Sermon Transcript – The Blindness of Sin

Series A – Sixth Sunday of Easter – Sunday, May 14, 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]
0:37said if you love me you will keep my Commandments and I will ask the father and he will give you another helper to
0:43be with you forever even the spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows
0:50him you know him for he dwells with you and will be in you I will not leave you as orphans I will come to you yet a
0:56little while and the world will not will see me no more but you will see me because I live you also will live in
1:03that day you will know that I am in the father and you in me and I and you whoever has my Commandments and keeps
1:09them he it is who loves me and he who loves me Will Be Loved by my father and
1:15I will love him and manifest myself to him this is the gospel of the Lord in
1:20the name of Jesus over and again I am impressed in a very like horrifying way that sin has like
1:28horrific consequences so horrific that we as human beings don’t even know where
1:35we’ve come from we don’t even know how we got here in fact we invent all kinds
1:42of strange ideas and on top of it we don’t even know who the God is who made
1:48us so what do we do we make up our own in fact a good way to think of it is is
1:53that we play the devil’s game and we play it really well because because of sin and our fallen to sin we well we are
2:01our of our like our father the devil and so you’ll note the devil pretends that
2:06he is God he self-identifies as deity okay self-identifying we all know about
2:13how that works nowadays you can self-identify as anything if I wanted to self-identify as a birch or a pine I
2:20could right but that doesn’t mean that orange are going to look good on me at Christmas time but this is all part of
2:26the devil’s game the devil self-identifies as deity his pronouns are the almighty one and he teaches us
2:33to do the same we lose track of reality and as a result of it we create realities for ourselves but let me
2:40remind you what the scripture says of our origin on the sixth day of creation
2:45yeah that’s right it doesn’t say in the six millionth year of evolution it says
2:50in the sixth day of creation God the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit had a
2:56little conversation among themselves and said let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion
3:03over the fish of the sea over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all of the earth and over every
3:09creeping thing that creeps on the earth so God created man in his own image in
3:15the image of God he created in male and female he created them scandalous words
3:21nowadays one has to wonder how long before the government decides to have that removed from our Bibles or forbid
3:27it from being preached right that’s the trajectory that we’re on and that’s not hyperbole to say that but the reality is
3:35this is that sin is its own consequence but God you’ll note because of our sin
3:41and Rebellion against him all the way from the Garden of Eden has basically
3:46decided that he’s going to let sin run its course and When sin runs it runs its
3:52course it really gets scary as to just how bad things are this is described for
3:59us by the way in the Book of Romans chapter 1 the Apostle Paul writes starting at verse 18. the wrath of God
4:06is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and the unrighteousness of
4:12men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth
4:17that’s what Sinners do they suppress the
4:22truth you speak truth to somebody who’s dead and trespasses and sins and you you
4:28may risk losing your life or you might risk having yourself canceled yeah he’s
4:35just kind of how this all works so what what can be known about God it says in
4:41scripture though is plain to them because God has shown it to them his invisible attributes namely his eternal
4:46power his divine nature they have all been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world and the things
4:51that have been made so that men are without excuse although they knew God they didn’t honor him as God or give
4:58thanks to him but they came became futile in their thinking I like this
5:03phrase feudal in their thinking when I hear this phrase here’s kind of what I think about did any of you ever learn
5:09how to drive a manual transmission car man I love manual transmission cars
5:14they’re just the bomb diggity but to Alas everything is automatic here if I
5:20want to drive a manual transmission car I’ve got to travel to Europe Europe is just chock full of manual transmission
5:25cars but all that being said to become futile in your thinking is like having a
5:31manual transmission car and doesn’t matter which gear you put it into the car still remains in neutral okay you’re
5:38going nowhere and that’s the problem sin doesn’t make us smart
