Sermon Transcript – Honoring God with Lips and Not Heart

Series B – Thirteenth Sunday of Pentecost – Sunday, August 22, 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
0:28the holy gospel according to saint mark the 7th chapter
0:40when the pharisees gathered to Jesus with some of the scribes who had come from jerusalem they saw that some of his
0:46disciples ate with hands that were defiled that is unwashed for the pharisees and all the jews do not eat
0:52unless they wash their hands holding to the tradition of the elders and when they come from the marketplace they do
0:57not eat unless they wash and there are many other traditions that they observe such as the washing of cups and pots and
1:04copper vessels and dining couches and the pharisees and the scribes asked him
1:09why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders but they eat with defiled hands and he said to
1:15them well did isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites as it is written this people honors me with their lips but their
1:21heart is far from me in vain do they worship me teaching as doctrines the commandments of men you leave the
1:28commandment of god and you hold to the tradition of men he said to them you have a fine way of rejecting the
1:34commandment of god in order to establish your tradition for moses said honor your
1:40father and your mother whoever reviles father and mother must surely die but you say if a man tells his father or
1:47his mother whatever he would have gained from me is corbon that is a gift given to god well then you no longer permit
1:53him to do anything for his father or mother thus making void the word of god by your tradition that you have handed
1:59down and many such things you do this is the gospel of the lord in the name of
2:05Jesus these people honor me
2:11with their lips but their hearts are far from me Jesus said right teaching as doctrines the commandments
2:19of men well let’s be blunt right at the beginning there uh teaching your ideas
2:24as if god has commanded them your commandments as if god has commanded them there’s a term for that it’s called
2:30idolatry and it’s also a breaking of that commandment that says this you shall not
2:35take the name of the lord your god in vain so when you deceive people and tell them
2:42god commands and whatever you say that comes next if
2:48god hasn’t commanded it you have maybe your tradition you see kind of think of it this way you know norwegians they say
2:54god commands you shall not dance but see not that’s not in the bible that’s not in the bible okay i just want to make
3:00that very clear i might have to step on some toes here today right but see when i was growing up in the nazarene church
3:05they they talked about this category uh the hypocrites they they give god lip
3:12service but not heart service and here’s how this generally goes lip service to
3:17god is saying oh i’m a Christian and but i don’t tithe
3:23well tithing’s not required of Christians by the way or i’m a Christian but
3:29well i listen to van halen you can’t be a Christian listen to van halen i mean that’s that’s lip service to god and not
3:36honoring him with your heart at least this is how this goes but here’s the thing we should pay close attention to
3:42both isaiah and to Jesus in this regard because being a hypocrite and offering lip
3:49service to god is not put in terms like that it’s put
3:54in terms of following the commandments of men let me
4:00kind of go back to the scene of the crime i like to do that from time to time remember genesis chapter 3 where
4:05our first parents and by the way i hate to say this okay if if you think that you come from good genetics like you
4:13come from good stock i’m going to tell you a story about some of your family members and this shows
4:19just how bad your stock is okay if you think that your family is brilliant
4:24okay let me let me tell you about some of your relatives here all right so
4:30they’re mine too by the way okay i just want to make that clear so your relatives yeah there they were in the
4:36garden of eden and the serpent shows up and by the way they didn’t even have a tough religion how many commandments did
4:41they have one and here’s the commandment don’t eat from that tree right that just just
4:47donate from that one okay okay one commandment all right how’d that go
4:54all right so the serpent comes and he deceives them and they eat their eyes are opened and then we see
5:01the first religion in action and what a stupid religion this is okay so after
5:07they eat of the fruit the eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked so
5:12they sewed fib fig leaves together and made loin claws from themselves you can
5:17almost hear how this conversation’s going what what happened i i don’t feel like god i ah you’re naked oh you’re
5:24naked too ah okay you know what are we gonna do about this so they have shame and guilt and and adam sits there and
5:29goes no problem i’ll fix this right up so he grabs some fig leaves right quickly sews them together puts them on
5:36in strategic places and see see was problem solved
5:42you can’t cover up your guilt and shame with fig leaves that’s just crazy
5:47that’s nuts right and then to make matters worse when the when they heard the sound of the lord god walking in the
5:53garden in the pool of the day the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the lord god among the trees
5:59in the garden how’s that going to work out you’re going to hide from god what kind
6:06of religious strategy is this so the lord god called out to the man said where are you he said well i heard
6:13the sound of you in the garden and i was afraid because i was naked and i hid myself and god said who told you you
6:18were naked and you could almost see eve going i told you this wasn’t going to work right
6:26this is how this goes right and and that’s the problem because of our fall into sin we are in
6:34complete darkness and we are well foolish enough to believe that somehow
6:41we can sort this all out regarding god and so we just make up stuff
6:46right and it’s really not a good thing it’s really bad and we’re super stubborn
6:52about it but let me say this you guys remember those things called maps okay you remember
