The Transfigurations of Jesus

Luke 9:28 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.

KJV And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

about Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13

sayings or, things. he. Lk 8:51; Matthew 26:37-39; Mark 14:33-36; 2 Corinthians 13:1

up on Lk 9:18; 6:12; Ps 109:4; Mark 1:35; 6:46; Hebrews 5:7

Luke 9:28-36

Parallel Passages in the Synoptic GospelsMatt. 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8

Matthew 17:1-8 Six days later Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. 7 And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” 8 And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.

Mark 9:2-8 Six days later, Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John, and *brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; 3 and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4 Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified. 7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!” 8 All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone.

The Transfiguration was “”the most significant event between [Christ’s] birth and passion.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

The Transfiguration (He Was God Incognito) – Things are not always as they seem.” “Looks can be deceiving.” Never was this more true than when the Son of God left heaven and came to earth, when “the Word became flesh and took up residence among us” (John 1:14), when the fullness of deity came and dwelt in a body (Col 2:9), when the essence of God “did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead, He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men” (Phil 2:6-7). The transfiguration of Jesus confirms that, despite having the outward appearance of a mere mortal man, Jesus of Nazareth is in His nature and essence God—deity dressed in a body. Although He is not the kind of Messiah Savior the nation of Israel was expecting, He is exactly the Messiah Savior they needed. He looks defeated, but He is actually victorious. He dies and is buried by men, but He will be raised and exalted by God. He looks like a regular dude, but in actuality He is deity! The transfiguration is something of “a preview of coming attractions.” (Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in Mark)

John MacArthur on eight days – Matthew (Mt 17:1) and Mark (Mk 9:2) place the transfiguration six days after the Lord spoke these words. There is no contradiction between their accounts and Luke’s; the latter merely bookended the six days by adding the day Jesus made this statement and the actual day of the transfiguration. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

After these sayings – This would serve to tie the transfiguration closely with Jesus prediction of His coming death in Lk 9:27.

Warren Wiersbe on Peter and John and James – Peter, James, and John had accompanied Jesus when He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Luke 8:51ff), and they would accompany Him when He prayed in the Garden (Matt. 26:36-46). These three occasions remind me of Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him [the Transfiguration], and the power of His resurrection [raising the girl], and the fellowship of His sufferings [in the Garden].” (Bible Exposition Commentary)

MacArthur adds that “those three men, along with Andrew, made up the innermost circle of the apostles (cf. Lk 8:51; Mark 14:33). Jesus’ choice of three men reflects the law’s requirement that “on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed” (Deut. 19:15; cf. Matt. 18:16; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19; Heb. 10:28).” (Ibid)

Transfiguration – This event is the climax of the “identity of Jesus” motif in all the Synoptics. Here the disciples saw and heard who Jesus really was. Luke’s particular emphasis was the sufferings of Jesus that were coming. This comes through in his description of Jesus’ conversation with Moses and Elijah (Lk 9:30-31) and his interpretation of what the heavenly voice said (Lk 9:35). The whole scene recalls God’s appearance to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exod. 24), and it anticipates the second coming of Christ. There is a recurrence of the three themes of Jesus’ identity (Lk 9:20), His passion (Lk 9:22), and glory (Lk 9:26) from the previous pericope but in reverse order (Lk 9:29, 30, 35). These are the main points the reader should identify as significant in Luke’s narrative.

The mountainDefinitive article suggests a specific mountain, but it is not designated.

To pray (see Greek word proseuchomai below) – This fact is not mentioned in either Matthew 17:1-2 or Mark 9:2. Note that the purpose for Jesus going to the mountain is stated “to pray.”

The context for the Transfiguration – We’ve all heard the expression that someone is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good. I suppose that there are people whose heads are so much in the clouds that they don’t accomplish much in practical terms. But the truth of the matter is, most of us are so earthly minded that we are of no earthly or heavenly good. The Bible is clear that if we want to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord, we must set our minds on the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Col 3:1-2). There is nothing quite so practical as gaining a clearer vision of the glory of Christ. Like Peter, John, and James, we must come down off the mountain to deal with difficult situations, but we will deal with them more effectively if we have seen the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To understand the transfiguration, we must see it in its context. Luke has been gradually revealing to us the identity of Jesus Christ. People had different views—He is John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets come back (Lu 9:19). But by divine revelation, Peter acknowledged that Jesus is the Christ of God (Lu 9:20; see Mt 16:17). But immediately after Peter’s confession, Jesus told the disciples of His impending death and resurrection. This jarred them and they did not understand what He was talking about, in spite of His repeated references to it (Lu 9:44-45; Lu 18:31-34). They understood Christ as King, but they did not yet understand that He first must suffer and then enter into His glory (Lu 24:26).

Jesus also has made it plain that those who follow Him must follow in the way of the cross (Lu 9:23-26). Jesus did not come to please Himself, but to do the will of the Father, which supremely included the cross. Those who are His disciples must also deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him, even if it means persecution or martyrdom. Jesus concluded that discourse with a difficult verse: “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who shall not taste death until they see the kingdom of God” (Lu 9:27).

There are various interpretations of what Jesus meant by this. Some liberals say that it was a mistaken prediction that Jesus would come back before some of the apostles died. We can dismiss this as the stupid ramblings of irreverent men. Others relate it to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, but it is difficult to see why that event represented the coming of God’s kingdom. Others interpret it as a reference to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the rule of Christ through His church. But it seems to me that Jesus is referring to something more spectacular than that. I agree with many of the early church fathers who believed that Jesus was referring to the event that immediately follows, namely, His transfiguration. Three of the disciples there got a glimpse of what Jesus will be like in that coming kingdom, when He comes in the glory of the Father and His holy angels (Lu 9:26).

Jesus’ comment about not tasting death refers back to verse Lu 9:24. He is saying that although some of those who follow Him will lose their lives for His sake, some of them would see a manifestation of the coming kingdom before they faced martyrdom, because to see Jesus in His glory is to see a preview of that day when He will return to reign.

