VIDEO Luther and the Reformation 500 Years of Reformation

Martin Luther

Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany. He is one of only a very few whose life would mark a turning point in the religious and political history of Europe, and eventually the entire world. He was a spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation.

Martin LutherAfter obtaining a master’s degree at the University of Erfurt in 1505, Luther was accepted into the St. Augustine monastic order in 1506, and was ordained a priest a year later at age 24. He was assigned a teaching post at the University of Wittenberg beginning in 1508, and received a doctorate in theology in 1512.

Luther’s disillusionment with the Roman Catholic Church began after he visited Rome in 1510, where he was appalled by the inappropriate behavior of certain high-ranking church officials of that time, as well by the sale of indulgences. Luther returned home with many questions – but this time, he sought the answers in God’s Word, The Holy Bible.

In 1517, Luther wrote his now-famous 95 Theses, and on October 31 of that year he nailed them to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg. As expected, his bold act landed him in serious trouble with his superiors. He was summoned to Rome, but he did not go. Instead, he greatly increased his vocal opposition to other church doctrines, including the institution of the papacy itself. When a papal bull was issued against him, he publicly burned it.

In 1521, Luther was formally excommunicated, an order was issued for the destruction of his books, and he was put under the ban of the empire. He was summoned to appear before the Diet of Worms, but when an order was issued for his arrest, he was given refuge at the Wartburg castle by the elector of Saxony. There, Luther translated the New Testament into German, and began a translation of the entire Bible which became a milestone of German literature.

Luther became highly respected by the general public, a popularity that eventually allowed him to safely return to Wittenberg. In 1525, he and a former nun, Katharina von Bora, were married. They had six children.

Martin Luther died on February 18, 1546, at age 63.

Fact Finder: Does God’s Truth set people free? John 8:32


by Wayne Blank

Luther and the Reformation

The Importance of the Reformation

PBS – Martin Luther – Complete documentary. (Parts 1 & 2)



Those Who Depart

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1 John 2:19)

One of the most hurtful experiences in the life of a Bible-believing fellowship is when an ostensibly Christian leader, teacher, or pastor decides to abandon his faith and even to teach against it. This sort of thing does happen all too often, and it obviously raises difficult questions.

Can a true believer, a teacher of the Word, a soul-winner, actually lose his salvation? Can a born-again Christian go back and be unborn? Can one who has received everlasting life through faith in Christ not really have eternal life?

If so, what about the many promises that have assured us that “ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13) and that we “shall never perish” (John 10:28)?

The answer to this vexing question is apparently in our text verse above. When such people, who once seemed to be genuine Christians, become apostates, denouncing the truth they once taught, it is because “they were not of us” at all, no matter what they professed at one time.

This fact implies a sober warning. When professing Christians fall away, assuming they have truly understood the facts and evidences of the Christian faith, it is impossible “to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:6).

How important it is, therefore, for all professing believers to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). We must be “rooted and built up in him” (Colossians 2:7), “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). HMM

Taking the First Step

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19

Tham Dashu sensed something was missing in his life. So he started going to church—the same church his daughter attended. But they never went together. In earlier days, he had offended her, which drove a wedge between them. So, Tham would slip in when the singing started and leave promptly after the service ended.

Church members shared the gospel story with him, but Tham always politely rejected their invitation to put his faith in Jesus. Still, he kept coming to church.

Our willingness to seek reconciliation with others shows God’s heart to them.

One day Tham fell gravely ill. His daughter plucked up the courage and wrote him a letter. She shared how Christ had changed her life, and she sought reconciliation with her dad. That night, Tham put his faith in Jesus and the family was reconciled. A few days later, Tham died and entered into the presence of Jesus—at peace with God and his loved ones.

The apostle Paul wrote that we are to “try to persuade others” about the truth of God’s love and forgiveness (2 Cor. 5:11). He said that it is “Christ’s love [that] compels us” to carry out His work of reconciliation (v. 14).

Our willingness to forgive may help others realize that God desires to reconcile us to Himself (v. 19). Would you lean on God’s strength to show them His love today?

Is there someone you need to try to reconcile with? What practical first step can you take today?

Our willingness to seek reconciliation with others shows God’s heart to them.

By Poh Fang Chia 


The “ministry of reconciliation” Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 5:18 is the story of the gospel. We were alienated from God, but in His mercy and grace He reached out to us. In sending Jesus, the Father extended the greatest offer of peace in human history—the Prince of Peace Himself.

