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42 C Spirit of Truth - Trinity

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The Spirit of Truth – 42 C

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42 C Trinity



Understanding Trinity?

From the time of the early Church – in Matthew 28 - ' baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,' The opponents of the Christian Way accused them of worshiping three Gods.

Yet there could not be three gods. God, to be the biblical God and the only God of all, had to be one God. This complex and profound faith was then handed over for the theologians to try and make more intelligible. They have been trying ever since.

Nick Adlem, in last week's Gazette, suggested that this day was one which preachers preferred to have a holiday because the doctrine of the Trinity has never been easy to explain.

Tertullian on the Trinity

Tertullian, one of the theologians of the early church, explained the Trinity in a metaphor. God the Father he described as "a deep root, the Son as the shoot that breaks forth into the world, and the Spirit as that which spreads beauty and fragrance."

Brett Blair,, June, 2001

The Puzzling Trinity

Augustine, while puzzling over the doctrine of the Trinity, was walking along the beach one day when he observed a young boy with a bucket, running back and forth to pour water into a little hole. Augustine asked, "What are you doing?" The boy replied, "I'm trying to put the ocean into this hole." Then Augustine realized that he had been trying to put an infinite God into his finite mind.

Michael Green, Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Baker Book House, 1993, p. 389.

The Trinity is like a multi-faceted diamond. Holding it in different ways reveals something different. To explain it in a form of words is an impossible task. What is possible is to look at the idea of Trinity in just one way, one facet and make some sense of that. This our task today, through the writing of John's Gospel.

A Trinity of Revelation.

God, revealed as Creator

We believe in one God, maker of heaven and earth . . .

God, revealed as the Son

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God . . .

God, revealed as the Holy Spirit

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life . . .

All of this as a process of revelation, a revelation of the Trinity who were and are and will always be One.

A Transforming Trinity

In each generation of the Church the revelation of the Trinity transforms the Church into that which God would have it be.

Jesus said to his disciples, I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. There is so much the disciples didn't know. It is an arrogant generation of Church that claims it has the full knowledge of God and his will for the people.

e.g. Two congregations prayed for a new Pastor. After many interviews they each, independently, discerned God's will and sent a letter of invitation to the prospective candidate. They arrived through the same letter box!

The Spirit of Truth

v14. He Spirit of Truth takes what is mine (Jesus) and makes it known to you (the Church and individual disciples). All that belongs to the Son belongs to the Father.

This revelation of truth is as important for you and me as it was for the first disciples. God's revelation of his truth has not ended. It will not end until the return of Christ himself when revelation will be brought to its completeness.

The Last Book Of The Bible

Harry Fosdick tells a story of two young sisters who were arguing with each other as to what book of the Bible ended the Bible. One turns to the other and says, Listen Barbara, the last book of the Bible is not Timothy, it’s Revolutions. Now we smile at that. We say that’s cute. Of course, she meant Revelation. But as I thought about it, I kind of like her name. The Bible ends with Revolutions. It’s a spur to action. It’s an indication that God is not finished with the world.

Dr. Alan J. Meenan, “The Spirit and the Church”


What is it that the Spirit of truth is guiding us, the Church into in this day and age. We have a responsibility, for which we will be held accountable by God, to discern the truth for our generation of Church. It is both a corporate and an individual responsibility.

The Same Sermon

There is a story about a newly appointed preacher who preached a very fine sermon on his first Sunday in the church. The text was Matthew 26.24. No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other. You cannot serve God and Money. Everyone loved it. The next Sunday she preached the very same sermon. The people were perplexed but since it was a fine sermon no one spoke to him of the duplication. The next week he preached the sermon again. After the service the Chairpersons of the Personnel and Worship ministry teams came to the pastor and asked him why he was preaching the same sermon over and over again. The pastor said, “When we start doing what Jesus has invited us to do, I'll move on to something new!”

Rev. Jef Olson, “Worship Is Celebration”

The Trinity as Revelation is something I invite you to ponder upon but if that is too deep at the moment I leave you with an interesting quote.

The Greatest Truth

There is an old story about the theologian, Karl Barth [pronounced "Bart" with a soft "t"], who was on a speaking tour of the United States. On college campuses all across this country, he was drawing huge crowds to hear his very complex answers to the questions of life.

When he was speaking at Princeton University, the great hall was packed with faculty, students, and visitors who came to hear Karl Barth speak. During the question and answer period, one student asked, “Dr. Barth, may I ask you a personal question?”

Dr. Barth smiled and said, “Yes, you may ask anything.”

The student then asked, “Dr. Barth, you are a very educated man. What is the greatest truth you have ever learned?”

Dr. Barth bowed his head, thinking for a moment about how he would respond. Then, he raised his head and looked out at the student who asked the question and he said, “The greatest truth I ever learned was at my mother’s knee: ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ ”

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