The Triune God
Nu 6:22 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 23 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: 24 "The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace."' 27 "So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them."
Ro 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?" 35 "Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?" 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Joh 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." 3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" 10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 "Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
It’s Trinity Sunday. Whereas the church calendar typically commemorates an event....Trinity Sunday affirms and celebrates a mysterious reality. The Trinity. Though the word “trinity” is not found in Scripture, the concept of a Triune God is found throughout it’s pages, and we believe as Christians who are Lutherans that the belief in the Trinity is necessary for salvation, anything less is idolatry. Anything less is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit..
We find the doctrine affirmed in all three of the ancient Creeds of the Christian church. it is also affirmed in the Augsburg Confession, which you will find in the front of our hymnal. This is what we as Christian Lutherans believe. Let me quote from the Augsburg Confession:
Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; 2] that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and 3] yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
And the term "person" 4] they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.
All other beliefs that denied the Trinity were condemned as heresies. These heretics that deny the Trinity are still with us today, (some openly, some subtly) and are to be shunned by Bible believing Christians. They include the Unity Church, Unitarian Universalist’s, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Mormons, United Pentecostals, and most Lodges.
By the way, there are also Trinitarian Pentecostals, I do not say that you should shun them.
Why? Why should we exclude from Christian fellowship these religions that don’t hold to the Trinity...simply because the Bible commands us to worship one God, and if you are not worshiping the Triune God, you are not worshiping the true God of the Bible. That my friends is idolatry.
De 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
Well, wait a minute, if God is one, why do we say that God is three? Isn’t worshiping the Triune God a form of idolatry? Well, again, it is a mystery. it isn’t something that we can pretend to explain, but the Bible does mention all three persons of the Trinity and assigns them deity.
First of all we have God the Father.
Joh 6:27 "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."
Eph 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Then we have God the Son:
Heb 1:8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.
(This is God the Father speaking to His Son and He refers to the Son as God!)
Then Jesus referring to Himself as Lord in this discourse with the Pharisees who refused to believe in the possibility of a Trinity.
Mt 22:43 He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying:
44 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"'? 45 "If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?"
God the Holy Spirit:
Heb 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Only God is eternal. The Holy Spirit is also God.
In addition, we have recorded conversations in the Bible between the members of the Trinity. In the creation account we read:
Gen 1:26 “Let us make man in Our image”
Isa 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?"
Re 12:6 Then the woman (the church) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
And in our Gospel reading today: “
Joh 3:11 "Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
And so we declare on this Trinity Sunday that we worship the One True God, the Trinity, The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is in the name of the Trinity that we are baptized into the true Christian church, just as Jesus commanded us in Matthew 28
Mt 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Why would Jesus command us to be baptized into these three names, if only one were God? They are all three God, separate and distinct, yet one in essence.
And it is in this baptism into the name of the Trinity that we are born again as Jesus sought to explain to Nicodemus.
Jn 3:5, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
It was an interesting conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus, and even in this conversation we see evidence of the Trinity. He mentions being “born of the Spirit, (one entity) and refers to Himself as the only “begotten Son” (another entity) which is to say that He is of the same substance as the Father (still another entity) ....three entities, yet one God.
So much of what we do on Sundays is linked to the Trinity. We invoke the name of the Trinity at the start of our worship service as a reminder of the name into which we were baptized. We affirm the Trinity in our recitation of the creed. Even the benediction is inclusive of the Trinity as it involves a conveyance, an invoking of the name of God upon the congregation.
And as we have seen that name is inclusive of the Trinity.
Is it coincidence that the benediction has a threefold blessing that “put’s the name of God on the true children of Israel? Have you ever stopped and considered what is taking place during the benediction?
As God’s under shepherd, I am privileged to bestow this blessing upon you as if God were speaking to you personally. And I hope you will carefully consider these words before you leave here this morning. The benediction.
God said, “this is how I want you to bless My people.”
The Lord bless you, (the Lord be benevolent toward you, kind and merciful toward you. May He load you up with the benefits of His grace!)
May the Lord keep you. (May He put a hedge of thorns around you to protect you from the evil one!)
May the Lord make His face shine upon you (may the Lord not turn from you and may He ever look upon you with favor.
May the Lord be gracious to you, (May He stoop down to you as His inferior and offer you His fellowship and unconditional kindness)
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, (that is, may He magnify your awareness of His presence in your life.)
And give you peace. (May your safety of mind, body, and your standing with Him remain intact.)
It is not too difficult to see the various characteristics of the Trinity present in this blessing.
The Father who is your benevolent protector. (Bless you and keep you)
The Son, who’s face was literally seen on this earth, who was full of grace and truth.
May you experiance His presence and grace in your life. (May His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.)
In the Portals of prayer devotion from yesterday the author said, “all who met Him (Jesus) saw a face radiant with the light of God’s love. That is the face that Jesus turns to us. What comfort this is when He draws us back to Himself in repentance. He blesses us with forgiveness and lets His face shine upon us in compassionate grace!.”
And the Holy Spirit, who’s job it is to elevate the countenance of the Son, to deflect all attention to Jesus, and the One who brings assurance of peace with the Father, through God given faith in Jesus Christ.
May He lift up His countenance, lift up Jesus and give you His peace.)
Remember what Jesus said and did when He first appeared to the disciples after His resurrection?
Joh 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
Peace to you and He breathed on them the Holy Spirit.
Trinity Sunday is about proclaiming the name of God and reminding believers that all the benefits of that name have been bestowed upon us in our baptism, and those benefits remain ours as long as we keep the faith.
And as we depart here today, and I pronounce the benediction, may it be a reminder to each of us of our great and loving God, who longs to bestow blessing upon His children.
Listen to these various Scriptures that help us understand what kind of Triune God we serve.
Neh 9:17, “But You are God, Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness,
Ps 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
Ps 145:8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.
Joe 2:13 For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
Jon 4:2 You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.
Na 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
And now may this same Triune God of the Holy Scriptures, who loved you so much that He sent His only Son into the world and then revealed His Son to you through the work of His Holy Spirit, may He bless you and keep you, may He make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you, may this same Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace!