Sermon Transcript – Eat, for the Journey is Too Great for You

Series B – Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost – Sunday, August 9, 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 John chapter 6 verses 35-51
0:36then Jesus declared I am the bread of life he who comes to
0:41me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty
0:47but as I told you you have seen me and still you do not believe all that the father gives me will come
0:54to me whoever comes to me I will never drive away for I have come down from heaven not to
1:00do my will but to do the will of him who sent me and this is the will of him who sent me that I shall lose none of all
1:08that he has given me but raise them up at the last day for my father’s will is that everyone
1:14who looks to the son and believes in him shall have eternal life and I will raise
1:19him up at the last day now at this the Jews began to Grumble about him because he said I am the bread
1:25that came down from heaven they said is this not Jesus the son of Joseph whose
1:31father and mother we know how can he now say I came down from heaven
1:36stop grumbling among yourselves Jesus answered no one can come to me unless the father
1:42who sent me draws him and I will raise him up at the last day it is written in the prophets they will
1:49all be taught by God everyone who listens to the father and learns from him comes to me no one has seen the
1:56father except the one who is from God only he has seen the father I tell you the truth he who believes has
2:03everlasting life I am the bread of life your forefathers ate the Manna in the
2:08desert yet they died but here is the bread that comes down from heaven which a man may eat and not
2:16die I am the living bread that came down from heaven if anyone eats of this bread
2:21he will live forever and this bread is my flesh which I will give for the life
2:27of the world in the name of Jesus all right now please tell me that
2:33everybody here has seen the Rocky movies at least the original ones right because I’m finding out as I’m getting older
2:39that a lot of the movies I watched as a kid you can’t assume that everybody has seen them it’s the weirdest thing but we
2:46all know what happens in the Rocky movies the the first one Rocky one you know you have Rocky Balboa the Southpaw
2:52from Philadelphia you know this nobody kind of a loser who gets this bizarre chance you know to actually fight the
2:59world champion and he doesn’t win but he actually puts up quite a fight you know they end up going the distance and then
3:06in Rocky II he wins right and now we know what happens in Rocky 3 and Rocky 3 well he’s got endorsement deals he’s on
3:13the cover of Time Magazine GQ Sports Illustrated he’s making commercials for
3:19you know name the product and and he everybody knows Rocky’s name right well you’re going to notice something
3:26here that in our Old Testament text Elijah had just defeated the prophets of the
3:34all and Ashira at Mount Carmel and rather than going on a speaking tour writing a book and getting endorsement
3:40deals he we find him fleeing for his life this is quite the opposite of what
3:46we would expect and in this text from our Old Testament we hear the words of Jesus and yes it is Jesus and I’ll
3:53explain this in a little bit Jesus says to Elijah rise and eat for the journey is too great for you
3:59it’s too great for you this is one of the things I love about scripture is that it doesn’t teach a
4:06Theology of Glory teaches the Theology of suffering and it teaches that God is really the
4:11one who’s in control of things and he’s the one winning the victories not us and
4:17when you understand that you run to understand just how weak you are and how dependent upon God you are in fact what
4:24we find happening after Mount Carmel is the exact opposite of what we would expect to happen especially in our
4:30society and so with that I would like you to open up your Bibles to First Kings chapter 18. I want to walk us
4:37through what leads up to our Old Testament today today and I’m going to
4:43then tie that in with our new testament text now if you’re not familiar with the story it’s one of the more famous
4:48stories in the Bible The Showdown at Mount Carmel in case you’re not familiar with what
4:54was happening at the time in the northern kingdom well the people of Israel they had abandoned worship of God
5:01and they were worshiping idols and the king of Israel Ahab had married a woman
5:08whose name literally is pronounced Jezebel which means she’s the princess of ba’al
5:14her father apparently was a high priest when it comes to the religion of Baal
5:19and if you’re not familiar with ba’al worship well but all is the lord of the
