Community Bible Chapel
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 10/29/17 500 Years Of The Reformation
 

Today is a special day, whether you know it or not.

          -As we celebrate “The Church Of The Living God” this year,

today is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

          -On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the

                   Wittenberg church in Germany. 

          -In itself, that action was not the Reformation, but sparked what we know as

the Reformation into reality.
 
X  A History Lesson
          -It’s the 1500’s

          -It’s the day of da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo – Sistine chapel.

          -It’s the day of the great explorers such as Cartier, Pizarro, and Cortez.

          -King Henry the VIII is ruling England and Ivan the Terrible in Russia.

          -Europe was recovering from The Black Plague that took 60% of its population.

          -And the church had strayed from the authority of God’s sufficient Word.

         
X What is the Reformation?

          -We are not talking about an event, but a changing of the church.

          -The Reformation was sparked by Martin Luther nailing the 95 thesis on

the door, denouncing the abuses of the Catholic Church, which began

the Reformation in Germany.

                   -He was excommunicated and as he escaped a certain death, he went

 on to translate the Bible into German,

 putting the Word of God into the tongue of the people.

          -Luther’s main dissention from the Catholic Church was over the authority of

 the Pope and the abuse and industry of indulgences.

-It was about power and money.

          -Luther was concerned that the church wasn’t caring for the souls of its people,

                   But instead was oppressing God’s people.

-The church had abandoned the authority of the Scriptures in it’s teaching

on doctrine, salvation, and practice of life.

X -As the church called on him to denounce his beliefs under threat of death,

 he said this:

“Unless I am convinced by scripture or by clear reason, I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me Amen.”

          -Luther stood on the Word of God, but he hardly stood alone.

                   -There was Wycliffe and Jan Hus before him and a long line after him.

          -The Reformation extended to Switzerland under Ulrich Zwingli.

 

          -John Knox in Scotland, Bucer in Germany, Calvin in Geneva, Tyndale – who was

 burnt at the stake for translating the Bible into English,  

and many, many others.

          -When you read the stories of the reformers, none of them ever felt they were

 starting something new, but that they were recovering something old which

 had been lost or corrupt.

 

X Why was it important?

          -Let me sum up the importance of the Reformation as simply as I can.

          -If I told you that if you paid me a million dollars, you could go straight to

        heaven when you die, you would go to the Scriptures and correct my thinking..

          -But if had no access to the Word of God and if both the authority of the church

                   and the government backed up my claim, you would have no way of knowing

if that was true.

          -Without the Word of God, you would have no recourse and would have to fall into

 line if you had any chance of getting into heaven.

          -The Catholic church was running rampant and teaching heresy that

oppressed people and kept them from the true Gospel that brings freedom.

          -Without God’s Word we are set adrift to our own ideas about how to make peace

 with God and please Him in the practice of life.

          -Thankfully, many people did have access to God’s Word within the church who

 were questioning the church on these matters.

-And as they questioned the church, many of them were burned at the stake.

          -The Reformation developed out of a belief that God’s Word was our final

 authority for salvation and for the practice of life.

          -From the Reformation came 5 central teachings that we still hold to

today – 500 years later.

          -These became known as the “Five Solas”

 

X Teachings That Unified the Reformation – “Five Solas”

    X Sola scriptura: “Scripture alone”

          -It was the authority of the Scripture that was at the heart of the Reformation.

          -I say that because it is the Scriptures that gives the other four solas

 gain their existence and holds them together.

                   -Either the Scripture is sufficient for life and Godliness or it isn’t.

                   -Either the Scripture is the final authority for the church

and for our lives as individuals or something else is.

                   -That is a question we all need to answer as we make decisions every day.

-Rome believed that authority for the Christian life was in the Church’s

tradition and teachings, plus the Bible.

-The Reformers taught that authority for the Christian life was in

the Scripture alone.
 

              II Tim. 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching,

rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

                   -So, the Scripture alone has formal and functional control in all

matters of life.

          -As the Bible became available for everyone, many things changed.

                   -Literacy increased worldwide.

-Most languages on the face of the earth have become written language because missionaries believed “in Scripture alone”.

-So they went out to learn foreign language so that the Word of God

could be read in those languages.

-People wanted to learn to read so they could read and understand

                               God in His Word and how they could be saved through faith in Jesus.

               -Preaching God’s Word was restored into the church.

                   -The Catholic church had its readings of Scripture in Latin, but the

 preaching of God’s Word was greatly reduced or even eliminated

in the worship service.

                   -The Reformers elevated the preaching of God’s Word and re-installed it

to become central to the worship service.

          -Somewhat like when Josiah found the long lost Bible in the temple.

-The people cried at its reading and changed their nation.

