Starting in a few weeks, I’ll preach a series at St. Matthew’s UMC entitled “This I Believe.” This series will talk about some of the key things that our church believes. Our beliefs are of the utmost importance. Our beliefs shape and form us in amazing ways. I think a lot about a lyric from one of my favorite Christian artists, Rich Mullins. He sang a song entitled “Creed,” which was basically the Apostles’ Creed put to music. But between the movements of the creed, he sang, “I believe what I believe; it’s what makes me what I am. I did not make it, not it is making me; it is the very truth of God, not the invention of any man.”
I love that part, “I did not make it, not it is making me.” What a beautiful concept, the very truth of God, is making me. It is shaping me. It is forming me.
I think a lot as well about something one of my favorite professors from seminary, Dr. Knick, would say, “Pay more attention to what you believe than what you think or what you feel.” Thoughts and feelings are almost malleable and changeable. Belief, particularly belief in the key doctrines of the church, are not shakable in the same way. They are given to us by the church; they are God’s gift to us.
But first, I want to talk about what Creeds are. Some of us may come from denominations that do not recite creeds and may not believe in “man-made” doctrines. I’ve been doing this daily devotional in some form for nearly 20 and am blessed to have a fairly diverse group who reads this.
I teach a class sometimes that talks about what all Christians hold together. And one of those things is the Creeds. But Andy, you said not everyone says the Creeds. Correct. What I mean is that all Christians hold to the content and doctrine put forth by the Creed. We can argue about Bible translations and worship styles and all manner of things. But the essentials of the faith laid out for us in Creeds, all Christians hold to these. These are the essentials of our faith.
John Wesley a sermon entitled “The Catholic Spirit.” In that message, he said, “On the essentials, unity, on the non essentials, diversity, in all things, charity.” I think that is so, so right.
On the essentials, unity.
What are those essentials? I’d say they are best laid out for us, in the most simple manner, in the Apostles’ Creed. You can find it written out for you below:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe 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, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living 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.
We will talk tomorrow about how it is organized and how we got it. And then, we’ll look at each part of the Creed, along with the Biblical foundations of each part.
But, today, I want to ask you. What do you believe? Not what were you taught, what does your spouse, your parents, your children, your preacher believe, but what do YOU believe?
What you believe is so important; it shapes things you think about and things that you do.
There are many things I believe and find important. But all of them, every one of them, finds their root, finds their foundation in this Creed. The Apostles’ Creed is making me.
This I believe. What do you believe?
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