In a culture where most people believe that “all roads lead to heaven,” it’s good to be reminded of the ancient creed of the first disciples of Christ. Though they were persecuted and martyred for their faith, they made sure to write and pass along their sacred beliefs. May we all keep the doctrinal truths that was delivered to them by the Holy Spirit!
Be encouraged by this testimony about Polycarp from Christianity.com by Dr. Ken Curtis;
“Eighty and six years have I served Him, and he never did me any injury; how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior,” Polycarp, disciple of the Apostle John, and Bishop of Smyrna.
“In the Asia Minor city of Smyrna, persecution broke out against Christians and some were put to death for their faith. But the agitated mob wanted to cut off the church there by getting rid of their leader, the now aged Polycarp. The believers hid Polycarp in a farmhouse. (The leaders there taught that one should not seek out martyrdom, but neither should it be avoided if there was no choice and it meant denying Christ). The authorities found the farm house and came to arrest the old man. He welcomed his captors as if they were old friends and gave them food and drink. He asked for an hour to pray before being taken to the arena. They relented. The hour stretched into two hours. The officers, overhearing his prayers began to wonder what they were doing arresting an old man like this.
Polycarp was brought into the arena. Instead of Polycarp begging for his life we find the proconsul pleading with this aged bishop to just curse Christ so he would be released. Polycarp’s reply–our quote at the top–was loud and clear. He was burned alive. The Christians present said there was a joyful radiance on Polycarp’s face as he died. Believers were allowed to bury his remains on February 22, probably in the year 155. Churches near and far from Smyrna observed this date in years to come and drew strength from the testimony of this old, old, man who would not deny Christ, no matter what it cost him.”
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
UNDERSTANDING THE DISCIPLES’ ANCIENT CREED
- ONE BODY: The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, made up of many members from all times and in all places, with Jesus as the Head (Ephesians 4:16; 5:23 & 1 Corinthians 12:5).
- ONE SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit, the Third Person in the Trinity, who dwells in the disciple’s life (John 14:15-17, 25-26, 15:26-27/Acts 1:8 & 16:7-15).
- ONE HOPE: The hope that when disciples die we go to be with Jesus and then come back to rule and reign with Him on earth with a resurrected body (2 Corinthians 5:8 & 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
- ONE LORD: Jesus Christ, the Second Person in the Trinity – the Son of God, who is our great God and Savior (Titus 2:13, Philippians 2:9-11/Isaiah 45:23 & Romans 10:9-11/Isaiah 28:16).
- ONE FAITH: The Christian belief system and worldview as detailed in this creed (Jude 1:3).
- ONE BAPTISM: The baptism Jesus commanded in water as found in Matthew 28:19 to be initiated into the Church. The spiritual baptism by the Holy Spirit that is the reality of the water baptism (Acts 1:4-5 & 1 Corinthians 12:13).
- ONE GOD AND FATHER: God the Father, the First Person and head of the Trinity, who is over the Son and the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4, 1 Corinthians 11:3 & John 1:1,14 & 18).
Every person is a theologian and lives out what they truly believe about God- live out the disciples’ faith with boldness and love!