Summary: The Apostles’ Creed is a basic statement of our faith in the Trinity.
John 16:12-15 “Team Tactics”
Commitments are and important part of life. Commitments come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from: “I’ll be your friend,” to “I take you to be my husband/wife,” to signing a thirty-year mortgage, to setting a goal and committing ourselves to achieve it. There is a great deal of talk these days about people’s reluctance to make commitments. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, however, demands a commitment. We cannot escape making commitments not matter how foot loose and fancy free we want to be.
Today three youth are making a commitment. They have been baptized when they were children and they are now affirming that they want to continue to live in the relationship with God that was begun at their baptism. They are participating in an ancient tradition.
In the early church converts to Christianity, after having studied the Scriptures and the teachings of the church for a number of days would proclaim their faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, commit themselves to live in response to God’s grace, and be baptized.
THE CREATOR LOVES US
The Christian life is a life of response. We respond to God’s grace and love. God’s grace and love is perhaps most succinctly summarized in the Apostles’ Creed.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
• The God of all creation is a God of love.
• God demonstrates God’s love for each and every one of us by providing us with all we need for daily life.
• God does this not because we are such great people and worthy of God’s blessings, but because of God’s fatherly and divine love and mercy.
JESUS DIED FOR US
The second article of the Apostles’ Creed focuses on God’s movement in our world through the person of Jesus Christ.
• Jesus, who was truly God, emptied himself and became one of us—because of his love for us.
• Jesus purchased and freed us from our sins, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and his innocent suffering and death.
• Jesus did not do this so that we can do our own thing worry free. He did this so that we might belong to him, live under him and serve him.
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES US FAITH
The third article deals with the work of the Holy Spirit.
• Luther writes that we are not able to receive God’s gifts of grace and believe without the Holy Spirit giving us the gift of faith.
• The Holy Spirit keeps us steadfast in our faith. The Spirit battles against, despair, the loss of hope, and unbelief in our lives.
• The Holy Spirit moves in us and changes us into God’s image in a process called sanctification.
Christians have responded to God’s grace in many ways over the centuries. They have all be attempts to live out the truth that God makes our lives different. Some Christians don’t drink, swear, play cards or dance. Other’s wear uniforms or avoid technology.
The commitment that the church is asking from these young people today is this:
• To live among God’s faithful people. To be active members in a congregation.
• To hear God’s Word and share God’s supper. To regularly worship.
• To proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed. To be witnesses and lights to the people around them.
• To serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus. To live in the reality that the world does not revolve around them and blessings are to be shared.
• To strive for justice and peace in all the earth. We are called to be peacemakers, and to join the struggle for justice—a characteristic of God’s kingdom.
This is an important day and an important step in the faith walks of these young people. Commitments need to be renewed, though, on a regular basis.
The commitment to a friendship is nurtured frequently. A couple’s marriage commitment is renewed on a daily basis. Consistent progress toward a goal keeps one’s commitment strong.
Every day we renew our commitment to God by placing our trust in God’s love and grace, obediently following where the Spirit leads, and serving God and others in word and deed. Because of this truth, I invite you to affirm your baptism and renew your Christian commitment with these young people.