Sermon Transcript – A Peek at the Gift

Series A – Third Sunday of Advent – Sunday, December 11, 2022 | 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:
Intro bumper
Time StampTranscript
0:27The holy Gospel
0:29According to Saint Matthew the 11th
0:38about the Deeds of the Christ he sent
0:42word by his disciples and and said to
0:44him are you the one who is to come or
0:46shall we look for another and Jesus
0:48answered them go and tell John what you
0:50hear and you see the blind received
0:53their sight the lame walk the lepers are
0:55cleansed the deaf hear the dead are
0:59raised up and the poor have good news
1:00preached to them and blessed is the one
1:03who is not offended by me as they went
1:05away Jesus began to speak to the crowds
1:07concerning John what did you go out into
1:09the Wilderness to see a reed shaken by
1:12the wind but then did you go out to see
1:15a man dressed in soft clothing behold
1:17those who wear soft clothing are in
1:19King’s houses what then did you go out
1:21to see a prophet yes I tell you in more
1:24than a Prophet this is he of whom it is
1:27written behold I send my messenger
1:28before your face who will prepare your
1:30way before you truly I say to you among
1:33those born of women there has arisen no
1:34one greater than John the Baptist yet
1:37the one who is least in the Kingdom of
1:38Heaven is greater than he from the days
1:41of John the Baptist until now the
1:43Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence
1:44and the violence taken by force for all
1:47the prophets in the law prophesied until
1:49John and if you are willing to accept it
1:51he is Elijah who is to come he who has
1:54ears to hear Let Him hear this is the
1:57gospel of the Lord in the name of Jesus
2:01So In Our Gospel text we have John the
2:03Baptist and I know some people will
2:05preach this text as if John is having a
2:07crisis of Faith he’s near the end of his
2:10life he’s been arrested in fact let me
2:12give you the context in the the same
2:15gospel Gospel of Matthew just a few
2:17chapters over chapter 14 it says that
2:20Herod had seized John bound him and put
2:24him in prison for the sake of herodias
2:26his brother Philip’s wife because John
2:29had been saying to him it is not lawful
2:31for you to have her have you noticed
2:34this about pagans you can’t correct them
2:37when it comes to sins regarding sex you
2:40know the world that we live in
2:42um you’ll you’ll note that if you are a
2:44conservative an Elon Musk has now made
2:47all of this known did you know did you
2:49did you could you possibly believe that
2:52Twitter was suppressing those who were
2:55speaking conservative truth right I
2:58think of my friend Pastor Phil John
3:00Johnson who was canceled on Twitter
3:03canceled for basically pointing out that
3:07having transgendered crossing guards was
3:10a way of grooming kids for something
3:12they ought not to be doing the state
3:13shouldn’t be doing this and he vocalized
3:16biblical truth regarding this and
3:18Twitter canceled him well good news is
3:21is that Elon Musk is about to give him
3:23amnesty and bring him back but all of
3:26that being said you’ll note that John
3:27the Baptist was canceled for speaking
3:30the truth about a sexual sin and this
3:32particular particular case it’s a
3:34heterosexual sin yes it’s possible for
3:37you to sin heterosexually as well and in
3:39this particular case think of it this
3:41way herodias is a gold digger she likes
3:44power and wealth and things like that
3:46and the man she married Philip well he
3:49was only a tin Penny kind of low ranking
3:52official and so she formed the hots for
3:56his brother Herod left her husband and
4:00jumped in in bed with his brother and
4:03John the Baptist said
4:05right you’ll know John the Baptist in
4:08preparing the way of the Lord
4:10was also preparing the way of the Lord
4:12for Herod he wanted him to repent of his
4:15sins too and of course the world doesn’t
4:17like it when you tell them that their
4:19favorite sexual thing is not proper and
4:21that it’s sinful and wrong and so
4:23herodias bore John the Baptist a
4:26murderous Grudge Herod wanted to kill
4:28him too but he was a little bit too
4:31afraid of the people at that time so he
4:33had him put him in prison instead while
4:36he worked up the courage to put him to
4:38death you kind of get the idea talk
