Sermon Transcript – God Shows No Partiality

Series B – Sixth Sunday of Easter – Sunday, May 9, 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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Time StampTranscript
0:23The holy gospel according to saint john
0:30the 15th chapter glory to you
0:37Jesus said as the father has loved me so have i loved you abide in my love if you keep my
0:43commandments you will abide in my love just as i have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love
0:48these things i have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full this is my
0:54commandment that you love one another as i have loved you greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life
1:00for his friends you are my friends if you do what i command you no longer do i call you servants
1:06for the servant does not know what his master is doing but i have called you friends for all that i have heard from
1:11the father i have made known to you you did not choose me but i chose you and appointed you that you should go and
1:17bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the father in my name he may give it to
1:23you these things i command you so that you will love one another this is the gospel of the
1:29lord in the name of Jesus god shows no partiality
1:36have you noticed that a lot of us are not like god in that sense we’re going to talk a little bit about
1:42racism today it’s a hot topic and it is absolutely out of bounds for anybody who is a Christian
1:48to show partiality towards anyone based upon how dark or light their skin
1:55is and you’re going to note here that the world’s solution to this is to become woke but being woke is a poor substitute
2:02in fact it’s a tawdry substitute for being regenerated by the work of the holy spirit and brought to penitent
2:08faith in Christ and through the power of the holy spirit obeying Christ’s command
2:14to love one another so with that we’re going to take a look at acts chapter 10
2:19in the fuller context of our first reading today and we’re going to note a little bit of history we’ll go back in time a smidge
2:26shall we and we’re going to note that jews didn’t really like gentiles and one
2:33might argue that they had really good reasons not to and we’ll see in our text today
2:39that not only did jews not like them they had laws that required segregation jews were not allowed to eat
2:46with gentiles so let’s go back in history a little bit shall we remember that the kingdom of judah they
2:52persisted in idolatry god sent prophet after prophet after prophet calling them to repentance
2:58after isaiah came jeremiah and jeremiah well he was the last prophet before they were hauled off
3:0470 years of cooling off a really long time out if you would in babylonian captivity and their time
3:11there didn’t really go so hot all right you had king nebuchadnezzar demanding
3:16that everybody in babylon worship this image that he had made in kind of glory to himself and then you
3:23had well that edict by by the king that they had to
3:28pray to only the king for a certain amount of time and then don’t even get me started on
3:34the whole esther affair and mordecai and things like that things didn’t go so well but when israel finally was able to
3:40return to israel to the promised land to judah well let’s just say it this way
3:48that they were a mere shadow of their former selves and as a result of it they were not in
3:54any position to fight off the historical empires that were about to rise in the time after the
4:00babylonian captivity most notably god raised up well none other than
4:06alexander the great and daniel prophesied about alexander the great alexander the great came and he
4:12conquered everything and when his armies showed up outside of jerusalem
4:17let’s just say that jerusalem and judah were in no position to put up a fight and so they sent out according to
4:23josephus they sent out the high priest dressed in all of his high priestly garb
4:29i mean with the ephod and the urum and the thuman and all the stones and everything he he came out and met with alexander the
4:36great in parlay and his words pretty much to uh alexander the great were
4:42we’ve been expecting you and he opens up the scroll of daniel and says he prophesied that you would
4:48come and so here you are and so we surrender without even a shot needing to be fired
4:54and from that time on the nation of israel kingdom of judah
5:01was a vassal state to other larger empires first to alexander the great
5:07then after his kingdom was chopped up and given to four different generals one one general had control over them
5:14and then well of course we all know how things went after that you have the rise of the roman empire
5:19and with the gentiles came what even more idolatry the greeks
5:25worshiped the greco-roman deities so did the romans they just borrowed the same deities and they worshipped them
5:30and so you had temples springing up in the holy land to zeus to athena to venus and mars and
5:38all these false gods and let’s just say that tensions kind of got a little high a little hot in fact one of the
5:46rulers of israel antiochus epiphanes he didn’t get along with the jews so much that he thought it would be a good
5:52idea to sacrifice a pig on the altar in jerusalem that didn’t go over very well if you
5:58want to read more about it you can read the story of the war of the maccabees in the apocrypha it’s well enlightening
6:03to say the least and so by the time we get to Jesus Christ in his life you’ll note that there was a group
6:10of fellows called zealots and Jesus one of his 12 disciples was called simon the zealot you might as well just
6:16put in simon the terrorists because that’s really what the zealots were they didn’t like the romans so much that
6:22they were really skilled at like making distractions out on the streets of jerusalem and then some poor unsuspecting private
