November 1, 2020…… 503rd Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation

What Made the Lutheran Reformation Unique?


The Lutheran Reformation was an event in 16th century Germany and Europe in which God used a Roman Catholic monk by the name of Martin Luther (1483-1546) to reform the Christian Church of that day.    By “reform” we mean to correct abuses and to restore the church to the Bible-based servant of the Lord that it should be.    


However, it is important to understand that this was not the first or only reformation in the history of the Christian church.   There were numerous Old Testament-era reformations among the Jewish people (Jehosaphat’s, Josiah’s, Hezekiah’s).    In addition, throughout the fifteen hundred years of New Testament-era church history prior to the 16th century Reformation, there were many attempts at reformation.   For example, a reformation in the 11th Century, led by Pope Gregory VII, attacked lay control of the Church, simony (buying church offices), and clergy immorality.  In the 14th Century John Wyclif (d. 1384) sparked a reformation in England when he attacked the power and corruption of the Roman Church, rejected celibacy and transubstantiation, and stressed the reading of the Scriptures in the every day language of the common people.  In the 15th Century, the Bohemian, Jan Hus (d. 1415), influenced by Wyclif, initiated a reformation among his people by directing the people to obey God rather than the Roman Church authorities.   Hus declared that because of their false teachings and immorality, the Catholic church’s hierarchy had forfeited the right to lead Christ’s church on earth.  


Luther’s efforts to reform the church’s doctrine and practice centered on a restoration of the absolute authority of God’s Word in the church, with an emphasis on the unadulterated Gospel as the Christian’s motivation for living and his confidence for eternity.     Other reforming and renewal movements of that period (and afterward) tended to place their primary emphasis on making improvements in the Christian’s moral character (inward change), rather than on establishing sound Biblical doctrine as the starting point and foundation for any subsequent inner spiritual renewal.  In general, other reformers (especially of that period) stressed sanctification far more than justification, typically with legalistic (Law-, works-driven) rather than evangelical (Gospel-driven) motivation.   Some of those legalistic and emotion-driven reformers included:  Andreas Karlstadt, the Anabaptists, the Spiritualists/Enthusiasts, and, to a lesser extent, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, and John Knox.  In contrast, Luther’s efforts centered on a reforming of the church’s doctrine (conforming it to Scripture alone) more than a reforming of life.   More accurately, it was a reforming of the church’s corrupt doctrine in contrast to a reforming of the church’s corrupt life.     And, as the motivation for godly living, Luther stressed the peace, promises and joy that every Christian can know through the Gospel.    He saw the Law as the means of convincing men of their sinful condition and desperate need for a Savior from sin, as well as the guideline for godly living – but never as the do-or-be-damned motivation for sanctified living and eternal salvation.


Luther’s reformation efforts focused on eliminating a multitude of Scriptural abuses and man-made teachings which Rome had been allowing to compromise the teachings of the Church to the extent that true, Biblical Christian doctrine had all but disappeared.   What Luther especially challenged was Rome’s false (and damning) doctrine that the way to heaven was through good works, obedience, and legalism.   Luther knew from his study of Scripture that Rome’s doctrine of salvation was exactly the opposite of the Bible’s message of salvation through grace by faith alone in Christ.     Luther also sought to reform other false doctrines, as well as various moral abuses that had developed in Roman Catholicism.   He boldly attacked the Papacy of the Roman Church as the very Anti-Christ.    What made the Lutheran Reformation unique was that it was most concerned with the restoration of Biblical truth…..not simply a change in the church’s moral character.     In one of his table talks, Luther made this remark concerning the restoration of sound Biblical doctrine:

Doctrine and life are to be distinguished. Life is as bad among us as among the papists. Hence we do not fight and damn them because of their bad lives. Wyclif and Hus, who fought over the moral quality of life, failed to understand this . . . When the Word of God , remains pure, even if the quality of life fails us, life is placed in a position to be what it ought to be. That is why everything hinges on the purity of the Word. I have succeeded only if I have taught correctly (WA TR 1:624; LW 54:110).


