Sermon Transcript – Two Births, Two Resurrections and Only One Death

Series A – Second Sunday in Lent – Sunday, March 05, 2023 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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Time StampTranscript
0:22The holy Gospel
0:29According to Saint John the third chapter [Music]
0:37now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus a ruler of the Jews this man came to Jesus by night and said to
0:42him Rabbi we know that you are a teacher come from God for no one can do these
0:48signs that you do unless God is with him Jesus answered him truly truly I say to
0:53you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God Nicodemus said to
0:58him how can a man be born when he is old can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born Jesus answered
1:06truly truly I say to you unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God that which is
1:12born of the flesh is flesh that which is born of the spirit is Spirit do not
1:18Marvel that I said to you you must be born again the wind blows where it wishes and you hear it sound but you do
1:25not know where it comes from or where it goes so it is with everyone who was born of the spirit
1:31Nicodemus said to him how can these things be Jesus answered him are you the
1:36teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things truly truly I say to you we speak of what we know and
1:42bear witness to what we have seen but you do not receive our testimony if I have told you of Earthly things and you
1:48do not believe how can you believe if I tell you Heavenly things no one has
1:53ascended into heaven except he who descended from Heaven the son of man and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the
1:59wilderness so must son of man be lifted up that whoever believes in him may have
2:05eternal life for God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but
2:11have eternal life for God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be
2:18saved through him this is the gospel of the Lord in the name of Jesus
2:24I need a prop for a sermon illustration so just think of this as like an herbal supplement would you do that for me
2:30thank you so have you noticed that human beings have this thing they’re afraid of death
2:37and there are people who make all kinds of money by playing on that fear I mean
2:44have you ever been like scrolling through social media and you see an ad that says something like this ah we have
2:51found an herbal supplement that is put together from rare herbs that are only found in Tibet in places like this and
2:59quick you need to act now before they they they take this video down because
3:04they don’t want you to know about this herbal supplement because this herbal supplement will take 10 years off of
3:11your life it will make you a hundred pounds lighter it will actually reinvigorate you and if you are in your
3:1750s people will swear you are in your late 20s quick act now for five easy
3:23payments of only 49.95 you can have this herbal supplement and well again act now
3:30before they they keep you from doing it so the person purchases this nonsense right this herbal supplement and they
3:37got up upselled some some extra turmeric to go along with it because we all know how the benefits of turmeric right
3:44and so death starts knocking on their door and the person pulls out their bottle of herbal supplement and says be
3:51gone death I have taken the supplement and death goes right yeah you’ll note
3:59that we do that right and so here’s the thing have you noticed that when we read in
4:06the scriptures that we Christians are not promised are not promised that death
4:11will not come to visit us in fact when you look at the way scripture talks about birth and death you’ll note that
4:19it your your physical death like doesn’t even measure in like the the discussion
4:24it’s the weirdest thing okay so here’s what we’re gonna do we’re going to take a look at why this is why is it and and
4:33how we can kind of work this out and we’ll work through our text this way so first note
4:38Christ says God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but
4:43in order that the world might be saved through him you see God so loved the
4:49world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him believes it should not perish but have eternal life
4:56noteworthy emphasis is salvation through Christ that you will not perish but have
5:03eternal life and the question is be saved from what perish in what way
5:09because you’ll note that as a pastor I’ve buried a few folks from Kong’s finger right and if I continue to serve
5:16here there’s a good chance I’ll bury some more Kong’s finger folks that’s what we pastors are called to do and I
5:22can legitimately say that each person that I have buried in a physical sense
5:29has perished but have they now really that’s kind of
5:34the thing that we’re going to focus on on so our text begins Gospel of John chapter 3 there was a man of the
5:41Pharisees named Nicodemus a ruler of the Jews this man came to Jesus by night and said to him Rabbi we know that you are a
5:47teacher come from God for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him now Nicodemus has to be