5:25air the sky he is supposedly the God who brings us the rain right and that makes
5:31the crops grow he’s a super important in the pantheon of false gods and well
5:38Jezebel she’s all about him and part of the practice of worshiping ball involves
5:44child sacrifice you think abortion is bad try sacrificing a living infant to a
5:51false god this is all part of the religion of all and of course the people of Israel have abandoned the worship of
5:58the one true God the one true God who brought them out of slavery put them in the land of promise and they’ve
6:05completely abandoned worship of him to the point where many prophets are being killed
6:10God is sending prophets and they’re killing them having nothing to do with them and so God calls the Prophet Elijah
6:18and he basically tells Elijah you let everybody know that it’s not going to
6:23rain in Israel until you say so you let everybody know so there’s a
6:28showdown now between Yahweh the one true God and but all this false deity and the
6:34way this is all going to go down you think but all brings the rain you’re wrong Yahweh is the one who brings the
6:40rain not ball and that’s what’s going on here this is to show and expose the
6:46false deity for what it is a false deity a false god and so Elijah no sooner
6:53makes the announcement that it’s not going to rain until he says so and then he disappears
7:00he literally disappears he goes and hides in a in a valley where
7:06there’s a brook and the Lord sends Ravens with meat to feed him and he’s drinking from the brook and then
7:11eventually the brook dries out because there’s no rain and so he goes and he lives with the Widow of Zarephath and
7:17while all this is going on every weekend in Israel on America on Israel’s Most
7:23Wanted they have Elijah’s face have you seen this man if you have please call King Ahab they
7:31didn’t really watch TV but you kind of get the idea right so Elijah has gone for three years no
7:38rain in Israel for three years and so we pick up at First Kings chapter 18 verse one here’s what it says after many days
7:45the word of Yahweh came to Elijah in the third year so it’s three years saying go show yourself to Ahab and then
7:53I will send rain upon the Earth God has had enough he’s made his point
7:58so Elijah went to show himself to Ahab now the famine was severe in Samaria and
8:04Ahab called Obadiah who was over the household now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly and when Jezebel cut off the
8:12prophets of Yahweh Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by 50s in a cave and fed them with bread and water
8:21so much for living the Victorious Christian Life right these men of God who served and
8:28prophesied the true words of Yahweh they were cut off by Jezebel and had to
8:35be hidden in a cave and basically fed meager portions out of obadiah’s own
8:40pocket if you would so ABA Ahab said to Obadiah go through the land to all the Springs of water to
8:46all the valleys perhaps we may find grass and save the horses and the mules alive and not lose some of the animals
8:53so they divided the land between them to pass through it Ahab went in One Direction by himself Obadiah went
8:59another Direction by himself and as Obadiah was on the way behold
9:04Elijah met him and Obadiah recognized him and fell on his face and said is it
9:10you my lord Elijah and he answered a design go tell your
9:15lord behold Elijah is here and then watch this response and he said how have I sinned that you would give
9:22your servant into the hand of Ahab to kill me Obadiah is afraid that God’s going to
9:28whisk Elijah away he’s been gone for three years and so he’s afraid that if
9:33he goes and reports to Ahab hey I found Elijah and Elijah doesn’t turn out to be
9:38there it’s off with his head right so he said how have I sinned that you would
9:43give your servant into the hand of Ahab to kill me the Lord your God as the Lord your God lives there is no Nation or
9:49Kingdom where my Lord has not sent to seek you and when they would say he is not here
9:55he would take an oath of the Kingdom or nation that they had not found you and
10:00now you say go tell your master behold Elijah’s here and as soon as I have gone
10:05from you the spirit of the Lord will carry you off I don’t know where and so when I come and tell Ahab that he cannot
10:12find you he’ll kill me although I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth has it not been told to my Lord
10:18what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Yahweh how I hit a hundred men of the lord of the Lord’s prophets
10:24by 50s in a cave and fed them with bread and water and now you say go tell your
10:30lord behold Elijah is here and he will kill me and Elijah said as Yahweh of
