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The Significance of the Trinity

David Shin

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David Shin

Pastor, Hillside O'Malley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Anchorage, AK

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Recorded

  • May 11, 2019
    11:15 AM
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When you look on a coin American coin in the penny you'll see the Latin words there you pluribus unum out of the many one and this describes in capsule 8 a philosophical quest that has been going on through centuries how to bring unity in diversity how do we bring all of the complexities of life and bring into a unifying principle in the very name university means unity in diversity bring all these different disciplines together unity in diversity and I believe that in Scripture we have this theme emerging in the notion of the Trinity unity in diversity the RICO you turn all existing entities these the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit all one a mystery in the Trinity and this is one of those things where I asked my wife I said do you think it's too late to change the sermon topic yesterday and so she said I'm just a wonderful wonderful and praise the Lord for wives and and she said sure so it's a sermon shift and topic and it is Mother's Day weekend it's a weekend that we focus and reflect on one of the most intimate relationships that we can have this side of heaven in men relationship between mother and child between son and daughter and mother what an intimate bond that we can have this relational richness that we can have with our mothers or as a mother and I'd like to reflect on the relational dynamics found within the Godhead the Trinity there is not a lot of Trinitarian think. That's going a long going around today even the the notion of the Trinity or the Godhead is question even within our community of faith people don't believe in certain aspects of the Godhead and before we go into the relation now and the community that is found within the church I'd like to do a quick Bible study this morning and I have all of these references in your study guide one encourage you take out your study done this morning all of the passages that I'll be referencing quickly this morning are found there and I pray that you reflect upon the nature of the Trinity much of it is a mystery and I believe that even when we get to heaven we won't fully understand all of the dynamics God is bigger than us that's an understatement God is much more vast than we are and I believe that even in heaven every day will be a day of while Amen. Infinite development infinite growth the wonder and the all of heaven will never cease because God is infinite and so as we meditate this morning on the Trinity it would do us well in humility to figure to take the shoes off our feet because we're treading on holy ground and there's dimensions of this that I believe we are just touching the surface like a child on the seashore. Want to read the introduction the notion of the Trinity. In the Latin tryna Taz try unity or 3 in one this is one of the most important teachings of the Christian faith although the word Trinity is not found in the Bible neither is the word incarnation the teaching it describes is clearly found there briefly defined the teaching of the Trinity stands for the concept that God eternally exists in 3 persons Father Son and Holy Spirit and each person is fully God and there is one God God himself is a mystery how much more the incarnation or the Trinity However that should not trouble us as long as the different aspect of expects of these mysteries are clearly taught in Scripture in studying the Trinity in Scripture we need to be aware that we can only ever achieve a partial understanding of what the trinity is so let's go to the Bible the very beginning and go to the Book of Genesis here in Genesis 11 1st chapter 1st verse of the Bible it says in the beginning God. And when you look at the Hebrew it's not in the singular sense the singular word for God would have been L.-O. ha but it is L.-O. heem implying plurality in the beginning God is not in the singular sense since in the plural sense so at the very beginning of the Bible you have the implication of the polarity ploy rally of God and then it's much more explicit in Genesis Chapter one Verse $26.00 you see that there is a conversation that takes place within the Godhead and God said what is a screen say let us plural make man in Our image according to our likeness so the beginning of create creation in the creation process was a conversation that takes place with more than one God is not talking to himself Here there is a conversation that's taking place in the Pearl of plurality of the Triune God let us make man in our image and then you have more evidence that emerges in Genesis chapter 3 verse 22. After the fall when the Lord God said Behold man has become like one of us another conversation that's in plied taking place within the Trinity and then at the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11 verse 7 calmed let us go down and they're confused their language and they may not understand one another speech so you can see some implications about how the Trinity relates to each other it's not as though God the Father called in God the Son and said look you do this you do that and report back to me in a month it wasn't this delegation of responsibility and power that was community in the Trinity