All Saint’s Day: Martin Luther

NOTE: These notes are to help those listening to the sermon live or for those listening to the recorded sermon to help follow along and are not intended for publication. All quotes and facts have been taken from the sources listed at the beginning. I have not cited them parenthetically. The format for a book review has not been used for the sake of space and time and the notes are for verbal communication not a publication.

Martin Luther

Trueman, Carl R. Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015.

Echoes of the Reformation Leader Kit Five Truths That Shape the Christian Life. Lifeway Christian Resources, 2017.’

Lawson, Steven J. The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust Pub., 2013.

Key Passage

Romans 1:17 (ESV) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith (literally from faith to faith so that God’s righteousness is had only by faith)[1], as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 3:21-26 (ESV) 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Where do we get faith?

It is God’s gift.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

These passages rocked Martin Luther’s theology of works, and they saved him and launched a revolution that is still felt today.

Introduction

Born: November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Germany

Died: February 18, 1546

He was 63 years old.

Background

Father was Hans Luder (later Latinized to the more familiar “Luther”), who was a copper miner.

Mother was a pious yet superstitious Roman Catholic.

Luther’s father had groomed him from his early years to be a lawyer. As a result, being a good child of his parents, Luther pursued an education first at Eisenach (1498-1501), then at the University of Erfurt (1502-1505) for Bachelors and Masters degrees.

In July 1505 after one month of legal studies, the 21-year-old Luther was caught in a thunderstorm, a lightning bolt knocked him to the ground. In fear for his life, he cried out to the Catholic patroness of miners: “Help me saint Anne, and I will become a monk.”

In spite of his father’s opposition, Luther kept his commitment and two weeks later his entered the Augustinian order of friars.

Luther’s Burden

In 1507, Luther was ordained as a priest. When he presided over his first mass, the doctrine of transubstantiation nearly crushed him (the belief that when a priest blesses the elements of the Lords Supper they actually become the body and blood of Christ). He wondered how a sinful man could be part of such things.

“Who am I that I should lift up mine eyes or raise my hands to the divine majesty? For I am dust and ashes and full of sin, and I am speaking to the living, eternal and true God.”

Luther tortured himself with prayer, fasting, vigils and freezing in an effort to assuage his conscience and earn favor with God.

“If anyone could have earned heaven by the life of a monk, it was I.”

Luther began to teach theology as a junior lecturer the next year under Johannes von Staupitz (1460-1524). Luther knew God demanded perfection, but he could not attain that standard.

The church’s teaching that one should simply do their best to be holy, and God would count that work to their righteousness haunted Luther.

Luther’s study led him to understand that man in sin is “dead”, so how can a dead man do his best when there is no best to do.

Staupitz sent Luther to Rome (1510), hoping that this trip would help Luther’s seriously tortured soul.

Luther climbed the stairs, supposedly transferred from Jerusalem, that Jesus descended at Pilot’s headquarters, kissing each step because of the belief that sins would be erased if he did this. When he reached the top, he had the thought, “what if this is not true?”

Luther saw the many abuses and the unholy lives of priests and he became quite disheartened.

Luther realized he could not do enough to earn God’s approval, and there were many who were not even trying (rampant sin) according to what they had been taught.

When Luther returned from this trip he transferred to the University of Wittenberg. He earned his doctorate of theology degree (1512) and became a lecturer in bible.

Luther taught Psalms – 1513-1515

Luther taught Romans – 1515-1516

Luther taught Galatians – 1516-1517

Luther taught Hebrews – 1517-1519

Luther and Indulgences

In 1517, Pope Leo X gave authority to sell indulgences in Germany for the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

An indulgence is a reduction of punishment for sin that is granted by the RC Church after a sinner has made confession and done various works and performed prayers.

Persons already in “purgatory” could have their time reduced or even be freed with the purchase of indulgences by their relatives.

Johann Tetzel, a Dominican Friar, was a salesman not to be equaled. He was “the man” at selling indulgences. His most famous line was, “As soon as a coin the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”

Of course, this “deception” was not likely to make Luther happy.

Luther’s study of Romans and Galatians had “ruined” him for such folly.

