We believe the Trinity

What is the Trinity? And why is it important to believe in the Trinity? Drawing biblical references on the importance of the Trinity in our faith, this sermon brings a study on the existence of one God in three Persons - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Small avatar of sermon author David Loader

David Loader


Transcript (Auto-generated)

Good morning everyone. We are continuing in our series on um on the things that we believe and uh this morning I've got about 10 sermons that I want to preach in one uh so don't panic I'm trying to uh just keep it all together to keep it brief and so you need to um to to buckle up and settle in because I'm going to go very quickly um might be too quick for some and so the PowerPoint will be available if you want to follow it up it'll be available on our website I guess in a few days or through the office if you ought to follow things up and also because there's so much uh there's going to be some things that you're going to say oh I wish you had have said that and so I can't say everything in um in this topic and also I'm going to use probably in a couple of places some words which you may or may not be uh be used to and that's just for the uh those who want to do a bit more exploring and if you need to know some more information about that I use those big words because I'm going on holidays tomorrow and you won't be able to ask me what those words mean but all the other pastors here they all know uh straight away what the words mean okay so our Bible reading as you can see on the screen we're looking at the Trinity today we're working through our doctrinal belief and um in the bulletin today it's uh the whole of our doctrinal belief is there um that's just taken out of our constitution if you want a copy of the Constitution so you see everything else that about our practice and whatever just see the people at the um at our welcome desk and they'll make sure they get one to you one way or another but uh last week uh Dave helped us to understand why we believe the Bible in the way we do and today we're looking at this uh aspect about the Trinity let me read this passage of scripture from uh Mark's gospel chapter 1 and from verse 9 at that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan as Jesus was coming up out of the water he saw heaven being torn open and the spirit descending on him like a dove and a voice from Heaven you are my son in my love with you I am well pleased once the spirit sent him out into the desert and he was in the desert 40 days being tempted by Satan he was with the wild animals and Angels attended attended him we know that God always blesses the reading of his word um baptisms always get us excited don't they even here when we have a baptism after somebody's baptized is often clapping and cheering and lots of congratulations a lot of celebration around the baptism this outward sign of an inward change is what it means for us but we've just read an account of a baptism which um never never going to be repeated and um instead of the um cheering or whatever my sense is is that all the crowd out there was probably overwhelmed with this sense of quiet and this sense of a about what has what has just happened see we've got these two main characters John the Baptist who is um who's sort of the country Blake relative of Jesus who is like a city boy um we've got grandkids who fit into those categories we know it's interesting to see the um the contrast that our Country Boys Roll into bikes and swimming in the creek with snakes and uh kangaroos guns and all of those sorts things our city boys City grandsons are are quite different they are street smart they know all about trains and about catching trains and when it comes to swimming they swim in swimming pools in uh in competitions and so on and so the contrast is quite quite uh quite marked and so here is um John the Baptist who is out in the desert and uh and the Bible tells us that he had his fast food was was is like Grasshoppers and Bush honey that was his I'm not about sure about Jesus whatever the equivalent of mcmas and KFC was in those days that was probably his diet and so Jesus goes out to John to be baptized by him John is even overwhelmed by this because he say it says to Jesus Jesus I'm the one who really should be being baptized by you not vice versa and Jesus says no you've got to baptize me me and so Jesus goes down in the water John baptizes him and as he's baptized coming up out of the water just imagine that you're thinking you're realizing for the very first time what happens here so as Jesus comes up out of the water there's this voice from Heaven this voice hearing everybody's hearing it you are my beloved son I'm really pleased with you and and the spirit's descending down not as a dove but like a dove the spirit descends down onto Jesus as well and there's this coming together of God the Father God the son and God the Holy Spirit here in this passage of scripture that we have just read and and because we are probably so familiar with it we gloss over it so easily and and we lose something of the sense of a and uh and mystery and Majesty everything that's taking place at this moment in time when Jesus is baptized and The Trinity is on show well as I said we looking today at uh at at the Trinity last week has said about Dave took us through the inspiration today and our constitution puts it this way it says we believe in the existence of one God in three persons the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit consider this scenario if you will Man meets woman woman meets man after