10:36hosts lives before whom I stand I will surely show myself to him today
10:43so but I went to meet Ahab and he told him and then Ahab went to meet Elijah
10:50pause here for a second I want you to note what sin does to a human being
10:57sin causes us human beings to believe that evil is good
11:02and that good is evil it causes us to think that black is
11:07white and Up Is Down and Down is up it totally discombobulates in an evil way
11:14and so we all know Ahab is evil we all know his wife Uber
11:19Evil all right this is I mean Disney characters like Maleficent have nothing on Jezebel
11:26I mean that and yet watch what happens when Ahab finally sees the man he’s been looking
11:33for for three years when Ahab saw Elijah abrahab said to him is it you you
11:40troubleer of Israel really Elijah’s the problem he’s the trouble of
11:48Israel the reason why it hasn’t rained is because you guys are worshiping a false
11:53god that doesn’t even exist you’re thinking that that false god but all is the one who brings the rain oh
12:00and you’re sacrificing small children to him in the process I’m the trouble of Israel that’s kind of
12:07what’s the subtext here so Elijah answered I have not troubled Israel but you have and your father’s house because
12:13you have abandoned the Commandments of Yahweh and have followed the balls
12:18in other words Elijah wasn’t one of these guys that had a coexist bumper sticker on his Prius
12:26right so now therefore send and gather all of Israel to me at Mount Carmel
12:32and the 450 prophets of all and the 400 prophets of ashirah who eat at Jezebel’s
12:40table we’re gonna have a showdown so Ahab sent to all the people of Israel gathered the
12:46prophets together at Mount Carmel and Elijah came near and all the people said
12:51and he said how long will you go limping between two different opinions and notice I mean Israel’s there they’re all
12:58at Mount Carmel CNN is there Fox News is there ever I mean New York
13:04Times all of the big newspapers are there this is a big deal
13:09this is The Showdown Yahweh versus ba’al this is what this is
13:16so he says how long will you go limping between two different opinions if the Lord is God follow him
13:22but if Paul will then follow him the people did not answer him a word
13:30stonehearted people they didn’t answer a word so then Elijah
13:35said to the people I even I own only am left a prophet of Yahweh but by all’s
13:41prophets are 450 men so let two bowls be given to us let them
13:47choose one bowl for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood but put no fire to it I will prepare the
13:55other Bowl lay it on the wood and put no fire to it and you call upon the name of
14:00your God and I will call upon the name of Yahweh and The God Who Answers by
14:05fire he is God and all the people answered it Is Well
14:11Spoken yeah we like this whoo there’s going to be fireworks right
14:16so then Elijah said to the prophets of all choose for yourselves One Bowl prepare it first for you are many call upon the
14:23name of your God put no fire to it and so they took the bowl that was given to them and they prepared it and called
14:31upon the name of ba’al from morning until noon saying oh but all answer us
14:39but there was no voice no one answered of course there wasn’t
14:45we’ve all heard this the saying the lights are on but no one’s home in this particular case there isn’t even
14:52a home let alone lights but all is the figment of somebody’s imagination
14:59human imagination or maybe a demonic one right there is no ball
15:05oh ball answer us but there was no voice no answer so they limped around the
15:11altar that they had made and here’s the best part at noon Elijah
15:17mocked them saying yes it does say that by the way the prophet of God was not
15:22into coexisting he was not going to give professional courtesy to ball he mocked the prophets of ba’al mock them
15:30oh and his mockings are great you want to talk some trash talk to some good trash talk right here
15:36‘s what it says cry louder he is a God right maybe he’s musing or perhaps he’s
15:44relieving himself and if you’re thinking does that mean
15:50what I think it means oh yeah Elijah mocked them and said where is your God oh maybe he’s busy in the
15:56bathroom taking a dump that’s not very holy that’s not very
16:03nice that’s not politically incorrect he’s hurting their feelings get over it
16:08they’re about ready to Enter Hell and God is judging them that’s what’s going on here
16:15cry louder me maybe he’s relieving himself or maybe he’s on a journey forgot to bring his GPS maybe he’s
16:22asleep and has to be wakened up oh Ball but oh wake up
16:27so they cried aloud they cried louder and they cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances until the
