Summary: The Apostle’s Creed - Intro - The things you believe or don’t believe will change your life. So make sure you believe the truth about Christ
There was once a physics professor who was teaching his class the theory of the pendulum. He knew they responded well to physical demonstrations of theory so one day he held his class in the university gymnasium. The class gathered in the gym to discover that the professor had rigged a large, heavy ball on the end of one of the ropes that hung along the centre of the gym. He pulled the ball back and then asked the class, "Who can tell me what will happen when I let the ball go?" Well several hands went up and the correct answer was given: "The ball will swing backwards and forwards in an ever-decreasing arc. The effect of friction will be such that the pendulum will slow down and eventually stop."
"Do the rest of you believe that?" asked the Professor. There was general nodding around the room. "Excellent" said the Professor. "So, who’ll volunteer to come out here, hold the ball against their nose and then let it go?"
What do you think? Would you have volunteered? Would you have put your nose on the line? Can you see what the professor in that story has done? He’s moved the question from being simply theoretical to being life changing. I mean if the theory’s wrong your going to get a nose job aren’t you?
You see, there are some things you can believe and they don’t mean much to you. For example, if I told you the moon is 384,000 km from the earth, you’d just shrug your shoulders, wouldn’t you? Who cares? As long as it’s still up there! But if I told you I just came in from the car park and I noticed your front tyre was flat I’d probably get you a bit more interested.
There’s an incident in Luke 17 where 10 men who had leprosy meet Jesus and ask him to heal them. Listen to what happens and I want you to notice how their healing takes place. (Luke 17:11-16 NIV) ’As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" 14When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests."’ You can imagine them going off to show themselves to the priests. They turn around and start walking and as they look down at their hands and arms the marks of their leprosy are still there. You can imagine one of them turning to his neighbour and saying "What do you think. Should we go and make a fool of ourselves with the priests or should we give up and go home?" Their faith at that moment is being tested. They’ve heard about Jesus. They really believed that he might be able to heal them, but now comes the crunch. How real is their faith? Is their faith life-changing faith? Is their belief in Jesus enough to make them go and show themselves to the priests? As we read on we discover in fact it was. "And as they went, they were cleansed." Their faith, their belief in Jesus is shown in their doing what Jesus says. And their belief changes their lives.
The things you believe or don’t believe will change your life as well. If you don’t believe me when I tell you that you have a flat tyre, it could ruin your day. If you don’t believe what we read last week in Acts 10, that Jesus has been appointed as the judge of the living and the dead, it could ruin your whole life, your eternal life. And that’s why today we begin a series of sermons thinking about the basic things we believe as Christians.
What we believe as Christians will largely determine how we live. I don’t just mean what we say we believe. I mean what we believe in the depths of our being.
What’s in our subconscious mind has an enormous effect on the decisions we make, on the relationships we form, on the way we manage those relationships, even on the degree to which we enjoy life. It can either limit us or it can free us up. So the intention of this series is to free us up to live life to the full, to reinforce those beliefs that are basic to the Christian walk, to help us renew our minds so that our thinking conforms with the mind of Christ. Do you remember what Romans 12:2 says? "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God -- what is good and acceptable and perfect."
It’s good every now and then to refresh our minds about what we believe. To affirm again the content of those words we say just about every week. But it’s not just about reinforcing our head knowledge, it’s about what’s in the depths of our psyche. It’s about those beliefs that shape our lives, It’s about helping us grow to maturity as followers of Jesus Christ.