The Trinity | John 14 and Acts 1:15
Topic: New Testament Passage: John 14, Acts 1:1–1:5
Christopher Rich – April 17, 2015
The HELPER| Week #1 | Holy Spirit in Trinity | John 14 & Acts 1:1-5
Introduction | Third Person
Good morning! This week we are beginning a sermon series The Helper looking at the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit. We are preaching this series along with a half dozen other church in our 3Strand Church network. Why are we preaching this series? We hope this series will provide greater clarity helping us see the Spirit as less ethereal and mysterious while also magnifying the significance of the Holy Spirit in our affections and increasing our reliance on the work of the Spirit in our individual and collective lives.
He is the author of truth, unity, and maturity. He is the source of all revival bring depth and growth to our church while also providing the presence of Christ in our lives. We want to know God’s will, through his word, in what it teaches, so as to apply it in our lives practically and personally. We know there is a decided lack of teaching on the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life. In the absence of solid clear teaching church and individuals can easily fall into to two ditches Charismatic Crazy (Corinthians) Theological Tightfistedness (Thessalonians) The first ditch can be reckless the second can be lifeless.
This series will be more topical than preaching straight through a book of the Bible we will be focusing our preaching out of the on the Gospel of John (14-17) we will look specifically at Jesus words regarding the Holy Spirit. Additionally we will look at parts of the first 2 chapters of the book of Acts to see how the Holy Spirit was at work in the establishment of the early church and we hope to land with clear applications for us as disciples and a church today. Our mission at Damascus Road Church is to “Go and make disciples” Anytime we are preaching we hope it both grows disciples and creates new ones. We will look at the work of the Spirit in Trinity, in salvation, in the world, in us (as disciples), and in unity (the church).
We know there are people who claim to be “spiritual” but not “religious” meaning they know and believe there is more to this world than can easily be seen or understood. However, disconnected from God’s truth they are susceptible to error and erroneous belief about spirituality with the appearance of life that is actually disconnected from the Creator and author of life. This is why we typically refer to the Holy Spirit (meaning clean and set a part from all that us unclean) because we recognize there are spiritual forces present and active that are less than clean. This isn’t only the realm of covens in the wood, but on main stream television. TLC’s Long Island Medium had a promo declaring “spirit gives it biggest reveal yet!” More than merely correcting error or asserting truth we also believe good theology (clear understanding of God’s character and purposes) leads to greater joy and abundant life even in the midst of trial.
Trinity 101 | Three in One
In the Bible when God describes His nature as God to His created people he does so through the Trinity. God is complex and cannot easily summed up with simple descriptions and pithy phrases. HE IS Trinity. God is three distinct persons, each is fully God (Great Commission), and there is only one God (Deut 6). Jesus spends significant time connecting Himself to the Father, and the Spirit and showing how they work together (as one) to accomplish Redemption for God's people. We look at the role of the Holy Spirit within the Godhead in relation to the Father and Son as an important step in seeing Him through a unified lens.
God the Father - We understand the role of a Father (even if never perfectly seen/ experienced) to lead, provide, protect, and care for his children. Because God is Creator He cares for Creation like a good Father.
God the Son- We “get Jesus” we’re pretty Jesus-centric around here. While sent to us from The Father in human form we affirm His full divinity. Because God loves His wayward people he sends His Son.
God the Holy Spirit- Person, not Force. Its more than vague energy from God, He is the extension of Gods’ presence in active engagement with His creation. By nature He cannot be easily, comprehensively a described.
The first two are natural for us to understand metaphorically because we see earthly examples of the relationship between Father and Son. Holy Spirit on the other hand has an air of mystery, of vagueness, of following the wind. While there can be great mystery around God (especially as Spirit) what can be known about God the Holy Spirit should be illuminated to provide great clarity and avoid harmful misunderstanding. Mystery about what is unknown is ok, ignorance about what can be known is not.
How do they exist together and function? There are challenges in describing God as trinity with analogies because there are aspects of so it is always going to be incomplete to says God as trinity “is like” because there is nothing quite “like” God in nature. Water is in accurate because it cannot be all three at once, Husband/Father/Brother doesn’t work because they are all the same person, clover doesn’t work because a leafs are not distinct either but only part of one whole. There is great diversity, each person is distinct, The Father isn’t the Son and the Son isn’t the Spirit. There is great unity. They are one. The only patterns that fit that description are in the life of marriage/family, and in the life of the church. You see why this idea might be important?
Equal in deity and subordinate in role. God is one working unified at all times but with distinct roles. The Spirit did not send the Father to sacrifice and the Son to apply redemption. No we see The Father sends the Son, the Son does the will of the Father, and the Spirit intercedes on our behalf to the Father. The role of the Holy Spirit in the trinity is to manifest the active presence of God in the world and especially the church.. This is important when God in his full glory is shown it’s overwhelming and blinding. Jesus in his human form is limited to time and space, the Spirit has the freedom to express God’s presence everywhere!