6:58i know we have gps’s on our cell phones now but back when i was a younger lad when i was skinny right we had these
7:04things called maps and some of them were pretty large pieces of paper but they were intricately folded and they were
7:11wonderful when you get the folding right they fit perfectly in your glove box and you before you would travel somewhere
7:18you’re not familiar with the terrain you would well you would pull the map out
7:24really only kind of in an emergency and here’s the thing about guys i hate to say this all of us all of us men were born with
7:31name rammage so there’s this thing in us we don’t like to ask for directions and if at all
7:38possible we don’t want to pull out the map and actually have to look where we’re going so family vacations now what
7:47i’m about to tell you this is all theoretical hypothetical i mean it couldn’t possibly have actually happened
7:52to anybody professing to be a Christian imagine if you would a family vacation heading off to a place in a different
7:58state that you’re not exactly familiar with we’ll just make up a place poughkeepsie new york right i don’t even
8:03know where poughkeepsie is but i’m sure if i looked on a map i’d figure it out but here’s kind of the point a family
8:09going on a family vacation you got the husband the wife the three shiny kids right what could possibly go wrong and
8:15the question at the beginning of the journey goes something like this do you know how to get there
8:22all right now and it’s always asked with that just that little bit of a dig that
8:27kind of implies you really don’t know how to get there do you okay i know how to get there i i know where
8:35i’m going it’s only going to take us three hours to get there it’s not a big deal
8:40uh-huh and you can just hear the incredulity in the uh-huh right well five hours later you’re two
8:47hours late the kids are screaming crying are we there yet
8:52right the wife is looking off into outer space and there is in the glove box it looks like a rolled
8:59up newspaper it’s what’s left of the map okay because you have to have well calm and peace to put that thing
9:05together right and you can tell that there’s been unhappiness so let me put it this way
9:10if you can’t find poughkeepsie what on earth makes you think you’re gonna find heaven
9:18i want you to think about this we’re on a journey and the goal is to actually get to heaven and not end up in hell
9:25and so you think you can sort this out are you out of your mind
9:31okay well sure i could sort this out i know that i well you know i’m not exactly a bad person i just need to you
9:38know be a little bit better you know and so we start making up religions
9:43and and here’s the weird part we make up religions all the while while attending a place
9:49that calls itself a Christian church so all right so uh so how do you get to heaven oh yeah i know how to get to
9:55heaven don’t dance don’t drink don’t smoke don’t chew don’t go with any girls
10:00that do and be sure to vote republican
10:05oh boy we’ve got a lot of catechesis going on here where’d you get that list
10:10where did you get that list well i mean it’s just obvious isn’t it no no we got we got we need to sort some
10:16things out how are you how are you going to get to heaven well i’m going to get to heaven by sticking it to the patriarchy right i’m going to eat vegan
10:24and and you know make sure to engage in social justice that’s going to get you into heaven are
10:30you sure yeah well of course it is i mean that’s good right
10:37okay how about you how are you gonna get to heaven well i’ve been praying to the virgin mary for years
10:43and making sure to do the rosary religiously and go to mass at least three times a week
10:49okay and you’re gonna note here everybody who gives answers like this what’s the big assumption if i just do
10:56good stuff god’s gonna sit there and pat me on the head and go well done here’s heaven come
11:02on in right this is how this works it don’t work that way
11:08it don’t work that way and when you do not listen to god
11:13and do not trust his word Jesus in our gospel text says you make void the word
11:18of god and here’s the thing we don’t even have to guess how we’re saved
11:24and this is good news for us men okay you listen just read the book
11:32god has given us a book and the book kind of spells it out in no uncertain
11:37terms but here’s the deal the book sits well on your nightstand collecting dust
11:43one of my favorite memes is a photograph of a dusty bible and somebody has
11:49scrawled in the dust read me right
11:55and if you’re not reading the word of god you know what you’re doing more than likely you’re engaging in
12:00idolatry and you’re blaspheming god and you’re foolishly thinking you can sort
12:05this all out you can’t you won’t it’s like sowing fig leaves together believe me it’s not
12:12going to be sufficient so with that consider our gospel text in
12:18our gospel text there’s Jesus and his disciples and they uh the head the
12:23religious leaders who are called pharisees a little bit of a note the pharisees do
12:30not represent biblical orthodox Christianity far from it the rank
12:37heretics they have added to the word of god they arose in the 400 years between
12:44malachi and the gospel of matthew no mention of pharisees anywhere in the old testament and they had
12:51a narrative and the narrative went something like this when moses went up on mount sinai all
12:58those hundreds of years ago god didn’t give him one torah or one
13:04bible he gave him two really okay so tell me about this other
13:09torah this other bible well that other bible isn’t written down
13:14that’s kind of convenient right see the first torah was written down and you can find it in the bible but the second
13:21torah it’s been passed down secretly via word of mouth from generation to
13:28generation it’s an oral torah and in the oral torah that’s where the command to
13:33wash your hands is all right you won’t find it in the bible i pointed this out three years ago i
13:40will reiterate this if there was a command in the old testament that said you need to wash your hands my mom would
13:45have been quoting that verse to me three times a day from the time i was two until the time i was 18.
