Summary: An ancient Hymn with a modern message! (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise,
• Usually referred to as Morecambe and Wise, or Eric and Ernie,
• Were a British comic double act, working in variety, radio, film;
• And most successfully in television.
• Their partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe's death in 1984.
• They have been described as
• "the most illustrious, and the best-loved, double-act that Britain has ever produced".
• Classic sketches from such shows often revolved around the guest stars.
• One example is the 1971 appearance of André Previn,
• Who was introduced onstage by Ernie as Andrew Preview.
• Previn's schedule was extremely tight,
• And Morecambe and Wise were worried that he had very little time to rehearse,
• But the final result was described by their biographer as "probably their finest moment".
• In that sketch:
• Because the piano lid obscures his view.
• Previn cannot see Eric when he gestures for him to begin playing,
• Previn has to leap in the air at the appropriate time, so that Eric can see him.
• When he finally manages to enter on time,
• Eric's rendition of the piano part is so bizarre that Previn becomes exasperated
• And tells Eric that he is playing "all the wrong notes".
• Eric stands up, seizes Previn by the lapels and menacingly informs him
• "I'm playing all the right notes—but not necessarily in the right order."
• YouTube: http://youtu.be/-zHBN45fbo8
• TRANSITION: When it comes to this song, this early hymn of the Church:
• We have no idea what notes, what tune was attached to these words;
• But we do have the content which is the most important part of this song.
• The early Church what we might call hymns or creeds.
• The word 'Creed' is derived from the Latin word ‘credo’, meaning 'I believe'.
• The Creeds therefore, are summaries of belief.
• Particularly in the first few hundred years of Christianity;
• When the New Testament was not completed or it was unavailable to people to read.
• The most famous creeds were forged by the early church.
• But the Old Testament also contains what could well be considered creedal statements;
• A good example would be the Hebrew ‘Shema’;
• Which is found in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 4);
• “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God — the Lord is One.”
• The ‘Shema’ is the central prayer in the Jewish prayer book (Siddur);
• And is often the first section of scripture that a Jewish child learns.
• ill: for Jewish people it is the John 3:16 of the Old Testament.
Now as I mentioned earlier, the formal creeds were developed during early church history:
• They helped to establish what Christians believed;
• They also were safeguards that help to refute false-teaching and error.
• The creeds were not inspired but they were very helpful;
• The most early and best known creeds are;
• The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed;
• Which may well this day be used in Sunday services in the Church of England.
Now in 1 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16:
• We have an early creed/hymn of the early Church;
• And because it is contained in the New Testament;
• We can confidently say that is 100% inspired of God;
• It is a concise statement of what Christians believe.
• And it helps all believers to formulate a clear confession of faith;
• I guess at some time in our Christian experience we have enjoyed,
• A variety of emotional or good feelings,
• Maybe on a walk up a mountain;
• We have looked at the view and been awe-struck at the beauty of creation!
• Maybe we read a book or listened to someone’s testimony;
• And it has exhilarated us and helped us in our worship of God.
• Good feelings and moments of inspiration are indeed wonderful blessings!
• I am not knocking or putting them down.
• But…and it is an important but;
• But enduring Christian faith is not built merely on good feelings;
• Or on brief moments of sensing God's presence in the beauty of the creation,
• Or even on inspirational stories.
• Because those feelings are subjective, personal;
• And therefore they will be varied and transient in their out-working.
• Enduring Christian faith is built on knowing and understanding truth about God.
• That truth has been revealed to us in the unchanging Word of God,
• That is why doctrinal instruction, Bible teaching is so important;
• “The question is not whether a doctrine is beautiful, but whether it is true.