If Scripture alone was the final say, then these abuses had to go.

On October 31, 1517 Luther nailed a list of 95 statements on the front door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg offering a public debate about the sale of indulgences and other issues he was raising.

What Luther did not know, was that his students took the document, had it printed and published and before long all of Germany was “woke”. What had been hidden in a language they didn’t speak, was now revealed in their native tongue.

Of course, when the Pope heard news of Luther’s actions, he denounced Luther’s work for preaching dangerous doctrines and called him to Rome.

Luther refused to appear, and he was ordered to Augsburg to appear before Cardinal Thomas Cajetan.

This Imperial Diet (general assembly of the Holy Roman Empire), was to get Luther to recant.

Luther refused, and made clear that he believed the Pope could err in his pronouncements.

Luther insisted that the Pope’s claims be proven with Scripture.

The last person to do such a bold thing was John Huss, and he was executed.

Luther left Augsburg fearful for his life. However, Luther enjoyed the protection of a vital figure in the Empire, who was his home leader (you may say), Elector Frederick III of Saxony. So, Luther was given harbor and the Pope could do nothing to harm him.

Through all of the hardship that was coming on Luther, he continued to study and Romans 1:17 was what caused the light of the gospel to break through the darkness of his heart and the darkness of errant theology.

Romans 1:17 (ESV) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

“I did not love, yes, I hated the righteousness of God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God, and said, ‘As if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity by the law of the Decalogue, without having God add pain to pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with his righteousness and wrath!’ Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience…At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, ‘In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’’ There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’ Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”

Diet of Worms

Luther was summoned by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, to appear before the Imperial Diet to officially recant.

In spite of being warned by his friends, Luther went.

Luther was shown all that he had begun to write and preach and publish (stacked on the table in front of him), and Johann Eck the Archbishop of Treves asked, “Will you retract them?”.

Luther, humbly and fearfully, asked for time to think and pray.

The next day, April 18, 521 he came with his now famous reply:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either the Pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), 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 recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen.”

Kidnapping and Translation

Charles V condemned Luther as a heretic, and placed a price on his head. He was given 21 days for safe passage and to get his things in order.

On the way, he was kidnapped by his supporters and hidden in the castle of Wartburg near Eisenach.

While hidden in this castle, Luther gave himself to the translation of the New Testament. From April until Easter, Luther worked on the translation. Luther completed the work in that short time, polished things up and the German New Testament was published September 21, 1522.

The Scriptures, now in the heart language of the people. spread the fire of the Reformation far and wide. Now, there was nothing the Church or the Empire could do.

When asked to explain the success of the “reforming” work that has happening, Luther replied, “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept…the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.”

Marriage and More

Luther helped nuns escape from their cloisters and helped to get them married off. What a great ministry!

One in particular, had some failed attempts, through no fault of her own. So, Luther married her.

Katherine Von Bora married Luther April 1525. He was 45 and she was 26.

Luther said that he married to “upset the Pope, make angels laugh and devils weep.”

They had 6 children, and Luther loved to laugh, and they had an exceptionally happy home.

Luther would preside over a growing movement that went way beyond his intended results.

Example: From 1524-1526 A “Peasant War” erupted. This was, in all likelihood, a result of Luther’s work that “liberated” people from the trappings of the RC Church, but Luther sided with the Prince and the nobility, and that had some not so great results.

Luther would wrestle with church unity and disunity because the organization of the RC Church was now gone and the people of the faith had to be organized into an actual functional local church.

Luther wrote hymns, preached and wrote papers almost constantly.

Luther and Katherine hosted many students in their “parsonage”, which was a former monastery. They would have “table talks” in which they would discuss theology and Katherine played a major role in this work (craft brewing beer, theology discussion, hosting, creating economy).

Death

Martin Luther traveled on January 23, 1546 to his hometown of Eisleben to oversee a family dispute. At 63 years old, he succumbed to all that his work had done to his health.

Knowing his life was coming to an end, who wrote his will out, and he started by saying, “I am well known in heaven, on earth, and in hell.”

Luther’s last words were, “We are beggars. This is true.”

