Sermon Transcript – A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Series B – Third Sunday of Easter – Sunday, April 18, 2021 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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0:23The holy gospel according to saint luke
0:30the 24th chapter glory to you oh lord
0:37as they were talking about these things Jesus himself stood among them and said to them peace to you but they were startled and
0:45frightened and saw they thought they saw a ghost and he said to them why are you troubled and why do
0:50doubts arise in your hearts see my hands in my feet that it is i myself touch me and see
0:56for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that i have and when they had said this he showed
1:01them his hands and his feet and while they still disbelieved for joy they were marveling he said to them have you anything here
1:07to eat so they gave him a piece of broiled fish and he took it and ate before them
1:13and then he said to them these are my words that i spoke to you while i was still with you that everything written about me in the law
1:19of moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled then he opened their minds to understand
1:25the scriptures and said to them thus it is written that the Christ should suffer
1:30and on the third day rise from the dead and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to
1:36all nations beginning from jerusalem you are witnesses of these things and behold i
1:42am sending the promise of my father upon you but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high
1:48this is the gospel of the lord in the name of Jesus amen all right so a little bit of
1:57it seems like i’m going to start off on a tangent and i think i need to so you know me i like photography art is
2:04something that i do to keep my sanity because my my other day job requires me to
2:10slog through copious amounts of heresy and joshua my son describes that as the
2:15swamp of sadness swamp of sadness that’s that’s not a bad way to think about it so art is something that i’d use to keep
2:22my sanity and so i thought i would do something kind of fun something kind of renaissance right so what i thought i would do is take a
2:29class online on art history i’m thinking why not study the masters
2:34and and really study art because you know it’s pretty well i’ve been listening to a series of
2:40lectures in my art history class online by a french gal by the name of lis martino
2:46now that’s how she pronounced her name i’m just mimicking it i don’t know any french and she was doing an in-depth
2:53analysis of the message that is encoded in manet’s last painting
3:00which i have reproduced in your bulletin the name of the painting is a bar at the follies bergere and uh
3:07it’s pretty i mean there’s that girl she’s dressed opulently and of course you’ve got the wonderful inside interior of this
3:15this facility the folla’s bergere and you’ve got the gilded ceilings and
3:20the chandeliers and all this kind of stuff and i was thinking this should be an interesting lecture right
3:26well let me do a little bit of digression here all right we’ll talk about this and what it means because it
3:32has everything to do with well our good works and so i’m going to interpret this as a theologian it’s
3:38through the lens then of our gospel text and then a little bit more of first john so we live in the 21st
3:46century right yeah so here it is 2021 and everything wrong with our society who
3:53have we been blaming it on you know well the boomers right and especially
3:58those ones that brought us the sexual revolution because have you noticed that uh well you know society as it is
4:06the whole thing regarding sexual immorality has just run amok in our nation right well
4:14i hate to say this but my art history class has proven to me that the sexual revolution isn’t the problem
4:20you know what the problem is we are the problem sin that dwells within us
4:25and so i would note that this particular painting although it’s hard for me to explain the
4:30finer interpretations of it that what that many put the code coded in here
4:36but what he is doing in this painting is talking about the state of affairs and
4:42the overt hypocrisy of so-called civilized culture in france in the end of the 1900s
4:50now let me talk about what happened that kind of busted things open for people in europe
4:57at the time if you remember the middle of the 1900s we get darwin writing the origin of species
5:04right he writes the origin of species and then he writes another book that talks about how the different
5:10genders supposedly descended using evolution and in darwin’s theory that he
5:16postulated regarding how we now have different genders he’s he basically says that the first humans
5:22that evolved from monkeys and apes that they had both sexes in one person
5:28and then eventually that split out and that men evolved quicker than women
5:33and he overtly taught that women are inferior to men
5:38inferior and now you’re sitting there going i think we should stone darwin i agree let’s get to it but anyway but
5:45but here’s the idea then is that and then his ideal understanding at
5:51least he thinks scientific understanding of how the genders should relate he believed that
5:56men should be catabolic that was the term he used basically meaning strong rugged
6:01intellectual getting things done women on the other hand the ideal
6:07evolved woman is anabolic which means she’s supposed to be
6:12kind of weak and faint and and and things like this and then according to then spencer who
6:18followed darwin spencer basically postulated that in this society then
6:24a good civilized society has a big distinction between the sexes according to catabolic and