God’s Reformation of His Church through Martin Luther began with his rediscovery of the main teaching of Christianity: The Gospel – namely, that we are declared righteous (justified) by grace alone in the cross of Jesus Christ.   It is not our righteousness (created by our works, efforts, and obeying God’s laws) that saves us;    rather, it is Christ’s righteousness that has saved us.  This righteousness is credited/imputed to our account when the Holy Spirit brings us to faith, thereby enabling us to embrace the precious truth that, as our sin-Substitute, Jesus Christ lived perfectly, died sacrificially and rose gloriously for us and for our salvation.

Put very simply, Luther’s Reformation was a matter of taking this rediscovered Gospel, showing that it was Scriptural, and then reforming the church by using it (God’s mercy in Christ for us) as the chief motivation for Christian living, rather than the Law’s threats and condemnations.   Whatever in the church was found to contradict this Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone – apart from works –  was to be reformed or removed.    Anything else (if it edified and was in accord with God’s Word) could be retained.

The Lutheran Reformation was concerned with the essentials of the Christian faith.   For that reason it swept through Europe like a wildfire and produced amazing results. Without this Reformation, there would be no Christian faith as we enjoy it today, for the light of the Gospel would have remained all but extinguished. 


Whenever we celebrate the Reformation then (as we are doing today), we are not merely observing the “birthday” of our Lutheran-Christian Church (as many might suggest).   Rather, we are celebrating the rediscovery of the Gospel – that central doctrine of Scripture on which the whole Christian Church and our faith is (and must remain) founded:   


That we have been saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Jesus – God’s Son, our Savior – and that this precious truth comes to us in Scripture alone.



PRE-SERVICE PRAYER   In the name of God  the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.  My Heavenly Father,  I thank You through Jesus Christ,  Your dear Son, for keeping me through the night from all harm and danger.   Keep me through this day also, from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You.  Into Your hands I commend my body and soul and all things.  Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the Devil may have no power over me.   Amen.



Scripture quotations in this worship flyer, unless otherwise noted,  are taken from the EVANGELICAL HERITAGE VERSION of the Bible.  Copyright 2019

 by the Warburg Project.   All rights reserved.



The Order of Worship for the Festival of the Reformation



Period For Silent Prayer

Pre-Service Music                                                                                                                                           


We Praise Our God


The Greeting and Invitation to Worship


After which, at the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for


     The Invocation

We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


     The Forty-Sixth Psalm


     P:  God is our refuge and strength,   a Helper Who can always be found in times of trouble.


     C:  That is why we will not fear when the earth dissolves + and when the mountains tumble into the heart of the sea.   +   Its waters roar and foam.    +   The mountains quake when it rises.


     P:  There is a river – its streams bring joy to the city of God, to the holy dwelling of the Most High.


     C:  God is in her.   She will not fall;    +   God will help her at daybreak.

     P:  Nations are in turmoil.   Kingdoms fall.   God raises His voice.  The earth melts.


     C:  Come, look at the works of the LORD.   +   What a wasteland He has made of the earth.


     P:  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;   


     C:  He shatters the bow.   +   He cuts up the spear.    + He burns the shields with fire.


     P:  Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations,  I will be exalted on the earth.


     C:  The Lord of Armies is with us;    +   the God of Jacob is a Fortress to us.



            The Opening Hymn                                                               “Your Hand, O God, Has Guided”

                                                                                                                                 to the tune of Thornbury 7676 D

Your hand, O God, has guided   Your flock from age to age;

The wond’rous tale is written,    Full clear, on every page;

Our fathers owned Your goodness,    And we their deeds record;

And both of this bear witness,   One Church, one Faith, one Lord.


Through many a day of darkness,   Through many a scene of strife,

The faithful few fought bravely    To guard the Church’s life.

Their Gospel of redemption,   Sin pardoned, man restored,

Was all in this enfolded,    One Church, one Faith, one Lord.


Your mercy will not fail us,   Nor leave Your work undone;

With Your right hand to help us,   The victory shall be won;

And then by men and angels    Your name shall be adored,

And this shall be their anthem,   One Church, one Faith, one Lord.        Amen


During the final verse of the hymn, William and his parents will come forward


The Baptism of William Gabriel Galvan


     The Blessings and Purpose for Baptism


            The Lesson                                                                                                                  Mark 10:13-16


113 Some people began bringing little children to Jesus so that he would touch them. But the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said, “Let the little children come to me! Do not hinder them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Amen I tell you: Whoever will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the little children in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.