For more on reconciliation, consider What Do You Do with a Broken Relationship? at

Bill Crowder

Confidence in Prayer

1 John 5:14-15

Throughout the Scriptures, we are encouraged to pray. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells His disciples to keep asking, seeking, and knocking while trusting the heavenly Father to give what is good to His children (Matt. 7:7-11). And in Philippians 4:6, Paul urges us to respond to anxiety by praying about everything. Therefore, it’s obvious that God wants us to come to Him with all our needs and concerns.

Today’s passage assures us that the Lord hears and answers our prayers. However, this promise is accompanied by one very important stipulation: We must ask according to His will. But how can we know whether our request is what He desires? Much of God’s will is clearly revealed in Scripture, but what are we to do when an issue is not directly addressed in the Bible?

Though we’d like to feel confident that the Lord will hear and answer, at times our prayers seem like shots in the dark because we have no idea whether they align with His will. If we dare to admit it, there are also times when we just want God to do what we ask, without regard to what He desires.

If we want to pray effectively, our goal should not be to offer up quick, thoughtless, or self-willed prayers in hopes of receiving speedy answers. Instead, we must learn to pray wisely and wait patiently. Along with voicing our concerns and requests to God, we should also offer ourselves up in submission to our Father, as Jesus did in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39). When we are yielded and obedient to the Lord, His Spirit guides us and provides the wisdom we need in order to pray according to His will.


Yes, Wait on the Lord.

2 Samuel 5:1-3

David waited seven years and more before he came to the throne of Israel. He reigned meanwhile with great wisdom and justice over that portion of the land which owned his sway, and by his conduct commended himself to general esteem. It was far better to be preparing for the crown than to be plotting to obtain it.

2 Samuel 5:1-3

Thus without David’s having made a single violent grasp at the crown it came to him by general consent. When providence has ripened a blessing for us, it will drop into our lap; but we must not put forth an unholy hand to seize it before the. time. David’s past conduct, and the fact that he was chosen of the Lord could not always be overlooked. Men have bad memories, but in due time they must and shall remember the deservings of those who have done valiantly. The united tribes were right glad to crown the man who was so worthy to wear the diadem.

1 Chronicles 12:39, 40

1 Chronicles 12:39, 40

Those who were nearest to Hebron had not to bear the expense of a long journey, and therefore they provided the feast. Those who can best afford it should do the most for the honour of our Lord’s kingdom.

2 Samuel 5:4-9

2 Samuel 5:4-5

Being anointed, David was now eager to prove himself a king by clearing his country of lurking enemies; and therefore he determined to expel the Jebusites from their citadel upon mount Zion.

2 Samuel 5:6

The probable meaning is that David had called their gods both blind and lame, and now they retorted that their blind and lame gods were quite sufficient to keep him out of their stronghold.

2 Samuel 5:8

Joab led the van in this fearful fight—fort after fort was captured: the gigantic battlements were scaled, and Israel’s warriors climbed over the walls, and smote their enemies in hand to hand encounter.

2 Samuel 5:8

That is to say, it became a proverb that Israel would not look to lame and blind deities, and set them up in their houses as a shelter, for they were proved to be worthless defenders.

2 Samuel 5:9

Thus the sacred mount of Zion was wrested out of the hands of enemies, and became the site of David’s palace, and this the church, saved from all her adversaries is the abode cf Jesus her King.


Are there no foes for me to face?

Must I not stem the flood?

Is this vile world a friend to grace,

To help me on to God?


Sure I must fight if I would reign;

Increase my courage, Lord!

I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,

Supported by Thy word.


Love Seeks Not Its Own, Is Not Easily Provoked, Thinks No Evil

1 Corinthians 13:4, 5

In First Corinthians 13:5, Paul continues his message about the agape love of God. The seventh characteristic he gives us is that this high-level love “… seeketh not her own….”

The word “seeketh” is the Greek word zeteo, which means to seek. However, it was also used to depict a person who is so upset about not getting what he wanted that he turns to the court system to sue or to demand what he is striving to obtain. Instead of taking no for an answer, this person is so intent on getting his own way that he will search, seek, and investigate, never giving up in his pursuit to get what he wants. In fact, he’s so bent on getting his way that he’ll twist the facts; look for loopholes; put words in other people’s mouths; try to hold others accountable for promises they never made; leap on administrative mistakes as opportunities to twist someone’s arm; or seek various other methods to turn situations to his benefit. This is manipulation!

