Baptism, a Picture of the Trinity (Luke 3:3-22). All three members of the trinity attended the baptism event of Jesus. Here in Luke 3:21-22, we see the trinity as the Son in the water baptized and praying, the Holy Spirit descended in form like a dove, and the Father speaking from the heavenlies. The entire trinity is there at the same time in three distinct persons all equal and all eternal. This was an amazing moment for the history of the world.


by Pastor Delbert Young

Baptism, a Picture of the Trinity (Luke 3:3-22)

Sermon video


Baptism, A Picture of the Trinity

Scriptures: Luke 3:3; Luke 3:15; Luke 3:16-17; Luke 3:18-20; Luke 3:21-22; Matthew 3:14-15; Luke 3:21; Luke 3:22; Galatians 3:26-27

Last time we talked about John the Baptizer who is, without a doubt, one of the most colorful and interesting people in the Bible. He was a phenomenal Spirit filled preacher.

Luke 3:3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, PREACHING A BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

John preached religion would not forgive you of your sins. There must be repentance. If fact, if you were only religious, John said you were only a generation of snakes. Let’s begin today’s study.

Luke 3:15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. [NIV]

John was a phenomenal Spirit filled preacher and so off the hook people thought he might possibly be the Christ. Everyone was checking out John’s posts on Facebook, his blogs, and following him on Twitter. “Where’s John today? Who’s he blasting today? What politically correct or religiously correct leader was John labeling a snake today?” People came in crowds to the wilderness, not the temple, to see, hear, and experience John’s baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Might John be the Christ?

Luke 3:16-17 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one MORE POWERFUL than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie…

John was powerful, but John’s power was not even close to the power of the coming one. This sandals analogy doesn’t make a lot of sense to us, so let’s unwrap it. In those days the lowest servant in the house had the job of removing sandals from feet, washing the feet, and then cleaning the sandals of the master and guests. It was not a desired job and there is a good reason. People walked every place they went and so did everything else. On the roads also traveled all sorts of animals – donkeys, camels, cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens, dogs, people, and everything. The roads were littered with feces and urine. We think “asphalt roads,” but their “roads” were mostly wide paths either very dusty or very muddy. The “foot washer” washed the feet of those walking through animal mess, mud, dust, who knows what, then cleaned the sandals. John said his preaching and power was the power of the foot washer when compared to the power and preaching of the one coming. John truly was a Super Hero. In a moment he could be exalted by men, John said there was someone far superior and more powerful than him. What was the power?


John’s preaching had power to bring people to the baptism of water and repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The coming one’s preaching has power to bring people to being baptized into God the Holy Spirit. When a person is baptized in water, they are put totally into water. As we talked about last time, when baptized into repentance, the person is put into repentance. So, when a person is baptized with the Holy Spirit, the person is put into God the Holy Spirit. We become a part of God – sons and daughters and a part of the family of God. It’s one thing to be baptized with water. It’s another thing to be baptized with God. John said he could wash your feet with water. The one coming will wash you with God the Holy Spirit.

To be a Christian is to allow Jesus to wash you with God – baptize you with the Holy Spirit. What an over the top thought – baptized with God!

The word baptize is baptizo means to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk); to cleanse by dipping or submerging; to wash, to make clean; to overwhelm. I like dip repeatedly. Do it until you get it right and get the results desired. As a ship would sink in water, we sink into the baptism of water when water baptized. When baptized with the Spirit, we sink into God the Spirit. During baptism with the Spirit your body, spirit, heart, and soul immerse into God the Spirit.

We believe in the baptism with the Holy Spirit at Life Gate Church as much as being water baptized. Both are in the Bible and we believe the Bible. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is as much for today as water baptism is for today. It’s not taught enough. The baptism with the Holy Spirit has become a “spooky” thing abused and misunderstood. We do not believe a person must speak in tongues to be saved or to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Being a Christian includes repentance, water baptism, and allowing Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

So, have you experienced God the Holy Spirit in that way? You remember if you have? I remember. It’s an overwhelming awareness of the presence of God in every part – spirit, soul, body. God becomes the most real thing in your life. Nothing else matters. God is no longer “out there somewhere.” God is alive inside and outside. You sink into God’s love, peace, and presence as you sink into water when water baptized. As the water is all over you on the outside, God’s all over you on the outside and inside. John went on to say Christ will not just baptize you with God the Holy Spirit.