     The Exhortation to William’s Parents


     The Administration of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism


                                                                                               After which the Congregation will rise for


 The Apostles’ Creed


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   Born of the Virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   Was crucified, dead and buried;   He descended into hell;   The third day He rose again from the dead;   He ascended into heaven And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost;   The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;   The resurrection of the body;    And the life everlasting.  Amen.



     The Exhortation to Grace Lutheran Congregation


     Our Prayer for William Gabriel Galvan



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


P:  Brothers and sisters in Christ, in preparation for confessing our sins together, please join me in examining our lives according to God’s Ten Commandments, along with Martin Luther’s explanations for each of those commandments, taken from his Small Catechism:


C:  You shall have no other gods.


P:  We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.


C:  You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.


P:  We should fear and love God that we do not use His name to curse, swear, lie or deceive, or use witchcraft, but call upon God’s name in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.


C:  Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.


P:  We should fear and love God that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but regard it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

C:  Honor your father and mother, that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.


P:  We should fear and love God that we do not dishonor or anger our parents and others in authority, but honor, serve, and obey them, and give them love and respect.


C:  You shall not murder.


P:  We should fear and love God that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need.

C:  You shall not commit adultery.


P:  We should fear and love God that we lead a pure and decent life in words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.


C:  You shall not steal.


P:  We should fear and love God that we do not take our neighbor’s money or property or get it by dishonest dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and means of income.


C:  You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.


P:  We should fear and love God that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, or give him a bad name, but defend him, speak well of him, and take his words and actions in the kindest possible way.


C:  You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

P:  We should fear and love God that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house or obtain it by a show of right, but do all we can to help him keep it.


C:  You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, workers, animals, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.


P:  We should fear and love God that we do not force or entice away our neighbor’s spouse, workers, or animals, but urge them to stay and do their duty.


Beloved in the Lord, let us draw near to the Lord with sincere hearts and confess our sins to God, our Father, pleading that He might, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, grant us the forgiveness of all our sins.


Congregation:     Miserable person that I am, I confess and lament to You, O most holy God, that I am a weak and sinful creature, guilty of every sin, of unbelief, and of blasphemy.  I also confess that Your Word has not brought forth good fruit in me.  I hear it, but do not receive it earnestly.  I do not show works of love toward my neighbor.  I am full of anger, hate, and envy.  I am impatient, greedy, and bent on every evil.  Therefore my heart and conscience are heavy.  Lord, I ask You, free me from my sins, strengthen my faith, and comfort my weak conscience by Your divine Word, that I may obtain Your promised grace.


            The Assurance of God’s Forgiveness                                                                                             


Having just heard your sincere confession of sins and plea for pardon may these words of our Savior in Matthew 8:31 comfort and encourage you:  “It will be done for you as you believe.”  And now, in the place of and according to the command of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sin, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  God be gracious unto you and strengthen your faith.  Go in peace.  Amen.



 We Respond To God’s Forgiveness

                                                                                                                   “Salvation Unto Us Has Come”


Salvation unto us has come   By God’s free grace and favor

Good works cannot avert our doom,  They help and save us never.

Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,   Who did for all the world atone

He is our one Redeemer.


All blessing, honor, thanks, and praise   To Father, Son, and Spirit,

The God that saved us by His grace —  All glory to His merit!

O Triune God in heaven above,  Who has revealed Your saving love,

Your blessed name we hallow.   Amen.


     The Prayer For This Festival


O Lord God, heavenly Father, we pray that You would pour Your Holy Spirit into our hearts;   keep us ever steadfast in Your grace and truth;   protect and comfort us in all temptation;  defend us against all the enemies of Your Word and Your name;  and bestow upon all the Church militant Your saving peace;   through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever.   Amen.



After which the Congregation may be seated


We Hear God’s Word


                                                                                                                             The Children’s Devotion                                                                                                            Ephesians 2:8-9


8 Indeed, it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.


Why Luther Began the Reformation… And Why We Are Here Today



Sola Gratia:   By Grace Alone


     Romans 3:21-24

21 But now, completely apart from the law, a righteousness from God has been made known. The Law and the Prophets testify to it. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and over all who believe.    In fact, there is no difference, 23 because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,


     Romans 5:18-21

18 So then, just as one trespass led to a verdict of condemnation for all people, so also one righteous verdict led to life-giving justification  for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of one man the many became sinners, so also through the obedience of one man the many will become righteous.   20 The law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace overflowed much more, 21 so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


     II Peter 3:17-18

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know these things, be on your guard so that you do not fall from your own firm position by being led astray through the error of the wicked. 18 Instead grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, both now and forever. Amen.



