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Why the Trinity Matters

Notes & Transcripts

Why the Trinity Matters

Matthew 3:13-17

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 16, 2013

*Does the trinity matter to me? As Bible-believing Christians, as Bible-believing Baptists, we believe that the one true God exists as a trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, -- one God, three persons.

*The Baptist Faith and Message puts it this way: “There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.” (1)

*One God, three persons, that’s what we believe. But some Christians do not believe in the trinity. Many Pentecostals believe that Jesus Christ is the one God, who sometimes manifests Himself as the Father or the Holy Spirit.

*In other words, they would say that God operates in different forms or modes at different times: Sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit. (2)

*So if you’ve ever seen the bumper stickers that say “Jesus Only,” that’s not just talking about only using Jesus’ name in baptism. It is stating their belief that Jesus is the Father and Jesus is the Spirit.

*We believe that God exists as a trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, -- one God, three persons. But why does the trinity matter to us?

1. First of all, it matters because God has confirmed the trinity to us.

[1] And though the word “trinity” is never found in the Bible, the existence of the trinity surely is confirmed in God’s Word.

*Verses 16&17 give us a perfect example:

16. Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.

17. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.''

*Here we see God revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God has confirmed the trinity to us, and we have much more evidence from His Word. Nave’s Topical Bible gives over 50 references to help point us to the trinity.

*Scriptures like Luke 1:34-35...

34. Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?''

35. And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

*John 3:34-35 is another example. Here John the Baptist was speaking about Jesus and said:

34. “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

35. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”

*By the way: The next verse says, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

*John 14:15-17 shows us the trinity. There, Jesus said:

15. "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

16. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever,

17. even 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.”

*Then in John 15:26, Jesus said: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”

*We have evidence of the trinity many places in God’s Word, and author Dave Hunt helps us understand with this explanation:

*“The Bible presents a God who did not need to create any beings (in order) to experience love, communion and fellowship. This God is complete in Himself, being three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, separate and distinct, -- yet at the same time eternally one God. They loved and communed and fellowshipped with each other, and took counsel together before the universe, angels or man were brought into existence.” (2)

*Because this is so, our English Bibles sometimes show God speaking of Himself with a plural noun. Isaiah “heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for US?” (Isaiah 6:8). Moses recorded the same kind of conversation within the Godhead when God said: “Let Us make man in Our image. . .” (Genesis 1:26)

*It’s even more obvious in the original language, because in Hebrew a plural noun “elohim” (literally "gods") is used for our one God over 2,000 times! Genesis 1:1 is an example of this when it says: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The literal translation here would be plural: “In the beginning “gods” created the heaven and the earth.” It is the exact same word in the verse where the Lord says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3). But when this plural Hebrew word is talking about the real God, it is translated into English as the singular noun, “God.”

*When God told those Old Testament Scripture writers what to say, why did He so often use a plural noun for Himself, the one true God? -- It’s because He exists as the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

*God’s Word also makes many intentional grammatical errors using singular verbs and pronouns with this plural noun “elohim.” It’s the same kind of acceptable error we make all the time when we talk about our country: We don’t say, “The United States are going to do this and that,” but “The United States is going to do this and that.”

*Why did God put that kind of intentional error in His Word? -- It’s because our one God is three in one. God has confirmed the trinity to us in His Word.

[2] But He has also confirmed the trinity to us in His world.

*In Romans 1:20 the Apostle Paul said this about the Godhead: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead. . .” In other words, “God's eternal power and Godhead are seen in the creation He made.”

*Dr. Nathan Wood pointed out some years ago that the three-in-one nature of God is stamped on His creation. For example, the universe is divided into three: space, matter and time, and each of these is divided into three.

*Space then is composed of length, width and height, each separate and distinct in itself, yet the three are one. Length, width and height are not three spaces, but three dimensions of one space. Time also is a trinity: past, present and future, two invisible and one visible. Each is separate and distinct, yet each is the whole. And man himself is a tri-unity of spirit, soul and body, two of which are invisible, one visible. (3)

*Church, that’s no accident. It’s not a coincidence. God has confirmed the trinity to us in His Word and in His world. And to deny the trinity is to deny the way God has revealed Himself.

*Why does the trinity matter to us? -- It matters because God has confirmed the trinity to us.

2. But the trinity also matters, because it helps to reveal God’s character to us.

*What is God really like? God wants us to know, and His existence as a trinity helps us to know. For example, the Bible tells us that God is love, but God could not be love in eternity past if He didn’t exist as a trinity. The existence of God as a trinity makes love, fellowship and communion possible within the Godhead.

*Speaking of Jesus, John the Baptist said: “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35). So God's love is not just toward mankind. It is first of all toward one another in the three persons in the Godhead. And each of these three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit all help us to understand God’s character.

