“We Believe In One Lord”
John 1:1-18; Nicene Creed
We believe many things. We learn as we grow up that there are certain truths in our lives. We also learn not all these truths are helpful. We learn to accept certain realities will always be true.
What sort of truths do we believe in? You know, things like “Hindsight is 20/20” or “1+1=2”. What sort of truth statements do you hold onto?
What about this one? “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.”
Do we believe in this truth we recited together in the Nicene Creed? The creed being a foundational statement formed in the 4th century by the leaders of the church who were trying to bring the church together in a system of beliefs so they could have a unifying position, as base, upon which to build.
Yes, this section about Jesus Christ is a bit of a mouthful. It says a lot of things about where Jesus came from, who he is, what he is about, and where he has gone.
Jesus is a gift from God. The Nicene Creed reminds of the truth we read in scripture. A truth which reminds us in the words from the first few verses of the Gospel of John, when we hear of the origin of the one John is going to focus on,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”
The Word was with God and God sent the Word among us. Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh, sent to dwell among us, to teach us, to lead us, to reveal to us God’s gift of salvation. God sent Jesus Christ to give us life.
The world is becoming increasingly dark, this will be no more evident than tonight when the sun sets very early because of the time change. But you know I mean more than just the length of daylight when I say the world is in darkness.
The world is full of sin. People are challenging the institutions through their occupy protest rallies, people are calling for the world to change. But will it work? Will their work be able to overcome the darkness of greed?
No. It won’t work.
Why won’t it work? Simply because people are trying to do this on their own. These people, no matter how great their intentions are will fail.
Sin is a powerful, powerful force in our world. Sin can take the most pure human and break them, destroy them. Only light can overcome this darkness, and the only light that can overcome the evil of the sin in our world today is the light which comes from God, our Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the one who came from God to show us the way. If we want to succeed in changing the world, the only way is to work with the God who created, through the Son He sent to us.
“For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.”
We are less than two months from Christmas. We are just four Sunday’s from starting Advent. We are in the early processes to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the coming of Christ, the birth of our Lord and Saviour.
Our God chose to come among us in the most humble way. God could have come with a great and mighty warrior, with an army to defeat the evils of the world. But it was not His way.
God the Father, as we discussed last time, chose to send us a child. A weak, defenceless child to come and lead us. A child who would grow into a man, experiencing all life has to offer, a child who would grow to overcome temptation and sin at the hands of the devil himself, so that we could hear his victorious, pure, loving words. Jesus experienced life as we experience it. He knows the temptations we face, he knows our fears and weaknesses, yet he rose above them all. Jesus faced them down at every turn because he was grounded in the Word of God. Jesus showed the importance of understanding the will of God because it keeps us pure and focused on the way God planned the world in the beginning. A world full of love and shared resources. A world where none would be in need.
But even in this world, Jesus faced punishment for his what he taught.
“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.”
We are reminded that Jesus’ ministry did not end on Good Friday. It did not end when the religious leaders tried to silence him. It did not end at the hands of the Roman soldiers who hung him on that cross.
We know Jesus rose from the grave on the third day. Jesus won victory over death for us, so that we would know the promise of God and have victory over sin and death so we may also live with God the Father evermore.
John reminds us of this when he wrote in that first chapter of the Gospel, saying,
“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
We are invited to join the family of God. Jesus Christ, God among us, has shown us how to live. He has invited us to join with him just as he invited the disciples and many others to join him along the way. If we believe in the one Lord, Jesus Christ, sent from God to show us the ways of God, then we are members of his family. We are inheritors of the abundant blessings and riches from our God, our Father in heaven.
Jesus promised to return. Jesus said he would come back to us someday, and with him would come the kingdom of heaven, a place in which all who believe and trust in our Lord will have a home, a seat at the table with our God most high. The final words of this section of the Creed we are looking at this week closes with, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.”
This middle section of the Nicene Creed, the one which focuses on the role of Jesus Christ in our beliefs is longer than the rest, with good reason. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. Without Jesus Christ we cannot see the goodness, grace, love, mercy of our Father in action. Jesus showed it abundantly. Jesus gave it abundantly. Jesus offers it freely.
Jesus is our focus as people of Christian faith. Jesus is the one we rely on in our relationship. He is the one who will lead us to God, the one who will show us the way to live in the world. The one who will come gather us together when the time of judgement comes, when God will separate those who are part of his family from those who are not.
Jesus is also the one who will give us life. The one who fills our lives with purpose as we seek to be children of our God.
Let me share a brief story. Last week I was out of town for a couple days. I went to a concert on Thursday night for a Christian singer by the name of Robin Mark, you’ve heard me use his name before. Things are about to get busy in our church and community, starting today. So I needed to get a good dose of Jesus into me before it all began. I was not disappointed.
Robin Mark brought Jesus Christ to over 500 people crowded into a church that night. He sang praises to God, he shared stories of lives being changed, and how God was crucial to these events. And the church was booming in praise. If God was auditioning for a chorus of angels, he need look no further.
At one point in the night, the band stepped back from playing. The singers stopped singing, and the crowd continued the song.
Over 500 voices united in singing these words.
“Jesus, all for Jesus!
All I am and have and ever hope to be.
Jesus, all for Jesus
All I am and have and ever hope to be.
All of my, ambitions hopes and plans
I surrender these, into your hands.
Jesus, all for Jesus.
All I am and have, and ever hope to be.”
Powerful, powerful stuff. People singing their praise to God, asking God to take all we have and use it to His purposes, all in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, our hope, our rescue.
In case you might still be wondering who this Jesus is, let’s close by hearing the words from the first chapter of the Gospel of John,
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
How’s that for truth you can believe in?