Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of October 15, 2017

Sermon: “Grace Alone!”

The Indulgence preacher John Tetzel was fantastic at raising fear and rousing worry.  Though by 1517 Luther had already become doubtful of the doctrine of Indulgences, the fear and worry of the parishioners and students he served was every bit the catalyst that his theological concern was, in the Reformers response to the sale of Indulgences via the 95 theses. Tetzel wouldn’t merely tug at the heart strings, he’d grab hold and hank; “Dear Mother, those sweet children who today run and play might lay in the soil tomorrow.”  “Gentle lover, even now the breath of your dearest takes on the stench of the grave.”  “Kindly old gent, what if tonight is your last?”  Then after fear and fret are unleashed the Indulgence pitchman would offer to take the fear away through the sale of an Indulgence. 

Luther and his fellow Reformers knew that the Gospel of Christ as proclaimed in the Scriptures, not a piece of paper, even one with a papal imprimatur, was the only the thing that could truly elevate those fears and frets!  An exchange of cash for comfort, wasn’t only sure to fail to bring lasting comfort, it was at odds with God’s free gift of grace. His exchange is the source of comfort and the end of fear and claims the troubled soul as none other.  For in Christ, God has taken our guilt and sin on Himself and in exchange, through faith, bestows on us His righteousness and His holiness. God’s free gift of grace indeed!  A gift more powerfully presented in the Word than anything an indulgence seller could conjure.  “God is for us!  God justifies!  Who can bring a charge against us?  Who can condemn us?  We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loved us!”  (Romans 8)  Therefore we know, no matter who howls or threatens, regardless of what fears or frets are roused, the truth is, “Nothing can separate us from God’s love.  Not death or life, not angel or demon, not present or future, not any power, not height or depth or anything else in all of creation can separate us from the love of God that is ours in Jesus Christ!”  (Romans 8)   Nothing!  Nothing, because in Christ God freely gives us everything!  That’s grace!

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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