Sunday, January 14, 2007

One True God ~ The Trinity

WELCOME

Welcome to the House of Faith, we’re glad you have chosen to worship the Lord with us, here today in songs, prayer, sacrifice and the hearing of the Word of God.

INTRODUCTION

We are continuing the sermon series explaining our Constitution & Bylaws, specifically Our Beliefs, and we are continuing it this week with a sermon titled “One True God – The Trinity”.

We believe the one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent, self-revealed "I AM," and has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association, by simultaneously existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

SCRIPTURE READING

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,”

PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AND UNDERTANDING

In our scripture reading we just read, Jesus is giving the disciples their instructions for serving the Lord here on earth, this is known as the Great Commission.

In it, Jesus mentions that when they baptize, it is to be done in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

So here we see Jesus mentioning the Trinity, and the work of the ministry to be done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The triune God, yet aren’t we told in the scripture that there is but one God?

Over the years and especially during my four years in Seminary, one of the most debated and a difficult doctrine to understand is the doctrine of the triune God, or Trinity.

I have heard the Trinity described in about every imaginable way possible, and because we are in a sermon series about our constitution and bylaws, I feel it is necessary to give an explanation to why we state in our Statement of faith, or our beliefs that we believe in the Trinity as well as there only being One God.

It sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it?

This is why it is so easy for cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons find it so easy to deceive when it comes to the Godhead, with such lies as;

“The Holy Spirit is a power like electricity, not a person”, or

“Jesus is the Arch-Angel Michael, not God”, or

“There is no Trinity, only One God”,

These are just a few of their teachings which are in contradiction to the Holy Word of God.

The Holy Spirit IS a person!

As I said to a witness while witnessing to him, you cannot grieve electricity, yet the scriptures say;

Isaiah 63:10

“Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.”

Ephesians 4:30

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit as well. How do you lie to electricity?

He was amazed, especially since I showed him scripture from his Witness version of the King James where they try to take out references to Jesus as Lord and other changes.

But the Word of God is truth, and you can try to distort it, but you cannot truly change it.

Another lie states Jesus is not God but the Arch-Angel Michael.

Jesus is NOT the Arch-Angel Michael, Michael is an angel, and angels are CREATED BEINGS.

Jesus is the Word made flesh, and has ALWAYS existed with God the Father who is eternal.

John 1:1-3

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

We know God has always been, He is NOT created. And if the Word IS God, then He is NOT created either!

Also, read what verse 3 says.

Through him (The Word, speaking of Jesus) all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made

Everything that was made was made by The Word, Jesus.

Nothing was made, that was not made by HIM!

So He cannot be an angel, which is a created being, because that is a paradox.

Jesus could not have MADE Himself!

But we will discuss these issues in a later sermon series.

I want to do a series on cults and how to witness to them so that when we meet people involved in these cults, we can understand where they are in error with the Word of God, and therefore be better suited to share the Truth of the Gospel with them.

You know I met a Jehovah’s Witness a few years ago named James. Five days a week from 9AM until about 5 or 6PM, James would walk door to door sharing what he believed to be the truth of God because of his love for God.

So some of these people really love God the Father, but without Jesus Christ the Son, all they do is in vain.

Jesus tells us that in the last day, many will stand before Him and cry out, Lord, Lord…

Notice how they are crying out “Lord, Lord” in that scripture and not “Jesus!”

It is because when you stand before Him, you will know He is Lord of all!

But unless you “know Him” and have a “relationship” with Him, you will not know He is, Jesus Christ, Son of God.

You see, those crying to Him in Matthew only knew Him by His title, “Lord”, they did not know Him by name because they had no relationship with Him.

We’re told in the scriptures that in the end “every knee will bow.”

Everyone is GOING to know that Jesus Christ is Lord.

But not as many will know that the Lord is Jesus Christ.

Over the years I have heard many try to explain the Trinity.

I’ve heard the Trinity described as an egg, a triangle, and all sorts of things.

These are ways to try to describe what God is like.

But because our human brains are limited, it’s hard, impossible to understand everything there is to know about God.

But, just because it’s hard for the brain to understand it doesn’t mean we should pretend it’s not there.

Matthew 22:37 says to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND.”

There’s an intellectual side to Christianity.

God does not expect us to have “blind” faith.

A misconception about Christianity is that we believe without evidence.

I see evidence of my faith every day!

We’re expected to think through the teachings of Scripture for ourselves.

Do you remember the Berean’s in Acts 17:11?

It says that they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true.