13:53necessarily so just saying but since it’s not there i just want to point that out mom it’s
14:00not there okay now my wife needs to know this right but here’s the thing that command to
14:05wash your hands isn’t there and by the way it’s more than just a mere washing of your hands in fact it’s not even
14:11about bacteria because the way the pharisees thought
14:16they were kind of above sin they they had left that sin thing long ago see god
14:22gave 600 and something commandments in the old testament the pharisees come along and they add another 6 000 and
14:28they basically have this premise if you obey our commands you’ll never break god’s commands
14:35and they legitimately thought they were pulling it off so much so have you noticed this about
14:42people when they are self-righteous they are absolutely insufferable to be
14:49around right well i’ve got my act together i’ve stopped sinning oh it’s been years since
14:55i’ve actually sinned i might make the occasional mistake you know right
15:01this is how they act and of course all the while they’re looking down at you like what’s your problem why haven’t you gotten your act together
15:08right and so the pharisees here’s part of their part of their story
15:13then since they’re no longer really sinners whenever they go out to the grocery
15:19store it’s called the agora and the marketplace you go out to the grocery store well you know there’s a lot of
15:26backslidden jews there and gentiles and they’re sinners and stuff and their sin
15:33can actually get on you it’s kind of an airborne disease in their way of thinking and so you don’t want their sin
15:39on you so they came up with a baptism ceremony and by the way the
15:45greek word here for wash is baptized all right i want you to think about it
15:50now the ritual we described it three years ago i’ll give it in brief it’s like the hokey pokey remember remember
15:55the hokey pokey put your life put in you put your right foot out okay so here’s how it works you got to put your left
16:00hand in first face down pour some water on it put your right hand in face down
16:05palm down pour some water on it flip sides again left hand in palm up right
16:11hand in palm up in your pouring water each time and then you have to simply say this prayer i thank you god lord and
16:18maker of heaven and earth that you have given me the command to wash my hands
16:25super simple right but here’s the thing did god command us to do that little ritual
16:32does does the bible teach us such a thin concept of sin that you know it’s an
16:38airborne disease and that it’s above you and that you kind of need to wash it off you when you go out into the marketplace
16:43no not at all sin sin is not treated that lightly even close in scripture so does Jesus allow
16:52his disciples to pray that prayer no
16:58not even close in fact Jesus doesn’t even want to give the hint of evil because it’s evil
17:06it’s evil to say that god has commanded us to pray that prayer and to do that hokey pokey thing
17:12right the hokey pokey baptism maybe that’s what we should call this sermon the hokey pokey baptism right
17:18it doesn’t do nothing so Jesus tells his disciples boys when you get inside
17:24they’re eating at a pharisee’s house you can you can just avoid that thing altogether and go right in and start
17:30enjoying the food and there’s the pharisees doing the hokey pokey
17:35right and looking at Jesus disciples and that’s where they’ve got to draw the line
17:41they they’ve been out investigating Jesus you know you see that during the day they had their paper their little paper clips out you know they’re you
17:48know they were they were out there with the pencil and taking notes on Jesus but this is where they decide they’ve got to
17:54really speak up so the pharisees they they came to Jesus and said why
18:00do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders that’s the
18:06oral torah that’s the name for it by the way the tradition of the elders why don’t your disciples walk why don’t they
18:12conduct their lives why don’t they obey the tradition of the elders and they eat with defiled hands and you can see Jesus
18:19just rolling his eyes and going oh they right and then he just
18:24rips into them and this is hard stuff in one of the other gospels it’s the
18:30disciples came to Jesus after this account and said you are aware that what you said offended them right
18:36and Jesus practically said good they they need some offending so here’s what he says well did isaiah prophesy of
18:44you hypocrites hypocrites somebody who puts on heirs you know a mask if you would
18:51this people honors me with their lips their heart far
18:56far from me in vain do they worship me teaching as doctrines the commandments
19:03of men and that’s the problem isn’t it
19:10over and again we invent Christianities
19:15and we don’t want to believe Christianity we invent gods and we worship them and
19:22we call those gods Jesus rather than worshiping the true Jesus
19:29Christ goes on you leave the commandment of god you hold to the tradition of men and you have a fine way of rejecting the
19:35commandment of god in order to establish your tradition
