We Believe: In One God, Father, Son, and Spirit
This is a sermon preview for the second sermon in the “We Believe: Back to Basics” sermon series. To watch the recording of any of the sermons in this sermon series, visit our website.
“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’” - 1 Kings 19:11-14
I’m not much of a radio show person, but Air1 has a captivating segment where hosts CJ and Lauren ask an “impossible question of the day.” The name is exactly what you’d expect–a question that seems like it should be a no-brainer, but somehow I’ve literally never heard anyone get the right answer. Don’t believe me? Try it out:
A little over 75% of us do before taking a long road trip? (Turn around because they forgot something!)
83% of Americans use this everyday during the summer months? (Ice!)
Sometimes questions about God feel a bit like answering an impossible question for Christians. While it’s fun to guess the answers to silly trivia questions, there’s a lot more at stake when we try to describe the mysterious triune God we claim to love. How are imperfect and limited humans like us supposed to find words to adequately describe this God that is so “other” from us?
Perhaps that’s it: we begin our faith by simply recognizing that God is like no other being we’ve ever encountered.
In 1 Kings, Elijah the Prophet is having a rough time. Actually, that’s putting it lightly. Elijah is failing to get the people of Israel to turn away from idols and back to God. Elijah has made enemies of the royal family. He is running for his life, all alone in the wilderness. He’s depressed and desperate. I bet it’s not the life he imagined for himself when he was a kid.
Elijah needs God to do something–do anything–when God finally tells him to go stand on a mountain until God’s presence passes by him. Elijah obeys and sees many wonderous signs: a powerful wind roars and tears the mountains apart; an earthquake rumbles the ground loose; a fire bursts out and consumes whatever it touches. All of these great and mighty signs, one after another, seem to surely be the powerful Lord breaking into the world and finally having his way.
But they are not! 1 Kings says that God was not in the wind. God was not in the earthquake. God was not in the fire. Though we humans are easily mesmerized at the wonders of such elements, God is unlike them all. This God is greater than them all.
But don’t worry! God doesn’t leave Elijah hanging. God’s presence does pass by: an unexpected gentle whisper. A personal voice which calls to Elijah and reveals that this is a God with care and love for his children.
In this life, we won’t get all the “Who is God?” questions right. And that’s okay. (For a good laugh of the many ways Christians have commonly failed throughout history, check out “St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies” on YouTube.)
But we can go to the mountain like Elijah. We can wait for the presence of God to come to us. We can wait for this “other” God to show us piece by piece who he is. We can try our best to honor the testimony of who God reveals himself to be in scriptures: one God who we come to know as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God in three persons, all equally divine, with distinct natures, and working together in harmony. This Trinity can’t be found anywhere else on earth or in the heavens. This Trinity cannot be replicated in our own lives or turned into a practical life skill. This God is greater, worthy of our worship, mystery and all.
As the New Hampshire Confession of 1833 points out: “We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit…the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness; and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love.” (Baptist Confessions of Faith: Second Revised Edition, pg. 379)
What do you know about God’s character that is easy for you to accept? Do you struggle with not understanding something about who God is?
What might it look like for you to stand and wait for the Lord’s presence to pass by you this week?
When God reveals something about his unique nature to you, how does it affect your worship? How does it affect your witness as you share your faith with others?