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Discussion Forum : General Topics : An Apostolic Church

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KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 An Apostolic Church

The Nicene Creed reads:

"We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church..."

It is not often that I draw upon material from the historical creeds of the church to teach from. Indeed, from my own view point and the tradition that I come from, such creeds have little value. The apostles never formulated any creeds, nor did they encourage others to do so. Even at the "council of Jerusalem" in Acts 15, what the apostles and elders wrote down was nothing more than some informal suggestions and exhortations that were to be circulated amongst the churches.

However, in spite of this, we cannot say that the creeds that the church has formally made into dogma, as an acid test for orthodoxy, have no value whatsoever. Indeed, in one sense they are of great value. The various creeds that have been adopted over the years show the great struggle the church has gone through in attempting to give expression to its deepest beliefs and yearnings. They are creeds that have mostly attempted to say just what is essential to being a Christian.

Furthermore, these creeds are never isolated statements of faith that one person espouses over another person. Rather, these creeds are the expressed faith of a "community." The creeds say "this" is what "we" believe. Our western culture at the present time has such a hard time getting our minds around such things. The mindset of many believers today is so individualistic in nature. It’s all about "my" personal relationship with Jesus, and what "I" believe.

I don’t make these comments to minimize the importance or necessity of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I simply make them to draw attention to just how isolated we as believers have become from the rest of the church. "I" is on the throne, and as a result the church often lacks a sense of "we." Yet Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that you and I should never forget that we are surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses," and that it is from the common faith of these historical saints of old that we are to draw strength from and identification with, so that we might run "the race that is set before us."

And just what is the content of that faith that is to be found in the communion of the saints? It is found in the expression: "We believe." This belief is at the same time intensely individualistic and intensely communal. We are the body of Christ, but, individually, members of it. Great injustice has been done by the church over the years which has tended to exalt an individual and think of that person alone as "a saint." But the New Testament knows of no such thing. Rather, the New Testament only knows of "saints."

And those saints have something of substance that they confess to actually believing "in." It’s not a vague faith, nor a fuzzy faith that is devoid of focus and content. While it is fashionable today to exalt a “personal relationship” with Jesus at the expense of "doctrine," the saints of old have shown us that such a teary-eyed, warm and fuzzy faith is no faith at all.

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus... (2 Corinthians 4:13-14; NASB)

A faith that is merely mystical and that cannot be articulated is not faith, it is merely sentimentalism. True faith is "in" something and someone. Paul says what we believe we speak, "knowing." Faith knows something. Indeed, a true relationship is never devoid of true knowledge. For, knowledge of another is the framework that all genuine relationships are built upon. Such is no less true when it comes to God.

"Doctrine," is the expressed content of the knowledge that comes from faith. Anybody who downplays the necessity of a faith rich in doctrine is a fool at worse, or merely misguided at best. No, that doctrine does not need to be articulated in the verbiage found in the jungles of Christian academia. This faith, after all, is what "we" believe. An expression in child-like simplicity will more than suffice. But that does not mean the content of that faith should be child-like in stature. We must progress from milk to meat, for meat is what men eat, and spiritual manhood is something we should all seek to attain.

We should also seek for purity in our doctrine. Such is why the various creeds have been drafted throughout the years. The church has recognized it holds to a testimony that has been passed down to us from the Lord Himself. It is "the" faith once and for all handed down to the saints (Jude 3). Therefore we should jealousy guard what we have been made stewards of, and as accurately as possible we should seek to pass along that faith to others. We should not seek to be novel preachers in what we communicate. Invention is not becoming to the Christian faith. The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, but it should only be new news to those who have never heard it before.

For the faith we hold, as the Nicene creed says, should be judged for its apostolic quality and character. The author of Hebrews reminds us of the Divine order of our faith: "...it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit..." (Hebrews 2:3-4) Our faith must be in keeping with the first generation who heard the Lord in the flesh, who in turn taught it to all of us who have come ever since. It is for this reason "we believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church." Contrary to the shallow reasoning of Rome, this is not a statement intended to establish its own organization as somehow being the church Jesus built. Rather, it is an expression that seeks to establish purity in the beliefs and practices of the life of the church, so that there would be an unbroken continuum between us and the first generation of saints who heard the Lord Himself.

Is it no wonder then, that the late Art Katz often said that the word "apostolic," and all that pertains to it, should cause us to "salivate" and foam at the mouth? Yet for many it has become, as he said, "a cheapie." It’s a word that has through misuse and abuse, lost its luster, meaning, and power. Apostolic should be a word that arrests every single one of us. We should be spell bound by it, and if necessary, moved with great wrath to utterly slaughter anything that attempts to pass itself along as being apostolic, when in fact it is not! Acceptance of anything fraudulent passing itself along as apostolic is to diminish the Lord’s ministry, and to rob Him of the glory that is so rightly His. For Jesus Christ is our Chief Apostle.

