Sermon Transcript – The Father’s Love for His Little Ones

Series A – Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – Sunday, September 6, 2020 | 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
0:28the holy gospel according to saint
0:30matthew the 18th chapter
0:34at that time the disciples came to Jesus
0:36saying who
0:38is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven
0:41calling a child he put him in the midst
0:43of them and said truly i say to you
0:44unless you
0:45turn and become like children you will
0:47never enter the kingdom of heaven
0:49whoever humbles himself like this child
0:51is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven
0:53whoever receives one such child in my
0:55name receives me
0:57but whoever causes one of these little
0:59ones who believe in me to sin
1:01it would be better for him to have a
1:02great millstone fastened around his neck
1:05and to be drowned into the depth of the
1:07sea woe to the world for temptations to
1:10sin for it is necessary that temptations
1:13but woe to the one by whom the
1:14temptation comes
1:16and if your hand or your foot causes you
1:18to sin cut it off
1:19and throw it away it is better for you
1:21to enter life crippled or lame
1:23than with two hands or two feet to be
1:25thrown into the eternal fire
1:27and if your eye causes you to sin tear
1:28it out throw it away
1:30it’s better for you to enter life with
1:31one eye than with two eyes and be thrown
1:33into the hell of fire
1:35see that you do not despise one of these
1:37little ones for i tell you that in
1:38heaven their angels
1:40always see the face of my father who is
1:42in heaven
1:43for the son of man came to save the lost
1:46so what do you think if a man has a
1:48hundred sheep and one of them has gone
1:50does he not leave the 99 on the
1:52mountains and go in search
1:54of the one that went astray and if he
1:56finds it truly i say to you he rejoices
1:59over it more than
2:00over the 99 that never went astray so it
2:03is not the will of my father who is in
2:05heaven that one of these little ones
2:06should perish if your brother sins
2:08against you go and tell him his fault
2:10between you and him alone
2:12if he listens to you you’ve gained your
2:13brother but if he does not listen
2:16take one or two others along with you
2:18that every charge may be established by
2:20the evidence of two or three witnesses
2:22if he refuses to listen to them tell it
2:24to the church if he refuses to listen to
2:26the church let him beat you as a gentile
2:27and a tax collector
2:29truly i say to you whatever you bind on
2:30earth shall be bound in heaven
2:32whatever you loose on earth shall be
2:34loosed in heaven again i say to you if
2:36two of you agree on earth about
2:38anything they ask it will be done for
2:40them by my father in heaven
2:42for where two or three are gathered in
2:43my name there i am
2:45among them this is the gospel of the
2:50in the name of Jesus i remember being a
2:54there were certain things that annoyed
2:56me about being a kid and that was as i
2:58was never really allowed to do what i
2:59wanted to do but then again the things
3:01i wanted to do as a kid sometimes we’re
3:03kind of dangerous i’ll tell you i
3:05very distinctly when i was a young lad
3:08that every time
3:09my dad would take me to the grocery
3:11store he had this thing that he would do
3:14of course grocery stores are a terrible
3:16place to take kids i don’t know
3:18why parents are forced to do this
3:21the checkout line have you ever noticed
3:23it’s like a gauntlet
3:25okay all the cheap chinese toys are down
3:28right at kid level and of course when i
3:31was about that
3:32size every time i would see one of those
3:35chinese toys oh look it’s it’s a lone
3:39cap gun made of plastic i wanted one
3:42so bad dad i want one
3:46no i’m not going to let you have that
3:48you don’t need that
3:49and all right and this is how this went
3:52but then after checking out these were
3:55the days before they had the scanners so
3:57there was no
3:58poop poop you know he had to actually
4:00ring things up the hard way
4:02but anyway what my dad would do as soon
4:04as the groceries were done
4:05being put into back into the cart and we
4:07were heading back to the car
4:08he would always make me hold his hand
4:12and i hated that oh man did i hate that
4:16my hand my dad’s hand was big it was
4:19and sweaty and it was strong
4:22and the thing i hated about it is that
4:24every time we were in the parking lot i
4:26wanted to kind of take off and do my
4:28own thing but my dad was wise in holding
4:31my hand because
4:32parking lots are a little more dangerous
4:34than you think it only takes
4:36you know well you’ll note the kids are
