You have all heard the expression, “The Holy Trinity?” I’m sure your answer would be “yes,” but do you understand what it means?
Let’s get a little outside help: Wikipedia defines The Holy Trinity as: The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit. ‘triad’, from Latin: trinus “threefold”) holds that God is one God, but three coeternal persons—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as “one God in three Divine persons”
Not unlike the Jewish community, various other religions are not believers in The Holy Trinity as Christians. Our Jewish brethren quote verses from the Torah (basically the Old Testament) to dispute it.
Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord God is one.”
Isaiah 44:6 – “This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”
I can certainly understand why they might feel this way. It’s a little confusing isn’t it?
We, as Christians, have a differently belief which I would like to discuss this morning. Once again, I am not denying or debunking any other religion, I am just stating the beliefs of the Christian according to the words of Jesus.
We know the Father, of course… He is the Almighty God, creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Jesus, His son (God in human form), was sent to us to save us from ourselves (our sin) and sacrificed His life in order to do so. This was God giving us one more chance before letting us perish in our own sins.
Who then, is The Holy Spirit? What role does He play in our lives? As we should understand it, The Holy Spirit is the very essence of God… God in spirit form which is one of the ways He is able to be anywhere at any time.
John the Baptist
We first hear of The Holy Spirit early on in Jesus’ ministry. He had gone down to the River Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist.
At first, because he knew, John didn’t feel worthy of baptizing his Lord.
Matthew 3:14 – “But John tried to deter him saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?”
Jesus insisted as it was written earlier by the Prophets.
Matthew 3:15 – “Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. Then John consented.”
Let’s skip over to the Gospel of St. John, the Apostle…
After John baptized Jesus, he immediately gives testimony to his disciples and all those around him. After all, John knew this was his mission in life and he had just fulfilled his purpose in the eyes of God!
John 1:32-34 – “Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.”
…and this was how John was able to recognize his savior.
And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
Christians believe that a baptism is a means of being re-born. When we are baptized, we are cleansed of our sins, forgiven by God and our lives begin all over again… our second chance!
Do you think Jesus needed this re-birth? No, of course not! In the case of Jesus’ baptism, this can clearly be seen as a way of God approving of Jesus’ ministry (giving His blessing) which He was about to embark upon.
We first hear of Jesus speaking about being re-born when the Pharisee Nicodemus, who was secretly following the lessons of Christ, came to him in the darkness of night.
John 3:1-2 – “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
John 3:3 – “(Jesus replied,) Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
Obviously, Jesus was not talking about a physical re-birth (as Nicodemus argued). He was talking about being re-born spiritually. Cleansed of our old ways making us purer in the eyes of God and giving us a new chance at life.
What the Spirit Does
For Our Good
The Apostles were sad when Jesus left them… wouldn’t you be? They had just spent three years of their lives living with their Lord and learning what their purpose was in life.
Jesus knew this, and gave them these words…
John 16:7 – “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
You see, Jesus went on to explain to His Disciples that it was part of God’s plan to have Him leave but He wasn’t leaving them stranded.
- Teacher (Advocate)
John 14:15-16 – “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever”
Jesus knew He could not be with us forever. After all, His place was in Heaven, beside the Father (a part of the Holy Trinity) where he could reign eternal. He knew He still had much more work to do and it simply couldn’t be done in human form.
Instead, Jesus talks about another advocate… someone to be with us in our new life and help us to understand the path we’ve chosen… to remind us, every day, what our purpose is and how we should be living our lives.
- Only for Us
John 14:17 – “(the Spirit of truth.) The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
I don’t know about you but that’s a pretty special priviledge that has been given to us. Those around us, who have not been baptized or re-born, couldn’t possibly understand the Spirit as we do. The Spirit has not been given to any who do not believe in the lessons of Christ.
- He Reminds Us
John 14:25-26 – “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
How to you think all of the authors of the New Testament could remember all of the lessons that Jesus gave to us? After all, they were all written at different times… years apart from one another yet they still sent the same message.
When we have forgotten the words of Christ, we are to call on the Holy Spirit to remind us; to help us better understand; and to unclutter our minds.
- He Teaches Us to Teach
John 15:26-27 – “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you, from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”
You see, we’ve been given a very specific task by our Lord. We are not only to live our lives as He taught us to do but, we are to bring His lessons to all those around us. We too, like the Apostles, have plenty of work to do!
We are Not Abandoned
Does all this mean that Jesus left us with only The Spirit? No, as He told His Apostles,
John 14:17 – “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Jesus did not abandon His Apostles. How many times, in the scripture after the Gospel did you read where He came back to them… when He was needed most!
Again, if you’ve read your Bible (which I sure hope you’re doing, you will see where Jesus was seen by over 500 people after he rose up!
- When We are Challenged (what we will say)
You have heard me say it before, “We will be challenged!” Yes, in this life, we face many challenges.
Matthew 10:18-20 – “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Yup, for sure, we most definitely face challenges in these days. Keep your faith; never react in anger; and ask the advocate to help get you through your trials.
- Help Us in Prayer
How many have trouble praying? I’m sure there are a least a few of you. Sometimes, we over-think what it is we are to say; what we are to ask for; or what it is exactly that God wants to hear.
He will help us to pray (from the Apostle Paul in his Epistle (letter) to the Romans)
Romans 8:26-27 – “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
I have good news for you, if you ask the Holy Spirit to fill you first, it will get a lot easier for you. Here are a few of the things I say before beginning my prayer:
- Father… fill me with your Spirit
- Holy Spirit… fill me with the knowledge and wisdom of God’s Holy Kingdom and give me the words to say
- Lord Jesus… I am in need of The Spirit today and need you to fill me
After you ask these things, wait… it will come to you and you will know. From that point, once you have realized, anything you say FROM YOUR HEART, with graciousness, kindness, compassion and understanding… God is Listening!
- We May Have Peace
John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Have you been re-born? Do you now have a better understanding of The Holy Spirit and what His role is? Don’t forget about this very important gift from God; of God; a part of God; a part of the Holy Trinity… that He has given to only us!
Call on The Holy Spirit as you need Him and wait for the changes in your heart. Feel the fulfillment of our God as He sends down His Spirit and fills you with a new understanding of what He has for us.
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)!