6:29in the roman army would go and investigate and then next thing you know his throat would be opened with a knife and he’d be
6:36dead on the ground they were just terrible that way and so you’ll note that when it came to the
6:41jews the jews didn’t like them and so we get to the book of acts
6:48and you’ll note after pentecost all of these jews believe in Jesus Christ and then
6:54god cracked it open just a little bit more and the samaritans heard the gospel and
6:59god chose from among the samaritan’s people who would confess and believe in Jesus but up to this point there are no
7:07bonafide gentiles in the truest sense of the word as Christians and of course there are
7:12laws that prevent the apostles from talking to them from
7:18being in their homes and stuff like this and so at this point god the holy spirit has said enough because Jesus said go
7:25and make disciples of how many nations you know all of them every single one of
7:31them when it comes to Jesus Christ the forgiveness of sins we recognize a
7:36couple of things number one each and every one of us we were all born
7:41dead in trespasses and sins and there’s a reason for that every one of us has common ancestry
7:47doesn’t matter if you’re norwegian polish african you have asian descent we’re all come from the same family
7:54and that same family takes us right back through noah in his family and then all the way back to adam and
8:00eve in other words there is only one race it’s called the human race and Christ died for all and his love and his mercy
8:09and making people clean is something that he does for everybody god shows no
8:17partiality so here we read in acts chapter 10. a story there was a at caesarea there
8:23was a man named cornelius he’s a centaurian of what was known as the italian cohort
8:29now caesarea this is a town north of haifa on the mediterranean sea in ancient
8:35times known as caesarea maritima let’s just say it was a really nice zip code i mean if
8:40you lived there you were doing really well all right right by the ocean and cornelius he’s
8:45got a pretty good assignment he’s part of the italian cohort dude and as far as military posts go this is one
8:52that you really want to to get excited about and and he’s chosen to serve in the italian
8:57cohort but we also learned this about him he was a devout man and listen to the
9:02words who feared god now if you read your new testament and you
9:08ever hear about people who are described as god fearers what those are those are
9:14catechumens people who are studying to become jews these are
9:21catechumens of the jewish faith so cornelius has not yet been fully brought into fellowship
9:29as a jew but he comes to the synagogue he hears the word of god he also gives alms and he prays and so
9:35he’s a devout man he in his entire household so he’s catechizing his children too
9:41he gave alms generously to the people prayed continually to god and about the ninth hour of the day and
9:47i’m going to point this out too since we’re not having sunday school i’m gonna do a little longer sermon if you haven’t figured that out
9:53i always cheat when i can okay okay a little bit of a note here
9:58what time of the day is the ninth hour three in the afternoon all right so you’re going to note that
10:04throughout the new testament and the old testament there are specific times of the day when people normally
10:12pray and in the early ancient church if you confessed Jesus to be your savior
10:18and you didn’t at least pray three times a day at nine in the morning which is the third hour at noon which is the sixth
10:26hour and at three p.m which is the ninth hour you were suspect hmm is that person really even a
10:33Christian who ever heard of a Christian who doesn’t pray three times a day and so you’ll note that cornelius he’s praying at the ninth
10:39hour which is three pm which is the time of the evening sacrifice and is also the time when
10:44Jesus died on the cross that’s when Jesus died and so the reason why we
10:49pray as Christians at nine noon and three is well it’s a good way to remember at
10:55nine Christ was nailed to the cross at noon the sun was darkened and at three
11:00he died so he said that’s a good time to pray and so you know people are praying during these hours
11:06and you’ll see this with peter too so about the ninth of the day cornelius clearly saw in a vision an
11:12angel of god come in and say to him cornelius and he stared at him in terror and said
11:18what is it lord now by the way that’s the normal response when you come in contact with a holy
11:24angel terror so if you ever see somebody on youtube or on so-called Christian television
11:30talking about the fact that they had coffee with an angel last week and it was the best experience ever they’re lying to you the normal reaction
11:38when humans are in contact with holy angels is they are on the verge of losing control of their bladders
11:44because they’re so terrified that’s the idea here so cornelius says what is it lord and
11:50the angel said to him your prayers and your arms have ascended as a memorial before
11:56god ah what a great sentence all right have you ever felt like your
12:01prayers just bounce and ricochet off the ceiling you feel like you’re praying and whether
12:06or not god hears you he does prayer isn’t nothing prayer is almost everything and so here
12:14we have this beautiful beautiful revelation that god hears our
12:19prayers and he sees our good works that we do for our neighbors and so he says now
12:24send to joppa and bring one simon who is called peter he’s lodging with one simon a tanner
12:30whose house is by the sea and when the angel who spoke to him had departed he called two of his servants
12:35and devout and a devout soldier from among those who attended him and having related everything to them he
12:41sent them to joppa have you ever stopped to think well why didn’t the angel just preach the gospel to cornelius