A Hymn of Response                                                                                                                                 “By Grace I’m Saved”


By grace I’m saved, Grace free and boundless.    My soul believe, and doubt it not.

Why waver at this word of promise.   Has Scripture ever falsehood taught?

So then this word must true remain,   By grace, we too shall heaven obtain.


Sola Fide:  By Faith Alone



     Romans 5:1-2

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we also have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice confidently on the basis of our hope for the glory of God.


     Romans 10:10-11

10 For it is with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and it is with the mouth that a person confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”


     Galatians 2:16

16 We know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. So we also believed in Christ Jesus that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because no one  will be justified by the works of the law.


     Hebrews 12:1,2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us get rid of every burden and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with patient endurance the race that is laid out for us. 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author of our faith and the one who brings it to its goal. In view of the joy set before him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of God’s throne.


            Our Hymn Response                                             Hymn 403  “I Know My Faith Is Founded”


I know my faith is founded on Jesus Christ, my God and Lord;

And this my faith confessing,   Unmoved I stand upon His Word.

Man’s reason cannot fathom   The truth of God profound;

Who trusts in worldly wisdom   Relies on shifting ground.

God’s Word is all sufficient.   It makes divinely sure,

And trusting in its wisdom,   My faith shall rest secure.


Sola Scriptura:   By Scripture Alone


     John  5:24,39

24 Amen, Amen, I tell you: Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He is not going to come into judgment but has crossed over from death to life……39 You search the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them. They testify about me!


II Timothy 3:14-17

14 As for you, continue in the things you have learned and about which you have become convinced. You know from whom you learned them 15 and that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, well equipped for every good work.



            The Sermon Hymn                                Hymn 203   “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast In Your Word”



1 Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word;  Curb those who by deceit or sword

Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son   And bring to naught all He has done.


2 Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow’r make known,   For You are Lord of lords alone;

Defend Your Christendom that we   May sing your praise eternally.


3 O Comforter of priceless worth,   Send peace and unity on earth;

Support us in our final strife   And lead us out of death to life.    AMEN


     The Pre-Sermon Greeting


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  Amen.


            The Sermon Text                                                                                                           John 8:31-36


31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples. 32 You will also know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”   33 “We are Abraham’s descendants,” they answered, “and we have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be set free’?” 34 Jesus answered, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Everyone who keeps committing sin is a slave to sin. 35 But a slave does not remain in the family forever. A son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.


Our Reformation Legacy:

  1. Let’s Know the Truth Confidently II.  Let’s Hold to the Truth Always

III.  Let’s Trust the Truth Totally


     The Post-Sermon Blessing


And now, to Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom of priests to serve His God and Father — to Him be glory for ever and ever.  Amen!     


after which the Congregation will be seated as


We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Because we aren’t able to pass an offering plate today during today’s worship service, those in

attendance may leave their offerings in the offering plates by the exits at the close of our service.

For those watching today’s service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:  

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can go to our website ( and use the giving option there.

We Bring Our Prayers to the Lord


In Our Special Prayers, we remember:


Rachel and Dale Johannes, whose wedding anniversary is today; and for

Keith and Paula Ihms, whose wedding anniversary is tomorrow; plus for

Dawn and Wayne Watkins, whose wedding anniversary Tuesday

also for

Mary Pudas, who is now hospitalized at Regency Rehabilitation Hospital

in Springdale, recovering from the effects of the Covid virus


Charles Huebner as he undergoes treatment for cancer this week

at the Mayo Clinic in Florida;

and for

Our Nation as we enter the final days of the election process


     Reformation Sunday Responsive Prayer for the Church


P:  God, our Refuge and Strength,


C:  in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

P   Rejoicing in the eternal Gospel of salvation and its message of life and salvation, let us pray for ourselves, for the Church in every place, and for the confession of the truth of God’s Word throughout the world.


