Perfect Unity

God Is: The Attributes of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:44
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Perfect Unity

Several years ago, when we still lived in Georgia, I was taking Levi to school one day when he asked a question that I didn’t have an answer for.
He was usually asking questions about, well everything, and generally I had an answer for his questions or at least an answer that would satisfy his curiosity.
But this day, my 5 year old stumped.
We were listening to the radio and he asked how the car could hear the radio station.
I said the antenna picked up the signal from the radio station and put it through the speakers.
And then he asked, how does the antenna work.
That’s a pretty simple and strait forward question, but honestly I didn’t know.
I still don’t know.
So I said as much, “well, buddy, I don’t really know how it works. But we don’t have to know exactly how something works to know that it does in fact work.”
Now I want to take that with us this morning.
We don’t have to know exactly how something works to know that it does, in fact, work.
This morning’s attribute of God that we are going to look at is the trinity.
Like many of the attributes of God that we have looked at this one is essential for Christianity.
To deny the existence of the trinity is to deny God as he is revealed in his word.
Notice what I said, I didn’t say we needed to comprehend or completely understand this doctrine, but we cannot deny it.
One of the things that we have seen as we have made this journey through the attributes of God is that God is bigger in scope than we can even imagine.
He is greater in every conceivable way than we as his creation are.
We even talked about a few weeks ago that we will never fully comprehend everything there is to know about God.
There are mysteries that cannot be solved in our finite mind.
And one of those key mysteries is the mystery of the trinity.
Just b/c we can’t understand everything about God doesn’t mean that we can’t understand anything about him.
The same is true for this mystery of the trinity.
Trinity mean “Tri-Unity”
So for a quick and easy definition of the Trinity I want to offer up this:

The Trinity is one God existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

