Sermon Script: Gen 1:1-3; John 1:1-5; 1John 5:7
Sermon Purpose: The Spirit bears witness about us; we should bear witness about God
Sermon Title: God is big; bear witness
The Trinity is one of the hardest things to explain. How can three be one? How can the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be one and the same God? In preparation for ordination I had to write a paper on the Trinity. Do you know what I discovered? Going back to the Apostles people have been trying to explain how this thing we call Trinity works. There are some very smart people in that group. It’s just too bad I aint one of’em. But since I am not one to shy away from a challenge – here goes.
God is big. God is really big. God is so big and so far removed from us that God exists outside of creation. In fact God is so big that if God did not reveal God’s self to us we would not even know God is there. To make things worse God is really complicated. You see, there is not a thing in all of creation like God; except you and me. And we are only made in the image of God. Just because someone showed you an picture of a truck with a manual transmission and a stick on the column it does not mean you would have the first clue how to drive the thing, much less an understanding of how the manual transmission works. The same is true of us. Just because we may see a glimpse of the image of God in our neighbor, our friend or a stranger it does not mean we understand God’s size, God’s composition or how God works. We cannot figure these things out on our own. A dust mite has a better chance of understanding rocket science than you and I have of understanding the Lord God Almighty on our own. Thanks be to God, God chooses to reveal God’s self to us. Let us pause for a moment to look to Scripture and see how God has been revealing God’s self to us.
Genesis 1:1-3 gives us the first mention of the three in one God.
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
God created the heavens and the earth. Creation started with the Spirit of God hovering over the surface of the waters, and then God spoke the Word, “Let there by light.” This is the first time God is referred to in Scripture and the very first time God is defined as three separate people. The Gospel of John explains the Word of God was made flesh in Jesus Christ. The Word is the only begotten Son of the Father (John 1:1-5, 14). In Matthew Jesus explains the God the Father gives to God the Son and the Son reveals the Father to whom the Son wills (Matt 11:27). Jesus comes more to the point in John 14:10-11 when Jesus explains Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus. Jesus is describing God the Father and God the Son as two in one. They are both in each other. But then Jesus ascends into heaven, and it is time for the work of the Holy Spirit.
The book of Acts chronicles many of the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit grants courage, wisdom, and the understanding of Scripture. The Holy Spirit convicts hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit acts as an instrument of grace by bringing people to saving faith in Jesus Christ as their risen savior. Through the Acts of the Holy Spirit God brings people more abundant life through faith in Jesus Christ. God has revealed God’s self as three active individuals; each eagerly seeking the least and the lost among us. Now, just in case the idea has crept into your minds that the Holy Spirit is somehow separate from God the Father and God the Son 1John 5:7 says, “For there are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” Not a one of these three are wholly God. God is too big for us to comprehend on our own. If you are a visual person the image on the front of the bulletin may help. God has chosen to reveal God’s self as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. What is interesting and lovely about this verse from 1John 5:7 is the verse is set in the present tense. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were not together once upon a time. The three bear witness together even now. To what do they bear witness?
These three bear witness to something extremely important. God loves us. God wants all of us to be close to God. God has been working to reveal God’s self to us in ways we can understand since the very beginning. In more ancient societies God revealed God’s self as God the Father, and instituted laws of justice, you shall take an, “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-25). In primitive times it was not unheard of for a man’s whole family to be wiped out by a neighbor as an act of vengeance. God loves us enough to institute balance and justice. Through Jesus God reveals God’s self as the Son instituting grace and the by law, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matt 5:38-39). This is the better way because it says vengeance is the Lord’s (Lev 19:18). Like a Father raising children the rules are harsher when the child is young, but as the child grows more is expected from the child as the child is granted more freedom. This is the way a parent shows love for a child. God loves us. God sends the Holy Spirit that the mature and immature alike would have a traveling companion in the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit makes Its presence known in the traveling companion of God’s grace. Prevenient grace is that Holy sheep dog from heaven. God’s grace is not hunting us. That would imply God does not know where we are. Believe me, God knows where we are. God knows how we hurt ourselves with sin. God knows what we need to have life and have it more abundantly. This is why God reveals God’s self to us. Our Creator God loves us and knows we are never more miserable than when we as creation are far away from our creator. Prevenient grace works to nip and bark at our heels to move us to turn home. God’s justifying grace is there with our Jesus Christ at the cross to wipe our sins away like an eraser taking chalk off of a chalk board. Then sanctifying grace takes us by the hand to begin the bigger and better adventure of living our lives for God. Sanctifying grace helps us to better understand what it means to live life by putting God first.
The only question for us is how will we respond? God has been revealing Gods’ self and reaching out to us since the beginning of creation. God has showered us with God’s teaching, love and tender grace. How will we respond? Church, how should we respond? (pause for response) Will we continue to wallow in our sins? I hope not. I hope we will all respond by giving our lives fully to God. The altar is ready and prepared. You are more than welcome to come. Bring your burdens and your cares. King Jesus is a listen’n. King Jesus is a listen’n all day long to hear some sinner’s pray. Let us now pray to God together. (offer prayer)
In the name of Jesus Christ – Amen.