Sermon Transcript – A Sign Opposed

Series B – First Sunday after Christmas – Sunday, December 27, 2020 | 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
0:23The holy gospel according to saint luke
0:30the second chapter [Music]
0:39when the time came for their purification according to the law of moses mary and joseph brought Jesus up to
0:46jerusalem to present him to the lord as it is written in the law of the lord every male who first opens the womb
0:53shall be called holy to the lord and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the lord
0:59a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons now there was a man in jerusalem whose
1:04name was simeon and this man was righteous and devout waiting for the consolation of israel
1:10and the holy spirit was upon him and it had been revealed to him by the holy spirit that he would not see death before he
1:16had seen the lord’s Christ and he came in the spirit into the temple and when the parents brought in
1:21the child Jesus to do for him according to the custom of the law he took him up in his arms and he
1:27blessed god and said lord now you are letting your servant depart in peace according to your word
1:33for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples a light for revelation to the gentiles
1:40and for the glory of your people israel and his father and mother marveled at what was said about him
1:46and simeon blessed them and said to mary his mother behold this child is appointed for the fall and the rising of
1:51many in israel and for a sign that is opposed and a sword will pierce through your own soul
1:57also so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed and there was a prophetess anna the
2:03daughter of fanuelle of the tribe of asher she was advanced in years having lived with her husband seven
2:08years from when she was a virgin and then as a widow until she was 84. she did not depart from the temple
2:14worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day and coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to god and to speak
2:20of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of israel and when they had performed everything according to the law of the lord they
2:26returned into galilee to their own town of nazareth and the child grew and became
2:32strong filled with wisdom and the favor of god was upon him this is the gospel of the lord in the
2:38name of Jesus so Christ is born we’ve heard the angel
2:44proclaim the great news that unto you is born a savior but in today’s gospel text
2:51there is how do they put it in one of the disney theme parks there is an error of foreboding ah yeah you’ll
2:58you’ll note that that’s part of what’s going on here and so to understand theologically the
3:04what it is exactly that is going on in our gospel text we look at our epistle text this is a
3:10kind of a good rule of thumb and that is is that oftentimes the narrative
3:15doesn’t give us the theology sometimes it hints at it so when we have a historical narrative
3:22text oftentimes we need to rely on clear passages oftentimes found in the epistles that will lay out the
3:28theology of what’s going on so here again our epistle text when the fullness of time had come
3:34god sent forth his son born of woman born under the law to redeem those who were
3:39under the law and so when we talk about obedience to god’s law we make a careful distinction we
3:46recognize that Christ not had not only had to obey god’s law actively
3:51and he did there are parts of god’s law that you can only obey passively and you’ll note that he
3:59did his parents did it for him that’s kind of the interesting thing if mary and joseph had not been people of faith uh
4:07well then Christ would not have been able to fulfill the passive requirements of god’s law you’ll note at this point
4:14in our narrative we’ve fast forward a little bit and Jesus is five and a half weeks old
4:21now have you ever noticed that young parents you know when they have an infant for the first time they do this really obnoxious thing and
4:27i did it too my wife did it we’re over it but they always refer to the age of their children in weeks
4:33okay i’d like to see you figure out how many weeks old your 12 year old is you know how old’s your baby oh he’s 16 weeks old
4:41you’re sitting there going and i don’t do math so it’s like ugh just tell me how many you know give me something a little bit that i can
4:46understand but you’ll note that at five and a half weeks old infants can only do
4:51several important activities they can eat they can fill diapers and they can sleep
4:58there’s crying involved too but i just sometimes wonder if it’s right to think about Jesus as crying a lot as an infant
5:04i just don’t see him colicky you get what i’m saying so well for Jesus we’ll say that he eats he fills diapers
5:11and he sleeps rinse wash repeat so there’s not much that he’s able to do
5:17except for those things so that being the case the requirements of the law require that he be presented in the
5:22temple and you’ll note that in our narrative that the offering that was given by mary and
5:28joseph was the poverty offering that is uh allowed by the mosaic covenant and
5:33that’s an important bit because we recognize through this that while mary and joseph are far from rich
5:39they are not people of means at all in fact they can’t even afford a lamb
