Sermon Transcript – Lip Service Religion

Series A – Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost – Sunday, October 19, 2014 | 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:
Intro bumper
Time StampTranscript
0:28the holy Gospel According to Saint
0:30Matthew chapter 22 verses 15 through 22.
0:34then the Pharisees went out and they
0:37laid plans
0:39to trap Jesus in his words
0:42they sent their disciples to him along
0:44with the herodians teacher they said we
0:47know you are a man of integrity and that
0:49you teach the way of God in accordance
0:51with the truth you aren’t swayed by men
0:54because you pay no attention to who they
0:55are so tell us then what is your opinion
0:58is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or
1:01not but Jesus knowing their evil intent
1:05you hypocrites
1:07why are you trying to trap me
1:09show me the coin used for paying the tax
1:11and they brought him a Denarius and he
1:14asked them whose portrait is this
1:16and whose inscription Caesars they
1:19replied then he said to them give to
1:21Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what
1:24is God’s and when they heard this they
1:27were amazed so they left him and went
1:31in the name of Jesus
1:35so then the Pharisees went out and they
1:36laid plans to trap Jesus in his words
1:40let that sentence sink in for a second
1:44who are the Pharisees
1:46they were the religious leaders of
1:48Israel these are Church men right
1:51these are pastors these are the guys who
1:54teach in the synagogue these are the
1:56people who you know you go to when you
1:58have a question about a tough biblical
2:00passage you need an opinion about what
2:02God’s word is saying these are the guys
2:04who read the Torah these are the guys
2:07who were preeminent in the synagogue
2:11so how is it that the Pharisees then who
2:15supposedly are teaching Israel about God
2:20are trying to trap
2:23the very God that they claim that they
2:28that is a huge conundrum
2:31first and foremost let us be warned
2:34by this passage
2:36that not all religion that claims to
2:38worship God actually does so
2:41this is very important this lesson
2:43teaches us that now
2:46in order for us to kind of understand
2:47what’s going on here why is it that the
2:50Pharisees have it out for Jesus how is
2:53it possible that these religious leaders
2:54want to kill the very God they claim
2:57that they’re worshiping trap him in his
2:58word so to speak well this requires us
3:00to know a little bit about the Pharisees
3:02religion and so I thought I would take
3:03the occasion of this sermon this morning
3:05to do a little bit of historical and
3:07biblical study if you have your Bibles
3:10open up to the gospel of Mark chapter 7
3:13Mark chapter 7 and we’re going to learn
3:17a little bit about the Pharisees and
3:19just why it is that Jesus is so
3:21threatening to them
3:24Mark chapter 7 verse 1.
3:28here’s what it says the Pharisees and
3:29some of the teachers of the law who had
3:31come from Jerusalem gathered around
3:33Jesus and saw some of his disciples
3:35eating food with hands that were unclean
3:39that means it was unwashed now pause for
3:42a second here you were only seven
3:44chapters into the gospel of Mark now
3:46Mark is a short as a short gospel and it
3:48moves along really quick that one of the
3:50best words in the gospel of Mark is and
3:51immediately and immediately and
3:53immediately this is the gospel of action
3:54right and so Jesus is still pretty early
3:57in his ministry here in the gospel of
3:59Mark and well it’s time for headquarters
4:02to send an investigative committee to
4:05decide whether or not this Jesus guy is
4:07on the level right so the committee
4:11shows up and they’re they’re hanging out
4:13with Jesus they’re hearing him teach
4:14seeing him perform Miracles but then
4:17here comes the thing that they’re going
4:19to say this is the thing we’ve got to
4:22draw a line on
4:24whether or not the disciples wash their
4:27hands after they’ve been Out Among the
4:30Gentiles that’s the thing that the
4:33Pharisees are getting upset about
4:38have you ever asked yourself this
4:39question why are they getting all upset
4:40about this and by the way we’re not
4:41talking here about when your mom would
4:43say listen cleanliness is Next to
4:45Godliness make sure that you wash your
4:46hands before you eat that’s not what
4:48this is about I’ll explain it in a
4:50minute so the Pharisees and all the Jews
4:52the text says do not eat unless they
4:55give their hands a ceremonial washing
4:57holding to the tradition of the elders
4:59keep that phrase in mind tradition of
5:01the elders it’s important and when they
5:03come from the marketplace they do not
5:04eat unless they wash and they observe
5:06many other Traditions such as the
5:08washing of Cups pitchers and Kettles so
5:11the Pharisees and the teachers of the
5:12law ask Jesus why don’t your disciples
