Be Well Acquainted with God’s Word
Based on Patrick Knable’s brief message on Reformation Sunday, 2017.
At Veritas we have always valued church history so we want to celebrate an anniversary. Today is traditionally known as Reformation Sunday and you may be looking forward to Tuesday as Halloween, but October 31st is also Reformation Day.
This year commemorates the 500th year since the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. I realize that we all probably have a wide range of knowledge about what the Reformation was, so I want to take a couple moments to look at what the reformation was and why it is significant for us 500 years later.
Really basically, the Reformation was a movement in the 15 and 16-hundreds, in Europe, that tried to reform the Roman Catholic Church because the reformers saw doctrinal and moral corruption that undermined the Gospel.
Some famous believers that spearheaded this movement included Martin Luther, John Calvin, and may other amazing men and women.
Unfortunately the outcome wasn’t reform of the Catholic church, but these reformers were rejected by the church. One of the theological outcomes was what are known as the five solas. The five solas are five latin phrases that summarize the convictions of the reformers. “Sola” is a latin word that means “alone.” These five “alones” are:
- Grace alone
- Christ alone
- Faith alone
- To the glory of God alone
- Scripture alone
These are important because they can explain how we are saved according to the gospel. They can answer this question: how do we go from being spiritually dead and deserving of God’s wrath to becoming spiritually alive and having God be for us completely and forever?
The way we can answer that question with the five solas is: this transformation is by grace alone, on the basis of Christ alone, received through faith alone, so that all things lead to the glory of God alone, with Scripture alone as the final decisive authority for discerning teaching and defending these truths.
These five solas can be explored and discussed a ton, and I hope you will do that. But I wanted to share with you how I’ve been encouraged this year by looking at the Reformation, and I hope you can be encouraged the same way.
As we’ve been going through the Sermon on the Mount together, I’ve seen this parallel between the time of Jesus’ ministry and what happened 1500 years later when the Reformation broke out. Just as Jesus showed that the scribes and pharisees were missing the truth of Scripture and relying on tradition and opinions that were just passed down to them, the reformers, after turning to the Bible, saw this had happened again. It was seen as if the institution of the church was on par with and just as authoritative as God’s Word itself. The reformers, in reading their bibles, saw how this was obscuring and hiding the gospel. So they found a passion for reading the Bible, both in the original languages to understand the original truth, but also to translate it into common vernacular languages so that all people could understand the gospel.
They saw that real believers come from reading and knowing the Bible. Just as the apostle Paul said in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.” I urge you to follow in the footsteps of the reformers and develop a love for and devotion to reading the Bible.
Don’t let the teaching you hear here or on podcasts be the only contact you have with God’s Word. But instead, be so acquainted with God’s Word that you can test anything that’s taught and know that it’s good and true.
Would you pray with me and thank God for the work he did in the Reformation 500 years ago, and that he’d encourage us to continue in that work today?
Father, we do praise you for the work you did that we can look back on 500 years and the way that you were sovereignly working so that your glory could be shown. God, in that time you saw to it that the printing press would be developed just shortly before that so that the Bible can be printed in new languages and given to many people. God, we see your hand there. God, I pray that you would help us to be inspired by these reformers to love your Word and see what an amazing gift it is that you’ve given us to be able to hear from you for ourselves. God, don’t let us be distracted from your Word; but give us a passion, thirst, and hunger for you. God, I pray that we will always see you working and know your gospel and rejoice and seek your glory. I pray this all in Jesus’ name, amen.
Pastor at the Short North Congregation