Psalm 148: Praise, 4 September 2022

Psalm 148: Praise!
Restoring Your Soul: Psalms

Series Big Idea:
The Psalms are filled with passionate expressions of the soul.
Big Idea: Let all of creation praise the Creator!
Praise the LORD! That’s the simple message of today’s scripture reading. Praise the LORD!
The original Hebrew word, which will be explained more fully later in a video, means to give glory, to sing praises, to go mad, to make fools, to boast. It has a connection to wedding songs and one reference says, “acted insanely.”
When is the last time you went bananas? When did you last embarrass yourself with your unbridled joy and enthusiasm?
Last night there were more than 100,000 people in
Columbus giving praise to young adults who were passing a pigskin. They sang praises. They boasted about their team. They gave glory to a university athletic program. To some, they appeared to be going mad, and to others they looked like fools.
Praise requires effort, passion, and energy…and an object. Praise the LORD!
This summer we’re in the book of Psalms, the song book of the Bible. We’ve looked at several themes about our relationship with God which all lead to praising Him.
Are you ready?
The heavens praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. (Psalm 148:1-4)
Have you ever witnessed this? I think you have! We might not see angels and heavenly hosts, but the sun and moon are quite spectacular, right? Were they created just for us, or could their movements actually be an expression of praise to their Creator?
What about the shining stars? We’ve mentioned them throughout this summer series. The more I learn about the
stars and galaxies, the smaller I feel!
I’ve shared the story before, but
William Beebe, the naturalist, used to tell this story about Teddy Roosevelt. At Sagamore Hill, after an evening of talk, the two would go out on the lawn and search the skies for a certain spot of star-like light near the lower left-hand corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. Then Roosevelt would recite: “That is the Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda. It is as large as our Milky Way. It is one of a hundred million galaxies. It consists of one hundred billion suns, each larger than our sun.” Then Roosevelt would grin and say, “Now I think we are small enough! Let’s go to bed.” (
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created, and he established them for ever and ever—he issued a decree that will never pass away. (Psalm 148:5-6)
The name of the LORD is to be praised. It’s holy. It’s sacred. It’s powerful.
The earth and sea praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, (Psalm 148:7-8)
you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children. (Psalm 148:9-12)
That includes you and me! The late Dallas Willard said,
“Sometimes we get caught up in trying to glorify God by praising what He can do and we lose sight of the practical point of what He actually does do.”
God is awesome. He can do great things, but He also does great things that deserve our praise. God is good…all the time! All the time…God is good!
We need to be reminded of this. We need to remember…because we so easily forget. We get freaked out by the news. Social media can cause anxiety. Life is filled with stress and trials and problems…and some are quick to blame God for all of their troubles rather than the sin which plagues our world.
All of creation—everything—is to praise the LORD!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. (Psalm 148:13)
We sang earlier about the name of the LORD. There are actually several names for God. We
often reference three because there is one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We call this the Trinity. This is a mystery
The ancient Greek Fathers of the Church likened the Trinity to a dance. A weaving in and out, back and forth with a harmony of Spirit and a unity of purpose.
I like this statement from InterVarsity’s website which speaks of the Dance of Equality:
There is no hierarchy in the Trinity. The Son glorifies the Father and the Father glorifies the Son.  The Spirit glories Jesus.  The gospel of John paints this picture of equality powerfully for us.
The Trinitarian doctrine that we affirm proclaims the one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit full of love and glory. Did you catch that in the doctrinal basis? “Full of love and glory.”
The Son and Spirit don’t lack glory. The Father doesn’t lack love. Far from it!  The New Testament says he lavishes his love on us by sending his Son! They highlight and spotlight and exalt and serve each other. The ancients called the relationship perichoresis, but the best way to describe it is to think of it as a dance.  They spin and whirl in a wild dance of love and trust until you can’t tell who’s leading and who’s following and all you know is that a great time is being had.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)
The Trinity is certainly a mystery. I suppose if we completely understood God, we would be God!
The Bible gives numerous descriptions of the roles of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. For whatever reason, I used to imagine the Father as the One who created everything, but John clearly states otherwise. Then again, Genesis 1:26 tells us that God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.” If that doesn’t sound like more than one Person…
We praise the Father. We praise the Son. We praise the Spirit. They are all God. They are God. But on this communion Sunday as we prepare to remember the work of Jesus on the cross, I want to show you references to Jesus specifically in Psalm 148.
Jesus the Messiah can be seen in this psalm. He is the
-       Creator of all things (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17)
       Captain of the hosts of the LORD (Joshua 5:14)
       Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2; Luke 1:78)
       Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)
He demonstrated power over
-       Storms (Matthew 8:23-27; 14:23-33)
       Trees (Matthew 21:18-22)
       Animals (Mark 1:13; 11:1-3)
And he has raised up for his people a horn,  the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD. (Psalm 148:14)