5:15live according to what not the
5:17scriptures listen to this why don’t they
5:18live according to the tradition of the
5:20elders instead of eating their food with
5:23unclean hands that’s the rub let me read
5:26a little bit more of the text even then
5:27we’ll unpack this so Jesus replied
5:31Isaiah was right when he prophesied
5:33about you Hypocrites as it is written
5:36these people they honor me with their
5:40but their hearts are far from me
5:43this is the religion of the Pharisees
5:45they honor God with their lips
5:48but there’s no faith in their heart they
5:51worship me in vain their teachings are
5:53but rules taught by men
5:56you have let go of the commands of God
5:58and you are holding on to the traditions
6:01of men Jesus says and he said to them
6:03you have a fine way of setting aside the
6:06commands of God in order to observe your
6:08own traditions for Moses said honor your
6:12father and mother and anyone who curses
6:14his father and mother must be put to
6:16death but you say if a man says to his
6:18father a mother well whatever help you
6:20might otherwise have received from me
6:22well that’s now Corban that means a gift
6:24that is devoted to God well then you no
6:26longer let him do anything for his
6:28father or his mother thus you nullify
6:31the word of God by your tradition and
6:33that you have handed down and you do
6:35many things like that
6:38so the Pharisees religion honors god
6:42with their lips
6:44they claim they worship the one true God
6:47they worship Yahweh
6:49they show up in the synagogue they read
6:50the scriptures they read Moses and the
6:55but they don’t have faith
6:57all of its lip service now so that you
7:00can understand the religion of the
7:01Pharisees I’m going to give you a little
7:03bit of a lesson here and this is from
7:04the work of Nehemiah Gordon who actually
7:07lives in Israel and he’s a karahide Jew
7:09Kara height you can just kind of roughly
7:11translate that as equals scripture only
7:13Jew and this is in very sharp
7:16distinction to Orthodox Judaism which by
7:20the way in case you don’t know this
7:21Orthodox Judaism comes directly it’s a
7:24direct descendant of the religion of the
7:26Pharisees and the reason for this is
7:28that when the temple was destroyed in 70
7:31A.D the Pharisees were the last people
7:35and so they got to re-craft Judaism
7:39at Judaism that doesn’t have a temple a
7:42Judaism that doesn’t have the
7:43Forgiveness of sins that doesn’t have
7:45sacrifices right so you think how can
7:49you practice Judaism biblical Judaism
7:51today without a temple the answer is you
7:53can’t because the temple was always
7:55meant to be temporary it was type
7:57pointing us to the reality which is
7:59Christ well the Pharisees were the last
8:01people standing so when Orthodox Judaism
8:03today is a direct descendant of the
8:04religion of the Pharisees in Nehemiah
8:06Gordon grew up in this let’s talk about
8:08this hand washing ceremony where did
8:11this come from can any of you think
8:13where in the Bible does it say when you
8:16go out into the mark and place and
8:18you’re among the unwashed pagans that
8:20when you get back into your house you
8:22need to wash your hands
8:25this is about get their sins off of me
8:28they’re icky people where does the bible
8:30say that
8:32answer it doesn’t
8:34this is found in what is called the
8:37tradition of the elders a second book if
8:40you would and it’s an oral tradition
8:43that comes down through the Pharisees
8:45and in this here’s how the the hand
8:48washing ceremony goes what you do when
8:51you come in there’s actually a
8:53ceremonial picture and water you know a
8:56water basin when you come in from the
8:57marketplace you take your left hand and
9:00you put it over the wash basin and you
9:02take the picture and you pour water on
9:05your left hand and then you sprinkle it
9:07off you switch right hand water pitcher
9:10sprinkle it off switch again open your
9:14left hand pour the water
9:16switch again pour the your the water
9:18over your right hand sprinkle it and
9:20then you say this prayer blessed art
9:23thou Lord King of the universe who has
9:25Sanctified us with his Commandments and
9:27commanded us to wash
9:28the hands that’s the prayer
9:32this is found nowhere in scripture so
9:34where do they get this from
9:36well here’s how this works and the
9:38Pharisees religion they believe that
9:41there are two torahs you know what the
9:44Torah is Right Torah would be the law
9:47okay the law of God the Torah
9:49technically is the first five books of
9:50the Old Testament but according to the
9:52tradition of the Pharisees God not only
9:55gave Moses a written Torah but God also
9:59gave Moses an oral Torah
10:02and so this oral Torah they were the
10:04keepers of the two torahs and um so the
10:08idea then is is that it’s there’s this
10:10tradition of the elders
