Articles, Blog

Martin Luther: Courage to Stand for Christ

November 3, 2019


This, this next weekend, when people are busy talking about Halloween, which I will talk about shortly in a few minutes, when people are busy talking about Halloween, my mind always drifts to October 31st representing a pivotal day in history. Now I decided to do it this Sunday rather than next Sunday, because whether it was the stirring of the Spirit or I just didn’t want to do it on the weekend that would be typified by the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and whatnot. I didn’t want to be a part of the traffic jam, so we’re getting an early start here. But that day, October 31st marks a very pivotal time in history, when a man named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg. Now, it’s impossible to just come in and say, “Okay, I’m going to present the one fact over here.” I’m actually wanting this to be as broad a spectrum as possible in my presentation, so that, for the benefit of people who have not been here over the years and who do not really know why. And please, don’t look at the person beside you and, you know, give them the eyeballs. Not everybody is as educated in these things. Some people just are, they’re born up into a religion, that’s what they believe. They don’t even know why. Now, I want us all to transport ourselves just mentally, for just a few minutes into a different time frame. We are indeed, I think, still in the year 2014, but I want you to try and get a mindset. Before I can even begin talking about this, I want you to get a mindset into the world in which Martin Luther was born, because this does actually set the foundation, a proper understanding of something. We know Martin Luther was born in 1483, but I want to go back just a little bit before then and I would like to talk about maybe 100 years before his birth. And if anybody studies history, the numbers are not even certain, because people’s statuses were not accurately reported. But over those 100 years prior to Martin Luther’s birth, the plague swept Europe and maybe somewhere in the vicinity of up to 50 percent of the population was wiped out. Try and get the mindset that in those days, in those very medieval, superstitious days, if people did have a pension to go to the church, I almost have to remind you that people didn’t have a book in their hands and most people did not have the luxury that we have, which is being able to hear the words of God in your own tongue. Now at the background of all this, just in the, in the swirl of just around Martin Luther’s birth, as I said, he’s born in 1483, in the world perspective many things are happening. The world is in, in tumult somewhat. One of the markers for me, and it’s a period in history that fascinates me, I’m almost maybe obsessed with it, is the fall of Constantinople in 1453, which marks a huge turn for Christianity as Mohamed II takes over that land, which was marked as a Christian land, and the end of a Byzantine period for that land, for that area, and something else that’s happening. In the year 1454, a man by the name of Johannes Gutenberg is tweaking his new invention. He’s not yet printed the Bible on it, but he has spent much time printing thousands of indulgences for the Roman Catholic Church. Now, if you don’t know what that is, I’ll get to it in a minute, but this is, this is the backdrop to the world in which Martin Luther was born into in 1483, born the son of a miner, a man and woman who worked very hard and their labor was so that they wanted more for their son. Good parents, Hans, Martin Luther’s father, wanted him to be a lawyer, so off to law school he goes. And anyone who reads the history of Martin Luther will know that he was studying law and on his way back one day during a storm in 1505, lightening that strikes just close to him. And he falls to the ground and cries out, “Saint Anne, save me!” And of course, says that he’ll become a monk in that, in that moment. I think that probably history probably, we needs to reexamine a little bit of might have been going on in Martin Luther’s life that maybe he didn’t really want to be a lawyer after all. I’m not sure that a thunder storm could provoke anyone into a monastic life. But those are things that need to be, you know, as a sidebar. Now the other thing that we have to get the mindset for here is, and this is; these are things that are lost in today’s society. When we think about Martin Luther’s day, it’s important to know that the bulk of the studies were done, Martin Luther included, had to learn Latin. Latin was the liturgical language, it was the language of government and, of course, if you studied anything at all, that was the bulk. You, in order to become a doctor or a master of anything, you needed Latin. And the common person did not read. That is, that’s the missing ingredient here. When most people talk about Martin Luther, and I’ve heard many ignorant commentators and people say things, but there’s always this missing fact. The common person━can you imagine a sea of people such as you not being able to read. You don’t have a Bible and you are, if you do come to the church to hear the priest give a mass, it’s in a tongue you don’t understand and you must, if you have questions, if you are even allowed, if it’s even permissible, which most were frowned upon to ask questions, you were completely reliant on what the priest would answer, because you could not see it for yourself. And if you were one of those in nobility, it was still a luxury before the printing press began to print Bibles to be able to have a Bible, to be able to actually read it for oneself; which also presupposes that if you were just a lay person you would, you would absolutely have to read and understand Latin, because the Bible was printed in that language. Now you can’t wrap your mind around this history without understanding that there’s another dynamic, too, which is Martin Luther did not start off wanting to turn the church world upside down. He did not start off wanting to, you know, people━I was reading an article and I just thought, “Wow, these are