HOLY TRINITY SUNDAY “What’s So Great About God?”
May 30, 2021 (Matt. 28:16-20)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
During WW2, in London, J.B. Phillips, a theologian & author, asked a group of young people if they would answer a question quickly – without thinking. “The question is,” He said, “Do you think God understands RADAR?” They all said, “No.”
Then they all laughed, realizing how ridiculous their answer was. And later Phillips wrote: “The snap answer showed me what I suspected; that at the back of their minds there was that idea that God was like an outdated old man who is rather confused by modern progress.”
If that kind of understanding of God existed 90 years ago, it’s probably worse now with all of our other advancements today. 90 yrs ago, space travel was a far-off dream; and we were just in the infant stages of /aircraft, /nuclear power, /lasers, & /computers, as well as many medicines & surgeries. The more man has ‘advanced’ the more many people think of God as an ‘outdated’ idea. Man’s idea is, ‘with enough science & time, we can take care of ourselves’. Many do think of themselves as very ‘progressive’ & evolved beyond a need for the old Bible ideas of God. We might even hear a question that goes all the way back to Eden: ‘what’s so great about God?’
The Festival of The Holy Trinity celebrates Who God is and What He has done to deserve the worship & obedience of ALL people of the earth. And because WE can also be amazed with all the so-called ‘achievements’ of mankind, we need to be constantly reminded about the greatness of God.
I think it’s interesting when I watch some ‘discovery’ show, or read an article on archeology, and people are amazed at how intelligent the ‘ancient’ people were, to build such marvels as the Pyramids of Egypt, or old palaces & temples. People are surprised when there’s evidence of sophisticated agriculture & medicines, because the temptation is to look back a few thousand years and see those people as just ignorant, uncivilized ‘cavemen.’ But ancient Egypt knew about this creation with biology, physics, math & astronomy; so that they had things like fresh running water & flush toilets, medicines & long-lasting cememt, accurate calendars, & navigation by the stars.
But, since modern man assumes the ancients were ignorant, *how do they try to explain this wisdom & technology? Some of the smartest historians use blind superstition to explain things, saying that aliens from other planets must have come in spaceships to teach those people such advanced things. Foolishness!
What about God = who is the Source of all wisdom & knowledge? What about the Creator of all the universe = the One who made US? … who created the stable Laws of Nature, all minerals & chemicals & how they interact for good? Didn’t God create the dynamics of energy, & the smallest particles of human DNA? What’s so hard about giving credit to God, who made it all?
From the beginning, the first man = Adam, & first woman = Eve were formed as adults with perfect knowledge, intelligence, holiness, & right-behavior (or righteousness). Adam’s first assignment was to name all the ‘kinds’ of animals of creation; all of them! We’re still discovering new variations of animals we haven’t seen before! So, who are the primitive ones?
Have you ever read about King Solomon’s source of wisdom? It’s in 1Kings 4; it says:
‘God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man,…and his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs numbered 1005. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.’
Solomon was wiser than Confucius, Einstein, & Steven Hawking all rolled into one. Or *don’t we think that the Almighty is the best one to teach about what He created? It’s no wonder that the great scientists of the past were God-fearing; and the so-called advancements of our day are mostly just modifications of the basic things of God’s creation.
Let’s not claim we’re so smart! Like the adult guiding the child learn about the things around them, our gracious God helps man to slowly discover & use-well what He has created.
But let’s make no mistake: God is the source of all knowledge, since that first day of creation == about 6,000 years ago.
We don’t want to admit it, but compared to original perfection of Adam & Eve,
we struggle to just ‘keep up.’ But like each generation & civilization, we are also still blessed by our Creating God. And as the people-of-God, WE should be able to give a good answer to others when they ask that question: “What’s so great about God?”
Our answer can include 3 things: 1. God is UNIQUE in His being. 2. He is UNMATCHED in His works. and 3. He is SUPREME in His love.
What’s So Great About God?
FIRST, He is UNIQUE. God is ‘Tri-une’; 3-in-one. In the OT, Israel was surrounded by the idea of hundreds of deities or ‘gods’; so God emphasized His ‘oneness’ in those days. Deut.6:4 says, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ When Jesus arrived,
it became important to realized that the One God was also 3 ‘persons’ together; emphasizing that Jesus was God-in-the-flesh-for-us. As Jesus ascends in Matt.28, He says we are to make disciples by baptizing in the name of the One God: Father, the Son, & the HSp.
We do try to explain it. We use a triangle; 3 sides, one triangle. But each side is not a triangle by itself, yet each person of the Trinity is fully God. We use water, which can be steam, liquid, or ice, yet all three don’t exist together at the same time.
So, we try to explain a ‘3-in-1’, but all our illustrations fall short. Even God Himself doesn’t try to fully explain His Being to us; we couldn’t fully grasp it. We simply bow in humble trust & adoration of Him who IS what He said He is: the Triune God.