a over a cup of coffee or something fall in love and um and the woman proposes to the man let's get married why does the woman propose the man it's a leap year and everyone knows in a leap year is that the woman's got permission or the woman has to whatever it is but anyway that's irrelevant to the story so they decid to get married and um they we hear the pastor Dylan down the Baptist Church does a pretty good service so let's go and talk to Pastor Dylan about so Pastor Dylan we to get married you marri us Pastor Dylan is smart he doesn't immediately say yes or no he says let's get together and have a talk about it when he gets together and have a talk about it um he said well you decide to get married why you got decide get married we love each other um what is it that you know about each other that um that you love oh well we've known each other for a month now and uh so we reckon we she's she's a woman he's a man so we ought to ought to um get married now Pastor Dylan because he's smart says this he doesn't go ahead with the wedding but he says I really think you need to go away way and get to know each other a bit better and then if after getting to know one another and you want to get married then come back and see me does that make sense to you of course it does why is it sometimes when we think about our relationship with God a love relationship not a romantic love of course a very different sort of a love but our love relationship with God that often I mean God knows far more about me than I know he knows more about you than you know but what about the reverse you see sometimes we um sometimes I think as Christians we just take too much for granted in um well there's God and so I love God and I'll serve him and whatever and in fact that's that's lazy Christianity in that just as we need to not only initially but in all of our life whether it be a husband wife relationship or whatever relationship we really need to get to know one another we really need to get to know God and to continue to get to know God by reading his word and understanding it and by uh his indwelling Spirit by by all of these things and sometimes we we forget the the need to do that and so this morning we're talking about the Trinity and it's an important fun fundamental thing it's the most important thing one of the most important things about our knowing god as Christians is to understand that God is Trinity consider this our church is on a major intersection here um roundabout I have no idea how many cars go by here I'm guessing don't quote this is just a pure guess it may be way out I'm guessing somewhere between 5 and 10,000 cars a day um go past our church um by the way they all seem to go when I'm trying to get out of the office to go home and lined up there for 3 hours waiting to get out but anyway that's another story I guess most of those people in the cars as they go by and just focused on negotiating the roundabout but I wonder how often or whether people actually stop and think as they look at our church here which they go by where they stop and ask themselves I wonder what sort of people go there and I wonder what sort of a god they believe that's an important consideration to to say or to to think about and so consider this that you're going out there through the door one day the car pulls over and somebody jumps out says hey you go that church yeah I do well I got these two questions what sort of people go there and what's sort of a god do you believe in well the first question is easy to answer what sort of people go there they're all goodl looking people full of natural charm and all the rest of it but what sort of a god do you believe in let's just sit and let's just talk about that for a while and so we sit down or you sit down with this person and decide to talk now the very first question that we want to ask is this it's actually does God exist um that's an assumption that we make that uh we here this this morning I guess somewhere probably 100% of say yes I believe God exists maybe there's one or two or so here who who are not sure but let me just very quickly go through some of the range of responses that people out there have in regard to God so there are some people who are atheist that's from a Greek thing Theo is God Theos is God and a negates that so an atheist is one who says there is no God um so there are a lot of people out there like that then there's the agnostic also from the Greek from the Greek word nosis gnosis which means knowing and so the a negates that so an agnostic doesn't know whether there's a God or not so if you say um to some people do you believe there's a God no I don't believe there's a God that's an atheist if somebody says um I don't know whether there's a God or not they're an agnostic I just really don't know then there are some people out there who are a polytheist poly meaning many uh there is many gods so these are very broad categories and you could add to them or subdivisions and whatever so there are some people out there say there are many gods there are some people who are pantheists pan meaning all all so God is in all and everything is God so all of Nature and everything this is all God and so we've got to uh be careful about doing all of this because that's God and then there's the materialist and this is probably where most of our society fits where we're so busy with the material things that there's just materialized God out of things out of life there's no need for God so as we're sitting with this person we're talking we sort of say well there's a whole range of beliefs about God and so I wonder where you fit