Thus in the context, the transfiguration served to encourage the three disciples by showing them that even though their Master would suffer and die and though they, too, must follow Him in the path of the cross, the future glory of Jesus and of all who follow Him is certain. The disciples’ understanding, like their sleepiness and the cloud on the mountain, was foggy at first. But later this unforgettable experience came back to them with clarity and insight. (Sermon Luke 9:27-36)



The Trial of Martin Luther: An Account

(Luther’s Hearings Before the Diet at Worms on Charges of Heresy)

Historians have described it as the trial that led to the birth of the modern world. Before the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the Diet of Worms in the spring of 1521, as Luther biographer Roland H. Bainton noted, “the past and the future were met.” Martin Luther bravely defended his written attacks on orthodox Catholic beliefs and denied the power of Rome to determine what is right and wrong in matters of faith. By holding steadfast to his interpretation of Scripture, Luther provided the impetus for the Reformation, a reform movement that would divide Europe into two regions, one Protestant and one Catholic, and that would set the scene for religious wars that would continue for more than a century, not ending until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

Martin Luther’s long journey to Worms might be said to have begun in 1505 on a road near his home town of Erfurt in Saxony (now part of Germany), when a bolt of lightening knocked Luther to the ground. Luther took the lightening to be a call from God, and–to the disappointment of his father, who hoped he would become a lawyer–, took vows at an Augustinian monastery to begin a profoundly Christian life. Luther impressed his superiors at the Erfurt monastery. By 1507, he was an ordained priest and had offered his first mass. By 1508, he had earned a degree in Biblical studies from the University of Wittenberg and become an instructor at that Augustinian institution.

Questioning the Sale of Indulgences

A trip to Rome in 1510 caused Luther to begin to seriously question certain Catholic practices. The opportunity for the trip arose when Luther was selected as one of two Augustinian brothers to travel to the Eternal City to help resolve a dispute within the order that called for resolution by the pope. What Luther saw in Rome disillusioned him. As he watched incompetent, flippant, and cynical clergy performing their holy duties he began to experience doubts about the Catholic Church. He wrote after his journey that he had “gone with onions and returned with garlic.”

Those early doubts concerning Rome and its ways would blossom over the next several years after Luther earned the prestigious post as Doctor of the Bible at Wittenberg University and undertook a thorough review of the source book of his religion. Luther’s study led him to the theology of Paul and his belief in the possibility of forgiveness through faith made possible by the crucifixion of Christ. In Paul’s theology, which Luther would largely adopt as his own, there was no need to look to priests for forgiveness because, to those who believed and were contrite, forgiveness was a gift of God.

Luther’s understanding of Paul’s theology led him to view skeptically the Catholic Church’s reliance on the practice of selling indulgences as its major source of revenue. (An indulgence was a remission of temporal punishment after a confessor revealed sin, expressed contrition, and made the required contribution to the Church.) In sermons in Wittenberg beginning in 1516, Luther argued that forgiveness came from within, and that no one–whether a priest or a pope–was in position to grant forgiveness because no one can look into the soul of another. He also questioned whether the pope could, as he claimed, deliver souls of a confessor’s dead loved ones from purgatory. By lashing out at the sale of indulgences, Luther was striking at the heart of the Church’s array of money-raising tools and confrontation was inevitable.

Matters began to come to a head the next year when Pope Leo X launched an indulgence-driven campaign to raise funds for construction of a grand basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome. The practice of the time was to grant the privilege of selling indulgences to various bishops, who would retain for themselves and their purposes a portion of the raised funds. Albert of Brandenburg, granted an indulgence franchise in his territory for eight years, told his indulgence vendors that they could promise purchasers a perfect remission of all sins and that those seeking indulgences for dead relatives need not be contrite themselves, nor confess their sins. Proclamation of the indulgence fell to an experienced Dominican vendor named John Tetzel, who journeyed from town to town around Albert’s territories. Tetzel would follow a cross bearing the papal arms into a town’s marketplace and launch into a sermon, or sales pitch, that included a jingle that Martin Luther found especially objectionable:

As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,
The soul from purgatory springs.

Luther, in an angry response to the indulgence sales campaign, prepared in Latin a placard consisting of ninety-five theses for debate. The placard, in accordance with the custom of the time, was placed upon the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church . The power of pardon, Luther contended in his Ninety-Five Theses, was God’s alone. If, indeed, the pope had the power he claimed, Luther asked why he didn’t simply exercise it: “If the pope does have the power to release anyone from purgatory, why in the name of love does he not abolish purgatory by letting everyone out?” Luther’s complaints also went to the Church’s justification for promoting contributions. He complained about “the revenues of all Christendom being sucked into this insatiable basilica” when there were much greater needs, including “living temples” and local churches.

When a copy of Luther’s theses reached Rome, the pope, according to some accounts, said: “Luther is a drunken German. He will feel different when he is sober.” Nonetheless, the pope saw Luther as sufficiently threatening to appoint a new general of the Augustinian order in the hopes that the he would “smother the fire before it should become a conflagration.” Surprisingly, however, at the gathering of Luther’s chapter that year in Heidelberg Luther’s arguments met with enthusiasm among the younger Augustinians and mere head-shaking among the older attendees.

Encouraged by the reception to his views, Luther aimed at new targets. He challenged the power of the Church to excommunicate its members, writing that only God could sever spiritual communion. He also questioned the primacy of the Church in Rome, suggesting that there was a lack of historical support for putting its authority above that of other churches. Clearly, the pope began to understand, Luther was more of a threat that he first thought. The pope turned to Dominican Sylvester Prierias, Master of the Sacred Palace at Rome, to draft a reply to Luther’s arguments. Prierias’s reply branded Luther a heretic and, gratuitously, called him “a leper with a brain of brass and a nose of iron.” On August 7, 1518, Luther received a citation to appear in Rome to answer the charge of heresy.

The Road to Worms

Frederick the Wise , the Elector for Germany in the Holy Roman Empire, found himself in the middle of an unwanted controversy. From Pope Leo, Frederick had received a letter expressing concern that had provided support for Martin Luther, “a son of iniquity” who had been “hurling himself upon the Church of God.” The Pope called upon Frederick to place Luther “in the hands of the Holy See lest future generations reproach you with having fostered the rise of a most pernicious heresy against the Church.” Feeling obligations to the Church but also somewhat sympathetic to Luther, whose attacks on Rome won substantial support in his home region, Frederick sought a compromise. In negotiations with Cardinal Cajetan, the papal legate, Frederick prevailed in having Luther’s hearing on the heresy charge moved to Augsburg, a city on German soil.

Cardinal Cajetan interviewed Luther three times from October 12-14, 1518. Told that he must recant his views on indulgences and papal infallibility, Luther refuses. On the issue of papal infallibility, Luther said, “I deny that he is above scripture.” The frustrated cardinal complained after the meeting to Luther’s superior, John Staupitz, “His eyes are as deep as a lake, and there are amazing speculations in his head.” Luther remained in Augsburg for another week awaiting some sort of decision from the Church, but when rumors reach him of a plan to have him arrested, he fled on horseback at night.

