The Holy Trinity:The Oneness of God

Sermon summary:
There is only one God, but we know Him in three ways. We know Him as Father, as Son and as Holy Spirit. It is a divine mystery how God is three distinct persons, and yet one! Theologians describe this mystery with such terms as: The Godhead three in one, the Triune God, the Blessed Trinity, or The Holy Trinity. Descriptions aside, and regardless of our inability to fully understand the concept of the Trinity, it is imperative we learn to relate to The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit! This message highlights the oneness of God and the fact that there can only be one God. Having said that, we must understand we know God in three ways. Hints of the concept of God in three persons is found all the way back to the book Genesis and is very apparent in the teachings of the New Testament. The fact that we can’t understand all there is to know about the infinite God should be encouraging rather than discouraging. If we could grasp everything there is to know about God in our finite minds, God would be a very small God indeed. Truth is, we need a really big God to help us with the really big challenges we face in our daily lives.

Community Group Discussion Guide:

1. It is popular today to say there are many gods and as long as you believe in something you’ll be just fine? What’s wrong with that kind of thinking?
1 Corinthians 8:5-6
5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”),
6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

2. The very definition of the word God (Supreme Being) excludes the possibility of there being more than one God. The Bible is clear on the fact there is only One God, but it is also clear on the fact that we know God in three ways and as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit! How do you most often relate to God, as Father, Son or Holy Spirit?
Titus 3:4-7
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

3. A relationship with The Father God, by way of the Holy Spirit of God and through what The Son of God did on the cross, is a game changer. While it does not mean we'll no longer make mistakes, face sickness, deal with tragedy, or struggle with tough questions, the way we deal with these things sure changes. In what ways has your relationship with God been a game changer for you?
Psalm 66:16
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!


Full Sermon Notes

As the worship band has just sang, Lord, I need You! Not just every week, but every day, and every hour, and every minute, and every moment. I want to live my life in constant awareness of Your presence and I know that's possible because You are always by my side and in my heart! Father God, as we talk about the beautiful mystery of The Holy Trinity, today, please let me be led by Your Holy Spirit, hidden by the Cross upon which Your Only Begotten Son suffered for my sins. Let today's message of Your truth cause many to trust You in a life changing way and we'll give You the glory!
Thank You Lord, in the sweet Name of Jesus, I pray, Amen!!

Some think it a terrible thing to believe there is only one God. They feel it is arrogant for anyone to believe in only one God. They feel it is unrealistic to believe in only one God. But here's the problem with their thinking: it's based on what they feel rather than objective truth. No matter how strong your feelings they can not alter the truth.
Truth is objective, not subjective. In other words, truth is not subject to or dependent on your feelings. Your feelings change, truth does not!

And when we look at the word "God" and it's definition, then we should realize that by definition, there can only be one God! Not two, three or hundreds, but one. Why? here's the definition of God...

GOD – The one Supreme Being, Self-existent and eternal;the infinite creator, sustainer, and ruler of the universe; conceived of as omniscient, good, and almighty.
Britannica World Language Dictionary

So there cannot be but one supreme being. Why? Let's look at the definition of supreme occurring to Oxford Dictionary...

Supreme: "Superior to all others"
Oxford Dictionaries

If the definition of God is supreme being, then that means God is "superior to all others!"
Here's what God's Word says in our text today...

Deuteronomy 6:4-5
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

So one of the fundamental truths of the Judaeo Christian faith is the truth of One God. Monotheism, one God, as apposed to Polytheism, many gods. And as you saw on the video, Jesus affirmed this teaching when talking to one of the teachers of the law in Mark's Gospel…

Mark 12:28-30
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Ok, one more passage to make sure we are on the same page when it comes to the oneness of God!

1 Corinthians 8:5-6
5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”),
6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

Now some of the very observant folks in the room might have a problem with that last verse. Ok if there is just one God, why did that last verse say there is but one God, the Father, and then say, "and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ…" If there is but one God, then who is it? The Father or the Son?

Before we answer that, let me add someone else to the mix…

Titus 3:4-7
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

So now you're really confusing me! If the Father is God, and Jesus is Lord, and we are saved through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, does that mean there are three Gods? No, there is only one God, but we know Him in three ways: We know Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father took on human flesh and we knew Him as God the Son. After Jesus' death and resurrection, He went back to heaven, but He did no leave us alone or without His presence. He gave us His Holy Spirit, so that He could be with us in this world through His Holy Spirit!

This concept is found in both the Old and New Testament and while there is not a word in the Bible to describe this concept, theologians have used the word trinity to describe the three ways in which we know God. Sometimes you will also hear or read this concept described as...