5:44but when Christ is presented in the temple we noted on Christmas eve that it was as if the angels could not
5:51be quiet you know the son of god has been born in bethlehem and we are steeped in sin and darkness and so it’s
5:58like the angels couldn’t keep quiet so they had to just let the information out of the bag and praise
6:06god in the process and now on the presentation of our lord we see that well the holy spirit can’t keep quiet
6:12now so he sends two prophets in these are two of the last prophets of the old
6:18testament you’ll note that there’s a 400-year silence in scripture there were no prophets in
6:24israel from the close of the prophet malachi all the way up to simeon and anna
6:33kind of an interesting thing the holy spirit is silent and now that Christ the son of god the promised one
6:39the one prophesied in the prophets is appeared now two of the last prophets of the old
6:45testament the final final one being john the baptist he’s the last of the old testament prophets and the first of the
6:50evangelists it kind of has kind of one foot in each each of the old testament old testament
6:55and new testament but all that being said it’s the prophet simeon we’re going to focus a little bit more on today than
7:01anna and you’ll note that simeon he gives an amazing thing a prophecy regarding Christ an
7:08amazing blessing and then there’s this dark era foreboding
7:13word that he gives as well and i would note that we’re all familiar with the fact especially if you’ve had children
7:20that when you take an infant out in public like you know it’s time to do some grocery shopping and things like
7:25this there are a lot of people who are complete strangers who want to see the baby all right this this is a normal
7:32thing this is a normal thing and so many people they come out of the woodwork and they will say things oh
7:38what a cute little baby how old is the baby oh what a precious little thing and i
7:44gotta admit that at that time i was a little bit nervous but not for the reason that she would think i was
7:50never really worried that somebody was gonna you know take my infant child and run away i wasn’t worried about that in fact i
7:57was it was a little bit more practical think of it this way the transition from being
8:02a young single male to being a married man big transition
8:10less than a year later first child shows up that is a huger transition because
8:16babies require a lot of work and here’s the thing your life goes from being single being
8:24able to do whatever you want to now have to considering the needs and desires of your wife to now you have well a child that can’t
8:32keep things down your life is filled 24 7 with bodily fluids
8:37and oftentimes they don’t smell very well okay there’s spewy rags there’s diapers
8:44you get what i’m saying and so i was always worried that when some stranger would come up
8:49and say oh let me see the baby my fear was that my infant child would spew all over them and i would have
8:56the in glorious task of helping to clean up a perfect stranger because my child has left lunch on their
9:03clothes and so whenever we had an encounter with a stranger i was always thrilled when they got away without being harmed
9:10in any way thinking dodged a bullet there okay so you get the idea so this is this is the age that
9:17Christ is but i’ll say this i’ve never heard anybody say anything even remotely
9:23approaching what we hear simeon say of Jesus so we’ll pick up in chapter
9:29chapter 2 verse 25 here’s what it says there was a man in jerusalem whose name was simeon this man was
9:36righteous and he was devout now real quick to be declared righteous by god that only happens by faith
9:43so we recognize that his devotion in his piety is due to the fact that he is a man of
9:49faith whose sins are forgiven he is one who has the same faith as abraham and his life then shows also in his
9:57pious devotion that’s the idea the two go together where you have pious devotion without
10:03faith that is works righteousness and self-righteousness and that is not the kind of righteousness that god recognizes or
10:10requires so we’ll note that by scripture saying that he was righteous and devout we can see his faith by his works so he
10:18was waiting for the consolation of israel and we’ll note that we have something in common
10:23with simeon we are not presently waiting for the consolation of israel that was accomplished by Christ on the cross
10:30instead we are waiting for the consummation of israel the second advent of Christ in his
10:36glorious appearing and for Christ who once and for all put an end to sin death the devil and the rain
10:44and tyranny of the dragon you get the idea here so the holy spirit was upon him the text
10:51says and he had it had been revealed to him by the holy spirit that he would not see death before he
10:57had seen the lord’s Christ so he came in the spirit into the temple and when the parents brought in the
11:03child to do for him according to the custom of the law again note they are doing these things required Christ is passively obeying the
11:10law here he took him up in his arms and he blessed god and he said now lord you are letting your servant
11:18depart in peace according to your word for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have
11:23prepared in the presence of all people a light for revelation to the gentiles and for the glory of your people israel
