Sermon Transcript – By Faith Adopted and Holy Children

1 Year Lectionary – First Sunday After Christmas – Sunday, December 26, 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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0:28the holy gospel according to saint luke the second chapter [Music]
0:40and his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him and simeon blessed them and said to mary his mother
0:47behold this child is appointed for the fall and the rising of many in israel and for a sign that is opposed the sword
0:54will pierce through your own soul also so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed and there was a
1:01prophetess anna the daughter of fanuelle of the tribe of asher she was advanced in years having lived with her husband
1:07seven years from when she was a virgin and then as a widow until she was 84 she did not depart from the temple
1:13worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day and coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to god and to
1:19speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of jerusalem and when they had performed everything
1:25according to the law of the lord they returned into galilee to the to their own town of nazareth and the child grew
1:32and became strong filled with wisdom and the favor of god was upon him this is
1:37the gospel of the lord in the name of Jesus amen merry Christmas merry Christmas
1:43it’s i hope you all had a good one i think i’m going to need a week or two to recover from ours
1:49but that’s what being an introvert is all about it’s about isolating yourself after long exposure to lots of people
1:55you kind of get the idea but let me let me talk about something that may be a sensitive subject for some
2:02have you ever heard of somebody who has daddy issues it’s a term we use and by the way i don’t particularly like the
2:09term you’ll note that in our world there are people who for real
2:14have had just terrible awful horrible
2:20childhoods and sometimes those um bad uh things that have happened have
2:26happened as a result of an inattentive or absent father a father who should be
2:33leading the way providing firm discipline while at the same time a fatherly love and so you’ll note that
2:40when the fathers are gone from the family that oftentimes bad things happen
2:46to children and psychologically they may be damaged in ways that it’s going to take them years to recover is
2:53it any wonder then that when we talk about repentance one of the ways that scripture talks about repentance is
3:00turning the hearts the fathers towards their children it’s a it’s a very important thing if you think about it
3:06and so we because we’re born dead in trespasses and sins have this really bad tendency to be like well the devil more
3:15than god the father and how we treat others and even our own children all of
3:20that being said one of the things you might hear from somebody who has quote daddy issues is the belief that they
3:28could never do enough to earn their father’s
3:33love what a horrible sentence
3:39i can never do enough to earn my father’s
3:45love is god like that is god like that
3:51do you approach god the father with the idea that i need to really work hard
3:59in order to earn god’s love
4:07just let that sit and roll around a little bit here it’s terrible when you think about it because scripture is so
4:15painfully clear throughout its entirety god is nothing like an inattentive
4:22father who cares nothing for his children in fact god is so loving merciful and
4:29kind he adopts children who were born to their father the devil
4:36he adopts them he forgives them he pardons them in Christ and this is one of the great things about
4:44the Christian faith the true Christian faith salvation by grace through faith apart from works is that we here
4:52in our epistle text these amazing words but when the fullness of time had come
4:59god sent forth his son born of a woman born under the law in
5:05order to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as
5:12sons one of the things i do with my catechumens is we have to sometimes do
5:17some vocabulary work have you guys noticed that in the world we live in from time to time you have to learn some
5:23odd language some weird words i’ve pointed it out before that when starbucks came around i couldn’t just
5:29walk in and order a large coffee i had to learn a whole new language
5:34i would like a venti pike place you know and you know you you get the idea and
5:40then my my wife she has this thing that she orders that some mocha thing with seven pumps of chocolate decaf with skim
5:48milk and oh my goodness and writing that thing out it’s a paragraph it is an entire
5:54paragraph just to order my wife’s favorite drink from starbucks and when she sends me in to do it i have anxiety
6:02thinking i’m gonna mess this up i know i’m gonna mess this up it’s too complicated right
6:07but as Christians then when we come across words in the bible we recognize
6:12we’re going to need to do a little bit of work here to figure out what some of these words are there is vocabulary that
6:19we must understand and master as Christians in order to really unpack the
6:25fullness of the good news that we have in Christ so god sent forth his son in