Trinity in the OT | Creation
Because God was in perfect communion and relationship in the Trinity he did not NEED to make creation. There was nothing lacking in God’s existence that required Him to create to fill a void. God didn’t create us because he was lonely and wanted friends or people to play/toy with. Yet we know God did choose to create of His own volition. He created everything, He made it good, and he made it to display His glory.
Gen 1:1-3 | In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Later in Gen 1:26- “let us make”
John 1:1-3 | In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
God the Father speaks ordering creation in to existence, God the Son is active in executing the Father’s commands having his hand in all creation, and the Holy Spirit is the very presence of God in and over His creation brings it to full completion as He sustains and manifests God’s immediate presence. The Holy Spirit, like the whole trinity is eternal so He existed during the Old Testament. There are dozens of verses in the old testament point to the person and work of the Holy Spirit in creation, in governing God’s people, comforting them in the wilderness, and revealing His promises and word. We get the words of the Bible from inspiration from the Holy Spirit. However, there are also numerous references to a greater “pouring” out of the Holy Spirit on God’s people in the world tied to a new covenant God will make with His people.
Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
Augustine- The New is in the Old concealed, and in the New, the Old revealed. Holy Spirit is revealed in NT.
Trinity in NT | Redemption
God created everything good. Sin entered creation as men and women rebelled from God and sold themselves to slavery in sin. God’s preeminent characteristic being His love for His people promises to redeem them. He lays out a set of promises first to Adam and Eve, then to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that a Savior-King will come to save and redeem His people. Enter Jesus, God the Son, sent by the Father, into human history on mission. As Jesus begins his public ministry we see one of the clearest representation of the distinct nature of the Trinity in action during the account of his baptism by John the Baptist .
Matt 3:16-17 | 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Here all three persons active, unified, distinct, all functioning to point people to hope in Jesus alone.
1 Peter 1:2 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: God the Father plans (we are His because has planned it), the Son sacrifices and rises (we are His because He accomplished it for us) , and the Spirit applies that work to us (because we are His we are made clean by Him and for Him). Those are big ideas.
Words of Jesus | John 14
John 14:15-18 | 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you.
We worship, serve, and follow Jesus. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Helper” Helper can mean counselor, advocate, or comforter. All of these are descriptions of a person. Jesus is promising this person to His people because he is about to crucified, buried, risen, and ascend. He knows the disciples will feel abandoned and orphaned if He is not physically present. The Helper comes sent by the Father to comfort.
John 14:25-29 | 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.
Recently preaching the Great Commission it closes “Behold, I am with you always to the end of the age” yet we don’t see Jesus in the front row, (in fact He’d be preaching) we experience the presence of God in the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises in advance so they can be comforted in the trail. He also recognizes how desperately in need they are of constant guidance, counsel. The Helper is sent because the Helper in necessary because we are incapable to accomplishing God’s mission on our own strength, wisdom, or ability. Jesus come to the Father “ask” Him to send the Holy Spirit, “In my name” for a specific purpose. The Helper is to be our teacher and bring to remembrance all of Jesus teaching. We’re supposed to make disciples and teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded we need to be equipped by the Holy Spirit. Because we are easily unsettled and conflicted people the Helper also comes to give us the peace of God, calming fears, easing troubles to empower us for God’s mission in the world. The Spirit comes to help us keep his commands, to teach and remind of us Jesus teachings, to dwell with us in Jesus physical absence. To work in our hearts to reshape us and to keep us “sealed” until Jesus physical return. Holy Spirit isn’t the backup guy, or the client service guy the closer hands a lead off to. The Holy Spirit builds God’s church.
Life of Early Church | Acts 1:1-5
Acts 1:1-5 | In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
We are saved because of Jesus crucified in our place, we live a new life because of Jesus risen, and we are ambassadors to Jesus ascended to heaven. But we do not serve a distant and removed God. Jesus is no longer here in individual bodily form (if you meet someone that claims to be Jesus, run the other way). Jesus ascended does not me Jesus absent or us abandoned. Jesus personally earthy ministry is over but God’s presence continues in the name of Jesus trough the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We’ll look closer at Pentecost at a later sermon. But there is a great transition in which Jesus promises about the sending of the Holy Spirit come to pass in the life of the early church. The early church could have said, we know Jesus, we’ve been taught by Jesus, let’s GO! Charge the hill! But instead they waited; not hasty but obeying Jesus. There is a patience involved to wait on the Spirit’s presence. To recognized our inadequacy to the task Jesus has given us in the Great Commission. We need the Holy Spirit and a greater reliance on Him to empower the mission and ministry of our church. We also need Him for abundant life today.
Because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives it means we can and will experience the presence of God in the here and now. God is present; not distant. Because God is Trinity and in perfect relationship with Father, Son, and Spirit we know we are adopted in this family and experience the power and peace of this relationship through the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus.
2 Cor 13:14 | The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Trust Jesus!
At Damascus Road we seek to be a people who are desperately reliant on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as individuals and as a church, yet we know we can feel distant, distracted, or even in despair. Take a few minutesring to pray asking for the peaceful presence of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to calm us where we are troubled, give us courage where afraid, patience where anxious, confidence where fearful, and humility where pride.