Sermon Transcript – Jesus Was Standing

Series A – Fifth Sunday of Easter – Sunday, May 07, 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 John the 14th chapter [Music]
0:37Jesus said let not your hearts be troubled believe in God believe also in me in my father’s house are many rooms
0:44if it were not so I would not I would would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and
0:49I prepare a place for you I will come again and will take you to myself that where I am you may be also and you know
0:57the way to where I am going Thomas said to him Lord we do not know
1:02where you are going how can we know the way Jesus said to him I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the
1:09father except for through me if you had known me you would have known my father also from now on you do know him and you
1:16have seen him Philip said to him Lord show us the father and it is enough Jesus said to him have I been with you
1:22so long and you still do not know me Philip Whoever has seen me has seen the father how can you say show us the
1:28father do you not believe that I am in the father and the father is in me the words that I say to you I do not speak
1:34on my own authority but the father who dwells in me does his Works believe me that I am in the father and the father
1:41is in me or else believe on account of The Works themselves truly truly I say to you whoever believes in me will also
1:47do the works that I do and greater Works than these will he do because I am going to the father whatever you ask in my
1:54name this I will do that the father may be glorified in the son if you ask me
1:59any anything in my name I will do it this is the gospel of the Lord in the
2:05name of Jesus amen you guys remember that movie Saving Private Ryan a little tough to watch
2:12right one of those historical movies that decided that they wanted to be as accurate as possible regarding probably
2:17one of the darkest days in human history a necessary day because of evil if you
2:23remember how World War II history works the Nazis had taken over pretty much all
2:29of Western Europe no need to conquer Spain the fascists were already in control of of that and so Western Europe
2:36had fallen only the United Kingdom stood against them and the Allies the Allies
2:42came together and came up with a plan and it required them to take a beach head on the on the beaches of Normandy
2:49in France and then from there plan a over land campaign to defeat the Nazis
2:55and to free Europe from their oppression and their evil and if you remember the
3:01opening sequence of that movie it was hard to watch watching men’s arms and legs pieces of their bodies flying off
3:09as they were being killed and murdered kind of the best way to put it by artillery fire and Small Arms fire and
3:16everything going off in their faces a terrible terrible day you’ll note this a good way to think
3:22about Christianity is with Jesus’s death burial resurrection and Ascension Christ
3:30has effectively won the war against Satan I love the way the historians talk
3:35about D-Day they say that D-Day is the day when the Allies won the war against Germany but you’ll note it took a lot of
3:42battles before the war came to its conclusion the conclusion was Secure there was no doubt about it the Nazis
3:49were going to lose same with Christ in his church you’ll note that our hymns today were chosen because they fit a
3:56theme one that is not popular today the idea of the church militant and I need
4:02to make something very clear here I’m not talking about the church militant in the terms of the Crusaders all right
4:07that’s not our call we are not called to go and take territory for Jesus that’s
4:13not how this works instead we are called to go and preach Christ and him crucified
4:20there’s another kingdom that is coming and we heard in Our Gospel text today Jesus saying to his Apostles I’m going
4:28ahead to Heaven that’s where he’s heading to and I’m going to prepare a
4:33place for you and then I’m going to bring you to where I am the kingdom of
4:38Christ is not something that occurs here on Earth it is Among Us by faith for
4:45sure but you can’t plant a flag and say here is Christ’s nation that doesn’t
4:51exist today nor will it exist until Christ returns but that being the case
4:56like in every good War there are battles that still have to be fought and there
5:02are casualties to these battles and you and I we are all part of this great
5:08church militant and I have to say this I remember the great line from the uh
5:14um The Chronicles of Narnia where Lucy pevensey wanted to be fighting in the
5:21battle and Aslan had to basically say the battles are terrible things and they’re not the places for women but in
5:27the church militant I would note that we’re all soldiers and we must remember that we do not battle against flesh and
5:32blood there ain’t nobody on planet Earth who really truly is our enemy they may be
5:38under the power of the enemy but they are not our enemies instead we fight against the powers and principalities of
5:45this present Darkness if you’re not sure what that looks like just read Revelation 12 and 13 it’ll give you
5:50nightmares that’s kind of the point the devil is Raging and seething and seeking to destroy his church last week in the