5:54credited here he’s recognizing a few things that in all of human history there was nobody that can do miraculous
6:00signs like Jesus in fact that’s still True to this day every wing that whacker
6:06doodle in the Pentecostal church is a claim that we can do greater miracles than Jesus doesn’t understand what the
6:12text is talking about when Jesus says you can do Greater Works so Nicodemus notes Here you you have to be from God
6:18these cannot be demonic signs they have to be truly signs that you have been sent from God and so Jesus you’ll note
6:25that he does something interesting he does this quite annoyingly but uh not so
6:30much annoyingly if you think about it he like changes the subject right have you
6:36noticed people come to Jesus and they want to talk about one thing and Jesus isn’t interested in talking about that thing he’s interested in talking about
6:42another thing Jesus is an interest in talking about himself he’s interested in nicodemus’s Soul he’s interested in his
6:50salvation and he knows exactly what Nicodemus needs to hear so that he
6:55repents and trusts in Christ and you’ll note it’s Nicodemus who was there when Christ’s body was taken down from the
7:02cross and he helped prepare Christ’s body for burial important things that we consider here so Jesus says to him amen
7:10amen that’s what it says in the Greek amen amen I say to you unless one is born I always like to keep this word
7:16untranslated unless one is born Anno then he cannot see the kingdom of God
7:25well that’s an Abrupt change of subject with no segue thanks Jesus my head is
7:30still spinning right and so here we are then we are now confronted with the fact
7:37that for Christians there is a second birth
7:42and it’s important that we keep our births right and our resurrections right and our deaths right do they kind of
7:48have to work through this biblically so you’ll note our Old Testament text last
7:54week Adam and Eve were clearly told by God actually God told us to Adam and Adam taught it to Eve that that they
8:01they eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil they would surely truly
8:07die did they the answer is yes
8:13they absolutely died but you sit there and go well how is that so because they
8:18were breathing when God handed out the curses and the punishments and stuff how
8:23did they how can you say that they died and here’s where we must understand
8:29something scripture makes it clear that we are not to lean on our own
8:35understandings we are to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our own
8:41understanding so when we talk about death as human beings we oftentimes
8:46Define it according to what our experience but our experiences are not
8:52the measure of divine biblical Doctrine so when we talk about death we’re going
9:00to need to adapt our definition of death and expand it out so that when we are
9:07talking about the death that God is talking about and the birth that God is talking about that we’re going to have
9:14to adapt so that our definitions now are informed and conformed to the biblical
9:20definition we do not let experiences Define our theology instead our
9:26experiences have to be judged by biblical Doctrine so that our
9:32understanding of theology is correct so did Adam and Eve die that day yes yes
9:37they did you look at the book of Ephesians chapter 2 and Ephesians says
9:43that you were all Once Dead in trespasses and sins in which you once
9:49walked following the course of the prince of the power of this world things like this right so we were all born and conceived dead
9:57and trespasses in sin so what is this death that God was referring to back in
10:02Genesis it’s a spiritual death that’s legitimately what took place and
10:10you’ll note in Adam’s case 900 something years after his fall into sin his body
10:16then went dot dead too right the spiritual death leads to physical death
10:22and God has spaced out those events if you would so it’s absolutely true that Adam and
10:29Eve died on the day that they aid of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil this is why we are all born and
10:37conceived even dead as in doornail when it comes to God dead
10:44and we’re not talking mostly dead Miracle Max can’t fix this we’re talking totally Stone Cold spiritually dead so
10:51that when Christ is talking about here then is being born Anno thin now the
10:57Greek word anothan can be can mean again and can also mean from above Nicodemus
11:04reaches into his experience bag and tries to figure out what Jesus is saying
11:10in you know and hinting at with him by trying to interpret it according to his
11:15understanding of things so Nicodemus said to him how can a man be born when he’s old can
11:21he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born of course not that’s ridiculous that’s
11:28silly it’s actually gross that’s not what God is talking about here that’s not what Jesus is getting at so Jesus
11:35kind of doesn’t like rebuke Nicodemus just kind of keeps going on he says listen I say to you unless one is born
11:42of water in the spirit what’s that a reference to yeah it’s it’s a reference to that over
11:49there the baptismal fund it’s an actual reference to baptism he cannot enter the kingdom of God and then listen to the
