Historical Events Leading Up To The Reformation:

Pre-Reformers:

1330 – John Wycliffe, “The Morning Star of the Reformation” was an English theologian and Oxford professor who was condemned as a heretic.

1415 – Jan Hus, a Bohemian (Czech Republic) Priest opposed the Church of Rome’s abusive practices and aberrant theology was burned at the stake.

1498 – Girolamo Savonarola, an Italian friar who opposed Rome’s abusive practices and aberrant theology and was hanged and burned.

Reformation:

1483 – Martin Luther born in Germany.

1505 – Martin Luther Becomes an Augustinian Monk, Priest and Professor.

1510 – Luther goes to Rome to try and get relief from his overwhelming sense of guilt before a Holy and Righteous God. When Luther arrived in what he thought would be the “Holy City” he was shocked by the debauchery, hypocrisy, and blatant sinfulness that he saw in the Church and the City.

1516 – Erasmus Greek New Testament published.

October 31, 1517 – Martin Luther nailed the “Ninety-five Theses” to the door of the All Saints Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther from the Catholic Church and declared him a heretic.

1522 – Martin Luther Translates the Greek New Testament in to German.

1529 – The term “Protestant” became the popular term describing those who supported Luther’s protest against the Catholic Church. (Baptist, Methodist, Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc.)

1546 – Martin Luther dies.

1611 – King James Bible translated into Old English.

Other Important Reformers:

William Tyndale (1494-1536) an English Reformer was fluent in 8 languages and best known for his English translation of the Bible. Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536. His dying prayer was “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” His prayer was answered 3 years later in 1539 when every parish in England was required to have a copy of the Bible in English and to make it available to every parishioner.

John Calvin (1509-1564) a French Theologian was the most influential writer on theology, education and politics of the Reformation.

Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) was a Priest in Zurich, Switzerland. Without ever meeting Luther, Zwingli began to preach the biblical gospel in Zurich about the same time. He also began to preach against the abuses of the Catholic Church and rejected many of its teachings. Like Luther his original goal was to reform the church not leave it. In 1525, Zwingli began to preach and read the Bible in the language of the people. In 1529, Zwingli finished his translation of the Bible into the people’s language and finally met Martin Luther.

Martin Luther’s Grievances:

Indulgences: The Church was selling indulgences which would limit the amount of time a person would spend in Purgatory. Quote: “As soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out of purgatory.”

Apostolic Succession: Roman Catholic Popes extend back through the centuries all the way back to Peter who was the first Pope. This unbroken chain of authority makes the Roman Catholic Church the only true church and gives the Pope preeminence over all things spiritual. Pope Leo X’s motto was “God has given us the Papacy—let us enjoy it.”

Ex Cathedra: Because of their belief in apostolic succession and the infallibility of the pope (when speaking ex cathedra), Catholics place church teaching and tradition on a level equal to Scripture itself.

Connection With God: Contact with God can only be attained through the Catholic Church: Baptism, Mass, Communion, Confession, etc.

Works Based Salvation: Rituals and practices of the Church lead to Salvation.

Language: Masses were held in Latin.

Scripture: The Bible was not made available to the people and was only read in Latin.

Luther’s Struggle And Resolution:

-He struggled with the question, “How can I be righteous before God?”

Martin Luther: “I myself was a monk for twenty years. I tortured myself with praying, fasting, keeping vigils, and freezing—the cold alone was enough to kill me—and I inflicted upon myself such pain as I would never inflict again, even if I could…. If any monk ever got to Heaven by monkery, then I should have made it.”

Romans 1:17For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Martin Luther: “I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered Paradise itself through gates that had been flung open.”

The Reformation Can Be Summed Up In “Five Solas”:

1 – SOLA SCRIPTURA – Scripture Alone Is Our Highest Authority For Faith And Practice

John 17:17,“Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.”

2 Timothy 3:16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 4:1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

(2 Timothy 2:14-16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Revelation 22:18-19)

2 – SOLA GRATIA – We Are Saved By The Grace Of God Alone

Ephesians 1:3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will — 6 to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that He lavished on us.

Titus 3:3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures… 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy… 7 so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

3 – SOLA FIDE – We Are Saved Through Faith In Jesus Christ Alone

Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Galatians 2:16We know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Ephesians 2:8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

4 – SOLUS CHRISTUS — We Are Saved Through Christ Alone

Ephesians 2:1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Romans 3:10As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”… 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

1 Timothy 2:5For there is one God and one Mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.

John 14:6I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 6:44“No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Acts 4:12“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Ephesians 2:4But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Charles Spurgeon’s Sermon “Faith” Says:

“If thou puttest one atom of trust in thyself, thou hast no faith; if thou dost place even a particle of reliance upon anything else but what Christ did, thou hast no faith. If thou dost trust in thy works, then thy works are antichrist, and Christ and antichrist can never go together. Christ will have all or nothing; He must be a whole Savior, or no Savior at all.”“

5 – SOLI DEO GLORIA –We Are Saved For The Glory Of God Alone

1 Corinthians 10:31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Romans 11:36For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Exodus 34:14Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, Whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Habakkuk 2:14For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Psalm 29:1Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.

Westminster Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

Psalm 16:11You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.

Conclusion:

1 Corinthians 16:13Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.