Sermon Transcript – The First Glimpse of the Face of Our God

Series B – Christmas Eve – Thursday, December 24, 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 luke
0:30the second chapter
0:40in those days a decree went out from
0:42caesar augustus that all the world
0:43should be registered
0:45this was the first registration when
0:47quirinius was the governor of syria
0:49and all went to be registered each in
0:51his own town
0:52and joseph also went up from galilee
0:54from the town of nazareth to judea to
0:56the city of david which is called
0:58because he was of the house and the
0:59lineage of david to be registered with
1:02mary his betrothed who was with
1:04child and while they were there the time
1:06came for her to give birth and she gave
1:08birth to her firstborn son
1:10and wrapped him in swaddling clods and
1:11laid him in a manger because there was
1:13no place for them in the end
1:15and in the same region there were
1:16shepherds out in the field keeping watch
1:18over their flock by night
1:20and an angel of the lord appeared to
1:21them in the glory of the lord shone
1:23around them
1:24and they were filled with fear and the
1:26angel said to them
1:27fear not for behold i bring you good
1:29news of great joy
1:30that will be for all people for unto you
1:33was born this day in the city of david a
1:35savior who is Christ the lord
1:37and this will be a sign for you you will
1:39find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes
1:42and lying in a manger
1:43and suddenly there was with the angel a
1:46multitude of the heavenly host praising
1:49and saying glory to god in the highest
1:52and on earth peace among those with whom
1:54he is pleased
1:56when the angels went away from them into
1:59the shepherd said to one another let us
2:01go over to bethlehem and see this thing
2:02that has happened
2:03which the lord has made known to us and
2:06they went with haste
2:07and they found mary and joseph and the
2:09baby lying in a manger
2:10and when they saw it they made known the
2:12saying that had been told them
2:13concerning this child
2:15and all who heard it wondered at what
2:16the shepherds told them
2:18but mary treasured up all these things
2:20pondering them in her heart
2:22and the shepherds returned glorifying
2:24and praising god
2:25for all that they had heard and seen as
2:27it had been told them
2:29this is the gospel of the lord in the
2:31name of Jesus
2:32amen our story tonight begins
2:36in darkness we learn from our gospel
2:39that Christ was born at night what an
2:43thing it makes perfect sense in the
2:45gospel of john
2:46chapter 1 we read this regarding the
2:50of our lord the true light which gives
2:52light to everyone
2:54was coming into the world he was
2:57in the world and the world was made
3:00through him
3:02yet the world did not know him he came
3:05to his own
3:06and his own people did not receive him
3:12what has happened to us
3:16what a stark contrast this is
3:20in the beginning of the bible we read
3:22that god
3:23formed adam from the dust of the earth
3:25and his lifeless body
3:27was sitting there standing there well
3:30lying there
3:31no breath had come into it yet and then
3:34it says that god breathed into his
3:36nostrils the breath
3:37of life an amazing picture if you would
3:41and so there adam as his eyes open for
3:45the first
3:46time and he becomes a living spirit
3:49a living soul the first thing his eyes
3:53are his creator
3:56but we all know how the story goes our
3:59first parents rebelled against god
4:01disobeyed his command cast his word
4:03behind them
4:04and listened instead to the voice of the
4:06serpent the great dragon
4:09and in so doing plunged us into ruin and
4:12and death has come upon us all but we
4:16are so
4:16plunged into darkness that when our god
4:21shows his face we don’t even recognize
4:32truth is if Christ were sitting here
4:36worshiping with us we wouldn’t know him
4:41we don’t know what his face looks like
4:44few have seen the face of god
4:48and so consider that in this text our
4:50gospel text
4:52just how amazing the story is because
4:55when we think about
4:56god we can’t think about god apart from
4:59thinking about our sin
5:00and the fact that we have just messed
5:04up we all know the darkness of sin sin
5:08is slavery sin is not freedom
5:11sin is almost practically a mental
5:15it’s a delusion it focuses you on
5:19yourself and you become like the devil
5:21thinking all about me myself and i
5:24the other unholy trinity
5:27the other unholy trinity is the devil
5:30the world and our own sinful flesh
5:32but it’s all about me and in so thinking
5:35that it’s all about me
