06:35 Jim Gilley: Our speaker tonight is David Asscherick.
How many of you know David Asscherick?
He is one of the most popular speakers we have
from the stand point of people just loving David
and really appreciating the fact that he loves the Lord.
It's exciting when a young man finds Jesus Christ,
finds these truths, and gets so really filled with them
and is able to reach out and win as many people
to the Lord as David has.
Just like the Lord reached down and caught him and brought him.
And it's just amazing.
Just like the apostle Paul, that's right.
And just like Danny, that's right.
So it is an exciting thing.
David is going to be speaking tonight on the Trinity,
and so we're looking forward to that.
13:26 David Asscherick: Alright! Good evening everyone!
Beautiful music! Amen!
It's just great to be here at the Pillars weekend
and looking forward to camp meeting. Amen.
Great! Alright! Let's pray together and then we've got so much to cover that we're not going to... no niceties, no small talk. Right into the Bible. Amen?
Let's pray together.
13:44 Father in heaven, we want to thank You for this beautiful
13:46 music and, Father, we thank You for the person who sang it.
13:49 We just ask for the filling of Your Spirit in
13:52 our hearts tonight.
13:54 Father, we're looking forward to understanding You better and
13:56 Your Son better and the Spirit better.
13:58 And so tonight as we open Your word, may You open us.
14:01 Father, our time is limited.
14:04 I mean, my mind is just boggled thinking that I have
14:05 42 minutes to try and explain the nature of God.
14:08 Father, we'll be studying the nature of God, Your nature,
14:12 throughout endless eternal ages.
14:16 And so what are we going to do in the next 42 minutes?
14:19 Father, I just pray that Your Spirit will be with me
14:22 and that this will be a potent presentation.
14:24 Not because of the presenter but because of the message preached.
14:27 Father, we want to thank You that You've gotten
14:31 us all here safely, we want to pray for those that are
14:33 still yet coming, and for those that are watching.
14:35 Father, may this be a Spirit filled weekend, a weekend
14:38 in which we can really say that we are standing on the pillars,
14:41 that we are standing on the promises, that our hope is built
14:44 on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness.
14:47 We want to pray a special prayer for every Pillars presenter
14:51 and for every Pillars listener that, Father, truly we will
14:54 be rooted and grounded in the Word, is our prayer.
14:58 And be with us now as we open Your word,
15:02 may You open us, is our prayer in Jesus' name.
15:04 Let everyone say! Amen!
15:10 Well, beloved, our topic...
15:11 Does anyone know what my topic is?
15:15 Ok because I thought, well if you don't know then maybe
15:16 I'll just preach something else.
15:17 Because I'm mildly nervous about this.
15:20 Not nervous to be here in front you because there's
15:22 no need to be nervous when God has called.
15:26 But just the nature of the topic and the breadth of the topic
15:27 we're going to be talking about, the topic that's been assigned
15:29 to me is the Trinity.
15:32 Now, let me just say a couple of things right up front.
15:33 First of all, this will not be..
15:36 Will... What did I say everyone?
15:38 This will not be a point by point apologetic
15:39 for the Trinity.
15:43 In other words, I'm not going to be able to answer
15:44 every objection.
15:46 The nature of God and the nature of Christ have been
15:47 some of the great discussions and the source of some of the
15:49 great heresies in the history of the Christian church
15:52 down through the ages.
15:55 So it will be impossible for us to point by point
15:56 provide an apologetic that would answer every objection
15:59 that you could conceivably come up with.
16:02 However, rather than doing that, what we're going to do
16:04 is we're going to make a positive affirmation
16:07 of the character and nature of God from a Biblical context.
16:09 Can you say amen to that everyone?
16:13 In other words, the sermon is not going to be unnecessarily
16:14 polemical or apologetic or argumentative.
16:17 The purpose will be to present a positive picture.
16:20 What kind of picture?
16:23 A positive picture.
16:24 Now let me just say something very briefly here about
16:25 the word "Trinity".
16:27 You might be wondering why I'm giving all these caveats,
16:29 all of these sort of special pleadings before the
16:31 presentation begins.
16:35 Very simple, I have received dozens and dozens and dozens
16:36 of emails preparatory to this presentation.
16:41 More than any other that I've ever received in the history of
16:43 working with 3ABN.
16:45 And many nice people, many well meaning people,
16:47 and I've had the opportunity to interact with some of them.
16:50 But I have received books, I have received manuscripts,
16:52 I have received emails, I have received concerns,
16:54 I have received copious amounts of spirit of prophecy quotes and
16:57 Biblical quotes to try and persuade me that the idea of
17:00 a Trinity is not Biblical, but is actually rooted in
17:04 paganism and papalism.
17:06 And so I want to thank all of those very kind people that took
17:08 the time to send me books and manuscripts.
17:11 However, I think you're going to be a little bit disappointed
17:13 that even after reading almost all of what was sent me,
17:17 I remain committed to the Biblical picture of God's unity
17:20 and God's plurality.
17:24 Now having said that, let me be crystal clear about something.
17:25 I am confessedly noncommittal about the word "Trinity".
17:29 I am confessedly noncommittal.
17:33 In other words, to me, I could care less about the word.
17:35 That's the word that's been assigned to be, but really
17:38 the topic is, The Nature of God.
17:40 Are we together everyone?
17:42 The word "Trinity", does it or does it not occur in scripture?
17:43 It does not occur in scripture.
17:47 And so the word comes so burdened with theological
17:48 and historical baggage that I'm not married to the word,
17:53 I'm just married to the Biblical teaching.
17:57 Ok, and so sometimes when you use a certain word,
17:59 because language is fluid, over time language takes on
18:02 new meanings and different meanings, and the fluidity of
18:05 language demands that we're always evaluating and
18:09 reevaluating the very best way to communicate the gospel.
18:12 And just to communicate period.
18:14 And so this idea of the Trinity, I'm not committed or I'm not
18:16 for or against the word.
18:20 I'm perfectly ambivalent about the word.
18:21 If you like the word and you're defining it in a Biblical
18:23 context, good for you.