This tells me a few things. First of all, Paul was teaching them daily, not once a week.

Secondly, although they listened to Paul, and received his teachings eagerly, they also checked it against the Word of God.

Not to give Paul a hard time, or prove him wrong or to try and find error in his teachings.

But because they wanted to know the Truth!

This is how we are supposed to read the word of God, searching so that we may find. Not using as our personal arsenal to attack others.

Although the Word is good for rebuking, it is also for instruction.

Few things would please me more than to hear someone say about our church, "You guys remind me of the Berean’s. You’re always in the Word, always trying to get to the bottom of things."

And that’s what we want to do now with the Trinity.

Yet there have been times when I’ve wondered to myself,

“How can I believe something that I’m not even sure I understand?

How can God be one and God be three at the same time?

And even if I did understand it, how in the world do I explain it without making everyone out there confused?”

As we look to the Scriptures, I see 4 things that are true about the
Trinity.

Number one: I see the unity of the Trinity.

Especially in the creation the world.

In Genesis 1:26, it says, "Let US make man in OUR image."

It doesn’t say, "Let ME make man." It says, "Let us!"

God is involving all members of the Trinity in the creation of mankind.

In Genesis 1:1, you have God creating the heavens and the earth.

And in verse 2, you have the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters.

And in Colossians 1:16, we’re told that Christ made the heavens and the earth!

The Trinity working together in unity is a beautiful picture of how things
should be in the church.

You know, a few years ago I attended a Promise Keepers event, I think it was in Ohio, where there were about 20,000 men from all denominations singing and worshipping God, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

There was unity in song, prayer and worship!

The way it’s supposed to be.

Baptists, Lutherans, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Catholics, Reformed, all united around the solitary goal of winning the world for Jesus Christ.

Christian unity should be a reflection of the unity that already exists within the Trinity.

How much more prevalent would the Body of Christ be in this world if we would erase the boundary lines that man has drawn that separate and divide the Body.

The Body of Christ is today is a watered down version of the 1st Century Christian movement.

What we need is a spiritual awakening, a revival of our hearts and minds, renewed to the rightful teaching that we are to be ONE in spirit because we are of ONE self same spirit!

Why is evil dominating the world today?

It’s simple, the Bible tells us why.

A house divided CAN NOT STAND!

And unfortunately, Satan’s house is NOT divided; they are all working together for the same goal.

And WE as the Body of Christ should be as well!

I feel that one of the worst things that could have ever happened to Christianity was MAN’S DOCTRINE of denomination.


The second thing I see in the scripture is the diversity of the Trinity.

The members of the Trinity work together, but they don’t always do the same things.

Look at salvation.

God the Father governs the world.

God the Son redeems the world (through the cross).

And the Holy Spirit gives us the power and grace to change the world.

Three very different roles, but all for the one purpose of manifesting God’s glory in the world.

We CAN do this today in the Body of Christ!

We ALL need to be involved with other Bible believing denominations working together for ONE PURPOSE, taking Jesus Christ into ALL the world!

For every man made boundary we erase with our love, the Body of Christ in Tawas becomes that much stronger!

Why do you think all of heaven rejoices over 1 lost person coming to knowledge of Jesus Christ?

Because the Body of Christ just grew.

Each member of the Trinity contributes something special and unique to our lives.

Romans 8:28 says that God works for our good.

Verse 35 says that Jesus prays for our good.

And verse 27 says that the Holy Spirit helps US pray for our good.

This shows the diversity of the Trinity in our lives.

The third thing I see, and what I think is most important to God and should be to ourselves as well, is the intimacy within the Trinity.

In John 3:35, it says that the Father loves the Son and has given Him all things.

And in John 14:31, Jesus says that "I love the Father! I do exactly what my Father has commanded me."

This tells me that our God is personal. He’s intimate. He’s a God who exists in relationship.

And the beautiful thing is that God wants to have the same intimacy with you that he has within himself.

God traveled through heaven and time and space to pursue a relationship with you.

Think about that for one moment.

Your name was in the heart and mind of Jesus Christ in His last moments upon the cross.

The cross He took FOR YOU, so that you could be with Him in paradise forever!

And all you have to do is say, "Lord Jesus, it’s impossible for me to hate you. I love you. Come into my life."

We’ve seen the unity of the Trinity.

We’ve seen the diversity of the Trinity.

We’ve seen the intimacy within the Trinity.

And lastly, we see the divinity of the Trinity.

Now the Bible is crystal clear that there is only one God, one divine being.

Deuteronomy 32:39 says that "There is no God besides me."

