By REV. LOU TISCIONE
Many Christians recently celebrated the feast of Pentecost, which is sometimes called Whitsunday. Pentecost as you may know was celebrated in the Old Testament. The Bible refers to it as the Feast of Weeks. It was ordained by God to be one of the three mandatory celebrations in Israel along with Passover and the Feast of Booths.
On the occasion of this feast the Apostle Peter’s delivered his famous sermon recorded in Acts 2:14ff. On that particular day, God poured out His Spirit on “all flesh” in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, Joel 2:28, which was also foreshadowed by God’s empowerment of elders recorded in Numbers 11.
God’s Spirit is given to all believers to accomplish God’s work of building the church of Jesus Christ. The church in the Old Testament had only a few select people upon whom the empowerment of the Holy Spirit was given by God. Namely, those who were anointed kings and fulfilled the office of a prophet were empowered with the Spirit of God.
At the ascension of Christ into heaven the Bible says, “He gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8) The ancient Creeds of the church profess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Every believer called by God and regenerated by His Spirit is given the power of that same Spirit to accomplish the ministry given to him by God. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
Apart from the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we are powerless in terms of ministry. Jesus said that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it, (Matthew 16:18). It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates, illumines our minds and empowers us for ministry in building the church.
The Sunday following Pentecost Sunday is called Trinity Sunday. Every Lord’s Day that follows Pentecost Sunday is marked as Sundays after Trinity Sunday. The traditional name of this “season” in the Church Year is Trinity Season. The early Church and the Reformers continued the practice of referring to the days following Pentecost Sunday as Trinity Season.
Their purpose and the ongoing purpose of celebrating Trinity Season in the church is that God has revealed Himself as three persons. We worship a Trinitarian God. The word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible. But every aspect of what the word means does.
For example, Matthew 28:19, which forms the first part of Jesus’ “Great Commission,” commands disciples to make disciples by identifying them with the Triune God! Jesus’ words in this verse also comprise the Baptismal formula in the universal Christian Church.
We were created for worship. The only one to who worship is due is the true God, who has revealed Himself as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 2, paragraph 3, declares the Bible’s teaching concerning the Triune God. It states, in part: “In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity …”
The doctrine of the Trinity teaches that the Father initiated my life in Christ. The Son lived a perfect life and died for my sin. The Holy Spirit applied the work of Christ to me. The life I live is in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God, the Father.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The Father is the initiator. The Son obeyed the Father perfectly and the Holy Spirit gives life in Christ and keeps us for Him.
In this time of questioning the integrity and truthfulness of our leaders, it is good to know that God, who is always true and faithful, has revealed Himself clearly in His word. May the Lord empower you to draw your confidence and security in Him – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).