Easter According to the Apostles’ Creed (Part 5)

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed

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TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Today, we are continuing with the fifth message in this series as we look at the Biblical basis for the statement of faith known as the Apostles’ Creed. Let’s begin by reading a newer version of the Apostles’ Creed.

The Old Roman Form of the Apostles’ Creed reads as follows:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, who under Pontius Pilate was crucified, and buried. On the third day rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the life everlasting. Amen.

Today, we are looking at the next two lines of the creed which reads: “On the third day he rose again from the dead, He ascended into Heaven.” The more recent version form of the creed adds just before that “He descended into hell.” Notice three things from the biblical foundation for this creed

1. We see the totality of Jesus’ death. Once again, we turn to I Corinthians 15:3 which tells us that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” What do we mean by the “totality” of Jesus’ death. Well, we mean simply that Jesus Christ really died. He did not swoon; He did not fake His death. He really, truly, undeniably died.

2. We see the necessity of Jesus’ resurrection. Just as Jesus had to die, Jesus had to rise from the dead. Look again at First Corinthians 15:4. The Bible says that “was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” The reliability of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son is at stake. Jesus predicted that He would rise from the dead before He died. If He did not rise from the dead, then we are in a lot of trouble.

3. We see Jesus paving a way for us. The next clause in the Apostle’ Creed simply states, “He ascended into Heaven.” After His last discussion with His disciples on earth, Acts 1:9-10 tells us that “while they [Jesus' followers] beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up…”

Each of us today have to bear our cross like Jesus did. We must bear our cross all the way to the day we die. And one day, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we will make that majestic leap from the grave to the sky where we will live with Jesus Christ forever on high.

Easter According to the Apostles’ Creed (Part 4)

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #165

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Today, we are continuing with the fourth message in this series as we look at the Biblical basis for the statement of faith known as the Apostles’ Creed. Let’s begin by reading the Apostles’ Creed.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

Amen.

The Old Roman Form of the Apostles Creed reads as follows:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, who under Pontius Pilate was crucified, and buried. On the third day rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the life everlasting. Amen.

Today, we are looking at the next line of the creed which reads: “…who under Pontius Pilate was crucified, and buried.” The longer form of the creed says Jesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.” Notice three things from the biblical foundation for this belief.

1. We see the guiltiness of mankind. Luke 23:23-25 says, “And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.”

2. We see the certainty of Christ’s death. In First Corinthians 15:3 Paul writes, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” The death of Christ is extremely important for the Christian faith. Death is the sentence that God laid down for sin. If Jesus Christ did not die, then He did not pay our sin debt.

3. We see the fulfillment of prophecy. Notice how Paul couches his statements concerning Jesus’ death and burial in First Corinthians. He says, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And he was buried, and he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Paul tells us that these things happened “according to the Scriptures.”

Man was guilty of sin. Jesus Christ came and had to die in order for us to be saved. By being born into this world, living a perfect life, and dying on the cross, Jesus fulfilled numerous prophecies concerning the Savior. This fulfillment of prophecy helped the Christians of the early church to know that they could have faith in God and trust Him for guidance and direction as they fulfilled Christ’s command to preach the gospel to every nation.

Easter According to the Apostles’ Creed (Part 3)

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #164

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Today, we are continuing with the third message in this series as we look at the Biblical basis for the statement of faith known as the Apostles’ Creed. Today, we will begin by reading a newer version of the Apostles’ Creed. This version is based on the “Old Roman Symbol” which we read during our first two messages in this series. According to The Creeds of Christendom by Philip Schaff, “the individual statements of belief that are included in the Apostles’ Creed – even those not found in the Old Roman Symbol – are found in various writings by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Novatian, Marcellus, Rufinus, Ambrose, Augustine, Nicetus, and Eusebius Gallus.” This version of the Creed was put in written form sometime during the first half of the eighth century AD. Interestingly, it appears to have come from Christians in Spain and France unlike the Old Roman Symbol which was formulated by Christians in Rome. The French King Char-le-magne imposed it throughout his kingdom and it was eventually accepted in Rome which was still using the Old Roman Symbol at that time.

