Summary: This is the third and final sermon that looks at the Trinity and prayer
2 CORINTHIANS CH 13 V 14
Astronomer Percival Lowell who died in 1916 spent some 15 years looking at Mars and sketching what he saw as a complex network of fine lines connecting the polar caps with a number of darker areas. He maintained that that these lines were canals built by an intelligent civilization to channel water from the polar ice caps to deserts. According to the New York Times later studies actually revealed that Lowell had unintentionally configured the aperture on his telescope so as to make it mimic an ophthalmoscope, which those of you familiar with the opticians will recognise is an instrument that’s used to examine the interior of the eye. What Lowell had seen spokes on Mars and Venus were actually shadows of the blood vessels and other structures in his own retina. But whatever the cause was, it’s clear than the canals were due to observer error and illusion.
George Yandell: ‘Often we ascribe to God aspects of our own make-up, without realizing we project our own stuff onto God’s self.’ This is why it’s so vital that we take the Bible, which is God’s self-revelation, and take all out thoughts about Him from it rather than starting with our own ideas and thoughts.
In Part 1 of our look at 2 COR 13:14 ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all’ we saw God’s Trinitarian nature i.e. He is the Only True undivided God who exists in three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Part 2 we explored how the Trinity works together in the Gospel. Now, in our final look we see that this benediction is actually a prayer. Let’s look at how the Trinity works in prayer.
GOD THE FATHER AND PRAYER
‘Our Father in Heaven…’
At the first church that he pastored Jerry L Stern had the job of mixing animal feed to add to his income. For about two weeks everyday he came home from work and his two boys, ages 2 and 3, would look at him and say, ‘Boy, dad, you sure are dusty!’ He didn’t think too much of this until he was washing his car and saw his oldest son doing the strangest thing. He was picking up the gravel and stones in the drive and rubbing them into his trousers. He asked him what he was doing and he replied, ’I want to be dusty like you dad!’ Jerry Stern realized that if a child would look up to his father for being dusty and want to copy him, a child could look up to his father and follow him for anything. How important it is to work hard to be a good father figure even though we recognise we’ll never be perfect.
However whatever we say about human fathers, God shows us in the Bible that He is the perfect father – the Father above all other fathers. As Mike Taylor points out that: ‘God’s fatherhood is the reality, and the biological and social fatherhood that we’re familiar with is a shadow of it. You might even say that human fatherhood was created as an analogy to help us understand God’s fatherhood.’ God loves, cares for, watches over and disciplines His children as simply the best Father there is. As His children we’re to love and obey Him in return. The great privilege that we have is to come to Him in prayer because of this amazing relationship we share.
But not everyone can call God ‘Father.’ He’s not the Father of everyone; no one is naturally born a child of God. Yes, we’re all His creation, made in His image, but also spoiled by the sin pollution that passed to us through Adam. How does God become our Father in heaven? Two things have to happen:
God must adopt you so that you have a legal standing and have the right to all the privileges and blessings in His family. EPH 1:5 ‘In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ.’’
The second thing, which always goes hand in hand with adoption, is that you must be born-again; spiritually re-born. JOHN 1:12-13 ‘To all who received [Jesus], to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but of God.’
So adoption gives us a legal standing in God’s family, and new birth implants God’s spiritual life in us. As Wil Pounds puts it: ‘We have not only the new status as sons, but also the heart of true sons.’
(1) Generally in prayer we come to the Father through the Son by the Spirit. EPH 2:18 ‘For through Him [Christ] we both [Jew and non-Jew] have access to the Father by one Spirit. The Bible’s pattern is that we approach the Father in Jesus’ Name by the Holy Spirit’s enabling.