16:35blood gushed out upon them and his midday pass they raved on until
16:41the time of the offering of the oblation so about three in the afternoon there was no voice
16:47no one answered no one paid attention
16:54hmm do you think the scriptures teach that all religions lead to God
17:04no they don’t what is the first commandment you will have no other gods before me
17:10so the person who is telling you as a Christian oh I believe in a loving God
17:16and that all God all roads lead to God eventually Muslims are going to get to heaven
17:23Buddhists people who worship the sky and the Moon people who worship by all
17:31no these are idolaters they are breaking the first commandment you will have no
17:37other gods before me none because there are no other gods
17:42and if you don’t believe in trust in the one true God there is no hope for you
17:48none because your God the god of your own making he can’t save you
17:54if you say to yourself well the god I believe in would never do X Y or Z and X Y or Z has something to do with you know
18:00things like oh he would never send anybody to hell he would never condemn somebody for same-sex marriage you know
18:06the god I believe in is well name the thing right the gods you believe in is an idol and
18:13is is deaf and blind and busy on the toilet as but all is and he can’t save
18:19you at all the scripture here confronts us
18:25regarding our idolatries you will either believe and trust in the one true God
18:32or The God you believe in will have to be the one who saves you and good luck on that one because no one
18:38answers when the prophet saw Allah call on him so then Elijah said to all the people
18:44come near to me and the people came near to him and he repaired the altar of Yahweh that
18:50had been thrown down you know why it had been thrown down because they were all too busy worshiping that newfangled God
18:56by all so he repaired the altar of Yahweh Elijah took 12 Stones according to the
19:02number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob to whom the word of the Lord came saying Israel shall be your name and
19:09with the stones he built an altar in the name of Yahweh and he made a trench about the altar as Grace as would hold
19:16two Seas of seed he put the wood in order cut the bull in pieces laid it on
19:23the wood and he said fill four jars with water pour it on the burnt offering on
19:28the wood and he said do it a second time and they did it a second time he said do
19:34it a third time they did it a third time so this offering has now been baptized three
19:39times in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit drenched to the core the
19:47water ran down around the altar filled the trench with water and at that time
19:52at the time of the offering of oblation three in the afternoon the time when Jesus Cries Out
19:57my God my God why have you forsaken me it is finished
20:03and he gives up his Spirit at that time Elijah the prophet came near and said oh Lord God of Abraham Isaac and Israel let
20:10it be known this day that you are God in Israel that I am your servant
20:16and that I have done all these things at your word answer me O Lord answer me that this
20:22people might know that You O Lord Our God and that you have turned their hearts back
20:28then the fire of Yahweh fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood
20:35and the stones and the dust and looked up all the water that was in the trench
20:41all of that’s to let you know yeah this this offering wasn’t supposed to burn not only did it burn the wood burned the
20:49stones burned the dust burned everything burned this was as hot as it gets and which by the way that’s what a
20:56sacrifice is all about a sacrifice is a sin offering the burning of the sin offering well
21:03that involves typology that points you to the fires of hell you want to know what the fires of hell are like it’s
21:09like that fire that fell so when all the people saw this fire
21:15they fell on their faces and they said Yahweh he is God Yahweh he is God
21:26now the Mosaic Covenant which the people of Israel were required to be keeping at this time
21:31regarding false prophets do you know what the penalty is for a false prophet
21:38death you prophesy falsely you prophesy in the name of another God
21:44according to the civil law of the Mosaic Covenant the penalty for this is death
21:50and so now the prophets above all have been shown to be what they are false
21:55prophets and so Elijah enacts the well the punishments of the
22:04Mosaic Covenant upon the 450 false prophets of all and he says seize the
22:11prophets above all let not one of them Escape they seize them Elijah brought
22:16them down to the brook kishan and slaughtered them there
