TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Stephen J. Nichols said, “The Councils at Nicea (in 325 AD) and Constantinople (in 381 AD) emphatically affirmed the divine and human natures of Christ. The Nicene Creed declares Christ’s deity and Christ’s humanity. The Creed further and rather eloquently declares that this view of the person of Christ has everything to do with the work of Christ. He is the Godman ‘for us and for our salvation.'”
On this Palm Sunday, we begin a unique series drawn from the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and a historical text based on the Word of God, the Holy Bible, that was passed down from the early church all the way to us today — the Nicene Creed. Not only are we talking about the power of Easter and Resurrection Sunday, but we are talking about the importance of the historical Christian faith that was passed down to us from the early church, how that we as Christians who are falling away from it ought to return to it, and how that the world ought to hear it so they can believe on Christ. If you have attended a Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, or Presbyterian church, you may have heard something similar to the words which are referred to as the Nicene Creed. Now, Baptists (which I consider myself to be), as a rule, do not subscribe to any creed. For centuries before, and coming through the Protestant Reformation, Baptists decided that, unlike Protestant denominations, they would be non-creedal. Baptists state that ‘the final authority for faith and practice is the Bible, not words about the Bible.’ However, even though I am a Baptist, I like Biblical creeds such as the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, and I use them in my family’s devotions. While we should not hold any creed to the level of inspired Scripture, there are elements from church tradition that we can learn from and at least should be aware of. The Nicene Creed is one of those things.
Let’s start by reading the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He was seen alive by Mary Magdalene and the other women,
the disciples, and over five hundred other brethren;
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
He spoke through the prophets.
We believe in one holy universal and apostolic church.
We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
and to life in the world to come. Amen.
Starting today, and each day throughout Holy Week, leading up to Resurrection Sunday, we are going to break down this creed and look at the biblical basis for each of the truths that every Christian ought to believe. The first few lines of the Nicene Creed tell us about God: “We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible….” From just these few words, we see three important facts about the God we believe in.
FIRST, WE SEE THE UNIQUENESS OF GOD. Isaiah 44:6 says, “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” In Isaiah 45:5, God says, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” God makes it clear that He alone is God. He alone is in control. He alone is almighty.
According to Martin Manser, editor of the Dictionary of Bible Themes, the uniqueness of God means that “no one and nothing is comparable to the triune God in his nature or comparable to him in his character and activity.” The early church fathers lived in a day and time when people worshipped the Roman Caesar and an entire pantheon of mythical Greek and Roman gods. Yet, the apostles believed in the uniqueness of God and they passed that belief down to us. In Ephesians 4:6, Paul tells us that there is “one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
The uniqueness of God is the basis for every belief that follows in Christianity. Without there being one, true God, every Christian doctrine falls apart. We must choose to acknowledge God in all of our ways and let Him be the master over us.
SECOND, WE SEE THE POWER OF GOD. He is “the Father almighty.” Psalm 147:4-5 says, “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.”
Just as Christian doctrine hinges on the uniqueness of God, Christian doctrine also hinges on the power of God. God is not, as some would have us to believe, a weak, immobile, old man in the sky who leaves his creation to their own devices. No, God possesses all of the might and power in the world, and He can do as He pleases.
John MacArthur said, “God’s omnipotence describes His ability to do anything consistent with His nature. Scripture reveals that God in His power is able to do more than what actually occurs but that His power operates within the context of His will and all of His other perfections. Real divine power is God’s ‘ordinate power,’ that is, His ability to do everything that He has decreed He will do.”
We see the uniqueness of God. We see the power of God.
THIRD, WE SEE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. The Nicene Creed calls God “the maker of Heaven and Earth.” Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God’s sovereignty is shown through His creative acts. If God created the world, He certainly has “the whole world in His hands.” He is over all. He is in control of every aspect of the universe. In his book, The Sovereignty of God, Arthur W. Pink wrote, “What do we mean by [the sovereignty of God]? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the God-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God.”
The apostles taught the sovereignty of God in the early church. In Acts 14:15, as Paul is preaching to the people of Lystra, he says, we “preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.” The sovereignty of God is shown in His creative work. Many secular scientists are beginning to admit that nature shows proof of a sovereign, intelligent designer. Stephen C. Meyer, writing in Evolution News & Science Today, said, “Biologists have long recognized that many organized structures in living organisms ‘give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.’ There is now compelling evidence of intelligent design in the inner recesses of even the simplest living one-celled organisms. Moreover, there is a key feature of living cells — one that makes the intelligent design of life detectable — that Darwin didn’t know about and that contemporary evolutionary theorists have not explained away.” God is in control of both the expansive universe and the most insignificant living cell.
Have you ever had to remind yourself that “God is in control.” That is not just something we should say when we are in trouble, but that is something we should believe wholeheartedly. If we believe that God is in control, we can face any situation in life. We can bravely march into difficulty because we believe, like the early church, that our lives are not our own. Our lives rest in God’s hands.
These three facts about God — that He is unique, that He is all-powerful, and that He is sovereign — form the foundation of everything we believe as Christians. It is what Jesus’ disciples believed. It is what the early church believed. It is what we ought to believe as well.
Maltbie D. Babcock wrote:
This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world:
O let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.