Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Our Triune God 6.11.2017
In the New Testament church, in response to the jailer‚€™s question as to how he could be saved, he was told to ‚€œBelieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and his house.‚€Ě Here is the account from the book of Acts.

Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

This was the answer to that question in that day and it still is the answer. From our text today we see these words written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
KJV 2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Paul has written of the reconciling work in that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself through the cross and resurrection. God Himself was present in Christ on the cross, in the human nature of Jesus He died and through the Holy Spirit souls are called, gathered, enlightened and sanctified unto Him through faith.

A few weeks ago we honored mothers on Mother‚€™s Day and next week we will honor Father‚€™s on Father‚€™s Day. These days that are marked have to do with our everyday lives here on this earth, relationships which will one day fade away.

Last week the church celebrated and high-lighted Pentecost, which marked the sending of the Holy Spirit. Previous to that we celebrated the Ascension, which marked Jesus ascending to the heavenly sanctuary in order to cleanse it with His blood, and 40 days before Ascension Day, we celebrated Easter, previous to that Good Friday, Maundy Thursday and so forth.

Today is called Trinity Sunday in the church year. Tri meaning three and Unity meaning united. The word Trinity is not in the Bible, but rather the word has been used to stand for the doctrine of God being One in Being and in three persons.

The two most difficult to understand doctrines in the Bible are: Jesus with one body having two natures and God as one Being in three persons. Both are truths of the Bible that while difficult to comprehend and to understand, they are yet absolutely necessary doctrinal truths that cannot be ignored.

Those who gathered prayerfully to create this congregation as the Finnish Sunday School Society of Kingston, Minnesota in 1896 had simplicity in mind when they formulated the congregation. They put Galatians 5:1 as their guiding principle: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage, initially desiring to remain independent from any other sect or denomination. They understood that simplicity was important in that they received into the church only those who ‚€œbelieved in being born again and in the remission of sins.‚€Ě In other words, they received the grace that God had poured out upon them by receiving the forgiveness that He had given them through Christ. (2 Cor 6:1)

‚€œThe following constitution was adopted: The Finnish Sunday School Society of Kingston, Minnesota, acknowledges the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, as the only true and sufficient and infallible doctrine and standard for Christian faith, teachings, life conduct, and activity. No person shall be received into the church who does not believe in being born again and the remission of sins. The Finnish Sunday School Society of Kingston, Minnesota, shall for a time remain independent and shall not unite with any other sect or denomination, but remain free according to Galatians 5:1 The property of the Finnish Sunday School Society of Kingston shall be managed by its trustees and shall be common property for all its members who have been formally received into the church and are acknowledged as voters. The meeting house of the church shall be opened for such purpose as the trustees shall direct. The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m., February 10, 1896‚€Ě.

We compare that with our current Constitution. ‚€œThe Apostolic Lutheran Church of Kingston confesses the Christian faith which is founded on the Holy Word of God, in the Prophetic, Evangelic and Apostolic books of the Old and New Testaments, in which Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone, and which faith is also expressed in the three Creeds of the early Christian Church (The Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian) and in the unaltered Augsburg and Martin Luther‚€™s Catechism. The Holy Word of God is the only rule according to which all doctrines in this Congregation are to be examined and judged.

The congregation forbids the closing of our church from anyone who believes in the suffering, death and resurrection for their soul‚€™s salvation.

Between 1896 and today, at some point this congregation saw the need to better define what it meant to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for one soul‚€™s salvation, through moving towards identification with Lutheran doctrine. The congregation at some point united with the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America and became a member of the Federation as an autonomous congregation. That means that the congregation would work in unity with the creeds, doctrines and decisions of the ALCA in order to maintain membership.

The Apostle‚€™s Creed was the first Creed formulated. It was not written by the Apostles, but because it contained their teachings (Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers). When one was converted in the early church and before baptism could be administered, a believer was required to state their acceptance to the truths of. the Apostle‚€™s Creed.

