Summary: The fifth message in the Back to SCHOOL series focusing on the person of God. – 1 Peter 1:2; Deuteronomy 6:4
We have been taught since we were children that “1+1+1=3” but what are we to do when “1+1+1=1?”
Someone once asked Daniel Webster, a man who not only wrote the dictionary but was also a committed Christian, “How can a man of your intellect believe in the Trinity?” Webster responded, “I do not pretend fully to understand the arithmetic of heaven now.”
This morning we are again going Back to SCHOOL as we continue to look at the basics of our Christian faith. Today we come to the second “O” of school – One God; Three Persons. Together we want to try to gain a better understanding of an essential yet mysterious doctrine of the Church, the Trinity.
The Trinity, 1+1+1=1. I have found that when faced with things that are hard to understand, it is sometimes easier to look at the solution (in this case “=1”) and then go back and examine the problem (how does 1+1+1=1). So as we look at the Trinity; we will begin with the solution: ONE GOD, and then what some see as the problem: ONE GOD – THREE PERSONS; yes 1+1+1=1!
“The Solution:” ONE GOD
We believe there is ONE TRUE GOD as revealed through the scriptures. (Our belief in ONE GOD is built upon the foundation of ONE SOURCE–The Authority of the Bible. The Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is God’s revelation of Himself to man.) The Bible clearly states there is only ONE GOD.
• Deuteronomy 6:4 (NIV)
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Our God is the ETERNAL, SELF-EXISTENT, I AM. God has further revealed Himself as having always existed without any outside cause or agent bringing Him into being.
• Exodus 3:14 (NIV)
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM.
• Isaiah 43:10 (NIV)
. . . Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.
• Deuteronomy 32:39 (MsgB)
Do you see it now? Do you see that I’m the one? Do you see that there’s no other god beside me? I bring death and I give life, I wound and I heal—there is no getting away from or around me!
Our God is the CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. God is the cause or source of everything that exists, and apart from Him nothing would be that is.
• Genesis 1:1 (NIV)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Our God is the SAVIOR Who redeems saves and rescues mankind from sin and its painful consequences.
• Isaiah 43:11 (NIV)
I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.
We have a great God. He is the Lord Almighty, the Creator of All, the eternal I AM, the Self-Sufficient One, our Provider, our Healer, our Savior. There is no other God beside our ONE TRUE GOD.
Now that is a bold statement to say we serve the ONE TRUE GOD. Is God the one and only true God, or is He just another God among many gods?
Throughout history man has tried to answer these two questions: “Does God exist?” and “What is God like?” There have been a lot of different answers to these questions.
1. THE ATHEIST claims there is no god. In other words, no matter what you may say the solution to the god problem is ZERO; no god.
2. THE AGNOSTIC says the answer is unknown. No matter how we approach the problem of god’s existence we can never know with any certainty if god exists, so the solution remains A QUESTION.
3. THE POLYTHEIST believes in many gods; therefore, the solution to the god question must be GREATER THAN ONE.
4. THE PANTHEIST takes god to the extreme and believes everything and everyone is god. For the pantheist the solution to the god problem is INFINITE.
5. THE DEIST believes god must have created the universe, but has abandon man and creation, therefore the solution to the god question CANNOT BE FOUND.
6. THE MONOTHEIST believes in only ONE GOD.
The three most widespread and established religions are each monotheistic. The Christian, Jewish and Islamic religions each believe in only one God. However, this leads to the question which one is THE ONE? Each of these religions say they believe in the “real God,” so either they all serve the “same God,” or only one of these religions have found who God really is and the other two have put their faith in an illegitimate god. All three religions can’t be right and serve different gods because then there would be three rival gods and instead of being monotheistic they would have to be polytheistic.
The gods of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths are not the same god! Many people will say that each of these religions serve the same God. By definition if these gods are the same then they would be identical with no differences; that is what it means to be the same.