6:30anabolic categories and because women are so weak they really shouldn’t be spending time intimately
6:37with their husbands unless for the purpose of procreation
6:43i want you to think about this no intimacy in marriage unless it’s for procreation
6:49in fact the women in france at the time were a set of pajamas that allowed easy access for intimacy
6:56should the reason arise for procreation and what this ended up doing was destroying
7:03families destroying them all in the name of science and of course
7:10the french were also overtly catholic and so the roman catholic church was
7:15completely on board with this idea that’s right human intimacy only for the purpose of procreation
7:22well we all know how that’s going to work because our marriages are our most intimate relationships and
7:28you’ll note scripture teaches us that it is within the context of marriage that we not only procreate
7:36but that we also have that important relationship that is so many ways
7:43symbolizes the body of Christ in their relationship to Jesus right
7:50and without that intimacy well what ends up happening well in france and this is what manet
7:57is in basically holding up to people’s noses and faces
8:03what ended up happening is that prostitution ran amok men’s most intimate
8:10relationships were with expensive courtesans and what we see in this painting you
8:17can’t really see it too well here but if you see a color version of it is is that we’re looking at a woman who’s standing behind a bar
8:24and if you look in the background in the gallery you can see men sitting with their
8:31well not their wives their wives wouldn’t dress this way they’re sitting with their cortisones
8:36this is their most intimate relationship and in france what ended up happening is that with prostitution running amok
8:43we’re talking literally hundreds of thousands of women throughout paris some of them legal some of them
8:49illegal and what ended up happening is that these men spent their energies on their
8:55prostitutes rather than their wives it just destroyed the family all under
9:01the pretense of men who were religiously attending church while at the same time embracing
9:06the spirit of the age and so what we see in this painting which is kind of haunting is a woman with kind of a blank stare on
9:13her face and based on the way that she is dressed and in the context of where she is
9:18manet is subtly revealing that she is a clandestine prostitute and that you can see then in
9:24the reflection over on the right hand side that she’s being propositioned by a man
9:32and as beautiful as it is what he’s doing is showing the hypocrisy that’s going on in a civilized society
9:39that can’t that claims to be religious and follow Jesus Christ the other part that’s a little bit more interesting is that the woman
9:46the way she’s posed is intentionally designed to mimic one of the most popular ways of
9:53depicting the virgin mary at that time with her hands open kind of like this you’ve probably seen the statue
9:59and the face that she has that kind of blank expression is the same exact
10:05expression as Jesus’s expression in a famous painting depicting him coming in glory
10:10to judge the living and the dead and what manet is doing here is basically holding
10:15up to people their rank hypocrisy while claiming to be religious they are engaging in overt sexual
10:23immorality sounds like the sexual revolution right
10:29right and so a little bit of another side note along these lines i know the
10:34art history lesson is a little bit odd for a sermon but on the other part of this is is that
10:40with the rise of this was the rise of syphilis and you all remember the suffragettes in the
10:46united kingdom at the beginning of the 20th century what was their slogan you probably know half their slogan
10:52votes for women that was a claim right votes for women we all know that part of
10:57it but there was a second half to that slogan because there’s a comma that comes after votes for women the other one was
11:04chastity for men what we saw in the rise of the suffragettes was a reaction
11:11against the rank immorality that had run through europe into the uk and other
11:16places as a result of the embracing of the i the the revolutionary ideas of
11:22evolution and as a result of it what was happening is that men were going to the brothels
11:28bringing syphilis home to their families giving it to their wives and when they would get pregnant their children would
11:34be born either dead or severely infected with syphilis and the women said enough
11:40is enough and this was all under the guise of a Christian nation under the eyes of you know you know
11:47people attending church and so we got to recognize here that i
11:53almost consider that to be more wicked than what we see happening in our days because in our days people don’t even
11:58care about Christianity right most people who are embracing the new morality
12:04they have they have no desire to be Christians or attend church and granted it’s come into the church but it’s time for us to
12:10get real about something and that is is that with the good news of Christ risen from the dead
12:16the scriptures reveal very clearly that we are set free from sin we are not
12:23set free to sin and so in that context here again the words of
12:28Christ from our gospel text Jesus after appearing to his disciples
12:34he says to them so clearly that he’s not a ghost he even asked for something to
12:39eat and then he notes that these were the words that i spoke to you that while i was still with you that everything
12:44written about me in the law of moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled thus it is written that the Christ
12:50should suffer and then on the third day rise from the dead and that repentance