5:36we absolutely
5:40disobey god and we hurt
5:44and we sin against each other have you
5:46ever noticed
5:49maybe it’s hard not to that this year
5:52has been just terrible absolutely awful
5:57nobody saw this pandemic coming and it
6:00isn’t even much of a pandemic if you
6:01think about it you got a 98
6:03chance of surviving if you actually
6:05catch this thing but our
6:07the global economy has melted down we’ve
6:09watched as people have been
6:12losing their jobs and have you noticed
6:15that the politicians they don’t seem to
6:17be any kinder to each other
6:20the rhetoric is at a fever pitch of
6:21hatred the world is full of malice and
6:24the reality is
6:25that you and i have all participated in
6:28and there’s a bunch of blame going on
6:30bunch of blame
6:31oh it’s your fault this politician
6:34didn’t act quick enough to stop the
6:36pandemic it’s their fault their policies
6:38brought this upon us
6:40it’s them and then the other side says
6:42no it’s them
6:44and we all pick a side and we throw
6:45rocks at each other
6:47thinking that somehow by doing that we
6:50can justify ourselves but the reality is
6:53haven’t you figured it out yet the
6:57is not their fault it’s mine
7:01it’s yours these are the consequences of
7:05our sin
7:06and god has allowed us to suffer the
7:10of a global pandemic that kills very few
7:15but has shown us to be the wretched
7:17miserable people that we are
7:19plunged into utter darkness
7:24and so with that our gospel text brings
7:26us this word
7:28in those days a decree went out from
7:31caesar augustus that all the world
7:33should be registered
7:34registered for what attacks and oh what
7:37a title this man has
7:38caesar not just caesar he’s caesar
7:43you can almost hear the vibrato and the
7:46and the echo going along with it
7:52but he like so many sovereigns of the
7:56ancient world was a false god
7:58and people worshiped him as god on earth
8:01but he died
8:02just like other men do but you’ll note
8:05that here when history had run its
8:10moses and the prophets had prophesied
8:12for many centuries
8:14that god would send us a savior
8:17one to redeem us one to set us free
8:20one who would be the light who would
8:22lead us out of the darkness
8:24and Christ chose to be born
8:28under the boot of the roman empire
8:32he didn’t come to rule and to reign
8:35scripture is clear that though he wasn’t
8:38by nature god he didn’t consider
8:41equality with god a thing to be grasped
8:45instead he humbled himself and he took
8:49on the form of a slave
8:54doesn’t even have citizen status
8:58in the roman empire just
9:01somebody being governed
9:04by them and we know how ruthless they
9:06were this was the first registration
9:08when inquiriness was the governor of
9:11all went to be registered each to his
9:13own town
9:14and joseph also went from galilee from
9:17the town of nazareth
9:19to judea to the city of david which is
9:21called bethlehem
9:23why because he was of the house and the
9:25lineage of david
9:26and those words should have given him
9:28some status he
9:29is the rightful heir to the throne of
9:33he is the one who should be sitting on
9:35the throne of david but there is no
9:36throne of david
9:39because the line of david squandered
9:44what they had received from their
9:48from their ancestors from david himself
9:51and they plunged israel into great ruin
9:53and misery and idolatry
9:56even bringing into the temple of god
10:01cult male prostitutes
10:06the worship of ashira
10:09baal molech and rather than turn when
10:12disaster was upon
10:14them they persisted in their sin
10:17and their unbelief and god made good his
10:19word to the prophet jeremiah
10:21and they were taken into captivity and
10:23the reign of david
10:25came to an end with zedekiah
10:29for hundreds of years the line of david
10:33languished in complete obscurity i mean
10:35it doesn’t get any more obscure than
10:38like i said earlier this week a village
10:4150 families maybe and what was
10:45david what was the son of david joseph
10:48what was he
10:50he was a day laborer construction guy
10:53he painted houses worked in stucco wood
10:57things like doesn’t get any lonelier
11:01than that
11:03and so he doesn’t even have the freedom
11:06to stay in nazareth
11:08the edict of caesar augustus has gone
11:10out and he’s got a head
11:12back to the town of his ancestors to the
11:15city of bethlehem and we’re going to
11:16note something here
11:18that when you look at all the greeting
11:19cards at Christmas time
11:21the way they depict mary you always have
11:23the blue sky
11:25the sun is long gone you have the stars
11:27coming out you always have that
