Summary: A topical look at God’s characteristics as found in the Apostles’ Creed, that is, that He is our Creator and He is our Father.
“I Know” - Paternal Instincts
James Michener, writing in his book, The Source, tells the story of a man named Urbaal, who was a farmer living about 2200 B.C. He worshipped two gods: one, a god of death, and the other, a goddess of fertility. One day, the temple priests tell Urbaal to bring his young son to the temple for sacrifice—if he wants good crops. Urbaal obeys, and on the appointed day drags his wife and boy to the scene of the boy’s “religious execution” by fire to the god of death. After the sacrifice of Urbaal’s boy the several others, the priests announce that one of the fathers will spend next week in the temple, with a new temple prostitute. Urbaal’s wife is stunned as she notices a desire written more intensely across his face than she had seen before, and she is overwhelmed to see him eagerly lunge forward when his name is called. The ceremony over, she walks out of the temple with her head swimming, concluding that, “If he had different gods, he would have been a different man.” Folks, what you believe determines where you go, what you do, how you spend your time. What you believe determines how you respond to hard times, temptation, pressures around you. And what you believe determines where you will spend eternity, and how quickly you get there. Really, what you believe determines who you are.
Today we begin our series on what Christians really believe, who we are as a people. Our theme for the 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting is “I Know”, taken from the song “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”. The song says: Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand. Isn’t that true? So much of what happens is so hard to grab ahold of, to find its purpose or meaning. But the song continues: But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand. Even in life’s ups and downs, we can be confident of some things. I chose the picture of Machias Seal Island, a small island off Grand Manan right here in New Brunswick for a couple of reasons. #1 – My grandfather kept light there for 9 years, so it’s personal. And #2, I thought of our lives. Doesn’t it sometimes seem that we have nowhere to go, so we just hang on for dear life to what little we have when the storms hit? Is that the life of a lighthouse keeper, or the life of a Christian in tough times?
Let’s face it: God says that we will have difficulties in life. All of us. The self-confident person will hope he can ride out the storm with his personality and abilities. What happens when they fail? But a God-confident person has an outside force to hang on to, like that lighthouse facing gale-force winds for days on end, but standing strong because of its foundation. Today we begin a series looking at our foundation. What we can hang on to for dear life, in gale-force winds. What you can cling to when you need a place to stand.
We will spend from now until Easter sorting through the Apostles’ Creed, sifting slowly through this statement of belief written in 150AD, meant to
show what Christians really believe. It was meant to sort out real Christians from heretics, and meant to draw real Christians closer. And today we can find
it as a source of encouragement. Let’s turn to #8 in our hymnal and read it together. Let’s stand as we read.
I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in
the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Today we will focus on the first element in the Apostles’ Creed: who God is. The Creed states two facts about God: He is Father, and He is Creator. They walk hand in hand. Let’s look at God the Creator first.
They tell me there were these three professionals sitting around a table talking about what the oldest profession was. The doctor says, "Well, the Bible says that God took a rib out of Adam to make woman. Since that clearly required surgery, then the oldest profession is medicine.” The engineer looks at the doctor and says, "No, the Bible also says that God created the whole world out of void and chaos. To do that, God must surely have been an engineer. So engineering is the oldest profession.” The politician smiles and leans forward and says, "Ah, but who do you think created the Chaos?"