Dec 10 2023 The Creeds

It has been brought to my attention that while I study these things through the week – and mention things like the essentials and non-essentials – not everyone might know what I mean by the essentials.

While the Creeds are not …

The Creeds often deal with a response to certain heresies.

Apostles Creed

Nicene Creed – 325 AD – dealing with an issue in the Church – not long after Constantine required Christianity in the Empire. There was a controversy out of Alexandria – Arias was a leader in Alexandria – and the Nicene Creed came out of that.

The Apostles Creed is thought to be long before that – but there is no official record of that.

And listed here with them – are verses supporting the seven basic tenets of the Creeds:

Apostles’/Nicene Creed – these are the essentials:

• Scripture: (1 Cor. 15, Phil. 2:6-12, Romans 1:1-4 Romans 10:8-13, 1 Tim. 3:10)

• God the Father

• God the Son

• Gospel/Salvation

• Judgment

• God the Holy Spirit

• Church/Baptism

• Resurrection

These are the things the Church has believed – and if you are drifting away from these, you are drifting away from what Christians have believed for centuries. That is why they are called the essentials.

We believe in one God, (An intro statement – probably out of the Shema – hear, O Israel, there is One God – Yahweh is God) (Let me explain who that One God is…)

the Father, the almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is,

seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

Begotten – We use that word all the time… - Co existent with the Father – Phil 2:5-12, John 1:12-14

For us men (people…this was written a long time ago) and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the father.

1 Cor. 15:1-4

Romans 1:1-5

Philippians 2 again.

What is the Gospel? Jesus Christ became Man – Lived, was crucified, buried, resurrected – That is the gospel.

That does not mean that you have to say all that when talking to someone about the gospel, but we need to understand that, as Christians.

And we should be able to go from any of these points to the gospel – Like now, at Christmastime – the Incarnation - - play with this in your minds… But that’s not the point of today’s message, but something to think about.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

The second coming and judgment are inter-connected. This is an essential part of our faith – an essential part of being a Christan. Christ will judge ALL. All of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We see the same things – Lord, giver of life – worshiped as God.

Final stanza:

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Catholic does not speak of a denomination – but the Universal Church – the universal Body of Christ.

Baptism is an essential part of the faith. How you do that is non-essential.

Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness of sins is an essential part of the faith. This means that sin – we must have a clear understanding of Sin and the Fall. We should have a good, biblical theology of sin – as that is an essential part of our faith.

Cindy and I were talking about it yesterday – that doesn’t mean that when we are talking to people out there – we don’t call them sinners. Like I have said – people know they are sinners. Humanity has fallen and it is just part of our nature to be sinners. We need Christ and forgiveness of sin.

Then, we have resurrection and the LIFE of the world to come! We are looking to a New Earth – a New Heaven – living in immortal bodies.

The question I have next – how does a person get saved – and do they have to know all of that? I would say, No!

Philippian Jailer – what must I do to be saved? They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." (Acts 16:31)

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

9 if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; 13 for "Whoever will call upon the name of the LORD will be saved."

I thought, you know – when it says Jew and Greek – that was all people for them. All-inclusive. But it also says it is exclusive, because it only comes through the name of Jesus. It is only through Christ that we are saved. Only by His name.


• Gifts of the Spirit. – There are certain gifts that people argue about all the time – people have different conviction and that is okay.

• End Times. – Post-pre – is there a rapture – no rapture?

• Women in ministry. – Some believe women can be pastors, others say not. Churches need to make a decision on these things – just as a reality

• Age of the earth. – Young Earth? Ancient?

• Divorce and remarriage. – Different opinions held by Christians

• Use of alcohol.

• Civil disobedience.

• Tithing. – You might think that everyone believes in this, but not everyone does.

• Non-violence.

• Predestination.

• Capital Punishment.

• Communion – Not should you, but how often.

That does not mean that they are not really important, just that we have not had agreement on these things.

These are just some of the things. Non-essential doesn’t mean we don’t care – but give it your best understanding of what Scripture says – and be able to say – That’s all I’ve got! 80% there.

I’m listening to a book – Thinking in Bets – The author is saying – when you are totally certain, you can lose your audience. It is good to say – about 80%. If they are totally certain, you won’t say anything.

We can have conviction – this is my best understanding now.

Mark Twain It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble…

Augustine – In the essentials, unity, non-essentials, diversity – all things, Charity – or love. And there are some other things –

What type of worship music should you play in church? That is a preference

Schooling for your kids – public/private/home? Conscience

Who you should vote for – Conscience

With that – what about the 10+603 Commandments?

Last week I said 634, but the Google said 603….

The Bible gives us different categories.

First – universal commands which are for all people at all times. Even with those, there is nuance and some are situational. Thou shalt not kill – some say – thou shalt not murder. Universal – for all people at all times. But there is disagreement. Some say – it is okay to kill in self-defense. Some believe the death penalty is okay – others say it is murder. Good Christians today (in this room!) disagree on these things.

Second – contextual commands – for example - tattoos – There is a verse in Leviticus that says it is wrong – but it is contextual.

I remember when my son got a tattoo in high school – and they all ganged up on me – and I caved. But if you go in context – it was about worshiping other gods.

DO not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. And I kid you not, I was at a conference where someone was saying we are not to have cheeseburgers or a casserole with chicken and cheese….

Legislative – Civil laws – we tend to pick and choose which ones we should follow. Very few believe we should stone a rebellious son.

Ceremonial – Though not wrong to follow – they were for Israel specifically.

Oftentimes – I shared this last week – our primary focus – love God, love people and you fulfill all the commands. Jesus said the Law and prophets are fulfilled in that. But that does not mean we ignore the commands of Scripture – that is why they are there, to teach us to love God and love people. But there are nuances – like I said above.

1 Cor. 12: Now concerning spiritual gifts,

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

Over the years – God has brough to our church – people of various backgrounds and faith traditions – and you – as part of this church – it has made our church stronger.

When our church merged in 1996 with Dennis Knable and others – Dennis talked about cross-pollination as our churches came together – it was a great illustration – when plants cross-pollinate, you get unique varieties. And that is what happened with our church as we came together.

We belonged to an association at the time, and we were driving to or from an association meeting – and Dennis said – I love this association – but you need to know that it has its problems and be able to address that.

Now concerning spiritual gifts (Spirituals),

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

He connects the gifts – charismatic gifts – with the spirit – and when he gets to ministries –

Equal is a person’s service. As people come in with service abilities and skills – those are every bit as important – we have servants in our church – unbelievable servants in this church – and in this context – that is every bit as important as whatever gift they were concerned about. They were really into the gifts that make people look cool and powerful and spiritual – but he is saying – the one doing dishes – gifted just the same.

Energy in our service – the literal meaning.

7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

For all of us – that is a strength of this church.

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