eternal, and co-divine---
And all three are one being, which does not exist apart from them, nor is comprised of them as if they were His parts.----
“When we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together we are not speaking of any greater being than when we speak of the Father alone, the Son alone, or the Holy Spirit alone” - Wayne Grudem
God is 3 persons AND 1 being------ God is a Trinity.
Yes certain members of The Trinity each have certain deeds that they accomplish.
The Father did not die on the Cross
The Son does not indwell our hearts upon repentance and belief
The Spirit does not draw people to the Son
They each do different things, because they are each their own distinct, individual Person.
All through Scripture we can see this.
Concerning the Father….In John 6:44 Jesus says: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them...”
The Father sent The Son….and then brings us while we are still in our sin, to believe in the Son.
Concerning the Son….John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The Son died on the Cross so that whoever believes in Him, will have eternal life.
Concerning The Spirit...Romans 8:11 says: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
The Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead, and lives within our hearts, when we become a Christian.
And Concerning God…
Deuteronomy 6:4 - “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one”
The Father is not the Son or The Spirit
The Son is not the Father or the Spirit
The Spirit is not the Father or the Son.
All three person’s of the Godhead are individuals with their own consciousness, their own minds, and they do different things --------- and they are all one being.
All three working together--
All three moving together---
None of them going off on their own---
None of them attempting some manner of a coup d'etat---
“They are as united in their deeds as in their essence” - Spurgeon
God exists in such a way----that the essence of who and what He is----lies beyond the grasp of human comprehension.
God is the single, triune, holy and divine, creator and King of the cosmos.
You may be thinking to yourself one or all, of three things:
1- “This is crazy talk, it doesn’t make any sense--a single being cannot be 3 persons at the same time. Either the Bible is false, or your understanding of it is false, it makes no sense at all.”
2- “This is too lofty and philosophical for me. I’ll just stick with my preachers who have nice little fortune cookie one liners that make me feel good.”
3- “This is true. It’s hard and beyond me, but it’s what Scripture teaches.”
Hopefully...it’s that last one that you're thinking and feeling.
But-----why can’t it be that second one?
Why go on this journey, if we know that the end result is something that is beyond us?
If what weve been learning this morning is true----and the Trinity is a concept that exists outside of what human minds can accomplish---then why learn about it at all?
Why reach for the sky?
Why try hard? ------ Why try and reach for something that is beyond us?
Why should we reach for the highest height?
Why exercise our hearts and brains?
Why try and know God...better?
Why should you try and come to a deeper level of relationship with the God who saved you?
Why look at what Scripture teaches about the character and nature of God, and let that be the compass that guides the direction you point your life in?
Why should we let the way God has revealed Himself in Scripture, be the blueprint of our relationship with Him?
Why try hard at knowing God, when not trying is so much easier?
I hope the rhetorical nature of these questions points out the need to think and learn about The Trinity.
God revealed Himself to us in Scripture as a Trinity---
And if we want to have a relationship with Him, that exceeds the boundaries of this world and ourselves, then it must be based on who and what He is.
We cant claim that we know Him...if were going to just pass over the things about Himself that He says are important for us to know.
Do you want to know God?
Then read about the persons of the Trinity within the pages of Scripture
Do you want to have a closer relationship with Him?
Then open your Bibles and see what it has to say about The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit
Do you want your life to have a meaning and purpose beyond anything in this world?
Then fill your mind with truths that cannot be contained by the boundaries of this world.
Live your life beyond the confines of what you are capable of---
Reach for the highest star----
Stretch your brain----
Study the Word----
Live beyond yourself----
Humble yourself before the Lord, admit your limits to yourself and to God, and reach for Him---
Grasp and climb and reach and fight and study and read and look outside of yourself and your reasoning and your understanding, and find the triune God of Scripture.
The Three in One
1 I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
2 I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever.
3 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.
4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
5 I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
and your wonderful miracles.
6 Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
7 Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.
8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 The Lord is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, Lord,
and your faithful followers will praise you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
they will give examples of your power.
12 They will tell about your mighty deeds
and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
You rule throughout all generations.
The Lord always keeps his promises;
he is gracious in all he does.
14 The Lord helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
15 The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.
16 When you open your hand,
you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in everything he does;
he is filled with kindness.
18 The Lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He grants the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
20 The Lord protects all those who love him,
but he destroys the wicked.
21 I will praise the Lord,
and may everyone on earth bless his holy name
forever and ever.
Don’t be content with superficial Christianese one liners.
Dig into what Scripture has to say, and your relationship with the Triune God of the cosmos will grow deeper than anything you could ever imagine.
( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )