Sermon Transcript – Never Alone

Series B – All Saint’s Day – Sunday, November 7, 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
0:27The holy gospel according
0:29to saint matthew the fifth chapter
0:39seeing the crowds Jesus went up on the
0:41mountain and when he sat down his
0:43disciples came to him
0:45he opened his mouth and he taught them
0:48blessed are the poor in spirit for
0:51theirs is the kingdom of heaven blessed
0:53are those who mourn for they shall be
0:56blessed are the meek for they shall
0:58inherit the earth blessed are those who
1:00hunger and thirst for righteousness for
1:02they shall be satisfied blessed are the
1:04merciful for they shall receive mercy
1:07blessed are the pure in heart for they
1:09shall see god and blessed are the
1:11peacemakers for they shall be called the
1:13sons of god and blessed are those who
1:15are persecuted for righteousness snake
1:18for theirs is the kingdom of heaven and
1:20blessed are you when others revile you
1:22and persecute you and utter all kinds of
1:25evil against you falsely on my account
1:27rejoice and be glad for your reward is
1:29great in heaven for so they persecuted
1:31the prophets who were before you this is
1:34the gospel of the lord in the name of
1:38all right what an amazing text we have
1:41from the book of revelation after this i
1:43looked and behold a great multitude that
1:46no one could number from every nation
1:49from all tribes and peoples and
1:51languages standing before the throne and
1:54before the lamb
1:56clothed in white robes with palm
1:58branches in their hands now in order to
2:01kind of understand just the absolute
2:03magnitude of this beatific vision that
2:05we have here in the book of revelation
2:07we have to go back and kind of think
2:09through a few things and if you would
2:11you know you think about it in terms of
2:13the book of revelation there was adam
2:15and eve they only had one commandment by
2:17the way one and they blew that and
2:20and you’ll if you remember how the the
2:22crime went down uh satan knows full well
2:25that god never lies you know that about
2:29god right god is not gonna say you know
2:31i’m gonna go to the grocery store and
2:33i’ll pick up a few things and then
2:34forget to do it he’s not like that you
2:37i’m like that but he’s not like that but
2:39all of that being said god never lies
2:42and so satan knew full well that god
2:44always keeping his word and that his
2:46word performs the very things for which
2:48he sends it when he hears that
2:50adam and eve are forbidden by god to eat
2:53of the tree of the knowledge of good and
2:55evil Jesus reveals to us in the gospel
2:57of john chapter 8 that the devil was a
3:00liar and a murderer from the beginning
3:03which gives us the motivation for what
3:05went down in the garden
3:06basically think of it this way have you
3:08all noticed that
3:09when you have kids your kids look like
3:11you have you noticed that i remember
3:14when i was
3:16raising our children and my son you know
3:18he would sometimes do things that were
3:20disobedient if just being a sinner like
3:22me but every now and then my wife would
3:25get really upset and say you look just
3:27like your father
3:29all right
3:30this was a bad thing when she was angry
3:32you get the idea this is we look like
3:35our parents well keep in mind adam and
3:38god created them male and female in the
3:41image of god
3:43and let’s just say that
3:44satan after his rebellion against god
3:47wasn’t really keen at looking at anybody
3:50that even resembled the deity that he
3:53hated and despised so much that he
3:54wanted to overthrow and take his place
3:58and so
3:59the devil no his decision was murder
4:02he’s going to murder humanity made in
4:04the image of god and god’s going to be
4:06the murder weapon because god said to
4:08adam and eve on the day that you eat of
4:09that tree you will surely die
4:14it’s terrible if you think about it well
4:17our parents went for it
4:19they went for it they
4:21disobeyed god
4:22they succumbed to the temptation of the
4:24devil and then we we read in the book of
4:27genesis chapter 3 that god hands out
4:29punishments we hear god well cursing the
4:32serpent you know taking away his legs
4:34sending him onto his belly
4:36the other thing is is that well women
4:39they bear children painfully now and
4:42then always and again that that joyous
4:44thing that we experience in marriage and
4:46that is is that god took the will of his
4:49of the woman and made it so that as part
4:51of the curse she would have an opposing
4:53will to her husband it’s a little bit of
4:55a challenge if you think about it
4:57because scripture is very clear that a
4:59man will leave his father and mother and
5:00cleave to his wife and the two will
5:02become one flesh
5:04one flesh with divided wills
5:07that’s lovely all right right and then
5:09of course we all know that adam was
5:12cursed with the well having to toil and
5:15work by the sweat of his brow in order
5:18to put food on the table and that
5:20eventually every one of us we would
5:22return to the dust from which we were
5:25it’s terrible when you think about it
5:27but in the aftermath of all of this in
5:30genesis chapter 3 verse 20 we hear a few
5:32things that i think are important for us
5:34as we consider what we saw there in the
5:36book of revelation the man called his
5:38wife eve because she was the mother of
5:42all the living and the lord god made for
5:44adam and for his wife garments of skin
5:47and he clothed them if you remember adam
5:49and eve after biting into the forbidden
5:53they realized very straight away that
5:56they were both naked
5:58and nakedness now becomes kind of a if
6:00you would a
6:01something that needs to be covered it’s
6:03a sign of sin and shame and guilt and so
6:06god himself he makes for adam and eve
6:08garments of skin which means some animal
6:11had to die for this to happen we don’t
6:13know if it was a lamb or a sheep it
6:15doesn’t say we just kind of assume it
6:17was probably a sheep it sounds like it
6:19would fit
6:20the bill but somebody has to die in
6:22their place and so these animals die in
6:24their place so that they can be clothed
6:27and if you remember in the book of
6:28revelation we saw that all of these
6:30saints who are before the throne of god
6:32they are clothed in white robes god
6:34still continuing to clothe all of his
6:36saints but then it says this the lord
6:39god yahweh elohim said behold the man
6:42has become like one of us knowing good
6:45and evil
6:46and what follows here then is if you
6:48would a conversation between the three
6:50members of the trinity the father the
6:52son and the holy spirit if you remember
6:54in the book in the earlier chapters of
6:56genesis god said let us make man in our
6:59image right and so this is the trinity
7:02discussing now amongst themselves now
7:04that humanity has fallen into sin
7:07he’s become like one of us knowing good
7:09and evil
7:10and then what follows here at the tail
7:12end of verse 22 is an incomplete
7:16in hebrew it you
7:18you translate it and you go um
7:21there’s something missing here
7:23right have you ever thought of something
7:25so terrible that you know you can’t
7:28finish your sentence or maybe you’re
7:30falling asleep my wife says i do this
7:32from time to time my wife and i will be
7:34in bed and we’ll be having a
7:36conversation and next thing you know
7:38she’s shaking me going what are you
7:39saying what you you were in the middle
7:41of a sentence and you started snoring
7:46i don’t know what was i saying
7:48you know
7:49so this is kind of one of those things
7:51god’s not falling asleep but the idea
7:53here is is that we have an incomplete
7:55sentence and listen to the sentence
7:57now lest he reach out his hand
8:00and take also of the tree of life
8:03and eat
8:04and live forever
8:07and then it trails off
8:09it’s as if the thought is just too
8:11terrible and
8:13it’s it’s so awful i mean could you
8:16how devastatingly awful that would be if
8:20lived forever in a sinful fallen state
8:27i mean i’ve i’ve been on the planet now
8:28for 53 years
8:31and i am just done with sin but
8:34apparently it’s not done with me
8:36i am you know i don’t want to sin
8:38another day but could you imagine where
8:41there is no hope of ever
8:44being rid of your sinful nature
8:48no thank you
8:49that just
8:51and so that’s why i think god didn’t
8:53complete his thought here and so to
8:54prevent that from happening
8:56yahweh elohim sent out him out from the
8:59garden of eden to work the ground from
9:00which he was taken he drove out the man
9:03and at the east of the garden of eden he
9:05placed the cherubim and a flaming sword
9:08that turned everywhere to guard the way
9:11to the tree of life
9:14angels standing guard with lightsabers
9:17it’s quite the
9:19vision if you think about it but that’s
9:21to prevent us from eating of the tree of
9:23life and living forever in a sinful
9:25now if you fast forward to the in
9:27between time between uh what we saw in
9:30the book of revelation and this uh the
9:33in between time there we have Jesus
9:35Christ son of god son of david
9:39born of the virgin mary
9:42never once committing a single sin
9:45fulfilling god’s law for you and for me
9:47so that we can be forgiven and he then
9:50bearing in his body
9:53your sins
9:55my sins god lays on him the iniquity of
9:57us all and you’ll note then that the
10:00cross which is a tree of death there’s
10:02just no way around it
10:04that the cross then becomes
10:07the new tree of life
10:09in fact we’re here today in part to eat
10:11of that
10:13the fruit of the tree is the body and
10:14blood of Christ given and shed for the
10:16forgiveness of our sins and we’ll note
10:18that in eating the fruit of the tree
10:21of life the new one the cross
10:24that each and every one of us
10:26are assured
10:27of the eternal life that we’ve been
10:28given as a gift because of what Christ
10:30has done for us so fast forward then
10:33you’ll note that
10:36from the garden all the way to today
10:39is struggling languishing
10:41dealing with
10:43well pressed down and destroyed by sin
10:46have you noticed that sin is kind of a
10:48lonely thing
10:50not only to sin alienate us from god it
10:52alienates us from each other
10:55it’s just terrible
10:57you know
10:58i just marvel at hour not notice i’m
11:01putting myself into this category
11:04our ability to be heartless and ruthless
11:09to care about nobody except for
11:12ourselves and to treat other human
11:14beings with such contempt and loathing
11:18as if their lives have no meaning or
11:20they don’t matter we do not love them we
11:23use them it is
11:26horrifyingly reprehensible
11:28and so as a result of this
11:30well our lives
11:32now in the valley of the shadow of death
11:36it seems like a pretty lonely sojourn
11:38but we remember these things then in
11:40light of all saints day number one
11:43Christ has made it very clear i will
11:46never leave you or forsake you
11:49no matter how isolated or alone you are
11:52because of your sin or somebody else’s
11:55Christ has not forsaken you and you are
11:57never alone
11:59in fact Jesus says i am with you always
12:01even to the end of the age and then it’s
12:04also here then in this
12:06reading of the book of revelation that
12:08we come across something else have you
12:11ever heard the phrase the communion of
12:14the saints
12:15didn’t we say something about that
12:17during the creed the communion of saints
12:19the forgiveness of sins right we we say
12:22these things but what does it mean when
12:24we talk about the communion of the
12:27and it’s in this regard
12:28i’d like to read out
12:30something that lutheran theologian
12:32hermann sassa
12:34wrote decades ago
12:36before his death kind of musing and
12:38thinking and meditating on on all saints
12:41day one of the things that was common in
12:43his day is that there was a particular
12:45hymn that was sung as part of all saints
12:47day that was a funeral hymn seems like
12:49an odd thing to stick in there but it’s
12:51not if you understand life everlasting
12:54in in sase’s writing on this particular
12:57uh hymn and also on on the occasion of
13:01all saints here’s here’s one of the
13:02stanzas he notes patriarchs of sacred
13:07and the prophets there are found
13:09the apostles two in glory on twelve
13:12seats there are enthroned all the saints
13:15that have ascended age on age through
13:17time extended
13:19there in blissful concerts sing
13:21hallelujahs to their king
13:23great hymn right great hymn good stanza
13:26and so sauce are writing on this he says
13:28thus the old funeral hymn it speaks of
13:31the church
13:32and of all the perfected who are in
13:36and this thought of the fathers of the
13:38church and here he’s talking about
13:40fathers in the sense of everybody who’s
13:41preceded us not the church fathers he
13:44says in this thought of the fathers of
13:45the church who have preceded us into
13:48heaven this then rings through the
13:52and all the saints from the beginning of
13:54the world who have died believing in the
13:56redeemer whether he was yet to come or
13:58had come in the flesh
14:00all members of the people of god of all
14:02times to the present day in this sense
14:05all then are the fathers of the church
14:07and whether Christians have found
14:09themselves in the loneliness of a
14:11siberian prison camp or the isolation of
14:14the diaspora or they’re suffering the
14:17inner healing alienation within the
14:20great secularized churches of our time
14:24it has become ever more the consolation
14:27of those who have suffered for the sake
14:29of the church and whom god has led on a
14:32lonely path to know
14:34that they are not alone in the one
14:37church of god
14:39and this is where we recognize that when
14:41we confess the communion of the saints
14:43we are confessing that not only is
14:46Christ with us but that we are never
14:50that the saints in heaven they preceded
14:53us and as the book of hebrews chapter 12
14:56says that they are now the great cloud
14:59of witnesses
15:01and so because they are the great
15:03crowd of witnesses the church has always
15:06historically believed that when we
15:08gather together
15:10to worship to receive the word of god
15:13and to hear and receive the sacrament
15:16that when we gather together for these
15:19holy things
15:20that the company of heaven joins us
15:24you can hear it in our liturgy we can
15:26hear it in the liturgy
15:28you know it
15:29that when we when we pray these things
15:31about the the saints therefore with
15:33angels and archangels and with all the
15:36company of heaven
15:38we laud and we magnify your glorious
15:41name evermore praising you and saying
15:46what are we confessing here
15:48we’re confessing that we’re not alone
15:52no matter how isolated
15:54difficult lonely your path is because of
15:57your sin or others
16:00because of the unfaithfulness of pastors
16:02who refuse to preach Christ in him
16:06or because you are being persecuted for
16:08your faith in Jesus no matter how lonely
16:11your path may be you are never alone
16:15i remember when i was being confirmed as
16:17a lutheran i grew up i was baptized
16:19roman catholic grew up in the nazarene
16:21church and which really isn’t all that
16:24better than
16:25catholicism when it comes to works
16:27righteousness but i remember when i was
16:29being confirmed at st john’s lutheran
16:32church in orange they at that time i
16:34don’t know if they still have it they
16:35they had this beautiful old like urban
16:38cathedral you know made of bricks but
16:40high gothic style we had we had
16:43wonderful stained glass windows in this
16:45ginormous a-frame and i remember when we
16:48were learning about the communion of the
16:50saints the pastor took us into the
16:51sanctuary and he said look up there look
16:54up there
16:56looking up high into the a-frame do you
16:58see him
16:59no pastor maybe it’s time to call
17:02somebody you know and he said
17:05i like to think that’s where they sit
17:07that that’s where they gather that when
17:08we gather together in the name of the
17:10father son and the holy spirit the
17:11communion of the saints therefore with
17:13angels and archangels and all the
17:14company of heaven i like to think of
17:16joining us and they’re up here
17:20it was a good good thing to think about
17:22but note then that even when you
17:26are in a situation where the only one
17:28you are able to worship with
17:30is yourself
17:33that you are never
17:35and it’s in that idea then that sausage
17:39again whether Christians have found
17:40themselves in the loneliness of a
17:42siberian prison camp or the isolation of
17:44the diaspora the suffering of the inner
17:46alienation within the great secularized
17:48churches of our time it has become ever
17:51more the consolation of those who have
17:52suffered for the sake of the church and
17:54whom god has led on the lonely path to
17:56know that they are not alone in the one
17:59church of god they who’ve been removed
18:01from every error and sin of earth of the
18:04earthly church they now stand with us
18:08in the seamless fellowship of the body
18:10of Christ think of it this way have you
18:13ever had that profound sense that you
18:16it’s like i don’t belong here i just
18:18don’t fit in you know i remember when i
18:21was a kid there was a movie i loved that
18:23disney put out called escape to witch
18:25mountain right you guys remember this
18:27movie yeah
18:28terrible cheesy special effects but
18:30still a good story right you know
18:32nothing like seeing a old winnebago
18:34flying through the air but all of that
18:36being said the story is about two kids
18:39who happen to not be from here and
18:42they’re actually aliens i know it sounds
18:44weird okay he’s talking about aliens but
18:46the whole goal is for them to get to a
18:48place where they can be reunited
18:51with their family
18:52reunited with their people
18:54and it’s in this sense then knowing that
18:56we are not alone consider again these
18:59words i looked and behold there was a
19:01great multitude that no one could number
19:04from every nation all tribes and peoples
19:06and languages and they were standing
19:08before the throne before the lamb
19:10clothed in white robes with palm
19:12branches in their hands and crying out
19:13with a loud voice salvation belongs to
19:16our god who sits on the throne and to
19:19the lamb
19:21brothers and sisters our epistle text
19:22makes this very clear
19:25these are our people
19:28this is your family
19:32this is where you belong
19:34in fact listen to our epistle text first
19:37john 3
19:39see what kind of love the father that
19:40he’s given to us
19:42that we should be called the children of
19:44god it sounds so scandalous i know it is
19:47that we that we you and i
19:49sinners as we are that we should be
19:51called the chin the children of god and
19:54so we are the text says we are that now
19:58and the reason why the world does not
20:01know us
20:02is that it did not know
20:04Christ beloved we are god’s children now
20:08and what we will be has not yet appeared
20:10but we know that when he appears we
20:12shall be like him because we shall see
20:14him as he is and everyone who thus hopes
20:17in him purifies himself as he is pure
20:20so those are our people worshiping
20:22before the throne of god our people and
20:25here’s the thing the ones who’ve
20:27preceded us
20:29in the faith that we know who are our
20:31family members our friends or church
20:33members who were here decades
20:37and are now long gone
20:40they will be there to meet you
20:44when you join them
20:46they are waiting for us now
20:49they are the great cl
20:50cloud of witnesses that hebrews talks
20:53about literally standing in the
20:56bleachers cheering you on as you finish
20:59your course
21:01and there will be a time as awful as
21:03this world is as lonely and isolating as
21:06it is and completely out of step that we
21:09are with it we’re out of step with it
21:10because the people here who refuse to
21:13believe in Christ are not our people
21:17they’re not even our family
21:20they’re children of the devil and we are
21:21the adopted children of god by grace
21:24because of god’s mercy for us
21:27so listen to our people they cry out now
21:31before the throne of Jesus and they
21:34proclaim in bold unified voice salvation
21:38belongs to our god who sits on the
21:42and to the lamb
21:44and to this proclamation now the angels
21:47respond and you’ll note humanity leads
21:50the way proclaiming that salvation
21:52belongs to our god and now the angels
21:54who were standing around the throne and
21:56around around the elders and the four
21:58living creatures upon hearing this
22:00proclamation of our people
22:03they fall on their faces before the
22:05throne and they worship god and they say
22:08blessing and glory and wisdom and
22:11thanksgiving and honor and power and
22:13might be to our god forever
22:16and ever amen
22:18and then one of the elders addressed me
22:19saying well who are these who are
22:21clothed in white robes no longer clothed
22:23and skins but god has clothed us
22:25nonetheless nakedness covered up and
22:28you’ll note that what began in the
22:29garden as a failed murder attempt
22:33for the last
22:36how many i don’t know six seven eight i
22:39don’t know how many millennia we’ve been
22:41Christ has been slowly
22:49making a kingdom
22:52people our family
22:55they make up the citizens of this
22:59and you’ll note this kingdom is so
23:03so huge this multitude
23:06forget even doing a census it doesn’t
23:08make any sense you wouldn’t be able to
23:10number them anyway
23:12that’s kind of the point
23:14and so the one of the elders asked the
23:15apostle john who are these clothed in
23:19where have they come he said sir you
23:22these are ones coming out of the great
23:23tribulation they’ve washed the robes and
23:25made them white in the blood of the lamb
23:27therefore they are before the throne of
23:29god they serve him day and night in his
23:31temple and he who sits on the throne
23:33will shelter them with his presence they
23:35will hunger no more neither thirst any
23:37more the sun will not strike them nor
23:39any scorching heat the lamb that is in
23:41the midst of the throne he will be their
23:43shepherd and he will guide them to
23:45springs of living water and god himself
23:47will wipe away every tear from their
23:52why does scripture tell us this
23:56the Christian faith is built on three
24:02hope love faith in Christ for
24:05reconciliation pardon and peace with god
24:08because of what Christ has done on the
24:11love towards neighbor and good works
24:14but also hope
24:16in the midst of the darkness and the
24:18loneliness that we have to go through
24:20because of sin
24:21although we are not alone
24:24god allows us to see the end of our
24:27course so we can keep that end in mind
24:30so that we can suffer
24:32well the way we’re supposed to suffer in
24:34this lifetime not losing hope but
24:37keeping our eyes on the hope on the on
24:39the hope of the world to come knowing
24:41that there is a day when well what seems
24:44to be a nightmare that never ends and
24:46that’s what this life can be at times a
24:48nightmare that never ends but the
24:49nightmare will come to an end the night
24:52will go away the sun himself will dawn
24:57and the light of the new world and that
25:00day that ends that never ends will
25:02finally arrive
25:03and we will see Christ face to face and
25:05be reunited with all of those who are
25:08our people
25:09and god himself will wipe away every
25:11tear from our eyes so today we can bear
25:15up today we can suffer is it any wonder
25:18that Christ in his opening sermon the
25:20sermon on the mount he proclaims not
25:23judgments instead he proclaims the
25:25blessings that exist for those who are
25:28in him blessed are the poor in spirit
25:31Jesus says those are the ones who
25:32recognize they have nothing to give for
25:34god to god for their salvation they’re
25:37bankrupt spiritually but Jesus says
25:39theirs is the kingdom of heaven blessed
25:41are those who mourn and this is not the
25:43mourning of losing a loved one this is
25:45the mourning that comes as a result of
25:47recognizing the magnitude of your sin
25:49and rebellion against god and lamenting
25:52that you have
25:55your good kind loving creator but Jesus
25:58says to those who mourn in this way they
26:00will be comforted and we are comforted
26:02today with the good news of the
26:03forgiveness of our sins blessed are the
26:06meek this is the opposite of the devil
26:08the devil is the one who’s the opposite
26:09of meek nothing but
26:12a tyrannical arrogant conceited
26:17the meek are the opposite the humble
26:20bless Jesus says they will inherit the
26:22earth blessed are those who hunger and
26:24thirst for righteousness they will be
26:27satisfied blessed are the merciful they
26:29shall receive mercy is it any wonder
26:32that ii corinthians says that we are
26:34ambassadors for Christ and that god
26:36himself is making his appeal to others
26:38through us that they be reconciled to
26:40god for the sake of Christ
26:42blessed are the pure in heart
26:44they will see god
26:45and that you’ve been given your heart
26:48has been made pure by the blood of
26:50you are forgiven
26:52blessed are the peacemakers they shall
26:54be called the sons of god and now back
26:56to reality the valley of the shadow of
26:58death blessed are those who are
27:00persecuted for righteousness sake theirs
27:02is the kingdom of heaven blessed are you
27:04when others revile you and persecute you
27:06and utter all kinds of evil against you
27:08falsely on my account rejoice and be
27:11glad your reward is great in heaven for
27:13so they persecuted the prophets who were
27:15before you
27:16so in this
27:18vision and also in the beatitudes we
27:20recognize that our hope is in the world
27:23to come
27:24and that hope gives us strength knowing
27:27that we are not alone that Christ is
27:29with us and that we are not alone as
27:30Christians a great crowd of witnesses
27:33that communion of the saints reveals to
27:36us our true heritage and our true future
27:39and our true hope and gives us the
27:40strength to bear up
27:42in the lonely road of sin
27:44and death today
27:46and so we thank god this all saints day
27:49that we can be
27:52that the most important word
27:54in today’s observance is all
27:59them us together
28:01in the name of Jesus
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