Week 2: ONE GOD, ETERNALLY EXISTING IN THREE PERSONS – (Important stuff we believe)

Pastor Dan Borgelt
Kirkmont Presbyterian Church
Beavercreek, Ohio
http://www.kirkmont.org/

Sermon AUDIO TAPE (27 minutes)

TEASER 1: “If you’re here today and you’re like, “What do we mean by God is Sovereign?”… well Psalm 115:3 gives us a pretty good definition:
Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. … meaning He gets to do whatever He wants. Sovereign means that God is in control of all things… He is free to reign and to rule over all things without any outside influence. He’s not contingent upon ANY OTHER FACTOR of any kind. WHATEVER HE WANTS COMES TO PASS. Now you pair that with the idea that this God wants to have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with you, and it’s a beautiful thing.

I mean you came here this morning, and some of you came here and you thought you were “hooked up” people–you thought you had connections… you know people in high places… right? Compare them to the idea of having a personal relationship with THIS GOD who is Sovereign over ALL things… that is the most beautiful offer you’ll ever be given.

TEASER 2: “If there is any area of your life that you have not surrendered to God… your dreams, your hopes, your marriage, your children, your money, your career, your health… whatever it might be, you’re leaving it in the hands of someone or something that doesn’t actually have control over it… for God is the ONLY one who is sovereign over all things.

One God, Eternally Existing in Three Persons

Sermon AUDIO (Listen along as you read TRANSCRIPT below)

Pastor Dan:

“Here at Kirkmont last week we began a new sermon series called “The Seven Essentials of our Faith”… a look at the seven most important things that we believe. We begin a new 8-week series on the 7 essential of our faith.

If you’re following us, our math might be a little bit off… why we would be doing an 8-week series on the 7 Essentials of our Faith… and that’s because last week we began with sort of an introduction message talking about our denomination’s motto.

Kirkmont here is a member of the EPC or Evangelical Presbyterian Church; and in our denomination we have a motto and out motto goes like this:

IN ESSENTIALS UNITY, IN NON-ESSENTIAL LIBERTY, BUT IN ALL THINGS LOVE

And that’s what we preached on last week; to show the Biblical precedent for that motto… and if you weren’t here because you’re visiting with us for the first time, or just missed church last week, we’ll give you sort of the Cliff Notes version of it.

What we essentially said is, IF OUR CHURCH IS GOING TO HAVE ANY UNITY of any kind at all IT MUST HAVE SOME ESSENTIALS… it must have some things that it’s willing to stand it’s ground on. BUT… if that unity is going to have any chance at lasting… IT MUST ALSO HAVE NON-ESSENTIALS AS WELL.

That’s sort of the Cliff Notes version of our sermon last week. How many of you wish I would of just said that last week? (LAUGHTER and no hands)… and we would’ve been done; I would’ve had a lot shorter sermon, right to the point.

– – – – – –
We move on now to our first essential in this series… and the essential is this:
“We believe in one God, the sovereign, creator and sustainer of all thing; infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To Him be all HONOR, and GLORY and PRAISE forever.”

There’s a LOT in this passage isn’t there… I mean we’re going to look at each aspect of this first essential and what it claims about God’s character. But just briefly, as we pull up our outline for you this morning to give you an idea of what we’re going to be doing, we’re gonna take a look at the idea that this statement says that:

GOD IS ONE, that…
GOD IS SOVEREIGN, that…
GOD IS CREATOR and SUSTAINER, that…
GOD IS INFINITELY PERFECT, and finally that…
GOD IS ETERNALLY EXISTING IN THREE PERSONS: FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT

And we’re gonna look at one OLD TESTAMENT passage and one NEW TESTAMENT passage to support the idea of each of those.
So first… this idea that GOD IS ONE:

In Deuteronomy Chapter 6 verses 4 through 9 the Scripture tells us this; some people might recognize this… it’s a familiar passage to some people known as the Shema [shuh-mah, shmah], and it says this:Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

And so the Scripture tells us, that the first thing that God is doing here with the Nation of Israel, with a group of people He’s developing a relationship with… is He’s calling them out of a religiously pluralistic society.