12:47why because god has chosen that the gospel goes out by human beings
12:53and so you’ll note cornelius is sent to go hear the gospel that’s what he’s sent to
12:59do in in other words don’t expect an angel to show up and preach the gospel to your neighbor
13:04that’s your job it’s my job every one of us we believe because somebody another human being came to us
13:11and preached the gospel to us so that’s the normal way Christians are made so the next day as they were journeying
13:18and approaching the city peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray
13:23what time is it noon note there are standard times to pray it’s a
13:28good idea to embrace these concepts so he became hungry and wanted something to eat that’s normal at lunch time
13:36but while they were preparing it he fell into a trance and he saw the heavens open and something like a great sheet
13:41descending being let down by its four corners upon the earth and in it were all kinds of animals and
13:47reptiles and birds of the air and there came a voice to him saying rise peter kill and eat but he said by no means
13:54lord for i have never eaten anything that is common or unclean i’m looking at this going
14:00dude there’s lobster in there there’s bacon what are you thinking all right what’s what’s wrong with this
14:05picture well if you remember the jews in the mosaic covenant they were given strict orders about
14:11animals that they could eat there were animals that they are to consider clean and animals that they are considered
14:17to be unclean and all of that was to teach them to look and to make
14:23discerning decisions regarding those who are idolaters as opposed to those who are worshiping
14:30the one true god clean and unclean these are categories that you have to think in but the types and shadows
14:35point us to something a little bit different so he says by no means lord i’ve never
14:40eaten anything common or clean unclean and then the voice came to him a second time what god has made
14:46clean do not call common and this isn’t about bacon and it’s not
14:52about lobster it’s about human beings and here we’ve got to pay close attention to who’s
14:58doing the doing who is it that takes sinners like you and like me who were born dead in
15:03trespasses and sins and who is it that cleans us is it ourselves
15:08no it’s god god is the one who cleans us and he cleans us through the blood of
15:13Christ he cleans us by the sacrifice that Christ made
15:19who stood in our place bore our sin was made to be sin so that we can be
15:24reconciled to god and every single sinner who is brought to faith in Christ is made
15:30clean and therefore among the saints there is nobody who is common
15:36not a single one of us and so that’s an important distinction god shows no partiality he’s the one who’s cleaned us
15:43and you’ve heard the term saints and i’ve pointed it out before and i’ll reiterate it again
15:48the term for saint in the new testament is hagias and you are the hagio that’s the plural
15:54form of it and the hagio are the ones who are holy that’s what
15:59the saints are you are the holy ones none of us is common not a single one and for us to
16:07fail to love each other is a failure to recognize that god has made us clean
16:13and that god has made us holy and that among us there is nobody who is common
16:19god is the one who has cleaned us now this happened three times and then that sheep was taken at once back up to
16:25heaven now while peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean
16:31behold the men who were sent by cornelius having made inquiry for simon’s house stood at the
16:36gate now this had to be a little bit anxiety causing if you think of it this way a roman soldier is with them
16:42and so you’re just thinking oh there’s a knock on the door and there’s a roman soldier there uh oh i hope he has a
16:48warrant right did they even need warrants back in those days so they stood at the gate and they
16:54called out to ask whether simon who was called peter was lodging there and while peter was pondering the vision
16:59the spirit the holy spirit said to him behold three men are looking for you rise go down and accompany them without
17:06hesitation i have sent them so peter is left with no wiggle room
17:12at all direct orders from god the holy spirit go with them i sent them so peter went down to the
17:17men and said i’m the one you’re looking for what is the reason for your coming and they said cornelius a centurion and
17:24you can just see peter going uh-oh a gentile it’s you know one of them
17:31a centurion an upright and god-fearing man who is well spoken of by the whole jewish nation was directed by a holy
17:37angel to send for you to come to this house and to hear what you have to say
17:44so he invited them in to be his guests and already peter is beginning to break
17:49some of the rules the gentiles have now come into the house of somebody who is a jew
17:54so the next day peter rosen went away with them and some of the brothers from joppa accompanied him
18:00and on the following day they entered caesarea cornelius was expecting them and had
18:05called together his relatives and his close friends oh great a whole household
18:12full of them gentiles oh man how did the kids say it today
18:19awkward right yeah this there are so many rules being broken here it’s not even
18:26funny all right so when peter entered cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped
18:32him but peter lifted him up said stand up i to him a man you’ll note that peter the first pope wasn’t wearing a ring he
18:38didn’t expect cornelius to kiss it either yep he was just content to be like
18:44everybody else i am a mere man and that’s what we all are we are all equals
18:49and so peter lifted him up and as he talked with him he went in and found many persons