God of grace and glory, we give You thanks for the comfort of the Gospel restored to Your Church on earth through the work of Martin Luther and other faithful pastors and leaders during the Reformation era. We praise You that by Your rich grace we have come to the sure knowledge that we stand justified before You, not by what we have done, but rather by faith in what Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord has done on our behalf. We ask that You would defend Your Church from all enemies of Your saving Word. Cause the good news of the Gospel to be proclaimed in this time to every nation and tribe and language and people on earth, and graciously preserve the fruits of the Gospel for generations to come. God, our refuge and strength,


C   in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


P   Almighty, everlasting God our heavenly Father, Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We thank You for opening and enlightening the minds of all worshipers here today. As You have helped us to understand Your pure Word clearly, so also empower us by the Holy Sprit to devotedly live our lives in faithfulness to it.   God, our refuge and strength,


C   in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


P   Lord God, we ask Your blessing upon those who maintain commerce and the financial institutions of our land. Bring to an end the efforts of those who deal dishonestly and all who seek to gain unjustly at the expense of others. Bless all those who conduct their business honestly that they may enjoy the fruits of their integrity and good reputation.   God, our refuge and strength,


C   in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


P   Healer of our every ill, touch the minds, bodies and hearts of those broken by sickness and injury and all those recovering from surgery, that they may be restored to health and life according to Your good and gracious will and as You best see fit. Let Your face shine upon them that they may trust confidently in Your support and presence as their strength and mobility improve. God, our refuge and strength,


C   in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


P   O Lord God, our Sun and our Shield, sustain and comfort all those who mourn the death of loved ones so that they may never lose sight of Your sure promises of heaven. Set our minds on heavenly things instead of earthly things so that our souls long for Your eternal courts. Bring us by Your grace to that promised dwelling place prepared in love by You for all the saints. God, our refuge and strength,


C   in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


P   Holding fast to our faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ, as our one and only Savior, and confident in our own resurrection one day because of His victories for us over sin, death, Satan and the grave, we entrust ourselves and all for whom we pray to Your loving care, through the Jesus Christ, our Lord, in Whose name we offer this prayer and continue now by praying:


C:  Our Father,  Who art in heaven    +    Hallowed be Thy name.    +    Thy Kingdom come.  +    Thy will be done,  on earth as it is in heaven.   +    Give us this day our daily bread.  +  And forgive us our trespasses     +    as we forgive those who trespass against us.     +  And lead us not into temptation.     +     But deliver us from evil.    +    For Thine is the kingdom  +    And the power     +  And the glory    +   Forever and ever.   Amen.



Our Self-Examination Before Receiving the Lord’s Supper


     Pastor –          Let us now examine ourselves in preparation for receiving this Sacrament, as the inspired Apostle Paul so instructs us in I Corinthians 11, where he  writes,  “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.  Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”


     Pastor –          Accordingly, are you sincerely sorry for your sins and determined, with God’s help, to change your sinful ways?


     Congregation      Yes, I am sorry for my sins and desire to serve Jesus and not a sinful lifestyle.


     Pastor –          Do you believe that here in the Lord’s Supper you will receive, along with the bread and wine, the true body and blood of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?           


     Congregation      Yes, I believe that I will be receiving the true body and blood of my Lord and Savior, which was given into death for my sins.


     Pastor –          Are you coming to the Lord’s table as one in the faith with this Christian congregation, as the Scriptures teach?


     Congregation      Yes I have studied the teachings of this congregation concerning God’s Word;  I agree with them;  And am one in faith with them, as the Scriptures command me to be before I come to the Lord’s table with anyone.


     Pastor –          Finally, do you recognize your need for forgiveness and do you believe that you will receive through the Lord’s Supper the full and free forgiveness of all your sins?


     Congregation      Yes, I have examined my life, see the need for God’s forgiveness and believe that I will receive complete forgiveness for all my sins, as my Savior has promised.


     Pastor –    Having examined yourselves and confessed your sins, come now with confidence and joy to your Lord’s table and receive here, through His body and blood, the guarantee that your sins are all forgiven, and that eternal life and salvation are surely yours.