people who have no understanding of history.” Forget about whether or not you like Catholicism or you’re a Protestant, just reading history you get a clear indicator that Martin Luther started off as a man who desired to press close to God, but he felt greatly afflicted and he felt like within the entering into the Augustinian monastery he could not get any release. The frustration that he had, I mean, when he came to confession, people just moved away, because even though he had confessed everything and confessed and confessed and confessed, he never had a sense of peace come over him. Now what’s interesting is that if you follow this man, he didn’t set out to set the world on the course that ultimately it took. And here’s what I want to tell you. If you leave here saying, “Well, I didn’t come for history,” I want you to leave knowing that the word of God, one verse of Scripture primarily, changed a man and changed his mind and in that process that man was used as a conduit to change the rest of the world. And that is the way God has done His bidding through the recorded history of His book. That’s why I keep telling you, God uses vessels, He uses men and women. Don’t ever think that you don’t have a purpose here. God placed you here on this earth for a reason. It’s just that most of the time we indulge in the self and the things that we think we ought to do, need to do and desire to do rather than put God’s will first. And that doesn’t say go into a monastery and lead a monastic life. That simply means putting the self on the shelf for just a━I had to make sure I said that right━for just, for God’s sake. Now I say just a few more things about history and then we’ll get into a little bit of Martin Luther’s life and story. The other thing that is attributed to Martin Luther, not only turning the church world upside down and right side up, frankly, but establishing a standardized language for his mother tongue, being German, which was not yet established. So as many times as I’ve broken this down for us in our English frame, the English language, for example, consists of multiple periods. From 450-1100, you’ve got Old English; from 1100-1500 is Middle English; from 1500-1800, you’ve got early modern; and from 1800 forward, Modern English, which is still; I don’t want to say it’s evolving, because it’s going backwards when you have words like “dude” entered into the dictionary. But, but the German language is the same, has the same developmental history broken into periods. So it’s, it’s very important to understand this that I have just three breakdowns here. 700 A.D. to the eleventh century is Old High German; 1050-1350, Middle High German; 1350-1600 is Early New High German; and 1600 to present is New High German. There is no way that I expect you to remember that, but what I want you to understand is that until the time that Luther actually wrote his translation of the Bible there was no standardized German, there was no universal language. If you lived in Bavaria, you spoke Bavarian or you spoke Plattdeutsche, or you spoke━there were diversities and not, they were not necessarily━it’s very much like Italy. When you travel to Italy, you may be in the north, and if you go to Sicily, and you, even if you speak and understand and you travel to Sicily, you will do the Newman thing. You’ll tilt your head to wonder what on earth are those people saying, because they’re not speaking my language. This happens. The same thing is true with the French from France and the French from Quebec. It’s two different dynamics; supposedly the same language, but it is not. So we have this language that is evolving and we need language to communicate, which the Roman Catholic Church so greatly withheld the communicational tools from the people for so long. Now don’t say, oh, I’m bashing Catholics, because I’m not. I’m telling you about history. And there was a brief gap in time, in church history when even the Latin language took a little respite, just a small one, and that was in the Avignon papacy, when everything moved to Avignon, France. Seven consecutive seated popes did their business there instead of Rome, so the Language, there was a little bit of language hiccups along the way as well. But Latin still reigned supreme. So now, in the backdrop of all this, what I want to say is people might not make the connection with the lack of people being educated, the lay people did not have the accessibility to the book and to the knowledge, and even to basic reading skills. Put that one down as the first problem. The second one is that the clergy, in all of its regalia, was limited to its own. Things that we take for granted, this is why I, I cringe when I hear people talk about the Table of the Lord and “How you must qualify or you must examine yourself and make sure that you’re partaking in a worthy way.” All the things that you hear really have traces of ignorance and Catholicism in their root; lack of understanding. This very simple supper that our Lord took His disciples to in representational form of the Passover, and He being the Pascal Lamb presenting the elements to the disciples, “Take, eat, this is my body. Drink, this is my blood of the New Covenant” became within the Catholic Church for the clergy a new way to offer daily, to sacrifice to offer a sacrifice. And frankly, it’s heartbreaking because we know that Christ was our sacrifice, completely and totally. Now how could people who are supposed to be learned in liturgical matters stray so far from the truth? And this is where Martin Luther is born into this society; he’s born into this culture. I’m trying to get you to get out of 2014 and come into a realm where people are; it is seen as a great honor if you sell all your things and become a beggar in the street and do pilgrimages and venerate bones and relics. These were great honorable things. People didn’t know why they did them, as I said, steeped in superstition. And if you were born into this time, as Martin Luther was, certain things become evident. One of them I mentioned Gutenberg’s printing of indulgences. This was the sale, essentially of pardons by