UNSHAKABLE – Part 4
February 28, 2010 • Chris Goins
Ephesians 4:1-6 (NIV / NLT), As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called… 5 There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.
Four Fundamental Truths:
• There is one and only ONE true and living God.
Deuteronomy 6:4 (ESV), Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
• This one God eternally exists in THREE persons – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Christian George says it like this: “Before cities were born or worlds created, God hung out with Himself. He was His own party. Some say three’s a crowd, but in this VIP club, the King, Prince and Advocate General share a perfect blend of intimacy, community and eternity.” ~ Christian Timothy George, Godology
• All three persons are completely equal in their attributes… They all have the same divine nature.
• While each of the persons are fully and completely GOD they are NOT identical…
In about 500 A.D. the church came up with a statement that remains definitive when it comes to describing the doctrine of the Trinity… It’s part of what has been called the Athanasian Creed… It probably wasn’t written by Athanasius, but it was doubtlessly inspired by him… Here’s how it reads…
"Now this is the catholic (universal) faith: We worship one God in Trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing their essence.
For the Father is a distinct person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is ONE, equal in glory, coeternal in majesty…
What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, the Holy Spirit is uncreated.
The Father is immeasurable, the Son is immeasurable, the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.
The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, the Holy Spirit is eternal.
And yet there are not three eternal beings; there is but one eternal being. So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings; there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.
Similarly, the Father is Almighty, the Son is Almighty, the Holy Spirit is Almighty. Yet there are not three almighty beings; there is but one Almighty being.
Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Yet there are not three gods; there is but one God.
The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone. The Son was neither made nor created; He was begotten from the Father alone. The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten; He proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers; there is one Son, not three sons; there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.
Nothing in this trinity is before or after, nothing is greater or smaller; in their entirety the three persons are coeternal and coequal with each other.
So in everything, as was said earlier, we must worship their trinity in their unity and their unity in their trinity."
How The Members Of The Trinity Relate To One Another:
1. The Holy Spirit Focuses Our Attention On Jesus and Intercedes On Our Behalf To The Father.
“One of the most surprising discoveries in my own study of the doctrine and experience of the Spirit in the New Testament is what I can only call the SHYNESS of the Spirit.
What I mean here is not the shyness of timidity (cf. 2 Timothy 1:7 where Paul calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of power. He’s not a timid Spirit) but the shyness of deference, the shyness of a concentrated attention on another; it is not the shyness (which we often experience) of self-centeredness; but the shyness of an other-centeredness.” ~ John Ortberg, Everybody's Normal Until You Get To Know Them, quoting Dale Bruner and his book, Holy Spirit - Shy Member of the Trinity.
John 15:26 (NIV), When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about ME.
John 16:13-14 (NLT), When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard… 14He will BRING ME GLORY by revealing to you whatever he receives from me.
IMPORTANT: When the Holy Spirit is really operating, He won’t be the central topic of conversation. The primary ministry of the Holy Spirit is to get people to focus and rivet their attention on JESUS CHRIST…
This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit goes out of sight, but at the same time He works deep within our hearts and He says, “Look at Jesus. Pay attention to Him. Notice Him! Listen to Him! Be preoccupied with Him! Love Him! Serve Him! Follow Him! Worship Him!”
2. Jesus Exalts The Father and Submits To The Leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Mark 10:45, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 1:12 (NLT), …the Holy Spirit COMPELLED Jesus to go into the wilderness.
Luke 22:42 (NLT), “FATHER, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”
3. The Father Sends The Spirit and Glorifies The Son.
On two occasions in the Gospels, it’s reported in Matthew, Mark and Luke; we hear the voice of God the FATHER. We hear His voice once at Jesus’ baptism and again and Jesus’ transfiguration.
On both occasions, the Father isn’t blowing His own trumpet. But the Father is calling ATTENTION to His Son, JESUS! On both occasions God basically spoke up and affirmed His Son by saying, “This is my priceless, BELOVED SON… I am deeply pleased with Him…” (Luke 3:22; 9:35)
“It is noteworthy that this voice does not say, ‘Listen to me, too, after listening to him; don’t forget that I’m here, too; don’t be taken up with my Son.’”
