God’s Love in the Apostle’s Creed

This is for an hour presentation I’m giving Friday night to 7th and 8th Graders. Let me know what you think.

God’s Love in the Apostle’s Creed

1. Bible is love story…. boy meets girl, almost insurmountable obstacle gets in the way, boy sacrifices for girl, they live together happily ever after. (Theme found in romantic comedies, fables and fairy tales the world over).

                           Ask them to answer the following.

         Who is the boy — Jesus,

         Who is the girl —- Church (you, me and all believers)

         What is the almost insurmountable obstacle that gets in the way —–

                                                      sin, death and devil         

         What is the sacrifice for girl –Jesus’ life, death, resurrection,                                                                         ascension

         What is living happily ever after—–eternity in paradise

         This begins in Gen 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” and ends with Rev. 22:21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”

2. One of my favorite love stories in The Princess Bride: S Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure; The “Good Parts” Version by William Goldman.

         Tell a summary of the book…. dad goes through NY to get a copy for his sick son to read b/e his dad read it to him. Turns out the book is a boring history of Florin and Guilder… so his dad only told him the “good parts” and that’s what he’s going to do for his son. 

         Creed is like the “good parts” version of this story. It’s the cliff notes – a summary of all the best parts. It summarizes this love story while showing what the sum and substance of that story is. In the case of the Apostle’s Creed, our faith, as expressed in Holy Scripture, is condensed in three Articles, each showing God’s love to us.

         Luther in his Large Catechism summarizes these three articles by saying, “I believe in God the Father, who has created me; I believe in God the Son, who has redeemed me; I believe in the Holy Ghost, who sanctifies me.” (LC II:7)

3. If we could keep the 10 Comm. we wouldn’t need the AC because we could save ourselves.

         That is not the case, so the Creed is all Gospel, all God’s love given, shed, poured out upon you purely because God loves you.

          I will show God’s Love in all three Articles of the Apostle’s Creed beginning with God the Father.

Read First Article and Meaning. 

1. Where is God’s Love in the First Article? 

         Let’s begin with what it means that God created you. … Besides creating heaven and earth He formed you, each and every one of you. God chose your hair color, eye color, who your parents would be, what your personality would be like, etc.

         In Matthew 10 Jesus explains why we shouldn’t fear when persecution comes for having faith, because “The hairs of your head are numbered.” And the Psalmist says in Psalm 139:13, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” 

2. Besides creating us, the Father lovingly gives what we need. 

         Out of love, God spoils us all rotten. He gives us everything we need to support our lives…. What are some examples?

         God doesn’t just give us the stuff that we can see, touch, taste, smell and hear either.

          Out of love God protects us and defends us from evil and danger. Like a loving Father, God doesn’t want to see anything bad happen to His children whom He loves. Do bad things still happen?

         Yes, but like every good Father, He is with you. He helps you get up. He holds you in loving arms and makes sure everything is going to be ok. And like a good Father, he does this because he loves you, without you needing to prove your love back to him.

3.  So the Creed shows us a loving Father who only wants what’s best for His children, and how does He do this?

         He gave His only-begotten Son into this world. He put Him into the hands of an earthly father named Joseph. That doesn’t make God a lousy father, but one who will do anything for you. He watched as His Son suffered and died, not because He’s a sadistic father, but because it needed to happen in order for Him to be your father. God has a fatherly heart toward you and He has given His best so that you can be His child forever.

         C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We don’t believe just because a God exists; we believe because this God exists.”

 4. St. Augustine once wrote that “There is one for us who is God and Lord and Father; God, because we are created by Him, though from human parents; Lord, because we are His subjects; Father, because by His adoption we are born again”. [Albrecht Peters Commentary on Creed p 77]

5. St. Paul says in Romans, “God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s the Father’s Love… sending Jesus to save you and the Holy Spirit to give you faith. 

Read Second Article with Meaning.

1. Now we move from the Article on the Father’s Love to the Son’s Love for you.

         The Second Article shows us the Father’s loving and gracious heart toward us sinners only through the Son.

2. Imagine for second you’re in a courtroom. God the Father is the judge and you are on trial for all of your sins. The Devil is the lawyer accusing you. Jesus is your lawyer. His sole defense is, “My honor, my client is innocent of all charges because of what I, out of pure love, have done for him/her. I was born, I died, I went to hell, I rose, I ascended so my client can live.”

         The Father asks, “Is this true?” You respond, “Yes, your honor.” …. “Very well, case dismissed. All charges are dropped. 

         This is what is taking place here in the Second Article. Jesus’ entire ministry that saves you is summarized for you to believe. You don’t need to know what chapter the wise men came to Jesus in Luke…. or if the feeding of the 5000 was before or after the feeding of the 4000. You need to know what’s in the Creed and believe it because this is what Jesus out of love has done to save you. Jesus would have done all of this for just one person…. you. That’s how much Jesus loves you. This is what the Creed is all about.

3. Where is God’s love in giving, “His only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit born of the virgin Mary?

         Out of love, Jesus became man to save us from sin, because without human birth from Mary we would still be under the power of sin, death and the devil. Love sent Jesus to us to die for us as a man. 

         We see this in Luke 1 when the angel tells Mary that she’s pregnant with Jesus…. a true man who will grow, learn, eat, sleep, cry, be angry, bleed and die…. a true Man without Sin as the First Adam should have been.

