Easter According to the Apostles’ Creed (Part 2)

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles’ Creed

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Today, we are continuing with the second message in this series as we look at the Biblical basis for the statement of belief known as the Apostles’ Creed. Let’s begin by reading the Apostles’ Creed again.

THE APOSTLES CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy church;
the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

Amen.

OLD ROMAN FORM

I believe in God, the Father Almighty; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, who under Pontius Pilate was crucified, and buried. On the third day rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the life everlasting. Amen.

As we learned in yesterday’s message, this text is known as the “old Roman” form, and it is the earliest written version of the Apostles’ Creed which is a statement of belief used by churches even today. The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church sheds some light on why the Apostles’ Creed was a necessity for the early church. It says, “In a time when most Christians were illiterate, oral repetition of the Apostles’ Creed, along with the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, helped preserve and transmit the faith of the churches.”

In the second century, there was a wealthy Christian named Marcion who lived in what is present-day Turkey. Marcion was the son of a bishop; he was also a ship owner, and was probably consecrated as a bishop himself later in life. Marcion threatened the church’s understanding of Jesus Christ as Lord. He taught that Jesus Christ was not the same Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, he rejected the deity of Jesus Christ, and he proposed getting rid of the Old Testament entirely and even some parts of the Gospels. He began to have some influence in the Roman Church, and the church fathers of that time denounced him. The “Old Roman Form” of the Apostles’ Creed was developed partly to refute Marcion.

In our first message, we looked at the first line of the creed — “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth…” — and we saw three important facts about the God we believe in: (1) that God is unique; (2) that God is eternal; and (3) that God is sovereign.

Today, we are looking at the next line in the creed which reads, “…and in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord.” Let’s turn to the Word of God and see the biblical basis for this part of the Apostles’ Creed.

1. We see the promise of Jesus Christ. According to Luke 2:11, when Jesus was born, the angels declared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” The coming of Jesus Christ had been promised for hundreds of years. Ever since the Old Testament prophets predicted that He would come, the people of Israel had been waiting expectantly for their Messiah to arrive.

2. We see the sending of Jesus Christ. All of us are familiar with this verse in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Verse 17 goes on to say, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” When God saw that man continued to sin and rebel against His authority, He could have very well decided to give up on trying to save us, but, He didn’t. He made a personal sacrifice by coming into the world in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.

3. We see the lordship of Jesus Christ. In John 20:28, when the disciple, Thomas, finally met the risen Saviour, he declared, “My Lord and my God!” The Apostles’ Creed says, we believe “in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord.” We often refer to Jesus Christ as the “suffering servant”, especially during the Easter season. We often speak of His humility, His tenderness, His love and His care for others, but we must not forget that He is still Lord.

This Easter season, we celebrate Jesus as the Savior who was promised, as the Savior who was sent by God, and as the Savior who is Lord over all.

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