that was conversation in the Trinity and the creative process was a community involvement between these 3 Co eternal entities the Father Son and the Holy Spirit and then in Isaiah Chapter 6 or 8 The the middle of the Bible says also I heard the voice of the Lord saying whom shall I send and who will go for us plurality again so this idea of the Trinity and the Godhead is not a new concept that emerges in Matthew chapter 28 where you have the Father Son and Holy Spirit but the implications of the plurality of God are found and very beginning of the Bible now the question that many people have asked is What about their being one God. And this is found in the every faithful Q. would get up in the morning and say the Shamali hero Israel the Lord our God The Lord is one hears the word in the oneness of God emerges and this was a distinguishing characteristic between the Jews the Israelites and the surrounding nations this is known as mano theism vs polytheism the Lord our God is one so you have this one minute's in the plurality of God even though there are 3 separate individual entities the Father Son and Holy Spirit there is this oneness that emerges and the question is what does this one Miss mean the Hebrew word there on the screen you can see it is the word it COD and this word 1st comes in the book of Genesis Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and should be joined to his wife and they shall become one it caused flash so the implication here is that the Oneness in the Trinity is analogous to the relationship between the husband and the wife when you become married in a sense you become one. However this does not mean there is some sort of metaphysical morphing of individual personalities you know I'm here and my wife is in another location I am an individual I have a personality my wife has a personality but in this special sense in the Ecod sense we are one there is that oneness so God is helping us to understand the nature of the Trinity is similar in some aspects to the nature of the oneness between husband and wife and the beautiful application that we can have is that the community found in the Trinity can be reproduced here on earth between a husband and a wife a man the beautiful self denial and submission of one to the other the denial of self and surrender can be found in the community in the Trinity and also between the husband and the wife so the oneness that the Bible talks about in the Trinity is also found in the oneness between the husband and the wife. Here in Matthew chapter 3 verse 16 and 17 the New Testament we have this rare occasion where you have all 3 members of the Godhead present at one location and one a vent it's at the baptism of Jesus. When he had been baptized Jesus came up immediately from the water and behold the heavens were open to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him and suddenly a voice came from him saying saying and this is the father this is my Son in whom I am well please so at the baptism of Jesus there were these 3 members of the God at the Father Son and Holy Spirit Incidentally when you're baptized you're also baptized in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit is this an important event in the eyes of God baptism so important that all 3 members of the Godhead pull up a chair figuratively we want to be there at your baptism at the experience of the new life The Father Son and Holy Spirit you can see them all 3 distinct individuals here at the baptism of Jesus and of course Matthew chapter 21000 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father the name of the Son and the name of the Holy Spirit the 3 distinct individuals found in the Godhead and of course 2nd Corinthians chapter 13 verse 14 you have the 3 individuals of the Godhead that are implied here the grace of the Lord Jesus the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit now we can go on and on there's many other references that imply the Trinity in one way or another but there is a popular belief in some circles that Jesus is somehow a sub par God. The idea that Jesus is God but in somehow a lesser sense in this cropped up in Western Europe shortly after the inception of Christianity with the area in view this is not Iranian nation by the way this is the area in view where they believe that Jesus came forth from the father and was not pretty existant and not eternal in the same sense as the father and there are different texts that point out that Jesus is just as much God in the fullest sense of the Godhead as the father here in John chapter one verse one in the beginning was the Word and the Word was WITH God and the Word was God This talking about Jesus 1st 14 says and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth here we can see that the Bible is pointing out this is not the beginning of creation the implication of this passage is this is the beginning of time God the Father and God the Son both had this pre-existant eternal in the same sense according to these verses Now the question arises why do we have this relationship that is portrayed father son I believe it is an analogous relationship to help us to understand that the relationship between the God the Father and God the Son is in some way parallel to the relationship that we have as human beings between a father and a son it is the king of the universe endeavoring to help us to understand eternal realities now. Here the Bible comes out very clearly in John Chapter 20 verse 28 and Thomas answered and said to him My Lord