Faithlife Sermons

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The Trinity, God is one and three
We deeply long for many things
selfless, trustworthy, unending love from someone we can trust to be faithful and helpful
unity within the great variety of humanity, some means by which we can live in peace and oneness that benefits all of us
communication from face-to-face conversations to the use of modern technology created for the purpose of letting us know others and be known by them
community, significant and earnest relationships with others so that we are part of a people devoted to something larger and greater than our individual lives
humility, where people pour themselves out unreservedly for the benefit and well-being of others
for peace, harmony, and support of each other so we can see and end to abuse, cruelty, misery and painful tears
for a selfless common good, a world in which everyone does what is best for all and is not viciously and exclusively devoted to self interest and tribal concerns.
Why?
Why do we have these persistent deep longings that occasionally compel us to action and often leave us frustrated or disappointed?
Our longings for love, unity in diversity, communication, community, humility, peace and selflessness are are in fact - by design - longing for theTrinitarianGod of the Bible and a world that is a reflection of the Trinity.
Tragically human desires corrupted by sin turn in on themselves; rather than finding satisfaction in God, longings become lusts - bottomless pits of selfish desire, never quite satisfied, inevitably leading to despair.
Because we are made in the image of the triune God to reflect his glory, we will never stop longing; yet, our sin-stained longings distort that reflection
Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears - Doctrine: What Christians should believe
Firstly there is One God
, , ; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
To claim that anyone was equal to God was punishable by death - of course this is the crime for which Jesus died.
For any human to consider themselves equal to God was blasphemy against God.
Although in the case of Jesus - we know that he was in fact God, and he was crucified because the religious leaders denied his identity
Scripture is also clear that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct from each other.
You’ll recall many greetings in the letters of Paul and others where they are greeted in the name of the Father and of the Son.
Scripture is also clear that God the Son and the God the Spirit are not the same
; ; ; ; ;
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15:26
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;
; ; ; ; ;
Firstly there is One God
, , ; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
What is the trinity?
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit
One God
Three persons
While you won’t find the word Trinity in the Bible this concept of the One-who-is-three clearly does
The word trinity is the short-hand way of explaining a great deal of biblical truth
It was first used by the
Church Father Tertullian (AD 155-220)
And we must be clear that to say that God exists as a Trinity does not mean that there are three Gods, or that one God merely manifests himself as either Father, Son or Holy Spirit on various occasions (like water which can only be liquid or solid or gas) it can’t be all 3 at once and still be one
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) summarises the doctrine by saying
“In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.”
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)
To clarify - when we talk about three persons, we’re not saying that God is made up of 3 human beings
Rather, it means that each member of the Trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks and relates because they are persons and not impersonal forces.
Each member of the Trinity is equally God, which means that they share all the divine attributes, such as being eternal, having omniscience (knowing everything), omnipotence (all powerful) and omnipresence (present everywhere at the same time).
In we see the person of God the Son laying aside the advantage of his equality with God the Father and the Spirit as he lays aside the use of these qualities of God.
He was still fully in relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, and yet for a moment of human history (33 years) he humbled himself to be just like us except for sin
So how does this all tie together.
How is God one and yet three distinct personalities in perfect unity.
Philippians 2:6-7
(Explore the image) The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, but the Father is not the Son...
Another way to explore this i through music
Listen to these three notes (C - E - G) - this is the only perfect chord in the whole of music.
Anything else adds an element of dissonance, and disharmony, we might say that it adds something which is discordant
Each note is distinct, and not the same as the others, but together they make one completely perfect harmonious chord.
Three distinct notes each completely in union
Another way of thinking about it is like God has 3 completely distinct minds which are completely united
A better way of thinking about God as three is of a relationship - and this I believe really gets to the heart of who God is
Why do we long for relationship, why do we long for harmony, why do we long for unity?
Because that is what God is
God is love
John 4:4-
1 John 4:13-14
The doctrine of the Trinity brings together three equally essential biblical truths without denying or diminishing any.
God only created us out of his love. he didn’t need to create us, because God in himself is pure relationship, pure community, pure harmony, pure peace, pure justice,
3 persons, members or minds living, loving and relating to each other in one complete and perfect unity
Firstly there is One God
Rublev’s icon
, , ; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
, , ; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
,39(NIV)
Deut
35You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.
39Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
There is no other.
; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
; Kingd 8.59-60,
,
Andrei Rublev’s icon of the 3 angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre (Gen 18:1-8)
This is a copy of the original as the original has decayed quite a lot
Many Christians over the centuries have used icons as ways of speaking to God, like a window which helps us focus on God.
The key thing is that we must never pray to the icon, but using it to help us focus the mind on God.
The artist weaves in many symbols for us to ponder devotionally.
Just spend a moment looking at the image and think about what Rublev might be trying to convey about the trinity through this icon
Now turn to the person next to you and share what you see
Have you noticed the
Abraham prepared them a meal hence the table which they all sit round
In the passage Abraham is speaking directly to God through these angels so this passage of scripture has often been associated with the Trinity
Everything in this icon is Gold, and on the golden table is a chalice or cup like bowel with roasted lamb inside it - I wonder what perfect offering that represents?
And who’s sacrifice was it?
There’s a house top left, a tree in the middle and a rocky mountain top right
I wonder what these different images mean to you? Do they represent qualities of the trinity?
Have you noticed their faces?
Look carefully...
Colouring
Colouring
Rublev gives each person of the Trinity different clothing.
On the right, the Holy Spirit has a garment of the clear blue of the sky, wrapped over with a robe of a fragile green.
So the Spirit of creation moves in sky and water, breathes in heaven and earth.
All living things owe their freshness to his touch.
The Son has the deepest colours; a thick heavy garment of the reddish-brown of earth and a cloak of the blue of heaven.
In his person he unites heaven and earth, the two natures are present in him, and over his right shoulder (the Government shall be upon his shoulder) there is a band of gold shot through the earthly garment, as his divinity suffuses and transfigures his earthly being.
The Father seems to wear all the colours in a kind of fabric that changes with the light, that seems transparent, that cannot be described or confined in words.
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