the Roman Catholic Church, but this became a big business. And it became a very important business. Saint Peter’s, the old Saint Peter’s had fallen into disrepair while the papacy was moved to Avignon. Now a new pope sitting there says, “We must rebuild, but we need money, so in order to get money, we will sell indulgences. We will, we will have prayers for the dead. We will, we will sell everything we can on a piece of paper that says your loved ones have been sprung from purgatory,” whatever that means. And so, sometime between the time of Martin Luther’s birth, 1483, clear to about 1506, there’s a great movement to rebuild, to make this the greatest. And by the way, if you’ve ever seen pictures or you’ve traveled there, it’s quite spectacular. No one’s going to say it’s not. But just remember if you walk into that Basilica that all the money that went into that was raised primarily by the sale of indulgences, by the seizing of people’s property. I mean, when you begin to think about it, you almost go, “Wow, it’s splendid, but so I’m sure paradise in hell must also look that way: splendid.” So, I just said a mouthful. I don’t want anyone to think, especially for our Catholic friends that I am somehow against. What I am against is ignorance. I am against people who do not take the time to read their own history. Now I was once very ignorant and believed a certain way and I only believed a certain way, but it was because I was brought up a certain way and enculturated in a certain way and never, never thought it was okay for me to ask. And then we live in an age of technology where very carefully, if you can do your own research, you begin to see that there’s a lot out there that is done in the name of Jesus that Jesus never ordained for us to do. Now when you follow the life of Martin Luther, as I said, he’s in a monastery now. And what was said of him in the monastery is if anybody led the life of a monk to its nth degree, it was Martin Luther. When it was time for fasting, Martin Luther would often fast to the point where he would be found fallen over somewhere for being so faint and so weak that the other monks would have to pick him up and seat him and give him a drink of water. And when it came time for penance and all of the━he was, if it required one, he’d do ten, because he was going to find his way into the kingdom by the works as they were presented to him. Now it’s kind of interesting, because at the time that Luther is now engrossed and he becomes somehow the spokesperson for this Augustinian monastery and there is a schism amongst seven monasteries and Luther is sent to Rome. And I would tell you who wrote this book, but unfortunately somebody did eat the cover. I do know, recognizing the little print right there that it is Moody Press, but there’s nothing else I can tell you except that it is a coverless book. Please do not ask. “Luther imagined Rome to be a most holy city. It was necessary for him to see it, and he visited it in 1510.” That’s where I am in my timeline. Now you might be saying, “Why do I━why should I know this?” Because this man thought this was the most important journey he would ever make. He thought this was the holiest city, the greatest pilgrimage he could ever make, steeped in a culture, steeped in a religious life of veneration and works. And you can imagine his surprise. I love this. “He set out and crossed the Alps, descended into the plains of Italy. At every step he found subjects of astonishment and scandal. He was entertained in a wealthy Italian convent of the Benedictines. When he saw the splendid apartments, the rich dresses, the delicate food, he was confounded.” Remember, he came out of this order where they wore those drab, brown robes, tonsured and meager fare, bread and water; prison food, right? “Marble, silk, luxury in all its forms━what a sight for the humble brother of the poor convent of Wittemberg! Friday came━a fast day with the Roman Catholics,━but Luther saw the table with meat.” See, when he got there, he began to see the contradictions that contradicted whatever he had been living in his life, in his monastic life. “He was shocked, and resolved to speak. ‘The Church and the Pope,’ he said, ‘forbid such things.’ The Benedictines were very angry, and the porter of the convent warned him that it would be dangerous to stay any longer.” Money! Right? “He left this wealthy convent and went out on to Bologna, where he became dangerously ill.” Now he’s approaching the city and he says, “’Holy Rome, I salute thee!’ But when he entered the city, he saw great wickedness on every hand, he felt that it was far from holy. He saw the priests and the high dignitaries of the Church made a mock of religion, or else performed their duties with haste in a mechanical manner. On one occasion he was engaged in celebrating mass, when he found that the priests at the adjoining altar had repeated seven masses before he had finished one. ‘Make haste, make haste; have it done quickly,’ another priest cried out to him.” That’s what was going on. His dear traditions that he had been raised in now he’s seeing all of this as just a façade. “Luther went to Rome a devout Papist, and at first gave himself up to all the superstitions of the Church. He visited the churches and chapels, he believed the falsehoods that were told to him, he knelt before the shrines of the saints,━he even wished that his parents were dead, so that by his good woks he might have the pleasure of delivering their souls from purgatory.” Think about that. “One day, wishing to obtain an indulgence, which the Pope had promised to all who should ascend on their knees what is called the Pilate’s staircase, he began slowly to crawl up those steps, when a voice like thunder seemed to speak from the bottom of his heart, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ He started up from his knees, and rushed from the spot ashamed of his superstitious folly.” And it is that text that began to change the way this man understood, the way he studied, the way he approached. He went to Rome desiring to do the business that he was sent to do, but he left Rome and