6:30the fullness of time born of woman born under the law to redeem
6:35those who are under the law now i’ve preached on this before let’s
6:42see how good you’re no i won’t put you on the spot there’ll be a quiz afterwards and if you don’t pass well then
6:48no lord supper for you for a month no i’m joking it’s nothing nothing nothing like that right
6:54to redeem though this is a slaving term i always like to point out to my
6:59catechumens when we talk about redemption in this way back in the day there used to be slaves
7:06here in the united states and what an awful thing that was the slavery that was in the united states is absolutely
7:12forbidden by scripture by the way absolutely forbidden by it but all that being said if you were to travel down to
7:19alabama back in the 1830s you could purchase a slave
7:25but here’s the thing there were two prices for slaves always two
7:30the one price is the price that you’re going to hire a slave for the purpose of
7:36that slave working the purpose of that slave is going to be to go into your house or into your field
7:43and that slave is going to work that’s one price but then there’s a
7:49second price the second price is the redemption price and that’s a much higher price
7:55that’s the price of purchasing a slave for the purpose of granting them their freedom
8:05and usually that price was so far higher it made it impossible for slaves to save
8:11up in order to free themselves you think about that but here’s the thing
8:17slavery throughout the scripture is this ginormous picture this type and shadow
8:23of just how awful things are for us as we come into this world we’re all born
8:28dead in trespasses and sins in slavery to sin death the devil your own sinful passions
8:35that rise up from within your black and dark and sinful heart and god has had mercy on us you see god
8:44doesn’t sit there in heaven going jump through all these hoops you do you do the jumping
8:51let’s let’s see how how well athletic you are let’s see how intentional you
8:57are let’s test to see whether you really really really really really want this
9:02and if you pass through all of these hoops then i will judge your works and if i judge your works worthy
9:10then then then i will become your father
9:16here’s the weird bit that’s what we actually think about god by nature that’s not god the father
9:23that’s the devil
9:29god has mercy on us in that while we were yet sinners
9:35Christ died for our sins while we were incapable of even
9:40scraping up the smallest amount of money to begin to pay the redemption price to
9:46get us out of slavery god says i got this and he sends forth his son
9:54to make you children of god how much does it cost
9:59oh it costs the very blood of the son of god but in winning it for you he gives it to
10:06you for free and that’s the blessing of Christmas
10:12the amazing bit of the incarnation think of it this way if we were to you know
10:18consider saint stephen the very first Christian martyr he’s he’s this is the feast of
10:23saint stephen today by the way but we’re not reading those texts today this is the person who in acts chapter 7
10:30is oh man just making the confession of faith regarding Christ and the pharisees
10:36and the jews were here and nothing of it remember last week we talked about them grinding their teeth and them stopping
10:42their ears they wouldn’t want to hear anything about about Jesus and then he sees Jesus
10:48standing at the right hand of the father while he is being murdered
10:54why was he being murdered well here’s the fun bit the reason why he was being murdered is because the
11:01pharisees their entire religious system hinged off of the idea that if you do
11:08enough good works and you obey god enough then and only then will you be
11:15saved and if you’re not even trying you’re damned and if you’re not measuring up and keeping their rules well you’re going to
11:21hell as well the god they believed in
11:29didn’t justify human beings the god they believed in justified works
11:36you see the difference they want their works to be judged as
11:42righteous while they themselves are dead their hearts are darkened
11:48they don’t want to be made holy they want god to declare their works to be holy
11:54so that they can continue in unbelief and it’s just like and i mean this just
11:59like cain we’re warned by jude Jesus is half brother kind of three big false
12:07doctrines if you would prototypes of false teachers you got the way of cain
12:12you’ve got balaam you’ve got korra’s rebellion what is cain all about
12:18cain is all about religious activity
12:25zero faith zero and you’ll note then that stephen laying
12:31down his life is a lot like what happened to abel in genesis chapter four
12:37we read adnan knew his wife eve she conceived and bore cain saying i have gotten a man with the help of the lord
12:45by the way the way that sentence reads in the hebrew um
12:51is uh is a little different than our english translation just straight hebrew translation i have gotten a man the lord
12:59there is an exegetical tradition that here in genesis 4 that eve
13:05naively falsely believed that cain was the one who was the fulfillment of
13:12the promise of the seed of the woman who had crushed the head of the serpent i’ve gotten a man the lord