         John 3, Jesus says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

4. Did Jesus need to be God?

         Without being God, Jesus death would have saved only Him and won nothing for you…. His death would have meaningless. We would not be saved and that is not the work of a loving God.

5. Did Jesus only come for the righteous?

         No, Jesus came for all. He came for the sinners, the lame, those that society deemed were unworthy of God’s love, the least in the eyes of the world. Jesus came for sinners and tax collectors. Jesus came for the sick because the sick need doctors.

         As the Greatest Doctor of all, Jesus’ medication is His life, death, resurrection and ascension. This is the only cure for sin. As a loving God, Jesus makes this available for you so that you “may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.                  

6. Where is God’s love in Jesus sitting “at the right hand of the Father Almighty?” 

         Jesus love has conquered sin, death and the devil. He has set you from them forever with His loving sacrifice of Himself. They are now subject to Him and His ruling.

         And when He comes again, He will lovingly raise your body from the dead, take you in His arms, and bring you home with him for eternity. You don’t deserve it – you actually deserve the opposite. But Jesus loves you, and saves you because you can’t save yourself.

Read the Third Article with Meaning 

1. God the Father, out of love, uses the Holy Spirit, to give you Jesus. You don’t deserve it – you didn’t earn it…. Jesus did it all for you. You passively receive and the Holy Spirit is the one that gives it to you.        

2. The Holy Spirit makes you alive in Christ.

         It’s like you were in the hospital dead in sins. The Holy Spirit comes along and zaps you back to life (gives you faith). You can either live your life of faith in Jesus (with Holy Spirit loving help and guidance) or you can play in traffic, get hit by a bus and stay dead in your sins.

3. We’ve seen God’s love in creating you, in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension for you to free from bondage to sin. Now we see the Holy Spirit who gives you faith to believe that this is for you. 

         The meaning says, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength.” Two gifts mentioned in the First Article that God the Father gives us. Reason and Strength are great gifts, but they don’t show us who Jesus is or why He did what He did for us.

         The Holy Spirit alone does this because He loves us. How does the Holy Spirit show He love to us in revealing Jesus?…. Scripture (Magi followed star to Jerusalem but need OT to find Jesus in Bethlehem), The Church, Sacraments etc.

4. Where is the Holy Spirit’s love in giving us Jesus? (Let them answer)

         If Jesus’ salvation work remained locked in some vault for no one to know about, then it would have been meaningless, like One-eyed Willies treasure in Goonies. Jesus would have died in vain. It would have been a buried treasure with a partly completed map and the guy who buried it died a long time ago.

         Instead the Holy Spirit has this great treasure and gives it to you personally. This is called “sanctification” which is the HS giving you Jesus and His goods that you couldn’t buy with all the gold in the world, or by living a perfect life in the eyes of others. Only by dying to sin and living in Christ are you saved (that zapped in the hospital metaphor) can you truly live.

5. Where is this zapping back to life, the Word preached, the Sacraments given to you?

         The Church. In the Bride of Christ, (the love story) the Holy Spirit hunts you down and grabs you for Christ. He teaches and preaches to you His Holy Word about a Jesus who dies for you, the dead in sin, so you can live a righteous life. Works don’t do it, unless they are the works of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…, which creates, sustains and grows your faith.

6. In conclusion, God Father created you and gives you all these gifts that make you, you, and ends up spoiling you rotten in the process. Then He sends Jesus to die for to buy you from your bondage to sin, death and the devil. Finally, He gives you the Holy Spirit so you can believe what Jesus has done and live with Him for all eternity. Talk about a great love story. 

         Boy meets girl, boy falls madly, completely and totally head over heels for girl, boy conquers sin, death, and the devil for her, boy and girl live together forever. The Creed is a perfect Love Story.

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Reading

Not that anyone actually cares, but I’ve never been a big reader. That has changed over the last four and a half years since I left Seminary. Now I read more than some, but not as much as others. I want to continue to grow and mature as a writer, preacher, theologian, pastor, husband, father, what have you. I decided to keep a list of books on this blog that I’ve finished reading for the year. 

This will only include the books that I’ve read. I will not bore you with the articles, sermons, journals and what have you’s that I read on a weekly basis as part of my sermon preparation. Even I find that stuff boring and tedious at times. Some of the time it’s twenty pages of garbage for one insight, that gets mulled together with the rest of the garbage in my head just waiting to be strained out or thrown down in the middle of a Bible Study on some later date.

I’ll update the page with titles when finished. 

Modern Lutheran Quote of the Day

Our Lord’s assertion that in heaven He is preparing a place for us has similar significance. By His crucifixion and resurrection He has made it possible for us to get to heaven. (Here we incorporate––rather than omit––the superbly explicit Gospel that the text provides in verse 6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”) And, really, that’s plenty. What more can we expect than that Jesus should live on our earth, die, and rise again so that we might go to heaven? But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He does more than expected. Not only does He make it possible for us to get to heaven but He also prepares a place for us there. He goes to fuss and bother. He engages in “heavenly housework,” so to speak. It’s all very flattering. We’re special in His sight, “a chosen generation.” “the apple of His eye,” “kings and priests unto God,” “the bride of the Lamb.” He longs for our arrival; He can’t wait till we get there. He wants everything shipshape when we arrive; He makes sure that there will be no disappointment, when we reach our heavenly mansion. All these stirring implications can be unpacked from the simple assertion “I go to prepare a place for you.”

Preaching the Creative Gospel Creatively
Francis C Rossow p. 62-63