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Summary: Honoring the Protestant Reformation by moving Forward in our Faith

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INTRO

Of all the subjects Martin Luther was most passionate, he wrote of nothing more extensive than that of “faith. In December 1536, Luther marched forward in faith by defending that which he held so dear by encouraging the church to reform their ways and return to the Lord with all their hearts. In defense of the Faith alone in Christ Jesus, Luther wrote:

“The first and chief article is this, that Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, “was put to death for our trespasses and raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). He alone is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “God has laid upon him the iniquities of us all” (Isa. 53:6). Moreover, “all have sinned,” and “they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, by his blood” (Rom. 3:23–25).

Inasmuch as this must be believed and cannot be obtained or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that such faith alone justifies us, as St. Paul says in Romans 3, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Rom. 3:28), and again, “that he [God] himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

[Then, with boldness, Luther wrote] Nothing in this article can be given up or compromised, even if heaven-and-earth and things temporal should be destroyed. For as St. Peter says, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “And with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).

On this article rests all that we teach and practice against the pope, the devil, and the world. Therefore we must be quite certain and have no doubts about it. Otherwise all is lost, and the pope, the devil, and all our adversaries will gain the victory.

REFORMATION DEFINED

 Today, we’re celebrating Reformation day. This word, “reformation” what does it mean?

 Talk about Dictionary definition

 1 : the act of reforming : the state of being reformed

 2 capitalized : a 16th century religious movement marked ultimately by rejection or modification of some Roman Catholic doctrine and practice and establishment of the Protestant churches

 Another way of looking -- breaking the word apart — RE: Formation

 Re: to return — as like a reply or return email. A return to a previous thing

 to a formation (as in a military-like formation)

 an arrangement of a body or group of persons or things in some prescribed manner or for a particular purpose

 Paul said to the church in Thessalonica, “we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith” (2 Th 1:11).

 The manner in which a thing is formed:

 Faith should shape the way we move and have our being. Faith in Christ alone should transform.

 Paul said (and I’m condensing) “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind…. think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Ro 12:2–3).

 Putting it together: A reformation is really nothing than a return to not only the former body and prescribed manner of doing things, but also a former purpose by the transforming of our minds in faith. In my humble opinion, this is the truest sense of what all the reformers have done, not just Luther and his contemporaries, but those going back to biblical antiquity.

 Turn with me please to the book of Acts, Chapters 6 and 7.

STEPHEN’S CALL FOR REFORMATION

 Stephen Chosen, “a man full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit;”

 He was Spirit-filled believer (today we’d probably call him a Charismatic’s charismatic)

 Operated in a mode of nothing but bold faith.

 Preached the gospel. He knew his bible and the history of the Jewish people

 Stephen called for a “reformation” of sorts on Faith alone in Christ Jesus.

 He acted much as Luther did. He stood before the religious elite who controlled the politics of the land and preached the Good News without hesitation or fear of reprisal.

 In essence, said return to your former faith.

 He accused them of killing the prophets – the same prophets that also called for a reformation of the heart —men like Jeremiah.

 Jeremiah spoke these words that God gave to him for the people of Judah “So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”

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