Shepherd of the Sierra Newsletter
SOLA FIDE! SOLA GRATIA! SOLA SCRIPTURA!
God has truly blessed all of us with a wonderful summer. It’s true the weather was maybe a little warmer than some of us like, and dryer than it normally is, but to have the opportunity to open our eyes each morning is a true blessing of our Almighty God. To also have the opportunity to live in an area that is the envy of many others in the country shows how God has richly blessed us!
In late August, students returned to school and parents renewed their focus on work. Because of these two things, not everyone was happy summer was over and the regular grind was again part of life. But with the month of September, each of us were given another opportunity by God to grow and learn.
The end of this month we will celebrate the 496th anniversary of the Reformation. Martin Luther, the great reformer, realized that what the church was saying did not match what he had discovered in Scripture.
As he continued to study, he felt that all of faith should be based on three principles. These three become the foundation of our faith.
SOLA FIDE means “by Faith alone” or “only by Faith.” It is through faith alone that we enjoy the benefit of God’s grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
As you walk by faith, you become aware that God’s grace continually surrounds you. Don’t think to have faith is the only thing you have to do to get into heaven! Faith isn’t something you do! God, through the Holy Spirit, works faith in you! You’re only the recipient, not the creator!
Faith is the hand that receives the blessing of salvation. We can only have faith because the Holy Spirit leads us to receive God’s grace. “Only by Faith” essentially is saying we each must totally accept that God is God, that He is the Only God, that He is in control, and that our forgiveness, life and salvation do not come about because of our actions and efforts. Forgiveness and life only come about because Jesus Christ is our Savior!
SOLA GRATIA means “by Grace alone” or “only by grace.” We learned at the beginning of the year, as we studied Max Lucado’s book, that grace is unearned, undeserved favor. When the Reformers said “by grace alone,” they meant that salvation was God’s free gift for undeserving sinners. We today, are still undeserving sinners.
God doesn’t owe us anything except His anger! But He offers us forgiveness and salvation and life everlasting by His grace. That grace is shown to us in Jesus Christ, who was God’s gift to sinners! Everything He did was so that we could live, but this comes into focus for us most clearly in His death on the cross and His resurrection that first Easter.
Look, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:20-24)
SOLA SCRIPTURA means “by Scripture alone” or “Only by Scripture.” When the Reformers said “Scripture alone” they meant that the Bible is the only foundation for faith and practice. We aren’t to put our confidence in men or the words of men. When you are dealing with something as important as eternity, you better rely on what God has said. Scripture is God’s Word, and that’s why we need to put our confidence in what it says.
Being in God’s Word and prayer each and every day is to have a firm foundation in a world that seems to be building itself on everything but God! That’s why we have the mission to share Jesus Christ with everyone around us!
The Apostle James was very clear that saying you have faith isn’t enough! James 2:14-17, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
The world would be lost for eternity if we didn’t speak of what we know. God’s Word and prayer need to be our daily companions as we walk through life.
From 2 Timothy 3:15-16, “and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, and for training in righteousness.”
Build your life on these “SOLAS” so you are able to stand firm in your faith knowing Jesus Christ is your Savior, and can share that with everyone you meet!
Pastor Norm Milz
Birthdays in October:
Joan Rishel – October 1
Timothy Fiske – October 3
Jackson Taylor – October 4
Sunna Zishka – October 4
Nancy Varner – October 6
Jane Bailey – October 12
Jim Nunnally – October 16
Pastor Norm – October 17
Sean Tozzi – October 17
Ginny Unger – October 19
Mary Lou Flanagan – October 20
Paul Hochsprung – October 21
Nancy Gaines – October 22
Simon Tozzi – October 26
Carolyn Nunnally – October 27
Anniversaries in October:
Brent & Kristin Tessmann – October 6 (29 years)
John & Bev Caulkins – October 9 (25 years)
Clint & Sondra Neudauer – October 16 (5 years)
Glen & DeLois Rose – October 17 (60 years)