13:17and so rather than well bearing the lord she bears someone way more like satan than
13:24you can possibly imagine so again she bore his brother abel and i like to
13:29point out then that with this kind of setup with this kind of setup even adam think
13:36the best of canaan what do they think of abel well he’s you know he’s doing the grunt work he’s doing
13:42the jobs that nobody wants to do i think of that kid’s story i used to read to my kids called ricky tikki tembo you have you
13:49ever heard of this story i may have mentioned it before but it’s a wonderful story it’s a story about
13:55why names in china are now shorter than they used to be because back in the day
14:00apparently the firstborn son he received so much honor from his family that being
14:06the firstborn son he was always graced with a super long name and the name that they had given to this firstborn son in
14:13china long ago was ricky tiki tembo no saw rambo cherry berry ruchi pip parry
14:18pembo okay which basically means the most amazing thing ever and guess what his
14:24brother’s name was chang which means like nothing okay
14:29all right same thing here i mean just think of the setup cane
14:34oh i’ve gotten a man the lord abel yeah i get to work taking care of those
14:40mangy sheep that’s really the setup here but here’s the thing we learn
14:46from hebrews chapter 12 sorry chapter 11 hebrews chapter 11 that
14:54abel had something that cain didn’t have let me read this in context hebrews 11 1
15:01says faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not
15:06seen for by it by faith the people of old receive their
15:12commendation by faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of god so that what is seen was not made
15:19out of the things that are visible and by faith abel offered to god a more acceptable
15:26sacrifice than cain through which he was commended as righteous god commending
15:32him by accepting his gifts now watch the emphasis god commended abel by accepting
15:41abel and his gifts and so let me kind of drive this point
15:47home when you think you are saved by your works you want god to declare your works
15:53to be righteous but that’s not how god works god will work in this way in this way
16:00only by faith he declares the sinner righteous
16:05holy forgiven adopted redeemed you get the idea and only then having been made holy
16:14by faith does god then consider the good works that flow from faith
16:21but the unbeliever they don’t they they think god’s a liar
16:26god doesn’t really forgive sinners salvation isn’t really a free gift stop
16:32listening to those people who say that because if you believe that then you’re going to end up
16:38not applying yourself to the works that god has called you to you’re going to turn grace into a license to sin and
16:44you’re going to engage in all kinds of sin thinking that somehow this is okay so we’ve got to take that message of
16:50faith and we need to tuck that away and we need to get you busy
16:56because god in their way of thinking will judge your works as good
17:01and then by judging your works is good you then become good
17:07have you ever heard the phrase fake it till you make it it don’t work with sin
17:13okay i’m sinful and unclean i have sinned against
17:18god and thought word deed the things i’ve done the things i haven’t done right and that’s just this morning we
17:25will talk about yesterday or the day before or the week after that or you get the idea
17:30right i confess that i am by nature sinful and unclean how then could i possibly
17:38say that i am a child of god because god
17:44has made me that apart from my works in Christ he has declared me to be
17:51righteous same with you were your sins not washed away in the
17:57waters of baptism did you not hear the absolution spoken to you this morning that you are
18:03forgiven last time we had the lord’s supper last week did you not hear these are the very
18:08body and blood of Christ given and shed for the forgiveness of your sins
18:14you see all of those things in order for that to be true that requires faith for
18:19us they’re true whether or not we believe it but it’s only applicable when we believe
18:25it for us we can say Christ died for me god declares the sinner holy
18:32and then the works that flow to be holy as well all because of what Christ has done
18:39but those who do works for the purpose of justifying themselves and relying on them they turn god into a liar
18:47salvation isn’t by grace through faith apart from works they say you can’t trust that apostle paul you need to you
18:54you need to hedge your bets it’s not true scripture is painfully clear so here’s
19:01what we learned then god had regard for abel and then for
19:06his sacrifice and so we go back to genesis and we hear these words all right
19:18so again eve boris a brother it bore his brother abel and abel was a keeper of
19:24sheep cain a worker of the ground and in the course of time cain brought to yahweh an offering of the fruit of the ground
19:31abel also brought of the first fruit of his flock and of their fat portions and yahweh listen to the words had regard
19:39for abel had regard for him and his offering but
19:44for cain and his offering he had no regard it begins with cain why cain didn’t have
