We Believe: A Fellowship of Differents (Part 1)

The early church was incredibly diverse ethnically, socioeconomically, and politically.  As theologian Scot McKnight describes, it was a “fellowship of differents and unlikes”. However, it was their unwavering belief in Jesus that united this fellowship of differents. It was this unity of belief amidst their diversity that made the early church irresistible and unstoppable.

Why is it today what we believe often divides rather than unites the church?  And how do we once more return to this irresistible movement of a fellowship of differents? Join us starting on Sunday, October 4th for this new, 4-part sermon series.

Teaching Notes

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. - John 13:34-35

 

How in the world do you love someone who votes differently than you, who posts differently than you, who quarantines differently than you?

 

How do you love someone who fundamentally sees life differently than you do?

 

THE EARLY CHURCH:A Fellowship of Differents”

 

How did such a diverse group of “differents” & “unlikes” transform into a unified, irresistible, unstoppable movement?

 

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. -1 Corinthians 15:3-7

 

The RESURRECTION of Jesus changed EVERYTHING.

 

THE APOSTLES’ CREED: 

 

What is the Apostles’ Creed?

 

The word Creed comes from the Latin word credo which means “I believe, I place confidence on, I rely upon.”  The Oxford English Dictionary defines creed as “a brief formal summary of the Christian faith.”  

 

The Apostles’ Creed is a very early Christian confession and is a distillation of the Christian belief. It was used as a baptismal confession of faith, as well as, a catechism to teach new believers the basics of the Christian faith.  The Apostles’ Creed concisely communicates what all Christians, across all times and all cultures believe. The Early Church called the creed the regula fidei or “the rule of faith” meaning the doctrine or beliefs that are central to Christianity.  

 

“Christian truth could not possibly be put into a shorter and clearer statement” - Martin Luther [1483-1546AD]

 

Where did the Apostles’ Creed come from?

 

The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the Apostles but is a very early summary of what Jesus and the Apostles taught.  We find the first formulation of this creed in what is known as The Old Roman Creed [150AD] which was an ancient baptismal confession based on Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:18-20 to “make disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  The Apostles’ Creed is structured around the Trinity—one God revealed in three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 

 

Why is the Apostles’ Creed important?

 

  1. The Apostles’ Creed outlines the essentials for what it means to be a Christian and is a concise expression of the Gospel.  As Dr. Albert Mohler wrote, “All Christians believe more than is contained in the Apostles’ Creed, but none can believe less.”
  2.  The Apostles’ Creed roots us deeply to a faith that transcends our own moments in history and connects to all Christians, in every age, in every culture.

 

“When we say the creed, we are not just expressing our own views or our own priorities. We are joining our voices to a great communal voice that calls out across the centuries from every tribe and tongue.”

                                                           - Benjamin Myers, The Apostles' Creed

 

How are we to hold the Apostles’ Creed?

 

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

                                                              -St. Augustine of Hippo [354-430AD]

 

  • In Essentials: We have UNITY. [Ephesians 4:1-6]

 

  • In Non-Essential: We have LIBERTY. [Romans 14]

 

  • In Everything: We Show CHARITY. [1 Corinthians 13]

 

CREDO: I believe; I place confidence on; I rely upon.

 

What do you really believe?

 

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it?” - C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. -Romans 10:9-10

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Scripture

  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Ephesians 4:1-6
  • Romans 10:9-10
  • Romans 14
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