                   -That was a joyous time in Israel’s history, and the authority of God’s Word

brought joy to the church. 

                   -The heightened view of God’s Word in the church was symbolically shown

by an elevated pulpit.

-I’ve been to Boston and visited The Old North Church and the Pastor

 has to climb a bunch of stair to get to the pulpit.

                   -That is a result of the Reformation and Sola Scriptura.

          -I am so thankful for those men who stood on the Word of God alone and

worked to make it available to you  and me.

-How much more special it becomes when we realize the sacrifice that

it comes to us today.
 

    X Sola gratia: “grace alone”
          -The question for all of us is this:  How are we justified as righteous before God?

          -Is righteousness something we strive toward to earn our salvation or

something we are given by grace?

          -The way you answer that question directs how you live.

-For the church it directs how it helps people.

          -The Reformers agreed with God’s Word that says that we are justified

by God’s grace alone.

          -Eph 2:8 makes that pretty clear – “For by grace you have been saved.”

          -That justification that we desperately need comes to us only by God’s grace.

          Romans 3:23  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
 and are justified by his grace as a gift . . .”

-The Reformers became increasingly aware that their sin problem was internal.                         -That meant that even in our attempts to clean ourselves up, we were still

 acting in selfishness and not out of our love for God.

-That being said, not amount of religious action can help us earn God’s favor.

-We don’t need improved behavior because sin still exists.

          -No – we need new hearts.

-Luther said – “sinners are attractive because they are loved,
they are not loved because they are attractive.”
-It’s by God’s grace alone that we are saved from our sin.

          -It’s by God’s grace alone that we are already justified – forgiven and made

 righteous in Christ.

          -It’s by God’s grace alone that we are not yet fully sanctified – growing into the

 likeness of Christ
 

    X Sola fide: “faith alone”
      
-The teaching of the day was that sin was seen as an outward behavior problem.

          -And if we just tried a little harder and cleaned up our sin,

then God would accept us.

          -And that is a teaching and belief that still exists today, but let me address it

with this statement:

-If we could clean ourselves up, then there would have been no need for a Savior.

     Eph. 2:8-10 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”

          -Our salvation comes through faith alone,

-Then after God has saved us by His grace alone through faith alone,

the outworking of that faith is to love him by walking in a new way of

Christ-like righteousness and love. 

          -The practice of our lives then comes as a result of the grace we have received

by faith, not in order to earn it.

          -We are saved through faith alone and we live a life of Christ-likeness by faith.

          -Heb. 11:6 “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

-The opposite would be to try to please God through our works, which becomes

 impossible because those works would by nature turn selfish.

-I would be working for my salvation.

-God is not interested in those selfish works, He is looking for us to love Him

and to desire to all things out of that love.
 
 

          Romans 3:23 continues “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 and are justified by his grace as a gift . . .”
                   “ through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  whom God put forward as 

a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

 
     X Solo Christo: “Christ alone”
          -Salvation comes only in and through Christ.

          Jesus said (John 14:6) “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to

the Father but through me.”

          Paul said (Romans 5:15) “For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more

the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ.”

          Peter said (Acts 4:12)  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other

 name under heaven given among men by with we must be saved.”

          There is only One mediator that brings us peace with God – the Lord Jesus Christ.

          Romans continues

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by

 his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

 
      X Soli Deo gloria: “to the glory of God alone”
          -Followers of Christ live for the glory of God alone.

          -Jesus came to reveal the glory of God.

          John 1:14  “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have

 seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,

full of grace and truth.”

          -We might think that Jesus came to save us, but in reality,

He came to bring glory to God.

          -The result of that was your being saved for God’s glory alone.

          -Our response to that is that our entire life is to be lived

to the glory of God alone.

          I Cor 10:31 “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,

do it all for the glory of God.”

          -That is our goal, when we are driving, arguing with our spouse,

disciplining our children, having coffee with a friend – we are to do all things for the Glory of God.

-Reflecting God’s glory is our spiritual act of worship.

So, when we consider our salvation and our lives, it’s Scripture alone, by faith alone,

through Christ alone, given by grace alone, and for God’s glory alone.

-These truths unified the church then and still serve us today to unify us in the Gospel.

 
 
 
 

So, we look to our lives today and wonder why this is still relevant?

X  The Reformation Today
      X Toward the Gospel

          -When we look at the reformation, we see how it moved from a culture that was

moving farther away from the gospel and turned the church back

 toward the Gospel of Scripture.

-That Scripture is timeless and gives us the message of the Gospel for

every generation.

-The methods for delivering that message may change, but the Gospel

will always remain the same.

          -I’m not sure that the church in the 1500’s became the fullness of the gospel,

but moved toward it in the context of their generation.

