Creed: The resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
The Apostle’s Creed I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; … he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. …I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.>
Today is the last day we talk about the Apostle’s Creed. Like I said in the first Sunday of this series, Creed means “I believe” and Creed is the first word of this Apostle’s Creed, right? The Apostle’s Creed is what we confess as Christians. This is the basic, the ground that we are rooted in. So we’ve studied what we believe for the past five weeks, and today is the last day! Can we say the Apostle’s Creed for the last time? (slide 1) I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; (slide 2) … he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. …I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. Today we are going to talk about the very last words of Creed. Let’s read it out loud. (slide 3) “I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” Yay, what wonderful words they are, right?
The Apostle’s Creed starts with the object of our faith, God, right? That’s the way our mother and father in faith crafted our faith together. The first four words of the Apostle’s Creed is very powerful. Say that with me! (slide 4) I believe in God. Yes! We believe in God! (slide 5) God the maker of heaven and earth! And we confess that we believe in Jesus Christ who was crucified, died, and resurrected for us! Yes, We believe in our Savior, right? And then we go to the Holy Spirit who always abides in us, hearing our prayers and giving comforts and healing presence in our lives! What a wonderful God we have! I really love this confession in the Apostle’s Creed. And then it goes to the church and the communion of saints. It is not only about the church here and now, but it is also about the church in the past and the church in the future. It is community, right? (click) And then the last week we talked about the forgiveness of sins and today we will talk about the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Yes, these are about us! Can we read this together? (slide 6) What does it mean for me to believe and trust in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting? We are going to answer this question today. What does it mean for us to believe and trust in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting?
Let’s read it out loud. The number one (slide 7) 1. I can live free from condemnation now. Yes we can live free from any condemnation right now. Have you ever had your anti-moment? I mean the moments when you act like you are not yourself. I have my anti Sophia moment. Actually I have those kind of moments pretty often. I think I’ve gotten a lot better than before. Thank be to God! Now I am much better. But you know what? I used to be (slide 9) an angry bird. And I am still angry bird from time to time, but it is nothing compared to what I used to be. Anyway there are moments that I spit all the condemning words at my sister, not to others, but sister and don’t care whether she’s got hurt or not. I am terrible! I know! And you know we all have those moments that we become angry birds hurting others or doing sins, or just doing things that go against God, right? Now imagine with me. What if there is no remedy or rescue after those moments we have of guilt and shame and condemnation where we were weighed. What if there was no way forward? I mean how long before my life would become completely helpless? I mean, a week? A day? If there was no remedy, if there was no rescue after because of my own dumb behavior? I’d landed myself in all of this guilt and self-loathing and condemnation. Listen how Paul describes it. In 1 Corinthians 15 he says this. (slide 8) And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17 (NLT)) Now, when Paul wrote these words in Greek, here’s how I said if you just translated literally what he wrote in Greek into English. He said this, “if Christ has not been raised, if Christ has not been lifted up, then your faith is empty and you are still in your sins.”
You know, people have got so many views of God. And here’s one picture of God at least from my mind. This is what God can be like. (slide) Have you ever picture God this way? Kind of the judge God that cosmic kill joy that sits in his chamber and he knows everything that I’ve done wrong. This is the way I imagine it. I know, just pray for me, and I am there and I come into the courtroom. Here’s what I envision it God knows every single thing that I’ve done wrong and God’s got a DVR recording of it. And this is how nightmare unfolds. This is a bad God view, I am telling you. This is bad. I come into the chamber and you know the judgement day is coming. He’s got an imax screen there that is showing everything that I’ve ever done wrong and the only person God invites as a witness is my sister Alexa. This is terrible, She will not be my side! This is a bad view. See, when you and I have those moments where I or we’d do something that goes against who I am and who I want to be, when you and I go against how Jesus taught us to live this beautiful command that “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength. Love your neighbors as yourself. When I go against that, when I choose not to love God, when I choose not to love our neighbors as I love myself, yes, it takes me to the place where we are stuck in our sins. (slide 10) Sin is sticky, you know that, right? Once we start doing sins, it is like a tar pit or quicksand we can get stuck in there and it is hard to get out! We get stuck in our sins. This is why the image of Jesus being lifted up. It is so powerful. Remember with me Jesus hanging on a cross. He allowed himself to be there because he was there to fulfill the mission that God had given him, right? He was there to absorb the sins of the entire world onto himself as he suffered on that cross. That includes all my anti Sophia moment. All our Anti-ourselves moments. All of our sins are now stuck with Jesus. Jesus is stronger than the tar pit of sins, right? Jesus can absorb every sin on the cross, Jesus can take away every sin from us! And three days later the power of God is able to override and break through the stickiness of the sins of the entire world, of my sins, of your sins. The power of God breaks through all of that and lifts Jesus up out of that stuck place and sets him free! Like Jesus, you and I can free from condemnation! That same power lifted Jesus up from the grave is available to you and me right here and right now! We can be set free from our sins! The Gospel of John tells us this beautiful story. One day there was a woman. She’s caught in actually her sin, in the sin of adultery. 1st century this means it’s the death penalty. So she has this angry mob that carries her out there about to stone her to death. Maybe you’ve heard the story, and Jesus intervenes and because of what he says one by one al the accusers at the end of the scene and the woman who’s stuck in her sin. I imagine actually she is beaten because she’s actually dragged down on the ground. So in my imagination there are the woman caught in her sin and Jesus. So Jesus looks at her and he says “Woman where are your accusers gone? Has no one condemned you? She looks back up at him and she says, “No one, sir.” And then Jesus says this, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” Church, Are you stuck in your sin today? You feel like You are weighed down under guilt? Jesus can set you free! Right? Isn’t that great? He can lift you up out of whatever the stuck place you are in today. He can rescue you and me and deliver us from our sins just like he did with that woman in John! We don’t have to live stuck, we don’t have to be afraid of condemnation because if the Son sets us free, we are free!
