Summary: "I believe" are perhaps the hardest words of the Apostle’s Creed to state. Faith is under attack, but it is absolutely essential.
During World War II allied armies marched into Germany on their way to Berlin. Retreating German soldiers switched road signs and destroyed landmarks in an effort to confuse their enemy. And, to an extent, it worked, for many a G.I. followed a false marker only to end up in the wrong place. That just goes to show the need for landmarks, the importance of reliable signposts by which to steer.
-if we believe in what is false, or if we are ignorant of what we are to believe, we also will get lost along the way; reach a dead end; the wrong place.
Jude is a letter written in response to teachers who came along within the church and set up false markers, leading people astray by distorting the Christian faith
-thus, Jude urges the church to "contend for the faith"
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20)
Three comments about this: (Ray Pritchard)
First, note the sacred nature of the Christian faith. -- “most holy faith” -- value, worth, preciousness. Faith is not secondary.
Second, spiritual growth is not optional. -- "build yourselves up" is a command. If you don’t, you won’t remain neutral spiritually, but grow ignorant and be prone to stray.
Third, spiritual growth does not happen by accident. -- it is connected to faith. If you want to grow, you must grow in faith.
But it is not just any faith. This is talking about something specific, and it represents the summary of what it means to be a Christian; the CONTENT of the Christian faith.
Q: What is meant by the most holy faith? What is the summary of what we believe? The Apostle’s Creed.
As many of you know, the Apostles’ Creed is an elaboration of a very old creed which had been circulating in various areas of early Christianity.
was used for multiple purposes. It was used for catechism training, for teaching Christians the basics of the Christian faith. It was also used as a baptismal confession. When believers came before the church to profess their faith in Christ, not having previously been baptized, they would be schooled in the Apostles’ Creed and then the minister would ask them each of the phrases of the Apostles’ Creed and ask them to affirm this as their faith, before they were baptized, not unlike the way we ask the five questions of membership, to adults who come to the church now to receive baptism and profess faith in Jesus Christ.
But the Apostles’ Creed was also used in worship. the Apostles’ Creed was incorporated and said as part of worship in the gathered services of the Church.
And so, for hundreds of years the Apostles’ Creed has both served as an instrument for instructing Christians in the basics of the Christian faith, and as an instrument for Christians to express, in worship, their common confession in the one true God.
Every time we recite the Apostle’s Creed we are reminded that we are not alone in our beliefs; we are connected to millions around the world who believe the same, and it links us with those who have gone before throughout the ages. Our faith has roots and history.