No One Like Him - Part 3

Selected Scriptures

Tom Pennington  •  May 2, 2004
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We're enjoying our studies on Sunday night or at least I am, I trust you are, into the issues of what the Bible teaches. What the Bible teaches about itself, we've looked at, and now what the Bible teaches about the character of God. I understand that there are some friendly wagers going on among some of the students in the student ministries about what graduating year it will be when I finish this series. I don't know exactly how to take that; I'll take it as a compliment.

Let me just remind you briefly of where we have come in talking about the nature of God. We've said that God is, first of all, a being. That is, He is separate from creation. He is not the creation. He is a being separate from it. We've also said that He's living or alive. It's God's character, in contrast to the idols of the world, to be alive. He is infinite. That is, God in His attributes is absolutely unlimited by anything except His own character. And He is spirit. That is, He is immaterial. God is by nature spirit, Christ tells us, and therefore we must worship Him "in spirit and in truth." We learned that He is a person, not in the sense that we use the words person in the nature of Trinity, but He's personal. That is, He is not distant. He's not the God of the deist who sort of was the master clock winder, wound up the world, left it alone, and has gone somewhere, and someday He'll come back to check on it. Instead, He is personal. He interacts with His world in a personal way.

And then finally we're noting, and we began this last time, that God is Trinity, God is Trinity. Let me just remind you of what we discussed last time about the nature of the Trinity. When you look at the Scripture, when you look at the data that the Bible provides us, the idea of the Trinity is never developed in a given paragraph. It's not like there is a certain paragraph that sets out to declare to us exactly what the being of God is in Trinity. We'll talk a little bit about that in a few minutes, why that is, but what we do find in Scripture are three basic suppositions or propositions. They are, first of all, that God is one. Secondly, that Christ is God, or we could say that the Spirit is God, we could use either one. And then finally, that Christ or the Spirit are distinct from the Father. Again, either one, either Christ or the Spirit, could be used in this argument. But God is one. Christ is God. Christ is distinct from the Father. He is not the same as the Father. That is where the doctrine of the Trinity comes from. Those suppositions are definitely distinctly found in the Scriptures we'll look at tonight. And out of that we formulate the doctrine of the Trinity. Another form of this argument is that God is three persons, each person is fully God, and there is one God. The biblical data support those basic suppositions.

Now, with that in mind we said, what is the Trinity not? It's not tritheism. You recognize the word tri for three, theism or theos meaning God, three gods. The Trinity does not mean that there are three gods. Instead, there's only one God. This has not been a very common view in the history of the church, but there have been some who have held it. They really aren't Christians at that point, they are polytheists; they believe in more than one god.

A second form of wrong teaching about the Trinity that is not uncommon, that some Christians sort of have in their minds (They don't really believe this or they don't really fall in the realm of Christian, but they are influenced by this and they tend to think of God in this way.), and that is, a modalistic way or according to modes. You see the word mode in there? They think of one God simply demonstrating Himself in different modes, if you will, wearing three different hats. So there's one God. There's not three persons, instead, it depends on how you look at that one God. As it were, from this side you see Father and from this side over here you see Son and from the side over there you see Spirit. And it varies based on the role that God is playing. He puts on a different hat, if you would, or a different mask to play the role of either Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, but there's just one God and one person; that's modalism.

The third false view of the Trinity that's been unfortunately very common in the history of the church is subordinationism. This says that only the Father is in essence God and Christ and the Spirit are created and are somehow subordinate. For example, this is what Arias taught. Arianism, you've heard that word probably, it's an ancient heresy, demonstrates itself in a variety of ways today, but essentially you have one person in God that's truly God and the others, Christ and the Spirit, are created and subordinate.

Those are wrong views. So then we said, okay, well if those are wrong views, what exactly is the nature of Trinity? We made three basic statements. First of all, God is one in is His essential being or His constitutional nature, His essence is a word that theologians use. In that one divine being there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we developed this a little bit last time and let me just remind you that when we talk about persons what we mean are three distinct centers of consciousness in God.

