Monday, October 29, 2012
Reclaiming October 31st for the Glory of Jesus Christ
Galatians 3:6-9 “6Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” 9So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.”
I want to share with you today why I find so much joy over October 31st. One of the Greatest Revivals occurred almost 500 years ago, altering and realligning Christianity back to the Bible. In today's post I want to urge every Christian to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with at least one person over the next week. We will be surveying what took place in a move of God that began on October 31, 1517 called the Reformation. There are five reasons to rejoice over October 31st, the first of which I will mention below.
A SYSTEM THAT NEEDED TO BE CONFRONTED
495 years ago the Roman Catholic Church had a repressive system of religion that had people buying what was in their minds a right standing with God. Over the centuries a whole system of church tradition had accumulated, telling people that in order to be right with God, they had to make pilgrimages to certain churches and make financial contributions to achieve salvation. In addition, the church also manipulated people to make contributions, alledging that once paid, their dead relatives would be freed from an imagined place called purgatory, and thus go to heaven.
ONE MAN HAD REACHED HIS BREAKING POINT
One man, a monk, a "holy man" in the Roman Catholic system of religion, was very troubled in his soul. He had dedicated his life to achieving the salvation promised by the Roman Catholic church. Despite his best efforts, he felt more guilty and alienated from God, even though he confessed to the priests, prayed hours a day and went on long fasts. That man's name was Martin Luther.
HOW PEOPLE ARE TRULY MADE RIGHT WITH GOD
Martin Luther was so troubled that he began searching the scriptures and read these words in Galatians 3:11 - "The just shall live by faith". God's Grace was at work, and suddenly Martin Luther saw that all of the pilgrimages, the contributions to the churches, the confessions, fastings, being baptized into the church, even being a Monk - all of it - contributed nothing to his salvation. Alas, Luther rediscovered the heart of the Christian Gospel that all but a faithful few had forgotten over the centuries - that a man is made right before God by faith alone in Christ Alone. After this discovery, Luther began to research
16TH CENTURY VERSION OF FACEBOOK
Luther did a 16th century equivalent of facebook - He made a post. Only this post was pen and paper nailed to the door of a church (much like if we were to post on facebook or announcements on a bulletin board). Luther wanted to make a public announcement for all to see, posting what was called his "95 theses" on a church door in Wittenberg Germany. These 95 reasons or "theses" aimed to protest the Roman Catholic system to which the Bible revealed to be corrupt. Luther did this on October 31, 1517, sparking the greatest move of God in the past 500 years - The Protestant Reformation.
FIRST REASON TO REJOICE OVER OCTOBER 31ST
Soon the then newly invented printing press was utilized to distribute copies of Luther's document all over Germany. Out of the movement would come five phrases that would describe the gospel rediscovered by Martin Luther. The first phrase is the most fundamental - namely that a man or woman is made right with God by faith alone. This is the first reason to rejoice over October 31. Because of God's movement in the life of one man, the Gospel, preached by the prophets, Christ and the apostles, would once again shine.1 How is it that a man is made right with God? Paul states in Ephesians 2:8-9 that faith is a gift of God, that salvation is not earned by what one does, lest there would be grounds for boasting. Faith alone is sufficient grounds for receiving God's free gift of salvation. It is not faith plus baptism, nor faith plus church membership nor faith plus anything.
LET'S TAKE BACK OCTOBER 31ST, REJOICE IN GOD!
It is time to take back October 31, and use this day to proclaim the truth of scripture and the reformation, sparked on October 31, 1517. October 31st has been for years by Wiccans and people of the Pagan/Witchcraft worldview to observe one of the so-called two "spirit nights" on their yearly calendar. Rather than promoting a day of darkness and wickedness, witches and ghosts, Christians need to take a God-centered event like the Reformation and remind themselves of how God led His church back to the Bible and salvation through faith alone in Christ alone.
The Reformation was about calling forth people from spiritual darkness into the light of Jesus Christ. Someone once said: "It is more effective to light a candle than merely curse the darkness". Lets light the Gospel light and shine the glory of the Gospel. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 - “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Tomorrow we will look at four other reasons to rejoice over October 31, and look at the four other statements coming out of the Reformation. As you will see, these statements further clarify the richness of the Gospel message.
1 As with all major movements of God, the Protestant Reformation was not without God having moved upon prior people annd groups who lived before Martin Luther. Men like John Wycliff and John Huss, who both lived and ministered at the end of the 1300's. John Wycliffe produced the first complete English translation of the Bible from what was then the prevailing Bible of the Roman Catholic Church - the Latin Vulgate. John Huss preached 100 years before Luther came on the scene and ended up dying in Martyrdom. Men such as these are referred to as the "morningstar" of the Reformation, since they signalled a precursor of the cry for Reformation that would ring throughout Europe in the 16th century.