Catejan pressured Frederick the Wise to have Luther either arrested and sent to Rome or banished from his territories, but Frederick balked. Instead, he wrote to the emperor requesting that Luther’s case either be dropped or sent to Germany for a hearing before judges. On December 18, 1518, Frederick wrote a letter to Catejan informing him that he would only send Luther to Rome “after he has been convicted of heresy.” He urged that Luther be given an opportunity to debate his interpretation of Scripture and submit it to a university for decision. “He should be shown in what respect he is a heretic and not condemned in advance,” wrote Frederick. Frederick’s views no doubt reflected those of most Germans. One writer of the period reported that he polled people in inns around the territory and found that three out of every four persons he talked to supported Luther.

In Rome, meanwhile, a papal bull (Cum Postquam) had been prepared clarifying the Church’s position on indulgences. Although the decretal ended some of the worst abuses, it affirmed that the pope had complete power to absolve temporal punishment through indulgences.

In Germany, Luther’s arguments were the talk of the nation. The University of Wittenberg had become a predominantly Lutheran institution while a rival university, the University of Leipzig, had emerged as the champion of traditional Catholic positions. A debate was proposed. Luther would come to Leipzig and defend his views against a prominent professor named John Eck . Despite the protests from some church men appalled at the notion of giving the heretic such a stage, the debate went forward in July 1519. For four sessions over eighteen days the two intellectual powerhouses argued over free will, Biblical support for indulgences, and the primacy of Rome. In the end, there was no clear winner and only one of the two judging universities (Paris and Erfurt) reported its judgment.

The fame and influence of Luther continued to spread. Between the Leipzig debates and the summer of 1520 Luther wrote and published a series of tracts that are considered his primary works: The Sermon on Good Works, The Papacy in Rome, The Babylonian Captivity, and The Freedom of the Christian Man. The Babylonian Captivity was an especially controversial book, questioning all but two of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Rome, however, had not forgotten about Martin Luther. On June 15, 1520, Pope Leo X, in the papal bull Exsurge Domine, warned Luther that he will be excommunicated unless he recanted 41 sentences included in his 95 Theses within the next sixty days. The bull opened with a paragraph that compared Luther to a wild boar:

Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod. When you were about to ascend to your Father, you committed the care, rule, and administration of the vineyard, an image of the triumphant church, to Peter, as the head and your vicar and his successors. The wild boar from the forest seeks to destroy it and every wild beast feeds upon it.

Exsurge Domine ended with a plea and an injunction:

Therefore let Martin himself and all those adhering to him, and those who shelter and support him, through the merciful heart of our God and the sprinkling of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ by which and through whom the redemption of the human race and the upbuilding of holy mother Church was accomplished, know that from our heart we exhort and beseech that he cease to disturb the peace, unity, and truth of the Church for which the Savior prayed so earnestly to the Father. Let him abstain from his pernicious errors that he may come back to us….We enjoin, however, on Martin that in the meantime he cease from all preaching or the office of preacher.

With the papal bull executed and plans for its distribution in the works, Luther’s books were burned in Rome’s Piazza Navona. In the meantime, Luther had drafted an appeal of his case and sent it to the new emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V. Often called An Appeal to Caesar, Luther’s document asked the emperor to allow his guilt or innocence on the heresy charge to be determined after a hearing by non-ecclesiastical officials. Luther boldly asserted in his August appeal that church officials should be answerable to the state:

For three years I have sought peace in vain. I have now but one recourse. I appeal to Caesar. I have no desire to be defended if I am found to be impious or heretical. One thing I ask, that neither truth nor error be condemned unheard and unrefuted.

It took three months for the papal bull to reach Luther in Wittenberg. The day after receiving a copy of the pope’s bull, Luther wrote to a friend, “This bull condemns Christ himself” and that he was now “certain the pope is the Antichrist.” Luther, thoroughly aroused, unleashed a defense of his assertions that received condemnation in the papal bull in his Against the Execrable Bull of the Antichrist. The tone of his tract was defiant:

It is better that I should die a thousand times than that I should retract one syllable of the condemned articles. And as they excommunicated me for the sacrilege of heresy, so I excommunicate them in the name of the sacred truth of God. Christ will judge whose excommunication will stand.

On December 10, 1520, Martin Luther and some of his university supporters gathered at Wittenberg’s Elster gate where various theological works and documents from Rome were placed in a pile and lit on fire. Luther himself tossed the papal bull into the blaze . “Since they have burned my books, I burn theirs,” he said.

With Luther in obvious defiance of his demand for recantation, Pope Leo excommunicated Luther on January 3, 1521. Managing the Luther case for Pope Leo was the papal nuncio, Aleander . In Aleander’s view, secular tribunals had no role to play. Luther had been found guilty of heresy, condemned by the Church, and the only job of secular authorities should be to carry out the Church’s decision. “The only competent judge is the pope,” Aleander wrote.

When Luther’s Appeal to Caesar reached Emperor Charles V, he tore it up and trampled on it. Within a month, however, a more composed Charles V, concerned with the reaction of the German people if Luther were to be condemned without a hearing, reconsidered his decision. On March 11, 1521, the emperor sent to Luther an invitation to come to the Diet meeting at Worms to “answer with regard to your books and your teaching.” The emperor’s mandate promised safe-conduct if he would arrive in Worms within twenty-one days. “You have neither violence nor snares to fear,” the letter said.

Luther decided to go. In a letter to Frederick the Wise, Luther explained his thinking: “I will go even if I am too sick to stand on my feet. If Caesar calls me, God calls me. If violence is used, as well it may be, I commend my cause to God.”

Luther, in Worms, preparing to face the Diet

Although describing himself as “physically fearful and trembling,” Luther and a small band of supporters entered Worms on the early evening of April 16 in a two-wheeled cart. A crowd of two thousand people helped escort Luther to his lodging.

A third-person account, almost certainly written by Luther himself, describes the scene the next day, when Luther was first to be questioned:

At four in the afternoon, the imperial chamberlain, and the herald who had accompanied him from Wittenberg, came to him at his inn, The Court of Germany, and conducted him to the town hall, along bye-ways, in order to avoid the crowds which had assembled in the leading streets. Notwithstanding this precaution, there were numbers collected at the gates of the town hall, and who essayed to enter with him, but the guards kept them back. Many persons had got upon the roofs of houses to see Dr. Martin. As he proceeded to tip the kail, several noblemen successively addressed to him words of encouragement. “Be bold,” said they, “and fear not those who can kill the body, but are powerless against the soul.”