Credits: some ideas from Warren Wiersbe

You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.

You can watch this video and others at the First Alliance Church Video Library

Loneliness, 8 June 2014

Big Idea: We are never alone, must embrace that reality, and ensure others are loved and connected.

There are droves of lonely people in the church, and that includes senior pastors and priests. The isolation comes from a lack of identification and identification comes through open communication. When we can be vulnerable and honest with one another, we understand each other in a profound way.

A lonely person may walk in to a church alone and leave alone each Sunday. Although they appreciate the free coffee and donuts the fellowship hall offers, what they really want is fellowship. Taking time to get to know the people around you and then reaching out to them outside of the church will allow for a greater, more stable community.

Of course, every church is different and while one church may be stronger in one area, it may be weaker in others. These are just a few issues that we as the Church Body need to be willing to address. And as we talk about them, we must remember to address them with humility, understanding and grace, keeping in mind our role as fellow hospital patients, not museum curators.



What is the one factor that produces
happiness in people? According to a recent study it is the presence of rich, deep, meaningful relationships.

This should come as no surprise. Let’s go back—way back.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

God exists in community.
God said let us make man in our image. Although we worship one God—unlike many polytheistic religions of the world—God exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and the often neglected God the Holy Spirit. One of our most precious hymns vibrantly declares this theological truth:

“God in three Persons/Blessed Trinity” (
Holy, Holy, Holy)

God exists in community. I can’t entirely explain it, but there God
is community. God is all about relationships.

If you don’t believe me, turn a page or two to day six of the creation account in Genesis 2.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

The only thing that was not good during creation was a single man. It is not good for man to be alone! It is not good for woman to be alone.

Is it any wonder that loneliness can be so devastating?

“Ah look at all the lonely people.” -
Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles

Recent Studies on Loneliness

If I had time, I could cite a barrage of research that indicates the negative effects of loneliness. It can affect our overall well-being. Disconnected, lonely people are more prone to an early death.

Elderly people without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely as those with friends.

The increased mortality risk is similar to that of smoking and twice as dangerous as obesity.

While loneliness is hardly new in our culture, it is growing. In the 1980’s about 20% of USAmericans were categorized as lonely.

One study of those 45 and older revealed 37% of men and 34% of women were lonely, though the older one got the less lonely they felt.

The percentage of lonely people has nearly doubled since the 80’s.

How can this be when we are connected with cell phones, text, e-mail, video chat, and, of course, Facebook? After all, I have over one thousand Facebook friends so I couldn’t possibly ever experience loneliness. Right?!
A recent study of Facebook users found the more time you spend on Facebook, the less happy you feel throughout the day.

Are you lonely?

The Loneliness Quiz (based upon the UCLA Loneliness Scale;

Even if you scored low, there is no guarantee you will never feel lonely. Let’s face it, there are seasons of life during which we feel more lonely than others. I have certainly felt more lonely since my relationship with my dad began to erode with his terminal dementia.

One study said 90% of men don’t have a true friend. That’s far more than a season. I must confess other than my wife, my best friend has lived in Delaware for more than twenty years. I cherish my relationship with him and we’ve been together at least once every single year, yet sometimes I wonder why I’ve been unable to establish such a relationship with someone local in more than two decades.

If you’re feeling lonely, you’re in good company with me, King David, and probably every person that has ever breathed air—including Jesus.

In our remaining time together I want to present three things:

  1. Jesus understands loneliness
  2. Jesus is with us in the midst of our loneliness
  3. As followers of Jesus, we are called to wipe out loneliness

Jesus understands loneliness

If you are lonely today, Jesus understands. Really.

