Summary: This sermon helps us understand what it means to affirm God as the Father Almighty in the first affirmation of The Apostles’ Creed.
As we continue our series in The Apostles’ Creed I would like to examine today what it means to believe in God the Father Almighty. Please listen as I recite the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From there he will come 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. Amen.
In our study of the Apostles’ Creed we have now come to the phrase where we affirm our belief in God the Father Almighty. Author and theologian J. I. Packer wrote:
"You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.
"If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God."
So, today we come to a very important phrase in the Apostles’ Creed.
Let us learn what it is we affirm when we affirm God as the Father Almighty. We shall do so by asking two questions. First, what do we mean by the term Father? And second, what do we mean by the term Almighty?
I. What Do We Mean by the Term Father?
First, what do we mean by the term Father?
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of the 19th century said: “The proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy that can ever engage the attention of a child of God is the name, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.”
My goal for you is that you will get to know God better as your Father. Frankly, I am not really interested in you growing in a merely intellectual understanding of the truths of Scripture. I want you to go beyond understanding Scripture, as it were, to deepen your personal knowledge of God as your Father.
Today, let’s learn three truths about God as Father.
A. God Is the Creator of All Creatures
First, God is the Creator of all creatures.
When the Apostles’ Creed speaks of “God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,” it has in immediate view the fact that we and all things depend every moment on God as Creator for our existence. Since God is the Creator of all things, the Bible implies that God is the Father of all his creatures.
For example, in the Old Testament we read in Malachi 2:10a: “Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?”
And in the New Testament we read about Paul preaching in Athens and quoting with approval a Greek poet’s statement in Acts 17:28b: “We are his [i.e., God’s] offspring.”
Interestingly, both these statements come from statements threatening divine judgment. Paul’s evangelistic sermon at Athens makes it very clear that though the offspring relationship implies an obligation to seek, worship and obey God, and makes one answerable to him at the end of the day, it does not imply his favor and acceptance where repentance for past sins and faith in Christ are lacking (see the whole speech, Acts 17:22-31).
Some who stress the universal fatherhood of God treat it as implying that all people are and always will be in a state of salvation, but that is not the biblical view. For example, in 1 Corinthians 1:18 Paul speaks of persons to whom “the message of the cross is foolishness” as “perishing,” and warns the “unrepentant” in Romans 2:5 that “you are storing up wrath against yourself on the day of God’s wrath,” however much they are God’s offspring.