People of God, we will ask you today: In Whom do you trust? On what do you place your trust? Do you trust in chariots and horses, do you trust in the American Military to defend you from the wiles of the devil? Do you trust in your family lineage? Or do you do trust in the Lord your God, who made heaven and earth; Father, Son, and Spirit, One God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity?
Answering that question means everything to us. “Everything hinges on how you understand the Bible and on what you profess as biblical truth.” It is not just belief in the Bible; it is belief in the True God of Scriptures. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons all claim to love and trust the Scriptures, but we see clearly that their understanding is very different than ours. We believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, begotten not made. The cults will deny the truth of the Advent Season, which teaches that God became man incarnate.
So there is more than simply saying “No Creed, but the Bible.” In fact, this statement is useless, and we should avoid it all costs. Creeds and confessions are not as authoritative as the Bible, but they still play a crucial role in the life of the Church. They are unavoidable. When someone asks you what you believe, and if you pause and answer with a statement, well, that is a creed. What we are claiming at Providence, and virtually what the Church universal has said for almost two thousand years, is that the Church needs to summarize those things which are most important in the teachings of the Bible.
In the Gospels we hear the call to confess Messiah…why, because some were confessing a false understanding of Messiah. They were not confessing that He came in the flesh.
In our liturgy we confess our common faith together. Why common? Because every Christian tradition, every tradition that claims to be Christian shares this same confession.
At Providence Church we use both the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. Both are recognized world-wide as “an accurate and faithful summary of the Christian faith.” (Meyers, 236) Why do we confess these creeds at Providence?
First, because there is a fundamental lesson for us in that both the East and the West with minor variations have affirmed these Creeds for thousands of years, and from this we should learn that “if the Holy Spirit has consistently led the Church to make and affirm these creedal summaries of faith, then we need to think long and hard before we reject the substance of these creeds.” (Meyers, 239)
Secondly, these Creeds unite us with the rest of the Church. We may have differences with our Methodist and Anglican brothers and sisters, but we all share this common faith in these doctrines.
My exhortation to you this morning is to make these Creeds your creeds and your children’s creeds. They will serve as orthodox markers for you. If you hear someone teaching something contrary to these Creeds, know that this individual is either an immature Christian that needs immediate discipling or this is an individual who conscientiously denies the truth of God’s Word. So, this morning when we confess, let us confess with full assurance the One whom we trust.