Why the Trinity Matters to Us
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - January 16, 2013
(Revised October 29, 2020)
*Does the trinity matter to us? As Bible-believing Baptists, we believe that the one true God exists as a trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, -- one God, three persons.
*The Baptist Faith and Message puts it this way: "There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being." (1)
*One God, three persons, that's what we believe. But some Christians do not believe in the trinity. Many Pentecostal Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the one God, who sometimes manifests Himself as God the Father or God the Holy Spirit.
*In other words, they would say that God operates in different forms or modes at different times: Sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit. So, if you have ever seen the bumper sticker that say, "Jesus Only," that's not just talking about only using Jesus' name in baptism. It is stating their belief that Jesus is the Father and Jesus is the Holy Spirit. (2)
*In one sense this is surely true because there is only one God, but we believe that the one and only God eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That's the trinity. But why does the trinity matter to us? Tonight's Scripture helps us see why.
1. FIRST: IT MATTERS BECAUSE GOD CONFIRMS THIS REALITY OF HIS EXISTENCE.
 GOD HAS STRONGLY CONFIRMED THE TRINITY IN HIS WORD.
*Even though the word "trinity" is not found in the Bible, the reality of the trinity surely is found. Verses 16-17 give us a perfect example:
16. Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
17. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.''
*Here God revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and there is much more evidence in His Word. Nave's Topical Bible gives over 50 references that help point us to the trinity.
*We see all three persons of the trinity in Scriptures like Luke 1:34-35. There the angel Gabriel was sent to tell the Virgin Mary that she would miraculously give birth to God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
34. Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?''
35. And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."
*In John 3:34-35, John the Baptist was speaking about Jesus and said:
34. "For He whom God hath sent speaks the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.
35. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."
*John 14:15-17 shows us the trinity. There, Jesus said:
15. "If you love Me, keep My commandments.
16. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever,
17. even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you."
18. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you."
*In John 14:23 Jesus also said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
*In other words: When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God the Father and God the Son literally come to live in us. How? Through the Holy Spirit of God. That's because all three are one and the same God.
*In John 15:26 Jesus mentioned God's three persons twice in one verse. There the Lord said, "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me."
*We also have evidence of the trinity in other places such as 2 Corinthians 13:14. There Paul ended his letter to the church by writing, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen."
*Galatians 4:4-6 says:
4. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5. to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!''
*1 John 5:5-7 opens with a question and says:
5. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6. This is He who came by water and blood Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7. For there are three who bear witness in heaven: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
*Church: There is strong evidence for the trinity in the Bible. We also know that God is infinitely above us. And one of the countless differences has to do with relationships. We can have many different relationships in life: mother, father, sister, brother, friend. But no matter how close our relationships are, we are still essentially alone in our personhood.
*God is not like that. He uniquely exists on the higher level where you have three different persons together in the same being. Dave Hunt helped us understand it this way:
"The Bible presents a God who did not need to create any beings (in order) to experience love, communion and fellowship. This God is complete in Himself, being three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, separate and distinct, yet at the same time eternally one God. They loved and communed and fellowshipped with each other, and took counsel together before the universe, angels or man were brought into existence." (3)
*Because this is true, our English Bibles sometimes show God speaking of Himself with a plural noun. In Isaiah 6:8, the prophet "heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for US?"
*In Genesis 1:26, Moses recorded the same kind of conversation within the Godhead. There God said: "Let US make man in OUR image. . ."
*This use of plural nouns and pronouns for God is much more obvious in the original language. I say this because in Hebrew a plural noun is very frequently used for the one true God. That plural noun is "elohim," and it literally means "gods." But this plural noun is translated as "God" in our English Bibles over 2,000 times!
*Genesis 1:1 is an example and says: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The literal translation there would be plural: "In the beginning 'gods' created the heaven and the earth." It is the exact same word in Exodus 20:3 where the Lord said, "Thou shalt have no other 'gods' before me." But when this plural Hebrew word is talking about the real God, it is translated into English as the singular noun "God."
*When God told those Old Testament Scripture writers what to say, why did He so often use a plural noun for Himself, the one true God? It's because God exists as the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
*God's Word also makes many intentional grammatical errors using singular verbs and pronouns with this plural noun "elohim." It's the same kind of acceptable error we make all the time when we talk about our country: We don't say, "The United States ARE going to do something," but "The United States IS going to do something."
*Why did God put that kind of intentional error in His Word? It's because our one God is three in one. God has confirmed the trinity for us in His Word.
 HE HAS ALSO CONFIRMED THE TRINITY IN HIS WORLD.
