Sermons

Sun, Mar 11, 2018

Creed part 1 - Does God Exist?

First message in a series of the basics of the Christian faith based on the Nicene Creed
Duration:42 mins 1 sec

Creed pt 1 – We Believe in God

Today we are beginning a new series that I’ve entitled Creed

In this series I want to take a look at the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith

If you were to ask 10 different people what it meant to be a Christian you would likely get 10 different answers

For some, unless you believe exactly like they do, read the same translation of the Bible as they do, vote like they do, talk like they do, and dress like they do then you are going straight to hell

That’s kind of sad

I want to make it clear, though, that not all beliefs are equal

There are some that are flat out wrong

There are others that are just different

The Bible gives us a lot of “wiggle room” in some areas

I’ve seen many times in which two people can read the exact same passage of Scripture and get two totally different things out of it

There are areas in which we as Christians can see things differently

That is why we have so many denominations – at the last count there were over 40,000 distinct Christian denominations in the world

Many of these differences are over theological beliefs

Let me give you a good example

Let’s look at the issue of Baptism

        Sprinkle/Dunk

        Once or three times

        Name of Jesus/Name of Father, Son, & Holy Spirit

        Infant/Age of reason

This is one of those areas in which we can have differing opinions, and still be Christians

But what are the non-negotiables?

What does someone have to believe in order to be a Christian?

That is what this series is all about

When thinking about the non-negotiables of the Christian faith I was drawn to the creeds

What is a creed?

A creed is simply a statement of belief

There are several creeds within the church, and this series is based on the Nicene creed

Why the Nicene creed?

In my opinion – and remember this is just my opinion – the Nicene Creed gives the best overall statement of Christian beliefs

It is also the oldest of the creeds – at least in the form we have it in today

The Apostles Creed and Chalcedonian creeds are great, but focus primarily is on Jesus

The Athanasian Creed is also great, but it is really long and focuses primarily on the Holy Spirit and the trinity

So I chose the Nicene creed.

What is the purpose of the Nicene creed?

To understand that I need to do a brief history lesson

Don’t worry, I’ll keep it very brief!

Up until the year 312AD Christianity was illegal

In 312 Constantine gained control of the Roman Empire at the battle of the Milvian Bridge

As the story goes, Constantine claims that he won the battle through a divine intervention from Jesus

Constantine supposedly then converts to Christianity and becomes the first Christian emperor of Rome

"One God, one Lord, one faith, one church, one empire, one emperor" became his motto

That sounds all nice and good, but the “one faith” thing was giving them some problems

The Church had been around for 300 years, but there were some very different beliefs, or heresies, that were prevalent in the day

Specifically surrounding the divinity of Jesus

Virtually everyone agreed that Jesus was God, but there was some question as to whether Jesus was a created being, or if He had always existed along with God the Father

This became such a divisive issue that Emperor Constantine called together a council of church leaders to settle the issue

The council was convened in the year 325AD in the city of Nicaea, which came up with the fundamental statement of Christian beliefs that we know as the Nicene Creed

So the Nicene Creed was developed to stop heresy and to determine what beliefs were necessary to be a Christian

Let’s read the Nicene creed together

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

[give brief explanation on what “one holy catholic & apostolic Church” means]

Today I want to take a look at the first part of the Nicene Creed

“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.”

I don’t think it would be much of a stretch to say that all of us here today probably believe in God

But at the same time, we all probably know people who do not

So, how do I know that God really exists?

Is there any solid evidence that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real?

It may surprise you to hear me say no

I cannot undeniably prove the existence of God

But at the same time, no one can disprove the existence of God either

All we can do is look at the available evidence and come to our own conclusion

It is just as much of a statement of faith to say God does not exist as it is to say God does exist

As I am sure you realize, I believe in God

At the same time I will admit to being a skeptic by nature

I am one who has to examine the evidence before I will totally accept what I am told

I have thoroughly examined the evidence and found that I have no choice but to believe in God

Nothing else makes sense to me

What I want to do today is briefly look at the evidence that convinced me God exists

I do not have time to look at everything, but I thought I would pull out the top three things that convince me God is real

1 - Humans are innately spiritual

I am not aware of any society in the history of our planet that was atheistic

Every society that I am aware of was, at least at one time, spiritual

God created us as spiritual beings – He created us with the desire, I’ll even go so far as to say need, to worship

We as humans will find something to worship

Whether it be God, an idol, money, fame, knowledge, whatever

2 - Complexity of creation

The big question that comes into play when we talk about the existence of God is how we all got here

Where did the universe, and everything in it, originate?

Atheists - Those who do not believe in God - state that it was through an event that happened about 14 billion years ago called the Big Bang

The Big Bang theory is this – about 14 billion years ago there was a super concentrated ball of matter that for whatever reason suddenly exploded

From this ball of matter came everything in the known universe, including humans

In a nutshell, Atheists believe that life and the universe are nothing more than pure chance that is the result of a freak accident billions of years ago

I do not want to make these Atheists sound dumb – many of them are far more intelligent than me

But I have a few issues with their beliefs

I really do not have an issue with the big bang

Most scientific evidence today supports the fact that something like the big bang really did happen

God could have very easily used a big bang like event to bring in the creation of the universe

Whether or not it happened when and how the atheists claim it happened is something I am not qualified to answer

But one thing I do know is that the universe is far too complex to have come about by pure chance

Have you ever really thought about the complexity of life (elaborate)

The odds of the universe coming into existence purely by random chance are astronomical

Beyond the realm of probability

It is obvious that the universe was designed – and where you have a design you must have a designer!

Psalms 19:1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

3 - Answered prayers

This is the biggie for me – this is the one that seals the deal

I have had so many prayers answered over the years I could not even begin to count them all

I know that some people might say that it was pure chance, but some of these answered prayers go way beyond the probability of mere chance

Let me give you a couple of examples

Knees healed

Did a quick “it would be nice to have a new motorcycle” prayer in May of 2012. Within 2 weeks I was GIVEN my dream bike that had EVERY SINGLE OPTION I wanted on a bike, right down to the carburetor type

Many times my wife and I prayed for some financial problems, only to have money – sometimes the exact amount – arrive in the mail

Thanksgiving meal on porch

I could literally spend the rest of the day going over answered prayers

This fact alone convinces me that God is real

Bethel prophetic word

Here’s the thing - The devil would love to shake your faith

He would love to get you to question whether or not God exists

If you’re not sure, ask God!

He is big enough to prove Himself to you!

So, in our quest to explore the basics of the faith as expressed in the Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen

Harvest Family Fellowship

28 Shaffer Hill Road

Liberty PA, 16930

Pastor Harry

Church: 570-324-2349

Home: 570-324-5805

Cell: 570-772-3862

Email: pastorharry@harvestfam.org

Associate Pastor Mike

Cell: 570-404-1536

pastormike@harvestfam.org