Summary: This looks at the last of the Five Solas and examines what ti means to Live to Give Glory to God Alone.
He was a man who couldn’t keep a job. He was a church organist and composer and while he was a great organist the pieces that he composed himself were often considered too showy to be played in church, and so eventually the church would grumble and he would move on. So glad churches today don’t grumble about music.
And he was no doubt forgotten by the churches he had worked for but certainly not forgotten by history.
His name was Johann Sebastian Bach, maybe you recognize it. Once when the pastor of one church was relaying the concerns of the congregation Bach responded by saying:
"The main purpose of my music is to glorify God. Some people do this with music that is simple. I haven't chosen to use a simple style, but my music comes from my heart as a humble offering to God. This honours God no matter what musical style I use."
The main purpose of my music is to glorify God. Can we say that about what we do?
Here is a sample of one of Bach’s compositions, and notice down here at the you’ll see Soli Deo Gloria - For the Glory of God Alone.
We are told when Bach began to write a new song that he wrote the initials JJ at the top of the page, which stood for “Jesu Juva” Latin for “Jesus Help Me” and when he finished the work he wrote For the Glory of God Alone.
And he wasn’t alone, both Handel and Graupner signed their work with Soli Deo Gloria to signify that their music was produced for the sake of glorifying God.
This is our fifth and final week of our Old Foundation series and through the month of January we’ve been looking at the “Five Solas” of the Protestant Reformation.
Now for those who are thinking, “I wonder what a protestant reformation is?” Don’t feel bad, you probably are in the majority of folks. Often people think that there has always been a broad range of Christians denominations, but not so.
For the first thousand years that the church existed there was really just “The Church”. And that ended in 1054 with what was known as the “Great Schism” and the church separated into the Catholic Church to the west and the Orthodox Church to the east. And then for the next five hundred years there were two main Christian groups.
That two-church model ended 500 years ago.
In 1517 a Catholic priest and theologian by the name of Martin Luther challenged the leadership of the Catholic church on a number of issues where he felt the church had drifted into error.
He didn’t get up one morning and think “By golly today is the day that I completely reshape what Christianity looks like.”
He was simply seeking to bring the Catholic church in line with the scriptures. Instead he was ultimately excommunicated by the church and the Lutheran church was born, and since then there have been more Protestant churches started then you can shake the proverbial stick at.
But what Luther shared with the reformers who would come after him, men like Calivn and Zwingli was a common foundation, what are often referred to as the Five Solas. And that is where we’ve been parked for the past five weeks.
Although these individual phrases have been used for centuries, it is not clear when they were first put together. And they sound fancy but Sola is simply a Latin term which means one or only.
And so, in week one we looked at Solas Fide, or By Faith Alone, and this was the belief that it is faith that is the main component of our salvation. That while faith will never ask more than that you believe, that it will never ask less. And we have to believe that God can save us, through his grace.
Then we looked at Solas Scriptura, or in the Scripture Alone. And that was the belief that the final authority for our Christian life is the Bible. The reformers didn’t feel that the bible was the only authority for the believer but they believed that it was the only infallible authority and it would be by scripture that those other traditions and teachings would be measured.
In week three we took some time with Solus Christus, through Christ Alone and looked at the power that is available only through the name of Christ. And that power that was there for the church in the book of Acts is the same power that was there for the reformers 500 years ago and the same power that is there for us today.
And that took us to Sola Gratia, by grace alone last week. And that is belief that our salvation comes completely by the grace of God, that it is not dependent on anything we do, other than believe in and accepting that Grace. Grace is simply the unmerited favour of God. Or getting what we don’t deserve.