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March 29, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Sam Horn concludes the series entitled “I Believe,” with a message titled “It’s Not Just a Creed,” from 1 Timothy 4.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today work, including a study series based on the creed the students recite each day in chapel services, which is a summary of the doctrines of our Christian faith today. Sermon will be preached by Dr. Sam Horn. I like to ask you to take your Bible this morning to first Timothy chapter 4 divided title for the message this morning. I would call this it's not just agreed there is much more going on when you and I profess and confess the cruise that are are in this screen for many many years. My my wife and I my family had the privilege of working during the summers with the program at the Wiles call CIT and one of the early summers that I was there I had I heard a statement that was made by one of the other speakers that that really has stuck with me and it applies to what were talking about this morning and the statement was this, we do what we do and we say what we say because we think what we think and he went on to say we think what we think because we believe what we believe about God, about his world about man from his word. In other words what I think arises up out of what I believe and in my belief system arises out of the word of God. So this morning as we look at the creed together.
The text before us is going to teach us some things about the creed and and what I want to encourage you to do as we wrap up the semester is maybe just jot some of these ideas down and and reflect on them over the course of your years here as you think about the creed when you think about the nine statements that make up our creed. Let me give you five ideas that that at least on a lodge in our thinking. Number one. These are biblical statements. These are biblical truths. These are inherently and thoroughly biblical their authority rises out of the express teaching of Scripture are creed is not the only creed confess my Christians are affirmed by Christians. It's not the oldest creed that that distinction belongs to a creed call the apostles Creed which arose in the early church around 140 A.D. but ours is a creed that is inherently biblical and then the second thing I think I would use the word I would use to describe the realities that you and I affirm every day in chapel is this. They are not just biblical truths.
They are important trees. They are significant troops. They are not minor or obscure doctrines that are sort of buried in the corner somewhere of a New Testament, but they are taught clearly, expressly, repeatedly and consistently throughout the witness of the New Testament document and then thirdly their essential truths. These truths are what we would call Cardinal Cruz or primary truths that make up the content of the Christian faith.
Seven of the nine are actually essential components of what it means to be a New Testament believer. In other words, if you don't believe what the creed articulates in those seven areas you cannot be according to the documents of the New Testament a genuine New Testament believer.
So there are not just biblically relevant cruise and they're not just significant crews are actually essential cruise to your relationship to God through Jesus Christ and the number for their bowl truths. These true that you and I reset the firm together or reside together are are bold statements of allegiance to a single Lord above all other earthly authorities. They are exclusive statements of true religion and what it actually entails. In the face of all other competing religious ideologies and all other earthly authorities and the history of the church, particularly at certain seasons throughout that history is filled with the stories of individuals who valued these crews and gave allegiance to these beliefs, even to the point of the cost of their own lives and then they are defining truths.
You and I when we genuinely affirm and boldly confess the truth in our creed are actually declaring our loyalty and our allegiance to God in the face of a world that actually rejects those truths refuses to give allegiance to the God who gave those truths and at times it is aggressively hostile to those people like you like me who embrace those truths are our creed is essentially countercultural to the world's theology what it actually believes and professes about God. It's countercultural to the world's morality. How how it views the moral and and ethical norms of life and it is countercultural to the world's idea of what evangelism should be. In other words, you live in a world where the vast majority of people do not think they need to be saved from sin they need. They believe they need to be saved from ignorance and so as you look at the screen. The screen is entirely definitive it is.
It is countercultural at every level.
And so, as you say and affirm these nine realities you come to the place in your life where the apostle Paul was writing to Timothy at a very similar stage in his life and and Timothy is exhorted like you and I are exhorted to hold onto these crews with all of his strength in the face of extreme opposition and pressure and relentless persecution and then to defend these crews in the face of anyone who would contradict or deny the and you can see this reality into texts. Let me just read them to you and you can see them for yourself. Second, of the 113 pulses the Timothy holdfast grip firmly the form of sound words, which you have heard of me in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. And then in Titus 19 holding fast the faithful words as you have been taught that you may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gain stairs so this morning as we wrap up our time in the creed I'd ask you to turn to first Timothy chapter 4 because I want to show you how the apostle Paul actually takes agreed in the New Testament. A creedal statement and how he uses it to shape the life and ministry and the health of people like you and like me, and if were going to see that story and understand how Paul actually uses this creed we actually have to start up in verse 14 of chapter 3 where Paul says to Timothy, these things write I under the hoping to come under the shortly. But if I tarry long, that thou might meas know how you ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar in the ground of truth, and then he lays out an early New Testament creed and it goes like this, and without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.
