For the Triune God So Loved the World (John 3)

Date: 5/27/2018
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Trinity
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

John 3:1–17 - Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11 “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

The Doctrine of the Trinity - Since it is Trinity Sunday, let us remember that Scripture and orthodox creeds teach the doctrine of the Trinity, namely that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons in one divine essence. There is one God consisting in three eternal persons, but they are not three eternal separate beings. The Athanasian Creed (sixth century) says, “That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.” The WCF (1647) says, “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. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son” (WCF II.3).

The Trinity in John’s Gospel - From the very first verse of John’s Gospel we are taught that Jesus is the divine Son who is truly God in His eternal nature, while this truth is more subtly expressed in the Synoptic Gospels (Mk. 1:10; Matt. 28:20). The culmination of Matthew’s gospel is the recognition of the mission of the Church, to baptize the nations in the Triune name (Mt. 28:18-20). The moment Jesus appears in history, at the same time the Spirit descends upon Him (John 1:32). In John 4, God is Spirit. In the marvelous Bread of Life discourse, it is the Spirit that gives life (John 6:63). At the feast of tabernacles (focusing on the giving of the revelation of the Law), Jesus promises to send the Spirit as a river of life (7:39). Even more, throughout that final discourse in the upper room, the relationships of Father, Son, and Spirit coalesce as the model of the disciples future mission and life of fellowship (chs. 14-17).

The Love of the Triune God - In the rich banquet of John 3, the Spirit will be sent by Jesus and is the cause of the “new birth,” which is connected the kingdom of God and the mission of Jesus (v 3). Here Nicodemus’ attitude about the “new birth” may have arisen from the decades of Messianic imposters claiming to bring in the kingdom (Acts 5:36-37). Jesus is describing the new spiritual era and internal change which will be wrought by the Spirit based on His redemptive work and especially the resurrection (Jn. 11:25). The word born “again” (3:3) is “unavoidably and intentionally ambiguous because of the inherent double meaning of ano¯then” (NIB). “Elsewhere in the NT also mostly it means ‘from above’” (Tyndale), e.g., Jn. 19:11. But given John’s propensity for layered meanings, it means both &ldquo

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more