Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Revival and Reformation 10/28/2012
Note: In our continuing discussion of the relationship between the church and the state, two questions have come up which will be discussed today at our Bible Study before our worship service. Here are the questions which will be discussed and answers sought out of the Scriptures. I hope to bring followup to these questions next week, just a few days before the election. Here are the questions, after which will be the sermon script for today's sermon.

1. Under what conditions does God give Christians the right to protest against a government that is not governing according to His will? What is to be the nature of the opposition that is given to the true Christian Church by which they are allowed to depose the government?

2. If one votes for a candidate who stands with issues that are in violation of the moral law of God, is the voter held accountable for the sins of the candidate should she or he be elected?



Dear friends,

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forever, Amen.

Dear congregation, we begin our sermon today by repeating the words that the Apostle Paul wrote to his dear congregation in the town of Colosse, which are words that flow out of his heart because He was united in the Spirit with Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,
5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing- as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth..

We are united in the effects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Good News which has declared throughout the ages which declares that God has received us back to Himself through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Throughout the ages the simplicity of the Gospel has been complicated by our fallen nature in that we tend to agree that it is Jesus Christ through whom we are saved, but we then add our requirements on top of Christ's finished work. It is Jesus Christ, but........this, or that, or whatever.

By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by Faith alone

Today is the day of the year when the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is observed. It was on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg church in Germany. In doing so he was challenging the authority of the Roman Church, which maintained that it was the true church and its teachings represented the teachings of the Holy Bible.

The church had drifted from the teachings of Jesus Christ, was teaching their own way which was not consistent with the Bible, the Bible was not yet available in the languages of the common people, and therefore people simply believed and lived according to what they were told by the church.

The OT was written in Hebrew and the NT was written in Greek (although parts of Matthew may have been written in Aramaic). Many years before the birth of Jesus, Greek became a common language of the people of the Roman Empire of which Judea and Galilee were part. A Greek translation of the OT Hebrew scriptures was made and called the Septuagint.

People in England and America usually do not understand the Hebrew and Greek languages. Therefore, it is necessary to have the Bible translated into English. The story of how the Bible has been translated into English is long.

John Wycliffe (1320-1384)
Through the combined efforts of John Wyclif and a few of his friends, the work of translating the Bible into English was completed in 1384, the year of his death. This date marked the first time that the entire Bible appeared in the English language. John Wyclif was a great scholar at Oxford, England. He was also a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.

John Wyclif believed that people should be governed by the Bible alone. He dared to state publicly that he wanted the entire Bible translated into the people’s language, a position strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church at the time. Many years earlier, the Roman Catholic Church had translated the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures into the Latin language. This translation was used throughout the church and called the Latin Vulgate. Wyclif’s translation of the Bible was based upon this Latin translation.

Oxford University graduates were enlisted by John Wyclif in getting the English Bible into the hands of the people. First, copies had to be made by hand. This needed to be done in secret because of the danger that the church authorities might step in and try to destroy the work.

Within the one hundred fifty years following the death of John Wyclif, three great events took place
that had a great influence in getting the Bible into the hands of the common people.

The first was the invention of the printing press in 1450 by Johann Gutenberg (1396-1468) Until this time, copies of the Bible could only be made by hand. With this new invention many copies could be made more quickly. The first book to come from Gutenberg’s printing press was the Bible in the Latin language.

The second great event was the publishing of the Greek NT in 1516 by a Dutchman named Erasmus (1466-1536). A new interest and knowledge of the Greek manuscripts was growing among Bible scholars. This Greek manuscript was used by many as they translated the Bible into the language of the people.

The third great event was the Protestant Reformation. This event began when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses (or statements) for debate on the church door at Wittenburg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. This was just a year after Erasmus published his Greek NT.

Martin Luther, a German monk, a priest and university professor, questioned the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The Ninety-Five Theses were questions which Luther wanted to have debated. Soon a large following also questioned the teachings of the church. The Protestant Reformation came into being through Martin Luther’s witness for Jesus Christ. The Lutheran Church is part of the Protestant Reformation.

The Reformation: By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by Faith alone

From study of the Reformation, we can learn a number of valuable lessons
.
1. We can learn what happens when we drift from the Scriptures, whether we are considering our own lives, the lives of our family, or the life of our congregation. (We believe and teach our own understandings of who Jesus Christ is and what His heart is for the world)

2. We can see that outward unity can only be held together by restricting the freedom of those within the group, but that eventually that unity does not prevail.