4:37kind of at a level where
4:39you know a car can back up and the
4:41person can legitimately
4:42behind them and not see little kids so
4:44we know how dangerous they are
4:45so we as parents understand this but
4:48then again
4:49you know i was hated it when my wife
4:51would send me to the grocery store with
4:52all three kids
4:53oh good night i only have two hands i
4:56can’t do this it’s like you know
4:58you you work out the math but the point
5:00is this as parents we know that
5:02our jobs are to protect our children
5:06what we do and i’ll tell you this one
5:08thing i really miss about being a child
5:12never having to worry about paying the
5:14bills never having to fill out a tax
5:18never sweating whether or not i’m going
5:20to keep my job or lose my job or any
5:22things like this
5:23because to be a kid is to be given to
5:27kids are constantly being cared for
5:30receiving their whole life is a gift i
5:32mean i remember the days when
5:34you know like my biggest concern was
5:36whether or not there was a new episode
5:38of h.r puffin stuff
5:40on television boy am i dating myself
5:42dating myself anyway
5:43yeah or was it going to be a re-run yeah
5:46you get the idea
5:48so with this kind of in mind you’re
5:50going to note
5:51that there’s a theme here in our gospel
5:53text and this is a multi-faceted text
5:56and we’re going to work our way through
5:57it but the theme
5:58works through it all and it’s the theme
6:01of becoming like
6:03children and so our text begins in the
6:05gospel of matthew
6:07at that time the disciples came to Jesus
6:09saying who is the greatest in the
6:10kingdom of heaven
6:12what a boneheaded question
6:15it’s a boneheaded because this is a
6:16question that assumes
6:18the ideas and the values that the world
6:22seeks after prestige honor
6:26power it’s as if the disciples didn’t
6:29hear Jesus say to peter get behind me
6:33it’s it’s like they they didn’t hear
6:35this at all it’s like
6:36maybe it just ricocheted off their
6:38foreheads like so many things ricochet
6:41off of mine
6:42and so they’re still trying to jockey
6:43for position Jesus is heading to
6:45jerusalem to bleed and to die for our
6:48and these guys are still trying to
6:49figure out who’s the greatest
6:51and you can almost see Jesus rolling his
6:53eyes so he called to him a child and
6:55this is a little child this is a tyke
6:57this is this is a toddler put him in the
7:00midst of them and said truly i say
7:02to you unless you turn think of turning
7:04here like repentance it’s not quite the
7:06same word but the idea here is
7:08pretty much the same unless you turn in
7:10your thinking become like children
7:12you will never enter the kingdom of
7:17child what’s child’s accomplish
7:21they barely even do chores little ones
7:23you have to constantly
7:25that’s kind of the point you guys
7:26remember the chronicles of barney
7:28hopefully you’ve read the chronicles of
7:30always always something that was really
7:32disturbing to me in the final
7:34book of the chronicles of narnia the the
7:36last battle
7:37was that susan susan pevensey
7:40she didn’t make it to eternal life and
7:43the reason given by c.s lewis
7:45is that she grew up
7:50kind of a weird way of thinking about it
7:52but that’s kind of the thing
7:54the cares of the world growing up and
7:56chasing after the world’s values
7:58little kids don’t worry about that and
8:01have you ever noticed
8:03how excited little kids are to receive
8:06gifts always love always
8:09love seeing the excitement on little
8:12kids faces
8:13at Christmas time it’s a big
8:17magical thing for them and so there’s
8:19something to consider
8:20here Christ is telling us to become like
8:23little children to
8:25be receivers those who can only be given
8:30who are cared for cared for by whom
8:33a doting loving heavenly father
8:39think about it so whoever humbles
8:41himself like this child is the greatest
8:43in the kingdom of heaven and this
8:46all of our values when we chase after
8:50the world’s
8:51systems and beliefs and then he goes on
8:53to say then whoever receives one such
8:55child in my name receives me
8:58Jesus puts his big stamp of approval not
9:00only that if you receive a
9:02you know a type a toddler you can only
9:04be given to
9:05in my name oh you’re receiving me and
9:08what does this tell you about the love
9:09of Christ
9:10towards our little ones right
9:14but whoever causes one of these little
9:15ones who believe in me to sin it would
9:17be better for him to have a great
9:18millstone fastened around his neck
9:21and be drowned in the depth of the sea
9:24and you’ll note here there’s a there’s a
9:26great threat here
9:27a great threat to those who would cause
9:30one of these