4:40about cancel culture right back then if
4:43you got canceled they didn’t block you
4:45on Facebook or Twitter they took your
4:46head off your shoulders right so all of
4:49this being said there’s John cooling his
4:52heels his work now of preparing the way
4:55of the Lord pretty much brought to an
4:57abrupt halt
4:58and so he’s got a little bit of business
5:01left to do because you’ll note the text
5:03Our Gospel text says that John the
5:05Baptist had disciples well what’s the
5:08point of having a disciple if you’re not
5:10going to be breathing in a few weeks
5:11right so it’s time to offload his
5:14disciples and so he sends them to Jesus
5:16to ask this question are you the one who
5:19is to come or shall we look for another
5:23and the answer that Jesus gives back is
5:27brilliant brilliant on so many levels
5:30it’s fantastic so let me let me start by
5:33giving this uh this metaphor if we would
5:35have you ever got have you guys ever
5:37played a game where like you you you’re
5:40on a computer and it says it plays like
5:42part of the lyrics or The Melody of a
5:44song and you have to like fill in the
5:47next the next stanza right right
5:50you know what I’m talking about so if I
5:52ever go down
5:57My Sharona right that’s that’s what
6:00you’re supposed to do okay if you were
6:02to do it so here’s what Jesus is doing
6:05and it’s absolutely fantastic he says
6:07this he says you go and tell John what
6:10you hear you tell John what you see the
6:13blind received their sight the lame walk
6:17the lepers are cleansed the deaf hear
6:21the dead are raised and the poor have
6:25good news preached to them
6:28sounds like a very familiar list you see
6:31John the Baptist would have known His
6:33prophets right he would have known
6:34Isaiah this is like invoking lyrics to a
6:37very popular song but then not kind of
6:39filling in the rest and the whole point
6:41here is is that if you know what he’s
6:43talking about
6:45Jesus is giving huge encouragement to
6:50John the Baptist because we know then
6:53from the cross references and one of
6:56them is our Old Testament text that
6:58Jesus was invoking the promises of the
7:01Messiah from the prophet Isaiah chapter
7:0335 chapter 61 and others and so chapter
7:0735 you’ll note here’s what it says the
7:10Wilderness the dry land shall be glad
7:12the desert shall rejoice and Blossom
7:14like the crocus oh man have you guys
7:17ever been in a desert I raised my kids
7:19partly in a desert it was really fun was
7:22like 115 degrees outside and totally dry
7:25as a bone and the kids would go there’s
7:27115 degrees outside and I’d say yeah but
7:30it’s a dry heat
7:32like that made it any better don’t worry
7:35our air conditioning and our Smurf
7:37mobile went out one year it was terrible
7:39and the kids would always have it was so
7:42hot and so arid that you know when the
7:45my wife would take the kids shopping
7:46okay and we called it the Smurf mobile
7:49it was like a Dodge Caravan with kind of
7:52like a Smurf green thing and anytime I
7:54had to drive it it was always challenge
7:56my masculinity I hated that thing okay
7:59but I kid you not I let my
8:01brother-in-law borrow it one time to to
8:04to go to the airport and when he came
8:06back the air conditioning was broken it
8:08was and it was going to be like 1500
8:10bucks to replace the air conditioner we
8:12didn’t have 1500 bucks so what do we do
8:15we just opened up the windows in this
8:17minivan but here’s the issue in that
8:20minivan the back windows were these
8:22things that just kind of went out like
8:23this you know what I’m talking about and
8:25so there’s my kids with their like their
8:27hair stuck to their head because they’re
8:28sweating profusely and Joshua would
8:31stick his face up against the window
8:34it’s burning up in here Dad okay I can’t
8:37help it we can’t afford that an air
8:39conditioner I’m surprised that CPS
8:41didn’t come and take our children away
8:42anyway so this idea this is hot air
8:46desert stuff this is all going away have
8:49you looked at the planet like seen a
8:51picture of like satellite pictures of
8:53the globe have you seen the Sahara
8:55Desert the thing like consumes like most
8:57of the top part of Africa that’s going
9:00away when Jesus returns in glory to
9:03judge the living and the dead oh the
