Sermon Transcript – Written Against Antichrists

Series B – Second Sunday of Easter – Sunday, April 12, 2015 | 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 20 verses 19 through 31.
0:36on the evening of that first day of the week when the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the
0:42Jews Jesus came and stood among them and said peace be with you and after he said this he showed them
0:48his hands inside the disciples were Overjoyed when they saw the Lord again
0:54Jesus said peace be with you as the father has sent me I am sending you and
1:00with that he breathed on them and said receive the Holy Spirit if you forgive anyone his sins they are forgiven if you
1:06do not forgive them they are not forgiven now Thomas called didymus one of the twelve was not with the disciples
1:13when Jesus came so the other disciples told him we have seen the Lord but he said to them unless
1:20I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into a side I will not
1:26believe it a week later his disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them
1:31though the doors were locked Jesus came and stood among them and said peace be with you then he said to Thomas put your
1:38finger here see my hands reach out your hand and put it into my side stop
1:44doubting and believe said to him my Lord and my God then
1:52Jesus told him because you have seen me you have believed blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed
1:58Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples which are
2:03not recorded in this book but these things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the son
2:10of God and that by believing you might have life in his name
2:17in the name of Jesus backstories now when I was a kid
2:24Star Wars movies came out now I totally nerded out on them Star Wars was the
2:30thing okay in fact I had one of the very first flashlights designed to look like
2:35a lightsaber it was terrible yeah I remember having epic lightsaber
2:42battles with my friends now one of the interesting things about that movie um I I actually had the the Supreme Joy
2:51of actually seeing it at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood when the movie came out and man when that movie
2:58came out oh yeah yeah I mean it was so loud so epic I’ve never seen anything like it before and what’s weird is it
3:05starts off you know how those it you know starts off right right and then it says Star Wars
3:11and then comes those scrolling words right and the first Star Wars movie said episode four A New Hope
3:19and of course after watching the movie there’s a lot of Buzz episode four what four four why is it four right and so as
3:29I grew up you know when episode five came out and then episode six I mean the big buzz was well what’s the back story
3:35because there’s these epic characters in there most notably Darth Vader if order you knew the top power of the dark side
3:42right and so you wanted to know the back story about this Darth Vader character well when my son was about my age the
3:49next series of Star Wars movies came out and they gave us the back story so
3:55backstories are very important and I’m going to actually blend if you would our
4:01epistle text and Our Gospel text together because there’s a lot of backstory going on and I’m going to fill
4:08you in on a little bit of the details now to help you out I’d like to open up your Bibles to First John chapter 2
4:15verses 18 through 26. I’ll give you a second to get there but because when you
4:21read the commentaries on the Epistle of First John it’s absolutely hilarious all
4:27of the scholars kind of weep and grind their teeth together and and complain
4:33bitterly because this letter that John wrote apparently has like no discernible
4:39outline to it and so what’s really funny is is that nobody can quite figure out what John is doing so it’s the weirdest
4:46thing John explains the reason why he wrote this letter like in the dead
4:51center of it which doesn’t make any sense because every good you know professor and teacher knows that you
4:57write your thesis at the beginning and then you have your supporting paragraphs and the conclusion John apparently did
5:04not go to American schools so you got to remember he’s a product of the first century okay let me read to you his
5:10thesis statement regarding this epistle so we can get you some of the backstory and then when you see the backstory all
5:15of a sudden this thing’s going to come to life right so here’s what you write children it is the last hour and as you’ve heard that Antichrist is
5:22coming and oh yes he is so now many antichrists small plural they have come
5:29therefore we know that this is the last hour they went out from us but they were not of us for if they had been of us
5:35they would have continued with us but they went out that it might become plain that they are not all of us but if you