9:30little ones to stumble
9:34and the threat is well the threat that
9:35you’d give you’d get from a dad
9:37you mess with my kids you’re going to be
9:40messing with me
9:41right so that’s kind of the point but
9:44who’s the father here
9:45here it’s god the father and this is
9:48where we need to consider
9:50this important thing is that each and
9:52every one of us
9:53baptized in the name of the father the
9:56son and the holy spirit
9:58we have been adopted in to
10:01the family god is our heavenly father
10:04our sins have been forgiven
10:06and now what does god say about each and
10:09every one of you
10:11you are his little ones
10:15that’s what you are you are one of god’s
10:17little ones and
10:18this is his disposition towards you
10:23anyone messes with my kids it would be
10:26better for him to have a great millstone
10:27fasten around his neck
10:29and to be drowned in the depth of the
10:35so you blood-bought sinners forgiven
10:38absolved bled for died for
10:42raised from the dead adopted into the
10:45note here the great love of this
10:48way of talking about each and every one
10:50of us that god has for us
10:52and then to even make the point even
10:56Jesus goes on to say woe to the world
10:58for temptations to sin
11:00for it’s necessary that temptations come
11:01but woe to the one by whom the
11:04comes there’s going to be a reckoning
11:07god is going to be
11:08holding accountable those who would
11:10cause his little ones
11:11to sin or to tempt them but then you’re
11:14going to note that
11:15always and again it is good biblical
11:18doctrine and theology to recognize that
11:21not only come from outside of us from
11:24the world
11:25or from the devil but also from our own
11:27sinful flesh
11:29and so as we listen now here Christ is
11:31talking about those temptations which
11:34burbling up from your old sinful adam he
11:36says if your hand
11:38or your foot causes you to sin cut it
11:40off throw it away
11:41it’s better for you to enter life
11:42crippled or lame than with two hands or
11:45two feet and be thrown into the eternal
11:46fire i always like to point out that
11:48i’m glad that they don’t name this
11:50sunday in the liturgical
11:52calendar the uh the sunday of the holy
11:55it seems a little bit extreme
12:00you know and afterwards we’ll pull out
12:02the saw or the chainsaw you know and
12:05we can practice what we preached no
12:06that’s not the point here
12:08the the point is has to do
12:11with the fact that we mortify
12:14our sinful flesh and we do not obey its
12:17passions and we do this by the power of
12:19the holy spirit
12:20so Christ is saying if your eye causes
12:21you to sin tear it out throw it away
12:23it’s better for you to enter life
12:24with one eye and two eyes be thrown into
12:27the hell of fire
12:28so keep in mind the temptations to sin
12:31come from outside and from within
12:34because of our sinful flesh and so we
12:37are wise to note that
12:39we as god’s little ones would do well to
12:43pay attention
12:44to the woes that Christ speaks here not
12:46only to the world
12:48but also to our old adam then Jesus goes
12:52on to say
12:53this see that you do not despise one of
12:55these little ones
12:56and who are the little ones again that’s
12:58you that’s me
13:00do not despise each other so you’re
13:02gonna know use let’s use the metaphor
13:03for a minute we’re all adopted little
13:05ones children of god
13:07this is most certainly true but have you
13:09ever noticed that siblings don’t get
13:13i was terrible to my brother i just
13:16saying you know
13:17and we’re going to note here that
13:19siblings here
13:21oftentimes may not get along too well
13:24that seems to happen of course i need to
13:28kind of put it this way if your
13:30expectation is that you’re going to come
13:32to church and that everybody is super
13:34duper holy and that you’re all just
13:35going to get along perfectly
13:38you got another thing coming i don’t
13:40know take a look around this whole
13:41church is filled with sinners man
13:44from the pastor all the way down to the
13:46youngest person here and
13:48all of that being said so we are not to
13:50despise one of the little ones of god
13:52and that’s each and every one of us
13:54so don’t be despising and hating on your
13:57brothers and sisters
13:58in Christ he says and note what he says
14:01this for i tell you
14:02that in heaven their angels always see
14:04the face of my father who is in heaven
14:07and this is where this is one of those
14:09little sentences in scripture
14:11where we get the idea of guardian angels
14:14scripture says the angels are
14:15ministering spirits they minister to the
14:18and so here you you can see that the
14:20little ones of god
