Category Archives: Majors

John 1:1

Trinity | Devotion #6: John 1:1|
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor

Recently, I visited the Nation of Israel.  We went to the Western Wall and watched as many Jews came to the wall to pray to God.  The Jews believe this is the closest that they can get to God’s glory.  The Bible tells us in Exodus 40:34, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” We know that the glory of the Lord fell upon the tabernacle. To this day, Jews will go to the Western Wall because this is closest they can get to what is left of the old temple.  The sad part is that they have missed where the glory of God is and has gone. The glory of God came as flesh as John chapter one would go on to describe as Jesus. 

John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This verse is so simple that a child could understand it, but yet so deep we could spend months studying it. This chapter is the proclamation that God’s glory rests on His Son and that God came down in the flesh as Jesus. Three clear points are made here in verse one. First, the Word was in the beginning. This does not mean a specific period of time. The beginning could also be translated the source.  This is saying that the Word was the start. The Word was before all and the source of all.  John MacArthur, a biblical teacher and pastor, says, “The word of the Lord was the expression of divining power and wisdom.” The second part of this verse says, “the Word was with God.” This has stated the separation of the Word and God. MacArthur also goes on to say that this is a picture of, “2 personal beings facing one another and enjoying intelligent discourse.”

Lastly, we have the statement, “the Word was God.”  If you have ever had a Jehovah’s Witness come to your door, this is one of the first places they will start.   They are okay with the word being the beginning, and the word being with God, but they object to the truth that the “Word was God.”  When we read John 1:14, we see who “the Word” is: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word (Jesus) became flesh. Jesus took up residence among us.

The wonderful thing about the Bible is that it continually supports itself.  

John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”  

Colossians 2:9 continues, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”

Romans 9:5 adds, “To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”

2 Peter 1:1 says, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

These verses amazingly describe the Father and Son aspect of the Trinity.  I challenge you to read 2 Corinthians chapter 3 to see how the Holy Spirit fits into and completes this Holy Trinity that we trust. 

Matthew 1:23

Trinity | Devotion #5: Matthew 1:23
Chuck Lindsey | Reach Pastor

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)

An egg. An apple. Water. What do they have in common? They have all been used to try to explain the doctrine of the Trinity to children and adults alike. The basic concept of the Trinity seems simple on its surface. It is easy to say that God is “three persons in one.” But when your five-year-old begins to ask questions, you quickly realize the answer is not so simple. Enter the humble egg as an attempted illustration of the Trinity. It is three parts: shell, white, and yolk existing as one egg. A single apple consists of three parts as well: the skin, the flesh, and the core. Water can exist in three forms, a liquid, a solid (ice), and a gas (steam). These illustrations, however helpful they might be, do not perfectly convey the Trinity (because each “thing” is a different “thing”). Like an exercise bicycle, it feels that the harder you push to understand or explain the Trinity, the more difficult it becomes. However, just because the concept of the Trinity is difficult to wrap our minds around, does not mean that we should disregard it. It is vital!

First things first, the word “Trinity” (a tri-unity – three in one) is not in the Bible. However, the concept is. The Trinity, meaning that the one true God exists in three persons, is taught throughout the Scriptures. We see the doctrine of the Trinity taught from Genesis to Revelation. To understand it, we have to keep it simple. The Bible says that there is ONE God. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” We find that not only is the Father called God, but the Son, Jesus is called God, and the Holy Spirit is called God. God is “one.” 

Jesus is a good starting point. Key passages make it clear that Jesus is God. John 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God and was GOD. He was in the beginning with God.” Then verse 14 (NKJV) adds, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 10:30 (NKJV) says, “I and the Father are One.” Thomas’ confession of Him when he saw the risen Jesus is very pointed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 NKJV). Titus 2:13 (NKJV) says that we as His people are “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”  Colossians 1:15-17 (NKJV) also shows that Jesus is God, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” There are many other passages stating Jesus is God. Jesus is called God throughout the Bible.

The Holy Spirit is also God. In Acts chapter 5, we read that Ananias and his wife Sapphira are said to have lied to the Holy Spirit. However, verse 4 (NKJV) says, “You have not lied to men but to God.”  John 6:63 tells us that it is the Holy Spirit who “gives life.” That is something that only God is said to be able to do. In the Genesis account of Creation, we see the Holy Spirit hovering above the deep (waters) involved in the creation, something that only God is said to have done. The Spirit is said to be all-knowing, everywhere at once, all-powerful, and eternal. These are attributes that only God possesses.

On a technical note, in the opening words of the Bible found in Genesis 1:1, we read, “In the beginning God.” What you may not know is that in Hebrew (the original language of the Old Testament), the word “God” there is the plural form of a singular noun. It is “Gods as one” if you will. Not just “gods” making God “polytheistic” (multiple gods), it is describing right from the opening words a “plurality within the one God.” Just a few chapters later in the Genesis account, we read of God making man using the words, “Let us make man in our image.” It is incredible.

The New Testament shows us the Trinity continually. 1 John 5:7 (NKJV) says it clearly, “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit and these three are one.” All three persons of the Trinity are seen together in the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19 (NKJV), “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” At the baptism of Jesus, we see all three persons of the Trinity at once: “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” In Revelation 4:8, we see the angels of God crying out the threefold, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” They use the word “holy” three times for just one God. 

We may not be able to explain how three persons can exist as one God, but that is what the Bible teaches. Perhaps, rather than the picture of an apple or an egg, maybe we should use math? God is not 1+1+1=3, but rather 1x1x1=1.

