God ~ 20151018 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the
Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
Audio available at:
are seeking to know God, to know what he has revealed to us about
himself. We desire to worship him as he is. We seek to honor him. We
want to worship him in truth.
of the old creeds, a creed that has been recited and memorized by
Christians for centuries, starts out like this:
will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the
catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and
undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the
catholic faith is this:”
(small 'c') simply means universal, the faith that all Christians
believe. We could substitute the word 'universal'. What do you think
is so essential to salvation that 'before all things it is necessary
that he hold'? What point of truth is so essential that 'except we
keep it whole and undefiled, without doubt we shall perish
everlastingly'? How would you finish the statement 'the universal
faith of the Christian church is this:'?
is how the historic Athanasian creed begins:
And the catholic
faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in
Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence.
of religious groups attack the Christian belief in the trinity.
Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, all scoff at the idea
of the trinity. Some say that it was a belief pushed on the church
by a pagan emperor. Others say it is just plain nonsense.
do we get this concept of trinity? What do we mean by it? Should we
believe it? Does it really matter?
me give you five statements that are clearly taught in the Bible.
There is only one
The Father is God
The Son is God
The Spirit is God
The Father, Son
and Spirit are each someone distinct from the other two
word 'trinity' is an abbreviation of tri-unity; describing that God
is a unity, that there is oneness in God, and there is also
threeness in God.
is Only One God
time we looked at some of the biblical evidence for monotheism in
contrast to polytheism or tritheism. The Bible is clear and emphatic
that there is only one true God, not three separate gods. Remember
when Jesus was questioned about the greatest commandment:
12:29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O
Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall
love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
first and greatest command is that there is only one true God, and
he alone is worthy of worship. We are to have no other gods in his
presence. “Besides me there is no god. Who is like
Father is God
the one we call Father is God hardly needs to be defended. Ephesians
4:6 refers to the
Ephesians 4: 6 one
God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in
teaches us to address God as Father.
Matthew 6:9 Pray
then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your
Matthew 23:9 And
call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is
himself, praying to his Father, says:
17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the
only true God, and Jesus
Christ whom you have sent.
Son is God
see clearly that the Son Jesus is God. In Romans 9, Paul refers to
Jesus the Messiah as:
Romans 9:5 To them
belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh,
is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Titus 2 he refers to him as
Titus 2:13 waiting
for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God
and Savior Jesus Christ,
2 Peter 1:1 Simeon
Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have
obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of
our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
author of Hebrews, quoting the Old Testament
1:8 But of the Son he
says, “Your throne, O God,
is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of
Son is clearly called God. Matthew 3 quotes Isaiah 40 about John,
whose role was to prepare the way for Jesus.
Isaiah 40:3 A voice
cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make
straight in the desert a highway for our God. (with Matthew 3:3)
John 8, Jesus identifies himself with the self-existent one, YHWH,
from Exodus 3
John 8:58 Jesus
said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was,
Jews understood what he was claiming, and picked up stones to stone
him. Then in John 10, Jesus said:
John 10:30 I
and the Father are one.” 31 The Jews picked up stones
again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you
many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to
stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a
good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy,
because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
the close of John's gospel, we see the risen Christ appear to
20:27-31 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and
see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not
disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My
Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have
seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples,
which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so
that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
that by believing you may have life in his name.
believes in response to the evidence, and calls Jesus 'My Lord and
my God!' Jesus commends his belief. John explains the goal of his
writing: 'that you may believe that Jesus is... the Son of God.' We
are encouraged, like Thomas, on the basis of the evidence given, to
believe in Jesus as 'my Lord and my God!'
Spirit is God
Scriptures clearly teach that the Spirit is God.
5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart
to lie to the Holy Spirit and
to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While
it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was
sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived
this deed in your heart? You have not lied to
men but to God.”
understands that to lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God.
I Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that
God’s Spirit dwells in you?
is the only one who can rightly dwell in God's temple, and we are
told that God's Spirit dwells in us.
139:7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol,
you are there!
flee from the presence of God's Spirit is to flee from the presence
of God himself.
see clear evidence in the scripture that the Father is God, the Son
is God, and the Spirit is God, and there is only one true God.
Father, Son and Spirit are Distinct Someones
Scripture is also clear that the Father is not the Son, the Son is
not the Father, the Spirit is not the Father or the Son.
John 3, where Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born of the
Spirit, he says:
John 3:16 “For
God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal
life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved
the Father is distinguished from the Son. The Father sends his only
Son to save the world. The Son is the one who is sent.
teaching in John 14 about the Holy Spirit brings this out clearly:
John 14:16 And I
will ask the Father, and he will give you another
Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, …26
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will
send in my name, he will teach you all things and
bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
the personal pronouns. Jesus refers to himself as 'I', he refers to
the Father as 'he' and he refers to the Holy Spirit as 'another' and
continues to speak of the Holy Spirit in chapter 15.
John 15:26 “But
when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the
Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from
the Father, he will bear witness about me.
