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Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles’ Creed
Many Christian throughout the world recite either the Nicene Creed or the Apostles’ Creed regularly in their church services.  These creeds have been a standard of belief for most all of the Christian churches down through the ages and have been passed down to us by our Christian forefathers. 
It is believed that the Apostles’ Creed was originally developed by the early Christians in the first or second century and was influenced later by the Nicene Creed.  The earliest historical evidence of the Apostles’ Creed’s existence is in a letter written by the Council of Milan in 390 A.D.  Below is a copy of the Apostles’ Creed (English Language Liturgical Consultation). 
Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried:
He descended to the dead.
On the third day He rose again:
He ascended into heaven.
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
And He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic Church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting. Amen
Let’s talk about what Christians believe, and why it matters. What difference does our Christian faith have in our lives?  The Apostles’ Creed begins with who Christians believe that God is.  We will discuss the other beliefs in the Apostles’ Creed in future blogs. But today we will discuss what the Apostle’s Creed says about our Father in heaven. “We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.”   We believe that God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1) And He created you and me. Our God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is a creating God and He calls us through His Son to work with Him.  
There are taught popular scientific theories teaching that the earth started out with a big bang and the stuff or matter that eventually evolved into humans, animals, birds, and plants came out of the big bang.  After that we humans evolved gradually over billions of years into what we are today!  Amoebas first then fish, then apes or monkeys and humans on all fours and finally humans the way we are today.   
What are the mathematical odds of all of us starting from nothing but a big bang?  Could our world and all that is in it have just put itself together without a Creator?  If life forms did gradually evolve, wouldn’t it make sense that an intelligent powerful Being was behind it all?  When we view a beautiful painting, we know that an artist painted it.  So, when we view our world and all that is in it, why can’t we recognize that Someone had to be responsible for it?
Do we ever think that a house could have just evolved, without any person planning it or working to build it?  The lumber and the glass window panes and the roofing and sheet rock and nails and cement foundation just all mystically coming together by themselves without a truck driver in his big rig bringing the supplies.  The house building itself without an architect designing it!  Or carpenters and masons building it, and roofers and foundation contractors doing their part. 
We know that behind every house, whether large or small, someone worked and planned and saved money to build it and make it happen.  It is easy to believe that the house was built by a real person or persons. So why is it not easy to believe that our world and all that is part of it, ourselves included -   came together with an intelligent powerful Being or Creator behind it all?   
Our holy Scriptures tell us that “In the “beginning”, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) The “beginning” in Genesis 1:1 could have been trillions and trillions of years ago! The first chapter of Genesis tells the story of creation and of how each “day” for six “days” God put together the heavens and the earth.  A “day” in the Bible wasn’t necessarily the twenty-four hour period that we are thinking of.   Scripture says that a day can be a thousand years – or longer.  A “day” in Scripture means “a period of time”.    
Many consider “God” to be a creative and powerful force.  But Christians believe He is much more than that.  Most Christians believe in the God of the Bible, a God who is personal, all powerful, all knowing, holy, pure, sinless, loving, just, merciful, good and much more. A God who loves us, is with us everywhere we go, talks to us through His Spirit, strengthens us and leads and guides us if we will allow Him! ( 1 John 4:8, Isaiah 41:10, John 3:16)   A heavenly Father who created us, His children in His likeness.(Genesis 1:27)
God our heavenly Father answers our prayers, promises to go with us throughout our lives, watches over us and helps and keeps us. God our Father gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, who died for our sins. (Ephesians 2:8-9) And God, our heavenly Father draws us to Himself, but He allows us to reject Him, if we choose.   
Why does it matter that we believe that God is the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth?  Believing in God as both Creator and Father adds an additional layer of meaning and freedom to our lives. God the Father Almighty becomes our “dwelling place” and our “comfort”.  (Psalm 90, 2 Corinthians 6:16, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5) We can rest in our Father’s arms. celebrate His love and rejoice in His goodness and mercy. (Psalm 23) Have peace about the struggles in our lives.  Cast all our cares on Him.  (1 Peter 5:7) Ask Him for anything that is good. (Matthew 7:7) Trust that He knows the way and is leading us. (Psalm 23)
When we walk through the entrance gate of believing in God as Father Almighty and Creator, a new door is opened to us.  We experience highs we never knew before.  And as we humbly walk along that straight and narrow path of believing, we find that our faith has caught the joyful sound. (Matthew 7:14, Phil. 4:4)   We receive grace when we believe.  Peace when we submit to His will.  Believing in our Christian faith changes us and makes us new persons in Christ.  (2 Corinthians 5:17) There is power in believing.   



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