11:29amazing words if you consider it here he is saying that his own eyes have seen his salvation
11:35that this child is a light he is the light of darkness and that this light will shine even for revelation
11:42to the gentiles who are steeped in idolatry and in the darkness of sin and that he
11:47himself this infant that looks just like every other five and a half week old infant
11:53is the actual glory of the people of israel nobody has ever said that of any of my
12:00infants in in fact strangers usually say things like oh look at how
12:05what strong hands he has he might grow up to be a boxer there’s no boxers in my family i don’t know what you’re talking about oh look
12:12at look at those strong legs that he has i bet he’s going to play football we don’t let our kids play football we want them to not get a neck injury
12:18we’re prone to accidents you know they say things like this but this is something totally different over the
12:24top if you would one that we might want to consider the very sign here that is for us and
12:31you know these words are so vital they get wrapped up into our liturgy into the words of the noctimidis that
12:38Jesus Christ even though he is an infant he is our very salvation and although we
12:44have not seen him with our eyes we have seen him with the eyes of our faith
12:50which are which some lutheran theologians like to say are firmly plugged into our ears your faith comes by hearing hearing by
12:56the word of Christ in other words seeing is not believing hearing is believing and so here the holy spirit has proclaimed who
13:02Christ is but remember scripture says in order for something to be established it has to be established by the testimony of two or more
13:10witnesses that’s where anna will come in just a little bit later so he is our salvation
13:15he is the light in the darkness even for the revelation of god to the gentiles and the very glory of the people of
13:21israel and now the prophecy takes a little bit of a darker turn and so his father and his mother they
13:28marveled at what was said about Jesus and then simeon blessed them and he said to mary his mother
13:35behold this child is appointed for the fall and the rising of many in israel
13:42and for a sign that is opposed
13:48well so much for glory to god in the highest and peace on earth good will towards men
13:53a sign that is to be opposed and we’re going to note here we’ll do a little bit of work on this that here the prophet simeon
14:02the holy spirit is having him highlight some of the more well stern warnings
14:09given regarding this child that are found in scripture for instance in the prophet
14:15isaiah we are all familiar with those two prophecies one in isaiah 7 and 1 and isaiah 9.
14:21one talking about the fact that the messiah would be born of the virgin the other that he would be well that
14:27unto us a child was born it would be born in government would be upon his shoulders but in chapter 8 isaiah gives us
14:36a prophecy that’s between those two very famous Christmas prophecies one that i think is being invoked here
14:42in this prophecy of simeon and here’s what it says isaiah chapter 8 verse 14
14:48he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to
14:54both houses of israel a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of jerusalem
15:00and many shall stumble on it and they shall fall and be broken and they shall be snared
15:06and taken what does that
15:13mean we’ve all heard the phrase that Christ is the cornerstone that was rejected and that he
15:21is the one on which men would stumble and here’s where we have to pay careful attention to what other passages
15:28of scripture reveal regarding the fact that well that Christ is a sign that is a sign of
15:36offense and that will cause people to stumble because what is lurking behind this what is
15:43lurking behind this warning is kind of twofold if you would one is that you
15:49are going to be offended by the fact that god has sent us salvation
15:54starting off in a tiny little baby who needs one of those they’re totally
16:00dependent and what we really need is a hero but then you’ll note that Christ’s life
16:06is not exemplified by comparing him to a warrior he is not
16:11a man who wields a sword well he does not know the best karate on planet earth he is
16:19not like the heroes that we exemplify and we glorify he is the farthest thing
16:24from a marvel comic hero instead Christ wins
16:32and defeats evil by losing by dying by suffering in our place
16:40it doesn’t seem practical at all and everybody when they’re in the middle
16:46of an awful circumstance oftentimes come up with solutions that
16:51they think will get them out of the problem that they are in well have you ever noticed that all of
16:57the solutions presented to solve the problem of the world you know because
17:02what’s happening in the world well we’ve got poverty we have sickness we have
17:09inequality among the economic classes i’m speaking like a communist at the
17:14moment um and also you’ll you’ll note then that you have people of different races and
17:20colors who are not able to have access to the world’s resources like other people in the western nations
17:26and so there is discontent there is disharmony there is hatred there is discord and