18:26 If you don't like the word, it's a little bit like the person
18:27 who goes to the doctor and says to the doctor,
18:29 "Oh doc, every time I move my shoulder like that,
18:31 oh, that just kills every time I move my shoulder
18:34 just like that. "
18:36 What's the first thing the doctor's going to say?
18:37 Don't do that.
18:40 And so here's a robust piece of advice.
18:41 If you don't like the word "Trinity," don't use it.
18:43 You see, that's just so easy.
18:47 And so we're not going to be spending a lot of time
18:49 trying to defend or go into the historical and theological
18:51 context of the word "Trinity".
18:53 There is so much baggage there, what we're going to do is
18:55 look at the Biblical picture of the plurality and simultaneous
18:58 unity of the nature of God.
19:02 That is a pillar in Christianity.
19:04 Can you say amen to that?
19:07 Ok, now what we're going to be doing is looking at three things
19:08 and if we have a little bit of time we'll have a fourth
19:11 very small thing that we might address just directly to my
19:13 Seventh-day Adventist friends.
19:17 The first one is, the very first thing that we're going to be
19:19 looking at, because this truth about the nature of God
19:21 hinges on three things.
19:23 How many things everyone?
19:25 Three hings.
19:27 And the first is the simultaneous plurality
19:28 and unity found in the nature of God.
19:31 Ok, the simultaneous plurality and unity.
19:34 What are those two words?
19:38 Plurality and unity found in the nature of God.
19:39 So that's the very first thing.
19:43 The second thing that this whole issue of the nature of God
19:44 turns on is the full eternality and divinity of Jesus Christ.
19:46 In other words, was Jesus actually God in the
19:51 most emphatic sense?
19:54 That's the second thing.
19:56 And the Third thing that we're going to be looking at is the
19:57 personhood of the Holy Spirit.
19:59 Is the Holy Spirit simply some kind of a force,
20:01 some kind of an emanation between the Father and the Son?
20:05 Or is the Holy Spirit a person in the same sense
20:07 that the Father and the Son are a person?
20:12 And so we'll be looking at the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
20:15 It's a tall order to accomplish in the time
20:16 that we have allotted.
20:19 So let's begin, let's get right into scripture and go to our
20:20 first point which is the simultaneous plurality
20:22 and unity found in the nature of God.
20:25 The simultaneous plurality and unity found
20:28 in the nature of God.
20:30 Inarguably, or possibly arguably, the most profound
20:31 single phrase in all of scripture may well be
20:35 1 John 4:8, 16.
20:37 In both of those verses, we find John saying something
20:42 absolutely radical.
20:45 He says, "God is... "
20:47 What is the word everyone?
20:49 Love. "God is love. "
20:51 Now, what is meant by this?
20:54 I believe that John is making a profound statement
20:57 not just about God's character.
21:00 Most of us would be very persuaded and very confident
21:03 in the fact that God has a loving character.
21:06 Can you say amen to that?
21:08 I believe, however, that John is making a far more profound
21:10 statement than merely saying, "God is loving. "
21:13 He is saying, "God is... " What was the word?
21:16 "... love. "
21:18 Now let's just talk about this from a Biblical perspective.
21:19 First of all, you would agree with me no doubt
21:21 that the word "love" is a very abused word in this day and age.
21:23 Are we together everyone?
21:26 And we were just talking for a moment there about the
21:27 fluidity of language.
21:29 The reality is, is that a word that comes to mean so much
21:30 eventually comes to mean almost nothing.
21:33 Right? Because we love spaghetti and we love our
21:35 Chihuahua's and we love fishing and we love...
21:38 I don't love Chihuahua's, by the way.
21:40 In fact, I can't even stand them.
21:42 No offense to Chihuahua owners.
21:43 But we love our dogs and we love spaghetti
21:45 and we love our wife and we love God.
21:47 And so this has become such a broad meaning, such a
21:49 boundless word that it almost means nothing.
21:52 Ok, so from a Biblical context, what does that word mean,
21:55 "God is love"?
22:00 This is not merely a commentary about God's character as loving,
22:02 it is also, I believe, a profound commentary about
22:05 the nature of God.
22:07 That is to say, what God is in His Godness,
22:09 what makes God God.
22:13 Well, what would you...
22:15 If I ask you, what is the love chapter?
22:16 I say, what's the love chapter in scripture, what would
22:18 you say to me?
22:20 1 Corinthians chapter 13, very good.
22:21 And in the context of 1 Corinthians 13,
22:23 we don't have time to go there because we're going to be moving
22:25 very rapidly, verse 5, the apostle Paul says something
22:27 very interesting about love.
22:30 He's giving all of these qualities of love.
22:31 He says that love is not proud, love does not boast,
22:33 love never fails.
22:35 And then he says something very interesting in verse 5.
22:37 He said, "love seeks not its own. "
22:39 Just a single little phrase, "love seeks not its own. "
22:42 Now let me ask you a question.
22:46 A very simple question, a very logical question.
22:47 If love is not seeking its own desires, its own hopes,
22:49 its own ambitions, and its own benefits,
22:54 then what would it be seeking?
22:56 It would be seeking the desires, the benefits, the ambitions,
22:59 the good of others.
23:02 And so Paul says, "love is not seeking its own. "
23:03 Some translations, "love is not selfish. "
23:07 I would paraphrase it this way, "love is not self-centered. "
23:09 And so then it is the opposite of that; love is other centered.
23:12 Are we together everyone?
23:16 Love is other centered.
23:18 Love is the principle of putting others first.
23:20 In fact, why don't we say that together,
23:24 love is the principle of putting others first.
23:25 Say it with me.
23:27 Love is the principle of putting others first.
23:28 Jesus said it this way in John chapter 15 and verse 13,
23:33 "Greater love has no man than this, that a man would
23:35 lay down his life for his friends. "
23:38 So this idea that love is other centered, it is not
23:42 inwardly focused, it is not introspective.
23:44 It is other centered.
23:46 Love puts others first.