In other words, the Father, Son, and the Spirit all knew about the cross, but the Father and the Spirit never thought to themselves, I will die on the cross, only the Son thought that. So there is one divine being but there are three distinct centers of consciousness in the divine being who is God. And then the essence of God belongs equally to each of those three persons. In other words, they are all God. They all share the same attributes and the same qualities, if you will.

So that's what the Trinity is; then we started to say, okay, well if that's true it should be in the Scripture, so what does the Scripture say? We started by looking last time at sort of some Old Testament intimations. The Trinity isn't clearly set forth in the Old Testament, but the doctrine is there in seed form. I gave you the illustration of B.B. Warfield who said, "It's like going into a room that's beautifully decorated but where the lights are incredibly low. And you walk in and everything is there but you can only see it faintly, you don't really get the full grandeur and glory of the room. Eventually someone comes in and turns up the light and then you see it, but nothing new is added to the room, you now just see it clearly." That's how it is between the Old Testament and the New Testament when you talk about the doctrine of the Trinity. The New Testament just turns on the light where you can see what was always there, but the hints of it were there, the intimations of it were there, in the Old Testament.

We said there are several of these. First of all, there are some plural pronouns and plural verbs, "'Let Us,'" God says, "'make man in Our image.'" And also there are some plural verbs where God speaks to Himself in the plural form. We won't go back over that. We looked at the word Elohim and you can get the tape if you want to go into that in a little more detail.

Let me just give you a couple more of Old Testament intimations and then we'll move to the New Testament. Plural forms of creator and maker, let me just give you one of these and then I'll tell you about a couple of others. Turn to Job, Job 35. Again, these are just hints of the reality of the Trinity in the Old Testament. Job 35:10, what you're going to see in these verses is God is referred to as Creator or Maker and in Hebrew the word for Creator or Maker is plural, Makers, Creators. You see it in verse 10, "'But no one says, "Where is God my,"'" and it's plural, "'"Makers,"'" in Hebrew.

In Psalm 149 you see, and this will be the only other one I'll look at with you, in Psalm 149 you see this same point made, verse 2. Psalm 149:2, "Let Israel be glad in his Maker," plural, "in his Makers." Again, there's just this hint that something is going on that we don't really fully see yet, something surprising, why is it plural? A couple of other of those you can jot in your notes, Ecclesiastes 12:1 and Isaiah 54:5. All of those verses use these plural forms of Creator and Maker.

But in the Old Testament you also see these distinctions between the members of the Godhead, distinctions. Notice Genesis 19. In other words, it's clear that there is more than one person because there are two different people involved in the verse. Genesis 19:24, regarding the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, verse 23,

The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord.

The Lord rained from the Lord. There seems to be a hint that two different beings, or two different persons, excuse me, is what I should say, two different persons are at work here.

And then in Hosea, let me give you a couple of other examples, look at Hosea 1. Hosea 1:7, God is speaking, you notice verse 6, "And Yahweh said to them," so Yahweh is speaking here. In verse 7 He says, "'But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God.'" So God is speaking and yet He refers to someone else "'by the Lord their God.'" He either refers to Himself in the third person or He is referring to another person.

So there are other verses like that, I won't take you through each of them, but let me turn you to one more and that is Isaiah 48, Isaiah 48 and notice verse 16. Notice verse 12, flip back and you'll see that, "'Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, the first, I am also the last.'" And then notice verse 16, "'Come near, listen to this,'" "'Come near to Me, listen to this: from the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.'" You see how there are these vague references to someone else connected to God. The Lord is speaking and He said, "'the Lord God has sent Me,'" so you have the Lord speaking saying the Lord sent me and the Lord sent His Spirit. So there seem to be these three persons that you meet in this verse; these are distinctions within the members of the Godhead.