Luther died on February 18, 1546.

Luther was carried to Wittenberg and mourned by thousands.

He was buried in the Castle Church at Wittenberg immediately below the pulpit where he had often stood to preach.

Luther’s Warts

There is only one hero of the faith and that is Jesus.

Great women and men in Christian history are to be learned from, and put in their proper place as servants of God. And every one of them are fatally flawed.

Every leader of any movement has fatal flaws because they are sinners who have been rescued from the fall.

Therefore, we don’t do hero worship. I’m convinced that when the Christian masses begin to “follow” a great leader, unless that leader seeks to hide behind Jesus, there will be a great fall.

Jesus will not share his glory.

No man or woman has died for sins.

All of us are flawed, and if our flaws were to be put out for the world to see, we’d be hated by all. Hopefully, graciously, others will learn from our failures and be better.

Luther’s fatal flaws are many, but his most fatal is an anti-Semitism that was simply rancid.

Like it or not, Luther’s ranting on Jewish people was used by the Nazi party to annex the Lutheran Church in the rise of the “Third Reich”. This capitulation of the Lutheran Church resulted in the birth of the “Confessing Church” and the likes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth.

This is why we study God’s word, follow Jesus, submit to one-anther in the church and NOT FOLLOW MERE MEN.

Let’s highlight two aspects of Luther’s life.

Luther possessed a clear and deep conviction about Scripture

“It was because pope could and did err and because councils could and did err that Luther came to realize the supremacy of Scripture.” – R.C. Sproul

When asked to explain the success of his work, he replied, “I simply taught, preached and wrote God’s word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept…the word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the word did everything.”

Luther highlighted and brought to light the clear doctrines of the bible we may often take for granted as well as some practices associated with study and preaching.

  • Verbal Inspiration of Scripture – “The Holy Spirit is the Author of this book.” When the bible speaks, God speaks. “The Scriptures, although they are written by men, are neither of men nor from men but from God.”
  • Inerrancy of Scripture – The Scriptures are pure and trustworthy. The Scriptures do not contain anything contrary to fact.
  • Supreme Authority of Scripture – The Scriptures are the final say and full authority for the believer and the church.
  • Clarity of Scripture – The RC Church withheld the bible from the “common” people believing they could not understand it. Luther would assert, “No clearer book has been written on earth than the Holy Scripture.” When there is confusion, it’s not the bible’s fault, but it is our faulty understanding.

“The Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.” – Wayne Grudem

  • Sufficiency of Scripture – “The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.” Wayne Grudem
  • Our Submission to the Text
  • The Need to Interpret Literally – always interpret literally unless it’s clear the text is not literal.
  • The Need for Spirit Illumination
  • The Need for Biblical Exposition and biblical preaching
  • The Role of the Law – The Law shows us our sin and the depth of sin, our need for Jesus and how to grow in godliness. Basically, Galatians.
  • Christ Exaltation – We are to lift Jesus up as the centerpiece and interpretive key to the whole bible…Just finished a series on that.
  • Cross Centered – The bible demands we not ignore the cross, but that we highlight the work of God at the cross that justifies sinners.
  • Gospel Invitation – The necessity to invite people to Jesus when the gospel is proclaimed.

Luther was passionate, happy and a wee bit salty

  • Luther was full of life and had an edge to him.

Luther Insult Generator: http://ergofabulous.org/luther/

  • Luther’s passion for righteousness, being right, and honoring God led him to prophetically speak to his culture, his time in history and the people around him.
  • Luther sharpened those around him with his knowledge of the word and his passion for it.
  • Luther was happy. His home was happy and full of laughter.
  • Luther and Katherine made lots of beer. True story. They were craft brewers before craft brewing was cool.

What can we imitate from Luther’s life?

  1. Love God’s word and sow it abundantly.
  2. Be passionate about God’s glory, serving God’s people and giving your life away for the kingdom.
  3. Know your culture, time in history and speak to it from God’s perspective.
  4. Laugh, and be happy in Christ, hear him and obey him and enjoy his goodness.

 

 

[1] Parenthesis mine.

