Summary: Stating the truth is a goal for most Christians. This is what sparked the reformation. And one of the events that is turning point in the reformation is the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, which is a statement of how important God is and that Je
Today we are remembering an important and significant event for Christians and for us as Lutherans.
It is when a group of lay political leaders publicly read and supported what was stated in the Augsburg Confession.
On this day, 476 years ago, at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon on the 25 June,
Chancellors Bruck and Bayer stood in front of the emperor of Germany, Charles the fifth and read out this document.
A further five had signed it.
This document contained what was consider the most important 28 points or articles
on what the supporters of the Lutheran movement believed,
and confessed as accurate teachings from God’s Word, scripture.
Publicly the Lutheran reformation movement had commenced some 13 years earlier,
when Martin Luther had nailed the 95 thesis or points for discussion and debate to the church at Wittenberg on 31st October.
But the Augsburg confession highlights and clarifies a number of biblical truths.
The Augsburg Confession, went a step further.
It clearly spelt out what Lutheran’s truly believed as the correct interpretation of scripture and the Christian faith.
And it was now available for all to see and hear,
because it was read allowed,
it was read in public
and it was read in a language that people could understand
not behind closed doors to a privilege few.
However the lay leaders who put their names to this document encounted significant pressure to conform to a particular view that did not seem consistent with scripture.
Many people and leaders in Germany, including The German Emperor, feared being attacked and having power ceased from them on two fronts
One from the Turks, who would bring the Muslim religion.
And another from France,
unless he was able to stabilise the religious unrest that had occurred as a result of the differences between the Catholic Church of the time and those supporting Luther’s interpretation of scripture,
and other Protestant leaders.
So the emphasis on unity to protect the country from attacks was a real pressure.
It is reported that Charles attempted to use both these reasons into scaring people into conforming to the catholic teachings of the day.
Regardless of what these teachings were or their implications on people’s faith.
Or at least for the reformers to keep quiet about what they believed.
Have you ever been in a similar situation?
This can be a very dangerous situation to be in.
We can compromise or keep quiet about some part of the truth to improve our situation or even just to protect ourselves.
Ever been tempted to create enemies of others based on suspicion and innuendos,
and keep quiet about the truth simply to protect our own turf.
Our own power?
Simply because it helps maintain what some people think is peace.
But as Christians we are not lead by what we or others think is right,
we are lead by what God says in His scriptures is right.
The early reformers did not allow these threats of attack to determine what they believed about God and the Christian church.
The circumstances weren’t irrelevant
but rather they trusted God even though it appeared there was a real possibility of difficulties for the whole country and themselves.
And yet they trusted that God would be with them during these difficulties.
And there was even a greater personal threat.
Emperor Charles the fifth, on numerous occasions had said Luther and his followers had to either conform to the teaching of the Catholic Church or die.
Imagine that threat being placed before you?
How would you react?
So the threat of death for stating the truth about scripture was extremely real.
Luther himself at various times throughout the Reformation was kept in hiding.
For this reason Luther himself was not at the reading of the Augsburg Confession, as his life was in danger.
But listen to the response of George, Margrave of Brandenburg,
one of those who appeared at the reading of the Augsburg Confession, when confronted with such a threat.
"Before I let anyone take from me the word of God and ask me to deny my God, I will kneel and let them strike off my head."
How would have you reacted to such a threat?
In fact how do you react when confronted with the situation of between choosing God and something or someone else?
Everyday each of us is confronted with such situations.
The choice of confessing that we believe in God with what we say and do
or keeping silent with our lips and actions.
Our physical life may not be at stake.
But something far more important is,
our eternal life,
and so is the eternal life of others.
The Gospel reading we heard today from Matthew 10, verses 26 to 33 is part of a larger teaching.