Apologetics Class 10/29/2017

Today, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we started a 2 week mini series on Martin Luther.  We watched parts 1-3 of Martin Luther the Man:

 

 

Here is the note-taking form I handed out before the video:

Martin Luther

Part 1 His Early Life (13 minutes 17 seconds)

  1. The late medieval church was very powerful
  2. No social security in those days, your social security policy was your s________
  3. Luther’s dad wanted him to be a l___________
  4. Luther’s concept of God was influenced by the fact that his father was so strict and he wasn’t sure he l____________ his father at that point (after getting disciplined)
  5. Church’s slogan at that time – do what is i___ y________ and God will not refuse you grace.
  6. If you fail, confession – priest will give you something to do to satisfy the penalty (penance)
  7. If you don’t do enough penance to cover all the sin, the answer was time in p___________
  8. You’re the one earning the f____________, you’re the one paying the price
  9. When studying at university, he found a copy of the B_______________ in the library
  10. It was understood that laymen needed Church’s help to understand/interpret the Bible
  11. Several incidents in Luther’s life caused him to develop a fear of d_______________.
  12. July 2nd 1505, Luther caught in thunderstorm – he cries out “Saint Anne, help me and I will become a m________!”
  13. Shortly after that, Luther entered a very strict m______________ of the Observant Augustinians
  14. Decision to enter monastery motivated in part by what was going to happen after death
  15. Obsessed by g_________ and the f_________ of damnation, Luther was trying in vain to find assurance of his s_______________.

Part 2 – His Monk Life (15 minutes 56 seconds)

  1. He led a very strict, d_________________ life including self-flagellation
  2. He was very concerned about his salvation and didn’t find the s_________ he thought he would
  3. The more he tried to do things right and by the book, the more he realized he was falling s_____
  4. You had to name all sins – both sins you committed and righteous acts you failed to do – under the medieval system of confession and p____________
  5. Not every monk was a priest – he was a man has taken a vow of p_____________ and ch_______________, a priest was one who was trained to handle the sacraments
  6. Luther was ordained in 1507
  7. His greatest fear as a priest was: how could he possibly tr______________ the bread and the wine into the body and blood of Christ?
  8. He was a good monk – especially at m___________________, self-torture – trying to prove to God that you really, truly are sorry for your sins. He whipped himself, walked over stone floors on his knees, laid out in the snow without covering himself.
  9. Study of the scriptures made things worse, because he’s finding the r________________ of God
  10. He felt that God was a t_______________, demanding what could not be given
  11. In 1509, he earned his Bachelor of the Bible degree
  12. In the fall of 1510, he made a trip to R____________ to defend a dispute that arose within the Augustinian Hermits of Germany
  13. He was disappointed when he really saw what Rome was like.
  14. Luther came to his reformation breakthrough as a p________________, not as a single event.
  15. The L___________ V____________ was the official Bible of the Church – it was translated by St. Jerome in 380 AD
  16. Erasmus organized a newer new testament from the older Greek documents and Luther found that St. Jerome had m___________ the word ‘metanoia’ as ‘do penance’ instead of ‘repentance’
  17. Everything changed for Luther when he found out that it’s not about me c____________ up to God, but about God c_______________ to me.

Part 3 – Purgatory & Indulgences (12 minutes 42 seconds)

