Sermon Transcript – Do Not Do Your Acts of Righteousness To Be Seen By Men

Series B – Ash Wednesday – Wednesday, February 18, 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
0:28the holy Gospel According to Saint
0:30Matthew chapter 6 verses 1 through 6 and
0:36be careful not to do your acts of
0:40righteousness before men to be seen by
0:43if you do you will have no reward from
0:47your father in Heaven
0:48so when you give to the needy Do not
0:50announce it with trumpets as the
0:52Hypocrites do in the synagogues and on
0:54the streets to be honored by men I tell
0:57you the truth they have received their
0:59reward in full
1:01but when you give to the needy do not
1:03let your left hand know what your right
1:05hand is doing
1:06so that you’re giving may be in secret
1:08then your father who sees what is done
1:11in secret will reward you and when you
1:14pray do not be like the Hypocrites for
1:16they love to pray standing in the
1:18synagogues and on the street corners to
1:20be seen by men I tell you the truth they
1:22have received their reward in full
1:25but when you pray go into your room
1:28close the door
1:30and pray to your father who is unseen
1:32then your father who sees what is done
1:35in secret secret will reward you
1:38when you fast do not look somber as the
1:41Hypocrites do for they disfigure their
1:43faces to show men that they are fasting
1:45I tell you the truth they have received
1:47their reward in full
1:50but when you fast
1:53put oil on your head wash your face so
1:56that will not be obvious to men that you
1:58are fasting
1:59but only to your father who is unseen
2:01and your father who sees what is done in
2:03secret will reward you
2:06do not store up for yourselves Treasures
2:08on Earth for moth and rust destroy and
2:13where thieves break in and steal but
2:16store up for yourselves Treasures in
2:18Heaven where moth and rust do not
2:19destroy where thieves do not break in
2:22and steal for where your treasure is
2:24there your heart will be also
2:28in the name of Jesus
2:31giving to the poor
2:37these are all good things to do
2:39and hear what our lord said
2:42he literally said
2:44be careful not to do your acts of
2:46righteousness before men to be seen by
2:49them if you do you will have no reward
2:52from your father in Heaven
2:57I wish I can say I’m not guilty of
3:01in a way that I hoped people would be
3:04impressed by my prayers
3:07now clearly by my girth you can tell I
3:09don’t do a lot of fasting
3:12as far as giving to the poor
3:15I must confess
3:16I don’t do nearly enough of that
3:20the reality of the situation is is that
3:23many people want to do all kinds of good
3:26works and they want to do them for the
3:28wrong reasons
3:30for example
3:32have you ever talked to that person who
3:34said did you see how much I gave to the
3:36poor I want my Hefty donation publicized
3:40in the Grand Forks Herald
3:45ouch I know a pastor who makes a point
3:48of letting everybody know that he
3:51reversed tithes
3:52every time he goes on National
3:54Television he lets the whole world know
3:55oh why give 90 of what I have back to
3:58the church and everybody knows how
4:00generous he is
4:04yeah the issue is is that
4:06when somebody does that does their good
4:09works and these are good works
4:11for everybody to be seen so that they
4:13can say oh how holy you are oh you’re so
4:17much farther along than I am
4:20well they’ve received their reward
4:25it’s as if Jesus is saying
4:28I’m not impressed
4:30I’m not impressed with your good works
4:32they’re a stenched
4:34in my nostrils
4:37because you’re not doing them for your
4:40you’re doing your good works for you
4:46there isn’t one thing that you’ve done
4:49that’s motivated in true love towards
4:52God and true love towards your neighbor
4:55everything you do is designed to give
4:58you a edge a leg up or designed to make
5:02people think oh if only I can be like
5:05that person
5:08and that’s when you realize
5:12that it’s possible
5:15in fact probable
5:18that Christ not only died for our sins
5:20but died for our good works because our
5:23good works are just drenched with sin
5:29the prophets describe our good works in
5:32one passage is saying that their filthy
5:37menstrual garments
5:40used maxi pads
5:43that’s our good works
5:46in other words think of it this way
5:51this Lenten season
5:53as you reflect on
5:56how you have not measured up
5:58don’t only do that
6:01look hard and ask yourself have I done
6:03my good works in order to impress people
6:08have my good works
6:11have they been soiled
6:13are they filthy and wretched like filthy
6:16menstrual garments
6:21that’s if that’s really the case
6:24that because we do our good works for
6:26ourselves and not truly for our neighbor
6:29then Christ died on the cross for even
6:32your good works
6:35that’s how much
6:37I don’t measure up
6:39how much you don’t measure up