19:51faith none whatsoever not interested in believing and trusting in the promise of the seed
19:58of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent and one has to wonder if his
20:03lack of faith was in part due to the fact that his parents mistook him to be Jesus
20:09when he wasn’t and so what does he do cain was angry his face fell
20:17yahweh said to cain why are you angry why is your face falling if you do well will you not be accepted
20:23and if you do not do well sin is crouching at the door it’s desires contrary to you you must rule over it
20:29cain spoke to abel his brother and when they were in the field cain rose up against his brother abel and he killed
20:34him murdered him and the lord said to cain where is abel your brother he said i don’t know am i
20:40my brother’s keeper by the way they always and again whenever that question comes up the answer is yes
20:47you are so the lord said what it what have you done the voice of your brother’s blood
20:52is crying to me from the ground and now you are cursed from the ground which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand and when
20:59you work the ground it shall no longer yield its strength you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth and
21:04cain said to yahweh well my punishment is greater than i can bear behold you have driven me today away from the
21:10ground and from your face i shall be hidden i shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth and whoever finds
21:16me will kill me and yahweh said to him not so if anyone kills cain vengeance shall be taken on
21:21him sevenfold and yahweh put a mark on cain lest any who found him should attack him
21:27and then cain went away from the presence of yahweh and settled in the land of nod east
21:32of eden so you’ll note that even in the midst of god punishing cain for his murder of his
21:39brother abel and his faithlessness that god had mercy on cain at least
21:44temporally put a mark on him in order that his life would be spared should anybody run into him and want to avenge the
21:51blood of abel god protected him
21:57and so we’ll note then coming back to our our text from galatians listen to
22:05what paul is saying here i mean that the heir as long as he is a
22:11child is no different from a slave though he is the owner of everything we’re familiar with this at least in
22:17part maybe not from experience the idea you know a wealthy child a child born into a wealthy family
22:24and his parents die that he will technically be the heir of everything
22:29that while he is still under age though he has guardians and managers until the
22:35date set when he can fully inherit what has been granted to him in the will
22:41so in the same way then paul says we also when we were children we were enslaved
22:47to the elementary principles of the world and we know what these are from the cross references in cautions the
22:53elementary principles of the world are the basic ideas of do not handle do not
22:58taste do not touch all all these rules that have the appearance of godliness but they don’t have any power to
23:05actually produce the fruit of the spirit we were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world but when the
23:10fullness of time had come god sent forth his son born of woman born under the law
23:16in order to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons and because you are
23:24sons listen to what it says because you are sons god has sent the spirit of his son into
23:30our hearts crying abba father you are no longer a slave but you are a son and if
23:36you are a son then you are an heir through god such a clear proclamation of who we are
23:43and what we have in Christ all as a gift because god the son
23:48although by nature god did not consider equality with god a thing to be grasped he humbled himself took on the form of a
23:55servant i called him god in diapers the other night
24:01:00took on the form of a servant became obedient even the point of death on the cross so that we can be forgived
24:07:00forgiven pardon and redeem bore your sins and mine and all of this he does
24:13:00out of his graciousness his mercy his kindness and his love
24:18:00you do not have to try hard and figure out what do i need to do to please god
24:24:00so that i can finally get my heavenly father to love me it’s not like that
24:31:00god so loved you he sent Jesus for you
24:36:00and he’s given you all of this as a gift and so you are not a slave you are a son
24:43:00and it’s very tragic when people in the church do not hear about this Jesus and
24:49:00i mean it it’s it’s Jesus barely comes up at all but consider what we just heard in isaiah and i love the fact that
24:56:00during the daily lectionary during december we’ve been reading our way through all of isaiah but i love how
25:02:00isaiah as well as the other prophets they exalt Christ and in looking at
25:09:00the coming messiah for them they talk about him in such amazing terms listen
25:15:00to what isaiah says there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of jesse a branch from his roots he it’ll it’ll
25:22:00bear fruit the spirit of the lord will rest upon him the spirit of wisdom and understanding the spirit of counsel and