5:57book of Acts we heard how everything was idyllic the newly baptized Christians were so in love with the with the Lord
6:04so smitten with love for each other they were selling property giving it to the
6:09poor nobody had any need they were all dedicated to the apostles preaching the prayers the breaking of bread and the
6:16fellowship and everything was going fantastic but let me ask you a question
6:22since that we know that the devil is seething and raging against Christ and
6:28his church and he’s Waging War against his Saints how does Satan effectively
6:36wage war against the church by causing problems internally
6:43and externally and our first reading today brings this to light so now things
6:50have had a little bit of time to settle and now here comes the first church conflict and it’s a conflict over of all
6:58things the distribution of food the Distributing food is not a requirement of the Gospel this is something that
7:05happened out of people’s generosity and love for each other but you’ll note that we human beings have this thing that we
7:11do we like to divide up based upon it’s really kind of surfacey things like you
7:18know skin color language and stuff like this but in Christ’s Church do such
7:23things have any meaning or bearing art we should we show partiality to other
7:29believers because they share our Norwegian or German or polish heritage
7:35no not at all and so something is going terribly wrong here it reads in the
7:41opening of our text now in these days when the disciples were increasing a number a complaint by the Hellenist
7:47arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of course I’m looking at
7:53this going who’s stupid enough to let this happen right how long do you think that’s going
8:00to last and you’ll note that things are being divided up kind of racially here you have the Hebrews people who are
8:06descendants of Abraham the hellenists are people who are descended from those of a Greek Heritage that are separated
8:12by language and culture and as a result of it somehow the Hebrews have got the
8:17upper hand here and the hellenists well those widows there was just nothing left sorry you Greek ladies no soup for you
8:24right and this is how this was going and it’s not good so the 12 do something
8:31that I think is brilliant in this church conflict they
8:37don’t decide that they’re going to just rebuke the people who are doing the bad thing they decide that they’re going to
8:42set up a system whereby it’s going to be impossible for this bad thing to keep going on right and so the 12 said it’s
8:51not right that we should give up the preaching of the word of God to serve tables the apostles have important work
8:57to do so it’s time for distribution of Duties therefore Brothers pick out from among you seven men of good repute full
9:03of the spirit and of wisdom whom we will appoint to this Duty but we will devote
9:08ourselves to prayer into the ministry of the word and what they said please the whole Gathering and they chose Stephen a
9:14manner full of faith and of the Holy Spirit and listen to the rest of the list if you know the difference between
9:19Greek and Hebrew you’re going to recognize there are some Greek names here and there’s some Hebrew names here
9:25this is an interesting list so they chose Philip procurus nekanor taimon
9:31parmeneus Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch so now these men are going to be a sign
9:38they’re going to have hands laid on them and they’re going to become the first deacons of the church and they’re going to be responsible for this and here’s
9:45the thing there’s Hebrews and hellenists among those who are deacons and so
9:52they’re going to make sure that the distribution is handled equitably it’s a beautiful solution if you think
9:59about it because if anyone complains after this whoo boy have they got a
10:05problem can you imagine some of the Hebrews saying well I don’t understand why why we have to distribute everything
10:10equitably I mean I’m not getting as much as I used to I mean what’s what’s wrong with that somebody starts complaining
10:16like that ah it’s time for a full-on rebuke right you see what I’m saying it’s just it’s beautiful because the
10:23solution solves the problem and everybody’s sin gets to be just pushed
10:29down due to the fact that the right thing is happening right so they set these men before the apostles they
10:36prayed and laid their hands on them and listen to this wonderful wonderful next verse and the word of God continued to
10:44increase the word of God continuing to increase that doesn’t mean that the Bible got thicker it just means that the
10:50word of God was being preached more and more and more people were hearing it and the number of the disciples multiplied
10:55greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith
11:00now that’s a fantastic detail and I pointed this out in the men’s Women’s Bible studies last week but I gotta hone
11:07in on this again because think about it for a second the high priests there were two of them and they would trade off
11:13duties year after year one would do it one year then one would do it the next year and that was Annis and Caiaphas
11:18these are the guys who conspire to have Jesus crucified so can you imagine some
11:24levite who’s working in the temple who’s hearing all the buzz about the Risen