One that the New Testament alludes to a lot is Psalm 2 and I do want to turn to that one. Psalm 2, notice verse 4, the Lord is speaking, "The Lord scoffs at them." "He sits in the heavens and laughs." "And He will speak to them in His fury and terrify them in His fury, saying," so now the Lord is speaking,

"But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, 'You are My Son,'"

Now we know, because we have the New Testament, that this is a reference to a conversation between God the Father and the Son. But even if you didn't have the New Testament, you see the sort of hint that's there? There is something going on, God is speaking and God says, "'I will tell of the decree of the Lord, the Lord said to Me, "You are My Son."'" So there's a clear distinction between two persons and both of them seem to be God.

Another Old Testament intimation, and this is the last one we will look at, is a phenomena called, or phenomenon I should say, called the angel of the Lord. Now it's not every angel that appears, instead, it is the angel of the Lord. That's a designation for what's called a theophany. A theophany simply comes from two Greek words, theos, God, fano, which means to appear. Okay, so an appearance of God, an Old Testament appearance of God. Notice how this angel is clearly not simply an angel; He is identified with the Lord and yet He is distinguished from the Lord. So you get this hint that there is something more going on here, something more than meets the eye.

Turn, for example, to Genesis 16. This is just one example but I'll concentrate on this one. This, of course, is when Abraham attempts to take matters into his own hands, to create an heir for himself. He's getting old and he's afraid that God's promise isn't going to be fulfilled, and so he says, all right, we're going to, Sarah, you and I are going to do something. Actually, Sarah comes up with the idea, but they agree to do something that is popular in that culture. And that is, if the couple are unable to have a child then one of the maidservants becomes a sort of surrogate mom for the offspring of this couple. And they decide to do this, obviously contrary to God's purposes and plan, but they do this.

And then verse 4 says, "When Abram went into Hagar, she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight." So now Hagar begins to have clear spite toward Sarah. Sarah decides, look, I've had enough of this, eventually and she says, she's leaving; the tent isn't big enough for both of us, it's time for her to leave. And so Abram agrees, verse 6, "'she's in your power, do what is good in your sight.' So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence."

"Now," verse 7, here we meet this person,

the angel of the Lord found Hagar by the spring of the water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from and where are you going?" And she said, "Well, I'm fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai." Then the angel the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority. Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, "I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count."

You want to know why we have the problems we have in the Middle East? Here it is. Thank you, Abraham.

But this was God's purpose, this was God's purpose. He says, "'I'm going to multiply your descendants.'" "'And his name will be Ishmael,'" verse 11. Then notice what happens in verse 13, "she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her." Now, look back, verse 11, "the angel of the Lord said to her," but "she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God who sees'; for she said, 'Have I remained alive here after seeing Him?'" So the angel of the Lord is obviously an appearance of God Himself.

But what I want you to see is verse 11, "The angel of the Lord said to her, 'You are with child, you shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.'" So now think about what's going on here. The angel of the Lord was none other than the Lord, that's what she says in verse 13, "the Lord spoke to her." And yet the angel who spoke to her, the Lord, said, "'the Lord has given heed to your affliction.'" There are obviously two people there, do the math. I mean you can't get around the fact that there are two persons interacting in this verse, outside of Hagar.

You see that constantly with this phenomenon of the angel the Lord. You see it in Genesis 18. You see it in Genesis 22, in Genesis 31, and in Exodus 3. So in all of these places you have this appearance of God, but God who appears is talking about God as if there were some one else who were God. This is a hint, if you will, of the presence of the Trinity.

So that's the Old Testament. Now, what I want to move to next is those scriptural propositions, I want us to look at the scriptural evidence of the three propositions. Let me give you, before we get there, an interesting problem. Think about this for a moment. You say, well, okay, I saw little hints of what you were saying in the Old Testament. I see how it was hinted there. But then, in the Old Testament it's hinted, you come to the New Testament and what happens? The Trinity is assumed.

Now how did that happen? You know, did I miss a book, you know, somewhere in between the testaments? Because in the Old Testament it's hinted at and in the New Testament it's assumed; it's never sort of defended and taught. Why is that? What happened between the close of the Old Testament and the writing of the New Testament that made the concept of the Trinity obvious to the church? There were two events. Think about this for a moment. There were two events that happened between the close of the Old Testament canon and the writing of the New Testament canon that made the Trinity obvious to them all.