You see, Israel had spent over 400 years in slavery, captive to Egypt. They then spent almost 40 years wandering in the desert. And now He’s about to bring them into their own place and set them apart as their own nation and begin a relationship with them.

But where He’s going to set them, there are all kinds of other religions that exist… they will be surrounded by all types of other gods… a religiously pluralistic society. And what I mean by that is not only will there be multiple other religious options for them, but SOME of those religious options contain MULTIPLE GODS within them.

And God is calling Israel out of religious pluralism and into a monotheistic culture and society — BELIEF IN ONE GOD.

If you grew up in America, the odds are, statistically, most likely you grew up in a monotheistic culture. Most of you grew up in either a CHRISTIAN culture or a SECULAR culture–the absence of God. Some of you grew up in certain cities where there was religious pluralism; but one thing we might all be able to agree on is that AMERICA IS MOVING TOWARD THE TREND OF RELIGIOUS PLURALISM.

There are more and more faith’s being represented in our culture, in our society… and of course we’re left wondering HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THAT… what is our attitude toward that, and we ought to hear WHAT GOD DOES WITH ISRAEL as they were about to step into that society… He calls them OUT of religious pluralism INTO a relationship with HIM and Him ALONE.

And He says it’s SO IMPORTANT–the idea that GOD IS ONE, that we ought to give Him all of our affection, all of our heart and soul and strength and mind. It’s so important, He says, that we ought to be diligent in passing this on to the next generation as well… in this passage.

First Corinthians 8, our NEW TESTAMENT passage tells us this; verses 4 through 6:So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 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.

I want to be clear that when we’re talking about God this morning we’re not talking about some BEING that needs to be paired up with some other “being” to somehow meet then all of your needs. I’m not talking about the god of HAPPINESS for instance… and “oh by the way.. you’ll need to look up another god for all of your WEATHER concerns” (laughter).. right?

The beauty of God making it clear to us that He is ONE, is that you KNOW that you have encountered the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD when nothing else works…. and you know you DON’T have the right thing when you need something else… or someone else.

Many of you could get up here this morning and give testimony to that experience in your life… to know what it was like for YEARS to try to replace God with something.. and only to find out that THAT couldn’t do it so you needed to bring something else into the equation, and then to bring something ELSE into the equation… and soon you had all of these things trying to make up the role of God and when you came into a personal relationship with the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD you got to see Him take away ALL of those other things and wipe them away.

There’s ONE GOD, and His character invites us to surrender all of yourself over to Him. Because there’s NO ONE ELSE to share yourself with. There’s no other God to hold back from the One-God and to GIVE to another. There isn’t the god of your money, and the god of your marriage, and another god for your health… there’s ONE GOD over all things in your life, so that you might surrender all things to Him.

– – – – – – – – – –
As we transition from this idea that God is One to the idea that GOD is also SOVEREIGN, we need to realize one of the reasons why many people came up with a multitude of gods in their religion is that they couldn’t grasp a real Sovereign God. They couldn’t imagine that one God could control the seas and the winds and also control the HUMAN HEART.

And so they came up with a multitude of gods… but we are going to learn that God is Sovereign over all things. That brings us to the next point that this ESSENTIAL makes and that…

– – – – – – – –
GOD IS SOVEREIGN
In Psalm 115:3 our OLD TESTAMENT passage for this says this:”Our God is heaven, He does whatever pleases Him.”

Just leave that Scripture up on the screen there… this is a great definition of Sovereign. If you’re here today and you’re like, “What do we mean by God is Sovereign?”… well this is a pretty good definition of “sovereign”… He gets to do whatever He wants. Sovereign means that God is in control of all things… He is free to reign and to rule over all things without any outside influence.

He’s not contingent upon ANY OTHER FACTOR of any kind. WHATEVER HE WANTS COMES TO PASS.

