Summary: Belief in God as Father and Almighty gives us CONFIDENCE and COURAGE.
APOSTLES’ CREED: God the Father Almighty
Today we begin a study of the Apostles’ Creed. The creed probably did not originate with the 12 apostles, but it was a very early statement of what Christians believed. Through the centuries, Christians like us have come together to say, “I believe…”
Yet our goal is not just to understand what the church has always believed, or what all Christians should agree upon. Our goal is to ask ourselves, “What do I believe, and what impact do my beliefs have on me?”
Many things we believe are merely matters of intellectual opinion. You might believe in extraterrestrial life, or you might not; you will probably never meet anyone from another planet, so what you believe doesn’t much matter. On the other hand, you might believe that your spouse can be trusted to have your best interests at heart; that will transform your relationship.
Our goal in studying the creed is not so much to gain knowledge, as to determine the bedrock beliefs upon which we will build our lives. What we believe about God, and about life in relationship to God, will transform how we live.
I BELIEVE IN GOD…
Many people, perhaps a majority of people all around the world, believe in some kind of God or gods.
Some believe in an impersonal god. Albert Einstein was in awe of “the old one,” by which he meant the fundamental patterns of the universe that inspired awe within him. Others think of God as a spiritual force field, like “The Force” in Star Wars.
Some people believe in a God who got the universe rolling, and then stepped back to watch from a distance. He is far away and irrelevant, sort of like your long-lost grandfather, who might send a check for Christmas and your birthday.
Some people believe in a God who is harsh and dictatorial, giving rules for no reason. Others have a God much like themselves, affirming everything they do, while hating the same people they do.
Some people believe in multiple gods, or multiple spirits, which can be appeased or manipulated to get what they want. Others believe in their personal higher power, who helps them stay on the right track, and makes them happy and prosperous.
What kind of God do YOU believe in? We say, I BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER, ALMIGHTY… Our God is THE FATHER, and our God is ALMIGHTY. Both of those matter to us!
First, “I believe in God THE FATHER.”
Right away, that separates us from those who believe in god as an impersonal force. A father has a will and a personality, expressed in personal relationships with his children.
People of many faiths might think of God as Father, in the general sense of, “We are all God’s children.” That is a nice sentiment about the value of every human being created by God, but it doesn’t tell us much about God as Father. What kind of Father is he?
First, God is the Father in relation to the Son. That is the mystery of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, three persons. The nature of the Trinity is a mystery not revealed this side of eternity, but at its core, the Trinity is a circle of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Most of what we know about God the Father is through the relationship between the Father and Son, when the Son lived on earth as Jesus Christ. Although the Son accepted the limitations of human flesh, the Father and the Son continued in their eternal relationship. Jesus said, “The Father knows me and I know the Father…I and the Father are one.” (John 10:15, 30)
The relationship between Jesus and the Father demonstrates the kind of relationship we long for. Jesus was secure in the love of his Father. Twice in John’s gospel, Jesus says, “The Father loves the Son.” (John 3:35, 5:20) Jesus and his Father were always on the same page: “Whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:50) When Jesus died on the cross, he trusted his Father even in death, saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
God is not only the Father of Jesus; he is OUR FATHER. The Apostle Paul begins almost all of his letters with a similar greeting, which in Ephesians 1:2 is, ““Grace to you from GOD OUR FATHER and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Then he goes on to say, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is God our Father!
Of course, we are not sons in the sense that Jesus was. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY-BEGOTTEN Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Note to preacher: monogene emphasizes the nature of Jesus, being the same as the Father; he is unique, thus translated as the “one and only,” who shares the genetics of the Father. It does not imply a time of birth.)