SERIES: 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly
MESSAGE: One Plus One Plus One Equals One?
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: John 14:1-18

MESSAGE SUMMARY
One of the most fundamental yet challenging truths in Scripture is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Try to explain it and you might lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you might lose your soul. The Bible openly teaches the plurality within the Godhead—three persons who are distinct from one another yet perfectly One in essence. How are we to think about this? And how should it affect us personally?

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: August 16, 2020
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "One Plus One Plus One Equals One?"
Text: John 14:1-18

Path

One of the most fundamental yet challenging truths in Scripture is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Try to explain it and you might lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you might lose your soul. The Bible openly teaches the plurality within the Godhead—three persons who are distinct from one another yet perfectly One in essence. How are we to think about this? And how should it affect us personally?

  1. The Three Are a Reality (vv. 1-8)
  2. The Three Share in Divinity (vv. 9, 16)
  3. The Three Pose a Difficulty (vv. 8, 22)
  4. The Three Provide Security (vv. 15-18)
  5. The Three Promote Unity (vv. 16, 26)
Points

The Three Are a Reality (vv. 1-8)The Three Share in Divinity (vv. 9, 16)The Three Pose a Difficulty (vv. 8, 22)The Three Provide Security (vv. 15-18)The Three Promote Unity (vv. 16, 26)Practice

Connect Up: As Pastor Skip states, the Trinity is a mystery, but not illogical. God is one in essence and three in Persons. There is no contradiction in God's Trinity. Why is there no contradiction? Read the following and discuss:
In order for something to be contradictory, it must violate the law of noncontradiction. This law states that A cannot be both A (what it is) and non-A (what it is not) at the same time and in the same relationship. Carrying this concept over to the Trinity, it is not a contradiction for God to be both three and one because He is not three and one in the same way. He is three in a different way than He is one. Thus, we are not saying that God is one and then denying that He is one by saying that He is three. This is very important: God is one and three at the same time, but not in the same way.

Connect In: Using Pastor Skip's statement that the Trinity acts as a guide of unity for the church and believers, discuss how the Trinity can guide believers in family affairs, church affairs, and individual-personal affairs. Love is the common characteristic within the unity. How can love unify a community?

Connect Out: How would you logically describe the Trinity to a doubter or non-believer? Please note math can be the best means to do so. Go here for more help: https://jashow.org/articles/the-trinity/.

DETAILED NOTES
August 16, 2020
Skip Heitzig
"One Plus One Plus One Equals One?"
John 14:1-18

