Sermon Transcript – Even More Foolish Than Starting a Land War in Asia

1 Year Lectionary – Sixth Sunday After Trinity – Sunday, July 24, 2022 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
Intro bumper
Time StampTranscript
0:27The holy gospel according
0:29to saint matthew the 5th chapter
0:32[Music]
0:40Jesus said
0:41for i tell you unless your righteousness
0:43exceeds that of the scribes and the
0:45pharisees you will never enter the
0:47kingdom of heaven you have heard that it
0:49was said to those of old you shall not
0:51murder and whoever murders will be
0:52liable to judgment but i say to you
0:55everyone who is angry with his brother
0:56will be liable to judgment whoever
0:58insults his brother will be liable to
1:00the council whoever says you fool will
1:03be liable to the hell of fire for if you
1:06are offering your gift to the altar and
1:08there remember that your brother has
1:09something against you leave your gift
1:12there before the altar and go first be
1:15reconciled to your brother and then come
1:18and offer your gift come to terms
1:20quickly with your accuser while you are
1:22going with him to court lest your
1:24accuser hand you over to the judge and
1:26the judge to the guard and you be put in
1:28prison truly i say to you you will never
1:31get out until you have paid the last
1:33penny this is the gospel of the lord in
1:36the name of jesus
1:38all right here’s the words of christ i
1:40tell you unless your righteousness
1:42exceeds that of the scribes and the
1:44pharisees you will never
1:47enter the kingdom of heaven
1:50how you all doing on that by the way
1:52how’s your righteousness working out
1:53you’ll note that our sinful nature
1:56our old adam is um not exactly
1:59spiritually adept not exactly keen on
2:02figuring things out our old nature hears
2:05these words unless your righteousness
2:07exceeds that of the scribes and the
2:09pharisees it goes out and says well sure
2:12i can do that
2:14in fact not even really thinking about
2:16the implications of it i would note it’s
2:19as foolish as trying to start a land war
2:21in asia
2:23or worse
2:25starting a battle of the wits with a
2:27sicilian when death is on the line
2:29it’s it’s it’s even worse than that i
2:32mean setting out to establish your own
2:34righteousness is a lot like a redneck
2:36sitting out in a lawn chair in his
2:38driveway and he sees a dangerous
2:39situation and says hold my beer
2:42it doesn’t
2:43work and you’ll note that the annals of
2:46human history and of church history are
2:48littered with the corpses of men
2:51women and entire church bodies who’ve
2:54set about to establish their own
2:57righteousness
2:59and it never ends well for them ever and
3:01i would note in in our day and age y’all
3:03remember westboro baptist church you
3:06guys remember those yeah shirley phelps
3:09roper and the phelps family
3:11they were notorious for picketing places
3:14in like the most cringy of situations
3:17when we were at war in in the middle
3:19east when coffins would come back with
3:22military dead they would they would
3:24protest the funerals
3:26and they would hold up signs saying that
3:28god hates america and god hates these
3:31people and god hates that people right
3:34apparently god was always really cheesed
3:36off there was no love of god in in their
3:38church so i thought it would be a wise
3:40idea i invited shirley phelps roper onto
3:43the fighting for the faith podcast
3:45boy that was fun and in the very first
3:47few minutes of that podcast
3:50asked a couple of questions of shirley
3:52phelps rover where in an unguarded
3:55moment she admitted that she is not
3:58sinless
3:59that she still sins
4:01and then at the right time in the
4:03interview we were talking about their
4:05behavior and the things they were doing
4:07and then i reminded her of what she said
4:09that she herself is not sinless and
4:13i heard a click
4:14and she disappeared that was the end of
4:16the interview
4:18so
4:18all of that being said i know a thing or
4:20two about trying to establish my own
4:24righteousness and i’m going to note
4:25something here
4:27it can’t work for us
4:29it will never work for us and so we are
4:32stuck the words of christ must be taken
4:34literally unless your righteousness
