Today marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, rediscovered the biblical doctrine of justification by faith, and challenged the Catholic Church’s practice of selling indulgences and the system of penance. Luther stood boldly on the Bible, though it was in opposition to the tradition and teachings of the Catholic Church. While Catholics quoted previous scholars and theologians, Luther quoted Scripture.
He also believed that the Bible should be put in the hands of the layperson. Everyone should be able to read and understand God’s Word in their own language under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I am thankful that God use Luther to begin the process of returning the true Church of Jesus Christ back to the Bible and in rediscovering the life-giving theology found within its pages. Luther should be appreciated for his stand, but he doesn’t deserve the credit. He was the instrument God used to bring this reformation about. The glory belongs to God, and followers of Jesus around the world should praise the Lord for this history-shaping movement.
With that said, the Reformation is not over. We must continue the fight for biblical doctrine, and for making the real Jesus non-ignorable in our world. So, we press on in experiencing and sharing the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Luther said that his conscience was captive to the Word of God, and that is where he stood for he could do nothing else. We must say with Luther, “there, too, I stand. I can do no other. God, help me.”
Soli Deo Gloria.
There is an echo within our being that longs for that life which God has designed for us to live originally in the garden paradise of Eden. That echo points us towards a future Eden, the new heavens and new earth, where there will be perfected relationship with God and the family of God because of the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
This past Monday, May 8, 2017, I had the honor and privilege to travel to Nashville (thanks to my friend Rep. Jeremy Faison) and to say a few words and open up the Tennessee House session in prayer. It was a tremendous opportunity and a great experience! Here is the link to the newspaper article. Here is the video:
Happy Resurrection Day! He is Risen! Jesus is alive!
I have a few brief thoughts to share with you about Resurrection Sunday:
(1) “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look — I am alive forevermore, and I hold the keys to death and Hades.” – Rev. 1:17-18
(2) “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” – John 11:25-26
(3) Read Matthew 28
(4) The whole of the Christian faith rests upon the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Continue reading
Here is what went on during the full, and seemingly forgotten day after the crucifixion of Jesus:
(1) Read Matthew 27:62-66 (very little is mentioned in the Bible about the events on this Saturday).
(2) The tomb is secured in fear that the disciples would steal Jesus’ body and falsely promote a bodily resurrection. The Roman seal, if broken, meant defying Roman authority, and was punishable by death. Roman soldiers were stationed at the tomb to add another measure of security. This means that the chief priests were well aware of Jesus’ prophecy of rising on the third day.
(3) Saturday is the only full day Jesus is in the tomb.
(4) Days were counted from sundown to sundown, which means Jesus was in the tomb 3 days. He was crucified on Friday then placed in a tomb (day 1). That subsequent Sundown would begin a new day — Saturday (day 2). Saturday ends the next sundown, and Sunday begins (day 3). Jesus arose that Sunday morning. Continue reading
I have more than 11, but these sum them up:
(1) In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve experienced separation from God due to sin, and on the cross of Golgotha, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, experiences separation from His Father due to being our sin-bearer.
(2) Read 1 Peter 2:21-25 (and Matthew 27)
(3) Jesus experienced separation from God and the full weight of God’s wrath for sin for you, so you wouldn’t have to (Rom. 8:35-39).
(4) There is no condemnation for those who repent and put their faith in Jesus (Rom. 8:1). Why? Because Jesus bore all the condemnation owed to sin on the cross.
(5) Suspended between heaven and earth on a Roman cross, Jesus cries out, “It is finished” (tetelestai – Jn. 19:30). The high cost of the redemption of the souls of men and women is stamped, “Paid In Full” thanks to Jesus’ shed blood.
There are two interesting, and relatively new demographics in the Western world.
The first demographic are the “nones.” This group of people are those who do not identify with one particular religious position. In this group are atheists, agnostics, and those who have an eclectic spirituality that fits no traditional religious category.
The second demographic are the “dones.” This group of people are those who perhaps do identify with a particular religious tradition, but are “done” with the organized manifestation of that religion.
These two groups are growing demographics in the West, and in particular Western Europe and the United States of America. Common statements from these groups are:
(1) I am not spiritual (atheism / “none”)
(2) I am spiritual; I just choose not to restrict my spiritual enlightenment with labels. (generic spiritualism with no formal tradition / “none”)
(3) I am a follower of Jesus, but don’t like the church. I don’t like organized religion. I don’t need the church to be saved. It’s a personal relationship anyway. (“done” with church).
The point is this: these two groups are not engaging in organized religion. Continue reading