5:45sin doesn’t make us brilliant sin makes us futile our thoughts become
5:52worthless and as a result of it the scripture says our foolish hearts are then darkened
6:00you’ll remember it’s the fool who says in his heart there is not there is no God now those of you young kids here
6:07keep and keep an eye out when you get to college and you’re required to take philosophy 101 you got to think of
6:15philosophy 101 professors the way you think of like old school bad guys in the
6:21western era okay they are they they’re slinging their lead at Christians and
6:26they like to put notches in their belt for every Christian they can knock Faith out of all right when you when you get
6:32to that point and you have that Professor come see me we’ll we’ll bring we’ll bring the law to town okay because
6:38these Gunslingers don’t really know what they’re doing they think they’re so smart they think they’re so wise but
6:44scripture is clear they are foolish so claiming to be wise
6:50they became fools and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man Birds animals
6:59creeping things right we’ve all seen people who worship little statues and
7:04things like this we’ve all seen photographs or even seen it in person and we all just scratch our heads and go
7:11what is going on here consequences of sin does it make you smarter it makes
7:18you really foolish and futile in your thinking and then it gets worse therefore God gave them up in the lusts
7:25of their hearts to impurity to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the
7:31truth of God for a lie and they worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who has blessed forever
7:37amen for this reason then God gave them up to dishonorable passions their women
7:43exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to Nature and Men likewise gave up natural relations with
7:50women and were consumed with passion for one another men committing Shameless acts with men and receiving themselves
7:57the due penalty for their error scripture is very clear the lgbtq thing
8:02is a curse it’s a punishment from God you don’t want to worship God fine I’m
8:09going to send you down the road of a debased mind and and have have within
8:15you come up dishonorable passions this is all a punishment from God and since they didn’t seem fit to to acknowledge
8:22God God then gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done and now here this describes Twitter by the
8:29way if you haven’t been following me on Twitter it’s this is this is all over the place right now on my Twitter feed
8:35they were filled with all manner of unrighteousness evil covetousness malice they’re full of Envy murder Strife
8:42deceit maliciousness their gossip slanderers haters of God insolent haughty boastful inventors of evil could
8:51you imagine having a patent on something evil okay that’s that’s a form of evil
8:57we’ve never seen before and you’ve got the patent on it and you get all the proceeds and the royalties from it yeah
9:03inventors of evil disobedient to their parents foolish faithless heartless
9:08ruthless though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die they not only
9:15do them they give approval to those who practice them and I would add and cancel
9:20those who disapprove of them right this is the world that we live in and you’ll note that in our first reading today the
9:28Apostle Paul is in the city of Athens and if you know your if you remember when you were required to take Western
9:34Civilization Nation the Greeks were the ones who gave us what philosophy in
9:41human history the Greeks were considered to be the smart Guys these were the ones who had their mental act together and
9:49over and again the ancient Greeks are held up to us as of a model of wisdom of
9:55the love of knowledge and things like this but when Paul arrives in Athens
10:01they aren’t filled with knowledge they’re completely blind
10:08and that is the nature of sin and it’s absolutely terrifying and frightening because through all of ancient history
10:15only a few of these Athenians ever heard the truth of the God who really created
10:23us they were utterly ignorant of our true history and they were believing all
10:28kinds of well how do the kids say it not to say it my way poppycock they were just filled with all kinds of
10:35weird stories and in our day well it’s the scientists now they tell us that God
10:41didn’t create the world no no no no no no no there was an explosion and then mama and Grandpa amoeba they got
10:49together jumped out of the water climbed up a tree became monkeys and then human
10:54beings dropped down right this is this nonsensical story and as a result of it
10:59you’ll note that we are just as blind as these Athenians and so now the gospel
11:06is going out Christ Jesus our great God and savior God in human flesh born of
11:12the Virgin Mary suffered under Pontius Pilate crucified died buried risen