6:42Jesus has to save us not only from our
6:44blatant sins from but even from our acts
6:48of piety
6:51When you pray in such a way that you
6:53just want to impress people with how
6:55well you pray and maybe even want to
6:57give a seminar next week on how you can
6:58pray like me
7:02you’ve taken a good work and you’ve
7:03turned it into a wretched wretched deed
7:07one for which Christ had to bleed and
7:09die you see
7:11Heaven is a gift
7:14Christ won it for you
7:16we read in Romans on Sunday school that
7:19if Christ died for our sins and it’s all
7:21a gift then where is boasting
7:24there’s no need for boasting Christ has
7:26done it all
7:29it’s self-righteousness pietism not true
7:33Christian piety
7:35that takes your good works and makes it
7:37so that you can somehow stand on a
7:39pedestal in front of everybody and
7:41everybody goes oh I want to so be like
7:44and he says what you think
7:46and Jesus says I’m not impressed in fact
7:50I’m so not impressed that because you
7:53think that somehow you’re earning their
7:55salvation by how Pious You Are by how
7:57much you pray by how much you give to
7:58the poor by how often you fast and you
8:01tell everybody all about it
8:03I’m going to throw you and your good
8:05works into the Lake of Fire and give you
8:08an eternity to think about it
8:12that’s what he’s saying
8:16so should we give to the poor yes
8:19we should
8:21but when you give to the poor
8:24go out of your way to make sure that
8:26nobody knows what you’re doing
8:28I know it’s difficult to give to the
8:30poor in a way that they don’t know that
8:32they’ve received a gift
8:34and that’s not what this the point of
8:35this is
8:37the point is don’t give to the poor in
8:40order to let everybody know how wealthy
8:42you are and how generous you are
8:45given such a way that it’s between you
8:48and the person that you’re helping and
8:50you and God
8:51and when you pray
8:55in such a way that you want everybody to
8:58see that you’re doing it
8:59in fact
9:01it’s probably a good idea to pray the
9:03way Jesus said go into an inner room
9:06shut the door and pray
9:08well what good is that no one’s going to
9:10see me your heavenly father will see you
9:13you’re the one you’re talking to him
9:15anyway you’re not trying to impress
9:17people by your prayers that’s not the
9:19point of Prayer
9:21and when you fast
9:24don’t look God
9:26don’t go oh I’m so weak
9:29I’m fasting you really need to feel bad
9:32for me oh but I this is the most
9:35spiritual thing I can do and I it’s just
9:37really helping me be transformed to be
9:40like Jesus well if you were being
9:42transformed to be like Jesus you
9:44wouldn’t be acting that way and putting
9:46on a front like that so that everybody
9:47would know you’re fasting
9:50right right
9:54Jesus wants us to fast Jesus wants us to
9:58Jesus wants us to care for the needy
10:03but because we are in Christ and because
10:07he has bled and died for us and
10:09salvation is a gift
10:11all of your good works and all of your
10:14piety none of it is done to earn brownie
10:16points with God
10:18or to earn piety points with the
10:21neighbors of the church ladies nope
10:24all of it is done for your neighbor
10:28all of it’s done out of true love for
10:30God it’s not done for you
10:32because you got to remember this
10:35when it comes to Christ’s Kingdom
10:38you are not number one
10:41God is
10:42and then your neighbors second
10:45you come in third
10:47and you are servant
10:49to both
10:52it’s a completely radical way of
10:54thinking and every time when you try to
10:57make yourself number one
11:01you missed the whole point of the cross
11:03Christ made himself nothing taking on
11:06the form of a servant being found in
11:08human likeness and was obedient to death
11:10even death on a cross
11:14the God who is king of kings Lord of
11:17lords whose Throne is above every throne
11:21in the universe who made all the Thrones
11:24that exist nothing passes in this earth
11:27that doesn’t first go through his throne
11:30yes he does micromanage because he can
11:33he’s the one who came off the throne and
11:37was born of the Virgin Mary born in a
11:40for you
11:41the highest to the lowest he humbled
11:44himself and then God the Father exalted
11:47him and this is what we’re called to do
11:50and every time we don’t do it we don’t
11:52understand who God is or what he’s about
11:55if Christ if the people are going to
11:57know that we’re Christians by our love
12:00well then it’d be good for us to figure
12:03out what love is all about
12:06because looking out for number one
12:08trying to impress the neighbors trying
12:10to earn brownie points With God all of
12:13that stuff means you still think that
12:15you’re number one
12:17and that’s the reason why Christ had to
12:21and that’s something to think about
12:23in fact a good story to end on
12:26is a story that Jesus told in Luke
12:28chapter 18.