  • - man of sorrows

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)

  • - homeless

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58)

  • - betrayed by one of His disciples, Judas
  • - one of His closest friends, Peter, denied Him three times
  • - His best friends deserted Him in the hour of His greatest need in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His arrest (Matthew 26; Mark 14)
  • - He was tempted in every way and this included isolation (Hebrews 4:15)

No matter how lonely you have felt, none of us have experienced the ultimate loneliness Jesus experienced on the cross—for us. Not only was He alone above the crowds (except for the two thieves hanging beside Him), He encountered the most horrific of all loneliness: separation from God.

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” — which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34; this was a quote of Psalm 22:1)

Hell is eternal separation from God and others. It is ground zero for loneliness.

Jesus suffered my hell for me that I might one day enjoy His heaven with Him.

Jesus knows loneliness.

Jesus is with us in the midst of our loneliness

The final words of Jesus recorded by Matthew as Christ ascends into heaven are

…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

God said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b; see Deuteronomy 31:6)

I realize it’s very possible to be lonely even though you
know God is with you, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge something you can’t see.
For example, right now there are dozens and possibly hundreds of messages being sent to you and me. Can you hear them? Can you see them? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t here. You can deny such waves exist, but that doesn’t make them go away. What we need, in fact, is a receiver to fully appreciate these messages. Any
radio or television will allow us to tune in to these invisible waves.

If Jesus walked into this room or any room in which you find yourself lonely, would you be less lonely? Of course!

Jesus said something interesting when He left our planet.

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)

Jesus is not here in this room in the flesh, but God is here. The Holy Spirit of God was unleashed on our planet about two thousand years ago and dwells within all believers. When we receive Jesus, we get the Holy Spirit, too.

If you are a Christ-follower, declare God’s truth over the lies of the enemy. Satan wants us lonely, depressed, and discouraged. We can’t threaten his agenda of death and destruction when we are consumed with our own sadness.

I’m not saying fake it and put on a happy face, but I am saying we need to know and speak the truth. If God is for us, who can be against us? We need to claim the authority we have in Jesus and the promises of God and acknowledge the presence of God with us. The Bible is like our radio or television, helping us see the reality of Emmanuel, God with us.

But if God was enough, there was no need to create Eve. Adam had God in the Garden of Eden, yet God said it was not good.

We need one another.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to wipe out loneliness

Look around the room. This is your family. I know, some of us are strange, but we’re all related by blood, the blood of Jesus. God has given us two simple yet daunting commands:

  • - love Him
  • - love others

If we truly devoted ourselves to one another, I wonder how often we would be lonely. If we got beyond ourselves and intentionally reached out to one another, would it even be possible to be lonely?!

Perhaps the problem isn’t the people in this room but it’s you. Maybe you’ve refused the invitations of others into deeper fellowship. When did you stop trusting people? Many have been so hurt by others that they build walls to protect themselves from being hurt again. Does that describe you? I’m not saying it’s easy, but I urge you to be vulnerable. Be honest. Open up. Trust. It may not be the entire church, but what would happen if you took a risk and shared something with your Life Group or even one or two people? Last Sunday David Hobson courageously shared with our entire church his struggles, and doing so encourages us to respond to him with our story.

“You can only be loved to the extent that you're known.” That’s intimacy. I believe many are lonely because they’ve not let anyone in. I urge you to try…again. You might want to begin with a professional, biblical counselor. Family Counseling and Samaritan Counseling are two local centers that I’ve experienced. Their contact information:

Family Counseling 734.477.9999 (quality Biblical counseling)
Samaritan Counseling 734.677.0609 (quality Biblical counseling)
Eileen Aveni, (quality Biblical counseling)

Another great loneliness killer is serving others. Volunteer at Hope Clinic or another area non-profit. Serving others takes the focus off of ourselves and our pain and frequently opens new relationships to us.

A Challenge

Scio Community Church, I want to urge you to intentionally welcome the stranger(s) among us. As followers of Jesus, we are called to wipe out loneliness. How can we love our neighbor if we ignore them. I’m not suggesting we harass them (!), but as we have said in recent days, people aren’t looking for a friendly church. They are looking for friends. As we have guests, we must do more than shake their hand and smile, though that’s a good start. The only way we are going to see new people join our family is if we get out of our comfort zones and seek relationships with them. Here are a few simple things you can do any Sunday:

  1. Invite them to Life Group following our worship gathering
  2. Invite them to lunch after Life Group
  3. Invite them to coffee this week
  4. Get their phone or e-mail, if appropriate, and contact them
  5. Invite them to your home for a meal or party

Scio, we offer one of the greatest things people today are seeking—relationships! Our annual theme is
connect and we’ve been called by God to connect people up to Him, in to one another, and out to our world.

