The 14th through the16th centuries A.D. were dark days in Europe.
From about 500 A.D. – 1500 A.D. was a period called The Dark Ages. Now, because of political correctness and rewrite of history it is now called The Middle Ages. But the reason those years were called The Dar Ages was because there were three things going on:
1. In 600 A.D. was birth of the Muslim religion and the culture of Islam
2. Heathen tribes of Northern Europe were conquering the Roman Empire and the fall of Rome was taking place
3. The Christian church had become captured by Roman Catholicism and Roman Catholicism was moving monastic. Education, the arts, music, and everything that gave life to a culture were going behind the walls of monasticism. That began plummeting Western and Eastern Europe into darkness
This was further propagated by false prophets preaching a gospel of salvation by works. The gospel of Jesus Christ in the New Testament was being replaced by a gospel of relics and salvation by sacraments. This was even further compounded by the fact that common person was not allowed to own a Bible.
All of this led to darkness: the common person’s inability to own a Bible to know what true gospel was, the teaching of salvation by relics and sacraments -works, and false prophets covering land teaching a gospel of indulgence – teaching that they could buy a license of indulgence and that they could continue in their adultery, lying theft and sin but still go to heaven because they had purchased license of indulgence.
No wonder there was darkness!
And into this deep darkness God called a man – as God tends to do.
As Dr. Martin Luther was doing doctoral studies, he made discovery in Romans 1, that righteousness is by faith. And as he continued to study, he discovered full sufficiency in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and that salvation is by faith alone in the fullness and complete work of Jesus in His sacrifice on the cross and Resurrection.
He began to preach this in pulpit. But there were those men who were criss-crossing Europe with the gospel of indulgence and it broke his heart because even people in his church would run to these men preaching indulgence and they would constantly go back to the relics and sacraments for salvation.
When he couldn’t stand it any longer, he sat down and wrote a document with 95 points of why the gospel is by salvation alone by faith in Jesus Christ – and why indulgences, sacraments and works were not a prerequisite for salvation.
And being aware that great crowds would go to Wittenberg to celebrate All Saints Day, and that he could reach far more people at noon on October 31st 1517, Dr. Luther walked to Castle Church in Wittenberg and nailed to front door this document with its 95 points and that became the shot heard around world as Wittenberg became abuzz with what he had done. It spread all over Europe and gave birth to The Reformation.
Can you even imagine where the United States would be today without The Reformation?
Those 120 people that crowded into the Mayflower and left North Hampton and landed at Jamestown were a direct product of The Reformation. Cotton Mather, Jonathon Edwards, and the men that shaped hearts and lives of the men who signed our declaration of independence that gave birth to freest and greatest nation of mankind were a direct product of The Reformation!
There were two reformations going on at same time.
1. The French Revolution that gave birth to guillotine. Thousands and thousands of people lost their head at guillotine, which then gave birth to to Napoleon. That reformation was direct results of The Renaissance of Europe and the darkness I described.
2. At the same time, on Shores of North America, there was the American Reformation, which was a direct product of the birth of The Reformation and the gospel of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ. And that’s the freedom we live in today.
But as we look around today, America is sinking into a really deep darkness.
There is a great thirst for fantasy, paganism and the occult and witchcraft and sorcery and super heroes. There is an anger and bigotry against Christianity; a distortion to Christianity in America all combined with a growing economic crisis.
We worry about Isis on the shores of America. We wonder whether people be decapitated here.
We live in a very dark time!
But we have to find out how we can find a place of peace. How do we protect our heart and mind from anxiety and worry about the darkness in our nation.
When Paul talked to church of Rome, he said, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace.”
There are things we can have in our life that will give peace or not give peace.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In Jesus we have peace.
In John 14 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
How do we get to a place of peace?
You find it in the place we’ve been talking about.
You can listen to the rest of this message here.