The Archbishop of Trier, John Eck (not the Eck of the Leipzig debate), opened the hearing by pointing to a large pile of Luther’s books and asking him whether the books were his and whether he would retract the doctrines espoused in them. “I think the books are mine,” Luther replied. When the titles of the books were read, Luther answered more certainly: “Yes, the books are mine.” When asked, “Will you retract the doctrines herein?,” Luther answered cautiously saying it “would be rash and dangerous to reply to such a question until I had meditated thereupon in silence and retreat, least I incur the anger of our Lord.” While expressing surprise that a professor of theology couldn’t immediately answer his question, Eck granted Luther’s request to think things over. He told Luther to come back the next day at the same time with his answer.

The next day at six o’clock Luther entered a larger hall that was filled to overflowing. Eck demanded, “Explain yourself now. Will you defend all your writings, or disavow some of them?”

universal voice of the faithful.”

Luther then described a second class of writings, those “in which I attack the papacy and the belief of the papists, as monstrosities, involving the ruin of sound doctrine and of men’s souls.” He brashly asserted that “the pope’s decretals have thrown utter disorder into Christianity, have surprised, imprisoned, and tortured the faith of the faithful…contrary to the gospel.” If he “were to retract these writings,” Luther said, he would “lend additional strength and audacity to the Roman tyranny” and “open the floodgates to the torrent of impiety, making for it a breach by which it would rush in and overwhelm the Christian world.”

Finally, Luther said, there is a third class of works in which he had attacked his theological adversaries. For these writings, Luther offered a small apology: “I have no hesitation in admitting that in these I have shown greater violence than befitted a man of my calling; I do not set up for a saint, I do not say that my conduct has been above reproach.” Nonetheless, Luther refused to disavow these writings as well because to do so would allow “Rome would make use of the disavowal, to extend her kingdom and oppress men’s souls.”

Luther would not back down. Only if he could be convinced of his errors on the basis of Scripture might he offer a retraction and “throw my books into the fire with my own hand.” He warned those judging him to not “condemn the Divine Word” lest God send down upon them “a deluge of ills, and the reign of our noble young emperor, upon whom, next to God, repose all our hopes, be speedily and sorely troubled.” He ended his speech by entreating the emperor and the lordships to not let “my enemies to indulge their hatred against me under your sanction.”

Eck found Luther’s answer evasive. He asked again, “Martin–answer candidly and without horns–do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors which they contain?”

Luther replied, “‘Since then your imperial majesty and your lordships demand a simple answer, I will give you one without teeth and without horns. Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture or by manifest evidence…I cannot and will not retract, for we must never act contrary to our conscience….Here I stand. God help me! Amen!”

After, as requested, repeating his answer in Latin (he had spoken in German), a sweating and tired Luther threw up his arms in victory and left the hall to a chorus of hisses from the Spaniards present. Frederick the Wise offered an appraisal of Luther’s performance: “Dr. Martin spoke wonderfully before the emperor, the princes, and the estates, but too boldly.” Arriving back in his lodging after his two-hour hearing, Luther downed in one gulp a can of Eimbeck beer that had been left for him there by a friend.

Charles V told a group of electors after the hearing that he was ready to proceed against Luther as “a notorious heretic.” Most of the electors were in agreement with the emperor, but there were the German peasants to worry about. The peasants were on the verge of a revolt and condemnation of Luther, who they saw as a champion, might push them into open conflict. A committee was selected to meet with Luther and to try to seek at least a partial revocation. The committee’s efforts failed. Luther would not compromise on his principles.

On May 6, a final draft of the Edict of Worms, prepared by Aleander, was submitted to the Diet. It was finally signed by the emperor on May 26. The Edict called Luther a “reviver of the old and condemned heresies” and an “inventor of new ones.” It called for the burning of his books and for confiscation of his property. It cut him off from the church, called for his arrest, and forbid anyone from harboring or sustaining him. Finally, it warned that anyone who dares to directly or indirectly oppose this decree…will be guilty of the crime of lese majeste and will incur our grave indignation as well as each of the punishments mentioned above.”

By the time the Edict of Worms

of Indulgences

by Dr. Martin Luther, 1517was announced, Martin Luther was a month gone from Worms. He was, in fact, at Wartburg Castle where he had been hustled on horseback by a gang of “abductors” as part of a staged kidnapping on his route back to Wittenberg. Frederick the Wise had decided to hide him.

The Aftermath

After nearly a year in Wartburg Castle, where Luther occupied himself with translating the Bible into German, he bravely accepted the invitation of Wittenberg’s town council to come home. Within days of his return, the exile was–in the defiance of the pope, the emperor, and

and the elector–back in the pulpit, beginning a series of important lectures (“the Invocavit Sermons”) on core Christian values.

Much of the remainder of Luther’s career was devoted to building the liturgy, patterns, and institutions for a new Church, one based on his interpretation of Scripture and his guiding principle of salvation through faith and the grace of God. He also worked tirelessly on his complete translation of the Bible into German.

In 1525, Luther married Katherine von Bora, a nun fifteen years younger than he who he had helped escape from a convent. The couple had six children.

The period of 1524-25 is a tumultuous one in Germany, with the outbreak of the Peasants’ War, a revolt by the have-nots of Germany against the state and the upper classes. Luther was to many of those in the rebellion a hero because he had publicly sided with the peasants on many of their grievances. When, however, the peasants committed atrocities in his name, Luther called for them to obey authorities and wrote a tract in which he condemned the violence at the devil’s work.

In the late 1520s, most of northern Germany became Lutheran, as well as several major cities in other parts of Germany. Meanwhile, the popularity of Luther and his ideas within his home region convinced secular authorities that enforcement of the Edict of Worms is no longer a wise option. In August 1526, the Diet of Speyer reaffirmed the Edict of Worms only for Catholic territories and allowed Lutheranism to be tolerated in regions where it could not be effectively suppressed.

Lutheranism continued its spread and became the dominant faith in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe . (Much later, of course, it gained an extensive following in the United States. Just as significantly, the Reformation planted the seeds for the growth of other varieties of Protestantism.)

Religious wars occupied Europe for a century, finally ending in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. With that, the principle of national sovereignty began to dominate both the theory and practice of international relations. Because of Luther, and the events he set in motion, no higher authority stood above nations and only the ceaseless exercise of power kept contending national interests in check. We had come into the modern world.

