Illustration results for Reformation
A. Todd Coget
[From Apostles and Prophets: The Foundation of the Church, by C. Peter Wagner, 2000, Regal Books, Ventura California, pp. 25]
In my book Churchquake! I say:
Of all the radical changes in the New Apostolic Reformation, I regard one of them as the most radical of all.
It is so important that I have chosen these words very carefully: The amount of spiritual authority delegated by the Holy Spirit to individuals.
The two operative words in this statement are “authority” and “individuals.”
Until recently the central focus of authority in our churches existed in groups, not in individuals.
Trust has been placed in sessions, consistories, nominating committees, deacon boards, trustees, congregations, presbyteries, associations, general councils, conventions, synods and the like.
Rarely has trust for ultimate decision making been given to individuals such as pastors or apostles.
This, however, is changing decisively in the New Apostolic Reformation.
A Thanks Offering For God's Grace
In this country, the entire nation celebrates Thanksgiving in November. Some celebrate by busily preparing food, watching football and gathering with family. These are great Thanksgiving celebrations. However, Christians have a greater blessing in the opportunity to give thanks to God. Whether people in this world want to recognize it or not, everything they own is given to them by the Lord and there is going to be a day when all will give an accounting.
Christians are thankful for God's saving grace.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." This is one of the great evangelistic summaries in the Word of God. F.F. Bruce so wonderfully points out, "This is the watchword for the reformation theology: 'By grace alone, through faith alone, to God be the glory.'" The Bible teaches that everything Christians have comes by grace. "Grace" (charis) here affects man's sinfulness. It not only brings forgiveness to repentant sinners, but also joy from the Holy Spirit and heartfelt thankfulness to the Lord Jesus. This grace changes repentant sinners into new creations without destroying their individuality.
Those who live on this earth were marked by sin that came down to them as a curse from the time of Adam. It was decided and agreed upon by God the Father, Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit that Jesus would come to earth and redeem sinful mankind from willful sin. Christians have been saved by grace and they are sustained only by the grace of God. The precious children of God feast from the manna of God's Word daily, just as Mephibosheth did at King David's table. And there will be that day when all who have Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord will be eating at that geatest Thanksgiving feast, the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God." What a day that will be!
Does your life Express God's Grace?
I am Baptised!
Apparently Martin Luther, the great 16th figure of the reformation used to take great comfort from these words. When it seemed to him that the whole church had left the precepts of the Gospel, when he was under scrutiny from Church officials as to the truth of his beliefs, when his life was under threat and when he suffered self doubt he would boldly claim, "I am baptised."
[America’s Sin of Self-Sufficiency, Citation: Richard Halverson, "The Question Facing Us," Preaching Today, Tape 46.]
In 1863 President Lincoln designated April 30th as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Let me read a portion of his proclamation on that occasion:
"It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, who owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by a history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as ...
"I've never met a man, I don't care what his condition, in whom I could not see possibilities. I don't care how much a man may consider himself a failure, I believe in him, for he can change the thing that is wrong in his life anytime he is prepared and ready to do it. Whenever he develops the desire, he can take away from his life the thing that is defeating it. The capacity for reformation and change lies within."
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” Abraham Lincoln, Oct 1863
Words Do Things
One poet tells how a certain man who had performed a heroic act found it impossible to tell his friends about it for a lack of words to describe it.
But there was a witness to the event whom the poet refers to as having been "afflicted with the necessary magic of words."
He told the story, and he told it in terms that were so vivid and so moving that the poet writes: "...the words became alive and walked up and down in the hearts of his hearers."
John tells us, "In the beginning was the Word..."
When John Knox preached in the days of the Reformation in Scotland, it was said that the voice of that one man put more courage into the hearts of his hearers than 10,000 trumpets in their ears.
Words do things to people.
It's been said that in the days of the Second World War, when Britain was short on allies and weapons, that the words of the Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, as he broadcast to the nation, did things.
(From Kenneth Sauer's Sermon "The Incarnation is Not an Instant Breakfast Drink")
Christian History Issue 20 stated, “Charles Grandison Finney is considered America’s greatest past revivalist. Church roles swelled in the wake of Finney’s revivals. Though it is hard to gather accurate statistics, he is often directly, or indirectly credited with conversions of around 500,000.” The time frame was in the 1830’s. It is said that his revival meetings transformed entire towns. It is said that in some towns after the meetings the bars would close down because there was no business for them and churches would spring up in their place. He stated in his message that he was to show what revival is.
Charles Finney made a significant impression upon the religious life of 19th century America, and his influence is still evident today. Called the “father of modern revivalism” by some historians, he paved the way for later revivalists like Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham. He constructed a theology that harmonized with the ideals of the Jacksonian era; if President Andrew Jackson was the political folk-hero of early l9th-century America, Charles Grandison Finney was its religious folk-hero. Just as the American frontier was being widened and common folk were getting the vote, Finney gave the public an opportunity to cast their votes on the matter of salvation. Charles Grandison Finney19th Century Giant of American Revivalism: Christian History, Issue 20, (Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today, Inc.) 1997.
He stated the following about revival: The following is taken from Christian History page 31, 32:
1. A revival always includes the conviction of sin on the part of the church.
2. Backslidden Christians will be brought to repentance.
3. A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God. Just as in the case of a converted sinner, the first step is a deeper repentance, a breaking down of the heart, a getting down into the dust before God, with deep humility, and a forsaking of sin.
SOLA FIDE: BY FAITH ALONE
To prove his point Paul includes a quotation from Habakkuk 2:4, "The just shall live by faith." It was this text--quoted by Paul in Romans 1:17--that ultimately shook Martin Luther to the core and brought him to saving faith in Jesus Christ. On this point, I quote from a letter by Dr. Paul Luther, the reformer's youngest son:
In the year 1544, my late dearest father, in the presence of us all, narrated the whole story of his journey to Rome. He acknowledged with great joy that, in that city, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, he had come into the knowledge of the truth of the everlasting gospel. It happened this way. As he repeated his prayers on the Lateran staircase, the words of the prophet Habakkuk came suddenly to his mind, "The just shall live by faith." Thereupon he ceased his prayers, returned to Wittenberg, and took this as the chief foundation of all his doctrine. (Quoted in A Bunch of Everlastings, by Frank Boreham, pp. 19-20.)
Sola Fide - "by faith alone."
From that unlikely beginning came the Protestant Reformation. And with it the battle-cry sola fide, "by faith alone."
Faith alone! Not by works of the law.
Faith alone! Not by obedience to the Church.
Faith alone! Not by human righteousness.
Faith alone! Not by baptism.
Faith alone! Not by good intentions.
Faith alone! Not by the sacraments.
Faith alone! Not by penance or almsgiving.
Faith alone! Plus nothing and minus nothing!
(Make reference to Hebrews 11, Faith Hall of Fame)
W Pat Cunningham
DIED AND ROSE AGAIN
"The whole story of the Church is one which imitates the story of her divine Master; she dies and she rises again. She was buried in the catacombs; she rose again with Constantine. She died in the Dark Ages; she rose again with Charlemagne. She died with the Renaissance; she rose again with the saints of the Counter-Reformation."