Those who teach children should read study #98 for children.
Prayer: “Dear Lord, help us to value what Jesus and His apostles taught, that the Heavenly Father is God, that God came to us as Jesus, and that the Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit.”
Note: There is only One True God! He is the Father (our Creator); He is the Son (Jesus, our Redeemer); and He is the Spirit (our Divine Helper). These Three are One God. They work together in creation and in salvation, just as John reported about Jesus’ baptism.
Find in Acts 9:1-19 how Paul who hated Christians learned that Jesus is God, and how Paul gained a new understanding of the Holy Spirit (in verse 17).
Find in John 14:23-26 what Jesus said about the Father, the Holy Spirit and Himself.
Find in John 5:19-30 who we honour when we honour the Son, and why this is so.
Find what the Father, the Son and the Spirit do together in us, or what they enable us to do, in each of these passages in Romans: 1:1-4; 5:1-5; 7:4-6; 8:1-4; 8:6-11; 8:16-17; 8:26-39 14:14-18 and 15:30-33.
Note: The New Testament described the Trinity in several ways:
Father & Son & Spirit; Creator & Redeemer & Sanctifier;
God & Lord & Holy Spirit; King & Messiah & Teacher
Remember these important truths:
· The Trinity is eternally God who exists beyond the material world with its time and space.
· God became human in the persons of Jesus by entering time (at his birth) and at a place (Bethlehem).
· Jesus was born as a human. He showed both divine power and human weakness.
· Some churches teach that Jesus’ divine nature and human nature became blended in one personality; others teach that Jesus’ divine and human natures remained distinct. What is important to know and believe is that Jesus is both God and human.
Test yourself: Which of these ideas are true according to Jesus and the New Testament?
· Jesus does work that only God can do. [ ] True; [ ] False.
· Jesus speaks to the Father and the Father spoke to Jesus. [ ] True; [ ] False.
· Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to us, and Jesus comes to us as a Spirit. [ ] True; [ ] False.
· When we honour Jesus we honour God. [ ] True; [ ] False.
· We can pray to the Father and to the Son and to the Spirit. [ ] True; [ ] False. [Answer: All of these ideas are true.]
Two fourth century Egyptian theologians argued about who Jesus was. Arius denied the Trinity and emphasized God’s unity. He said that the Word of God came down on Jesus at his baptism, making him the Messiah, called "the Son of God." His teaching spread widely in the Roman Empire.
Athanasius taught that the Son of God is the Living Word who was with the Father even before Jesus was born and baptized, and that the One God is eternally Two, Father and Son. Then he saw that the Holy Spirit is also God, and taught that the One God is eternally Three, the Father, Son and Spirit.
In AD 325 leaders from churches across the Empire met in Nicea and most of them recognized that Athanasius' teaching was more biblical than Arius' ideas. So, they approved Athanasius’ doctrine of Trinity. Today, most Christians accept Trinity as true. Those who deny it are called Arians.
Some religions refuse to honour Jesus as God. Jehovah's Witnesses deny that Jesus was God and that he rose from death in his body. Mormons say that Jesus became a god after he died and that Mormons will become gods. Islam teaches that Jesus never was God and that He did not die and rise again. None of these honour the Son the way the Bible commands, giving him the same honour we give to the Father (John 5:19-30).
If believers in your flock have trouble understanding the Trinity, or have been confused by false teachers, then visit them and explain these truths:
· Jesus is eternally the Son of God, became human and will forever be God and human.
· The Trinity is not three gods. It is One God who is Father, Son and Spirit. This reality is more like multiplication than like addition.
1 × 1 × 1 = 1
· God is One and is also three Persons. This is a mystery that no human can explain. We do not add them, as though they were separate persons; they are united.
· Jesus is eternal God, and he became a human. He is both God and human. It is false to say that Jesus was only human and that Christ was a spirit sent from God to be in Jesus.
· The Father and Son communicate and cooperate eternally. After the Son became human, he and the Father continued to communicate and cooperate. Thus, it is false to say that if Jesus were God, He would not have to pray to the Father.
· The word ‘Trinity’ is not found in the Bible. We use it to describe what we find in the Bible, that is, the Unity of the Father, Son and Spirit. It is false to say that the Trinity was invented by Roman Catholics.
Meet with shepherds of other flocks that train leaders, and help them to deal with these truths.
Choose to do activities that fit current needs.
Read or tell the story in Acts 9:1-19 about how Saul learned that Jesus is God and how he gained a new understanding of the Holy Spirit (verse 17).
Read Romans 1:1-4 and explain how the Trinity is involved in our salvation, in our holiness, in our testimonies for Jesus, and in everything we do for God.
Explain what you learned in Part 1 and ask the same questions.
Have the children present to the adults what they have prepared.
Tell the story of Athanasius and Arius.
Let believers give testimonials about how they first recognized that Jesus is God.
To introduce the Lord’s Supper, read Matthew 3:13-17. Explain that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit work together in the Lord’s Supper just like they did in Jesus’ baptism. The Father decrees that innocent blood be shed to cover sins; the Son shed His blood; the Holy Spirit makes us participate in Jesus’ body and blood when we take the bread and cup (1 Cor. 10:16-17).
Form small groups of two or three people, to pray, confirm activity plans and encourage one another.
Memorize together Matthew 3:16-17.