12th December 2016

Our Triune God

How to understand that we believe in a Triune God

The Trinity is an unfathomable, and yet unmistakable doctrine in Scripture. As Jonathan Edwards noted, after studying the topic extensively, “I think [the doctrine of the Trinity] to be the highest and deepest of all Divine mysteries” Yet, though the fullness of the Trinity is far beyond human comprehension, it is unquestionably how God has revealed Himself in Scripture—as one God eternally existing in three Persons.This is not to suggest, of course, that the Bible presents three different godsDeut. 6:4“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.Rather, God is three Persons in one essence; the Divine essence subsists wholly and indivisibly, simultaneously and eternally, in the three members of the one Godhead—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (We considered the deity of Christ last Wednesday in the sermon)The Scriptures are clear that these three Persons together are one and only one God (Deut. 6:4). John 10:30 explain that the Father and the Son are one.30 The Father and I are one.”The people wanted to stone him at one timeand John 10:33 explains why33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”1Corinthians 3:16 shows that the Father and the Spirit are one16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?Romans 8:9 makes it clear that the Son and the Spirit are one and the spirit of God (explained I 1Cor.3:16) living in us is now referred to as the Spirit of God/ Christ living in us. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)And John 14:16, 18, and 23 demonstrate that the Father, Son, and Spirit are one.16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you…….18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you………. 23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.Yet, in exhibiting the unity between the members of the Trinity, the Word of God in no way denies the simultaneous existence and distinctiveness of each of the three Persons of the Godhead. In other words, the Bible makes it clear that God is one God (not three), but that the one God is a Trinity of Persons.In the Old Testament, the Bible implies the idea of the Trinity in several ways. The title Elohim (”God”), for instance, is a plural noun which can suggest multiplicity (cf. Gen. 1:26)26 Then God said, “Let us make human beingsin our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth,[] and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”. This corresponds to the fact that the plural pronoun (”us”) is sometimes used of God (Gen. 1:26 above)Isaiah 6:8Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”I said, “Here I am. Send me.”More directly, there are places in which God’s name is applied to more than one Person in the same text Psalm 110:1The Lord said to my Lord,[a]    “Sit in the place of honor at my right handuntil I humble your enemies,    making them a footstool under your feet.” And there are also passages where all three divine Persons are seen at work Isaiah 48:1616 Come closer, and listen to this.  From the beginning I have told you plainly what would happen.”And now the Sovereign Lord and his Spirit  have sent me with this message.

Isaiah 61:1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,  for the Lord has anointed meto bring good news to the poor.He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted    and to proclaim that captives will be released   and prisoners will be freed.The New Testament builds significantly on these truths, revealing them more explicitly.

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – Three distinct Persons.The baptismal formula designates all three Persons of the Trinity:Matthew 28:1919 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.In his apostolic benediction to the Corinthians, Paul underscored this same reality. He wrote, 2 Corinthians 13:14“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [the Father], and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all”Other New Testament passages also spell out the glorious truth of the Triune God Romans 15:16, 3016 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit…… 30 Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.2 Cor. 1:21–2221 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.Eph. 2:18.18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.In describing the Trinity, the New Testament clearly distinguishes three Persons who are all simultaneously active. They are not merely modes or manifestations of the same person (as Oneness theology incorrectly asserts) who sometimes acts as Father, sometimes as Son, and sometimes as Spirit. At Christ’s baptism, all three Persons were simultaneously active Matt. 3:16–1716 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened[a] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”With the Son being baptized, the Spirit descending, and the Father speaking from Heaven. Jesus Himself prayed to the FatherMatt. 6:9Pray like this:Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.This verse teaches that His will was distinct from His Father’sMatt. 26:3939 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”And then Jesus promised that He would ask the Father to send the Spirit John 14:1616 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[a] who will never leave you.and asked the Father to glorify HimJohn 17:5Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.These actions would not make sense unless the Father and the Son were two distinct Persons. Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit intercedes before the Father on behalf of believers Romans 8:2626 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.As does the Son, who is our Advocate1 John 2:1My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.Again, the distinctness of each Person is in view.The Bible is clear. There is only one God, yet He exists, and always has existed, as a Trinity of Persons—the Father, the Son, and the SpiritJohn 1:1, 2My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.In John 14:26 The advocate is identified as The Holy Spirit26But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and willremind you of everything I have told you.And again in John 15:26“But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He willcome to you  from the Father and will testify all about me.To deny or misunderstand the Trinity is to deny or misunderstand the very nature of God Himself.More verses from Scripture where The Father,The Son and The Holy Spirit can be seen as being God Acts 5:3Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.Acts 5:4 the very next verseThe property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!Here we see that theHoly Spirit is referred to asGod

God says He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and LastRevelation 1:8“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”He also says that He is the first and the lastIsaiah 41:4Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the Lord, the Firstand the Last. I alone am he.”Iaiah 48:12“Listen to me, O family of Jacob, Israel my chosen one! I alone am God, the First and the Last.Who does Jesus say He is in RevelationRevelation 21:5-6 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.Revelation 22:13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Let’s look at:Revelation1:10-1810 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit.[f] Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands.  13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man.[h] He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest.14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes werelike flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First andthe Last.18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. Question (When did God die? Read Rev.1:10-18 again)

Now it’s the spirit talking

Here we read that the instruction to John is to address the 7 churchesThis message is to the church in Ephesus . Who is speaking? the SpiritRevelation 2:7“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.Just in the next verse still speaking to John telling him to write a message to the church in Smyrna, And who is that speaking?Revelation 2:8,118“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:…… 11 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches (The churches are told to listen is the one speaking to the them. Here we see that it is the First and Last who was dead and just 3 verses further addressing the same church in Smyrna saying “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churchesStill speaking to the churches this time to the church in Pergamum and who is speaking Revelation 2:1212 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:and again the church is told to listen and understand when,….. who speaks?:17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

The message to the church in Thyatira. Who speaks here ?

Revelation2:18This is the message from the Son of God,(Jesus) whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:10 verses further he praises some of the faithful ones by saying they will rule the nationsRevelation 2:28-2928 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, (This must be Jesus speaking)and I will also give them the morning star!29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

There are many more verses in Scripture that can be used as proof that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God , the one and only God

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