Reformation Sunday 2021 Man Rule.
This is the day over 500 years ago that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany against the selling of indulgences.
You see the church at that time had come up with a great fundraising plan and the church pretty much ruled Europe and most of the known world. There was not a king or emperor who would do anything without the Church’s blessing.
This fund-raising plan… Johann Tetzel…. An indulgence was a paper that was supposedly signed by the leader of the Church to shorten a person’s time in purgatory or to forgive their sin.
This was man’s rule in the Church, it was a scheme of the enemy, perpetrated by those in power, it was a man plan and the bible has a lot to say about following the plans of men, either in direct way or though the history of Israel… Man-rule in the church has always been a problem and it continues today as we see whole denominations splitting as sin is accepted, welcomed and elevated because of what the world accepts as normal and right.
We see those that follow the Word of God and those that distort and twist scripture to meet their agenda, which is what was happening in Luther’s time. Man Rule was not what Jesus intended for His Church but they were keeping the Word of God from the commoner.
In Matthew 20 Jesus explains that His disciples must use authority in a godly fashion, not for selfish reasons to gain power, notoriety, or glory for themselves as the Gentiles (unbelievers) had used it.
Just so we understand-the Head of the Church is Jesus Christ, not some man, or group of people. It is Jesus who builds the Church, not some manmade program It is He that adds to our number. See Matt 16:13-20, Acts 2:42-47.
The fund raiser that was taking place in Luther’s time was for a great building. The people of that time used the fear of eternal damnation to drive their agenda. And Luther saw it for what it was and called them on it with His theses
Works will not get you to heaven… Man did things in the name of God and the Church that should never been done.
The selling of indulgence was one, Luther saw the evil that was happening, that man rule in the church was not what God called for, that it was not by works that we are saved but by grace and he got this knowledge from reading God’s Word in Romans.
The only way any of us can confront man rule is to know the rule of God, to know His Word, and to be obedient to it over what people tell us. Man rule is still seen in many places and man rule is what is dividing many denominations.
Some are doing their best to please people, but when we try to please people, the Word of God tells us in Gal1:10 that we are no longer servants of Jesus Christ or His Church.
We are going to be held responsible… People were tortured and put to death to get you the Word of God. You see before the Reformation the Bible was only in Latin and was read only in Latin. In fact a good portion of the clergy could only repeat what they had memorized to the people, repeating Latin prayers and chanting Latin hymns which of course could not be understood by mostly illiterate people.
The people of that time were purposefully kept in the dark, ignorant of what the word of God said and when they went against those in power they were often put to death.
In 1519 six men and a woman were burned in Coventry England for teaching their own children the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostles Creed in English, Nothing brought more alarm and unwanted attention from those in power than the thought of the spreading of God’s word in a language everyday people could understand.
John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English and with the help of a few scribes managed to get a few copies and many parts of the Bible into the hands of the people. To have any part of the Bible in English was punishable by death. The translation of the Bible so infuriated the leader of the Church that 44 years after the death of Wycliffe he ordered Wycliffe’s bones dug-up, crushed into powder and thrown into the river. Keeping the bible from the people was a scheme of the enemy that man fulfilled thru the church of that time.
If it is in direct contradiction to the Word of God it is rebellion. Jesus says If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, the truth will set you free
Questions: Could you spot twisted scripture or man rule if it happened in a sermon or teaching or within the congregation or elsewhere? Are you in the Word on a daily basis?Further Reading: John 8:31-32, Matthew 20:20-28, 16:13-20, Acts 2:42-47, 5:29, Romans 12:1-2, Galatians 1:10, Colossians 2:8 Matthew 15:8-9, 2nd Timothy 3:1-1-17, Titus 1:16, Jude 1:1-25