12:55and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning from jerusalem
13:02you see it is incomplete to say that oh it’s all about god being love and god forgives sins indeed he does Christ bled
13:09and died for all of our sins but even peter in his preaching from our first reading today
13:15calls the people to repent and you’ll note that in peter’s sermon here after
13:21he after god healed the man who was paralytic
13:26that peter makes it clear that each and every one of us we are
13:31responsible for the death of Christ you’ll note that peter just indiscriminately in this sermon
13:37says that you denied the holy and the righteous one and you asked for a murderer to be granted to you
13:43have you ever stopped to think how could he possibly do such a thing was he taking names was there a roll call was
13:50there a sign up sheet on that good friday when Christ was on trial and he says i know that you were there
13:56it sucked and you abraham i saw you there and jacob and you are all there
14:02no he doesn’t do that he tells the crowd who had gathered
14:08there that day that they were the ones responsible and by extension
14:13you and i are responsible too
14:18i killed Christ you killed him you asked for a murderer to be released
14:25to you instead of Christ and as peter then goes on to say we are all guilty then of killing
14:32the author of life but god has raised him from the dead and because Christ is raised from the dead
14:38we know that there is mercy forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ and so what does peter do he calls the
14:44people to repent he says repent therefore turn again so that your sins may be blotted out and
14:50that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the lord and what does he mean by times of
14:56refreshing what does he mean you know we’re not talking about sitting
15:01down and having a nice iced tea on a warm summer day that’s not what he’s talking about he’s talking about
15:08the buffeting impact and consequences of sin the life that we are living right now is
15:15described as well in arid deserty wilderness terms this is no place to lay down stakes
15:23you know for the long term you’re only sojourning through here this is not a proper place to live forever
15:29instead we are looking forward to a land that flows with milk and honey a true promised land the new earth
15:34but in the meantime Christ offers us refreshment and that is the refreshment not only of
15:40the confidence that there is forgiveness in him for every one of our sins but also the
15:45refreshing work of the holy spirit and producing in us now the fruit of the holy spirit
15:51love joy peace patience kindness gentleness self-control these sound very
15:58refreshing and the idea here is is that sin is the opposite of refreshing have you
16:04ever noticed that you are most disgusted most ashamed of yourself when you always fall short
16:12it’s never our sin that we’re proud of it’s always the stuff that we know that we’re doing according to god’s will
16:19and so with that consider then are the words of our epistle text
16:24in our epistle text and i’m going to kind of focus in on the family aspect of it we remember last week we heard from the
16:31apostle john that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us this is true but if we confess our
16:38sins god is faithful and just who forgive us our sins and all of this because Christ has died in our place and so if we say
16:46we have not sinned we make god out to be a liar and then he gives us these comforting words don’t lose these words as we
16:52continue it through this passage because if you lose these words you’re going to mess up a proper understanding of what john is
16:58saying he says i’m writing these things to you so that you may not sin but if anyone does sin and we have this
17:05week and today and we will tomorrow we have an advocate with the father Jesus Christ the righteous he is the
17:10propitiation for our sins and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world
17:16and then he goes on in verse seven and this begins to form the immediate context of our epistle text today
17:22he says i am writing to you no new commandment but an old commandment remember repentance for the forgiveness of sins
17:29repentance so that god will send refreshing so here’s the new it’s not a new commandment but an old
17:34one and the old commandment is the word that you have heard at the same time it is a new commandment that i am writing to you
17:40which is true in him and in you because the darkness is passing away
17:47and the true light is already shining because Christ has risen from the dead
17:52we have assurance then that the darkness that we were born into the darkness that we still struggle
17:58within ourselves the darkness that surrounds us with those who oppose Christ
18:03that this all is passing away and the light of Christ is already shining from
18:09the empty tomb all of that being said whoever loves his brother abides in the light
18:15and in him there is no cause for stumbling but whoever hates his brother is in the
18:21darkness and walks in darkness and doesn’t know where he’s going because the darkness has blinded him and
18:28so now he starts to bring in family type language it is inappropriate it is out
18:35of bounds not only is it out of bounds and inappropriate it is flat out contrary to scripture
18:42to hate your brother
18:48in fact john is clear that if you are doing this you are not walking in the light so who is your brother well let’s start
18:56here take a look around brothers and sisters we are all in Christ
19:01and the scripture refers to the saints always in terms of family y’all are my brothers
19:06and my sisters you all are family but i would also note then this that each and every one of us
