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June 14, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Sam Horn concludes the series entitled “Truth Triumphs,” with a message titled “The Reformation Must Continue,” from 1 Timothy 4:16.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University travel platform just over 500 years ago in October 15 17, Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses, which is considered to be the beginning of the Reformation. Let's listen now to today's message for Dr. Sam Horn will conclude the series on the Protestant Reformation called truth tryouts is Scripture passage is from first Timothy 416. The text I've called your attention in first Timothy chapter 4 verse 16 reads like this take heed unto thyself and under the doctrine continue in them for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear the we spent our semester really thinking about the application of Paul's instruction to Timothy as we considered the incredible triggers that were recovered by the reformers in the Protestant Reformation. We have really summed it all up.
Well, as we've listed in this semester to the idea that truth tryouts triumphed in the day of the apostles. It triumphed through the first centuries of church history.
It triumphed ultimately over darkness in Martin Luther's day.
So the question this morning that we draw out of the text before us is not whether truth is triumphed clearly it has, nor is it whether truth will continue to triumph and whether will triumph in the end it will. The real question for me this morning and for you is whether or not truth will triumph in our own day and in our own age and the answer in part depends on whether or not you and I are willing to pick up our own mallet enjoying the successors of the Reformation in personally celebrating plan, proclaiming and protecting the trees that they recovered during that great protest and I think we could take the cruise that they recovered for the church and organize them in sort of three categories and I'd like to do that very quickly this morning when you think about what the Reformation recovered.
When you think about what the reformers one through their hard efforts we could say first of all, they recovered something that is become known in Reformation theology as the formal principle or the foundational principle for the Reformation and and you know that is still a Scripture and we had an entire message on this earlier in the semester and at the end of the day.
This fourth formal or foundational principle restored the Scripture to its rightful place as the sole and supreme authority for the church now out of that formal principle cane what the reformers called the material principles. The essence of the Reformation and the material principles of the Reformation revolved around three primary crews about justification and, you know them as solar grass yet by grace alone.
Solar fee day by faith alone or through faith alone in solus Christus in Christ alone and again this semester we took a message on each one of the material principles of the Reformation as it had to do a justification and then the reformers recovered and established for the church, the teleological principle or the end goal of all of this and it is solely Dale, Gloria, or for God's glory alone.
Not for the glory of the church, not for the glory of the Bishop of Rome, but supremely and ultimately and only for the glory of Christ and the glory of God. And so we spent time looking at that principle throughout the semester, but when is a protest over when is enough enough for me. Think about the fact that 500 years have come and gone, and the Protestant Reformation is not over. When does the time, for both parties to come to the table and talk together and lay aside their differences and be reconciled so that unity can be restored and the breach heel when is the protest over. I would observe that to be sure, reconciliation is desirable and when it happens in God's way. It is sweet and it is glorious.
But sometimes reconciliation can be deadly when it loses the truth or it gives up hard-fought spiritual ground and in our own day. There are those who argue that the Reformation has actually accomplish the goal of the reformers, and after 500 years. It is time to be reconciled with Rome and the Roman Catholic Church. Let me give you several examples of this in 1994 and there was a document that was put together and signed by 40 prominent Roman Catholic theologians and prominent evangelical leaders.
The name of that document was evangelical's and Catholics together. The subtitle of that document was the Christian mission in the third, millennial, and at the heart of that document was the recognition that both the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical churches are really on the same page when it comes to justification, and they should try to be converting people out of each other's flocks because after all we are all together on this issue. In 1999.