11:30Savior Jesus Christ the one who’s crucified for our sins right and they
11:35then are doing the duties of the Old Testament in the temple with the gospel still ringing in their ears because all
11:41their neighbors have told them about Jesus and there they are they go and they sacrifice a lamb or a bull or a
11:49goat and they’re sitting there going oh my goodness this is all pointing to Jesus right and what do they do
11:56they become a Believer well as soon as that happens you can just see Anderson Kaif is going no no no no no no no no
12:02out get out get out get get out you cannot have a bunch of believing priests right that would just mess everything up
12:08so you can only imagine the gospel has really created a problem as far as a
12:14labor pool of Levites to do the work of the temple it’s things that were getting disrupted it’s a
12:20beautiful sentence and then it goes on and says that Stephen Full of Grace and power was doing great wonders and signs
12:27among the people you’ll note that Stephen is one of the few lay people in the New Testament who can legitimately
12:33operate in signs and wonders this was a gift given to him by the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands of the Apostles
12:40and this guy if he were to think of him in terms of well spiritual combat right
12:47work with me here all right the the armor of the spirit right near the armor
12:53that we as Christians have you know we got the shield of faith and and all this kind of stuff but what’s our one
12:58offensive weapon the word of God okay so the best way I can describe what
13:05I’m seeing here in this text is that Stephen is Zorro this guy can wield the
13:12sword of the spirit like nobody’s business I mean he is a warrior of
13:18Warriors and this true Christian sense so it says this some of those who belong
13:24to the synagogue of the freedmen as it was called and of the sirenians and of the
13:30alexandrians and those from solician Asia they rose up and they disputed with Stephen but they could not withstand the
13:38wisdom and the spirit with which he was speaking right you got to stop telling us that
13:45Jesus is the Messiah and he’d whip out his Bible from his memory how do I know this because what follows next this guy
13:53knew the scriptures and so he was able from the scriptures from memory to
13:59absolutely oppose those who were opposing him and they couldn’t even get an angle on him they would come to
14:05attack him and they would leave bloodied and wounded in a spiritual sense here
14:10all right so they hate this guy and I’m going to note this and that human
14:16history is full of men who like Stephen are speaking the truth of God and when
14:25they cannot be overcome their opponents decide that they’re going to resort
14:31resort to murder in the name of God
14:36for the purpose of getting rid of their opponent so they simply secretly instigated men who said we have heard
14:42him speak Blasphemous words against Moses and God uh-huh and so they stirred up the people and the elders and the
14:49scribes and they came upon Him seized him and brought him before the council
14:54and they set up false Witnesses who said this man never ceases to speak words
14:59against this holy place and and the law for we have heard him say that this
15:04Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the Customs that Moses delivered to us another point that
15:12bears repeating here how many of you have ever heard it’s a new thing that the deconstructionist
15:18Liberals are talking about okay if you’re ever scrolling through social media and somebody says have you ever
15:24stopped to think that you know uh the the the the first Christians they didn’t
15:30have a new testament so like why do we need to use the New Testament to teach people about God huh they didn’t have
15:37one said we don’t need one either right and I of course I make him sound like a complete idiot surfer dude from Southern
15:43California with sandy blonde hair and a puka shell necklace that’s a whole other story it’s part of my therapy I’m
15:50working through some things here but all that being said those people I would like to basically say hmm really they
15:57had no New Testament are you sure about that well what do you mean dude well
16:03what I mean here is have you noticed that Stephen’s response he is giving us
16:09theology that we find in the gospel of Matthew chapter 24. where do you think he got that from well
16:17it didn’t get it from the New Testament dude well maybe if you think about it for a second Matthew wrote what the
16:23gospel of Matthew who do you think Stephen was listening to oh are you saying that he heard the
16:30gospel of Matthew before it was even written let me go valley girl on you for a second duh right
16:36exactly that’s the point you’ll see here that this he’s hearing the gospel of
16:43Matthew before Matthew ever took out quill and Papyrus or whatever he wrote
16:49initially on he’s hearing it from the mouth of the Apostles themselves don’t ever tell me that the earliest
16:56Christians never had the New Testament who do you think they learned new testament theology from from the
17:01eyewitnesses from the apostles and how many of them were there 12. that’s quite a bit right and you’ll
