Sermon Transcript – Blessed is the One Who Believes

Series C – Fourth Sunday of Advent – Sunday, December 20, 2015 | 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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Time StampTranscript
0:29the holy Gospel According to Saint Luke chapter 1 verses 39-56
0:34at that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the Hill Country of Judea where she entered zechariah’s home and
0:41greeted Elizabeth when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth
0:46was filled with the Holy Spirit and loud voice she exclaimed blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you
0:53will bear but why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me and as soon
0:59as the sound of your greeting reached my ears the baby in my womb leaped for Joy blessed is she who has believed what the
1:05Lord has said to her will be accomplished and Mary said my soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit
1:12rejoices in God my savior for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant and from now on all generations
1:19will call me bless for the mighty one has done great things for me holy is his name his Mercy
1:26extends to those who fear Him from generation to generation he has performed Mighty Deeds with his arm he
1:32has scattered those who are proud in their innermost thoughts he has brought down rulers from their Thrones but has
1:38lifted up the humble he has filled the Hungry with good things but has sent the
1:44rich away empty he has helped his servant Israel remembering to be merciful to Abraham
1:50and his descendants forever even as he has said to our fathers and then Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three
1:57months and then returned home in the name of Jesus
2:03it’s almost here more than a baby bump all right
2:09we’ve got full-blown Braxton Hicks contractions the baggage the luggage is packed
2:16they’re ready to roll this is we’re getting close here the baby’s about to be here good stuff
2:23so let’s take a look at our gospel text and we’ll work our way through it I’ll be preaching from my translation here’s
2:29what it says having Arisen during those days Mary proceeded to the Hill Country with haste to a city of Judah now we
2:36don’t know if the reason why she went off to go visit cousin Elizabeth is due to the fact that Elizabeth needed help I
2:44mean this is a woman who is old enough to be some of y’all’s grandma um and she’s pregnant
2:51doesn’t say why or it may be that the reason why she was heading off to the
2:56Hill Country of Judea is well because if you remember back in the day when girls would get pregnant they would go visit
3:02their cousins in Iowa all right and be gone for long extended
3:07period and then come back as if nothing had happened we don’t know what the reason is it doesn’t say just says she
3:13headed out with haste and this is after it’s been announced to her that she is going to be the one who is going to
3:18carry the Messiah so here’s what it says and so Mary entered the into the house of Zechariah
3:25greeted Elizabeth and it came about that when Elizabeth heard the greeting of
3:30Mary the baby leaped in her womb
3:35this is not a normal thing for babies to do not a normal thing at all
3:41now let me remind you of what the pro what the angel Gabriel said to Zechariah
3:46let’s get a little bit of context we’re going to pick up two pieces of context in our sermon today from the earlier part of Luke chapter one this context
3:54begins at Luke chapter 1 verses verse 8 and I’ll go to verse 17 and listen to
3:59how it was announced that zechariah’s wife Elizabeth was going to be giving birth once when zechariah’s division was
4:06on duty he was serving as priest before God he was chosen by lot according to the custom of the priesthood to go into
4:12the Temple of the Lord and burn incense you think the lot fell in him by accident God messed with those dice that
4:18day right so chosen by a lot according to the custom the priesthood going to the temple of
4:23the Lord and burn incense and when the time for the burning of the incense came all the assembled worshipers were
4:29praying outside and we think of that passage in the psalm that says let your prayers rise before you as incense the
4:36raising of my hands as the evening sacrifice so this is what’s happening so then an angel of the Lord appeared to
4:42him standing at the right side of the altar of incense and when Zechariah saw him he was startled and was gripped with
4:50fear you can almost see him grabbing his heart going ah my ticker right
4:56so the angel says to him kind of standard greeting for Angels do not be afraid which kind of begs the question
5:02those people out there claiming to have had Angelic encounters as if somehow it’s like meeting a friend at Starbucks if they actually really truly had an
5:09Angelic encounter all right do not be afraid Zechariah your prayer has been heard
5:16your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you are to give him the name John side note here how many years do you
5:23think it’s been maybe decades since Zechariah has prayed that his wife would have a child they’re well advanced in years here
