Sermon Transcript – Utopian Imagination or Easter Hope

Series C – Easter Sunday – Sunday, March 27, 2016 | 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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0:29the holy Gospel According to Saint Luke
0:31chapter 24 verses 1 through 12.
0:35but on the first day of the week at
0:37early Dawn they went to the tomb taking
0:40the spices that they had prepared and
0:43they found the stone rolled away from
0:45the tomb but when they went and they did
0:47not find the body of the Lord Jesus
0:49while they were perplexed about this
0:51behold two men stood by them in dazzling
0:54apparel and as they were frightened and
0:56bowed their faces to the ground the men
0:58said to them
0:59why do you seek the living among the
1:01dead he is not here
1:03but he has risen remember how he told
1:06you while he was still in Galilee that
1:08the son of man must be delivered into
1:10the hands of sinful men and be crucified
1:12and on the third day rise and they
1:15remembered his words and returning from
1:17the tomb they told all these things to
1:20the eleven and to all the rest now it
1:23was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and
1:25married the mother of James and the
1:27other women with them who told these
1:29things to the apostles but these words
1:32seem to them an idle tale and they did
1:34not believe them but Peter Rose and ran
1:37to the tomb stooping and looking in he
1:39saw the linen quads by themselves and he
1:42went home marveling at what had happened
1:46he has risen
1:51dear Saints
1:52today is the day of days
1:55now secretly I want to climb up on the
1:57top of my roof take off my shirt and
1:59wave it in the air wildly and let
2:01everyone in town know what it is that is
2:04bringing me such Joy
2:06problem is if I did that they’d probably
2:08call the police in a hook and ladder
2:10truck to come and get me off my roof
2:12which I think might be the only way I
2:14might be able to get down from there so
2:16I fear that my joy and exuberance
2:19regarding today may go badly if I
2:22execute this plan just saying but I want
2:26you dear Saints to share the joy and the
2:28hope that I have this Easter morning and
2:31in order to do that we’re going to need
2:32to step back for a minute we’re going to
2:34have to evaluate what just happened in
2:37light of where we are and where this is
2:39all heading now if that sounds a little
2:41bit cryptic and kind of vague I
2:43understand that that’ll change shortly
2:45and everything will come into Focus so
2:47give me just a few minutes to develop
2:49the thought here
2:50so let me start by saying this we all
2:53know that there’s something terribly
2:54wrong with this world
2:55and if you’re honest with yourself then
2:59you are woefully aware that you yourself
3:02me included that we’re all part of the
3:05we’re not part of the solution
3:08now for years
3:09politicians religious leaders poets
3:13people who sing songs things like that
3:16they have been they’ve been leading the
3:18charge the call for us to change the
3:21world I remember growing up as a kid
3:23hearing that wonderful commercial I’d
3:25Like to Teach the World to Sing in
3:28Perfect Harmony
3:29like to buy the World of Coke and keep
3:32it company right
3:34how weird we can change the world by
3:36buying somebody a Coke
3:37I didn’t know that was possible but see
3:39that but there’s something that was
3:41compelling about that schmalty hippie
3:44commercial why because in that
3:48commercial you caught a glimpse a
3:49glimpse of something that each and every
3:51one of us
3:52Longs for and yearns for now this has
3:56taken on many different forms in history
3:58and if you think back to the 20th
4:01century and the two big political
4:03ideologies that wrecked Europe communism
4:07and fascism I want you to think for a
4:09second about really what these movements
4:11were about they were nothing less than
4:14Grand Visions cast to the masses by
4:17quite forceful and charismatic leaders
4:19that promised to once and for all solve
4:24the problems of our world
4:27but like the Tower of Babel these
4:29projects were catastrophic failures not
4:33only did their dreamed for utopian
4:35societies never emerged the countries
4:38that adopted these ideologies were
4:40thrown into poverty and ruined and
4:42countless Millions
4:44tens of millions hundreds of millions
4:47lost their lives in these Grand
4:50Visionary social and political
4:54think about it what were they promising
4:56once and for all we’re going to
4:58eliminate poverty once and for all we’re
5:01all going to be equal there will not be
5:03the Haves and the have-nots we will all
5:05pool our resources together we will
5:07become one big utopian Brotherhood
5:11and how’d that all work out
5:13it didn’t
5:15now you can catch glimpses of this
5:17utopian Vision in the late John Lennon’s
5:20haunting song Imagine now lucky for you
5:25I will not sing this for you because