Now let’s go to the next. Let’s read it together! (slide 14) 2. I can live free from fear now. We all have fears right? I have a fear of bat because of the bat who had visited me at the parsonage. Alexa has a fear of snakes and frogs. I googled to find how many phobias in the world, you know, there are so many fears and let me introduce you some of the fears that actually exist. You will feel better when you hear this. There is Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of One’s Mouth. Have you heard of this? It is hilarious! I am sorry if some of you have this fear. I feel you! I am sorry. And there is Anatidaephobia – Fear of Being Watched by A Duck. Wow. Duck is saying, “I am watching you.” And there is Pentheraphobia, which is Fear of Your Mother In-Law. Some of men might be nodding their heads secretly now. And here is a good one. Nomophobia – Fear of Losing Mobile Phone Service. I think I have a bit of this fear. I admit that. Yes, there are so many fears. Right? We have lots of fears. What if I died tonight? What if all my money was gone, just disappeared one day? What if I lost my job, or my house, or my family? We have lots of what ifs, right? You know, my mom died of cancer and I just look like my mom. My hands just looks like her. My height and weight are just like her. So unconsciously the fear of cancer has been around in me for sometime. And it’s a little too much. When I have an upset stomach, I tell Alexa, “Do I have a stomach cancer?” No, it was just nothing. I just ate too much. When I have a headache, I say, “Do I have a brain cancer?” And I have a knee pain and I say, “Do I have cancer in my knee?” Once Alexa laughed at me and said, “You are too much!” I know! Let’s read what Paul says about fear. (slide 13) Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. …(slide 14) But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (NLT) Yes! It’s a victory over cancer. It is a victory over every kind of fear that we have, It is a victory over all! We will be, our body will be resurrected and healed and transformed. All of those things, they don’t have power over us anymore. We don’t have to live in fear of disease or of death, or even of dying because all of those things have been conquered! Remember, the thing that weighs you down is not the end of your story. They cannot be the end of your story. Our story already has the end. It is already known to us, right? Even our death is not the end. See the worst day of your life is never the last day of your life because we believe in the resurrection of the body. We can live free from fear. None of the fears have power over us! This is what it means for us to believe in the resurrection of the body!
Okay, now we are going to the last word of the Creed, the very powerful word. Can we say it out loud? (slide 15) I believe in the life everlasting. Isn’t that great? We believe in the life everlasting! When you and I trust in the life everlasting, it means this. (slide 16) It means you and I believe “3. I can live free from hopelessness now.”
One 6 year old kid prayed to God. Here is what he said. “Dear God, it must be super hard to love all the people in the world, especially my brother. I don’t know how you do it.” There is another prayer that is prayed by a boy. He was so hopeless when he prayed. He said, “Dear God, I love Christmas and Easter. Could you please put another holiday in the middle, there’s nothing good in there now.” Their prayers are so desperate, aren’t they? How can we live if we cannot pray to God when we are so desperate in our lives? When things are not going well, when things look so hopeless that we cannot find any hope in there, then we need someone to rely on, lean on. Think about it. If we don’t have God as our hope, how do you think we would like? Let’s see how the Bible puts it. (slide 18) Let’s read it out loud. Here we go. “And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.” (1 Corinthians 15:32b-34 (NLT)) Evanston where my seminary is located in is a campus town. Northwestern University is there. It is so good. So vibrant. Just full of energy with all the youngsters, so active. But every Spring, during spring break, the entire town becomes a huge garbage can. They drink the whole night through, sing the whole night through, wander the whole night through everyday. And the next morning there are people sleeping on the street neatly leaving their shoes aside. They thought they got home, so took their shoes off, put them aside so neatly and slept on the street. During spring break, they are like “Tomorrow? What tomorrow? The world will end today!” Thank God that Spring break is only a week. And Paul continues to tell this to us. Let’s continue to read his words. (slide 19) “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)) Nothing we do for the Lord, our God is ever useless. Isn’t that such a comfort? We have hope that everything we do will be counted! They are not going to be in vain. So be strong in Christ and stay immovable! Deeply rooted in what you believe in! Always work enthusiastically for your Lord, God the almighty! We have hope for the life that will be everlasting! Can I get an amen?
And the very last word of the Apostle’s Creed is “Amen.” It means, “This is so true,” “So be it” Yes this is what we believe! We believe in the Triune God, we believe in our church and we believe that we are forgiven and have the everlasting life. Thanks be to God! Amen!