[1] The Heavenly Father helps us to understand God’s character.

*This is especially true, if you were blessed to have a good earthly father, and I hope you were. But even if we went through the ordeal of having a cruel or absent dad, we can still understand the idea of a good father.

*As a dad, I have failed my children many times, but picture a perfect dad:

-One who guards, guides, protects and provides for His children...

-One who never lets us down...

-One who is always there for us...

-That’s our Heavenly Father.

*King Duncan tells about a new dad who read that when your baby is teething, you lose one night’s sleep for every tooth. That worn out dad responded by saying, “By that measure, my baby girl would have about 150 teeth!” (4)

*That dad had been up at night a lot for his little girl, and he was worn out.

-But God our Heavenly Father never gets tired.

-He is always on the job.

-He is up all night, every night for us!

-And we can safely put our lives in His hands.

*Ellsworth Kalas shared something profound his friend once said. This Christian dad taught in a middle school and operated a small business in the summers. One day, one of his sons asked him, “Dad, what is your goal in life?” -- That wise father replied, “To put the hands of my family into the Hands of God.” (4)

*We can safely put our lives in God’s Hands, because He is the best Father of all.

[2] The perfect Heavenly Father helps us to understand God’s character. But so does God the Son, Jesus Christ who was baptized here in Matthew 3.

*Please listen again to vs. 16&17:

16. Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.

17. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

*Why was the Father pleased with the Son in vs. 17? -- It was because of the perfect obedience of the Son. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and was obedient, even to die on the cross for our sins.

*Remember what Paul said about Jesus in Phil 2:8, “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” So the Son reveals the humility, goodness, mercy, kindness and sacrificial love of our God.

[3] God the Son, Jesus Christ helps us to understand God’s character. But so does God the Holy Spirit.

*Here in vs. 16, the Holy Spirit revealed Himself as a dove, but why a dove? -- If we were God, a dove would be one of the last animals we would use to reveal our character. We would have chosen a roaring lion or a majestic eagle. But God chose a dove, harmless and innocent, to show us that with all of His strength, He has a tender, peaceful nature.

*God wants us to know what He is like, and His existence as a trinity helps us to know. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all help us to understand God’s character.

*So why does the trinity matter to us? -- Because the trinity reveals God’s character to us.

3. But also because the trinity carries out God’s work in His world.

*When God works in His world, when He works in our lives, no person of the Godhead is left out. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all three have a part.

[1] For example, we see this truth in the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

*John 3:16-17 reminds us that the Father had a part in the crucifixion:

16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

*As parents we could never give our children to die for some monster on death row. But that’s what God the Father had to do in order to save us from our sins. We cannot begin to measure how much it hurt the Father to sacrifice His Son for us.

*Of course the Son also had a part in the crucifixion, as He died on the cross for our sins. But Hebrews 9:11-14, tells us that the Holy Spirit also had a part in the crucifixion. There the Word of God says:

11. But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.

12. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

13. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,

14. how much more shall the blood of Christ, who THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

[2] God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all had a part in the crucifixion. They also all had a part in the resurrection.

*Many times we see that God the Father raised Jesus up. For example, Acts 13:32-33 says:

32. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

33. God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

*God the Son also had a part in the resurrection, for in John 10:17-18, Jesus said:

17. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.

18. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

*God the Father and God the Son both had a part in the resurrection of Christ. But 1 Peter 3:18 shows us that the Holy Spirit also had a part in the resurrection. There Peter tells us that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”

*God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all three had a part in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So Christians, they all have a part in our salvation.

*Ephesians 2 talks about Jesus reconciling both Jewish and Gentile believers to God. And it says Jesus did that by the cross. Then Ephesians 2:17-18 tells us that Jesus:

17. . . came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

18. For through Him (i.e. Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

*There it is again: The trinity. And 1 Peter 1:2 calls us Christians “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. . .”

*God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are working together as one to carry out God’s will in the world. They are working together to carry out God’s will in us.

*We believe in the trinity: One God, three persons. And it matters.

-Because God has confirmed the trinity to us.

-Because the trinity reveals God’s character to us.

-And because the trinity carries out God’s work in His world.

*Are you letting God work in your life tonight? -- Let’s ask Him to work in our hearts right now, as we go to God in prayer.

(1) The 2000 Baptist Faith & Message

(2) http://www.gotquestions.org/oneness-Jesus-only.html

(3) Adapted from “The Trinity” by Dave Hunt - The Berean Call - Publication Date: 1011989

(4) Found in sermon on Sermons.com: “With a Little Help from My Friends” - Sermon by King Duncan - Mark 2 1-12

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