140615 2 Corinthians 13:14

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: 2 Corinthians 13:14

Sermon Theme: Who is the One True God?

There are certain Biblical teachings and concepts that are difficult for you and me to understand fully. For example, in our First Lesson for this morning we read how the almighty God created all things. While you and I know it is true because our God tells us it is true, are you and able to understand in our minds how the Lord God simply spoke and made all things in just six days? What about the events of Judgment Day as they are reported in the Bible? God's Word tells you and me that all people who ever lived or are living will appear before the Lord Jesus and be judged. How about eternal life? Can you fully understand what it means that you will live forever? This morning, we can add to this list of teachings which are difficult for us to understand, the teaching of the Trinity. The "classic" definition for the word "Trinity" or "Triune" is "three-in-one". The Bible clearly teaches us that there are three separate persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet only one God. Diagrams, pictures and other descriptions all fall short of clearly expressing what the Bible teaches about the Triune God. So, rather than looking to any human resource to help us, we will turn to the Word of God before us to answer the question: "Who is the One True God?" I invite you to hear again one verse from the Second Lesson that was just read a few moments ago. From Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians we receive this blessing in verse 14:

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Before we answer the question "Who is the One True God?", it must be made clear that you and I have a great need for a Triune God. Born into this world as sinners, you and I daily sin much against the one true God by what we say, do and even think. The Triune God tells us in his Word that if you and I want to live with him forever in heaven then you and I must be perfect; something which we sinners cannot hope to accomplish on our own. As we walk through this verse of God's Word before us this morning, it will become clear how the Triune God rescued sinful mankind from certain death in hell.

One more thing: there are many terms which we could use to define the one true God. All-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, holy, faithful, just, good are all terms which come to mind when defining or describing the one true God. However, this morning we will limit our definition or description to the terms the Holy Spirit led Paul to use here in 2 Corinthians. As we look at these definitions or descriptions, it is important that we don't see them as separate terms, applying only to one particular person of the Trinity. Just as there is a close unity among the three persons of the Godhead, so these terms can and do equally apply to the God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Finally, for the sake of our sermon this morning, rather than taking the list as Paul presents it here, we will discuss the Trinity in our traditional way: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Out of all the terms that Paul could have used to define the God the Father, the one word which the Holy Spirit put in his mind is LOVE. This is not love that is based simply on emotions. It is not a conditional love, which will love only if loved first. When Paul thinks of God the Father in heaven, he thinks of his perfect, self-sacrificing love; love which makes the needs of others the most important. How does God the Father show sinful mankind this kind of love? Many answers could be given at this point. In love, God has placed us on this earth, at this time and in this place. He gives us loving family and friends. He richly provides for our daily physical needs. He protects us from harm and danger. In Psalm 50 the loving heavenly Father says to us, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." But, the greatest evidence of God the Father's love for you and me is that he willingly sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price demanded for your sins and mine. In Romans 5 Paul writes, "God [the Father] demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

This brings us to the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, out of all the terms which Paul could have used, the Holy Spirit led him to write, "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ . . ." Can you remember the definition we give for "grace"? Grace is God's undeserved love for sinners. Another way of saying it would be "Loving the unlovable." Because of our sinfulness, not one of us could stand before Jesus and say to him, "I have earned your love. I deserved to have you come to this earth, to live, to suffer and to die in my place." No, you and I are forgiven of all our sins, you and I have the promise of ever-lasting life in heaven, only because of grace. As Paul wrote earlier in this same letter "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." Notice also that here in this verse from 2 Corinthians Paul uses the "full-title" of Jesus. He is the "Lord" -- the one who rules over all things for our benefit. The second person of the Trinity is "Jesus" -- the one who saves mankind from their sins. He is the "Christ" -- the chosen one; the one promised to take away the sin of the world. As we think about the wonderful grace shown to us by our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, are hearts fill with joy and we say along with the apostle John in Revelation chapter 1, "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood . . .to him be glory and power forever and ever!" (Revelation 1:5-6)

How do you and I come to know the one true God as our loving heavenly Father? How do you and I come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our only Savior from sin? Last week, on Pentecost Sunday, God's Word told us it is only by the working of God the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "[May] the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." Our dictionaries define "fellowship" as: companionship, company, membership, or partnership. It is God the Holy Spirit who has brought us into partnership with the one true God. This happened when God the Holy Spirit, working through the powerful Word of God placed faith into our hearts. It was at that moment that we became members of God's family. Ephesians 2 puts it this way, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." This passage brings out another point about the fellowship we enjoy from the Holy Spirit. He has made us part of a great company: the family of all believers. As members of the Holy Christian Church, you and I enjoy companionship with fellow Christians here and throughout the world. Again from Ephesians, this time chapter 4, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to one hope when you were called--one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Who is the one true God? He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It is impossible to say everything that could be said about the one true God in one sermon on Trinity Sunday. Today we have only "scratched the surface". The teaching of the Trinity is a teaching of the Bible which is difficult for you and me to understand completely. Yet, we believe it is true because God himself tells you and me that it is true. In the calendar of the Christian Church, Trinity Sunday is an important Sunday. It gives us an opportunity to look at this important teaching from God's Word. This Sunday also serves as a "shift" from the festival half to the non-festival half of the Church year. The "Festival" half of the Church year shows us all that the Triune God, and especially Jesus Christ, was willing to do for you and me to win our forgiveness. The "Non-Festival" half of the Church year looks at our lives in light of what the one true God has done for us. As we move into the "Non-Festival" half of the Church year, may the blessing of the one true God be upon us: "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." Amen.


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