Sermon Transcript – Hand to Hand Combat with Satan

Series A – First Sunday in Lent – Sunday, February 26, 2023 | 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
0:22The holy Gospel
0:29According to Saint Matthew the fourth chapter foreign
0:37then Jesus was led by the spirit Into the Wilderness to be tempted by the devil after fasting 40 days and 40
0:44nights he was hungry and the tempter came and said to him if you are the Son of God command these stones to become
0:51loaves of bread but he answered it as written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from
0:57the mouth of God then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the Pinnacle of the temple and said to him
1:02if you are the Son of God throw yourself down for it is written he will command his angels concerning you and on their
1:09hands they will bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone Jesus said him again it is written you shall
1:14not put the Lord your God to the test and the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms
1:20of the world and their glory and he said to him all of these I will give you if you will fall down and worship me then
1:27Jesus said to him be gone Satan for it is written you shall Worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve
1:32then the devil left him and behold Angels came and were ministering to him this is the gospel of the Lord in the
1:40name of Jesus all right one of my favorite movies of all time is a movie from the late 1990s
1:46called The Mask of Zorro starring well what a wonderful name this is Antonio Banderas right what a great name Antonio
1:54Banderas it just kind of speaks of like Spanish masculinity right and it of course it’s it’s the story of Zorro and
2:01one of the things I love about this particular story is that you can see all the archetype themes that you see in
2:09every one of these movies or stories that Taps into the themes regarding
2:15salvation and an evil oppressor and things like this the bad guys are really
2:20really bad guy and he’s going to really really hurt people and the bad people who are participating with them called
2:26The Dons they are really awful too and The Story begins act one opens with a
2:32sequence where they are in this California Town California is under the rule of Spain still at this time but
2:38they’re getting ready to make a transfer of power if you wood and Spain is about to withdraw its hand from California and
2:46the evil guy decides he’s going to pick three random peasants from the crowd and he’s going to put him up against the
2:52firing squad and kill him for no other reason than to bring his arch enemy Zorro out from the shadows and draw him
2:59into a fight where he can kill him it’s a great story right and of course Zorro does show up at surreptitiously and then
3:06we’re introduced to two characters Alejandro and Joaquin Murrieta these are
3:11men are boys at this point in the story and of course they are there to see Zorro because they know that Zoro is
3:18going to come he’s going to save the day and of course he does and it’s just full of swashbuckling cinematic ugh that’s
3:26great right and of course when zaro is doing his thing with the sword there are Joaquin and Alejandro going
3:34right now I love watching that movie over and over
3:40and over again have you noticed the good movies we watch them again and again right now I would note that in our text
3:46today we are all familiar with these texts but may I make a claim here and
3:53that is is that this series of texts reminds us again of how great our
4:00champion Jesus is and just how utterly foolish we have been as God’s creatures
4:08by listening to voices other than the voice of God last week we heard the
4:13importance of the well the scriptures over religious experiences and you’re
4:19going to note here that when we consider our fall into sin in our first parents
4:25this is history this is not mythology this is really how this went down there
4:31really was a garden there really was a serpent and yes the serpent can talk and the serpent had legs which means it was
4:37a little dragon but you get the idea here we’re dealing with something that really took place how do I know this
4:43because Jesus himself puts his stamp of approval on this narrative from Genesis
4:49and says that it really went down this way and who am I to question Jesus in fact who are you to question Jesus but
4:55in considering this have you ever heard somebody say something like this if only Eve had not bitten from that
5:04well they say apple but it wasn’t an apple now was it okay we have no idea
5:09what the fruit will actually looked like what would you call the fruit that comes from the Tree of the knowledge of Good
5:15and Evil so people liken it to an Apple but the reality is is that it’s not the
5:21fact that she bit from the Apple that is the big problem the problem is is that she was listening to other voices than
5:28the voice of God and rather than tell the devil to go take a hike the way
5:34Jesus did by quoting back to him the word of God which shows who you trust
5:39she acted faithlessly and listen to other voices to answer the
5:46question should I eat from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil or not the answer is quite obvious when you
5:52think about it God said no and we all know how it went down she said yes but
5:59why did she say yes so when we look at our Old Testament text it says the serpent was more crafty
