Sermon Transcript – The Gospel is Folly for Those Who Are Perishing

Series B – Third Sunday in Lent – Sunday, March 7, 2021 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
Intro bumper
Time StampTranscript
0:28the holy gospel according to saint john
0:30the second chapter
0:32glory to you
0:37the passover the jews was at hand and
0:39Jesus went up to jerusalem
0:41in the temple he found those who were
0:43selling oxen and sheep and pigeons
0:45and the money changers sitting there and
0:47making a whip of cords he drove them
0:49all out of the temple with the sheep and
0:51the oxen he poured out the coins of the
0:54money changers and overturned their
0:56and he told those who sold pigeons take
0:59these things away
1:00do not make my father’s house a house of
1:04his disciples remembered that it was
1:05written zeal for your house will consume
1:08so the jews said to him what sign do you
1:10show us for doing these things
1:12Jesus answered them destroy this temple
1:14and in three days i will raise it up
1:16and the jews said it has taken 46 years
1:19to build this temple
1:20and will you raise it up in three days
1:22but he was speaking about the temple of
1:24his body
1:25when therefore he was raised from the
1:27dead his disciples remembered that he
1:29had said this
1:30and they believed the scripture and the
1:32word that Jesus had spoken
1:34this is the gospel of the lord in the
1:36name of Jesus
1:38all right here are the words of our
1:40epistle text the word of the cross
1:42you know that message that god the son
1:45second person of the holy trinity
1:47incarnate of the virgin mary came
1:50suffered bled died on a cross
1:54what a terrible ignominious death it was
1:57in fact galatians says that cursed is
1:59everyone who has hung on a tree which is
2:01one of the reasons why
2:02jews stumbled over the stumbling block
2:04of the cross
2:06because they thought how could Christ be
2:09the son of god and yet was cursed in
2:11such a terrible way as being hung
2:13on a tree it’s not a bad question right
2:16but you’ll note the text
2:18says the cross is folly but folly to who
2:23to those who are perishing
2:26the cross is folly to those who are
2:30now when we talk about
2:31self-righteousness we have to
2:34different forms of self-righteousness
2:37think of it this way the person who can
2:39i have earned my salvation by being good
2:43i got all of my boy scout badges or girl
2:46badges are there even girl scouts and
2:48boy scouts anymore that seems so
2:50politically incorrect
2:52but yo i helped that old lady across the
2:56i i it was like the movie up i got my
2:58woodchuck badge
2:59you got the idea right i did all these
3:02good things therefore god is going to
3:03bless me with salvation i have
3:05merited the forgiveness of my sins well
3:08that’s called self-righteousness
3:10and if you hold your good works up to
3:13and say to god aha i have earned
3:17this your good works
3:20will be held against you on the day of
3:22judgment but there’s a second
3:24more subtle if you would more subtle
3:26form of self-righteousness
3:28and that’s the reason why the cross is
3:31folly to those who are perishing
3:33because we like to think we’re smart
3:36enough to
3:36figure it all out all right and you’re
3:39going to note here
3:41there is no human philosopher in the
3:43entire history
3:46of philosophy who’s ever sat
3:49down and worked it all out and said you
3:51know what
3:55we’re saved by the fact that the son of
3:57god bled and died for our sins
4:00instead all the wise human beings of the
4:03world seem to be in some kind of a
4:05match to try to outdo each other and
4:08overthrow the generation of
4:10philosophers that came before them you
4:12think of plato and then aristotle
4:14and then every philosopher after that
4:16right all the way down to the
4:18current post-modern group which is
4:20really abysmal
4:22but you’re going to note then our text
4:24says specifically
4:26that god chose what is foolish in the
4:28world in order to shame the wise so that
4:30nobody can say aha i figured it out
4:34in fact think of it this way tell the
4:36greatest philosophers of our time
4:39here’s the most important thing of all
4:42Jesus died on a cross suffered and bled
4:45and died for your sins
4:47and they’re going to sit there and go
4:48you’re just
4:50whack that’s not going to help
4:54anybody and that’s kind of the point
4:57and so note here the word of the cross
4:59is folly to those who are
5:01perishing but to us who are being saved
5:04it is the power of god as paul says in
5:07romans 1
5:08i am not ashamed of the gospel for the
5:11gospel is the power of god unto
5:13in romans 10 he says faith comes by
5:15hearing hearing by the word of Christ
5:19but you’ll note for him to have to say