11:55words that which is born of the flesh is flesh that which is born of the spirit
12:01is spirit we need to be spiritually raised from
12:09the dead this is most certainly true in fact here’s where another biblical text
12:16will help us just a little bit in the Book of Revelation chapter 20 we
12:22hear this in verse 6 blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first
12:28resurrection over such the second death has no power now I’m just complicating
12:34things because it sounds like we’re doing math right but here’s the thing blessed and holy is the one who shares
12:39in the what first resurrection those who are born from above who are
12:45born by the spirit who are born again all of these phrases are biblically correct that is the person then like you
12:53and like I who has experienced the first resurrection
12:58what’s the second Resurrection the resurrection of your physical body right
13:04and you’ll note that Christ here talks about the fact scripture talks about the fact that there is not only a rebirth
13:11but that rebirth is likened to and described as a first resurrection and that first resurrection then makes it so
13:17that the second death has no power over you what was the first one again you were
13:24spiritually dead when you were conceived because of the sin of Adam and Eve what’s the second death according to
13:31scripture the second death is being thrown into the Lake of Fire on the last day with the devil and all of his demons
13:37that’s the second death now you’re going to note something here when we start to kind of count this up okay those who are
13:45twice born do not experience the second death those
13:50who are twice born in this life are already experiencing the first resurrection
13:56those who are twice born will also experience a second Resurrection unto
14:03eternal life in fact everybody receives a second receives the resurrection unto eternal life but only the twice born are
14:10the ones who are kept from the second death now you might might want to ask the
14:16question here yeah but what what about my physical death here because you know the graveyard out here has like two
14:22dates on it you know birth date death date there’s there’s two dates on every Tombstone what about the one that’s
14:29coming for me that’s going to be that second date I’ll be blind scripture doesn’t really care about that
14:36and here’s the reason why Jesus says that everyone who believes in him will
14:42never die in other words because you have already been buried with Christ raised with
14:49Christ the spirit has made you alive and regenerated you’ve experienced the first resurrection that means you’re never
14:56going to die and you sit there and go but I see people dying all the time who are you
15:02going to believe Jesus or your experiences stop relying on your experiences
15:09your death legitimately in the grand scheme of things is a non-event except
15:15for you when you die you’re going to finally see Jesus face to face so it’s kind of kind of be a big deal for you
15:22this is why Christians can die well this is why Christians can die as Martyrs and
15:28this is why we don’t fall for those stupid and I mean legitimately stupid
15:33theological nonsensical theologies that claim things akin to the herbal
15:39supplement here have you heard that Ken Copeland claims that God has told him he
15:44will live to be a hundred and twenty okay and the man already has a pacemaker
15:50all right and and you’ll he does this ridiculous thing I mean have you noticed
15:55that Ken Copeland that if you see video of him he doesn’t have a single gray hair on his head okay and and what does
16:03he teach people he teach people that the reason why he has no gray on his head is
16:08because he uses the power of His faith-filled words and so he speaks to
16:14his hair okay and he puts his hand over his hair and he says hair in the name of
16:20Jesus I command you to stay the right color and not turn gray right and he
16:27teaches people to do this I’ve seen audiences where you have bald guys doing
16:32this to themselves it’s absurd right so note here God doesn’t save us from
16:44physical death that’s not the point of Christianity nor is God really in the
16:51business of making it so that your life can be exploded out beyond the normal up to 120 years of weird things like this
16:58okay so that being the case Jesus says so don’t Marvel that I said that you
17:04must be born on oath and born from above the spirit blows where it wishes you
17:09hear it sound you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes so it is with everyone who is what born of the
17:17spirit that’s the first resurrection and Nicodemus okay the Emoji you know the
17:23little nuclear blast coming out of his Cranium just he just he doesn’t get this he goes how can this be right and Jesus
17:31said are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things truly truly I say to you
17:38we speak of what we know we bear witness of what we’ve seen but you don’t receive
17:44our testimony if I have told you of Earthly things and you don’t believe how can you believe me if I tell you of
17:49heavenly things and then Jesus gets really interesting here no one has
