Sermon Transcript – What God Has Made Clean…

Series C – Fifth Sunday in Easter – Sunday, April 24, 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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Time StampTranscript
0:29the holy Gospel According to Saint John chapter 13 verses 31-35
0:36when he had gone out Jesus said now is the son of man glorified and God is
0:41glorified in him if God is glorified in him God will also glorify him in himself and glorify him
0:49at once little children yet a little while I am with you you will seek me and
0:55just as I said to the Jews so now I also say to you where I am going you cannot come a new commandment I give to you
1:03that you love one another just as I have loved you you also are to love one
1:09another by this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another
1:17in the name of Jesus now this morning if you want to look on in your Pew Bible you can we’re going to
1:23be looking at our first reading from Acts chapter 11. this is a misunderstood text there are a lot of people who think
1:29that this is the text the one where Jesus blessed bacon
1:34now I want everybody to know I think bacon is its own animal I’m pretty sure of that there’s bacon running around out
1:41there somewhere someone’s farming bacon now I assure you as Christians we are not forbidden from eating bacon but this
1:47text isn’t about God making bacon clean or Lobster or shrimp
1:53okay sorry my apologies my digress I enjoy such wonderful Foods
1:59anyway but our text today is a little bit complicated also and so we’re gonna
2:05have to get a few things settled before we dive in proper and I thought to kind
2:10of help us sort some of the categories out that are in this text that we would play the opposite game all right now
2:17here’s how we play the opposite game I’m going to say a word and you need to tell me it’s opposite okay pretty
2:24straightforward are you ready here it is his first word light you guys are great all right up
2:31left man you guys are smart all right now that was the warm-up here’s the
2:39tough one in our text in Acts 11 we see the word common
2:46what’s its opposite in that text what’d you say
2:51unique good guess the answer is no by the way by the way by by kind of a bunny
2:58trail here literally how do you catch a unique rabbit unique up on it there you go all right
3:04so that so unique is not the opposite of common in this text
3:09so all right let’s take a look at the text itself there in the passage it says
3:15what God has made clean do not call common now do you want to take a stab at
3:22it what’s the opposite of common there clean now I think it’s interesting that our our ESV Bibles there translate the
3:30word Kano as well common there’s a couple of ways you can translate the
3:36word it could be common it could be defiled it could be Unholy you’re kind
3:43of seeing how the synonyms are kind of helping you flesh this out if you think of it this way in the Old Testament if
3:48you ever read through the Book of Leviticus in fact if you’re reading along this you know in in the uh this
3:54week in the word that you find in your uh in your uh bulletin right we’re in the Book of
4:00Leviticus and there’s some dry Gravelly Parts in there where you’re learning about skin diseases and things like that
4:06right well if you have a skin disease in the Old Testament you were considered
4:12uncleaning you had to go and present yourself to the priest it’s like hey uh you know priest I’ve got a I got a rash
4:17here and it’s like oh this is the worst part of my job ever all right come on show me your ass she’s like
4:23all right you’re unclean you know and so that you you can’t come to church for a while and then once it looks like it’s
4:29getting healed you go show the priest hey remember that rash I had yeah all right can I show it to you again yeah
4:35all right here take a look okay and he says to you clean
4:41clean unclean think in the categories of holy and Unholy these are your kind of categories that we’re dealing with here
4:47all of this is foundation and with that now it’s kind of like a framework for
4:52your for how to attack this text we’re going to understand that
4:58who or what is being made clean In this passage is really vitally important in
5:04fact understanding the truth of who or what is being made clean is kind of it’s going to change everything all right so
5:11we’re going to return to our text verse 1 acts 11. now the apostles and brothers
5:17who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of
5:24God do you get the feeling like we’re jumping into the middle of a story here well we are now if you’ve ever read
5:31through the book of Acts you’ll notice that acts 10 and acts 11 . they sound a lot alike in fact it’s
5:38almost as if the Holy Spirit has a department of redundancy Department that put the two verses next to the two
5:43passages next to each other well in chapter 10 you have the account itself the historical Narrative of the very
5:50very first Gentiles to believe in Jesus up to this point Christianity was the
5:56thorough going Jewish thing all of the Believers were in some way
6:02related to Abraham and we find out in our text that we’re going to look at
6:07today that there was a man-made rule a man-made law that was contradicting the