One of them was the incarnation. Think about it. For 33 years the second person of the Trinity dwelt on earth and He did nothing but talk about His Father. He did nothing but pray to His Father. He did nothing but talk about His own subordination to His Father. Then He gets ready to leave and what does He say to His disciples on the night before His crucifixion? I'm going to send you another comforter. I'm going to send you the Spirit. Christ promised when He left to send another comforter, the Spirit. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit did come. Just as Jesus had told Nicodemus, they didn't see the Spirit but just like the wind they saw the effects of His presence.

So those who lived between the testaments, those who lived in the time of Christ, saw hints of the Trinity in the Old Testament, but they saw it absolutely lived out in front of them because of the incarnation and the sending of the Spirit. There was no question in their minds about the reality that there was one God, because that had been clearly taught as we'll see in a moment, but that there had to be three persons in that one God. Because one of them was with them, He constantly prayed to and referred to His Father, and that He promised when He left to send the Spirit; and the Spirit came and the Spirit was not Christ Himself, He was distinct.

Because of that the New Testament assumes the Trinity as opposed to presenting a defense for it, however, thankfully for us there are still certain and direct evidences of the doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament. In fact, let me just say this, wherever in the New Testament there is evidence for the deity of Christ, there is evidence of the Trinity. Wherever there is evidence in the New Testament of the personality of the Holy Spirit, there is evidence of the Trinity. You don't have to look for the Trinity per se because those two events, those two persons prove forever the doctrine of the Trinity. Trinitarianism was a deduction from its conviction that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit were divine persons.

Now, let's look at the biblical data. It supports these three propositions. God is one. Christ is God. And Christ is distinct from the Father. Those suppositions form the basis of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. Let's look at the biblical data. First of all, that God is one. Well, you have to start and turn to Deuteronomy 6, Deuteronomy 6. It's been 40 years since the people of God left Egypt. They are now on the plains on the east side of Jordan. Moses is preparing them to enter the promised land. He himself will not enter because of his striking of the rock and his breach of the character of God at that event. But he's preparing them. And he takes a period of time and he lays out to them, or gives to them again if you will, a second law. Not a different law, but the same law in a different form, to a fresh generation, a new generation that's now going to enter the land.

Only two of those who at first came out of Egypt are going to enter, Joshua and Caleb, everyone else has died; and Moses now lays out for them an understanding of what's been involved. They need to understand who their God is, and with that background Moses begins in Deuteronomy 6. Notice what he says in verse 1, "'Now this is the commandment.'" Notice, and this is for free, this has nothing to do with what I'm really trying to say out of this passage, but this fascinates me, notice how commandment is singular, "'this is the commandment.'" I've just got one for you, are you ready? Here it is, one commandment. And then "'the statutes and the judgments,'" in Hebrew as in English, that stands in apposition. That means they define the commandment. We could put it this way, I'm going to give you the commandment that is sort of explained to you in the statutes and the judgments, but there's only one commandment.

Now what is the commandment? Well, you go all the way down to verse 5 before you get to a commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." Listen folks, you want to simplify your life? We live in a very complex world. You want to simplify your Christian life and experience? Listen to Moses or listen to Christ, here it is, there's just one commandment, you don't have to know any more than this, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." And Christ added,

"The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two [Christ said] hang [or depend] all the Law and the Prophets."

You want to simplify your understanding of Scripture? There it is. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. That is the commandment.

Now, to the point I wanted to make. So he lays this out and he gets to verse 4. He says, "'Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one!'" This is not a command; the command comes in verse 5. This is a declarative statement. It's a confession. It's a confession about the nature of God. It's a confession about God's uniqueness. "'The Lord is one.'" This is a clear defense of monotheism. And by the way, our Lord affirms it in Mark 12:32. He quotes this passage and He says it a little differently. Listen to what He says, "The scribe said to Him, 'Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him.'" Verse 34, "Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently." So Jesus affirms the scribe's view of this verse. "There is One" or "He is One" means "there is no one else besides Him." it's an affirmation of monotheism there is only one God. So this phrase is describing the uniqueness of God.