23:48 And that's what Paul means when he says that,
23:49 "love seeks not its own. "
23:50 But wait a minute.
23:53 John says that God is...
23:54 What's our word everyone?
23:56 God is love.
23:57 John is making a very profound statement here,
24:00 not only about the character of God but about the nature of God.
24:02 He says, God in His very, the essence of what makes God God,
24:05 it not merely loving, but love.
24:10 It would be perfectly grammatically appropriate
24:14 for you or me to say, if we were perhaps looking across the room
24:16 and we say a mother cuddling and cradling and cooing
24:20 her little baby, you might say or I might say
24:23 that mother is a loving mother.
24:25 Would that be an appropriate thing to say in that context?
24:27 Ok, and you all at times are loving people.
24:30 Is that true, yes or no?
24:35 And so, all of us at times are loving people.
24:36 We might see that mother and say she's a loving mother,
24:39 but would we say that mother is love?
24:41 No, no, no, no.
24:46 Because what we're saying is we're looking at her actions
24:47 and we're saying "loving" is an adjective that
24:49 describes her actions.
24:51 But John doesn't make this modest claim.
24:53 John doesn't make this very modest claim
24:55 that God acts loving at times.
24:57 What John says is, "God," and then he gives us a grammatical
25:01 theological equivalence here.
25:04 "God is," not loving, an adjective describing behaviors,
25:05 "God is love", a noun describing nature and essence.
25:10 He says, God in His very fiber, in His very fabric,
25:17 in the Godness that makes God God, there's this idea,
25:19 this principle of love.
25:23 Of what everyone?
25:26 But we just learned from scripture that love is the
25:27 principle of putting others first.
25:29 Now just work with me here.
25:32 If love is the principle of putting others first,
25:34 and God is love, then by definition what must you have
25:36 in order to have love?
25:42 Yea, there must be an object, you must have others.
25:44 If love is the principle of putting others first,
25:48 then by definition you would have to have others,
25:50 you would have to have an object upon which to bestow your love.
25:53 If God was rigidly singular in the most emphatic sense of
25:56 singularity, if God was alone...
26:01 And we'll deal with that in just a moment,
26:03 this idea that God is one.
26:04 If God was alone in the most emphatic sense,
26:06 in the Islamic sense, in the Unitarian sense,
26:09 in the Jehovah's Witness sense, this God who is alone in His
26:12 aloneness could become loving the moment He created an object
26:16 upon which to bestow His love.
26:22 But God is eternal, God is infinite.
26:24 God existed for ages and ages, the Bible says from
26:27 everlasting to everlasting.
26:30 God existed from everlasting before there ever was
26:31 a created being.
26:33 Before there ever was a David, before there ever was a you,
26:35 before there ever was a Lucifer.
26:38 Before there was ever another moral sentient being,
26:39 God was there.
26:41 Can you say amen?
26:43 But here's the question.
26:44 How can a God who is rigidly singular be in His nature love
26:45 if love is the principle of putting others first?
26:51 Now this God, this rigidly singular God, could become,
26:56 listen very carefully to the language, this God could
27:00 become loving once He created an object upon which to
27:02 bestow His love, but you could not say that this God is love
27:07 in His essence.
27:13 Because there's just one.
27:14 And love is the principle of putting...
27:15 What is it?
27:17 ...others first.
27:18 Are there others here upon which to bestow love?
27:19 There are?
27:22 No, no, no, no. God is alone, He's by Himself.
27:24 The rigidly singular God of the Unitarians
27:27 and the rigidly singular God of the Muslims and other
27:29 monotheistic faith traditions, they could have a God that
27:32 could become loving, but this is not what John says.
27:36 John does not say, "God became loving,"
27:40 or even "God is loving. "
27:43 This is far too modest a claim.
27:44 You could say that about any of us.
27:46 David is loving. Molly is loving.
27:48 John is loving. Mark is loving.
27:51 No, no, no, no, no.
27:54 John says, "God is love. "
27:55 But wait a minute.
28:00 Love is the principle of putting others first, and in order to
28:01 have love you must have others.
28:03 So what then does this tell us about the nature of God?
28:07 That this picture of God is not a Biblically consistent
28:10 and coherent picture.
28:15 It's not a picture that is compatible with the
28:16 notion of God as love.
28:18 This God could become loving, but in His rigid singularity
28:20 how pray tell could He be love if love Biblically defined is
28:25 the principle of putting others first.
28:29 Are we together everyone?
28:33 So already we're beginning to see, we're beginning to see
28:35 a hint, this is not proof positive but it's a hint.
28:38 It's a... What word did I say everyone?
28:42 It is a hint that there is a plurality within the
28:44 very nature of God.
28:48 You see beloved, God is presented in scripture
28:49 as a unity of three co-eternal persons;
28:52 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
28:55 And so before there ever is a Lucifer, before there ever
28:58 is a David, before there ever is a John,
29:01 here is God in His simultaneous plurality and unity, and the
29:03 heart of the Father can go out to the Son and the Spirit.
29:08 And the heart of the Son can go out to the Father
29:12 and the Spirit.
29:14 And the heart of the Spirit can go out to the
29:15 Father and the Son.
29:17 And so John can say about this God who is simultaneously
29:18 unified and plural, he can say God in His very nature, God in
29:23 His very essence, God in the Godness that makes Him God is,
29:27 not merely loving, an adjective describing a behavior,
29:32 God is love.
29:35 Are we together everyone?
29:39 Now, open your Bibles very, very, very, very quickly to the
29:41 book of Ephesians, Ephesians chapter 5.
29:43 And here we're going to sort of buttress our definition
29:46 of love as others centeredness.
29:49 Ephesians chapter 5, notice with me in verse 1.
29:51 Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 1.
29:53 Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 1, the Bible says,
29:56 "Therefore be imitators of God as... " what?
29:59 "... dear children. "
30:01 We all know that children like to imitate their parents, right?
30:02 If you met my little boys, Landon and Jabel, 7 and 8,
30:05 if you met them and you said, "What do you enjoy doing?"