9:06Wilderness will be glad the desert shall
9:08rejoice and it will Blossom like the
9:10crocus it shall Blossom abundantly and
9:13rejoice with joy and singing The Glory
9:16of Lebanon shall be given to it the
9:18Majesty of Carmel and Sharon they shall
9:21see the glory of the Lord the Majesty of
9:23our God
9:25and then it says this strengthen the
9:27weak hands make firm the feeble knees
9:30say to those who have an anxious heart
9:32be strong
9:34fear not
9:35and here’s kind of like the next way to
9:37kind of fill in what’s going on with
9:39this text these texts in Isaiah what
9:42does the scripture say that faith and
9:45salvation are a gift from God this is
9:49what it says in Ephesians for by Grace
9:51you have been saved through faith this
9:53is not your own doing it’s the gift of
9:55God so that no man May boast right we
9:58are God’s workmanship created in Christ
10:00Jesus for good works that being the case
10:04salvation is a gift now I know a thing
10:06or two about gifts now things have
10:09changed since I’ve become an adult but I
10:11remember when I was a kid Christmas was
10:13like the day of the year that I look
10:18forward to the most right and I remember
10:21the Christmas season would kick off
10:23every Thanksgiving evening now I’m going
10:26to age myself and some of you guys won’t
10:28even know the reference but in Southern
10:30California when I was growing up on KTLA
10:33Channel 5 in the evening of thank giving
10:36they played Santa and the Three Bears
10:39and that was the official kickoff of the
10:42Christmas season and from that moment
10:45until Christmas day it felt like it took
10:48a decade to get there you know what I’m
10:51saying like everything that you were
10:53thinking about was all about Christmas
10:54and back then we didn’t have the
10:56internet so my parents wanted to know
10:58what what kind of gifts would I would I
11:00would like for Christmas and you know
11:02what I would do I’d pull out the
11:04JCPenney catalog do you guys remember
11:07these things right that thing was as
11:09thick as a phone book right and and I
11:13must say this I recently came across
11:15somebody who was sharing photos from the
11:18JCPenney catalogs when I was a kid and
11:21if you’ve ever seen the men’s fashion
11:24from that time listen just it’s not it’s
11:27it’s not canon that fashion you can just
11:29skip over I don’t know what happened
11:31during that era but you can just forget
11:33it okay it was really weird okay bell
11:36bottom pants weird colors ties about as
11:39wide as a clock strange stuff okay and
11:42then did you see what like did you see
11:44like the printed pants that guys would
11:46wear anyway aside from that we I’d flip
11:49through this catalog and I’d find oh I’d
11:51like a new Monopoly game or I’d like
11:53this or that that thing or maybe
11:54Stratego right and so you put this thing
11:57on the list and then you wait
12:00and you wait
12:03and you have to go to school
12:06and you wait and you get homework and
12:09you wait and the only thing you’re
12:12thinking about is the Christmas tree and
12:14the Christmas presents under the tree
12:15and it’s taking forever
12:18now as an adult things have changed okay
12:21people say something like this did you
12:23know that there’s only 60 shopping days
12:25until Christmas bite your tongue just
12:28don’t even mention that how dare you
12:30that’s like mentioning snow here in
12:33Minnesota in the month of October don’t
12:35you dare say that word it’s a
12:37four-letter word right and so as an
12:40adult things are really different
12:42but I’ve noticed this about myself
12:45is that same
12:47anticipation that same oh I can’t wait
12:52kind of feeling that I had about
12:54Christmas I don’t have it about
12:56Christmas anymore you know what I have
12:58it about the new Earth
13:00Christ’s return seeing my God face to
13:05you know if you if you were kind of
13:07think about it in those terms
13:08everything’s kind of shifted but as I
13:10get older and older and the difficulties
13:13of these life don’t seem to get any
13:15easier the older you get the more
13:16complicated it gets as your get older
13:19your health becomes more complicated you
13:21got pills and doctor visits and and you
13:23have pains and things like this and and
13:25people’s lives just fall apart in front
13:28of you and then you’ve yeah because
