Guess what day tomorrow is?
That’s right: Reformation Day! (and you thought I was going to say Halloween).
A hair over 500 years ago God led Martin Luther to discover basic truths that were hidden to him by the Roman Catholic Church’s skewed doctrines. Of course, as in any era of history, people were saved during that time as God gave them light, but Martin Luther was a man on a quest to please a God that he presumed was harsh, unloving, demanding, and hard to please. He even hated God and was angry at Him. As a Monk he tortured himself trying to please God. He was a burden on the other priests, continually going to confession and monopolizing the confessional booth. He was frustrated and knew that he was not worthy, yet didn’t know what to do.
Through a series of events, and research in the Bible, he discovered that grace is the key to salvation. Grace is when we get what we absolutely do not deserve to get. He had been taught that good works was the means to God, but the Bible told him otherwise.
Remember Sunday how we discussed that people got saved in Noah’s day the exact same way they get saved today? Noah was not saved by being good. God didn’t choose Noah because he was righteous (since he was not). Genesis states Noah received God’s grace (and afterreceiving that grace, Genesis 6:9 states he was then righteous). Noah was not saved by empty faith (like saying, “I believe in God” yet not obeying him). The Bible says, “By faith Noah… prepared an ark” which means that since faith without works is dead, Noah did the work of stepping out and obeying God in faith.
- Martin Luther stated, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”
One of Martin Luther’s contributions to the Reformation (besides unintentionally launching it) is known as the 5 Solas. If you come to my house you will see a nice framed print of these as a reminder that salvation is truly by, from, and for God.
- Sola Scriptura—We are saved by Scripture alone. Hence, we don’t need hype & hoopla, a 3-ring circus, a “worship” rock concert, celebrities, or other gimmicks to lead people to Christ as the Gospelis the power unto salvation. Also, unlike Rick Warren’s unbiblical belief, we cannot lead anyone to Christ even if we know his or her “felt needs”. We can onlygive people the Gospel and onlyChrist can convict a person unto salvation.
- Sola Fide—Salvation is by faith alone. Remember, Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it is a gift of God, so a person must be granted faith to act upon it. Luther discusses this gift of faith in his preface to the Complete Editionof his Latin writings from 1545, and that it only comes from God.
- Sola Gratia—Grace alone. Ephesians 2:8 identifies not only faith as a gift of God, but grace (in fact, in the Greek, you have faith and gift presented as one gift). We don’t deserve eternal life, God’s love, or His even dying in our place on the cross. But, He has bestowed that grace upon us. He loved us before we could love Him. He grabbed our hand before we could grab His. He changed our hearts when we couldn’t do it ourselves. Hence, “not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:9).
- Solus Christus—By Christ alone. You don’t get saved by false gods (Buddha), false prophets (Mohammed), false versions of Christianity (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses), by “spiritual” experiences, or of your own accord and “good” works. You only get saved by the Son of God, His righteousness, His saving work on the cross. He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life, and there is not one person in all of eternity that will come to the Father except by the blood of Jesus Christ (Noah included).
- Soli Deo Gloria—To the Glory of God alone! Isaiah 43:25 states God blots out our sins for His own sake. That means the lie you may have heard that He loves you oh so much that even if you were the only person who ever lived, He would have died just for you, is false. You are not the purpose or reason of salvation. He is. It was for His glory, not yours. He chose to love you for no other purpose than to bring Himself glory. Any other view is unbiblical idolatry. He poured His love out on us, called us by name, but He did it all for His glory and we are the graced recipients.
- When reading the Old Testament, have you ever been confused about how people got saved thousands of years before Christ had even set foot on the earth? ________________________________________
- What did you believe or had been taught with regards to how people were saved then? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- It is often stated that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. We can now see the pieces come together when we read how Old Testament prophecies and Levitical practices were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.
- Think about how the Ark and the saving of Noah and his family are representative of the 5 Solas:
- In what ways do you see the Ark as a picture of Jesus Christ and salvation? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Think also of the exclusivity of the Gospel, of the way to the Father (by Jesus alone), and the one door (way) into the Ark. How do these all interact in the doctrine of Soteriology (Salvation)? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Tomorrow night hundreds upon hundreds of little demons, super heroes, princesses, ghosts, witches, sports players, space men, etc. will be swarming the neighborhoods begging for free sugar. For most, it’s nothing more than a fun time to get candy, dress up, and have a blast. This means that like any other time of the year, God will not be in the forefront of their minds:
- “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.—Matthew 24:37-39
- Please pray for our Keikiland Preschool as we use this day to give out free candy and tracts to the kids, and as we invite the parents to the evening outreach at the Perkins’ Ohana.
- Please pray for the Perkins’ Halloween neighborhood outreach tomorrow night as not only corn dogs, popcorn, drinks, candy and toys are handed out, but most importantly Gospel tracts and other materials to connect people back to the church’s primary mission which is the Great Commission.
- Pray for people to read the Good News and to be convicted unto salvation.
- Pray that they will come to our church where they will hear the truth of the Word of God, and will be baptized and discipled to further growth.
- Pray that many people come through the Perkins’ Ohana tomorrow night and that it doesn’t rain.
- Keep in mind (and prayer) that Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and any other celebration is usually partaken of by people like those Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24. People exist with a Psalm 10:4 (The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”)heart that does not seek after God at any time. But, God seeks after them, and we must pray for our community, our neighborhoods, those we are in contact with out in our town, that we will boldly proclaim the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ knowing that He will use it to change hearts and minds.