30:08 they would say, "We enjoy fishing, we enjoy backpacking,
30:10 we enjoy surfing. "
30:13 Well, why do they enjoy fishing, backpacking,
30:14 surfing, and rock climbing?
30:15 Why? Just hazard a guess.
30:17 Because their dad does, that's exactly right.
30:19 And chances are in those formative years, your children
30:21 liked what you liked.
30:25 And so Paul uses a very profound and very simple self evident
30:26 analogy, and that is children like to be like their parents.
30:29 And so he says, "Be imitators of God as dear children. "
30:32 And what's the first thing that comes to Paul's mind?
30:34 What's the very first thing that comes to Paul's mind when
30:36 he exhorts us to be like God?
30:39 "Be imitators of God as dear children. "
30:40 Now look at verse 2, "And walk in love,
30:42 walk in love as Christ also has loved us... "
30:47 Now watch this.
30:50 "... and," what's the next phrase there?
30:51 "... gave Himself. "
30:54 "Walk in love as Christ also has loved us... "
30:56 And then for Paul, this is an equivalence.
30:59 "He loved us and... " What's the phrase?
31:03 "... gave Himself. " Loved us and gave Himself.
31:06 Look at Ephesians chapter 5 verse 25.
31:09 Verse 25, "Husbands, love your wives as Christ also
31:13 loved the church and gave Himself. "
31:18 For Paul, these are equivalences.
31:22 To love is to give yourself.
31:25 I just had the privilege of performing a wedding on Sunday.
31:27 In fact, I had the privilege of marrying off the person that
31:29 introduced me to Jesus Christ.
31:32 Can you say amen?
31:34 Very profound, very wonderful.
31:35 It was just awesome to be there.
31:37 And as I was speaking to Josh and Shelly, I said,
31:38 "Josh, it's so easy to say, 'I love you. '"
31:40 Because as we've already said, love is such an abused term,
31:43 it's such a broad term, it's such a liquid term.
31:46 We love our dogs, we love pizza, we love whatever.
31:48 But what if instead of saying, "I love you," we said,
31:51 "I give myself for you. "
31:54 Which is easier to say, "I love you" or "I give myself for you?"
31:57 Yea, I love you.
32:01 It's so easy, it just flows off the tongue.
32:02 I love you, man.
32:03 I love you, sister. I love you.
32:04 What do we mean? It could mean anything.
32:06 When I was a little boy growing up, they had this cartoon
32:10 called, The Smurfs.
32:12 And the Smurfs were these little blue people that always ran
32:13 around and they'd be like, "Hey, how are you feeling today?"
32:15 And they'd say, "Oh, I'm feeling very smurfy. "
32:18 And they'd say, "Oh, where are you going?"
32:19 "I'm going down to the smurf. "
32:20 "To do what?" "I'm smurfing. "
32:21 And so the word smurf could be a noun, it could be an adjective.
32:23 You never quite knew what the thing meant.
32:25 It meant nothing, and therefore it meant everything and nothing.
32:27 And so to the word love.
32:31 Love is such a broad, love is such a liquid term that
32:32 what exactly does it mean?
32:35 But for Paul, for Paul, "Husbands, love your wives
32:37 as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself. "
32:40 "He gave Himself," for Paul there is an equivalence here.
32:43 To love is to give yourself.
32:46 Galatians chapter 2 verse 20, turn there in your scriptures
32:50 very quickly in your Bible.
32:52 By the way, a marvelous sermon by Pastor Knott.
32:53 Can you say amen to that?
32:55 So appreciated the fidelity there, so appreciated
32:57 the spirit there.
33:00 Praise God.
33:01 Galatians chapter 2 verse 20, "I have been
33:02 crucified with Christ," you know this.
33:03 "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
33:05 And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith
33:07 in the Son of God, who... "
33:09 Look at the last phrase, look at the qualifying phrase.
33:12 "... who loved me and gave Himself. "
33:14 This phrase comes up over and over and over again
33:19 in the writings of Paul.
33:22 "He gave Himself. "
33:23 In fact, you want to look in Galatians chapter 1 verse 4.
33:24 He gave Himself, He gave Himself,
33:26 He gave Himself, He gave Himself.
33:28 He gave Himself.
33:30 For Paul, to love is to give yourself unreservedly
33:32 for somebody else.
33:37 Does that make sense?
33:38 Therefore, love is others centered.
33:40 But we ask our question.
33:42 How can a God who is rigidly singular be centered in others?
33:43 This God could become loving once He had an object upon
33:49 which to bestow His love.
33:52 But the God of scripture is a kind of...
33:54 Turn with me in your Bibles to Genesis chapter 1.
34:00 Genesis chapter 1.
34:03 Our first point is the simultaneous plurality and
34:04 unity of God's nature.
34:07 Go with me to Genesis chapter 1.
34:09 And while we're going there, let me just as you a question.
34:11 What is the number one verse in all the Bible that people know,
34:13 like the number one verse?
34:16 John 3:16.
34:18 Now just watch this. Watch this.
34:20 Jesus speaking to Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world,"
34:22 and what's the very next thing, "... that He gave. "
34:26 Love gives.
34:28 He gave Himself, He gave Himself.
34:30 "Love seeks not its own. "
34:32 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man would
34:33 lay down his life for his friends. "
34:35 Love is the principle of putting others first.
34:36 But if there are not others, then there is not love.
34:37 But John says, "God is love. "
34:40 And when we come to Genesis chapter 1 verse 26, we find the
34:44 outworking of this triune love.
34:46 Genesis chapter 1 and verse 26, "Then God said,
34:48 'Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness.
34:51 Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
34:57 over the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all
34:59 the earth and over every creeping thing that
35:01 creeps on the earth. '
35:02 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God
35:03 He created him. "
35:05 Watch this, "Male and female He created them.
35:06 Then God blessed them and said to them,
35:09 'Be fruitful and multiply. '"
35:12 God said, "Let Us," that's the plural pronoun,
35:16 "make man in Our," plural possessive pronoun, "image. "
35:19 "Let them," plural pronoun, "have dominion. "
35:22 Where did all of these plural pronouns come from?
