By Chuck Sackett
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
2 Corinthians 13:11-14
It’s a new season in the Christian year. We call it Trinity Sunday. We enter into the “season of Trinity”. It’s that season in the life of the church when we turn to the mission of the church. It is fitting then, that we have a Sunday designated to God who gives the church its purpose.
Our texts for the day represent the Bible teaching about a concept for which there is no specific word. The idea is clearly there — just never a word for it. Taken for granted at least until heresy demanded it, belief in the Trinity has become a mark of orthodoxy.
Warren Wiersbe captures the heart of Trinity Sunday in his comments:
"The closing benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14 is one of the most beloved used in the church. It emphasizes the Trinity (see Matt. 28:19) and the blessings we can receive because we belong to God. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ reminds us of His birth, when He became poor in order to make us rich (see 2 Cor. 8:9). The love of God takes us to Calvary where God gave His Son as the sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16). The communion of the Holy Ghost reminds us of Pentecost, when the Spirit of God came and formed the church." (Acts 2). 1
On this Trinity Sunday, we encounter God who is one, yet three. We encounter God, who within Himself is complete, yet chooses to share Himself with those of us who are not complete without Him.
We see the character of God in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is present in creation (John 1; Heb. 1; Col. 1). He is yet willing to become one of us (John 1:14, 18; Heb. 2:14-18). We have the privilege of seeing the activity of God first hand in Christ. We travel with disciples through stormy seas, up puzzling mountains, in amazing encounters, and we see God. Jesus is indeed Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).
In all of his majestic deity, He brings us grace. Peter voices the dreams of the disciples when he offers “you are the Christ.” But within sentences he rebukes Jesus, only to be told “get behind me, Satan.” Mark tells us there was 6 days of silence following that encounter. But at the first opportunity, “Jesus took with him, Peter, James and John…” That is spelled G-R-A-C-E.
Worship on Trinity Sunday reminds us not to take the grace of God for granted. Professor R. C. Sproul tells the story of three seminary students late with their papers. They asked for grace, which was extended. A week later they were still without their assignments. Again they sought grace, and received it. The following week, the story repeated itself. Only this time Professor Sproul refused to extend grace. The students left angry at the professor. His conclusion, we have stopped “being surprised by grace.” May this Sunday remind us of grace.
We encounter the love of God in the Father.
Helmut Thielicke calls it the parable of “the Waiting Father.” Thielicke changes the ego-centric, human-focused approach of the “prodigal son” to a more appropriate God-focus. In the Father, we encounter love like we’ve never known it.
We live in a culture in which John 3:16 on a placard in the end zone is interpreted as “meet you in the men’s room, third level, stall 16.” The greatest news in the history of man has become an enigma to most. Trinity Sunday addresses this unacceptable situation. It is the Trinity that forms the foundation of our evangelism. We make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. Belief in the Trinity requires obedience to the great commission.
We not only live in a “God-challenged” culture, we live in a “love-deprived” culture. We have substituted physical, sexual satisfaction for love. We’ve substituted companionship for love. We’ve substituted entertainment for love. God is the answer to those concerns. He fills the void we have in our lives.
Paul’s benediction calls for the love of God to be with us. It’s among the richest prayer wishes we could ask for. May this Sunday remind us of love.
We experience the presence of God in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus amazes us with His statement in John 16:17, “it is for your good that I am going away.” We realize now that without leaving, His Spirit could not take up residence with us. Jesus was geographically limited to one place at one time. His Spirit isn’t.
We are reminded in Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 that through the Spirit of God we are blessed in every way. In the Spirit, we experience God. He speaks to us, bears us up, intercedes for us, assures us, comforts us, shapes us in the likeness of Christ, and so much more.
Every time the gospel is preached and men listen, God is experienced in the Spirit. Read the book of Acts. Not a conversion experience is reported without the presence of His Spirit. We are renewed, continually in the presence of God through His Spirit (Eph. 5:18). He works in us to produce joyful singing (vs. 19), gratitude (vs. 20), mutual submission (vs. 21), healthy marriages (vs. 22ff.), rewarding families (6:1-4) and honorable relationships (6:5-9).
This Trinity Sunday we are reminded we live in the company of God, through the fellowship of His Spirit. May this Sunday remind us of fellowship.
This Sunday, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you.
1. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
About the Author:
Chuck Sackett is the professor of preaching at Lincoln Christian Seminary in Lincoln, IL.
Source: article/sermon courtesy of preaching.com
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