Sermon Transcript – To Keep You From Falling Away

1 Year Lectionary – Seventh Sunday of Easter – Sunday, May 29, 2022 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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0:28the holy gospel according to saint john chapters 15 and 16. [Music]
0:40jesus said when the helper comes whom i will send to you from the father the spirit of
0:46truth who proceeds from the father he will bear witness about me and you
0:52also will bear witness because you have been with me from the beginning i have said these things to you to keep you
0:58from falling away they will put you out of the synagogues indeed the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think
1:05he’s offering service to god and they will do these things because they have not known the father nor me but i have
1:12said these things to you that when their hour comes you you may remember that i
1:17told them to you this is the gospel of the lord in the name of jesus
1:22amen all right i remember when i was growing up trinity broadcasting network you guys
1:28remember tbn like the classic versions of it there was paul and jan crouch you
1:34remember jan crouch pink hair white petticoat crying all the
1:39time mascara running down her face then there was jim and tammy faye baker and these were people who were like the
1:46premier pentecostals and i remember at the time when i would flip over to tbn
1:52for whatever reason you had to manually remember the days before remote controls does anyone remember that you know and
1:58then like the first remote controls you press a button button and the dial would go chunk
2:03you guys remember that apparently there’s younger people in the crowd all right all of that being said
2:09i’d get you get over to channel 40 right that’s where they were in los angeles tbn and
2:15you’d sit there and go you know for all their talk of the holy spirit they really made the holy spirit seem
2:22really creepy really kind of spooky like you know i’m not sure if i’m really
2:29keen on this idea of god the holy spirit because he might make me fall on the ground and shake uncontrollably or even
2:37worse he might make me write a thousand dollar check and send it to tbn you know
2:42it seems like they were always pushing for money right and so you know even the
2:48world made fun of of jan crouch and jim and tammy faye
2:53baker they were caricatures and they didn’t represent like anything that even
2:59remotely looked normal and you’re thinking what is going on here and so today as we look at our gospel text and
3:06the implications of it uh put this together with our previous sermons on the holy spirit from this past couple of
3:13weeks and you’re going to note the holy spirit that christ is describing doesn’t sound
3:18anything like the holy spirit that shows up on tbn good news i i don’t intend via
3:24the prophecy or the prophetic work or the unction of the holy spirit to dye my hair pink anytime soon or wear a
3:31petticoat or anything weird like that instead when jesus talks about the holy spirit he says this when the helper
3:38comes and this is an important function of the holy spirit the helper whom i
3:44will send to you from the father the spirit of truth and you’ll note the helper the holy
3:51spirit helps us one of his major works is to comfort us and we need comfort
3:59you’ll note that this life is not easy the christian life is difficult at its
4:05at its easiest day because we have within us our own sinful flesh warring against the spirit that
4:12god has placed in us we have the world tempting us and the devil constantly harassing and attacking us and so after
4:20spending a week of being beaten up by the world our own sinful flesh and the
4:25devil it is often easy for us to sit there and go am i really a child of god
4:33right but here’s what galatians says paul talking about the holy spirit he
4:39says in the same way we also when we were children we were enslaved to the
4:45elementary principles of the world paul here in galatians 4 is describing our
4:50state before we become christians enslaved to the elementary principles of the world now if you you see that phrase
4:57elementary principles of the world and you ask yourself what exactly does that mean well paul defines it very clearly
5:03in colossians he says that the elementary principles of the world are the man-made regulations like do not
5:10handle do not taste do not touch he says these all have an appearance of holiness
5:17or righteousness but they are powerless to actually produce in us the fruit of the spirit and so you know today’s
5:23version would be something along the lines of do not drink do not smoke do not chew all right and there may be good
5:29reasons for you not to drink or smoke or chew but that’s not the substance of the
5:34christian religion in fact uh if you think that’s the substance of it and that’s what defines a christian you’re
5:41way way off and then he goes on to say but when the fullness of time had come god sent forth his son born of woman
5:48born under the law in order to redeem those who are under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons and so
5:57christ is now invoked here in the gospel and the gospel is invoked in the sense of its redeeming work the picture of us
6:04being born slaves to sin death and the devil under the dominion of darkness
6:09unable to free our self or even to come up with even the remotest amount of of
6:15money necessary to redeem ourselves in order to set us free christ by his death on the cross
6:21purchase us from slavery he redeems us who we who are under the law and then we hear that
6:28we our state is no longer slaves to sin but we are adopted as