Another document was crafted and formed called the joint declaration on the doctrine of justification. This was created and agreed to by the Catholic Church's pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity and the other signatures were the Lutheran world Federation and and the inheritors of Luther's Reformation and their basic premise was, we have come to agreement on the doctrine of justification, and so brothers the Reformation is over, and then the third thing I would mention to you is the current dialogue that is happening right now in 2017 between Protestants, evangelical's and Pope Francis, and this discussion would indicate that for many, the time is right for mutual respect and reconciliation between Protestants and Roman Catholicism. Pope Francis is the most ecumenical pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church of the 266 popes that have risen up in the Roman Catholic Church. He is by far the most popular. He enjoys worldwide popularity in favor he has been well received by leaders of almost every other faith in the world and he is well respected and well received by many millennial evangelical Christians I ran this sermon by a number of different people and one of them was a student from our own student body and he wrote back to me and he said something and I want quoted to you last.
This permission to share with you. Here's what he said we millennial's are prone to be tolerant. We are prone to be nice and accepting and this can be seen in our response to Catholicism. You touch on it with Pope Francis. He is a hip figure in millennial culture. He is what a lot of millennial's want to see the church become someone who doesn't press hard on social issues like homosexuality and abortion and is immensely kind going around the world feeding the poor doing kind deeds everywhere, standing up for Muslim refugees. He is a popular figure, even I have been drawn to show him praise but he is a false teacher. Rome hasn't changed since Luther's day even when Catholicism seems cool and modern. It's dangerous and harassing. I'm very passionate about calling millennial's away from this dangerous theology more than a discussion of the history of evangelical alliance with Catholicism as important as that is is talking about the 2017 attraction toward Pope Francis is something I think most of the audience is familiar with.
Now I ask you question this morning. Do you agree with that assessment. Do you agree with what you just heard.
I want to end our series on the Protestant Reformation with a sober reality that the Reformation is far from over. The reformers had a slogan and it went like this semper Reformation death, which means always reforming and by that. They didn't mean that they were always looking for new truth to bring into the church by semper Reformation.they meant. They idea that the church would constantly be assessing itself against these primary principles that were recovered in the Reformation by the reformers and that the church would always be reforming itself against those principal and so this morning I would suggest to you that semper Reformation and the implication that the Reformation is certainly not over needs to come to bear in four areas that the reformers recovered for the church of their day and that needs to be applied to the church of our day. So let's look at what the reformers recovered and what they insisted, consistently needed to be the measure by which every church and every age to constantly be evaluating itself and reforming itself around these basic principles.
The first thing they recovered was the sole and supreme authority of the church, what would be the sole and supreme authority of the church, would it be the word of God or would it be the word of the Pope and the reformers recovered the Scripture and made it not just and authority in the church but they made it the sole authority over the church and they reform the church by insisting that the Scriptures be the source of all the doctrine of the church, not just the doctrine of justification and that she Roman Catholic theology to its core. It's very foundations began to crumble as the reformers began to incest that the sole authority and the soul source for any teaching in the church we the Scripture if you know anything about Roman Catholic theology, much of its theology is extra biblical and I would argue that much of it that is extra biblical is also one biblical. Not only did they recover the supreme authority for the church as the Scripture and insisted it be the source of all doctrine for the church. They use the Scripture as a way to regulate the worship of the church. One of the things that you and I've inherited from the reformers is is the worship that you and I enjoy and participate in every time we come together and we gather corporately as the body of Christ to be.
For example, they took the Scriptures and they read it publicly in their worship for the first time the common man.
The every day man on the streets, heard the Scriptures in his own language. He had access to the truth.
They proclaimed it authoritatively. It became the measure not just for the doctrine of the church, but for what you believe, personally, and how it applied to your life. They preached it expository early. We take expository legal expository preaching for granted in a group like this. Most of you come from churches where the word of God is taken seriously. And when Sunday morning comes somebody who has spent a substantial amount of time thinking and studying and and finding out what God is actually said about a patch of Scripture stands up and communicates to the body so that all of them. The preacher included can submit to what they have understood that practice did not exist before the Reformation. They preached it expository early. They prayed the Scriptures. They sang the Scriptures. There was an amazing recovery of congregational singing and rich hymnody.