5:30that’s long ago yet God hears prayers even if that prayer was prayed 30 40
5:36years ago so your prayer has been heard your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son you are to
5:42give him the name John he will be a joy and a delight to you and many Will Rejoice because of his birth for he will
5:48be great in the sight of the Lord he’s never to take wine or other fermented drink that means it’s going to be a Nazarite from birth and
5:56he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb
6:03filled with the Holy Spirit now one thing that many theologians all
6:09agree upon is this is that well in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit you
6:15must first be a believer you must first be regenerate
6:21so what does this tell us about John in his mother’s womb filled with the Holy
6:27Spirit Well the implications are pretty profound indeed let’s kind of get the obvious one out on the table let’s get
6:34away from this idea that you’re not fully human until you’re born
6:41absolutely not here we have John the Baptist already
6:46beginning his work of being the Forerunner of Christ and he’s filled with the Holy Spirit In Utero
6:53you think God was basically saying yeah I know that you’re already doing your prophetic Duty I know you’re already
6:59regenerate and saved and I filled you with the Holy Spirit but you’re not quite human yet
7:04no that’s not what’s going on John is leaping for Joy at the sound of the
7:09voice of his Savior and the mother of his Lord don’t be sucked into the
7:15rhetoric of today by those who would deny full Humanity to The Unborn
7:20we’re not dealing with you know a guy who’s basically just a blob of cells
7:25he is a human being and also next implication let’s be done finally
7:32with this false idea that small infants don’t have a relationship with God
7:40it’s not true this is absolutely false in utero John the Baptist is filled with
7:48the Holy Spirit and begins his prophetic work of being the Forerunner of Christ
7:54another good passage on this is Psalm 22 verses 9 through 10 which reads yet you
8:00are he who took me from the womb you Lord made me trust that my mother’s
8:05breasts and on you I was cast from birth and from my mother’s womb you have been my
8:11God it is an absolute travesty that there are so many Christians today who
8:17basically think that God doesn’t have anything to do with infants this is nonsense
8:23God loves them Christ has bled and died for them and they are capable of being given the
8:29gift of faith because faith is something that is a gift that’s given by God it is not our own doing in the first place it
8:35is God’s doing and so here we have clear example of scripture where well in not
8:41only an infant smaller than an infant a preemie in udro a fetus filled with the Holy
8:47Spirit fully human fully saved already doing prophetic work right Augustine
8:53writes about this passage he says we see instances of Leaping not only in children but even in animals although
8:59certainly not for any faith or religion or rational recognition of someone coming but this case stands out as
9:06utterly uncommon and totally new because it took place in a womb at the coming of her who was to bring forth the savior of
9:13humankind therefore this leaping this greeting so to speak offered to the
9:18mother of the Lord is miraculous and it should be reckoned among the Great Signs it was not affected by human means by
9:25the infant by Divine means in the infant as Miracles are usually wrought
9:32Church Father Maximus of Turin preaching on this text said this not yet born already John prophesies and
9:41while still in the enclosure of his mother’s womb confessing the coming of Christ with movements of joy since he
9:47could not do so with his voice fascinating right as Elizabeth says to
9:52the Holy Mary as soon as you greeted me the child in my womb exalted for Joy so
9:58John exalts then before he is born and before his eyes can see what the world
10:03looks like he can recognize the lord of the world with his spirit
10:09truly profound truly profound indeed so then the text continues and Elizabeth
10:16she herself filled with the Holy Spirit now she begins to prophetically utter
10:21not just any old words these are words from God and she exclaimed with a loud
10:26shout and said you are blessed among women no this is the what the spirit is
10:31saying you are blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb and why has this happened to me that the
10:39mother of my Lord should come to me for behold when the sound of your
10:45greeting came to be in my ears the baby leaped with gladness in my womb now
10:52we’re going to have to do something a little bit thorny something dicey this could be controversial we have to deal
10:59properly with what scripture teaches us about Mary so Elizabeth speaking by the
11:05holy spirit says of Mary that Mary is the mother of my Lord
11:11Mary is the mother of your lord and Lord is a theologically loaded term because
11:18in the time of Mary and Elizabeth the Jews of that day would not say the
11:25name of God the Pharisees came up with this fantastic idea all right so the
