The Glory of the Trinity
Text: Various referred in to in the sermon
Proposition: The significance of the Trinity is that it describes the essential wonder of Who God is which in turn directs the church in all she does.
Introduction: One of the most intriguing doctrines that is introduced in the Old Testament and then expounded upon in the New Testament is the one that describes the three distinct persons that together are God. The term Trinity is used to describe this incredible, inter-relational nature of God. We struggle to explain the Trinity because it goes beyond our experiences, that three distinct persons are one God. Dr. Mark Bird from Answers in Genesis Ministry observes this about the Trinty, “Isn’t it interesting that the entire physical universe (uni = one) consists of three and only three aspects—space, time, and matter? If you were to take away any of these three, you would no longer have a universe.
- Space consists of length, width, and height—three in one. If you were to take away any of these dimensions, you would no longer have space.
- Time consists of past, present, and future—three in one. If you were to take away any of these aspects, you would no longer have time.
- Matter consists of energy in motion producing phenomena—three in one. If there were no energy there could be no motion or phenomena. If there were no motion, there would be no energy or phenomena. If there were no phenomena, it would be because there was no energy or motion.
We see this tri-unity composing the very fabric of the universe. Why would the universe reflect a trinitarian nature? Could it be that God made His universe to reflect His own trinitarian nature?”
Let’s look at what the Scripture has to say about the relationship that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the three distinct persons that are the Trinity. What does it declare to be true as regards the essence of God?
Declaration# 1. There is only One God! One of the earliest things the Israelites taught to their children was a passage called the Shema, found in Deuteronomy 6:4, it begins with this call, “ Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the LORD is One!” The foundational truth declared in the Old Testament and expounded upon in the New is that there is only One God. The warnings against idol worship declared that there is only One God. In Isaiah 46:9 it declares, “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me”. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. One God, that is the clear declaration of Scripture.
Declaration#2. There are Three Distinct Persons that Together are God! One of the first cues to this plurality of personhood is the statement that God makes in Genesis 2:26, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”. Isaiah 48:16 tells us that there is a Sovereign Lord and His Spirit. In Psalm 110:1 David writes, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” If you wonder about who this Lord is, Jesus makes it clear as He refers to this same passage in Matt. 22:44 and the writer of Hebrews references it again in Hebrews 1:13, both times pointing out that it speaks about person of the Son as distinct from the Father. Even the very term LORD is in Hebrew the plural word Elohim. The New Testament expounds the three persons as each being God. Galatians 1:1 proclaims that the Father is God, John1:1 declares that the Son is God and in Acts 5:3,4 the Holy Spirit is declared to be God. Have a look at this graphic that illustrates this truth.
Declaration # 3 The Three Distinct Persons of the Trinity Work Uniquely. The key word to describe the relationship of the Trinity is the word, ‘proceed’. The Son proceeds from the Father, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The word proceed describes the subordinate relationship that the Son has to Father and the subordinate relationship of the Spirit to the Father and Son and yet each is equal and worthy of the same honor and worship. That said the main work of each could be summarized by three ‘R’s’.
The Father- Revelation, He reveals Himself in the creation, in the sending of the Son and in through the work of the Spirit as the Word of Scripture is discovered.
The Son- Redemption, He is the one Who creates the world and is used of the Father to proclaim truth but His central task was that of the incarnation for the purposes of dying on the cross for the redemption of mankind.
The Holy Spirit- Regeneration, the work of the Spirit was present in the Old Testament as He moved in and through the prophets but in the New Testament the Spirit was given to man as the agent of their being made alive again. Regeneration is the work whereby God makes the spirit of men alive eternally, open to His word and capable of perceiving the truth that He reveals in creation, the church and Scripture.
So why is a functional understanding of the Trinity so important for us here today? 1. The triune or three in one nature of God is foundational to the gospel. Those who deny the Trinity tend also to deny the deity of Jesus, the very author of our salvation.
2. The Trinity is a complete relationship, it operates in love. Love is not something God does, it’s who He is (1 Jn. 4:8). The implications here are that God does not need us for relationship, He already has that. God has created us for relationship, relationship with each other and relationship with Him that He would be glorified.
3. The Trinity will be attacked by other faiths and cults and by Satan’s forces because if that can be diminished or distorted then the understanding of, “one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:5,6) will also be distorted. Our very worship in the church is Trinitarian, we worship the Father through the Son in the Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is to be prayed to, to be worshipped, to be honored and adored. Each is God and each is a Person worthy of all praise.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we trust and hold these truths.