Summary: 1) The Tri-unity of God is One God 2) The Tri-unity of God in Three Persons 3) The Tri-unity of God Can be Confused and 4) The Tri-unity of God impacts us
Summer time allows us to do quite unique things apart from the rest of the year. As we are currently experiencing, it means short term missions trips for some who normally don’t go the rest of the year. It tends to be wedding season, like we are preparing for now and it also means special outings like going to the beach.
Illustration: Augustine, a Bishop of Hippo, in northern Africa, while puzzling over the doctrine of the Trinity, was walking along the beach one day when he observed a young boy with a bucket, running back and forth to pour water into a little hole. Augustine asked, “What are you doing.” The boy replied, “I’m trying to put the ocean into this hole.” Then Augustine realized that he had been trying to put an infinite God into his finite mind.( Green, M. P. (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching : Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)
• This is the challenge for us, like Paul, as we saw with Romans 11:33-36: To fathom the infinite God by our finite mind.
• It has been one of the most challenging and contentious topics in church history is over the nature of the tri-unity of God.
• The term Trinity is a word not found in Scripture, but used to express the doctrine of the unity of God as subsisting in three distinct Persons. This word is derived from the Gr. trias, first used by Theophilus (A.D. 168-183), or from the Lat. trinitas, first used by Tertullian (A.D. 220), to express this doctrine.
The essence of the propositions involved in the doctrine are that: 1. God is one, and that there is but one God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60; Isa. 44:6; Mark 12:29, 32; John 10:30). 2. That the Father is a distinct divine Person (hypostasis, subsistentia, persona, suppositum intellectuale), distinct from the Son and the Holy Spirit. 3. That Jesus Christ was truly God, and yet was a Person distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. 4. That the Holy Spirit is also a distinct divine Person. (Easton, M. (1996, c1897). Easton’s Bible dictionary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
In dealing with challenging things, we tend to isolate particular elements that we can understand, and almost forget the others. This message this morning is only an overview of the topic, to give us some of the essential elements. If we spend dedicated time in considering the Tri-unity of God, we not only come to see the impact of each person of the Godhead in salvation, have a richer worship but come to see more clearly prayer and even a solid defense of the faith.
Scripture clearly shows the Tri-unity of God. First in being that:
His unity is stressed in the Bible in order that we might not fall into the very common error of polytheism, even when talking about the God of the Bible.
Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (ESV)
• This passage is known as the Shema (Heb. for “hear”), has become the Jewish confession of faith, recited twice daily by the devout, along with 11:13–21 and Nu 15:37–41. The LORD … LORD is one! The intent of these words was to give a clear statement of the truth of monotheism, that there is only one God. Thus, it has also been translated “the Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” The word used for “one” in this passage does not mean “singleness,” but “unity.” The same word is used in Ge 2:24, where the husband and wife were said to be “one flesh.” Thus, while this verse was intended as a clear and concise statement of monotheism, it does not exclude the concept of the Trinity.( MacArthur, J. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible : New American Standard Bible. (Dt 6:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
• God is one being (quantitatively) because there is only one Lord (qualitatively) (John Frame: The Doctrine of God. P&R publishers. 2002. p[. 622)
Please turn to Mark 12
When Jesus was explaining that God is One God, the essence of monotheistic faith, he quoted Dt. 6:4, He also began to explain His relation to the oneness of God
Mark 12:28-37 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, ’Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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.’ The second is this: ’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, "’The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.’David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?" And the great throng heard him gladly. (ESV)