Summary: Who can explain the Trinity? Not I, and I believe nobody can, however there are some basis principles that help. This sermon attempts to do that, it is long and hard going, but it this the easy, the condensed version; with appendix.
Summary: Who can explain the Trinity? Not I, and I believe nobody can, however there are some basis principles that help. This sermon attempts to do that, it is long and hard going, but it this the easy, the condensed version.
This sermon was delivered to the congregation in St Oswald’s, in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 19th June 2011. (A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow & Dumfries)
Prayer: Loving God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, open our hearts and our minds that we may hear with joy your message today, and that we live in the assurance of your love forever. Amen.
Our gospel reading this morning is from the book of Mathew chapter 28, verses 16 to 20. “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
We are instructed in the bible to seek God and find out as much as we can about him, and so the subject of today’s sermon is our God himself; a Triune God, three separate persons, but one God in essence.
It is the most complex subject in the whole bible and we will never understand the Godhead, because God is so much ‘bigger’ than anyone can imagine and it was once said that it would be like a slug trying to understand Einstein’s theory of relativity, than to expect us to understand God.
We Christians want to put God into a nice little box, a wee box that has definite limits, and say that we understand all about God. If that is where you are, then you have absolutely no idea of what God is, least his plans for your life; for the very first thing you learn about God is that he is infinite and it is better to keep this view of him rather than delimit him in anyway whatsoever, particularly when you try to find out more about him.
With this warning over, let us start this investigation by looking at a lovely man called Athanasia who lived in the third century AD. Athanasia loved the Trinity and was in fact the first person to speak up and define it; and to help him share his findings with everyone he wrote the Athanasian Creed.
Now I had the notion of saying this very creed this morning like some Anglican Churches do on Trinity Sunday, but it is rather long and as it defines God, it is extremely complex. None the less, I will read a few verses from the beginning to give you a wee taste.
We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
This is only the first few verses; but this is most beautiful, the most complex and definitive creed ever, and totally incomprehensible.
The preachers waterloo.
There was a man called Dr Robert Smith 400 years ago who said this “if you deny the Trinity then you are in danger of losing your soul. If you research the Trinity too deeply, and strive to understand it, then you may be in danger of losing your mind”.
The Jehovah Witnesses think the Trinity is an invention of the early church; but if you are trying to invent something or deceive some one, then you make the process simple and easy to understand so as to mislead. No one in their right mind would ever invent the Trinity, it is so complex. You cannot understand it; but let us follow the drift in the first verses, (of which there are 44).