17:32what is the solution oftentimes presented well the socialists and the communists would say what we need to do
17:38is blow apart all of these clash distinctions and equally distribute the world’s resources so that everybody
17:46can share equally how’s that work out it never works out well it’s a bad
17:52solution and not only is that a bad solution because basically it’s a breaking of the commandment thou shalt not steal under
17:58the guise of governmental control it never works out that way because the
18:03solution is not inequality the the problem is not inequality the problem is
18:09sin these are all the different consequences of sin and so over and again when we see
18:14people try to tinker and come up with their own solutions oftentimes along with those solutions will come really
18:20horrific costs well in order to build this new society where everybody will live peacefully
18:28prosperously we’ve got to get rid of this one and anybody who’s holding on to this one we’re just going to have to round them
18:34up and shoot them or gas them it never works out well
18:40right these are horrible solutions and so what happens is when you think you can
18:46solve these problems the solution you come up with you’re going to defend that solution
18:52jealously idolatrously and as a result of that when god
19:00presents his solution which is that his son would
19:07leave the throne of god humble himself and be found in the form
19:14of a slave a servant an infant a child and that this is god’s solution
19:20you’re going to basically say this is nuts and you’re going to reject it
19:27but in so rejecting you’ve proven a couple of things number one and you’ll see this in scripture the text that i bring up next
19:35in rejecting this solution you have proven that you are not a person of faith you despise the word of god
19:42and number two you desire evil that despite all of your claims to
19:49caring only about having a better world for everybody what you’re really trying to do is make
19:54a better world for yourself that’s really what it boils down to
20:00here’s our cross-references for this by the way in the book of first corinthians chapter
20:0510 we read and this is one of those passages that helps us recognize
20:11how the old testament that these are prototypes types and shadows that we are to pay attention to that
20:17point us to Christ in first corinthians chapter 10 it says i don’t want you to be unaware brothers
20:22that our fathers were all under the cloud all passed through the sea all were baptized into moses in the cloud and the
20:29sea all ate the same spiritual food all drank the same spiritual drink
20:34for they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them and the rock was Christ
20:41so here we see that well the crossing of the red sea that’s baptism that took place and oh by
20:47the way that really happened it’s not some legend and that the that the spiritual food that they ate you
20:54know the manna what is it from heaven that’s a type and shadow of the lord’s
21:00supper and that baptism here is also kind of referenced in the water that
21:06came from the split rock at horeb and it says in the text that the rock was Christ and you sit there and go how is
21:13that even possible how can Jesus be a rock well that’s what the text
21:19says and so you’ll note that there’s a warning then associated with this concept of Christ being the rock because
21:25whenever Christ is mentioned as a rock there’s always the offense then of the cross lurking just behind the illusion
21:32nevertheless with most of them it says god was not pleased and they were overthrown in the wilderness
21:37and now these things took place as examples for us that we might not desire evil as
21:44they did do not be idolaters of s as some of them were as it is written
21:50the people sat down to eat and to drink and rose up and play we must not indulge in sexual immorality
21:56as some of them did and 23 000 fell in a single day we must not put Christ to the test as
22:03some of them did and were destroyed by serpents or grumble as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer
22:10you’re kind of getting the picture here so one of the ways in which well Christ is a rock of offense is due to the fact
22:16that we desire evil and you sit there and go but wait a second pastor didn’t we just confess our sins
22:22at the beginning of the service yes we did and so we recognize then that when it
22:28comes to recognizing the desire for evil it is best for us to not focus on the folks
22:33out there it’s best for us to focus on all the different ways in which each of us still to this day
22:39desire evil because we have a sinful nature and that sinful nature really is not
22:45keen on Christ keen on god’s solution and really
22:50is going to help you stumble over Christ if you keep listening to it rather than
22:57to god and his word and this is a warning here for us
23:02and so we recognize then that we have this proclivity to water down to justify
23:10to make light of our own sinful desires but you’ll note that here our
23:17own sinful desires are brought up in very large detail here and the warning here is that Christ
23:24is the stumbling block for those who pursue and desire evil
23:29but have no faith and do not recognize that those desires in and of themselves are sinful that
23:35need to be forgiven the other text then in this regard is found in first peter chapter 2.