14:22that they have angels who always see the
14:24face of their father in heaven
14:26and this is a good thing this is a good
14:28thing because you’re going to note
14:30that god hasn’t withheld anything in
14:33fact he has
14:35for real dispatched great
14:38great resources for the purpose
14:41of protecting each and every one
14:45of us so each and every one of us
14:48we have angels who guard over us but
14:51even more important than that
14:53we have the very son of god who came to
14:55earth was born of the virgin mary he
14:57suffered in our place
14:58for our salvation so that we could be
15:01called the children of god
15:03so then Christ asked this question so
15:05what do you think if a man has a hundred
15:06sheep and one of them has gone astray
15:08does he leave the 99 on the mountains
15:11and go in search of the one that went
15:14now the commentaries i read on this all
15:16kind of agree that this is not really a
15:18practice when it comes to being a
15:22think of it this way back in the day in
15:24israel if you’ve
15:26you’ve read about the the shepherd david
15:28you know king david
15:30as he was a shepherd he had to deal with
15:33he had to deal with bears the only thing
15:36missing was
15:37tigers oh my but you get the idea here
15:40is that shepherding is
15:41is one of those things where well i
15:43don’t know if you notice this about
15:45they’re not as clever as goats they have
15:48this tendency to
15:49wander off have you ever looked at a
15:51shepherd staff you know has like a
15:53crook a hook in it well that’s kind of
15:55you got to pull them back you know they
15:57have this
15:57tendency to wander and then that
15:59shepherd staff you know when you have a
16:01wandering sheep
16:02usually the first nudges are you take
16:04the shepherd’s staff and you poke it
16:05hard into the sheep’s ribs
16:07to get it back in with the group because
16:10they don’t have any natural defenses
16:13they don’t have sharp pointy teeth or
16:14the ability to run quickly they’re just
16:16basically good for wolf food and
16:18lion food and bear food and things like
16:22and so a wandering sheep is a dead duck
16:25and if you have a sheep that’s wandered
16:28nine times out of ten that that sheep’s
16:31done for
16:32so what do you do as a shepherd you
16:35count your loss
16:36you write it off on your taxes that’s
16:38what you do with lost sheep but here
16:41he’s he’s not like any other shepherd on
16:43planet earth when he has a sheep that
16:45has gone astray
16:46listen to the voice of the devil listen
16:49to the voice of his own sinful flesh
16:51listen to the voice of the world what
16:53does he do he sets out
16:55he sets out to find it and we hear here
16:59this shepherd Jesus truly rejoices over
17:03over the one that he finds and over the
17:05199 that never
17:07went astray and then you’re going to
17:08note these words it is not
17:10the will of my father who is in heaven
17:13that one
17:14of these little ones should perish
17:17it’s not god’s will that you should
17:18perish have any of you ever heard
17:20preaching along the lines of when you
17:22pray according to the will of god
17:24scripture says god hears you
17:27of course when i heard that as a young
17:29lad oh really god if i pray according to
17:31the will of
17:32god i thought i’d roll the dice you know
17:35go my prayers went something like this
17:37god if it’s your will
17:39that i have an aston martin everybody
17:42needs one of those
17:43those are needs lord if it’s your will
17:46that i have
17:47a vacation home in the south of france
17:49on the mediterranean lord if it’s your
17:51i have a private jet you sit there go
17:53these are kind of empty
17:55prayers are they not why would god will
17:57for me to have any of those things
17:59but have you noticed that there are a
18:01smattering of a few
18:03passages in scripture and this is one of
18:06that tells us explicitly what god’s will
18:10and note that when we pray according to
18:13god’s will god hears us so note then
18:15it is not the will of the father
18:18in heaven that one of these little ones
18:21perish it’s not his will
18:27it’s not his will that you would perish
18:30so then note
18:31that being the case oh we can pray for
18:36and praying knowing that this is god’s
18:39he hears us we know that it is well that
18:42these little ones do not perish
18:44so what do you do then when your brother
18:48notice the text if your brother sins
18:50against you remember siblings
18:52you know we’re all little ones of Christ
18:54siblings don’t always get along
18:56so what happens if you’re younger or
18:57your older brother in Christ
18:59sins against you what do you do this is
19:01an example by the way
19:02of a sheep going astray that’s the