The Bible is filled with exhortations regarding hospitality which is welcoming the stranger. Why? Because God is all about relationships. Are we?

You can listen to this message and others at the Scio podcast here. You can also subscribe to our podcast here.

The Holy Spirit, John 14:15-31, 26 MAy 2013

Big Idea: Jesus loved us enough to leave…in order to usher in the Holy Spirit


What is the greatest thing you’ve ever waited for?

- spouse
  • job

Chicago Cubs fans have been waiting for them to win the World Series since 1908!

Was it worth it?

Last week in Jesus’ farewell to His disciples, He said it’s good that He leaves because He’s going to prepare a place for them. He’s getting the house ready but He’ll return.

In today’s passage as we continue our series on the Gospel of John, Jesus continues His farewell address to His eleven disciples in the Upper Room.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to a loved one, but it’s easier if we know they are returning for a purpose...and that they will return.

Jesus is telling His friends that He is leaving, He is leaving for a noble purpose, He will die, AND He will return.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. (14:15)

We don’t usually command people to obey, except, perhaps, a parent to a child. This word “command” could be translated, “to watch carefully or attend to; training the eyes.” We will be attentive to Jesus’ commands if we love Him.

If you love Me, you’ll care about what I have to say and you’ll listen to my instructions. If you love Me, attend to my teachings.

Actions speak louder than words.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — 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. (16-17)

The Greek word translated “Counselor” in the NIV,
parakleton, might best be conveyed as “advocate,” someone like a defense attorney. “Para” means alongside and “kletos” is to call. The paraclete will come alongside and help in your defense.

Notice the Father will give “another” Counselor or advocate. The Father sent Jesus, and He will send the Holy Spirit.

Because of the Holy Spirit, we are better off today than the disciples. We have 24/7 access to God through the Holy Spirit. Last week we noted we will do greater things.

The Greeks used the same word for truth and reality. Usually it conveyed reality. Jesus is offering us a Spirit of reality, access to things that are most real. We live in a world of illusions and delusions.

For example, we believe we are entitled to at least seventy or eighty years of healthy living on this planet. Anything less and we are robbed. This is an illusion because every day is a gift we receive. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Jesus says, “I will introduce you to reality.”

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (18-21)

I cannot imagine being an orphan. The pain of being alone in the world must be excruciating. Jesus says He will return.

What does Jesus mean when He says, “I will come to you? It could refer to one of three things.

- second coming
- the Holy Spirit
- most likely the resurrection on Easter

We are containing the divine. This is a radical reality.

Paul will write that we are “in Christ.”

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” (22)

J. Vernon McGee notes Judas is the first missionary. His concern is for the world. Is yours?

Back in John 1:10, we saw Jesus in the that He made, yet the world didn’t know Him.

John 3:16 says God so loved the world.

Much of the world does not love God today.

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (23-24)

This is pretty straightforward.

Now Jesus gives a sneak preview of Pentecost Sunday, which was actually last Sunday on the Christian calendar. The second chapter of the book of Acts will record the moment in which the Holy Spirit is activated on earth. Jesus says,

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, 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. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (25-27)

Verse 25 was long a source of Church history, some believing the Father sent the Spirit and others saying the Father and the Son sent the Spirit (Nicene Creed).

Notice the Spirit will help John and the others remember what Jesus said and they will write it down!

Jesus’ legacy to His followers was Peace; Shalom. This is not a temporary, earthly peace but a divine peace with God (Romans 5:1) that cannot be disrupted.

The passage concludes with Jesus saying…

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

Jesus knows satan is coming.


“Come now; let us leave.

Go...with the Word of the Father, the truth of the Holy Spirit, and the peace of God.

It’s almost time for us to leave, too!

As we await Your return, LORD Jesus, may the power of the Holy Spirit be alive in our lives. Fill us, Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name, amen.

