Home > catechetical > The Gift-Giving God. Catechetical Sermon–First Article of the Creed

The Gift-Giving God. Catechetical Sermon–First Article of the Creed


Wednesday Matins Chapel

St. Peter Lutheran School

1st Article of the Creed

October 29, 2014

“The Gift-Giving God”

Psalm 98, Job 38, LSB 726 “Evening and Morning”

 

Iesu Iuva

 

Let’s say the first article of the creed. What does this mean?

 

On October 31st, Friday, we celebrate something.  What?

Besides Halloween, in the church we celebrate the Reformation.

 

What was the Reformation?

Martin Luther reformed the church; or better, God reformed the church through him.

 

Luther taught that God justifies us by faith in Christ alone without the works of the law. That means salvation is a gift.  But Luther did more than just teach people about the way to heaven.  He also reformed the teaching of the church about God’s commandments, so that people would know what pleases God and what are good works in His sight.

 

He also taught people to know God rightly. And that meant teaching the Apostle’s creed in a simple way so that children could understand it.

 

One of the things He taught about God is that He is the gift-giving God. He doesn’t just give us salvation, but He also gives us our lives and everything we need for our lives in this world as a free gift.

 

He gives us our lives and everything we have in this world by grace. How many of you are going trick-or-treating on Friday?

 

When you go trick-or-treating, do you have to do anything to earn the candy? No, you just put your bag or plastic jack-o-lantern out and wait for them to drop in that sweet, sweet candy.

 

That’s a lot like what we learn in the first article of the creed. Let’s say it again: what is the first article of the creed?  I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

 

What do we have to do to get God to make us and give us life? Nothing?  Even less than you have to do while trick-or-treating.  God just made you.  And after He made you He gives you all kinds of other gifts, not because you earned it, but just out of mercy and kindness.  Out of grace.

 

So how does the First Article teach us to know God?

 

First of all, He is God the Father. He is the Father of His Son, Jesus, from all eternity.  And in Jesus, He is also our Father.

 

He is our Father because He is our creator. He made us and provides for us like a father.  He has compassion and mercy on His children like a father.

 

He is called God the Father Almighty because He has all power, all the power and might and wisdom there is.  There is nothing that God the Father is not able to do.  A lot of kids when they’re little think their dad is the strongest guy in the world.  With God our Father this is not an exaggeration.

 

Because He is Almighty He is not only able to give us unlimited amounts of gifts and good things. He also creates the gifts and good things and makes it so that we are able to enjoy them.

 

God the Father Almighty created everything that exists out of nothing. That is what it means to be Almighty.  Not only did He create everything out of nothing, but He makes it continue to exist in the middle of nothingness.  If God did not preserve and sustain everything He made, we and all the creation would be nothing.  We would stop existing.

 

We believe in God the Father Almighty, who is the maker of heaven and earth. He made the world, separated the sky and the seas, the land from the ocean.  He put the sun and moon in the sky and brought the stars out at night.  He made the invisible creatures, the angels.  He caused grass, plants, and trees to grow on the earth and made all the creatures that swarm in the seas, the birds of the air, the animals that live on the ground.  And at the crown of all His creation He made human beings.  He made you.

 

He made you different from all other creatures. Because you are both soul and body.  Like the angels, you have a mind and can reason.  You can wonder at God’s creation, learn about it, marvel at God’s wisdom and goodness.  But you are also like the animals.  You have a body that needs to eat and drink and breathe and that can smell and taste and touch.

 

How did you get to exist? Answer: God made you out of His pure, fatherly goodness.  He created you in your mother’s womb.  He gave you your soul, your body with all it can do, your mind with all it can do.  He created your eyes and ears and senses.  He gave you legs to get around on, hands to work with, a mouth to talk and sing.  And He just gave you these things as a gift.

 

Think about it. Which is a greater gift—if I gave you a laptop?  Or eyes?  An xbox?  Or legs to walk with?

 

God has given us great, great gifts in our bodies, souls, minds, and yet we often take them for granted. But we haven’t even scratched the surface of God’s gifts in creation.  He mad eus and He preserves us, but then He gives us all kinds of other gifts—clothes and shoes to keep us warm.  A house to live in.  Family.  A wife or a husband.  Mother and father.  And He provides us with all our wealth and luxuries and everything else we need for life.  A car, television, a job, education, friends, good government so that there is peace.  Not to mention Halloween costumes and copious amounts of candy on Friday.

 

God gives all these things because He is at work in creation to provide for us even though we don’t see Him. But when my mother gave birth to me, that was not just my mother’s work and pain.  God brought me into this world Himself through her.  He was working through her.  When a farmer plants a seed and it grows into food, the farmer is working together with God.  But it is God who makes the earth fruitful, God who makes the food grow.

 

Now why does God the Father give us so much? Is it because He owes it to us?

 

No because He didn’t have to create us in the first place. And after He did, what did we do?

 

What do you think we owe God for giving us so much—in fact, everything we have? We owe it to Him to thank and praise, serve and obey Him according to the ten commandments.

 

But have we done that? No!  We’ve used the things God has given us against Him—our body and soul, our eyes, ears, and all our members, etc.  by sinning and doing what we want to do instead of what He commands.

 

The first article of the creed is terrifying when you think about it that way. Because we don’t believe it as we should.  We act as if we got life and all these blessings for ourselves.  We brag as if we’re good at sports or smart like we did it ourselves, when really it is a gift of God.

 

But God our Father keeps protecting us and giving us good gifts. He wants to make us recognize His goodness and His love of giving to us, so that we thank and praise and love Him.

 

He is like the people who give you candy when you’re trick-or-treating, except He gives you much better gifts for absolutely free.

 

That leads us to the second article of the creed where God teaches us how He has redeemed us from our sins so that we can praise and thank Him with a glad heart. But that is enough for today.

 

The peace of God that passes understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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