4:36exceeds that of the scribes and the
4:38pharisees you will never enter the
4:40kingdom of heaven christ is not speaking
4:42in hyperbole here and unless your
4:44righteousness does exceed that of the
4:46scribes and pharisees and by the world’s
4:48standards and by the standards of
4:50self-righteousness
4:52the pharisees man they were way up there
4:54i mean not only did they tithe
4:57and obey god’s commands they created
4:59like a whole bunch of other commands
5:01that if you kept those commands you’d
5:02never break god’s commands and then as
5:04far as tithing is concerned these guys
5:06even tied like 10 of their herbs in
5:09their garden or as my friends would say
5:11in the uk herbs i don’t know why they
5:12call it that herbs in the garden ten
5:14percent of the herbs man
5:16and so you’ll know that by the way the
5:19world looks at righteousness and people
5:21who are holy and do-gooders and things
5:24like that the pharisees are way up there
5:27way up there and as well as for me i’m
5:30kind of just merely mortal
5:32um
5:33i tried this and it never really
5:35succeeded and there’s a reason for it if
5:38think of it this way what was the
5:40purpose of the law why was it given
5:43was it given for us to say all right
5:45here’s ten rungs of a ladder all we
5:48gotta do is climb those ten rungs of
5:51this ladder and then we’re in we show up
5:54into heaven and god says well done way
5:56to go
5:57you move over jesus this you know
6:00somebody else is ascended here right
6:03that’s not the purpose of the law
6:05paul is very clear the purpose of the
6:08law is to show us our sin
6:11it is a diagnostic tool to let you know
6:15that you are steeped in ungodliness and
6:18iniquity and you say they go but i’m
6:19really not that bad yeah i know the
6:21black knight from monty python said the
6:24same thing it’s a mere flesh wound right
6:26but it it’s worse than you can possibly
6:28imagine let’s just walk through these
6:30commandments shall we so god says you
6:33will have no other gods before me first
6:35commandment we should fear love and
6:37trust in god above all things and here’s
6:40the rub
6:42have you noticed that life is hard
6:44have you noticed that it’s filled with
6:45difficulty and then all of a sudden
6:47things are going okayish but as they’re
6:49going okay and all of a sudden a huge
6:51emergency pops up right maybe it’s that
6:54you can’t pay your bills because you
6:56can’t afford the gas anymore for your
6:58truck inflation has made it so that
7:00you’ve taken a hit financially and
7:02you’re in dire distress because you
7:04cannot figure out how to get the ends to
7:06meet right
7:08and so what do you do what do you do you
7:10turn to a bottle of booze and you
7:12disappear into the bottle or maybe you
7:14decide that you’re just going to
7:16run away and do netflix and non-stop and
7:20lose sleep
7:21you’ll note that whatever it is that you
7:23turn to
7:24to comfort you
7:26to assuage your anxieties
7:29that literally is your god
7:32and you’ll note that in human
7:35ways of thinking people have made all
7:37kinds of weird things their deities from
7:40money sex power to drugs you know just
7:44the list goes on and on even etsy can be
7:47a drug you got to be careful with that
7:48etsy stuff i’m just i’m saying you know
7:51it could it could be a false deed it’s
7:53the thing that you turn to food and
7:55shopping and stuff like this so all that
7:57being said um
7:59i think we can clearly say that we’ve
8:01established that each and every one of
8:03us we are
8:04guilty of idolatry
8:07that’s most certainly true
8:10next one you shall not take the name of
8:11the lord your god in vain
8:13and the lord will not hold him guiltless
8:15who takes his name in vain and this is
8:17always like to point out this is the
8:19pastor’s sin a lot of people don’t think
8:21of it in these terms but we also are
8:23guilty if you’re of layman of doing
8:25similar things along this line so have
8:27you ever said things like well you know
8:30the god i believe in you know i just
8:32believe that certain things are this way
8:34and that god is this way and that he
8:35would never do that thing and always the
8:37thing that god would never do is punish
8:39sinners for actually sinning right we
