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.
I KNOW WHAT I BELIEVE – WHY WE NEED A CREED
2 Timothy 1:12-14
12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED AND I AM CONVINCED THAT HE IS ABLE TO GUARD WHAT I HAVE ENTRUSTED TO HIM UNTIL THAT DAY. 13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.
THE APOSTLE’S 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. Amen.
Introducing The Creed
· A Basic Statement of Belief
· Needed due to false teachings from outside
· Needed due to false doctrine rising within
28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
The Word Creed—Latin Credo—“I Believe”
Why We Need a Creed
· Every Church requires some form of faith confession.
o Consider the Constitution of our Church
§ “Having been lead as we believe by the Holy Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
o Each of us have a creed that declares what we believe
§ Sometimes this creed is spoken
§ More often this is a creed that is displayed in actions
· The Churches that do not have a creed are in Danger
o They do not have a foundation for their faith.
o They do not have a theological filter against error
The Purpose of the Creeds of Faith
Creeds Are Designed to Define the Faith
Church historian Philip Schaff wrote in his book The Creeds of Christendom that “the first object of creeds was to distinguish the Church from the world, from Jews and heathen, afterwards orthodoxy from heresy, and finally denomination from denomination.”
· Has anyone ever asked why you are a Baptist?
· Have you ever stopped to consider why you are a Baptist?
I tell people that I am a Christian by birth (being born again) and a Baptist by Choice, discovering a church that believed and practiced what I believe.
· Consider for a moment that question. Why are you a Baptist?
Creeds Are Designed to Defend the Faithful
· As already mentioned, Creeds defend believers from
o False Teaching
o Doctrinal Deviation
· This Leads to Some Disturbing Questions”
o How can a Christian convert to a cultic religion?
o How can a Church with a strong heritage turn from truth?
o How can a pastor or church neglect teaching/preaching Bible?
§ The people have requested that their ears be tickled.
· This Also Provides an Encouraging Truth
o A Creed (i.e. The Apostle’s Creed) can defend the truth.
§ This simple statement addresses false/cultic claims
§ This simple statement addresses objections
§ This simple statement addresses our own doubts
Creeds Are Designed to Declare to the World
· How many of you are preachers?
o How many of you are called to preach the Gospel?
o How many of you are called to declare Christ to others?
o So…how many of you are preachers?
· The Creed Becomes a Simple Sermon
o As you will see through this series, it is a systematic message.
o As you will learn through this series, it is a simple message.
o As you will learn through this series it is a salvation message.
· Next time you’re Asked what you Believe…Remember the Creed
What is your creed? Could you write it down?
You will be able to before this summer is over.
Jerry Falwell declared that “Nothing of eternal significance occurs separate from prayer.” Because of this truth, believers must make prayer a priority. This video offers and invitation and challenge that can transform your life and welcome in spiritual awakening.
Click the link below.
WHEN LIFE IS UNBALANCED
Believe it or not, even the pastor’s life can sometimes seem “out of balance.” At times I’m pressured by the urgent to lose sight of what matters most. Priorities get out of line, boundaries get out of place, and my life gets out of sync. It’s subtle, but can have serious consequences if I let it go.
Here are some of the symptoms that tell me there’s a problem.
- I feel fatigued physically, mentally, and spiritually.
- I’m more easily discouraged.
- I get frustrated and aggravated by small things.
- I lose sight of the blessings and focus on the burdens.
The answer to getting back in balance is found in a variety of places in Scripture.
- Matthew 6.33 reminds me to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
- John 15 reminds me that He is the vine, and I am the branch. I need to remain in Him.
DELIGHT, COMMIT, and TRUST
Psalm 37.4-5 offers me three quick keys to regaining balance when I find I’m spiritually unsteady.
4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act,
- Delight – Find joy and pleasure abiding in the presence of God
- Commit – Turn it all, everything, over to Him, because He has the best plan.
- Trust – Patiently wait and watch as God works things out His way in His time.
REST AND REMAIN
Resting and remaining appear to be critical components in the spiritually balanced life. Frequently I’m tempted to rush about trying to fix things, worried about what people might think if they see my flaws and realize I am less than perfect. God invites me, then and always, to focus on His priorities, maintain healthy boundaries, and connect (or reconnect) to the Vine, the source of His purpose, presence, and productivity.
John 15.4: Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
Potholes on the road can damage a car’s tires, causing the vehicle to vibrate as the auto is driven. This happens because the damaged tire is out of balance and needs to have a skilled mechanic repair it and rebalance it. When life’s potholes get us out of balance, we need to pull up to the only one who can get us back in balance, and let Him have us for a while.
This year at the close of Bethel Camp Meeting I asked the students I was leading to write some quick questions for me. This series of Video BLOGS and writings are answers to those questions. Feel free to add your questions to the list in the comment section, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
MY LIFE VERSE: Romans 5:8
God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
For full explanation go to Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFgRrgrfAPs
Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
Luke 19:47-48 (NIV)
This week is a critical week for the disciples of Christ, then and now, as we observe and commemorate this final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In a few short days Jesus would go from being hailed as a king to being hung as a criminal. Events happened fast and peoples sentiments changed abruptly, and they still do.
In the verse from today’s reading a quick phrase caught my eye. “the people hung on His words.” Perhaps you are not a religious person, and maybe you are even anti-religious, but would you be willing to participate in a small experiential experiment with me? Find a Bible, or just save this post, and read the following passage each day from now through Sunday. (Verses are at the bottom of this post) As much as the people hung on the words of Jesus, this week I’m going to hang on these experiences with Jesus. The death that paid the price for the evil and sin of man, and the resurrection that shattered the seal of death and opened that way to eternal life. Why don’t you “hang with me?”
John 19.1-18 & John 20.1-18
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.
4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
7 The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others–one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
Jesus Appears to Mary of Magdala
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.