25:29:00might the spirit of knowledge and the fear of yahweh his delight will be in the fear of the lord and he will not
25:36:00judge by what he sees or decide disputes by what his ears hear but with righteousness he will judge the poor and
25:43:00decide with equity for the meek of the earth what an amazing picture of Christ
25:50:00in his strength his mercy and his wisdom i would well i would just ask a question along
25:56:00these lines do you guys know of any politicians like this today
26:02:00current guy in the white house is not exactly like this nor was the guy before him or the guy
26:08:00before him or the you know what i’m saying the idea here is is that is this not the
26:14:00one we long for are you tired yet of hearing about
26:20:00constantly how inept our governments are not just ours the ones around the world has anyone solved
26:27:00how to stop this invisible virus from wrecking our economy
26:33:00no is anyone capable of ruling the earth with this kind of wisdom and knowledge
26:40:00and delight in the things that are right in the lord no
26:46:00and that’s the point Jesus stands not head and shoulders above the rulers
26:52:00of the earth he’s in a different league altogether he is just he’s holy he is right he is
27:01:00true he is faithful he is loving he is kind there is not a thing you can point to and Jesus and say you know i don’t
27:07:00think you did that one right i kind of disagree with what you did there
27:13:00all of our politicians oh good grief it’s a mess
27:20:00and yet god gave a wonderful vision to of all people
27:26:00one of these miserably bad politicians king nebuchadnezzar gave a vision of the
27:32:00rock that wasn’t cut with hands that would smash the kingdoms of the earth and grow and consume all of the earth
27:39:00king Jesus himself and so you’ll hear these words of isaiah of just how amazing Jesus is and he’s all of that
27:47:00and more and he’s all of that and more for you and he has decided with equity
27:53:00for the meek of the earth that’s you and i who humbly confess that we are sinners
27:59:00who recognize that we have participated in the rebellion against him wrought by the devil in our
28:06:00in the lies told to our first parents that they went for and that god has had mercy on us and
28:12:00forgiven us you cannot earn his love he doesn’t offer it to you for a price he
28:18:00only gives it for free only
28:24:00and so in that context then here we are in Christmas and we hear
28:29:00these words when the fullness of time had come god sent forth his son born of woman born under the law to redeem those
28:36:00who are under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons you can put away all of your striving just put it
28:44:00out now one of the things that drives me nuts is when i hear people in evangelicalism say well i think it’s
28:52:00really arrogant to have confidence and say with certainty
28:58:00that you’re a Christian i mean i’m so humble that i embrace
29:03:00doubt and so i i would never presume to think that i’m a child of god i would never
29:11:00that’s arrogant i would never presume that because i mean i recognize that i
29:16:00still have a lot of work to do before i can really begin to embrace that idea
29:23:00and when you look at the roman catholicism of luther’s day
29:29:00when they would see a text like this where paul so clearly says
29:35:00to Christians that they are the children of god now
29:40:00that they are saints that he is a saint that they are holy that they are forgiven rome took these words and said
29:48:00no no no no no that’s not for today don’t think it applies to you
29:54:00paul had received some special vision from god that made it possible for him
30:00:00to say those things about the people at the time but don’t think that this applies to you
30:10:00so who are you going to believe are you going to believe
30:17:00paul the apostle of Jesus Christ who so boldly tells us that we now are
30:24:00children of god that in Christ we have been made holy that we do not have to earn the love of
30:30:00god it is given to us freely god has had mercy and pity on us he has redeemed us
30:37:00so that we can be adopted into his family and now because he’s given us the
30:42:00holy spirit we cry out abba father you are no longer a slave
30:48:00you are a son and if you are a son you are an heir through god
30:55:00get used to being on planet earth you’re going to be here when the new one shows
31:00:00up and you’re going to reign forever and ever because not only are you a member of the family by what Christ has done
31:07:00you have been guaranteed an inheritance in the new earth and you will live in days in a world without end
31:14:00slaves cannot speak this way nor can hired hands who work on a farm talk
31:19:00about the inheritance that they’ll have in the farm that we’re working no only we who are in Christ who have
31:26:00this bold confidence in the forgiveness of our sins and trust in these merciful words given to us only we can have this
31:34:00confidence to say that i am no longer a slave i am a son i am a child i am an
31:39:00heir all through Jesus Christ who kept the law perfectly for me and has given
31:44:00this to me as a gift in the name of Jesus
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