Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 Title: What the Bible Says About the Trinity

Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:7

Text: For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one (1 John 5:7)
 
The doctrine of the Trinity is a distinctive mark of Christianity. 
Though there are “triads” of divinities in many of the world’s religions and philosophies, none of these carries any similarities to the Christian teaching concerning the Trinity.
 
It must be understood, however, that it is not possible to “prove” the Trinity from the standpoint of human reason. The Trinitarian nature of God comes to humans by divine revelation. It is interwoven throughout the Old and New Testaments.  Therefore, the Bible presents God as a rational Spirit being who is unlimited in His characteristics of love, holiness, wisdom, peace, majesty, justice, truth, and goodness.
It also presents Him as one who exists outwardly in three persons yet is still one in substance and in purpose.
 
It is very simple to state the two main points of our lesson.
First, there is one God.
Second, the one God exists as three persons.
 
Let’s begin by examining the Christian belief that: There is one God.
In the Old Testament God is revealed in the Shema. 
The “Shema” is the recital of Deuteronomy 6:4-5. 
Every service in every Jewish synagogue was opened by the people reciting these two verses.  This is what they would say publicly, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
 
God was also revealed in the Ten Commandments. 
The very first commandment is, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3).
 
The prophets of the Old Testament also revealed God.  He is revealed in every one of the prophetic books.  For example, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me.  I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (Is. 45:5-6).
 
In the New Testament God is revealed in the words of Jesus. In John chapter 14 Jesus said, “I and My Father are one” (Jn.10:30). It can’t be made any more understandable than that; they are one in their fundamental nature, and they are equal in power and glory. 
 
James wrote in his epistle, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). It’s not enough to just believe that God exists, for that doesn’t even distinguish a person from Satan’s demons: but we must give ourselves to God as the Gospel directs, and love Him, and delight ourselves in Him, and serve Him, which the demons will not do, and cannot do.
 
When Paul wrote his first letter to the believers in the Corinthian church he said, “Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.  For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Cor. 8:4-6). 
 
He is described as the Father “of whom are all things.” We Christians are better informed than other religions, because we know that there is only one God, the source of life, the author of all things, the maker, preserver and governor of the whole world.
 
And in Acts He is described as the one in whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
In Him we live, that is, ultimately it is God who provides for all our needs and we could not live unless He supplied the air, the water, the gravity, the sun, and everything that human life depends upon.
In Him we move; it is by God’s divine involvement that our thoughts run the course of a thousand subjects, and we could not move a hand, or a foot, or our tongue unless He moved them first.
In Him we have our being; not only because He gave us life, but we have it still because He continues to care for us and to be good to us.
 
Adam and Eve believed in one God, but their sin gave birth to polytheism, the worship of many gods, because in his guilt, man manufactured gods whom he could appease. 
 
Sinful humans feared demonstrations of natural power, so they worshipped the wind, the sun, fire, and so on.
 
Today, material things often become gods in people’s lives.  Some are devoted to their jobs, others worship their children, and still others make wealth, fame or knowledge their god.
 
But all these things fail to satisfy the basic needs of individuals, because what every man, woman and child needs is a Savior.
 
We have seen that the Scriptures teach that there is one God, but:
The one God exists as three persons.
 
The first suggestion of the Trinity is found in Genesis 1:1, when Moses used the plural form of the divine name for God: “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.”  The Hebrew word that was used for God is “Elohim,” which is plural and conveys the idea of one Supreme Being, who is the only true God, and who is in some sense plural. 
 
Our God is so great in His being and in His qualities that to limit Him to one expression or appearance of Himself is to ignore His majesty and power.
 
Several passages use more than one Hebrew word for God, making a distinction between God the Father and God the Son.
 
Jesus is called God in Psalms 45, “…Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness…” (Ps. 45:7).
 
And in Psalm 110:1, God speaks directly to David’s Master when He says, “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (Ps 110:1).
 
Other remarkable passages refer to the Angel of the Lord. In the sixteenth chapter of Genesis is the story of Hagar, who was the handmaiden of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. There was strife and jealousy in their home because both women competed for Abraham’s attentions, so Hagar fled into the desert to save her life and the life of her child.  The Bible records that, “The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the desert…” (Gen. 16:7).  The angel of the Lord appears here for the first time in Scripture.  The context of the verses shows that when the angel speaks, it is actually Yahweh who is speaking. Since the New Testament indicates that no man has ever seen God the Father (I Tim 6:16), it only seems reasonable that the appearance of the angel of the Lord is, in fact, a preincarnate appearance of Christ.
 
In chapter twenty-two of Genesis it says, “But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”   And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Gen. 22:11-12). 
This is the story of Abraham and Isaac; Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, but God the Great Redeemer and comforter brought a happy conclusion to the trial, by supplying a lamb to take Isaac’s place on the alter.
 
