Summary: Recognizing the Truth of the Trinity - The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit - is imperative to knowing God and living a life that glorifies Him and experiences His great love.

The Creed – The Truth of the Trinity

Series Introduction


Today we are beginning a new series called “The Creed”

What is a Creed?

A Creed, by definition is


A Creed is a set of beliefs that guide someone’s actions.

Typically, a creed is a statement of beliefs that people have found necessary to formalize, typically because someone else or a group of people have been trying to put forward a teaching that is in error or false.

There have been a number of Christian Creeds that have been produced throughout the ages, a couple that you may be more familiar with. These were produced at church councils during the first few centuries of the church.

One of the first you may have heard of is

The Apostles Creed


It is still recited today by a number of mainline denominations who stick to a liturgy.

It was Produced to combat Gnostic heresy regarding the true humanity of Christ, including the material body of Jesus, since that was the point of the Gnostic heresy at the time. So there was a significant section focused on the person and work of Christ being born, dying and rising from the dead.

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended into hell.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church, (meaning not the Catholic (big C) but Christian church)

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

Another you may have heard of is

The Nicene Creed


This creed came about in the 4th century and was produced to combat Arian heresy regarding the divinity of Christ as opposed to his humanity, which is what the Apostles Creed was combating.

The Arian view was that Christ was a subordinate entity to God the Father. The Nicene Creed sought to formalize a main Christian belief that Jesus is God as is the Holy Spirit and addresses their roles.

It reads as follows

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

So that is the Nicene Creed.

There are a number of other less well known, but the last one I want to comment on is

The Athanasian Creed


The Athanasian Creed, addressed a belief in the Trinity, that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit were all God in unity.

It is rather long, but begins by stating

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.

So we see these creeds have come about to confront heresies or false teachings that at that time were being put forward. These Creeds were to help people understand the truth of a teaching and the importance of it as well.


In this series we begin today, we are going to be talking about things that are truly essential to Christianity and are important to living a life of faith because our beliefs affect our actions. The things we talk about are not only essential to Christianity and living a life of faith, but these are things that some false religions or teachers dispute and work to try and lead people astray with.

Sermon Intro

Today, we are going to address what the Athanasian Creed addressed –

The Truth of the Trinity


It is my hope to help us better understand the trinity, even though this is difficult for our limited minds to understand. But as we understand the trinity more, we understand God more for He is Trinity, and when we understand God more, our lives continue to be transformed!

While the word, “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, it is absolutely taught and assumed throughout the Bible.


I want to begin with John 15:26-16:15, where Jesus is speaking to the disciples soon before He is crucified.

He has taught them about serving one another and about staying in close communion with Him and now he speaks to his leaving this earth and says.

John 15:26-16:15

26 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

16 "All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

5 "Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' 6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.


Here we see Jesus talk about the Spirit of God who goes out from the Father and will testify about the Son.

He talks about the Spirit bringing glory to the Son, glory that is only rightly due God.

So Jesus talks about the Spirit, about the Father and about Himself, in ways that God is spoken of.

We see this in other places as well that we will see this through today’s message as well.

Transition to explain style

Now, while we have started out with this passage of Scripture, I am going to be speaking in a more systematic way, looking at many Scriptures, because this topic of the Trinity is not really covered in a single passage, but is more assumed and referenced throughout the word of God.

And while we want to know how to understand the trinity, I think it is helpful sometimes to start with what something is NOT, and that is what we are going to do here.

What the Trinity is NOT

The Trinity does not teach three different Gods


Sometimes in our limited understanding, we think of the Trinity as 3 God’s who get along really well and never argue or disagree.

This would tri-theism or polytheism. This is not Christianity.

The trinity is not 3 Gods. Christianity believes there is one God in three persons.

Scripture clearly tells us there is one God.


Deuteronomy 6:4 - Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Romans 3:30 - …there is only one God…

A belief in the Trinity is not a belief in 3 God, but one God in three different Persons.


The Trinity does not teach three Manifestations of God


This is modalism. Modalism says that there is one God and He appears as the Father and then as the Son and now as the Spirit. They recognize the divinity of Christ, but deny the eternity and distinctiveness of the three Persons of the Trinity.

Biblically, we see this error at Jesus’ baptism


Matthew 3:16-17

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

All three Members of the Trinity are present at the same time.

In addition

The Trinity does not teach that the Father created the Son or Spirit


The Father is not “the main God” and the Son or Spirit some inferior god or that the Father created the Son and Spirit before anything else.

John 1:1 refutes this belief by stating that


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Jesus is the Word as John points out in John 1:14 – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Jesus is clearly God.


Ok, so the Truth of the Trinity is NOT saying there are

3 different God’s or

three different manifestations of God or

that God the Father created some lesser, inferior Gods.

The Trinity DOES teach One God existing in Three Eternal Persons


The Truth of the Trinity is that there is ONE God in unity, eternally existing in three Persons, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit – equal in nature, distinct in person, and subordinate in duties.

The Trinity is not some new teaching, but references to the Trinitarian view can be seen throughout Scripture

The Trinity throughout Scripture

In the Old Testament


It starts from the very beginning in Genesis.

Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…

The plural of “us” and “our” are used when God says He wants to make man. That is not a translation error but that is what we see even in Jewish sites that translate the Torah into English.

In the New Testament

At the Baptism of Jesus


Matthew 3:16-17

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

We see all members of the Trinity present her at Jesus’ baptism.

We also so that

Jesus taught the Trinity


Listen to what he taught His disciples in

John 15:26 - "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

The counselor, the Spirit of Truth is going to come, being sent from the Father and it is Jesus speaking these things.