11:31Commandment says Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain well we’ve got an easy way to keep that one
11:37we’ll just never say his name
11:44talk about missing the forest because of a tree anyway so what they would do when
11:49you would go to the synagogue and you were handed a scroll and the guy would read from the text anytime the name of
11:55God appeared Yahweh you know it was changed they would just say
12:02Adonai which means Lord very simple can’t blaspheme God’s name
12:09if you never mention it so every time you say the word Lord which you really mean is God at least in that context so
12:16here we have this passage the holy spirit says Mary is the mother of my
12:21Lord which means you can interpret this literally Mary is
12:27the mother of our God and you sit there and go oh yeah that
12:33sounds Roman Catholic yeah I know it does so here’s the issue all right
12:41some things that Rome teaches about Mary are just flat out wrong for instance we
12:48don’t believe that Mary is the Queen of Heaven so we can say nope we don’t believe that
12:54she’s the co-redem tricks that somehow our Salvation was earned by Christ’s
12:59suffering on the cross and Mary’s suffering while she’s watching Jesus suffer yep nope we don’t believe that we
13:06don’t pray to her to seek intercessions in the hour of our death and we definitely don’t believe that she
13:12was sinless or Immaculate at the time she conceived Christ in fact this text argues against that
13:17so let’s put all of that aside and say all of that other stuff it ain’t biblical it ain’t the truth but it is
13:24true to absolutely say that she is the mother of Our Lord now you have to
13:30understand this in one real sense God doesn’t have a mom there’s a reason for this God has always
13:36been ings that have always been well they don’t have a beginning everybody who has
13:43a mom has a beginning but something happened in human history and that is called the Incarnation God becomes man
13:53second person of the Trinity the son has a mom
13:58and so we can say and I know this sounds just theologically weird Mary is the mother of God the mother of
14:06Our Lord this is what this text teaches and you sit there and go but work with
14:11me for a second there’s some reasons why this is really important okay to deny
14:17that well that God in the Incarnation has a mother is to
14:23deny that God has a body all right and that he has given once for
14:29all into death and that the body and blood that he gives us in the Lord’s Supper is there for us for the
14:34Forgiveness of our sins and to deny that he has a mom is to deny that he has a body that can be offered up for the life
14:41of the world so when we deny that the right things about what is taught about
14:47Mary or diminish her we end up denying and diminishing Christ’s Humanity which
14:53is a very dangerous thing to consider doing and keep this in mind I know this is a little bit abstract but work with
14:59me here for a second scripture clearly teaches that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins
15:06and when it’s talking about shedding of blood it’s not talking about sticking an IV in somebody and letting some blood
15:11drip out that’s not what’s being talked about here the shedding of blood literally is referring to death
15:17and so since God has always been he will always be God cannot die
15:25so because God cannot die that means god in his
15:31nature is incapable I know it seems weird of actually
15:38addressing our sin problem so the solution for that is simple
15:43God becomes one of us so Christ is both God and man God has
15:52taken into his nature a human body and this is good news for us because
15:58Christ now God in human flesh can die
16:04it’s what our epistle text says listen again to our epistle text from Hebrews it says this
16:10speaking of Jesus behold I have come to do your will and he does away with the first in order to establish the second
16:16that’s the first Covenant the Mosaic Covenant in order to establish the New Covenant and by that
16:22will we have been Sanctified through the offering of the
16:27body of Jesus Christ once for all
16:33so in the Incarnation where there is a mystery there’s when you look at those nativity scenes
16:40they’re in the manger is a boy an infant boy
16:45son of man and at the same time there is also the Eternal God
16:52one package and it’s all for us because he’s heading to the Cross to die for our sins so
17:01we do not shy away from saying that Mary is the mother of Our Lord because in
17:07confessing that we are confessing that God has taken on a body a human body truly a senate of Adam come to fulfill
17:15the law and bleed and die for our sins it’s all part of the mystery of the Incarnation but we don’t pray to Mary
17:22we don’t consider cover redemptrix we do not say she was immaculate
17:28none of that other stuff but truly she was blessed because the honor of caring
17:33God in human flesh in your womb that is an amazing honor not given to men but
17:38given to a woman and keep this in mind that goes all the way back to the prophecy given in Genesis chapter 3.