10:13has as much Authority and in many cases
10:15you can argue has more authority over
10:17the written Torah and so this is why the
10:21Pharisees go to war with Jesus regarding
10:23the hand washing thing because what’s at
10:25stake Jesus’s disciples are out in the
10:28marketplace They’re Out Among the
10:30they’re ministering Jesus is healing
10:32people they get into the house and you
10:34know what the disciples do they just say
10:37goodbye wash basin we’re not going to
10:39stop here
10:40what’s at stake
10:42by not requiring Jesus’s disciples to
10:46wash their hands Jesus is challenging
10:49and basically repudiating the entire a
10:53second Authority structure within the
10:54pharisaical religion the oral Torah
10:58and it without the oral Torah the
11:00Pharisees don’t have any Authority at
11:03what’s at stake for the Pharisees is
11:05everything everything is at stake now in
11:09the Pharisees religion this is also
11:11important at they claim that they had
11:14the absolute authority to interpret the
11:16scripture and that rests on pharisaical
11:20rabbis and this Authority cannot even be
11:23usurped even by God himself this is what
11:25they claim and according to the oral
11:28Torah God gave Israel rabbis
11:32and therefore rabbis can actually add to
11:35the you know the the binding
11:37requirements of the Torah so if the
11:39majority of rabbis together make a
11:42everybody in Israel is bound by it
11:45and this hand washing ceremony who came
11:48up with it the Pharisees did the rabbis
11:51did it was a custom that turned into a
11:54law and they claimed to have the
11:56absolute authority to interpret
11:58scripture and Jesus is basically saying
12:00you got no Authority at all
12:03so what’s at stake for the Pharisees in
12:05their Showdown with with Jesus is
12:08everything their entire Authority
12:10structure their power within culture
12:12their Authority structure and even their
12:15own salvation
12:16is at stake because if they don’t have
12:19authority to bind people and make rules
12:21and decide what God’s word means and
12:24this oral tradition has no bearing
12:26whatsoever on truth
12:27the whole religion is kaput
12:30and so many people do not understand
12:33this they don’t understand this aspect
12:35if they understand that well the
12:37Pharisees they had their own rules that
12:39they added to the Torah and the basic
12:41idea was that if you know if you follow
12:44their rules then you won’t break God’s
12:46rules and therefore you’re saved but see
12:48that’s the thing about the Pharisees
12:50religion it’s a 100 works-based religion
12:53you want to get on God’s good side
12:56you must obey their rules and by obeying
13:01their rules you won’t break God’s rules
13:02and then you’re in with God they become
13:05the intermediaries they become the power
13:07base they become the power Brokers and
13:09everything Jesus is doing is completely
13:10upsetting the entire system
13:14and rather than repent
13:17rather than say you know what Jesus Is
13:20they decided that it was time to go to
13:23war with Jesus find a way to trap this
13:26guy in his words get rid of him because
13:29if he we don’t get rid of him he’s going
13:31to get rid of us and he’s that they’re
13:34right he would have because their
13:36religion is false even though it was in
13:38the name of the one true God
13:40so now you’ve kind of got the
13:42understanding a little bit of the
13:43history there what’s going on I could go
13:45on more about that in fact nahemiah
13:46Gordon writes about what he calls the
13:49five iniquities of the Pharisees which
13:50is absolutely fascinating but I’ll have
13:52to save that for another time maybe uh
13:54we’ll do that during Sunday school but
13:57you got the idea so now let’s go back to
13:59our text we’re back in Matthew 22 verse
14:0115. so now you’ve got a little bit of
14:03the back story you know why the
14:05Pharisees want to get rid of Jesus
14:07they’re com he’s completely undercut
14:09they’re secondary Authority system which
14:11is this so-called oral Torah
14:14and what’s at stake is their entire
14:16power and religion so it says this so
14:18then the Pharisees went out and they
14:20laid plans to trap Jesus in his words
14:22they sent their disciples to him along
14:24with the herodians little historical
14:26fact Pharisees and herodians don’t
14:28normally get along the herodians are
14:31Jews who like the rule of Caesar such a
14:35critter is not supposed to exist in
14:37Israel if he really truly worshiped the
14:39one true God at least the way logic goes
14:40right so these are guys who are we love
14:43Herod we love Caesar right and stuff
14:45like that so the fact that the Pharisees
14:46and the herodians are working together
14:48this should tell you something this is
14:51like this is not supposed to happen
14:55they come to him and watch the flattery
14:57teacher they said we know that you’re a