5:21i’m not ashamed of the gospel there are
5:23plenty of people
5:24who are and so i thought it’d be kind of
5:28fun today
5:29and if you don’t think it’s fun you can
5:30let me know afterwards you could say
5:31that wasn’t really that fun but i
5:33thought it’d be fun today
5:34to do a post-mortem on modernist
5:38he’s sitting there going huh have you
5:40guys ever heard of harry
5:41emerson fosdick have you ever heard of
5:44this fellow
5:45a hundred and three years ago he
5:48preached a sermon
5:49titled shall the fundal fundamentalists
5:53win and harry emerson fosdick was one of
5:56these fellows
5:57who when seeing the scientific evidence
6:00for evolution buckled
6:04and thought you know it’s time for
6:06Christianity to adapt its messaging
6:09to conform with the science of the time
6:12and one of his big arguments was how can
6:16preach that Christ suffered and bled and
6:18died for our sins
6:19in the age of get this the electric
6:26that’s not a very compelling argument as
6:28far as i did as far as i know
6:30norelco is not the big enemy of
6:33but all of that being said in this
6:36sermon he delivered in 1918
6:38shall the fundamentalists win he
6:41speaks out his contempt for of all
6:46the cross
6:49i’ll explain it’s a little deeper than
6:52that and there’s a few nuances but we’ll
6:54take a look at this
6:55i’ll read portions of it out and here’s
6:57how he begins the sermon this morning
6:59we are to think of the fundamentalist
7:03you know fundamentalists those are the
7:05people who
7:06well you know believe the bible you know
7:09when we confess that
7:10Jesus was born of the virgin mary we
7:13actually mean
7:14she was a virgin right
7:17fundamentalists uh he says when we think
7:20of the fundamentalist controversy which
7:22threatens to divide the american
7:24as though already they were not
7:25sufficiently split and riven i would
7:27note this that scripture is very clear
7:29in the epistle of jude it is not those
7:31who hold to the scriptures
7:32who are causing divisions in the church
7:34but it is those who are bringing in
7:36destructive heresies but he is
7:39playing the victim here he’s a victim of
7:42fundamentalists but i would note then
7:44his hostility towards them because
7:46he asked the question shall the
7:48fundamentalist win which
7:50really proves he was out to defeat them
7:52in the first place
7:55notice that those who claim that they’re
7:57all about tolerance
7:58are some of the most intolerant people
8:00on planet earth
8:03so he goes on to say this a scene that
8:05is suggestive for our thought
8:07is depicted in the fifth chapter of the
8:09book of acts where the jewish leaders
8:11hail before them peter and the other
8:13apostles because they had been preaching
8:15Jesus as the messiah
8:17moreover the jewish leaders proposed to
8:20slay them
8:21when an opposition gamaliel speaks quote
8:24refrain from these men and let them
8:27alone for if this council or this work
8:29be of men it will be overthrown but
8:32if it is of god you will not be able to
8:35overthrow them
8:37lest happily ye be found to be fighting
8:39against god
8:40what an interesting idea here so harry
8:43emerson fosdick in defending modernist
8:46basically said we need to follow the
8:48advice of gamaliel
8:50if this is of god we will succeed if
8:53it’s not of god
8:54it’ll fail and if you’re fighting
8:55against us and that this is of god god
8:57you’re you’re fighting against god
8:59well 103 years 103
9:02years later i think we can say this
9:04wasn’t of god
9:06because let me ask you this question
9:07right off the top of your head
9:09how well did modernist liberalism bring
9:14how well did it do in making the
9:16churches of the mainline denominations
9:18relevant i would note
9:22that the old line liberal presbyterian
9:26they have these ginormous cathedrals
9:28that can seat thousands
9:30and every single sunday you have maybe
9:3330 old gray-haired ladies who join for
9:36worship in these
9:37abandoned cathedrals liberalism
9:40destroyed Christianity and i would note
9:42this to invoke
9:44gamaliel as somebody who’s teaching
9:47innovative doctrines is a
9:49form of twisting the scripture i
9:51remember very distinctly
9:53when joel osteen first came on the scene
9:56you guys remember hit this
9:57when his father had died he had just
10:00taken over lakewood
10:01and and he had written the book your
10:05life now
10:08and at the time i was teaching and this
10:11is going to sound weird
10:12i was teaching at a baptist church my
10:14family can
10:15remember this thing i was teaching at a
10:16baptist church but they
10:18i told them i’m a lutheran and they said
10:20that’s not a problem
10:21it eventually became a problem but when
