Welcome to this series of lectures on the Apostles’ Creed. The word ‘Creed’ does not sound very attractive today. Dogma, Doctrine, Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms are not popular in this age of moral relativism. Yet, the first Christians deemed Dogma important, for we read of the church after Pentecost: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42).
When you hear the name Apostles’ Creed, you might ask: what is the Apostles’ Creed? You might even ask: what is a Creed? The name ‘Apostles’ Creed’ reminds us of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What an encouragement would it be for the church today if the apostles were still among us! But they have died long ago. However, we do have the Apostles’ Creed, a confession based upon the doctrine and the teachings of the apostles. We encourage you to listen to these 13 video lectures and prayerfully look for these sacred statements of faith to become your daily confession in your Christian walk.
1 - Introduction
As I wish to address the Apostle’s Creed, you might ask, what is the Apostle’s Creed? You might even ask, what is a creed? A creed is a formal and foundational statement of what a Christian believes regarding God and salvation. A creed is a confession of faith and a summary of Christian doctrines.
2 - Article One: God the Father and Creation
The Apostle’s Creed begins, saying, “I believe.” It is with good reason that it does not begin, “I understand, and therefore I believe.” The Christian says, “I believe, and therefore I understand.” What the wisdom of the world does not understand, faith understands, for “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3). To believe must be first, and then confession and understanding follow.
3 - Article Two: The Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Only Begotten Son
In the second article of the Apostle’s Creed, we read, “...and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten son, our Lord” Here the Christian confesses not only that Jesus is the Son of God but also that Jesus is his Lord.
4 - Article Three: The Conception and Virgin Birth of the Savior
Article three of the Apostle’s Creed reads: “...who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.” These words call us to consider the incomprehensible fact of the virgin birth of Jesus. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and He was born of the Virgin Mary. Such was the manner in which Jesus came into the world.
5 - Article Four: The Suffering of Christ
The fourth article of the Apostles’ Creed confesses the following concerning our Lord Jesus Christ: “... He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell.” The Creed states in the first place that Jesus suffered. All the suffering in this world confronts us with profound questions. Throughout the ages, the question has been asked how there could be so much suffering in a world that is governed by a God of infinite omnipotence and perfect goodness. As the Omnipotent One, He should be able to keep us from being subjected to disasters, illnesses, suffering, and death. Should God, in His goodness, not be unwilling that His creatures should suffer as much as they do?
6 - Article Five: The Resurrection of Christ
We continue the series of lessons about the Apostles’ Creed by addressing Article 5. This article confesses the following regarding Jesus: “The third day He rose again from the dead.”
7 - Article Six: The Exaltation of Christ
Article six of the Apostles’ Creed states the following: “He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God.” Jesus has ascended into heaven. The ascension of Jesus and His session at God's right hand usually receive less attention than His birth and resurrection. In our eyes, Christ’s birth and resurrection are more important than His ascension. Apart from Jesus' ascension and His being seated at God's right hand, however, Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter would be stripped of their meaning. Jesus' ascension and His being seated at God's right hand is the tangible evidence that God the Father has accepted everything that Jesus did.
8 - Article Seven: Christ as the Judge of the Living and the Dead
Jesus is coming back! He did leave the earth and is now seated on the throne at the right hand of God. However, one day He will return. When Jesus ascended into heaven, the angels spoke to the disciples: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). One day Jesus will return in power and glory—as He promised His church, "Behold, I come quickly" (Rev. 22: 7a).
9 - Article Eight: God the Holy Ghost
The Christian confesses in article eight of the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” When the Christian confesses this, in whom and what does he believe? He thereby professes to believe in a divine Person who is called, The Holy Spirit. The name “Holy Spirit” is not only characteristic of the third Person of the Trinity but also explains His nature. He is the Spirit of holiness.
10 - Article Nine: The Universal Church of Christ
The confession, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” follows the confession: “I believe an holy catholic church.” It is not without significance that the Holy Spirit is mentioned in connection with the church. The church’s existence is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts of men. He gathers a church of all generations, tongues, and languages. He sees to it that Jesus’ suffering and death bear fruit by making sinners partakers of the salvation of Christ.
11 - Article Ten: The Forgiveness of Sins
In Article 10, the Christian confesses, “I believe the forgiveness of sins.” Though short, it is an article with extraordinary content. It appears as if this confession was taken directly from Psalm 130. First, the question is asked, “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” However, then a confession of faith follows: “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psa. 130:3- 4).
12 - Article Eleven: The Resurrection of the Body
In article eleven of the Apostles' Creed, the Christian confesses, "I believe in the resurrection of the dead." When Jesus, after the death of her brother Lazarus, met sorrowful Martha, he said to her, "Thy brother shall rise again" (John 11:23). Martha answered, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day" (John 11:24). She misunderstood the words of Jesus. She did not think that Jesus had presently come to raise her brother from the dead. Instead, Jesus's words prompted her to think of the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.
13 - Article Twelve: The Life Everlasting
The concluding article of the Apostles’ Creed reads, “...and the life everlasting.” The Christian believes in a life that will never end. Based on God’s promises, the Christian believes that eternal life begins after death. For the Christian, life does not end with death. The Christian walks upon a pathway that ends in eternal life.