Summary: 500 years ago the church was adding to the meaning of salvation. In this message we see exactly what it takes to know God. The answer is Christ Alone.
NAIL IT DOWN
“In Christ Alone”
So let’s go back to school for a moment and pretend it’s test time. Remember there are a variety of tests that the teacher can decide to give you. Essay. True false. Fill in the blank. Another way is multiple-choice. The answer could be (a). Could be (b). Or (c). I liked those, especially the easy ones. Like, who was the second president of the United States? Is it (a) Tom Brady (b) Jimmy Kimmel (c) Hillary Clinton or (d) John Adams. Then there are those that the teacher puts in (e) all of the above.
We live in a multiple-choice world. Like a buffet. Not just out in the world as we might say but in our spiritual choices as well. How we understand God. How we understand what it means to have a relationship with God. We live in a multiple choice world. Now here’s the thing. More and more I have noticed that we are living in an option (e) world. All of the above. All of them are correct. Doesn’t matter which one you choose-why-because one is just as good as the other. In fact in America today I think there is really only one thing we can all agree on and that is that we cannot all agree on anything. We have no idea what we believe. So people say all the time, there is no absolute truth. I always want to say, are you absolutely sure? Your truth is good for you. My truth is good for me. But what if, what if all of the options aren’t true? What if really only one of them is true?
This book teaches us that all the options are not correct. It teaches there is only one God and one road that gets you there. Verses 5-6. Today everyone just things everything is correct. But if you go back 500 years ago there was a different problem and the problem was religion. And religion was doing this and that and they were saying this is not enough so we must add to it, and there are rules and hoops to jump through and just when you think you’ve made it, there’s another one. They just kept adding to this simple gospel message. Recently they featured on one of these nature shows on TV, they showed a huge sea turtle swimming through these coral reefs. Had swam over 1600 miles to get there. By the time he got there he was covered with algae and with barnacles. And as he got to the coral reefs there were fish there that gave him a good cleaning... They ate the algae, remove the barnacles... He got cleaned up... If he had continued like that he would’ve been so weighed down he would no longer have been able to swim and would have died. Now this is what happens many times in the movement of Jesus... Over times things get added to the gospel message and soon you can no longer recognize the original message --because it has changed so much. And before long it will die, if we just keep adding to it.
500 years ago religion was taking people to option (e). If you wanted to get to God there were a number of things you had to do. So Martin Luther wrote his complaints against the church and if you pull them all together they basically amounted to five things. And the Reformation was the result.
• Scripture alone-final authority. Sola scriptura
• Grace alone-not by works. Sola Gratia.
• Today. Jesus alone-there are not multiple choices. Solus Christus.
No going back 500 years ago, the problem was religion. Because Luther looked at the church and he looked at Scripture and came to the conclusion they were too far apart. And he posted this on the door in Wittenberg, it went viral. It began to spread throughout all of Europe. And as you can imagine, Luther’s life-changed drastically. He was suddenly thrust into the public eye. He was called in for public debates. He was criticized. And eventually as the storm continued he was excommunicated from the church. When he died they dug up his body and burned it and tossed it into a river.
It was during that time that he wrote three books and he wrote this: if we are justified by faith alone, then it must be that we look to Christ alone, not to the church and not to the sacraments. Christ alone. The church looked to numerous sacraments at that time.
• mass/communion/Eucharist/elements became body and blood of Jesus
• last rites
It was the belief that the act of taking of the wine and eating of the bread that while doing so these became the actual blood and body of Jesus Christ and would atone for your sin at that moment. That is why the crucifix existed in that day and does today in the Catholic Church because it is as though Jesus is still dying for our sins.