SERMON ON REFORMATION
When Robert Louis Stevenson was a boy he once remarked to his mother, “Momma, you can’t be good without praying.” “How do you know, Robert?” she asked. “Because I’ve tried!” he answered. This brings to mind a story about another little fellow — one who had been sent to his room because he had been bad. A short time later he came out and said to his mother, “I’ve been thinking about what I did and I said a prayer.” “That’s fine,” she said, “if you ask God to make you good, He will help you.” “Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me be good,” replied the boy. “I asked Him to help you put up with me.”
Â Dear Friends! God says in JEREMIAH 31:28 â€œAnd just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says theÂ Lord.â€
Â The world around is broken, destroyed and is filled with evil and so God wants to Repair, Rebuild and Reform our lives but often most people are satisfied to be the way they are as long as others are able to put up with them.
THEME: â€œJESUS REPAIRS, REBUILDS AND REFORMS US FOR LIFE ETERNALâ€
Dear Friends! Look at the world around us or switch on the news on your TV and we hear violence, breaking down of lives, destruction, persecution, hatred, injustice, bombing of the innocent and the list goes on. People in the Middle Eastern world, the ISIS or Talibans or the fundamentalists are trying to destroy this earth that God created.Â We learn to put up with all the nonsense and these people take advantage. Godâ€™s word has the power to make us stand up and fight the good fight and run the race. We are not meant to just put up with rubbish around us but to stand up to the truth.
We as human beings are so comfortable in our lives as long as people around us are able to put up with us. We donâ€™t see the need to change, to be repaired, to be rebuilt and to be reformed for life eternal.
God promises I will build you up and plant you to be a new creation. We are not called to live lives as unrepairable people, we are called to be people repaired by the Grace of God. A lot of people think they are beyond repair.
Do you feel you are beyond repair?
Hear the good news from Jeremiah 31 â€œBut this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says theÂ Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.Â From the least of them to the greatest, says theÂ Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no moreâ€.
The good news is we are repaired as the law is written in our hearts. Hans Peethala â€œWhen the law is written in your minds: we will be slaves to the law and will keep struggling to keep the law and be perfect, But when the law is written in our hearts, it repairs our hearts and rebuilds it so that we may be reformed for life eternalâ€.
The good news is God has written the law in our hearts and the law is reformed in our hearts and it transforms us to be Gospel living disciples.
Today we remind ourselves Martin Luther saw the church breaking down and losing the Gospel. The Catholic Church was so focused on being perfect and the whole emphasis was on keeping the law. It was all about good works and striving to get to heaven by paying purgatory. Martin Luther stood up and said â€œEnough is enoughâ€ I will not put up with this rubbish anymore.
Martin Luther had tasted the Gospel and he was not able to see Godâ€™s children being led astray by working on their good works to be saved. He wanted to ensure that things were put in place and the church was repaired, rebuilt and reformed by Godâ€™s Grace. He proclaimed that we are saved by Grace alone. He reminded the church that we need to undergo some repair so that our faith might be rebuilt with Grace, Mercy and Love of God.
Martin Luther said, â€œI have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands that I still possessâ€.
We cannot save ourselves with our good works, But the good news is God has placed us in the hands of Jesus and Itâ€™s by the Grace of our Lord Jesus we are repaired, rebuilt and reformed for life eternal.
God enabled Luther to use Godâ€™s word to repair, rebuild and reform the lives of the needy. The Church was reformed as the Gospel penetrated into the hearts of the people. The power of the Gospel has â€œRepaired, Rebuilt and Reformed our lives foreverâ€.
Paul also was in a similar situation as he was ok as long as people were able to put up with him. But when his eyes opened, He saw that God had â€œRepaired, Rebuilt and Reformed his lifeâ€.
He said â€œFor I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.Â 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, â€œThe one who is righteous will live by faith.â€
Reformation is a reminder that we are Reformed people by the Grace of Jesus Christ our Saviour. We are made righteous by Grace and the Holy Spirit will guide us to live by faith. The world around us is being destroyed, plucked down and torn apart but we who have become righteous by Grace alone that we may live by faith. We do not live by seeing what is happening around us in this world, but we live by faith in what is promised to us by God our Saviour.
Romans 3:22 – 26 â€œThe righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction,Â 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;Â 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,Â 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed;Â 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesusâ€.
Dear Friends! We are justified by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to be righteous before God. This is the truth that Jesus has given us. John 8:31-36 â€œThen Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, â€œIf you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;Â 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.â€
This is the truth. Jesus has â€œRepaired, Rebuilt and Reformedâ€ our lives forever. We are set free by the Gospel, Jesus answered them, â€œVery truly, I tell you, â€œEveryone who commits sin is a slave to sinâ€.Â 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever.Â 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeedâ€.
The Son of man has set you and I free by the truth. The truth is we are saved by Grace and a faith response to the Grace we have received is good works that builds our faith.Â Go in peace. Amen
Pastor Hans Peethala