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Coronation, 3 April 2011

Big Idea

Who is God? Who is Jesus? This passage beautifully reveals the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus at the beginning of HIs ministry.

Text (Matthew 3:13-17)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”


Before we can appreciate the text, we must set the scene. This account is one of the few accounts that is found in all four Gospels—Matthew, Mark (1:9-11), Luke (3:21-22) and John (1:29-34).


The word “baptism” sparks different thoughts in our minds. You may think of an infant being baptized or a public confession of faith by a believer.

The Greek word for baptism is “baptizo” which means “immersion.” This was not a sprinkling or a pouring or a squirt gun fight but people getting dunked in the water.

What was the purpose of John baptizing people? Mark 1:4 says

Mark 1:4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

People would come to John and ask to be baptized for the remission of their sins. As we said a few weeks ago, repentance is agreeing that we have sinned against God (and often others) and turning away from our sins to live a new life.

“But Jesus had no sins (Hebrews 4:15)” you might say. That’s what John said, too!

But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

So why would Jesus insist on getting baptized? He came to do the will of the Father and to “fulfill all righteousness.” In other words, Jesus was baptized in obedience to the Father.

The entire third chapter of Matthew is the fulfillment of prophecy from the Italian prophet, Malachi!

Malachi 3:1 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 4:5-6 See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”


Sometimes God calls us to do things that don’t make sense. That’s where trust comes in. Imagine being Abraham and God telling you to grab your knife and start cutting foreskins. God told the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. He told Moses to speak to a rock and expect water to flow out.

Ultimately it’s a trust issue.

God is good. All the time.
God is sovereign and in control. All the time.

He can be trusted, even when it might not make sense at the moment.

John didn’t understand why Jesus would seek baptism, but God had a purpose that was revealed in the following verses.

The Coronation

There is tremendous fanfare and festivities that surround the coronation of a king or queen. The closest thing we know of in our country is a presidential inauguration. Did any of you see President Obama’s inauguration? It cost donors and our government more than $170 million for the weekend...all to formally acknowledge a new leader.

Jesus, our great King, had no such pageantry and spectacle. He had something far greater, however.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

I’d call that a pronouncement! What does the Father say?

  • this is His Son
  • He loves His Son
  • He is well pleased with His Son

It kind of reminds me of a story Jesus told about three men given sums of money to invest (Matthew 25; Luke 19). At the end of the story, the master says, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

I live for two words—well done. That’s it. Although it seems crazy, I long for my heavenly Father to announce someday

  • I am His Son
  • He loves me
  • He is well pleased with me

Let me be clear, I’m not saying I am anything like Jesus. In fact, only by dying to myself and letting Jesus live through me do I even have a chance!

The Trinity

One of the most radical distinctions between orthodox Christianity and other religions is the Trinity. The Jewish Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4 proclaims

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Our one LORD exists in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This, admittedly, is a mystery that analogies fail to adequately express, but we worship one “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity” as the great hymn announces.

Church father Tertullian (155-220 ad) was one of the first to use the term ‘Trinity” and it wasn’t until the Council of Nicea in 325 that the doctrine became firmly established within orthodoxy.

To say that God exists as a Trinity is to say that there is one God with a unified essence who exists in three equal persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By person it is meant that God thinks, feels, acts and speaks. The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) summarizes the doctrine by saying, “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.”

There are some Christians who deny the Trinity. They believe that God is a single Person who reveals Himself in three different modes or forms, but that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time, only one after another.

Do you see a problem with this passage for the modalist?

We don’t have time to even begin a full treatment of Trinitarianism, but suffice it to say that our text today is one of several that reveal our one God existing simultaneously in three Persons.

Have You Been Baptized?

While we are on the subject, have you been baptized? It’s not only something He experienced, it’s something He commanded. Last week we saw His final words to His followers:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

- Matthew 28:18-20

Oh, did you notice the Trinity there?


To summarize, this text reveals Jesus’ submission and obedience to the Father. His baptism is Christ’s coronation as He begins His ministry. The Trinity is in full view, showing one God existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s also a reminder that each of us—unlike Jesus—is a sinner in need of God’s grace and forgiveness, something only available through Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection. Finally, it underscore the need for all Christ-followers to follow Him in baptism, publicly declaring their faith, dying to their old life, and becoming resurrected with Jesus in new life as a new creation.

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