This creed is the one most widely used by Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregationalist churches today.

The Old Roman Form of the Apostles Creed reads as follows:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, who under Pontius Pilate was crucified, and buried. On the third day rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the life everlasting. Amen.

Today, we are looking at the next line of the creed which reads, “Who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary…” Let’s turn to the Word of God and see the biblical basis for this part of the Apostles’ Creed.

1. We see the deity of Christ. In Luke 1:35, the angel Gabriel tells Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” For Jesus Christ to be the perfect sacrifice for man’s sins, He had to be both God and man — divine and human.

2. We see the humanity of Christ. The Apostles’ Creed says Jesus “was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.” His birth of the Holy Spirit shows forth His deity, and His birth of the Virgin Mary shows forth His humanity. Luke 1:26-27 says, “the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” The great miracle of the Incarnation is that God became man in the form of Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago. That is what we celebrate at Christmas.

3. We see the unity of Christ. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Jesus dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” At this junction, it is crucial to point out that Jesus Christ is not a hybrid being. He does not have “two sides.” His divinity and His humanity are each fully present — He is 100% God and 100% man. This was a major doctrinal issue for the early church fathers who helped formulate the Creeds which we have today.

Because of the union of deity and humanity in Jesus Christ, all that is needed for the accomplishment of salvation is present. Because Jesus is man, He has experienced the same things that we do. Thus, He was able to die for our sins. Because Jesus is God, He is all-powerful and He cannot be defeated. Thus, He rose from the dead to accomplish our salvation.

Easter According to the Apostles’ Creed (Part 2)

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #163

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Today, we are continuing with the second message in this series as we look at the Biblical basis for the statement of belief known as the Apostles’ Creed. Let’s begin by reading the Apostles’ Creed again.

THE APOSTLES CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy church;
the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

Amen.

OLD ROMAN FORM

I believe in God, the Father Almighty; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, who under Pontius Pilate was crucified, and buried. On the third day rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the life everlasting. Amen.

As we learned in yesterday’s message, this text is known as the “old Roman” form, and it is the earliest written version of the Apostles’ Creed which is a statement of belief used by churches even today. The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church sheds some light on why the Apostles’ Creed was a necessity for the early church. It says, “In a time when most Christians were illiterate, oral repetition of the Apostles’ Creed, along with the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, helped preserve and transmit the faith of the churches.”

In the second century, there was a wealthy Christian named Marcion who lived in what is present-day Turkey. Marcion was the son of a bishop; he was also a ship owner, and was probably consecrated as a bishop himself later in life. Marcion threatened the church’s understanding of Jesus Christ as Lord. He taught that Jesus Christ was not the same Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, he rejected the deity of Jesus Christ, and he proposed getting rid of the Old Testament entirely and even some parts of the Gospels. He began to have some influence in the Roman Church, and the church fathers of that time denounced him. The “Old Roman Form” of the Apostles’ Creed was developed partly to refute Marcion.

In our first message, we looked at the first line of the creed — “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth…” — and we saw three important facts about the God we believe in: (1) that God is unique; (2) that God is eternal; and (3) that God is sovereign.

Today, we are looking at the next line in the creed which reads, “…and in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord.” Let’s turn to the Word of God and see the biblical basis for this part of the Apostles’ Creed.

1. We see the promise of Jesus Christ. According to Luke 2:11, when Jesus was born, the angels declared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” The coming of Jesus Christ had been promised for hundreds of years. Ever since the Old Testament prophets predicted that He would come, the people of Israel had been waiting expectantly for their Messiah to arrive.

2. We see the sending of Jesus Christ. All of us are familiar with this verse in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Verse 17 goes on to say, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” When God saw that man continued to sin and rebel against His authority, He could have very well decided to give up on trying to save us, but, He didn’t. He made a personal sacrifice by coming into the world in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.

