Sermon Text: Reformation 2020, We’ve been here before – be still and know that I am God

October 25, 2020 Church Blog, Sermons, Sunday Message0
We’ve been here before – be still and know that I am God

Reformation 2020 – Ps. 46 We’ve been here before, be still and know that I am God

  1. We’ve heard the adage that British statesman Winston Churchill wrote, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
    1. I think the year 2020 has been one for the record books, I don’t think anyone of us have lived through a year like this, and I hope we don’t repeat it.
      1. As we approach our presidential election in less than two weeks the political upheaval and rhetoric is unprecedented on both sides, fear mongering is rampant
      1. Added to this we have civic unrest that rivals or exceeds anything seen during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s
      1. Economically, we have millions of people out of work and businesses failing who knows when it will stop
      1. And on top of it all we have the plague of Covid that is responsible for many of those problems, and nearly a quarter million deaths – but we’ve been here before.
    1. What a time it must have been in the years following Oct 31, 1517 – the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg setting off the Reformation.
      1. Jesus had promised Peter that the gates of hell would not be able to overcome the church He founded, yet with all of the turmoil it seemed on the brink of collapse.
      1. The theological divide resulted in political upheaval as Princes sided with either the Reformation church or the Roman church
      1. Furthermore, the ideas of freedom and individualism sparked by the Reformation resulted in social upheaval and the Peasants Revolt of 1524
      1. And reports of localized outbreaks of the plague continued even hitting Wittenberg in 1527.
    1. We don’t know exactly when, but some speculate that during these dark days of the late 1520s Martin Luther wrote his most famous hymn A Mighty Fortress is our God, the battle hymn of the Reformation
      1. The song is a paraphrase of our Psalm for the day, Psalm 46
      1. Listen to the similarity, the Psalmist writes in vss 7 and 11, The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psa 46:7)
      1. Hymn vs 1, A mighty fortress is our God a trusty shield and weapon
      1. We’ve been here before and while the actors change (us) one thing doesn’t, the constant is God – our fortress.
  2. What enabled the Psalmist and Luther and countless others to write such stirring words not only about weathering the storm but praising God in its midst
    1. It goes to the very heart of what the Reformation was fought over – God’s Word and Promise.
      1. Does God’s promise actually deliver grace and forgiveness, can You be certain that God is for you when the world is falling apart around you? And if so how?
      1. Luther did nothing more that take God at His Word, rather than speculate about all of the possibilities about what an omnipotent, omniscient God might do Luther asked, “What does He say in His Word?”
      1. Do you want to know whether God is for you or against you what does He say, what has He promised, what has He done through Christ?
    1. The world keeps spinning, wars and rumors of wars, famines, plagues, and natural disasters come and go, and the year of 2020 and all of its problems will be no exception.
      1. We’ve been here before and God’s Word to Israel in Psalm 46 was God’s Word to Martin Luther in the chaos of the Reformation, and IS God’s Word to us today – We’ve been here before. Be still and know that I am God!
      1. And it’s not an idle word, not like so many of our own words in times of crisis – chin up buckaroo…hey just turn that frown upside down…and all the other empty cliches we someone’s really suffering.
      1. God’s Word delivers what it says – stillness, calm within the storm
  3. God’s Word is based on His action, He’s delivered on His Word time and again
    1. His Word promises that God is with us in the midst of the maelstrom – His presence brings peace and stability when the world offers chaos and cliché
      1. Look at the words of the Psalmist, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1)
      1. Over and over in the OT God demonstrated that He was there with His people in their trouble, He was not a God far off and aloof
      1. He led the Israelites out of Egypt in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, His presence physically dwelt in the tabernacle over the Ark of the covenant.
    1. So the Psalmist can say, even as he envisions mountains collapsing into the sea and the earth giving way that, There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. (Ps 46:4-5)
      1. The river depicts a source of never-ending refreshment or inner strength, with God the chaotic waters that roar and foam in v 3 have calmed and changed to be a source of life and gladness.
      1. God is in the midst of the chaos to bring order and peace, life and salvation
      1. His presence is the source of strength as Luther would write in vs. 4, For God Himself fights by our side with weapons of the Spirit!
    1. What was spoken of in faith by the Psalmist became a reality in Christ – when God became one of us to physically dwell with us and give us ultimate victory
      1. As Luther writes in vs. 2 of the hymn, But now a champion comes to fight whom God Himself elected…Christ Jesus mighty Lord, God’s only Son adored He holds the field victorious!
      1. When our Lord was born of Mary that first Christmas night, He had one purpose, to win salvation for His creation, to release it from bondage to death and chaos.
      1. That was done through His sacrifice on the cross, what appeared to be a terrible defeat was the very thing that won the battle
      1. Listen to Paul in Col 2, 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, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Col 2:13-15)
    1. And our Lord continues to fight by our side with weapons of the Spirit, He’s never gone away, He’s here in our midst, He’s here for you!
      1. You’ve heard me say over and over that as our Lord promised (remember His Word is not an idle word), Where two or three are gathered in my Name there I am in the midst of them! In whose Name are we gathered?
      1. When our Lord commanded baptism just before He ascended He said, baptize them (disciples) into the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! God’s Name now covers you throughout your life – He is with you!
      1. When He says to you today, Take and eat this is my body…take and drink this is my blood…He is with you once again with His promise and strength!
      1. Our God is saying to you in the midst of all the turmoil that 2020 has been, Take heart! We’ve been here before, I’ve got you, be still and know that I am God!
Pinnacle Lutheran Church