5:42have been anointed by the Holy One and you have all and you all have knowledge I write to you not because you do not
5:47know the truth but because you know it and because no lie is of the truth who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus
5:56is the Christ now remember those words who is the liar okay it’s actually
6:02referring to a very specific person and the false teaching but we’ll get there so he’s calling him a liar and he’s
6:08calling him an antichrist so this is the Antichrist who denies the father and the son no one who denies the son has the
6:16father whoever confesses the son has the father also so let which you heard from the beginning abide in you if if what
6:23you heard from the beginning abides in you then you will then you too will abide in the son and in the father and
6:29this is the promise that he made to us eternal life so I write these things to you about those who are trying to
6:37deceive you ah so there’s our thesis statement right in the middle of his epistle why did
6:43John write this Epistle of First John so that those who are trying to deceive you
6:49would not and he calls them liars and Antichrist now let me tell you the back story there
6:55was in Ephesus a man by the name of sirenthus
7:00very evil dude in fact if we were telling our story he would be the bad
7:05guy now before I tell you more about his story let me tell you about how John came to be in Ephesus you’re thinking
7:12John’s a good Jewish boy when we see him in the book of Acts he’s in Jerusalem how does it that he ends up in the city
7:19of Ephesus which is in Asia Minor well it’s real simple remember the the
7:25emperor Titus well actually he was an emperor while he was doing this but he was a commander of the armies of Rome
7:31they came to Israel and they had had it with these zealots who kept killing
7:39Roman soldiers and their duplicitous ways and the fact that they would not
7:45submit to Roman rule and authority and were always trying to subvert it they said enough is enough and they sent the
7:52armies of Rome to Jerusalem and they slaughtered the Jews in total
8:00they eventually surrounded Jerusalem pummeled that wall to the ground
8:05breached the Wall came in and got on the Temple Mount and they burned the temple
8:12to the ground in fact it was so epic of a scene that the gold inside the temple
8:17is described as flowing like a river out of the out of the temple itself well
8:23good Roman soldiers being good Roman soldiers you don’t want to let a river of gold go to waste and so they made
8:28sure to get every last bit of gold out from the cracks of the cement and out of
8:34the temple and in the process they just so happen to raise the temple and just throw it off the Temple Mount and there
8:40it sits to this day in a heap off of one side of the Temple mount well along with this you know the Roman
8:47government decided that it would be a good idea to kick the Jews out of
8:52Jerusalem and they did that would include John because at this time they viewed Christianity as kind of
8:59a sect within Judaism the Romans didn’t quite know what to make of Christianity and so John finds himself out of Judea
9:07and he then traveled with Jesus’s mother Mary to Ephesus and remember that it was
9:15the Apostle Paul who planted the churches in Ephesus he was the missionary to the Gentiles and he
9:21proclaimed the gospel for years in Ephesus in the Hall of tyrannus he had like a standing gig where he would out
9:27he’d go and tell everybody about the about Jesus and thriving congregations
9:33sprouted up and grew and then after Paul by this time Paul is dead John comes in
9:41and he’s now the bishop kind of the the guy in charge of overseeing all of the different congregations of Christians
9:47within Ephesus well now we come back to our bad guy our bad guy’s name is
9:53cyrinthus cerenthus was a former Jew he lived and grew up in Egypt and he lived
10:00in Ephesus at the time that the Apostle John lived and served there now cyranthis was an interesting guy he
10:06combined Jewish ideas with what may be called kind of the beginnings of a
10:12heresy known as gnosticism now if you’ve never heard of gnosticism I’ll give you just kind of a very rough cut idea of
10:18what this is all about it’s based upon the philosophy of Plato and it basically says matter things you can touch
10:26bad spirit good that’s really simplistic but that’s kind
10:31of the idea and so because they believe that matter is evil the idea of God
10:38becoming flesh yeah that’s like runs completely
10:44contrary to the way of thinking and then this idea that we’re going to all be raised again bodily and live forever in
10:51matter you know resurrected bodies that’s like Unthinkable so this is kind
10:58of that’s kind of the idea of gnosticism so serenthus taught get this he taught that
11:04Jesus was the physical son of Joseph he denied the Virgin birth