Now you pair that with the idea that this God wants to have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with you, and it’s a beautiful thing.

I mean you came here this morning, and some of you came here and you thought you were “hooked up” people–you thought you had connections… you know people in high places… right? Compare them to the idea of having a personal relationship with THIS GOD who is Sovereign over ALL things… that is the most beautiful offer you’ll ever be given.

Ephesians, Chapter 1 verse 11 tells us in our NEW TESTAMENT passage about God’s Sovereignty:In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

This passage is speaking in relationship to the subject of who DOES and who DOESN’T get to go to heaven. And what Paul is saying here in this passage is that God even has Sovereignty in this area.. that’s what he’s talking about here. And he knows, as he’s writing this through Paul that you’re going to anticipate some objections to this because this is a difficult thing to grasp…

… but he says, LOOK PEOPLE, THOSE OF YOU WHO CLAIMED THAT GOD IS SOVEREIGN, WHY DO YOU ASK HIM TO PUT HIS SOVEREIGNTY ON HOLD WHEN IT COMES TO WHO GETS TO AND WHO DOESN’T GET TO GO TO HEAVEN?

I’ve met SO MANY wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ… perhaps many of you here, who embrace the Sovereignty of God but not here with regards to this subject. And this is a passage in the New Testament telling us His Sovereignty goes so far as even to discern who does and who doesn’t go to heaven… I’m just reading the Scripture, it’s Biblical.

– – – – – – –
Imagine if God is actually in control… what implications that might have for your life… it would indeed invite you to surrender ALL of yourself over to Him.. wouldn’t it. I mean because to leave then, any aspect of your life, unsurrendered to God would be to leave that aspect of your life in the hands of someone or something that actually doesn’t have control over it.

If there is any area of your life that you have not surrendered to God… your dreams, your hopes, your marriage, your children, your money, your career, your health… whatever it might be, you’re leaving it in the hands of someone or something that doesn’t actually have control over it… for God is the ONLY one who is sovereign over all things.

– – – – – – –
As we move from SOVEREIGN then to the third thing that this essential tells us about God, and that is that He is THE CREATOR AND SUSTAINER. The reason why God is Sovereign over all things is because He’s the one that MADE it all.

The Scripture tells us in Nehemiah, chapter 9, verse 6… some of you might have expected that if we were talking about God as a Creator we’d look at a passage in the Book of Genesis… but this Nehemiah passage I think describes it very well… says this, You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

In Hebrews chapter 11 .. our NEW TESTAMENT passage, verses 1-3 the Scripture says this about God as Creator, Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for (having this faith that is). By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Friends, the idea that GOD IS OUR CREATOR invites us to surrender out entire life to Him because when we do so we’re placing our lives in the hands of the one who made us… who knows us better than any other.

Ya know when I was in college… I had cars just like most typical college kids.. I mean I had the kind of cars that would overheat, the windows would fall out, the seatbelts didn’t work, cracked windshields… all kinds of problems with cars.

And one day I was driving down the side road and parked in front of this house was a red, bright and shiny Audi; with tan leather interior and a moon roof… and it was FOR SALE… a small little “For Sale” sign in the window.

And I thought, “well this car is definitely way out of my price range, but I’ll just go over and look in the window and just kinda gaze at it”.. ya know… so I pulled over and I went up to the car, and sure enough it was like A REALLY CHEAP PRICE for the car, and it made it affordable… a little bit of a stretch, but it made it affordable… right? .. I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. So, I bought the car.

It turns out it was a woman who was going through a divorce and it was technically her husbands but it was in her name and she was selling it out from under him. Ahhh (LAUGHTER)… so, good deal for me, bad deal for the guy I guess (more laughter), but anyway… I learned the hard way that once I started driving this Audi around, umm.. that you can’t cut any corners about taking this thing to where you get it serviced.

I would take it to one of the local shops.. you know, and they couldn’t work on it, or if they did it didn’t turn out really well… and I didn’t want to go to an AUDI dealer because the nearest one was really far away and they were really expensive and so I was trying to save some money and save some time… but everytime I did that it never worked.