15:00man of integrity and you teach the way
15:03of God in accordance with the truth
15:05do you think they believe a single word
15:07of that
15:09not at all so here they are they’re
15:12honoring God with their lips because
15:14that’s who Jesus is right but their
15:17hearts are far from him
15:19oh Jesus you are such a good guy and you
15:23teach the way of God in accordance with
15:25the truth and oh you’re so awesome
15:26because you aren’t swayed by men you pay
15:28no attention to who they are
15:31lie lie lie lie lie you don’t believe a
15:35word of it
15:40problem is this
15:42how many of us
15:45when we sing A Hymn or a praise song
15:47that says oh Lord I Lift Your Name on
15:50those are just words on your lips but
15:53your heart doesn’t mean it
15:57you recite a Psalm that says the lord’s
15:59name should be extolled among the
16:03and you’re thinking about oh man
16:06I gotta get back to the farm I gotta get
16:08you gotta get in the shop or something
16:10like that right
16:11we all do this in our own ways
16:14what they do explicitly we do in subtle
16:17ways and it’s important for us to
16:18recognize that
16:20so you aren’t swayed by men you pay no
16:22attention to who they are so tell us
16:23what is your opinion is it right to pay
16:25taxes to Caesar or Not by the way this
16:28isn’t really about taxes if you’re wor
16:29if you’re concerned about whether or not
16:30the Bible wants you to pay taxes the
16:32Bible says pay your taxes
16:34okay yeah let’s just get that out there
16:37if you’re not paying your taxes come see
16:39me we need to talk okay there’s this
16:41little thing called confession and
16:42Absolution and then we want you to bear
16:44fruit in keeping with repentance so you
16:46understand what I’m saying
16:47so he says Jesus knowing that their evil
16:49intent said you Hypocrites so you know
16:51what a hypocrite is Right a hypocrite is
16:52the old Greek Theater people would put
16:54on a mask and so the mask would have
16:56this big smiley face right and so the
16:58big mask has to find and they’d be on
16:59stage and they were in the character is
17:01smiling but they’re a hypocrite because
17:03behind the mask it’s not that right
17:07you Hypocrites why are you trying to
17:09trap me show me the coin used for paying
17:12the tax so they brought him a Denarius
17:14and they asked him whose portrait is
17:17and whose inscription
17:19at least they can read Caesar’s they
17:21replied and then he said to them give to
17:24Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what
17:27is God’s
17:28when they heard this they were amazed so
17:30they left him and went away and I’ll
17:31pause there for a second
17:33I want you to think about this what is
17:35easier to do pay your taxes or give to
17:38God what is God’s
17:43okay let’s do a little review here okay
17:46I know you don’t have a copy of your
17:47small catechism in front of you but
17:48let’s just do a little bit of review you
17:50want to know what you’re supposed to
17:51give to God well give to God what is
17:53God’s well here’s what God requires of
17:55us you shall have no other gods what
17:58does this mean
18:00hair Luther writes
18:01we should fear love and trust in God
18:04above all things
18:07so let me ask you a couple questions
18:10do you look to God your heavenly father
18:12for all love good and joy
18:17um is everything that is measured to you
18:19or for you is it based upon what pleases
18:23in all things are you self-centered and
18:26selfish yes or no maybe not all how
18:28about some
18:30do you see your worry in fretting as a
18:33sin against God
18:34do you complain about the troubles the
18:36people the work the suffering that God
18:38lays on you
18:40do you love the things that God gives
18:42you more than you love the one who gives
18:47do you cling to what God takes away even
18:49though he gives himself to you
18:56that’s what it means to drill down into
18:58this commandment
19:02do you sanctify the holy day and keep it
19:04holy what does this mean we should fear
19:06and love God so we do not despise
19:07preaching in his word but hold it sacred
19:09and gladly hear and learn it
19:11do you strive to make the day of rest
19:14Sunday holy
19:17do you care about holy living
19:20do you use the word of God In Prayer to
19:23make your time and your work and your
19:25study and your life holy day to day
19:29are you lazy and bored with the word of
19:34have you any fear of God over this
19:39do you honor the word of God highly by
19:42studying it gladly learning it by heart
19:44living it
19:47or are you quick to make excuses for
19:49neglecting worship because of what
19:51someone else has said or done or to do
19:53other things
19:55that you like to do more
19:59let me ask a question again which is
20:02to pay your taxes or to give to God what
20:04is God’s
20:06and by the way
20:08there’s nobody in this room