Luke 3:1–17 He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit AND WITH FIRE. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Christ will also baptize WITH FIRE! The whole wheat kernel of both husk/chaff and seed core were brought to the threshing floor. With a shovel like winnowing fork the whole kernel was tossed into the air. The wind blew the chaff off the wheat grain and the wheat core fell to be saved. If the chaff did not come off, the whole wheat kernel was tossed up again, and again, until the core seed was acquired. The chaff was then burned creating an intensely hot unquenchable fire.

What was John saying? Jesus will put you into the winds of adversity intended to separate the good from the bad. The fire is only for the chaff of our lives. God’s after our core – the wheat seed. That’s the part he takes to his barn.

So, what sorts of wind, or storm, are you facing right now? Could it be that Jesus has taken you on a winnowing fork ride? That’s not fun. In fact, it’s the worst moment you can remember to this point in time. How did you do? Did you hold on to your husky chaff? If so, you’re going up again. Let go of it and get into the barn. Judy and I were talking about my worst winnowing fork rides. What they did was burn the chaff from me that made me proud of who I am.

Luke 3:18-20 And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the GOOD NEWS to them. But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

Luke put in a parenthetical event about Herod and Herodias that took place a few months later that eventually ended John’s life. John preached the good news – the gospel, but for many, the gospel was and is offensive. It preaches repentance of sin. One of those offended was Herod the tetrarch. Herod took his own Brother Philip’s wife, Herodias, from Philip. He also took Philip’s daughter and had some vile thing for her, especially when she danced (Mar6:17-31). John pointed all that out along with other sinful things Herod did. John arrested and facing death, didn’t say, “Who am I to point this out? They want to be together, so it’s ok. God loves them. Let’s love them too. God is love. I’ll just pray for them, pray for their destroyed families, and pray for their damaged children.” Eventually this cost John his freedom, life, and his head. Herod had John beheaded and put John’s head on a platter. John literally pointed sinners out even those who had the power to take off his head.

You wouldn’t like John as a pastor. I wouldn’t like John as a pastor. What John would do is look at your life, or my life, and say, “That’s a sin. That’s not godly. Repent!” We’d say John was judging people. Wouldn’t you say John was “judgmental”? That’s what we would say, but Jesus said John was the greatest person every born of women.

Here’s my point. How do you respond when someone points out your sins? Do you label them as a judgmental religious person? Do you say, “You have no right to judge me, you are a hypocrite.”? You may be absolutely correct. They may be a judgmental religious hypocrite who has no right to judge you. That’s not my point. The Lord will take care of them with a millstone around their neck (Luk 17:2). The point is do you repent, or do you cut off their head? Can I tell you what most Christians do? Heads roll everywhere and you know what we do with them? We’re so proud of how we cut off their head we put it on a platter. We never repent and we wonder why life is so crooked, messed up, and burning us alive.

I think we have a misconception of judgment. I CAN judge your ACTIONS according to scripture and you can judge mine. What I can’t judge is your SOUL and you can’t judge mine. The bottom line is how do we respond when someone judges our actions? Do we see it as God calling us to repent, or do we see it as a head that needs to be placed on a platter? Is it the forerunner trying to save us from judgment, or is it some preacher who thinks he’s a super hero. Some repent and are wheat taken to the barn. Others keep going on the winnowing fork ride never letting go of their chaff and burned. That was Luke’s parenthesis. Let’s get back to the time line.

Before Herod arrested John, John experienced the most important moment of his life. Everyone was coming to hear and to see this guy in his camel hair super hero outfit and hear the guy who ate bugs and honey. A crowd of sinners were lined up to walk into the waters of baptism for the forgiveness of sin and guess who is standing in line?

Luke 3:21-22 When all the people were being baptized, JESUS WAS BAPTIZED TOO

What was Jesus doing in line? John asked the same question and attempted to prevent Jesus from being baptized, but Jesus insisted.

