SERMON: The Trinity and You

This is the video of the sermon I preached this morning followed by a full set of notes.

Audio

How do you tend to think of God? A Force or Power? A remote ruler? An angry judge?

But the Bible reveals that God is intensely personal and he is very interested in you. HE wants to know you.  Part of getting to know someone is getting to know about someone. It is not enough to merely learn about them, but it is a helpful and necessary start. We must know why we believe what we believe and how to explain it to others.

1. Why does the Trinity matter?

Because the concept lies at the core of Christian belief

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

A CHRISTIAN = Someone who openly confesses to others their intention to follow Jesus as their Lord and that God raised him from the dead.

Someone who believes in the physical resurrection of Jesus and lives their life in light of the implications of that event (From Raised With Christ)

Lord= a master to follow AND our God to worship

Baptised in name of father son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)  Makes Jesus and Holy Spirit equal with God.

This idea of the Spirit and Jesus being equal with God would be alien to the Muslim or the Jew who ask “How is that worshiping one God?” Many other religions worship many Gods. Christianity is unique in its doctrine of the Trinity.

See also

How do we know Jesus is God?  Hebrews 1, Colossians 1, and John 1.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” “worship him” “Begotten son” “Your throne, O God..” “God, your God”

God the Father is Eternal “Before the mountains were brought forth or ever you had formed the earth & the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Ps 90:2) ‏Jesus also eternal (John 1)
“God . . . knows everything.” (1 John 3:20) (omniscience) Jesus: “. . . and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:24-25)‏ “Now we know that you know all things.” (John 16:30)

God is all-prescent (omnipresent) “Do I not fill heaven and earth, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:24)‏ Jesus: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20)‏

Daniel 7 the Son of Man who approaches God’s throne is to be WORSHIPPED Jesus in his human life accepts worship (Matthew 2:11, Matthew 21:9, Matthew 14:33, Matthew 28:9, Luke 24:51, John 9:37-38, John 20:28) Bible FREQUENTLY says we must ONLY worship God (eg Psalm 81:9, Exodus 34:14)

How do we know the Spirit is God?
In many verses we see the Spirit involved in everything God does, and his personhood is clearly revealed. HE not IT. Relates to us (e g John 15:26; 16:13-14) He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). He speaks to us & we obey (Romans 8:14, Acts 8:29)

He is omniscient “the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10–11), eternal (Hebrews 9:14), & omnipresent (Psalm 139:7) “where shall I go from your Spirit…”

Acts 5:1-4 “Lied to Holy Spirit” next verse “lied to God”

Why does the Trinity matter?
The only way we can worship Jesus, and the Holy Spirit yet believe in one God
Key to how we are saved, and to experiencing the benefits of salvation.

2. What is the Trinity like?

Tri=3  Unity=Oneness.  3 in 1.

UNITY: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1
“Hear Oh Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one” Mark 12:29
“I am the Lord and there is no other, apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:5)
Not just mathematically one, but united in purpose, essence, and integrity. We don’t have to come to Jesus to ask him to persuade the Father to love us!

They share their names: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).

Diveristy: Seen clearly at Jesus’ baptism Luke 3:21

EQUALITY AND DIFFERENCE Jesus eternally submits to the Father (John 14:31, Corinthians 11:3, I Corinthians 15:27) and they both send the Spirit (John 14:26) Loving leadership and joyful submission is expressed in the Trinity.

Illustrations are helpful but limited e.g.  water, steam, and ice & a man who is father husband and son.

The most helpful diagram was first created hundreds of years ago, but is still relevant today, and illustrates one of the creeds:

“We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.”
Athanasian Creed

Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Isaiah 6:8

The Trinity in action some examples
In creation: We rightly think of God the father as the creator

“All the ‘gods’ of the nations are idols, but the Lord God made the heavens” (Psalm 96:1)

BUT ALSO:-
All things made through Jesus (Hebrews 1, Colossians 1, John 1)
The Spirit was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:8)

“Let US make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26)

Salvation “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16  Both Father and Son involved, and the Spirit applies this work John 3:6 says we are born of the Spirit. Faith itself is a gift from the Spirit.

