07.01.2012 THE TRIUNE GOD
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 1:20, 21
This quarter we are studying the mystery of God. In His grace, He has revealed Himself to man through nature and through the Bible. But His ultimate revelation to us is through His Son (Hebrews 1:2) and through His Spirit (John 14:16).
Our study for this week is the Trinity. God is a spirit (John 4:24). He is One (Deut 6:4). He is Three – eternally existing in 3 co-equal persons (Matthew 28:19).
“God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD (Jehovah) our God (Elohim [plural]), the LORD (Jehovah) is one!” Deuteronomy 6:4
“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.” Matthew 28:19
The Revelation of the Trinity in the Old Testament
At Creation: Genesis 1:1-3, 26, John 1:1-3
At the Tower of Babel: Genesis 11:7, 8
To the Israelites: Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 48:16
To Isaiah: Isaiah 6:8
As Wisdom: Proverbs 8:22-31
Aaron’s blessing: Numbers 6:24-27
The Revelation of the Trinity in the New Testament
At Christ’s baptism: Matthew 3:16, 17
Christ’s affirmation or teaching: John 14:26, 15:26
The Gospel Commission: Matthew 28:19
Apostolic teaching: 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22. Galatians 4:4-6, Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:17, 18; 3:14-20. 1 John 5:7; 4:13, 14; 2:20-22. 1 Peter 1:1, 2 Peter 1:16-21.
Apostolic benediction: 2 Corinthians 13:14 ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.’
The Revelation of the Oneness of the Godhead:
Exodus 3:13-15: And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Verse 14.
Deuteronomy 6:4 ‘The LORD is one’. Also Zechariah 14:9, Mark 12:29
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well.
1 Corinthians 8:4 ... we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.
See also: Isaiah 6:8, Malachi 2:10, Mark 12:32, Romans 3:30, Ephesians 4:6, Galatians 3:20. 1 John 5:7
The Deity of Christ
John 1:1-14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men...verses 1-4
1 John 1:2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.
Hebrews 1:1-4, 8, 9. God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds...verses 1, 2.
Colossians 1:16, 17. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Philippians 2: 5-7. Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men...
The 7 ‘I Am’ statements of Christ:
The Bread of Life. John 6:35, 48
The Light of the World. John 8:12, 9:5
The Door. John 10:7, 9
The Good Shepherd. John 10:11, 14
The Resurrection and the Life. John 11:25
The Way, the Truth, the Life. John 14:6
The true Vine. John 15:1-5
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58
“I and My Father are one.” John 10:30
‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father...’ John 14:9
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30, 31
Christ Claimed Equality with God: John 5:17-30
In Nature – verses 17, 18
In Power – verses 19-21
In Authority- He has the authority to forgive sins, give eternal life and pass judgement – verses 22-30
The Son of God:
Luke 1:35, Mark 1:1, John 1:34, John 3:18, John 10:36, John 11:4.
The Spirit of God in the Old Testament:
1. Active in Creation: Genesis 1:1, 2, Job 33:4, Psalm 104:30
2. Testimony about:
a. Joseph. Genesis 41:38
b. Bezalel: Exodus 31:3; 35:31
c. Joshua: Numbers 27:18, Deut 34:9
d. Messiah: Isaiah 11:2; 42;1
3. Moses and the 70 Elders: Numbers 11:17-26
4. In the Wilderness: Nehemiah 9:20,
5. Balaam. Numbers 24:2
6. The Judges: Othniel: Judges 3:10, Gideon 6:34, Jephthah: 11:29, Samson: 15:14, 14:19.
7. The Kings: Saul: 1 Sam 10:6, 10; David 1 Sam 16:13
8. Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 Sam 23:2, Neh 9:30, 1 Peter 1:10-12, 2 Peter 1: 20, 21
9. The promise of the New Covenant: Isaiah 40:13, 44:3, Eze 36:27, 37:14, 39:29, Joel 2:28
Our Relationship to the Trinity in the Bible
God the Father:
As the Father of all mankind, God is Creator; as the Father of Christ, the Bible declares the eternal, unique relationship of the Father and Son; as the Father of believers, it is the relationship established by grace.
The Son of God:
Jesus the Son of God is Saviour of the world. Our relationship with Him determines whether, believing in His name, we become Christians and sons and daughters of God.
The Spirit of God:
The Spirit of God speaks to all mankind in their conscience, convicting them of sin, righteousness and judgement. All who respond to Him will accept Christ as Saviour and be in-dwelt by the Spirit. Our relationship with the Spirit of God determines what kind of believer we will be. If we are led by, and walk in the Spirit, we shall be spiritual Christians. If however, He only in-dwells us and we do not humble ourselves to His leading, but follow our own wills, we shall be fleshly or carnal Christians.
‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.’
‘The love of God is the source of all spiritual blessing; the grace of the Lord Jesus has made it possible for that spiritual wealth to become ours; and the communion of the Holy Ghost is the means whereby it is imparted to us. Love is something hidden in the heart of God; grace is that love expressed and made available in the Son; communion is the impartation of that grace by the Spirit.’
Below is an excerpt from ‘Mere Christianity’ by CS Lewis on the Triune God which you may find helpful:
I warned you that Theology is practical. The whole purpose for which we exist is to be thus taken into the life of God. Wrong ideas about what that life is will make it harder. And now, for a few minutes, I must ask you to follow rather carefully.
You know that in space you can move in three ways - to left or right, backwards or forwards, up or down. Every direction is either one of these three or a compromise between them. They are called the three Dimensions. Now notice this. If you are using only one dimension, you could draw only a straight line. If you are using two; you could draw a figure: say, a square. And a square is made up of four straight lines. Now a step further. If you have three dimensions, you can then build what we call a solid body: say, a cube - a thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. And a cube is made up of six squares.
Do you see the point? A world of one dimension would be a straight line. In a two-dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures but many figures make one solid body. In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways - in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.
Now the Christian account of God involves just the same principle. The human level is a simple and rather empty level. On the human level one person is one being, and any two persons are two separate beings - just as, in two dimensions (say on a flat sheet of paper) one square is one figure, and any two squares are two separate figures. On the Divine level you still find personalities; but up there you find them combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine. In God's dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube. But we can get a sort of faint notion of it. And when we do, we are then, for the first time in our lives, getting some positive idea, however faint, of something super-personal - something more than a person. It is something we could never have guessed, and yet, once we have been told, one almost feels one ought to have been able to guess it because it fits in so well with all the things we know already.
You may ask, 'if we cannot imagine a three-personal Being, what is the good of talking about Him?' Well, there isn't any good talking about Him. The thing that matters is being actually drawn into that three-personal life, and that may begin any time - to-night, if you like.
What I mean is this. An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God - that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on - the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life - what I called Zoe or spiritual life: he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself.
And that is how Theology started. People already knew about God in a vague way. Then came a man who claimed to be God; and yet He was not the sort of man you could dismiss as a lunatic. He made them believe Him. They met Him again after they had seen Him killed. And then, after they had been formed into a little society or community, they found God somehow inside them as well: directing them, making them able to do things they could not do before. And when they worked it all out they found