19:06you ready you go and tell him his fault
19:08between you and him alone
19:10brother you know
19:13you sinned against me you sinned against
19:18if he listens you’ve gained your brother
19:21if he doesn’t listen well take one or
19:24two others
19:25more siblings maybe take a sister or
19:27another brother along with you
19:29so that every charge may be established
19:31by the evidence of two or three
19:35if he refuses to listen to them and tell
19:37it to the whole family tell it to the
19:38whole church
19:39and that’s not for the purpose of gossip
19:41it’s for the whole family all of your
19:44so that they can gather around you and
19:45say brother repent
19:47be reconciled and if he refuses even to
19:50listen to the church let him be to you
19:52as a gentile
19:53and a tax collector again this is in the
19:55context of Christ going after
19:57airing sheep but let me ask you this
20:02so if at the very end you end up having
20:04to put him out
20:05of the house how did Jesus treat
20:08gentiles and tax collectors
20:12with love and kindness preaching the
20:16gospel to them
20:17and calling them to repent now
20:20they don’t get to live in the house and
20:21have the privileges of being in the
20:24and being put out of the house you want
20:26them to come back in
20:27that’s the point and so you continue to
20:30love them and to preach the gospel to
20:31them so that they can be reconciled and
20:33forgiven to god
20:35as well as you so truly Jesus says i say
20:37to you
20:38whatever you bind on earth shall be
20:40bound in heaven and again this is
20:42referring to the office of the keys this
20:43authority that the church has to forgive
20:46sins and of course it’s not the church
20:48doing it it’s Christ who’s given them
20:50that authority
20:51and he’s the one doing the forgiving and
20:53so if two of you agree on earth about
20:55anything they ask it will be done for
20:57them by my father in heaven where two or
20:59three are gathered in my name there i am
21:01among them
21:02and it’s nice to know that we are not
21:05left alone that Christ himself promises
21:07his very presence
21:09so brothers and sisters what are we to
21:11do in light of a text
21:13like this because this tells us how to
21:15treat each other but more importantly
21:17it tells us of the great love that god
21:19has for us so then note then
21:23Christ has bought you
21:26you and i were all born children of the
21:30what Christ says to people who don’t
21:32believe in him you are of your father
21:33the devil
21:34but we were originally created in the
21:36image of god and because of god’s great
21:38mercy and compassion for us who’ve gone
21:40he sent his son who bled and died for
21:43all of your
21:44sins and because of this being
21:46reconciled now
21:48to god the father god the son god the
21:50holy spirit
21:51we are to be reconciled to each other to
21:55love each other
21:56to lovingly call each other to repent
21:59and as we will hear next week to forgive
22:02each other
22:03when they repent i love how these texts
22:05kind of all flow together
22:06in this these past few weeks last week
22:09we heard again
22:09about the temptations to sin the
22:11suffering that we all have to go through
22:13the temptations that come from satan
22:15from the world from our sinful flesh
22:17and the danger in which we walk all the
22:19way through our
22:20sojourning here as we take up our cross
22:23and if we follow
22:24Christ to our death
22:28and now we hear that we are to
22:31be kind to one another and understand
22:33that as brothers when we call each other
22:34to repent
22:35that that is a that is a picture of
22:37Christ going after airing sheep
22:40and then when our brothers sin against
22:42us and they
22:44repent and ask for our forgiveness well
22:47next week we’re going to find out
22:48what the limits are of that should we
22:51put limits on how many times we forgive
22:54my wife sometimes thinks that that might
22:56be a good idea because i keep screwing
22:57up the same ways over and over and over
23:03but you get the idea you get the idea so
23:05all of that will
23:06work together so brothers and sisters
23:10i assure you you who believe you are the
23:12little ones of Christ
23:14bled for died for so let us repent of
23:17all the different ways in which we
23:19haven’t been children we’ve grown up in
23:20our thinking
23:21separated ourselves from god chaste
23:23after the values of the world
23:25or even after our own sinful passions
23:27and let us
23:28turn and be like children who
23:32well very simply trust
23:35that our god loves us and sent his son
23:38to bleed and to die for us
23:40in the name of Jesus amen
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