17:55ascended into heaven except he who descended from Heaven the son of man and
18:01as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so must the son of man be lifted up that whoever believes in him
18:08may have eternal life so there’s a little bit more of a hint here as to why it is we Christians still have to
18:14physically die and that’s because of what Christ makes reference to here in the Book of Numbers chapter 21. in
18:22numbers 21 we get this account and here’s what the story says starting at verse 4 from Mount hor the children of
18:28Israel set out by the way to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom and the people became impatient on the way and
18:34the people spoke against God and Moses why have you brought us up out of Egypt die in the wilderness for there’s no
18:40food there’s no water we load this worthless Manner and I’m mana and I’m sure that they spoke these words like in
18:47the the the the the temper tantrum kind of tone of a three-year-old right
18:53so then Yahweh sent fiery serpents among the people they bit the people so that
18:59many people of Israel died in previous sermons on this text I’ve noted that the connections here between
19:06what takes place in the Garden of Eden and its impact on us to this day still is profound you’ll note that in the
19:14types and shadows and in the imagery of the Old Testament the serpent is the one who brought our first parents into sin
19:21and tempted them and they went for it and you’ll note then each and every one of us because scripture claims that we
19:28are all born dead in trespasses and sins and the scripture is correct that we each and every one of us like Adam and
19:35Eve are serpent bit we all have the Venom of the serpent
19:41running through us and you’ll note that Adam and Eve they weren’t Bitten on their legs they were bitten in their
19:46ears through the words of Satan right and so we still have that Venom running
19:52through us this is the reason why the children of Israel grumbled against God
19:57grumbled against Moses what should they have done they should have trusted that
20:03God means to take care of them and they should have asked them for their daily
20:09bread and the things that they need in Humble Faith but instead they grumbled
20:14like a bunch of well you know privileged three-year-olds and
20:19as a result of it God now punishes them and here’s the thing fiery serpents are not something you want to get bitten by
20:26the reason why they’re called fiery serpents has literally nothing to do with how they look because they’re
20:32bronze adders they basically have a bronze color to them the reason why they’re called fiery serpents is because
20:38if you are the unfortunate one to be in venomated by one of these Critters that basically it is described as what the
20:46pain that you feel it’s as if your entire insides have turned on fire okay
20:52this is the ultimate hot flash if you would but this is one that where it ends
20:57in your death and so many of the people of Israel they died they were bitten and
21:03they died and the people came to Moses and they said we’ve sinned for we have spoken against Yahweh and against you
21:10pray to Yahweh that he would take away the serpents from us so Moses prayed for
21:15the people and here’s the thing did God take away the serpents
21:20no he did not he did not take away his punishment he
21:25did not take away the curse instead God had Moses do something that’s quite
21:31interesting he had Moses set up if you would a sacrament
21:36all right now what is a Sacrament my catechumens should be paying attention to this part right a Sacrament is when
21:43God takes his word and he attaches it to something physical on this Earth okay baptism is a washing
21:50of water and the word what the Lord’s Supper is Bread and Wine and then with
21:56the words of Christ added to it it is also the body and blood of Christ given
22:01and shed for the Forgiveness of our sins right so here God commands Moses to make
22:08a fiery Serpent and to set it on a pole and everyone who is bitten when he sees
22:14it then he shall live so Moses made a bronze serpent set it on
22:21a pole and if a serpent bit anyone he would look at the bronze Serpent and live and you’ll note God didn’t save
22:28them from the curse of fiery serpents he saved them through the curse through
22:35a promise and Jesus then takes this imagery in John chapter 3 and applies it
22:41to himself he says as Moses lifted up the serpent of the Wilderness so must the son of man be lifted up that whoever
22:48believes in him may have eternal life each and every one of us are truly snake bit under the Dominion
22:56of darkness when we are conceived and born and God is the one who delivers us from the Dominion of darkness and it is
23:02true that we have eternal life however that is all apprehended and grasped by
23:08faith and in the meantime what happens to us the normal thing we grow up we
23:16grow old we grow weak and we die this is
23:21how this goes from generation to generation to generation and no herbal supplement from Tibet is going to stop
23:28this all right in fact the reality is this you and I do not know when our
23:34death is but when we can when we again add up how the scriptures talk about birth and death and Resurrection the