11:28beautiful star
11:30the star of bethlehem shining and then
11:32you can see mary
11:33in silhouette as she heads towards
11:36riding on a donkey i hate to break it to
11:40you but
11:41joseph couldn’t afford that not with the
11:44job he had
11:46which means that mary more than likely
11:49she walked from the city of nazareth all
11:52the way
11:53to bethlehem now if you are pregnant in
11:57your ninth month
11:58and your baby’s a little overdue
11:59walking’s not a bad
12:01thing i would note that joshua was a
12:04little late
12:05he’s been late ever since but when
12:08barb my wife was pregnant with joshua
12:11joshua was taking his dear
12:13sweet time he was probably playing
12:15nintendo we’re not sure
12:16exactly we haven’t confirmed or denied
12:18this report but what ended up happening
12:21these were the days before we had the
12:22internet and so my wife had this book
12:25and the book was called
12:26what to expect when you’re expecting and
12:30she followed the book as if it was the
12:32bible of pregnancies
12:34i had i learned things i didn’t even
12:37know existed
12:38all from this book and so she consulted
12:40the book and of course consulted her
12:42and said my son is late this is not a
12:45good sign
12:46and i am miserable being pregnant please
12:49tell me what i should do
12:51and the doctor says well we’re not going
12:53to induce you yet
12:54why don’t you walk and she looked it up
12:57in the book and the book says
12:58walk and so my mother-in-law was in town
13:01and so you know what
13:02my wife and my mother-in-law did they
13:05they walked the streets of seattle up
13:07and down the hills they marched this way
13:08and that way they marched to park pike’s
13:11they went to the columbia center they
13:13went all over town
13:14and guess what they only had to do that
13:17for a couple of days and josh said
13:19enough i’ll put the nintendo down
13:24that’s not exactly what he said
13:28but i got that nudge in the night and my
13:31wife said it’s time
13:33well it took them a few days to travel
13:37from nazareth
13:39to bethlehem and mary when she got there
13:43it was time for her to give birth and it
13:45makes sense if you think about it but i
13:48want you to consider this
13:50more than likely mary is
14:00she’s definitely not in her 20s
14:03and i want you to think about this
14:04giving birth is a scary proposition
14:07for any woman yet alone
14:11a girl in her teens and she’s not at
14:15she’s not with her mother she doesn’t
14:18have her normal family network to be
14:20there with her
14:22and the text tells us that the king of
14:25kings the god who spoke the universe
14:27into existence
14:28that he ended up being born in a barn
14:32because there was no place for them the
14:35the it doesn’t make any sense
14:39how is it that we not do we not know
14:42that this girl was carrying in her womb
14:46our god our savior our lord
14:51why were there not people saying oh
14:53please take
14:54my accommodations and oh dear here’s
14:58some hot water and some towels and some
15:01things to help you with giving birth and
15:03none of that is even mentioned here
15:06which means that it was just her and
15:09joseph they were kind of on their own
15:11and at the end of it all they had were
15:16well swaddling closet they can gather up
15:20and when it was all said and done
15:23they placed Christ into the feeding
15:27of animals
15:31when kings are born there’s usually
15:35bells that are told
15:38criers go out and announce the good news
15:42but with the birth of our savior there
15:43was nothing
15:50he came to his own his own did not
15:52receive him
15:54they didn’t even know it was him that’s
15:57how blind we are
15:59how steeped in the darkness of sin we
16:03but now the angels come to the rescue
16:06and part of me wants to just think that
16:07the angels are sitting there looking at
16:09what’s going on going do they not
16:11see this how can they not see this
16:15and i can see michael and gabriel having
16:17a squabble going
16:19we’ve got to do something now this is
16:21roseboro’s interpretation this is total
16:23apocrypha it’s not in the text
16:25but you sit there and you sit there and
16:26go what you can see the angels just
16:28looking over at the rails of heaven
16:30going now this is amazing
16:32god rather than giving them what they
16:34deserve those rebels
16:36setting them all up into hell he has had
16:38compassion on them
16:40and sent them a savior god himself has
16:43rolled up his sleeves and gotten the
16:45fray and has become a slave
16:49angels long to look into these things
16:53and i dare you to think of anything more
16:55loving and sublime than this