3. We see the lordship of Jesus Christ. In John 20:28, when the disciple, Thomas, finally met the risen Saviour, he declared, “My Lord and my God!” The Apostles’ Creed says, we believe “in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord.” We often refer to Jesus Christ as the “suffering servant”, especially during the Easter season. We often speak of His humility, His tenderness, His love and His care for others, but we must not forget that He is still Lord.

This Easter season, we celebrate Jesus as the Savior who was promised, as the Savior who was sent by God, and as the Savior who is Lord over all.

Easter According to the Apostles’ Creed (Part 1)

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #163

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Today, we begin a unique series that is based on a historical text that was passed down from the early church all the way to us today. If you have ever attended a Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, or Presbyterian church, you may have heard something similar to these words which are referred to as the Apostles’ Creed. Now, Baptists, as a rule, do not subscribe to any creed. Coming out of the Protestant Reformation, Baptists decided that, unlike other Protestant denominations, they would be non-creedal. Baptists state that “the final authority for faith and practice is the Bible, not words about the Bible.” However, while I do not hold any creed to the level of inspired Scripture, I believe that there are some elements from other parts of the church that are good that we should at least be aware of and learn from. The Apostles’ Creed is one of those things. Let’s read it:

I believe in God the Father almighty;
and in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord,
Who was born from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
Who under Pontius Pilate was crucified and buried,
on the third day rose again from the dead,
ascended to heaven,
sits at the right hand of the Father,
whence He will come to judge the living and the dead;
and in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Church,
the remission of sins,
the resurrection of the flesh
(the life everlasting).

What is a creed? According to Merriam-Webster, a creed is a “statement of basic beliefs; an idea or set of beliefs that guides the actions of a person or group.” Thus, the Apostles’ Creed is a statement of what the apostles of Jesus Christ believed. Now, there are three versions of the Apostles Creed, and the one I just read is referred to as the “Old Roman Symbol.” This “Roman” version is the oldest version of the Apostles’ Creed. According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, it was put in written form by 180 AD. Tradition states that, on the day of Pentecost, the twelve Apostles each contributed one line to this creed to make up the twelve lines of the “Old Roman Symbol” that we have today.

The other versions of the Apostles’ Creed are the Nicene Creed and the Ath-a-na-sian Creed. These later versions of the creed came about because the church needed to combat false teachings that were creeping into the church. Thus, the Nicene Creed, which was adopted by the Council of Calcedon in 451 AD, contains additional text affirming the deity of Jesus Christ as there were some false teachers who claimed that Jesus was not divine. The Ath-a-na-sian Creed was issued in the late fifth century or early sixth century and includes additional text affirming the Trinitarian unity of the Godhead — that God is Father, Son, and Spirit, yet one God.

According to an article by David Meager in CrossWay, “The Creed seems to have had three uses: first as a confession of faith for those about to be baptised, secondly as a catechism (an instruction for new Christians in the essentials of the faith), and thirdly, as a ‘rule of faith’ to give continuity to orthodox Christian doctrine.”

Starting today, and each day throughout Holy Week, leading up to Resurrection Sunday, we are going to break down this creed and look at the biblical basis for each of these truths that every Christian ought to believe. The first line of the creed reads: “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth…” From just this first line of the creed, we see three important facts about the God we believe in.

1. We see the uniqueness of God. Isaiah 44:6 says, “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” In Isaiah 45:5, God says, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” God makes it clear that He alone is God. He alone is in control. He alone is almighty.

2. We see the eternality of God. The first line of the Apostles’ Creed acknowledges God as eternally existent. Psalm 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Job 36:26 says, “Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.”

3. We see the sovereignty of God. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Old Roman Form of the Apostles Creed states, “I believe in God the Father almighty,” and the Nicene version adds, “maker of Heaven and Earth.” These statements affirm God’s sovereign power which is shown through His creative acts.

These three facts about God — that He is unique, that He is eternal, and that He is sovereign — form the foundation of everything we believe as Christians. It is what Jesus’ disciples believed. It is what the early church believed. It is what we ought to believe as well.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “What a Day That Will Be” by Bart Millard and “We Believe” by Newsboys

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