Martin Luther leading family worship.
On Sunday, October 29th, we will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. We remember on this day that Martin Luther began a process that resulted in the recovery of the biblical gospel. Many congregations will recall the efforts of Martin Luther and will sing his famous hymn based on Psalm 46 entitled “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
When Luther needed encouragement, comfort and strength to face the many afflictions and trials that came upon him, he would frequently go to Psalm 46 for courage.
He himself explains why he would regularly sing Psalm 46 during times of trouble:
“We sing this psalm to the praise of God,
because He is with us
and powerfully and miraculously preserves and defends
His church and His Word
against all fanatical spirits,
against the gates of hell,
against the implacable hatred of the devil,
and against all the assaults of the world, the flesh, and sin.”
The call of God on all of our lives is to serve God lovingly and contentedly. The tenth commandment to not covet teaches us that. However, sometimes a restlessness of soul lingers that comes from the Spirit of God when He is preparing you for something new.
John Piper offers you wise counsel when God redeploys you:
“Many of you should stay where you are
and ponder how you can fit
your particular skills and relationships and resources
more strategically into the global purpose of your heavenly Father.
But if the discontent with your present situation
is deep, recurrent and lasting, and if that discontent grows
in Bible-saturated soil, God may be calling you to a new work.
If, in your discontent,
you long to be holy and to magnify Christ with your one, brief life,
then God may indeed by loosening your roots
in order to transplant you to a place and ministry
where the deep spiritual ambitions of your soul can be satisfied.
It is true that God can be known and enjoyed in every legitimate vocation;
but when he deploys you from one place to the next,
he offers fresh and deeper drinking at the fountain of his fellowship.
God seldom calls us to an easier life,
but always calls us to know more of Him
and drink more deeply of His sustaining grace.”
God’s Fair and Glorious Gift
“Music is a fair and glorious gift of God.
I would not for the world forego my humble share of music.
Singers are never sorrowful, but are merry,
and smile through their troubles in song.
Music makes people kinder, gentler,
more staid and reasonable.
I am strongly persuaded that after theology
there is no art than can be placed on a level with music;
for besides theology,
music is the only art
capable of affording peace and joy of the heart…
the devil flees before the sound of music
almost as much as before the Word of God.”
– Martin Luther
How have believers in the past proclaimed the gospel to their own hearts?
Why not reflect on the examples below and then write out your own summary of the gospel? Then use it as a tool in spiritual battle when you are plagued with a sense of condemnation, shame, and guilt:
1. The Apostle Paul recounts the stunning grandeur of the gospel throughout his life like this:
- Romans 1:16 – 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.
- 1 Timothy 1:15 – The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
2. John Newton captures the simple beauty of the gospel when writing as an 82-year-old man: “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things; That I am a great sinner, and that Jesus Christ is a great Savior of sinners like me.”
3. Bono: “Grace, she takes the blame; She covers the shame; removes the stain; Grace makes beauty out of ugly things!”
4. Jack Miller: “Cheer up and smile! You are more sinful and flawed that you ever dared imagine, yet at the same time you are more loved than you ever dared to dream because Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death for you.”
5. YOU: How about you?
Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience
the remedy is the same;
sincere and spiritual worship.
For worship is
the submission of all our nature to God.
It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness;
the nourishment of mind with His truth;
the purifying of imagination by His beauty;
the opening of the heart to His love;
the surrender of will to His purpose —
and all of this gathered up in adoration,
the most selfless emotion of which our nature is
capable and therefore the chief remedy for that
self-centeredness which is our original sin
and the source of all actual sin.
Yes—worship in spirit and truth
is the way to the solution of perplexity
and to the liberation from sin.
—William Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, 1939
The gospel of Jesus Christ demands my utmost devotion.
Listen to the words of a young preacher from Zimbabwe:
“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
I have the Holy Spirit’s power.
The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made; I’m a disciple of His!
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up,
until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and preached up
for the cause of Jesus Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
And his disciples will be hated to the end of time.
They will be blamed for all the divisions that rend cities and homes.
Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides
for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray;
they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace.
The disciples will be sorely tempted to desert their Lord.
But the end is also near, and they must hold on and persevere until it comes.
Only he will be blessed who remains loyal to Jesus and his word until the end.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
A Greater than David is here!
We have probably little idea how much deep truth is contained in the book of Psalms. No part of the Bible perhaps is better known in the letter, and none so little understood in the spirit. We err greatly if we suppose that it is nothing but a record of David’s feelings, of David’s experience, David’s praises, and David’s prayers. The hand that held the pen was generally David’s. But the subject matter was often something far deeper and higher than the history of the son of Jesse.
The book of Psalms, in a word, is a book full of Jesus Christ—Christ suffering—Christ in humiliation—Christ dying—rising again—Christ coming the second time—Christ reigning over all. Both the advents are here—advent in suffering to bear the cross—the advent in power to wear the crown. Both the kingdoms are here—kingdom of grace, during which the elect are gathered—the kingdom of glory, when every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. Let us always read the Psalms with a peculiar reverence. Let us say to ourselves as we read, “A greater than David is here.”