Summary: This sermon explains the Doctrine of the Trinity in simple terms using both logic and Scripture.
I was recently confronted by a cultist and I had to agree w/ a point.
"Most Christians can’t define the doctrine of the trinity or prove it."
Tonight we will :
1) Define the doctrine of the Trinity.
2) Find Biblical proof for the Trinity.
3) Find historical proof for the Trinity.
4) See common objections and misconceptions about the Trinity.
Two questions have been asked through history.
1) Does God exist ? 2) What is He like ?
1) ATHEISM There is no God or purpose to life.
2) AGNOSTICISM We can’t (won’t) know if God exists. - 1869 Prof. Huxley.
3) POLYTHEISM There are many gods.
4) PANTHEISM All is God. - 1677 Philosopher Spinoza.
5) DEISM God created everything and deserted man. - 1648 Edward Herbert.
6) MONOTHEISM The Biblical view.
TRINITY : There is one God who exists in the form of 3 Persons.
I) BIBLICAL PROOF OF THE DOCTRINE
It can’t be proven by 1 vs.
A) THERE ARE THREE PERSONS CALLED
FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT Mt 28:19
B) EACH ONE IS ASCRIBED THE TITLE OF DEITY
1) He is spoken of as God
By God Heb 1:8
By Isa. Is 9:6
By Paul Phil 2:5-7
By Paul Col 2:9 (all the fullness of the Godhead)
iii) HOLY SPIRIT
2) He is spoken of as God Acts 5:1-4
3) He received Divine worship Is 6:1-3,8
C) THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD I Tim 2:5
II) HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE DOCTRINE
A) THE CONSENSUS OF THE CHURCH
Some believe he was a lawyer because of terms - essence & persons.
Made the main outline for the Trinity.
Against Praxeas (modalist) P25 "... The connection of the Father in
the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete [Holy Spirit], produces three
coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from another. These Three
are one essence...."
In 380 A.D. he issued a decree stating that :
"All the peoples... practice... the religion that is followed by the
pontiff [of Rome - which confesses] the single Deity of the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit." J. Stevenson Creeds, Councils, and
iii) Council of Constantinople : Summoned by Theodosius In 381 A.D.
Affirmed the full Deity of the Holy Spirit against Pneumatomachianism.
They also declared The Holy Spirit "is worshiped and glorified
together w/ the Father and the Son." Williston Walker History of the
iv) Athanasian Creed :
"...we worship one God in Trinity and the Trinity in
unity, neither confusing the Persons nor dividing the substance...
B) HERESIES CONCERNING THE TRINITY
i) Dividing the substance of the Godhead
Arianism Denied the Deity of Christ.
ii) Confusing the persons of the Godhead
Strove to maintain the unity of God.
Held to the deity of Christ and the H.S. but doesn’t distinguish them
from the Father.
God reveals Himself in different modes in different ages.
Father - creation and law, Son - Christ, H.S. - Church age.
If this is true :
1) Christ cannot be our advocate w/ the Father. 1 Jn 2:1
2) Christ can’t live forever to make intercession for us. Heb 7:25
3) There can be no vicarious blood atonement.
III) OBJECTIONS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE TRINITY
A) OBJECTION #1 : THE FATHER IS GREATER THAN JESUS Jn 14:284
"...for My Father is greater than I."
Claim : Jesus was subordinate to the Father.
The comparison is QUANTITATIVE not QUALITATIVE.
Relation of position not nature or quality.
Heb 1:4 "Being made so much better than the angels..."
A QUALITATIVE comparison of natures.
QUALITATIVELY He was God.
QUANTITATIVELY He was limited to a human body.
If Jesus said "The Father is BETTER..." it would be different.
The president might be GREATER (due to his position) than we are but it
would be different to say that he was BETTER.
B) OBJECTION #2 : CHRIST WAS ONLY THE IMAGE OF GOD
C) OBJECTION #3 : CHRIST WAS THE FIRST CREATION OF GOD Col 1:15
"Who is the image of the invisible God,..."
Some claim He is only the image of God.
It doesn’t say He is ONLY the image of God.
If this were the only vs. I would agree.
Sim. to a letter : 1st par. - Augie is a good man.
2nd par. - Augie is a good man and a Pastor.
You can’t say He is ONLY a good man.
"...the firstborn of every creature"
Some claim He was the 1st created thing.
Does firstborn mean first created ? NOT NECESSARILY.
Gen 48:14 Manasseh - firstborn - left hand.
er 31:9 Ephraim is called the firstborn.
Firstborn means Preeminent or Supreme.
How do we know that this is what it means in Col 1:15 ?
1) Theme of Col. - Christ is the head of the Church.