18:55gathered and he said to them you yourselves know how unlawful it is for a jew to
19:01associate with or to visit anyone of another nation but god has shown me that i should not
19:08call any person common or unclean in other words all right listen i’m breaking all the
19:14segregation laws here um but god is the one who’s responsible for
19:19this and he’s made it clear i should not call any person common or unclean it’s a tacit if you would
19:25almost confession of his own bigotry that he in the past has called gentiles
19:32common and unclean and now in their presence god having gathered them
19:37by the command of the holy spirit to hear the gospel he recognizes his own shortcoming that he has
19:43shown partiality so when i was sent for i came without objection so i asked then why have you sent me and
19:50so notice he doesn’t presume and he lets them explain the the details as to why the
19:55meeting has been called so cornelius speaks up and says four days ago about this hour i was praying
20:01in my house and at the ninth hour and behold a man stood before me in bright clothing and said cornelius
20:07your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before god send therefore to joppa and ask for
20:13simon who has called peter he’s lodging the house of simon a tanner by the sea so i sent for you at once and
20:19you have been kind enough to come now therefore we are all here in the presence of god
20:25to hear all that you have been commanded by the lord please share with us the message that
20:32god commanded me to hear and peter doesn’t hold back he preaches
20:39the exact message he preaches to everybody everywhere so peter opened his mouth and
20:44he said truly i understand that god shows no partiality what a great confession god does not
20:50show partiality you see god so loved the world every one of us that he gave his only begotten son that
20:57whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life so peter says i understand god shows no
21:04partiality but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is
21:09right is acceptable to him to fear god is to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins
21:15to fear god is to rightly believe that he is the one who has stood in your place and taken
21:22the wrath of god upon himself and then bearing fruit in keeping with repentance is doing what is right and
21:28acceptable to him as Christ says my commands are not burdensome and what is his command
21:33that we love one another now as for the word that he sent to israel preaching good news of peace
21:39through Jesus Christ he is lord of all you yourselves know what happened throughout all judea and here you can
21:45see peter is making an appeal to the very history that took place
21:50there among them just not that long ago they all remember that itinerant preacher Jesus and then
21:56beginning from galilee after the baptism that john proclaimed how god anointed Jesus of nazareth with
22:02the holy spirit and with power and he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by
22:09the devil what a beautiful picture of the works that Christ was doing healing all who were oppressed by the devil
22:15that’s you and me included for god was with him and we are witnesses of all that he did
22:20in both the country of the jews and in jerusalem and they put him to death by hanging him on a tree
22:26but god raised him on the third day and made him to appear not to all the people but to us who have been chosen by god as witnesses
22:33who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead and he commanded us to preach to the
22:39people and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by god to be the judge of the living and the
22:45dead and that statement in and of itself may cause a little bit of terror because well we all know we’re going to stand
22:51before Jesus someday but here’s the thing if he’s the judge he’s the one who also bled and died for
22:56you in other words this judge has cooked the books he’s taken your punishment upon himself so that the
23:02verdict that you and i all of us everybody in the world who trust and believes in him will hear
23:08rather than guilty will hear well done so to him all the prophets they bear
23:15witness that everyone jew and gentile samaritan slave or free rich or poor
23:23everyone who believes in Jesus receives the forgiveness of sins through his name
23:32every one of us when it comes to Jesus he doesn’t look at your skin
23:38he doesn’t look at your nationality he doesn’t look at the language that you speak and say yeah
23:44no forgiveness for you no everyone who believes in him receives
23:50the forgiveness of sins through his name and peace with god and a right standing before the judge of the earth Jesus
23:57himself and while peter was still saying these things preaching the gospel
24:03the holy spirit fell on all who heard the word and here’s what we’ve got to pay attention to something here
24:09god decided to do something a little out of order in order to make a point
24:15you remember on the day of pentecost in which you know in two two sundays we’re going to be observing the day of pentecost on the
24:21day of pentecost the holy spirit comes on the church the people who are in the upper room tongues of fire descend on them and they
24:26go out and they proclaim the wonders of god some in different languages others in the native language of the
24:32people there in israel and peter stands up on the day of pentecost he preaches this brilliant sermon and who’s the sermon about it
24:39ain’t about peter it’s about Jesus what he does and after hearing that sermon
24:44the people were cut to the quick their hearts were just mowed down they were convicted of their
24:50sin and what happens they asked this question brothers what shall we do and peter says repent and be baptized
24:57every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the