Martin Luther died at age 62 on February 18, 1546 in Eisleben. He was buried beneath the pulpit in the Castle Church in Wittenberg.Martin Luther died at age 62 on February 18, 1546 in Eisleben. He was buried beneath the pulpit in the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

Salvation Luke 9:23 Tells us


Because in verse 23 Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me -” And then, at that point, we could stop and say, “That’s essential to His mission. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to call people to Himself.” And He says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, here’s what he must do -“

Here, then, are conditions established for the most important message ever given on this planet and that is the message of following Jesus

What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?

What does it mean to come after Him?

What does it mean to become a Christian?

What does it mean to be saved?

That’s at the heart of the message.

And what Jesus says here directly speaks to that issue.
So you want to follow Christ, do you?

You want to come after Christ?

You want to be His disciple?

You want to be a “little Christ,” which is what Christian means?

You want to follow Him into His kingdom, the kingdom of God? You want His forgiveness, the forgiveness that He gives?

You want the eternal life that He promises?

Well, if you want that, He says, “You must deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Me.”

This statement by Jesus is repeated a number of times in the New Testament gospel record. I’m sure He stated this many, many times, hundreds of times in His preaching ministry because this is at the heart of the issue of discipleship and salvation.

Now we’ve already looked at the three elements:

Denying yourself,

taking up your cross, and


But I want to go back and visit them, not in part but as a whole, and try to give you maybe a summary understanding of what He is really saying here. And it’s important to do this because what Jesus is saying is fundamentally opposite what preachers are preaching today.

In fact, the fundamental call to salvation, the words of our Lord are utterly opposite how people think in our culture

We live in a culture of self love, to put it simply, a culture that is consumed with self love, ego building, self esteem, feeling good about yourself, thinking you’re important, thinking you’re valuable, thinking you’re a hero, thinking you’ve achieved something, thinking you’re worthy of honor.

We’re drowning in awards for everything imaginable and unimaginable.

Parents are consumed with boosting the egos of their children with every imaginable means, as well as boosting their own sense of self value.

This is the generation of self lovers.

In 2 Timothy chapter 3 the apostle Paul classified “love of self” as a sin – in fact, a dominating sin.

In one of his familiar lists of iniquities – there are numbers of them in his letters – he begins the list of iniquities in 2 Timothy chapter 3 with “lovers of self,” and then “lovers of money,” and then goes through the rest of his list. This describes deceivers, unbelievers, those outside the kingdom of God, those who do not know the truth. Self love is at the top of the list in terms of normal human attitude. Sinners are consumed with pride. They’re consumed with themselves. We have made that into the prominent, dominant virtue in our society.

So here we are with the gospel, going to a generation of people

who are not only proud, but they’ve turned pride into the virtue of all virtues,

are in love with themselves, and

who seek to fulfill every whim, and every desire, and every ambition, and every dream, and every hope;

who seek to be everything that they can be,

who seek to set value on all that they are, and all that they say, and all that they do.

And we confront that culture with the gospel, and at the heart of the gospel is this opening.

“So you want to follow Jesus, do you?

You want to enter the Kingdom of God?

You want your sins forgiven?

You want eternal heaven?

Then deny yourself and

take up your cross and

fully submit to Him.”

You can’t even get to the submitting part unless you can get past the cross part, and you can’t get there if you can’t get past the part about denying yourself.

To give you a term that you likely won’t forget, I’ll borrow from Martin Luther.

Martin Luther, as you know, launched the Protestant Reformation. He was a Roman Catholic priest who came to understand the truth of salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone, apart from works, and ceremonies, and all the rest;

and so he determined that he would confront the Roman Catholic system, the great monolithic system of error and deception, and he selected 95 different statements, 95 different protests – that’s why we’re called “Protestants” – 95 different assertions that ran contrary to Catholicism.

He wrote them down and he nailed them on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

The fourth of his protests, the fourth of his 95 assertions was that a penitent heart, a heart that comes to God and receives salvation is characterized by – here’s his term, “self hate.” Self hate. Quoting from Luther’s fourth statement. “And so penance remains while self hate remains.” He said that self hate was the true interior penitence. “This,” said Luther, “is essential to the gospel.”

Whereas the Roman system, like every system of self righteousness, and earning salvation by ceremonies and good deeds, is awash in self love; Luther confronted it and said, “Until the sinner comes to hate himself, he does not enter the Kingdom of God.” You have in the very birth of Protestantism, the very birth of the gospel, as it were, out from under its rock where it was hidden for 1,000 years in Catholicism, at its very launch the gospel is defined as being founded upon the sinner’s self hatred.

Hating oneself because one comes to see that there is in the flesh no good thing, that there is nothing of value, nothing of worth.

That we are, as Jeremiah said, “deceitful above all things, desperately wicked.”

Every part of us is sick -” as Isaiah put it “- from the head to the toe.”

There is no good thing anywhere.

There’s nothing about us that has value.

There’s nothing about us that has worth.

There’s nothing about us that is deserving of honor or accolade.

It is to come to the Beatitude attitude again, of understanding spiritual poverty, of understanding bankruptcy, of understanding your utter nothingness, of looking at everything that’s done in your life, whether it’s religious, or whether it’s educational, or whether it’s moral, or whatever it is, and like the apostle Paul saying, “It’s all dung. It’s all manure.” This just does not sell in the cult of self love.

But frankly it’s absolutely absurd to suggest that a person could encounter holy God, the righteous God, and enter into His kingdom

without wanting to be delivered from sin, and without wanting to be delivered from understanding sin as sin really has to be understood, that is that it is pervasive and dominant.

Those who meet God on God’s terms, those who come to God and enter in to His kingdom, invariably have an overwhelming sense of their own sinfulness.

Job who was the best of men, according to the 1:42 said this, “I had heard of God with my ears, but now I’ve seen Him.” And he said this, “I hate myself.” In the Hebrew, “I loathe myself. I despise myself, everything that I am. All that I am apart from God, all that I am in my humanness, anything and everything about me is so stained and tainted with fallenness and corruption and sin, I hate everything about myself.”


We live in a culture of self love, to put it simply, a culture that is consumed with self love, ego building, self esteem, feeling good about yourself, thinking you’re important, thinking you’re valuable, thinking you’re a hero, thinking you’ve achieved something, thinking you’re worthy of honor.

We’re drowning in awards for everything imaginable and unimaginable.

Parents are consumed with boosting the egos of their children with every imaginable means, as well as boosting their own sense of self value.

This is the generation of self lovers.

In 2 Timothy chapter 3 the apostle Paul classified “love of self” as a sin – in fact, a dominating sin.