6:06than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made and he said to the woman did God actually say you shall not
6:12eat of any tree in the garden I always like to paraphrase it in these terms the
6:18devil here is making kind of a tacit attack against the very character of God
6:24and so the Devil comes up to Eve and says oh honey is it true he’s not letting you eat anything he’s a real
6:31Tyrant I understand that he’s probably working to to the Bone and he’s not even feeding you is he right when you hear it
6:39that way you can see what the serpents really getting at he’s basically saying I’m here to save
6:46you I’m your friend and God he’s a big meanie and he’s really insecure in all
6:53these other horrible things and you really can’t trust the God who created you and so the woman kind of thrown back
6:59on her back foot says whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa we may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden of course God’s
7:05feeding us but God said you should not eat of the free the fruit of the tree that’s in the midst of the garden
7:11neither shall you touch it lest you die now she’s a little bit wrong in her
7:17catechesis here God didn’t actually say the part about not touching it maybe her husband told her that but you’ll know
7:24when you go back into Genesis 2 God didn’t say that to Adam and Eve he said
7:31it to Adam which means Adam was the one who was teaching his wife the word of God and
7:38they had a pretty good arrangement if you think about they’re living there in paradise and food prep had to be great
7:43because all he had to do was pick something off of a tree and say hey would you like this for dinner right it’s a great gig right but what is going
7:52on here is is that she’s thinking back to what her husband has instructed her and she’s got her memory work a little
7:59off but neither shall you touch it lest you die yeah maybe that’s not exactly true but the Serpent’s response is where
8:06we need to pay really close attention the serpent then says you will not
8:12surely die really how do you know that because reasons what what’s your thinking here
8:19serpent right and you’ll note here by saying this the serpent is tacitly
8:24accusing God of being a liar oh I under he’s just a complete abusive person he
8:32totally lied to you you’re not gonna die I know he threatened you with death but
8:38believe me he’s just a bloviating blowhard and he doesn’t and he’s he’s really doesn’t have your best in mind
8:45I’m I’m I’m here because I’m your friend I know a thing or two about how God operates right
8:53so he goes on to say God knows that when you eat of it
8:58your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing Good and Evil
9:04well I mean who doesn’t want to be like God that sounds like a good Pious religious thing wouldn’t you like to be
9:10like God isn’t that why we’re all here to hear the word of God so that we can be more like God right but in this
9:18particular case he’s legitimately kind of conveying here that the reason why
9:23God doesn’t want you to eat of that tree is because well then you’ll be a god
9:28yourself you see God’s threatened by your potential you have lots of
9:34potential here this is the reason why he’s not really feeding you he’s told you not to touch that tree because well
9:40he doesn’t want you to be like him because then there would be two deities you see what’s going on here after all
9:46you were created in the image of God don’t you understand what that means and you can see how this temptation’s
9:52working and this is where everything goes off the tracks
9:58because what Eve and Adam who was with her the whole time where’s Adam you’re
10:04going to see in a second he’s standing right there okay Adam should have stepped in and said whoa whoa whoa God
10:11said no God said you cannot eat from that tree the Lord has said it’s not
10:16written at this point but we know what God Said but listen to how this works out so when the woman saw that the tree
10:23was good for food uh oh
10:28where’s she looking now she’s not looking outside of herself to the word of God she’s looking inside of herself
10:36she’s going into her feelings and into her thoughts and as Luther says in the
10:41small called articles the serpent made enthusiasts out of our first parents this is never the place to go to figure
10:49out whether or not you should disobey God’s words right so if you’re alone
10:55with your significant other and you’re not married right and you give them a kiss on the cheek and things start to
11:00warm up and all of a sudden you recognize whoa whoa whoa things are kind of heating up here you know what scripture says to do flee flee all right
11:08run away that’s what you’re supposed to do don’t sit there and tempt Faith but then always and again when when we as
11:15human beings try to sort these things out we sit there and go yeah but you know I do kind of feel good it makes me
11:21feel warm and fuzzy inside and next thing you know you’ve committed a sin that you deeply regret
11:28right should I rob that bank or not well I am hungry and a little bit of money would help me put some food on the table
11:35ah it is written you shall not steal right well what about other Temptations when
11:41it comes to the word of God should I really believe that we’re created in God’s image or shouldn’t I believe Mr
11:47Darwin in his claim that we are well evolved and that my great-grandparents were actually monkeys
11:54or should I believe the word of God maybe I should go with Mr Darwin right you’ll know we are constantly doing this
