â€œHere we standâ€
Today, like all days we come together in worship to receive from, praise to, thank and celebrate our Lord. Thatâ€™s our focus today, next Sunday and every day in between. The focus of knowing that God the Father sent His only Son Jesus Christ to this earth to take our sins on himself and that in faith in Him and in His actions alone we are saved and given eternal life. We are saved in Godâ€™s gift to us in Christ: start, middle and end-thatâ€™s it. Yet amazingly God also works through the sinners that Christ came to save. Abraham, Moses, Noah, the 12 apostles, Mary, Paul and all the big â€œguysâ€ of the bible. Notable messengers of the Word and united as great workers in Godâ€™s kingdom, yet also united in the knowledge of their sin.
The clothing of Adam and Eve after they fell to temptation, the release of Gods people from captivity in Egypt, the baby growing in a young virgin named Mary and all of scripture point to one person-Jesus Christ, the start, middle and end.
All scripture whether history, law or Gospel are to bring His saving Words into our hearts and minds. Thatâ€™s the aim of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit-and all who have heard it and know it for themselves just like those chosen to be Godâ€™s mouthpieces during a time of change in the Church brought about by a Catholic monk called Martin Luther who had the audacity to nail 95 biblical truths to a local church door-the local messaging e-mail of the time and start a movement labelled the reformation.
They say that the pen is mightier than the sword and indeed when young Mister Luther made his observations regarding the truth of scripture in order to unleash the truth of Christ, so to he unleashed powers that wished to destroy him, and though Martin Luther and all the reformers that followed him could well stand alongside those great messengers chosen by God from earlier times, Iâ€™m sure they all would scowl in dis-belief that here 496 years later we are celebrating their works. But we do and we should. Not because they saved us, but because they responded to the call of God to bring our focus to one who did, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ said I am the way, the life and the truth and through the men and women of the reformation the knowledge and full words of scripture were brought in front of those who in the time had not the access to nor the educational skill to understand the Holy Scriptures and were being misguided and mislead to believe in means of salvation other than through faith in Christ alone.
Upon receiving his Academy award for his role in Gladiator, Russell Crowe born in New Zealand, raised in Australia and finding fame in America said:
â€œGod protect New Zealand, God Bless America and thank God for Australiaâ€ and for the reformers and all messengers of the truth of Christ we thank God for protecting them, thank God for blessing them with the truth, and thank God for that truth, the way and the life that is Christ Jesus.
Salvation not of our works or piety, but in Jesus Christ alone who we know is our start, middle and end that we can line up with St. Paul and know that if we boast, we can only boast of Him our Lord and Saviour.
A simple yet revolutionary truth challenged some 496 years ago and though now the Word of God-the Holy Scriptures of the Bible is available to any of us fortunate to be living in a free country, that simple yet revolutionary truth of salvation in faith in Christ is still challenged to this day and seen only recently when I read in a publication placed in many Christian churches an article regarding John chapter 10 verse 10 of Jesus the Good Shepherd. Firstly, starting prior at verse 7 I read to you the word of God:
â€œSo Jesus said again, â€˜I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life-life in all its fullness. I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep.â€
The clear Word of God: â€œThose who come in by me will be savedâ€, yet which evoked this commentary which not only brings into question the message of the reformers but the question of why Christ needed to die in the first place. The commentary:
â€œIn John 10:10 Jesus promises the abundant life or life on a higher level. As we approach our spiritual destination on our lifelong journey towards spiritual man so the level on which we live our life climbs. I find it totally enlightening to have come to realise that the quality of my life here on earth is completely in my own hands and depends entirely on the effort that I make over time. (&) when I look at 1 Cor.3:13-15 I am pleasantly surprised to see that the quality of my life in heaven too, depends on my actions now that will result in having natural man born again. It’s all up to me!â€
Words from a publication serving God in heartfelt service. Yet words that with its connationâ€™s may unintentionally misguide and words that you will not again find within these four walls as we continue to preach and teach the truth of a message fought for 496 years ago and died for some 1500 years before then.
The Word of God, given for you in his mercy:
â€œYou are justified by faith apart from works of lawâ€, for â€œall fall short of the glory of Godâ€. â€œFor it is by Godâ€™s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but Godâ€™s gift, so that no one can boast about itâ€, because â€œ through Jesus Christ is preached the forgiveness of sins, and everyone who believes in Him is set freeâ€, as â€œSalvation is to be found through Him alone and in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can saves usâ€ because God did not send his Son into the world to condemn you, but that through Him you are savedâ€.
The message of Jesus Christ -our start, our middle, our end. Our everything. Our Saviour. Amen.