WHY IS THERE SO MUCH VIOLENCE AND HATE?
Bloodshed, violence, hatred, people displaying such horrible darkness, this is what happens when the world turns its back on the God of heaven and earth. We should not be surprised. What we should do…what we must do…is repent and return. Notice what Psalm 68 declares for the people who turn to God and the people who live in rebellion:
- Let God arise, LET HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED;
- let those who hate Him FLEE before Him.
- As smoke is driven away, so DRIVE THEM AWAY;
- As wax melts before the fire,
- SO LET THE WICKED PERISH BEFORE GOD
- But let the righteous BE GLAD; let them EXULT before God;
- Yes, let them REJOICE WITH GLADNESS.
- Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
- Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts,
- Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him.
- A FATHER OF THE FATHERLESS
- · A father to the fatherless offers protection and provision.
- and a JUDGE FOR THE WIDOWS,
- · A judge for the widows is an advocate for the defenseless
- Is God in His holy habitation.
- God makes A HOME FOR THE LONELY;
- · Home means family, and family is the remedy for loneliness
- He leads out the PRISONERS INTO PROSPERITY,
- · Prisoners who have been held wrongly by strong powers.
- ONLY THE REBELLIOUS LIVE IN A PARCHED LAND.
- · A stark contrast to the promised land and eternal heaven.
- (New American Standard Bible, emphasis added)
Dear people, please turn to God.
- · Turn to Him for Salvation in Jesus the Messiah!
- · Turn to His Spirit for guidance and wisdom!
- · Turn to His Word for revelation and truth!
- · Turn to Him in prayer for daily walking with Him!
- · Turn to His Church for instruction and fellowship!
This Sunday, find a church where you can learn about God and His plan for you. Find a church that preaches and teaches from the Bible. Find a church that calls you to prayer and leads you in worship.
If you are in the area, I invite you to Wallingford Baptist Church in Wallingford, Vermont. We meet at 10:00 on Sundays. We would be happy to welcome you.
8 What does it say? ” THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart”– that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that 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.”
Read the Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at 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 Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
The Difference Between a Large Map and the Inset on a Page
A Large Scale Map
- Gives all the details of topography
A Small Scale Map
- Gives Smaller Details
- Places to Stay along the Way
- Interesting Sites to stop and view
The Bible and Creed
- The Bible is a million word Large Map – Gives all the Details
- The Creed is the Inset on the Page – Marks out the Trails
Review from Introduction
- Creeds Define the Faith
- Creeds Defend the Faith
- Creeds Declare the Faith
Creeds were originally designed to be a statement of faith for a person who was about to be baptized. Over time these baptismal creeds were incorporated into the worship service for recitation by the entire congregation as an expression of their common faith. Later, creeds were used by a communion of churches to express their common understanding of the Christian faith.Because the Apostles’ Creed is a summary of Biblical truth, we should study it and be edified by the Biblical truths it contains and conveys.
The Crux of the Creed – I BELIEVE!
What are Some Things You Have Believed In?
- Santa Claus
- Tooth Fairy
- Particular Political Ideology
- The Undying Love of a high school Girl/Boyfriend
Many of these beliefs have let us down and fallen short in the crunch.
In Reality, those beliefs don’t require much investment or commitment.
What about God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? The Church? Heaven?
IT MATTERS WHEN I SAY: I BELIEVE – CREDO
“I Believe” is Personal
- First Person Singular “I”
- I cannot speak for anyone else but myself.
- My wife
- My children
- My congregation
- Some creeds begin as a collective statement “We Believe”
- The Apostles’ Creed Keeps it Personal, what I myself Believe
“I Believe” is Professional (It is a Profession of Faith)
- Stirred to a Declaration
Matthew 16:13-16 (NASB77)
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
15 He •said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
- Who do THEY Say I am?
- A general overview of popular opinion
- Not committing anyone to a particular belief
- John the Baptist (recently killed by Herod)
- Elijah (Who didn’t die but was transported off the planet)
- Jeremiah (perhaps because Jesus was moved with compassion)
- One of the Prophets (A general reference to teaching/miracles)
- Who do YOU say I am?
- Now it gets personal.
- I picture some squirming, because people squirm when challenged
- Peter rises to the challenge with a Passionate Profession
- You ARE…(not might be or could be)
- You are THE CHRIST…
- You are the Christ, THE SON…
- You are the Christ, the Son of THE GOD…
- You are the Christ, the Son of the God, THE LIVING ONE.
“I BELIEVE” IS A PERSONAL PROFESSION OF MY BELIEF/FAITH
“I Believe” is Powerful
- Believe/Faith – Pistos (gk)
- Complete Dependence
- Complete Reliance
- Complete Trust
- Another way of stating this is: “I am believing into…” (a common Gk. Phrase)
- I’m leaning into God…dependence and trust
- I’m leaning into Jesus…dependence and trust
- I’m leaning into the Holy Spirit…dependence and trust
- I’m leaning into the Church…dependence and trust
- I’m leaning into Heaven…dependence and trust
Think back to what we once believed in:
- Tooth Fairy
- High School Sweetie
There may have been a measure of faith and trust, but not UTTER DEPENDENCE
- I believe” is a POWERFUL Personal Profession of Utter Dependence
“I Believe” is Purposeful
- Think About the ways we Demonstrate Faith Daily
- I Demonstrate my faith in my car by turning the key.
- I Demonstrate my faith in a chair by sitting upon it.
- I Demonstrate my faith in a step by stepping on it
- I Demonstrate my faith in a plane by purchasing a ticket.
- I Demonstrate my faith in a physician my making an appointment.
- I Demonstrate my Faith in God by looking ahead to Heaven
- Something only He could Accomplish
- Something only He could Make Possible
- Something only He can Complete
A creed is a statement of personal belief. That is why it is so important that you know what it is that you are affirming. It does no good if you recite the words of the Apostles’ Creed but you don’t know what it really is that you are reciting, or worse, that what you are reciting is not an affirmation of what you truly believe.
A mid-western church rented a theater to watch The Passion of the Christ on opening weekend. Afterwards they gathered for dinner, discussion, and prayer. The pastor later returned home in a somber and contemplative mood, deeply reflecting upon the sacrifice of Christ.
When he opened his mail that night, the first letter was from a local church, inviting him to visit their “Special Community” They listed the ways they were unique:
- No religious dogma: We encourage the freedom of individual belief.
- A humanist view of life: Our faith is based on celebrating the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
- Warm, accessible services: Our Sunday services typically include a mix of readings, music, moments of meditation or contemplation, and a sermon.
- Our children’s religious education program: We teach our kids to be accepting of differing beliefs and the importance of each person seeking his or her own truth.
- We study the world’s major religions and draw on the core values of each faith tradition.
“So,” the letter concluded, “if you’re looking for a congregation that cherishes freedom of belief and opinion, with a warm sense of community and fellowship, please visit us.”
The pastor had just watched the horrific suffering of Jesus and heard him say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Hours later he opened an invitation to visit a group where truth doesn’t matter. The contrast was overwhelming.
Truth does matter. It matters a great deal what you and I believe.