11:17ascended he has commissioned his Apostles to go and Proclaim that in him
11:24is the Forgiveness of sins and that the resurrection that he that he performed
11:30that he rose from the grave bodily on the third day was the proof that not only are we forgiven in him but there is
11:37a day coming when he will return in glory to judge the living and the dead the gospel is now going out and it’s
11:43reaching parts of the world where they have never even heard of the one true God at all
11:50and the condition that they are found here in this account is terrifying
11:56because you’ll note that as the darkness continues to increase in our days and it
12:01is we’re going back to this in fact we’re practically there now but let me
12:07give you a little bit of background on this one because I think it’s kind of fun to kind of set the stage here the
12:13Apostle Paul is on one of his missionary Journeys and he’s wandered into the city
12:18of Thessaloniki that’s actually how you pronounce it I’ve had some rip roaring debates with people about how to
12:25pronounce this Thessaloniki is apparently the right way of saying this and we we know that we have a letter we
12:32have two letters to the Thessalonians but when Paul had got there and he preached the gospel to the Jews in their
12:38synagogues things didn’t really go so well they weren’t really keen on this idea that Jesus was the Messiah and as a
12:45result of it they stirred up stirred up some trouble for Paul and so Paul had to
12:51slink out of town so next stop on his missionary journey is a town by the name
12:56of Berea and it says they sent Paul and Silas Away by night they had to skedaddle By Night cowardly thing to do
13:03if you’re thinking in manly terms but better to be alive than to uh you know than to just do the stupid male bravado
13:10thing so they selected Away by night to Berea and when they arrived they went
13:16into the Jewish synagogue and now these Jews the Jews of Berea were of a more noble character than those of the
13:21Thessalonians they received the word with eagerness Examining the Scriptures
13:27Daily to see if these things were so what a stark contrast here you’ll note
13:33the Apostle Paul true eyewitness of the resurrection of Christ he is the one who
13:38Jesus knocked down blinded drug him into his kingdom made him an apostle and also
13:44gave him the gospel directly via a revelation from God this guy I mean if
13:50anybody can claim that he’s got Apostolic muscle and conflicts it you’ll note that in the book of Corinthians he
13:56he makes distinctions he says this is a command of the Lord you need to acknowledge this is a command of God
14:01that I am writing to you that he has that kind of authority and he can also say well this isn’t a command of the
14:07Lord this is just my opinion he has to kind of like flip the switch to let you know which it is that’s the authority
14:12that this guy wields as an apostle of Jesus Christ and when he gets to Berea
14:18the bereans listen to his presentation they hear him open up the scriptures him
14:24proclaiming Christ and him crucified for our sins that in him we have reconciliation with God and they are
14:30listening to this with all eagerness and then they go whoa whoa whoa okay Paul we need a little bit of time here we’re
14:37going to grab our copy of the Old Testament here and we’re going to check the receipts on what you’re preaching
14:42here to see if this is really what the Bible teaches because we can trust the
14:47word of God and what do they do they fact check the Apostle Paul and you’ll note he didn’t have a hissy fit like
14:53today is false Apostles do today’s false Apostles you question them ah how dare
15:00you touch God’s anointed right and and so as a result of that you you’re not
15:05you’re not allowed to question any of today’s luminary Apostles which aren’t really Apostles anyway they’re false
15:11Apostles the Apostle Paul true Apostle of Jesus Christ it is noted in Scripture that the bereans had a far more noble
15:19character why because they fact-checked Paul so that means that everybody in the
15:25Kingdom of Christ should be fact check from Joel Osteen to Ken Copeland to
15:31Chris Rose bro right everybody gets fact checked because the Bible is true God’s
15:37word be true and let men be Liars if they are found twisting and manipulating God’s words well the folks from
15:44Thessaloniki got wind that Paul was in Berea they showed up and stirred up trouble and so Paul again has to slink
15:52away this time they send him to Athens and you’ll note what Paul doesn’t do in
15:58Athens all right he doesn’t do the tourist thing he doesn’t find a nice five Diamond Resort on the Aegean Sea he
16:06doesn’t sit in one of them Shea’s lounges while tanning himself drinking drinking some uzo you have to go with
16:12the drink of the of that area if you haven’t had uzo if you don’t like black licorice you won’t like it but if you do
