This day, the day of filming our devotional thought, October 31, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation…, when a peasant monk, by the name of Martin Luther, dared to challenge the church of his day regarding corrupt teachings of the church that did not coincide with the Holy Scriptures. Martin Luther drew up 95 theses, or protestant statements against the Roman Catholic Church, and the primary grievance was the sale of indulgences.
Now, what I’m about to say to you is going to sound absolutely crazy…, and some of you might even be inclined to challenge what I’m saying and that’s OK, because you can just google this name, John Tetzel, and verify what I’m about to tell you because history doesn’t lie.
John Tetzel, working on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, sanctioned by the Pope himself, was going around Europe, selling the forgiveness of sins with a piece of paper, signed by the pope himself remitting sins of not only the people who bought the pieces of paper, but also their deceased relatives.
But before you turn off this video or stop reading these words, hear me out, because I’m not here to bash the Roman Catholic Church, who to this day admits their grievous errors that spurred on the Lutheran Reformation. I’m actually here to bash the devil, who still to this day, finds great success in steering the people of God away from the Word of God, even in the church, even in my church.
You see, if the devil succeeds at getting people out of their Bibles and infrequently to church, he then gets them to slowly adopt the ways of the world. And what are those ways? Well, let’s start with our prestigious school system that is imploding across this nation, not just academically but also morally.
We have a school system and a university system that has bought into the lie of the devil that they have the copy rite on the world’s foundation; they have bought into the lie of the devil that they know the origin of how man came into existence; across this nation our public-school system has clamored for a separation of church and state, and yet, they are the ones that have brought the matters of church into their schools by teaching a moral relativism where absolute truths no longer exist. They teach pluralism where all roads lead to an eventual happiness regardless of faith or religion. They teach human sexuality that is foreign to what the Holy Scriptures teach us.
So here is what happens. When the devil sneaks into the church and convinces people that church isn’t that important; the Bible is ancient folklore and not to be taken seriously…, then what happens, is the human mind begins to adopt the mind of the world. Think of all these young impressionable children who we send to the church of the schools of our day that are hearing day after day untruthful things that belong to the church and God’s Holy Word.
You see, the Reformation 500 years ago was about returning to what God says to us in his Word. So, we turn to Jesus in the familiar words of John’s gospel, the 8th chapter, verse 31. Jesus says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The word that Jesus uses when he says “Hold” to my teachings really has this idea of “remaining” in his teachings. In other words, he saying to us that if we read his Word and believe what his Word says, and remain in what that words says, we will be free, and not taken captive by the trickery of the devil.
You see, it is a lie from Satan and hell itself, that somehow God wants to stifle our fun in life…, therefore too much of God and his Word will somehow cramp our style in life. No! God’s Word is there to set us free, from ourselves becoming entangled and enslaved by worldly thought and worldly views.
And this is exactly what Christ our Savior came to redeem us from when he gave up his life on a cross. He died to atone for our sins! No piece of paper can remit sins and the only reason the church of Luther’s day pulled off such an abominable scheme was because God’s people had become lax in their faith and were falling away from the Word.
You and I have both the privilege and responsibility to remain in God’s Word so that we, who have been set free from our sins by Christ our Savior’s death on the cross, remain free, and are able to free others from the devil’s tyranny!
Happy Day of Reformation. Thank God with me for raising faithful men and women up in his church to boldly and courageously proclaim Reformation Truths that we are saved by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, by the Scriptures Alone, to the glory of Christ Alone.
Pastor Matthew P. DeNoyer