17:44that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent you see Paradise was
17:52lost initially by the sin of a woman and now salvation is being given to us
17:59initially through a woman right God is honoring women in this way this
18:06is good news so now we come to this great text verse 45 back in the Gospel
18:12of Luke chapter one and blessed is she having believed that there would be a
18:17fulfillment of the things having been spoken to her from God quite a mouthful
18:24but it kind of goes this way remember when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said that you were going to give birth and she said how’s this going to
18:30be I’m a I’m a virgin she’s kind of worried worried about the mechanics of this whole thing going on now you could
18:36say of Mary that unlike any other woman who’s ever become pregnant
18:41she became pregnant through her ears through the word of the Lord right and
18:48what was her response be it to me as you have said be it to me as you have said and so now
18:54Elizabeth speaking by the holy spirit says blessed is she having believed that there would be a fulfillment of the
19:00things having been spoken to her from the Lord now so much of preaching
19:05nowadays it’s all about the application so how are we supposed to apply this to ourselves today what should you go out
19:12and do well some preachers have come up with these clever ideas well what is the thing that the Lord has told you to do
19:17you know what is he revealed in your heart what are you pregnant with with inside of you
19:23are you pregnant with potential are you pregnant with a destiny are you pregnant it’s just nonsense right well let me
19:29kind of tweak that a little bit because so many guys miss the obvious
19:36oftentimes the application is to just like a little child
19:42believe the story that you’re being told right let me give you kind of a bad
19:48example of that when I was a young lad my father played a joke on me it was a
19:53terrible joke but it shows kind of the trust that I had in my father my father came to me and he had his fists like
20:00this he says Chris I want to show you something what do you want to show me Dad
20:06I have a B in my hand a b all right do you want to see it no and
20:13these sting they’re terrible they’re awful no come here son oh Dad you have a b in your hand
20:18all right and so he takes his hand and he opens it up and he had written the letter B on the palm of his hand
20:27all right silly silly example but here’s the idea
20:33I believe what my dad told me and my dad well he didn’t lie he truly had a b in his hand okay
20:41oftentimes the solution to how do we apply a text it’s staring Us in the face it’s as
20:49obvious as can be and yet we can’t quite seem to wrap our head around it because here’s the idea let me back up again I
20:55told you we’re going to look at two things from the earlier part of Lou to get our context so here’s our context my
21:02question for you is this why did Luke write his gospel
21:09why did he write this why is this even written in the first place why are we reading this story this morning
21:16let me read from Luke chapter 1 starting at verse 1. Luke writes in as much as many have
21:23undertaken to compile A Narrative of the things that have been accomplished Among Us just as those who from the beginning
21:30were eyewitnesses and Ministers of the word have delivered them to us it seemed good to me also having followed all
21:37things closely for some times past to write an orderly account for you
21:42most excellent Theophilus that you may have certainty concerning the things
21:49that you have been taught you see the reason why Luke wrote what he wrote is so that you can have
21:55certainty and by the way the word Theophilus fascinating word I love it because it’s just filled with double
22:00entender now there probably was a real historical person probably wealthy too and his name was Theophilus
22:09Theo means god philophilus
22:15by itself now you’ve heard of the word Philadelphia right the City of Brotherly
22:20what love right right so Theophilus is a
22:26lover of God that’s his name his name is one who loves God and so this comes to
22:33you Theophilus because are you not one who is baptized into Christ do you not
22:39come to the altar here and receive the body and blood of Christ for the Forgiveness of your sins were you not
22:45absolved of your sins and heard once again the Christ has bled and died for you and that you are forgiven well then
22:51you are in Christ and God has given you faith and regenerated you and filled you with the
22:57Holy Spirit you truly are a Theophilus you are a lover of God and so this is
23:03written to you too right which is why you’re reading it today and this was written so that you can have certainty
23:09concerning the things that have been taught by the eyewitnesses by the
23:14Ministers of the word Luke says so that you can have certainty or the
23:19way John puts it in his gospel in John chapter 20. verses 30-31 here’s what it
23:26says now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book but these
23:33things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God
23:41and not by believing you might have life in his name
23:46I read one Theologian once who said that this sentence should be the whole thesis
23:52statement for the entire Bible these things are written you could take
23:58this put it at the beginning you know say introduction you know Genesis 1 verse 0.
