Readings: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 • Psalm 8:1-9 • Romans 5:1-5 • John 16:12-15
This week is Trinity Sunday and the theme is God’s Glory. Proverbs 8 talks about wisdom, which is a personification of God’s ways, or a personified blueprint of all creation. The Psalmist sees the glory of the heavens and asks, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them.” He concludes by saying, “How majestic is your name!” Paul spoke to the believers in Rome about the peace and hope we have in Christ—leading us to rejoice in the glory of God. Jesus told his disciples in the Gospel of John about the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Truth—who will glorify Christ. The sermon focuses on the passage in John.
What’s Mine Is Yours
John 16:12-15 (NRSV)
Introduction: How many of you, as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles believe you have much to share with the young people in your family, but you realize they simply won’t receive it or understand it? Sometimes it’s because they aren’t listening; sometimes it’s because they simply don’t have the experience or maturity to understand. I know I wish I had listened more during my life—and I’m sure you feel the same about your life.
Today we celebrate the Trinity on this day called Trinity Sunday—part of the traditional Christian calendar. We are going to look at a passage in the Gospel of John where Jesus tells us that what he shares with us has been given to him by his Father. Jesus is showing us the unity he experiences with the Father—”what the Father says, I say; what the Father does, I do.” Elsewhere in the Bible we are told Jesus is the exact representation or expression of the Father. When we understand the significance of God being Father, Son and Spirit we see that this is an immeasurable gift we have been given in Jesus Christ. Let me explain:
In Jesus, we are brought into the divine life the Father, Son and Spirit have shared for all eternity. Don’t just gloss over that thought. Let me say it again: In Jesus, we are brought into the divine life the Father, Son and Spirit have shared for all eternity. This life that we are brought into is not like some extra carry-on bag of goodies that we add to our present journey. It is a life that transforms our whole existence, past, present and future. Let’s briefly look at how the Triune life transforms us.
The Triune life shared with us transforms our past.
Notice how Jesus addressed his disciples:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12 NRSV).
Jesus takes us as we are and where we are. The disciples weren’t ready for some things, and Jesus knew this. A few days later, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, they were ready for a lot more. Aren’t you glad our past doesn’t determine our future? Maybe you have said to yourself the phrase “If only I knew then what I know now.”
However, we don’t know what we don’t know; and sometimes we don’t know we don’t know what we don’t know. But like the disciples, often what we know now we could not have received at an earlier time. How often do we look back at our parents and realize they knew more than they could tell us because of our immaturity or lack of experience? The more I look back on my life, the more I realize how much grace has been extended to me.
We don’t know what we don’t know, but thanks to God’s grace he does not leave us stuck there. In Jesus, we find grace, not guilt, for our past. The Father is not deterred by the lack of understanding we may have at any given time. He takes us where we are and moves us forward in his grace.
One thing we can see in the context of this passage is that the disciples were exhausted and had already been given quite a bit to chew on. Their minds were probably saturated with everything Jesus was telling them. We can see in this that God is aware of our limitations. Jesus did not overwhelm them, but rather gave them hope for another day. He does the same for us. You probably have days where you just can’t take anymore. Ever feel like that? God knows how far to stretch you and he knows when you need a rest. We may disagree at times with where that line is, but we can trust him that he is not trying to destroy us.
The Triune life shared with us transforms our future.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13 NRSV).
This guidance of the Spirit of truth extends into “the things that are to come.” The “things that are to come” is the kingdom Jesus is bringing us into. When we understand the kingdom primarily in relational terms—Jesus bringing us into the divine life the Father, Son and Spirit share—then we come to see that this truth Jesus is talking about is the eternal truth of who God is.
The Spirit is sent to bring us into a relational knowing of the Father. The heart of this truth is that God is a God of love. This is what Jesus was revealing about the Father through his life, death and resurrection. The Father is not an angry, vindictive God but rather the God of compassionate love. This is what the Spirit continues to “declare” to us as we move into the future.
The unknown of the future can be a fearful thing, but when we come to know the unchanging love of the Father, our fear can be removed. As John says elsewhere, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). This truth of God’s heart and character transforms our future to one of hope. We do not have to fear being led into a future of knowing God. If God is love, then the more we come to know him, the less fear we will have.
Today, you may be fearing the future regarding your children, your retirement or your health. Perhaps it’s the future of your career or your church that makes you fearful. Maybe you fear the future of our country or our world. In all of it, we can know that when the future arrives, we will find a God of love waiting there for us. We can rest in his loving purposes for us, knowing that he has our future secure as he will never change his heart about us. His love never fails.
The Triune life shared with us transforms our present.
In this Triune life Jesus brings us into in the Spirit, our past is released from guilt and our future is freed from fear. But we must still live in the present. It’s in the present that we feel the anxieties that often rise day in and day out. How does our inclusion in the Triune life counter our anxieties today?
Today’s passage ends with Jesus telling us that he is glorified because all that the Father has given him is being shared with us.
He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you (John 16:14-15 NRSV).
God’s glory, or the way he really is, is put on display as a generous God who gives and shares ALL. What Jesus is showing us about his life with the Father is a life of abundant fellowship and sharing. The Father never keeps anything from the Son and the Son is delighted to share all things with the Father and the Spirit shares all the mutual sharing between the Father and Son with us.
When we see the abundant provision of sharing and fellowship poured out on us in Christ, our present anxieties have no ground to grow in. This is the fellowship we participate in for the present. God is with us now. Jesus is Lord now. The Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, our Counselor, now. We have been offered the opportunity to participate in the relationship Father, Son and Spirit share now.
We don’t have to wait until some distant future time and we didn’t miss the bus sometime in the past. Father, Son and Spirit are presently with us, sharing their abundant life of faith, hope and love which leaves no room for fear, guilt or anxiety. Jesus today, in the Spirit, is telling us the amazing good news that “What’s Mine Is Yours.”
This week when you feel anxiety start to rise, read this passage and remind yourself that Jesus wants you to participate in the loving relationship he shares with his Father and with the Spirit. You’ve been invited in; let your anxiety subside and your glorious response rise.
Small Group Discussion Questions
- What difference does understanding God as Trinity make compared to seeing God as a single deity who has existed alone for all eternity?
- Can you look back on your past and see where God was graceful to you in your journey with him? Can you think of stories in the Bible where God was merciful and gracious to those whom he was leading forward with him?
- Discuss how knowing God’s character as a God of love can remove our fears about the future.
- How does knowing that God is a generous giver of all he has remove our anxieties in our present lives? Discuss how God as Trinity who lives an abundant life of sharing frees us from living in a scarcity mentality.
- Read Psalm 8 and answer David’s question in your own words, “What is mankind, that you are mindful of them?”
- Read Romans 5:1-5. Paul talks about the progression of suffering leading to hope. Share what you think it means, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”