19:42and that’s the problem that’s the issue and you’ll note that Jesus in our gospel
19:50text gives us no gospel he only gives us law he only condemns
19:55us for our idolatry and for our blasphemies and so in an odd kind of turn of events here in order to hear the
20:01gospel we have to go to isaiah a little odd place to do it but i want you to consider the fullness of isaiah’s
20:09prophecy and isaiah 29 verse 11 it says this the vision of all this has become
20:15to you like the words of a book that is sealed when men give it to one who can read saying read this he says i cannot
20:21read it it’s sealed and when they give the book to the one who cannot read saying read this he says i cannot read
20:28you’ll note this the beginning of our old testament text gets at this interesting thing that is
20:33another part of human nature thanks to the fall and that is is that we have all the time in the world for the things we
20:41want to do we never seem to have any time for things we don’t want to do again totally
20:48a fictitious hypothetical situation imagine if you would something breaking on your house right and you know that
20:54the project is going to require you to go to lowe’s and you’re going to have to probably watch a couple of youtube
20:59videos in order to figure out how to fix it and you got it you’re going to spend money on it and the wife asked this
21:05question so when are you going to fix that thing on the house
21:11i knew she was going to ask that right and so the answer comes back i’ll fix it this weekend
21:18this weekend comes and oddly enough the thing doesn’t get fixed i don’t know what happens i mean time slips by you
21:25know these it’s a complicated world that we live in right but then the next weekend comes
21:31and guess what it doesn’t get fixed and the weekend after that it doesn’t get fixed and the weekend after that it doesn’t get fixed and next thing you
21:38know it’s nfl season and the vikings are playing right
21:44i still don’t understand why somebody would hurt themselves in this manner but
21:50what do you do you start watching the nfl you’re watching the stats you’re watching the reports you’re
21:56watching the highlights you’re watching the game you know everything about everybody and the wife says to you how
22:02is it that you have all this time to watch a football game not just one but all of them but that thing in our
22:10house is still broken
22:15is this hitting a little too close to home i just want maybe it’s just me right
22:20this gets to that issue we have all the time in the world for the things we want to do that’s kind of what isaiah is
22:27saying here you you we’ve i’ve got a book it’s written by god god’s actually
22:32communicated something to you i i i don’t i i it’s sealed i don’t i can’t
22:37read this or somebody’s saying i don’t even know how to read but it’s from god go talk to that guy he he’ll read it to
22:44you ah i don’t got time for that okay right but isn’t that the way of it
22:51and yet we are very religious people making stuff up but we don’t read the
22:57book we have no time no effort and it’s not that big of a deal not interested right so
23:03this is where isaiah then says because these people draw near with their mouth
23:10they honor me with their lips their hearts are far from me their fear of me is a commandment taught by men now you
23:17would expect that the next word from isaiah right because their commandments
23:22are you know their fear of me is our commandments or doctrines taught by men that after the next thing that it would
23:28say thus the lord god smiteth them and what’s left of them is nothing but a
23:33flaming heap of rubble you know something like this but that’s not what happens here in isaiah in fact it’s fascinating
23:40in order to solve this problem god says this behold therefore i will do wonderful things to this people
23:47with wonder upon wonder and the wisdom of their wise men will
23:52perish and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden and so god his solution to this i’m
23:58going to do wonders and so what is the wonder that he does oh i would say start thinking about what we’re going to
24:03confess in that creed today that god sends his only begotten son
24:10born of the virgin mary that same son of god grows in stature
24:16and wisdom of god and he obeys god’s commandments perfectly
24:22not removing one jot or tittle from them but keeping god’s commandments perfectly
24:27in order so that you can be saved this same one who was born of the virgin mary
24:32walks on the water heals people who are sick with diseases gives the ability to
24:38walk to those who are paralytics he forgives sins he get cleanses the lepers gives sight
24:44to the blind hearing to the deaf he casts out demons and then he goes to the
24:50cross bearing your sin in his body your sin your all of your idolatries all of your
24:56made up religions all of the ways in which you’ve blasphemed god all of the ways in which you’ve been attentive to
25:01everything else other than his word and his book and he bleeds and dies in your
25:06place suffering the wrath of god for you oh yeah god did wonderful things
