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Summary: An ancient Hymn with a modern message! (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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SERMON OUTLINE:

(1). Incarnation

(2). Vindication

(3). Visualisation

(4). Proclamation

(5). Confession

(6). Ascension

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

• 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;

Ill:

• 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;

Quote: Hare:

• “The question is not whether a doctrine is beautiful, but whether it is true.

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