Question 3: What did the Apostles teach?
As you can imagine this question could be answered in all sorts of ways, for the apostles taught many things.
We could say the entire New Testament is the teaching of the apostles.
We could say they taught what Jesus taught.
We could say they taught the gospel.
We could say they taught the truth.
We could say they taught repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ.
We could even quote 1 Cor. 15:3-5 or 1 Tim. 3:16 where we see the apostles writing creeds of their own.
But generally we could answer this question by speaking of the apostles teaching as a summary of all right doctrine, or say their teachings are the core/essential teachings of Christianity; teachings that are so central to the essence of Christianity that if you reject them you reject Christianity altogether and cannot be a Christian in any real sense of the word.
So what are these core/essential teachings of Christianity? Well, we’re not the only ones to ask this question, in fact, the early church asked this question after the 1st century came to a close, and the result was (surprise, surprise) the Apostles Creed. What does the Creed say?
“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried, He descended into hell. The 3rd day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From which He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, a holy, catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”
This is a clear summary of what the core/essential teachings of Christianity are. It doesn’t detail 100% the things we hold dear; for example it mentions nothing about justification by faith alone, or the inspiration and infallibility Bible, but it is a great summary of our faith. Did you notice how the creed is largely a summary of the work Jesus has done? His birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming judgment. The Apostles Creed is all about Jesus. This shouldn’t surprise you, Christianity is all about Christ: who He is, what He did, and what He’s going to do.
Therefore, all of this leads to a final question:
Question 4: How will you respond?
The pressing issue for each of you and for me is how we respond to this Christ, and the teaching about Him from His apostles.
The most important thing any of us have to deal with in life is not where we’ll live, what job we’ll work, how much money we’ll make, what we’ll drive, what kind of house we live in, or even who we’ll marry – no, the most important thing you and I will face is what we do with Jesus. And what you do with Jesus isn’t something to put off for a later time, it’s importance sweeps all other issues into the background.
So, will we reject these teachings? If you reject them you reject Christ, and you’ll spend an eternity in agony wishing you did otherwise in Hell.
Will you embrace these teachings? If you do you embrace Christ, and you’ll spend an eternity grateful for the work He did on your behalf.