16:18like black lurchers you’ll love uzo it’s a fascinating drink but anyway he’s not sitting there drinking uzo what is he
16:24doing he’s doing a little wandering around the city and he’s finding idle
16:30after Idol after Idol and Paul can’t remain idle when he sees Idols he’s got
16:36to get to work because he’s an apostle of Jesus Christ the place is a complete and utter mess of Darkness idolatry it
16:46is a stronghold of Satan himself and so what does he do he reasoned in the
16:51synagogue with the Jews first stop let’s go find a synagogue let them know that Jesus is the Messiah and that he’s risen
16:58from the dead and there’s forgiveness in him and then he sets up a shingle I’m not sure if he had what is that
17:05hey I’m not sure if he had to go out and get a permit to be able to preach that we we
17:12don’t know but he ends up in the Agora the marketplace and he is preaching
17:19Christ he’s preaching Jesus and him risen from the dead and he gets the
17:24attention of the Epic that’s getting my attention
17:34[Music] let me back out just a little bit okay
17:39the Apostle Paul is in Athens he’s now preaching the gospel in the marketplace
17:44and he gets the attention of the epicureans so philosophy it’s important to note this here these are men who are
17:52going to be embracing a kind of a prototype form of gnosticism they’re
17:57philosophers they don’t really have am a love for the flesh when they see value
18:03in it at all and so as they’re talking with Paul one of them says what does
18:09this babbler wish to say the Greek word for battle is actually kind of interesting the Greek word for battler
18:16is seed picker let me just go with that translation for a minute what does the
18:22seed picker wish to say now if somebody were to say that to you you’d make it basically sound like
18:29you’re not the smartest tool in the box right that’s kind of the
18:35point here by saying hey they’re not saying he’s just babbling incoherent by
18:40calling the seed picker what they’re basically saying is that the Apostle called the same words but it’s clear
18:47that he has not been able to attain to the levels of wisdom that these
18:52Epicurean philosophers have attained to so others said Well he seems to be a
18:59preacher of foreign divinities what a strange statement
19:04the one true God is a foreign Divinity to you that’s the consequences of sin
19:12and the reason why they were thinking he was preaching a foreign Divinity is because he was preaching Jesus and the
19:18resurrection we know what Paul was preaching he was preaching that message the gospel let me remind you of the
19:24Gospel that I preached to which you stand right and and that is the gospel that Christ died for our sins he was
19:32raised on the third day according to the scriptures he’s ascended into heaven this is the good news that Christ that
19:38Paul is preaching and they took him and then brought him to the areopagus
19:43fascinating venue if you would it’s in this Little Rock outcropping just below
19:49the same Mountain where the um where this Temple complex is in in
19:55Athens and so there he is he’s going to preach to them and he said you bring
20:01some strange news we we would like to know what this new teaching is that you’re presenting we wish to therefore
20:08know what these things mean they’ve never heard anything like this now all
20:14the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there they would spend their time in nothing except for telling and
20:21hearing something new it kind of invokes if you would that that famous passage
20:26from the prophet Isaiah where God says behold I am doing something new and the
20:32new thing that God is doing is that he’s forgiving sins and we’ll note something here that Paul now begins his address by
20:40pointing out that they are very religious men of Athens I perceive that in every way you were very religious and
20:46I passed along I observed the objects of your worship I found also an altar with this inscription to the unknown God
20:54now Paul as he’s wandering through Athens he would have seen temples and
21:00well little grottos and places and shrines set up to the different deities
21:05of the Greco-Roman Pantheon including Zeus and Poseidon and Athena and
21:13Persephone and Demeter and you know Dionysus and all these deities and what’s really fascinating is when you do
21:20the research on all of these deities there isn’t a single one of them that
21:25the Athenians could have prayed to for the Forgiveness of their sins not a single one
21:30they all had special reasons in which they existed in fact the the Greco-Roman
21:36Pantheon of deities was so broad that they practically had a deity for
21:42everything are you struggling in a in a romantic relationship are you pining for
21:49her but she doesn’t seem to be interested in you well there’s a deity for that okay the the proper offering
21:56made to get that deedy’s attention and that deity can all of a sudden get that girl to be interested in you right do