17:00and so in that same region there were
17:02shepherds out in the field
17:04keeping watch over their flock by night
17:07we learned from jerome
17:08the church father jerome the fellow who
17:10translated the bible into latin he grew
17:13up in bethlehem
17:15he grew up here and he writes
17:18and tells us about the fact that Jesus
17:20where he was born was practically
17:23over the same spot where david was born
17:25and that these
17:26hills where the shepherds were which are
17:29outside of bethlehem were the very same
17:33where david had taken his flocks as he
17:36cared for the flocks of his father jesse
17:39and so in honor of the man who was a man
17:42after god’s own heart the king
17:46who Christ would possess his throne
17:49and rule and reign from for all eternity
17:51in a world without end
17:53the angels then decide that they’re
17:55going to
17:56let the secret be known
18:00the thing that everybody had missed
18:02they’re going to announce then
18:04to lowly shepherds so an angel of the
18:06lord appeared to them
18:08and the glory of the lord shone around
18:10them and they
18:11were filled with fear
18:14we’ve all had an experience where we’ve
18:16been outside outdoors in the dark
18:19and man it can get really dark outside
18:21sometimes i remember one time being on a
18:24trip with my brother which was a mistake
18:26by the way agreeing to do this
18:28but we were on a camping trip and my
18:29brother we liked he liked to prank me i
18:31like to prank him
18:33and he thought it would be a really fun
18:34idea to wake me up from a dead sleep in
18:36the dark of night in the middle of
18:39with a very bright flashlight and of
18:43or whatever he said there was violence
18:45that followed and i’m
18:47still in therapy over that but the whole
18:49point is is that using a flashlight in
18:51that way in the dark was quite effective
18:54and he wasn’t even an angel and he
18:55definitely scared me
18:58and so these angels appear and they are
19:02holy god is holy
19:07we are not but they appear in the
19:12and the text says that they were filled
19:14with great fear
19:16but the angel said to them fear not fear
19:19not for behold i bring you good news
19:22of great joy that will be for all
19:25people what an amazing thing god has
19:30a good news message the gospel to
19:34and expects them to share this message
19:37with others because
19:38this wasn’t just for them this is a
19:41message of great joy and good news for
19:44all people
19:44and you’ll note how faithful these
19:46shepherds were in delivering the message
19:48that they had received from god
19:50and here’s what they heard from the
19:51angel for unto
19:53you is born this day in the city of
19:57a savior who is Christ the lord
20:03a savior city of david
20:08messiah it’s all there
20:11they are the first to receive the good
20:14of the birth of our savior and the
20:16messiah Jesus Christ
20:18humble shepherds not king herod
20:22not the high priest not the seminary
20:26no shepherds and he says this will be a
20:30sign for you
20:31you’ll find a baby wrapped in swaddling
20:33claws and lying in a manger
20:36and then suddenly there was
20:39with the angel a multitude of the
20:41heavenly host praising god and saying
20:43glory to god in the highest
20:45and on earth peace among those with whom
20:47he is pleased
20:48have you ever stopped to think that
20:50every time we sing the glory of pawtry
20:52every time we sing these glories in the
20:56Christmas is there for us every divine
21:00service where we sing these words
21:05so when the angels had went away from
21:07them into heaven
21:08the shepherds said to let one another
21:12let us go to bethlehem and let us see
21:14the thing that has happened
21:16which the lord has made known to us
21:19these are pious shepherds they
21:21understand that they have heard from god
21:23and so they went with haste they didn’t
21:26dilly dally they went right to it they
21:27went with haste and found mary and
21:29joseph and the baby
21:30lying in a manger
21:36i want you to think about this
21:40we think about god and our sin we think
21:42if god is going to show up
21:45what do we expect a whirlwind
21:48a tempest an earthquake
21:52bolts of thunder lightning darkness
21:55smoke all the things
21:58that would shake us to our core
22:02standing in front of god and we know
22:04that this is
22:05what we should expect from him because
22:07of our sin and rebellion
22:09but i want you to note that these men
22:12after being
22:12instructed by an angel of god hearing
22:15the heavenly choir who
22:17can say they’ve heard that
22:20few have none are alive today