3. We learn that when people are given the freedom to hear and to read for themselves, there will be an explosion of freedom as people experience joy and peace for the first time in their lives, and this freedom is in Jesus.

4. We observe that along with many coming to freedom will come many different understandings and practices, many of which are not according to the Bible.


Nothing has and will have more bearing on these futures than our understanding of and following the Big Lesson of the Reformation: By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by faith alone

There is always a tendency for us to go back to the old way of doing things. I remember when I used to get worried about the future of our business, I would tend to think that I should jump back in to do the work myself, and one of my employees told me, "You would be going backwards and not forward?"

Or a mother or father, when a child is bucky in doing that which they are asked to do, parents will have the temptation to do it themselves, and in so doing stunt the child's growth in maturity.

An athlete, in their drive to increase their skills in an event, may not have the sisu to work at improvement, and simply take the path of least resistance and go back to the old way that he or she was used to doing it.

Or as a congregation, if the way forward seems blocked, there can be a tendency to go back to the old ways, and thereby cut ourselves off from the exercising of faith in our lives as a congregation, which always leads to growth and maturity.

Last week we spoke from the letter to the Jewish Christians, who found themselves struggling with the temptation to go back to what they were used to, the daily and yearly observance of the sacrifices that were offered by the priests and the high priest. They were living somewhere in the year 60-68 AD and were in need of the encouragement which was given to them through this letter that was written. They needed to be reminded that Christ was the fulfilment of the Old Testament/Old Covenant. They needed to be shown through this letter that the NC replaced the OC, so there was no use even thinking about going back to the OC.

Last weeks' sermon text was from Hebrews 5:1-10 and as we begin this sermon which will be from Hebrews 10:16-25, it is important to take note of what follows the text from last week. It is like a parenthesis, in that the writer takes a break from his explanation of who Jesus is in light of the entire Scriptures and says the following.

Hebrews 5:11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righ teousness, since he is a child.
14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

He then goes on to warn them of the consequences of continuing in this state of mind, in that they have become dull of hearing and that they need to be taught again the main teachings about Jesus Christ in His Superiority to all things of the OT. In chapters 6 through the first part of chapter 10, he writes in detail to them, comparing and contrasting the OT and the NT, and mainly pointing to them that Jesus Christ is their Saviour, their High Priest. He is essentially telling them: If you have Christ, why should you go back to the shadow?

Here are some illustrations to help us understand the relationship between the OT and the NT.

Shadow/Substance/Reality
If the sun is behind you, and a person comes walking up to you, which do you see first, the shadow or the person? The OT sacrificial system with its high priestly office was like the shadow, Christ is the substance or the reality.


Credit/Debit
Those in the OT, observing the sacrifices, were on the credit system. Christ had not come into time as of yet to make payment for sin, so they received the promise on credit. It is somewhat like a credit card, one charges on an account in which there is no money in it. It is important to note that those animal blood sacrifices had no power to forgive sins outside of their connection to the eventual blood shedding of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

We in the NT are on the debit system. Christ has come into time, has paid our sin debt with his shed blood and by faith we receive the promise.

After explaining in detail for them of these things, he wants to bring application to their lives, he brings his convincing argument to their lives. He says the following things.

What I am telling you has been in the works since the days of your fathers in the days of Jeremiah, 630 BC,
and he quotes partially from Jeremiah 31:31-34

Hebrews 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (If Christ has come, why use the OT ways any longer?




Christ has opened the way for us to approach God
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, {boldness: or, liberty}
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

1. We are encouraged to come to Him in faith.
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

2. We are encouraged to hang to His promise.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

3. We are encouraged to think of ways to encourage others to live out their faith.
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Application:

As we stated earlier, this is the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. From the story of the Hebrew people in our text, from the Reformation in the 1500's, and from our lives today in the church, what can lessons can we learn? The cry of the Reformation was: By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by Faith alone

Read and Hear God's Word regularly so that we will be able to discern between truth and error. For all ages this is important, for the purpose that we would hear what God says from His Word.

Believe what God says in His Word. 10:19-21

Yield to the encouragements of God's Word. 10:22-23

Look for ways to encourage others. 10:24-35


Hebrews 13:20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us1 that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by Faith alone


In Christ alone,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 28 Oct 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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