11:59in so many different ways and you’re looking in the wrong place for the answer the answer is not found inside of
12:08you stop making your decisions based upon your feelings and your reasons this is
12:14what plunged us into this misery that we find ourselves in so she saw that the
12:19food that the tree was a delight to the eyes feelings the tree was to be desired
12:24to make one wise so she took of its fruit and ate and she
12:30also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate and all the Norwegians in the congregation said ufta
12:38right this is why we are now under the
12:45Dominion of Darkness from that moment on rather than hearing the word of God and
12:52listening and trusting Christ and trusting his words Adam and Eve acted faithlessly listened to other voices
12:59Adam listened to the voice of his wife Eve listen to the voice of the serpent and of course the serpent had his own
13:05agenda he wanted to murder them and make God the murder weapon this then is what plunged us into the
13:12misery that we’re in we read in our epistle text therefore as one trespass led to condemnation for all men
13:21so one act of righteousness leads to justification in life for all men for as by the one man’s Disobedience the many
13:29that’s including you and I we were made Sinners and as a result of it we are
13:34have been born and this world is under the tyranny of Satan and believe me when
13:40I tell you as tyrants go Satan makes Hitler look like a schoolgirl
13:46and he isn’t your friend and if he’s offering to make a bargain with you it’s
13:52the it’s really the end of the bargain is your destruction Satan is an ultimate Tyrant and we are
14:01unable to free ourselves we do not have the military might we don’t have the
14:07spiritual might we don’t have the self-discipline to save ourselves and as a result of it we need somebody to come
14:15and to rescue us and here again in this text we hear a great promise given to us
14:23kind of backhandedly by God when he is cursing the serpent he says to the
14:29serpent I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your Offspring
14:34and her Offspring and he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel
14:41I like other translations that talk about the Serpent’s head being crushed and Christ’s heal being bruised but you
14:48get the idea and this is where then Christ enters into the scene Jesus is a
14:54lot kind of like Zorro if you think about it okay okay Zoro wore a mask to
15:00hide his identity Jesus is God in human flesh and you’ll note he turned the
15:05glory off right by for all intents and purposes Jesus really is the greatest
15:11masked man of Them All Hiding his deity under Humanity he now has stepped onto
15:18the scene in order to save you and I and to rescue us from the Dominion of
15:25darkness and he does it gloriously I have to say that right gloriously there
15:32we go that’s how he how he how he does it and so consider each and every one of
15:38us we have all foolishly egregiously regularly
15:45constantly given into the Temptations of the world Satan our own sinful flesh
15:51we’ve participated in the rebellion of Satan we’ve anticipated in the works of
15:57the Dominion of Darkness but Christ has come in order to set us free from that but first things first he’s going to
16:05need to go mono Amano face to face hand-to-hand combat with the Devil and
16:13where each and every one of us has failed and note here the devil constantly plays us like a Stradivarius
16:20I mean he knows how to niggle his way into your minds into your hearts and he
16:26knows how to make Temptation look like a great thing something justifiable and he
16:33then when you give into that temptation is always there to tell you how sinful
16:38you are and how you will be damned and it’s it’s just horrible the way Satan operates so Jesus In Our Gospel text
16:48goes mono mono with the Devil and where Adam and Eve and where you and I have
16:55failed Christ well he conquers gloriously and you’ll note I’ve pointed
17:03this out in the past when we’ve worked our way through this text when Whenever there is the big showdown between the
17:09bad guy and the good guy and they meet on the field of battle usually in cinema
17:15there’s a montage a training montage a preparation Montage something to show
17:20that the hero is doing everything necessary to make himself worthy of
17:26going against the bad guy and finding a way to out to better him and to conquer
17:32him Jesus doesn’t do that he goes into the wilderness
17:39and he fasts for 40 days and 40 nights
17:46and the text says he was hungry now let me tell you a little bit about
17:52myself when I’m hungry I become the most pathetic human on planet Earth okay I
17:59become a three-year-old child who has little temper tantrums that I can’t possibly function because my stomach is
18:06crumbling right you’ll note that it it in the in
18:12the message of the therapists okay you were never supposed to engage in an argument with somebody or discussion
18:19when you’re hungry angry lonely or tired okay that stands for halt okay note top
18:26of the list hungry okay why because people get angry and grumpy and mopey
18:33and stupid when they’re hungry okay me being the top of the list ask my wife
18:40if you’re not sure about this this is a confession of sins correct okay my kids
18:45can also attest that being the case is gone 40 days without eating and he’s hungry
18:54he’s by human standards is not at his the top of his game okay at this point