6:34children of god and here’s what paul then says and because you are sons
6:39god has sent forth the spirit of his son that’s the holy spirit into our hearts
6:45crying abba father and so the comforting helping work of the holy spirit is to
6:51continue to assure us that we are truly adopted children of god and that we are
6:57no longer slaves but we are children of god and if we are children of god that
7:02that we are heirs through god in the same way then the uh the prophet ezekiel
7:08in ezekiel 36 our old testament text again talks about the work of the holy spirit and he says i will take you from
7:16the nations and i will gather you from the countries and i will bring you into your own land i will sprinkle clean
7:22water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols i will cleanse you and so here
7:30ezekiel’s is invoking if you would all the way back in the old testament the baptism that we received when we became
7:37christians that sprinkling of water or that pouring of water or that well that full
7:43immersion of water the method of how you’re baptized doesn’t matter but god himself has sprinkled us clean with the
7:50water and the word and cleansed us from all of our uncleannesses and from our idols and
7:56then he says this and i will give you a new heart and a new spirit and i will put within you and i will remove the
8:02heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh and i will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk
8:10in my statutes and be careful to obey all of my rules you shall dwell in the
8:16land that i gave to your fathers and you shall be my people and i will be your
8:21god and so here ezekiel is talking about the fact that when we are brought to faith in christ god does something
8:27miraculous in us paul describes it in colossians 2 as our hearts being circumcised by the very hands of christ
8:35here ezekiel is saying that god replaces our heart of stone that hard stubborn
8:40sinful dead heart that we’ve inherited from our first parents adam and eve and
8:46he performs heart surgery on us through the gospel and gives us a heart of flesh
8:52a beating heart a real heart a living heart one that desires to obey god and
8:58you’ll note that even here ezekiel is prophesying long before the day of pentecost
9:04that god will give us his spirit that will then cause us to walk in god’s
9:09statutes and be careful to obey his rules paul says practically the same
9:15thing in romans chapter 8 when he says so then brothers we are debtors not to the flesh to live according to the flesh
9:22for if you live according to the flesh you will die but if by the spirit by the holy spirit you put to death the
9:29deeds of the body you will live so note ezekiel says that god will cause his
9:35spirit to dwell within us and we will walk in his statutes paul then admonishes us as christians to by the
9:42power of the holy spirit put to death the deeds of our sinful flesh within us
9:48this requires us to cry out to god to believe god to trust that we have this
9:53holy spirit as has been promised in the waters of baptism and that by this power
9:58of the spirit that we beg for plead for ask for that god will grant us through
10:04the holy spirit then the strength necessary to put to death the deeds of our bodies and this goes on to say all
10:11then who are led by the spirit of god they are sons of god for you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall
10:18back into fear and what an interesting picture that is you think of you know some poor slave and a tyrant of a master
10:25right where he’s done something wrong and the only thing he’s thinking is oh i’m really going to get it this time
10:31he’s just constantly thinking in fear but this is not how we are to think of god christ has bled and died for us
10:36redeemed us we are not slaves we are children so we do not have the spirit of
10:42slavery to fall back into fear of punishment fear of god’s judgment instead we have received the spirit of
10:48adoption again the holy spirit as sons by whom now we cry out abba father and
10:55the holy spirit himself then bears witness with our spirit that we are
11:00indeed the children of god and if children then we are heirs of god and fellow heirs with christ and then paul
11:07says these important words provided we suffer with him in order that we also may be glorified with him
11:14you know you cannot talk about being a child of god in this life without talking about suffering and here again
11:21the words of our lord in our gospel text make it very clear that the helper comes to help us to comfort us to strengthen
11:29us to give us the power necessary to mortify our sinful flesh and that the spirit the holy spirit is the spirit of
11:36truth not the spirit of lies and we also bear witness about christ
11:42because of the mercy and the grace that we have received in him and then jesus
11:47goes on to say all of these things i have said to you in order to keep you from falling away jesus knows exactly
11:54how treacherous this world is this life is how difficult the the life of a
12:00christian can be and so he goes on to explain the very persecutions that christians will suffer in the future and
12:07by the power of the holy spirit then we can bear up under them because the helper has been given to us and he says
12:13this they will put you out of the synagogues indeed the hour is coming whenever whoever kills you will think
12:20that he’s offering service to god yeah think of it in kind of a modern context here because there are clear examples of
12:28the fulfillment of this in the book of acts but in our day and age there are people that i know very well who having