God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached under the Gentiles, believed on in the world and received up into glory. Now that New Testament statement is an early New Testament creed that we believe is often repeated and recited and affirmed by believers when they came together to worship that creed has six individual statements about the Lord Jesus Christ. Our creed has seven and then there are two that speak to the authority and the inspiration of Scripture and the creation of man as a direct act of God. So we have a very similar creed and in large measure to the one that you and I recite and affirm every day and so I want you to notice out of this tax number one that creeds serve an important purpose. The creed that you have been residing for your time here as a student of Bob Jones University has has a very important function in your life as a believer and and let me lay it out to you this way a creed like the one Paul is using here in verse 16 of chapter 3 has the ability to teach us how to behave as members of the household of God. In other words, the realities and in the doctrines that we are affirming that a been revealed by Scripture and are captured in the in the creed we recite actually prescribe acceptable thinking and acceptable behavior for those who are actually part of God's household of faith. Paul is reminding Timothy that that God wants him and the people that he is shepherding to know how to live their lives as the household of faith. This is not what you do when you show up at church. This is not words that you say just in the context of a worship service is actually how God wants you to live your life and the reason for this is Paul says to Timothy that that you and those who serve with you are overseeing and and and actually members of the household of God and and and God has done something with this body of people. He has established in them the truth. He has given to this community of people that have been called out of darkness, transported, transferred over into the kingdom of his dear son. And he has revealed to these people. What the truth really is.
They they really are the place where God has deposited the truth so if you are in the world and you get to the place where you really want to know the truth about the big questions of life. Paul is saying to Timothy, God is put that truth somewhere. He has established a ground upon which he has established that truth and that ground that place that location is the body of believers that he is called out of darkness, and has placed into his own household. So the truth resides with you and and the God who gave you that truth intense for you to do something with that truth as the household of God, and you can see the imagery there. The church of the living God, which is the pillar and the ground of truth. It's the place where God has revealed an established truth, but it's also the place where if you live in the world and you get desperate enough and you're looking for the deep truth of God that can change your life. There's a place where that truth is being held up and it is being declared and it is being displayed and it is in the truth that God is given to the church as it is being portrayed and displayed. By the way they live their life and so as you think about the creed this morning. One of the functions that the creed has it does is it teaches us how to behave as God's people, and it reminds us of what we should believe. So what exactly do we believe about Jesus Christ.
What we actually believe about the Scriptures. What do we actually believe about the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ. What are the implications of the incarnation of Christ that were about to celebrate later this month. In a few weeks when you had no word we can have actually sell the creed that Paul uses in first Timothy chapter 3 actually has an important function it. It teaches us how to behave and it reminds us of what we should believe in the truth that Paul wanted Timothy and the believers that he was overseeing to believe was a great mystery without controversy great is the mystery and this mystery. This divine secret that God had chosen to reveal had to do with godliness and and when Paul talked about godliness. He revealed it this way that God himself had come in the flash and as you start reading through those six statements you begin to discover that that these are all talking about an individual that you know and that you have believed on in his name is and so Paul is saying here to Timothy. The function of this creed is to teach you how to behave and remind you of what you believe in light of the fact that God has come in the flesh through Jesus, and you have embraced him and God is deposited truth about Jesus with you and he intends to display that truth by lifting you up like a light to the world as you live out those realities in your life so creeds have great spiritual or have a great spiritual function, but they also have great spiritual values. Look at verse six of chapter 4 boxes. If you put the brethren in remembrance of these things, what things would you left of verse 14.