17:09notice we know from church history these guys traveled they went around preaching
17:14and teaching and telling everybody so the earliest Christians were discipled the New Testament theology before the New Testament it was written by the guys
17:21who wrote the New Testament it’s sorry I’m on a high horse here let me move on okay
17:27so here’s what happens next and that is
17:33they a fascinating detail I missed this one okay so Stephen was gazed they were
17:40gazing at Stephen and all who sat in the council saw his face and his face was like the face of an Angel interesting
17:47thing here remember when Jesus was on trial Jesus did not defend himself at
17:53all Jesus just remained silent but the scriptures teach us that when we are put
17:58on trial we don’t need to worry about what we’re going to say this is a promise given to Christians
18:04because God himself Christ promises that when we are on trial he will give us
18:09words to speak and here’s the interesting bit is that what follows next is not a defense given by Stephen
18:18as to why you shouldn’t Stone me that’s not what Stephen is doing at all
18:23trusting in Christ he now has given words inspired by the Holy Spirit given
18:30as an answer to the promise that Christ gave us when you are on trial don’t even worry about it all give you words and
18:36these are words from God himself and who is God putting on trial here not Stephen
18:42but the people who are bringing these false charges against Stephen
18:47and what happens next is just brilliant you know I’ve got nothing better to do
18:53on a Sunday afternoon what do you think we do a little bit of Bible reading right okay I know it’s unheard of but
18:59let’s do this let’s take a look at chapter seven and walk our way through it because this is one of the greatest summaries of the Old Testament given in
19:06all of the scripture and it’s not in defense of Stephen it’s spoken in
19:11opposition to as a rebuke against those who are about to put him to death
19:16so the high priest said are these things so Stephen and Stephen said brothers and
19:22fathers hear me the god of Glory appeared to our father Abram when he was in Mesopotamia before
19:29he lived in haran and said to him go out from your land and from your kindred
19:35and go into the land that I will show you and then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in haran and
19:42after his father died God removed him from there into this land in which you
19:48are now living yet he had he gave him no inheritance in it not even a foot’s
19:55length but promised to give it to him as a possession into his offspring after him though he had no child you’ll note
20:03that this Theology of Stevens here comports with what we hear in the book of Hebrews and that is is that Abraham
20:10and Sarah and the Patriarchs of the Old Testament they all died not receiving
20:15the inheritance because they were all looking forward to a city a city whose founder and Builder is God himself Jesus
20:22you’ll note is the one who makes reference to that City when he says I go ahead to prepare a place for you have
20:29you ever stopped to think how absolutely awesome it is that Jesus the son of a
20:34humble Carpenter from Nazareth who probably learned his Papa’s trade right
20:39is the one who is preparing a place for you you know I think of Nate I mean he’s an amazing Carpenter the work that he
20:46does in construction stuff like this it boggles the mind for me Amir Layman when it comes to just enjoying things like
20:52this but Jesus knows this trade well his hands were probably callous like every
20:58good hard-working Carpenter and day laborer is and he is the one who’s preparing a place for you and for I
21:05right and so here we hear in this great dissertation given by Stephen that even
21:12Abraham and Sarah they did not have an inheritance in this lifetime and God
21:18spoke to this effect to his offspring that they would be sojourn as a land in a land belonging to others who would
21:25enslave them and afflict them for 400 years but I will judge the nation that they will serve said God
21:31and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place and he gave him
21:36the Covenant of circumcision and so Abraham became the father of Isaac and the circumcised him on the eighth day
21:42and Isaac became the father of yahuov and yahovah the twelve Patriarchs and the Patriarchs jealous of Joseph sold
21:49him into Egypt but God was with him and rescued him out of all of his afflictions and gave him favor and
21:54wisdom before Pharaoh the king of Egypt this is a master class as far as the summary of the book of Genesis and
22:00exodus it’s brilliant who made him ruler over Egypt and over his household now there came a famine
22:07throughout all of Egypt and Canaan and great Affliction and great Affliction and our fathers could find no food but
22:13when yaakov heard that there was grain in Egypt he sent out our fathers on
22:18their first visit and on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers and Joseph’s family became
22:24known to pharaoh and Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all of his Kindred 75 persons in all and yahov went
22:33down into Egypt and he died he and our fathers and they were carried back to
22:39shechem and laid in the Tomb that Abraham our father had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of hamor and