12:35learned the truth of god’s word and confronted pastors or teachers who were teaching falsely have been driven out of
12:42their churches and have had restraining orders issued against them and then you think of the hour is coming whenever
12:49when whenever whoever kills you will think he’s offering service to god i have one word for you there a hula akbar
12:57right yeah because isn’t that the whole the whole basis and premise of jihad
13:03that god you’re doing a service to allah by killing the infidel christian
13:10this is what we are called to face this is the difficulty that we are under and
13:15christ has told us all of these things ahead of time so that we would not fall away as if something strange or bizarre
13:23were happening to us if that should ever come about in fact if we were to just do a quick sampling
13:31of the book of acts and the apostle paul’s ministry and the sufferings that he was made to go through
13:37let’s just do a quick sampling starting at acts 17 it says these words when they
13:43had passed through amphipolis in apollonia they came to thessalonica where there was a synagogue of the jews
13:49and paul went in as it was his custom and on three sabbath days he reasoned
13:55with them from the scriptures explaining and proving that it was necessary for the christ to suffer and to rise from
14:02the dead saying this jesus whom i proclaim to you he is the christ or you could say he is the messiah some of them
14:09were persuaded and joined paul and silas as did many of the devout greeks and not a few of
14:14the leading women but the jews were jealous and taking some wicked men of the rabble they formed a mob and set the
14:22city in an uproar and attacked the house of jason seeking to bring them out to
14:28the crowd think of it this way you guys remember the george floyd riots those weren’t that long ago right
14:34all right that’s what was happening the ancient world’s version of it there were jews having heard the gospel rejected
14:42jesus were so incensed with paul they couldn’t find anything really against
14:47him so their next best tactic was to create a riot
14:54looting and people discontent people threatening violence
14:59as a result of well rejecting the gospel paul was it the one
15:05who experienced the exact same persecutions that jesus told us about in our gospel text and it goes on to say
15:12when they could not find them they dragged jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities and they were shouting these men who’ve turned
15:19the world upside down they’ve come here jason has received them and they’re all acting against the decrees of caesar
15:25saying that there is another king jesus so the people and the city and the authorities they were disturbed when
15:31they heard these things and when they had taken money as security from jason and the rest they let them go
15:37and so the brothers then immediately sent paul and silas away by night to berea they had to slink out of town had
15:44to secretly just disappear so they head off to berea and when they arrived they
15:49did what they normally did they went into the jewish synagogue and now these jews the bereans were of a more noble
15:55character than those of thessalonica they received the word with all eagerness examining the scriptures daily
16:02to see if these things were so which is exactly what the thessaloni thessalonians should have done
16:08but rather than examining the scriptures like the bereans they just rejected what the gospel was outright not being
16:15familiar or taking into consideration the word of god and what it reveals
16:20about the bereans were the exact opposite they said the apostle paul thank you very much for your message but
16:25we’re going to check our bibles to see if what you’re saying is true and it turns out that it is true and they many
16:31of them believed the text says many of them believed and not a few greek women of high standing as well as men
16:38but when the jews from thessalonica learned that the word of god was proclaimed by paul eperia they came
16:44there too agitating and stirring up the crowds could you imagine i mean how
16:50bored do you have to be in your life that you hear that the gospel’s being preached in crookston and so you head
16:57off down the road and you create a riot in order to make sure that gospel doesn’t get out
17:02right it just doesn’t make any sense but that is how the world operates they
17:08believe that they are acting in righteousness and justice when in fact they are doing evil and they are
17:14preventing the word of god from being heard and forbidding people to actually be forgiven by christ
17:21so the brothers then immediately sent paul off on his way by the sea but silas and timothy they remain there and so we
17:28learn that paul then goes on to the city of athens in chapter 18 just a little brief example
17:34silas and timothy arrived from macedonia paul was occupied with the word testifying to the jews that the christ
17:41was jesus but they opposed him and reviled him and so he shook out his
17:46garments and said to them all right your blood be on your own heads i’m innocent from now on i will go to the gentiles if
17:53we were to kind of do like a go back and do a gallop poll of jews at
17:59the time who were hearing the apostle paul preaching the gospel it really sounds
18:04like more than 50 percent of them were saying that he was a crackpot that he was some someone who was dangerous he
18:11was somebody who was blaspheming and that he was deceiving people and leading them astray and at the time well that’s
18:18all it would take popular opinion is is that this is absolutely nuts and something must be done in order to stop
18:24him but that’s not how it works the truth is the truth no matter how many people
