Sermon Transcript – Isaiah’s Prayer of Judgement

Series B – First Sunday of Advent – Sunday, November 29, 2020 | 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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0:28the holy gospel according to saint mark
0:30the 11th
0:31chapter glory to you o lord
0:35now when they drew near to jerusalem to
0:37bethphage in bethany
0:38at the mount of olives Jesus sent two of
0:40his disciples and said to them go into
0:42the village in front of you
0:43and immediately as you enter it you will
0:45see you will find a cult tied on which
0:47no one has ever sat
0:48untie it and bring it if anyone says to
0:51you why are you doing this
0:52say the lord has need of it and will
0:54send it back here immediately
0:56and they went away and found a colt tied
0:59at a door
0:59outside in the street and they untied it
1:02and some of those standing there said to
1:03them what are you doing untying the cold
1:06and they told them what Jesus had said
1:09and they let him go and they brought the
1:11colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on
1:14and he sat on it and many spread their
1:16cloaks on the road and others
1:18spread leafy branches that they had cut
1:20from the fields
1:21and those who went before and those who
1:23followed were shouting hosanna
1:24blessed is he who comes in the name of
1:26the lord blessed is the coming kingdom
1:28of our father david
1:30hosanna in the highest this is the
1:33gospel of the lord in the name of Jesus
1:37all right a little bit of background
1:38history weather is a big
1:40deal but i grew up in southern
1:42california raised my kids in southern
1:44california and southern californians
1:46don’t really get much weather
1:47the best way i can put it is that when
1:49it dips down into the 50s
1:51out come the parkas i’m not making this
1:53up i know it sounds crazy to y’all
1:55and and we would get the occasional
1:58but the one thing i never experienced
2:01until i moved to the midwest moved my
2:03family to indiana
2:05was a good rip roaring midwest supercell
2:08thunderstorm you know what i’m talking
2:10about right the ones that roll in
2:12on those hot afternoons and when you can
2:14see them coming it’s like a freight
2:17and it’s roiling and broiling and it’s
2:20just tempestuous and these things
2:22tower up in the sky you get these wall
2:24clouds and then when they get overhead
2:26they get that
2:27sickening green color and you sit there
2:30and go
2:31oh my goodness the aliens are gonna land
2:33the mother ship is hiding inside of
2:35there right
2:37think of it this way supercell
2:40are kind of the closest thing that i can
2:43think of
2:44visually of like what it would be like
2:47if god
2:48came in power and might and decided that
2:50he was going to give us all what we
2:54frightening right and one of the things
2:56i absolutely
2:57hate is when those things start rolling
3:00in the winds come in and have you ever
3:02that being a Christian doesn’t give you
3:04an inside track with god as far as like
3:06the destruction that happens because of
3:08these things
3:08i remember a few years back barb and i
3:11were getting ready to go to church i
3:13just finished putting the bulletins
3:15it was a sunday morning and right after
3:18i had taken my shower and was getting
3:21a big supercell came rushing in in the
3:25and the winds were so out of control
3:28i was looking outside it was raining not
3:31cats and
3:32dogs that those are too small it was
3:34raining rats and sheep i mean and there
3:36were horses and cows and
3:38monkeys everything was falling out of
3:40the sky and the winds were
3:41so strong that one of my trees got
3:45knocked down
3:46into my neighbor’s yard and you’re
3:49sitting here going really god
3:50right before church
3:53right but this is the picture we’re
3:55going to take a look at isaiah’s prayer
3:57in isaiah 64. and we’re going to note
4:00something here
4:01that this prayer is an interesting
4:03prayer because it begins on one note
4:06but ends on a completely different one
4:09one that is more in accord with the
4:10gospel itself
4:12and so isaiah isaiah 64 in this prayer
4:15that he
4:15offers up to yahweh he says o that you
4:18would rend the heavens and come down
4:20that the mountains might quake at your
4:22presence as when
4:24fire kindles brushwood and fire causes
4:27water to boil
4:28to make your name known to your
4:29adversaries that the nations might
4:32tremble at your presence
4:35a couple of thoughts about this i mean
4:37that’s quite the picture here that’s
4:38quite the thing you pray for
4:39now be careful what you pray for i
4:41remember years and years ago i had a
4:43pastor who said
4:44be sure that you don’t pray that god
4:47come and destroy all the evildoers
4:49because if he were to do that you would
4:50get caught up in the melee
4:54it’s not bad advice but you’ll note here
4:56here he begins by praying
4:58that god would come and shake and
5:01tremble his adversaries
5:02that they would tremble at his presence
5:05and it’s a frightening thing when you
5:06consider it because
5:08this is the picture of god’s wrath that
5:10we can kind of relate to
5:12and deep down in your conscience in fact
5:14maybe not even that deep at all just
5:16scratch the surface a little bit
5:18this is what you expect god to do when
5:20you stand before him to make you shake
5:22and to quake
5:23kind of like the wizard of oz you know
5:25there’s the wizard
5:26i am the great and powerful and mighty
5:30ah right that’s what we expect god to be
5:35but then this prayer
5:38takes an interesting turn in verse 3
5:42you begin to see a little bit of a
5:45change and i’ll explain it here
5:46it’s very subtle but the turn it
5:49definitely takes place here in verse 3.