12:30to some who were confident of their own
12:34and they look down on everybody else
12:38see that’s the thing when you’re doing
12:40your good work so that everybody can see
12:42them and everyone’s saying oh how
12:43wonderful you are how generous you are
12:45how holy you are you know what happens
12:47you end up believing it and when you end
12:50up believing it you know what you end up
12:51doing you look down at all the little
12:53people I’d like to thank all the little
12:55people who made it possible for me to be
12:56as great as I am
13:01but now you’re starting to look down on
13:04other people so Jesus said to some who
13:06were confident of their own
13:07righteousness and look down on everybody
13:10Jesus told this parable two men
13:13went up into the temple to pray
13:16when a Pharisee
13:18the other a tax collector
13:20sounds like a setup for a joke right you
13:24there was a rabbi Roman Catholic and a
13:26Pentecostal all who went to the Pearly
13:28Gates that’s what it sounds like right
13:29it kind of sounds like a perfect setup
13:31but everybody knows how this is supposed
13:33to end the Pharisee is the religious
13:37this is the guy who’s got prayer down
13:41he knows what he’s doing tax collector
13:44miserable worthless there is nothing
13:46holy about this guy he’s a complete
13:48traitor against the people of God he’s
13:51working for the Romans and he’s making a
13:53ton of money basically keeping everybody
13:55else in poverty while he’s getting rich
14:00we all know this is how how the story is
14:02supposed to end right
14:04so the Pharisees stood up and he prayed
14:06about himself
14:09unfortunately I’ve prayed similar
14:11prayers in my life to listen to it
14:15I thank you
14:17that I am not like other men
14:19robbers evildoers adulterers
14:23or even like this tax collector I fast
14:26twice a week look I’m even skinny I’m
14:29gone I give a tenth of all that I get
14:35this guy’s a Tyler he’s generous he
14:38prays he fast what a great prayer
14:47this is exactly what Jesus was preaching
14:49against in our Biblical text Our Gospel
14:53but the tax collector
14:55he stood at a distance so keep in mind
14:58this is the temple court right and you
15:01know what they’re there for if you don’t
15:03know your Jewish history you don’t know
15:04your Old Testament you’re not exactly
15:06sure why they’re even there in the first
15:07place right some people it’s two men
15:09went up to the temple to pray what hour
15:11of the day is it it doesn’t say well
15:12actually if you know your Bible you know
15:14it’s three in the afternoon that’s the
15:17time of prayer at the temple three in
15:20the afternoon why well that’s the time
15:23of the evening sacrifice
15:25the evening sacrifice is a lamb
15:28sin offering
15:30offered at three in the afternoon while
15:31the priests are performing their duties
15:33and you can hear the lamb bleeding and
15:36then the Lamb’s throat is slit and it
15:39bleeps no longer
15:41and there’s blood
15:44right while this is going on the prayers
15:46are ascending
15:48why because God is being merciful
15:50because a sacrifice has been given this
15:54is why they’re at the temple praying and
15:56you know what the tax the Pharisees
15:57doing why his prayer he’s saying I don’t
16:00need that sacrifice but that sacrifice
16:03that’s going on is pointing to the one
16:04true sacrifice Jesus Christ
16:08but there’s a tax collector in the wrong
16:11place I mean would we want him here at
16:15right somebody as nefarious as this he’d
16:18probably be sitting right in the back
16:20over there
16:23and it says he couldn’t even lift his
16:25eyes to heaven
16:28shame of his sin
16:30weighed on him
16:32God’s law had done its work
16:34he knew he was guilty
16:40he would not even look up to heaven
16:42he beat his breast
16:46that is a way of dishonoring yourself in
16:48a male dominated on our culture
16:51he beat his breast
16:54and unfortunately the English
16:55translation doesn’t quite capture it
16:58God have mercy on me a sinner is what he
17:02it’s a little bit stronger than that God
17:04be propitious towards me
17:07a sinner
17:10by saying be propitious towards me it’s
17:12clear what he’s pointing to
17:15is the sacrifice because God is only
17:17propitious God’s Wrath is only
17:22through a sacrifice
17:23without the shedding of blood there is
17:25no forgiveness of sins
17:27God be propitious
17:30towards me
17:31a sinner
17:35it’s his only prayer
17:38all he says is I’ve got nothing
17:41it doesn’t matter what good deeds I
17:43thought I’ve done
17:45they’re all garbage
17:49and guilty have mercy
17:51and Jesus says of the tax collector that
17:56that man rather than the Pharisee
17:59went home
18:03before God
18:05Justified means to be declared righteous
18:11so the tax collector is worthless little
18:14short prayer
18:16saying that he’s a sinner and ask God
18:18for mercy
18:19goes home Justified
18:22and Jesus ends with this punchline for
18:24everyone who exalts himself will be
18:26he who humbles himself
18:29will be exalted
18:31in other words the Pharisee ends up
18:33burning in Hell the tax collector has
18:37eternal life
18:42would you realize to sin
18:44and the Pharisee foolishly thought
18:46because he was so busy doing religious
18:49things he didn’t need to be forgiven
18:54that’s deception of the worst kind
18:57self-deception here again Joel
19:00even now declares the Lord
19:03return to me with all your heart
19:05fasting with weeping and Mourning
19:09Rend your heart
19:11not your garments
19:14return to the Lord your God for he is
19:17gracious and merciful
19:20to anger
19:22and abounding and steadfast love
19:25and he relents from sending Calamity who
19:28knows he may turn and have pity and
19:31leave behind a blessing
19:34in this Lenten season
19:37let us Rend our hearts not our garments
19:41let us think and Ponder and meditate
19:46on why Christ had to go to the cross and
19:51it was for your sins
19:53and mine
19:56let us never forget
19:58the side of Christ’s return
20:00what those sins are and what they were
20:04so that we would never exalt ourselves
20:06but always humbly receive Christ’s
20:09forgiveness as a gift and then humbly
20:12love and serve our neighbor pray for
20:15support them in their needs and fast on
20:18their behalf
20:20but never let them know that we’re doing
20:23doing it for ourselves like Christ
20:26who served us we now serve them in the
20:30name of Jesus Amen
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