5:27it’s Easter and I want you to be blessed
5:32but let me read the lyrics
5:34John Lennon
5:36he wrote imagine there’s no heaven
5:39it’s easy if you try no hell below us
5:42above us only Sky imagine all the people
5:45living for today
5:47imagine there’s no countries it isn’t
5:50hard to do nothing to kill or to die for
5:53oh and no religion too imagine all the
5:56people living life in peace now you may
6:00say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only
6:02one and I hope that someday you’ll join
6:05us and the world will be as one oh
6:10imagine no possessions I wonder if you
6:12can no need for greed or hunger a
6:15Brotherhood of Man imagine all the
6:17people sharing all the world
6:20now you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m
6:23not the only one and I hope that someday
6:25you’ll join us
6:26and the world will live as one
6:31boy that song Taps into something
6:33doesn’t it
6:36think about
6:39the societies we live in
6:42think about our plight as human beings
6:44and I’m not talking about them
6:48I’m talking about us
6:50we are quite a wretched bunch
6:54the other day I was on the iTunes app
6:57store for my iPad looking for an app
7:01and I thought well I’ll look at the that
7:03said top apps top games
7:05I looked at the top games
7:09and I was struck by a fact
7:12that we have turned War
7:14and killing
7:16into games
7:20what kind of species are we
7:22who does that
7:26I can get a top score in the global
7:28leaderboard if I can rack up a huge body
7:34that’s a game
7:40something is terribly wrong
7:43these ideologies
7:45that I mentioned communism and fascism
7:48they were doomed to failure
7:50and there’s a real simple reason why
7:52that’s the case
7:54now some people may say well at least
7:56they tried to make the world a better
8:00at least they tried
8:02ask the tens of millions of people who
8:06are not in Graves
8:08but whose bodies were stacked like cords
8:11of wood and thrown into pits
8:13by these ideologies whether or not they
8:16were just trying to make the world a
8:18better place
8:21the reason why these ideologies failed
8:23is because God did not Institute
8:25governments for the purpose of bringing
8:27the Garden of Eden back to this cursed
8:31that’s not why government exists
8:33read the book of Romans
8:35Romans makes it clear God instituted
8:37government for one purpose
8:40and that purpose is to punish evildoers
8:45to keep us in check
8:47because we are a wicked lot
8:54in other words there will be no movement
8:57no matter how Grand
8:59no matter how many poets
9:02and authors and politicians and
9:04religious leaders
9:06popular singers get behind the movement
9:08there will be no movement that will ever
9:10bring the Garden of Eden back here
9:13not one
9:17so what is Our Hope
9:19well we heard it in our texts this
9:22and because Jesus has risen from the
9:24grave bodily and oh yes he did
9:28we are sure that what these promises are
9:30will take place
9:32we read the opening verses from First
9:35Corinthians 15 19 and 20. if in Christ
9:38we have hope in this life only we are of
9:41all people to be most pitied look at
9:45our as Christians our hope is not in
9:47this life
9:49if it were we’re to be pitied
9:52why because how many years have you got
9:56I have well one last year than I had a
9:59year ago
10:00five less than I had five years ago and
10:03I don’t know where the finish line is do
10:05you all know where your finish line is I
10:07don’t know where mine is
10:09if in Christ we have hope in this life
10:11only when we of all people are to be
10:13most pitied
10:14verse 20 but in fact Christ has been
10:17raised from the dead and yes he has and
10:19listen to what it says about Jesus he’s
10:21the first fruits of those who have
10:23fallen asleep
10:26Colossians chapter one puts it this way
10:28starting at verse 15. Jesus is the image
10:30of the invisible God the firstborn of
10:33all creation for by Jesus all things
10:35were created in heaven on Earth visible
10:38and invisible whether Thrones or
10:40dominions or rulers or authorities all
10:42things were created through him and for
10:45he is before all things in him all
10:48things hold together he is the head of
10:50the body the church he is the beginning
10:52he’s the arcade that beginning is kind
10:55of a weird word here you can almost say
10:56he’s the Pioneer the Trailblazer and
10:59he’s the firstborn from the dead
11:03so that in everything he might be
11:07for in him all the fullness of God was
11:09pleased to dwell and through him to
11:11reconcile to himself all things whether
11:13on Earth or in heaven Making Peace by
11:16the blood of his cross
11:18there’s many different ways that you can
11:20preach about Jesus’s resurrection one of
11:22the ways that you can preach about
11:23Jesus’s resurrection as you can say by
11:25the fact that he rose bodily from the
11:27grave it shows definitively that his
11:30sacrifice his shed blood for us on the