          -It’s important that every generation moves toward the Gospel in the context

of their culture.

          -The culture is always moving away from the Gospel

and many a church are following.

-The Reformation is a call for the church to study God’s Word and evaluate the

 both the traditions of the church and the direction of the church, and to

chart a course that moves it toward the Gospel.

          -Making sure that the thoughts and ideas come out of God’s Word rather than

our ideas think might work.

          -God’s Word is the final authority for how the church casts a vision

toward the Gospel.

          -Since the church of the Living God is a gathering of the “called out ones”

we also must be growing by the authority of God’s Word.

 
    X  Reformation Living

          -The Gospel of Scripture comes by grace alone, through Christ alone,

by faith alone, for God’s glory alone.

          Believe it

          -When we realize that our sin has separated us from God, it is the next

 logical step – to trust in Him and find the forgiveness that only

Jesus brings.
-By God’s Word alone, we must put our faith in God’s grace alone,

through Christ alone, and for God’s Glory alone.

-I know that trusting something as important as our eternal destiny to anyone

 other than ourselves is extremely risky.

          -But we are just fooling ourselves when we think we have reached

perfection enough to earn God’s favor.

-That’s where Eastern religion seems attractive – living countless lifetimes

 until you reach perfection.

-But that is foolishness because it all depends on our ability to

become perfect.

          -How much richer is the teaching of God’s Word that says that since you can’t

 become perfect on your own, Jesus came to pay the price for your sin

and through faith in Him, He gives you forgiveness in his grace.

          ABC

          Live it

          -Not only do we believe it, but since we believe it, we also live it.

          -Titus 2:10 speaks of “adorning” the gospel.

          -It admonishes a slave to be honest, loyal, and submissive and they are to do that,

                   not so their lives will get better, but so they might

“adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”

          -Those who are saved will live like they are saved.

-Since the love of God is in them – they will love others like God loves them.

-Since their future is secure, they will not worry how this broken world

might effect them.

-Since they are looking forward to heaven, they will have joy in the

 difficulties of life.

-Since they are free in Christ, they will use that freedom to love,

even those who persecute them.

          -The Gospel is how believers live.

          Speak it

          -We see how God spoke the Gospel to us in the most cross-cultural event ever.

                    -He left the perfection of heaven and became a man in a broken world.

          -Every contact we have with people is cross-cultural – some more than others.

          -As proclaimers of the Gospel, we have to work hard to bring the Gospel to bear

 upon the lives of the people we speak to.

          -That’s what Jesus did.

                   -He came to people and delivered the Gospel so it could be understood.

          -We need to be able to communicate Biblical truth and put it into language

that people can understand and relate to.

                   -We need to argue for the faith and be able to defend it.

                   -Souls are at stake!

          -Last week in the jail I spoke to a person who had all kinds of questions

about faith in Christ.

                   -She was confused because of Christian dogma that left her hopeless.

                   -She was talking about having to earn her salvation.

                   -I told her that God is not interested in her doing the right thing,

He is interested in her heart.

                   -Then I went on to explain that as I have here many times.

                   -When it’s my anniversary and I bring flowers to my wife – she is excited by

 my show of love until I say:  Well, it’s our anniversary and that’s what
 my duty as a husband is.

                   -Suddenly, my flowers have no meaning because they are not from my love.

 

                   -God doesn’t want my duty – He wants my love.

                   -And no amount of duty will do the job.

          -She turned and said,

“oh, so if I’m kind to my cell mate because that’s what I’m supposed to do or to gain God’s favor, then it’s worthless.  But if I’m kind because God loves me, then He is honored in it.”

                   -She understood, not because of my words, but because the Holy Spirit

 opened her eyes.

                    -But God used my defense of the true Gospel to turn her heart away from

a false gospel that she was believing.

          Suffer for it

          -Jesus told us we would be persecuted for our faith.

          -The world is moving against the Gospel, which puts us at odds.

          -Jesus warned that “wolves” would come and infiltrate the flock of God’s people.

                   -There would be carnage as they spread, separate, and scatter the flock.

          -God has not left us alone as He has provided Elders in this church,

who are to keep alert and refute false teaching.

-They are to teach sound doctrine and its application to bring unity to

the Church of the Living God.

          -The church gets all tied up debating how much water is necessary for a valid

 baptism or how often to celebrate communion, when the culture all around

it is dying because the church is afraid that the gospel might

offend someone.

          -Are you willing to suffer for the Gospel like the Reformers of old?

           

That is the heart of the Reformation that we are part of.        

May God grant us wisdom in our generation to believe it, live it, speak it, defend it,

and suffer for it, so we might pass it on to the generations we are part of.

 

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