I believe in the Holy Spirit
The Apostles Creed does not say a lot about the Holy Spirit, but the Apostles Creed is just a starting point.
The Holy Spirit is God, and it is able to indwell or live in us. It empowers us to serve God. Like the Apostles Creed, the Holy Spirit unites believers as part of the universal Christian church. And like the Apostles Creed, the Holy Spirit serves to guide us in our daily life as we take the next step in our faith journey.
We’re going to start today with a little congregational participation.
Clear your mind… and finish this sentence: I believe_________.
“…love is the answer.”♪
“…the children are our future…”♫
“…in miracles.” ♪
“…I can fly!”♫
This is our 3rd week discussing the Apostles Creed. If you missed either of the previous sermons I encourage you to go back and watch them on our website.
A creed is a formal statement of beliefs. It is a set of beliefs or aims that guide someone’s actions.
The Apostles Creed doesn’t tell us what we believe. You cannot be issued a set of beliefs.
The Apostles Creed summarizes some common Christian beliefs. The Creed can help remind us of some of the core beliefs of Christianity. If you hold these beliefs then reciting the Creed allows us to affirm the beliefs we share with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
But it is important that we understand what the Creed is saying. If you have questions feel free to contact us. You can use our anonymous text line 214-856-0550
As we read through the Creed together, if there is a part that you don’t understand or you are not sure you agree with, feel free to not read that part. Let’s read through the Apostles Creed together:
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator 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 to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to 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.”
*All embracing, Universal
I’m very excited to have the opportunity to talk to you about the Apostles Creed today because it has been a part of my faith life since I was very young.
As Chris mentioned in the first week of this series, the members of this church come from a wide variety of denominational backgrounds. Some of us may have grown up in or mainly attended churches that rarely or never recited the Apostles Creed. Before this sermon series, I don’t think we read through it in service here at Redemption Church.
I come from a Presbyterian background. I was raised in a church that reads the Apostles Creed every Sunday. I had the Apostles Creed memorized before I fully understood everything it says. I’m glad we’re finally discussing the Creed here so I can finally understand what I’ve been saying all these years.
No. But I am glad we are discussing the Creed because it points to God, it points to Jesus, and it highlights some important beliefs at the foundation of our Christian faith.
The Apostles Creed isn’t found in the Bible. So it may not have the authority of the Word of God, but it points to some of the truths at the heart of the Bible.
If you are unfamiliar with the Apostles Creed I can understand if you’re apprehensive about it.
I am familiar with the Creed. I grew up with it. And so I think it is worth discussion. But I will admit I could be biased.
In my opinion, the Apostles Creed should not be controversial. I realize that anything related to our faith has the potential to cause disagreements. #merrychristmasstarbucks I realize that some groups take issue with some aspects of the Creed. But the Creed shouldn’t be controversial.
It’s short and to the point. There are longer creeds to have arguments about.
Our hope is that this series will help us to understand what the Apostles Creed says, and that by the end we will all be able to acknowledge our belief in the things that the Creed affirms. And if not, that’s okay. If you have questions we would love to discuss it with you. The Creed gives us a great starting point for discussion. In fact…
The Creed is a starting point
The Creed talks about God. It talks about the three components of the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Creed mentions some of the important things that God has done as described in the Bible.
But the Creed doesn’t mention what God is doing in our life today. It doesn’t really explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Creed doesn’t talk about worship, repentance, or baptism. And the Apostles Creed doesn’t talk about how we respond to these beliefs about God.
And that is a good thing because while these beliefs may be fairly universal, our responses to them are not. Different people respond to them in different ways. We may respond to them in different ways at different times in our life. Okay, you believe these things, now what does that motivate you to do next? Worship. Share. Pray. Get baptized. If you don’t agree with part of the Creed or you aren’t sure you understand what part of it means, then study about it. There are lots of ways to respond. And there’s always a next step toward God. There isn’t just one right answer.
But there is one wrong answer, and that is to respond with “nothing.” Remember a creed is a set of beliefs or aims that guide someone’s actions. By itself the Apostles Creed is just words.
JAMES 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.