in all of this and so we might even begin our discussion in something like that and we want to very quickly say well we actually believe that there is a God and so well they they'll respond with something like that and say how do you know that God exists ah here's some big words for you um um for you to to think about and you can either Google these words or as I say ask any of the pastors they know off the top of the head what uh what these ideas about God or the existence of God is they've been given some technical names so there's this ontological uh view poor Kim I have not given her any warning about this and uh so my apologies uh but she's so good she can handle all of this so the ontological view basically says this did you just poke your tongue at me no just checking just checking the ontological view says hey whatever Society you go to there's always this belief wherever you go primitive whatever anywhere in the world there's this idea there's an idea about there's a God or Gods there's um there's this belief in this higher power so that can be proof or not proof but that can be an indicator that there is a God or there's the cosmological um argument as well which basically is talking about uh about cause and effect so if there's something that's happening what has caused that so if there's something happening what's the effect of that so if there's a world here whatever what has been the cause in all of that so there's this cause and effect that the effect is the world there must have been a cause there to uh bring the world into being other than just a big bang even if Big Bang or what was it cause of that and so uh so it must be God or there's theological idea as well which says this where there is a design there must be a designer okay so I wear a watch here I don't understand all about it cuz all sorts of things happen when I've got up this morning it didn't seem to be working I press thing now said your watch is now up to dat on things so I done an update overnight whatever that's done I've got no idea it tells me the time that's all I need to know so it just didn't happen this watch somewhere along the line somebody designed it and so when we look at the world in which we live there are so many things so many intricate things happened or happening right about us it really really points to there must be a designer behind all of this and so there are three basic ones here other thoughts as well and there's other ideas are put out philosophies put out that might prove or demonstrate the existence of God I want to say this that ultimately is there a god that ultimately it is a matter of Faith either way I came across this idea once and I've actually used it a couple of times where people have said I do not believe that there's a God and so I've used this sort of an argument I say okay here's a sheet of paper let's imagine that this sheet of paper is everything that there is to know in the world in the universe so this is everything that there is to know if I was to draw a circle on here about how much you know how much would you know and so I generally Draw Something a bit like that and they say um oh probably don't even know that much so let's be generous you're being humble or whatever so this is all a knowledge in the world but you only know that much is it not possible is it not possible that God exists outside your area of knowledge and any rational person has to say yes that's that's right and so for somebody to say I don't believe in God is as much a statement of faith as somebody saying they do believe in God in fact I sit in the camp where I think it's less Faith to believe in God than it is to not believe in God it takes more faith to say there's no God than to say there is a God that's that's where I sit in all of that back in I think he was born in about 1623 was this uh French philosopher mathematician by the name of blaz Pascal back in those days they didn't have a lot of names so his name was blaz or something like that it's what his parents called him brilliant young young Blake as a lot of these these outstanding people are mathematicians he was actually part of the design in team for Designing the first mechanical calculator um so this is like in the 1600s so this is how good this man is and he is a philosopher he was actually a Roman Catholic but he in his philosophy said this about God about whether God exists or not now some people sort of use this to try to prove whether there's God or not and there's all holes in that but but that's that's not the point but this is this is the decision so this has become known as Pascal's wager you know the wager is a gamble um something that you bet on something that you take a risk on so that's a wager so this is Pascal's wager what he said he said look there are two choices whether there is a God or not now let's just imagine for a while that there is no God and so if there is no God but you believe there's a God when you get to the end of your life um you've lived an okay life anyway probably had a lot of fun but if there's no God and you don't believe there's a God you've gone out and done whatever and you've lived it up and that's fine he says what about if there is a God if there is a God and you don't believe there's a God when you get the end of your life you know what's going to happen you're going to suffer Eternal separation from God but if there is a God and you've lived in the reality that there is a God when you get to the end of your life you live for eternity with him so understand that making as simple as I can blaz those uh Pascal's rather wager so he says this is the choice