Summary: A sermon preached at Homecoming, focusing on Martin Luther’s revelation surrounding "the just shall live by faith."
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:16-17)
This has been quite a week. While some have seen pagan rituals and practices contrary to the faith, others have seen great hope for the cause of Christ as they view the history of the church.
Today, we are gathered to celebrate Homecoming, 2006. What is the purpose of Homecoming? For some it is the only time of year they will grace the house of the Lord and then it is because of some sense of familial duty and not out of reverence to the Lord.
For others, it is a time of meeting with friends and family. A time when fellowship is had and a wonderful meal enjoyed. However, if this is our sole purpose today then we are in grave error.
Then for others, this is a time of commemoration, to remember those who founded the local body, those who helped to define the faith and those who left us during the year. It is with thankfulness to God that we come and remember.
This morning, I would like for us to think about who we are as Christians. For the faith we practice is very different from what the church of the 1400’s and 1500’s was practicing. Some things have changed based upon the technological advances; however, some changes were needed from a doctrinal stance.
The text we read this morning is instrumental to what is known as the Reformation of the church. Journey with me if you will to the 1500’s. The pope is involved in a massive building program, but monies are running short. In order to fund the building project the pope authorizes the sell of indulgencies.
Now, in our twenty-first century mindset, we cannot understand how it is that someone would buy such a thing. But, times were different, people were far more superstitious than today. Furthermore, the only scripture they had was written in Latin and many of the priests themselves no longer understood the readings.
There is a small man who is searching diligently for God. He finds himself teaching in Wittenberg. In order for him to excise the metaphorical demons that are plaguing him, he has been assigned to teach theology. In preparation to teach class, this professor finds a key text in Romans and the light of the Reformation was birthed.
Of course, you know that the young Reformer was none other than Martin Luther. Martin Luther was the right man, in the right place at the right time. The Reformation had its beginnings far earlier than Luther, but with the invention of the printing press and the fire within Luther, the Reformation process was firmly entrenched. This past Tuesday, we remember October 31, 1517, as the day in which Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the church and from there Christendom has never been the same.
With this background, let us look that key text.
I. For I am not ashamed of the gospel.