Isaiah 43:10 says "before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me."

James 2:19 says "You believe that there is one God? Good!"

But the same Bible that says that there is only one God also says that the
Father is God. The Son is God. And the Holy Spirit is God.

So these persons must be the one true God.

If you look at Paul’s letters, he starts almost every one by saying,
"Greetings in the name of God the Father."

So we know that the Father is God.

But there are also a bunch of verses that teach that Jesus Christ is
God.

Isaiah 9:6

“For unto us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”

You remember the story of doubting Thomas in John 20?

Do you remember what he said when he saw and touched the risen Christ for the first time?

He said to him "My Lord and My God!" And Jesus basically said, "Good answer! You got it right!"

And there are also a few verses that teach that the Holy Spirit is God.


You remember in Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit about how much money they gave to the church?

Remember what Peter told them?

He said, "You have not lied to men, but to God!"

So lying to the Holy Spirit is the same thing as lying to God!"

So the Bible is very clear that there is only one God, eternally existing as
three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Now how do we explain this to people?

Let me caution you by saying that there is no way that feeble human
beings can know all that there is to know about God.

You can go to my office, and read every single one of my books. (And as some of you know I have a lot of books) And you would still barely scratch the surface of what God is all about.

I remember a great theologian who studies the word of God for nearly 75 years before he died.

He had taught in seminaries, written many papers and books and was considered an authority on the Holy Word.

The day before he died he was visited by an Angel.

Afterwards he wrote a short letter, not saying what the angel said, but simply “Everything I thought I knew and understood is but straw and stubble.”

And he died the next morning.

It is vain for us to think that our understanding of scripture is ever anything more than a mere glimpse of a shadow of true understanding of things which are to come.

Romans 11:34 says "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has
been his counselor?"

1 Corinthians 13:9 says that “we know in part and we prophesy in part."

In other words, we only have part of the story now.

And we’re not going to get the rest of the story until we get to heaven.

The bottom line is that it is very hard for a small human being to totally
comprehend something as huge as the Trinity. It’s too big for us.

Having said that, I would like to try and give a simple explanation.

I see the Trinity as water.

Water has three differing forms which have three different qualities, and many uses, yet still remains water.

You have water the liquid, water the vapor or steam, and water the solid, or ice.

Three distinct forms with different properties, yet all three remain water.

I say differing properties, let me give example.

If you are thirsty, you ask for a glass of water the liquid.

You do not say pass the pitcher of steam please.

Another example, if you are going to go ice fishing, you do not cut a hole in the liquid, you have to wait until the water is in its solid form.

And last example, a train will not go very fast on a tank full of ice, you need steam, and plenty of it.

I hope that this helps in understanding that there can be one God, which has three different states, qualities and functions.

As you read the scriptures, you will find the different qualities of the Godhead, and you will get to know the different functions of each, and as you do, you will become more familiar with One True God.

I don’t always understand how it works.

But I accept it. Not because I can completely understand it. But because I can see that it is taught in the word of God.

The word of God doesn’t stop being true just because there’s something in it we don’t understand.

The word of God is true whether we understand it or not.

And I don’t have a problem with this.

I’m perfectly alright with the fact that there mysteries and puzzles in the Bible, things that I won’t understand until I’m dead.

I’m ok with that. I’ve got enough on my plate with things that I DO understand!

I’m more concerned about doing what God says than I am in figuring out all that He is.

So you have to accept the Trinity.

You have to experience the Trinity.

What good is it to believe in the Trinity if you’ve never felt the power of the Trinity? Or experienced the love of the Trinity?
I read about a 12 year old boy who became a Christian at a revival service.

The next week, his friends questioned him about the experience.

One friend asked him, "Did you see a vision?" The boy said, "No."

Another friend asked, "Did you hear God speak?" The boy said, "No."

So they said, "Well, then how do you know you were saved?"

The boy searched for an answer. Finally, he said, "It’s like when you catch a fish. You can’t see the fish. Or hear the fish. You just feel him tugging on your line. I just felt God tugging on the line of my heart. And the message was a message of love just for me."

Here’s a boy who experienced the saving work of the Triune God in his life.

Maybe the Lord is tugging on your heart. Maybe he’s saying, "I want to have an intimate relationship with you.

Like the one I have within myself. Like the one I have with millions of people around the world.

If you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Triune God will make his home inside of you.

If you want a deeper, closer relationship with Jesus Christ, so on that last day you can know Him by name, and He will know you, and say, “well done…”

Come forward now and let me pray for you, and with you.

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