I Believe: A Look at the Creed

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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.

Introduction

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

Acts 20:28-30
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

Conclusion

What is your creed? Could you write it down?

You will be able to before this summer is over.

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FBCW – Pastor’s Report

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Philemon 1:4-7
4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; 6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. 7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

Looking Back

The previous year has been a year of challenges on a variety of fronts, personally and professionally. I am thankful for the support, love, and partnership of the church with me and my family. The church has demonstrated the love of Christ through prayers, generosity, and partnership.

That is one of the benefits of being a part of a church family. Sometimes you are the one being a blessing to others, and other times you are the one receiving the blessing. I’m including the piece I wrote for the Wallingford News earlier this year with regard to being a part of a church family to share the reasons why it matters, and to encourage you to invite others to be part of the family here in Wallingford.

Looking Ahead

My hope and vision is that Sunday School, special Bible Studies, fellowships, and ministry opportunities will increase in the coming year. I am also praying that the commitment that many have made to reading through the Word of God will have an impact on the life and ministry of the members and the church. Here are somethings to consider being a part of as they progress:

  • Wednesday Night Prayer via SKYPE.
  • Sunday School at 9:30 (September – May)
  • Bethel Camp Meeting (July 3-9 – Pastor Dave Preaching)
  • Vacation Bible School – “THE CAVE”
  • Women of Worth Ministry (periodically)
  • Ironmen Men’s Ministry (in planning stage)

Borrowing from Paul, I close with this prayer: (Philemon 1.6)

I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.

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Points from the Pastor’s Pen

-Dave Bentley, Wallingford Baptist Church

Why does being a part of a church family make a difference?

I love the church. It’s the center of my life and has been since childhood. I grew up in the church. Every time the doors were open I was there. It’s the place where I was led to the knowledge of God, where I learned about the life and death of Jesus Christ, and where I gained the knowledge of salvation and eternal life through faith. It’s where I learned how to pray, how to sing, how to worship, how to love, and how to serve. It is where as a young man I experienced the leading of the Spirit of God directing me to a life of ministry. I met my wife through youth activities in church. We raised our children in the church, and now our grandchildren, too. The church touches every part of my life—in fact you could say it is my life.

People tell me that they are glad that has worked out for me, but it’s not for them. Many claim that they can’t find any relevance in the church to their life. I wonder, however, if people have really explored what is available to them through participation in the life of the church. Here are just a few things that the church offers, and that most people I know can benefit from:

  • A family to belong to.
  • Wisdom to live by.
  • Help in times of need.
  • Lessons that impact life.
  • Connection with something greater.
  • Knowledge of life and eternity.

People spend so much time and effort finding reasons and excuses for not being part of a church family. If only they could invest a portion of that energy in looking for a church to connect with in their life, I am convinced that they would find a place to belong and a mission in which they could participate.

Perhaps First Baptist Church of Wallingford is not the church they would choose. Believe it or not, that is not my purpose. My goal is that people would find a place where they can connect with God and with other believers. On the other hand, perhaps FBCW is exactly that church for you. You will never know until you step out and try. Find the church in your area where you can connect, and commit to attending for a period of time, at least one or two months consistently. I know you will locate a family of God where you will be welcome and where you can connect and serve the living God.

Blessings,

Dave Bentley, Pastor

First Baptist of Wallingford

In The Middle of a Pity Party…

-Dave Bentley

A post this morning from my friend Terry Dorsett drew me into Psalm 46. I realized that I have been throwing a little pity party lately because of the physical and financial struggles that my wife and I have been facing. Looking at our struggles so closely has moved my focus from the “very present help in trouble” to just the trouble.

The financial hardship has been significant. The physical struggles, especially for my beloved, have been difficult. The troubles we face are large. However, God is able to work wonders, even in the midst of the troubles. He has seen us through and has provided what is needed at the moment it is needed. He has proven time and time again that He is my refuge and strength, and my very present help in trouble.

Wait….look at that verse again.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Did you catch that little word slipped into the message of that verse? It states that God s “a very present help…IN…trouble.” Now, I would much rather that God were “the present help keeping me out of trouble,” but His word assures me that, though I face hardship, He is there with me IN the difficulty.

Financial challenges of car payments, educational pursuits, and a variety of mounting expenses may loom large, but God is “a very present help IN trouble.”

Health problems such as dental expenses, slow recovery, extended illness, and unexplained pains are difficult to bear, but God is “a very present help IN trouble.”

The demands of life and work may seem overwhelming, the piles of unfinished assignments may be expanding daily, and the energy needed to complete the work may seem unavailable, but God is “a very present help IN trouble.”

The message for me, in the midst of all my worry, is that God is PRESENT and IN the midst of my life’s trouble. I do not need to fear, worry, or panic. What I need is to trust and rest in the One who is my REFUGE and STRENGTH.

Pray for me, and I will pray for you as well.

Blessings,

Dave Bentley

Prayer: Path to Revival

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.

Video Link

When Life is Unbalanced

WHEN LIFE IS UNBALANCED

A Bible study

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.

SYMPTOMS

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.

Questions for Papa: My Life Verse

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 papa.dave.bentley@gmail.com .

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

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Hung Up on Jesus

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

John 19.1-18
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.
The Crucifixion
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.

John 20.1-18
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.

'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

John 19.1-18
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. 
The Crucifixion
     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. 

John 20.1-18
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.'