“THE HOLY TRINITY: THE ULTIMATE LOVE STORY”
John 3:1-17(Trinity Sunday)
Sunday May 30th, 2021
Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr
Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our text for today is the Gospel Lesson from John 3 that was just proclaimed.
Lord: We give thanks for the way you graciously sustain create and maintain your creation through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, Amen.
Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (v 16).
Love is expressed by giving something of great value, and the greatest demonstration of love is to give one’s own life. A parallel to the love shown by giving oneself is the giving of one’s child for the sake of another.
A profound act of love was shown when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son out of love for God. Abraham loved God in this way, that he was willing to give his only son, Isaac (Gen 22:1–19).
In a similar but infinitely greater way, God the Father demonstrates his love for the world by giving his one and only Son. In Jn 3:16 where we read that God “so” loved the world, the Greek word for “so” does not mean “so much.”
It is not that God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son—though, of course, he did! The Greek word means “in this way.” Thus Jn 3:16 is translated accurately with the wording “God loved the world in this way, that he gave his one and only Son.”
It is not a coincidence that Jn 3:16 is prefaced by a lengthy explanation of the work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible and the history of mankind are about this very thing: God showing his love for the world by giving his only Son, and the giving of his Son is entwined with the working of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout history, God indeed kept loving the world by giving his Son, and he always gives his Son in connection with the Holy Spirit.
Thus, as God demonstrates his love for the world again and again, we see the doctrine of the Trinity conveyed. In summary, understanding the doctrine of the Trinity begins by realizing that there is but one God, one being, one essence.
Yet there are three distinct persons—identified clearly in Scripture as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Scripture informs us that each of these three persons is completely and fully God.
Thus we can say of the Father, “There is no other God.” And we can say of the Son of God (as Luther does in his famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress”), “There is no other God.” And we can say of the Holy Spirit, “There is no other God.” Still, as Scripture repeats, there is only one God, one being, one essence.
We cannot grasp the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, yet we can only begin to understand God’s love for the world if we believe in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
You will not find the word trinity in the Bible. Nonetheless, from the beginning to the end of Holy Writ, you will find the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. You will find the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as you recognize that
At the Highlights of Salvation History,
God Is Loving the World by Giving His Only Son,
Entwined with the Working of the Holy Spirit.
So the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which we consider this Sunday in particular, isn’t some lifeless academic discussion. It’s really this love story:
1. God loved the world in this way: he gave his Son to create the world.
a. In the beginning God (the Father) created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1).
b. The Spirit, hovering over the waters, would breathe life into this watery world (Gen 1:2).
c. When God spoke, he was creating through his Son, with whom the world was designed to be uniquely intimate (Gen 1:3; Jn 1:1–5; Heb 1:2; Prov 8:30).
Man rejected God’s loving gifts of this creation, and thus man ceased to be intimately associated with the Son of God, who walked in the garden of paradise. In rejecting God, man became the “walking dead,” citizens of Satan’s domain (Eph 2:1–2).
2. After man’s fall into sin, God loved the world in this way: he gave his Son in the promise of salvation.
a. In his love, the Father promised a seed of a woman to conquer Satan (Gen 3:15).
b. The Son is the heart of God’s word of promise
c. The Spirit inspired the prophets to foresee the beautiful Savior, the one who fulfills God’s promise (1 Pet 1:10–11; 2 Pet 1:21; Isaiah 53).
By God’s loving promise of the Savior, the Spirit powerfully breathed faith and hope into his ancient people’s hearts. Theirs was an Old Testament faith that trusted in the coming Savior and a hope that yearned for life eternal.
3. To save fallen man, as promised, God loved the world in this way: he gave his Son to become flesh.
a. The Father sent his Son into this world (Jn 3:17; 8:42).
b. The Spirit caused the incarnation in the womb of Mary (Mt 1:20).
c. The Word (the Son) became flesh (Jn 1:14).
The world did not recognize or accept the Son of God with whom there was to be intimacy. They so rejected him that they purposed to kill this Son of the vineyard owner (Jn 1:10; Mt 21:37–39). Yet,
4. God loved the world in this way: he gave up his only Son on the cross to save the fallen world.
a. To save his haters, the Father willed that his Son be given into their hands (Lk 22:42).
b. The Spirit guided the Son to obey the Father and be lifted up on the cross (Jn 3:14).
(1) Jesus trusted the Spirit-inspired promises of the Old Testament (Lk 24:26–27).
(2) Jesus trusted the Spirit as the Spirit led him into the wilderness of Satan’s domain (Mt 4:1).
c. The Son submitted to his Father’s command and thus was crucified and raised again, winning salvation for fallen mankind (Jn 10:18).
5. Then God loved the world in this way: he gave his Son to save us by faith.
a. The Father desires that we be saved by believing in him whom he has sent (Jn 3:15–16; 6:29).
b. Believing in the Son who for us died and rose again is the heart of Christianity (1 Cor 15:1–3).
c. By the Spirit’s power, we are given to believe in Jesus (1 Cor 12:3).
6. God continues to love the world in this way: he gives his Son to sinners through the Word and Sacraments.
a. The Father established the Word and Sacraments that we become his children in Christ (Acts 2:37–42; Gal 3:26–27).
b. The preaching and bestowal of the Sacraments convey Christ, our Savior (1 Cor 1:18; Rom 6:3–5; 1 Cor 11:23–26).
c. The Holy Spirit, as of old, still works through the preached and sacramental Word to bring new birth and faith (Jn 3:5–8; 1 Pet 1:20–23; Rom 10:17).
7. Finally, God loves the world in this way: he will give his Son to call believers to paradise.
a. The Father has given all judgment to his Son (Jn 5:21–22).
b. The Son of God will return to this world and speak the dead to life (Jn 5:26–29).
c. The Spirit will give immortal life to our formerly mortal bodies (Rom 8:11).
So we shall know our God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—into eternity. The Father will eternally love us, as into eternity he yet gives his Son, who—as a man conceived by the Holy Spirit—will continue to dwell with us uniquely, banqueting with us in the heavenly mansions forever. Amen.
Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.