  1. Purgatory not defined until the Council of Lyon in 1274, but talked about since Augustine (around 4th century AD)
  2. When you went to confession, the priest absolved you, but that absolution only covered the g_____________ of your sins, it did not cover the p__________________ for your sins. You still had to work off the punishment – either in this life, or in Purgatory.
  3. The Pope at Luther’s time was Leo the 10th – needed money to build St. Peter’s Basilica
  4. Pope Leo the 10th instituted the sale of “i___________________”
  5. There was a special kind of indulgence called a Plenary Indulgence – time in Purgatory altogether taken care of.
  6. The “Treasury of Merit” was under the power of the Pope
  7. The indulgences would allow you to escape additional months, years in purgatory if you paid for the indulgence.
  8. To the common people they probably thought this was paying for the f________________ of s__________, but it was not.
  9. John Tetzel, a Dominican monk, was the chief salesman of indulgences in the territory next to Luther’s
  10. How do you get indulgences sold? You make promises, for example if your grandma Schmidt is suffering in purgatory she’ll be freed from her suffering
  11. The infamous phrase in the sales pitch was, “As soon as the c_____________ in the coffer rings, the s_____________ from Purgatory springs.
  12. Frederick the wise would not let Tetzel sell his indulgences in his territory. Frederick the wise had a collection of relics, which it was said that if you viewed all of the relics (and offer certain prayers) you could earn forgiveness, and you could get 2 million years off of your time in Purgatory!
  13. Some were even showing their indulgences to Luther asking for a s_______________ o________________. People were coming to him and saying I don’t need to go to confession and absolution because I have a “Plenary Indulgence”.
  14. Luther knew that people were being told that they had to pay for God’s m_________________.
  15. Luther drew up a set of theses on the p_______________ and efficacy of indulgences, ninety-five theses. He posted this list on the door of the church in Wittenberg on October 31st, 1517
  16. People got a hold of those theses and translated them from Latin to German and they were being published widely on Gutenberg’s new printing press.
  17. Here are some of the theses:
    1. Luther’s theses started with these words: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said repent, he willed the entire life of believers to be one of r_______________________. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction as administered by the clergy.”
    2. Thesis 27: “They preach only h_______________ d_________________ who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.”
    3. Thesis 82: If the Pope could redeem souls from purgatory for the sake of money with which to build a church, why did he not free all the needy souls, for the sake of C_________________ l____________?
  18. When Luther posted the theses in 1517, he was still a good C__________________.
  19. Luther was aware there was something really r______________ in the church, and the pope had to do something about it. But Luther found that the pope was actually complicit in all of this.

Discussion Questions

 

  1. What incident in Luther’s life caused him to want to join a monastery?
  2. Why did Luther enter a monastery and become a monk?
  3. Did Martin Luther have assurance of salvation when he was a monk?
  4. What miracle is every priest expected to perform during the Lord’s Supper?
  5. What is the Latin Vulgate? Who was it translated by?
  6. What mistake was made in the translation of the New Testament in Mark 1:15 by St. Jerome?
  7. What is the doctrine of purgatory?
  8. When was the doctrine of purgatory defined?
  9. When you went to confession, in the Catholic Church, what occurred and what were the results?
  10. What is a Plenary Indulgence? What benefit did this Indulgence have for the believer?
  11. Who is John Tetzel? What was he famous for?
  12. When did Luther make his 95 Theses? Where did he post it?
  13. Did Luther want to leave the Catholic Church at the time when he posted his 95 Theses?

 

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AWANA Teaching on Titus 3:5

I’ve prepared my monthly teaching for the 5th and 6th grade AWANA clubbers.  This month the verse is Titus 3:5.  Below are the slides and notes I will be using to present this material this coming Wednesday evening.  My timing of this took 17 minutes.  First is the notes for talking about the slide, then the slide image:

Today, we’re going to be talking about one of your memory verses – Titus 3:5.  This is from the Ultimate T&T Challenge Book 1 (Challenge 3:6 – pg. 65)

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Here is that verse – who would like to read it?  “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit

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Now, I’m going to read the verse in context.  “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” This passage was written by the Apostle Paul to Titus, who he calls “my true son in our common faith” (1:4).

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Titus was someone that Paul left in charge of the church he’d established on the island of Crete.  You can see this on the map here.  As you can see, this is in the Mediterranean Sea, just southeast of Greece and southwest of Turkey.