We often speak of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) but there are also gifts of the Son in Ephesians 4 and gifts of the Father in Romans 12

The Trinity and Prayer
In the Bible we are most frequently encouraged to pray to the Father (Matthew 6:9)

We pray through the Son and in his name (John 14:14, John 16:23-27, 1 Corinthians 1:2, in Acts 7:59 Stephen prays to Jesus, Bible ends with Rev 22:20 “Amen, come Lord Jesus”)

We pray in the Holy Spirit and he helps us to pray (Jude 1:20, Romans 8:26-27, Ezekiel 37:9, John 14:16-27),
But we have RELATIONSHIP with all, and can pray to all.

EVEN IN OT TIMES it was JESUS that revealed God to people “These things Isaiah said because he saw His [Jesus] glory, and he spoke of Him.” John 12:41 & John 1 “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:18).

SO: “God is love” by his very nature 1 John 4:16.

Eternally loved and indwelt: “The Father is in me and I am in the Father” John 10:38.

 

3. Communing with the Trinity

God desires to indwell individuals and corporately the Church and to be our friend:

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23

“..that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21

The gospel is an invitation to join a community: with God and with each other.

We must accept the WHOLE Trinity. “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23)

You cannot engage with one member of the Trinity without engaging with them all.

“For through him [Jesus] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18)

“Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” (Ephesians 2:18, NLT)

John 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment

Through HIM we are also born again John 3 So at work in ALL of us, just not all aware of his work, nor relating to him.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

John 7:37-39 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, bas1 the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Galatians 4: 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” WITNESSES TO US WE ARE GODS CHILDREN

Romans 5:5 “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, BE BEING FILLED

No wonder Paul says
2 Cor. 13:14 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

FURTHER READING

A resource I found very helpful in the preparation of these notes was a book by my dear friend Sam Allberry called Connected – Living in the light of the Trinity.

Some of the ideas explained above were found in that book.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, a writer, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he serves as part of the leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus. Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

**********************************

You are warmly invited to comment on this blog. By doing so you demonstrate that you accept Adrian's comment policy.

  • David Kemball-Cook

    Hi
    Adrian

    I follow your blog with interest, and I have appreciated your
    appearances on Premier Radio.

    I am a biblical unitarian (ex-Anglican) and I find trinitarians
    are often unclear about what they mean when they say “Jesus is God”.
    Trinitarians say to me ‘Jesus is God’ and also ‘Jesus is divine’, and do not always show that they understand the difference. People tend to shift between
    ‘one-self’ and ‘three-self’ ideas of the Trinity. In my view, it is only the shifting that
    prevents the contradictions in the Trinity becoming apparent.

    You said “Jesus is God” in this sermon. When we say that ‘A is B’, when A and B are both names of entities, we are asserting numerical identity, that ‘A’ and ‘B’ refer to the same entity. So if you say “Jesus is God” you mean that Jesus is identical with God, that whatever is true of Jesus is true of God and vice versa.

    To say that Jesus is God is to invite absurdity. I mean, that if Jesus is God, and God is a Trinity, then Jesus must be a Trinity (ouch). And if Jesus is God, and
    Jesus is the son of God, then Jesus is his own Son (ouch). And if Jesus is God, and Jesus came from God, then Jesus came from himself (ouch). And
    so on…

    You also said that Jesus is “equal with God”. If he is equal to God, he cannot actually BE God, can he? (Or did you mean equal with ‘the Father’?)

    Which is it? Is Jesus identical with God, or is he equal with God, or is he equal with ‘the Father’ (and neither are then God, God being a Trinity composed of three Persons)?

    Regards
    David

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      Well, John 1 gets in the same confusion doesnt it? The Word was WITH God and the Word WAS God. In Hebrews 1 he is called God, then there is talk about “God, your God” Did you watch the sermon or just read the notes? There is mystery in this for sure. But I am very confident with the “3 in 1″ness of God. It may help to realize that sometimes “God” is used as a name for The Father, sometimes, it is used as part of God the Son’s name or God the Holy Spirit’s name. And sometimes it is used to denote the three of them together. Sometimes God is an “I” sometimes an “us” as seen in the Isaiah 6:8 where he is both in the same sentence! Do we fully understand all this? NO. But is it graspable? YES. And, can anyone improve on the Athanasian creed? I suspect not!

      • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

        PS, so glad you felt you could share your doubts/disagreements here though. I hope others will follow and this becomes a helpful dialogue to help people understand what it is Christians believe about the Trinity, and why we believe what we do.

        • David Kemball-Cook

          Hi Adrian
          You still have not answered my questions (above).
          What DO we mean when we say that Jesus is God? Identical to Yahweh? A divine being? A member of a Trinity?
          It is really important to be clear, otherwise we just speak to the air.
          If you believe the Athanasian Creed, then your salvation depends on getting it right,
          regards
          David

      • David Kemball-Cook

        Thanks Adrian

        But you have not really answered my question!

        I asked:

        Is Jesus identical with God, or is he equal with God, or is he equal with ‘the Father’?

        I find Trinitarians are really reluctant to be clear on this. What does it really mean to say that ‘Jesus is God’? If it is the
        foundation of the Christian faith, it should be important to be as clear as possible, shouldn’t it?

        Do we mean that Jesus is identical to Yahweh, or that he is divine, or a divine being?

        You said: “Well, John 1 gets in the same confusion doesnt it? The Word was WITH God and the Word WAS God.”

        It is no defence of one’s own confusion to say that someone else, however reputable, is also confused.

        But re John 1:1 I disagree. The capital letter in ‘The Word was God’ is not there in the Greek (which is why the JWs can advance their rival interpretation of ‘a god’ so strongly, as I am sure you know).

        Furthermore Jesus is not mentioned in John 1:1. He is actually the Word incarnate.

        Jesus cannot be identical with the Word. It would be absurd, for example, to say that the Word died on the cross!

        You said: “In Hebrews 1 he is called God, then there is talk about “God, your God”…

        Yes, but I am sure you are aware that the words translated as ‘god’ in the Bible are not always used with reference to Yahweh (see eg Ex 7:1, Ps 82:1, 6). The Son is described in Heb 1:9 as having a god (“God, even thy God, hath anointed thee …”), so the Son cannot be Yahweh can he?

        You said “Did you watch the sermon or just read the notes?” I watched it and read the notes thanks. The famous diagram does not describe a mystery. Either it uses two different senses of ‘is’ (the ‘is’ of identity, as in ‘Jesus is not the Father’, and the ‘is’ of prediction, as in ‘Jesus is divine’), or it is hopelessly
        self- contradictory (in my view).

        You said:“There is mystery in this for sure. But I am very confident with the “3 in 1″ness of God.”

        But does the Bible ANYWHERE teach the threeness of God (and likewise for the supposed deity of Jesus)?

        I mean, if Jesus taught it in his lifetime, it would be recorded in the gospels wouldn’t? If the apostles believed it, there would be
        some teaching in the epistles, and there would be some record in Acts of them preaching it.

        I keep asking Trinitarians for any verse in Acts, for instance, that preaches the threeness of God or the deity of Jesus, but get no reply.

        You said: “It may help to realize that sometimes “God” is used as a name for The Father, sometimes, it is used as part of God the Son’s name or God the Holy Spirit’s name. And sometimes it is used to denote the three of them together.”

        But this is just assertion on your part. Is there any Trinitarian hermeneutical scholarship which lays down the rules under which ‘God’ can have these different references?

        You said “Sometimes God is an “I” sometimes an “us” as seen in the Isaiah 6:8 where he is both in the same sentence! Do we fully understand all this? NO. But is it graspable? YES.”

        But monarchs can use ‘I’ and ‘We’ in the same sentence without anyone batting an eyelid!

        You said“And, can anyone improve on the Athanasian creed? I suspect not!”

        The Athanasian Creed states that all those who do not believe it will be eternally damned:
        “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly”

        Do you really believe that? Is that the message preached in Jubilee Church? Is it not sufficient to confess the Lord Jesus and believe that God raised him from the dead (Does your church disagree with Mark 16:16 (Whoever believes and is baptised shall be saved)?

        And what about all the Christians who lived before the fifth century? It is debatable whether even Paul, for example, believed in the threeness of God. Certainly Paul never writes of it.

        I would appreciate an answer to my question. I think clarity is hugely important. According to the Athanasian Creed, if we get it wrong about the Godhead, we are eternally damned

        Regards

        David


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X