498 years ago yesterday, a German monk walked to the door of a church in mid-size town and nailed a paper to the door. Today, we know that paper as Luther’s 95 Theses. He didn’t know or even suspect the firestorm that his 95 propositions would make, but God used that paper, distributed in the German language to spark the Protestant Reformation. Other men like John Wycliffe had come before, and men like John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli would light the torch elsewhere.
As you observe and participate in our worship today, you will hear the Word of God read in the language of the people. You will receive the preached Word of God in light of a clear doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The Roman Catholic church teaches grace, faith, and Christ, yet does not teach grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, under the authority of the Word of God alone. You will hear the congregation corporately confess sins directly to God, not to me or some human priest. You will lift your voice with the voice of the people around you, as with one accord we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. That, my friends is the heritage of the Protestant Reformation. As we read, sing, pray, and preach this morning let’s do it with a heart of gratitude to God for the Reformers who courageously risked their lives so that we can worship to the glory of God alone.