6:15gospel and bottlenecking the gospel so that the gospel wasn’t getting out to the world
6:21the man-made law was in the way and God had to intervene so in chapter 10 we
6:28have the story of the very first Gentile believer that’s Roman the Roman Centurion whose name is Cornelius
6:35and he and his family are brought to penance in faith in Christ filled with the Holy Spirit baptized
6:42and now Peter gets to go and Report what’s happening I guess what happened guys Gentiles are now believing in Jesus
6:51but we we read here so when Peter went up to Jerusalem
6:57the circumcision party criticized him saying you went to uncircumcised men and
7:04you ate with them do you get the feeling that the circumcision party like totally missed
7:10the point here it’s hello Gentiles are believing in Jesus you wait with gentiles
7:17you see the problem here right so notice their charge you
7:22went to uncircumcised men and you ate with them
7:28by the way Jesus received almost exact this exact same kind of criticism in
7:33Mark chapter 2 verses 15 through 17 we read as Jesus reclined at the table I
7:38think this is Levi the tax collector’s house many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his
7:44disciples for there were many who followed him and the scribes and the Pharisees when they saw that he was
7:50eating with Sinners and tax collectors note to self here Pharisees and scribes
7:57are sinners too right here but when they saw that Jesus was eating with Sinners and tax collectors they said to his
8:03disciples why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners and when Jesus heard this he said to
8:09them those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick I
8:15came not to call the righteous but sinners
8:21in other words if you ain’t one of them Jesus ain’t got nothing for you if you ain’t a sinner you don’t need
8:26Jesus he didn’t come for those who are healthy he came for those who are sick in other words Jesus didn’t come to call
8:34the clean he came to call the common or the defiled for the Unholy right
8:41now another note here this in our reading of Acts 11 this is the first
8:46appearance after Jesus’s resurrection of the circumcision party
8:52in the scripture and this is their first appearance and this won’t be their last again here’s their charge you went you
8:59went to uncircumcised men and you ate with them so here’s the question you already know the answer to this where in
9:05the Old Testament does it say that Jews cannot eat with someone who is uncircumcised
9:11it doesn’t say that anywhere in the Old Testament in Acts chapter 10 the previous chapter
9:17when Peter shows up at cornelius’s house he says this you yourselves know how unlawful it is
9:24for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another Nation
9:30Peter recognizes that it’s unlawful but unlawful according to whom
9:36God no this is not a Biblical law this law is from the scribes and the
9:43Pharisees remember in Mark chapter 7 the scribes and Pharisees had that little
9:48law about washing your hands when you come into the house after you’ve been among the Gentiles right and they
9:56criticized Jesus’s disciples and Jesus himself because they didn’t observe that law that law was part of the Corpus or
10:03the body called the tradition of the elders and Jesus roundly criticized them
10:08saying you are teaching as doctrines the Commandments of men
10:14and now we got a problem because we’re seeing here in our text that there are
10:20Christians who are doing the same thing right so this man made scribal law let
10:28me give you a little bit of background here because it’s fascinating this scribal law said that the Dwelling
10:34Places of Gentiles were here’s this word again unclean or common this is what
10:40they said now if you remember when Jesus is on trial in the Gospel of John we get this little tidbit when they had led
10:46Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters it was early morning they themselves did not enter
10:52the governor’s headquarters this is Pilot’s house right so that they would not be defiled but could eat the
10:59Passover remember that so Jesus is on trial we had our little puppet trial over here at
11:06caiaphas’s house so now we’re taking Jesus over to pilate’s house and they would only come to the door they
11:11wouldn’t go any farther than the door you’d go on in Jesus we can’t go in right anything what where are they
11:17getting this idea from because it’s not found in the Bible it’s not in the Old
11:22Testament now according to the scribes and Pharisees this is kind of also fascinating fun little twist here
11:28according to their man-made laws they claim that the dirt from a gentile country was also considered unclean
11:36so if anyone happened to be track some dirt in from a gentile nation that dirt
11:42remained defiled and it never according to them actually ever mingled with Israel’s soil it just continually
11:48defiled the dirt of Israel consequently whenever Travelers left a gentile country like if they were up in Syria or
11:55coming through Samaria they would always Shake the Dust off their feet so they
12:01wouldn’t bring Gentile pollution into Israel okay interesting little note so that