There are three tenets when it comes to the trinity
There is one God
God is 3 co-existing eternal persons
Each person is fully God.
God has one nature.
Nature is what makes a thing what it is.
All three persons of the trinity possess the nature of God. Meaning that they have what makes God, God.
However, they are not the same person.
A person is defined in his relationship to other persons.
And we’re going to dive into this later, but the persons of the trinity relate to us differently.
They also relate to one another differently.
However, The scriptures are clear that there is only one God.
Deuteronomy 6:4 CSB
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
1 Corinthians 8:4 CSB
4 About eating food sacrificed to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.”
Galatians 3:20 CSB
20 Now a mediator is not just for one person alone, but God is one.
While also revealing that the Father is God
Romans 1:7 CSB
7 To all who are in Rome, loved by God, called as saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 6:27 CSB
27 Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.”
Jesus is God
John 1:1 CSB
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 CSB
14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Hebrews 1:8 CSB
8 but to the Son: Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
Colossians 2:9 CSB
9 For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ,
1 John 5:20 CSB
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true one. We are in the true one—that is, in his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
And that the Holy Spirit is God
Acts 5:3–4 CSB
3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 CSB
16 Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
So the evidence of Scripture is that there is One God, one essence, and 3 persons: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Not only that, but the Scriptures reveal that the 3 persons of the trinity interact with one another
Matthew 3:16–17 CSB
16 When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”
This is the messiah, Jesus the Son, talking in
Isaiah 48:16 CSB
16 Approach me and listen to this. From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time anything existed, I was there.” And now the Lord God has sent me and his Spirit.
Zechariah 2:11 CSB
11 “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day and become my people. I will dwell among you, and you will know that the Lord of Armies has sent me to you.
In understanding the trinity, we need to know that each person of the trinity is fully God, meaning that each person of the Godhead possesses each attribute of God fully and completely.
This is important b/c for many of us we can fall into the trap and lie that one person of the trinity has a characteristic that the other’s don’t possess.
For instance, one of the over done tropes in critiques against Christianity is that the God of the OT is different than Jesus in the NT.
We hear or are told that God in the OT is hateful, angry, and wrathful, but Jesus in the NT is loving, kind, and graceful.
And what this does is separate God into parts that don’t exist in the narrative of Scripture.
Each person in the trinity holds the same attributes eternally.
One in being, 3 in essence, sharing in attributes.
I don’t know if you can tell or not, but this is really hard for us to wrap our minds around.
So as humans who like things in neat little packages, we have tried to make is so the trinity is easier to understand.
And one of the ways that we have done this is to attach trinitarian language to analogies.
I’m going to mention some of them, but I want you know they all miss the mark when talking about God, and as we talk about them, they also reveal ancient heresies.
One of the most popular analogy that I have heard is that The trinity is like water.
Water has three different forms: ice, liquid, and steam.
Each of these states of water represent God.
They are all water, but they are different forms of water.
The problem with this analogy is that it promotes what is called modalism.
Meaning that God reveals himself in different modes.
Water cannot be ice, liquid, and steam all at the same time.
Modalism argues that the three persons of the trinity are actually only modes or aspects of God.
So modalism argues that there are not 3 distinct persons but that God is only one person of God who manifests himself in three different ways.
This is a damnable heresy.
Another analogy was popularized by St. Patrick.
This is the analogy of the 3 leaf clover.
Where each leaf of the clover represents a person of the trinity.
This is a heresy known as partialism.
Each leaf is a part of the clover, but not the whole of the clover.
This would mean that God is made up of three parts rather than being one God.
In Partialism each person of the trinity is only 1/3 of God rather than fully God.
Heresy again.
There is also the analogy that God is like the sun.
This goes that the Father is like the star, the Son is like the rays of light, and Holy Spirit is like the heat from the sun.
Here’s the problem with this one.
It argues that Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are actually creations of the Father, rather than co-eternally existent.
They are not of the same nature b/c they are created by the Father.
This is also an Ancient heresy known as Arianism.
To boil down this real quickly, it is unwise and dangerous to use analogies to try and comprehend the trinity.
I am not saying that everyone who uses these analogies is a heretic, I am saying that we should be careful with the language of how we talk about God.
Trying to fit our understanding about God into a box is dangerous and unwise.
He is infinitely more complex than we can imagine.
And like I said earlier it is a good thing for us to rest in the mystery of God.
So how do we explain the trinity?
Great thing for us this is something that has been hashed out historically in what is known as the Athanasian Creed.
Here is a snippet from it that I would like for us to read together.
That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,     neither blending their persons     nor dividing their essence.         For the person of the Father is a distinct person,         the person of the Son is another,         and that of the Holy Spirit still another.         But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,         their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.
What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.         The Father is uncreated,         the Son is uncreated,         the Holy Spirit is uncreated.
The Father is immeasurable,         the Son is immeasurable,         the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.
The Father is eternal,         the Son is eternal,         the Holy Spirit is eternal.
And yet there are not three eternal beings;             there is but one eternal being.             So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;             there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.
Similarly, the Father is almighty,         the Son is almighty,         the Holy Spirit is almighty.             Yet there are not three almighty beings;             there is but one almighty being.
Thus the Father is God,         the Son is God,         the Holy Spirit is God.             Yet there are not three gods;             there is but one God.
Thus the Father is Lord,         the Son is Lord,         the Holy Spirit is Lord.             Yet there are not three lords;             there is but one Lord.
Just as Christian truth compels us     to confess each person individually     as both God and Lord,     so catholic religion forbids us     to say that there are three gods or lords.
Man that is all well and good, but I am sure that you all have questions.
I’m glad. Let’s provoke some thought.
Knowing that growing in our knowledge of the Lord honors him.
Now, I want to shift gears for a few minutes and talk about the action of God in the world.
We have seen that God is one being and 3 persons.
And I described that a person is based on their interaction with other persons.
So how does this impact our understanding of the trinity.
Let’s not forget that each person of the trinity is equal in their attributes and divinity, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have seperate roles.
There is what is called “the economy of the Trinity”.
And this word economy refers to the “ordering of activities”
Meaning that each person of the trinity have different functions or primary activities.
This is most plainly seen in the acts of creation and salvation.

Trinity in creation

when it comes to creation
Each member of the trinity had a distinct role in creation.
Think about it this way,
The Father spoke creation into existence that what we get in the Genesis account.
Genesis 1:3 CSB
3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
God, the father was the architect of creation.
Planning and decreeing what the universe would look like.
How it would operate.
Laying out the laws of nature.
The structure, beauty, and the creativity in creation.
So when this universe, in human terms, was conceptualized by God the father, he knew how it would work.
He knew that the sun would rise in the east and set in west.
He knew how reproduction would work.
He knew how trees would breath in carbon dioxide that was breathed out by humanity and then breath out oxygen that was breathed in by humanity.
He knew how he wanted the rain cycle to work.
He knew all the functions of the world around us.
Meanwhile God the Son, the eternal word of God carried out the creative decrees that the Father set forth
John 1:3 CSB
3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.
Colossians 1:16 CSB
16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through him and for him.
Hebrews 1:2 CSB
2 In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him.
It was through the Word of the Father, the Son of God, that the earth and everything in it came to be.
All things were made by the Son, for the Son.
The purpose of all creation is to point us to the beauty, majesty, and glory of God.
Not only did the Father and Son have a role in creation so did the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 1:2 CSB
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
In creation, the HS was manifesting and demonstrating the presence of God in creation.
God wasn’t just a remote architect or divine builder, but he was intimately involved with the creation of the world.
Bringing out of nothing something, then bringing order and beauty into that something he created.
For a long time as a young man there was always a verse in the opening chapters of Genesis that gave me pause.
No one had ever opened it up and explained it to me.
Now I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it, but in Gen 1.26-27 we read.
Genesis 1:26–27 CSB
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.
I always wanted to know who is “us”.
Now there are some differing answers out there, but I am convinced that this is an expression of the triune nature of God.
This is the fullness of God looking down at his creation and consulting within his being in all three persons wanting to make a person in his own image.
It’s a beautiful picture of God’s work in his creation.
As wonderful as the act of creation is, we can really see the trinity at work in the Redemption of Man kind.