24:04right kind of stick it in there right these things are written so that you might
24:10believe that Jesus is the Messiah the Christ the son of God and that by believing you might have life in his
24:17name and so now coming back then to this statement of the Holy Spirit through the
24:24woman Elizabeth the one who is miraculously pregnant the one who is
24:30miraculously now speaking words from God through the Holy Spirit after her son
24:36who is the Forerunner of Christ has left for Joy at the sound of the mother of his Lord blessed is she having believed
24:43that there would be a fulfillment of the things having been spoken to her from the Lord so here’s the application
24:51these things are written so that you can have confidence and certainty that you are in Christ that you are forgiven that
24:57you have a right standing before God because these words from God
25:02through Luke to you this morning are I have great news
25:08God has become a man born of the Virgin Mary and he came to
25:13suffer for your sins under Pontius Pilate and he truly was crucified for you and
25:20for the Forgiveness of your sins but he also rose again on the third day these things are written so that you would
25:26believe and so you can have the same blessing
25:32if you would that Mary has because Mary was blessed because she
25:37believed the words of the Lord spoke to her that they would be fulfilled
25:42do you believe that Christ was born in Bethlehem born to be your savior born to
25:50bleed and die for your sins well blessed is the one who believes the words of the
25:55Lord will be fulfilled for them this is the message that comes to you today good news of great joy
26:04great joy you who sat in darkness born enslaved to sin death in the devil
26:13incapable of saving yourself racked with sin walking in ways that are Unholy knowing
26:21that you have earned the wrath of God for all of that light has now come into the darkness
26:27and that light has come to set you free do you believe Christmas is all about
26:34believing is it not so we return to our text and we end with
26:40The Magnificat and that’s what the section of scripture is called Mary’s response is called The Magnificat
26:49there’s a liturgy that actually sings it and it’s one of my favorite liturgical Tunes my soul magnifies the Lord and my
26:58spirit rejoices and God my savior and his Mercy is to generations and
27:06generations is on one on the ones who are fearing him he did a mighty deed with his arm he
27:12scatters one’s proud and the thoughts of their heart and he brought down rulers from their Thrones and lifted up the
27:19lowly ones let me return to verse 46 and point this out actually 47.
27:25here’s what it says Mary said my soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices greatly over God my savior
27:33there’s the words Mary said that God is her what
27:40savior only ones who are sinners
27:46need a savior and by confessing that her soul magnifies the Lord
27:52and God her savior she’s confessing she is also a sinner in
27:57need of a savior and there goes the Immaculate Conception poof
28:04all gone with one statement confession from Mary herself and you
28:10you little lambs of Kong’s finger you too can magnify the Lord and rejoice
28:16in God your savior for his Mercy is to generations and generations on all the ones fearing him
28:23and that is you and God has done a mighty deed with his arm he has scattered the ones proud in
28:29the thoughts of their hearts and who are the ones proud here who are the proud ones well everyone who basically exalts
28:35himself and exalts his self-righteousness it’s akin to what you see with the Pharisees doing ah we don’t
28:40need to be baptized by John the Baptist that’s a baptism for Sinners for the Forgiveness of sins we don’t need none
28:46of that that’s proud that’s Pride the highest degree you think of the pair the story
28:52that Jesus tells of the Pharisee and the tax collector or the Pharisee in the temple at the time of the evening
28:58sacrifice at three in the afternoon when the lamb is slaughtered is praying not Lord have mercy on me he’s praying I
29:05thank you God that I am not like other people that I am so holy that I tithe even the
29:12herbs in my garden right and yet Mary says that the Lord scatters
29:21the proud ones and thoughts of their hearts and he’s brought down rulers from their Thrones but he’s lifted up the
29:28lowly ones he filled the ones who are hungry with good things who are the hungry and the
29:35lowly those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake
29:40the lowly who understand that they have nothing to offer God then they dare not offer their good
29:47works to God in exchange for salvation because they cannot save
29:53nope instead the lowly ones are the ones who say that Lord we are destitute hungry bankrupt
30:00spiritually poor poverty stricken we have nothing have mercy on us
30:07is wrong that we have come to be in this state and it’s our fault that we are such these are the ones the
30:13Lord exalts the one who exalts himself will be humbled
30:18the one who humbles himself will be exalted he helped Israel his servant
30:24so that he might remember Mercy just as he has spoke to our fathers to Abraham and to his seed forever
30:31and then Mary stayed with her about three months and then returned to her home
30:36so God’s Mercy is from generation to generations of those who fear Him and
30:42blessed is she who having believed that there will be a fulfillment of the things having been spoken to her from the Lord and today you have heard a word
30:48from the Lord and the word is this Christ is born God and human flesh come to bleed and
30:56die for your sins the one in the manger will take the rough wood of the manger and it’ll be
31:02exchanged for the rough wood of the Cross this baby will grow to a man
31:08and then bleed and die for your sins do you believe this word of the Lord for
31:15you believe and be blessed in the name of Jesus
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