There is no doubt that Paul had the image of a manipulating, scheming person in his mind when he wrote this verse. Have you ever met such a person? Have you ever encountered a man or woman who schemed and manipulated all the time to get what he or she wanted?

The point Paul makes here is that love is not scheming or manipulating, for this kind of behavior is dishonest and untruthful. Scheming and manipulating to get your own way is simply wrong! If you can’t honestly state what you think or what you want, then don’t say or do anything. Speaking half-truths and white lies or operating according to a secret agenda is not the way that agape love behaves.


The Greek words in this text could be understood to mean:

“… Love does not manipulate situations or scheme and devise methods that will twist situations to its own advantage….”

After making this point, Paul then lists the eighth characteristic of agape love. He tells us that love “… is not easily provoked….”

The word “easily” does not appear in the original Greek, but it was later supplied by the King James translators. Some scholars have asserted it was injected into the King James Version because the translators of the day wanted to make a certain point to King James, who was famous for losing his temper and flying off the handle!

The Greek text has the word paroxsuno for the word “provoked.” It is a compound of para, meaning alongside, and oxsus, which means to poke, to prick, or to stick, as with a sharpened instrument. When compounded together, the new word portrays someone who comes alongside another and then begins to poke, prick, or stick that other person with some type of sharpened instrument. He continues to pick, poke, and stick until the victim becomes provoked. He’s finally had enough of this person’s relentless actions of picking, poking, and sticking, so he responds by violently and aggressively assaulting the offender. The result is a fight—a conflict of the most serious order.

We find the word paroxsunos used in this way in Acts 15:39, where Luke records information about a conflict that transpired between Paul and Barnabas. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark on the next journey, but Paul was against it because John Mark had already proven himself unfaithful on an earlier trip. As they debated the issue, the words they exchanged must have been very sharp. This is why Luke wrote, “And the contention was so sharp between them….”

This is a translation of the word paroxsuno, letting us know that Paul and Barnabas came alongside each other in close debate and then began to poke, stick, prick, and jab each other with their words. The Greek language leaves no doubt that the conversation that ensued was extremely hot. In fact, this provocation was so severe that it disrupted their friendship and destroyed their partnership in ministry.

The word oxsus is also the Greek word for vinegar. I especially find this interesting because the word oxsus is the exact word for “vinegar” in the Russian language. The fact that this is the word for vinegar lets us know that the words Paul and Barnabas spoke to each other were stringent, sharp, severe, sour, tart, bitter, and acidy. These words were so bitter that it left a sour taste in their mouths and their memories. As a result of these harsh words, these two men who had served God together in the ministry separated: “… Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed…” (Acts 15:39, 40).

I’m sure Paul remembers this experience very well as he warns believers everywhere that love is “… not easily provoked….” He speaks by experience when he tells us that this is not the behavior of love. Having reaped the consequences of losing his temper and saying regrettable, acidy words in a moment of conflict, Paul warns us that agape love does not behave in this fashion.


An interpretive translation of Paul’s words in First Corinthians 13:5 could read this way:

“… Love does not deliberately engage in actions or speak words that are so sharp, they cause an ugly or violent response….”

Then Paul lists his ninth point about love, telling us that agape love “… thinketh no evil.” The Greek word for “thinketh” is logidzomai, which was an accounting term that would be better translated to count or to reckon. It literally meant to credit to someone’s account.

Before us is the image of a bookkeeper who meticulously keeps accurate financial records. But in this case, the bookkeeper is an offended person who keeps detailed records of every wrong that was ever done to him. Just as a bookkeeper has an entry for every debit and credit on the books, this person painstakingly stores in his memory all the mistakes, faults, grievances, disappointments, failures, or perceived wrongdoings that someone has made against him. Rather than forgive and let it go, the offended person has carefully maintained records of each action done to him that he deemed unjust or unfair.

This is certainly not the way love behaves! If you want to know how love behaves, look at the behavior of God toward you. Although God could drag up your past before you all the time, He doesn’t do that! In fact, after He forgave you (Psalm 103:3), God decided He wouldn’t deal with you according to your sins or reward you according to your iniquities (Psalm 103:10). Although He could remember your past mistakes if He chose to do so, God doesn’t and never will choose to remember them.

Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” This means that God doesn’t keep records of your past forgiven sins! Once they are under the blood of Jesus, God separates them from you forever.

You see, that is how real agape love behaves. So if you are ever tempted to keep mental records of wrongs someone has done to you, be aware that you’re not giving to that person the same mercy God has given to you. Someone who has been forgiven as much as you have been forgiven has no right to keep a record of someone else’s mistakes!