God is the only one to whom the true attributes of deity belong. He's not the first among many gods, as Baal was for the Canaanites, or Ra was in Egypt, or Marduk in Babylon. He is the one and only God; and therefore He's completely sovereign. There is one God and Yahweh is His name. That's what Moses is saying. There's only one. This verse then is the great Old Testament declaration of monotheism. This passage demands monotheism, but, and here's what's important, not a nameless faceless deity. There is only one God and His name is Yahweh, eternally existing in three persons, whom Jesus taught us to call Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, and you may have read about this in some things that are going on today, unfortunately there's a new push in evangelicalism to allow for the possibility that Mormons and Hindus and Jehovah's Witnesses and Buddhists and others might be in heaven, because I mean after all, they're simply worshipping the true God under another name. Isaiah 42:8, God says, "'I am Yahweh, that is My name; and I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.'" They are not worshipping the same God under a different name. There is only one God and His name is Yahweh, He is, the eternal He is.

Now, you say, well, how does this complement the issue of the Trinity? You're saying there's one God. You know what's interesting? The Hebrew word one speaks of unity, but it has a hint of the Trinity. If you turn to Genesis 2, this same word one is used. Genesis 2:24, a familiar verse about marriage, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." So the word one, while it speaks of monotheism, it speaks of one God, it does not rule out the concept of Trinity, because two people can be one flesh, so three persons can be one God.

Now, other verses that support God's uniqueness, Deuteronomy 4:39, "Know therefore today, and take it to heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the Earth below; and there is no other." Deuteronomy 32:39, "'"See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand."'" By the way that's a powerful verse to remind us that God is in charge of life and death and illness and all of those things. He takes full responsibility for what happens in His world. Isaiah 45:5, He says, "'I am Yahweh, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.'" And we've looked at a number of references there in Isaiah, I won't do that again tonight. John 17:3, "'This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.'"

There's only one true God and it's the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who in the Old Testament was known under the name Yahweh. Romans 3:29-30, in fact let's turn to Romans 3. Paul has just laid out this wonderful reality of justification by faith. He's explained the fact that God can be both "just and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus Christ." And now he wants to make the point that this is not isolated just to Israel, it's for everyone. He makes the point back up in verse 23, or the end of verse 22, that everyone's got the same problem, "there is no distinction; for all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God." And then he makes the point that all can participate in this wonderful reality of justification. Verse 29,

Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of the Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.

Paul is basically drawing on Deuteronomy 6:4 to say there's only one God. He's the God of Israel. He's the God of the Gentiles. There's only one. Just like we saw this morning there in Isaiah 45 where God says, look, there's only Me, "'Turn to Me you ends of the earth and be saved.'"

First Corinthians 8, in fact, let's turn there as well. I want you to see this passage, 1 Corinthians 8:4. Paul is in the middle of talking about the issue of Christian liberty. He wants them to understand about this issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols and he says in verse 1, "Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge." But if you just are stressing your knowledge and you're not worried about love, then knowledge is going to make you arrogant. But love will edify, love builds up. "If anyone supposes he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him."

Verse 4, "Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols." You remember the conflict that was there in Corinth over this issue, some said it was fine, others said it wasn't. Verse 4, he continues, "we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one." There's only one God. You say, well, wait a minute, what about the so-called gods? Well, there are these so-called gods. Verse 6, "yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him." There is one God, but even here in this verse he gives us the reminder of the Trinity, the Father and Jesus Christ.

First Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." James 2:19, "You believe that God is one," that great affirmation of Old Testament theology, you're right, "You do well," but guess what, the demons believe that too, so that doesn't make you a Christian, "the demons believe, and shudder." But God is one. The biblical data is clear, God is one.