19:02he’s in dire need of some protein he’s in dire needs of some carbs he’s in dire
19:07need of calories I’m sure that he’s burned off practically every ounce of
19:12fat off of his body I wish I could do that by the way man isn’t it terrible that the word diet has the word die
19:19right in the front of it okay but you get the idea but he’s he’s he’s lost
19:25weight his lips are probably chapped he’s out in the wilderness he’s not at
19:30his top shape and the Devil comes to him when Christ is at his weakest and watch where he
19:38goes if you are the Son of God well why is he saying that
19:45because Jesus just prior to this he was tempted he was uh he was baptized by
19:50John the Baptist and when he was baptized by John the Baptist what happens the heavens opened up the spirit of God descended on John
19:58the on Jesus like in the form of a dove and the voice of the Father Was Heard From Heaven saying you are my beloved
20:04Son and whom I am well pleased he can hear the voice of God and so Satan heard
20:10that voice too and just like he went after Adam and Eve to get them to doubt God’s word the devil is now trying to
20:17get Jesus to have a little bit of Pious doubt regarding whether or not he truly
20:23is the Son of God I mean after all don’t you think that’s quite a lofty thing to to hear I mean you’re the Son of God
20:30isn’t it arrogant to actually trust a thing like that oh you better you better test to see if that’s true Jesus and so
20:38what he’s trying to get Jesus to do is to act faithlessly the way he got Adam
20:44and Eve to act faithlessly by doubting God’s word which had come to him from
20:51outside of him so if you are the son of God command these stones to become loaves of
20:58bread man I after 40 days I would be so hungry I would have been fine if he commanded
21:04it wanted me to command Pebbles to become crickets I would have eaten them right but in this particular case bread
21:10sounds like a good thing if you are the Son of God command these stones to become loaves of bread notice he’s
21:16playing on Jesus’s weakness playing on the fact that he’s hungry and then Jesus does what Adam and Eve
21:22should have done in fact Jesus does what all of us should be doing
21:28it is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes
21:35from the mouth of God and I can hear I can hear Alejandro and
21:40Joaquin going wait a second let me change that yo Jesus yeah right
21:47he just scored a hit against the devil booyah
21:52that’s our Jesus now the devil then took him to the holy
21:58city set him on the Pinnacle of the temple and said to him if you are the
22:03Son of God throw yourself down and then the devil quotes
22:09well let’s see here Psalm 91 it’s part of our intro it but notice he misquotes
22:16it if you are the Son of God throw yourself down for it is written he will command his angels concerning you and on
22:24their hands they will bear you up well let’s do a little fact check here oh look at here he left some words out and
22:32it says this in Psalm 91 for he will command his angels concerning you to
22:38guard you in all your ways the devil omitted that part and on their hands
22:44they will bear you up by taking out the words to guard you in all your ways and
22:49then conflating the the portions that he misquoted the devil is making it sound
22:54like Jesus can basically be the ultimate Daredevil all right he could be the ancient worlds equivalent of Evil
23:00Knievel and yes I’m showing my age here Jesus can throw himself off the the
23:06Grand Canyon and the dead and the angels who have to sit there and go it grab something to catch Jesus because he’s coming down here that adrenaline junkie
23:13Jesus right but that’s not what this text is saying it’s talking about how
23:19the Angels would guard Christ not that Jesus could live recklessly and act as if the law of gravity doesn’t exist and
23:27so the devil has misquoted the scriptures because he can quote the
23:32scriptures too you know but always and again the devil he misquotes him and Jesus sees right through it and he’s not
23:38having any of it because he trusts he knows that the voice he heard from the father is true he is the Son of God no
23:47point in testing or tempting God or making sure that this is the case he trusts emphatically God’s word that he
23:54spoke over him and so Jesus said again it is written you shall not put the Lord your God to the test and Alejandro and
24:02Joaquin scored another point it’s just an awesome battle taking place here right
24:10and again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory
24:16and I have no idea how he did this I you know we’re not told how the devil is
24:22able to do it is he able to cause thoughts to be put in someone’s mind is he able to like use some kind of a
24:28hologram thing yeah it doesn’t say maybe he had he had an old 1080
24:34HD television and then maybe not that that’s pushing it but you get the idea we don’t know how
24:40he did this but somehow he showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world and their
24:47glory and then he said to them all of these I will give you if you will fall down and worship me now Jesus knows full
24:55well that all authority in heaven on Earth will be given to him by the father
25:00so Jesus knows what the plan is and he knows that at the end of this after his crucifixion his burial death
25:08resurrection and Ascension Christ will be given the entire world and the
25:15universe king of kings and Lord of lords and sit on the throne of David forever so what the devil is doing here is