5:52when you did awesome things that we did
5:54not look for
5:56you came down the mountains
5:59quaked at your presence
6:02what is he referring to here because
6:04this is a different thing
6:05altogether yes the mountains are quaking
6:07at the presence of god
6:09but here isaiah here is noting that god
6:12is going to do awesome things that we
6:13did not look for
6:15consider our gospel text in this context
6:19because you’ll note that here we again
6:22start the year off with this palm sunday
6:26of Jesus Christ the son of god in human
6:30his presence is here on earth and you’ll
6:33note that in his triumphal entry he’s
6:35not riding a war horse
6:37he’s not wearing military camo and
6:39fatigues he does not have an ar-15 slung
6:43on his back
6:43he doesn’t have an army following him
6:46with swords bayonets or machine
6:48guns or anything like this the tanks
6:51aren’t rolling in you would expect that
6:53to be kind of the case
6:54right i mean Jesus is going to come and
6:57he’s going to conquer
6:58he’s going to establish his kingdom and
7:00the way you establish your kingdom
7:02is by getting rid of evil
7:05and that means getting rid of the evil
7:09but here’s the thing scripture
7:12admonishes us in light of
7:14the gospel to overcome
7:17evil with good and so you’ll know
7:21the thing we didn’t expect the thing we
7:23didn’t see coming the thing that we
7:25didn’t understand would happen
7:27is that god rather than rolling in with
7:31the angel armies and subduing and
7:34getting rid of all the evil in the world
7:37instead Jesus rolls in
7:38quietly confidently
7:42receiving praise in hosannas
7:45riding a cult the full of a donkey and
7:47make no mistake about it he
7:49is going into the devil’s lair at this
7:53and nothing is keeping him back and in
7:56than a week he will be nailed to a cross
8:01and there he will bleed languish and die
8:05but remember when Christ cried out from
8:07the cross
8:08it is finished what happened there was a
8:11great earthquake
8:12the earth shook at his presence and i
8:14think this is what isaiah is really
8:16hinting at here in verse 3
8:18when you did awesome things that we did
8:20not look for
8:22we didn’t look for a king to come in
8:24riding lowly
8:26on a cult the full of a donkey instead
8:29we look for something else when he did
8:31awesome things that we did not look for
8:32you came down
8:33and the mountains quaked at your
8:35presence indeed they did while Christ
8:37bled for your sins on the cross
8:39from of old no one has heard or
8:40perceived by the ear
8:42no eye has seen a god besides you and
8:45listen to these comforting words
8:47a god who acts for those who wait for
8:52and that’s what we are all doing now
8:55waiting for his second advent while we
8:58remember his first
9:00verse five you meet him who joyfully
9:02works righteousness
9:04those who remember you in your ways
9:06behold you were angry
9:08and we sinned and in our sins we have
9:11been a long time
9:14shall we be saved i can say this with
9:17certainty i’ve been alive for 52 years
9:20and all all 52 years i’ve been sinning
9:24all 52. and you’re saying well pastor
9:26rose bro didn’t you stop sinning when
9:28you were installed here in 2014
9:30far from it and so it’s a great question
9:34how old are you and some of you guys are
9:36just like way too young i feel like you
9:38know you haven’t suffered enough you
9:41those of you who’ve been around for a
9:42while you cannot you can say along with
9:44me yeah i’ve
9:45been sinning a long time and the
9:47question is shall
9:48we be saved we’ve gotten good at sinning
9:52haven’t we
9:53you know we make excuses for it we
9:56we perfect our skill at it we think
9:59about it in the morning we think about
10:01it in the evening we think about it
10:02throughout the day and the question is
10:04shall we be saved
10:06or shall we instead have god come and
10:08have us quake at his presence
10:10but the question is answered throughout
10:12all the scriptures yeah we shall be
10:15not because of anything that we have
10:17done but because of everything that
10:19has done for us again salvation is a
10:22gift and it is the glory of god to
10:25our sins it is really truly his glory to
10:29do so
10:30and then if in this context then
10:33one of the things that isaiah does and
10:35i’m going to say this
10:36up front he does this very graphically
10:40in the hebrew
