Sermon Transcript – Relenting in a Besieged City

1 Year Lectionary – Ash Wednesday – Wednesday, March 2, 2022 | 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 sixth chapter
0:32and when you fast Jesus said do not look
0:35gloomy like the hypocrites for they
0:37disfigure their faces so that their
0:39fasting may be seen by others truly i
0:41say to you they have received their
0:43reward but when you fast anoint your
0:45head and wash your face that your
0:47fasting may not be seen by others but
0:50your father who is in secret and your
0:52father who sees in secret he will reward
0:55do not lay up for yourselves treasures
0:57on earth where moth and rust destroy and
0:59where thieves break in and steal but lay
1:02up for yourselves treasures in heaven
1:04where neither moth nor rust destroys and
1:07where thieves do not break in and steal
1:10for where your treasure is there your
1:12heart will be also oh lord have mercy on
1:15us in the name of Jesus
1:18rescue me from my enemies protect me
1:21from those who rise against me what an
1:25interesting theme that’s one of the
1:27refrains that we hear during the lenten
1:30season rescue me from my enemies and
1:32here’s the thing there’s a big theme in
1:34scripture about people who are besieged
1:38people who are under attack from an
1:39enemy who has risen up against them in
1:42fact in psalm 31 it says this starting
1:46at verse 21 blessed be the lord for he
1:48has wonderfully wondrously shown his
1:51steadfast love to me when i was in a
1:53besieged city i had said in my alarm i
1:56am cut off from your sight but you heard
1:59the voice of my pleas for mercy when i
2:01cried to you for help
2:03interesting right
2:05in this lenten tide i think it’s kind of
2:07interesting you know we’re now a week
2:09into mr putin’s war in the ukraine and
2:12politically that’s not kind of the point
2:13of the sermon think of it this way we
2:16all now are well we have a reference if
2:18you would of what it’s like to
2:20experience and witness people who are in
2:22a besieged city you think what’s going
2:25on in kiev and well all the things going
2:27on and along those lines the the video
2:30the photographs the stories that are
2:32coming out of the ukraine are horrific
2:34they’re horrendous and of course we’re
2:36all looking at this wondering will peace
2:38be restored or will this spill over into
2:41other parts of europe and result in
2:43maybe like world war iii or something
2:45like that but in my lifetime i’ve never
2:47seen war in europe never seen anything
2:51like this quite like this and as a
2:53result of it think of it this way we
2:55have a good touch point because here we
2:57have prayed in our responsory rescue me
3:01from my enemies protect me from those
3:03who rise against me brothers and sisters
3:06do not be deceived we all have a
3:08horrifying enemy the devil scripture is
3:11very clear that the devil prowls around
3:14like a roaring lion seeking those whom
3:16he may devour think of it this way the
3:19devil is not satisfied satan is not
3:22going to just sit there and go well i
3:24guess they believe in Jesus i better
3:26leave him alone
3:27it’s not how that
3:29works in fact let’s be blunt the devil
3:33is a far more fearsome and terrifying
3:35and tenacious enemy
3:37than putin is to the ukrainians you know
3:39think about his kind of
3:40single-mindedness at at the moment and
3:43then basically think about the devil
3:46and go you know the devil is a lot worse
3:50than mr putin is and that’s kind of the
3:53point in fact during our penitential
3:56season we are now entering into this is
3:58a time for us to reflect on the fact
4:01that get this
4:02we were all born children of the devil
4:05we were all born at war with god we were
4:08the enemies of god
4:09you and i were and each and every one of
4:12us has earned from god his wrath his
4:14displeasure in fact the next breath that
4:17you’re breathing you haven’t even earned
4:18that in fact you don’t deserve it at all
4:20neither do i
4:22and when we look at calamity in this
4:24earth calamity that comes on people as a
4:27result of well war calamity that comes
4:30on people as a result of failed
4:31economies calamity that comes on people
4:33because of natural disaster or calamity
4:36that comes on a single person or people
4:38because of an illness or things like
4:41you know it’s really easy for us to sit
4:43there and go well you know
4:44i’m living the good life because you
4:46know me and god we’re tight
4:48you know in fact those people who are
4:51suffering all these things well clearly
4:53they weren’t engaging in clean living
4:55like i am that’s why i’m doing so good
4:57and they’re not boy if you’re tempted
4:59along those lines we need to have a chat
5:02in fact in that chat i’ll basically not
5:05give you the gospel we’re going to walk
5:06back through those 10 commandments and
5:09question your presuppositions because i
5:11would point this out
5:13how many sins that Jesus commit in his
5:18zero absolutely not one right and yet he
5:22died one of the most horrifyingly
5:24painful and ignominious types of death
5:27that you could die crucifixion on a
5:29cross did he deserve that was there any
5:32evil in Jesus that he would die like
5:35that well not in and of himself you know
5:37why he died because here’s the best bit
5:40Jesus loves his enemies
5:43you and i
5:44he bled and died so that we can be
5:46forgiven and pardon and rather than
5:48receive the wrath of god for what we
5:51have done in our rebellion against god
5:53and our ongoing ways in which we collude
5:56with the devil side with him with our
5:58own sin and do things and think things
6:02and not do things well that the devil
6:04and our own sinful flesh have tempted us
6:06along those lines
6:08but when we think of calamity i think
6:10about Jesus at one point in Jesus’s
6:13ministry Jesus was confronted with a
6:17horrific crime against humanity
6:20performed by none other than pontius
6:22pilate if you know the history of
6:24pontius pilate he was a fellow who was
6:26known for his
6:28bloody enforcement of imperial law so
6:32much so it was a little too much even
6:34for the emperor he got recalled later
6:36okay so here’s listen to this all right
6:39some who were present at that very time
6:41they came to Jesus and they told him
6:44about the galileans whose blood pilate
6:47had mingled with their sacrifices i want
6:49you to think about this all right
6:51pilate had heard about some little
6:53insurrection some some grumbling
6:55malcontents from galilee who weren’t
6:57keen on the roman emperor you know what
6:59he did he slaughtered him and then what
7:02he did is he collected up some of their
7:04blood and just to make a point you
7:06oppose the emperor here’s what we’re
7:08gonna do he took their blood and mixed
7:10it with the sacrifices in the temple
7:13i mean this is a religious hate crime
7:15this is murder i mean it’s all the stuff
7:18that we would hear on the news right and
7:20when Jesus is confronted with how wicked
7:23an evil pilate is
7:25listen to his answer
7:27do you think
7:28that these galileans were worse sinners
7:31than all the other galileans because
7:33they suffered in this way
7:35you know Jesus i think you’re kind of
7:37missing the point here this is an
7:38opportunity for you to tell us how evil
7:41this particular political ruler is why
7:43are you talking about us Jesus then says
7:45no i tell you unless you repent you’ll
7:48all likewise perish
7:52how do they say it around here ufta
7:56that wasn’t the answer they were looking
7:58for they were looking for Jesus to kind
7:59of punch the pilot in the nose right to
8:02take a side here is it is it the emperor
8:05or is it the oppressed
8:06Jesus said you better repent or you’re
8:08going to perish just like them and then
8:10Jesus kind of doubles down and says oh
8:12remember that construction accident that
8:14happened a few weeks back where they
8:16were building that tower of siloam and
8:18that thing fell over because it wasn’t
8:20to code and 18 men died when it fell on
8:24them and killed them do you think that
8:26they were worse offenders than all the
8:28others who lived in jerusalem
8:31and you just see them going but we
8:32didn’t ask about that he said no
8:34unless you repent
8:37you’ll all likewise
8:41and so in this world that we live in
8:44death comes to us all
8:46there’s just no way around it it comes
8:48to us either rapidly and bloody or it
8:50comes to us slow and sad
8:53but it comes to us all there’s a day
8:55coming of calamity but death isn’t the
8:58worst thing that can happen to you
9:01like not even close
9:03the worst thing that can happen to you
9:05is the disaster that god has prepared
9:08for all those who persist in sin and
9:10unbelief and it’s in that regard then we
9:13consider the words of the prophet joel
9:16for today here’s what it says yet even
9:19now declares the lord return to me with
9:22all of your heart with fasting with
9:24weeping with mourning rend your hearts
9:27and not your garments kind of a nice way
9:30of putting it like people like to
9:32publicly go out and let everybody know
9:35that they were mourning that they were
9:37repenting so what i’m going to do i you
9:38know for this season i’m going to tear
9:40my clothes and show everybody how holy i
9:42am and Jesus says
9:44he did none of that
9:45the lord says rend your heart
9:48and return to the lord your god
9:50and then listen to these amazing words
9:53for he is gracious
9:55he’s merciful
9:57he is slow to anger and abounding and