*In Romans 1:20 the Apostle Paul was talking about God and said, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead." In other words, "God's eternal power and His Godhead (or His Divinity) are seen in the creation He made."
*Years ago, Dr. Nathan Wood pointed out that the three-in-one nature of God is stamped on His creation. For example, the universe is divided into three: space, matter and time, and each of these is divided into three.
*Space, for instance, is composed of length, width and height, each separate and distinct in itself, yet the three are one. Length, width and height are not three spaces, but three dimensions of one space. Time also is a trinity made up of past, present and future, two invisible and one visible. Each is separate and distinct, yet the three are one. And man himself is a tri-unity of spirit, soul and body, two of which are invisible, and one visible. (4)
*Church, that's no accident. It's not a coincidence. God has confirmed the trinity to us in His Word and in His world. He wants us to know that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all exist together as the one true God.
*The trinity matters because God has confirmed this reality of His existence.
2. THE TRINITY ALSO MATTERS BECAUSE GOD COMMUNICATES HIS CHARACTER THROUGH THE TRINITY.
*What is God really like? God wants us to know. And God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all help us to understand His character.
 THINK ABOUT GOD THE HEAVENLY FATHER.
*He surely helps us understand God's character, especially if we were blessed to have a good earthly father, and I hope you were. But even if we went through the ordeal of having a cruel or absent dad, we can still understand the idea of a good father.
*As a dad, I have failed my children many times. But picture a perfect dad: One who guards, guides, protects and provides for His children, one who never lets us down, one who is always there for us. That's our Heavenly Father.
*King Duncan told about a new dad who read that when your baby is teething, you lose one night's sleep for every tooth. That worn out dad said, "By that measure, my baby girl would have 150 teeth!" (5)
*That dad had been up a lot at night for his little girl, and he was worn out. But God our Heavenly Father never gets tired. He is always on the job. He is up all night, every night for us! And we can safely put our lives in His hands.
*Fred Musser reminds us in a testimony he heard from his pastor, Bro. Temple. The old preacher told Fred this story a few days before Fred left home to prepare for the ministry.
*Bro. Temple said, "When my son was small, we often walked together out through the fields and neighboring pasture behind the parsonage. At first the little fellow would hold onto my little finger. But he found that when he stepped into a hoof-print or stumbled over something, his grip would fail and down he'd go in the dust or snow.
*Not giving it much thought, my mind on other matters, I'd stop, and he'd get up, brush himself off, and grab my little finger again, gripping a little harder this time.
*Needless to say, this occurred frequently, until one day as he was brushing himself off, he looked at me and said, 'Daddy?' I replied, 'Yes, Son, what is it?' He said, 'I think if you would hold my hand, I wouldn't fall.'"
*Pastor Temple then turned to Fred, and with a tear in his eye, he said, "You know, he still stumbled many times after that, but he never hit the ground. Now, as you walk with God, don't try to hold on to Him, let Him hold on to you. You may stumble but He'll never let you fall." (6)
*Christians: Our confidence is not in our grip. It's in our Heavenly Father's grip. Our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is in God! We can safely put our lives in His Hands, because He is the best Father of all.
 THE PERFECT HEAVENLY FATHER HELPS US UNDERSTAND GOD'S CHARACTER. GOD THE SON DOES TOO.
*Please listen again to vs. 16-17:
16. Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
17. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
*Why was the Father pleased with the Son in vs. 17? It was because of the perfect obedience of the Son. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and was obedient, even to die on the cross for our sins.
*Remember what Paul said about Jesus in Philippians 2:8, "Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." That is how Jesus revealed the humility, goodness, mercy, kindness, and sacrificial love of God.
 GOD THE SON HELPS US UNDERSTAND GOD'S CHARACTER. AND THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES TOO.
*There is much more we could say about God's Holy Spirit, but here in vs. 16, the Holy Spirit revealed Himself as a dove. Why did God do that? If we were God, a dove would be one of the last animals we would use to reveal our character.
*We would have chosen a roaring lion or a majestic eagle. But God chose a dove, harmless and innocent, to show us that with all of His strength, He has a tender, peaceful nature.
*God wants us to know what He is like, and His existence as a trinity helps us to know. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all help us to understand God's character. That's why the trinity matters to us.
3. BUT THE TRINITY ALSO MATTERS BECAUSE GOD CARRIES OUT HIS WORK THROUGH THE TRINITY.
*When God works in our world, no person of the Godhead is left out. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit all have a part.
 WE SEE THIS TRUTH FOR EXAMPLE IN THE CRUCIFIXION OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.