35:26 "Let Us... " "Make Our... "
35:28 "Let them... "
35:30 The reason for the plural pronoun is that there is a
35:32 little thing that happens here in the Hebrew that's not
35:34 perfectly clear in the English.
35:36 In the English, "God" is in the singular.
35:37 "God said... "
35:40 In the Hebrew, the word "God" here is "Elohim"
35:41 and it is a plural, it is a plural picture of God.
35:44 It's literally like "Gods".
35:48 No wonder the pronoun, of course a pronoun always has to
35:51 agree with the antecedent noun.
35:53 And so you have a plural noun, masculine plural, Elohim,
35:54 "God said," Elohim, "let Us. "
35:59 "Us," plural pronoun agrees with the plural antecedent noun.
36:02 "Let Us make man in Our... " What's the word there everyone?
36:06 "Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness.
36:09 Let them have over the fish of the sea. "
36:15 God is presented here in a very opening passage of scripture,
36:17 Genesis chapter 1, as a kind of plurality.
36:20 As a kind of... What everyone?
36:25 And follow this, see if you can follow this.
36:26 Only a "them" could represent an "Us" and an "Our".
36:28 Only a "them"; a he or a she, singular masculine and
36:33 singular feminine, cannot represent an "Us" and an "Our".
36:38 This is a plural that is represented best
36:41 apparently by a plural.
36:44 Now I have here in my hand a mirror and I'm just going to ask
36:46 Nadia to come out very quickly for a very simple illustration.
36:49 Come on out Nadia.
36:52 She was nervous about this but she's going to do great.
36:53 Ok, so just take a look in that mirror.
36:55 Nadia is holding the mirror and here's
36:57 something very interesting.
37:00 If I stand right here and I look in the mirror,
37:01 what do you think I see?
37:04 What do I see in the mirror?
37:07 Ah, ok several of you said her.
37:10 No, I don't see her in the mirror.
37:11 What I see is her image.
37:12 Now watch this, something very simple here.
37:14 Whatever I see here in the image, while this is not Nadia.
37:17 I think we can all agree this is not Nadia.
37:21 Ok, can you imagine?
37:24 But what I see here is a reflection or an image of Nadia.
37:25 Does that make sense?
37:31 So whatever I see here corresponds here.
37:32 Right? In other words, it would be really weird if I was looking
37:34 in the mirror here and I see what looks like a nice
37:37 pretty young girl and then I look over here and it's
37:39 an average looking man.
37:41 I'd say, "How does that work?"
37:44 Something's wrong here because what I see in the mirror,
37:46 the image, is absolutely tell-tale of what the
37:49 real article is.
37:53 Does that make sense? Thank you so much, Nadia.
37:54 So what God says is, "Let Us make man in Our image. "
37:56 So what is the mirror that we see God in?
37:59 The mirror, beloved, is a man and a woman.
38:02 And the very first thing that God says to a "them"
38:06 is, make another.
38:08 A family.
38:09 God makes a family in His image.
38:11 God makes a... What, everyone?
38:16 God makes a family in His image.
38:18 Why, pray tell?
38:21 Well I'd like to suggest to you today, because God in His
38:23 very nature, God in His very essence, God in the Godness
38:25 that makes Him God, is a family.
38:29 God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
38:34 So when God says, "Let Us make man in Our image,"
38:38 people will see this thing and they will know what we are like.
38:42 He doesn't make only a male, neither does He make
38:46 only a female.
38:48 He makes a man, He makes a woman.
38:49 And the very first thing He says to them is, make another.
38:51 Make a family.
38:53 The family is in the image of God.
38:55 It is not just men who are in the image of God.
38:59 Neither is it just the ladies that are in the image of God.
39:01 It's the family unit that is in the image of God
39:05 And why, pray tell?
39:08 Because in the family unit, the heart of the husband goes out
39:09 to the children and the wife.
39:13 In the family unit, the children's heart goes out
39:15 to father and mother.
39:17 In the family unit, the heart of the mother goes out to the
39:18 son's or daughter's and to the man.
39:20 In the family unit, you have a picture of the other
39:23 centeredness that is rooted in the nature of God.
39:26 Now it's very interesting, something very
39:31 interesting happens.
39:33 When we come to the rest of the Bible outside of Genesis,
39:34 in other words, only in Genesis is the word "image"
39:41 used positively.
39:44 Isn't this great for them to have this image for me out here?
39:45 Only in Genesis is the word "image" used positively.
39:48 In the rest of the Bible, "image" is used negatively.
39:51 This particular word is tzelem; tzelem, the Hebrew word.
39:54 "Let Us make man in Our image," tzelem.
39:58 It's positive in Genesis 1, positive in Genesis 5,
40:01 positive in Genesis 9.
40:04 But the rest of the Bible, Number and Ezekiel,
40:06 it's negative.
40:08 "You have your images. " "You have your images. "
40:09 "You have your images. "
40:11 And everyone of us in the room knows God hates idolatry.
40:12 Are we together everyone?
40:15 But the question is, why?
40:17 Why does God hate idolatry so much?
40:19 Well, there are a variety of reasons.
40:21 First of all, it's folly.
40:23 And we can just think very quickly about Dagon, right?
40:24 The fish god of the Philistines.
40:27 And they brought the ark of the covenant into Dagon's room
40:29 and the next day they walked in and Dagon was flat on his nose.
40:31 "Oh," they said, "what happened to Dagon?"
40:35 And so, look at the irony.
40:37 They lift up Dagon and then they bow down to worship him.
40:39 "Oh great Dagon, the one who is unable to lift thyself.
40:44 We give you praise, we give you honor.
40:48 Remain standing. "
40:52 Ok then, the next day, the very next day they come in and
40:53 what happened to Dagon?
40:57 Dagon's flat on his nose again.
41:00 And God's like, "Ok, we missed it on the first time.
41:01 Let's try it again. "
41:04 So they come in, "Oh no, something has
41:05 happened to Dagon. "
41:06 And so they lift up Dagon and they say,
41:07 "Ok, he's upright, he's standing.
