Revolution Lesson #1

Posted: May 11, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Revolution Lessons
Tags: , , ,

World Changers

Lesson #1

4.22.12

Main Points:

  • There are men and women who have been so affected by their faith and the Word of God that it transformed their heart and the world we know today.
  • Martin Luther believed that God spoke to the world through a book, not primarily through a goldy man or the church.
  • To hear God speak we must read what he wrote.

A New World:

  • Trying to imagine a world different than ours today is difficult.
  • Highlighting the fact that the Bible is in the hands of every Christian is not a profound thought.
  • All of us have grown up with several copies of God’s Word in our house.
  • All of us can read.
  • All of us can read it whenever we want.
  • If we want to check to see if the words of our pastor are actually the words of God, all we need to do is cross check it with our Bibles.
  • This was not the case 500 years ago.

Christianity 500 years ago:

  • For nearly 1500 years of the Church, the Bible laid primarily in the hands of religious leaders.
  • In Rome there was one main leader, the Pope.
  • Under him were several cardinals and bishops who shared leadership responsibilities.
  • Underneath bishops were priests and monks.
  • Beyond priests, it was RARE for anyone else to have access to the Bible.
  • Bibles were EXPENSIVE!
  • Books in general were expensive because there was no way to mass produce them.
  • The Bible was also written in Latin, a language most people could not speak, understand, or read.
  • Sunday sermons were spoken in Latin.
  • The Bible was read in Latin.
  • Imagine today if preachers only preached in Japanese, if the Bible was only read in Japanese.
  • You might ask why would people ever attend these services.
  • Answer:  You knew the church held the keys to heaven.
  • You believed that the church only provided the sacraments, Holy Commuion, Baptism, Marriage, and Confession.
  • If you wouldn’t participate in these sacraments, you could not go to heaven.
  • That’s a powerful way to ensure people came to church!
  • But the people never knew if what the priests taught were the same things that God taught.
  • If the church said that in order to be forgiven, we must give $100 to the church, we’d not only believe it, but we’d be incredibly thankful because it was providing us a way to go to heaven.
  • You can probably see how Christianity could be corrupted!
  • Church leaders had INCREDIBLE power over the church because they alone had access to the Word of God.
  • Church leaders had the power to make up lies about Christianity and no one would ever know.

Martin Luther Biography:

  • I want to introduce you to a man named Martin Luther.
  • This man is different from Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Martin Luther was born in 1483 in Eisleben, Germany.
  • He eventually became a monk where he learned the Bible.
  • Upon a trip to Rome, he saw how the church had corrupted the message and meaning of the Bible.
  • He saw how the church had been corrupted and used its power in a wicked way.
  • When he returned to Germany, he began a crusade to reform the church and put the Word of God into the hands of ordinary men and women.
  • This crusade is called today, The Great Reformation or The Protestant Reformation.
  • On October 31st, 1514, Martin Luther nailed a list of problems that he saw with the Catholic Church onto the Wittenburg door which signaled a division between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church.
  • It was a REVOLUTION.
  • Martin Luther swam against the tide of the largest and most powerful organization on the planet, the Catholic Church.
  • To argue against the church was to be charged a heretic and face excommunication from the church—essentially to condemn yourself to hell.
  • Believing the Word of God so firmly, he rejected the popular opinion and changed the world.

Effect of Luther on the world:

  • We have access to the Bible in our own language.
    • Prior to the 1500s, the Bible was only read in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.
    • It was Luther who insisted that the Bible be translated into the language of the people.
    • Coupled with the new invention of the printing press, Luther brought the Bible into the hands of ordinary men.
  • We have schools that teach us to read.
    • Before the Protestant Reformation, school was reserved for elite men.
    • As such, very few people could read or write.
    • Luther’s emphasis on the importance of the Word of God meant that people needed to learn how to read.
    • This meant ALL people, not just rich men, but normal men, AND women.
  • We have Bible schools that teach us how to understand the bible.
    • In the wake of the Reformation, universities began to spring up.
    • When men and women came to the United States, they modeled schools here after the ones they attended in Europe.
    • Yale, Harvard, Princeton, etc. are all examples of schools began by Christians.
    • Of the first 126 universities in the United States, 123 of the were Christian.

Luther’s Lesson for us:

  • To know God, we must know his book.
    • Piper–“Luther grasped this powerful fact:  God preserves the experience of slavation and holiness from generation to generation by means of a book of revelation, not a bishop in Rome….The Word of God comes to us in a book.”
    • Piper–“You can take it or leave it.  But you can’t make it other than what it is.  It is a book with fixed letters and words and sentences.
    • Luther–“Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scripture.”
    • Piper–“Call it reading, meditation, reflection, cogitation, study, exegesis, or whatever you will–a large and central part of our work is to wrestle God’s meaning from a book.”
    • Piper–“To the degree that the Word of God is disconnected from the objective “external Word,” to that degree the incarnate Word, the historical Jesus, becomes a wax nose shaped by the preferences of every generation.
    • Luther came to elevate the biblical text itself far above the teachings of commentators or church fathers.
      • Luther–“‘Tis always better to see with one’s own eyes than with those of other people.”
    • This radical focus on the text of Scripture itself…lead Luther to an intense and serious grappling with the very words of Paul and the other biblical writers.
      • Peter 3:15-16–15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Practical Points:

  • How much effort do you put into knowing God’s Word?
  • Beginners–begin to read it.
    • Start with reading just a chapter a day.
    • Soon your appetite and capacity to read more will grow.
    • As God opens your eyes to his glories in the text, as you begin to see how relevant the Bible is to your everyday experiences, as you fall more and more in love with Jesus, your heart will hunger for more and more of God’s Word.
  • Intermediate–begin to study it.
    • Once you have a basic handle of how to read and understand the Bible, you’ll begin to see connections everywhere.
    • As you’re general understanding of the Scriptures grows, you’ll begin to see that the Bible is one story from beginning to end.
    • You’ll be able to compare what Paul said to what Jeremiah or Isaiah said, and this understanding will add a richness to the text.
    • The Bible will become to come into color.
  • Advanced–begin to memorize it.
    • Proverbs 119:9-16–9How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to your Word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! 13 With mhy lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. 14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. 16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
    • Like we said in our Rooted series, “Blessed is the man who walks no in the counsel fo the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, no sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD; and on his law he meditates day and night.”
    • Luther said that by meditating on the Scriptures day and night he began to understand.  Then he would “run through the Scriptures from memory.”

Affinity Group Conversation Starters:

  • What’s been keeping you busy since our last affinity group?
  • Who are the people that you know of who have made a wording changing impact?
  • What do they possess that makes you think they can change the world?
  • How do you try to know the Bible? Be honest!
  • What are you going to begin doing tomorrow to better hear from God? (We’ll ask you next week, so write it down.)

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