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There is one true Triune God

John 3:1-15

Pastor David Ernst

Trinity Sunday
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Jun 7, 2020 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

All the ecclesiastical year we have spoken of the three persons of the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today we think about this concept in its entirety. We believe in one God, but the true God is the triune God. God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

In our text, Jesus receives a visitor at night. “There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a prince of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him: Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher; for nobody can do the miracles that you do, if God is not with him. ”

Most of the Pharisees were enemies of Jesus because they rejected the message that the kingdom of God had arrived, also the Savior of all nations. However, some believed, because the Holy Spirit was active in proclaiming the Word of God, as today, and the Word always touches the hearts of men. But, they did not want to lose their socio-economic positions, so, like Nicodemus, they were secret followers of Jesus Christ.

According to the historian, Josephus, who lived a few years after Jesus' crucifixion, a man named Nicodemus was the third richest man in Jerusalem. More likely, Josephus' Nicodemus was the grandson of this Nicodemus, this prince of the Jews. In the darkness of the night, Nicodemus confessed that he believed in Jesus as a prophet and teacher. This is the truth, but it is not the whole truth, so Nicodemus did not have saving faith.

So Jesus said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who is not born again cannot see the kingdom of God." The Lord spoke of the promise of eternal life in baptism that is available to all, even infants, such as Reiber Santiago Pirela Parra, who was baptized last Sunday. Because it is not necessary for any of us to understand this wonder of God, we should just trust the promise. As our epistle says (Romans 11: 33-36), “O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!" But, God has revealed to us something of His nature and will.

The Greek words translated "born again" can also be translated "born from above".

Which means, the new life does not come from within us, but from above, from God. Furthermore, it is a new birth, a total transformation of the heart and mind. Nicodemus was not a fool when he said to Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother's womb a second time, and be born? ” To enter your mother's womb again would be easier than achieving this spiritual transformation. But, Jesus' point is this transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit.

To understand this conversation, we must take into account the belief at that time, as today in secret wisdom for spiritual men, the adepts. Secret codes in the Scriptures, in the number and sequence of words, beyond the plain meaning. Also, as today, some men had written books of their travels outside the body, up to heaven to learn hidden teachings. Therefore, our Lord said to him, "And no one has ascended to heaven, but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven."

Look, in this discourse, Jesus talks about all the three persons of the Holy Trinity. The Son is He who descended from the Father and the Father and the Son sent the Spirit to enlighten the hearts and minds of men. "The wind blows where it wants, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going; that is how everyone is born of the Spirit." In other words, the Spirit does not come by our command, but by the command of the Father and the Son.

The Son reveals the Father, and the Holy Spirit reveals both the Father and the Son. And where do we find this revelation? As Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do you not know this? Truly, truly, I say to you, that what we know we speak, and what we have seen we testify, and you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things, and you don't believe, how will you believe if I told you heavenly ones? " In the Holy Scriptures, the written testimony of the prophets and apostles we find in plain language everything we have to know for salvation. There is no need for secret keys or hidden wisdom.

Even the books of the Old Testament, written before the birth of Jesus Christ, speak of the Trinity. In the first verses of Genesis, God, that is, the Father, created heaven and earth by His Word, which John tells us was in the beginning with God and was God, and the Holy Spirit moved on the face of the waters. Other verses speak of an Angel or messenger of God, who had divine attributes in Him. This messenger is the Word that was made flesh when Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary.

So, in our reading of the Old Testament (Isaiah 6: 1-8), the prophet Isaiah heard the seraphim around the throne of God singing, “Holy, holy, holy, Jehovah, Lord of hosts; All the earth is full of His glory." Only one God, but three times holy, because there are three persons in the unity of divinity.

The following verses of our text in the Gospel according to John are well known. "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but for the world to be saved by Him.” By human reason we can know something of the majesty and justice of God, but without the Son we cannot know God as heavenly Father, only as an angry Judge.

For the salvation of the world, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so it is necessary that the Son of Man be raised up; so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but have eternal life .” But, as in the story of the bronze serpent, those who reject the mercy of God revealed on the cross of Christ will die eternally, like the Israelites who rejected the mercy of God in the manner that God showed them, physically died in the desert. The bronze serpent was only a sign of God's mercy, but Christ on the cross is the Incarnation and the fulfillment of God's mercy.

The bronze serpent was an image, but it was something concrete for people to look at and trust in God's promise. Jesus Christ is not just an image, but the reality of God's love and grace. But, to trust this promise, we have baptism, which is water, but it is not simple water, but water linked with the Word of God. And this Word is revealed not by our reason, but because of what the Son has revealed from the Father and the Holy Spirit has revealed from the Father and the Son. We experience the same revelation and action of the Holy Trinity at every baptism. There are churches that allow the teaching of false doctrines, but if they affirm this doctrine of the Holy Trinity, they have valid baptism. But they don't have valid baptism or the promise of eternal life if they deny the Trinity, like Jehovah's Witnesses who deny that the Son is God equal to the Father and the Spirit or the Mormons who say the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit they are three gods.

The Athanasian Creed is the longest and most detailed creed of the three accepted creeds in all of Christendom. In this creed today we confess, “Everyone who wants to be saved, first of all, must have the true catholic faith. And some will not keep it whole and inviolate, no doubt it will perish forever. And the true catholic faith is this, that we venerate one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity. ”

But, there is more. “Furthermore, it is necessary for eternal salvation to also believe faithfully in the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is, then, the true faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, is God and man. He is God begotten of the substance of the Father before the centuries. He is a man of the substance of his mother, born in time; Perfect God, perfect man, subsistent of rational soul and human flesh. Equal to the Father according to divinity, less than the Father according to humanity. But even when he is God and man, they are not two, but one Christ. ”

Which means, to know Jesus Christ is to know the Holy Trinity. In this is the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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