8:42find some way of retooling things so
8:44that evil now becomes love evil looks
8:47good right and you sit there and this is
8:49the deity i believe and you teach others
8:51this oh that’s a great way of looking at
8:53it we can just abandon the word of god
8:56here because you’ve come up with a great
8:57opinion right
9:00yeah that’s called blasphemy
9:02it’s a breaking
9:03of the second commandment
9:06and then let’s if i looked at the church
9:08attendance records do we keep attendance
9:10here i i just wonder you know the third
9:12commandment remember the sabbath day to
9:14keep it holy
9:16yeah we should fear and love god so that
9:17we do not despise preaching in his word
9:21but hold it sacred
9:23gladly hear
9:25and learn it
9:27ever woken up on a sunday and went
9:30you know it’s kind of nice outside you
9:31know it’s not freezing right now and
9:33man those catfish are calling from the
9:35red you know and
9:37right and you’re thinking you know i
9:39just i’d rather than go to church you
9:41know what what i should do is like pack
9:43up the car and maybe head off to the
9:44lake right
9:47and then
9:48you missed a sunday and and another
9:50sunday and a few sundays together and oh
9:53yeah you’re really well rested when you
9:55come back
9:57right
9:58but you’re going to note here you’ve
9:59chosen
10:01other things above the word of god when
10:03you do that or when you look at your
10:05watch and say rose bro how long is the
10:07sermon going to be man you know
10:10right
10:11people have done that to me by the way
10:13right
10:14yeah you’ll note that despising god’s
10:16word not wanting to hear it and learn it
10:18that’s the breaking of the third
10:20commandment how about this one honor
10:21your father and your mother you say well
10:23i i’ve got that one down mom i know
10:26she’s a little loony but we treat her
10:27kindly and dad of course he’s now passed
10:29into glory and so i’ve got this one
10:31covered right i said there well
10:34wait a second here this also applies to
10:37anybody who’s in authority over you
10:39you’ll note that all authorities even
10:41governmental authority gets its
10:42authority from god through the families
10:45so let me let me ask you um have you
10:47dishonored the president
10:52all right
10:54this is getting a little uncomfortable
10:56right
10:57yeah i
10:58may ever may not be guilty of doing such
11:00things how about your boss do you have a
11:02boss
11:03right you know that guy who always makes
11:05these really stupid decisions right and
11:09and you’re sitting there going why
11:10hasn’t hr sacked this right that
11:13guy right
11:14you’ll know you’ve broken another
11:15commandment when you do this we’ll talk
11:17about that one too so you’re going to
11:19note honoring your father and mother
11:20extends to your
11:23yes so we’re all guilty of that you
11:25shall not murder you you’ll note that in
11:26our gospel text
11:28which had no gospel in it at all
11:32this was i was so tempted to say this is
11:34the law of the lord you know praise to
11:36you o christ right yes so tempted but
11:39you’ll note christ he talking about
11:42murder
11:43you know
11:44let’s find out if we’re a bunch of
11:45murderers in here we got to be careful
11:46how we say that because this is being
11:48recorded we don’t want the authorities
11:49to show up we also have to nuance this
11:51stuff here but to christ he takes the
11:54law and have you ever talked to somebody
11:56and you said
11:57they said something like you know you
11:59know i know it says thou shalt not steal
12:01but it’s only stealing and it’s only a
12:03sin if you get caught right have you
12:05ever talked to anybody like this i
12:06actually work with a guy like that he
12:08didn’t he didn’t stay in the job very
12:10long for obvious reasons but all of that
12:12being said you get people who basically
12:14say listen as long as you haven’t really
12:16pulled the trigger blown their head off
12:19or stabbed them and they’ve stopped
12:21breathing you’re not guilty of murder
12:23jesus has a completely different view on
12:25this and we’re going to note since he
12:27rose from the dead we might be wise to
12:30adopt his view he says you’ve heard that
12:32it was said to those of you of old you