22:46shechem and at this point you can see the Jews are going what’s he getting at where is this going what’s the punch
22:52line here because yeah so far we don’t disagree with anything he’s saying well it’s all leading somewhere because
22:58you’ll note that as a good disciple of the Apostles Stephen was also very
23:03familiar with that hour three hour long Bible study that those Disciples of
23:09Jesus had on the road to Emmaus right so he knows the Bible’s all about Christ so
23:15he continues but as the time of the promised Junior which God had granted to Abraham the people increased and
23:22multiplied in Egypt until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph he dealt strudely with our race
23:29and forced our fathers to expose their infants so that they would not be kept alive at this time Moses was born and he
23:36was beautiful in God’s sight and he was brought up for three months in his father’s house and when he was exposed
23:43Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son and Moses
23:49was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and he was mighty in his words and deeds when he was 40 years old it
23:57came into his heart to visit his brothers the children of Israel and seeing one of them being wrong he
24:03defended and oppressed the man and Avenged him by striking down the Egyptian he supposed that his brother
24:08would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand but they did
24:14not understand I want to point something out here that is information you don’t get in the
24:21book of Exodus when it gives the account of Moses striking down that Egyptian we are never
24:28told what Moses was thinking in his heart where did Stephen get this information
24:33from could it be that God is speaking through him now that’s the point is it not these are
24:40inspired words from the Holy Spirit written for our instruction and now we have a fuller picture of even what
24:46happened in the book of Exodus that you couldn’t get just by reading Exodus and on the following day Moses appeared to
24:52them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them saying men you are brothers why do you wrong each other
24:59the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside saying who made you a ruler and a judge over us do you want to
25:07kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday and at this retort Moses fled and became
25:12an exile in the land of Midian where he became the father of two sons now when
25:1740 years had passed an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai in a flame of fire in a bush when Moses saw
25:25it he was amazed at the sight and as he drew near to look there came the voice of the Lord I am the god of your fathers
25:32the god of Abraham the Itzhak of yachov and Moses trembled and did not dare to
25:38look and then the Lord said him take off the sandals from your feet for the place where you are standing is Holy Ground I
25:45have surely seen the Affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning and I have come down to
25:51deliver them and now come I will send you to Egypt so this Moses whom they’ve rejected
25:57saying who made you a ruler and a judge this man God sent as both ruler and
26:02Redeemer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush this man LED them out performing wonders and signs in
26:09Egypt at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for 40 years this is the Moses who said to the Israelites God
26:17will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers oh
26:23did he just do that he just did that he just invoked the prophecy from Deuteronomy 18. that God would raise up
26:31a prophet like Moses I can see where this is going it’s not going to end well for Stephen but the whole point is God’s
26:37the one who’s putting Stephen’s persecutors on trial with his word
26:43this is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the
26:48angel who spoke to him it’s Mount Sinai and with our fathers he received living
26:54oracles to give to us our fathers refused to obey him but thrust him aside
26:59and in their hearts they turned to Egypt saying to Aaron make for us Gods who
27:04will go before us and as for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt we don’t know what’s become of him and so
27:10they made a calf in those days and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands
27:16but God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of Heaven as it is written in the book of the prophets did
27:23you bring me to bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices during the 40 years in
27:28the wilderness so House of Israel you took up the tent of moloch the star
27:34of your God refin and the images that you made to worship and I will send you into Exile Beyond Babylon our fathers
27:42had the tent of witness in the wilderness Justice he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the
27:49pattern that he had seen our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they
27:55dispossessed the Nations that God drove out before our fathers so it was until the days of David who found favor in the
28:02sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for God the god of Jacob but it was Solomon who built a house for