It should influence how we act. It should guide what we do next. James also wrote,
JAMES 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Beliefs that aren’t reflected in the way we live aren’t really alive in us. Earlier I said that the Apostles Creed doesn’t tell us what we believe. In the same way, saying the Apostles Creed doesn’t prove you believe the things it says. “I said, ‘I believe in God…’ I’m good. I’m done.” NO! It shouldn’t stop there.
We need to examine our hearts and make sure that we believe what we say we believe, and that these beliefs are apparent in our actions and our daily lives. In that way, the Apostles Creed gives us another starting point, as a core set of beliefs that we can regularly check ourselves against.
What do we believe? Does it match with what we say we believe?
We have been going through the parts of the Apostles Creed. So far we have talked about God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. So this week we’re going to talk about… ___________. The Holy Spirit
As I said before, the Apostles Creed shouldn’t be controversial. The topic of Holy Spirit has historically been a source of disagreements among church folk. And the Creed does mention the Holy Spirit.
Let’s take a look at what it says:
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints…
I believe in the Holy Spirit. Well, the Bible does talk about the Holy Spirit as a thing that exists, so that’s pretty non-controversial. But wait, it also mentions the Holy Spirit here…
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
The Bible said that happened as well. I think we’re safe. But remember, the Creed is a starting point.
So, let’s talk about the Holy Spirit a little bit.
The Holy Spirit is a huge topic. We could spend several sermons and only scratch the surface.
The Holy Spirit is a mysterious subject to many Christians. It is not well understood, because it is not often discussed in many churches. The church I grew up in rarely mentioned the Holy Spirit outside of the Apostles Creed. As a kid I didn’t know much about it, but I was interested in it because it sounded like a ghost.
The Holy Spirit is God
3rd person of the Godhead. Fully God, just as God the Father is fully God, just as Jesus is fully God.
Not part of God. All of God, present in spirit form. God is spirit.
JOHN 4:24 God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
It was present from the beginning
GENESIS 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
GENESIS 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
What is spirit? The nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character. Vital energy.
You have a spirit. Point to your spirit. It is immaterial, non physical. It is distinct from your soul.
If you want to know the difference between your soul and your spirit, that would be a great question for the text line 214-856-0550
You have a spirit. God has a spirit, and that Holy Spirit of God is God just like Jesus and the Father.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Holy Spirit is known by several different names: Advocate, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Spirit of Adoption, Spirit of Life
What does the Holy Spirit do? Holy Spirit does many things.
In Creed, Jesus is Conceived by Holy Spirit. As God, the Holy Spirit is able to act in our world and lives.
Some of the things the Spirit does can be seen in His names and titles. Comforts, advocates for Jesus, reminds us of truth – like the Creed Spiritual gifts, fruits of the Spirit…
It also indwells us, lives in us.
JOHN 14:17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
This is new. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God would rest upon people.
But since Jesus it has lived in people. Jesus had the Spirit of God. And He makes it available to us.
It is a gift.
LUKE 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
The Holy Spirit unites us
In the first week of this series Chris told us how the Apostles Creed unites us by reminding us of beliefs we share with our fellow Christians around the world and throughout history. When we recite the Creed we are affirming our beliefs with the same words that our brothers and sisters in Christ have used for centuries.
Even more so, we are united by the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we are united with God and with one another because we have the same Spirit living in us. After Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 the people ask “What then shall we do?”
ACTS 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
ACTS 2:39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
This same Spirit dwells in all who have received it.
Let’s take another look at the Apostles Creed. The things mentioned after the Holy Spirit aren’t just thrown in at random.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints…
The asterisk there is important, it indicates that you read that word with an upward inflection. Catholic?
No. It means that the word “catholic” here isn’t referring to the Roman Catholic Church. Here the word catholic means “all embracing, universal.” I believe in one universal Christian church.
Chris may talk about these subjects more next week, but they are related to the Holy Spirit.
When did the Christian church start? And what happened at Pentecost? The Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit unites us as a universal church. It is something we share that lives in us and is part of us.
EPHESIANS 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called
What does “communion” mean? It has the religious meaning of the sharing of consecrated bread and wine. But apart from this it means “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.”
Sharing of thoughts and feelings on a spiritual level?! That is the Holy Spirit. It allows us to have communion with all the saints living and dead.
Finally, like the Apostles Creed, the Holy Spirit guides us. The Apostles Creed is a starting point. The Holy Spirit guides us into the next step in our faith. So I want to ask you, what is your next step?