22:24you think gosh that seems so cruel and unusual so unfair really
22:31these prophets who are sending people to an eternal hell
22:37it’s unfair for God to execute Justice
22:44and so he did and by the way this is what all of us deserve for our
22:50idolatries but God is merciful to us and he’s kind
22:59so now the story continues remember it’s all about the rain
23:05the Lord told Elijah to let everybody know it’s not going to rain until you say so it hasn’t rained for three years and now Elijah said to Ahab go up eat
23:12and drink for there’s the sound of the rushing of rain so Ahab went to eat and to drink and Elijah went up to the top
23:19of Mount Carmel and he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees interesting way to
23:25pray kind of in the fetal position if you would he said do his servants go up and look toward the sea he went up and
23:31looked and said there is nothing and he said go again all right so he went again seven times
23:38and at the seventh time he said behold a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising
23:43from the sea he said go up and say to Ahab prepare your chariot and go down lest the rain stop you and in a little
23:50while the heavens grew black and the clouds and the wind and there was a great rain an Ahab rode and went to
23:57Jezreel and the Hand of Yahweh was on Elijah and he gathered up His Garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of
24:05Jezreel it’s a great story if it ends there you know you can say and he lived happily
24:10ever after we all know what happens with like a victory like this you get to do a
24:17Victory lap they put your face on on a post on a stamp you you go into towns
24:22and they throw parades for you and give you the keys to the city you get a book deal and you basically
24:28make a gazillion dollars and you retire rich and a hero of Heroes this is how
24:34this happens and they make statues and put put the statue of you in the center of town is this not what should happen
24:39here right but who really won the victory there
24:45that day was it Elijah no it was God
24:51you see Elijah was only doing what God told him to do Elijah had learned as a
24:56prophet you say only what God tells you to say you do only what God tells you to
25:02do and if God doesn’t give you a sure word you don’t act presumptuously
25:09now I wish the story continued with the
25:14repentance of Jezebel that would seem to be the thing that would make sense right
25:19because chapter 19 begins with this Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done
25:25and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword the next verse should read then Jezebel was cut to the heart
25:32and realized that ba’al was a false god and she put on sackcloth and Ashes and
25:39asked God to have mercy on her for worshiping such a demonic deity
25:46it’s not what happens is it then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah
25:53saying so may the gods do to me and more also if I do not make your life as the
26:01life of one of them by this time tomorrow you killed them I’m gonna kill you
26:10now commentators note this important little fact here is that Jezebel if she
26:15really wanted to she could have just sent a Detachment of soldiers and had Elijah killed on the spot why send
26:22Messengers it’s a good question well had she sent
26:27soldiers to take off his head he would have died a heroic martyr
26:32but by breathing out the murderous threats that she did it’s clear that her goal was just in
26:39some way to discredit power of Yahweh where is the power of Yahweh now to save
26:46you Prophet I’m coming after you and if he runs for his life he looks like there’s he has no power and Yahweh is
26:53discredited now had the Lord given a clear word to Elijah that he would save him from
27:01her no he hadn’t
27:06so when she breathes out her murderous threats the thing we would have expected him to do would basically so may the
27:13gods do to me and also if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow I wish it then said
27:20well you let Jezebel know that it’s on like Donkey Kong I’m gonna be here and
27:25The God Who just caused the fire to come down from heaven he’s gonna eat you up too
27:32but he had no word from the Lord telling him that did he and Elijah had heard and seen many of
27:40yahweh’s prophets killed by Jezebel good men who’s preached the truth
27:46and he had no a sure promise from God that he would be protected from her
27:53so he’s thinking rightfully so I better not presume that God’s going to save me
27:59so this explains why he does what he does so he was afraid
28:06without a word from God to comfort him without a promise that he can hang on he’s afraid