They saw the Scriptures into sacraments that displayed an illustrated grace as opposed to the sacraments in Roman Catholicism that that were taught to be the means by which saving grace would be imparted so soul is good to not define the church and it set the boundaries for everything that happened in the worship of the church. Think about the evangelical church today, not necessarily the church you come from, but the evangelical church at large is a church where there is an appalling lack of biblical preaching of any kind in the evangelical church today, much less expository.
Many churches of added worship practices to their worship, that have no express warrant in the Scriptures we think about things like sacred dance, or sacred art or the use of a labyrinth and worship.
Many churches have adopted medieval practices of worship as an aid to discipleship. Think about monasticism. For example, think about the observation of lands or the celebration of Ash Wednesday.
The content and practice of the worship of the evangelical church is primarily decided not on the sole authority of Scripture. But mainly on what is relevant to the culture. What is pleasing to the congregation and what is nondefensive to unbelievers. The Scriptures still sacred text we we would still give it sort of an odd, but it no longer governs the teaching of the church. The worship of the church or the moral and ethical lives of the worshipers. The Reformation is not over. Here's the second thing that the reformers recovered. They recover the true gospel of the church they recovered and they celebrated the material principles of the Reformation, justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
This is the essential gospel and these are the necessary components of saving faith. Luther wrote a famous hymn the Reformation him a mighty Fortress is our God, and in that hymn.
There is a line that has the statement.
One little word shall fell him. I never thought about that word. I would suggest to you that that word is the word Sola is the word alone in the defense of the gospel. That word became the differentiating mark between the truth of the reformers and the error of realm.
Everybody talked about faith. Everybody talked about grace.
Everybody talked about Christ when it came to justification. The difference was the reformers talked about grace alone and faith alone in Christ alone and they were willing to stand up and take seriously Paul's statement in Galatians 19 that anyone who preached a different gospel than the one that Paul and the apostles taught and that the reformers recovered anybody who did this was under the curse of God, and they did not hesitate to say so about the Roman Catholic Church clearly and boldly belly asking honest question what you think would happen to a congregation of believers who stood up and spoke out against gospel air what would happen to them when they with gracious boldness declared the gospel that is proclaimed and taught by the formal doctrines that the Roman Catholic Church continues to hold his heretical and sends people to hell and is actually damnable heresy. We think would happen to such a congregation of evangelical believers. What you think would happen to a Christian leader.
How would he be be received, who stated in no uncertain terms that the current pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church is a false teacher who is damning people to hell by his teaching, and according to the T the clear teachings of Galatians 19 he is anathema. How do you think that would play in the evangelical world.
The reformers were willing to do that they were willing to stand up and defend the gospel and then they were willing to give their life in the proclamation of that gospel there there world was completely changed as the gospel they proclaimed went to the entire Western world, but you know today in our day.
There are parts of the world without the gospel that was proclaimed by the reformers of the 1040 window of the Muslim world give China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam. It's not just the unreached parts of the world. There continue to be entire Christian communities that have embraced a false gospel or who have who have so shrouded the gospel in sacramental is an sacerdotal as the men ceremonial is him that most worshipers never hear it clearly or embrace it personally to give you three examples of this in Eastern Europe. The entire part of Eastern Europe is under Eastern orthodoxy. Latin America continues to be dominated by Roman Catholicism.
If you go to Africa today, the false gospel of the prosperity gospel is throughout that land. The Reformation is clearly not over the third thing that the reformers recovered was the central purpose for the Christian life solely Dale, Gloria, God's goal for the reformers was his glory and he sovereignly designs and directs everything in his universe in his church, and in your life. To that end, therefore, all of life must be live for the glory of God alone. In other words, we we can't afford to adopt the idea that it's okay just to have three dollars worth of God. I just want and not of God. I want three dollars worth.
I just want enough to get me out of how I want and not to kinda bring me into the body of Christ.
