Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Body & The Brotherhood - A.C. (6)

 THE APOSTLE'S CREED (updated language)

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.  He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was 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.  AMEN

The Apostle's Creed - in three sections:
I believe in God the Father Almighty.....
I believe in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son....
I believe in the Holy Spirit....

Last week - I believe in the Holy Spirit.

This week the rest of section 3.

Question?  Why  believe all this?  in section 3?
Answer:  Because you believe Section 2!!   If you believe Section 2, then you must believe section 3.  We don't get to pick and choose what we believe.
2 Pet. 1:16-18, 12-15

Point:  This is what Jesus taught..., the disciples received...., and the disciples passed on... to us.

So today:  "I believe in 1) the holy catholic church and 2) the communion of saints

I.  Church - definition:  a called out assembly - example:  the group that came out of Egypt - church in the wilderness
A.  secular - town meeting
B.  the Septuagint - it referred to God's people  So,
C.  Christian - the gathering of Christian believers
Two applications:  1) local  2) universal - which is the focus of the Creed - all believers from all times.

II.  Catholic - universal/worldwide.  Therefore, the word has a small "c".  Does not refer to the denomination.  Eph. 4:4-6 - only one true God, one true Lord   John 10:16 - only one flock, only one shepherd.
Two parts:  1) visible - present  2) - invisible - before and after the present time

III.  Holy - separated, set apart.  Example:  temple utensils - set apart for a particular purpose.
A.  Positional holiness - what you are after accepting Christ
B.  Practical holiness - how you should act after accepting Christ
So the church - Matt. 16:18 - (My) church

So..." the universal assembly of God's people ... who He has called out and set apart... in Christ"

IV.  Saints - the holy ones.  Greek word for saints is closely related to the Greek word for "community of saints"
Saints are the holy ones because they are called out and set apart!!
Holiness is not determined by character conduct but by their calling!!
1 Cor. 1:2 
So, Phil. 4:21
The challenge is:  because you are a saint, should act like a saint.

V.  Communion - fellowship, sharing in common.  What we share in common with other believers:
Past - (all sinners & separated from God)
Redemption - (sacrifice of Christ)
Therefore, LORD!!
Doctrine/beliefs (Creed)
Mission - ("make disciples of all nations")
Crisis - (living up to our profession, living the faith.)
Destiny - eternal with God in heaven

So, the Creed, instead of "I believe in the holy catholic Church and the communion of saints" could read, I believe in the Body (of Christ) and the Brotherhood (of Christians)

#1.  You cannot (legitimately) separate the faith from the church.
Christ established the church, died for the church.  The church is His Body, His Bride  Acts 9:3-5

Where the faith grows, the church grows, where faith declines, the church declines.  So, to those who'd say, "Jesus, yes, Church, No", find NO support in Scripture, tradition, or orthodoxy!!

#2.  The local church is the visible expression of the universal church.
Revelation was a message to the church.  But, was written to the church individually.
Observation:  the local church is seriously flawed.  Why???  Sin filled membership, leadership.  BUT, that does not negate its validity nor value.

#3.  As Christianity does not grow (thrive) apart from the church, so Christians do not grow (thrive) in their Christian life apart from the church.

Application ought to be obvious.  IF I believe in the Body and the Brotherhood (the Faith), (ie:  beyond intellectual assent, but practically),
THEN - What response is due?  today?

No comments: