The Apostles’ Creed
As a church, our mission theme for 2022 is ‘Arise and Shine’. It’s a call to the people of God based on Isaiah 60.1-3 where God says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
We believe that God’s desire for his church is that we would draw near to him in a relationship (plugged in) to be actively growing in faith and understanding. That we would be equipped and released in mission and with the gifts as the Spirit enables (switched on). All of this so that we would reflect his nature and shine his light brightly amid an increasingly dark and hostile world.
As part of our wrestling with how we do that as a church, we have recently completed a preaching series through the book of 1 Thessalonians called ‘Amplified: Living the Gospel out loud.’ The genesis of Paul’s relationship with the church in Thessalonica, and the reason for his letters to them is his resolute desire to see the Gospel preached and for the light to shine in every dark place – to hear, receive, and be transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ.
For Paul, that transformation always involves the right theology that is outworked in the right practice. Never one without the other, but both intertwined and growing together in a way that pleases God and honours people.
He writes in 1 Thessalonians 4 “…brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live to please God, as in fact, you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” Later he says the reason for this is not only their sanctification but “…to win the respect of outsiders…” who witness a community impacted by the love of God.
What we believe drives how we behave. And for Paul, his mission in life was to establish and grow churches that exemplified the truth of the gospel through lives that had been so impacted by a relationship with Jesus that it transformed communities. So, we begin a preaching series over these next 10 weeks on the Apostles’ Creed.
Our prayer is that we wouldn’t engage with the creed as an abstract set of right theological ideas, but that as we unpack these ideas, our hearts would be radically transformed by them. That we would know we have reasonable faith to stand on which gives us the confidence to move out into the dark places of our world with the light, the truth, and the testimony of the gospel of Christ.
The Apostles Creed
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.
*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places