13:30you’re a Christian you got people
13:31persecuting you and challenging you and
13:33saying that’s not right and they they
13:35want to take your head off and so the
13:37sufferings of this world and the
13:39Darkness of this world and have you
13:41noticed it’s just getting darker out
13:44all of this is making me have those same
13:47Christmas feelings about what is coming
13:50and what is promised and so my parents I
13:54remember when I was a kid they had a
13:56particular practice to at least release
13:58some of this intense desire that I had
14:03for Christmas and that was on Christmas
14:05Eve I was allowed to open
14:07one present one present on Christmas Eve
14:12and oh that helped it really it really
14:14helped but if you were to think of it
14:16this way
14:17what we see in our Old Testament text
14:21and other texts like it where God gives
14:25us a glimpse of the world that is to
14:27come when Jesus returns in glory to
14:29judge the living and the dead and here’s
14:32where we recognize last week we heard
14:34John the Baptist tell us we need to
14:35repent and we do and repentance is the
14:38daily life of a Christian daily
14:41confessing our sins daily trusting that
14:44Jesus has bled and died for all of them
14:47and he is the one because of his death
14:50on the cross dying in our place makes it
14:53now so that we can receive salvation
14:55totally as a gift he’s the one who’s
14:58paid for it but I see these texts these
15:01passages well if salvation is a gift
15:04it’s almost as if God is saying all
15:06right salvation is a gift let me give
15:08you a little bit of a glimpse of it are
15:10you ready take a look oh okay that’s
15:14right it’s that kind of thing so when we
15:18see this text where it says strengthen
15:21the weak hands make firm the feeble
15:23knees say to those who have an anxious
15:25heart be strong fear not
15:29pay attention to what is coming I know
15:32this life is hard
15:34I know it’s hard for all of us
15:37but know then what is coming is so far
15:42beyond our ability to comprehend it but
15:45God knows that we need just these little
15:48glimpses of it and so he says say to
15:51those who have an anxious heart be
15:53strong behold your God he will come with
15:56vengeance and with the recompense of God
15:58he will come to save you then the eyes
16:01of the blind shall be opened the ears of
16:05the death unstopped the then shall the
16:09lame man leap like a deer in the tongue
16:12of the mute will sing for joy
16:14I think of my friend Justin Peters very
16:17well known
16:19this is a fellow who has who has been a
16:23handicapped his entire life
16:25he’s never been able to walk normally I
16:29when Jesus returns and he’s raised from
16:33the dead like the rest of us all he will
16:36finally be able to walk upright
16:40Johnny Erickson Tada will no longer be
16:42in a wheelchair
16:45I won’t be overweight I can’t wait right
16:49it’s gonna be amazing Rachel will be
16:53able to eat cheese instead of kale
16:57the facet it’s all going to be
17:00spectacular those who are blind will see
17:04those who are deaf will hear those who
17:07are lame will leap like the deer and
17:10here’s the thing you’ll note this that
17:12because the wages of sin is death that
17:15when you die your body is blind it is
17:18death it is lame
17:21it is all of these things and it falls
17:24apart like a leper right that’s what
17:26decomposing is and so we recognize that
17:30each and every one of us rightly
17:31deserved the wages of sin but God is not
17:34satisfied to give us those wages instead
17:37Christ has paid the penalty for us
17:39perfectly and Way Beyond what was even
17:43necessary so that we can be raised from
17:46the dead gloriously in a new world A
17:49World Without End where there is no
17:53disease There Is No Death there is
17:57nothing like what we have here no
18:00suffering no pills no doctors no bad
18:03diagnoses just a World Without End
18:06perfectly seeing Our God the waters
18:10Break Forth in the wilderness streams in
18:12the desert the burning sand shall become
18:14a pool the Thirsty ground Springs of
18:17water The Haunt of jackals where they
18:19lie down the grass shall become leads
18:22and rushes and a highway will be there
18:24and it will be called the way of
18:26Holiness the unclean shall not pass over