this is a wager this is a gamble that you have to take in life whether you're going to believe in God take the risk that there is no God or not and so this is what it's all about and when you think of it in terms like that folk it's a very very important decision that we all make about the existence of God you know it's if you if you make the wrong decision here one the concerns I have is this is it eeeeeeeisn't it your concern that you climb the ladder and you get to the top and you discover that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall you know what I'm saying or somebody else that I read recently put it this way and talking to to someone else they said I don't fear I don't worry about you failing what I worry about is you succeeding at the wrong thing now they are two very important questions not just in life but they are particularly of particular importance when it comes to the matter of God does God exist or does he not exist and this is the really the foundational aspect that we have to come to and we in our belief according to our Constitution which uh which we SC which we believe is that we say we believe in one God in three persons and so what can we know about God I to make these four statements about God one there is only one God um what's known as the Shamar in uh in Deuteronomy chapter 6: 4-9 uh verse four begins this way here o Israel the Lord is God God The Lord Is Our God the Lord is one The Lord Is Our God or the Lord there is the name given to Gods Yahweh here oh Israel Yahweh is one Yahweh is our God that's a beginning statement which there in back in Deuteronomy chapter 6 part of the shama is what they call it but the um the foundational principles for the Jewish people is this is that we have one God only one God and Yahweh is his name but what we discover just like as we read in um about the baptism of Jesus there is only one God but this one God exists as three persons Father Son and Holy Spirit is that just a new testament idea no of course it's not even when you go back to the beginning in Genesis um there's indications of the plurality within the god uh in the godhead there Elohim is talking about God is is in the he is in the uh plural let us make man or humankind let us make humankind in our image so there's a plurality there later on in the Bible in the New Testament you read that Jesus is the creator of all things back in Genesis the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters so there is only one God but God exists in three persons and this is where it becomes interesting where it says the three are one there's only one God the three are one in essence yet the three are different persons or people if you see down the bottom there Essence is referring to our being or what you are person is not what you are but who you are that's distinct so three persons one in being but distinct the three father son and spirit yet in all of this God is a Unity there is only one God now if we were to go through the Bible some of the stuff that I did S one list of about 60 references just in the New Testament to the Trinity so we don't obviously have time to go through all of those today but let me just point this this out and uh for you to some homework to do um for your awareness but the Bible talks about the father is God in Philippians 1 2 it talks about Jesus as being God an example Titus 213 and it talks about the Holy Spirit is being God in Acts 53 and4 as I've just said there many verses in the Bible where all three are mentioned together if you want to list we can get that to you as well or you could go looking for that yourself now I want you to note this is that the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible but all the teaching about it and the reality and the acceptance of God in three persons is there right throughout um the word Trinity was came about in the 3D Century uh by one of the theologians of the day talian when the church gathered together and said we have this this dilemma not a dilemma we have this this problem here is that we keep as we understand God there are three persons but there is only one God how can we understand this and so there all these councils got together and uh all these people learned people got together to discuss it and Italian came up with the word Trinity that's from the Latin whatever the Latin word is trinus or something like that and uh but it's not the first time there's previously there's another character by the name of um somebody else uh theophus of somewhere who uh used a Greek word to talk about the three aspects of God um so a bit before talian but there was this there's this idea where this church Council got together talian was using this word not because it's a new idea but um but rather rather what we are talking about is that here's the Bible talking about it how can we understand it and come to an understanding of what this might mean to explain it and so the Bible makes all of that very clear and what we need to understand this going further about this about each person of the Trinity is fully God there are a lot of um illustrations tried to be given to explain the Trinity and all of them fall short uh I want just just to realize that the Trinity is not like a pie cut into three pieces like ends up in a heretical view it's not the Trinity is not like the three parts of an egg you know the shell the White and the Yik it's not like that it's not God appearing in three different forms that God appears as the father appears as the son appears as a spirit it's not all of that so when we try using physical things to describe the Trinity we run into