28:10him yet the most high does not dwell in houses made by hands as the prophet says
28:16interesting we hear those same words next week from the Apostle Paul when he speaks before the areopagus when he’s
28:23condemning their idolatry and calling them to believe in the crucified and Risen Savior so here Stephen quotes from
28:30the scriptures where he says Heaven is my Throne the Earth is my foot still what kind of house will you build for me
28:36says the Lord or what is the place of my rest did not my hand make all these things and here it comes
28:44you’ll note again Stephen isn’t defending himself
28:50there’s no pretense of it even at all these are words given to him by God as
28:56promised by Christ and the people who are on trial it’s not Stephen
29:02it’s them you stiff-necked people
29:10uncircumcised in heart and ears you always resist the Holy Spirit as your
29:15fathers did so do you which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute
29:20and they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the righteous one whom you have now betrayed and
29:28murdered you who received the law as delivered by angels and you did not keep
29:33it and off in the distance you can hear the low rumbling
29:39getting louder and louder and the Earth is shaking and the volcano now erupts
29:46because the Trap is sprung they have been found wanting by God
29:53using the word of God Stephen has condemned those who murdered
30:00and betrayed Christ and he has pointed out that despite all of their pretenses of Holiness and
30:06righteousness they haven’t kept the Torah as they would like people to believe and they have even murdered the
30:13one that was promised by the prophets the righteous one the Holy One Jesus Christ Messiah and King
30:20now when they heard these things they were in raged and they ground their
30:27teeth at him I always think that says a weird sentence what does that look like
30:33you could get some dental work yeah you got a cavity there dude how does one grind their teeth at somebody they
30:40ground their teeth at Stephen and here’s where we’re and it’s going to throw in something a little side note
30:48do you remember right before Easter this year Our Gospel text was the Gospel of
30:54John chapter 11. Lazarus had died he’s been dead for four days Jesus decides to
30:59show up four days after he he’s gone and the first to come and see Jesus of that
31:05lazarus’s sisters is Martha and Martha finds Christ just outside of Bethany and
31:12she said to him Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died true words by the way but even now I know
31:18that whatever you ask from God God will give to you so Jesus said to her your brother will rise again and Martha said
31:23to him I know that he will rise again in the Resurrection on the last day perfect catechism answer just well done here
31:31she’s decided to sit and listen to Jesus rather than banging and clanging dishes right so Jesus said to her I am the
31:39resurrection and the life I am the resurrection whoever believes
31:44in me though he die yet shall he live and everyone who lives and Believes In
31:50Me shall never die do you believe this
31:57huh do you believe that you will never die
32:03Jesus said so I’m going to go with yeah I believe I don’t know how this works out but I like
32:10to think of what is happening now in this last part of our text is what Jesus
32:16meant by saying you will never die because the last words of this of this text say nothing about Stephen dying let
32:25me explain Okay so full of the Holy Spirit Stephen now
32:31gazes into heaven and he saw the glory of God and Jesus
32:38standing standing at the right hand of God
32:45what does the Creed say he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the father
32:57this is a huge detail so there’s Stephen he’s about to lose his life and all of a sudden he can see
33:05Christ the veil is lifted Jesus is fulfilling his promise I go
33:12ahead of you to prepare a place for you and I will bring you to where I am
33:18he says and now this is happening for Stephen
33:24and moments before he is about to be stoned to death
33:29he can now see the face of Christ and Jesus isn’t sitting on a throne
33:36with a scepter and a sword he’s standing
33:50that detail makes all the difference in the world it really does
33:57to have the king’s attention like that precious in the sight of the Lord is the
34:03death of his Saints the scripture says do you think Jesus can just casually sit
34:08and watch well the very first Christian is about
34:13to be martyred for the faith
34:18not at all do you think you’re death no matter what it is will escape the notice of Christ
34:28we are his blood bought children
34:33all of our sin has been washed away by his blood we are the bride of Christ
34:40collectively we are the bride of Christ we are the apple of his eye we’re the love of his life
34:48if your spouse was in danger would you sit and casually do nothing
34:58but he stood I see
35:03Heaven the glory of God and I see Jesus standing at the right hand of God and he
35:09said I behold I see the heavens opened and the son of man standing at the right hand of God but they cried out with a
35:15loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him and then they cast him out of the city
