This Sunday is Trinity Sunday in the church calendar, when we especially honour God as Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, it is probably fair to say that we often overlook the significance and practical value that the doctrine of the Trinity holds for us. The Trinity can sometimes seem a bit ‘pie in the sky’!
But our Christian understanding that God is one in Essence yet three in Persons is a most important and comforting doctrine. Crucially, that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit it is a key part of the Christian gospel! Because only a Trinitarian God is capable of restoring fallen human beings back into an eternal relationship with himself.
As US theologian Kevin Vahoozer puts it: The “integrity of the gospel is fatally compromised if either the Son or the Spirit is not fully God. If the Son were not God, he could neither reveal the Father nor atone for our sin. If the Spirit were not God, he could unite us neither to the Father and Son nor one another. The gospel, then, requires a triune God.” Or in the words of Australian theologian Michael Bird: “The salvation that the gospel promises portrays the Father as choosing, Christ as redeeming, and the Spirit as renewing – all in a unified work by distinct persons in a single Godhead”.
Therefore, let us celebrate that our God is Trinity, and give thanks that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work together in perfect unity to bring salvation to all who have faith in Jesus Christ!
The New Testament speaks of the gift of the Holy Spirit as being the birthright of every born again Christian believer. The Apostle Paul writes, ‘And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ’ (Romans 8:9).
The Holy Spirit works to bring us to Christ, to regenerate us in Christ, to sanctify us in Christ-likeness. The work of the Holy Spirit cannot be separated from the work of the ascended Lord Jesus, who first poured out the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
In the worldview of the New Testament, something is ‘spiritual’ if it pertains to the Holy Spirit. This means that true spirituality is only found in the Spirit of Christ working to show us Christ and helping us to experience the love of Christ. Beware those talking up spirituality without Christ!
It is popular to label any experience that is strange or solemn a ‘spiritual experience’. However true spiritual experience is found in the Spirit of Christ – God’s gift of pointing us to Christ, helping us to trust in Christ and fix our eyes on Christ as Lord. Where Christ is honoured, there the Spirit is working, and there we have true spiritual reality.
Today we thank God for our mothers and seek God’s blessing on the mothers in our church community. We are blessed if we have had godly mothers who presented Christ to us. Today is a great day to honour before God the unspoken and untold service of our mothers.
Godly mothers have an incredible ministry and impact. Moreover the Christian community is to be a place where spiritual mothers can bless, teach, serve and protect a new generation of disciples.
There are many ways in which today can be painful or difficult. Today we glorify God for those women who have walked in a godly reverence and fear of his name. Sentimental traditions come and go, but disciplined love for God and his church builds a legacy.
Today we welcome back Pastor Wayne Schuller from his work in Mongolia!
And of course while we are very thankful for the work we have been able to send Wayne to do on our behalf, and for the exciting growth of Christianity in Mongolia over the past two decades, there is still much to pray for. In particular, according to Operation World, there remains a number of groups in Mongolian society who have little access to the Good News of Jesus Christ, and thus are priorities for our prayers:
- Nomads: who find their traditional life increasingly difficult to maintain. Pray for culturally sensitive holistic ministries that demonstrate the gospel to them.
- Kazakhs: are a majority in the far-western province of Bayan-Olgiy. Most are Muslim, but a few are Christian, and some Christians evangelists work among them.
- Ethnic minorities: the Chinese and Russian communities in Mongolia have a few believers, with at least one church for each group. But little to no specific outreach is directed toward the Kalmyk, Tuvan and Evenki peoples.
- Students: a number of Christian student groups work to reach students through camps, seminars and student discipleship groups. Mongolian Christian leaders are emerging through this ministry, but the process of taking young adults from initial interest to mature disciples requires much patience and faith.
Please continue to pray for Mongolia!
Our Senior Pastor Wayne has now completed his work in Mongolia, helping to train Mongolian church leaders in expository preaching, and will be returning to us later in the week. Please continue to pray for Wayne, especially that his return journey would be smooth and he would have a good chance to rest.
It is worth considering the amazing growth of the Mongolian church, and how we can continue to pray for their country. According to Operation World, which is a near exhaustive guide to praying for every country in the world, in 1989, just before the fall of Mongolia’s Communist government, there may have been only four Christians in the nation. But by the year 2000, this tiny seed had grown into a community of 8,000 to 10,000 Mongolian Christians, and by 2010, it is estimated that there was over 40,000 believers in hundreds of churches meeting in most parts of the country. This is a wonderful encouragement, and a great answer to prayer!
However, there is still much work to be done, and much we can pray for. In particular, please pray that the church’s leaders would develop, and that God would raise up a generation of astute preachers who will powerfully teach and model God’s word to his people in Mongolia. Please also pray that many more people in Mongolia would become disciples of Jesus Christ. And please also echo these prayers for our nation of Australia too.