28:11so he rose and ran for his life and he came to bear Sheba which belongs
28:16to Judah and he left his servant there but he himself went a Day’s Journey Into the Wilderness and came and sat down
28:23under a broom tree not too much shade there and he asked that he might die
28:30saying it is enough now O Lord take away my life
28:35for I am no better than my fathers notice that even Elijah is humbled by
28:41everything that’s going on he doesn’t presume oh I’m the man of God you know God’s going to come to my
28:47rescue no he recognizes his own sinfulness he even sees his own stubborn heart in
28:54the stubborn actions of the people of Israel and in Jezebel I’m no better than my father’s I’m the
29:00same as them and he’s speaking the truth he was afraid and he wants to die
29:08so we lay down he slept under the broom tree and behold an angel and by the way this
29:15is Jesus I know this from the next verse an angel touched him and said arise and
29:20eat and he looked and behold there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water
29:28and he ate and drank and then he laid down again in the angel of the Lord that’s Jesus
29:35came again a second time and touched him and said arise and eat for the journey
29:41is too great for you truer words have never been spoken
29:50now I want you to think about this
29:55all the little victories that you have in your life or at least you seem to have is really
30:01God who wrought those and every week you go by and you live your life you’re beat up
30:07and I mean this you’re beat up by the world you’re beat up by the devil and his Temptations you’re beat up by your
30:14own sinful flesh and if you’re really honest with
30:21yourself you’ll recognize that there’s an ache
30:26and a creek and a tiredness to the fight
30:31how many of you are just tired fighting the devil the world and your
30:38own sinful flesh how many of you like me have thought
30:46I don’t know if I can keep going on like this death seems like a better bargain than going through this the Christian
30:52Life is Hard Paul in describing the Christian Life in Romans 7 says the things I don’t want to
30:59do I do the things I want to do I don’t do who will rescue me from this body of
31:06death you see folks the journey is too great for you too
31:13it’s too great for me none of us can do this
31:19and this is why Jesus gives us bread from heaven
31:25and that bread from Heaven is his own body and his own blood to sustain us on the journey
31:33and we learn from Elijah Elijah when Jesus said arise and eat for the
31:38journey is too great for you he Rose ate and drank
31:44and then he went in the strength of that food for 40 days and for 40 nights
31:50it’s Mount Horeb that’s Mount Sinai whatever was in that food it sustained
31:56him for 40 days and 40 nights 40 is kind of a big number in scripture but I’m not
32:01going to unpack that now but I want you to think of this from our text Jesus says I am the bread of life
32:09your fathers ate the Manna in the wilderness and they died this is the bread that comes down from
32:15heaven so that one may eat of it and not die I am the living bread that came down from heaven if anyone eats of the spread
32:21he will live forever and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh
32:29so Christ in our Wilderness Journeys this journey that is too great for us
32:35we do not have the strength needed to fight the devil the world or even our
32:41own sinful flesh and whereas Elijah was given bread from Heaven that sustained him for 40 days
32:47Christ feeds us with the bread from Heaven the true bread which is his body and blood
32:54to sustain us not for 40 days but to sustain us all the way to eternal
33:00life for the journey is too great for us it was too great for Elijah who knew
33:07that he was just like his fathers it’s too great for you who are just like your fathers it’s too great for me because I
33:14am just like mine all of us dead and trespasses and sins that’s how we’re born into this world
33:21all of us now alive in Christ but still have our sinful nature and old Adam to
33:26wrestle with the journey is difficult it’s hard and it’s too much for us and
33:31so Christ knows this and so he loves you he feeds you and he sustains you
33:37sustains you all the way to eternal life so trust and believe in this Jesus
33:44because we read in our pericope today that the Jews in hearing what Jesus had to say they did not believe him they
33:52were scandalized by what he said we know where his parents are isn’t this the son
33:57of Joseph don’t be like that
34:04believe receive Trust
34:09he will sustain you because the journey is truly too great for you
34:15in the name of Jesus amen
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