22:03you have mold in your house there is a d there’s a deity from old too all right I
22:09was wondering if there was a deity for clogged up toilets you know it just makes you wonder the deity for
22:14practically everything except for what they really need the Forgiveness of their sins
22:19but you’ll note every one of these false gods are exactly that they are demonic
22:26in origin and human beings have now abandoned the true God and God has
22:33handed them over to their wickedness and now they’re worshiping stones and gold
22:38and silver and nonsense all the art and Imagination of a human being
22:45but Paul finds in the midst of us a deity that they were kind of hedging
22:52their bets if there’s a deity we’ve forgotten about the unknown one well
22:57we’ll we’ll worship that one too and that’s the one that Paul zeros in on
23:03what therefore you worship is unknown this now I Proclaim To You Paul says The
23:08God Who made the world and everything in it being Lord of Heaven and Earth does not live in temples made by man nor is
23:18he served by human hands as if as if as though he needed anything since he
23:23himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything
23:29and for the first time in these people’s lives they are hearing the truth of where they
23:37came from and it has nothing to do with the the
23:42pantheon of deities that they’re worshiping no it has to do with the one true God the one true God of Israel
23:49Yahweh himself and so Paul beginning with the creation says here’s the truth
23:54of where you came from and he then notes that God is not served by human beings instead God serves human
24:01beings he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of
24:07the Earth the story of Adam and Eve is referenced here having determined Allah had periods and the boundaries of their
24:14dwelling place that they should seek God perhaps feel their way toward him and find him yet he is actually not far from
24:22each one of us we’re in him we live in him we move in him we have our being
24:29he’s quoting now from one of their own poets this is epimenities of Crete and so he knows their pop culture a little
24:36bit and as even some of your own poets have said we are indeed his offspring
24:42quoting for from erraticus poem final Mena it’s a fascinating thing that Paul is
24:49doing here but you’ll note that at no point despite the fact that he’s trying to build some common ground where he can
24:57preach Christ from at no point does he compromise and say well it’s okay if you want if we we just need to coexist what
25:04we need to do is you know you guys have your deity and God is going to recognize the worship of these deities as worship
25:09of him it’s all good by proxy Paul doesn’t talk this way and you’ll note Paul very
25:16uncompromisingly puts them in their place and lets them know that their
25:21beliefs are not as wise as they think that they are instead he notes that
25:27being God’s Offspring then we ought not to think that the Divine being is like gold or silver or an image formed by the
25:34art imagination of man and you can only wonder what some of them were thinking at this point are you
25:41kidding me this is Athens this is the Seat of
25:46Wisdom in the ancient world and you’re telling us that because we are God’s
25:52offspring that therefore we shouldn’t think the Divine being could be worshiped as gold or silver or an image
25:58formed by the art and Imagination of man are you out of your mind Paul everybody knows this is how religion is supposed
26:05to work and you’ll know in our day man a bunch
26:10of people have invented all kinds of crazy things I was reading one of these these liberal college professor types
26:18who was arguing for that we we need to get away from looking at how nature
26:24works so that we can embrace our own reality and she she specifically took
26:30issue with the fact that electricity you have a positive charge and you have a negative charge she said this is a
26:36dangerous way to think because it starts getting people thinking in terms of things that are binary you know binary
26:42like male and female and stuff laughs it’s the same thing this is just
26:50nonsense but then he says this the times of ignorance God has
26:58overlooked in the past he’s overlooked all this but now now that Christ has
27:03come now that Jesus is crucified risen ascended he God is commanding all people
27:11everywhere to repent this nonsense that you guys have come up
27:17with it’s futile thinking it’s a result of your sin it’s a consequence of it and
27:22God is telling you to change your mind the world’s wisdom is foolishness only
27:30the true worship and knowledge of God leads to real wisdom so God is calling
27:36all people everywhere to change their mind to repent and here’s the reason why
27:42there’s a day coming when God will judge the world in righteousness a