41:10 "Oh great Dagon, the one who is not able to lift thyself up.
41:12 We made you out of a piece of wood. "
41:15 In fact, God in the book of Isaiah says be very careful
41:16 when you make an idol out of a piece of wood because you
41:19 go into the trees, you go into the forests, you cut down a
41:21 piece of wood, you cut it in half.
41:24 With half of it you bake food and with the other half
41:26 you make an idol.
41:28 And I always say, be sure that you made an idol out of the
41:29 right half and you cook the right half.
41:32 Right? And so why is God so against images?
41:35 Because it's an insult to God.
41:38 But more, it's an insult to man.
41:40 Let me say something radical here.
41:42 God is not against images.
41:44 We just read it.
41:47 "Let Us make man in Our image. "
41:49 The reason that God is against idolatry is not because
41:52 He's against images.
41:55 Listen very carefully.
41:56 It's because God has already imaged Himself
41:57 in the family unit.
42:01 God has already imaged Himself in the family unit.
42:03 And so He says, "No, No. You've got to be kidding.
42:05 Come on, no way. "
42:07 God has already imaged Himself in the family unit.
42:10 "Let Us make man in Our image. "
42:12 A family made to represent a family.
42:15 Are we together everyone?
42:20 Now there are so many other passages that we could go to.
42:21 In Genesis chapter 3, look very quickly with me there,
42:24 Genesis chapter 3 verse 22.
42:26 "Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become
42:28 like one of... '" what does it say?
42:32 "... Us. "
42:33 "The man has become like one of Us. "
42:35 Go to Genesis chapter 11.
42:36 Here we find the building of the tower of Babel.
42:38 Genesis chapter 11 beginning in verse 1.
42:41 "Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.
42:43 Now it came to pass as they journeyed from the east,
42:45 that they found a plain in the land of Shinar
42:47 and they dwelt there.
42:49 Then they said to one another... "
42:50 And there's a play on words, a marvelous poetic
42:51 play on words here.
42:53 Watch what Moses does.
42:54 "'Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly. '
42:55 And they had brick for stone and they had asphalt for mortar.
42:57 And they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city and
42:59 a tower whose top is in the heavens.
43:02 Come, let us make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered
43:04 abroad over the face of the whole earth. '
43:06 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower
43:08 which the sons of man had built.
43:10 And the Lord said, 'Indeed the people are one, and they
43:11 all have one language, and this is what they begin to do.
43:14 Now nothing that they propose to do will
43:16 be withheld from them. '"
43:18 Look at what God says, "Come let Us
43:19 go down there and confuse their language. "
43:21 God says, "Come let... " What?
43:24 "Come let Us. "
43:26 See, there's a play, there's a poetic play on words here.
43:27 The people say, "Come let us. " "Come let us. " "Come let us. "
43:29 And then Moses has God saying, "Come let Us go down and
43:32 confuse their language. "
43:36 God is presented in the book of Genesis repeatedly as a plural.
43:37 Well the reason is because "Elohim" is plural.
43:40 But it gets even more amazing.
43:44 Go back to verse 6.
43:45 This is a stunner, it's just a wonderful little serendipitous,
43:46 of course it could be inspired, but it might just be a
43:50 serendipitous little happening here that further
43:52 buttresses our point.
43:54 Look at verse 6.
43:55 "And the Lord said, 'Indeed the people are... '"
43:56 What does your Bible say?
44:00 Very interesting.
44:01 "People," singular or plural?
44:02 Ok, there are many people there. Singular or plural?
44:07 "One," singular or plural?
44:11 Look at this.
44:12 Moses wrote the book of Genesis.
44:13 Moses, as a Hebrew, does not see an inherent contradiction
44:15 in the plurality of the people and the oneness of the people.
44:20 "Look, the people are one. "
44:24 In other words, the plural is singular.
44:27 Now it's very interesting here.
44:30 "The people are one," shows us that in the Hebrew mind
44:31 there is no absolute contradiction between plurality
44:35 and unity as long as we define our terms.
44:38 Now here's a very interesting thing.
44:42 When it says, "the people are one,"
44:43 it's the Hebrew word "echad".
44:44 Echad, "the people are one. "
44:47 The people are echad.
44:49 Very interesting.
44:51 In Genesis chapter 2, it says that "a man will leave his
44:52 father and mother and cling to his wife
44:54 and they two," twain, "shall be," echad, "one. "
44:57 So already in Genesis we've been introduced to this idea
45:03 that a "two" can be a "one" as long as we define our terms.
45:05 Are we together everyone?
45:09 Now many well meaning non-Trinitarians or Unitarians
45:11 will go to Deuteronomy chapter 6.
45:15 Go there with me very quickly, Deuteronomy chapter 6.
45:16 In Deuteronomy chapter 6, if you were to ask a Jew,
45:19 "What is the most holy, the number one passage in scripture?
45:22 What is the passage that sort of sums up Jewishness,
45:29 that sums up Old Testament?"
45:32 And it would be Deuteronomy chapter 6, almost certainly,
45:34 and we would go to...
45:37 Deuteronomy, let's see here.
45:41 Deuteronomy chapter 6 and it would be verse 4.
45:42 Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 4.
45:47 The Hebrews call this text the Shema, the Name.
45:48 Look at what it says.
45:51 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is... " What?
45:57 "The Lord is one. "
45:59 And they'll say, "See, your silly "trinity".
46:00 It's a holdover from Catholicism,
46:02 they got it from the pagans.
46:04 The Bible says, 'God is one. '
46:05 And if you're going to believe what scripture says,
46:06 you're going to believe that God is one.
46:07 He doesn't need a Son.
46:08 He had a Son, it was the literal Son of God.
46:09 The Spirit's just the force emanating between.
46:11 You are denying the most sacred scripture in the Old Testament
46:13 that God is one.
46:15 But wait a minute.
46:16 God; Elohim. The word is Elohim.
46:18 It's plural, it's the same plural that we just translated
46:21 "Us" as the pronoun in Genesis chapter 1.
46:22 God is one.
