Philippians 3:4-14 (click to display NIV text)
October 28, 2012 (Reformation Sunday)
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”
There are two words we use to define our heritage: “protest” and “reform.” We are a church that comes out of a movement called the Reformation. We are also known as Protestants, or “PROTEST-ants.” But today is called Reformation Sunday — our focus is on reform rather than protest. Sometimes it is necessary to protest, but today we are called to reform, to consider the words of Paul in Philippians that call us to a reformation of the heart.
Today we remember a tradition that set its foundations in Scripture, grace, faith and Christ, and set the foundations in those four alone. The Reformation of 500 years ago was suspicious of any “adding to” these four foundations, because any addition necessarily distorts them. Reform in this sense was seen as a return, a cutting back of layers of accommodation, compromise and rationalization. It is a willingness to cut away all that we do both in our individual lives and in our institutional lives to sets things in our favor, to make the world work for us, to justify ourselves. Such cutting back is hard work.