comp uh into problems so rather than trying to explain it in in uh in physical terms the Trinity is best explained uh in relational terms rather in physical but the basic idea is this the basic understanding is this is that God is three in one now in case you haven't realized this yet that that's quite complex it's not only complex but it's mysterious as well that God is mystery and if if you say to me later David I didn't fully understand the Trinity can you just go through it again explain it to me just how you understand I can't say too much more because I cannot adequately explain the Trinity it's beyond my comprehension and I suggest this to you that if ever anybody says to you I I can explain the Trinity uh just walk away from them because they probably really don't know what they're talking about this is God this is the Magnificent God the God we worship who is way above and beyond our comprehension and our understanding who wants to worship and to have a God who we can fully understand anyway we want someone who is far bigger and far better you see one way that we can put it diagram diagrammatically is a bit like this is there is God and we have this uh these three outer circles the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit with each of them connected so the father is God the son is God the holy spirit is God but the father is not the Holy Spirit the father is not the Son and the son is not the holy spirit all God this is God three separate persons but one in essence in being and I want to confirm this to you what's there on the left is this um is that God is Trinity is that when we're talking about the Trinity we're not talking about a concept but we're talking about a real person living amongst us so it's not a concept that we come up with but it's a real person so we talk about the spirit indwelling us we talk about Jesus indwelling us we talk about God indwelling us we don't break them up you see when we receive God we receive God in total it's bit like when an and I got married said to a dad could I have your daughter he didn't say we can have an arm this week and a leg next week whatever now you get the whole person and that's how it is with God is that God is not being divided up but there is one God in three persons so so what in all of this well here are some things of our response to the tri in God just remember that first scenario about our need to get to know God better and as we grapple with the Trinity don't avoid it but grapple with it wrestle with it you won't fully understand it but understand it to whatever extent you can as we wrestle with this we have a higher deeper better and wider understanding and knowledge of our God how great our god really is part of that is we respond in awe of God which that deepens our worship as well as we worship Father Son and Holy Spirit it also affirms by the way that God is love you know the Bible says in a couple of places God is love you know where it says that in 1 John it's easy to remember 1 John chter 4 and double the four you get eight so it's one John chap chapter 1 John chapter 4:8 you double that and you get verse 16 so those two times where it specifically says God is love ever stop to think if there's only one God as a single person how can God Be Loved but you see when God is understood in terms of the trinity we can understand that God is love and understand something of the perfect relationship the love relationship between Father Son and Holy Spirit which it's that love which issues out in love for you and for me and uh and our opportunity to respond to that but it also is a model for us how we might be able to love others and to love God as well and as we put a few verses together it helps us understand our praying as well we pray to the father through the son by the spirit so when you've got to this point with this person who stopped you out on the street and they've listened to uh all that you've said and you haven't done it quick like I have but you've done it over 2 or three hours or more and they' responded and says what a great God you have I'd really like to meet him and what do you respond hang on I'll get one of the pastors no don't do that but rather you say let me introduce you to Jesus we're going to pray and um at the end of the prayer I'm going to pray the benediction which is there from 2 Corinthians chapter 13 and verse4 and so this is from JB Phillips is how he's worded it says the grace that comes through our lord Jesus the love that is of God the father and the fellowship that is ours in the Holy Spirit be with you all isn't that a tremendous benediction that uh Paul has written and placed there for us in uh in Corinthians for us so let's pray father God we taught to pray to you to pray to you knowing that we pray in the will of the Lord Jesus and through the strength and the power of the spirit we're so glad that we have Jesus interceding for us that we have the spirit interceding for us we're so glad that you such a big God that you're beyond our comprehension yet you've chosen to reveal yourself to us and thank you for what we can know about you and what we do know about you even now just causes us to fall in love with you and as you reveal more of yourself to us to grow deeper in our love relationship ship with you and for your people encourage us stretch our thinking stretch our minds but strength stretch our hearts as well as we continue the journey with you now the grace that comes through our Lord Jesus Christ the love that is of God the father and the fellowship that is ours in the Holy Spirit be with you all. And all of God's people say: Amen.