10:23when joel esteem first came on the scene
10:25i began warning people it is not
10:28biblical to believe that you can have
10:30your best life now if you believe you’re
10:32going to have your best life now
10:34then you believe you’re going to hell it
10:36doesn’t make any sense and i pointed out
10:38the false doctrines and teachings along
10:40the way
10:41and after i had given them that warning
10:44one of the ladies in the class that i
10:45was teaching came up to me afterwards
10:46and said
10:47you know uh chris don’t you think we
10:50take gamaliel’s advice that we should
10:55not not critique him because
10:58we might be fighting against god to
11:00which i said no
11:01that’s a misuse of that passage and
11:04scripture says to mark and avoid those
11:06who are teaching false doctrine
11:10well coming back then to our harry
11:13emerson fosdic fellow
11:15he goes on to say this already all of us
11:17must have heard about the people who
11:19call themselves the fundamentalists
11:22their apparent intention
11:23is to drive out of the evangelical
11:27men and women of liberal opinions
11:31but what does titus say rebuke those
11:34who contradict false sound doctrine
11:38and that god wills for them to be
11:40silenced were the fundamentalists
11:42off in trying to say that’s not what the
11:46scripture says
11:47we need to not be listening to these
11:49fellows but he’s claiming to be the
11:51victim here they’re gonna
11:52they want to drive us out and so he then
11:55goes on
11:56and explains what it is that these
12:00fundamentalists believe
12:01and he’s quite quite incensed
12:05like taken aback scandalized by their
12:08are you ready he says it’s interesting
12:10to note where the fundamentalists are
12:12in their stakes to mark out the deadline
12:15of doctrine
12:16around the church across which no one is
12:19to pass
12:19except for on terms of agree of
12:21agreement and he’s not agreeing with
12:23them he’s thinking that this is
12:26they insist that we must all believe in
12:29the historicity of
12:30certain special miracles
12:34preeminently the virgin birth of our
12:39what a crazy thought what to demand that
12:43you believe that scripture is telling us
12:45the truth and i would note this that
12:48modernist liberals
12:49denied absolutely denied
12:53the historicity of all of the miracles
12:55of scripture
12:56they claimed that it was a breaking of
12:59natural law
13:01as if somehow if Christ had performed a
13:04that some natural law police officer was
13:06going to ride up on his motorcycle
13:08and write him up and cite him for
13:11natural law i’m sorry mr Jesus but
13:15um you’ve broken natural law here here
13:17it’s going to be a 1500
13:19fine and we’ll see you in front of the
13:21judge next week
13:23it’s ridiculous so in denying that
13:26miracles are possible
13:27that means they denied the virgin birth
13:29of Christ but more importantly
13:32they denied the bodily resurrection
13:36of Jesus
13:39but what does paul say if Christ has not
13:41been raised from the dead
13:44then your faith is vain
13:48everybody who’s in Christ has perished
13:51that’s what he says
13:52in other words we’ve got a problem here
13:54and so no he considers this to be
13:56outrageous this is outrageous
13:58that they would believe that well Jesus
14:01was born of a virgin
14:02not only that that we must believe in a
14:04special theory of inspiration
14:07that the original documents of scripture
14:09which of course we no longer possess
14:11were inerrant
14:14how dare these people believe that
14:16scripture is inerrant
14:19and authoritative and then he goes on to
14:21say this
14:23and this is where the scandal is
14:27they insist that we believe in a special
14:31theory of the atonement that the blood
14:34of our lord
14:35shed in a substitutionary death placates
14:39alienated deity and makes possible
14:42the welcome return of the sinner to god
14:49say what
14:52isn’t the gospel that paul received from
14:55Jesus Christ
14:56himself that Christ died
15:00for our sins doesn’t the prophet
15:03isaiah says that he was pierced for our
15:07he was bruised for our iniquities the
15:10whole point of the mosaic sacrificial
15:13was that it was a type and shadow
15:15pointing to the
15:16one sacrifice for our sins and in the
15:18sacrificial system
15:20did the sinner die no
15:24the animal died in its place or his
15:27place or her place
15:29so you’ll note harry emerson fosdick
15:33hated and i mean this
15:37hated loathed preached against
15:41Christ’s substitutionary death
15:44on the cross for our sins and there’s a
15:47reason why by the way
15:49there’s a reason for it because in the
15:51liberal way of thinking
15:54that if it’s the late walter martin who
15:56pointed this out