And I finally learned the hard way that if I took my car to the Audi dealer–the company that actually made it… right?.. then the maintenance and the repairs were much better.

And in many ways I think that illustrates some of our’s “Life Journey”. We’ve learned the hard way… we’ve cut corners, we’ve done all kinds of things, but we’ve learned the hard way that unless we take our life and we surrender it over to our Creator, the One who actually Made us… the One who actually knows us better than anyone else… our life is going to end up in ruins, it’s going to be a mess.

Now this is the beauty of God saying that, “I AM THE CREATOR AND THE SUSTAINER OF LIFE”… He’s inviting us to take our life and surrender it over to Him.
As we move from CREATOR to this 4th aspect of God’s Character — the idea that He is INFINITELY PERFECT, I just want to raise the question that I think this causes many people to think about the idea that GOD IS.. he’s ONE, he’s SOVEREIGN, he gets to be the CREATOR and SUSTAINER OF ALL

THINGS, and some people are starting to wonder, “is there any checks and balance system in place for God?”

We’re a little uncomfortable with the idea of a DICTATOR… we’re a little uncomfortable with the idea that someone would get to have SO MUCH POWER… I mean here in the Presbyterian Church we form a committee for everything… (immediate LAUGHTER)… we’ve got “checks and balance systems” all over the place… I mean we want to decide what color to paint the wall down the hallway we form a committee to decide that and to vote on it..

We’re discussing whether we should put 40 watt bulbs or 60 watt bulbs in we form a committee on whether or not we should do one or the other… we make sure the pastor doesn’t have too much power… right? [someone said, “Amen” … Pastor Dan then laughingly said], “… that’s right, ALL the things I said about God and I couldn’t get an “Amen”, and then we go to that… (LOUD LAUGHTER and clapping)… alright, I’ll say what I was going to say then… most of the time I appreciate the committees, but there are times where I think to myself, ‘this would be a lot quicker and easier if you’d just let me decide, ya know’ [LAUGHTER, then someone else “AMENED” that, and Pastor Dan then laughingly said] “… thanks… good, alright…”
[00:18:06]

– – – – – – – – –
“Is there a Biblical precedent for the idea that God is infinitely perfect though… see, if He is then it chases some of our fears away. DEUTERONOMY 32 verse 4 says this,”He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”

Our NEW TESTAMENT passage, ROMANS 12, verse 2 tells us this…Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—(his sometimes right will; his pretty decent will… no) his good, pleasing and perfect will.

And one of the things that makes it so hard for people to embrace the first three attributes of God: that HE’S ONE, that HE’S SOVEREIGN, and that HE’S CREATOR, is that it’s kind of scary, as I said, to imagine someone with that_much_power… it begins to call into question the “Character of God” meaning “What will He do with that much power? How will He treat me with that_much_power?

And the Scripture has just told us HE HAS A GOOD AND PERFECT AND PLEASING WILL. One of the most beautiful aspects of His character is He not only KNOWS what’s best for you, but He WANTS what’s best for you as well.

And if you can get to the place where you embrace that, your relationship with God will go to a whole new place… to surrender ALL to Him. Some of you are holding parts of your life back because you’re not convinced that God knows what’s best or wants what best for you in that area: “I can give him my money because he’s not a finance major.. he wants me to be poor… or whatever it might be. I cant give him my dreams because he’s going to end up putting me somewhere that I really don’t want to be”… ya know.. and on and on and on….

But once we become convinced that God knows and wants what’s best for us IT CHANGES EVERYTHING.

– – – – – – –
Now finally then…`as we transition into this FIFTH aspect that this first essential tells us about God: the idea that HE EXISTS ETERNALLY IN THREE PERSONS… we have to acknowledge that at this point we haven’t said anything distinctly Christian.

There are many other religions that believe that GOD IS ONE, that believe He’s SOVEREIGN, that believe He’s THE CREATOR and believe that He’s PERFECT AND GOOD IN HIS WILL… it’s this aspect which begins to distinguish the Christian One-True-God.