The Holy Trinity, the Blessed Trinity, the Triune God, the Godhead three in one, or one God in three persons. It is a divine mystery how God can be three distinct persons, and yet one! Some people don't like the fact that they can't fully grasp or understand the concept of the Trinity. But here's the thing, the triune nature of God is not the only thing about God I don't fully understand, but that doesn't bother me, it actually comforts me. Why?

If my little brain could fully understand everything there is to know about God then He would be a very small God indeed!! God is so above me in every way. Listen to what God told Isaiah...

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Augustine tells of a vision of seeing a little boy at a beach scooping up the ocean thimbleful by thimbleful and emptying it out on the sand. Then he sees an angel who tells him that this boy will have emptied out the entire ocean long before Augustine has exhausted what can be said about God. That's why Rich Mullens wrote the classic worship song, "Our God is an awesome God!"

But here's an amazing thing…That all knowing God, so far above me, so awesome, so powerful: He loves me and chose to reveal Himself to me through His Word, through His Son and through His Holy Spirit! And that awesome God, has chosen to live inside my little old heart! How cool is that?

Over the coming weeks we are going to look at the three ways we know the one God! We are going to seek to discover why it's so important for us to relate to God as Father, as Son and Holy Spirit! Having said this, I want us to leave here today understanding why the oneness of God is so important.

When we think of the word oneness, we can also think of the word unity. God, in all of His essence, in all of His wisdom, in all of His power, in all of His work, God is one. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are in absolute unity, and this unity has always existed! Listen...

John 1:1-4
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

And then look down in verse 14...

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And what about The Holy Spirit. When did He come into the picture? He too has always been a part of the oneness of God...

Genesis 1:1-3
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

And is there anything else in the Old Testament that shows The Holy Trinity of the One True God? Yes. Also in Genesis...

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

And this powerful passage in Isaiah...

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? ” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Now I want to point out a really interesting place to see the truth of the Holy Trinity of our One God in John 14...

John 14:15-20
 15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

Now let me tell you what one of my favorite professors, Dr. William Stevens, said about these words of Jesus. And I quote...

"He (Jesus) is a person, praying to a second person, to send them a third person. Yet, at the same time there is the cognate truth that each of these persons is, in essence, God, and that there is only one God. Each distinct from the other, yet each in being, God--this is the eternal verity that eludes finite comprehension. Each distinct, yet a distinctiveness without separation--this is the paradox that beclouds human understanding."

Dr. Stevens went on to say,

"Through Christ God entered human history; through the Holy Spirit God entered human hearts."

Jesus often said, “I and the Father are one.” Listen to this conversation between Him and His disciples...
John 14:5  Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
John 14:6  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:7  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
John 14:8  Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
John 14:9  Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
John 14:10  Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

So Pastor Larry what does this great and beautiful concept have to do with my daily life, my dreams, my reality, my accomplishments, my failures, my good intentions, my struggles, my heart, my heart aches? Here's the answer...

This awesome God who created you and loves you so much, He has made a way for you to relate to Him in three ways. You can know God as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit! It's so sad, but for many today they do not see God as a person. The view Him as a force. A universal impersonal force. They believe God is the universe and the universe is God, that God is not a specific being, but is in all things. This kind of thinking is not so far removed from ancient idol worshippers. Here's what God's Word has to say about that…
 

Jeremiah 10:2-10a
2 This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk.
(Think of it this way…Do you have to carry your god or does your God carry you?)
Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
6 No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.
7 Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.
8 They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols.
9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple—all made by skilled workers.
10 But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King...

Ok, so what happens if I reject the world's false view of God and accept that there is only one God and that He is a personal God known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit? What really changes for me?  

Well, if you make the decision to allow Father God to have a personal relationship with you by way of His Holy Spirit, made possible through what God the Son did on an old rugged Cross, it will be a game changer on all levels!!! No matter what your circumstances, your life will change!

A relationship with God does not mean we'll no longer make mistakes, face sickness, deal with tragedy, or struggle with tough questions, but He has offered all the power of The Holy Trinity to help us overcome anything this old world can throw at us and as the Psalmist discovered, God is faithful!!

Psalm 66:1-20
1 Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.”Selah
5 Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!
6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot— come, let us rejoice in him.
7 He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations— let not the rebellious rise up against him.Selah
8 Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you—
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats. Selah
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

If you're willing to pray to the one, true God, He will not reject your prayer or withhold His love from you and you will begin to experience the power of The Holy Trinity in every aspect of your life today!

Let's pray!!