23:41and here in this section of scripture peter writes to us under the inspiration of the holy spirit
23:47he says put away all malice all deceit hypocrisy envy and all slander
23:54and like newborn infants long for the pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up into
24:00salvation if indeed you have tasted that the lord is good as you come to him a living stone
24:07rejected by men but in the sight of god chosen and precious and so here now Christ the ob the sign
24:15to be opposed is mentioned again the stone that was rejected by men
24:21you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer
24:28sacrifices that are acceptable to god through Jesus Christ for it stands in
24:33scripture behold i am laying in zion a stone a cornerstone chosen and
24:40precious and here are the words that comfort us whoever believes in him will not be put
24:45to shame that’s you me anybody so the honor is for you who believe
24:53but for those who do not believe the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone
24:59and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense and so here we see
25:06what is it that causes people to stumble is well the text says they stumble because they disobey the word as they
25:12were destined to do and we would pay close attention then that there are many deceivers who have
25:17gone out into the world that would lead us to believe that god winks at or doesn’t care about sin
25:23anymore that all of the commandments found in the scriptures regarding idolatry regarding sexual piccadillos at
25:31least that’s how they describe them in order to dilute them that all of these people claim that we’re in a new era and that god is just
25:37love love love love love love love well god truly is love
25:44but you’ll note that this Jesus Christ he took our sins upon himself in order to redeem us and to reconcile
25:52us to god to god so that we can be forgiven to deny that sin is sin
25:59to somehow pursue sin and disobey the word all under the pretense of being a
26:04Christian well you have stumbled over the stumbling stone
26:10because the stumbling stone says to you to renounce your sin to repent of it and to be forgiven of it
26:16this is why everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame but people who disobey the word who
26:22pursue evil and try to justify it they take the word of god cast it behind them as if it
26:28doesn’t matter today and go on and just give lip service to Christ
26:33but by doing so they have committed idolatry and they have pursued evil and they
26:39themselves have rejected the cornerstone
26:45well that sounds very narrow indeed it
26:50is prophecy then continues
26:56behold this child is appointed for the fall in the rising of many in israel a sign that is opposed and then he says
27:03to mary and a sword will pierce you through through your own soul also so that the
27:08thoughts from many hearts may be revealed i think this is a direct reference to
27:13the fact that mary herself the holy spirit warned her in advance that she would be at the foot of cro
27:20at the cross while her son was bleeding and dying for her sins for my sins and for your sins and i
27:26think one of the most breathtakingly awful and beautiful pieces of artwork in western civilization
27:32is called the pieta it is a depiction in marble of mary
27:40holding the corpse of Christ at the foot of the cross and every time i see that piece of
27:45artwork i i struggle and i can hear again that hymn that we sang on Christmas eve nails
27:52spears will pierce them through the cross he bore for me for you hail hail the word made flesh
27:59the babe the son of mary can’t help but hear it and so here this is the warning for her
28:05because mary like you and i she’s a sinner she needs to be redeemed
28:12i know that rome says that she was sinless when she conceived Christ
28:18this is this is not what the scriptures teach she died just like the rest of us and
28:24that proves that she is a sinner and she needed to be bled for and died for and
28:30she was given the privilege of watching the awful affair of what it costs to have your
28:38sins placed on Christ and for him to be the victim rather than you
28:44and so a sword definitely did pierce her through she witnessed our salvation she
28:49witnessed this babe of hers grow into a man and then she witnessed as the religious leaders of
28:57israel refused to believe in him slanderously accused him of blasphemy
29:03and then crucified him on the cross she witnessed it all and yet
29:10that sword piercing her through i’m sure left her desire for sin
29:17to be well no longer quite the same and it should also do the same for us
