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We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know men of courage and conviction said, … AMEN!!
On the day we recognize our dads, we also remember the Fathers of the Church who gathered together to work out, bump and grind, fashion the Athanasiun Creed. We know how difficult it is to reach agreements on beliefs, goals, a groups dreams to get on paper and everyone have some buy-in. All the men who gathered together to compose these creeds were Orthodox, Scripture believing faithful disciples of Christ. They were also from all parts of Christendom, and bound to have their own cultural views on how we should “be” Christians. Reformed, Evangelical Americans have put their own, albeit wrong spin on Christianity, we should all agree on the basics. The problem is when we have people, e.g. Joel Osteen who believes who Jesus is, but are tragically wrong about what He is about and those errors do impact the core beliefs we see spelled out in the Athanasian Creed.
We have 3 creeds. First and traditional is the Apostles Creed. The Apostles creed comes out of the Acts church, it probably grew as a way to teach members, new and old, about the basics of what we believe. As time went on, lots of, crazy beliefs started to grow about the Christian church and beliefs especially in terms of who Jesus is. The entirety of Christianity pivots on who you say Jesus is. We have a lot of “churches” today that claim to be “Christian”, but they are simply not. In order to be a Christian, in a Christian Church, you and that church need to subscribe to the core beliefs of the creeds that have been agreed upon by the church. Those other “churches” simply would not ascribe to some of the beliefs, these are the bare-bone beliefs, the starting ground, the base-line of being a Christian. Almost always the sticking point of other beliefs is about the person and nature of Jesus, that is, Who Jesus really is.
Heretical beliefs such as the LDS, or Mormons, the other is Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both would say, “sure, Jesus is the son of God, small “g”, not really god. Jesus is really important, brought us a lot, but not eternal god, he’s a created being, may be above us, but not all-powerful god co-equal with the Father. For most heresies, the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force, a Star Wars idea of “the force Luke”. Which is not true, Scripture continually refers to the Holy Spirit as “Him” and ascribes a number of interactive functions that He performs. There’s a lot of heresies out there that like to make our different beliefs about the Holy Trinity a minor point, because it’s all about how we earn our way, we know it’s entirely about what Jesus does to start and bring us to completion in Him.
The deal buster is in how we are saved. The propitiation of our sins, what’s done in order for our sins to be fully paid? Our sins are horrendous, even us ordinary old people. The things we do are truly ugly, mean. We may not kill anyone, but often by virtue of our actions, our words, we do a lot of damage to people. I was with 8 pastors for 8 hours a day for five days. Between the stories in the text books and the other pastors, WOW!, a lot of damage is done to people by all of us.
Today we want to recognize dads, this is your day! I also want to recognize Jim and Betsy for stepping up to make sure the dads of the congregation had a nice breakfast, everything was really great, and if you haven’t, thank those who brought us this gift. We had a great Mom’s Day and Dad’s Day breakfast. Marge wanted to be here to do this, she’s done this in the past at church.
King Duncan in his Father’s Day sermon tells about: “Robert Lewis in his book Real Family Values tells a fascinating story about a heartwarming discovery workers at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, in the winter of 1993. While renovating a section of the museum, they found a photograph that had been hidden in a crevice underneath a display case. The man in the picture had a bat resting on his shoulder; he was wearing a uniform with the words “Sinclair Oil” printed across his chest; his demeanor was gentle and friendly.
Stapled to the picture was a note, scribbled in pen by an adoring fan. The note read: “You were never too tired to play ball. On your days off, you helped build the Little League Field. You always came to watch me play. You were a Hall of Fame Dad. I wish I could share this moment with you. — Your Son, Pete.”’
NASCAR, football, hunting, whatever it is that bonds family and yea, especially father and son is great, none is better or worse, well … hey anyone who’s seen Field of Dreams Kevin Costner meets his baseball dad when his dad was the same age as Costner, and if you don’t get a little misty eyed, remembering your own father, well I would have to check for a pulse. It reminds us that dads are those people who are generally quiet, let their bat speak for them. They want to be that example, and certainly the example for Christian dads is Jesus. None of us is ever going to be anywhere near where Jesus is, despite what Mormons teach, but that is the ideal we shoot for. We talked this past week on the Christian man and Christian woman. The roles God gave us to truly complement each other, man and woman were made to be “one flesh”, to be together, to bring a child into the world. So much depends on the man being that good Christian father, to both his son and daughter. Daughters may not be baseball fans, though I’ve known a lot of women who bonded with their dads because of baseball and have warm memories of sharing that with their dad. One of the many great things about women, while most men get into a groove pretty quick and decide what they’re about, the women, wife, daughter, in their life, often adapt to that in order to create that bonding with their husband, dad. A special trait women have, and a way to honor and support him. It is that difference that comes together as a mom and dad, to complement each other as is described in Scripture over and over again. That way, ladies you especially enable that man to go out and do the things that gives strength to him. You may not think it’s a big deal for a Christian man to go into the world to hammer together something like the Athanasian Creed. A man has to decide what is most important, put aside the fear and take a visible stand for Jesus in that day as well as today. It takes courage and conviction to assert the highest ideals especially in a world that is so full of mediocrity and waffling. You will be popular in today’s wishy-washy culture if you just smile, nod your head, go along to get along. Actually standing for something of substance, not what the world decides is important, what actually is important, is not the road to success and wealth. That road is about being a flatterer, telling people what they want to hear, avoiding conflict and controversy at any price. We’re a world more concerned replaying a disputed call in a football game over and over, than concerned about genuine truth. I see more and more hopelessnesss, shallowness and despondency than ever. Where a beautiful young girl achieves some fame through modeling, an otherwise kind, considerate young girl commits suicide because of the bullying she endures by mediocre, jealous, hateful group who because of their personal inadequacy, inflict their angst of someone who does something with her life, because they can’t accept their own inadequacies and second rate lives. A culture that celebrates the phoney and try to say how genuine it is. A Christian man stands up against the attempts of the culture to drag others down to the lowest common denominator and insists on the highest ideals for himself, his family and those around him. Not in a pretentious way but in a way only a man committed to Christ and posing his life in the way of a strong and passionate man in Jesus. Not too many of those guys! Most simply like to parrot the culture and then tell us how genuine that is. Christian men make a strong witness for the highest ideals in Jesus and insist the world live according to those standards and principles as the men who stood for Christ in history who wrote and put their names to documents like the Athanasian Creed that demands the highest and rejects the mediocrities of this phoney world.
The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom Christ is risen! He has risen indeed Hallelujah