- 23 May 2021
- Stuart Robinson
Trinity Sunday 2021.
By way of disclaimer before I pray, I do not intend to prove or even explain the Trinity this morning.
I do, however, wish to ponder again the wonder and the kindness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who work cooperatively in reaching out to us, and in rescuing us from judgement and death.
May we pray?
Here is a confession: the earlier part of my theological training was paid for by driving tourist coaches around Australia – and in the early days, I was very often taking people to places to which I had never been.
When passengers asked me what they were likely to see and experience on the trip, I could only give the answers that I had just read in my trusty BP Road Atlas of Australia (this was pre internet 1983).
Now then, once I had been to fascinating destinations like Uluru, or Phillip Island, or Alice Springs, or Longreach, I was in a much better position to answer the question, ‘what can we expect to see; what will it be like?’
Because I could speak from experience.
I had been there.
It was familiar territory.
Here is the point:
Unlike all other religious figures from history, Jesus speaks from his experience of being in God’s presence in God’s heaven.
It was familiar territory.
St. John (or possibly John the Baptist) speaks in this text before us (John 3:31-33), of Jesus’ preexistence; his life and fellowship with God the Father before his incarnation (his birth).
We learn from verse 31 that Jesus comes from heaven and is ‘above all’.
‘Above all’ is a reference to authority and power.
We know this because God loves and trusts the Son and has placed ‘all things in his hands’ (v.35).
And it is the Son, the Lord Jesus, who testifies to what he has seen and what he has heard (past tense) – verse 32.
Jesus speaks for and represents God the Father – to humankind.
John puts it this way in v.34, ‘For the one whom God has sent [Jesus], speaks the words of God’.
So, you see the Father and Son, cooperate in presenting the mind of God to all who are open to receiving it.
Those who do receive it, by their obedience and devotion demonstrate that God is trustworthy and true (v.33).
Those who do not receive it, remain at enmity with God, and we will come to that tragic reality in just a moment.
So, the Father and Son minister in lockstep, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, whom God has poured out upon the Lord Jesus– without limit.
We read in John 3:34-35, ‘For the one whom God has sent [the Lord Jesus], speaks the words of God. For God gives the Spirit without limit’.
And we know that Jesus, in turn, pours out (or breathes out) the Holy Spirit on his people and his church (John 20:22).
It is the Holy Spirit who brings us to new birth (John 3:3) and as our Epistle reminds us, he confirms in our hearts that we have been adopted into God’s family, that we are God’s precious children and co-heirs of the glory set before us – Romans 8:15-17.
Now this wonderful passage does however end on a very sobering note.
It is this:
‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them’. John 3:36
God-in-Trinity lovingly reaches out to us, to reconcile us to the Father and to fit us for heaven…and yet people spurn God’s great generosity.
And as such, they will stand before God unforgiven, and unprepared for the just reckoning for sin that awaits all who reject the work of Christ.
Hence our Vision – Light for the City and Refreshment for the Soul.
We want to be a beacon of light and hope and renewal; pointing people to the God of grace – who in Trinity – gives his all that we might know him and enjoy him forever.
May we pray?
We thank you, O God, for reaching out to us, in the person of your Son and in the power of your Spirit, and rescuing us for yourself.
Have mercy, Lord, on those we know and love, who have (to date) spurned your kindness and grace.
Please open their hearts and minds to your goodness and mercy.
Deliver them, we pray, from wrath and judgment.
And may we, in humility and with great care, speak of our confidence and hope in you.
In the name of the Father, the Son. and the Holy Spirit. Amen