Scripture says in Isaiah 44:6… this is speaking to His ETERNAL character,”This is what the LORD says– Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

And then, to speak to the Trinity… as Charlie had mentioned (in Children’s church time), in Matthew 28:19, that’s the verse I had prepared as well,Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

The TRINITY becomes the big dividing point in our belief system. Friends, if you’re going to be onboard with the SEVEN ESSENTIALS this is going to be one of your biggest first roadblocks–a TRINITARIAN GOD… not just god of the generic… and it’s going to DIVIDE YOU…

It’s going to divide you from the KORAN that believes in God; from our JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES that speak about Jesus, and from our MORMONS who speak of Jesus as well. It’s going to divide you from them and call you to a different place–to believe in a TRINITARIAN GOD.

Ya know… yesterday I was at a Presbytery Meeting and one of the things we do at these gathering is we EXAMINE pastors who are trying to get ordained in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It’s one of my favorite parts of being in a denomination.. is watching people up front just sweat it out (laughter) as we’re asking hard questions and just firing at em…

Someone got up and they said, “OK, I want to ask you.. if someone came to you and they had been Baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic Church and later in their life they wanted to be baptized… would you re-baptize them?”

Now to understand the dilemma of the question, you have to understand a couple things about our BELIEF SYSTEM… one of them is that we do embrace the idea of INFANT BAPTISM, we’ll talk about that another time. We also believe the Scripture is clear that we are called to ONE BAPTISM, so we try to avoid the practice of re-baptizing people.

And so really what the question was, “Do you honor the Roman Catholic infant baptism?”… or do you not… and if you don’t, you’ll baptise the person and if you do, you won’t. And the person gave a good answer; they said, “I would not re-baptize the person”… meaning I recognize the baptism they received in the Roman Catholic Church.

They didn’t give the reasoning but I would add, “that while we have some differences in theological opinion from the Protestant Church to Catholicism, that child was still baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit–the ONE TRUE TRIUNE GOD.

And so, this is what distinguishes us from others… we could go on and on all day about trying to understand the Trinity… we would come up with way more bad illustrations than good ones… although Charlie, that’s one of the better ones I’ve seen [he used The Legend of the Shamrock https://www.irishindeed.com/page.htm?pg=SHAMROCK%20LEGEND ]

I want to give you a bad one (LAUGHTER).. just for teaching purposes.

The TRINITY is like a man who goes to work; and while he’s at work he’s an EMPLOYEE. When he comes home he greets his children and then he becomes a FATHER. And then after greeting his children he embraces his wife and there he is a HUSBAND.

The Trinity is like that… that’s ultimately a BAD illustration because it’s how many people: it’s ONE person playing three different roles… and that is NOT what we mean by the TRINITY. Three distinct people: the FATHER, the SON and the HOLY SPIRIT. All of them eternal. The Father did not create the Son, the Son did not create the Holy Spirit, they have all eternally existed and their wills are in perfect accordance with each other.

And they all possess the fullness of God to the degree that it is not inappropriate to look at One Person of the Trinity and call them GOD.

And then we begin to see how this Trinity comes together and the character of it.. and this, just like the other FOUR, calls us to give Him our entire life. We can see in the Trinity God’s utter desire to have a relationship with us and for us to give Him our lives.

We can see the FATHER in “The Garden” with His arm around Adam… showing him all that He had made; we can see the SON leaving the heavens above and coming and living the life that we ought to have lived… and dying in our place.

We can see the HOLY SPIRIT… living inside of us, as a deposit.. as a guarantee that we will live with this ONE GOD for all of eternity.

THAT’S HOW MUCH GOD IS LONGING FOR A RELATIONSHIP WITH US and His Character. And it invites us to surrender all who we are back to Him.”

THE END
– – – – – –

Link to all Pastor Dan Sermons:
http://www.kirkmont.com/sermons.htm

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