20:11that this is not hitting hard when we
20:14think about it including me
20:16We’re All in This Together
20:21let me read a little bit more
20:23you shall not bear false witness against
20:25your neighbor this is one of The
20:27Commandments what does this mean Luther
20:28writes it says that we should fear and
20:30love God so we may not deceitfully belie
20:32betray or slander or to fame our
20:34neighbor but defend him
20:36think and speak well of him and put the
20:39best construction on everything
20:42have you told the truth in court or in
20:44school or before authorities or before
20:45your parents when you knew what the
20:48truth was
20:50or have you been afraid to have you been
20:52afraid to Bear witness when you knew the
20:54truth and it was necessary to speak up
20:56against a wrongdoer or to speak up for a
20:59victim have you remained silent but
21:01those who needed you to speak up
21:03have you gossiped or delighted to tell
21:06others about the faults or mistakes or
21:08sins of another and of course excusing
21:10yourself especially by saying oh well I
21:13only said the truth about them
21:18have you gone to others to make peace if
21:20you were wronged by them
21:23or to correct them if you knew that they
21:25were in the wrong
21:27or have you flattered others or put on a
21:30front to make them think differently
21:31from what is true
21:35render to God what is gods
21:40I think when you take some time to
21:41really drill into this and I could go on
21:45you begin to understand that there’s a
21:48real need
21:49every Sunday when we open up with these
21:51words most merciful god we confess that
21:53we are by Nature sinful and unclean we
21:56come here every Sunday because we do not
21:58render to God what is God’s even close
22:02to perfectly
22:03at all
22:05not me not you
22:07all of us are in need of mercy and
22:11and see that’s the important thing here
22:13Christ Jesus he has perfectly rendered
22:18unto God what is God’s and he has done
22:21it for you
22:22the debt that you owe God Which is far
22:25greater than your taxes
22:27it has been paid in full by the blood of
22:31over and again in many various ways
22:34Jesus is here to comfort you and assert
22:37you assure you that your bill is paid
22:39before God he assures you of this fact
22:42in the words of the Absolution that you
22:44hear from my lips every Sunday he
22:46assures you of this fact here at the
22:49altar when you receive the body and
22:50blood of Jesus broken and shed for you
22:52for the Forgiveness of your sins he
22:54assures you of this fact when you are
22:56again pointed back to the Waters of your
22:58baptisms and the Day When Jesus washed
23:00your sins away and you were buried and
23:02raised with Christ and now Jesus wants
23:06you to believe this good news trust him
23:08and don’t fret your bill is paid you are
23:12now forgiven and set free unlike the
23:15Pharisees who would not repent and
23:16refuse to believe that Jesus was their
23:19God and that Jesus was the way the truth
23:21and the life and who and who made up
23:23their own rules and their own traditions
23:25in order to throw the true faith in God
23:28throw it out you on the other hand you
23:31have of the truth you have Jesus and
23:33Jesus has rendered to God all that you
23:36could not and would not render in order
23:38that you a sinner may be saved by his
23:41grace alone through faith
23:44there’s no need now for hypocritical lip
23:46service when you’ve received the free
23:48gift of God’s grace in fact hypocritical
23:51lip service to God is Not service to God
23:54at all
23:55it is instead hostile
23:57hypocritical lip service is murderous
23:59and it’s a form of seething hatred
24:02towards God it refuses to bend the knee
24:04it refuses to believe and instead it
24:07lies in wait looking for clever ways to
24:09trap Jesus and his words in order to
24:11discredit Jesus and try to convince
24:13people that Jesus is not worthy of their
24:17this is all of us by the way at one time
24:20or another
24:21and if this is you right now
24:25change your mind
24:26and Trust Jesus
24:29because here’s the good news he even
24:31bled and died for the sins of hostile
24:33Hypocrites who’ve rendered lip service
24:35to him
24:37that’s right Jesus he’s so merciful and
24:40kind and forgiving that he even shed his
24:42blood for those who are his arch enemies
24:45and if you’re truly honest with yourself
24:47and with God
24:49then you’ll see that the person that I’m
24:51actually describing is not a Pharisee
24:54but it’s you
24:55so put away your lip service repent
24:58believe be forgiven trust Jesus is
25:01saving work done for you through his
25:02sinless life and shameful death on the
25:04cross he has rendered to God unto God
25:08all the things that are gods and he’s
25:10done it perfectly and he’s done it for
25:13in the name of Jesus Amen
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