25:13wonderful things that as a result of this all the wisdom of the wise men of the world starts to just fade into the
25:20background the discernment of all the discerning people of the world just fades into the background
25:26and then at the end of this at the end of this god says these words
25:33in that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book and out of their gloom and darkness the
25:40eyes of the blind shall see the meek shall obtain fresh joy in the lord and the poor among mankind shall
25:48exalt in the holy one of israel what an interesting phrase what an interesting verse and note who’s held out for
25:55blessing from god the deaf the blind those in darkness the poor
26:02the meek didn’t Jesus start his preaching ministry by proclaiming blessed of the
26:08porn spirit blessed are the meek right and what is this blindness what is this deafness what is
26:16this meekness what is this poorness this is for those who having read the book
26:21the actual commandments of god and knowing what god commands of us looks at that and says
26:27uh-oh i’m in trouble
26:34scriptures say you will have no other gods and i’ve been an idolater scripture says i shouldn’t blaspheme and man i
26:39have been doing nothing but it scripture tells me to honor god’s word and i haven’t done that either scripture
26:45tells me to honor father and mother well we won’t even talk about that and then well the scriptures also say
26:52that we shall not murder we shall not commit adultery we shall not steal or bear false witness
26:58against our neighbor or covet and we recognize that the real commandments of god are the very things
27:03that we have not done is it any wonder that we make up our own commandments
27:08because here’s the uncomfortable thing that happens when you read the commandments of god the verdict comes
27:15back you are guilty and you are a sinner are you saying i’m a sinner yes
27:22right always and again that seems to be the most offensive thing that you can say to
27:27somebody but it is absolutely necessary because when you recognize that you haven’t kept god’s law you recognize
27:34that you have been deaf to god’s commandments when you’d hear god’s law
27:39and you really understand it you recognize that you are in the gloom of darkness that you have been blind and
27:45that worse than that you’re utterly bankrupt and you have nothing that you can offer god in exchange for salvation
27:54and so what are you left doing meekly
28:00humbly asking god to forgive you and to pardon you
28:05which is what each of us need because without god’s forgiveness
28:11without his pardon without his mercy without his grace we have no hope
28:17the only thing we could expect is what we deserve and that’s the wrath of god
28:25but isaiah says that in that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book and we’re hearing them
28:31today and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see and indeed we do see we see the glory of Christ and
28:39the meek will obtain fresh joy in yahweh that’s the joy that comes from hearing
28:44that your sins are forgiven and washed away you see remember the holy the hokey pokey baptism that the pharisees came up
28:52with never could wash away any sin right but the baptism that Jesus gave us
28:57baptism in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit the scriptures tell us that baptism is
29:04for the forgiveness of our sins that in the waters of baptism that you were united with Christ in his death in
29:11his resurrection sins washed away pardoned and your heart circumcised by
29:17Christ himself you see what the pharisees invented the hokey
29:23pokey baptism doesn’t even compare to the real baptism that we have in Christ is it any wonder
29:29here then today that we are here to again hear the words of this book
29:35to once again meditate and consider our lives in light of those commandments but that we come here with joy
29:42and comfort comfort that comes from the forgiveness of sins comfort from what Christ has done for us and bleeding and
29:48dying in our place comfort from the fact that although god’s law condemns us and declares us to be sinners that Christ
29:55has proclaimed us to be forgiven and indeed the meek the meek obtain fresh joy in the lord
30:04and this joy does not come to those who invent their own religions
30:09this joy is far from them in fact it’s they’re incapable of having this joy this is the only this is the
30:16joy that is only attainable given by god as a gift because of what Christ has done
30:22so let us again repent of all of the ways in which we invent our own religions our own commandments and thus
30:30risk making void the word of god and let us again hear the words of a book and stop acting like we know how to
30:36get to heaven we don’t and don’t sit there and say come on how hard can it be 2 20 2 21 whatever it takes right see
30:43when you talk like that you prove that you don’t know what you’re talking about read the book Christ has done it for you he is the way
30:50the truth and the life in the name of Jesus amen
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