Friday Fun

For some reason, I’m in the Christmas mood. It may be that Christmas trees are up at Walmart and Christmas lights were on display…Anyway, I’m already listening to Christmas music.

I do enjoy Christmas. More every year.

My first song listened to? Christmas in Hollis!

Listen up, don’t judge me, and don’t hate on Run DMC. Just because I’m a Christian, and a pastor does not mean I have to like “Silent Night” as my favorite Christmas song. And, for whatever reason, I’ve always gravitated toward the Run DMC kind of genre.

I never understand people who are bothered by Christmas early. Grinches, I say!

Let’s get in the Christmas mood!

Here, I’ll help…A long time ago, in 1987…

 

Glory to God Alone

5 Solas: Glory to God Alone

The Five Solas:

Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone

Sola Gratia: Grace Alone

Sola Fide: Faith Alone

Solus Christus: Christ Alone

Sola Deo Gloria: Glory to God Alone

What was the problem?

The Roman Catholic Church’s theology of “glory” was a problem for Luther and the other reformers (The glory of Rome, Papacy, etc.). The empire, the Vatican and the global glory of the church were a continual pursuit, and Jesus was the means of that pursuit.

NOT JUST A RC PROBLEM: Protestant pastors can be like this too. They seek to be stars, headliners at conferences, best-selling authors, and leading pod cast downloads, etc. and they use Jesus and his kingdom to get there.

As John Calvin said, “Our hearts are idol factories.” Mankind will turn out all sorts of tools to exalt us and dethrone God.

Everyone can be a glory hound. Seeking oneself first is the very essence of robbing glory. That’s where it begins.

Luther found himself to be at odds with this. Luther didn’t believe in a theology that brought glory to the sinner or to the church. Luther believed a theology that brought glory to God alone. He believed a theology that glorified God’s saving work on the cross. – Mohler

What is God’s glory?

  • Glory literally means holiness (completely other), excellence, beauty, honor, and weightiness.

 

  • God’s glory refers to his majestic beauty and splendor and honor and the recognition of it by mankind.

 

  • Glory, therefore, is the true apprehension of God or things. The glory of God must mean His unchanging essence. Giving glory to God is ascribing to Him His full recognition.[1] This ascribing then is in word and in deed as worshiping living sacrifices.[2]

 

  • God’s glory is also an ethical reality and it embraces his holiness. To sin is to fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
    • If God is glorious and beautiful, then to sin is to be and do the dishonorable and ugly.

The Scriptures describe God’s glory as so otherworldly that Ezekiel fell down.

Ezekiel 1:28

The Scriptures describe God as the King of glory.

Psalms 24

The Scriptures describe God as exalted above the heavens and his glory is over all the earth.

Psalm 57:5, 11; Psalm 108:5; Psalm 113:4

The glory of God is proclaimed by creation.

Psalm 19:1; Psalm 97:6; Romans 1:20 (glory so clear that men are without excuse and those who refuse to attribute it to Jesus turn and worship created things precisely because they contain glorious realities that point to God)

  • Sports are addictive because they reveal glory, we just don’t worship sports.
  • Children are addictive because having them is exercising a communicable attribute of God in being able to create (not from nothing but from what God created), but children are not to be bowed down to.

God’s glory is revealed by his powerful acts of fulfilling his word, acts of salvation and deliverance.

1 Chronicles 16:24; Psalm 72:18, 19; Psalm 96:3; Psalm 145:10–12; John 11:4, 40

How does God feel about his glory?

Jesus taught us to pray for God to be glorified.

Matthew 6:9 “Hollowed be your name.”

  • To “hallow” is to honor as holy, set apart, to honor God as God and for all he is.

God is jealous (zealous in all righteousness) for his glory.

Exodus 20:5 (ESV) You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

God will not share his glory.

Isaiah 42:8 (ESV) I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 48:11 (ESV) For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

Why did God create man?

God made people to glory in his glory.

Isaiah 43:6-7 (ESV) I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

How are we to obey?