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I want you to notice several things about this passage.  (click) The first part of the passage describes how Paul and Titus used to be before their conversion to Christianity.  Consider verse 3 …

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At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” They weren’t acting very nice – they were disobedient and enslaved by passions and pleasures.   They “lived in malice and envy”.  (click) Do you know what malice is?

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The New Testament dictionary describes Malice like this: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws, depravity, evil, trouble.

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But then, God intervened in the situation.  It says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us”.  So, while we were still sinning and rebelling against God, He stepped into history in the person of Jesus Christ and saved us.  The Bible (click) says “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  Notice that Titus 3:5 says that God saved us “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy”.  This is very important – we did not and cannot do anything to merit salvation.

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Instead, we are receiving God’s mercy.  That’s the word used in Titus 3:5, and it means that we are not getting something bad that we deserve (punishment).  Mercy is kind of the opposite of grace, which is where we are getting something we don’t deserve (God’s favor).

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The meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited favor from God.  Later in this passage (v.7) it says that we are “justified by His grace”.  There are many places in the Bible that talk about this concept of Grace – the word appears 156 places in the New Testament to be exact.  You need to understand that (click) this is a uniquely Christian concept.  Some people wonder what sets Christianity apart from other world religions.  Outside of Jesus, this is probably the main thing.  No other world religion has a concept of Grace or unmerited favor from God – you always have to do something to please the god of other religions.  Let’s talk about a few of them.

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First, Judaism.  This is the Jewish people – they believe in what we would call the “Old Testament”.  They call it the Tanakh.  Remember, we believe much of what the Jewish people believe, because we also believe what is written in the Old Testament.  However, the Jewish people largely rejected Jesus as their Messiah.  The New Testament talks a lot about the Jews and their beliefs.  They believe that being a Jewish person (a descendant of Abraham) and adherence to the Law is what will get them into heaven.  However, the Bible says “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20)
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Next, Islam.  These are Muslims.  They believe that God will weigh up your good deeds and bad deeds and if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you will go to heaven, otherwise hell.
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What about Mormonism?  That’s also referred to as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” or sometimes abbreviated LDS.  They believe that good works factor into their salvation.  The book of Mormon is what they call their scriptures (which they say is “the most correct of any book on earth”). It says “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”  By the way, who can say that they have done everything they can do?  No one!  Contrast this with the Bible which says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

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Then there’s Hinduism. Hinduism is a very diverse religion that began in India.   They have the concept of Karma and Re-incarnation, which are connected. Karma, is a system they believe in where your behavior, whether good or bad, will affect what happens to you in the future – both in this life and the life to come.  They believe that Karma affects what you are re-incarnated as.  If you’ve led a good life, you will be re-incarnated as a higher life form (click) (maybe a King), but if you’ve lived a bad life, you will be re-incarnated as a lower life form (click) (maybe a bug).  But the Bible says “Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27)

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For example, Fakirs are holy men in India.  Here is a fakir sitting on a bed of nails to demonstrate his religious devotion to the gods. They believe that eventually, if you keep living a better and better life each time, you work your way up through the “caste system” to be able to escape the cycle of birth and re-birth and achieve Nirvana. Nirvana, they say, is a place of perfect peace and happiness – it is the highest state that someone can attain, a state of enlightenment, meaning a person’s individual desires and suffering go away.

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Here is a Hindu devotee lying on a bed of nails, being carried by fellow devotees during a religious festival in India. Hundreds of faithful devotees offer sacrifices and perform acts of devotion during the festival in the hopes of winning the favor of Hindu god Shiva and ensuring the fulfillment of their wishes.

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Finally, Buddhism – Buddhism is based primarily on the teachings of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama – a spiritual teacher from India who lived from approximately 563BC to 483BC). Buddhism incorporates a variety of religious traditions, beliefs and practices. They believe in what is called (click) the “Eightfold Path”.  These are the “works” they have to do to achieve nirvana or the state of enlightenment.  Like Hinduism, they believe in the cycle of re-incarnation leading to nirvana, but they reject the “caste system”.