11:33cross was accepted by the father as the
11:36sacrifice that redeems us and by which
11:38our sins are forgiven this is absolutely
11:40true this is a good way to preach
11:42Jesus’s resurrection another way you can
11:44preach the resurrection is you can say
11:46by the fact that Jesus rose bodily from
11:48the grave it proved that he is who he
11:50claimed to be none other than God in
11:52human flesh and this is most certainly
11:54true also
11:55but our epistle text and our Old
11:57Testament texts
11:59show us the eschatological hope that we
12:02have as Christians because Jesus rose
12:05bodily from the grave
12:07he is the firstborn of the new creation
12:11the new creation has already begun
12:16I want you to think of it this way this
12:18current heavens and earth that we live
12:20in it begins in the Book of Genesis When
12:22God says let there be light and there
12:24was light and then God formed the Earth
12:26the Stars the Sun the moon the
12:29vegetation the CR the plants they’re big
12:32animals and the creepy crawly little
12:34things the Hebrew there is actually kind
12:36of fun it talks about the creepers right
12:38all you women love the creepers right
12:42but the new creation doesn’t begin with
12:45the creation of the Earth
12:47a new Sun a new moon new stars the new
12:50creation already has begun with Jesus
12:53Christ’s Resurrection from the grave and
12:56those of you who are Christians who have
12:58been baptized
13:00you have been buried with Christ in his
13:03death and you have been raised with him
13:04in his resurrection
13:06you are already dead and you are already
13:09alive you’ve already got one foot in the
13:12new creation and you still have another
13:14foot in the old
13:16we kind of live in the Paradox Between
13:18Two Worlds if you would in the now and
13:20the not yet
13:22and this is not symbolic this is real
13:24and it is true
13:27and so now I would like to re-read the
13:31Old Testament text and keep in mind John
13:34Lennon has nothing on this text because
13:37all he can do was imagine
13:40but the prophet Isaiah inspired by the
13:43Holy Spirit isn’t imagining he’s
13:45revealing what is coming and it’s true
13:48because of Christ Isaiah writes
13:51for behold
13:53God speaking I create new heavens and a
13:57new Earth
13:59and we sit there and say oh please come
14:02quickly whatever this is
14:04the former things shall not be
14:06remembered or come to mind now some of
14:08you hear this passage and you become
14:09anxious and here’s why you become
14:11anxious well well it says that the
14:13former things will not come to mind will
14:14I forget my loved ones will I not
14:16remember my children no that’s not what
14:19this is saying
14:21what it’s talking about is the curse the
14:24pain the suffering the death
14:28the loss of family members the loss of
14:32your own life the loss of your health
14:33the wages of your sin unfortunately the
14:37wages of sin is death but we seem to be
14:39on installment plans you know we’re
14:41making payments every week every year
14:44it’s like every time I go to the mirror
14:46it’s like I’ve been paying a little bit
14:48more to death
14:51can’t wait for the balloon payment at
14:53the end right
14:55the former things shall not be
14:57remembered they will not come to mind
14:58but be glad and rejoice forever
15:01in which I create for behold I create
15:04Jerusalem to be a joy and are people to
15:06be a gladness I will rejoice in
15:08Jerusalem and be glad in my people no
15:10more shall be heard in it the sound of
15:14weeping and the Cry of distress well
15:18this isn’t describing today’s Jerusalem
15:21today is Jerusalem the peace is enforced
15:23at gunpoint
15:25and even then it’s very tenuous and
15:28there’s a lot of distress you think of
15:30the suicide bombers and the tensions
15:32between the Muslims and the Jews and
15:34even the Christians have contributed to
15:35this tension Jerusalem today is nothing
15:37like what this is describing
15:39but no more shall there be in Jerusalem
15:42an infant who lives but a few days or an
15:45old man who does not fill out his days
15:47for the young man shall die a hundred
15:49years old The Sinner a hundred years old
15:51shall be accursed they shall build
15:52houses and inhabit them they shall plant
15:55Vineyards and eat their fruit
15:58I’m glad about that part right there
16:01I don’t know if you’ve figured this out
16:03but when the new heavens and new earth
16:05arrived I’m out of a job
16:08I’m out of a job
16:11says here they will plant Vineyards any
16:14of you Farmers here want to help me to
16:16learn how to take care of plants and to
16:20it might take me about a thousand years
16:22to get the hang of it
16:24be patient with me
16:28they shall plant Vineyards
16:33they will eat their fruit they shall not
16:35build in another inhabit they shall not
16:38plant in another eat
16:40boy you think about this we recently