15:57first that i heard but it may also go
15:59back to jay gresham machin
16:01that in the liberal way of thinking
16:03they’ve taken the passage of scripture
16:05from first john that says that god is
16:08and they’ve reversed it they believe
16:10that love is god
16:12and in the liberal way of thinking
16:16love being god they’ve redefined love so
16:19that it is anathema
16:21to actually believe that god is wrathful
16:25that god punishes sinners
16:29in fact they claim that paul is
16:32wrong when it says in scripture that we
16:36saved from the wrath of god
16:39they think it is unseemly for god to
16:42have anger
16:42or wrath and modern day postmodern
16:47basically say that that is something
16:49that humanity
16:50project projected on god and that’s one
16:54of the points where the scripture gets
16:55totally wrong
16:59well if Christ wasn’t suffering the
17:01wrath of god in our place and in our
17:04on that friday afternoon outside the
17:05city gates of jerusalem
17:08while hanging on the cross
17:11then i don’t know what he was doing
17:14because he certainly wasn’t up there
17:16singing we got to look on the bright
17:18side of life
17:22right so you’ll know coming back then to
17:25our epistle text
17:29i think our postmortem has definitively
17:31showed that post that modernist
17:34was not of god our scripture text says
17:37the word of the cross is folly it is
17:40folly to those who are perishing but to
17:43us who are being saved
17:45the cross is the power of god the word
17:47of the cross is the power of god for it
17:49is written i will destroy the wisdom of
17:50the wise
17:51the discernment of the discerning i will
17:54so where then is the one who is wise
17:57where is the scribe
17:58where is the debater of this age has not
18:02god made foolish the wisdom of the world
18:05for since in the wisdom of the world the
18:07world did not know god through wisdom
18:09and that’s the point
18:10you’re not going to find god through the
18:14you won’t you might find a deity but not
18:18the deity
18:20and that’s the point
18:23so then it pleased god it was to his
18:28through the folly of what we preached to
18:32those who believe and you’ll note that
18:35in our day and age it’s not just
18:36modernist liberals those
18:38folks have gone the way of the dinosaurs
18:41it’s hard to find those guys nowadays
18:43but we have post-modern liberals and we
18:45have a whole bunch of people who are
18:47how shall we say it um really kind of
18:50ashamed of the
18:52the gospel ashamed of the word of the
18:56i would note this takes on many
18:58different forms
19:00you see paul goes on to say jews demand
19:03signs i would note that so do
19:05greek seek wisdom but we preach Christ
19:08crucified a stumbling block
19:10to the jews and folly to the gentiles
19:13and there’s a whole lot of guys out
19:14there trying to save Christianity from
19:18so what do they do they take the cross
19:20and they get rid of it
19:22they take the preaching of repentance
19:24and the forgiveness of sins
19:26one by Christ on the cross and they well
19:30they tuck that away it may be
19:33lurking as a message that they affirm in
19:36some deep dark corner
19:38of their website it’s hard to navigate
19:40to it so that they could pull it out at
19:42the right time
19:43we believe that Jesus died for our sins
19:46but why don’t you ever preach it
19:49why don’t you ever preach the cross
19:52and see when that becomes the issue then
19:55you’ll note
19:56that you kind of see the idea people are
20:00ashamed of the cross either
20:02overtly and they preach against it or
20:04tacitly and they just
20:07we never preach it never comes up in
20:10casual conversation
20:12but note then we preach Christ crucified
20:16a stumbling block to jews
20:18folly to gentiles but to those who are
20:20called both jews and greeks Christ then
20:22is the power of god
20:24and he is the wisdom of god for the
20:26foolishness then of god is wiser than
20:29men and the weakness of god is stronger
20:30than men
20:31and that’s the point it’s through the
20:33cross that god has chosen to make
20:36wisdom look foolish because he does god
20:39doesn’t come to us in power
20:41and strength and compulsion he comes to
20:45in weakness in servitude
20:49so consider your calling brothers not
20:51many of you were wise according to
20:52worldly standards
20:54and not many were powerful not many were
20:56of noble birth and i would remind you i
20:58come from a very sketchy
21:00line of human beings so i i can
21:03affirm this but god chose then what is
21:07foolish in the world in order to shame
21:08the wise
21:09god chose what is weak in the world to
21:11shame the strong
21:12god chose what is low and despised and
21:17the cross
