Summary: Why is a recognition of the Trinity important? Without an understanding of the working of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God is reduced to part time work.
Does God Work Part Time?
Does God work part time? This might seem to be a ridiculous question. You may say, “Of course God works full time. If God only works part time, I am in big trouble. I always believed that God was at work 24/7. God neither slumbers nor sleeps. God works all 3 shifts of life. God is not a part time God.” Of course you are correct. We don’t want a part time God.
But this is not to put down part time workers. The labor force could not operate without part time workers. Many people work part time so they can take care of their families at home. Some people work part time because that is all their employer can pay. In this day and age many churches have part time ministers because they cannot afford a full time one.
But when it comes to God, we want a full time God. But there are certain beliefs and attitudes we can have that have the effect of reducing God to part time work. This actually is a sermon on one of the basic doctrines of the church--The Trinity--the idea that the one God exists in three different and distinct persons as Father, Son, and Spirit.
In our passage for today in John 14:15-21, Jesus is trying to reassure and comfort his disciples before he leaves them. He is telling them that even though he is leaving them, they shall not be left alone. In verses 16 and 17, he tells them that he is sending the Spirit. In verse 23 he says that he and the father will come and make our home with them. So we are promised the complete presence of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Now in recent years, some have objected to the term Father, saying that it is sexist. But when we speak of God as
Father, we are not talking about the gender of God, because God is neither male nor female. We are speaking about the kind of relationship that exists between the members of the Trinity. The Brief Statement of Faith of our denomination says that God is like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, and like a father who welcomes the prodigal home.
But why do we need a sermon on the Trinity? We in the Presbyterian church believe that it is important for Christians to know what we believe and why we believe it. In these days of pop psychology type sermons, it is important to be grounded in the basics of the faith. Many people in today’s church not only are biblically illiterate, but they are ignorant of the great beliefs and doctrines of Christianity.
The Trinity is one of the most important doctrines of the Church. If you are not informed concerning the Trinity or the Triune God, your knowledge of God is incomplete, and you run the risk of worshipping a part time God. Anybody can get people to feel good in church. All you need is some rocking type music and a so called relevant sermon and you can make people feel good. But people need to know what they are feeling good about. You need to know something in order to feel good about it.
People in the church today need some teaching along with preaching. Some of the most popular preachers today are more like motivational speakers than preachers of the word. But we need to understand what we mean when we speak of the Trinity or the Triune God. The Trinity says that God is one. Over and over again the Bible affirms that God is one God all by himself. The Lord your God is one God says Deut 6:4. I am the Lord and there is no other God besides me says Isa 45:5.
Most of the great religions of the world are monotheistic, meaning the belief in one God. But the Trinity also says that God is three. This one indivisible God consists of 3 persons, commonly known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of these persons or modes of being is God. They are distinct from each other. Each one has the attributes of God, and they are related to each other in love. They are equal to each other. They are co-equal and co-eternal. The Trinity insists that there are not 3 Gods, but only 1 God expressed in 3 distinct modes or persons.
We must admit that the doctrine of the Trinity is difficult to understand That’s why it is called a mystery. Now in the attempt to simplify things there have risen some false ways of thinking of the Trinity. One is called modalism. This says that God is one, but he wears 3 hats or 3 roles. He is like an actor in a play who plays 3 roles. With one hat he plays the role of God the Father. Then he comes out again with another hat and plays God the Son. Then he comes out again with another hat and plays God the Holy Spirit.