46:27 But wait a minute, "the people were one," echad.
46:29 "And the two flesh shall be one," echad.
46:32 In the Jewish mind, there is not absolute inherent
46:34 contradiction between a plurality and a singularity
46:37 as long as we define our terms within the context
46:40 of which we are speaking.
46:43 Are we together everyone?
46:44 And so the first point that we want to make is simple,
46:47 and I think very profound.
46:49 A family represents a family.
46:50 God makes a family unit, a loving family unit.
46:54 Love is the principle of putting others first.
46:57 How can you have love in a vacuum? You can't.
46:59 The heart of the Father going out to the Son and the Spirit.
47:00 The heart of the Spirit going out to the Son and the Father.
47:03 And the heart of the Son going out to the Father
47:05 and the Spirit.
47:07 You have this oneness, you have this family.
47:08 No wonder then, when we come to Genesis chapter 1
47:10 we find God saying, "Let Us make man in Our image. "
47:13 "Let them... "
47:19 Only a "them" can adequately represent an "Us" and an "Our".
47:22 And so we find in scripture this affirmation of the simultaneous
47:25 plurality and unity of the nature of God.
47:29 Are we together everyone?
47:31 Ok, let me go to our second point which is
47:32 the absolute deity and eternality of Jesus.
47:34 Now this is a point that doesn't require a lot of affirmation
47:38 for most of us because most of us are persuaded, as scripture
47:41 plainly communicates, that Jesus is fully God
47:44 in the most emphatic sense.
47:48 Let's just pick up this "one + one=one" motif.
47:50 In John chapter 10 verse 30, you might want to turn there.
47:53 In John chapter 10 verse 30, Jesus says,
47:56 "I and My Father are... " Does anyone know?
47:59 ...one. "
48:03 Now just do the math here.
48:04 "I," that's one, that's an individual,
48:07 "and My Father are one. "
48:09 One plus one is one.
48:14 This is very much what we find in the Old Testament.
48:17 "The people are one. " "The two are one. "
48:19 Elohim, plural, is one.
48:23 "I," one, "and My Father," two, "are one. "
48:25 "I and My Father are one. "
48:30 There is a oneness.
48:32 Why? Because they're members of the same family.
48:33 Same goals, same desires, same aspirations, same character,
48:35 same eternality.
48:38 Let's go to John chapter 1.
48:41 That's a passage well known to most of us.
48:42 "In the beginning was the Word. "
48:44 There's one figure, there's one agent.
48:46 "And the Word was with God. "
48:48 Right? If I'm with my wife, that's another agent.
48:50 So, "In the Beginning was the Word, the Word was with God,
48:53 and the Word was God. "
48:55 One plus one equals one.
48:57 Now some people say, "Oh yeah, yeah.
49:00 But that's not the best translation,
49:02 that's not the best translation. "
49:03 Well let me tell you something.
49:04 I'll let you in on a little secret.
49:05 I don't know any Hebrew and I don't know any Greek.
49:06 Ok, or just enough to get me into big trouble is what I know.
49:09 I say what James Dobson says, "I know a little Hebrew,
49:11 and he owns a meat market on 67th and Union.
49:15 And I know a little Greek, and he owns a Laundromat
49:17 over on 37th street. "
49:20 So, I don't know Hebrew or Greek.
49:21 But what I do have is access to lots of different
49:23 Bible translations.
49:25 And people that translate these things do know Greek.
49:26 And so, according to the KJV, NKJV, NIV, TNIV, Weymouth,
49:29 Phillips, ESV, NASB, ASV, HCSB, Amplified, NLT, CEV,
49:33 NCV, Wile T, Darby, and every other translation that I
49:37 was able to locate, this is the best way to
49:42 translate this passage.
49:44 Are you with me?
49:45 "In the beginning was the Word," one.
49:46 "And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. "
49:49 We find this over and over again in the gospel of John,
49:55 in the writings of Paul, and in other places,
49:57 that Christ in the most emphatic sense is declared to be God.
49:59 Jesus had said to the skeptical Jews,
50:04 "Before Abraham was, I AM."
50:06 He, here, was making the very claim from the Ego Ami,
50:09 from the Old Testament where Moses had stood at the
50:12 burning bush and said, "Who shall I say sent me?"
50:14 "I AM."
50:16 The Jews certainly understood what He said because
50:17 they took up stones to kill Him.
50:20 In Hebrews chapter 1, the apostle Paul says that
50:22 Christ was the one through whom God created the earth.
50:25 In Colossians chapter 2, he says that in Christ dwells
50:28 all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
50:31 In Philippians chapter 2, when he's describing the mind of
50:34 Christ and the necessity of having the mind in the church
50:37 he said, "Let this mind be in you which was also in
50:39 Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God... "
50:41 Then it's an awkward translation here in the King James and
50:43 New King James because it's an awkward phrase.
50:45 "... did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. "
50:47 What a weird thing to say.
50:51 What the Greek means is that, who being in the very form
50:53 of God did not need to grasp or cling to Godness.
50:55 Now I can cling to my maleness because I'm a male.
51:01 I can cling to my David Asscherickness
51:06 because I'm a David Asscherick.
51:08 Christ could only cling to equality with God if He was God.
51:10 He can only relinquish Godness if He possesses Godness.
51:16 And so the uniform testimony of the New Testament
51:21 is this idea that Jesus is God in the most emphatic sense.
51:26 Passages could be multiplied par excellence.
51:31 Let me just give you one.
51:34 In Revelation chapter 1 verse 11,
51:36 Jesus refers to Himself as the First and the Last.
51:37 Revelation chapter 1 beginning in 11, moving down to verse 18.
51:40 He's speaking to John, He says, "I am He that was
51:43 dead and am alive. "
51:45 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, I am the First and the Last. "
51:46 Here's something very interesting.
51:50 That phrase, "I am the First and the Last,"
51:52 comes straight out of the gospel prophet Isaiah.
51:53 Let me just read you a couple of passages here.
51:55 Isaiah 41 verse 4, "Who has performed and done this,
51:57 calling this generation from the beginning?
