Sermon for Pentecost 1: Holy Trinity June 16, 2019
Text: John 16:12-15 ILCW Series C 19:2137
Theme: Praise God from Whom Blessings Flow: Father, Son, & Holy Ghost
A triangle together with 3 interlocking circles; a three-leaf clover. a tree’s root, trunk, and branches; the yoke, white, and shell of an egg; water as ice, steam, or liquid. Each example has three parts to it and yet those parts make up one entity. All are ways that Christians seek to illustrate the teaching of the Triune God. They are used to help us picture the concept of three persons in one divine being.
However, no human illustration pictures exactly the reality of the Triune God because it is above us. He is God. His person goes beyond human reason’s comprehension. He is the great God of the universe who fills everything in every way. Although He graciously reveals Himself to us in the Scriptures, we cannot fully grasp His entire being. But He doesn’t ask us to comprehend it. He asks us to believe it and leave the details to him.
How can one be three and three be one? Perhaps the person of the Triune God is a mystery that no human mind can fully fathom on this side of heaven, but the teaching is clear. We simply take God at His Word, believe what He tells us, and say Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
I. Praise Him when you have too much to bear on your own.
Sometimes things are too much for us. It’s how the disciples felt in our text when Jesus told them everything that was about to happen, His death, resurrection, ascension, and that which the disciples were to do afterwards. It was too much for them to bear at the moment.
Think of their bewilderment as similar to that of a patient in a hospital who is told that his illness is terminal. After the doctor said, “I’m sorry, your test found …,” the patient’s world stopped. He could not recall anything else that was said because the news was too much to bear.
In a similar way, the disciples’ worlds stopped when Jesus told them everything that was about to happen. They were aghast when He said that one of them would betray Him. They refused to believe that all of them would desert Him and that Peter would deny Him. Crucifixion! Death! Buriel! Such thoughts were too much to bear.
What does one do when life’s burdens become too much to bear? When a person feels alone? How does one find strength to go on?
Remember what lay before Jesus that evening when He spoke these words. He was hours away from Good Friday and the cross. Soon He would pick up the burden of sin and guilt for everyone. Everything that we have done against God, all the repercussions that sin causes in life would fall upon Him. It was too much for us to bear. But He carried our burden willingly and completely.
Even as He did that, Jesus was concerned not for Himself but for His disciples, and He comforted them here with divine assurances.
Likewise, He comforts us in any distress. Your burdens, no matter how great they might be, are no match for Jesus’ strength. When your heart is weighed down, go to Him for rest. No burden is too great for the Savior. Too much to bear? Not for Him who is God and not for you when you find yourself in Him. Praise Him when you have too much to bear, for He promises to guide you through it all.
II. Praise Him when the Spirit speaks the truth of what He hears.
And here’s how He will do it – by sending the Holy Spirit to help us understand the things that still lie ahead for us.
That’s what He promised His disciples. He said, “I still have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.”
He promised them another teacher, an even better one who would be just the right teacher at just the right time for them. He would guide them in the right way for their benefit, even when they could not see it as possible because they were lost in the moment.
You know, there are certain lessons that we also must learn from God that we aren’t always ready to receive in the moment they take place. At the time it can be too much for us and we miss the point. At other times we aren’t sure of ourselves or of what we think we heard. But the Spirit knows fully what God is doing for He is God, and we can have full confidence in Him as He guides us through the Word.
If you were on your own, you could never be sure of anything that God tells you in His Word. But you are not on your own. The Holy Spirit is sent for that purpose – to guide you into the truth you need to know. He passes along the information perfectly because, “He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears in the council of the Father and the Son, He will speak.”
In Biblical terminology speaking on one’s own is the mark of a false prophet. God told Jeremiah, “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’…(They) prophesy the delusions of their own minds…Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully” (Jer.23:25).
The Spirit does not speak on His own. He speaks only what He hears in the council of God, the Triune God. He is no maverick teacher. He is not out their independently, on His own, or in isolation from the Father or the Son. He doesn’t further His own agenda. Instead, He teaches in complete unity with them.
That means that as the Spirit is teaching us when we hear the Word of God, we hear the Father and the Son as well. For the Spirit does not speak on His own. “He searches the deep things of God” (1Co.2:10) so that He can reveal them to us. You are hearing a united proclamation of the Triune God. You are being given an opportunity to look into the heart of the Trinity – the Father who loved us and gave us His Son, the Son who loved us and redeemed us to Himself, and the Spirit who loved us and brings us the truth of it all. This is our comfort and assurance. It’s an anchor of certainty that we need in life’s storms when things seem too much for us to bear.
Can we be sure each sin is forgiven? Yes, for we rejoice to hear the Holy Spirit tell us, “The blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (1Jn.1:7). As we stand by a loved one’s grave with tears in our eyes, can we be sure that fellow Christians really live with God above? Yes, for the Holy Spirit helps us cling to Jesus’ promise: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). The Holy Spirit tells us, “That’s exactly what Jesus said and what the Father has done.”
We might doubt our memories; we might doubt what we hear on our own. But praise God when the Spirit guides us. He guides us in the truth for He speaks only what He hears and He tells us the truth of what He hears. As He does that, God imparts divine gifts to us, gifts that we need, gifts worth having, gifts we can depend on.
III. Praise Him for the divine gifts that we need.
Jesus said, “He will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I said that (the Spirit) takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.”
Think of Jesus’ words this way. A farmer stopped his tractor on the top of a hill. He turned to his son and said, “One day this will all be yours.” In a sweeping motion he pointed to the fields, the cattle, the barns and silos, and the little white farmhouse.
One day the farmer died and the farm passed on to his son. The son soon learned that it was loaded with debt; the machinery was old and worn out; the soil was thin and poor. As he toiled to make ends meet, the son often remembered the day his father promised him the farm. “Thanks a lot, Dad,” he said to himself.
“Everything I have will be yours someday” can be a glorious promise, or it can be more of a curse than a blessing. It all depends on the one making the promise and that which he is in position to do.
When Jesus promised that the Spirit would share everything that was His with the disciples, that was the most glorious promise they could have heard. To assure them of this, Jesus reminded them of who He is and what He is in a position to offer. Jesus is God, the Father’s only Son. In Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.2:3). All that belongs to the Father is His. When the Spirit came and shared these things with them, it was from God Himself – divine gifts worth having.
Thank goodness those disciples weren’t stingy with these divine gifts, the gifts of salvation full and free that are found by faith in the blood of Christ, our Savior. They took these great treasures and shared them with everyone, wherever they went. And they recorded them in the Scriptures for us.
From Father to Son to Holy Spirit – then to the apostles and to us – the divine gifts of God’s redeeming love that comfort and encourage us in all the circumstances of this life until He draws us to Himself above. These gifts are opened to you through the Spirit. They are gifts worth having for they are eternal “All this is yours!” He says. “Enjoy them all!” And our response? Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God grant it in our lives of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.