10:41and i always scratch my head when i get
10:44to an english translation
10:46like this knowing what the hebrew is
10:48behind it and saying
10:49what were the english translators
10:51thinking is are they somehow trying to
10:54keep people from being scandalized
10:57by how blunt god’s word is
11:00but it is extremely graphic and blunt so
11:03all i can say
11:04in advance is since you’re all english
11:07brace yourself i don’t think you’re
11:09ready for this
11:10but we’ll see isaiah then
11:13takes away any pretenses of
11:18oftentimes we as human beings think that
11:20we can bargain with god
11:22well god if you help me out of this
11:25this time god then i promise that i’m
11:28gonna pray
11:29two times a week and that i’m going to
11:32at least five dollars in the kettle for
11:35the salvation army this year when i walk
11:37out of walmart
11:39or maybe you say i’m gonna read my bible
11:42mostly every day
11:43in the year 2021 i promised god i’m
11:46going to really do all of this
11:48and when you say things like this you
11:50somehow think that your good works
11:52are a currency that they have certain
11:56value to god that you can exchange
12:00them for things in favors from god
12:03what a foolish thing to do what a
12:06utterly foolish nonsensical thing to do
12:09do you really think that your works
12:12have that kind of value
12:16let’s take a look at what isaiah says
12:18verse 6
12:20we have all that includes isaiah
12:22includes me and you we have all like one
12:25become like one who is unclean all
12:28our righteous deeds are like a polluted
12:34what a completely sanitary and safe
12:38let me give you what the hebrew says
12:43all of our righteous deeds are like used
12:47women’s feminine napkins maxi pads
12:51used up ones that’s what our good works
12:54are like
12:56and i assure you no one’s paying for
12:58those things
13:00so you think you can save yourself by
13:02your good deeds
13:04and here’s the thing even as Christians
13:06we still have our sinful nature
13:08and our best good works on our holiest
13:12are still tainted with sin and still
13:16that blood on them do you think
13:20that you can save yourself by your good
13:24no i told you it was graphic
13:28and indeed it is so don’t think for a
13:30second that you can because you can’t
13:33and then he goes on we all fade like a
13:36our iniquities like the wind
13:39take us away and that’s what our
13:41iniquities do they take us away from god
13:43they take us away from each other you’ll
13:45note that the two great commands of
13:48scripture are to love the lord your god
13:49with all your heart soul mind and
13:51and love your neighbor as yourself but
13:54when you are sinning
13:55who are you thinking about you’re
13:58thinking about old number one you’re
13:59thinking about me
14:01me myself and i the unholy trinity right
14:05and that’s the thing your sin is slavery
14:08it’s bondage to the devil bondage to
14:10death bondage to yourself
14:12and iniquities are not something that
14:15kind they drag you away
14:18always marvel at the person who says
14:22so chris you think that the did you can
14:24be totally saved by what Jesus has done
14:26and not by your good works
14:27well if the gospel is that free then
14:30you’re saying i can go and sin all i
14:32you you think sin is freedom
14:37it’s not freedom at all our iniquities
14:39take us away
14:41and then he goes on there’s no one who
14:44calls upon your name who rouses himself
14:46to take hold of you
14:47you have hidden your face from us you’ve
14:50made us melt
14:51in the hand of our iniquities sin is its
14:54own punishment at times
14:56and now here comes the great conjunction
14:59conjunction junction what’s that
15:02function right
15:04but but
15:07now oh lord you are our father
15:10we are the clay you are our potter
15:14and we are the work of your hand how is
15:17this possible by the way
15:18this is a description that the very
15:20thing that the apostle paul is getting
15:22in ephesians chapter two what does paul
15:24say he says that we are saved by grace
15:27through faith it is not our own doing
15:30it is the gift of god so that no one may
15:34and then he goes on to say this for we
15:36are god’s
15:37workmanship created in Christ Jesus
15:40for good works
15:43and so even isaiah understands this
15:46simple fact that when it comes to
15:47self-righteousness you cannot bargain
15:49with god with your good works