11:10and cyranthus taught that Jesus was the Aeon of Christ or whether or that the
11:16Aeon of Christ was United with Jesus at his baptism you’re thinking what on Earth is that kind of reads like a
11:22Sci-Fi novel well think of it this way if you’re familiar with the New Age movement they talk about this thing
11:27called the Christ Consciousness right so the Christ Consciousness is this kind of
11:32Eternal spiritual concept idea that may or may not be personal and so the
11:38gnostics kind of thought the same way so Jesus was the physical offspring of
11:43Joseph cyrinthus said and when he was baptized that’s when the Christ United
11:49with him and then the Christ left Jesus just
11:55before his sufferings and death where is this guy getting any of this
12:00nonsense right and uh to kind of boot cyranthus rejected
12:05all of the gospels all of Paul’s letters and he accepted only certain parts of
12:11the Gospel of Matthew in the gospel of Mark now keep this in mind okay cyrenthus is
12:17teaching this at the exact same time that the Apostle John is in Ephesus they’re in the same town
12:25cyrenthus never met Jesus strenthus could not tell us what Jesus looked like he had never even heard
12:32Jesus’s voice had never heard Jesus teach a single Parable had never
12:37witnessed a single miracle that Jesus accomplished but serenthus believed that
12:43he knew who Jesus was and what Jesus’s message was better than the Apostle John
12:50and he opposed the apostolic teaching through the Apostle John and gathered a
12:56following of his own there in Ephesus it’s absurd if you think about it now
13:03one of the church fathers whose name is irenaeus let me tell you a little bit about this guy he wrote a very long book
13:08against heresies and in there he tells us a little bit about cyranthis and
13:14you’re wondering well where did this guy get this information from well let me give you arenais’s pedigree if you would
13:19so while John is in Ephesus he’s discipling people and one of his
13:26disciples is a gentleman by the name of polycarp you may have heard of him he actually was martyred for his faith in
13:32Christ in his 80s and polycarp he discipled irenaeus
13:39so arenais is one of these guys he’s got a great pedigree he was taught The Faith from polycarp polycarp was taught The
13:46Faith from the Apostle John we know this with certainty so now arenais is the one
13:51who tells us about cyrenthus and here’s what he writes he says there are also those who heard from polycarp that John
13:58the disciple of the Lord going to bathe at Ephesus and perceiving that cyranthus
14:04was within the building rushed out of the bath house without bathing exclaiming let us fly lest the bath
14:12house fall down upon us because cyrenthus the enemy of the truth is within
14:19laughs yeah well these are the days before they had cold and hot water running inside of
14:26your home and so if you wanted to bathe which was you know I think at least you had to do once a year
14:31um you’d go to a place you know that was headed public baths and cyrinthus was in there and John was so incense he
14:38couldn’t even stand to be in the same you know under the same roof as this guy now polycarp himself actually had a
14:46face-to-face meeting with another heretic by the name of marcion Marcin was one of these guys who kind of
14:53basically believed what he wanted to believe in the apostolic teaching and um Marcy and upon meeting polycarp asked
15:01him do you know who I am and polycarp says oh I know who you are
15:07you’re the firstborn of Satan
15:12these are great stories anyway so this is all backstory okay so you got that okay
15:19so Mark well friends this is always the way that Heretics think and operate they
15:26think they know better than the apostles these men and women they are enemies of
15:32the truth they are corrupters of the truth they’re children of that liar the devil now that’s the back story you got
15:40it so John when he’s writing this letter that now is in our Bible he’s writing it
15:45to the churches so that they would not be deceived and the one he’s writing against is serenthus
15:52so now go back to First John chapter 1 verse 1 from our epistle reading and
15:58what does Paul say not Paul John I’ve done that it’s John here’s what he
16:04says that which was from the beginning sentence number one
16:12is literally like John it’s like the Bell has rung ding ding ding ding ding
16:17and John is coming out of his Corner going just knocking him down because this
16:24first sentence that which was from the beginning Jesus is the Eternal Son of God which is
16:31completely contrary to what serenthus teaches he’s not mixing words he’s not
16:37going to play nice with Sirens he’s coming out swinging and Swinging hard so
16:42he’s basically saying I’m speaking of Jesus who did not have his beginning
