We need to be very careful of the ministers and ministries we follow. Not everything that proclaims Jesus Christ is Christian.
THE TRUTH IS IN THE TRINITY
Luke 3:21, 22
From the time of the apostles to the foundation of the Baptist church, all Christians believed in that God revealed and reveals himself in three persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” I offer you two sources. From our own Articles of Faith we have these words: …that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. As the early church fathers established Christian doctrine, St. Basil of Cappadociea gave us this standard from the scriptures: The Holy Spirit is one and we speak of him as unique since through the one Son He is joined to the Father. He completes the all-praised and blessed Trinity. For 2,000 years it has been understood by all denominations that no matter what we believe about specific items of doctrine, no one can claim to be a Christian without believing in the Holy Trinity.
Alas, things have changed due to modern Christianity’s perpetual rejection of tradition and falling for anything that is popular. There is a false doctrine that is common among some TV ministries and those who watch them called Oneness Pentecostalism. This doctrine teaches that God is only one person by reveals himself in three different modes or manifestations. Looking at the website of Bishop TD Jake’s Potters House Ministry, this is what his church teaches about God: There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (http://www.thepottershouse.org/Local/About-Us/Belief-Statement.aspx). Because of the popularity and size of his and similar ministries, many Christians are being led into this rejection of Christian belief. Those who do not believe in this modalistic doctrine don’t want to speak against it because they feel that as long as God is praised and souls are being saved, we shouldn’t “hate” on such ministers. After all, it is written “Whoever is not against me is for me.”
But, how can one be for Jesus and reduce Him from being the person of salvation to being a mere mode or manifestation? Looking at the Gospel text this morning, we see that a person came to be baptized. Another person took on the bodily form of a dove and descended on Him. And yet another person spoke from heaven and declared the person being baptized as His Son. There are three distinct and separate entities present. This is why we baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is why the core of the ancient prayers and worship services are in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I offer you today brothers and sisters that the 2,000 year-old doctrine of God In Three Persons is the true and only doctrine of the Holy Trinity for us to believe in and follow.
We describe God as love and the one who loves. True love has to be shared by at least two parties. Thus, out of the love that He is, God the Father divinely and mysteriously begotten the Son. Jesus was not created by as Adam was. Nor was he born of some goddess. Love comes forth from Love and it is beyond our comprehension ans humans. In order for a father and son to have love, there must be a Spirit of Truth between them as love does not exist between two persons where falsehood is present. The father sends forth this spirit of truth toward the Son. Thus God, the three persons of the Holy Trinity, is love as the two persons are bound together by the third person. The Father is the fountain-head of Love. The Son is the object of Love, and the Spirit of Truth binds them together. God is one in three persons. It doesn’t make logical sense because 1+1+1 does not equal 3. But, as we walk by faith and not by sight, we accept the Trinity as the Great Mystery of the God who’s ways are not our ways and who’s thoughts are not our thoughts. God the Holy Trinity is Love.
The glaring failure of modalistic doctrine, God as one person in three modes, is that such a God cannot be love as it has no other divine person to love nor has no spirit to make the love true. Such a god cannot give love because he can’t give what he is not. He can give law as in modern Judaism and Islam. He can give rules for a civil society and a peaceful existence. He can give logic and reason. He can even give a few anointings, breakthroughs, and miracles. But without love, as Paul described, this sort of god is nothing more than sounding brass, a clanging cymbal, and nothing that such a god does can profit him anything. Judaism pointed the way to God. Islam has some rules to live by. Modern modalist can make people feel good and get happy. But as none of them hold to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the God in Three Persons, they cannot lead us to salvation as salvation is an act of Love.
Consider that the Son, Jesus, was without sin. Yet, He submitted Himself to John’s baptism of repentance for the remission of sins and He prayed. The Son, this person of the Trinity is holy in his own right. Yet he takes on the form of corruptible flesh and obeys the prophetic pattern of cleansing established by another person of the Trinity, the Father: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.” Even though it made no sense for Jesus to have to be baptized for repentance and remission of sin and to pray, the Son lovingly obeys the Father.
Consider also that the Son, Jesus, already had power enough just by being who he was. Gabriel, and unborn John, the heavenly host, Simeon, Anna; they all knew that Jesus was the savior. And what happens to the one who is already known to be Holy? The Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him. The Holy Spirit came down on the one who was already Holy. This was done not out of necessity. It was done to show those gathered then and us today that the Holy Spirit is lovingly with those who are lovingly obedient in repentance and prayer.
Consider thirdly that the Son, Jesus, was already the Son of God. This is what the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore also, that the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” By Himself, or with the aid of the Holy Spirit, Jesus could have performed a number of miraculous signs and wonders to show that He was the Christ. Yet, there is no confirmation like direct confirmation from the source. God the Father gave no dramatic earthquake, mighty thunder, nor some other demonstrative announcement of Jesus as the divine Messiah. A loving voice came from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son: in You I am well pleased.”
In the early formation of Christian doctrine, the early fathers saw in apostolic tradition and the scriptures that at the baptism of Christ, there were three distinct and divine beings present. And at the first two Great Councils of the Church in 325 and 381 AD, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was established as an essential Orthodox belief. We Baptist also searched the scriptures and in every version of the Articles of Faith we accept that the One True God there are three persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I therefore urge us brothers and sisters not to stray from the truth of 2,000 years. Let us not get caught up in the popularity and hype of modern modalism. Salvation comes only from believing in the Holy Trinity. As we lead lives of repentance and prayer as Jesus did, the Holy Spirit will be our guide, and God will confirmed the baptized believers as his children.