Summary: Trinity Sunday gives us an opportunity to study one of the most difficult themes of the Christian faith, the concept of one God in three persons. The Trinity is important because in a real way it shows us how God does his thing.

Last Sunday was Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit with power upon the disciples. As the disciples proclaimed the wonderful works of God in their own language, but Jews from all over the world who spoke different languages all heard them speak in their own language. It is like if I preached a sermon in English but a Frenchman listening to it would hear it as if I were speaking French. That is just one example of the many wonderful and powerful happenings on the day of Pentecost. The disciples received power as never before. Jesus had told them to stay in the upper room until the power came. The power of the Holy Spirit descended on the Day of Pentecost. Pentecost has been called the birthday of the church. So I was sick last Sunday and didn’t have an opportunity to preach on Pentecost Sunday. But today the Sunday after Pentecost is called Trinity Sunday. Today is Trinity Sunday. It gives us an opportunity to study one of the most difficult themes of the Christian faith, the concept of one God in three persons. The famous hymn concludes by saying, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” So what does it mean when we speak of the one God as being in 3 persons? And what difference does the Trinity mean to us? What is the big deal about it? Why should we care if we worship one God as the Jews and Muslims do, or one God in 3 persons as Christians do?

The concept of one God in 3 persons is a difficult thing to understand. If it is so difficult to understand, why bother with it at all? Why do we have a special day in the Christian year to celebrate something we don’t understand? Let us try to understand what the Trinity is, how God works in the Trinity, and what it means to us. Christians have been accused of believing in 3 Gods. Most of the religions in the world only worship one God. But there are some factions in the Christian church who reject the idea of a Trinity. Unitarians do not believe in the Trinity. They accept God the Father but do not recognize the Son or the Holy Spirit as being God. You will never see a cross in a Unitarian Church. There are some other sects in Christianity who also do not recognize the Trinity. One of the most famous preachers in the world, T.D. Jakes comes from a church that does not recognize the Trinity. I love to hear T.D. Jakes preach. He has a particular knack of applying scripture to daily living. His ministry has helped thousands of people. But you will never hear him talking about the Trinity. Trinity speaks of God as being one entity but expressed in 3 persons.

We speak of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We very seldom find all three spoken of together in the Bible. One such place is our NT text today in 2 Corinthians 13:13 which speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. The basic definition of the Trinity is that the one being of God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They share the same essence of substance yet they are 3 distinct persons. The thing we must remember is that God has always been God.

I was at a funeral yesterday and the preacher talked about the eternality of God. God was there before the world began. But the Son was there before the world began. The Holy Spirit was there before the world began. Jesus didn’t just get started at Christmas. He is from everlasting to everlasting. The Holy Spirit didn’t get started at Pentecost. The Gospel of John in chapter one speaks of Jesus as the Word who was involved in the creation of the world. When the Bible in Genesis talks about a wind sweeping over the face of the waters, it is talking about the Holy Spirit. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have always been God. God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will always be God.

The best way to define the Trinity is to say what the Trinity is not. It is not one person with three different identities. For instance, one person can be a husband to his wife, the father of his children, and the son of his mother. But that is not like the Trinity because it talks only about one person in three different roles. The Trinity is talking about three persons in one. Or a person can act in three different capacities or different roles. For instance, one person can play several roles in a play. He may wear a different hat or have a different costume for each character. But that is not what the Trinity is. The Trinity is talking about 3 different persons. Or God is like a heavenly board of directors made up of 3 equal partners, each of which has a distinct responsibility. So one partner handles production, another partner handles sales, and another partner handles customer relations. But that is not what the Trinity is like either. The Trinity talks about one person. Or God is like a pitcher in a baseball team. There will be a starting pitcher, but after a while, a relief pitcher comes in, and later the closing pitcher takes over. There is only one pitcher in the game at one time. But that is not what the trinity is like because there you have 3 different persons acting as pitchers. Or we can use the frequent analogy of water, which can be liquid, or ice when it freezes, or steam when it boils. But that illustration still falls short of describing the trinity.

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