the beginning of change that was planted in his heart began to happen. That one text turned the world upside down. Now, Luther does return to Wittenberg, and at the urging of many, he actually, in 1511 gets his doctorate in theology. And by 1513, he’s lecturing on the Psalms and by 1515-16, he’s lecturing through Romans. And it’s through the Psalms and Romans and these lectures, the first go around that things are really beginning to crystallize. One of them is this. That text that I just mentioned and the study in Rome, in Romans begins to increase his understanding that when the Apostle Paul said, “the righteous shall live; the just shall live by faith,” there was this understanding that no amount of works, no amount of performance, no amount of repentant deeds or acts could bring on that which God alone could do and would do for the faithful, the ones faithing and trusting in God. This moment in time actually begins an incredible journey. Now, to people who are familiar with the history, it is 1517 now and Luther marches up to the door, the church door at Wittenberg and posts his 95 Theses. This is called, Basic Luther, four of his fundamental works are in here, but the main, the main objective is his 95 Theses, spelt out point by point. Now, the reason why this becomes so important, and I will give you the subtly of something, if you didn’t read the language and you didn’t understand what you were reading, you might be inclined to encounter (hopefully we have a good color here), you might be inclined to encounter this as it appears from the, from one of the Latin, earliest Latin manuscripts. This is a passage of Scripture out of Matthew 4, I believe this is 17, where Jesus speaks and He says the kingdom, the kingdom of God, “Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand.” Now for the Latin reader, reading only the Latin words, this would be translated into English, “Do penance.” If you’re reading from the Greek text, from the original Greek text, you would be reading one word━now I have to remember which language I am writing in, which can become challenging━which we’ve taught many times: metanoeite, which is simply a change of mind. But if you were reading from the Latin, “Do penance” carries with it the fact that you must do something, not just a change of mind and therefore a change of heart, but from the Latin perspective you must engage in penitential acts of repentance, therefore outward works displaying your, your penitent person. This is a contradiction to what Christ said. We know this clearly from the Scriptures. This is simply an imperative that Christ gave. When I say simply an imperative, I mean, He didn’t say, “Now, begin to do these things!” It was: “Change your mind,” change your direction from “All we like sheep have gone our own way,” to following Him and going His way. That’s all it meant; no outward━so just on something as simple as this, a whole understanding, theologically speaking, begins to be chiseled away at. Now as I said, Martin Luther didn’t start out wanting to destroy or wanting to tear apart, but as he began to study the Scriptures in their original languages, he saw what I just pointed out amongst many other things that could not be left alone, because if left alone people then were not living by faith, they were living by works, they were living by their deeds. So this 95 Theses is posted and a few of the points that you can get an idea when we say 95 Theses, some people who are not familiar with Martin Luther might not understand, 95 points of argument against that essential errors that were being done. Now somebody might say, “Well, why did he do this? Why didn’t somebody else do this?” Well, I’ve told you that another man, 150 years or so before him, by the name of Wycliffe did a translation of the Bible into the English tongue. And he was considered a heretic for doing this, because no person should have the Bible transmitted and translated into such a corrupt heathen tongue such as English. So part of━I will not read all of the 95 points to you, but part of these 95 points, as Luther points out, “Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, in saying, ‘Repent ye,”” which is was I just pointed out to you, “intended that the whole life of believers should be penitence,” turning from, to, “This word cannot be understood of sacramental penance, that is of the confession and satisfaction, which are performed under the ministry of priests. The penalty thus continues as long as the hatred of self that is true inward penitence continues, namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.” He rightly understood this, what I just showed you, because in Jesus’ words it was not only an imperative, but it was present. That means ongoing, you keep turning; you don’t just turn once, “I have decided to follow Jesus━okay, one turn.” No! It’s a lifetime. The apostle Paul understood it as trench warfare between the flesh and the spirit. We are to keep continually renewing our mind, washing our mind with the word of God. Now, he continues on to say, “The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties, except those which he has imposed by his own authority or by the cannons. The pope has no power to remit any guilt except by declaring and warranting it to have been remitted by God or at most remitting cases reserved for himself, in which case, if his power were despised, guilt would certainly remain.” So he goes on to list all of these errors and this creates━you know, think of it, try now to put this in the year 2014 and imagine what happens when you post something and it goes viral. Well, for Martin Luther’s day, this went viral; before the Internet it went viral. People were taking this thing, translating it into their own tongue, passing it out and it just, it took on an incredible meaning for the people. Finally somebody was talking about things that many people had wondered about, but nobody dared open their mouth. Now, why did I mention this particular date and time? This particular date and time of Martin Luther’s posting his 95 Theses to the door occurred on October 31st. Now for some