How we are to glory in God defined and described:

A look at the root word of dóxa, i.e., dokéō (1380), to think or suppose, is necessary. Etymologically, the word primarily means thought or opinion, especially favorable human opinion, and thus in a secondary sense reputation, praise, honor (true and false), splendor, light, perfection, rewards (temporal and eternal). Thus the dóxa of man is human opinion and is shifty, uncertain, often based on error, and its pursuit for its own safety is unworthy. But there is a glory of God which must be absolutely true and changeless. God’s opinion marks the true value of things as they appear to the eternal mind, and God’s favorable opinion is true glory. This contrast is well seen in John 5:44 as the Lord speaks of the glory that the people were receiving among themselves and the only glory that comes from God (see John 12:43). Glory, therefore, is the true apprehension of God or things. The glory of God must mean His unchanging essence. Giving glory to God is ascribing to Him His full recognition.[3] This ascribing then is in word and in deed as worshiping living sacrifices.[4]

We must understand our primary end is to glorify and enjoy God.

  • “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” – Westminster Confession
  • To glory in him is to enjoy him.
  • This means seeing God for who he is. We enjoy his word and observing his work in the world.
  • This means searching for God for all he is with our whole being. Matthew 6:33. Matthew 13:44 (treasure hidden in a field and found and delighted in above all things)
  • This means knowing God is our greatest pursuit.
  • Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV) Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
  • This means our greatest joy is found in Christ and fuels all other good joys he gives to sons and daughters.
  • This means fighting the lies that say God is not joyous or enjoyable. This is an uphill fight against the curse of the fall that tells us joy and satisfaction is seeking “self” in all manner of ways that can be done to the destruction of man.
  • Matthew 10:38-39 (ESV) And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
  • Life is found in losing ourselves in pursuit of Christ.

We glorify God when we do all things excellently, in order and with beauty because that reflects God’s glorious way of ordering creation, and as image bearing representatives we have the ability to replicate that kind of work as stewards of creation and co-creators (not from nothing but from creation).

  • No slackness in our work.
  • No laziness in our effort.
  • Care about details.
  • Do things beautifully.

Our ultimate end for all the “why” questions is, “for God’s glory”, for his name’s sake.

  • No doubt there are subplots and story twists for all of us, but the primary end is that we may see and know the excellency of the one who rules our days and find our greatest joy in him and the journey he marks out for us.
  • See Joseph (Genesis)
  • See Job

Seeing God’s glory makes us joyfully repentant peoplelike Job

Job 42:5-6 (ESV) I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,

but now my eye sees you;

6 therefore I despise myself,

and repent in dust and ashes.”

We are people who joyfully deflect glory to put Jesus on display.

Psalms 115:1 (ESV) Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,

for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

  • Try to stay hidden and make Jesus the “front man”.
  • Seek the good of the other before the good of self just like Jesus did…59 “One anothers” in the New Testament because the Law is summed up in “Love God”…”Love neighbor”.

God’s glory must be the nuclear reaction of our praise.

1 Chronicles 16:24–29; Psalm 29:1, 2, 9; Psalm 66:1, 2; Psalm 96:7, 8; Psalm 115:1; Isaiah 6; Isaiah 42:12; Romans 4:20; Romans 11:33-36; Philippians 2:9–11

Psalms 29 (ESV) Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,

ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;

worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the LORD, over many waters.

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;

the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;

the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,

and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.

8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;

the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth

and strips the forests bare,

and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;

the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.

11 May the LORD give strength to his people!

May the LORD bless his people with peace!

[1]  Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

 

[2] Last sentence mine.

[3]  Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

 

[4] Last sentence mine.

Wednesday Night What?…

I know lots of you guys who read this are not all TRC members, but I hope you’ll bear with a TRC specific post for a bit.

We exist to disciple the nations for God’s glory. That’s our vision. We say it all the time. Our budget, our work, our effort, our very lives sweat and bleed this vision.

Our mission is to be and produce radical followers of Jesus. Those followers of Jesus live in three relationships: UP / IN / OUT. We walk with Jesus by the Spirit. We walk in covenant with each other. We walk in our world to bring the kingdom of God to bear in all domains of society for healing for people’s salvation.