and My God very clear the disciples believe that Jesus was God few questions that arise what about only Jesus being the only begotten son and here is where the Arion belief arises where they believe that Jesus came forth from the father in some sort of supernatural way in the far reaches of eternity past and they believe that Jesus is God but somehow came forth from God and they use this term be gotten son to to portray that this idea and here is one reference to The only be gotten son it's found in 1st Schon for verse 9 in this the love of God was manifested toward us that God has sent his only be gotten son into the world that we might live through him and it is now the the Greek word for be gotten there is the word monologue in a race and it means unique and one of a kind. Now an important principle when you study scripture is to look at other instances where this same word arises and this term monologue an ace or be gotten arises in the relationship between Abraham and Isaac here it is and he burst 17 by faith Abraham when he was tested offered up Isaac and he who had received the promise offered up his only begotten Son monolog an ace there is the word again now when you read the book of Genesis was I think the only son of Abraham No he wasn't even the firstborn son Ishmael was the 1st born and not a lot of people know this but after Sarah died Abraham married to Turkey and that all all their brood of childrens through his last wife so this was not his only begotten Son Now if we look at the Greek word unique and one of a kind was I sick unique Was he one of a kind why because of the nature of his birth Sarah Abraham were senior citizens they were well past the age of or Sarah was anyway was well past the age of the ability to have children this is a miracle of birth a miracle child so in this sense I sick was model going is the only begun the unique Son of God and is Jesus unique. Is he different than any other human being that has walked on planet Earth absolutely So there you have it Jesus is unique this is not talking about some supernatural coming forth from the father it's simply pointing out that Jesus is unique among all creation and here we have another implication of this when the Bible talks about Jesus being the firstborn some people say oh there you have it he's 1st born from the father this points out that Jesus is a lesser lesser god than the father is and here is the reference in collage in Chapter one Verse 15 he is the image of the invisible God the firstborn over all creation Now what does that mean Jesus is 1st born some people say this means that in turn of the past he came forth from the father but when you cross reference this with the same book same chapter verse 18 here in the Bible points out he is the head of the Body the Church who is the beginning the firstborn from the what the dead the firstborn from the dead that in all things he may have the preeminence in other words when the Bible talks about this idea of being 1st born it's talking about being raised from the dead 1st born from the dead Jesus is not even the 1st person that's ever been resurrected but Jesus is the most important resurrection amen because if it's not for the resurrection of Jesus there is no resurrection He is the resurrection in the life so when we talk about firstborn it's not talking about chronological but he's talking about preheminence the most important resurrection from the dead Here's a quotation from one of my favorite books desire of ages page 530 in Him Jesus was life original unbar road and derived. Very quickly the Holy Spirit as a 3rd person of the Trinity and here we have a reference an acceptor fivers 3 and 4 but Peter said N N I A swine has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit it's fascinating because in the book of Acts you have people being filled with the Holy Spirit but here in Acts Chapter 5 years 3 you have a person being filled with Satan I pray that I am filled with the Spirit of God Amen so you can be filled with the Spirit of God or you can be filled with Satan in this case and a nice is filled with Satan to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself while there remains was not your own after it was sold was it not in your control why have you conceived this thing in your heart you have not lied to men but to whom but to God So in lying to the Holy Spirit and a nihilist was lying to God Now there's a lot of reflection and more more passages that we can go in regards to the study of the Trinity but the evidence is clear from scripture that the Trinity exists now when we reflect on the Trinity the common question that arises especially in my mind when I 1st came across this teaching in Cradle Roll and on through ads in a sense occasion is so what what's the big deal there's 3 co-eternal persons they created in creation they were there at baptism What implications does it have to my practical day to day life and as we go back to the creative process one of my professors asked this question and this is a slide from his presentation want to give credit where credit is due Stanley Patterson professor of leadership and you see a logical seminary Yes this question in the beginning when God said Let Us make man in Our image who said that her wonder. It was God the Father God the Son God the Holy Spirit. What we don't know we don't know but someone said it let us make man in Our image now the very posture of that statement imply collaboration right when you say let us do something you give me an invitation