In one of his familiar lists of iniquities – there are numbers of them in his letters – he begins the list of iniquities in 2 Timothy chapter 3 with “lovers of self,” and then “lovers of money,” and then goes through the rest of his list. This describes deceivers, unbelievers, those outside the kingdom of God, those who do not know the truth. Self love is at the top of the list in terms of normal human attitude. Sinners are consumed with pride. They’re consumed with themselves. We have made that into the prominent, dominant virtue in our society.

So here we are with the


Knowing, Suffering, Accomplished



What I like is word study of the text.  We have been in First Peter 5:9-14 for some time in our series in First Peter.

Having an understanding of the meaning of the words make for understanding the meaning of the text:

Peter now adds a strong incentive to stand firm in their faith. Satan wants believers to believe their trial is unique and they are alone in their struggle. Don’t believe his lie says Peter.

Knowing (1492) (eido) is the verb that describes absolute, positive, beyond a chance of a doubt type of knowing something.

Beyond a chance of a doubt

The perfect tense speaks of the permanence of their knowing. Thus their knowledge of the truth which follows (“same experiences of suffering… “) is permanently settled in their soul and can be called into use “in the nick of time” or as physicians say “PRN” (as needed for relief”).

So be encouraged to endure your trials because you know beyond a shadow of doubt that your fellow-Christians are suffering the same things around the world. Suffering is the common lot for believers – you are not alone (cf Heb 13:4-5). Others have survived, therefore so can you (read Hebrews 11)

Why and how should Peter’s readers have known beyond a shadow of a doubt? Peter has been writing about suffering for the preceding four chapters. In chapter 1 Peter said “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.” (1 Peter 1:6)

In chapter 2 he said “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” ( 1 Peter 2:21).

In chapter 3 he wrote that “even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled.” (1 Peter 3:14).

In chapter 4 he warned the saints not to “be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes

you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.” (See note 1 Peter 4:12; 4:13)

Paul warned Timothy that “indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (See note 2 Timothy 3:12)

Faithful believers must expect persecution and suffering at the hands of the Christ-rejecting world and if you know this truth beyond a shadow of a doubt you won’t be surprised when you suffer for the sake of the gospel.

“And after (Paul and Barnabas) had preached the gospel to that city (Derbe) and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must (it is necessary, inevitable and not optional) enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

All believers need to be reminded to expect hardships and persecution so that they will not be dismayed and overwhelmed by them. Perseverance in the Christian life is a ceaseless warfare against the forces of evil.

Paul reminded the Corinthians that “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” ()

Calvin writes that It is another consolation, that we have a contest in common with all the children of God; for Satan dangerously tries us, when he separates us from the body of Christ.”

Can A Person On His Own Be Saved?

This was the notes that I used in our Bible Study Series  . And of courses there was a lot of research and study.  Only the Holy Spirit can open your heart to accept these verses and statement. 

Charles e. Whisnant-

Is man basically good or basically evil?


Ecclesiastes 7:29 – “See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”

Romans 5:7-8 – For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:12,19 – sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners


c.f. Job 15:14-16, 25:4-6; Ecclesiastes 9:3

All men? Are there any exceptions?


Psalm 143:2 – Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.

Romans 11:32 – For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (c.f. Galatians 3:22)

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

2 Chronicles 6:36 – “there is no one who does not sin”

Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way

Micah 7:2-4 – The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge.

Romans 3:9-12 – What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (c.f. Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3)

1 John 1:8,10 – If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say we have not sinned, we make [God] a liar, and his word is not in us.

Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19 – And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.


c.f. 1 Kings 8:46; 116:11, 130:3, 143:2; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Jeremiah 2:29; Micah 7:2-4, Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19; Romans 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 5:9-10; James 3:2; etc., etc.

Are people good deep down?


Mark 7:21-23 – “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (c.f. Matthew 15:19)

Psalm 5:9 – For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.


Are men totally depraved? Is every faculty of the person corrupted?

Heart/Mind (Deceitful)


Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

Ecclesiastes 9:3 – Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Romans 1:28-31 – And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were… foolish

Ephesians 4:17-18 – you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

Jeremiah 10:7-8,14 – among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. They are both stupid and foolish… Every man is stupid and without knowledge

Matthew 15:19 – “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (c.f. Mark 7:21-23)

Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 – The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… from his youth.

Proverbs 10:20 – the heart of the wicked is of little worth.

Proverbs 28:26 – Whoever trusts in his own [heart] is a fool


c.f. Deuteronomy 29:2-4; Psalm 10:4, 36:1-2, 58:4-5, 94:11; Proverbs 10:20; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26; Matthew 13:14; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 8:7; Ephesians 4:17-18, 23

Will/Choosing (Enslaved)


John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”

2 Peter 2:19 – They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Titus 3:3 – For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Galatians 4:8-9 – Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Romans 6:6,16,17,19,20 – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed… For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Romans 7:14 – For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

2 Timothy 2:25-26 – God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.


c.f. Isaiah 42:6-7; Psalm 51:12; John 8:31-32,36; 2 Corinthians 3:17

Affections/Desires (Perverted)


Romans 1:24-27 – Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Ephesians 2:3 – we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Proverbs 21:10 – The soul of the wicked desires evil

John 3:19 – And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

John 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”


c.f. Genesis 3:16; Psalm 4:2, 52:3-4 140:8; Proverbs 10:23; 2 Timothy 3:2-4; 2 Peter 2:13

et al (Utter Ruin)


Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

Romans 7:18 – For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.

Isaiah 1:5-6 – The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.


Can men change themselves or still do good when they want to?


Jeremiah 13:23 – Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.

1 Samuel 24:13 – “As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’”

Matthew 7:18 – “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” (c.f. Luke 6:43)

Matthew 12:34-35 – “How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”

Romans 8:7 – For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 – The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… from youth.Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

c.f. Job 14:4; Matthew 12:34; John 15:5; Romans 14:23; Philippians 1:11; 1 John 5:18-19

Are men at least born pure? What about the “tabula rasa”?


Psalm 51:5 – Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Genesis 8:21 – the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

Psalm 58:3 – The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

John 3:6 – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh”


c.f. Proverbs 22:15

What is the natural disposition of man toward God?


John 3:20 – “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

Romans 8:7-8 – For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God

Colossians 1:21 – And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds


c.f. Romans 1:28-30; James 4:4

What is man’s relationship to God?


Psalm 58:3 – The wicked are estranged from the womb;

Ephesians 2:12-13 – remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:3 – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.


c.f. Isaiah 59:2

Can man then do anything to please God?