*John 3:16-17 reminds us that the Father had a part in the crucifixion:
16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
*As parents we could never give our children to die for some monster on death row. But that's what God the Father had to do in order to save us from our sins. We cannot begin to measure how much it hurt the Father to sacrifice His Son for us.
*Of course, God the Son also had a part in the crucifixion, as He died on the cross for our sins. But Hebrews 9:11-14, tells us that the Holy Spirit also had a part in the crucifixion. There God's Word says:
11. But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
12. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
14. how much more shall the blood of Christ, who THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
 GOD THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT ALL HAD A PART IN THE CRUCIFIXION. THEY ALSO HAD A PART IN THE RESURRECTION.
*Many times we see that God the Father raised Jesus up. For example, Acts 13:32-33 says:
32. "And we declare to you glad tidings that promise which was made to the fathers.
33. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You.'"
*God the Son also had a part in the resurrection, for in John 10:17-18, Jesus said:
17. "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
18. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
*God the Father and God the Son both had a part in the resurrection of Christ. But 1 Peter 3:18 shows us that the Holy Spirit also had a part in the resurrection. There Peter tells us that "Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh BUT MADE ALIVE BY THE SPIRIT."
*God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all had a part in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so Christians, they all had a part in our salvation. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have worked in our lives in wonderful ways.
*Saleim Kahleh surely knows this. He is one of the most joyful Christians I ever got to meet. About ten years ago, Saleim was one of our daughter's co-workers at Houston Baptist University. At the time, he was the Director of Campus Recreation at HBU. But Saleim was raised as a Muslim. Please listen to part of his testimony:
"My name is Saleim Kahleh, and I was raised in a wonderful Muslim family. Islam permeated our lives. We consistently attended mosque and lived out our faith.
*As a high school athlete, I was treated respectfully for my faith by my teammates and coaches. I didn't drink or do drugs. I didn't even date! I also never questioned that Islam was the true way to know and please God, that is, until one day when I was in college.
*An attractive young girl on the beach invited me to a Christian coffee house. Despite some internal hesitation, I went, because she was cute. The young Christians I met there became my friends. We hung out together, played sports, talked, and they never judged me for my religious beliefs.
*Over the coming months, I became comfortable enough to attend my friends' church on occasion. Of course, during the service I would pray for a sign from Allah to let me know it was time to stand up and tell the Christians they were worshiping a false God!
*Late one night, the realization struck me that these Christians sincerely believed that Jesus was the Son of God. They were as convinced of their beliefs as I was of my own! And yet, their religion based itself on the premise that Jesus is Lord, while mine proclaimed that very confession a cause for damnation.
*Many questions stirred in my head. Why do so many different religions believe they are right? How do you know that what you believe is true? Can you really know the truth?
*These were the questions that launched my quest for truth, or rather God's quest for me. Over the next 7 months I asked God to reveal Himself. After much searching, I decided to 'sample' various belief systems until I discovered the truth. I began with Christianity.
*My investigation began one evening when I prayed to ask Jesus into my heart, but only for one week! After all, I had other religions to study after Christianity, and this should be ample time to learn about this faith.
*At the time, I was so fearful that I had committed blasphemy. I was scared to death that my parents would learn of my experiment. I was even afraid to say the name of Jesus aloud.
*Later that evening, though, I found myself singing songs about Jesus which I had learned at my friends' church over the past weeks. At that instant, I recognized three things to be true: Jesus was now residing in my heart. I have a purpose in life: to serve the Living God and make Him known. And God is a good God." (7)
*God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit did a wonderful work in Saleim's life, and God wants to work in our lives too. Are you letting God work in your life tonight? Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Then worship God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And trust God to keep working in your life, until He takes you home to Heaven.
(1) The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message
(3) Adapted from "The Trinity" by Dave Hunt - THE BEREAN CALL - Publication Date: 10/1/1989
-Adapted from "The Trinity" by Dave Hunt - THE BEREAN CALL - Publication Date: 10/1/1989
-THE SECRET OF THE UNIVERSE by Nathan R. Wood "God, Man and Matter" - New York: F. H. Revel & Co.  http://thestoryofliberty.homestead.com/secretoftheunivers.pdf
(5) Sermons.com sermon "With a Little Help from My Friends" - Sermon by King Duncan - Mark 2 1-12
(6) Fred Musser, "The Tabernacle" from James S. Hewett, "Illustrations Unlimited" - Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988 - p. 244 - Source: "Bible Illustrator for Windows" - Topic: Love - Subtopic: Of God - Index: 2206 - Date: 7/1996.777 - Title: I Know Who Holds Tomorrow