for cooperation in collaboration in other words this is not you do this it is not dictation it is a conversation between 3 co-eternal persons God the Father do not sit at his desk and say OK Jesus you create light and Holy Spirit you do this and then come back to me and report it was Let us. In other words there is this implication of community and the implication is that the other members of the Godhead had to say oh that's a wonderful idea let us do this there is cooperation that is implied in this Trinitarian language that emerges in other words the process of creation was a community process not an individual process this is so foreign to our thinking today because we live in an age in an era especially in the western world of individual ism it's about me and my prominence now if this spirit was in the Trinity it would have been a disaster. Think about it 3 nipa tent all knowing all powerful beings that are all out for number one. Talk about war in heaven not between Lucifer and price but between 3 co-eternal powerful individuals. But you don't see that dynamic you see this self differentiation between or this deferments this mutual submission found within the Godhead at the very beginning let us make man in our image and you have this idea that emerges in the New Testament of each member of the Godhead submitting to the other member Here's the 1st case and this is very apparent throughout Scripture in John Chapter 5 Verse 19 Jesus said to hit them very truly I tell you the son can do nothing on his own but only what he sees the father doing for whatever the father does the son does likewise then the question is Did Jesus have power to do things in his own ability absolutely absolutely he's an impotent all powerful all knowing but here we see a a voluntary submission of one member of the Godhead to the other he says I'm not going to use my own power but I'm going to depend on my father another place he says without the father I can do nothing in other words he was totally dependent on the father here we see a all powerful being the son choosing to submit to the father now this is not the only submission that takes place because you have in John chapter one verse 18 the father submitting to the Son No one has ever seen God it is God the only son who is close to the father's how heart who has made him known. It seems to emerge in scripture that in the formation of the plan of salvation that each member of the Godhead for this project of salvation to work for all of them to take distinct roles in other words if I have a $1000000000.00 Lane has a $1000000000.00 in and and Ryan has a $1000000000.00 and we say we want to do something together someone has to be C.E.O. someone has to be C.F.O. someone has to be in charge of marketing so in these 3 roles in this analogy now we're all worth the same amount but it seems like Jesus has taken on the role as the revealer of who God is that seems to be is primarily even in Michael in becoming an angel and things like that then is the implied role of Jesus to refill the transcendence of God to the universe because God is so far beyond us he's a mystery he's transcendent you just have to look out of the universe and recognize that he is so beyond us in in just a way that we can't even fathom so God accommodates that and says look I want to reveal to you the nature of who God is in Jesus I'm going to take that role to reveal the character of God Now when you have a spokesman It takes a lot of discipline and submission to allow the spokesman to speak for you the easiest way to undercut a spokesman is after the spokesman speaks and says this is what the person is saying you come along and say Actually I can see it better what is he what have you just done to the spokes person you just he's become irrelevant so here we see mutual submission the Son is the revealer and God says everything that the son says is who I am. The father submits to the son and then here we have the Spirit submits to the son in John Chapter 15 verse 26 when the advocate comes whom I will send to you from the Father the Spirit of Truth who comes from the father he will testify on my behalf in other words when the Holy Spirit comes on the day of Pentecost He doesn't say look it's all about me now look at me he testifies of the son a form of submission in other words it's all about Jesus the role of the Holy Spirit is to point us to Jesus Christ it's not about the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit comes on the day of Pentecost this is a form of submission now there's plenty of other texts where I show that every member of the Godhead summits to the other member of the guided you have in this in interpersonal dynamic found within the Trinity the quintessential community that's that's words that's what's found in the Trinity the quintessential community and here John Chapter 17 verse $21.00 the words of Jesus notice which is it says here I pray that they will all be one this is Trinitarian language they will all be one and just so you know that this is talking about the Trinity just as you and I are one Jesus is praying to the Father and he says look the community on earth the Christian church is to have the same type of Oneness the same type of mutual submission that the Father and the Son experience in the community of the Trinity This is from my professor. Dr Richard chere New Testament for us or at N.B.C. a logical seminary and he says this The goal of the Christian community is to reproduce the same mutual submission that binds the