Summary: sermon on the unity of the Trinity and how that effects us as Christians
May 22, 2002 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
“There is no ‘I’ in team.” Most of you are probably familiar with this term. The basic meaning is that you have to work together in order to win a game. It can’t be a “one man show.” For instance, in Michael Jordan’s earlier years in the NBA, he would try to take the team on his shoulders. But after a few years of failure, he finally learned to make his team get involved. When he did, they finally started winning.
In the same way, Paul wanted the Corinthians work through their differences and come together as a team - to get along and go forward so they could get some things done and go forward as a congregation. So Paul concluded his letter with this final plea -
Finally, brothers, good-by. Be restored. Be admonished. Be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
So today we’ll see how -
We’re Really Not That Different, Me and You
I. Our God works together for our good
The last words that Paul wrote the Corinthians were what we call the Apostolic Blessing. It reflects
the very clear doctrine of the Trinity - three Persons in ONE God. Paul was praying that this Trinity would WORK TOGETHER as ONE God for the benefit of the Corinthians.
Think about how important that is. Greek mythology portrays their gods in a totally different light. When another god became mad at Zeus, this god then took Zeus’s son and put him on earth unbeknownst to Zeus. So in order to protect him, Zeus in turn gave his son a special helmet and sword to protect him. Imagine if God worked that way - if the Holy Spirit did one thing that only had to be counter-acted by Jesus and improved by the Father - if they worked in competition with one another - each vying for the power position. What a mess this world would be! As we celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday, we can celebrate that our God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together for our GOOD!
Paul starts out by talking about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace stands for a gift that is undeserved and unmerited. Doesn’t that word typify Jesus whole life? This past month I received a call from a lady who asked for some food. She didn’t have any money - had just moved - and wanted to feed her teenage daughter. She lived way on the north side of town, and sounded genuinely in a bind. So I decided to pack up some extra meat from my freezer and take it out there. But on the way, I got to thinking to myself, “I don’t even know this lady. What am I doing spending an extra half hour to hour of my time to give this lady some meat? I have a sermon to write.” I wasn’t feeling so gracious when my time was taken up.
But then I got to thinking about it - Jesus spent a lot of his ministry taking care of people who needed help - healing the sick, feeding them, and taking care of them. They didn’t “know” him. Some of them probably didn’t come to listen to Jesus - but just to be healed. But Jesus didn’t turn them away on account of that. Why not? Because his whole ministry was one of grace. He was constantly giving things to people who didn’t deserve it. Long before we existed, Jesus decided to die for us anyway. He decided to take our sins on his shoulders, and give us His righteousness. He didn’t say we had to work for it. We didn’t have to ask for it. He would just give it to us. That, my friends, is grace. Jesus says, “I know you don’t know me. But I know you. I love you. Here, take this cleansing. Have my riches - my perfection. Let me give you an eternity in heaven.”
If you notice something else about Jesus ministry - is that he was always communicating with his Father. Luke 6 says, One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Before Jesus went to the cross, he spent the night in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane. It was at that time that Jesus asked, “if there is some other way to save the world, let me take it!” But what was the Father’s answer? “This is it. Judas is on his way - go and meet him!” Jesus didn’t just sit in heaven and think to Himself one day, “I think I’ll go and save mankind.” 1 Peter says, He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Chosen by who? God the Father! And so Jesus - like a soldier on a recon mission - was constantly talking with His Father - conversing with Him over the plan of salvation.