10:00steadfast love
10:02and even god relents over disaster
10:05you’ll note this
10:07that god
10:09is nothing like the devil the devil
10:11doesn’t relent the devil doesn’t repent
10:13the devil when he plans disaster for you
10:16he will carry it out unless god stays
10:18his hand but god isn’t the same way he
10:22has prepared for those who continue in
10:25sin and unbelief he has prepared a lake
10:28of fire this is the disaster that each
10:30and every one of us have earned but note
10:32because god is gracious merciful slow to
10:36anger abounding and steadfast love that
10:39he relents over disaster
10:41when we
10:43trust in Christ for the forgiveness of
10:45our sins
10:50so as we’re watching right now the
10:52showdown in the ukraine
10:54will the sanctions work
10:57will putin turn around will he change
10:59his mind will he stay his hand and say
11:01uncle i don’t know i have no idea you
11:04know see what tomorrow brings right
11:07but i can tell you this
11:09god although he has planned disaster for
11:11us a well-earned one
11:13he has chosen instead to
11:16let that disaster fall on his beloved
11:20you see god so loved the world you and i
11:22he gave his only begotten son that
11:24whoever believes in him will not perish
11:26will not experience the disaster
11:28but instead will receive from god
11:31eternal life
11:32as a gift
11:34and so it’s then in this regard consider
11:36these words as joel continues who knows
11:39whether god will not turn and relent and
11:42leave us a blessing behind him a grain
11:45offering and a drink offering for the
11:47lord your god
11:49man that just sounds like the lord’s
11:51supper you know
11:53so Christ has visited us
11:55he’s born our sins on the cross
11:58made it so that we can be forgiven and
11:59pardoned completely free as a gift from
12:02god and then after he’s ascended he’s
12:05left us a grain and a drink offering his
12:08body and blood given and shed for the
12:10forgiveness of our sins tokens of his
12:13signs that he intends to continue to
12:16forgive us and pardon us and give us
12:18that strength that we need to bring us
12:21into his new earth
12:23all by his grace by his kindness his
12:27so blow the trumpet in zion consecrate a
12:30fast call a solemn assembly gather the
12:32people consecrate the congregation
12:34assemble the elders gather the children
12:36even the nursing infants let the
12:38bridegroom leave his chamber the bride
12:40her chamber between the vestibule and
12:42the altar let the priests the ministers
12:44of the lord let them weep
12:47and is that not what we do
12:49at this time of the year
12:51we consider our sin in light of the ten
12:55you’ve heard me say it before i’ll keep
12:56saying it the only thing that we
12:58contributed to our salvation was the sin
13:00that was necessary
13:02that made it necessary for us to be
13:03saved in the first place
13:05and so as we wrestle in the here and the
13:08not yet the now and the not yet of this
13:11world we are new creations in Christ and
13:14we still have our sinful natures
13:16warring with each other this is a good
13:19time as we lead into holy week
13:23and remember the crucifixion of our lord
13:25for our sins and his victorious
13:28resurrection bodily from the grave on
13:31the third day this is a good time for us
13:34to weep
13:36to consider our lives
13:38to again repent and cry out to god that
13:42he would spare his people
13:44and not make us
13:46a reproach or a byword among the nations
13:49why should people say that their god is
13:51not among them
13:53so then the lord became jealous the text
13:55says for his land the land the new earth
13:58that is coming he had pity on his people
14:00and the lord answered and says to his
14:02people behold i am sending to you grain
14:05wine oil rather than calamity i’m going
14:09to give you food i’m going to sustain
14:11you give you what you need and you will
14:13be satisfied and i will no more make you
14:16a reproach
14:17among the nations
14:19so as we embark on this this 40-day
14:23journey to the cross and the empty tomb
14:26let us again repent of our sins cry out
14:29to god for mercy
14:30and have that confidence
14:32that god who was faithful and just
14:35gracious and merciful slow to anger and
14:37abounding and steadfast love that he
14:40would hear our prayer and for the sake
14:43of Jesus Christ
14:45give us pardon and peace and comfort us
14:48and assure us as we travel now
14:50from this world to the next and although
14:53we cannot avert in this life the
14:55disaster of death we thank Jesus that
14:58because of what he has done that god has
15:00relented of the disaster of the second
15:02death in the name of Jesus amen
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