18:30believe it no matter how many people reject it the holy spirit is the spirit of truth and what paul preached was the
18:38truth and then we learned that paul having traveled to jerusalem and warned all along the way on his journey back that
18:45chains and imprisonment were in front of him it says this when
18:50seven days were almost completed the jews from asia seeing paul in the temple they stirred up the whole crowds and
18:57they laid hands on him and they cried out men of israel help this is the man
19:02who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and even this place moreover he even brought
19:08greeks into the temple and he’s defiled this holy place that’s a flat out slander if you think
19:15about it but they had previously seen tromphis the ephesian with paul in the city and
19:20they supposed that paul had brought them brought him into the temple so then all the city was stirred up
19:26and the people ran together they seized paul dragged him out of the temple and at once the gates were shut and as they
19:33were seeking to kill him word came to the tribunal the cohort that all
19:38jerusalem was in confusion he at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them and when they saw the
19:45tribune and the soldiers they stopped beating paul that’s right paul was getting a good
19:50licking he was being beaten for doing what he was minding his own
19:55business they still bore him a grudge for preaching that jesus is the christ
20:00so the tribune came arrested paul ordered him to be bound with two chains he inquired who he was and what he had
20:06done and some in the crowd were shouting one thing and some another and as he could not learn the facts because the
20:13uproar he ordered him to be brought into the barracks and when he came to the steps he was actually carried by the
20:18soldiers because of the violence of the crowds for the mob of the people followed crying out away with him away
20:26with him could you imagine being so controversial that any city that you travel to
20:33it’s likely to break out in a mob with violence like this
20:40and this is exactly what christ said and then in acts chapter 23
20:46we learn of a plot by jews in order to kill and let me change the word murder paul
20:54when it was day the jews had made a plot and they bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor to drink until they
21:00had killed murdered paul there were more than 40 who had made
21:05this conspiracy and they went to the chief priests and the elders and said we have strictly bound ourselves by an oath
21:11to taste no food till we have killed paul and these are jews these are people
21:17of the book they know full well the commandment says thou shalt not murder
21:23and yet they bound themselves by an oath which means they’ve invoked god
21:28and they basically said i swear to god if we don’t kill paul we will not eat or
21:35drink until we have done so i’m i’m supposing they perished right
21:41i’m supposing they perish but talk about the wickedness and evil here now therefore you along with the council
21:48give notice to the tribune bring him down to you as though you were going to determine his case more exactly we’re
21:54ready to kill him before he comes near so now the son of paul’s sister heard about their ambush so he went and
22:01entered the barracks and told paul and paul called one of the centurions and said take this young man to the tribune
22:06for he has something to tell him and you’ll note that paul’s nephew well is successful and at least giving
22:14warning regarding the plot and this caused the tribune to have paul leave early under guard
22:20all of this is exactly what christ has said in the day and age in which we live in we christians must be prepared that
22:28there are people now who for the sake of the new world that’s being created will
22:34persecute christians they still do it they’ll have you cancelled on social media if you dare to
22:41say that that trans person is actually the sex that god assigned to them if you
22:46oppose same-sex marriage if you say that jesus is the only way or that there is
22:52going to be a day of judgment and salvation is only in christ start talking like this and you will be marked
23:00as somebody who is subversive somebody who is evil somebody who must be stopped
23:05that’s how this goes how this works even i myself have been the subject of quite
23:11amount a big amount of slander and all i’ve done is preach the gospel
23:17and the truth of god’s word but more importantly than all of that christ has told us these things so that
23:23we would not fall away but thinking then on the work of the holy spirit the assigned psalm for today is psalm 51 and
23:31here’s what david wrote all those years ago and here is where we see
23:37really the true value of the holy spirit who christ and the father have sent to
23:44help us to comfort us and to well create in us a new heart here’s what david says
23:52have mercy on me o god according to your steadfast love and according to your
23:57abundant mercy blot out my transgressions this is a good prayer these are words that we’re familiar with
24:04and i love the fact that god’s mercy has a modifier and the modifier is abundant
24:10because the sad truth is that you and i each and every one of us we have abundantly sinned against god but god’s
24:16mercy is abundant in christ and he prays that god would blot out his transgressions and that is exactly what
24:23we also pray when we confess our sins to god that god would blot out our transgressions that he would remember
24:29them no more to blot out is to erase in fact one of the most horrible things