19:13we also have a mom and a dad we many of us are married and we have a
19:19husband or a wife or we have children we have brothers and sisters and cousins
19:25and you’ll note is it me maybe it’s just me that being sanctified in the context of
19:32a household is always so challenging right you put a bunch of sinners under the same roof
19:38and you know what they do they annoy each other have you ever noticed that and and families what do they do they
19:44well they don’t always get along sometimes they fight maybe mom’s you know mom gets upset and
19:51annoyed and it rupts like a volcano and then dad does too and then the kids start kicking the cat and it just goes from
19:57the you get what i’m saying right but you’re going to note then in the
20:04last words the very last sentences of the old testament
20:09the prophecy given regarding john the baptist talks about something very interesting
20:16last words of the old testament read as thus behold i will send to you elijah the prophet
20:21before the great and the awesome day of yahweh comes and he will turn the hearts of fathers
20:27to their children in the hearts of the children to their fathers lest i come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction
20:35and so you’ll note here that one of the real fruits of the holy spirit
20:40is the repentance that comes that leads to fathers having their hearts turned back
20:46to their children and notice it doesn’t say mothers to their children because moms don’t seem to have a struggle in that department
20:52for the most part but when a father turns the mom comes along as well it is talking about the wholeness that
20:58comes the refreshing that we can have even in our own families and this is the
21:04thing that we all long for is it not is it not the reason why there’s so much rampant sexual immorality and just
21:10nonsense that goes on from age to age to age is it not because we are seeking love
21:16we all are well but according to that old country and western song many of us are looking for love in
21:24all the wrong places right the reality is this what we are
21:30called to as Christians is to sacrificially love each other
21:35even if you’re not getting love in return and that’s the hard thing so coming back then to our
21:43to our epistle text hang on a second here i got to get there watch where john goes he says i am
21:50writing these things to you little children because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake
21:55the refreshing that comes from the holy spirit through repentance and the forgiveness of sins
22:00then takes little children so that they obey the fourth commandment willingly not perfectly but willingly
22:08i’m writing to you fathers because you know him who is from the beginning i’m writing to you young men because you
22:13have overcome the evil one i write to you children because you know the father i write to you fathers
22:19because you know him who is from the beginning i write to you young men because you are strong
22:25and the word of god abides in you and you have already overcome the evil one and so because we
22:31have been united with Christ in his death and his resurrection in the waters of baptism note then we are not trying to overcome
22:39the evil one you couldn’t do that if you wanted to anyway Christ has already overcome him and proven so by rising from the dead
22:47and because we are in him we share in his victory and we have already overcome the evil one so then here is the
22:54admonition that john gives us do not love the world or the things that are in the world listen the world isn’t going to lead you to
23:01Christ it’s not the world’s narratives and the values
23:06and the ideas that are in vogue today they’re going to fall by the wade side in a decade anyway and another crop of
23:12weird ideas are going to come up and everyone’s going to embrace the new thing you know what you’re supposed to
23:17do ignore it don’t love the world don’t even listen to it you see anyone
23:25john says who loves loves the world the love of the father is not in him all that is in the world and it’s all
23:31categorized in these three distinctions the desires of the flesh yeah i see that on the internet
23:36desires of the eyes yeah you know you know for all those bright shiny sparkly things
23:42that there are in the world have you gotten rid of your car that you bought five years ago i mean it’s perfectly good but of course you’ve got
23:48to get the latest one with the leather seats and the and the gps that drives itself and all
23:53that right isn’t this how we work just watch the commercials and always always always always you’re just
24:01you are the desires of the eyes i’ve got to have the latest and the greatest and then also the pride of life
24:06the pride of life talking about all that that we seek for power and glory for ourselves this
24:14is not from the father it’s from the world and the world is passing away with its desires and we know this because
24:19Christ has risen from the dead so whoever does the will of god then abides forever
24:24now the next section here in this epistle is going to be a warning against antiChrist but i’ve got a whole sermon
24:29on that coming up in a couple of weeks we’ll talk about that then so then watch where he goes verse 28 of
24:36chapter two and now little children ah i like this i like this a lot here’s the reason why you want to
24:42know how god looks at you remember we have the spirit of adoption because Christ has bled and died for us
24:48we have been regenerated united with him we are now god’s children presently and here god
24:54the holy spirit is reminding us that not only are we his children oh but he refers to us as his
25:00little children his little ones and aren’t the little ones always so fun to care for and stuff