of you who are confused, and there are many who are confused, please indulge me just for a little entertainment. I said I, every time people mention Halloween, I don’t think Halloween, I think Reformation, because it triggers my mind; October 31st is the date. I’m sure you’ll never forget the date now. However, there are confused Christians, so I’d like to take just a brief moment here to set the record straight. Halloween, actually “hallow,” like we pray the “Lord’s prayer,” hallow and “e’en,” from a contraction of evening, have to do with All Saints and All Souls Day, the eve of that day where dead people, dead saints; not dead goblins, not dead scary people; dead saints were venerated, they were celebrated. Now if you want to go back to that in history, in historical frame, from The New Schaff (it doesn’t look too new) Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, two entries which are very short: “All Saints Day” and “All Souls Day.” One is the first day of November, that’s All Saints Day, and there are some churches that still do this. It is simply the, the celebration of dead saints. And by the way, in the church there’s the question of who is a saint? What is a saint? Well we━I don’t even want to talk about that today. But right here, at the footnote of this article it says, “Luther did not approve of the festival and Lutheran and Reformed churches do not observe it. The church of England, however, and its branches retain it.” And All Souls Day, which is the day after, which is for those who have died for the church, martyrs, or that they have not suffered death for the church, but have died as believers. So there’s a separation of these two days and people get very confused between that and the celebration that occurs in our modern frame called Halloween in America, which has a lot to do with a lot of other things. And if you talk to people about Halloween, they’ll say, “Well, of course you need a jack o’ lantern.” Do you know, in the original celebration of this festivity, they didn’t use pumpkins? They used turnips. Go carve a turnip. And if you really want to get precise about this, it was a Celtic festivity that was celebrated Samhian or Sowin as a harvest festival. And I have speculation; I have speculation about this because it’s dated so far back in the Celtic celebration as a harvest festival that I speculate: I speculate that this may have something to with a band of people who traveled to a different land. You have to know about lost tribes, which are not lost at all, who ended up celebrating a feast of harvest in another land, which then got engrafted with another pagan holiday; which is what usually happens. But all of these things are sorely confused and then you ended up in America and presto! So I want to just entertain you, because this is a lot of heavy stuff and dates, so I want to entertain you before I get back into the message. Oh, he’s going, “Thank God!” Henry, I love you, but everybody’s going, “Wow, Henry, really?” Okay, I’m just going to read this. So Kirk Cameron used to be in that program, oh yeah, you’re all, “Aw.” He used to do some program, “Growing Pains.” He, he may still have some growing pains. The headline is from The Christian Post, it says, “Kirk Cameron on Halloween: Christians should have the biggest party on the block.” Wait, I’m going to read the whole thing so you can know how I really feel and why I’m doing what I’m doing, which is a lot of work. If you’re willing put in the time it’s very rewarding to know what you believe, rather than listening to somebody who probably has been chewing bubblegum for a little too long and the sugar has gone to the cranium. “In light of his new film, Saving Christmas, Kirk Cameron is also speaking out on Halloween celebrations, urging Christians to participate in the holiday this year. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas hits select theaters on November 14th, reminding Christians of the biblical relevance of Christmastime,” it’s going to get better, “with explanations for the Christmas tree, Santa Claus and presents. The film helps put Christ back in Christmas.” Now if you’re here for the first time and you don’t know why I’m laughing, you really need to tune into the network and listen to the debunking of traditions that actually make void the word of God. This is not out of the mouth of a lunatic. This is out of the mouth of a person who used to believe all these holidays and traditions herself, but after studying and listening to Dr. Scott and then doing more studying, because I still didn’t believe him. Sorry. It was like, “Wow, I wish somebody really would have really told me.” Well they did, I just wasn’t ready to hear it. “Furthermore,” wow, here we go, “Saving Christmas attempts to debunk theories that Christmas is still rooted in pagan traditions,” phew! “In a recent interview, Cameron addressed the same theories as they are applied to Halloween, clarifying why Christians should have the biggest Halloween party on your block. ‘The real origins have a lot to do with All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve,’ the actor told The Christian Post. ‘If you go back to old church calendars━we really need to do that, especially Catholic calendars, they recognize the holiday, All Saints Day with All Hallows Eve, the day before, when they remember the dead. That’s all tied to Halloween.’” Now, that’s a genius statement, except for the fact that what they were remembering were the saints. They weren’t remembering people dressed as ghosts, goblins or Obama. They were remembering, they were remembering━I’m sorry, but you know, sometimes you’ve got to break it up a little bit, because of you are sitting there going& “Moreover, the unstoppable star,” when I read “unstoppable,” I’m sorry, I have to; I’m not sure how we got that that adjective there, but “the unstoppable star went on to site that he believes, what he believes to be the meaning behind dressing up and frightening costumes on Halloween, clarifying the meaning of October 31st.” Are you ready to hear this? Oh, wow, you’re going to love this, “When you go out on Halloween and see all the people dressed in costumes and see someone in a great big bobble-head Obama costume with great big ears and an Obama face, are they honoring him or poking fun at him?” Hmm, can I have some Jeopardy music, please? “’They are poking fun at him,’ the actor said, answering his own question before comparing the concept of comparing the costumes to early Christianity.” Here it comes! Are you ready? Be sure you take lots of notes on this here. This is important: “’Early on, Christians would dress up in costumes as the devil, ghosts, goblins and witches, precisely to make the point that those things were defeated and overthrown by the resurrected Jesus Christ.’ Cameron continued, ‘The costumes poked fun at the fact that the devil and other evils were publically humiliated by Christ at His resurrection. That’s why the Scripture says that He publically humiliated the devil when He triumphed over it, power and principality, and put them under His feet.’” So, basically, if you want to interpret that, it means that there should be somebody squishing all the people wearing those costumes then out on the street. Never mind. If that’s your interpretation of Scripture, it means somebody’s going to go squash the people, putting them under his feet; never mind. “’Over time you get some pagans who want to go out for this, this day, high holy day of the satanic church that this is all about death, but Christians have always known since the first century that death was defeated, the grave was overwhelmed. Ghosts, goblins and devils are foolish, has-beens, who used to be in power, but not anymore.” So wait a minute. Let me get this straight. When Paul was writing Ephesians 6, and he said, “We wrestle not against principalities and━against flesh and blood, but again principalities,” was, is, is that like, is that done now? Never mind. Don’t answer that please, because, basically, according to this here, it says that that’s done: we don’t have to worry about the devil anymore. And I guess, you know, if you’re not going out there and saying, “Jesus Christ crucified, died and raised for me,” the devil’s not going to bother you, I guess, because you’re spending your time talking about more important things. So, I know, yes; don’t you like, don’t you like my humor? So, in, in a refutation to this article━I know you’re saying, “Why? Why are you doing this?” Because, you just need a little break before I get back into the heavy stuff here. But there is a response to this article on a website called, Death, Taxes and something; I don’t know. And here’s what the person says here, because they’re actually going to quote this article. “If there’s anything Kirk Cameron is fond of other than bananas, it is making up his own facts about things.” I’m just reading this. These are not my words; I’m just reading the articles, yes. “Usually, they are facts about evolution and such, but this week he brings his version of the history of Halloween, which, um, is not in any way, shape or form the actual history of Halloween. Now I know you’re expecting to hear; what you’re expecting to hear, for I too have read the hilarious tracks about how the good Christian children should not celebrate Halloween, because of the child sacrifice and whatnot, but no,” the person who writes the article says, “he totally approves of Halloween. He thinks Christians should actually be throwing the ‘biggest party on the block.’” And by the way, what I didn’t read out of this article, he says, “You should have the biggest party on the block and pass out Christian tracks while you’re having a party, so that you can tell people about Jesus.” This is like the opportunity of putting, like you “putting Christ back in Christmas,” this is putting Jesus into Halloween, because that’s where He belongs, according to him. Anyway, I tell you this for a reason, because as I was preparing for this message, and I don’t even know how this came across my eyesight, it dawned on me that there will be people who will read this and go, “Wow! Oh wow”” I mean they won’t even check out━it’s the Internet, folks! They won’t even go and do any checking on their own. This will become, “Well, you know, So-and-so said it, so it must be true.” And guess what? While you think that maybe this is a harsh thing to do, but this is what was happening in Martin Luther’s day. Just because it was being━imagine the “Internet” of Martin Luther’s day was the pulpit of the clergy. And that is exactly what happened, people were manipulated unbeknownst to them in their ignorance, because unlike our day and age, they didn’t have the liberty to go and check. So what I’m telling you is that this, this person standing here says just what Paul said and what Luther took up: “Stand fast in the liberty”” Stand fast in the knowledge; don’t be taken again with a yoke of bondage and put on you to say you must do these things or you must celebrate these things. So don’t think that I’m done, because I’m not done, but I want to tell you on top of all these goodies that I’m, I’m sharing with you is, is if you lived at the time of Martin Luther, if you lived in his time, these are the things that you would be having to confront: pope as the vicar of Christ, and I, I actually make pages with columns on them, putting the Roman Catholic and putting the Bible; not Protestant, just the Bible: pope, as vicar of Christ; Christ as the head of the church; Ephesians and 1 Corinthians, to name just two of many that state this of Roman Catholicism, Bible tradition. And when I say Bible plus tradition: Bible, if you’ve got it, plus tradition; purgatory, praying for saints, veneration of relics, veneration of Mary; all of these things that, if you read, you won’t encounter this. But you will encounter what it says in 2 Timothy 3:6, that all Scripture is given for instruction, for reproof. Not that somebody else should be taken, like I say, don’t take my word. Now you can carry that to the extreme and be checking every single thing that I say and finding fault in even the slightest nuance of pronunciation, but rather, you check the Scriptures. If you were stuck in Martin Luther’s