  1. Introduction
    1. One plus one plus one equals one may be bad math, but it's good theology
    2. To be mathematically precise, it should be one times one times one equals one
    3. In the Trinity, we deal with a compound entity: one God who is three separate and distinct persons
    4. The triune nature of God is foundational to Christian theology
      1. But it's controversial, particularly to Muslims, Jews, and several cults
      2. It is also confusing to many Christians
      3. Many questions arise:
        1. Who should we pray to?
        2. How is each one—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the same or different?
        3. How do we explain the Trinity?
    5. We should be careful not to trivialize God and reduce Him to a formula
      1. We are dealing with something infinite, incomprehensible to a finite mind
      2. The goal shouldn't be to understand everything about the Trinity but to enjoy the Trinity
      3. All three members help, sustain, and inspire us by their example
  2. The Three Are a Reality (vv. 1-8)
    1. Throughout His ministry, Jesus spoke of both the Father and Holy Spirit, and Himself as the Son
    2. The Bible mentions the three persons using personal pronouns
      1. It speaks of three distinct persons working together
      2. Although the word Trinity is not used in the Bible, the concept is evident
      3. Matthew 3:16; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14
    3. The Trinity is three separate persons, but one
      1. The Father sent the Son into the world, so they can't be the same person
      2. The Father also sent the Holy Spirit, so there is another distinction
    4. The Trinity was taught throughout church history
      1. Supported by early church leaders (Clement, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, et al.)
      2. Tertullian was the first to use the word trinitas in writing
      3. Early creeds support a Trinitarian theology: Apostles' (around AD 120) and Nicene (AD 325)
  3. The Three Share in Divinity (vv. 9, 16)
    1. All three persons are referred to as God
    2. All three have divine qualities
      1. Jesus claimed divinity
        1. He accepted worship (see John 20:28)
        2. He forgave sins (see Matthew 9:1-8)
        3. He claimed eternality (see John 8:58)
        4. He performed miracles
        5. He claimed omnipotence (see Matthew 28:18-20)
        6. He claimed omnipresence (see Matthew 18:20)
        7. He showed omniscience (see John 4:18)
      2. The Holy Spirit is called God (see Acts 5:3-5)
        1. He is omniscient (see John 16:13)
        2. He is omnipresent (see Psalm 139:7-10)
        3. He is omnipotent (see Genesis 1:1-2)
    3. The Trinity is hinted at in Genesis 1:1 with the use of the word Elohim
      1. It is a plural noun but is singular in meaning
      2. Notice the pronouns in verses 26-27: plural (Us, Our) and then singular (His)
      3. At creation, inter-trinitarian communication was happening
  4. The Three Pose a Difficulty (vv. 8, 22)
    1. The Trinity is three coequal, coeternal persons
    2. How can three be one?
    3. The disciples Thomas, Philip, and Judas (not Iscariot) were honest about struggling to understand it
    4. Though math may be the best way to describe the Trinity (1÷1÷1=1), it still is a mystery
      1. Theologians wrestle with it, and honest ones admit it's the most difficult subject in Christian theology
      2. We may not apprehend its full effect but can comprehend the basic logic
    5. Difficulty in understanding the Trinity has been common throughout history, spawning cults
      1. Monarchianism in the second century
      2. Arianism in the fourth century
      3. Socinianism during the Reformation
      4. Jehovah's Witnesses in the 1800s
    6. Muslims deny the Trinity
    7. Jews, fierce monotheists, also deny the Trinity
      1. They cite Deuteronomy 6:4: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one!"
      2. One here is echad in Hebrew
      3. But it means one in unity, not in isolation or singularity
      4. So the phrases Adonai Elohim and Adonai Echad are never used to mean one in isolation, but one in unity
      5. Similarly, Genesis 2:24 describes husband and wife becoming one flesh
    8. There is multiplicity within God's unity
  5. The Three Provide Security (vv. 15-18)
    1. All three persons play a strategic role in the believer's life
      1. Jesus answers our prayers
      2. Holy Spirit is our Helper
      3. Father and Son will "make [Their] home with" the believer (v. 23)
    2. All three participate in salvation and sanctification
      1. God the Father chose you, Jesus redeemed and rescued you, and the Holy Spirit convicts and purifies you (see 1 Peter 1:2)
      2. God the Father is God for us, Jesus is God with us, and the Holy Spirit is God in us
  6. The Three Promote Unity (vv. 16, 26)
    1. There is perfect cooperation and unity among the Trinity
      1. Jesus said He would pray the Father, who would give us the Holy Spirit
      2. The Father will send the Spirit in the name of Jesus to teach and remind us of all Jesus said
    2. The triune nature of God is a template for getting along and loving one another, a cooperation of will
      1. Jesus prayed the church would have unity like the Godhead, "that they may be one just as We are one" (John 17:22)
      2. God's purpose in creating people was to expand on what the triunity of His nature enjoyed
        1. A mutual exchange of love among the Godhead, expanded into and through the church
        2. "If this world was made by a triune God…then relationships of love are what life is really all about" —Timothy Keller
      3. In the church, we should forgive one another and mend relationships because God modeled harmonious community for us in the Trinity
Figures referenced: Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Timothy Keller, Justin Martyr, Charles H. Spurgeon, Tertullian

Hebrew words: echad

Cross references: Genesis 1:1-2, 26-27; 2:24; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 139:7-10; Matthew 3:16; 9:1-8; 18:20; 28:18-20; John 4:18; 8:58; 16:13; 17:22; 20:28; Acts 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2

Topic: the Trinity

Keywords: Apostles' Creed, Arianism, community, divinity, Godhead, Jehovah's Witnesses, love, Monarchianism, Nicene Creed, Socinianism, triune, unity

Topic: the Trinity

Keywords: Apostles' Creed, Arianism, community, divinity, Godhead, Jehovah's Witnesses, love, Monarchianism, Nicene Creed, Socinianism, triune, unity


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