Today I want to talk about The Apostles Creed. For almost two centuries Christians have used this one statement to define who they are and what they believe. Before people had a Bible they had the apostles creed.
4 Fast Facts about the Creed
- It is old. Its earliest forms can be traced back to A.D. 120.
- It was not written by the apostles. It summarizes what the apostles taught
- It’s short. It’s only 109 words.
- It’s selective. The Creed doesn’t talk about everything, only what the early church thought was most crucial. It doesn’t cover all the Bible but everything in it is from the Bible.
How it Begins
Today I want to talk about the first line of the apostles creed:
“I believe in God the father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”
These one line sums up three important aspects of our faith:
- I believe
- God the Father Almighty
- Creator of Heaven and Earth
We could talk forever about each of these but I want to focus on one point: The benefits of having a heavenly father.
Definition of a Heavenly Father
When God describes himself, he almost always uses these terms: He is our Heavenly Father. Jesus described him using the phrase “Abba Father” which means he’s a dad that loves disco; sorry, that’s a terrible joke. Actually Abba means “Daddy.” This is how God describes himself. It’s a fantastic analogy provided one fact is true: that you had a good father growing up. By good father I mean you liked him; he took you fishing and taught you how to throw a baseball. But not everyone had that kind of father. My dad taught me to swim all right…by throwing me in the deep end. Maybe some of you had that kind of dad too. He was distant. Absent. Some of you had abusive dads. Workaholic dads. If you did, then the idea of God as dad may not work for you.
I read an article this week called “Father Absence, Father Deficit, Father Hunger” from Psychology Today. According to this article, if you didn’t have the dad you wanted, you are more likely to struggle with these issues.:
“Not having a father involved in your life can lead to diminished self-concept, and compromised physical and emotional security. Fatherless children have more difficulties with social adjustment, and are more likely to report problems with friendships. Fatherless children are more likely to experience problems with sexual health-drug and alcohol abuse -homelessness and -exploitation and abuse. Fatherless children are more like to experience -physical and mental health problems. When Dad isn’t around future relationships are in peril. In Fatherless America, David Blankenhorn calls the crisis of fatherless children “the most destructive trend of our generation.”
Wanted: A Good Father
More and more of people in our generation need a father. We struggle without a father. If that’s you, I have good news for you: the person we believe in is God, the Father. He’s the Father that you always wanted. He wants to be there for you. He wants to love you like you need. He wants to be involved in your life. Let me tell you about this father:
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth.– James 1:17-18
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families– Psalm 68:5,6
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.– Psalm 103:13
Maybe you are like me and you didn’t grow up with the dad that you wanted. If that’s you, God makes you an offer: He will be your Father. Not only that, He will be your Father, Almighty. That’s what the Creed calls our Father. The Bible calls him that 125 different times. So not only do we have a Father, we have one with the power to make a difference in your life.
The Benefits of Having an Almighty Father
I don’t have a lot of great dad memories from when I was young. I do have this one memory. My dad grew up in the depression and then he went into the military so he learned to fight. He had all kinds of stories of bullies he fought in school and boxing matches in the service. One memory I have of my dad is his massive forearms. They were huge! My dad was a fighter. When I was a kid we would box sometime. He taught me jabs and a strong defensive posture. He also taught me to step on your opponent’s foot so that when you hit them they can’t get away. So basically, he taught me to cheat. My dad was tough. One time I remember being on vacation with our family in San Francisco and we were wandering through Chinatown at night. That place is a little sketchy during the day, but at night it’s downright scary. At least it was for me. I was frightened so I kept myself right next to my dad. If there was trouble, I knew I’d be safer with him. If there was a bad guy, he could step on his foot and punch him. I saw my dad as almighty. That’s what our God is. Not just a father. He’s a father almighty. He is a protector. He’s the one you want in your corner when things get tough.
What the Almighty Father Can Do for You
After reading that article about how much my life is going to be horrible because my dad wasn’t all I wanted him to be I started looking for articles about dads who are there.
A present father can give a child the following advantages:
- Greater academic and work success
- More positive social behavior
- Fewer conduct problems
- Better self esteem
- Lower levels of depression
Folks we have a God that is not just a father, but he is an almighty father. He can renew us. Restore us. He can bring us success. He can lower the levels of depression in our life. He will boost our self-esteem. This is the God we believe in. In Psalm 80 we get this promise.
Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. —Psalm 80:19
This almighty God can restore you to the person you were made to be. That’s what having a perfect father can do for you.
My Dad’s Almighty Dad
Dad talk can be hard for me because I grew up with a dad that drank. Looking back, I know why he drank. I know why he learned to fight. My dad was fatherless. He was raised by my grandma. Mildred Minerva Kam. Great grandma name, right? Dad grew up in the depression so sometimes grandma could afford to feed him and sometimes he had to live in foster homes. That will teach you to fight and will ultimately drive you to drink. One day my dad finally met the father he always wanted and Jesus changed his life. When my dad died he was my biggest fan and a true friend. He had fewer problems. More self-esteem. His depression was gone.
Do you know what we believe in? A father, almighty, who loves you like no other father could. This is who we believe in. We believe in a God that is believable. He is the father that we always wanted. The closer I get to him the more I will have the benefits of a father in my life. I will have confidence and courage that I never had. He is also my creator. The one who knows me best and can bring out my best.
In closing, say this line out loud for me:
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”
I believe it. Do you?