The Athanasian Creed, which is one of KALC's doctrinal statements, was most likely written sometime after 450 and well before 670. While the authorship and timing of the Creed are hard to determine, it is not hard to determine the reason for the writing of the Creed. The Athanasian Creed is similar to the Nicene Creed in its defense of the Triune God and the teaching that Jesus was True God co-equal with God the Father. The chief difference between the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed is one of emphasis. The Nicene Creed emphasized the full deity of the Son and of the Holy Ghost and only implies rather than explicitly explains the oneness of God. The Athanasian Creed, leaving nothing to be assumed, brings in the idea of the inviolate Oneness of God (there is only one God, not three) as a sort of a triumphant refrain repeated throughout the entire Creed.

The Athanasian Creed also deals with one additional error. At the time there were controversies being raised by some about the person and nature of Jesus. The previously written Nicene Creed clearly laid out that Jesus was True God from eternity. Scripture teaches that Jesus, who is True God, became fully human. Again, because this is not logical to us humans, some attempted to rationalize these clear statements of Scripture. All of the rationalizations, in one way or another, either removed from Jesus his true humanity or his true divinity or the idea that there was just one Jesus who was both true God and true man. Because each of these departures from the true teachings of Scripture touched upon the article of our redemption, undermining the believer‚€™s assurance of salvation, a defense of the Truth was certainly warranted in the formal creeds of the church. From these defenses of Scripture, the Athanasian Creed was produced and accepted into the Church.

These three Creeds define integral teachings about God: The Apostle‚€™s Creed: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; Nicene Creed: Emphasizes the full deity of Jesus and of the Holy God, but does not explicitly explain the Oneness of God: Unity in the Trinity; Athanasian Creed: Explicitly explains the Oneness of God, One God, not three Gods.

What are some proposed illustrations to explain the Trinity?

It should be said up front that there is no earthly example that fully explains the mystery of the Trinity. Yet, throughout church history various attempts have been offered. Some are totally unscriptural while others possess some limited possibilities.

A. Unscriptural examples:

1. A three-leaf clover‚€”Each leaf enjoys the same stem, but this is a poor illustration of the Trinity because these leaves can be separated one from the other, and you cannot separate the Trinity.

2. The three states of water (liquid, vapor, and solid)‚€”In its natural form, water is liquid. When boiled it turns into vapor, and when frozen, it becomes solid. This, too, is a poor illustration of the Trinity.

3. The three-fold nature of man (body, soul, spirit)‚€”Man possesses body, soul, and spirit, but they can be separated. At death the body is buried; the soul (the spirit) goes to be with the Lord. You cannot separate the Trinity. Therefore this, too, is a poor illustration.

4. The three parts of an egg (shell, white, yolk)‚€”These three parts can be separated, thus making a bad illustration.

5. A tree‚€”A tree has roots, a trunk, and branches. But as in the above examples, these three entities can be separated.

B. Possible (and partial) examples:

1. A triangle‚€”This is a fairly good example of the Trinity because it has three sides, and yet, it is one triangle which is indivisible.

2. Fire‚€”A fire must have three things to exist. They are not the same, but if any ingredient is absent the fire ceases to be. These are: fuel, heat, and oxygen.

a. Remove the fuel and the fire goes out.
b. Lower the heat and the fire goes out.
c. Take away the oxygen and the fire goes out.


C.S Lewis writes: Imagine a family and their dynamics. One refers to the ‚€œspirit of the family,‚€Ě as if it is a communal personality. For example: ‚€œThey sure help people out, with the emphasis on the union of being and purpose.

He also writes: ‚€œThat which grows out of the joint life of the Father and the Son is the third Person who is God the Holy Spirit.

Why is He not so well known? Because He is acting through and out of us, for we are not looking at Him. We view God the Creator/Father as outside of us, God the Son as alongside of us and God the Spirit inside of
us.

Most importantly, Love came for us, was crucified for us and now abides in us so that we would be Jesus to the world around us, with that which we are known for is that we have the spirit of love in God‚€™s family.

We close with this hymn written by a pastor for Trinity Sunday in the mid 1800's, by which he perhaps he hoped to illustrate the Triune God, to also illuminate their minds with knowledge of God‚€™s Oneness and to move them to praise the Triune God for His saving love and grace!!!

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessìd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessìd Trinity!


Posted on 11 Jun 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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