35:21and they stoned him and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul
35:27and as they were stoning Stephen he called out with a loud voice Lord Jesus
35:33received my spirit and then falling to his knees and by this time he’s bleeding hard
35:38he cried out with a loud voice Lord do not hold this sin against them
35:44how can somebody pray such a prayer while he’s being murdered because nobody on Earth is our enemy
35:52we do not battle against flesh and blood and he recognizes that even these men are under the grip of Satan himself
36:00and so are your neighbors and so are mine do not hold the sin against them and
36:07when he had said this what does the text say he fell
36:18I am the resurrection and the life Jesus says whoever believes in me though he die yet shall he live and everyone who
36:25lives and Believes In Me shall never die do you believe this
36:31it’s true so what what does this have to do with us
36:37brothers and sisters we live in treacherous days and we have since Christ’s Ascension
36:43have you noticed the insanity of the world and it’s only getting crazier and every
36:48week that I say this it’s gotten significantly worse there may be a Time coming when you will
36:57be arrested a call to confess Christ or deny him or die
37:04this this is not a hypothetical situation for Christians this is always a real danger in a threat and again and
37:11again the Temptation the Temptation and such persecution is to save your own
37:18skin to basically decide I’ll just lie so that I can live longer and then I’ll
37:24make it up by preaching the gospel double on the other end of that okay Jesus is very clear that the one
37:31who desires to save his life will lose it the one who loses his life for Christ
37:38will have it saved and there’s a reason for that because the one who loves his life above Christ
37:45is an idolater their true God is themselves the true God that they worship is their
37:52own life their own skin their own image in the mirror and we are called to repent of idolatry we are to deny
37:59ourselves and take up our cross and follow Christ and you’ll note the Temptation is always
38:05strong to do something different but we’re here we have so many fulfillments
38:11of promises given by Christ not the least of which is this is Jesus taking
38:17Stephen home to be where he is and there’s a day coming when Christ
38:24will come for you as well but you do not know the circumstances of that and is none of your business to know it anyway
38:30when it arrives it’ll arrive the way God intended it from before the foundations of the Earth
38:36so Jesus says to his disciples I go to prepare a place for you and I
38:42will come again and I will take you to myself that where I am you may be also Thomas of course goes uh Lord we don’t
38:49know where you’re going how can we know the way Jesus is the way
38:54I am the way the truth and the life Jesus says no one comes to the father except for through me if you had known
39:00me you would have known my father also and from now on you know him and you have seen him it is this Jesus who has
39:07bled and died for all of our sins including our self-idolatry he has
39:12clothed Us in his righteousness this Jesus whom the world hates the stone
39:17that the builders has rejected this Jesus is the Cornerstone and he is for
39:23everybody outside of Christ a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense and the reason why they stumble and they hate
39:29Jesus is because they disobey his words as they were destined to do
39:34but here we see another thing in our epistle text that is helpful here we we who are in Christ and listen to
39:43the words we are a chosen race
39:49what about the Jews somebody who’s genetically Jewish is not a chosen race of God
39:56the one who is the chosen race of God are the Believers in Christ who share the same Faith as Abraham of itsak and
40:03yaakov you are a chosen race you are a royal priesthood you are a holy nation you are
40:10a people for God’s Own possession so that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of Darkness
40:18Into His Marvelous Light you’ll note that each and every one of
40:24us is the part of the church militant we are called to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus our crucified Risen Savior the
40:33husband of the bride of Christ the one who loved us so much that he laid down his life so that we can be forgiven and
40:40reconciled to God once we were not a people we were just a rabble of sinful Humanity but now we are God’s people
40:48once we had not received Mercy but now in Christ we have received
40:54Mercy so may God through the example of the first
40:59Christian martyr the first turmoils that show up in the Christian church
41:04grant us strength through his holy spirit soundness of mind to recognize
41:10that this is our lot that we stand with Stephen and may we not love our lives to
41:16the point of denying Christ but hold this faith in Jesus even unto death
41:21knowing that our death is just the day when Jesus is drawing us to himself and
41:27that day where he will finally show us what he has been preparing to give us
41:34hmm sounds so easy
41:39but it’s so hard and spirit is willing the flesh is weak
41:45Lord I believe please help my unbelief in the name of Jesus Amen
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