We Conclude our Worship


P:  Hear the prayer of Your people, O Lord, that the lips which have praised You here may glorify You in  the world, that the eyes which have seen the coming of Your Son may long for His coming again, and that all who have received in His true body and blood the pledge of Your forgiveness, may be restored to live a new and holy life through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.    Amen.


     The Benediction


           May the LORD bless you and keep you.

           May the LORD make His face shine upon You and be gracious unto you,

           And may the LORD look upon you with favor,  and grant you His peace.   Amen.


The Closing Hymn                                                                  “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”


A Mighty Fortress is our God,   a trusty Shield and Weapon;

He helps us free from ev’ry need    That hath us now o’ertaken.

The old evil Foe   now means deadly woe;

Deep guile and great might    Are his dread arms in fight;    On earth is not his equal.


With might of ours can naught be done    Soon were our loss effected.

But for us fights the Valiant One,   Whom God, Himself, elected.

Ask ye, Who is this?   Jesus Christ it is,

Of Sab-a-oth Lord,   And there’s none other God;   He holds the field forever.


Tho’ devils all the world should fill    All eager to devour us.

We tremble not, we fear no ill.   They shall not overpower us.

This world’s prince may still   Scowl fierce as He will,

He can harm us none,   He’s judged;   the deed is done;    One little word    Can fell him.


The Word they still shall let remain    Nor any thanks have for it.

He’s by our side upon the plain   With His good gifts and spirit.

And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife,

Let these all be gone.   They yet have nothing won.

The Kingdom ours remaineth.     AMEN





Last Week at Grace                                                             Worship Attendance: 71    Online views: 27

Sunday School: 3       Bible Class: 22 + 17 views online                  Tuesday Morning Bible Class:  16

Wednesday Evening Bible Class attendance:       Men’s study: 6    Women’s Study: 6

Budgetary Fund…… Plate Offerings:  $ 1667.00     Online Offerings: $35.66


Noteables This Week:   Nov 1 – Dale & Rachel Johannes;   Nov 2  Keith & Paula Ihms;

Nov 2  Amanda Tart;    Nov 3  Roger Kattestad;   Nov 4 Alexis Clark;   Nov 7 Bill Krizsan


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today     Morning Worship at 9:30 a.m with the Lord’s Supper

                       Sunday School/Bible Class – 15 minutes after     

     Tuesday  NO Morning Bible Class…..(Pastor out of town)

     Wednesday   NO Evening Bible Classes…..(Pastor and Debbie out of town)

     Sunday    Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.

                       Sunday School/Bible Class – 15 minutes after     

                       Youth Confirmation, 12:00pm


Serving Us Next Sunday                                                                  Elders:   Steve Stone, John Johnson

Ushers:   Drake Schwartz, Tom Otto,  Kent Mayer

Altar Guild:    Tina Wambold,  Harriet Johnson


Bible Classes This Week ………Today our adult class continues its general study called “Lessons Learned From Believers of the Past.”   This morning, we’ll be studying the story of an unlikely, but courageous servant of God: Queen Esther.   Please join us!

     Both Tuesday and Wednesday this week, we will not hold class ….either in-person or over-the-phone….due to Pastor’s traveling to the Mayo Clinic for treatment for his cancer.  However, CLASSES WILL RESUME the following week, on November 10th & 11th.


Thanksgiving Day Worship   Looking ahead, we’d like to encourage you to make your plans now to join us in setting the tone for a “proper” Thanksgiving Day by starting November 28th  off here with a special service of celebration and thanksgiving at 9:30 a.m.   In  addition to it being a special occasion through which you can thank the Lord for His many mercies to you, we hope that you will also look at this service as an “outreach opportunity” (since so few churches even hold Thanksgiving Day worship services), and consider inviting a friend (or friends) to join us in worship on Thanksgiving morning.





A Brief History of the Lutheran Reformation

and the life of Martin Luther


     It was the age of Christopher Columbus, Michelangelo, and Copernicus.  It was an age when the Holy Roman Catholic Church thoroughly dominated religious life in southern, western, and northern Europe.  It was also an age when false teachings1, rather than the truths of God’s Word, abounded in the church.    Particularly, it was an age during which the central truth of God’s Word had become so clouded that the Gospel message of free forgiveness of sins and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ was not being preached at all. 