Therefore, "we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it." (Hebrews 2:1) Often from slackness and neglect, what was once heard we have since drifted away from. Indeed, for entire centuries at a time! As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must continually seek to pay closer attention to what has been said in the Scriptures, and examine what we believe, say, and practice, so as to find out of if these things are indeed in keeping with the faith once and for all handed down to the saints. As was the motto of the Protestant reformation, we must always be about the business of reforming. Even if we make no tweaks in our doctrine, practices, or way of life, the spirit of reformation should always be pulsating throughout our blood. We are not to do this for sake of reformation, as if that were our chief end, but for the sake of being a church that is truly apostolic in all its dimensions. For a church that is apostolic in its character is a church that is most like Jesus Christ Himself.


_________________
Jimmy H

 2009/3/22 19:13Profile









 Re: An Apostolic Church

Quote:
A faith that is merely mystical and that cannot be articulated is not faith, it is merely sentimentalism. True faith is "in" something and someone. Paul says what we believe we speak, "knowing." Faith knows something. Indeed, a true relationship is never devoid of true knowledge. For, knowledge of another is the framework that all genuine relationships are built upon. Such is no less true when it comes to God.

"Doctrine," is the expressed content of the knowledge that comes from faith.



Brother, this is excellent.
I didn't want to take a piece out of it - because it's like cutting a strip from a beautiful table-cloth to show someone the fabric it's made out of - but this central theme, Had it been taught or preached at least once a month for all these years - I think we would have had a healthier church.

Sorry to say that the term "apostolic" has been all but destroyed by two groups - the Oneness crowd and those who pronounce themselves to be the elite "apostles" of our times.

I wouldn't want to have to 'foam at the mouth' to see this [then I'd have the "deliverance" ministries after me :-) ] - but I do know Brother Art's heart and mind on this and Amen to you both - His Word says that there 'will' be a "we" - Bless GOD - else "we'd" have no hope.


Thank you for spending the time to prepare this need of the hour. Praise GOD.

 2009/3/22 19:54
Earendel
Member



Joined: 2009/3/17
Posts: 308
Central Alberta, Canada

 Re: An Apostolic Church

Wow, that certainly is a mouthful. A couple of points I will make with if the Lord wills that I should do so.


Point one:

NO OTHER FOUNDATION

Why add to the bible; why not just leave it alone as it is? It is one thing to have a statement of faith; it is clearly another when that statement of faith (creeds) takes the place of the Holy Scriptures as originally given to us by the Apostles.

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11


…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, Ephesians 2:20

There is no need to add to the Holy Scriptures with creeds.


Point 2:

THE BASICS

You said:

“While it is fashionable today to exalt a “personal relationship” with Jesus at the expense of "doctrine,"

I say: GOD FORBID!

Let’s put something into perspective here shall we?

In the same way it should be said, “Let us not exalt doctrine at the expense of personal relationship with God!”

…Let’s aim for balance in this:

Knowledge comes first, before faith and personal relationship does: (knowledge by way of the doctrine of the Apostles as originally preached by them. (No extra-biblical creeds and deeds are needed)

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

Acting on the doctrine of the Apostles:

For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21

For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. Romans 10:10


Relationship…

God Commands Relationship! (…Because of the faith He gave us, based on the doctrine received by the Apostles preaching and written works)

So he answered and said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’
And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28


Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:7-10

Sounds like God is looking for relationship to me, and not just someone to recite endless chants and creeds.


_________________
David

 2009/3/22 21:30Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Earendel,

I think perhaps you've misunderstood me. I'm not in anyway advocating creedalism or any such thing, or doctrine at the expense of relationship. I believe if you reconsider my article, you'll find you are reading some things into my article that I never implied.


_________________
Jimmy H

 2009/3/22 21:45Profile
run2win
Member



Joined: 2009/2/1
Posts: 164
USA

 Re: An Apostolic Church

Did not Jesus sum it up beautifully in John 17:11?

"And I am no more in the world, and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are."

 2009/3/22 23:47Profile
Earendel
Member



Joined: 2009/3/17
Posts: 308
Central Alberta, Canada

 Re:

Quote:

KingJimmy wrote:


I'm not in anyway advocating creedalism or any such thing, or doctrine at the expense of relationship.



okay I accept this thanks. I was really addressing Roman Catholicism with my post.


_________________
David

 2009/3/23 1:17Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

:-)


_________________
Jimmy H

 2009/3/23 13:27Profile





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