12:35shall not murder whoever murders will be
12:36liable to judgment so jesus now in a
12:39true spinal tap moment takes the law and
12:41cranks it to 11. he says but i say to
12:44you
12:45everyone who is angry with his brother
12:48will be liable to judgment whoever
12:51insults his brother will be liable to
12:53the council whoever says you fool will
12:55be liable to the hell of fire
12:58[Music]
13:00oops
13:02yeah
13:04and then what about this do you have any
13:07unreconciled anger
13:09towards your brother or maybe your
13:11brother is angry at you and you haven’t
13:13reconciled with him and you’re the one
13:16who needs to fix things remember a few
13:18weeks ago i said that i was going to
13:20talk about this topic i knew it was
13:21coming up in this text so if if you’re
13:24suffering or people don’t like you
13:26because you’re a jerk
13:27you’re not suffering for jesus you’re
13:30suffering because you’re a jerk that’s
13:32how this works so when you have sinned
13:35against somebody
13:37you need to go and reconcile
13:40with that person and jesus gives the
13:43example if you’re offering a gift at the
13:45altar a lot of people talk about this in
13:46terms of communion it’s not really
13:48directly talking about communion it has
13:50implications along those lines but there
13:52you are you’ve sinned against your
13:54brother you’ve done him harm you’ve done
13:56him wrong and you show up at church i’ve
13:58got a gift for you god
14:01uh-huh right
14:03god’s really not interested in your gift
14:05at the moment he says you you remember
14:07that your brother has something against
14:08you you’re gonna leave your gift there
14:10leave it there before the altar and then
14:12go
14:13get out of here first you’re gonna need
14:14to be reconciled to your brother and
14:16then come offer your gift come to terms
14:19quickly with your accusers while you’re
14:21going with him to court lest your
14:22accuser hand you over to the judge and
14:24judge to the guard you get the idea here
14:27right so um let’s let’s let’s kind of
14:29review where we were in these
14:31commandments here you shall not murder
14:33uh
14:35yeah it’s true um y’all are a bunch of
14:37murderers
14:39a bunch of idolatrous
14:41blasphemous
14:43sabbath sabbath-breaking
14:45parent dishonoring
14:46murderers
14:48do i need to go on about adultery sit
14:50there and go well i’ve been faithful to
14:52my wife that’s fine that’s great but if
14:54you’ve ever looked at anybody lustfully
14:56you’re an adulterer
14:58that means we’re all that
15:00do not steal do not bear false witness
15:03against your neighbor
15:05oy
15:05gossip it’s a big thing here it’s a big
15:08social media runs on it
15:11it’s also like jet fuel out here in the
15:13middle of nowhere but yeah that’s a sin
15:16how about coveting you know the coveting
15:19sit there and go well coveting is a
15:21thing that occurs right here in your
15:23heart you don’t even have to do anything
15:25you just got to look at your neighbor’s
15:27combine and go
15:29right
15:31man i
15:32wish i had that
15:34right every year when apple has their
15:36big premieres to explain what new
15:38technology is coming out i have this
15:41deflated feeling afterwards going the
15:43computer i bought last year is so
15:46inferior
15:48right
15:49coveting it’s yeah
15:52so
15:53yeah well so let’s kind of just hang
15:55this out here
15:58you all
15:59do not have any righteousness that you
16:01can boast of
16:03neither do i
16:05in fact y’all are a mess and so am i
16:08so christ’s words
16:10though what do we do with them
16:13unless your righteousness exceeds that
16:14of the scribes and the pharisees
16:16you will never
16:19never
16:20enter the kingdom of heaven well that
16:22rules out universalism by the way you
16:24know some people will never enter the
16:27kingdom of heaven so what are we to do
16:29well here is where i have to cheat a
16:31little bit i can’t exactly use these
16:33these texts as you know exodus law
16:36romans is talking about sanctification
16:38and a baptismal reality that is true for
16:40all christians and then our gospel text
16:43well that was all
16:45law
16:47so we’re going to have to do a little
16:48bit a bible study shall we
16:50and so we’re going to note that long ago
16:53in the prophet jeremiah