15:50but because god now is our father
15:54because we have received in Christ the
15:56spirit of adoption and again the verb
15:58there is received
15:59we have received the spirit of adoption
16:02now we can cry out to god as our father
16:05knowing that we are created in Christ
16:07Jesus for good works
16:09and god is the one who then skillfully
16:12like a master potter
16:14forms us into what we are to be so that
16:17we may do
16:18the works that god has created us in
16:20Christ Jesus to do
16:22and all of this is by grace through
16:24faith here again
16:26portions of our epistle text where paul
16:29says to the church in corinth
16:30he says grace to you and peace from god
16:33our father
16:34and the lord Jesus Christ you’ve
16:36probably read it a hundred times maybe a
16:38thousand times in scripture you’ve heard
16:40from this pulpit many times from the
16:42epistle readings grace to you in peace
16:44but that’s the thing that’s what we
16:46receive from god
16:47because of Christ we receive grace
16:50we receive mercy and because of that we
16:54now have
16:54shalom we have peace with god
16:58and we have peace with god our father
17:00and the lord Jesus Christ
17:02and paul goes on to then describe that
17:04what we are doing as Christians is we
17:06are waiting now
17:08for the revealing of our lord Jesus
17:10Christ but in the waiting then watch how
17:13the verbs work
17:14Christ will sustain you to the end
17:18in the day of our lord Jesus Christ see
17:21god in his mercy has not only sent
17:23Christ to bleed and die for you but he’s
17:25also through the holy spirit
17:27sustaining us as guiltless even though
17:30we are
17:30as guilt-ridden as they get but the
17:33reason we are guiltless is because
17:35Christ when he entered into jerusalem he
17:38eventually that same week
17:39went to the cross and died so that we
17:42can be
17:43come guiltless he became the guilty
17:46and in him we are clothed in the
17:48righteousness of Christ
17:50and rather than being guilty sinners in
17:53dire dire
17:56risk of experiencing god’s judgment and
17:59instead god sees us as guiltless
18:02as forgiven pardoned reconciled so that
18:05he then sustains us as guiltless until
18:08returns in fact it says god is faithful
18:11he is the one by whom you were called
18:13into the fellowship of the son Jesus
18:15Christ our lord
18:16so then coming back to this great prayer
18:18of judgment
18:19of isaiah note where he goes
18:22next verse 9 so be not so terribly angry
18:27o lord and remember not iniquity forever
18:31behold please look we
18:34are all your people and it is only
18:37somebody who trusts in Jesus who can
18:39pray such a bold prayer
18:41if you do not believe in Jesus then how
18:44dare you call god your father you’re
18:46under the works and the dominion of
18:49but we who are in Christ know this then
18:52we are now the children of god god is
18:56our father and we can boldly and humbly
18:59please god be not so terribly angry and
19:02do not remember our iniquity forever in
19:04fact god not only doesn’t remember our
19:07forever he doesn’t remember it now all
19:10who are in Christ
19:11scripture says god has taken your sin
19:14and he has cast it as far away as the
19:16east is from the west
19:18i don’t know how far that is but it
19:20sounds like it’s really far
19:22like really really really far and so
19:25note then we can trust
19:28this god that he does not remember our
19:32and we can say to him we are truly your
19:35people why
19:36because you’ve made us your people so as
19:40we begin this penitential season
19:42the season of advent the season where we
19:46Christ has come in human flesh to bleed
19:49and to die for our sins to reconcile
19:52us to god so that we can be adopted as a
19:54son set free from the dominion of
19:57and have in receive eternal life as a
20:01let us again consider the prayer that we
20:03prayed earlier today let me read it
20:06stir up your power o lord and come
20:10so that by your protection we may be
20:12rescued from the threatening perils of
20:15sins and that’s the point our sins
20:18really do put us in deep peril
20:21so please god rescue us from the
20:23threatening perils of our sins
20:25and saved by your mighty hand of
20:29for you live and reign with the father
20:30and the holy spirit one god now and
20:33in the name of Jesus amen
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