16:48from Mary but was from the beginning that’s a good way to put this and then John continues that which we have heard
16:55which we have seen with our eyes which we have looked upon and have touched with our hands concerning the word of
17:01life who is this nonsensical dude serenthus
17:06who thinks he knows better about Jesus than we do I touched him is what John is saying
17:13right and now you think back to our gospel text Our Gospel text says this
17:19on the evening of that day the first day of the week the door is being locked where the disciples were for fear of the
17:25Jews Jesus came and stood among them and said peace be with you
17:30little note isn’t that great these are the disciples notice it says
17:36they’re cowering in fear in an upper room because the fear of the Jews when Jesus is arrested his closest guys the
17:43guys who he spent all of this time investing in them and they knew exactly
17:49who he was and they confessed him as Lord and God as soon as trouble shows up these guys
17:56Scamper away into the darkness like cockroaches and Jesus’s words are not you lousy bunch of you know how what are
18:05you thinking you know you left me high and dry right he’s not thinking that way at all and Jesus isn’t coming for
18:11Retribution he’s already bled and died for all of their sins and so his first words to them are
18:17peace be with you peace that tells you about Jesus right but
18:24back to our story so when Jesus had said this he showed them his hands and his side what did John say in his epistle
18:31that which we have seen which we have touched right so then the disciples were glad when
18:37they saw the Lord Jesus and and said to them again and he said to them peace be with you as the father has sent me even
18:46so I am sending you now pay attention to this
18:53father sends the son the son says even as I have been sent by the father now I
18:58am sending you that fancy word that we use all the time apostle
19:04it’s from a Greek word apostolas it means one who is sent
19:09the apostles are sent there are no apostles today okay now remember in the Great
19:16Commission it’s kind of a little off note to the side here Great Commission Jesus says all authority in Heaven and
19:22Earth has been given to me go therefore and Make Disciples of all Nations baptizing them in the name of the father
19:28Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them all that I have commanded you right do the disciples accomplish that task of
19:36discipling all Nations did they make it to Australia New
19:42Zealand no they did not did they did the hubuku tribe somewhere in Brazil no not at all
19:52but see the thing is is that when Jesus commands them to disciple All Nations the disciples are still discipling all
19:59nations they are doing so through their writings because Jesus said to the disciples if
20:06anyone who listens to you listens to me the one who hears you hears me where can
20:12you go today to find out about what the historical Jesus said and taught and did
20:19there’s no other place that you can go except for the apostolic writings that’s the only place you can go
20:26so they are still discipling to this day so that commission that their the
20:31disciple All Nations indeed on the last day men from every tribe of every human
20:36you know Clan will be there be represented on that last day in the
20:42great cloud of witnesses those who’ve been brought out of the Great Tribulation brought to penance and faith and they were all discipled you and I
20:48were discipled by Peter by John by Paul by James we’re all being discipled even
20:55right now because John Is discipling Us so think about that
21:00he’s the one who sent is sent by Christ yeah I don’t seem to remember him being
21:07sent do you no so he says to them I am sending you and when he said this he
21:13said and breathed on them receive the Holy Spirit if you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven if you withhold
21:19forgiveness from any it is withheld now Thomas one of the twelve called the twin was not with them when Jesus came so the
21:25other disciples told him we have seen the Lord but he said unless I see his hands and marks of the nails and place
21:31my finger into the mark of the nails and placed my hand in the side I will never be leave
21:38silly Thomas silly Jesus sent them to tell him that he was
21:45raised from the grave his response should have been amen hallelujah
21:50instead he says no I’m not going to believe so eight days later that would be on
21:57Sunday again Jesus is raised on Sunday eight days later it’s a Sunday so Sunday
22:03night Jesus appears and it says this to Thomas although the doors were locked Jesus
22:08came and stood among them and noticed what he says peace be with you and then he says to Thomas put your finger here
22:13and see my hands put out your hand and place it in my side do not be disbelieving but be believing is a good