16:42purchased a home we recently purchased a
16:46and it’s so funny the previous owner was
16:49there for so long
16:51he lived there from the time of the end
16:53of World War II until very recently and
16:57everybody still calls that home by his
16:59last name oh you live in such and such
17:02this house
17:05yeah I do
17:07sad though isn’t it
17:09but in the new Earth
17:11everybody will refer to your home as
17:13your home not that other person’s home
17:16because you will build it and it will
17:18never be inhabited by somebody else
17:20actually Christ is the one who builds it
17:23but that’s another text right to build
17:25houses in habit them they shall plant
17:27Vineyards and eat their fruit they shall
17:29not build another habit they shall not
17:31plant in another eat for like the days
17:33of a tree shall the days of my people be
17:39got some really old trees in my yard
17:43My Chosen shall long enjoy the work of
17:46their hands
17:47they shall not labor in vain or bear
17:49children for calamity
17:51they shall be The Offspring of the
17:53Blessed of the Lord and their
17:54descendants with them before they call I
17:57will answer while they are yet speaking
17:59I will hear even the animal kingdom is
18:02going to be different listen to this the
18:05wolf and the lamb shall graze together
18:08now wolves currently don’t mind grazing
18:11with Lambs
18:13Lambs get a little skittish about this
18:14Arrangement because generally the wolves
18:17like to graze on the Lambs right
18:20but things are going to change
18:22and then we learn this
18:24all right the wolf and the lamb shall
18:27graze together the lion shall eat straw
18:29like the ox and the dust shall be the
18:31Serpent’s food I hear about
18:34vegetarian plant-eating herbivore lions
18:37and I worry about my oldest daughter
18:40because I fear that she’s going to have
18:42five or six of these for pets
18:48you see this is not an imagination song
18:51this is a promise
18:54this is a promise
18:57they shall not hurt or destroy in all of
18:59my holy mountains says the Lord Christ
19:01himself says it this way in Revelation
19:0321. I saw a new Heaven in the new Earth
19:06the first Heaven and the first Earth had
19:08passed away
19:10the sea was no more
19:11I saw the holy city the New Jerusalem
19:14coming down out of Heaven from God
19:16prepared as a bride adorned for her
19:18husband I heard a loud voice from the
19:20throne saying Behold The Dwelling Place
19:22of God is with man
19:25I know I can’t wait till that day
19:28no more atheists and they’re silly games
19:32because they all know that God exists
19:34they just suppress the truth and
19:35unrighteousness but the day is coming
19:37when we will no longer walk by faith but
19:40we will walk by sight we will see our
19:43crucified and Risen Savior face to face
19:45we will become very familiar with the
19:49scars in his hands and his feet
19:51will know exactly what color his eyes
19:53are or how he keeps his hair
19:56and because he is our King there will
19:58never be a time when we have to languish
20:00through an awful election season
20:04never again will we have to read in our
20:06newspapers reports about what lousy
20:08persons our politicians are and what a
20:11complete letdown they’ve been never
20:14never again
20:16he will dwell with them they will be his
20:19people God himself will be them with
20:21them as their God he will wipe away
20:24every tear from their eyes and here’s
20:27the best part death will be a no more
20:28neither shall there be mourning nor
20:30crying nor pain anymore for the former
20:33things they have passed away they have
20:35died and God has raised the new heavens
20:38and new earth like he’s raised our
20:40bodies from the grave and Jesus himself
20:43says this the one who was Seated on the
20:44throne said behold I am making all
20:48things new and we know this is true
20:50because the grave is empty death could
20:53not hold him
20:57death could not hold him and he
20:59conquered death and because you have
21:01been baptized into his death and his
21:02resurrection you too are victorious
21:05because you are in Christ
21:09now I’m not much of a songwriter
21:12but think of it this way
21:15imagine a world where there is no death
21:18where there is no mourning or crying
21:21it’s easy if you think about it
21:24no pain in the former things have passed
21:28we’re in the New Jerusalem even the
21:30animal kingdom is different
21:32now some may say I’m a dreamer
21:35but I’m not the only one
21:38because Christ has promised
21:40a new world is coming and he’s the only
21:43one who can bring it
21:45and he’s promised to
21:48Christ is risen he’s risen indeed
21:51Alleluia and it changes everything the
21:55new worlds come and count on it God
21:57never makes a promise and doesn’t follow
22:00and you who are in him
22:02you will rejoice and see him face to
22:06in the name of Jesus Amen
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