Christ is God. Now, I'm not going to take time to give you the references on this, we will do it when we get to the nature of Christ, but I think most of you are already convinced of this reality so I'm not going to labor that point tonight. But I do want to go to the third in our little triad of propositions and that is, that Christ is distinct from the Father, Christ is distinct from the Father. We've already looked at Psalm 2 so I won't take you back there, where you have the Father, you have the Son rather, talking about the Father and what the Father has promised to do.

You see the same thing going on in Psalm 110. Turn there for a moment. This one is often quoted in the New Testament as a proof of the Trinity, as a proof of the deity of Christ. Psalm 110:1, "The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.'" Now, what's going on here? You've got three people in this verse. You've got David, the one writing it, and he says, David's talking and he says, "The Lord," Yahweh, "says to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.'" Again, there's a hint here in the Old Testament, but the New Testament makes it clear. This is quoted in Matthew 22, Mark 12, Luke 20, all in reference to the reality that God is speaking to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peter makes this point in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. We noted that this morning. Turn to Acts 2. He quotes this verse from Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2. He says, verse 33, "'Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He's poured forth this with which we both see and hear.'" Verse 34,

"For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:

'The Lord said to my Lord,
"Sit at
My right hand,
Until I make
Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."'"

So he says it's not David. David didn't ascend into heaven. And yet he's talking about somebody else who did, whose enemies are going to become a footstool for his feet, and God's going to do it. Who is it? Verse 36, here it is, "'let the house of Israel know,'" you want a fulfillment of that prophecy? "'God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.'"

So you have the Father saying, I'm going to make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet, sit here at My right hand. Now folks, it's a little dishonest of God to say to someone who doesn't exist, if there aren't three persons in the Trinity, to say sit here at My right hand and I'm going to make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet. There obviously are two persons going on here, there are two people, in the sense of, we mean two persons in the sense of the Trinity, speaking to one another.

Matthew 27:46, you have Christ on the cross and, "About the ninth hour Christ cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, Lama sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'" Now think about that. If the modalists are right and you just have God on the cross wearing the hat of the Son, who is He talking to? That makes no sense, it's illogical. He's crying out to God as He hangs on the cross. You have at least two persons; you have a distinction between Christ and the Father. The same thing in John 5:32, we won't turn there. In Galatians 4:4 it says, "God sent forth His Son." There's a distinction between the Father and the Son. And then finally Revelation 1:1, you have, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him." You obviously have the Father and you have the Son as separate and distinct.

So the biblical data supports these three propositions. I want to look briefly before we're done tonight at one more thing and that is, those New Testament passages that link the Trinity together. And primarily I want to look at two of them. The first one is Matthew 3. This one is a serious problem for all those who reject the Trinity. Most of those in our day who reject the Trinity and who call themselves Christians, are modalists. That is, they only believe there is one God in three different modes, wearing three different hats. And they would say this, well, you never find the three persons in the same place at the same time, and largely that's true, until you get to Matthew 3.

Matthew 3:16, Jesus is at his baptism, verse 16 says, "After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water," so here you have the first person, "immediately He comes up from the water; and behold," right at that moment, He is still visible to everyone, "the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him." So the Spirit of God takes the form, a form similar to that of a dove in some way, and lights on Christ. There you have the second person of the Trinity. At the same time, verse 17 says, "behold, a voice came out of the heavens and said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.'" Here at one moment in time we have the three persons of the Trinity.

The only way to come up with any different conclusion than the Trinity from that passage is kind of like that slapstick sort of humor where one person is trying to play several different roles and they kind of get tangled in themselves trying to change clothes and get to where they ought to be; you've seen those kind of humor productions where the person is trying to play several different roles and running here and then running there. That's what you have to see in those verses if there aren't three persons.

One more I want you to see before we go tonight, Matthew 28. This one is the coup de grâce of the issue of the Trinity. Matthew 28, as a prelude to the Great Commission, this is what we're going to look at, as a prelude to the Great Commission, God, Christ declared rather, that "'All authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him.'" As a postlude He declares that He'll be with His church and He takes to Himself the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence. And then he adds eternality because He says, "'I'll be with you always, to the end of the age.'" So Christ is everywhere here claiming to be God. And in that context comes the commission itself. Notice the commission includes "'all nations,'" verse 19, "'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.'"