day, if you could read the Bible, only the Roman Catholic Church can properly interpret the Scriptures. Now, imagine that; the Bible is only in Latin, can only be interpreted by the Roman Catholic Church and their interpretation is right. So you, who do not read, you who do not understand Latin, you’re beholden to this. So when people say, I’ve read people calling Martin Luther a demon and he undid and he destroyed. No. What he did is he set the world free from otherwise a complete bondage that we would have still been under. When I say why I am a Protestant, people will often ask why do I study the languages: for the very reason that a person like Martin Luther did, to understand and know for myself, not even taking, not even taking someone who has been as crucial to my faith as Dr. Scott. I must see it for myself. I must do my own translation. I must know that when I come to you I come with certainty that I have turned it inside outwards and if I find it to be contrary to the things that I’ve held to I will tell you that too. That is why I’m a Protestant. That’s why when I read about Martin Luther’s fight, it was not that he desired to wreck or ruin the church. Many people misunderstand that and they’re happy to live in their ignorance. The idea of faith plus works, which the catholic church sold as a must; it was not enough that Jesus died on the cross, it was not enough; when He said, “It is finished,” they came out and they said, “It is finished, but you’ve got to do these other things to get in. And here come the sale of indulgences, and it was on the eve of this day I’m referring to, October 31st, 1517 when a man named John Tetzel came to town and he was the purveyor, the━when he came to town, there was a grand parade that went before him; horsemen and people that brought pillows with ornate boxes and treasure chests, and inside of these were papers upon papers. And they would come into the town, they would set up at the church, inside the church they’d set up their banners and they’d have a very official looking cross. And then a declaration would be made, essentially for any person who doesn’t know what you must do if you have a loved one who died and they might be in purgatory, you can come and here are the fees. For so many ducats of this much, you can get your loved ones released out of purgatory. For so many ducats, you can have these sins forgiven. So you were paying to have your sins forgiven and a simple paper signed by somebody saying your sins are forgiven, your loved ones are absolved; things are now restored to their proper state. And it was in this climate that Martin Luther stood and said, “This is not Christianity. This is not what Jesus Christ intended.” And it was from his studies, from his understanding that these things came forward. And there are a few solas out of Luther’s work: sola scriptura, “only the word”; sola fide, “only faith”; sola gratia, “only grace.” And of course, when people like to talk about all of the solas, we talk about solas Christus; which is “only Christ.” We don’t have some other person above Christ, not man or woman, but Christ is the head of the church. Again, going back to what might be understood, for us we take for granted, but the actual act of being able to partake in Communion, the average person if we were in Martin Luther’s day, sitting in a church right now, you would all be pushed back to the back and no person could come near the altar. No person could come near the Communion table, no person; no lay person would be allowed. Think about that flying in the face of what our Lord did in that simple act and what Paul lifted up and said that we are to do this with the memory of what finished work Christ has done. That’s all, end of story. Of course, I could go on and say the many things that even the Catholics argue about. Purgatory, which I’ve said to you many times this is a hard thing for me, because in my struggle to understand, I was conditioned that this was a real place and that people had to work to get out of there. You do good things and you could, you could get out of that. Purgatory was brought into the church, introduced by a pope, again because of money. Money is this absolute necessity and also, as the writing in the Bible says, the root of all evil when we love money so much. Now I present all this to you to say what a tragedy, you think maybe for some of you listening to me, “Oh, I, I don’t want to hear about history,” but history is revisiting itself, reinventing itself and reestablishing itself. Not the history of Martin Luther, but of charlatans and greed makers and money mongering people who come in the name of Jesus, telling the people of God, “Your path will be easy. If you give, you will get. And if you’re very generous, we’ll put your name on a plaque.” Now tell me, you who study history, tell me that you’re not seeing just another incarnation of history past, and yet there are people who refuse to even listen to this because they say, “Well, that’s past and we’re in the present, and you know, let the past be the past”” And the unfortunate thing is in letting the past be the past we have people who have so far strayed away from the church and its purpose to bring men and women to a real and right relationship. When we read in the Scripture, when we read about Paul’s writing and not just Paul quoting Habakkuk and Galatians and Hebrews, but when we read Paul writing to the Romans and you really think about this, even in just a most basic translation, the most basic thought, when Paul says, “For therein is the righteousness of God,” Dr. Scott, I think, taught probably 150, maybe 200 messages on this one verse, because he understood that at the very core of the church, if we just even in simplicity read there, “There is therein, for therein is the righteousness of God revealed,” uncovered, “from faith to faith.” That means that there is no amount of works, there’s no amount of endeavoring, there’s no amount of willing to be good that will get you in. But faith alone, trusting in Christ’s finished work, trusting in the fact that He knows all about you, trusting in the fact