22:20way to translate the Greek there Thomas answered to him
22:29my Lord and my God and that is exactly
22:35who Jesus is he is God
22:40now does Jesus rebuke Thomas
22:45for claiming that he’s God no here’s what he said Jesus said to him have you believed because you’ve seen me
22:53blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed and see that’s the
23:00thing I and you we all have something in common with cyranthis if Jesus were to
23:05be walking down the streets of Grand Forks maybe shopping at Walmart looking down the spaghetti aisle or something
23:10right we wouldn’t recognize him as Jesus we’d have no clue that was him
23:17I’ve never seen him have you no I’ve never seen him I have no idea what
23:23he looks like I have a suspicion that a lot of the church art out there is a little bit dodgy I’m just saying okay I
23:31don’t think he looks exactly like that that’s Norwegian Jesus and I Think Jesus was a Jew okay
23:41right okay sorry I just had
23:47so we don’t exactly know what he looks like but here’s the thing
23:53because of the testimony of John of Matthew of Mark of Paul we all believe
24:01that Jesus is Lord and God and here Jesus is saying to us who have never
24:06seen him who’ve never put our fingers into his nail scarred hands or into his
24:11side you are blessed and Jesus’s words of peace to the disciples also come to you
24:17peace be with you you believe you trust and so
24:23that’s the idea now let me weave in a little bit from our epistle attacks I’m kind of switching channels here let me
24:29read again that which we’ve seen that was which we’ve touched the life was manifest and we have seen it and we
24:35testify to it and Proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the father and was manifest to us that which we
24:43have seen and heard we Proclaim to you
24:49so that you may have fellowship with us John writes that’s right
24:54John’s writing to you it may not be cyranthus who is harassing
25:00you in teaching contrary to the apostles now the name always changes but the the
25:05motive is always the same I don’t believe that the apostles had it right
25:11I’ve got a better word than John I’ve got a far more accurate word than
25:16Matthew my insights and speculations are far closer to the truth than what we
25:22would get from Luke in the book of Acts or that ornery guy Paul and so come let
25:28me tell you my great ideas about Jesus they’re so much better than the apostles
25:34and people who think and act like this run run
25:40but believing the disciples and their testimony the ones who were sent
25:46we have fellowship with them we truly do and we have fellowship with the father
25:52and we have fellowship with Jesus Christ his son so John says we are writing these things
25:59so that our joy may be complete so this is the message that we’ve heard from him and we’ve Proclaim to you that God is
26:04light in him there’s no Darkness at all if we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness we lie and we
26:11do not practice the truth but if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the
26:17blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin
26:23all of it Jesus bled and died for all of your sin and then we have these words that are
26:29very familiar to us if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us why does John write these
26:36words well we learn from irenaeus that cyrenthus and his Gnostic buddies they
26:41basically believed that that in something called this spiritual sense
26:47and they believed that they were being saved by their Superior spiritual knowledge it’s called gnosis right and
26:55so they claimed that they can do as they pleased and they can do so without being
27:02contaminated by sin in fact some of corinthus’s buddies went so far as to
27:08basically praise men like Cain like Korah and praise Judas and to regard
27:16them as being gifted with Superior freedom of thought and intrepidy Intrepid and trepidity of action that’s
27:24a direct quote they also claim that since the soul attains Perfection only by knowledge or gnosis that it was
27:30actually required for people to do all kinds of evil so that they can attain perfection
27:38no joke the gnostics actually taught that if you really want to be saved you
27:44have to engage in all kinds of debauchery sins of the flesh so that you can have
27:50true knowledge of all things because you’re saved by your knowledge they taught
27:56so this is the back story what does John say if we say we have no sin we deceive
28:02ourselves and the truth is not in US written exactly against what cerenthus
28:10and his buddies were saying and think about this when somebody tells a lie when somebody deceives
28:17they usually do so to gain an advantage over another person or to keep themselves out of hot water
28:26you know I remember one of my first memories as a child