Now, notice that baptismal formula, "'baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.'" I want you to first notice what it does not say. It does not say into the names, plural, "'of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,'" or the equivalent; it doesn't say into the name of the Father, into the name of the Son, and into the name of the Spirit. If it said either of those you might think we had to deal with three separate beings. But it doesn't say that. Notice, neither does it say, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in other words, omitting the recurring articles in the text. Warfield writes, "If it said that it would be as if the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit might be taken as merely three designations of a single person." In other words, modalism. What does it say? Notice it carefully, "'into the name,'" singular, "'of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'" That formula asserts two things. Very important for you to understand this. First of all, it asserts the unity of the three persons of the deity by combining them all within the bounds of a single name, the name, singular, one unity, one God.

But then it throws the emphasis upon the distinctness of each of them by introducing them in turn with a repeated article. There's the name, one God, the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Warfield puts it this way. Listen carefully to this and I'll leave you on this note, "He could not have been understood otherwise," talking about Christ, "than as substituting for the name of Jehovah this other name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And this could not possibly have meant to his disciples anything else than that Jehovah was now to be known to them by this new name, the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The only alternative would have been that Jesus was supplanting Jehovah by a new god, something monstrous and unimaginable. There is no alternative, therefore, to understanding Jesus here except to be giving to His community a new name to Jehovah and that new name is to be the three-fold name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit." In other words, we serve one God. That God was known and continues to be known by the name Yahweh, but Christ gave us a new name for Yahweh. And that is, we are to know that one God, "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." The Scripture is absolutely clear, that our God exists in the person of Trinity; He is one in essence and three in persons.

There are so many other things I could tell you here and I'm not going to go through all of these because we're out of time, and I don't want to take another evening to do it, but I had other references I could show you, just so you know, to support the fact that the Trinity is linked. And also that they work together. The same attributes are applied to each of them. They're each said to have created. They're each said to have been involved in the incarnation. Hebrews 9:14 says each of them were involved in the atonement. They were each involved in the resurrection and in salvation. Without question, the Trinity is a biblical doctrine, one God in three persons, eternally existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

What's the practical ramification of this? And I'm going to skip this and go to my last slide. What's the application for us? The Trinity is a pattern for our relationships. There is forever relationship within the Trinity. We find within the Trinity a pattern for our own. I encourage you to get Stuart Scott's book. Some of you men already have it, but there's a section on relationships in there in which he categorizes and gives verses for all of these things I'm listing here.

The relationship that occurs within the Trinity, it is a pattern for our own relationships, with our wives, with each other. There is within the Trinity a willingness to deny self. There is honor and respect. There is submission to an order of authority. There is humility, unity. There is uniqueness of personhood, perfect communication, involvement and cooperation, a knowledge of the other persons, thankfulness, verbal expressions of love, visible expressions of love, truthfulness, trustworthiness, and utmost concern for God's glory. When you look at the interaction of the Trinity, this is what you find. And it serves as a perfect pure pattern for our relationships with one another. Even as the persons of the Trinity relate to one another, so should we relate to each other.

You can study these in detail, as I said, in Stuart Scott's book Exemplary Husband under the chapter on relationships, where all of these are supported with verses. You can study it in more detail and I would encourage you to do that. We're out of time this evening. Let's pray together.

Father, forgive me for rushing through such a crucial issue. Lord, I pray that You would use Your truth in the lives of Your people, that they would see You as one great God, existing eternally in three persons, whom our Lord taught us to call, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Lord, we worship You. We praise You for Your greatness. Lord, our minds can grasp just what we've looked at and yet we know we have only touched the surface of the reality of who You are; help us to fall in worship and say with the seraphim, "'Holy, holy, holy.'" We pray in Jesus' name, amen.