Reformation Sunday Message, an Outline

[October 28, 2012]

The word “Reformation”:
  1. What it does not mean:
  • It does not mean to make better, to improve.
  1. And what it does mean:
  • The Latin translates the NT word, ana-keinoō and ana-neoō, “to make new,”
  • which means to return or restore something to its original form or idea, the original intention or plan.
What we find in the Scriptures:
  1. God is always acting, moving things into the future; but God is also eternal and changeless.
  2. So what we find is that God is always doing something NEW.
  3. But the new thing that God is doing is always something OLD:
    it is always the thing God originally wanted, His original and first intention.
    What God wants now He wanted from the beginning.
  4. This is the measure of God’s judgment (what He rejects and what He will reward).
The text from the Gospel:

John 2:23—3:2……. the seeker
John 3:3-8………….. you must be born of water and the Spirit
John 3:9-12………… the fulfillment of the Scriptures (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26-27; etc.)
John 3:13-16………. by the death of the Messiah
John 3:17-21………. the Light and the darkness

What we learn from the Gospel:
  1. To be saved it is not enough to make some improvements, to change for the better.
    One must be born again, born from above (from a source other than ourselves or our roots).
  2. This consists of two parts:
    1. (The baptism of) water: repentance (the message of John the Baptist);
    2. (The baptism of) the Spirit: a new life (what only the resurrected Jesus can give).
    3. The call comes from the Scriptures (all Scriptures point in this direction).
    4. The Scriptures present Christ, the Son of God:
      1. Who is the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13), the Victor and Judge and King,
        Who has ascended into heaven,
      2. But Who first descended out of heaven, humbling Himself to become a man,
      3. And was lifted up on the cross,
      4. That we may believe into Him,
      5. And have eternal life in Him.
    5. He is the Light of the Scriptures,
      1. If we do not believe into Him we are in darkness;
      2. Apart from this Light, our works condemn us.
What then is the Christian life?
(see Romans 6:12-23 and 12:1-2; Colossians 3:8-11; Ephesians 4:17-24)
  1. First, we must give up our old life and believe into Christ.
  2. Then we must present ourselves to Him “as alive from the dead,” as a “living sacrifice.”
  3. And then we must be RENEWED or reformed day by day:
    1. Not by just improving ourselves (what comes from the flesh is still flesh),
    2. But by putting off the old (by putting on “Christ crucified”),
    3. And by putting on the “new man,” which is Christ (risen from the dead).
How do we put on Christ?
  1. We put on Christ by the Holy Spirit, who is our new life (which is eternal life).
  2. We do this by the Word of God (e.g., John 3:34; 6:63). The Word gives life.
    1. We must learn Christ in the Scriptures,
    2. We must give Him (in the Scriptures) our full attention,
    3. We must meditate on Him (in the Scriptures) day and night.
    4. We must praise and adore (worship) Him with others, that is, in the congregation,
      because Christ—by the Spirit—lives/dwells/abides in the congregation (His Temple).
Then how is the church reformed?
  1. By giving Christ His rightful place
    1. He is the only reason we gather,
    2. He is the center of our gathering,
    3. He is all that God has to give us (in Him are all God’s riches); God has nothing else.
      And therefore there can be salvation in no other.
    4. By rejecting whatever would take Christ’s place.
  2. By bringing back the Scriptures
    1. as the means of grace,
    2. as the means of God’s presence,
    3. as the means of salvation—
      because Christ is present to us through the Holy Spirit by means of the Word;
    4. by examining ourselves in the light of the Scriptures, which is God’s searching eye on us,
    5. by obedience to the Scriptures as God’s claim on us and as His command,
    6. by trusting the Scriptures as God’s Word of promise and consolation.

 

The word “Reformation”:
  1. What it does not mean (our own attempts at self-improvement or improving the church)
  2. And what it does mean (going back to “that which was from the beginning”)
  3. The new thing that God wants is CHRIST,
    Who is God’s intention from the beginning,
    which intention is revealed in the Scriptures.
  4. We only know Christ by the Scriptures,
  5. The Scriptures is the means of our own and the church’s reformation.

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