That’s how we roll. It’s not rocket science. It is completely counter to the culture of consumerism, self-centeredness and coolness. We are not cool. We are not hip. We crazy. We work in hard places. We do hard work in our town. We seek to be committed to the vision and mission. We do “church” in such a way that we have to make disciples because consuming Christians just won’t find a ton to consume with us. We have lots of holes that need filling with people who are on mission with us. We have the kingdom, and that’s about it. But Jesus is enough.

One way we’ve always struggled in the post-Christian south is with the IN. People are busy. People have may obligations. People have many voluntary obligations that are not worth a poop, but they are cultural idols and we perceive we need them, and they invade holy time. Fact.

We don’t want more to do. No one does. As a former educator, I understand the 60 hour work week then “church”. It’s tough. But we’ve found that when the gospel of the kingdom makes disciples who are engaging their domain to heal and proclaim Jesus, he (Jesus) builds his church, and we’ve seen our IN get better.

We sought to do a massive OUT project in addition to our other work in the past two years. We started a second campus. That took our pastors and staff and cut them down the middle. Less leaders and more work. We took a risk, we tried something new, and there were some successes. However, we have discovered we can be more effective together, so with the reintegration of the Kingston Campus to the Unity Campus, we are back to full strength pastorally and in staff leadership. Our room will be full. Another challenge, but a doable one.

So, we are going to launch something we’ve needed for a long time on January 10. We will begin “Wednesday Night Supper”. Dude! What?

Yes, for church wide fellowship and the need to eat supper (we call it supper in the south, not dinner, them’s Yankee words) and the need for growing in the word and love for each other, we will begin having a meal available. From 6-6:30 food will be available in the lunch room, but you will have to sign up ahead of time. No sign up no food. But you can still come and hang out. Pastor Josh will be teaching an Old Testament Survey beginning at 6:30. Childcare will be available and it will be more than childcare….stay tuned.

Students will go to Student ministry stuff at 6:30 (of course they can come eat at 6 too with their family…duh). Marco will lead the time and will have some pizza available each week as well (Jolly boys come from sports and are about to pass from the earth, so food is good for them since they’ll be pulling in on two wheels from basketball and wrestling around 6:20’ish with Gabe driving…help me Jesus!). 

So, there’s some 411. Keep on the look out for further information.

We want to work on our IN. We want you to work on the IN. Get in a RL group, love each other, serve each other, propagate the DNA of KDSC, make disciples, invite people who need Jesus to supper and church, meet them there, introduce them to Jesus…hey, IN led to OUT…I wonder?…Could it be that healthy IN leads to healthy OUT?….

Good days TRC. Good days.

Christ Alone

5 Solas

Christ Alone

The Five Solas:

Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone

Sola Gratia: Grace Alone

Sola Fide: Faith Alone

Solus Christus: Christ Alone

Sola Deo Gloria: Glory to God Alone

As Martin Luther began to teach Romans, the Psalms and other books of the bible, he noted the teachings of Scripture contradicting the teachings of the Pope and the church.

Indulgences were just the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Example:

Doctrines about Mary

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/mary/general-information/the-four-marian-dogmas

  • Divine Motherhood – Mother of God (Council of Ephesus 431 AD)
  • Perpetual Virginity – Remained a virgin before, during and after birth
  • Immaculate Conception – Mary was conceived in such a way that she was preserved from original sin…sinless at birth thus capable of having Jesus.
  • Assumption – All of Mary, at her death, body and soul, was taken up into glory with Christ.

This logically leads to the most recent component…the argument to add a 5th…Co-redeemer with Christ.

https://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/z5mardogm.htm

To Declare Mary as Mother of Humanity

ROME, 11 FEB. 2008 (ZENIT) {a non-profit Catholic news agency}

Five cardinals have sent a letter inviting prelates worldwide to join them in petitioning Benedict XVI to declare a fifth Marian dogma they said would “proclaim the full Christian truth about Mary.”

The text, released last week, includes the petition that asks the Pope to proclaim Mary as “the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, the co-redemptrix with Jesus the redeemer, mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one mediator, and advocate with Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race.”

Confession

The Mass

All of these things were considered to be effectual in salvation.

