This week I am working as a carpenter to remodel part of our garage into an extra bedroom. It is relaxing to me as I meditate or listen to sermons (Paul, Graham, Chris and others) while I am hammering away. Every pastor should learn to hammer. On one of our trips to Ukraine we helped put a floor in the Makarovo Church. The old carpenter, Philpovich, I worked under taught me my first word in Russia for a tool. “Molatak” means “hammer.” What a blessed time we had hammering.
Hammering is holy work. Jesus did it. He knew how to hit the nail on the head. But he is more than a carpenter too. He built the universe you know and died to save believers.
Luther knew how to hammer too as he nailed his 95 complaints to the Castle Church door in 1517. He wanted to start a discussion on the problem of the sale of indulgences in the church. In so doing he “He hit the nail on the head 95 times.”
The first two theses contained Luther’s theme, that God wanted believers to seek repentance and that faith alone in Christ, not deeds, leads to salvation. This is not just believing in anything, having faith in yourself or that God exists. This faith is in Christ lone as Savior. He is the only way (John 14:6; Acts16:31). The other 93 theses really supported these first two. Here they are.
- When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ``Repent'' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
- This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
Read them all here. http://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html
While in Wittenberg, Germany last month, where this all happened, we had a surprise when we walked to the city square one noon. People and police were everywhere with snipers watching overhead. German President Steinmeier was even there. Suddenly church bells rang and the people sang “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” within sight of Luther’s church and statue.
The hymn is sometimes called “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation.” Verse three makes it clear who wins the battle. “Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he; Lord Sabaoth, his name, from age to age the same, and he must win the battle.”
Solus Christus or Christ Alone is one of the Solas of the Reformation. The medieval church had added many human achievements including paying your way to Christ’s simple salvation. Luther saw this as heresy and formed the “Christ Alone” emphasis to call people to trust only in Christ.
Today there are many heresies too. Many things are added to Christ’s simple salvation in our day. It is Christ plus self, emotions, the health and wealth gospel, living a good life, helping others and more. May we bring reform today by putting proper emphasis on trusting in Christ alone for salvation. He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (Jn. 14:6).
Those 95 theses are still there and now engraved in the material of the door of the Castle Church for all to see.
Rom. 1:17 “…the just shall live by faith.”
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Guys, Saturday morning join our men for our monthly Men’s Discipleship Breakfast at 8:00 AM in the Fireside Room. We enjoy breakfast, a time of prayer and this week Paul is giving a character sketch of Martin Luther in keeping with our theme of Little Known Men Who Made a Big Difference. See you at 8 AM.
Sunday (6/18) is Fathers Day. Join us at 9:15 with dad’s favorite finger food breakfast. Then at 10:30 we’ll have a baby dedication and worship as we look at an emotional love story from Scripture and meet the man from who is a great example of manhood but is seldom considered. I’ll be speaking.