Summary: ‘I believe’ – 1 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16 – Sermon by Gordon Curley. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(1). Incarnation

(2). Vindication

(3). Visualisation

(4). Proclamation

(5). Confession

(6). Ascension



• The 1993 film Schindler's List;

• Chronicled the heroic efforts of Czech born businessman Oskar Schindler,

• Who tried to make his fortune during the Second World War.

• When Schindler found out what was happening to the Jews at Auschwitz,

• He began a systematic effort to save as many Jews as he could.

• He discovered that for money,

• He could buy Jews to work in his factory,

• Which was supposed to be a part of the military machine of Germany.

• His plan was simple:

• On one hand he was buying as many Jews as he could,

• And on the other hand;

• He was deliberately sabotaging the ammunition produced in his factory.

• Schindler was able to save the lives of more than a 1000 mostly Polish-Jewish refugees,

• From the Holocaust.

• He entered the war as a financially wealthy industrialist;

• By the end of the war, he was basically financially bankrupt.

• The most emotional scene of the film;

• When the Germans surrendered,

• Schindler met with his Jewish workers;

• And declared that at midnight they were all free to go.

• when Schindler said good-bye to the financial manager of the plant,

• A Jew and his good and trusted friend.

• As he embraced his friend, Schindler sobbed and said,

• "I could have done more."

• He looked at his automobile and asked,

• "Why did I save this? I could have bought 10 Jews with this."

• Taking another small possession he cried,

• "This would have saved another one. Why didn't I do more?"

• TRANSITION: When it comes to the God of the Bible,

• When it comes to his plan of salvation,

• Please note, that God "Could NOT have done anymore."

• It cost him everything!

• He gave ‘his one and only son’ the price was great!

• And amazingly he was willing to pay it!

• We read together the words of a hymn that the early Church sang together.

• We have no idea what tune was;

• But we do have the content which is the most important part of this hymn/song.

The technical term for this hymn/song is a creed:

• The word 'Creed' is derived from the Latin word ‘credo’, meaning 'I believe'.

• And Creeds were a summary of belief.

• They were particularly needed at the beginning Christianity;

• When the New Testament was not yet completed as a Cannon,

• Or it was unavailable for people to read.

• The most famous creeds were forged by the early church.

• They helped to establish what Christians believed;

• They also were safeguards that help to refute false-teaching and error.

Now in 1 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16:

• We have an early creed/hymn of the early Church;

• It is a concise statement of what Christians believe.

• And it helps all believers to formulate a clear confession of faith;


• This Greek word translated into English as ‘mystery’.

• Does not mean a riddle that you have to puzzle over.

• In fact the very opposite:

• ‘Mystery’ refers to something that was hid but has now been revealed.

• And the mystery of godliness is no longer a mystery!

• The mystery of godliness is JESUS CHRIST!

• i.e. To those who lived B.C. (Before Christ)

• They found that Jesus was hidden to them;

• It was hidden in symbolism, in types and shadows.

• And by faith they had to look forward to the Messiah’s arrival.

• ill: For them it was like looking at a bunch of individual pieces of a jigsaw;

• They got insights and lots of clues but never saw the completed picture;

• They only ever saw small sections.

• We however live in A.D. (The term ‘Anno Domini’ is Medieval Latin,

• Translated as ‘In the year of the Lord’);

• To us he is no longer a mystery but has been revealed to our world!

• In the New Testament we see the completed picture!

Now in this hymn we have six unfolding's of the mystery of Jesus:

• In other words we have six unique truths about Jesus:

• Six great theological statements regarding Jesus Christ.

• Notice: that the hymn divides into three couplets of two lines each.

• These are contrasting truths about Jesus,

• In complimentary pairs.

• In fact they are a mixture of the visible and the invisible;

• The first pair:

• Visible: He appeared in the flesh.

• Invisible: He was vindicated by the Spirit.

• The second pair:

• Visible: He was seen by angels.

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