     It was in this age that Martin Luther, born on November 10, 1483, grew up.  Because of Catholicism’s legalism and message that one could be saved only by doing sufficient enough good works to please God (the amount of those good works “necessary” was never stated;  hence the spiritual lives of people in that age were filled with an air of uncertainty and doubt about the surety of their salvation), Luther — ever-conscious that he was a sinner — lived in absolute terror of God.   His Church taught that becoming a monk or priest was an extraordinarily good work, and so could bring one closer to God’s love.   As a result, Luther pursued the monastic life, but his fear of God as an angry, hateful judge remained strong.  He simply could not find the comfort for his soul that he so desperately sought.

     That awful view of God remained strong in him until, first as a monk and subsequently as a professor at the University of Wittenberg in Germany, Luther began to study the Bible in earnest.  The more he searched the Scriptures, the more he began to understand and find peace for his soul in the knowledge of our loving God’s free grace and unconditional salvation for sinful mankind, guaranteed through the perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ alone.  Luther once recalled the clinching moment of his astounding discovery of salvation by grace through faith alone:


“I was seized with the conviction that I must understand [Paul’s] letter to the Romans….but up to that moment one phrase in chapter one stood in my way.  I hated the idea, ‘in it the righteousness of God is revealed’ ….I hated the righteous God Who punishes sinners….At last, meditating day and night and by the  mercy of God, I … began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith … Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered Paradise itself through gates that had been flung open.”


Martin Luther had found his Savior (and ours), and through faith in Christ he now

possessed the peace with God that he had sought for so long and so desperately.  This made him eager to share the blessings of the Gospel with others.  The time had arrived when God would use him to restore the pure Word of God to the whole world.

     It began in this way.  Pope Leo X wanted to collect a large sum of money to build St. Peter’s Church in Rome.  In order to get this money, he permitted monks to go throughout Germany selling indulgences to the people.  These indulgences were special letters from the Pope which promised the forgiveness of sins to those who bought them.

     Luther was shocked when he heard that a monk named John Tetzel was selling these indulgences and so was deceiving the people not far from Wittenberg, where Luther at the time was pastor of the Castle Church.  So Luther wanted to warn people not to purchase these indulgences and to teach them that they couldn’t buy their way into heaven with money.   Rather, forgiveness, salvation and heaven were already God’s free gift to them, though faith in Christ Jesus.

     On October 31, 1517 Luther took what, at first, seemed a small — but quickly became a very decisive — step against indulgences and a host of other false teachings supported by the Catholic Church.  He walked up to the Castle Church in Wittenberg and fastened a sheet of paper to the front door (this act was quite ordinary, as the church door was the community’s “bulletin board/newspaper” in that age).   On this paper he had written 95 sentences (called the 95 theses), in which he systematically showed what was wrong with the selling of indulgences for the forgiveness of sins, challenging anyone to debate him on the issue.  The people coming to church read the theses and some copied them.  Within a matter of weeks Luther’s theses had spread all over Germany and to many other places in Europe. 

     A modest debate was eventually held – two weeks later.  However, in the interim and thereafter the 95 theses caused great excitement among the people of Europe and within the Roman Catholic Church.  Some demanded that Luther should be punished because he had challenged the teaching of the church.  But most people agreed that Luther had spoken the truth.  With his posting of those 95 theses, Martin Luther had unknowingly begun what we now refer to as the Lutheran Reformation.   God would use it to restore His pure Word to the Christian Church on earth.

     Four years later the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, held a diet (a meeting) in the German city of Worms.  He gathered many of the most important and influential men of his empire in order to find a workable, harmonious  “solution” to Luther’s ongoing efforts to reform the Catholic Church.  The emperor was committed to stopping  Luther, but he didn’t think it was right to punish Martin until he had been given an opportunity to explain or defend himself.

     An audience of political and religious dignitaries jammed into the great hall at the Diet of Worms on April 17, 1521.  There sat the emperor, surrounded by representatives of the Roman Church.  Spanish troops decked out in their parade best (Charles was originally from Spain), various rulers, bishops, and territorial princes.  And standing in the middle of all of them was Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, the son of a coal miner.  Luther was told to say nothing but “I recant.”  In other words, he was expected to take back everything that he had written which contradicted the (false) teachings of the church and to admit that he (not Rome) had been wrong.   He asked the Emperor for, and was granted, one day to consider his answer.

