Something happened 500 years ago this week that has probably impacted our lives more than anything since the early church. It was Martin Luther unknowingly kicking off the Reformation, which re-opened the gospel, turned Europe upside down, and led to the formation of the U.S. Plus, it tells us a lot about God Himself.
Tuesday, October 31 is a big deal.Of course, it’s All Hallow’s Eve, which has been shortened to Halloween, and been influenced by harvest festivals combined with festivals for the dead. Not exactly Bible-based.
But also, this year, October 31 is a celebration of an event that turned the world upside down, and has probably affected us more than any other event of the last 500 years!
Happy Reformation Day! It’s the 500th anniversary of something God did, with imperfect people.
What kind of an effect can something that happened 500 years ago have on my life? If it hadn’t happened:
So this Tuesday is OUR holiday!
So that’s why this sermon is entitled “After Darkness, Light.” 500 years ago this Tuesday, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church wall in the German town of Wittenberg and God proceeded to turn the world upside down. Here’s a brief overview of what He did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x7y2qqtaq8
Martin Luther didn’t set out to change the world, but what he did changed our lives! He unwittingly unleashed many forces–religious, social and political! It changed the map of Europe and America, and upended the political, social and economic worlds of the Middle Ages.
But most importantly–he rediscovered the gospel of Jesus Christ! The gospel has been described as “locked up in Latin.” It had been distorted in the worst way, and God’s word was kept from the people in many ways.
What broke through for him? Romans 1:17!
Think about what a difference it makes in your life to understand that you don’t have to work your way into heaven–that being “good enough” isn’t the point. That salvation–eternal life!–is a free gift of God that we can simply receive by faith!
There were others who not only poured out their life, but GAVE UP their lives–for us! Check out the lives of John Wycliffe, John Huss, and the Waldenses. Let’s never pretend that what we enjoy, in life and especially in God, didn’t come at a heavy price. Jesus fought the ultimate battle for us, but these folks fought other battles that affect how we live our lives every day!
The topic of the effects of the Reformation on our lives today is practically endless!
But here are a few:
God is in charge and has his hand on the past, and on our pasts. God has His hand on this world, and we can’t forget it. He is ultimately directing things, and it all involves expanding His Kingdom, and all ends up with Jesus coming back!
God is working behind the scenes! Of course He is. God sets things up!
This God is still at work today–not just in this world, but in our lives! God set up the technology (printing press), a new curiosity about the world and the things of God, an excitement that accompanied the discovery of the New World, and many political and economic conditions throughout Europe! He worked it all together so that one pounding of a nail would bring about a world revolution and would restore the purity of the gospel and would release God’s word to be read by everyone.
Why would God care about something so comparatively small as my life? Because He’s that big! Read Psalm 139 carefully and personally.
The God that turned the world upside down 500 years ago has been working in the world since then, He’s working in the world today, and that God is someone you can know personally!
What Luther did helps us understand even that! For a quick review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7gtYwQ1ubk
So Happy Reformation Day!