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So, in summary, all of the other religions we’ve talked about, require man to work (often hard) for their salvation – to please God, but in Christianity salvation is a free gift.

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Think about a gift – like a Christmas gift or a birthday gift.  Do you work for that? No.

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When someone hands you a gift, do you take out your wallet and pay them for it?  Of course not.  That would be an insult!

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So, religion doesn’t save you – Jesus saves you.  Religion is man reaching up to God

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Christianity is God reaching down to men.

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Now, I want to make sure you know that although we’re not saved by good works, that does not mean we’re not to do good works.  Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” and the book of James tells us that faith without works (good deeds) is dead. (James 2:26)

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Now, back to our verse. The passage goes on to talk about the results of our salvation.  It says “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life”.  What does justified mean? Simply put, to justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God.

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Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous. As this graphic shows, justification is where Jesus Christ’s righteousness is credited to us, and our guilt is credited to Jesus as he was on the cross.

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The verse talks about “heirs”…  What does “heirs” mean? The literal meaning of heir is “someone who has been appointed to receive an inheritance.”

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An heir is a person who receives something of value from a father. The Bible sometimes uses the word heir to describe us as recipients of a gift from God

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Let’s wrap this up – our verse Titus 3:5 teaches us:

  1. (click) We can do nothing to merit eternal life (salvation) from God.
  2. (click) We are saved by God’s mercy, which is not getting the punishment we deserve for our sins.
  3. (click) We are justified (made right with God) by His grace (unmerited favor), which is a uniquely Christian teaching – all the other religions we talked about require the person to do good works to be accepted by God
  4. (click) All we can do is choose to receive His salvation by faith.
  5. (click) Since we’ve received this free gift, we can and should choose to thank Him by devoting the rest of our lives to loving Him and others.

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Who has questions either about our passage, what grace or mercy means or about the other religions we talked about?

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God is Worthy of Worship

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.  -Revelation 4:11

Everything that we look at – everything on the earth, everything in the sky and in outer space, the water that we drink, the food that we eat, the sun that we look at in the sky, the hydrological cycle that created the clouds that we see in the sky, the air that we’re breathing, the matter that was made available to produce the cars that we drive to work in every morning – it was all created by God and designed by Him for our use and enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17b). So if that’s true, is it not the most important thing to get to know, to worship, to be reconciled to that Being that created all of this?

Not only did He create all that we see, but He also has created in us a conscience, and that conscience bears witness to the fact that we are all guilty (Rom. 2:14-15) – that we’ve done things wrong (Rom. 3:23) – that one day, we’re going to have to an give account for our lives (Rom. 14:12). We’re going to have to answer for all the bad things we’ve done. We may not be Hitler, we may not be Jeffrey Dahmer, we may not be Charles Manson… Nevertheless we are guilty for every time we’ve lied, stolen, lusted, not honored our parents, not loved God with all our hearts, souls and minds – above everything else. We may think, well lying is not that bad, but the Bible says lying lips are an Abomination to the Lord (Prov. 12:22). We’re not going to be judged on our standards or what we think is ok and not okay. We’re going to be judged on the standards of the Lord God, Who created all this, Who is immensely powerful and intelligent beyond belief.

But also He’s just (2 Thess. 1:6a). He will judge the world in righteousness, the Bible says, by the Man whom He has ordained, and He is given assurance of this to all by raising Him (Jesus) from the dead (Acts 17:30-31). So the resurrection is the authenticating sign declaring Jesus as the One who has been given the authority to judge the world (John 5:22-23).

Be reconciled to Him today, before it’s too late (2 Cor. 5:18-21). You don’t know if you’ll have tomorrow or even the next moment (Ps. 144:4, James 4:14). The Bible says today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2b). Today means now! Is Nike famously said “Just Do It!”