Luther found no such Scriptural evidence, and was by conscience (informed by Scripture) convinced there were things that needed to be changed.

Our passages will show us that “Christ alone” is the bible’s stance and show us exactly what “Christ alone” means.

Yahweh alone is the basis of Christ alone since Jesus is Yahweh

(God alone in the sense of no other “gods” and God alone in the sense of God alone saves apart from “piety”…the outward expression as effectual…the outward expression is evidence of faith not effectual means (see Isaiah 1; 2 Chronicles 30) 

Exodus 20:2-3 (ESV) I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

Lest we think God was affirming there are other “gods” but that he was to just be the one Israel worshiped…

Isaiah 45:1-7 (ESV) Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,

whose right hand I have grasped,

to subdue nations before him

and to loose the belts of kings,

to open doors before him

that gates may not be closed:

2 “I will go before you

and level the exalted places,

I will break in pieces the doors of bronze

and cut through the bars of iron,

3 I will give you the treasures of darkness

and the hoards in secret places,

that you may know that it is I, the Lord,

the God of Israel, who call you by your name.

4 For the sake of my servant Jacob,

and Israel my chosen,

I call you by your name,

I name you, though you do not know me.

5 I am the Lord, and there is no other,

besides me there is no God;

I equip you, though you do not know me,

6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun

and from the west, that there is none besides me;

I am the Lord, and there is no other.

7 I form light and create darkness;

I make well-being and create calamity;

I am the Lord, who does all these things.

John 8:58-59 (ESV) Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

John 5:18 (ESV) This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus alone is the sole mediator of the new covenant

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (ESV) For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Hebrews 9:11-15 (ESV) 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Jesus alone is the object of saving faith

  • Remember: faith is the work of grace that is the work of God so that that faith may rest in the one who can actually save. Jesus saves, and faith is his instrument, and faith’s object is Jesus, who is its author and giver.

Faith is not the work we do to get saved. It is not faith that saves, but the object of that faith that saves…Jesus alone.

This is not contradictory to “grace alone” and “faith alone”. Grace comes from God to give the gift of faith. Ephesians 2:1-10 presupposes you are paying attention to the “in Christ” repetition going on. Faith has an object. That object is “Jesus”.

(Illustration: Sitting in a chair…its not your trust in the chair that makes the chair stand up, it’s the engineering and quality of the chair that holds you up, not your faith. You faith is exercised as you place your weight on the chair, but that faith does not hold you up. The chair holds you up. The object of your faith in this instance is the chair. It’s the object of your faith that saves not faith. Faith in Jesus is the expression that one is trusting in Jesus to save them)

Jesus alone satisfies God the Father’s anger at man’s sin

Romans 3:21-26 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The Holy Spirit witnesses to Jesus alone

John 14:26

John 15:26

John 16:13-14

How can we obey?

Rest in Christ alone…stop working to earn salvation / favor / blessing…all of our salvation and subsequent provision of grace in abundance and want was earned by Jesus for us.

Romans 8:28-30 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8:31-34 (ESV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Fan into flame your evangelistic passion for God’s glory that people may be saved.

Romans 10:1, 9-15 (ESV) Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

  • Put yourself where there are non-Christians
  • Tell the good news to someone
  • Invite someone who needs Jesus to church
  • Be the best and most hospitable greeter on the planet
  • Be happy and kind
  • Love each other…don’t assume the worst
    • John 13:35 (ESV) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

In multi-faith dialogue in the public square hold firm to Jesus alone not as a joy killer but as the great hope to rescue from sin

John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus alone kills inclusivism and universalism.

  • Inclusivism being that all sincere followers of a religious system get in because of Jesus work. They were worshiping Jesus even if they didn’t know it because they sincerely were seeking “God”.
  • Universalism being the belief that all get in because Jesus atonement is universally applied regardless of people’s religious beliefs either present or not. 

Worship hard and watch Jesus be glorified among the nations.

Psalms 96:9-10 (ESV) Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth!

10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;

he will judge the peoples with equity.”

  • We worship who/what we treasure. When we treasure Jesus alone, he is glorified and the nations will hear.