That same phrase is there, so he's obviously talking about the creed. Then there are people beginning in verse one live, and deny that teaching and speak against that teaching and seduce people away from those realities, and then also to Timothy in verse six now regarding these things that I talk to you about when I showed you that creed up in verse 14 through 16. If you put the brethren in remembrance of those things you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, one that is nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine were unto you, have obtained and so Paul says to you and to me and to Timothy the creed that I delivered to you up in chapter 3 verses 14 through 16, has as a great spiritual value in that it makes you a profitable servant of Jesus Christ. It makes you useful. It makes you a good beautiful servant of Jesus Christ. Now how does that happen, and it happens because of how you relate to a particular set of words about the faith, the sound doctrine about Jesus that is being articulated up in verse 16 of chapter 3 pulses at this way, you become profitable when the words about the faith of Jesus train you, and educating educating you regularly that you nourish yourself and them and and you follow, you remain committed to the truths that are taught about Jesus, no matter who comes against them. No matter how convincing their argument might be, no matter how strongly they wades that argument. You are constantly nourishing yourself on the truth that is in that creed that Paul gave in first Timothy chapter 3 verse 16 and you are remaining in that creed as you feed your soul regularly on its truths and not only will that make you a profitable servant's of Jesus. It will make you an effective servant to others because when you actually understand and believe and know these truths that are being given to you here in bullet form in this creed that is articulated in chapter 3 verse 16. This great mystery of godliness when you actually understand it and embrace it and can defend it, you will deliver yourself and you will deliver others around you from the devastating damage that is come or that comes when a person brings false teaching to bear in another person's life. Many of you in this room have had the wonderful fortune and privilege of sitting under good preaching from wonderful man who stand before you every week into the very best of their ability.
They come to the text and are careful exegetes of the text and they preach it passionately and authoritatively and in your life has been enriched by that but that is not the case for everyone. There are people over the years that I've had the privilege of ministry God's word that I've known and I've cared deeply about an event personally invested who have come under teaching that is expressly contrary to the teachings of what Paul is given here in first of the chapter 3 and they have embraced very passionately things that God actually tells a person not to believe.
I just get very personally I I have members of my family on my mother side who have embraced teachings about the person of Jesus Christ where they no longer believe that he is the actual son of God or the only way in which a person can be saved and as I think about those people and their actually cousins that we had a lot of interaction or some interaction. Growing up as as you think about what is happening to their life. Over the course of the years now, decades of them embracing those realities.
You begin to realize there's a lot of damage that comes in a person's life because of faulty. You have been extremely privileged by God. And I know that you're thankful for this that that God is giving you the safety and and the health that comes from sound teaching maybe maybe your pastor wasn't a perfect pastor and maybe didn't get it all right every single time. But as you think about what you experience growing up in your church and as you sat under your youth pastor week after week, or maybe you went to a Christian school, and you sat under teachers who, day after day after day taught you and maybe they didn't get it right every single time. But as you look back over the 18 years or 20 years that you sat under their teaching and their ministry of the word you are healthy spiritually because they said you sound words, don't assume that is true for everybody and don't ever take that for granted. I know you don't II would be remiss to to to sort of tenant speak to you thinking that you don't do that II know you appreciate that truth and I hope I do. But this creed that Paul is using is is actually designed to take you and make use that kind of a person over the next 40 or 50 years of your life and that brings us to the final thing creed serve an important function and they have great spiritual value. But in order for them to be effective. They have to be practiced and not merely professed that to be practiced and not merely professed. Look at verse 15, Paul says to Timothy, meditate upon these things. You can take that little phrase it shows up in verse 14 of chapter 3. These things it shows up again in verse six, these things it shows up in verse 11. These things command and teach and now verse 15 meditate on these things, what things the things that I talk to you about Paul says in the renal statement in verse 16. Meditate on these things practice these believes personally that this is not just the idea of casually thinking this is the idea of careful intentional study that results in personal practice and behavior. Practice these believes personally that he says immerse yourself in them fully. Give yourself holy over to them be fully engaged in the pursuit of them find out why you believe in the inspiration of the Bible. Find out why you believe in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Think carefully about how you would talk and argue for the resurrection of his body from the dead, think through why you can say his power to save man and me from said give yourself wholly to the pursuit of these truths, and then guard your life in your mind carefully take heed unto thyself and into the doctrine, take heed and then persevere in these truths persistently continue in them for these screws have lasting impact on your life and on the life of others so as we end this morning I want to ask you some questions and I will leave you with a challenge. Here the questions, even things creed all semester. Some of you this is your last semester and we can half you will finish successfully what God called you to do here and you will embark on a new stage of life and ministry. My question use this what you confess the truth, and the creed wholeheartedly. When you believe them fully.
