October 29, 2023 - Preparing for the Lord's DayOctober 26, 2023
Preparing for the Lord's Day
Jesus is Better
In the Summer of 1519, Martin Luther was invited to the German city of Leipzig to debate theologian John Eck concerning the ideas he had expressed in his famous 95 Theses. They outlined twelve points of debate concerning everything from the existence of purgatory, the sale of indulgences, and the need for acts of penance. However, once the debate began Luther realized he needed to add one more point of debate, namely, papal authority.
Historically speaking it was not taboo to debate these points of theology. Yet once papal authority was questioned Luther went from an inquisitive theologian to a heretical apostate. It was the question of papal authority that finally led to Luther’s excommunication in 1521.
During their debate, Eck argued that the Church could not exist without an earthly head. The Church needed a leader to guide them. And without such a head chaos would ensue. Luther on the other hand argued that Christ alone is the head of the Church. He is both the head in heaven and on earth. He needs no earthly intermediary but governs the Church through His Word.
In our passage for this Reformation Sunday, we see that every Christian is called to follow Jesus Christ as the head of the Church. However, it can seem a bit nebulous to say we must follow Christ. What do we mean? How do we follow Christ? What we will see is that we must follow Christ as the way, the truth, and the life. To come prepared for the sermon, take time this week to read and meditate upon Hebrews 10:19-25, John 14:6, Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18, and this article on Christ as the Head of the Church.
As we gather to bring glory to God alone on this Reformation Sunday, we will join our hearts in song, singing the Processional Hymn “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus”, the Acclamation of Praise “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”, and the Hymn of Response “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. Let us come to worship this Sunday prepared to hear God’s Word, to receive it in faith, to love and treasure it in our hearts, and to practice it in our lives that we may continue to glorify and enjoy Him!
A Liturgical Note:
As you will notice this Sunday the paraments have changed from green to red, indicating our celebration of Reformation Sunday. The Reformation was sparked when Martin Luther, a German Monk, nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenburg on October 31, 1517. This document outlined his objections to the Roman Catholic practice of selling indulgences. However, this one act of protest led to a broad movement to reform the Church according to God’s Word alone. As Presbyterians, we trace our theological heritage to the great themes of the Reformation: Salvation by Grace Alone; Through Faith Alone; By Christ Alone; According to the Word of God Alone; All to the Glory of God Alone.
Text: Hebrews 10:19-25
Title: Following Christ
Every Christian Must Follow Christ into God’s Presence (vv. 19-22)
Every Christian Must Follow Christ into the Truth (v. 23)
Every Christian Must Follow Christ into Community (vv. 24-25)