2 Corinthians 13:14

Trinity | Devotion #4: 2 Corinthians 13:14
Caleb Combs | Gathering Pastor

Describing the Trinity is an extremely difficult, if not impossible, task. The word “Trinity” cannot even be found in the Bible, yet it is a crucial piece of our walk and understanding of God. We see the Trinity made up of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. As a child, we sang a song that described the Trinity and its components. The song closed with “three in one, three in one.” As a child, and even now, the concept of “three in one” is mind-blowing! I have always said that if someone claims to fully be able to explain the Trinity, then run because they have no idea what they are saying. I am not sure if that is a good statement, but fully understanding the Trinity means to fully understand God and His character and this is something our finite brains can never fully grasp. 

Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” This verse is something that I think every believer must understand. “I realize I cannot fully understand God, yet my faith in Him is willing to trust Him and His plan and my response is to live for Him every day.” The Bible tells us that we must have a “child-like” faith to believe in God and this is something that we as followers of Christ must cling to especially when walking through tough concepts like the Trinity. 

However, as we look at the Trinity, we see three components that make it up: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit working in unison to establish a relationship with you. 2 Corinthians 13:14 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” We see the three characteristics of the Trinity described by Paul in 2 Corinthians as grace, love, and fellowship. All three pointing back to the Gospel and God’s desire for us to be saved. J. I. Packer, a world renowned theologian, describes the Trinity like this, “The Trinity is the basis of the Gospel, and the Gospel is a declaration of the Trinity in action.” The Trinity is three forms of God in action to declare the Gospel to a broken world. The grace of Jesus came to the earth to die on a cross for our sins. The love of God is perfect and true and will never stop pursuing a relationship with us. Finally, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit walks with us everyday, comforting, leading, guiding, and directing our steps. We see all three forms with different characteristics, yet acting in unison pointing us toward a relationship with God. So, just as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, I write to you, “May the grace of Jesus Christ, the perfect love of God the Father and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you!” (2 Corinthians 13-14).

Matthew 28:19

Trinity | Devotion #3: Matthew 28:19
Joshua Combs | Lead Pastor

“…the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….” Matthew 28:19

At the time of Jesus, polytheism (the belief and worship of more than one god or goddess) was the major religious viewpoint. Except for the Jewish Nation, who were monotheistic (believed and worshipped one God), the belief in many gods and goddesses was essentially a globally accepted idea. The prophets of the Old Testament stood against Israel’s acceptance of other gods (Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”), while the apostles in the New Testament spoke against the predominantly Greco-Roman worship of many gods and goddesses. Jesus came and unequivocally declared Himself as God (more about that next week), but made it clear that He was doing only the will of His Father. Other than the cross of Calvary, no greater and more emotional example of this exists than in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed, “My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus had authority over sickness, disease, demons, weather, and the whole of creation, yet He willingly submitted His will to God the Father. In the same way, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, telling the disciples, “He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). We see very plainly in Scripture God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Please understand, not three gods, but one God in three persons. We would say, the triune God. Christians are not polytheists; we are monotheists. We believe in one God, who exists in three distinct persons. The study of the Trinity is like exploring a profound mystery, and yet within the pages of the Scripture the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit are seen and more importantly, presented as one.  

In Matthew chapter 28 as Jesus is preparing His disciples for His eventual ascension into Heaven, the Lord gives to His followers what we have come to know as “The Great Commission.” Jesus charges His followers with the mission of preaching the Gospel throughout the world, and then “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….” (verse19). The commission to those believers and to us is not to casually be acquainted with or even benign to the Trinitarian existence of God, but to take practical action that acknowledges the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but a truly saved person will be baptized, publically declaring their faith that God sent His Son to die on the cross and rise again three days later. Jesus then sent the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us. Even as Jesus, who was baptized by John in Matthew chapter 3, comes up out of the water, the audible voice of God the Father is heard, and the Holy Spirit is seen descending like a dove on Jesus. The Trinity was present at the baptism of Jesus and is present at all future baptisms as well.

Colossians 2:9

Trinity | Devotion #2: Colossians 2:9
James Clouse | Student Pastor

As humans, we deal with so many things. Those things are often weird such as puberty and squeaky voices. Sometimes those things tell our age such as grey hairs or wrinkles. Sometimes our bodies do not quite do what we need them to do. 

At summer camp with the students, my head and my heart kept telling me that I could do everything they could do. I was running up and down the soccer field, diving for the ball while playing volleyball, or jumping as far as I can in the air to catch a Frisbee in Ultimate Frisbee. While I kept thinking that I could do all this, my body started reminding me that I cannot quite do what I used to do. I was shortly reminded that our bodies experience pain.

This small amount of pain is incomparable to what God the Son did for us. Jesus Christ, as part of the Trinitarian Godhead, came down from Heaven to experience an insurmountable amount of pain. The physical pain and suffering that He experienced cannot even begin to compare with the pain and suffering He felt by being separated from His Father while on the cross.

We can sometimes place so much of an emphasis on Jesus’ earthly ministry and forget that Jesus has always been right beside His Father. We always hear about His ministry here but forget that He has always been here and involved with His Father. 

Colossians 2:9 says, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”

When Jesus dwelt here on Earth, He had left Heaven to become God on Earth. We see in John 1:1 that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” In verse 14 we see that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus is the Word that is referenced here. He was there at the beginning of creation, and we read that He will be there at the end during the final days.  

The abundance of the Word’s love shows in the fact that while Jesus is God, He came down to Earth to experience everything that we experience and more. Having a relationship with Jesus should be easier in knowing that He experienced temptation just as we do. Knowing that Jesus, in His fullness of deity, lived as we do, should make us want to run to Him for comfort and strength.

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