We can see that there are quite a few references to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit throughout the Scriptures, so we can know that this is true, but why?

Why is this important?

I can tell you that I don’t know why the Trinity is so, but I can tell that because it is, I believe we can more greatly worship this God because He is a Trinity.

Let’s consider the various roles of How God reveals Himself to us and what that means to us.

Roles in the Trinity

That there are roles in the Trinity is apparent. These roles don’t make one member lesser or greater, they are just different roles.

Let’s consider first, what we call

The First person of the Trinity – The Father

We often think the role of the first person of the Trinity as the real God, the Creator, the Ruler of all, and while God is those things, the first person of the Trinity has chosen to reveal Himself primarily as Father


Jesus continually refers to Him as Father. Prayer is directed to Him as Father.

Therefore as He reveals Himself primarily as Father, He does everything as a father.

He creates as Father.

He rules as Father.

He judges and disciplines as a Father and

He loves as a Father.

Now I know there are some here who may not have had the best experience with their own father and when we think of a father, we tend to portray our earthly father onto our heavenly father.

While I understand that, that is not the way we should do it. It is our heavenly Father who has defined fatherhood and it is his example we should be following. Because of sin, that doesn’t always happen, but none the less, the first person of the trinity portrays himself as a father with all the characteristics that are good about fathers.

But if he portrays himself as a father, and that is primarily who He is, then that means

there must be a child whom He loves and we see that there is and that is

The Second Person of the Trinity – The Son


Now this must be an eternal Son because if there was ever a time in eternity past when the Son did not exist, then the Father could not have been a Father, and there would have been a time that he was not loving His Son.

Have you ever wondered what was going on in eternity past?

Well if there was a non trinity God, I think it would be pretty lonely. But because God is the Father, Son and Spirit, God was not lonely.

There was perfect fellowship and relationship and love.

The members of the Trinity loved one another.

In fact, listen to one of the things Jesus says when he is praying before going to the cross.

He says in John 17:24, that “you loved me before the creation of the world.”


And the Scripture records the time that the Father makes his voice heard in the New Testament as saying "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)

The Father Loves the Son. This is what the Father does. This is what the Father has always been doing, loving the Son and giving to the son.

John 3:35 - The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.

John 5:20 - …the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.

And the Son loves the Father

John 14:31 - The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

So we see in the Trinity that there is the Father who loves the Son and we see that He loves the Son in a particular way, and that is through

The Third Person of the Trinity – The Spirit


The First Person of the Trinity, in His role as Father, loves the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son. And in His role as Son, the Second Person of the Trinity listens and follows what the Father says because of His own love for the Father and because He knows and has known the Father’s love throughout eternity, so following the Father is anything but a burden, it is a joy because of the love they have. And this love is experienced through the Third Person of the Trinity, the Spirt, also known as the Comforter.

At Jesus’ baptism, when the Father says this is My Son, whom I love, we see the Spirit of God descending on Jesus.

We see that this is how God loves us as well, through the giving of the Holy Spirit.


Paul tells us in Romans 5:5 that “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”


A God who is One God in Trinity, when you being to understand Him more, can change your entire experience of life as you grow in your knowledge of Him.

No longer do you view God as some far away Disciplinarian who just wants your unquestioned obedience.

Instead this is a God who is deeply personal and relational. A God who had absolutely no need for us or creation. He was not lonely, but in perfect fellowship within Himself as Trinity.

So why did He create the world and everything in it including us?

It was out of an overflow of His love.

We are told in 1 John 4 that

God is Love


And that is perfectly demonstrated through the Persons of the Trinity

The Father loves the Son through the Spirit. Things are perfect, but out of His abundance of love God shares that love by creating the world and us and then sends the Son to share that love with us because God is love.

The Son listens and obeys the Father, not because He has to, but because He loves the Father and experiences the Fathers love eternally through The Spirit who actualizes that love in the Son and in our lives as well

God really is love.

Listen to this section of 1 John 4. First John was written by the Apostle John, who identifies himself in his gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20)

When we begin to understand God’s love, like John did, we begin to see God in the way He really is and we begin to experience life differently and we live differently.

Listen to what John writes in


1 John 4:7-19

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.


11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.


15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.


18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.


When we have a proper understanding of God as unity in Trinity as the Father, Son and Spirit, we can better appreciate and understand His great love for us.

He did not need us, but we were created as an outpouring of His incredible love.

All He does is due to an outpouring of His love.

When we begin to grasp this just a little, His word to us does not become rules, it is life.

When we know His great love, it fills us with compassion toward those who don’t know it.

When we experience His love through the outpouring of His Spirit in our lives, we like, God want to share that love with others, just like he shares with Jesus, just like Jesus shares with us by sending the Spirit to us from the Father.

With this understanding of God’s love, listen to Jesus’ prayer for us and the recognition of the Love He has experienced from the Father in the Trinity.

John 17:20-23


20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

God loves you and wants to be in relationship with you.

He loves so much that Jesus came to this earth to share His love even while we were sinning against Him. That is truly love.

Do you know that kind of love?

If you don’t, then receive that Love by receiving Christ and then you will receive and be sealed with the Holy Spirit and begin to be able to experience the Love of God as you get to know Him more and understand Him as The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Unity in Trinity as God’s love is displayed perfectly and overflows to us.

I am going to lead in a prayer of confession and it is my hope that if you have yet to experience the Love of God and understand Him as One God in trinity, then you will and that by receiving Christ , you may experience the things that Paul closes his 2nd letter to the Corinthians with.


“the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Let’s pray

This sermon was prepared with great help and reliance upon “Delighting in the Trinity” by Michael Reeves and “Theology for Today” by Elmer Towns.