25:06right exactly you and i are god’s little children he says this abide then in him so that
25:13when Christ appears we may have confidence not to shrink back from him in shame at his coming if you know that he
25:20is righteous you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him now i
25:25know a thing or two about practice notice it’s not saying you have to be sinless the idea here is is that because we’ve
25:31been regenerated because we are in Christ because we have the holy spirit because we live in repentance what do we
25:39practice righteousness all right now back in the day i used to play golf the reason i don’t play golf anymore is
25:45because i didn’t need a mistress and golf is like a mistress all right it requires a lot of practice
25:51you have to practice your long game you have to practice your mid-irons you have to work on your short game you have to work on your putting
25:56and of course always the psychological aspects because always and again when you’re playing golf the whole game occurs right here in
26:03your head so if you have a bad shot you can easily go into a fit and that fit will cause another bad shot and it’s just a mess
26:10so in order to be good at golf you gotta practice and you know what i was tired of putting
26:16the time necessary to practice golf because at the end of the day that’s just recreation
26:22you know where i really need to practice i need to practice being a good husband i need to practice being a good father i
26:30need to practice being a good pastor i need to practice being a good friend
26:37that’s what i need to practice that and when we apply ourselves to practicing righteousness and selflessly
26:44loving others we’ll never be perfect at it not until Christ returns or we’re with
26:51him in glory but we’ll get better at it practice in this case doesn’t make
26:57perfect but practice is one of those things that we can all do on the contrary then you’ll note that
27:05practicing evil is the opposite of what we’re called to so then again hear that again these assuring words see what kind of love the
27:12father that he has given to us i always consider this next part to be almost like
27:17whispering scandalous things that we should be called the children of god that’s right we i mean look around what
27:24a motley crew we are a bunch of sinners can you believe it see what kind of love the father that
27:30he’s given to us that we should be called the children of god are you nuts
27:36right i like to say that when i get to heaven the prostitutes and the tax collectors are going to go oh good night god’s letting anyone in now
27:43right that’s the whole point that’s the scandal of the cross that real sinners like you and me that were forgiven
27:50but see what kind of love love i love this word that love the father that he’s given to us
27:56and the reason why then the world does not know us is because it didn’t know him you see
28:02because being selfish and focusing in on the unholy trinity of me myself and i
28:07that’s not love it’s narcissism and when we are narcissistic we are most
28:13like the devil yet the world doesn’t know us it didn’t
28:18know him beloved we are god’s children and here’s the important word now you do not need to strive to be
28:26god’s children god has made you his children and you are that now and what we will be well it’s not
28:34yet appeared but we know that when Jesus appears we’re going to be just like him because we shall see him as he is and
28:40everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure purifies himself through the forgiveness
28:47of sins that is offered in Christ but everyone who makes a practice of sinning if that’s what you’re really
28:52practicing well you’re also practicing lawlessness and sin is lawlessness you know that he
28:58appeared then in order to take away sins and in him there is no sin you see sin
29:04is not freedom sin is slavery going back to sin is like the well the children of israel in the
29:09wilderness saying we got to go back to egypt
29:14life ain’t that way that’s slavery and neither is sin sin is slavery it’s not freedom so no
29:20one who abides in him keeps on making a practice of sinning no the one who
29:26keeps practicing sinning has the one who keeps practicing sinning has either seen him
29:31or known him it’s neither and so little children let no one deceive you whoever practices
29:36righteousness is righteous as he is righteous and we practice righteousness because we are god’s children
29:43now and that’s what god’s children do whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil the devil has been
29:50sinning from the beginning the reason the son of god appeared was to destroy the works of the devil
29:56sin in all of its ways so no one born of god makes a practice of sinning
30:01god’s seed abides in him and he cannot keep on practicing sinning because he has been born of god
30:08so by this it is evident who are the children of god and who are the children of the devil whoever does not practice this
30:14righteousness is not of god nor is the one who does not love his brother
30:20so brothers and sisters you’ll note then this is some this is some tough law for us to hear
30:25but it’s necessary because each and every one of us still has our old sinful nature
30:30clinging to our necks desiring to follow the world and its messages to follow the world in
30:36its beliefs to follow the world and its morals and each and every one of us is tempted to
30:42despise the ones closest to us and think only about ourselves but this
30:47is not appropriate for those who are in Christ so again let us heed the words of the
30:52Apostle Peter let us repent so the times of refreshing may come because Christ is risen from the dead he
30:59is risen indeed alleluia
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