18:29it it shall belong to those who walk on
18:31the way even if they are fools they
18:33shall not go astray no lion will be
18:36there nor will there be any ravenous
18:38beasts that come upon it they shall not
18:41be found there but the redeemed shall
18:43walk there and the ransomed of Yahweh
18:46shall return and come to Zion with
18:49singing Everlasting Joy shall be upon
18:51their heads they shall obtain gladness
18:53and joy and sorrow and sighing itself
18:56will flee away
18:59when you consider Jesus’s answer to John
19:02what an amazing answer it was
19:06by invoking the prophet Isaiah and all
19:09of the details surrounding
19:12the portion where Isaiah talks about
19:15blind eyes being opened lepers being
19:19cleansed the lame walking all of that
19:23Jesus was saying to John fear not John
19:26I’m making all things new I know that
19:29you are in a dark prison and you will
19:30not get out of it alive do not fear
19:33because what is coming is almost here
19:36for you
19:39what words of encouragement
19:41Christ gave to John
19:44in a very difficult time in his life
19:46facing his own death needing to pass off
19:49his disciples to Jesus he finished his
19:51course and he finished them well and
19:53Jesus had high praise for John in fact
19:55the highest that any sinful human being
19:59can receive what did you go out into the
20:01Wilderness to see Jesus asked a reed
20:04shaken by the wind now what did you then
20:08go out to see a man dressed in soft
20:10clothing no behold those who wear soft
20:12clothing are in King’s houses where did
20:14you go out to see a prophet yeah
20:16and I tell you more than a Prophet this
20:19is he of whom it is written behold I
20:20send my messenger before your face who
20:23will prepare your way
20:25and of those born among women there has
20:28arisen no one greater than John the
20:30Baptist and I would like to say since
20:32then as well none of us even compare to
20:37he was the one who prepared the way of
20:39the Lord called the world to repent he
20:42called us to repent last week when we
20:44heard his preaching and yet Jesus says
20:47the one who is least in the Kingdom of
20:50is greater than he pointing to the world
20:53to come
20:55even the least in the Kingdom of Heaven
20:57because they are sinless and spotless
20:59because they are purely righteous and
21:03they have finished their course the
21:05least in the Kingdom of Heaven is even
21:07greater than the greatest Among Us the
21:09days of John the Baptist until now the
21:11Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence
21:13and the violence have taken it by force
21:15it’s kind of an obscure
21:17sentence right the Kingdom of Heaven has
21:20suffered violence and the violent take
21:21it by force and I’ve noticed with that
21:24particular sentence if you read five
21:26commentaries you’ll get five different
21:27views of what that means it’s a tough
21:30sentence to crack but I like the way the
21:33church fathers handled it especially
21:34Ambrose of Milan Ambrose and Milan noted
21:37that this is probably best to be
21:40understood in this way that just like
21:44the Gentiles conquered the Kingdom of
21:46Israel the Gentiles came in and seized
21:49Israel took control of it now the
21:52Gentiles have taken control of the
21:54kingdom of God itself not by arms or
21:57military might but they’ve come in and
21:59taken the kingdom of God by force by
22:03believing the good news of the
22:05Forgiveness of sins offered in the
22:08gospel you’ll note that I don’t see many
22:11Jews here today right we’re all Gentiles
22:14and how sad it is that so many people
22:17who are the direct descendants of
22:19Abraham continue to reject Jesus their
22:22true Messiah
22:23but we Gentiles we’ve taken the Kingdom
22:26of Heaven by storm we’ve taken it by
22:29force how by believing the good news
22:32Christ has offered the gift of Salvation
22:35to all of us and we have responded in
22:38faith and said yes I believe Lord
22:41forgive me of my sins and he does
22:45and along with that he gives us the
22:47great and Beyond Comprehension gift of
22:51Salvation and eternal life offered
22:54totally free to every one of us because
22:56Christ has paid for it in full with his
22:59own blood on the cross
23:02so indeed we take it all we take the
23:04kingdom of God by force forcing our way
23:07in and saying yes Lord forgive me even
