I believe in God.
Genesis 1 Psalm 8 John 5:1-18 June 2, 2013
This year we have spent much time in pondering our baptism. This sermon series will be a continuation of pondering our baptism. When we say the Apostle’s Creed, we are saying what the church believes. Not only does the United Methodist Church believe this creed, but so does much of the church West of Istanbul.
As we talk about our baptism, we are professing that we believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are immersed in or sprinkled with the water in the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. But what do we know and believe about the God in whose name we are baptized?
Today we will look at God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. We start at the beginning, at least the beginning of creation. As far as time is concerned, God has no beginning and no end. We know that before this universe was established, God was. He is now. And He will always be. Let us look at what the 2nd Century Western Church understood about God and how we believe the same items about God.
- Someone greater than ourselves
- He was before the beginning of time & creation
- Divine, Holy
- We are looking for something or someone greater than we are. We have made up superheroes that wear strange costumes and capes. The Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man have unique abilities, even superpowers. But each one cannot do everything that is needed to sustain life. It takes them working together to protect Earth in the movies. But then, they become idols, even gods, as their merchandise is bought! Yes, even Captain America, who says that the God he knows, does not dress like Thor (in the Avengers’ movie). How do we know that God is able to create and sustain life? We know this because of how God is described and what we have recognized him to have done in our lives.
- Father Almighty
- Jesus calls him Father (John 5:17 & Matthew 6:9)
- Paterfamilias – the father over all; can make you his child when you are born by picking you up, or not
- Father – an ideal for human fathers to strive for?
- Jesus calls him Father (John 5:17 & Matthew 6:9)
– Some dads are not good fathers – abandon, harm their children – not available, does not provide, & does not love their children
– We need a father that is available, provides for us, and loves us
- The Psalmist calls God Majestic (Psalm 8:1, 9)
- He is the “I am” of Exodus 3:13-14
- He is the covenant making God with Abraham – Exodus 6:2-3 – El Shaddai – pantakantor – “All-ruling”
- He is mindful of us – Psalm 8:4-9
- We know that we need protection. We need love. And we need God to be available for us. He does all of this. Yet, he does not force us to follow him. He knows how we are, feeble, easily led astray, and weak. Yet, he still works with us. A father would do what is necessary to provide for his family. Many in our world do not know a father like that. But God can show and be that father for many in this world. How important is it that we get to know the Father Almighty? A father was watching his young son trying to dislodge a heavy stone. The boy couldn’t budge it. “Are you sure you are using all of your strength?” the father asked. “Yes, I am,” said the exasperated boy. “No, you are not, “the father replied. “You haven’t asked me to help you.” How do we know God can help us?
- He is the Creator of Heaven & Earth (Genesis 1)
- This means everything
- Genesis 2 has a different Creation story!
- God made everything
- We see God’ handiwork (Psalm 19:1)
- We are God’s work – he made us from dust (Ps. 13:11-14)
- Apollo 13 was 55 hours & 54 minutes into its flight to the moon. Then oxygen tank #2 blew out a 12’x6’ panel on the side of the ship! Astronauts Lovell, Swigert, & Haise were in trouble. On earth we breathe air that is 21% oxygen. Any more oxygen, we burn up; & any less then we smother. Space-traveling ships need much engineering to make sure that the astronauts can live.
- The Earth’s & moon’s orbits – constant
- Gravity – constant
- Orbit of planets – throughout the universe – constant
- God wants us to know him. He does everything he can to allow us to be protected from radiation, comets, & other space hazards. God makes it possible for us to be aware of him – no matter the season of the year or of life. Being baptized in the Name of the Father means that you are turning to him, the Creator of everything, for protection, for your very life.
Do we believe in God? Then keep turning to God! His ways are constant and good for our good. We can turn to God the Father Almighty because he is not going anywhere.
Martin Luther wrote in the Small Catechism about faith in God: “I believe that God has created me & all that exists; that he has given & still preserves to me my body & soul, with all my limbs & senses, my reason & all the faculties of my mind, together with my raiment, food, home and family, and all my property; that he daily provides me abundantly with all the necessaries of life, protects me from danger, and preserves me and guards me against all evil; all which he does out of pure, paternal, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I am duty bound to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true.”
We get baptized and we get to identify ourselves with God, as his children! We get baptized and we can live with the one who created the heavens & the earth. We get baptized because we say we believe in God. We recite the Apostles’ Creed because that is what the Church believes.
 Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, (Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL; 2004), p. 96-104
 John R. Brokhoff, This You Can Believe, (CSS Publishing, Lima, OH; 1987), p. 76