23:42death that we need to be on have on our mind to avoid is the second one not the
23:47first one which we’ve all already experienced and you’ll note that we can legitimately say that because we have
23:54been United with Christ and his death and his resurrection as the scripture says in our in the waters of baptism we
24:00truly have already experienced the first resurrection and we are those who are blessed as God’s word claims that we are
24:08and this then is a great gift and a great mystery and the nice thing about
24:13it the fact that God doesn’t really think that our physical death here and now is that big of a deal makes it
24:19possible for us to live without that fear of death anymore death can come tomorrow right in fact it would be a benefit if
24:26it did for me right so same with you death could come for us at any time and then we Don mourn as the world Mourns
24:34regarding death have you ever seen an unbeliever’s funeral holy smokes what a completely vapid and
24:43sad thing those things are I remember once when I lived in Indiana I was
24:48playing Disc Golf in the summer I like to play disc golf and the the park that I used to play disc golf at they had
24:55this really nice gazebo one of these things where you know people can rent them from the city and use them for
25:00parties and things like this and I remember as I was approaching the 18th hole they’re called holes still they’re
25:06not really holes it’s really a basket but I was approaching the 18th hole and I was watching as a bunch of people
25:13dressed in dark black colors were listening to a country and western song
25:18played out loud on a kind of like a makeshift PA and they had a bunch of balloons and they were releasing the
25:25balloons and this was some kind of a a symbol of something and and so I
25:31recognized one of the people that was there in the Gazebo and after I finished the 18th hole I said what’s going on
25:37here it says oh or we’re just having a a life celebration over somebody that we
25:43know that just died and I went oh and I said well is there a pastor here
25:49he said no there’s no no there’s no Pastor here we just kind of gathered together shared some stories released a
25:54balloon and played some of his favorite music wow
26:01right but the reality is this we are already alive in Christ we’ve
26:08already experienced the first resurrection we are going to be raised to eternal life and so we know all of
26:15this is true because we believe these words that God so loved the world that
26:22he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but
26:29have eternal life as Christians we recognize then that we have been given the gift of
26:35Salvation it is not by our works it is the gift of God it is by grace through
26:41faith and each and every one of us now possesses eternal life which makes it possible that when we do finally expire
26:49here our bodies catch up with death itself that we will always be able to
26:55say to each other I’ll see you later it’s never goodbye for the Christian and
27:02so when we gather together here for a funeral and boy does Congressman know how to put on a funeral right We Gather
27:07here for a funeral we’re here to Proclaim Christ and him crucified for our sins and in defiance of death itself
27:16we Proclaim that that person is still alive even though they are not physically with us because nobody who is
27:23in Christ ever eternally perishes and Jesus makes it clear that God is the god
27:29of the living and not the dead and all of this is because of the good news the good news that God did not send Jesus
27:36Christ into the world to condemn us or to scold us or to give us the Eternal why don’t you guys get your act together
27:43no that’s not why he was sent he was not sent to condemn us but in order that we might be saved through him
27:52so brothers and sisters know this that there is a day coming when you will physically expire but
27:58that’s kind of a non-event there’s the first birth there’s the second birth there’s the first
28:04resurrection there’s a second resurrection and everybody who has experienced the first resurrection they
28:11will never perish because to perish is to experience not the first death which we’ve all already experienced because of
28:17Adam and Eve but to eternally perish is to experience the second death that
28:22death where one is thrown into the Lake of Fire and spends an eternity in the torment of God’s Wrath along with the
28:29devil and his angels but we even though this is what we have earned God does not
28:34desire your damnation instead he desires your salvation and this is why God has
28:41sent his son the one who bore your sin and mine on the cross and so we look to
28:46Jesus crucified and we look to him just as Moses said look to the serpent and
28:52live we look to Christ and we live and we know then that we are saved not from
28:58temporal death but we are saying saved from Damnation and the second death and
29:04because of God’s great love and mercy Christ bleeding and dying for our sins walking us then now through the curse
29:11not taking us out of it we know and trust that we have eternal life in the
29:17name of Jesus Amen
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