Volume. XXXVI, No. 18
Sunday, 31 October 2021

Remembering God’s Work in Reformation

Today is Reformation Sunday.  What is Reformation, and why do we remember the 16thCentury Reformation? The Reformation was an historical event in the 16th century from which came the Protestant heritage. The Reformation began on 31st October 1517 when a German monk named Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg. In the theses, he challenged the erroneous teachings and abuses of the Roman Catholic Church.  For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had been plagued by false doctrines, superstition, ignorance, and corruption.  They taught unbiblical doctrines like purgatory, indulgences, and salvation through good works.  Since most ordinary Christians then were illiterate and had little knowledge of the Bible, they relied on their clergy for religious instruction and guidance.  The people tried to earn salvation through charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious performances.


God in His sovereignty raised men even before the Reformation to speak against the false doctrines that plagued the Roman Catholic Church. One name that should be singled out is John Wycliffe.  As a professor at Oxford University, Wycliffe represented England in a controversy with the Pope. Wycliffe championed the independence of England from Papal control and supported King Edward III's refusal to pay taxes to the Pope. With the royal favour, he attacked the corruptions, superstitions and abuses of the friars and monks. He also declared the monasteries unbiblical and exposed their supposed powers to forgive sins as fraudulent. "Who can forgive sins?" Wycliffe taught: "God alone!" He also exposed indulgences, purgatory and transubstantiation as unbiblical heresies. Wycliffe - famously, the first man to translate the whole Bible into English - mobilised lay preachers (Lollards) to travel throughout the land to read, preach and sing the Scriptures in English. Wycliffe was the father of the Reformation – its Morning Star. Wycliffe had to flee for his life, but his writings and example inspired other reformers like John Huss and Martin Luther. (Following Wycliffe's death of a stroke in 1384, he was declared a heretic, and his body was dug up and burned with all his books in 1428. The ashes were thrown into the Thames River.)


Centuries later, God raised up another man named Martin Luther in Germany who heralded the Biblical doctrine of justification through faith alone; salvation by God's grace alone, received through faith in Christ alone. Because of Luther's unequivocal stand and firm conviction, he was excommunicated by the Pope and finally outlawed by Emperor Charles V. God's work can never be hindered. On the contrary, God ignited the Reformation through Luther's work and raised other godly men like Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, John Hus and John Knox to proclaim these glorious truths of Scripture that had become obscured by the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. With one voice, they all sounded the battle-cry of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Soli Deo Gloria, which means The Word alone, by grace alone, through faith alone and to God alone be the glory!


We must thank God for the rich heritage of the Reformation.  Remember, we are not celebrating the great figure of Luther, Calvin or other reformers. We commemorate the 16th century Reformation as it restored the truth of God's Word back to the Church. The Church, before the reformation, was a Church without the Bible. And a church without a Bible is as useless. It is a lighthouse without light or a motor vehicle without an engine. The Bible, the only rule of our faith and conduct, was freely made available in the local languages. Brave men and women died that we could have the freedom to delight in God's Word. If we have a Bible in our language, and enjoy reading and studying God's Word, we should never forget that we owe that Bible to the Reformation. If we enjoy church services, scripture choruses, hymns, prayers, and sermons in our language, remember that we are also indebted to the Reformation for this. For without God's work in the 16th century, we could still be without the Bible.


Today, 504 years later, while commemorating the 16th century Protestant Reformation from which we have received the heritage of the Reformed faith, centred on the Word of God, it is prudent that we guard ourselves against untruths and spiritual counterfeits. We live in similar times of spiritual apostasy and moral degradation.  Churches are falling away to new doctrines of feel-good theology and pragmatism. The doctrine of Biblical separation is shunned, and many Protestant churches are moving back into the Roman Catholic fold. Many churches are embracing a morality that is alien to Scripture and an abomination in God's sight. Many churches are trying again to amass power, wealth and status rather than caring, sharing, preaching and reaching out with the truth of God's Word.


On Reformation Sunday, this is an important reminder of what it means to be the Church. The Truth of God's Word must be preserved, preached and proclaimed without compromise. To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God. The message of this Protestant Reformation is centred on the Word of God. The reason to stand up for God's Word and to defend the faith once delivered unto the saints goes back to Church history. The period from the 5th to the 15th century AD is known in Church history as the Dark Age, but a church that rejects these five Solas and doesn’t stand on the Word of God will deviate again to the Dark Age. So let us rejoice and continue to press on in our faith and obedience to God's Word, for now and until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The coming of the Lord is nigh. But reformation is not an isolated event. History is nothing but HIS Story. God is awesome, God is amazing, God rules. And, as in the first commandment, you shall have no other gods before me. On Reformation Sunday, this is an important reminder of what it means to be the Church. Rather than trying to amass power, wealth, status, we are to be caring for others, sharing what we have, and doing so quietly, prayerfully, and humbly. For in that way, we will be faithful stewards of the good gifts we have been given.   Central to the Reformed tradition in understanding the sovereignty of God – that there is only one God and that God is active among us, working His purposes out. Therefore we claim to be reformed and always reforming.


The whole Protestant Reformation, which we celebrate today, was carefully planned and wrought by the Lord. We ought, therefore, to give God all the glory and praise for this wonderful work! And since it was God who restored the truth to His Church in the Reformation, we can be confident that God will ensure that His Truth will continue to be preserved and propagated in the Church today, no matter how significant the threats may be. Therefore, may the Lord help every church of His to be faithful to the whole counsel of God in these perilous times.


Rev Mathews Abraham

More Lively Hope



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  • Please be reminded that no food or drinks (except water) are allowed in the Sanctuary (at all times) & in the Hall (during Worship Service).
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Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Current COVID-19 situation in South Australia.
  • Combined Ladies’ & Seniors’ Fellowship Lunch yesterday.
  • 28th Anniversary of Manantial B-P Church in Arica, Chile.



  • Exams for Year 12 students.
  • Healing: for those who are unwell.



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