The Reformation is often summarized by the five Solas—Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Christus, Soli Deo Gloria. Each one is a bold confession, each one is a battlefield, and each one finds expression in John 8. Nevertheless, as Jesus teaches these eternal truths restored in the Reformation, the five are reduced to one: In Christ alone, the Word of God comes creating faith and granting grace. This is God glorifying Christ, and in him God alone is glorified. All who believe this truth are freed from sin, death, and the devil. They will walk in the light of life forever. Thank you for joining us for Reformation worship to receive and celebrate the freedom we have in the Son of God.
Throughout our study of Acts, we have witnessed the Lord's power in dangerous circumstances. Life is a voyage. We encounter winds, angry seas, and crises we can't anticipate. The Lord answers our petition to "deliver us from evil"—at times by preventing the storm but at other times by bringing us through the storm. This faith lets us be as calm as Paul was in the storm, during the shipwreck, and on the beach. God doesn't panic. Why should we? He knows the outcome and the destination. So do we. For Paul it was Rome. For us, it's the glory Jesus has prepared for us. You're not alone in this faith. Welcome to church: a gathering to receive God's grace in Word and sacrament, praise him for it, and encourage one another with it.
In the storm, Paul referred to "the God whose I am." In other words, "I'm his." You don't say "My Jennifer" or "My Owen," unless he or she is your son, daughter, or spouse. You don't use that term unless you're close, unless your relationship is intimate. Paul says what you can say in the storm, "I know I'm his. I belong to him. He's mine and I'm his. He loves me. He's committed to me." How can you say that in a storm? Today we seek to understand why it’s true and to grow in our conviction of it. We call this—church.
This week we press pause on “The Storm," our 3-week series from Acts 27, and pick up the gospel of Luke. In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus cleanses ten men from horrific disease but the miraculous healing fades quickly to the background as Jesus draws the attention of all to one thing: a Samaritan man worshiping at his feet. The image is dense and allusive, controversial and challenging, full of mercy and judgement, revelation and prophecy. Jesus tips the world and all its spirituality upside down. He never leaves a place the way he found it. That is why we gather in his presence, hear his Word, and partake in his sacraments. We come to worship him because he has changed us forever; because we never leave the same as we came. Praise be to Christ!
When the missionary Apostle Paul and his companions were caught at sea in a hurricane, "All hope that we would be saved was disappearing." (Acts 27:20) Hope is a combination of trust that the Lord will keep his promises and the Lord perfectly times his invasion into our affairs. It's hard to live without hope. . . whether you’re in a hurricane in the Mediterranean 2,000 years ago, or the one that hit Florida this week, or the one that’s hitting your life with enough force to knock the wind out of you right now. Why does God do that? While there are no pat answers, God does reveal some answers to us. We’re glad you’re here to search for them and worship God for them.