12:07gives us a little bit of what’s going on here when Jesus in Matthew chapter 10 he sends out the 72 to preach the gospel
12:14right and he says if they don’t listen to you if they don’t repent and believe in me you know what you’re to do to
12:20these Jewish towns Shake the Dust off your feet treat them like they’re Gentiles so Jesus takes their man-made
12:27laws and just like flips it and throws it right back in their face you gotta love Jesus anyway
12:33all of that’s just a little bit historical note right here so coming back to our Point as is often the case
12:40with man-made laws they end up conflicting with the gospel
12:45itself they do we see an example of this very clearly
12:52in Galatians Chapter 2 where we also run into the circumcision party if you want to flip over it’s Galatians chapter two
12:58I’ll start at verse one and take a look at two portions of this chapter here’s what it says Paul talking after his
13:04conversion says after 14 years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas taking
13:10Titus along with me I went up because of a revelation and set before them though privately before those who seemed
13:16influential the gospel that I Proclaim among the Gentiles in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain
13:23a little interesting note he then says this but even Titus who was with me Titus is a person who was a gentile
13:31before becoming a Christian was not forced to be circumcised though he was a
13:36Greek and listen to what how then Paul describes the circumcision party yet
13:42because of false Brothers secretly brought in who slipped in to spy out our
13:47freedom that we have in Christ Jesus so that they might bring us into slavery to them we did not yield in submission even
13:54for a moment so that the truth of the Gospel might be preserved for you
13:59so notice here Paul literally is modeling for us those who are inventing
14:05man-made laws that are conflicting with the gospel we are not to yield to them
14:12in submission even for a moment for the sake of the Gospel you don’t compromise
14:17with those who are inventing dogmas and saying you have to obey the rule I just came up with
14:22because often it’s going to end up conflicting with the gospel and verse 11 it actually starting from there you’ll
14:28see it it’s it’s very explicitly stated here’s what it says starting at verse 11. so when cephas came from Antioch
14:34that’s the Apostle Peter I opposed him to his face whoops there goes the idea of an
14:40infallible Pope anyway um I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned
14:45for before certain men came from James he was eating with the Gentiles but when
14:51they came he drew back and he separated himself fearing here’s that party again
14:56the circumcision party now I don’t know about you but a circumcision party doesn’t sound like a party I’d ever want
15:01to go to okay but when they show up they show up
15:08Peter who had been eating with the Gentiles all of a sudden kind of backs up and he takes a breath mint puts in
15:14his mouth hoping they’ll never taste the bacon on his breath or smell it right
15:19so Paul says this and the rest of the Jews they acted hypocritically along with him so that even Barnabas was led
15:26astray by their hypocrisy but when I saw that their conduct was
15:32not in step with the truth of the Gospel notice this behavior is absolutely
15:39antithetical and the opposite of how we are to behave and treat each other according to the gospel when I saw that
15:46their conduct was not in step with the gospel I said to Peter before them all if you are the even if you though a Jew
15:53live like a gentile and not like a Jew how can you force Gentiles to live like Jews
15:59he goes on but you kind of get the point right so Paul explicitly states there that
16:06their conduct was contrary to the gospel and it’s because of this law that we’re
16:12looking at in Acts 11. you can’t eat with gentiles
16:18well as is often the case God has a way of weighing in if you would it’s as if
16:26Jesus Christ is actually the head of the church and when people try to usurp their Authority and by doing so subvert
16:34what he’s commanded us to do so clearly he enters he intervenes he intercedes
16:39all right because remember this remember the Great Commission go
16:44therefore and Make Disciples of All Nations
16:50Jesus was pretty clear right if Jesus were like one of those Stern firm
16:57Southern dads he might say something to the effect of what part of old are you
17:03guys not getting right but Jesus isn’t like that but anyway you kind of get the point right
17:09so this rule is contrary to the gospel and it’s causing Jesus’s clear command
17:16to preach the gospel to All Nations to not be happening
17:21so we return now back to Acts 11. so Peter’s called on the carpet
17:28good news guys Gentiles are believing in Jesus rather than praise the Lord
17:35you wait with gentiles all right so Peter began and explained it to them in order all right guys I was
17:43in the city of Joppa I was praying and in a trance I saw a vision something like a great sheet descending being let
17:50down from heaven by its four corners and it came down to me looking at it closely
17:56I observed animals and beasts of prey reptiles bacon Lobster shrimp birds of