25:22offering Jesus um a faster less painful route
25:30all right Jesus I’m going to give you everything in the world here but and here’s the thing I’ll give it to you you
25:36don’t have to go to the Cross you don’t have to suffer you don’t have to bleed you don’t have to die you could you can
25:41just have it right now and all you have to do is worship me
25:51what you want the God who created you to Bow Down and Worship You
25:59doesn’t this tell you something about just how sick the devil is in his head
26:06this is just it’s gross it’s it’s and you’ll note he’s trying
26:11every little angle to get at Jesus
26:16and Jesus says be gone Satan it’s written you shall Worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve
26:24ah right our Lord has conquered
26:32wondrously gloriously he defeated the devil in three rounds and we we can’t
26:39and we don’t and he has done this all for us what an
26:45amazing conquering Christ that we have is it any wonder that Martin Luther taught taught us to sing A Mighty
26:52Fortress Is Our God because he truly is and so I would remind you that when we
27:00are considering the fact that we are in Lent hence the purple right this is a time a
27:08season of penance a time to reflect on our own shortcomings let us again use
27:14this Lenten tide for the purpose of examining our lives and ask ourselves this question how many different ways
27:23have we acted and thought faithlessly regarding God’s words
27:30when tempted by the devil and our own sinful flesh how many of us have thought
27:35well you know I know that the Bible says this and God says that but right and
27:41it’s always the butt that erases the thing before and so you’ve erased God’s word you’ve taken God’s words you cast
27:47them beside behind you and as a result of it you have sinned and transgressed
27:52God’s holy law and shown again that God’s law is wholly righteous and good and that you are not
27:59but you’ll note this that Christ where you have failed he has succeeded and he
28:04has succeeded for you scripture is clear that Christ was tempted in every way that we are and yet is without sin and
28:11the purpose of that has nothing to do with now Jesus has done it so just follow his example and now you can do it
28:16too that’s not the point the point is is that we were unable to do this and we
28:22still are enable in our own strength to stand up against the devil and his schemes and temptations but Christ has
28:29conquered him for us and ultimately what Christ does is he goes to the cross and
28:36he conquers and crushes the head of the serpent by laying down his life bleeding
28:42suffering and dying as the Spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world your sin and mine and by his death
28:50he conquers Satan and by his resurrection he proves that Satan has
28:56been defeated God has accepted his sacrifice and by his Ascension we now know that he is the one who is king of
29:03kings and Lord of lords and the devil truly is a defeated foe he might be
29:09trying to muster his troops for one last huzzah but we know how this will go down
29:15and on the last day when Jesus returns in glory uh think of it like you would
29:21sorrow right Zorro comes riding in on his horse well how does Jesus come on
29:27the last day he comes riding in on his stallion right his Great White Horse and
29:33he comes swinging a sword and on the day that Jesus returns we will see our
29:38champion in all of his True Glory and we will see the angels and the armies of
29:43God and we will join Christ up in the air the angels will come gather us we
29:49will we will be up in the air when Christ comes riding in and with that same exuberance and glory and joy that
29:57Alejandro and Joaquin showed Zorro we will have that same
30:03exuberance and glory and joy when we see Jesus riding in to finally defeat Satan
30:09and put an end to sin once and for all we will be going
30:15Jesus right it’ll be glorious it’s a note then brothers and sisters
30:22it is true that we are weak and that we are easily played by the devil in our own sinful flesh in the world this calls
30:29for us to humbly recognize our weakness our sin and our guilt and Trust in the
30:35one who has conquered for us because that is exactly what he has done so
30:40you’ll note repentance is the is the well the theme buzzword of the Lenten
30:45season but repentance requires two things to recognize your sin but to also
30:51have confidence in the Forgiveness that is in Christ the two go together so have great confidence in the one who
30:58conquered where we could not conquer who succeeded where each of us has failed because he did this for us he ultimately
31:07bleeds and dies for the Forgiveness of our sins and through that sets us free from the Captivity that we have to death
31:14and to Satan and to the world and we now having been set free in Christ by our
31:20great conquering King look forward to the day when the kingdom itself will be consummated we will see Jesus with our
31:28own eyes we will worship at his feet and rather than be condemned we will walk as
31:35free human beings into the new Earth into the new world that Christ creating
31:40and we will finally be able to live unfettered and untempted
31:46unsinful and all of that stuff in glory in the World Without End all because
31:52this is what Jesus has done he has saved us and conquered the devil all praise
31:58Glory and Honor be to our conquering King in Jesus name amen
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