Sermon Synopses for Reformation Sunday. St. Paul Lutheran, Karnes City, Texas

It has been almost 500 years since Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Two months prior to that posting, on September 4, 1517, Luther had written, and sent to the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt, ninety-seven theses against scholastic theology. He was stonewalled-there was no reaction or response to his statements. In October of 1517 Martin Luther wrote his list of ninety-five theses against indulgences. This time he collaborated with his friend Lucas Cranach(the elder), a painter and printer living in Wittenberg. The ninety-five theses were reportedly posted on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, but more importantly they utilized the relatively new communication medium of movable type and printing, whereby printed copied of the ninety-five these were distributed to major churches and universities through the region, and even as far as Rome. Utilizing the methodological means of contemporary technological media, the ninety-five theses made a major impact on the entire church and changed the course of Western history. Today, in this day of makeovers happening in many areas of our lives, we are reminded of the necessary ‘makeover’ the church continues to need.

The center core of reformation thinking and belief was and is the premise that we as believers cannot make ourselves ‘good’ enough to be right with God. We are by nature sinful and thus cannot fulfill the obligations of the law of God. The good news is that God came to us in Christ, restored our humanity, and has justified us by Grace through Faith!

Too often we in the church become caught in a works righteousness way of thinking that leads us to believe that we can make ourselves ‘right’ with God. We may be led to believe that if we do enough good, serve on enough church committees, tithe of our possessions, sing in the choir, teach Sunday School etc. that we will be obtain the gift of eternal life.

The Good News (bad news for some), is that our salvation is a gift from God for all penitent people. We confess our sins, receive forgiveness and are assured of the gift of eternal life. It is all God’s doing, not ours.

So, each day we engage in a ‘makeover’ procedure. We confess, God forgives and we start a new life!