On the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

Editor’s note: Below are the sermon notes for Sunday October 29th.  They are in a rough draft form. The sermon itself can be found at ekronbaptistchurch.com


Tuesday marks the 500th anniversary of we have come to call the birth of the Protestant Reformation.

In 1517, a German Monk and professor named Martyn Luther nailed 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenburg.  His intention was to call a debate to the practice of the Catholic Church selling indulgences. That is, accepting money to atone for sins of those in Purgatory. This, among many other problems that were ongoing with the church at the time were seen as a stark contrast to the word of the Bible.


Martin Luther was born…(1483-1546)


Lightning bolt…..July 2, 1505

Tormented by his sin…Though predestined for destruction.


  • Confessing at times up to 6 hours a day.
  • Made pilgrimages
  • Feared leaving out a sin.
  • Would confess coveting the stale piece of bread that a brother monk had.
  • https://worldlysaints.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/martin-luther-his-confessions-and-battle-against-sin/
  • C. Sproul explains, “Confession was a regular part of monastic life. The other brothers came regularly to their confessors and said, ‘Father, I have sinned. Last night I stayed up after ‘lights out’ and read my Bible with a candle.’ Or, ‘Yesterday at lunchtime I coveted Brother Philip’s potato salad.’ (How much trouble can a monk get into in a monastery?) The father Confessor would hear the confession, grant priestly absolution, and assign a small penance to be performed. That was it. The whole transaction took only a few minutes. Not so with Brother Luther. He was driving his Father Confessor to distraction. Luther was not satisfied with a brief recitation of his sins. He wanted to make sure that no sin in his life was left unconfessed. He entered the confessional and stayed for hours every day.”[1]

Eventually studying the Bible, he discovered Romans 1:16-17. This is what led to his relief.

Rom 1:16-17  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  (17)  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Led him to understand that the just shall live by faith, not works.

In Revelation 22:18 a waring is given about adding to the book.  And a reading of Scripture itself will find that salvation is only by the name of Christ and as a gift of God, not of works, lest, man may boast of his abilities rather than repent of depravities.

The Catholic church was inherently teaching a salvation by works. Whereas the Scriptures clearly do not teach that sin is atoned for by penance, indulgences, or sacraments.


INDULGENCES: Tetzel was teaching a false doctrine.[1]

Reading the 66 books of the Bible that the early church fathers accepted in 367, does not include any support to the idea of Purgatory.



Key Statements

Here are 13 samples of Luther’s theses:[2]

  1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, says “Repent ye,” etc., he means that the entire life of the faithful should be a repentance.


  1. This statement cannot be understood of the sacrament of penance, i.e., of confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priesthood.


  1. They preach human folly who pretend that as soon as money in the coffer rings a soul from purgatory springs.


  1. Those who suppose that on account of their letters of indulgence they are sure of salvation will be eternally damned along with their teachers.


  1. Every Christian who truly repents has plenary [full] forgiveness both of punishment and guilt bestowed on him, even without letters of indulgence.


  1. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has a share in all the benefits of Christ and the Church, for God has granted him these, even without letters of indulgence.


  1. Christians should be taught that whoever sees a person in need and, instead of helping him, uses his money for an indulgence, obtains not an indulgence of the pope but the displeasure of God.


  1. Christians should be taught that the pope ought and would give his own substance to the poor, from whom certain preachers of indulgences extract money, even if he had to sell St. Peter’s Cathedral to do it.


  1. This shameless preaching of pardons makes it hard even for learned men to defend the pope’s honor against calumny or to answer the indubitably shrewd questions of the laity.


  1. For example: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love … for after all, he does release countless souls for the sake of sordid money contributed for the building of a cathedral? …”


  1. To suppress these very telling arguments of the laity by force instead of answering them with adequate reasons would be to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to render Christians unhappy.


  1. We should admonish Christians to follow Christ, their Head, through punishment, death, and hell.


  1. And so let them set their trust on entering heaven through many tribulations rather than some false security and peace.


Within two months, Johann Tetzel fired back with his own theses, including: “Christians should be taught that the Pope, by authority of his jurisdiction, is superior to the entire Catholic Church and its councils, and that they should humbly obey his statutes.”

Luther Stood on the promises of the Bible

Rom 1:16-17  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  (17)  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Many false denominations and teachers today will lead you to a works righteousness.  This contradicts the character of God as a giver. They misrepresent the nature of God

They will also sell indulgences of a different type, asking for “seed money”.



Not just in death, but in eternal life. Salvation is being set free and adopted as an heir.

Salvation’s only cost is the blood of Christ. It is a gift of God,

We must treasure this gift or it is no treasure to us at all.  If you do not hold to this gift as above all earthly treasures, Christ has no part in you.

BELIEF is not a work of man, but a work of God within you. As depraved sinners, no one seeks for God.  But God draws all unto Himself that would be saved.(Rom 3:10-11) (John 6:44)

God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS is revealed. God does the work. While we were yet sinners,

Rom 5:6-8  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  (7)  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—  (8)  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Why is this relevant?

How shall we live? By faith, not works. But by faith in God. As revealed in His word.

lutherAt the Diet of Worms, Luther made this statement; “”Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”


[1] http://scholarship.rollins.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=mls

[2] http://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/bible-answers/theology/luther-95-theses-protestant-reformation.html

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