21:17is it is low and it is despised and god
21:21chose it even though things that are not
21:26in order to bring to nothing the things
21:27that are in order that no
21:29human being might boast in the presence
21:32of god
21:33and that’s the point you’ll note that
21:35that’s a theme you hear regarding
21:37and works you know based on you know
21:40justification based on works god won’t
21:42allow it because
21:43men will boast in god’s sight in the
21:45same way god brings us
21:47the message that we need to hear and it
21:50is a despised
21:51lowly and weak message so that
21:54nobody will be able to boast in the
21:57presence of god
21:58so because of him then because of god
22:01you are in Christ Jesus
22:03and he has become to us wisdom from god
22:06he has become to us
22:07righteousness and sanctification and
22:10so that as it is written in it is
22:12written let the one then who boasts
22:14boast in the lord
22:16now the text continues so i’ll go a
22:18little bit past our pericope
22:20into chapter two it says then paul says
22:22and then when i came to you brothers i
22:23didn’t come to you proclaiming to you
22:25the testimony of god
22:26with lofty speech or with wisdom for i
22:29decided to know nothing among you except
22:31for Jesus Christ and him crucified
22:34nothing there is nothing else
22:39in fact if you were here last sunday
22:42what did i preach Christ and him
22:47how about the sunday before that well
22:49you know Christ and
22:51him crucified have you ever noticed i’m
22:53like a one-trick pony
22:55okay i got like one message Christ and
22:57him crucified
22:59well isn’t there anything else no
23:01there’s really nothing else
23:02there’s Christ in him crucified and this
23:05is good news for us
23:06because our problem is not that we fail
23:09to be good enough or smart enough
23:11our problem is is that we’re sinners
23:13that we have all participated and
23:15rebelled against god and here’s the
23:17each and every one of us in to one
23:19degree or another are guilty of
23:21actually being well you know ashamed of
23:24the gospel of Christ
23:27there’s different ways in which we’ve
23:28done this and so you’ll note that lenten
23:31season is not about them repenting
23:34i must remind you the lenten season is
23:37me repenting and about you repenting
23:41so let us repent of all the ways in
23:43which we have thought we know better
23:45than god
23:45that we think we’re smart enough that we
23:47think that we’re strong enough
23:48that we are not exactly so keen on
23:52over and over again about Christ and him
23:54crucified for our sins
23:57and let us embrace the fact that Christ
23:59has become to us wisdom
24:01and strength from god let our boasts not
24:03be in our clever thinking
24:05in our clever ideas and the ways in
24:07which we think we know better than god
24:09let us instead have our boast only in
24:12who comes to us not in strength and
24:14power but in weakness
24:16cursed bleeding and dying on the cross
24:19for your sins
24:20and mine so that we can be reconciled to
24:24by grace through faith because of his
24:26great love
24:27with which he loves us now before we
24:30up the sermon i told you to have him
24:34850 marked all right
24:38look at the bottom of 850
24:41and tell me who wrote this hymn harry
24:45emerson fosdick i’m gonna note something
24:49fosdick wrote this as kind of an anthem
24:51in his battle charge
24:52against the fundamentalists who believe
24:55the scriptures
24:56and some enterprising lutheran thought
24:58you know we could repurpose
25:00this thing
25:03i love how lutherans think they’re a
25:05little subversive and so you’ll note
25:07that our closing hymn today
25:08was written by harry emerson fosdick but
25:11we’re not going to sing this against the
25:14fundamentals of the Christian faith
25:16we’re going to sing this
25:18gloriously to defend
25:21the word of the cross and make it a
25:23prayer as we
25:25proclaim Christ and him crucified for
25:27our sins
25:28so you’ll note if you think why are we
25:30singing that one because he left it
25:32loose enough
25:33that you can reinterpret it the other
25:35way so we’re going to sing it the
25:36opposite way that he intended it so just
25:38keep that in mind
25:39so i love being a lutheran sometimes
25:42it’s so fun
25:43anyway so with all that being said
25:48may the grace of Christ may the word of
25:51the cross
25:52bring you comfort this day knowing that
25:54your sins are forgiven bled for and died
25:57that your God and savior has come to you
26:00as a servant that he was obedient to the
26:03point of death even death on a cross and
26:04he was cursed
26:06so that you can be blessed of God in the
26:09name of Jesus
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