that He will not leave you, trusting in the fact that if more people would come back to, we’ll call it the center point of the church, the focal point of the church, we wouldn’t be seeing so many lost people under the banner of the church. Do you understand what I’m trying to say? There are more lost people today inside the church than there are out on the street, more people saying the name of Jesus, naming the name of Jesus, but have no idea of the power that is given to them, because it is the gospel that has the dunamis, the power to change, the power to lift up from the gutter, the power to revitalize, give new eyesight, give new understanding and a new heart. But without this gospel being preached and works being paraded and a society and a culture that says, “Well,” very Jamesian, “we’ll know that you’re a Christian when we see you out there doing.” No, no, friend. If you are out there doing to be seen of people and that’s your Christianity, you will never earn enough points with God. You have rejected the finished work of Christ and are probably outside the body. I want you to━that should be something that just makes you shudder to think that somebody that thinks that their works are keeping them in is actually outside the body, not inside. And there’s only one way in and that is by faith. This is why the faith, “from faith to faith,” “the just shall live by faith” is not that we are declared righteous by our works or righteous by our deeds. In fact, any and all of our righteousness is as filthy rags, but the righteousness of God imputed to the heart of man, imputed to me and imputed to you is the saving force that when Christ does indeed look at me He doesn’t see a dirty, filth, sin-stained person. He sees this glorious covering because of the finished work of Christ, not my deeds, not your deeds. Now Martin Luther, he will remain for me a hero. He started something and other people, almost at the same time if you think about it, Zwingly in Switzerland and you’ve got various people, Calvin is now taking up over here and others over there. And by the time we’re into the mid-seventeenth century, so in the mid-16-somethings, you basically have all of Europe having heard the clarion call, not to abandon the faith, but to have a relationship with Christ. and now with Bibles being printed and people being able to see the word in their own language, which as I said, Martin Luther’s credit is not only to turning the world upside down and straightway up, but making a standardized language because of his Bible translation for all people of that tongue to be able to read. And I close with something that I think is quite remarkable from this same little booklet, which is missing a cover and a━there’s nothing. “More than 400 years have passed since Luther died,” actually 468, to be correct, “but he being dead yet speaketh,” I know, I can’t help myself. That tells you about the date of this book. “His firm adherence to the truth, his dauntless courage, his prayerful spirit and solemn regard for divine things, his faith in God and his zeal in pursuing that which was right speak to us from afar. His memory will be ever venerated by those who delight in the law of the Lord and whose aim it is to do His will.” Now you know, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. That is one of, I think, maybe 30 or 40 hymns that Luther penned that really speaks to the heart of this reformer. Now, maybe somebody is saying, “What do you think you can do, Pastor Scott? Or what do you think the people in your church can do? Or what do you think the people in L.A. can do?” You can stand up for Christ. You can stand up for the truth; Jesus said the truth sets you free. You can say, “I’m not going to be bound by traditions that Jesus said make void the word of God.” I’m only asking the people who are relatively new here. Those who have been here many years, this is old school, but some of you newer people and especially new ones listening to me today, I’m asking you to do the homework. Don’t listen to me and say, “Well, you’ve been awfully harsh on those people.” Well, listen, if God wants somebody to hear, just like He did for Martin Luther, who was steeped in Catholicism, He opened his eyes; just like Melissa Scott. He opened my eyes and He can open your eyes. And that is not a word against the Catholic church, that is a word for Christ that says His truth will reign supreme and no law of man, under the guise of being the law of God will ever have supremacy as long as there is a voice standing for God’s people and for God’s word, and as long as that banner is raised. And just as this writer said, “dauntless courage,” it takes courage to be a Christian. All of this stuff that peddled out there in milquetoast world is as Christianity is a cakewalk and it’s, it’s just a comfortable experience; it’s a tough ride, but friends, if you’re willing to endure as a tough and good soldier of the Lord, the word is that there is a crown, an unfading crown waiting for you and waiting for me. It takes courage to finish the race and it takes courage to stand for Christ. And that is what we are about here. Now, that is my message. You have been watching me, Pastor Melissa Scott, live from Glendale, California at Faith Center. If you would like to attend the service with us, Sunday morning at 11am, simply call 1-800-338-3030 to receive your pass. If you’d like more teaching and you would like to go straight to our website, the address is www.PastorMelissaScott.com

4 Comments

  • Reply aharmzway November 1, 2019 at 4:46 am

    I love love love your Teaching…

  • Reply Michael Brickley November 1, 2019 at 4:49 am

    Martin Luther is one of my heroes. A flawed man who changed the world because of his conviction. One verse of Scripture started a fire in his spirit

  • Reply Jon Dunning November 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks so much Pastor Scott

  • Reply R Mata November 1, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you for keeping up the spirit of Dr Scott alive I hear him so much through you.

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