Have you ever been asked the question, “What do you believe?” I suspect that you have. We use the words
believe and belief for statements of little significance and for statements of huge significance.
- You may use the words “I believe” to state your preference for who will win the Super Bowl game or you
might use the word believe to express an opinion about your favorite car brand or the best place to go hiking
or go out to dinner. These beliefs could be changed by the actual outcome of the game, or new information
- There are other beliefs that have more significance, such as whether we should have a smaller government
or one that does more to ensure the welfare of the people. You may believe in global warming or you may
believe that global warming is a hoax. You may believe in the rights and freedoms that come with being a
citizen of the United States. Any of these beliefs could call you to action, service, or sacrifice.
- What about your faith, your most deeply held convictions? What you believe has a huge significance on your
life. These deeply held beliefs shape us for good or for bad. Some convictions lead people to do great harm and
other beliefs lead people to live sacrificially in service to others. One set of convictions shapes the Ku Klux Klan
and another set of convictions shapes the nuns who dedicate their lives to service.
What we believe is important for this world and we need to be able to share what is important to us with others.
We are going to be exploring the Apostles Creed each Sunday in February. The inspiration for this sermon series was
hearing Rev. Phillip Hoeflinger of the Brownsville, TX UMC speak about the Apostles’ Creed when Scott and I visited
my sister Mary last fall. I have used his words and the words of Adam Hamilton from his book “Creed” to create this
series. But I wouldn’t be standing here today if Pastor Cherie didn’t need some time to support her husband and I hadn’t
said, what about doing a sermon series on the Apostles Creed? I could probably do that.
So, here we are.
A creed is a statement of the basic beliefs of a religion; an idea or set of beliefs that guides the actions of a person or
From the earliest times, Christians made attempts to summarize their essential beliefs. Beginning in the late second
or early third centuries these summaries of the faith are found in the creeds of the church. The Nicene Creed was written
in 325 A.D. The Apostles’ Creed is an abbreviation of the Nicene Creed and it was written in 390 A.D. The most enduring
of the early creeds is the Apostles’ Creed. There are 10 creeds (or affirmations of faith, including the Nicene and Apostles’
Creeds) in our hymnal (pages 880 to 889). The Apostles’ Creed provides a concise and very early outline of Christian theology.
We are still reciting the Apostles’ Creed 1600 years after it was written. I memorized the Apostles’ Creed when I became a
member of this church when I was in my teens, and I suspect that many of you are either familiar with it or memorized it
at some point in your lives.
The word ‘creed’ comes from the Latin word credo, meaning ‘I believe.’ It was called ‘Apostles’ not because the
apostles themselves wrote it, but because the Creed was thought to be an accurate summary of what the apostles
taught. The Creed was useful in several ways: The Creed was a public statement of faith, a standardized way in which
new people could confess their faith in Jesus Christ. The Creed anchored Christian faith to a tradition, to make it
difficult for people or churches to be led astray by strange doctrines. The Creed was a preaching and teaching tool,
giving an outline for further discipleship. The Creed was memorized through frequent repetition, which helped the
many believers who could not read.
Our most important beliefs, whether expressed in the Apostles’ creed, or in other ways, affect our understanding of
what it means to be human and our convictions about values, morality, and relationships. Our most deeply held beliefs
shape our goals, ambitions, hopes and dreams. It is important to be able to fully know and explain what we believe as
The Creed Begins, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”
Who is God the Father?
There are two descriptions that the Creed gives the Father
- First, ALMIGHTY
He is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent – He is all knowing, all powerful, everywhere
this is what “Almighty” is communicating, the bigness of God
- Second, MAKER – maker of Heaven and Earth
When I think of maker, the first thing I think is Genesis 1 & 2 that’s where we see God create everything,
The father was not the only one there in Genesis 1 & 2. The Son and the Holy Spirit were there too. Jesus was
known as the word of God. How did God create? He spoke creation into being – with words.
Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit as Wind. Genesis says “The wind swept over the dark waters”- that wind was
the Holy Spirit
Genesis Chapter 1 v. 26 “Let us make humankind in OUR image…
that’s plural – humankind is made in the image of this triune God. – God the Father, God the Son and God the
Holy Spirit. So what was the role of the Father? In Genesis Chapters 1 and 2
God the Father was the Engineer
- The Father is the one that creates the plans
Jesus says multiple times in His ministry that He was there to carry out the will of His Father…
The Father casts the vision…the Son and the Holy Spirit are there to carry it all out. He is the maker and he is almighty!
The Father is still making! We still see God’s creation all around us. He has never stopped creating
See something beautiful in this world? God, the Father made it!
Beautiful sunrise, the father made it..Beautiful sunset, the father made it
If you get to hold a newborn child, you see the work of creation. God the father, the creator, the maker
of heaven and earth knew how many hairs would be on the baby’s head when it was still in its mother’s womb.