Yet, we can’t treat this mystery as if it doesn’t matter. It matters greatly! If we don’t believe in God as He has revealed Himself, then we don’t believe in God; without that right faith, there’s no salvation for us; no heaven.
So, we keep & confess The Athanasian Creed, & we worship One God in Three Persons; all with equal glory & power; all are eternal together. If someone worships something called ‘God’, which is less than He has said, it means they have no God at all, and that soul will perish eternally. Ultimately this is comforting: +that our faith rests in something we don’t have to explain; we just believe. And, +that God is bigger than us, & unique, so that we won’t confuse Him with false gods, and be led astray. The creature is not bigger or smarter than the Creator; that’s the kind of God we need. As Ps.145 says, “Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise: His greatness no one can fathom.”
What’s So Great About God? Secondly, He is unmatched in His works. He’s not only far above us in what He IS in His being, but also in what He has DONE, and still does.
All the amazing accomplishments of men are simply ‘discoveries’ of what God has already created into existence out of nothing. Mankind has NOT brought anything into existence out of nothing; we can only work with what is already there.
For example: +Scientists uncovered the presence of nuclear energy by splitting the atom, and it is used for both good power & evil destruction. +We’ve also uncovered the power of super-concentrated light, and many have benefited from laser surgery or fiber-optic communications. +The whole practice of combining chemical compounds as medicine has been an on-going blessing from God over illness & pain.
Some think that there’s no end to what ‘man’ can do = but there is! Man can only be a ‘discoverer’ and a ‘user’ of what already exists. God alone is the Creator of what IS.
And God intends that we discover His things with a dual prayer: a prayer for wisdom to use what He has made for good, & not for evil; and a prayer of thanksgiving for what He gave.
If people are praised for their accomplishments, how much more should the Creator be praised: Says the Psalm: “How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all.”
So, while many are thinking that life is up to them, & they can do as they please,
the fact is, that we exist & have blessings only because our Triune Creator provides for us. And when He is done providing, our life is done; and there’s nothing we can do to add even another minute. Scripture says; “What do you have that has not been given to you? And why do you act like it’s not that way?” If we have strength to work, it because He has given it.
If we are helpless, its so that others will have the chance to serve. We can do all the planning in the world, but it’s finally God who decides what will be, & when. Acts 17 says, “In Him we live & move & have our being.” Without Him we literally cease to exist.
What’s So Great About God? Thirdly, He is SUPREME in His love//mercy. This is the most amazing thing about God; even more than His power. Even tho His creation proves His ‘sovereignty’, it cannot fully show His very nature: He is merciful; “God is love.”
Many are confused about this & ask: *What about all the evil, pain, & death in the world? *How could a good God allow those things? It’s not easy to understand.
He not only ‘allows’ sin & evil to take its toll on humanity, but He Himself has also done destruction & death as punishment. +He sent the flood in Noah’s time to kill hundreds of thousands; only 8 survived. +It was His angel of death sent to kill every firstborn of man & animal in Egypt in 1500 BC.
He causes such things because True Justice punishes evil; & our sin is evil to Him.
He continues to allow pain, sorrow & death in order to drive us back to Him for help & mercy. He not only has explained this, & written it down for us, but He also did the ultimate thing: He Himself came to earth to show us. The very Son of God came & died for us in order to fix our big problem of eternal death and hell. No matter what other troubles we may have in this life, because of His mercy, we don’t have to worry about our long-term future.
The love of God is a person; God’s love took action to give us a better place than in this broken world. Because of the forgiveness given thru the cross of Jesus, we are already being given the fullness of life. It’s ours by faith right now; one day, we will see it face to face.
This is Good News! And yet, there remains one problem; which brings us back to the beginning of the sermon. There are many people who don’t know the One True God who has done all of this. So, The Triune God has given us a daily assignment: to live this faith & hope, to obey His teaching, to forgive others -as we have been forgiven, which will make Him known to others. For that purpose, God-the-Holy-Spirit is at work in God’s people.
The whole world can see all the good things of this creation, but does not acknowledge The Father as Creator. And many people ‘kind-of’ know some things about Jesus, but they don’t realize that He is God-the-Son. And many ignore or resist Bible teaching, which is the chosen way of The Holy Spirit to convince & convert a soul from unbelief to faith.
Many are without the true God; that’s why a lot of people put their hope & trust in the great achievements of man. They’re like ignorant children who have no adult to teach them.
What’s So Great About God? What’s great is that He is not an outdated old man who is confused by modern progress. He is unique in His being, unmatched in His works, and supreme in His love. He loves His creation, especially mankind; and He desires that everyone know Him, come to Him, trust Him, and live with Him.
He has made Himself known to you & me. What remains now is that we live by that knowledge & faith, with wisdom & thanksgiving, for our own good, and for the good of others.