22:25that when they get there that rather
22:26than seeing an angry stern face of god
22:29they looked into the face of their god
22:32and there he was
22:35and they went oh he’s so cute
22:40because that’s what everybody does when
22:41they see a newborn baby
22:44and there he was little nose
22:47little eyes little fingers little toes
22:51nothing to fear and that’s the point
22:56rather than get what we deserve we got a
22:59baby a humble savior
23:04and there he is lying in a manger
23:07sleeping breathing and just like any
23:11other child
23:12after he was born he took his first
23:15breath and he cried
23:19i never expected god to be like this
23:22but that’s how god comes to us
23:27indeed it is good news a savior
23:31one who would grow
23:34and every time i sing that hymn
23:37the one we sang is the sermon hymn
23:41when we get to those lyrics i keep
23:43telling myself
23:44this time i’m not going to cry
23:48and i have yet to pull it off
23:54nails spear shall pierce him through
23:59the cross be born for me for you
24:07hail hail the word made flesh the babe
24:12the son of mary
24:16so our god comes to us as a baby
24:20with a virgin singing a lullaby sitting
24:23in a manger
24:24not a palace and all of this is good
24:27tidings for us
24:28because as it says in our epistle text
24:30for tonight
24:32when the goodness and the lovingkindness
24:33of god our savior appeared
24:36he saved us not because of works done by
24:40in righteousness but according to his
24:42own mercy
24:44by the washing of regeneration the
24:46renewal of the holy spirit
24:48you see the one thing that we all have
24:49in common with david is that each and
24:51every one of us can say along with david
24:52that in sin did my mother conceive me
24:55but Christ was not conceived in sin
24:57everything about his conception just
24:59screams holiness purity
25:05how sad it is that each and every one of
25:08our birth was tainted with sin
25:13but you’ll note that Christ talks about
25:16the fact
25:16that in the waters of baptism we’re
25:19united with Christ
25:21and that we are born again according to
25:24the spirit
25:25and so our second birth
25:28is pure and holy just like Christ’s
25:34he was born pure so that we could be
25:43and all of this he’s poured out us on us
25:47god is not chintzy when it comes to love
25:50he’s not chintzy when it comes to grace
25:53he doesn’t piecemeal mercy out
25:56he bestows it on us pours it on us
26:00richly the picture is so beautiful in
26:03it’s like oil running down the beard of
26:11it’s over the top it’s rich
26:15so now being justified by his grace we
26:19have become heirs according to the hope
26:21of eternal life
26:24the prophet isaiah said it well
26:28behold your salvation comes behold his
26:31reward is with him
26:33and they shall call shall all be called
26:37the holy people
26:41sinners called the holy people and this
26:44was fulfilled
26:46because all who believed in Christ who
26:48were baptized into his death in his
26:51after his death for our sins on the
26:54his victorious resurrection from the
26:56grave on the third day
26:58and his ascension into heaven the word
27:00went out
27:01the good news that was first proclaimed
27:04in bethlehem
27:05now is announced to the whole world
27:08Christ your savior has been born he
27:11suffered bled and died
27:12repent and be forgiven
27:18and all who have been brought to him
27:20united with him
27:21and had their second birth are called
27:24holy people hagio in greek
27:28you know the word is saints the prophecy
27:31is fulfilled
27:32listen to this he also said that they
27:36would be the redeemed
27:38of the lord and indeed we are purchased
27:41from slavery to sin death and the devil
27:43we are no longer slaves to sin
27:45we are adopted children of god because
27:48we have been redeemed by what Christ has
27:50done for us
27:51this babe is exactly what we needed
27:55and we will be called those who are
27:57sought out
27:59and you have this picture here then of
28:02Jesus the good shepherd
28:05going and chasing after and hunting down
28:07his lost sheep
28:09and we will be called a city that has
28:10not been forsaken
28:12so brothers and sisters take heart this
28:14Christmas take
28:15heart this great Christmas eve and note
28:17this that God has not forsaken us
28:20he has not left us in the darkness of
28:22sin and he cares deeply that you have
28:25been enslaved to the devil
28:27and he himself has sought after you he
28:29has redeemed you
28:30he has made you holy and you have not
28:33been forsaken
28:36you have been saved
28:43merry Christmas in the name of Jesus
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