If you question God’s role in creation, consider the work of Oxford mathematician John Lennox. He has calculated that
the odds for self-organization of life on earth are in the neighborhood of 1 to 10 to the 40,000 power – very slim odds indeed.
Astronomer Fred Hoyle suggested an often-cited analogy for the improbability of life on earth organizing on its own saying
the chances were about the same as those of a gale-force wind blowing through a junkyard and, after it passed, revealing
that a Boeing 747 had spontaneously assembled itself.
A simpler analogy suggested by Adam Hamilton might be to inquire what it would take for cocoa, eggs, flour, sugar and oil
to assemble themselves spontaneously into a three-layer chocolate cake. No matter how many billion years we might wait,
there will be no three-layer chocolate cake without its being mixed, baked and iced by someone who knows what a chocolate
cake should look and taste like.
So, if we believe that God is the creator, then… who are we in relation to the Father, creator of heaven and earth? Why is it
important for us to have a relationship with this heavenly father. Why is the Father important to us? This is who we are in
relation to the Father.
Hear now the word of the Lord
Romans 8:14-17 The Voice (VOICE)
14 If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children. 15 You see,
you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you
have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba!
Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. 16 Through that prayer, God’s Spirit confirms in our spirits
that we are His children. 17 If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed,
set to inherit everything that is His. If we share His sufferings, we know that we will ultimately share in His glory.”
This is the word of the Lord, thanks be to God.
This passage says we are two things in relation to the father… the first is children, and the second is heirs…
How do we know that we are God’s children?
- Read 8v. 14 – If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children
- One thing all children need… is loving guidance…
If there is nobody there to help teach children right from wrong, they won’t know and they will be as likely to do
wrong as right
Parents have the responsibility to shephard their children. Children aren’t meant to go through life without any
direction.Things will go wrong in their lives if they don’t have good guidance.
We are considered to be children of God
- If we allow ourselves to be led by the Father… to have a shepherd, to be dependent, then yes we are considered his children!
- Just because you are born into this world does not make you a child of God. God loves you when you are born into this world.
However according to Romans 8:14 “all who are lead by the spirit of God are children of God.” We must allow ourselves to
take that guidance. God invites everyone to be a child of God. It’s up to us to make the decision to be a child of God rather
than a child of the world.
- What attitude should we, as children, have toward God?
- Read 8v15” You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you
have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we
would address a loving daddy.”Our response should be gratitude for His adoption of us.
- Children of adoption often have a spirit of gratitude. Somebody of this world came and said to them “I want you” I want to
be your Mom or Dad, I will love you and care for your and guide you, When someone is willing to take you in and say “you are
Mine” there is only one response – thankfulness. and the child is thankful to be wanted and loved.
It is the Father who adopts us!
- God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth loves you so much, the Father wants to be there for you, he loves
you so much that he offers to fully adopt you!
- All we have to do is accept that invitation and cry “Abba Father!”
It’s the father who adopts us, he wants the very best he can give us. Isn’t that what a parent wants? They want the very best
for their children.
And then… v. 17a.If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed, set to inherit everything that
is His. .. HEIRS!
- We become the heirs of the creator — of everything!
- We receive more than just guidance, we become heirs of everything like a prince or princess. You have the most glorious
inheritance waiting for you. Victory over sin, victory over death. Romans 8:17b If we share His sufferings, we know that
we will ultimately share in His glory.
The role of the Father is not just to be the Almighty and the Creator… but adopter and giver!
- The Father wants his children to inherit the very best that He has created, a place at His side for all of eternity!
And what is our response?
If there is a God, and you and I are his children, then the appropriate response is praise, gratitude and worship. We are
to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. When I wake up in the morning, thanksgiving for a new day should
be on my lips. When I lie down to sleep, I should offer thanksgiving the the day that has passed. Each day is a gift. Each good
experience is a blessing. In an ultimate sense everything good in life is an act of God’s grace. Faith in God leads us to humility,
but it also leads us to gratitude.
If God exists, then my aim is to understand God’s will for how I should live as a human being. Christians find God’s will in
studying the Scriptures, particularly the life and teachings of Jesus. Jesus calls us to rise above our animal instincts. He calls
us to love our neighbor, even our enemy. He calls us to forgive rather than seek vengeance, to overcome evil with good, to do
justice and practice loving kindness.
There’s more: if God exists, and God is as the Scriptures describe him then we are never alone. As the psalmist so beautifully
notes, even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we need fear no evil, for God is with us. Over one hundred
times in Scripture, the biblical authors tell us not to be afraid, for God is with us. If God exists, there is always hope.
Praise be to the Father, ALMIGHTY, MAKER, CREATOR AND ADOPTER!