18:03the air I put that in there by the way and then I Heard a Voice saying to me rise Peter kill and eat but I said by no
18:10means Lord For Nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth
18:18but the voice answered a second time from Heaven what God has made clean do not call Common
18:25this happened three times and all was drawn up again to heaven
18:33three times well let’s see what that sounds like what God has made clean do not call
18:38Common well God has made clean do not call Common what God has made clean do not call
18:46Common it’s as if the father has spoken the son has spoken and the Holy Spirit has all
18:54now spoken the Trinity himself is United
19:00this man-made law must go keep in mind Jesus did not come to call
19:07the righteous but sinners which then is really cool
19:15because we then understand this the one the ones who have been made clean
19:21are not the shrimp the lobster and the bacons the ones who have been made clean are
19:27you and me and that makes the difference of the whole world
19:33and when we lose sight of this fact as Christians and begin thinking like the circumcision party in false ways
19:41regarding false dichotomies between clean and unclean holy and Unholy then
19:47we like them end up subverting the gospel and impeding the Great Commission
19:52now dear Abby was not exactly known as an astute Theologian just want to make sure you understand this I’m not saying
19:59you should read her theological works but Dear Abby actually said something one time and here was a quote that she
20:05gave the church is a hospital for Sinners it is not a museum for Saints
20:11that’s a good quote now I would tweak it just a little bit I
20:17would tweak it to say the church is a hospice for sinners
20:22not a museum for Saints right
20:28oftentimes and this is sad unbelievers will cite as their reason for not coming
20:34to church their belief that are you ready the church is full of hypocrites
20:40have you ever heard that one yeah and so have I sadly this can become
20:46the case especially when the good news of the Forgiveness of sins is put on the shelf and then the church becomes a
20:53country club or some kind of a spiritual gymnasium or a place where we end up singing our own praises and Pat each
20:59other on the back for how holy and Sanctified we are and while we thank God that we’re not like the other people you
21:06know those unclean Sinners out there while we fail to see just how sinful and
21:13in need of the Forgiveness of sins we are I know I am
21:18self-righteousness is the root of all of this hypocrisy and the only way that someone can deceive themselves into
21:24believing that they are somehow righteous in and of themselves is because uh and because of their own holy
21:31life and thoughts is by actually abandoning God’s law and its killing work and then substituting it
21:38with their own man-made rules and regulations right
21:44keep in mind in Our Gospel text Jesus did not say they will know that we are his disciples if we don’t dance
21:53that’s a man-made law by the way now it may be that the reason why someone doesn’t dance is because they’re
21:58Norwegian right
22:04Jesus did not say they will know that you are my disciples if you don’t drink alcohol this again is a man-made law
22:10maybe the reason why someone isn’t drinking alcohol is because they’re recovering alcoholic
22:15or a Mormon or maybe they just don’t like the taste of beer
22:20there’s a million different reasons why not to drink alcohol and that is not a sign that you are a Christian or if you
22:27don’t use tobacco products or if you vote for a particular political party I think this year’s political season will
22:34prove that one to be completely bunk or they’ll know that you’re Christians
22:40if you keep those people out of your church I don’t know who those people are but it kind of changes from place to
22:47place think of yourself living in the South before the end of segregation
22:52those people would be God’s bled for and died for African Americans
23:01right and how evil and wicked is that instead we hear from Jesus
23:07a new commandment I give you that you love one another just as I have
23:12loved you and notice this is love grounded in the gospel how are we to love each other the way
23:20Christ has loved us how has Christ loved us sacrificially
23:26by bleeding and dying for us on the cross
23:32the way the world will know that we are his disciples is if we have that love
23:38for each other
23:43it’s a lot easier to not drink alcohol isn’t it or to not dance or to Never Smoke
23:49that’s easy having this kind of love for each other
23:56how do we say it ufta right
24:01yeah let me remind you how Christ has loved
24:08us Romans 5 says this for while we were still weak
24:15why why we were still Sinners at the right time Christ died for the ungodly
24:21that’s me that’s you one will scarcely die for a righteous person though perhaps for a good person
24:27one would dare to die but God demonstrates his love for us
24:32in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us
24:38and it’s through Christ’s blood shed for us on the cross that we who were born
24:44common born defiled born Unholy born sinful
