This Lord’s Day marks an important event in church history. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther published a series of theses (or statements) for discussion and debate. Traditions say that he posted them on the door of the Wittenberg Chapel where he served as a Roman Catholic priest. The event served as a catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. Therefore, October 31st is called Reformation Day. We observe Reformation Day—not because we agree with all that the Reformers taught or did, but because God, in his grace, used these flawed men to accomplish monumental changes in the trajectory of church history.
The elements of service this Sunday’s will remind us of the central elements of Christian truth that are the legacy of the Reformers.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship: Hebrews 12:1-2
Hymn Insert I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art
Note: This hymn, attributed to John Calvin, welcomes the Savior and acknowledges our utter dependence on him and devotion to him. In the second verse, we express submission to him and pray that He will transform us completely (“our whole being sway”).
Hymn 588: A Mighty Fortress is our God
Note: Martin Luther’s majestic hymn reminds us that today the evil we face in our lives and our mission cannot overcome God’s plan. Our ancient foe rages against us, and if we depend on our own strength, our “striving would be losing. Yet we know the outcome of it all because we have the “right man on our side. His kingdom is forever.”
Scripture Reading: Romans 3:19-4:8
Note: The central concern of the Reformers was the doctrine of justification. They declared that the Scriptures, our only authority, declares that we are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. The apostle Paul declares this message clearly in this passage.
Hymn Insert: Though All Our Life is Like a Scroll
Note: We learned this hymn for our Reformation 500 Conference. We sing it again now because it reminds us of the core message for which we fight—a message encapsulated in the “five solas” (Latin for “alone”). Notice that each verse presents one of the solas: Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, God’s Word alone, the glory of God alone. (You may see the music here).
Message: Looking Back to Move Forward
1 Chronicles 16
Hymn 643 For All the Saints
Notes: This majestic hymn anticipates the conclusion of our mission. It expresses our longing to stand unified with the saints of God who have engaged in the gospel mission throughout the centuries. It calls us to consider the outcome of our mission: a “countless host” one day singing alleluia to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Prayer Response: Jon Lont
Benediction: John Miles