But I certainly don't want enough God to change my life entirely. Reformers refused to use God's word or his gospel to serve their own personal ends, they use their lives in their ministries and their deaths to bring God glory through the prox proclamation of this gospel many times do we see that in the evangelical church at large. We tend to use the gospel to serve our ends. We are willing to give God some space in our life were willing to make him prominent, but the idea of him being preeminent and in our life being used serve his agendas and his goals rather than fitting God into our lives so that he can make our lives better is is a far cry from what the reformers thought many of the reformers would not recognize solely Dale Gloria in our evangelical churches today are even in our own lives. Think about the man centeredness of much of our worship. We preach a man centered gospel we worship in man oriented ways we live man oriented lives and it shows up in our worship and has a profound impact on the strength and vitality of the church we think about how we use the Bible.
The Bible is breached primarily for what it can contribute to my life. And if it's read it all. It's packaged in some kind of a brief catchy message that doesn't go much beyond 15 or 20 minutes and it sort of the spiritual vitamin that we need every week to keep the devil at bay. A chapter a day keeps the devil and beta you don't have time for chapter of verse today can keep sent away the church today is designed to inspire me to help me to heal me to entertain me and really was Avenue as of rawness is it hasn't been about God. It's become about us. Welcome to the church. That's all about me and the truth, the triumph in the Reformation needs to come front and center, and each of us as we are part of the churches that God's place does Easter bring that truth the bear not just on our churches but on our lives and that brings us to the final thing this morning and that is this the reformers recovered the spiritual vitality and morality of the church. Think about the spirituality piece of this. The reformers recovered a precious doctrine that had that meant individual believers could worship God personally as well as corporately.
You know it as the priesthood of the believers we addressed it along the way.
The soul liberty of every believer to come himself before God and to sit himself under the Scriptures that his conscience would not be bound by men but by by God.
What a precious truth that is but but in blue Thursday. This had been lost. It'd been covered up under sacerdotal is omitted been shrouded in ignorance and the way to God was through the church and the reformers came and said you you have direct access to God you and your conscience are bound only and solely by the word of God say, well, rosette showing on our churches today think about how how often we tend to look at the church and we tend to think that if we can just get more church in our life, or more religion our life that then God will be pleased with us and it never stops to rest on our soul that we have a personal relationship and direct access to God, ourselves, we how often and how how much do we actually pray. How often do we actually take the time to go to the Scriptures and say for my own spiritual vitality I need to actually know what God is said about this issue and not just what the church has said they recovered vitality and then they restored morality. The reformers insisted that all believers pastoral leadership and laity alike needed to live. Genuinely holy lives that adorn the gospel and exhibited the transforming power of the gospel. In other words, true piety, genuine and authentic spirituality, personal morality, so that our religion would not be in vain. Think of the scandals they think of what you have heard in your own lifetime.
The church in our days is scandalous in some ways is the church in blue Thursday and so the Reformation must continue for that to happen. You and I must become the successors to Luther in the reformers weeks we actually have to pick up Luther's mallet. We we have to be infused by Calvin's passion and Zwingli's Zealand and boozers piety and Knox's boldness so that we in our day will continue to resist what the reformers resisted and will give our lives to proclaiming what the that the reformers proclaimed and will cherish and nourish and apply what they recovered and we must do all of this for God's glory and not her own, and so on till the Reformation happens in every age and every place in every church, the Reformation must continue in our day in our churches and in our own lives for truth, the triumph around the world, it must first triumph in you and in the father thank you for our semester. Thank you for what we have seen and heard and celebrated the 500 years of of church history of your church that has been transformed and energized and revived by these troops and so Lord as we take them and should you tarry for the next 500 years.
May these truths continue to triumph, may they continue to change the world. May they continue to change people and may they continue to be reflected in your church. In Jesus name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon from the series about the Protestant Reformation by Dr. Sam Horn, I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you're looking for college. Please consider BJ you were a Christian liberal arts education will prepare you academically and spiritually to reach your highest potential for God's glory. For more information about our more than 100 accredited undergraduate and graduate programs. Visit the GU.edu or call 800-252-6363. We hope you'll join us next time. As we study God's word together on The Daily Platform