We practice them consistently. Will you proclaim them boldly will you contend for them earnestly when they're challenged and here's the big one will you suffer for them joyfully. Are you willing on the basis of what you have learned about the creed and in the cardinal truths of the Christian faith that are expressed there.
Are you willing to live in such a way, even if that life cost you a promotion or even if that life put you in a very difficult place. The religious world has been rocked by the recent news into Christian missionaries who believe these crews enough to go to dangerous places in order to proclaim them and both of them gave their lives for the cruise that you and I affirm in the creed that we say every day that most of you know the story of Charles Wesco, 44-year-old Baptist missionary to Cameroon who, at the end of October was shot to death. Two weeks after arriving in the country and I know many of you watch the, the webcast of his funeral very powerful testimony that the Lord used in many ways, but you may not be as familiar with the story of John Allen Chow, who is 26-year-old American missionary was killed on November 17. So just a little bit ago, shortly after he arrived on the island of North Sentinel located in the Bay of Bengal in India that there's a lot of chatter about him is not much older than many of you his hero was Jim Elliott. It's interesting that that Jim Elliott and and and John Chow had very similar trajectories and they were almost the same age when they died, the island where Chow went was the home of a very removed, alienated, unreached primitive tribe people that was so hostile. The Indian government actually prohibited visitors of any kind that a 5 mile perimeter around the island and and you by law were not allowed to go past that that that line Chow had been very burden for the Senegalese people and had spent a good bit of his college, a life training. For example, he trained in linguistics and in cultural anthropology to try to prepare himself to reach a tribe that didn't speak a language that he knew or didn't have a written language. He took 13 different immunizations and observed a period of voluntary quarantine to make sure that when he got there he wouldn't accidentally expose or inadvertently expose these tribal people to Western diseases. He received took the trouble to get basic medical training in order to provide help to this tribe.
Once he arrived to make a long story short, he decided to do that with the group that represented him that he would go in alone. This was not advise is not wise but but for the particular set of circumstances that he was looking at, he made the decision to go in alone and so he got up a fisherman or two to kinda take you into the perimeter and he had a kayak that they towed behind the fishing boat and he would make his way the last mile on his own and for several days as he tried to encounter these Indian people on this island. He kept a journal in the Journal is available. You can see it it's downloadable. And he wrote on the day that he died the night before he died he wrote these words to his parents. He said you guys might think I'm crazy and all of this, but I think it's worth it to declare Jesus to these people's first encounter with the Indians resulted in a young man not much older than a boy really shooting an arrow at him and he instinctively held up his Bible and the arrow pierced the Bible and and he looked at the arrow pulled it out of his Bible and tossed it back to the Indian. Later he would be shot to death by an arrow buried in the sands and it created a huge stir on the Internet. You can go out and read about all the people that think this is an incredible waste of time in life and why would we even do something like this when read you what Tim challenge wrote a week after this happened on his blog. Here's here's what he said God has a long history of using the deaths of missionaries to provoke and inspire greater mission. It seems he often addresses the churches apathy by allowing some of his faithful zealous people to make the ultimate sacrifice. I suspect the Elliott stands and chows of this world, consider that more than a fair trade.
We ought to pray earnestly that God uses Chow's death to shock unbelievers in repentance and to move believers like you and me into greater and deeper obedience. I want to end with the statement. What makes somebody like this think the exchange of their life is a fair bargain and I would say to you, it's the nine statements that are passionately declared and embraced every time we affirm the creed or thank you for our creed.
Thank you for the truth that it reflects in the Scriptures.
I pray that it would help us encourage us and challenge us and so we pray these things now in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Sam Horn. This concludes our study of the Bob Jones University creed about the doctrines of our Christian faith. Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform