Sermon Transcript – We Need to Be Different

Series B – Ash Wednesday – Wednesday, February 17, 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:
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0:28the holy gospel according to saint
0:29matthew the sixth chapter
0:32Jesus said beware of practicing your
0:35righteousness before other people in
0:37order to be seen by them
0:38for then you will have no reward from
0:40your father who is in heaven
0:42thus when you give to the needy sound no
0:44trumpet before you as the hypocrites do
0:46in the synagogues and in the streets
0:48so that they may be praised by others
0:51truly i say to you they have received
0:52their reward
0:54but when you give to the needy do not
0:55let your left hand know what your right
0:57hand is
0:58doing so that your giving may be in
1:00secret and your father who sees in
1:02secret will reward you
1:04and when you pray you must not be like
1:06the hypocrites for they love to stand
1:07and pray in the synagogues
1:09and at the street corners so that they
1:11may be seen by others
1:12truly i say to you they have received
1:14their reward but when you pray
1:16go into your room and shut the door and
1:18pray to your father who is in secret
1:20and your father who sees in secret will
1:22reward you
1:23and when you fast do not look gloomy
1:25like the hypocrites for they disfigure
1:27their faces
1:28so that their fasting may be seen by
1:30others truly i say to you they have
1:32received their reward
1:33but when you fast anoint your head and
1:35wash your face
1:37so that your fasting may not be seen by
1:39others but by your father who is in
1:41and your father who sees in secret will
1:43reward you
1:44do not lay up for yourselves treasures
1:46on earth where moth and rust destroy
1:49and where thieves break in and steal but
1:51lay up for yourselves treasures in
1:53heaven where
1:54moth nor dust destroys and where thieves
1:57do not break in and steal
1:58for where your treasure is there your
2:00heart will be also
2:02in the name of Jesus hear the words of
2:05the small
2:05called articles martin luther wrote the
2:08small called
2:09articles and article three of the small
2:12articles is on the topic of repentance
2:16and hear what luther writes i’ll
2:18interject along the way
2:20paul says in romans that the wrath of
2:22god is revealed from heaven
2:24against all ungodliness and wickedness
2:28of men
2:29in romans chapter 3 he goes on to state
2:32the whole world may be held accountable
2:34to god for no human being
2:36will be justified in god’s sight by
2:39works of the law
2:41Christ also says in john 16 8 the holy
2:45will convict the world of sin and
2:48unbelief and so luther then commenting
2:52on these texts says this
2:54this then is the thunderbolt the means
2:57by which
2:58god with one blow destroys both
3:01open sinners and false
3:05saints now a little bit of a note here
3:09in the past year we have
3:12watched major church leaders
3:16well-known church figures stumble and
3:20in probably one of the most egregious
3:22ways i haven’t seen anything quite like
3:24it in all of my life
3:25not in one year’s time aside from all
3:28the false prophets who prophesied that
3:30trump would become the president
3:33in november and win re-election which
3:35was bad enough
3:36i would also remind you of men like carl
3:40ravi zacharias of
3:43jerry falwell jr
3:46and i would say this you would be
3:49foolish to think
3:50that what happened to them couldn’t
3:52happen to you
3:54sin is slavery sin
3:58is not your friend it is not my friend
4:00each and every one of us
4:02are capable of sinning greatly against
4:05god and against
4:06others and luther is right in pointing
4:08out that these texts that he quoted
4:11that they are the thunderbolt which open
4:13basically gives the destroying blow
4:16against those who openly sin as well as
4:19those who are false
4:20saints who secretly hide their sins
4:24rather than confess them rather than
4:26repent rather than be
4:28forgiven god allows no one
4:31luther writes to justify himself he
4:34drives all together into
4:36terror and despair and yes that is god
4:40where god would have us go complete
4:42terror fear of god fear of his wrath
4:46fear of his punishment because we know
4:49that we have sinned against him we know
4:50the just penalty of such
4:52sin and rebellion is an eternity
4:55separated from god
4:58in the lake of fire but also despair
5:02these teach us to despair of our own
5:05self-righteousness our own ability to
5:07keep god’s law
5:08and our own ways in which we try to
5:11manipulate god
5:12and buy him off with our good works
5:14luther then says
5:15this then is the hammer which jeremiah
5:17speaks of
5:18is not my word like a hammer which
5:21breaks the rocks
5:22in pieces and indeed that is what god’s
5:25law does
5:26and here the rocks are our hard-hearted
5:29sinful hearts and it’s god’s law that
5:33must break all those rocks to pieces
5:37like a hammer
5:39he then says this this is not an
5:41artificial remorse that god works in us
5:44it is a passive contrition it is a true
5:47sorrow of the heart
5:49inflicted on us by god the suffering and
5:51the pains if you would
5:53the first pains that we feel in this
5:55life of death
5:58this is what the beginning of true
6:00repentance is like
6:01here man must hear such a judgment is
6:05this you are of no account
6:07whether you are manifest sinners or you
6:10are saints
6:10you must all become other than you are
6:14you must become different
6:18now those of you who’ve been in church
6:19for a while say it might say something
6:21like this
6:22didn’t we just do this last year
6:26didn’t we have a penitential season a
6:28short one albeit
6:29in advent where we heard similar cries
6:32from john the baptist to call us to
6:34but i’m going to say this and i’m going
6:36to speak honestly from my own experience
6:38there has yet to be a penitential season
6:40that comes up in the church here
6:42where i have not needed to be different
6:45than i am
6:46and same with you none is able to keep
6:50god’s law perfectly
6:52and when god the holy spirit works
6:56obedience in you in one department
7:00oftentimes another commandment comes up
7:02and becomes the one by which you are
7:04having struggles to keep
7:06there will not be this side of Christ’s
7:09resurrection raising you from the dead
7:11where you will not
7:12need to actively sorrow
7:16for your own sins and recognize that you
7:18must be different
7:20and that’s what lent is for lent is for
7:23you taking time to reflect on god’s
7:28and let god’s holy law
7:31be the hammer of jeremiah that breaks
7:33your hard-hearted heart
7:35and show let the holy spirit work in you
7:39true terror and remorse for your sin
7:42and cry out to god in mercy that’s the
7:47so then the beginning of true repentance
7:49as he says is that we
7:51must recognize that we must be different
7:53than we are now
7:54we must do otherwise than we are now
7:58no matter who you are no matter how
8:02wise mighty and holy you may think
8:05yourselves to be
8:06and i would even argue if you think of
8:08yourself as being great wise mighty and
8:11well then that you might want to start
8:13right there because that’s the problem
8:19no one scripture says is godly
8:25so to this office of the law then the
8:27new testament immediately adds the
8:28consoling promise
8:31of grace in the gospel this is to be
8:34believed as Christ
8:36says in mark 1 15 repent and believe
8:39in the gospel which is to say become
8:41different do otherwise
8:42and believe my promise john the baptist
8:46who preceded Christ is called a preacher
8:48of repentance
8:49before the remission of sins that is
8:51john was to accuse them
8:53all and convince them that they were
8:55sinners in order that they might
8:56know that they stood before god and
8:58recognized themselves
9:00as lost men and in this way then they
9:04were to be prepared
9:05to receive grace from the lord and to
9:10and accept from him the forgiveness of
9:12all of their sins
9:15so we are only ready to hear the gospel
9:19only when the law has done its killing
9:22and shown us our great need of salvation
9:25mercy and grace Christ himself says in
9:28luke 24 47 repentance and the
9:30forgiveness of sins
9:31should be preached in his name to all
9:33nations oh and that includes 21st
9:35century america
9:37or wherever you’re joining us from
9:40but the law exercises its office alone
9:43without the addition of the gospel when
9:46that happens
9:47where that happens there is only death
9:49in hell
9:50and man must despair like saul and judas
9:53and this is one of the great errors of
9:54so many places
9:55that call themselves Christian churches
9:57they preach the law without the gospel
10:00they preach the killing work of god’s
10:03word without the
10:05enlivening work of the gospel and where
10:08there is only law
10:09and no gospel then there is only death
10:12in hell
10:12and men must despair
10:16because that’s what the law does
10:19have you ever tried keeping the law when
10:21all you’ve ever heard is the law
10:23and have you ever had that feeling where
10:25you just kind of wanted to cry out from
10:28what exactly are you expecting of me
10:32i just feel like i can never live up to
10:35what you are telling me to do
10:39and the thing is is the person who says
10:41that has finally understood
10:43the purpose of the law it’s to make you
10:46recognize that you can’t
10:48live up paul says the law
10:51slays through sin moreover the gospel
10:55consolation forgiveness in more ways
10:58than one
10:59for with god there is plenteous
11:00redemption from the dreadful captivity
11:03to sin
11:04and this comes to us then through the
11:06word of god
11:07and through the sacraments and the like
11:10as we shall hear
11:11now i would note then moving on from
11:13what luther wrote in the small called
11:15articles i would like to bring to bear a
11:17wonderful text talking about
11:18sanctification it’s one of these texts
11:20where we hear lists of sins and things
11:23like that and this is a good place for
11:25us to reflect in our lenten tide
11:27sojourning if you would paul writes in
11:30colossians 3
11:32if then you have been raised with Christ
11:34i always love that he always goes into a
11:36text like this
11:37by dragging you back to the waters of
11:40your baptism
11:41and back to the cross because we cannot
11:45these things apart from our forgiveness
11:47and being united with Christ
11:49so if then you have been raised with
11:51Christ and i should ask you all here
11:52have you been
11:55you bet you have you’ve been united with
11:57Christ in his death and his resurrection
11:59in the waters of baptism
12:01paul then says this seek the things that
12:03are above
12:05but there’s the rub there’s so many
12:07bright and shiny distractions down here
12:09so many pursuits for my sinful nature
12:12to pursue
12:16it’s hard to set my mind on the things
12:18that are above
12:19how about you it says don’t set your
12:22on things that are on earth and here’s
12:25the reason
12:26you’re already dead you’ve already died
12:28and your life is hidden with Christ and
12:30and when Christ who is your life appears
12:32you will also appear with him in glory
12:34therefore here it comes are you ready
12:39put to death therefore what is earthly
12:40in you
12:44you want me to kill it but it’s cute
12:47kill it
12:48but i like it kill it put it to death
12:52but that’s what i do to comfort myself
12:55kill it
12:56paul says put to death what is earthly
13:00in you
13:01and if you’re not sure what that means
13:03oh don’t worry he’s given us a handy
13:06list sexual immorality impurity
13:09passion evil desires covetousness which
13:12is idolatry and he notes on account of
13:15the wrath of god is coming and in these
13:17you two once walked when you were living
13:19in them but now
13:20you must put them all away oh and by the
13:22way there’s more to the list
13:24you must put away anger wrath malice
13:28slander obscene talk from your mouth oh
13:31my goodness if i do that people are
13:33going to call me a goody two shoes
13:38put it to death must not walk this way
13:44you must not lie to one another seeing
13:47that you’ve put off your
13:48old self with its practices and you have
13:50put on the new self which is being
13:53in knowledge after the image of its
13:54creator here there is not greek and jew
13:58circumcised uncircumcised barbarian
14:01norwegian or polish i’m sorry i added
14:04that to the text
14:05it’s not really there slave or free but
14:08Christ is all in
14:09in all so put on then as god’s
14:13chosen ones which you are who
14:16are already holy and beloved put on
14:19compassionate hearts
14:22kindness have you ever noticed that
14:25there just
14:25is an absolute famine of kindness in our
14:28world today
14:30and sadly it’s also missing from the
14:36kindness humility meekness
14:40patience bearing with one another if one
14:43has a complaint against another
14:45forgiving each other as the lord has
14:46forgiven you you must also forgive
14:49i think luther was right we must be
14:53there is not a time when we can say
14:56we’ve got all this
14:56nailed down and doing it well i haven’t
15:00come up to a lenten season yet where
15:01i’ve said you know what i think i got
15:02this i i can just skip
15:04all of lent this year no
15:08forgiving each other because the lord
15:10has forgiven you also you must forgive
15:12and above all these put on love love
15:15which binds everything together in
15:17perfect harmony
15:18and let the peace of Christ rule in your
15:20hearts to which indeed you are called in
15:22one body and be thankful
15:24let the word of Christ dwell in you
15:28what a wonderful adverb richly hmm
15:32so many people are biblically illiterate
15:35the word of Christ barely dwells in them
15:38at all
15:39except for maybe that one thing that
15:41they’ve heard the golden rule do us do
15:43unto others as they’ve done unto you
15:45but they always twist it and turn into
15:46some kind of weird form of karma
15:51but let the word of Christ dwell on you
15:53so richly that you can now teach and
15:54admonish one another
15:56in all wisdom singing psalms and hymns
15:58and spiritual songs
16:00with thankfulness in your heart to god
16:02and whatever you do in word and deed do
16:04everything in the name of the lord Jesus
16:07giving thanks to god the father
16:09through him
16:15yep i’m just reading through colossians
16:18again here’s skimming going yeah
16:21there’s a lot then i need to be
16:22different a lot
16:24and if you’re honest with yourself you
16:28but i would be in dereliction of my duty
16:31to leave you there
16:33if i were to end the sermon here and say
16:35so get busy get cracking get on with it
16:39it would be time to find another pastor
16:42but let me comfort you with these words
16:45the prophet joel told us in our old
16:48text yet even now declares the lord
16:52god says return to me with all of your
16:55and you’ll note that repentance is not a
16:58flu shot it’s not even something that
17:00you do
17:01only during lent repentance is the daily
17:04life it’s the daily breadth of the
17:07and we have these comforting and
17:09assuring words of god
17:12that when we return with him with
17:13weeping fasting with mourning
17:15that when we rend our hearts and not our
17:17garments god
17:19says that he is gracious he is merciful
17:22he is slow to anger he is abounding in
17:25steadfast love
17:26and he relents over disaster and this is
17:30good news for us
17:31that god relents over disaster because
17:33as i’ve mentioned already
17:35each and every one of us has discerned
17:36and eternally deserved an eternity in
17:39and that is the disaster of disasters
17:42that somebody would leave this life
17:47steeped in dead and trespasses and sins
17:50and enter into eternity on their own
17:55but for all who turn all who cry out to
18:00they will be saved they will be forgiven
18:02and god relents of the disaster of hell
18:04for all of us
18:06paul says it this way because we are in
18:09Christ we are
18:10ambassadors for Christ and god himself
18:13is now making his appeal through us
18:15so we implore you on behalf of Christ
18:18be reconciled to god recognize that your
18:22sin my sin your sin
18:26adam’s sin that it has torn us away from
18:31and created hostility but god himself
18:35has put an end to the hostility he
18:39has ended the war and he is now calling
18:42us to be reconciled to him
18:43because it says in here in second
18:47that for our sake
18:51for our sake for our good
18:54god made Christ to be sin who knew no
18:58says that it made him to be sin your sin
19:02my sin were all laid on him and god saw
19:06him as the one who committed it all
19:08god made him to be sin who knew no sin
19:11so that in Christ we might become
19:16the righteousness of god
19:19and so we remember here Christ suffering
19:22dying bleeding
19:25is laying down his life for your sins
19:28and mine
19:30as we move towards the end of the lenten
19:34good friday and Jesus’s resurrection
19:37from the dead
19:38all of this he did for our sake because
19:40of his great love for us
19:42so repent repent of your sin
19:47see it for what it is luther is right it
19:50doesn’t matter if you’ve been a saint
19:5250 years 60 or 70. it doesn’t matter
19:55there isn’t a day
19:56that you can say i don’t need to be
20:02there’s a day that i can’t say that
20:04either i must be different
20:06we must be different so take heart
20:09brothers and sisters
20:10Christ has bled and died for our sins
20:13lament your sin
20:14but confidently trust in his sacrifice
20:17so that you can live
20:19and cry out to god the holy spirit to
20:21convict you of your sin
20:23and that crying out to him that he would
20:25give you the strength to mortify and to
20:27put to death what is earthly in you
20:30so that you may obey the commands that
20:32you and of yourself do not have the
20:34power to obey
20:35all to the glory of his holy holy name
20:38we pray this in Jesus name amen
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