23:11and so it’s here where we consider Jesus
23:13as other words
23:15blessed then is the one who’s not
23:17offended by me
23:18and I would note that so many people are
23:21truly offended by the real Jesus that we
23:24must make note of that and that we must
23:27guard against being offended by who
23:29Jesus really is and what he does
23:31Jesus has not come to save us from a
23:35time out
23:37I would know one of my friends in the in
23:39in the in Ireland I recently heard him
23:42preach a sermon and he he had this
23:45phrase that I thought was hilarious
23:46because I love hearing how the Brits and
23:49how people in Europe kind of have
23:50different phrases than we do so
23:52apparently if you’re a school kid and
23:54you misbehave right they put you on
23:56What’s called the naughty bench what a
23:59name oh you don’t want to go to the
24:01:00naughty bench now do you right I could
24:03:00hear him saying this to the naughty
24:04:00bench right and he and he noted in his
24:07:00sermon so I have to give him credit is
24:09:00that um is he said that Jesus didn’t
24:12:00come to save us from the naughty bench
24:15:00he say he came to save legitimately
24:18:00ungodly Unholy defiled people like you
24:23:00and I he came to save us not from the
24:26:00naughty bench but came to save us from
24:27:00the wrath of God itself
24:31:00and what a great gift we have then in
24:34:00Jesus and here’s the thing we human
24:37:00beings are always sizing ourselves up
24:39:00against each other right and doing it
24:42:00morally when we have no business doing
24:43:00that well I’m not that bad I’m not as
24:46:00bad as that person over there at least I
24:48:00didn’t do that I I have enough
24:51:00compunction to know that even that’s bad
24:53:00I have common sense and so is this the
24:58:00self-righteousness knock it off because
25:02:00people like that when they hear that
25:04:00Jesus has forgiven legitimate ungodly
25:07:00Sinners including including Nazi war
25:12:00no way there’s no way Christ could
25:15:00forgive a Nazi war criminal well if he I
25:18:00can’t forgive a Nazi war criminal I’m
25:19:00pretty sure he can’t forgive you
25:23:00but that’s the thing
25:26:00the fact that we are all sinners and
25:28:00that we cannot save ourselves is
25:32:00the fact that we need a savior is
25:34:00offensive to some
25:36:00do not let that offense
25:39:00sink in with you don’t sit there and go
25:42:00I can’t believe that that person’s going
25:44:00to church and that they think that
25:46:00they’re a Christian
25:47:00because as soon as you start thinking
25:49:00like that then Christ himself has become
25:51:00the offense are you offended that Jesus
25:54:00forgives real sinners
25:57:00if you are then you don’t even yet
26:00:00recognize that you are the same
26:04:00James says it this way those who break
26:07:00one of The Commandments are guilty of
26:09:00breaking them all
26:11:00not a single commandment can you point
26:14:00to and said yep I’ve kept that one
26:16:00not one because I can point to the one
26:19:00that we’ve all broken we are all
26:21:00idolaters we have all had other gods we
26:24:00have all believed falsely regarding the
26:27:00true God and as a result of our idolatry
26:29:00that one sin makes us guilty of breaking
26:32:00the rest it’s like dominoes that go down
26:35:00the line
26:36:00so Christ has come
26:38:00to forgive real sinners and if you don’t
26:42:00think you’re that then Jesus is an
26:44:00offense to you
26:45:00so blessed then is the one who is not
26:48:00offended by Me Jesus says and we Rejoice
26:51:00at this I’m not offended by Jesus I am
26:53:00so thankful that God has had mercy on me
26:56:00and rather than give me what I deserve
26:58:00he has given me the gift of Salvation
27:02:00and the promises and just the little
27:04:00Glimpse that he’s given us of what’s to
27:06:00come it blows my mind and it gives me
27:11:00so this goddate Sunday this Rejoice
27:15:00Sunday let us rejoice in the great gift
27:19:00that we have in in Salvation in Jesus
27:22:00Christ and let us take comfort and let
27:25:00our weakened knees be strengthened by
27:28:00the glimpse of Heaven that is given to
27:31:00us by the prophet Isaiah and invoked by
27:33:00Jesus In Our Gospel text in the name of
27:36:00Jesus Amen
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