16:56talking about a future reality that was
16:59coming the days of the new covenant in
17:02jeremiah 23 starting at verse 5 jeremiah
17:05prophesied all these centuries millennia
17:08ago behold the days are coming declares
17:11yahweh
17:12when i will raise up for david a
17:14righteous branch
17:16he shall reign as king and he will deal
17:19wisely he shall execute justice and
17:23righteousness in the land and in his
17:26days judah will be saved israel will
17:28dwell securely and this is the name by
17:30which he will be called
17:33yahweh
17:34is our righteousness
17:37this is a prophecy regarding christ
17:40and here we hear that term righteousness
17:43and it’s important because the name by
17:46which christ will be called in this
17:48prophecy is yahweh is our righteousness
17:52we’ve heard from the prophet isaiah
17:54those important words that he was
17:57pierced for our transgressions he was
17:59bruised for our iniquity the
18:00chastisement the punishment that brought
18:03us peace with god was upon him and that
18:05god had laid on him jesus
18:09the iniquity
18:11of all of us
18:13and so you’ll note there’s something
18:15important that has happened
18:17god has made christ to be
18:20sin
18:22he has borne your sin in his body on the
18:25cross he languished on the cross being
18:28nailed to it having been scourged
18:31bleeding out
18:32suffering
18:33pain
18:35and the agony of having being separated
18:37from his father when
18:38he cries out my god my god why have you
18:41forsaken me this was all because your
18:43sin and mine were laid on him
18:45but you’ll note that in our epistle text
18:48we hear that when we were baptized we
18:51were baptized into christ’s death and
18:54into his resurrection we were buried
18:56therefore with him and we will also be
18:58raised with him and the most amazing
19:01thing has happened and that is is that
19:03we have had our sin taken off of us and
19:06imputed to christ
19:08and by faith now
19:10his
19:11sinless righteousness
19:13is given to us
19:15indeed
19:16jesus is
19:18our righteousness
19:21and now we begin to see it
19:23there’s there’s a way out of it because
19:25i can’t climb my way up through the law
19:28something else has to give
19:31paul writes it this way before faith
19:34came we were all held captive under the
19:36law we were imprisoned until the coming
19:38faith would be revealed so then the law
19:41was our guardian until christ came in
19:44order that we might be justified
19:46by faith
19:48is the law then contrary to the promise
19:50of god certainly not paul says if a law
19:53had been given that could give life
19:55then righteousness would indeed be by
19:58the law
19:59and the point is
20:00righteousness isn’t by the law
20:02try as you might
20:04be as sincere as you can
20:07struggle with sin be intentional really
20:10go out there and try to conquer it and i
20:13assure you you’re going to fall flat on
20:15your
20:16face
20:17it doesn’t work like that and if you
20:20think that you’re going to be able to
20:22take your little
20:24well
20:26muddy yucky sin-filled good works
20:30because every one of our good works is
20:32still sinful and hold them up to god and
20:34say hey look god
20:36you should let me into heaven
20:38you got another thing coming in fact a
20:41good way to think about it is this
20:43is that each and every one of us
20:46not only were we conceived and born in
20:48sin as we sung in our hymns today this
20:50is absolutely true even though we are in
20:53christ
20:54we still have a sinful nature to contend
20:56with
20:57and trying to fight that thing on our
21:00own or somehow earn salvation is as
21:03foolish as something i used to do when i
21:05was a kid back in the day
21:07you lived in southern california um
21:10we it was pretty much just sunny in 70
21:12like all the time except for when it was
21:14hot it was glorious but during the
21:16during the summers my parents would take
21:17us to the beach right and so this is the
21:20days before i was a teenager and i
21:21discovered girls because you know you
21:23know before that girls were just icky
21:25they had cooties you know you just kind
21:27of avoided them at all costs and you
21:28know because they would embarrass you so