Matthew 3:14-15 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so NOW; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

John the Baptizer was confused. If Jesus was sinless (Heb 4:15; 2Co 5:21) why would Jesus be baptized with the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins? Jesus said this will fulfill all righteousness. There are a few things here we need to see. (1) Baptism is the right – righteous -thing to do. If it was righteous for Jesus, it’s right for us. (2) It fulfilled all righteousness in that it fulfilled the scriptures. John, the forerunner, must come first. According to scriptures, unless John (Elijah) came, Jesus could not come. Jesus was to come after John. (3) Repentance is a beautiful thing, NOT A SINFUL THING. Repentance is about change, hope, future, and dumping the garbage of the past to start over. Jesus wasn’t saying he had sin to repent from and of. He was showing the beauty of a perfect heart. A perfect heart is a repentant heart even if there is no sin. It’s a heart God can guide. Jesus had the most beautiful heart of all and the most perfect. Is your heart beautiful? If it is then it’s because it’s a repentant heart.

Luke 3:21 When all the people were being baptized, JESUS WAS BAPTIZED TOO. And as he was praying

See the picture. John’s in the water. Jesus takes his turn to enter the water. They have a discussion. Jesus begins praying standing in the water, prays as John baptizes him sinking Jesus under the water, prays while in the water, and is praying as John brought him up.

Luke 3:22 AND AS HE WAS PRAYING, heaven was opened and the HOLY SPIRIT descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

All three members of the trinity attended the baptism event. The trinity was there. There is a doctrine taught today based from ancient Sabellianism, also known as Modalism which is the “belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.”  We call it “Oneness,” or “Jesus Only.” Instead of three distinct members of the godhead – a trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all equal and eternal – the doctrine says it is one person acting out three different ways. In the Old Testament, he masks as Father, in the days of Jesus he masks as the Son, and in the days of the church he masks as the Holy Spirit.

That is a false doctrine. Here in Luke 3:21-22, we see the trinity as the Son is in the water baptized and praying, the Holy Spirit descended in form like a dove, and the Father speaking from the heavenlies. The entire trinity was there at the same time in three distinct persons all equal and all eternal. Can anyone doubt the trinity is there?

This was an amazing moment for the history of the world. They were asking if John the Baptizer might be the Messiah. John said he wasn’t. Now they know who is. God the Holy Spirit in bodily form like a dove comes down. God the Father from heaven says, “That’s him. That’s my boy. I love him. He makes me happy.” Can it be any clearer? The trinity was there. Yet, later, even John will ask, “Are you the one?”

It’s amazing how we can experience God the Trinity in our lives. We feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. He descends upon us. Father God speaks to us. Jesus moves through prayer in our lives forgiving our sins, but we doubt. God, are you real or should I look for something else? It can’t be any clearer.

Luke 3:22 …And a voice came from heaven: “YOU ARE MY SON, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” [NIV]

A son is made of the same stuff as the father. Father God said to the crowd for all to hear that Jesus, the man standing in the water, is God’s Son, is made of the same stuff I’m made, and as much God as I am. Jesus was as worthy of as much honor as God is. This is my Son and I’m happy with my boy.

Jesus had not yet done one miracle. He had not yet, as far as we know, preached one sermon. He had not yet done one thing we would call miraculous. All he did was be baptized and allow the Holy Spirit to come upon him, yet Father God said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Here is what amazingly happens at baptism.

Galatians 3:26-27 You are all SONS OF GOD through faith in Christ Jesus, FOR ALL OF YOU WHO WERE BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all One in Christ Jesus.

Through baptism in Christ Jesus, we all, men and women, move into an amazing position as sons of God. God the Spirit descends upon us. God the Father speaks to us. God the Son clothes us. We are now one made of the same spiritual stuff. I’m not saying we are equal with God. I am saying we have a position that makes God happy.

Other Related Sermons:

Jesus Your Home Town Boy to preach – video audio notes Luke 4:14-30

Greed – How to be a Successful Fool – video audio notes Luke 12:10-21

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young