52:01 'I, the Lord, am the first; and with the last I am He. '"
52:03 Isaiah 44 verse 6, "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
52:06 and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts;
52:09 'I am the First and I am the Last;
52:10 Besides Me there is no God. '"
52:12 Isaiah 48 verses 12 and 13, "Listen to Me, O Jacob,
52:15 and Israel, whom I called; I am the He, I am the First.
52:17 I am also the Last.
52:20 My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
52:21 and My right hand spread out the heavens.
52:23 When I call to them, they stand forth together. "
52:25 This phrase here, "First and the Last," is extracted
52:28 straight from the Old Testament.
52:31 When Jesus says, "I'm the First and the Last," that phrase
52:33 in the gospel prophet Isaiah applies to Jehovah.
52:36 It applies to God.
52:39 And so if Jesus is saying, "I'm the First and the Last,"
52:41 Jesus is saying, "I am He. "
52:43 "I and My Father are One. "
52:46 I mean, it's inescapable.
52:48 This is why orthodox Christianity has almost
52:51 uniformly affirmed the absolute divinity and
52:54 eternality of Jesus.
52:58 Jesus was the Son of God, but not in a created sense.
53:00 He was the Son of God in a relational sense.
53:03 Are we together everyone?
53:07 He's not the Son of God in the same exact way that
53:08 Landon is my son because I pre-existed Landon,
53:11 I pre-existed Jabel.
53:14 No, no, no, no.
53:15 He is the Son of God in the relational sense.
53:16 And I wish I had more time to go into that.
53:18 And finally, we go to our third point.
53:21 We're not going to have time to go to point number four
53:23 which was my little word of advice to my good
53:25 Seventh-day Adventist friends.
53:27 But point number three is very simple,
53:28 and that is the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
53:29 Now there are many passages that we could use
53:33 to establish this.
53:35 We have Acts chapter 5 where Peter has said to
53:36 Ananias and Sapphira, "You have not lied to men,
53:39 but you have lied to God. "
53:41 And then he says, "You lied to the Holy Spirit. "
53:43 You lied to the Holy Spirit, and thus you lied to God.
53:45 The apostle Paul says in Ephesians chapter 4
53:47 and verse 30, "Do not grieve the Spirit. "
53:49 In Romans chapter 8, the apostle Paul says,
53:53 "The Spirit is sent forth into our hearts. "
53:54 "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit
53:58 that we are the sons and daughters of God. "
54:01 Listen to that language.
54:02 "The Spirit Himself... "
54:03 In verse 26, he say when we don't know how to pray,
54:05 "the Spirit Himself prays for us with the groaning's that
54:07 cannot be uttered. "
54:11 And Jesus in the clearest language said, "I will send you,
54:12 I will send you," John chapter 14 verse 6,
54:17 "another comforter. "
54:20 "I will send you... " the word is "allos".
54:22 "I will send you another comforter. "
54:24 It's the very same word that the gospels use repeatedly
54:26 when they say, "Jesus spoke another parable to them. "
54:28 Another parable.
54:31 He spoke a different parable.
54:32 So the word "allos" is different, it's another.
54:34 Jesus says, "I will send you another parakletos. "
54:37 Another comforter, friend, advocate, helper;
54:40 many different translations.
54:42 "I will send you another one. "
54:43 Now if you're sitting in a cafeteria with me
54:46 and I'm sitting down, and you just come up and my wife
54:48 is there and you hear me say to my wife, "Sweetheart,
54:51 may I have another sandwich?"
54:52 What do you know by definition?
54:56 Even if you just walked up, if I ask for another sandwich
54:57 what do you know?
54:59 I already had a sandwich.
55:01 So Jesus says, "Hey, don't be disturbed.
55:02 Don't be too discouraged.
55:05 Because when I'm in Galilee, I'm stuck in Galilee.
55:06 When I'm in Jerusalem, I'm stuck in Jerusalem.
55:08 And when I'm in Judea, I'm stuck in Judea.
55:10 In fact, it's expedient for you that I go away.
55:12 Don't be discouraged, I will send you another comforter,
55:15 a different comforter. "
55:19 The word "parakletos," literally; to walk with,
55:20 one who walks with you, an advocate,
55:23 one who stands beside you.
55:25 Well that raises the question, if a comforter or an advocate
55:26 or a parakletos is one who walks with, who was the first one
55:28 that had been walking with the disciples for
55:33 three and a half years?
55:34 Who was that?
55:35 That was Jesus.
55:36 So if Jesus says, "I'm going away but I'll send you
55:37 another comforter," beloved, follow this.
55:38 It's very simple.
55:40 Only a person could take the place of a person.
55:41 An energy force, an emanation, cannot take the place
55:46 of a person.
55:49 If Jesus is leaving, that is a space left vacant by a person.
55:51 The only object, the only agent that can fill the space left
55:55 vacant by a person is a person.
55:58 No wonder Jesus says, "When you go out in the great commission,"
56:02 Matthew chapter 28, "baptize them in the name of
56:04 the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. "
56:07 So many more evidences could be marshaled.
56:11 One of my favorites is when you go to the book of Revelation,
56:13 you find this counterfeit triune nature of God.
56:15 Right in the book of Revelation.
56:17 You find the dragon masquerading as the Father,
56:18 you find the false prophet masquerading as the Holy Spirit,
56:21 and you find the beast masquerading as the Son.
56:24 Well beloved, think it through.
56:26 If Satan has a counterfeit; dragon, beast, false prophet,
56:27 that tells you what the original is.
56:30 Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
56:32 But the great truth is not about, "Oh, I know what the
56:36 text says and I believe that God is a unity of
56:38 three co-eternal persons. "
56:41 Beloved, the great truth is where we began.
56:42 It's where we began with John's affirmation and
56:45 robust declaration that God is love.
56:48 Beloved, that's where this whole truth lies.
56:53 God is not merely loving in His actions.
56:57 The uniform commitment and declaration of scripture
57:00 is that God in His very nature, God in His very essence,
57:04 is love; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.