New Teaching Series: “The Apostle’s Creed”
A few days ago we launched a new video study by Matt Chandler. This 12 week series aims to strengthen our understanding of the essential convictions of the Christian church by using each line of The Apostles’ Creed to point us back to the gospel. You can check out either of our two previous blog posts for an introductory description of the series as well as a preview video. Below is the full creed followed by the first week’s video lesson and summary, which considers the first two words, “I believe.”
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit;
born of the virgin Mary;
Suffered under Pontius Pilate;
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended to hell; the third day
He rose again from the dead;
He ascended to heaven and sits on the
right hand of the Father Almighty,
From whence He shall 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.
Early in this first video, Matt Chandler makes it very clear that the words of The Apostles’ Creed by no means have any authority on their own. However, they are rooted in the Word of God and point us to the authority found there. Over the centuries, The Apostles’ Creed has been used by Christians around the world to correct false teaching as well as aid in the spiritual formation of God’s people. As we study this creed and the passages of Scripture which form it, we will gain a better understanding of the Bible, clarity on who God is, a knowledge of the community we belong to, and the ability to counsel ourselves and others.
There is no doubt that what we believe shapes how we live. But it’s important to understand that believing is different than knowing. Believing leads to action, and knowing may or may not. The Bible teaches us that belief is birthed in our hearts. Romans 10:9-10 says, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
Why does the Bible emphasize belief so much? Because the gospel comes down to what someone else has done, not what we can do to save ourselves. The message of Christianity is not “do this or that,” but rather about what God has done. This doesn’t mean we aren’t asked to do anything…we are asked to believe. And when we believe, we will make a public confession about what we believe. The Apostles’ Creed is a public confession about what we believe as Christians. It shows us what is primary.
What sets Christianity apart from every other world religion is this idea that people can’t save themselves, but God can. And if we believe in Jesus Christ and confess it, we will be saved. This is essentially the good news of the gospel: we are no longer slaves to sin or to religious activity. God has accomplished everything for us and simply asks us to believe.
Below are a few of the discussion questions we asked in our group time. We also have handed out to each student a set of personal studies to work through individually at home throughout the week during their Bible and prayer time. These studies dive deeper into each week’s theme and will enrich the students’ experience of this study. Join us next time as we continue our study of the Apostle’s Creed!
- Why do you think Christians have recited the words of this creed for centuries together in churches?
- What is significant about the first word of the Apostles’ Creed?
- Why is it important for Christians to articulate and agree on what we believe?
- Why did Matt we distinguish between the authority of Scripture and of a creed? How is the authority of Scripture greater?
- READ ROMANS 10:9-10
- How do belief and action relate to salvation? What distinction did Matt make between knowing a believing?
- In what specific ways do our historical Christian beliefs, as outlined in the Apostles’ Creed, rebel against our present-day culture?
- How does a Christian experience freedom in believing the gospel?
- What’s your primary takeaway in response to Matt’s teaching on belief?