Trinity in Redemption

Much like in creation, God the Father was the planner and architect of redemption.
He is the one who sent the son into the world.
John 3:16 CSB
16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Galatians 4:4 CSB
4 When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
Ephesians 1:9–10 CSB
9 He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ 10 as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.
From the very beginning of time, God had a plan to fix the broken fellowship between God and Man.
God knew that we were the problem and that as the problem we could never be the solution.
So he orchestrated our redemption through the sending of his son.
Jesus, the Son, comes to earth, sent by the father to live a life of perfect obedience.
And through his obedience to the Father, he accomplishes redemption.
The obedience to the father included offering up his life as a sacrifice.
John 6:38 CSB
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
Hebrews 10:5–7 CSB
5 Therefore, as he was coming into the world, he said: You did not desire sacrifice and offering, but you prepared a body for me. 6 You did not delight in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings. 7 Then I said, “See— it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, God.”
God the Father didn’t die for our sins.
Nor did God the HS, but it was the son that laid down his life for us.
And it was God the father that honored Jesus’ obedience and Sacrifice, by raising Jesus from the Dead affirming that redemption had been accomplished.
It is through the death of Jesus that God’s plan of redemption was enacted.
Now to those who would believe in him will have redemption.
Those who believe in Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension can have life with God.
And as the down payment for your belief you receive God the Holy Spirit living in you.
So not only does God begin the plan, accomplish the plan, but he also comes and dwells with us as part of the plan.
The role of the HS in redemption is 3 fold.
First, He is the one that convicts us of our sins and gives us new life.
John 3:5–8 CSB
5 Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
In order to be redeemed by God, we must be born of the Spirit. This is a supernatural act that can only happen through conviction of our sins and seeing the need for forgiveness from God.
Second, he helps us in the sanctification process
Romans 8:13 CSB
13 because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Romans 15:16 CSB
16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest of the gospel of God. God’s purpose is that the Gentiles may be an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 1:2 CSB
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient and to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Sanctification is the process of the believer in Jesus becoming more like Jesus.
This can only happen through the power of the HS.
Thirdly, The HS empowers those saved by grace to do the acts of service that we have been called to.
Acts 1:8 CSB
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
1 Corinthians 12:7–11 CSB
7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills.
The HS gives us the spiritual gifts that he then empowers us to use for the good of God’s people and to glorify God.
The HS brings to completion all the work that has been planned by God the Father and begun by God the Son.
You see in creation and redemption, the Triune Godhead works in complete harmony to accomplish his will.
Though they differ in in their relationship to creation they are equal in power, majesty, and attributes.
But why does all this matter?
Why do we need to know about or even study the trinity?
One of the reasons that we need to study the trinity is that it helps us gather a grander view of God.
We tend to like to shrink God down to our size.
That’s why we use analogies that don’t work.
We at times feel that we can bargain with God when it comes to our lives.
But the reality is, diving deeper into the attribute of the trinity forces us to see God for who he truly is.
It forces us to recognize just how grand in scope God is.
It forces us to hold tightly to the truth that we will never understand God fully, but that we can trust him completely.
The trinity also shows us the importance of both unity and diversity.
This can be seen in two primary places.
The first being the home and marriage between a husband and a wife.
They are two distinct individuals but for the home to flourish there needs to be unity.
Unity b/c in marriage the two become one flesh.
Ephesians 5:31 CSB
31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
In a healthy and biblical marriage, the couple become one flesh, working toward the goal of glorifying God and fulfilling his purpose for them.
Not only is unity important in the home, but also in the church.
As those who follow Jesus, we are many members, yet one body.
There is great diversity in the church.
But we are called to unity.
Our gifts and callings may differ, but we need to be unified in the one that we serve.
Unity and diversity display God’s glory.
1 Cor 12
Romans 12:3–8 CSB
3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; 7 if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
In the kingdom of God we never lose our identity, but we are called for one purpose to serve one another and ultimately glorify God.
We work better together when we work in unity with one another.
The unity and diversity in the trinity sets the model and the goal for the church and for marriage.
The Trinity is the example that we should follow when it comes to living out the calling that we have been given.
I want to close out with this quote
I love what Old Preacher Charles Spurgeon says:
Nothing will so enlarge the intellect and magnify the whole soul of man as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the whole subject of the Trinity
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