Fall is here now. Summer flew by. School’s been in session for over a month. Now The Church’s eyes turn toward Reformation Sunday, and we begin to think that the big 500th Anniversary is only a year away. Next year it will be 500 years since Dr. Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church (aka The Castle Church) in Wittenberg. And the whole world was put on notice, even though he didn’t realize it, that the Evangelical-Lutheran Reformation was beginning. He didn’t realize it. His theology wasn’t even complete. He still believed in purgatory. He was only mad about indulgences. He didn’t quite understand or believe everything he’d be believing and confessing in just a few short years. But when you hear those nails being pounded into that church’s door, you should think of other nails: the nails being pounded into your Lord’s hands and feet.
That’s what Reformation preaching is all about. It preaches Christ crucified. It pictures before you The Crucified One. It tells you what He has done for you and why He did it. It tells you that you are a poor, miserable sinner. You deserve nothing from God but eternal death. You’ve been a sinner since you were conceived with no hope of parole because you can’t even dream of keeping God’s Law perfectly. But your Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven, took on your flesh, and kept God’s Law for you. Then He went to The Cross and died. On that Cross He was thoroughly punished for all your sins. He took care of every one of them. He died and was buried and then rose from the dead. Now your sins can no longer haunt you, for they are nailed to His Cross securely and buried deeply in His tomb. Now death can no longer hold you, because your Risen Lord has power over it and He wants you to live forever with Him.
This is the heart and core of our preaching. This is what you should expect your pastor to preach. For this is the message that gets you into heaven. For God is your Refuge and Strength precisely because He died for you. He is your very present Help in trouble precisely because He rose for you. So we pray our Lord God and heavenly Father to pour out His Holy Spirit on His faithful people, to keep them steadfast in His grace and truth, to protect and comfort them in all temptations, to defend them against all enemies of His Word, and to bestow on Christ’s Church Militant His saving peace. How does He do that? Through the faithful preaching of His Word and administration of His Sacraments. And that’s how The Lord of hosts is with us, how The God of Jacob is our Refuge.