21:30when we would go to the beach i would do
21:32this interesting thing if we would go to
21:34the beach and it was low tide
21:39there we go if we went to the beach and
21:41it was low tide
21:42what i would end up doing is is i would
21:44go out to where the kind of the surf
21:46line was and then just back up a little
21:48bit and i would create a sand fortress
21:51all right i’d dig a hole and i’d put up
21:53the walls and i’d put these water
21:55channels and and stuff like that and i
21:57basically defy the surf to destroy my
22:01sand fortress right
22:03and you know it only takes a few hours
22:04the low tide event eventually starts to
22:06go the other way and high tide starts
22:08coming in
22:09you know what happened to every single
22:11one of my my sand fortresses
22:14decimated just
22:16right
22:17trying to save yourself by your good
22:19works
22:21is a lot like that
22:23you might start off well have the best
22:25intentions and the best strategy
22:27but nothing’s going to hold the tide
22:29back
22:30nothing is going to keep that thing from
22:32being decimated
22:34and so we dare not try to establish
22:37our righteousness by our good works
22:41and unless your righteousness exceeds
22:43that of the scribes and pharisees you’re
22:45doomed and so you’ll know christ is our
22:48righteousness paul himself speaks of
22:51that very thing in philippians chapter
22:543. in philippians chapter 3 he makes it
22:57so clear that he tried
23:01as a jew to establish his righteousness
23:04by being obedient to god’s law as a
23:07hebrew as a pharisee a persecutor of the
23:10church and he concludes that whatever
23:13gain i had i count that as a loss for
23:15the sake of christ indeed i count
23:17everything as a loss because of the
23:19surpassing worth of knowing christ jesus
23:21my lord
23:22and for his sake for jesus sake i’ve
23:25suffered the loss of all things and i
23:27count them all all of my good works all
23:29of my attempts at establishing my
23:31righteousness i count them as rubbish so
23:34that i may gain christ and be found in
23:36him and hear the important words
23:39not
23:40having a righteousness of my own that
23:43comes from the law
23:46but that which comes through faith in
23:49christ
23:50this is the righteousness
23:53from god and it depends on faith and
23:57that’s what christ is offering to all of
24:00us a righteousness that exceeds that of
24:03the scribes and the pharisees because it
24:05is the very sinless righteousness of
24:07jesus himself
24:09that is imputed to you given to you as a
24:12gift not by your works but by faith
24:16trusting in the promises of god indeed
24:19jeremiah’s prophecy has come true christ
24:22is king of kings and lord of lords all
24:24authority in heaven on earth has been
24:26given to him and we dare not call him by
24:29any other name than
24:31he is our righteousness
24:34and so good news brothers and sisters
24:37although god’s law rightly is condemned
24:39each and every one of us today and it
24:42will condemn us tomorrow it will condemn
24:44us next week and should the lord tarry
24:46on into next year
24:48this is it’s its job is to condemn and
24:51show us our sin there is another word
24:53from god and it is not the law of god it
24:55is not the word spoken from sinai that
24:57just terrorized the people of israel
25:00when they were at mount sinai this is a
25:02word of comfort
25:04a word of peace a word of reconciliation
25:07and it’s for you yes even you don’t
25:10think that you’re beyond this grace and
25:12mercy of god for christ has bled and
25:14died for the sins of the whole world and
25:16that includes you
25:18so trust jesus trust this promises you
25:22now having been baptized into his death
25:25into his resurrection you are clothed in
25:27the righteousness of christ take heart
25:30your righteousness exceeds far exceeds
25:34the righteousness of the scribes and
25:36pharisees in fact the righteousness that
25:38you possess by faith
25:40is perfect
25:43you are blessed you are forgiven you are
25:46reconciled you are not among those who
25:49will never see eternal life you are
25:51those who have it guaranteed
25:54by the one who conquered death himself
25:57in the name of Jesus
25:58amen
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