Monday, August 2, 2010

Doctrine for Dummies

Doctrine for Dummies (Week 1)
The Apostles Creed

When I say the word doctrine, what comes to your mind first? What came to my mind when I heard that word while in college was huge books and lots of boring reading. But I've come to know that it doesn't have to be that way. Doctrine is defined as "a system of teaching." In a nine-week series I'll take a look at the Apostles Creed and explain it as our main system of teaching. I will seek to break it apart for us 'dummies' and help us understand its implications for our lives. The first part of the Apostles Creed says,

"I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker (creator) of heaven and earth"

There are three parts to this first section of the Creed; the first is
1. I believe in God (Hebrews 11:6)
A. Belief in God is the beginning of doctrine; if we cannot get past a true and honest belief in God, then we cannot go any further.
B. God IS our faith. Everything starts and ends there; without him there's nothing. He is the Alpha and Omega of everything, including our faith.
C. My children come to me for everything at this time in their lives- they want to read books, play games, watch videos with me, and many more things like it. They not only believe that I exist, they also believe that I will reward them with good things when they come to me. This is what Hebrews 11:6 describes about our relationship with God, that he will reward those who seek Him. It isn't sufficient to just believe that God exists; we must seek Him and His reward.

2. The Father Almighty (Psalm 91:1 "he who dwells in the shelter of the most high will abide in the shadow of the almighty")
A. Description of His glory: Revelation 4:1-11. AMAZING! If you take a moment to read that chapter in Revelation, you will see a glimpse of the ALMIGHTY in power and glory.
B. He is a loving father and Almighty (in perfect balance).
C. I find it really hard to be a loving father and almighty to my kids because sometimes my wrath takes over my love, or my love outshines my wrath. But God never allows his wrath to take over his love, or vice versa.

3. Maker (creator) of heaven and earth (Hebrews 11:3)
A. By faith we must believe He is the maker. We were not there; we did not witness God creating, but we must by faith accept it. It would take as much faith to accept some other means of us arriving here as it does for us to believe in God doing it (i.e., we're alien spawn, or single cells arrived on the backs of crystals; sounds like science fiction) because we were not there. Faith is believing in something you haven't witnessed, and we didn't witness creation but we accept it by faith.
B. One time I searched for myself how many scriptures I could find that define or describe creation. With no concordance I found 20+ scripture references on how God specifically created this world and continues to hold it together. There are a plethora more than this. This was just me with a Bible looking up the passages I could remember. If you believe the Bible is the word of God- true and inerrant- you must believe God is the Creator and Sustainer of life.

This is a picture of the God we serve; He exists and rewards those who seek Him. He is our Father the Almighty, and He created everything from nothing (ex nihilo). This is the God we serve and we start there. Our only response can be that of worship. To help us worship, I attached a video of a song that puts the Apostles Creed to music. Have a look at this- it's by Rich Mullins, a great artist in his time who's now with the Lord.

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