25:03holy spirit and so you’ll note that on the day of pentecost from that day forward the normal way in which Christians receive
25:09the holy spirit is in the waters of baptism and so you’re going to note here god does
25:15something backwards you see the it was the apostles who received the holy spirit
25:20as we say immediately without means and now the holy spirit follows that old
25:28that other pattern and the gentiles they receive the holy spirit
25:34immediately just like the apostles did and peter understands that exactly to be
25:40what it is that god is making no distinction between them and us they receive the holy spirit the exact same way we did which is god’s
25:48way of saying you got it you go and preach now to everybody every nation every language jew gentile
25:55make no distinction so as they were saying these things the holy spirit fell
26:00and all who heard the word and the believers from among the circumcised who had come with peter they were amazed
26:06because the gift of the holy spirit was poured out even on the gentiles even on the gentiles whoever what
26:13what for they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling god so peter declared
26:19can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people who have received the holy spirit the same way we have
26:25and then he command and he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus and if that wasn’t enough they asked
26:32peter to remain for some days since you’re going you’re going ahead and breaking the law by being here
26:38why don’t you go ahead and keep breaking the law for a few more days we can use a little catechesis
26:43and so he stays on now i won’t get into chapter 11 but if you go and read chapter 11 this week
26:49you’ll note that peter got in a lot of trouble [Laughter] you preached the gospel to who you went
26:57into whose house right segregation laws man no there is no segregation in Christ
27:05at all there is no us in them there’s only those who have been made
27:11clean by god and it’s in that in that context then we consider our gospel text
27:18Christ says to his disciples as the father has loved me so i have loved you
27:23abide in my love if you keep my commandments you will abide in my love
27:29just as i have kept my father’s commandments and i abide in his love these things i have spoken to you that
27:35my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full and this is my commandment are you ready
27:41love one another in the same way Christ has loved you
27:48love one another the church is the last place where there should be rancor
27:54division hatred discord people insisting and demanding that they
28:01get their own way regardless of how much damage they do to others
28:07this is the place where we recognize that because we have been made clean by god
28:12there is no one common among us we are holy and we are to live our lives in holiness
28:19and to live your life in holiness is to live your life in love in love for your neighbor and
28:24even love for your enemies and even love for those who are not yet in the church
28:30who need to hear the gospel so greater love has no one than this that someone lays down his life for his
28:37friends and you are my friends boy does that seem odd i mean i’m
28:44comfortable and okay with the idea that Jesus is the son of god
28:50and as the son of god i’m his creature i can even talk about a way in which i
28:56am a servant of god but for the son of god to say that he’s my friend
29:04i would never on my own to speak this way but yet
29:10Christ he has deigned to call us his friends we are not mere slaves
29:19we are his friends he is our brother you are my friends if you do what i command you no longer do i call you
29:25slaves the slave doesn’t know what his master’s doing but i’ve called you friends for all that
29:31i have heard from my father i have made known to you the fact that Christ has revealed this all to us
29:36shows us that he truly is the friend of sinners and he is the one who makes us clean
29:42and makes it so that none of us are common so much so that he has laid down his life and he calls us
29:49his friends but i chose you Jesus said and i appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and
29:55that you should go that and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask in the father’s
30:01name that he may give it to you you see it is god’s will that we bear fruit and there it is again what’s fruit
30:07love joy peace patience kindness
30:14gentleness goodness self-control
30:20and yet you’ll note that our sinful nature doesn’t bear the fruit of the spirit willingly and fights the spirit all the
30:27way so Christ has commanded us to love one
30:33another so brothers and sisters i am saddened by the state of affairs in our world
30:38i’m saddened by my own sin i’m saddened by the racial tensions that are tearing our
30:44country apart in our world but more importantly i’m saddened by the fact that far too
30:49few churches are giving the real solution that we need we don’t need to be woke we need to
30:56repent we need to recognize that god shows no partiality
31:01that we are all bled for and died for and we need to share the good news that god so loved the world that he gave
31:08his only begotten son and that god wants to be friends with sinners
31:14not at war with them and we who have the good news who’ve come to us we
31:19should be on the apex at the front loving serving showing no partiality
31:27but embracing each other as truly those who have been made holy by Christ
31:33and no longer see each other as common so let us repent of all the ways in which we’ve been partial
31:39and let us instead embrace what Christ is the one who shows no partiality who
31:45bled and died for the sins of the world so that we can continue the task of making disciples of
31:50all nations in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
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