Proverbs 15:9 – The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord

Proverbs 15:8 – The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord (c.f. Proverbs 21:27)

Proverbs 28:9 – If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

Isaiah 64:6 – We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.

Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please [God]

Romans 8:7-8 – Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


c.f. Psalm 50:16; Proverbs 21:4; Isaiah 1:10-15; Amos 5:21-24

Are men at least seeking God?


Psalm 10:4 – In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

John 3:20 – “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

Isaiah 65:1 – “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.

Isaiah 64:7 – There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.

Romans 3:10-12 – “no one seeks for God.”


c.f. Romans 10:20

Can the natural man comprehend the gospel or come to saving knowledge of God on his own?


1 Corinthians 2:14 – The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – our gospel is veiled… to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18,21-24 – For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles

Deuteronomy 29:2-4 – And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.”

Matthew 11:27 – “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”


c.f. Psalm 119:18; Proverbs 4:19; Isaiah 42:6-7; Hosea 14:9; Matthew 16:17; John 8:43; Acts 22:14, 26:18; Ephesians 4:17-19; 2 Corinthians 2:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 John 5:20

Can men of themselves accept God’s gift of salvation? Do men choose God or come to Him on their own?


John 3:27 – John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”

John 14:16-17 – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.”

John 1:12-13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 6:44,65 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Romans 9:16 – So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Romans 11:35-36 – “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things.

1 Corinthians 1:30 – And because of him you are in Christ Jesus

Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.


c.f. Jonah 2:9; Zephaniah 3:9; John 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 1:6; James 1:18

Who supplies faith/belief/repentance?


Acts 16:14 – One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

1 Corinthians 3:6 – I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

Acts 5:31 – “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 11:18 – When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Philippians 1:29 – For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should… believe in him

Acts 18:27 – When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 – And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, [etc.]… God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth

1 Corinthians 12:3 – no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence

Romans 11:36 – For from him and through him and to him are all things.

1 Corinthians 4:7 – For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

John 3:6, 6:63 – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”


c.f. 1 Chronicles 29:14; John 5:44; Acts 3:16; Romans 1:8, 12:3; Ephesians 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:2

Can men do anything to help themselves?


Colossians 2:13 – And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses

Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved


c.f. Psalm 49:7-9; Jeremiah 2:22; Ezekiel 16:6, 37:1-3; Romans 5:6

Then what becomes of our boasting?


Romans 3:27 – It is excluded.


Leadership In Ministry

I recall back in Dr. George Norris class on Saturday had us to do this exact thing.


Whenever you look for people who are going to extend your ministry and expand your ministry and multiply your ministry,

You start with those who come to faith,

You start with those who have been faithful followers.

You start with those who have been called to be preachers.

And then you put them through a process of training

You then you send them out on short-term internships and

You do instruction as they come back off those experiences.

And finally, you can loose them and let them go. That’s pretty much a model that can follow in any realm of human endeavor.

So here we find them at the point of their initial internship, their first field experience. This will be their first try at sermons and signs.

They were the commonest of men. And that’s what’s so important and remarkable to me. They were just so common. They’re just like us.

And when the Lord goes out to find somebody to multiply His ministry through, it is absolutely true, Paul was right when he said, “There are not many noble, and there are not many mighty, they are the common and the base.” They’re just plain, ordinary people

In fact, in some ways you might think them sub-ordinary and yet chosen by their Creator who knows them perfectly.

And they are exactly the kind of people He chooses to use. It is already half way through His ministry before they’re even sent out,

before their formal training even begins.

They’ve just been listening.

They’ve just been hearing the explanation of parables.

They’ve been getting their theological training and their biblical training.

They’ve been listening to Him exposit Old Testament passages and give the meaning.

They’ve been listening to Him compare the truth of God with the apostasy of Judaism.

They’ve been sorting out their theology,

But now it’s time for formal training to be messengers. And there’s only eighteen months left before Jesus will be gone and they will be on their own. That’s a short amount of time. That’s half a seminary education.

And if you wonder whether that alone was adequate, just remind yourself that when Jesus was taken prisoner to be crucified, all of them forsook Him and fled. And you might have concluded by that that the whole eighteen months was a waste of time.

But, you can only conclude that apart from the Holy Spirit because when the Holy Spirit came, everything changed. In fact, when they saw the resurrected Christ, everything changed, and they were re-gathered and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

With only eighteen months to go, it’s time for them to really begin their training.

So, these twelve, mundane backgrounds, worked with their hands, not their brains, earthly vocations. And yet they’re given the most important task in the history of the world.

There is no second string. There are no backup players. There is no Plan B. And that would be a problem for men. That would be a problem on a human level. It’s not a problem on a divine level because God always accomplishes what He sets out to do. Twelve ordinary men with the most extraordinary responsibility.

The twelve are absolutely unique. Later Matthias replaced Judas, who was a traitor. And later on another man is called an apostle, he doesn’t belong in the twelve, another one, his name is Paul. He was a unique messenger coming after the twelve. These twelve were unique.

They took positions of authority in the early church.

They and their associates wrote the New Testament.

Their teaching became the rule in the church. In Acts when the church was born in Acts 2:42 it says they met together and they studied the apostles’ doctrine.

They were used by God to reveal the doctrine. God revealed sound doctrine through them and eventually that doctrine was written down.

When the Lord chose them, He chose twelve of them. And Why not twenty-four, eighteen, six, seven, three? Why twelve?

And the answer is, in the choosing of twelve there was a link to the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel is constituted of twelve tribes, twelve tribes.

And when the Lord picked twelve apostles this was essentially a judgment on Israel, solidifying, hardening unbelief and rejection of their Messiah.

These twelve, in a sense, constituted the new spiritual heads of the tribes of Israel. They were symbolic heads of the tribes of Israel.

That’s why you don’t find one rabbi among the twelve. You don’t find one scribe. You don’t find a priest. You don’t find a Pharisee. You don’t find a Sadducee, you just find these hoi-polloi, these ordinary guys.

It is a judgment on the apostasy of Israel that the Lord couldn’t find one person in the religious establishment to pick as an apostle. The choosing of the twelve ordinary men then becomes a judgment on apostate Israel.

It is an open renunciation of all the religious men and the structures in which they existed, which was utterly corrupt. The religious leaders of Judaism constituted the core of those who were apostate. They were the core of those who hated Jesus, who hated the gospel, who hated to be indicted for their sin and who sought and achieved His death.

So Jesus picks twelve new leaders for Israel.

Forget the religious establishment. And with the number twelve symbolically pronounces a judgment on the apostasy of that nation.