Paul’s words “thinketh no evil” should actually be translated:

“… Love does not deliberately keep records of wrongs or past mistakes.”

Is there anyone you are holding hostage in your mind because of what you deemed to be an inappropriate action taken against you? If that person did wrong, it’s right for you to confront him in love. But once you have dealt with the matter, you need to release the offense and let it go—just as Jesus has released you from your past and is believing that you are now on the right track!

If you have a hard time releasing people from their past wrongs, it’s a sign that you need agape to be released in your life. The fact that you’re flipping back to that old record of wrongs again and again—bringing up past grievances that should have been forgiven and forgotten—means you are not perfected in love! Throw that diary away! Didn’t God throw away His dairy about YOUR past?


When all these Greek words and phrases are translated together, an expanded interpretive translation could read:

“… Love doesn’t manipulate situations or scheme and devise methods that will twist situations to its own advantage; love does not deliberately engage in actions or speak words that are so sharp, they cause an ugly or violent response; love doesn’t deliberately keep records of wrongs or past mistakes.”

Well, how do you feel after looking into the mirror of First Corinthians 13:4-8 today? There are three more days to go as we delve deeply into the precious, Spirit-anointed words in this passage of Scripture. Don’t rush through these particular Sparkling Gems. As you read them, take the time to carefully digest them; take them deep into your heart and soul. God wants to change you, but before you can change, you must first recognize what needs to be fixed!

If God is speaking to your heart, don’t rush from this quiet time with Him too quickly. Stop everything you are doing, and make it your most important matter of business to get your heart right first with the Lord and then with others!


Lord, I ask You to help me put an end to any scheming or manipulating tendencies that still reside in my soul. I know that this is very grievous to You and damaging to my relationships. I repent for participating in this evil behavior, and I ask You to help me be honest in all my dealings with other people. Help me to curb my anger, hold my tongue, and refrain from speaking words that bring harm. Thank You for forgiving me for past sins. Today I am making a decision to wipe the slate clean regarding anyone who has ever acted unjustly or unfairly with me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I don’t try to manipulate situations or look for ways to scheme to get what I want. I don’t deceptively twist situations to my advantage, nor do I deliberately engage in actions or speak words that cause an ugly or violent response. I have been forgiven much; therefore, I quickly forgive others, never keeping a record of others’ wrongs, sins, or mistakes. God is doing a mighty work in me, and every day I am becoming more and more free!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Have you ever been guilty of manipulating situations or scheming behind the scenes to get what you wanted? When you were doing it, was your heart grieved because you knew what you were doing was displeasing to the Lord?
  2. Have you ever spoken words that were so ugly, they resulted in harming a precious relationship? Were you afterward sorry that you didn’t control your temper? If you have damaged a relationship due to bad words, why don’t you lay down your pride and go ask that person to forgive you?
  3. Have you forgiven those who have done wrong to you in the past, or do you still hold them hostage in your mind? Have you kept a record of their offenses so you can replay them over and over again in your mind, or can you honestly say that you have forgiven them and have no ill feelings toward them?


Are You A Thriving “Tree” Or A Withering “Bush”?

“Dwight, unless we sign a new contract within the next two months our company is finished.” “Bob” I responded, “Let’s take a look at Jeremiah 17:7, 8”:


Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.


We observed that this “blessed” person is:


Joyful in soul, trusting God amidst life’s circumstances, as he draws nourishment from the stream.


Producing healthy fruit; undaunted by drought.


After spending considerable time pondering the passage he said, “Yes, that’s nice Dwight, but we still don’t have a contract!” (Translated: “It’s pleasant to read the Scriptures, but I have to face reality.”) So I said, “Bob, let’s take a few minutes and look at Jeremiah 17:5, 6”:


Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.


We noted that this “cursed” individual is:


Cooled in his heart toward God, having become dependent upon his own ability for survival.


Spiritually dry and impervious to surrounding prosperity; dwelling alone in a dying environment.


In the weeks that followed, Bob began to draw nourishment from his daily times of meditation on the Scriptures. As an inner peace settled in, it became obvious that he was changing from a withered “bush” into a healthy “tree.”


And yes, two days before the dreaded expiration of the contract, Bob and his company signed an agreement that literally overwhelmed them with work for years to come.


QUESTION: So which are you? A thriving “tree,” or a withering “bush?” If you are a bush, what steps will you now take to begin the process of becoming a healthy, fruitful tree?



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