24:35that scripture talks about are those who had their names written in the lamb’s book of life but god had blotted out
24:42their names this is not a fate that we want to happen to any of us and so we must pray these words that god would not
24:49blot us out but instead blot out our transgressions in colossians 2 it says
24:55so clearly that christ has taken the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands he’s torn it out
25:02of our books and nailed it to the cross he’s blotted out every one of our transgressions nailed them to the cross
25:08david then goes on to continue he says wash me thoroughly from my iniquity cleanse me from my sin this is clearly a
25:16baptismal reference and he says i know my transgressions my sin is ever before me and against you and you only have i
25:22sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you may be justified in your words blameless in your judgment a
25:29good way to think of these words is to say god you’re right in condemning me as a
25:34sinner have you ever told somebody they were a sinner and they got offended are you saying that i’m a sinner
25:41yes that’s exactly what scripture says and note the one who has been humbled by the word of god humbled by the holy
25:48spirit convicted of their sin as christ says that’s not one who takes offense
25:53when told that they are a sinner because that is speaking truth to them instead like david they say yeah that’s right i
26:00have sinned against you so your words are justified and you are blameless god in your judgments you are correct in
26:06calling me a sinner and david then confesses what we confess in our opening
26:11confession of sins that he was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did his mother conceive him and he says behold
26:18you delight in truth in the inward being note again how often truth shows up in
26:24relation to these themes truth god the holy spirit is the spirit of truth he delights in truth not in lies he denies
26:31in a straightforward open ended there for everyone to see laid bare truth
26:37rather than deceit and scheming and plots i you delight in truth in the inward being you teach me wisdom in your
26:44secret heart so please god purge me with hyssop and i shall be clean wash me and
26:49i shall be whiter than snow no david here isn’t saying i need to purge myself
26:54with bishop i need to clean myself no he begs god to do the cleaning and the purging
27:01let me hear joy and gladness let the bones that you have broken rejoice hide your face from my sins blot out all of
27:08my iniquities and here we get to an interesting part we sing this in divine
27:14service setting three every sunday created me a clean heart oh god and
27:19renew a right spirit within me but think hard about that word create
27:25this invokes a very important word in hebrew the hebrew word is
27:30you have to roll your r when you say you know it’s a little tricky to say it that way but if you think about the very
27:35first sentence of the bible in genesis chapter 1 in hebrew it says
27:46the word for create now here’s an interesting fact about the hebrew old testament
27:52bara is never used in reference to anything created by a human being
27:59if a human being builds something or plants something or makes something
28:06those are the verbs used in hebrew bara is only ever used in relation to god
28:13and you’ll note the very first sentence the bible says that in the beginning god bharad he created the heavens and the
28:20earth how did he do so by speaking it into existence and so here david when he
28:25says to god create in me a clean heart o god he is asking god to bara
28:33to create because he recognizes that that does not exist within him and he does not have the power to bara only god
28:41has that power so create in me a clean heart o god is his prayer and is that
28:47not exactly what ezekiel said the god will take our heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh where did he
28:54get that heart of flesh from well david makes it clear he brought it he created
29:00it he spoke it into existence he gave it to us as his own creation so the new heart that you have within you by virtue
29:07of your baptism into christ having been cleansed from all of your sins god is
29:13the one who created that clean heart within you and he is the one who has then renewed a
29:18right spirit within us and so with them we pray earnestly cast me not away from your presence and do not take your holy
29:26spirit from me this is our prayer week after week day after day and god hears our prayers and
29:32he continues to allow his holy spirit to work in us to give us the strength to mortify our sinful flesh restore to me
29:40the joy of your salvation and please god you uphold me with a willing spirit and
29:46god answers these prayers and he does he does the very things that he promised he’s the one christ is the one who has
29:53sent the helper the holy spirit he along with the father have sent the holy spirit the spirit of truth the one who
29:59comforts us assures us that we are children of god he is the one who created within us a clean heart he is
30:05the one who replaced our heart of stone with the heart of flesh when you think about all the things that
30:10the holy spirit really does do as scripture reveals as christ has told us
30:15the holy spirit no longer sounds spooky or creepy
30:20or weird he’s not calling you to do anything strange at all and christ has told us all of these
30:27things so that we would not fall away so that we would keep trusting in him for the forgiveness of our sins
30:34what a friend we have in jesus but what a helper we have in the holy spirit in the name of jesus amen
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