28:31is that I used to sneak into the kitchen take a kitchen chair
28:38scooch it over to the counter climb up onto the chair and then I would reach into the cookie
28:45jar and so one of my earliest memories is of me surreptitiously in the dark going
28:52through this procedure and while my hand is getting ready to go into the cookie jar
28:58on goes the light switch and lights go on in the kitchen and my mother then used my middle name
29:07it’s always a bad thing when my mom uses my middle name and it went something like this Christopher Michael what are
29:14you doing to which I said I’m getting you a cookie
29:24it was a great lie it was designed to deceive and make me look like I had
29:29nothing but love for my mother but it was a lie
29:35well the idea behind deception is that is it’s designed to kind of help the
29:41person telling the lie but John here says if we say we have no sin we deceive
29:47ourselves self-deception is the worst kind of
29:54deception what gain is there in self-deception there’s none none
29:59whatsoever there’s no advantage to it at all it is a miserable state
30:05if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us but if we confess our sins God he is
30:12faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we say we have not
30:18sinned we have we make him God a liar and his word is not in us so every point along
30:26the way is designed as an arrow against the heresies the false Doctrine the
30:33false teaching of cyrenthus and his gang who stupidly
30:40have exalted themselves above the Apostle John and think that
30:46they have a better word to give the world so John writes my little children I’m
30:51writing these things so that you may not sin but if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the father Jesus the
30:58righteous one he is the propitiation the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not
31:03only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world who has a better message
31:08to offer the world cyranthus who says oh you can engage in all kinds of sinful
31:14behavior and this is by the way in which you’re saved because you’re saved by
31:19knowledge and your knowledge isn’t complete until you’ve committed adultery until you’ve been so drunk that you your
31:26lungs are being puked out of your mouth right or the one who says
31:33no you are a sinner and this is sin this is what it means to
31:38fall short of the glory of God that Christ bled and died for these sins repent and and be forgiven the one who
31:46appeared to us said peace be with you because he had died for all of our sins
31:52who is it that’s bringing us a better message or John who was sent by Jesus serenthus
32:02or John yeah and John writes in his gospel now Jesus
32:09did many other signs and he saw them all in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book but why did
32:16John write his his gospel here’s what he says these things are written so that
32:22you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God and by believing you
32:28might have life in his name that is real good news
32:36but see the way of Heretics they always think they know better and today’s Heretics John calls them Antichrist
32:43today’s Heretics they say things like come on we live in the 21st century we all have smartphones now
32:50and you expect me to believe that Jesus was really born of the Virgin Mary really
32:57or that Jesus really Rose bodily from the grave nobody comes out of the grave
33:02it’s just got to be mythology and this idea of Jesus suffering for our sins how
33:09barbaric is that this is how they talk you really oh that
33:16makes God into a moral monster what kind of God would do that
33:22this is how they talk but you know what they have in common
33:27with cyrenthus they think they know better than the Apostle John
33:32and the eyewitnesses they think they have a better gospel to give to us and it’s no gospel at all
33:38and like cyrinthus they’ve never met Jesus but John has so who are you going to believe the one whom Jesus sent who
33:44says that you are forgiven repent believe be forgiven and live Jesus was
33:50dead and now he’s alive he did speak peace to us we touched him we handled
33:55him we put our fingers in his wounds in his
34:00hands and in his side we ate meals with him we saw these signs these things are written so that you
34:07might believe that he is the Christ and by believing have life in his name or the one who says bah humbug we know
34:15better than those silly disciples and those apostles come and follow us we’ll tell you what
34:20Christianity is really all about who are you going to believe because the same choice that the
34:28Ephesians had the same choice we have today as for me
34:34I’m going to go with John just seems to make sense
34:40in the name of Jesus amen [Music]
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