24:51sinfully unclean it is through Christ’s shed Blood on the cross that we are made clean by God
24:57and as forgiven Sinners we can now take the good news of the Forgiveness of sins
25:02to everyone everyone because we understand rightly
25:09that there is no one as sinful as we are and that other people’s sins do not
25:16defile the righteousness of Christ give us given to us as a gift self-righteousness teaches us to see
25:22ourselves as the ones who have cleaned themselves up gotten themselves right with God while the gospel teaches us to
25:29rightly understand that there is no way for ourselves to clean ourselves up and that God had to clean us and because we
25:37have been cleaned by God we cannot be defiled by someone else
25:42and where has Christ cleaned you right there right there in the waters of your
25:48baptism Christ’s blood and the water and the word mixed together to wash all of your
25:54sins away though your sins be a Scarlet they’re made white as wool
26:02so the gospel that’s the thing about the gospel it tears down self-righteousness
26:09and it totally obliterates all of these man-made distinctions
26:15they don’t apply anymore and here’s the thing there’s a lot of people who have a lot of power in the church through these
26:21man-made distinctions and so they will guard these distinctions
26:27well murderously if they must coming back to Peter
26:34Peter says that behold behold at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were and sent to me
26:41from caesarea and here’s what he says and the spirit told me to go with them
26:47making no distinction the spirit wouldn’t make any distinctions like this and it wasn’t so
26:54know what Peter’s doing hey guys I know you’re upset that I ate with Gentiles but hey the spirit made no distinction
27:00take it up with God that’s what he’s saying so these Six Brothers also accompanied me we entered the man’s
27:07house he told us how he had seen the Angels standing in his house and say send to Joppa bring Simon who was called
27:13Peter he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved you and all
27:19of your household including your infants and as I began to speak the Holy Spirit
27:25fell on them just as an us at the beginning and I remembered the word of the Lord how he said John baptized with
27:32water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit if then God gave the same gift to
27:38them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus who was I that I could
27:44oppose or stand against God
27:50and when they heard these things the circumcision party acquiesced
27:57they were checkmated by God himself their distinction had to fall at least
28:03on that day but don’t worry they’ll come back to fight another day right they often do
28:09so when they heard these things they fell silent and then they glorified God saying all right well then to the Gentiles also
28:16God has granted repentance that leads to life and that they got right
28:23it is God who grants repentance so the reason that God makes no distinction by the way why is it the god
28:30makes no distinction well it’s quite obvious in Romans 3 verse 9 we read the
28:36Apostle Paul says what then are we Jews any better off no not at all for we have already
28:41charged it all both Jews and Greeks the whole world
28:46they’re all under sin as it is written none is righteous no not one no one
28:52understands no one seeks for God all have turned aside together they have become worthless no one does good not
28:59even one notice verse 22 begins with these words for there is no distinction
29:07all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift
29:14through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation an atoning Sacrifice by his
29:20blood to be received by Faith you see God makes no distinction
29:27because what Christ did on the cross wasn’t for one group of people it wasn’t
29:32for one group of genetically engineered people or a particular line of dissent
29:37from one person it was for the whole world Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes
29:43away the sin of the world your sin and mine
29:49and he is determined to give us this gift of salvation
29:55and he has sent his pastors and preachers and teachers out into the
30:00world to Proclaim to all tribes All Nations all languages that God was in
30:06Christ reconciling the world to himself not counting men’s trespasses against them
30:12so they would be saved saved and have true eternal life saved
30:19from the fires of Hell which we have all deserved so we are done not look at any group of
30:26people any nation of people whether they are white or brown Muslim
30:33or Buddhist and say no not them we’re not going to share the good news with them or alcoholics prostitutes Tax
30:42Collectors people who work for the IRS are evil by the way all right we’re not to exclude anybody
30:51because we all know this what God has made clean we are not to call Common
30:58Christ is bled and died for the sins of the world therefore as penitent
31:03believers who have received this cleaning from God
31:09we dare not say not them because by saying not them we run the
31:14risk of saying not us in the name of Jesus
31:20amen [Music]
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