October 31, 2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of Luther nailing the 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. That event, where Luther sought to debate church leaders on some of the false teachings that had cropped up in the Church of his time, is seen as the beginning of the Reformation. Luther suffered greatly for seeking to make the true Gospel known to all people. But each thing that was meant for evil against Luther, God meant for good, to help carry out the proclamation of the Gospel and save many people from Hell. Throughout his struggles, Luther was given the truth from God’s Word about what the Gospel really is. Luther was set free by this Gospel and was driven to make it known to all.
God is also at work in our lives. He works through the things that Satan means for evil against us and uses them for good. And in some way, He will use that good to bring the love of His Gospel to others around us.
Starting October 1st, my Sunday Adult Bible Class will begin a study on some of the pertinent historical events and the key teachings that were rediscovered and made known to the people.
On Sunday, October 1st we will review where the church had gotten off track in her teaching and how that contributed to Luther’s struggle, being accused by Satan of his sinful state to the point of hopelessness. We will then look at Luther’s “Tower Experience” of 1513, where God revealed to Luther the truth of His Gospel from Romans 1 that set Luther free.
On Sunday, October 8th we will reflect upon the teaching that Luther was doing at the University of Wittenberg where he was lecturing on Paul’s letter to the Romans (1515) and Paul’s letter to the Galatians (1516). Then we will discuss the use of Indulgences which began in 1517 and prompted Luther to post his 95 Theses. We will also look at how the 95 Theses address the use of indulgences and the false teaching and wrong motivation from which they came.
On Sunday, October 15th, we will explore the events of 1521-1522 where Luther was excommunicated, refused to recant of his teachings at the Diet of Worms, was declared a public outlaw (wanted dead or alive), was kidnapped and hidden by Frederick the Wise (the ruler of the territory where Luther lived) for Luther’s protection for 11 months at the Wartburg Castle, at which time, Luther translated the New Testament into German.
On Sunday, October 22nd, we will look at the key teaching of the Reformation as so succinctly and clearly put forth in Article IV of the Augsburg Confession, “Furthermore, it is taught that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God through our merit, work, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God out of grace for Christ’s sake through faith when we believe that Christ has suffered for us and that for His sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness in His sight as St. Paul says in Romans 3 and 4.”
Each week of the study we will also discuss what all of this means for us today. That will also be the thrust of our special Reformation Service on Sunday, October 29th as our choir will be featured as we celebrate the rediscovered Gospel that sets us free and seek ways to get that life-giving Gospel out to all people. We will touch on, “Where do we go from here?”
Have a great October as we celebrate our great and gracious God who uses what is meant for evil against us, for good. He washes us clean, makes us new in Jesus, and enables us to walk in the newness of life He gives us, reflecting His love on all those around us.