A little further along in Genesis we read about Moses’ call to serve God, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.  So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed” (Ex. 3:2). 
The angel of the Lord appeared unto him.  This was no mere created angel, but the Messenger of Jehovah, Christ Himself, and that becomes evident from the framework of the passage.
 
The amazing fact of the New Testament is the way in which it presents the doctrine of the Trinity without any struggle or controversy.  And the teaching of Jesus is Trinitarian throughout.  He speaks to the Father and He speaks of the Holy Spirit, and He does so without apology and without explanation.
In John 14:16-17 we read that Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” 
 
Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “another Helper,” that He would send to the disciples after He returned to the Father (v. 16).  Jesus requested the Holy Spirit, and the Father gave the Spirit in answer to His request.
When speaking of the Holy Spirit, John used “Helper” to designate the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. 
The Holy Spirit indwells the believer and serves him by revealing the will of God; He is our Teacher, Comforter, and Counselor, and it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to live the Christian life.
Jesus also said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father…” (John 15:26).  He spoke of the Holy Spirit as a distinct person, not a quality or property, but a person with a proper name.
 
Paul gives a benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14, which you may all be familiar with.  It is a prayer directed to Christ for His grace, to the Father for His love, and to the Holy Spirit for His fellowship. 
He wrote, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”  Here the deity and equality of each person of the Godhead are taken for granted. 
 
God exists as three persons, and each of the three is equal in power and glory, being one in substance.
 
It is also important to note that in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) Jesus instructed His followers to go into the entire world “baptizing them in the name [not names] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  This is another indication of the unity and the oneness of the Trinity.
 
The Father is God. 
 
On many occasions Jesus prayed to God the Father.  In the Garden of Gethsamene, Jesus agonized over His suffering on the cross, which was then just a few hours away, and He prayed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
 
Lazarus, the friend of Jesus was dead and had been in the tomb for three days when Jesus “lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me” (John 11:41). Christ offered a prayer before He performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. The prayer was one of thanksgiving rather than requesting.
 
In 1 Corinthians 8:6 Paul declares, “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things.”  And then in Galatians 1:1, Paul identifies himself as an apostle- sent… by Jesus Christ and God the Father.”
 
The Son is God. 
 
John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John1:1, 14, NIV).  Jesus Christ has always existed and will exist eternally. He is the living Word. Jesus and God the Father, along with the Holy Spirit, have always had an intimate relationship as the triune God.
 
Jesus is God who took on a human body and nature in order to redeem mankind. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Him [Christ] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  In other words, Paul is saying, “All the attributes and spirit of deity are in Christ.  He is one person with two natures, the God-man.” Hebrews 1:3 is one of the strongest statements in the New Testament that declares the deity of Jesus.  He is said to be the exact expression of the substance of God. 
 
What is substance?  It is whatever is necessary to be God. The Son is declared to be the exact expression of that substance. 
 
In John 6:69, it speaks of the holiness of Jesus for it says: “and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
 
Jesus is described as unchangeable in Hebrews, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
 
It speaks of His supremacy and power in Matthew 28:18: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  God has given all authority and power to His Son, and for that reason we can declare the Gospel to the world, as Jesus commanded us to do in the Great Commission.
 
John 16:30 records the disciples testimonial, that they know that Jesus is God, because He knows all things.
 
John 1:4 declares, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” 
Spiritual life is in Jesus, and we receive spiritual life through faith in Him.
 
“Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58)  He is eternal. Jesus promised that He would always be with each of us, so He is omnipresent; He fills all of creation.
 
God has given Jesus the robe of Judgment. 
 
 
In Matthew 25:31-46, it speaks of the Second Coming, when Christ will come as King and Judge.  He will separate the sheep from the goats, the saved from the lost.  The saved will receive rewards for their works, but the lost will be judged for their sin, because they did not make Christ Savior and Lord.
 
Jesus is called Creator in Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” 
Three prepositions (the little words “in”, “by”, and “unto”) tell the story in this verse;
In Him: He is the source of creation.
By Him: He was the driving force of creation.
Unto Him: All things were created for His use and glory.
 
The Holy Spirit is God. 
 
Peter declared in his words to Ananias that the Holy Spirit is God: he said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?   While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:3-4). 
 
Paul also declared it when he said that we can only know God through the Spirit of God who dwells within us. (1 Cor. 2:11). 
 
And Jesus implied in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20); that the Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as deity.
 
I hope that our Bible lesson has helped you to understand the Trinity. It has helped me. But as I wrote this lesson it was humbling to realize that God the Father knows us, God the Son died for us, and God the Spirit is within us. 
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