These twelve apostles literally became the twelve true spiritual leaders of Israel.

They were the true heads of the twelve tribes.

They were the Israel of God.

They are the true penitent believing Israelites.

They also, by the way, became the foundation stones of the church, didn’t they? Ephesians 2:20, the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles, Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone.

Exclusivity of Jesus

Ordo-Saludis chart 2

Exclusivity of Jesus

Saving faith is something more than believing certain things which are true. The problem is as you flow down in this text you do a little bit of pathological study of a non-saving faith. They have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. it doesn’t do anybody any good to have a zeal for God if it’s not correct, if it is not precise.

“Well, my faith is a very private thing.” Let me tell you something, it’s not the Christian faith, and it’s not a saving faith. Jesus said, “If you confess Me before men, I’ll confess you before My Father who is in heaven.

The right answer to the questions: “What does your Christianity mean to you?” is “It means to me that jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord. He is my Lord and my Savior, and there is no other lord, and there is no other savior.” That’s the right answer.

There is this comfortable ambiguity that has now captivated supposed Christianity today, where you basically don’t have to commit to anything because you might be intruding on someone’s sensibilities because they might disagree with you

They had a zeal for God and they were the chosen people, but it was not in accordance with knowledge. And what was wrong with their knowledge Verse 3 “Not knowing about God’s righteousness.

They didn’t understanding how righteous God was. So they went to seek their own righteousness. In other words, they thought God was less righteous than He was, and therefore they were able to be righteous enough to please God. So they didn’t understand their own sin and inability. They didn’t, therefore, subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

They didn’t really come under the threat of divine righteousness in a beatitude attitude, the attitude of publican of Luke 18. They thought they were so good that God was low enough to accept that goodness.

They had a warped view of salvation. You understand that? A warped view of God’s righteousness essential to understanding salvation, a warpred view of their own unrighteousness, thinking that they could attain to salvation by their own effort.

They had a misunderstanding of the cross of Christ. They got their theology wrong, and they got their theology wrong, their soteriology wrong, , they go their hamartiology wrong, they got their Christology wrong.

  1. 4 To everyone who “believe, that is not by words, its’ by faith.

Romans 10:13 in other words, you can’t be saved unless you believe. you can’t believe the right thing unless you’ve heard it. You can’t hear it if somebody doesn’t tell it to you. And that is why those who preach are so beautiful: “How beautiful are the feet of those bring glad tidings of good things”, because you can’t be saved until the message arrives that you must believe.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.”

The Gospel is outside of us, it is not intuitive to us. It is something we have to hear, and somebody has to be the spokesman for that hearing.

This kind of ambiguous evangelism is a salt on the integrity and the sacrifice of believers through the ages who were willing to die for the precision of the truth.

Today there is such a indifference toward precision and clarity in proclaiming the gospel and it has basically kind of come out of some theo9logical views, or it’s defended by some.

Nature theology: That is man has innately, intuitively inside of him the natural reasoning power to come to God and be saved without the Scripture and without the gospel. Advocates say that man can discover the existence and the nature and the attributes of God in Romans 1, and that is true and human reason will lead you back to God, because human reason functions on a cause and effect structure and cause and effect eventually leads you back to the primary cause.

You can know a lot about God, You can know something about His power by looking at the world in its macro and its micro sense.

It is true, and so they go further and say “man thus becomes capable of knowing enough of truth of God to satisfy God without the necessity of divine revelation.”

He sort of finds his way to God. It’s nice if he has the Bible, it’s nice if he has the gospel; its not necessary.

Here is what the Vatica said about salvation : “All who live a just life will be saved, even if they do not believe in Jesus Christ in the Roman Catholic Church.” So if those in a false religion which is a barrier to salvation, but people apart from the Bible and the gospel can be saved if they can work their way around the barrier.

The heretical Thomas Aquinas who adopted Aristotelian kind of philosophy. Officially adoped as the position of the Romans Catholic Church in Vatican I: present, of course, in the new Catholic catechism: T

The biblical teaching that salvation only comes in response to faith in Christ is rejected as unreasonable and cruel. People are saved if they live good lives and are sincere in their beliefs whatever they are. Well, so much for the Catholics.

Billy Graham Talks with Robert Schuller on How to Get to Heaven. Schuller: Tell me. What do you think is the future of Christianity? Graham: Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know I think there is the body of Christ, which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups, I think everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ whether they are conscious of it or not they are members of the body of Christ. And I don´t think that we are going to see a great sweeping revival that is going to turn the world to Christ at anytime. I think the apostle James answered that in the first council of Jerusalem when he said that God´s purpose of this age is to call out a people for His name. And that´s what God is doing today; He´s calling the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they have been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their heart that they need something that they don´t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I believe that they are saved, and that they are going to be with us in Heaven. Schuller: What I hear you saying is that it´s possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart and soul and life, even if they´ve been born in darkness and have never had an exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what your saying? Graham: Yes it is. Because I believe that. I´ve met people in various parts of the world, in Tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible, or never heard a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they believed in their heart that there was a God and they tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived

The Gospel

The Sufficiency of the Gospel


  1. The Gospel saves one for eternity: John 6:39; Ephesians 1:3-14
  2.  The Gospel completely changes someone into a new creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17
  3.  The Gospel translates us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light: Colossians 1:10-14 and 1 Peter 2:9
  4.  The Gospel forgives sin and cleanses us thoroughly from our sin: 2 Corinthians 5:21 Ephesians 1:7
  5.  The Gospel grants us eternal life: John 3:16
  6.  The Gospel secures heaven as our home forever: John 14:1-6
  7.  The Gospel overcomes death for it is eternally built upon the foundation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from their dead. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
  8.  The Gospel defeats sin and brings us into intimacy and peace with God forever: Romans 5:1
  9.  The Gospel is rich in grace and mercy: Ephesians 2:1-10, without which we would all before forever lost with no hope: Galatians 5:2-6
  10.  The Gospel is completely efficacious for the believer in Christ, past, present and future: Romans 8:20-30
  11.  With the Gospel we are saved: Ephesians 2:8-9
  12.  With the Gospel w e are kept: John 17:12 and Jude 1
  13.  With the Gospel we will be presented one glorious day: Jude 24
  14.  With the Gospel we are justified, sanctified, and glorified: Romans 8:29-30. Through the gospel of our risen Lord and Savior
  15. Is it in wonder the Apostle Paul boldly proclaimed: Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 1:16.
  16.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is all sufficient and accomplished all saving grace.