“God the Father is shy, too. The whole blessed TRINITY is shy. Each member of the TRINITY points faithfully and selflessly to the other in a gracious circle.” ~ John Ortberg, Everybody's Normal Until You Get To Know Them, quoting Dale Bruner in his book, Holy Spirit - Shy Member of the Trinity
Mark Galli, in his book, A Great and Terrible Love describes the Trinity like this:
“…in John [14 -] 17 we are given a glimpse, if a brief one, into the life of the Trinity, into the dynamics of God as He is in Himself. What Jesus clearly reveals is that God’s love exists apart from His love from us…
[God] created us not because he needed someone to return love to Him but because the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bubbled over into creation..." ~ Mark Galli, A Great and Terrible Love
“The three persons of the Trinity dwell in one another in an ongoing movement of love. [And] since we are made in the image of the Trinity, we are called to dwell in the life of the Trinity.” ~ Mark Galli, A Great and Terrible Love
A Practical Application From The Trinity
We are capable of “oneness.” God has designed human beings with the capacity to experience and enjoy the same kind of “oneness” that the Father, Son and Spirit experience and enjoy.
John 17:20-21 (NLT), I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. 21 I pray that they will all be ONE, just as you and I are ONE—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
Here’s what it cost God for us to experience “ONENESS” with the TRINITY and “ONENESS” with one another.
• The SON had to be willing to say, “I’ll leave heaven and go to earth. I’ll leave the perfect ONNESS I’ve known for all eternity and become like human beings. In fact, I’ll take on their brokenness and sin. I’ll take on their loneliness and pain. I will die an utterly God forsaken death on the cross in order to pay the penalty for their sin.”
• The FATHER had to be willing to say, “I will offer the best I have. I will offer my Son, whom I love beyond all words. I will see Him broken, twisted, rejected, beaten and killed as the sin of the entire human race is poured out upon Him. His pain will be my pain.”
• The FATHER and the SON had to be willing to say, “We will experience brokenness in the oneness and community we’ve shared and experienced throughout all eternity. The SON will experience being forsaken by the Father. And the FATHER will turn His back on His very on Son.”
• Then the HOLY SPIRIT had to be willing to say, “I will be poured out on the earth. I will lead and guide people to Jesus Christ. I will never exalt myself. I will always point people to the Son. I will risk being rejected, ignored, quenched, defied and grieved.”
NOTE: The Spirit was never grieved by the Father or Son, but now He knows what it’s like to experience grief. His promptings go largely ignored by the masses.
• The FATHER, SON and SPIRIT had to be willing to say, “We will absorb the pain of brokenness because we are willing to pay the price so that anyone who wants to can enjoy and experience our fellowship.”
That’s what it COST GOD so that you and I would have the ability to enjoy this kind of ONENESS… That’s why it’s absolutely unthinkable that we would ever allow anything to obscure or hinder the UNITY and community that God has designed us to enjoy.
Our UNITY is God’s great passion. This was Jesus’ great prayer. ONENESS is the SIGNATURE of God.
Do you know how seriously God takes this?
Proverbs 6:19 lists “…a person who sows discord among [a church body]…” among the seven sins that God hates.
1 Corinthians 3:16 (NLT), Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 17 God will bring ruin upon anyone who ruins this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you Christians are that temple.
TWO Threats To UNITY:
James 3:5-6 (MSG), It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
• Uncontrolled Egos
FOUR Spiritual “Graces” That Preserve and Protect Unity:
1. Be Humble.
Ephesians 4:2, Be completely humble…
2. Be Gracious / Meek.
Ephesians 4:2, Be completely humble and gentle…
3. Be Patient.
Ephesians 4:2b (NIV), …be patient, bearing with one another in love.
1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV), Love is patient…
1 Corinthians 13:4 (MSG), Love never gives up…
Ephesians 4:2b (NLT), Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
4. Be Proactive.
Ephesians 4:3 (NIV), Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Psalm 133:1-3 (NIV), How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
John Ortberg, Everybody's Normal Until You Get To Know Them
Frederick Dale Bruner, Holy Spirit - Shy Member of the Trinity
Christian Timothy George, Godology
Mark Galli, A Great and Terrible Love
John Stott, Christian Basics
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology
Tim Keller, The Reason for God