Summary: The Fatherhood & Omnipotence of God
“I Believe” –A Sermon Series on the Apostles Creed
“God, the Father Almighty” Jeremiah 9:23-24 Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
Most people admit they want something to believe in, even in a society where unbelief and skepticism seem so prevalent. So what do we believe, and why? Being a Christian means more than being inspired by God; it includes understanding Who God is, and then living in relation to Him. The Jewish nation repeatedly recited a statement from Deuteronomy 6: “Hear O Israel--the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might” (the Shema). This declaration gives the Nature of God, and our response to His majesty. These expressive words are a creed--a brief and concise summary of faith. The word “creed” comes from the Latin credo, meaning “I believe.”
The earliest Christian creed was simply declaring, “Jesus is Lord” (referred to in I Corinthians 12:3). Creeds explain our beliefs, and they imply that any contrary beliefs are in error. Creeds are affirmed by candidates for church membership. Sharing a common faith binds us together spiritually as brothers and sisters. However, creeds don’t offer a detailed explanation, nor do they cover all Biblical teachings, but they provide a straightforward overview of essential beliefs. Denominational Confessions such as the Savoy Declaration, and weighty, academic books on Systematic Theology present a more in-depth treatment of doctrine.
The Apostles Creed is an ancient declaration of belief universally accepted by Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox Christians. It has been called, “A creed for the ages”. According to legend, it was composed by the Apostolic Fathers; each one contributing a statement. It more likely was compiled during the 2nd Century AD. The Apostles Creed offers a concise list of affirmations. It opens by acknowledging: “I believe in God the Father Almighty.” We have two aspects to consider—the Fatherhood and Omnipotence of God…
God as Father
Have you ever felt fatherless? Because God is our Father, we belong to His family. We might even be orphans, but as Psalm 68 proclaims, God is “a father to the fatherless” (vs 5). For some people, the concept of God as Father has been damaged and distorted by a bad experience of fatherhood, characterized by rejection, abandonment, even abuse. Most children have unresolved issues with their fathers. Our dads may have disappointed us, but God is all that a father ought to be. We cannot allow personal experience to define the character of God our Father. We cannot let a bad childhood deter us from letting God reveal His Fatherhood to us. We have to allow God’s version (the Scriptures) to inform us of His nature.
Parent-child relationships can be complicated. They are an imperfect reflection of our connection to God our Father. We have little control over the choices and actions our parents make, which affect us. We may become angry with them and get on bad terms: separated, not speaking. We close off our connection, causing a rift; we cease to receive what they have to give and we cease to care about them. All parents are imperfect, yet true love means reaching out to even the unlovable. As we recall our connection to our parents, we’re reminded that we were also created to be sons and daughters of God. Through our sinning, we died to God, and we need to be born again as His children. God appears before us like the father of the Prodigal Son, waiting with arms wide open, ready to take us in (Luke 15).
How is God like a “Father” to us? He provides, loves, gives life, guides, and disciplines us. The title “Father” is God’s covenant name, which means He chooses to be related and bound to us, His Creation. Jesus said to people who were anxious about life, “Look at the birds…they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6:26). God the Father is the Keeper of our lives. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Some people think of God as distant, remote, and detached. Yet Scripture informs us that God is more than just the “First Cause”; He has chosen to be in close relationship with us, His children. He has taken the initiative to reveal Himself in history. He is personally and profoundly involved in every detail/aspect of earthly life.
The word “Father” says much about our relationship to God. Prior to Jesus’ coming, most people wouldn’t presume to address God as their “Father”; Jesus changed all that. Jesus startled people by repeatedly calling God His Father.
As children of God, we don’t view our Heavenly Father as a heartless dictator, a stern boss or a harsh judge. “Father” is a family word. Our trust is not in “fate,” “luck,” or “nature.” God as our “Father” implies a close, intimate relationship of reliance. Paul describes our position as members of God’s family in his letter to the Galatians: “You are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ…because you have become His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts and now you can call God, ‘Abba, Father’ (3:26, 4:6, the word for “Daddy”).”