Summary: This sermon takes a brief look at the errors of the Church that gave birth to the Reformation and puts forth an argument for the need of a new reformation.
Luke 18:35-43 (New International Version)
A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
38 He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 "What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord, I want to see," he replied.
42 Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
On October 31, 1517, the eve of All-Saints’ Day, at high noon, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. That touched off the Reformation, the largest religious movement in the history. What can we say? Well we are here today, in this church, because of the Reformation. For you see, that day was the birth of the Protestant Movement.
And in that movement was heard the borning cries of the Lutheran Church, the Episcopalian Church, the Baptist Church, The Methodist Church, The Nazarene Church, the Pentecostal Churches and of course the Presbyterian Church. Yes, our churches were born in protest. Did you know that is where the name Protestant comes from? We are protesters. But what were we protesting? Or should I say, what was Martin Luther protesting?
Martin Luther was a Professor at Wittenberg College. He was known as the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary, but more than anything else, he was a Roman Catholic Priest. And as a Priest he was in tune to the practices of the faith and he did not like what he saw,
He saw for the most part:
Indulgences were being paid and he asked, “Can someone’s sins be bought?
The main problem is that the Church had become so powerful. You know many in our country love to state the Jeffersonian refrain, “Separation of Church and State” and they are all too proud to sue to keep it so. Although this Phrase is not stated anywhere in the Constitution of the United States. That's why the First amendment was adopted, to stop State Sponsored religions. For you see, in the days of the Reformation, the Church was so powerful that it was ingrained into everything, even the Government. For Europe in those days, the religion was Roman Catholic. In those days here is a little about how the church related to the people:
1. Only priest were allow to read scripture.
2. People were required to attend church or be excommunicated.
3. Services were 4-6 hours long, spoken only in Latin.
Can you imagine going to church each Sunday and sitting there for hours while someone spoke a foreign language to you? You would be bored to tears. But that was the way it was. The Reformation exposed the errors of the church: mainly that it had drifted away from scripture and was doing a new thing.
Well I say for the 21st Century, in order for the Christian Church to survive, we need a new Reformation. In our modern society, when we speak of reform, we mean to move off in a new direction; To do something different that we have not done before.
To the original reformers the word reform didn't mean to do something new, it meant to "RE-FORM" into what it originally was meant to be.
The trouble of the Church in the first Reformation was that it had become so money hungry that it sought
to add things to the faith that were not scriptural. Today, we see a new and more profound corruption; it is not about a church that is so powerful that it dictated to the people when and where to do almost everything in life, but now we see the church so weak that it is willing to forsake the scriptures in order to attract members. This is by far a most pitiful situation.
Our society today and I am sad to say, our Churches have allowed our morals, mores and folkways to be governed not by Holy Scripture but by the notion of Political Correctness…..Which says that we must not offend anyone so we can’t even suggest to be critical in any way…. Even if it is a helpful criticism…. Even if it is the truth. We find that we must walk on egg shells, watching our tongues, afraid to state, in many cases, the obvious. This kind of mentality enpowers man to excuse his own sin while demonizing the righteous. This new mantra has evolved into a licence to belief and behave however one wants as long as it does not infrenge on others.