Trinity in one S this type of oneness of mutual submission. Now what does that mean in a practical sense and this is from Everett Ferguson backgrounds of early Christianity and this is the type of society that was in the 1st century in Roman society it was very hierarchical In other words it was kind of like. Korea and Japan. There's something about the Korean language even in the language you know exactly where you are on the pecking order and the English language is very egalitarian in other words you speak and it's all the same level but in the Korean language when you talk to someone that is all good then you or a superior to you the even nature of the language changes OK So so the Roman Empire was no different it's the you had people that were on a certain level and then you had the people on the lower level and wherever you navigated in Roman society you know if you knew exactly where you were on the pecking order the interactions between patrons and clients and between members of a household represented the principle of vertical relationships in society in other words clear hierarchy I'm here you're here or you're above me but there was this idea even in Roman culture of friendship friendship was the ideal horizontal relationship in other words there was this this motif even in Roman culture that even if you were on a certain place in a pecking order once you became friends. It made that relationship more egalitarian more horizontal and notice the profound words of Jesus in the 1st century to his disciple in this Roman culture notice what he says in John Chapter 15 verse 14 you are my what is say you are my friends you are my friends now this is not to say that Jesus is not superior to us or our Lord in our God but somehow Jesus brings us into a relation narry dynamic of intimacy and in a sense Trinitarian in nature. He says you are my friends the Bible paints this picture of our relationship with Christ being servants and friends you are my friends ever Ferguson goes on friendships was the ideal for social relationships and noticed in Roman culture the idea ideal for considering all things in common property in other words when you were friends it practical implications it meant your possessions were held in common and sharing one mind or one soul signs of true friendship were a willingness to share the other's troubles and to sacrifice self for the other's benefits such as the call ideals were readily adapted to the mutual relations in Christian communities in other words when you became friends with someone. There was a dramatic practical shift that happened and you can see this emerge in the book of Acts the next chapter 2 verse 44 and all who believe together had all things in common they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all as had any need you can see the community that arose in the early Christian church was a community of friends and the way that they related to each other was one of self-denial and mutual submission Now this is practical implications for us today but notice what Jesus says no one has greater love than this to lay down his life for his friends and the goal of the Christian community is to reproduce the self-sacrifice and submission that binds the Trinity in one this now. I believe that there is so much richness. That we as a local community here is the whole side of the church as we reflect more and more on the nature of how the Father Son and Holy Spirit relate to each other and how God says this same relational dynamic can be in your marriage relationship a man. Satan is destroying marriages today is destroying families today and what God wants to bring through His Holy Spirit is the same type of relation ality that can be found in the Trinity Furthermore God says this ideal can and I believe will be something that is actually lived in the Christian community before the 2nd coming Amen nothing isn't possible with God and my prayer to God every single day is Lord. I need the Holy Spirit I need the Holy Spirit so that I can be the man that you desire me to be amen the husband the father the pastor the church member that God desires me to be and as we meditate and as we engage God and are transformed by grace it has a horizontal effect on how we relate to each other. At some point friends I believe that God wants to bring theology from the mind to the heart into practice hey man you know it's one thing to talk about the love of God but sometimes we can get into arguments about the love of God ironically. And treat the other person in an unchristian way and sometimes it's just this fascinating dynamic an argument. That doesn't bear the fruits sometimes I'm like wow that's a fascinating argument but for some reason I'm not feeling it and that's why Jesus said look the practice of Christianity the living out of the life is the strongest are argument in favor of Christianity Let's pray for that amen I want to pray for that how many wants the Lord may use reproduce the love of God in my heart and my soul my marriage in my home let us pray Father in heaven we thank you so much. For the example the model of community found in the Trinity we pray that that would be reproduced in our own hearts in our own relationships in our own marriage in our own circle of friends in the church today we thank you for hearing in answering our prayers we asked these things in the precious name of Jesus and man this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W audio verse or.

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