Part two of a series of four men's breakfasts. (Part one here).
Audio here (we only get through about 10% of the notes!).
THREE PERSONS UNITED
Last time we thought about the God who’s revealed in Christ alone. Jesus IS the revelation of God
Without Jesus, God is not known, whether through reason, religion or natural revelation (creation).
People often assume that Christless reason/religion/natural revelation gives some God-knowledge
But the God that’s known in these ways is the omnibeing: high on power, low on personality.
That is not the God Jesus reveals!
The bible tells us that we know the living God only in Jesus.
And when we look to Jesus we see Someone very different.
It might sound like we’re being very anti-reason etc. Is there a place for reason etc?
Yes, but that place is after we have come to Jesus and we build only on His foundation.
So we can reason from Jesus (Col 2:8) and go deeper with Him,
we can approach world religions (1 Cor 8:6) and see Jesus ‘in photo-negative’,
we can read the OT (John 5:36-46) and see Christ as the central Character
and we can view creation (Col 1:23) and hear it proclaim the word of Christ.
There is a way from Jesus to reason/religion/general revelation.
There is no way from reason/religion/general revelation to Jesus!
It’s a big claim to say that even biblical religion (e.g. the OT) does not reveal God apart from Jesus
So let’s spend a few minutes in Exodus to show that this is indeed the case
Exodus 3:2,4,6,12,14 (The Angel: Genesis 16:7-14; 48:15,16; Judges 2:1-4; 6:11-24)
Exodus 13:21 ó 14:19-20
Exodus 19:10-13, 18, 20-22
Exodus 33:7-11 ó v12-23 & Exodus 34:5-9 & Ex 35:30-31
What was God doing before creation of world? Where does your mind go?
The real problem we have with the Trinity
Our big problem with Trinity is not the Trinity. Our big problem is we still think of the omnibeing.
Trinity is not about reconciling the omnibeing with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Trinity is about replacing the omnibeing with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And we do it by simply looking at Jesus – Trinity is just about taking Jesus’ identity seriously.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God – Anointed by the Spirit, Son of the Father
Three Persons United in Love...
Galatians 4:4-7: 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Three Persons: God/Abba,Father – Son – Spirit of the Son
United: Sending, Belonging, Calling
In Love: The Spirit prays the intimate prayer of the Son to the Father. (cf 1John 4:8)
...And you’re invited!
The Son became what we are, so that we could become what He is – a beloved, Spirit-filled son!
Trinity is not a maths problem!
Trinity is the good news that God is love and we’re invited!
Not getting trinity means missing who is God, who is Jesus, what is the gospel, who we are!
How are they Three?
They love each other, pray to each other, give and receive from each other.
Jesus has a will which He has to submit to His Father. (Mark 14:36)
How are they One?
Holy Father, protect [the disciples] by the power of your name -- the name you gave me -- so that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:11)
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. (John 17:20-21)
The Oneness of God is a unity of distinct Persons. Deuteronomy 6:4 ó Genesis 2:24
See also Gen 11:6; 34:16; Ex 24:3; 26:6; Josh 9:2; 10:42; 2 Samuel 2:25; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 30:12; Ezra 6:24
Their being is totally interdependent – the Father is only Father because of Son, etc, etc
Their works are totally interdependent – all Three do all the works together.
But they have different roles...
What are the roles?
Isaiah 11:1-5: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD-- 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash round his waist.
Isaiah 42:1-4: "Here is my Servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope."
Isaiah 48:12-16: 12 "Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. 13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together. 14 "Come together, all of you, and listen: Which of the idols has foretold these things? The LORD's chosen ally will carry out his purpose against Babylon; his arm will be against the Babylonians. 15 I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him. I will bring him, and he will succeed in his mission. 16 "Come near me and listen to this: "From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there. And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with His Spirit. (Isaiah 48:12-16)
Isaiah 61:1-3: The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour.
The Father is the Loving Sender / Initiator
John 3:35 “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.”
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
1John 4:8-9: God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
The Son is the Beloved and Obedient Sent-One / Executor
Psalm 40:7-8: "Here I am, I have come--it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."
John 5:30: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
The Spirit is the Personal Empowerer / Perfector / Applier
Acts 10:38 …God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and …[Jesus] went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Romans 8:14-16: those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
All the works of God are from the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore we can know the Persons of God in their distinct roles and personalities.
2 Corinthians 13:14: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Next time: We’ll try to re-shape our vision of God. Since our God is not the omnibeing – full of cold attributes – but a loving relationship of Persons, we’ll re-think His character in a properly Christian way.