Lesson #3: 1+1+1=1? The Trinity
We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.
READY: Wk.#3: Read before Lesson 3: 1+1+1=1? | armyofcompassion. If you would like to print out a hardcopy-download here: Lesson 3-Reading Handout
SET: *Let’s be honest… People in general- have questions! Lots of questions. Theology is where we “work out” some of our toughest life questions. Theology, in a broad sense, is the study of God and his nature, his Word and ultimately our response to Him. The Trinity is a theological doctrine in which we work to understand and explain how God is “distinctly three, yet one”. Many Christians don’t understand the Trinity, and yet it’s truth gives us a clearer picture of the God who loves us and who set a plan for our rescue. From the very moment of Adam and Eve’s sin, God saw you through the eyes of eternity.
TRINITY ACTIVITY: (Though an imperfect illustration- it gives us some insight.) Using a clear cup, a cup of water, some sugar and powdered drink mix and a spoon; mix the three ingredients together. Gather everyone together! We’ve got a “demo”! Can we all agree that we have created a drink…using 3 ingredients? Of course. And certainly, if this is a drink, then this powder in itself must also be a drink….right? Why-or why not? Each ingredient is important, one adding the sweetness, the next-flavor and color, and the last the liquid that makes it drinkable. You might say that each of these ingredients plays a unique role and plays an important part. It is absolutely necessary to have all three ingredients to act together to create the one drink. Simply said God is One God-and yet with three distinct persons…The Trinity. God, the Father-Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All are holy. All are powerful and eternal, all knowing with all wisdom.
GROUP QUESTION: What are some of the roles of each? God. Jesus. Holy Spirit. (You can brainstorm as individuals, or in smaller groups)
Watch the following video which is based on C.S. Lewis’ theological formula for the Trinity- in “Mere Christianity”.
Watch a mosaic of Salvationist witness on the work of the Trinity.
1+1+1=1. Bad mathematics…Good theology, which explains a word that is actually never used in Scripture, yet it’s concept is clearly present. The Trinity….from the Latin, “threefold”.
This is one doctrine that is essential for us to grasp, for as we look across history we see that entire cults have begun and leaders, taking wild turns in their thinking when there is a misunderstanding of WHO God is. 1+1+1=1. We can look as far back as the first century when the apostles were still on earth- Gnostics rose up defining Jesus as never really human, more a spirit just “appearing to have a body”-kind of an illusion. To choose to see one part of the Trinity in this way changes the whole perception about nature of God, ultimately distorting the message of salvation. Gnosticism categorized flesh as evil- “We’re all stuck in our human skin-but we can have salvation in this other-separate “spiritual” area of our beings, if we grasp this ‘special knowledge'”. Complicated? YES!,-but Gnosticism has been the root of many cults and spiritual movements that claim that “a private, special knowledge is needed” for salvation. There are those who would say that Jesus was not divine, that one particular member of the Trinity is to be worshiped above the others, or that God merely moves in and out of these three identities like roles. All are distorted. All lead to conclusions that take us away from the truth of the Trinity.
Doctrine #3 has the following elements: 1) There is only One God (monotheism), but 2) there is a plurality of persons within God. It is not imaginary, or pretend or just present at certain times in history. 3) God is the Father. 4) God is the Son and 5) The Holy Spirit is also fully God. The sum is three and yet it is one. It is shown, verse after verse in Scripture- without an explanation.
- One God: Look up Mark 12:28-34, I Timothy 2:5, John 17:3
- Plurality of persons within God: plural terms are used for God in the Old Testament, include panim (equivalent to the Greek prosopa, for “faces,” “persons,” or “presence,”) Look up Exodus 33:14-15 and Matthew 3:16-17.
- God is the Father: Look up John 14:28 and John 17: 1-2
- God is the Son: Look up John 5:26, Philippians 2:5-11
- The Holy Spirit is also fully God: Look up I Corinthians 6:11 & Romans 1:4
John 16:8-11 All three persons of the Trinity. Ephesians 1:17-18: 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
- GROUP QUESTION: What are some conclusions you’ve come to realize about the Trinity as you study God’s Word?
FYI / CK IT OUT THIS WEEK: Learning about SA-Culture:
Learning about the Crest and the Flag.
BOOTS ON THE GROUND:
Our prayer lives are really the perfect area of our daily lives where we can see all three members of the Trinity at work. We pray to the Father, through Jesus Christ his Son- and in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:8.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with You (2 Cor. 13:14)
ACTIVITY: As you close your time together in prayer, firstly sing together, “Holy,Holy, Holy” with the video below. Listen for words and phrases that describe the different persons of the Trinity. May your prayer time be full of “one sentence THANKS” for all that God is doing in your life. While we walk through both joy and sorrow, we still look for the ways in which He is IN our lives…the ways in which He is faithful, near, holding us, speaking-when we have no words.
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