Father sent Jesus, Jesus and his Father send the Holy Spirit. The
Spirit will be with you forever. The Spirit will testify of Jesus.
frequently prayed to his Father. He did not pray to himself. Jesus
is someone distinct from the Father, who can refer to himself as 'I'
and address the Father as 'you'. In his prayer in John 17, he says:
John 17:5 And now,
Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory
that I had with you before the world existed. ...24
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given
me, may be with me where I am, to see my
glory that you have given me because you loved
me before the foundation of the world.
is a stunningly beautiful truth. Don't miss the significance of
this! We are told in 1 John 4:8 and 16 that God is love. Not only
that God loves, but that God is love. Not that God began to love or
became love. The eternal essence of God is love. Before God created
anything, before anything existed outside of God alone, God is love.
For God to be love there must be an object for him to love. Love is
a relationship word. It requires a subject that loves and an object
that is loved. Jesus is conversing with his Father in John 17. He
says that he was with his Father before the world existed. He says
'you loved me before the foundation of the world.' Before anything
existed, there was a you and a me who loved. Notice also that John
does not say 'the gods are love'. Belief in the triune God who
eternally exists as Father, Son and Spirit is the only thing that
makes sense of the absolute statement that 'God is love'.
we are told that God loves us, we understand this as the overflow of
the love of an inherently relational God. God eternally exists in
relationship, and he invites us in to enjoy that relationship!
launched his gospel with this statement:
John 1:1 In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
...18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the
Father's side, he has made him known.
Son, the Word, existed in the beginning. The Son was with his
Father. The Son and the Father are one essence or one divine
existence. The Son is God at the Father's side. A distinct someone,
who can be said to be 'with' the Father enjoying relationship with
the Father, yet who shares with the Father the divine essence.
see throughout the New Testament statements that make sense only if
there is one God who eternally exists in three distinct persons.
Matthew 3:16 And
when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the
water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the
Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on
him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is
my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
the baptism we see the beloved Son Jesus, the voice of the Father,
and the Spirit of God
Matthew 28:19 Go
therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
are told by Jesus to make disciples and to baptize them in the one
singular name of the three equal and distinct persons of the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit.
8:16 The Spirit
himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs––heirs of God and fellow
heirs with Christ,
Spirit, God and Christ are each separately mentioned.
I Corinthians 12:4
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and
there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and
there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who
empowers them all in everyone.
these verses, the varieties of gifts, service and activities are
parallel statements that are said to come from the same Spirit, the
same Lord and the same God.
the end of 2 Corinthians we find this trinitarian benediction:
2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
may be a conscious echo of the threefold name of the LORD in the Old
Testament benediction in Numbers 6.
Numbers 6:24 The
LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face to
shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD lift up
his countenance upon you and give you peace. 27 “So shall they
put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless
2, speaking of Jesus, says:
Ephesians 2:18 For
through him we both have access in one Spirit to the
Ephesians 4:4 There
is one body and one Spirit––just as you were
called to the one hope that belongs to your call–– 5
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father
of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Spirit, One Lord, One God and Father of all.
Thessalonians shows the three persons at work in the gospel.
2:13 …because God chose you as the firstfruits to be
saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the
truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may
obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
the work of salvation in Hebrews 9 we see three divine actors.
Hebrews 9:14 how
much more will the blood of Christ, who through the
eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God,
purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Hebrews 10 we are warned of the danger of offending the three who
Hebrews 10:29 How
much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who
has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the
covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit
of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine;
I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his
people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of
the living God.
begins his first letter pointing to our salvation that is the
collaborative effort of the triune God.
I Peter 1:2
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the
sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus
Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace
be multiplied to you.
challenges us to walk the Christian life in conscious communion with
the triune God.
Jude :20 But you,
beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the
Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God,
waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to
Revelation given to John begins with a greeting from the three
Revelation 1:4 ...
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who
is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his
throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the
firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. ...
eternal Father, and in the numerical symbolism the fullness of the
Spirit and Jesus Christ. In Revelation 4 – 5 we see worship in
the heavenly throne room directed toward the One seated on the
throne and to the Lamb and the sevenfold Spirit of God.
is only one God, the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit
is God, and each one is someone distinct from the other two. This is
the clear teaching of Scripture.
is often said that this is nonsense and contradictory. We are saying
that 1+1+1=1 when everyone knows that it equals 3. It would be
contradictory if we were saying that there is one God and there are
three gods, or if we were saying that there are three persons but
there is only one person. But it is not contradictory to say that
God is one divine existence, and he eternally exists in three
distinct persons. God is one as to his essence or divine nature; God
is three as to his centers of consciousness or personalities in
relationship with each other. The Athanasian creed puts it this way:
That we worship one
God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the
Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the
Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the
Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all
one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is;
such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated;
the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father
unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The
Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet
they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not
three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one
infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and
the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but
one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy
Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So
likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled
by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to
be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to
say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of
none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone;
not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father
and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but
proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not
three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this
Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less
than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and
coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity,
and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that
will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.
is practical. This is worship. We worship a God who is in his own
very being a relational God. We worship the Father in spirit and in
truth. We honor the Son just as we honor the Father. We give praise
to the Spirit who is himself fully and truly God. We are loved by a
God who is himself love.
cannot and do not love, pray to, and adore a mere abstract infinite
nature. They love, address, and worship certain persons in that
nature.” (W.G.T.Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, vol.1, p.495)
Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org