[20]    Church: Creeds and Sacraments

67.    Are creeds of faith important?

a. "Creed" comes from Latin credo meaning "I believe" (fist words in the Apostlesí Creed). It contains: b. Importance of creeds: c. Historic creeds: 68.    Why are there denominations? a. Definition: religious organization with a distinctive set of doctrines and system of governance

b. Origin: Denominations were formed when groups of Christians congregate and organize themselves in different cultures and different periods of history.

c. Why did God permit denominations to exist?

d. Proper attitudes towards denominations: e. Ecumenism: a movement to unite different denominations, example, World Council of Churches 69.    What are means of grace? What is prayer? a. Means of grace are those activities within the church that God uses to give more grace to Christians. Some prefer to designate only baptism and the Lordís Supper as the means of grace. Some include prayer, teaching of the Word, worship, church discipline, giving, spiritual gifts, fellowship, evangelism, personal ministry to individuals.

b. Prayer is personal communication with God.

  c. Purposes of prayer:
(1) Prayer expresses our trust in God so that our trust and faith in God can increase.

(2) Prayer is fellowship with God so that our love for God can be strengthened.

(3) Prayer is a means by which we learn to be grateful, remembering that everything comes from God.

(4) Prayer is a means by which we can relieve our burdens before God.

(5) Prayer is a way through which God allows His children to be involved in His work.

d. Effect of prayer: Prayer does change the way God acts (Jas 4:2; Lk 11:9-10; Ex 32:11-14; 2Ch 7:14)

e. Proper attitudes in prayer:

(1) Pray according to Godís will (Jn 15:17; 1Jn 5:14-15; Mt 6:10; 26:39): His will can generally be known from the Bible such as His commands and promises. Also, the Holy Spirit gives us guidance in our prayers (Ro 8:26). In cases when we do not know what Godís will is, we should ask for deeper understanding and then pray for what seems best to us.

(2) Pray with faith and real confidence of answer (Heb 11:1; Mk 11:24; Mt 21:22; Jas 1:6)

(3) Pray continually over time (Gen 32:26; Lk 6:12; Mk 14:39; Mt 18:1-8)

f. Components of Prayer: (1) Praise for Godís greatness and nature (Mt 6:9; Lk 24:52-53; Rev 4:8)

(2) Thanksgiving for Godís blessings (Col 4:2)

(3) Confession of own sins (Mt 6:12; 1Jn 1:9; Jas 5:16)

(4) Petition for self and for others (Php 4:6)

70.    What are sacraments? a. Definition: b. Types: Protestants accept two types of sacraments: baptism and the Lordís Supper (as only these are commanded by Christ). Roman Catholics added 5 more: confirmation, penance, extreme unction (anointing a dying person with oil), holy orders (ordination to priesthood), matrimony (marriage).

c. Characteristics of sacraments:

(1) a visible symbol to help believers to understand and to remember Godís salvation in Christ

(2) those who partake the sacrament in faith receive the grace of closer fellowship with Christ, of spiritual growth and strengthening, and of increasing assurance of salvation

(3) a way through which believers express their faith and obedience to God: Though sacraments are not a necessity for salvation (1Pe 3:21) yet these are commanded by Christ and deliberate neglect of them is similar to all wilful and persistent disobedience to God.