29:25and so note then Christ has bled and died for us and this
29:30is what our epistle text was getting at talking about the passive obedience of Christ
29:36again when the fullness of time had come god sent forth his son born of the woman born of the virgin mary
29:41under the law in order to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive the adoption as sons
29:48each and every one of us under the dominion of darkness slaves to sin death and the devil Christ has come and redeemed us paid the purchase price
29:55to set us free from slavery to these things and god has not just set us free he has adopted us written in us written
30:02us into the will and because of this he has sent the holy spirit into our hearts in the waters of baptism
30:08and that holy spirit within us cries to god abba father in fact Christ taught us to
30:14pray our father who art in heaven and only those who have been forgiven
30:19and granted eternal life dare pray that god is their father all of this given as a gift and so paul
30:25then writes you are no longer a slave but you are a son and if you are a son then you are an heir through god
30:31but the text continues then in the gospel the prophetess anna is there this is a woman who is the of
30:37the daughter of phanuel an interesting note of the tribe of asher wait a second huh
30:43asher wasn’t that one of the ten tribes of israel that got scraped out of the northern kingdom and
30:49dispersed off into the world interesting that the tribe of
30:55asher is mentioned here because technically she shouldn’t be there
31:02she i think prophetically points to the fact that god is gathering up the lost sheep the
31:07dispersed sheep of israel and she’s kind of the first fruits of the 10 tribes that have been lost
31:13in order to proclaim the grace and the mercy the wonders of god she was advanced in years so she’s an
31:19octogenarian 84 years old from the time and she had only been married to her husband for seven years
31:25and she was a widow she did not depart from the temple worshiping and fasting with prayer day and night she was a regular at
31:32church everybody knew her she knew everybody and so she was the one who was very well
31:38connected and coming up at that very hour having seen Christ
31:45she began to give thanks to god and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the
31:50redemption of jerusalem and she knew who they were i’ve seen him
31:56i’ve seen him you’re waiting for the redemption of israel he’s here the messiah is here she’s out proclaiming the wonders of god and sitting there
32:01scratching their head going where where is he is he wearing armor what’s he wearing diapers he’s wearing diapers what
32:09[Laughter] right that’s the point this is established then by two witnesses
32:15and it’s origin the church father who notes the fact that because both a male prophet and the female
32:21prophet here proclaim Christ when he’s presented in the temple that that proves definitively
32:29that god has sent his son for both men and women all of us to redeem us all
32:35from sin and to save us and so the text then continues and concludes so when they had performed
32:40everything according to the law of the Lord Christ kept the law perfectly for us actively and passively they then
32:47returned to galilee to their own town of nazareth and the child grew became strong
32:53filled with wisdom and the favor of God was upon him and indeed it was because Christ never deviated from obeying the
33:00God the law he was tempted in every way that you and i have been tempted and yet is without sin and the favor of God remained upon him
33:07and thou that favor of God is granted to us by grace through faith because the
33:14savior that we were not looking for the solution that we could not even possibly imagine the right one was given to us by God in
33:22sending us a baby an infant who would grow bleed and die for us so that rather than
33:28receive the wrath of god by grace through faith because of God’s grace mercy and love
33:34we instead receive from God his favor as well all because the stumbling stone
33:42has been born he will be rejected but he has become the cornerstone so do
33:48not be offended that God has sent you an infant it’s the infant that you need in the
33:55name of Jesus amen
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Kongsvinger Lutheran Church
15950 470th Ave NW, Oslo, MN 56744

We thank you for your support. All of our teaching messages may be freely distributed as long as you do not edit or change the content of the message, and, again, thank you for listening.
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