27:48righteousness defined in scripture by a man whom he has appointed and of this he
27:53has given Assurance to All by raising him from the dead
27:59at this point that’s all he gets to say
28:04stop stop stop you’re done take him down we’re finished with you
28:09Paul and the reason why is because you’ll note that these Epicurean stoic
28:15philosophers they don’t have any value in the flesh as proto-nostics they would
28:20have thought that the spiritual is the thing that really matters and this idea that God would come and take on human
28:27flesh and then die and Rise Again bodily with human flesh that’s just absurd to
28:35them and so when they heard of the resurrection of the dead and this is what we all are hoping for some of them
28:43mocked others said we’ll hear you again about this so Paul went out of their
28:49midst but some of the men they joined him and they believed faith comes by hearing
28:55hearing by the word of Christ among them also were Dionysus the areopagite one of
29:01the fellows of the areopagus of Mars Hill one of the fellows who heard Paul preach this gospel said this is true
29:10this is finally the explanation of where we came from how evil came into the world and the good news that God so
29:17loved the whole world including Athenians and Americans that he sent his only begotten son that whoever believes
29:24in him will not perish but instead will have eternal life this is the good news
29:29that we have the opportunity ourselves to Proclaim you’ll note that we are all
29:36ambassadors of Christ we have this same gospel this same hope is it any wonder
29:42that the Apostle Peter in our epistle text tells us that we should have no
29:48fear of those people who trouble us slander us who would make us suffer instead we are to regard Christ the lord
29:56as holy and always be prepared to make a defense in apologia to anyone who asks
30:03us for the reason for the hope that is in US and that’s the point the reason why
30:09we’re here today is because we all share that hope we have that hope of the resurrection of
30:15the Dead ourselves and knowing this that yes it is true that God has appointed a
30:21day in which he will judge everyone in righteousness we know that we do not measure up we too were born dead in
30:28trespasses and sins and left to our own ways we would have all turned out
30:34to be as blind and futile in our thinking as the Athenians in our text today
30:40and that’s what’s happening in the world around us as God’s word is disappearing fewer and fewer men are preaching it
30:47more and more are attacking it attacking it from pulpits but note here Peter also
30:52makes it clear Christ suffered once for sins the righteous for the unrighteous
30:59you and I the unrighteous ones Christ has bled and died for us and he is the
31:04one who is now bringing us to God he being put to death in the flesh but Made Alive by the spirit and he has forgiven
31:12us of all of our trespasses and so you’ll note then the scriptures
31:18tell us the truth and they reveal
31:23the world’s idolatry but they also reveal our own idolatry and our
31:29participation in the works of darkness and what does this call for it calls for repentance even to this day
31:37the daily life of a Christian is repentance how many things do we look to
31:42to be our deities we don’t pray to Athena or Zeus or anything of the sort
31:49but always and again put you into a stressful situation where anxiety is
31:55running out of control the thing you turn to if it’s not God
32:00that’s an idol do you disappear into a bottle of booze take a lot of pills or maybe just put
32:07your pajamas on and put your life on neutral and binge watch Netflix for a
32:13week right what do you turn to
32:19decide that you’re gonna go grab your boat head to the lake and disappear and
32:24just fish and have no communication with any other human being in order to calm yourself down so that you could have
32:31some good in your life that’s a good chance that’s become your God
32:36but in our times of trouble we are to call to God ask him to relieve us of our sufferings
32:43Look to Him for the good that we need in this life but each and every one of us
32:49because we’re still we still have a sinful nature even though we are forgiven we struggle with this idolatry
32:55and we are called daily to repent knowing that we are forgiven in Christ
33:01so brothers and sisters idolatry is run amok it makes you blind and stupid it
33:06makes you look ridiculously foolish and the worst part is you think you’re wise in the midst of it
33:13so change your mind embrace the foolishness of the scriptures the
33:18foolishness of the Gospel itself the idea that Christ is our Lord and savior
33:24the crucified Risen Lord and Savior well it’s foolishness to Greek it’s a
33:29stumbling block to Jews but to us it is the power of God unto salvation in the
33:34name of Jesus Amen
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