     After a day’s stay, Luther once more appeared before the Diet and was again told that all he could say was “I recant everything.”  Instead he bravely replied:  “Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear distinct grounds of reasoning, my conscience is captive to the Word of

God.  I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to go against conscience.  Here I stand.  I cannot do otherwise.  God help me!  Amen.”

     Shortly afterwards, Luther was condemned and declared a heretic.  He was banned from the empire with a death sentence placed on his head.  But that did not stop him.  For the next 25 years until his death from natural causes on February 18, 1546, Luther led a reformation that was neither radical nor extremist, but wholly centered on Scripture – especially the Gospel.   Luther called his associates as “evangelicals” (Gospel-proclaiming), but the Papists referred to them as “Lutherans.”  It was intended initially to be a derogatory designation, but quickly became a badge of honor.  Today, we gladly and proudly bear that name as heirs of the Lutheran Reformation legacy.

     Throughout the course of the Reformation, Luther wrote many treatises, sermons, books, confessions, hymns, and translated the entire Bible into the German language of the common people.     With regard to his reformation of corporate worship practices, Luther wrote, “It has not now nor ever has been our intention to abolish the liturgical service of God completely, but rather to purify the one that is now in use.”    Accordingly, he stripped away from the worship service only those parts of the Roman Catholic mass which were unScriptural…..for example, the false teaching that made Holy Communion a meritorious sacrifice for sins.     At the same time, Luther retained many of the customary worship practices:   Traditional clerical vestments, candles, incense, chanting, use of the cross, statues, stained glass – in general, any ancient customs that served the Gospel were retained.     He also recommended restoring or reemphasizing practices that had fallen into disuse like the congregational hymn singing, a sermon based on the Gospel for the Sunday or festival, and offering the cup to the laity during the Lord’s Supper.    In addition, he replaced the use of Latin in worship with the native language of the people, so that the congregation could participate in worship, and so that he could use both the Scripture lessons and sermon within the worship service as means to instruct the people from God’s Word. 

     Historians are unanimous in their assessment that Martin Luther was “THE” central figure of that age (the 16th century) which has become known to us as “The Reformation Era.”   Undoubtedly, God used Luther, the Wittenberg monk, pastor, and professor, to redirect people back to the pure and right teachings of His Word.

     Eventually the Reformer and his supporters summarized their teachings in written “Confessions,” which clearly stated various truths of Scripture and rejected all errors to the contrary.   Besides the three ancient  confessions of the church (the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds), Lutheran Christians have also adopted the Augsburg Confession; the Apology (or Defense) of the Augsburg Confession;  The Smalcald Articles;  the Small Catechism;  the Large Catechism;  and the Formula of Concord . . . all based on Scripture alone . . . as means of clarifying and expressing our doctrinal positions and beliefs. They are all contained in the Book of Concord of 1580.

     Martin Luther believed what Scripture clearly teaches:    that we are saved by God’s grace alone, which is received by faith alone in Jesus Christ, as revealed in Scripture alone.  In what he taught, he held to everything that the Bible says, and taught from nothing but the Bible.  We thank God that He sent Martin Luther to bring back to His Church the correct teachings of His Word.  And, as to our dependance upon the inspired and error-free Word of God, may we 21st century Lutherans also join with Luther across the centuries to say today, and always, “Here we stand.  We cannot do otherwise.  God help us!  Amen!”


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “I did nothing;  the Word did and achieved everything.”   — Martin Luther


  1. 1 Catholicism’s false teachings during the Middle Ages include (but were not limited to) the following:  1)  that people were saved, not by faith alone, but by a combination of faith and good works;  2)  that, after death, the Christian did not go to heaven, but to an ‘in between” place called Purgatory, where he would suffer for a period of time for his sins before being released to heaven;  3)  that the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) was the supreme spiritual leader of the Church who was Christ’s direct representative and, as such, had the power to forgive or not forgive sins;  4)  that a person could be saved only if he/she was a member of the Roman Catholic Church;  all outside the church were considered “lost”;  5)  that the laity were forbidden to read the Bible;  6)  that the clergy (along with monks and nuns) were forbidden to marry;  and,  7) that a believer could pray to Jesus’ mother Mary or one of “the Saints” (the great believers of the past).