Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

January 24, 2013 in Abortion, Bible - OT - Psalms, Children, Meditations

Psalm 127:3–5 (NKJV)
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, a day fitting for us to meditate on the gift of life. As men and women made in the image of God, we rejoice in the gift of life and are reminded by the psalmist that the arrival of another child is a reward from God.
But our culture is askew. Rather than view the arrival of another child as a blessing, a gift from God, we frequently view children as a burden, a weight, a shackle. The fruit of the womb is not a blessing but a curse. We have become so consumed with our love of convenience and pleasure and ease that we have come to hate children. We have come to embrace fruitlessness and to reject fruitfulness.
This embrace of fruitlessness is manifest in many of the policies of our current president. He has openly sanctioned the abomination of abortion, has refused to reissue a proclamation for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, has instead used the month of January to advocate his contraceptive mandate, and has officially declared June to be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered month. And what are all these things but an embrace of fruitlessness and death?
As we consider this national sin, we need to beware lest we as individual believers in Christ give way to the spirit of the age and subtly embrace this love of fruitlessness ourselves. Children are a heritage from the Lord – and we need to receive them and shepherd them and train them as such. Even as a man is called to care for the inheritance he has received from his fathers, so a man is called to care for the inheritance God has given him in the form of his children. We are called to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord – teaching them, training them, instructing them.
So fathers, how are you doing? Don’t just proclaim that children are a blessing – act it out by being engaged with the blessings God has given you. Take time to shepherd them, to correct them, to admonish them, to encourage them – invest in your children so that they can indeed act like a blessing and not a curse – to you and to their neighbors. Your goal is that your children rise up to worship and serve the Living God by loving their neighbors.
In the same fashion, as God’s people generally, we need to beware that we are receiving and welcoming all of God’s people into our congregation – particularly the little ones. For of such is the kingdom of God.
Reminded that we have rejected the blessing of fruitfulness and embraced fruitlessness instead, let us kneel and confess our sin to the Lord.

The Blessing of Children

December 20, 2012 in Abortion, Bible - OT - Psalms, Children, Meditations

Psalm 127:3–5 (NKJV)
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
This morning we meditate in the sermon on the nature of the songs we sing around Christmas – songs that celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. When Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to a Son this was received for what it was – good news, Gospel, glad tidings of great joy. Why? Because children are a blessing from God.
It is this reality that the psalmist sings today. Behold children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is his reward.
Increasingly as a culture we have come to the conclusion that children are a burden more than a blessing. Birth control has, under the Obama administration, become a right as near and dear as life itself. The insurance companies are positively tripping over themselves to assure us all that there is no longer any copay for birth control pills while coverage for maternity costs becomes subject to increasingly high deductibles. The system increasingly highlights the cost of children.
But the psalms focus on the blessing. Does it cost something to have children? Absolutely. Is it at times a struggle to bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Absolutely. But the psalms orient us to the blessing. Children are a heritage from the Lord – children are God’s reminder to us that he intends to bless us and to cause us to inherit the earth. The fruit of the womb is his reward – a treasure far greater than second homes, new cars, expensive toys, or undistracted minds.
So, brothers and sisters, let us remember at this time that Mary responded in faith by rejoicing in the news that she would bear a child and let us imitate her by giving thanks for the children that God has given us and anticipating with joy the arrival of others. And let us confess that as a culture we have despised the little ones – let us kneel as we do so.

The Sin of Abortion

March 1, 2012 in Abortion, Bible - OT - Amos, Meditations

Amos 1:13–15 (NKJV)
13 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead, That they might enlarge their territory. 14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, And it shall devour its palaces, Amid shouting in the day of battle, And a tempest in the day of the whirlwind. 15 Their king shall go into captivity, He and his princes together,” Says the Lord.
This last Wednesday marked the beginning of a roughly 40 day period that has since the 10th century been called Lent. This period calls us to anticipate and prepare for the celebration of the great feast of Easter – that most momentous of holy days when we commemorate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus from the dead. But the very fact that we celebrate His resurrection reminds us that Jesus died – died for our sin and rebellion, died for our transgressions. And Jesus’ death reminds us that we are called to die to sin, to die to the old Adam, the way of life that despises God and His law and substitutes human wisdom in its stead. And so Lent is appropriately  a time to focus upon specific sins that call for public confession and repentance.
In our congregation the specific issue that we have tied to this period of time is that of abortion. This is the greatest blot on our much blotted national character. Since 1973 we have slaughtered approximately 50 million children, 50 million children who will rise up and condemn this generation in the day of judgment.
Just this week Secretary of State Clinton called the actions of Russia and China “despicable” – that was her word – because they failed to authorize UN sanctions against Syria. In the last several months Syrian President Assad has used increasing force to suppress a rebellion in his country and several thousand individuals have lost their lives as a result.
Regardless of the Syrian question in itself, let me remind us all that this Hilary Clinton who declared the failure of Russia and China to stand against the death of a few thousand individuals in Syria “despicable” is the same Clinton whose hands are red with the blood of innocent children here within our own borders. This is the same Hilary Clinton whose husband while President and whose current President countenance the slaughter of millions of children while still in the womb. And she has the gall to declare the actions of Russia and China despicable? How dare we Americans condemn Syria for deaths in the thousands when each year we slaughter over a million of our own children within our very borders? Will not the Lord hold us accountable for such shameful hypocrisy? Indeed he will.
And it is this that our text from Amos declares to us today. The people of Ammon are condemned for ripping open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to expand their own borders. In other words, the people of Ammon slaughtered these children for their own advantage. They wanted greater power, greater welath, greater prestige, greater influence, greater control – and these children stood in the way of all that. And so Ammon slaughtered the infants of Gilead.
And is this not the driving force behind abortion? Selfish convenience? I want to avoid the shame of having conceived a child out of wedlock, so I slaughter my child. I want to have more disposable income, so I slaughter my child. I want to avoid the inconvenience of raising a child, so I slaughter my child. And what is God’s attitude toward such selfishness; nay, more than selfishness, evil? He detests and abhors it – and promises that His hand of judgment will fall on Ammon and bring her to the ground. 
And so reminded of our sin, reminded that like Ammon we have made war on those children yet in the womb, let us kneel and confess our sins to the Lord. We will have a time of private confession followed by the public confession found in your bulletin.

Sanctity of Life Sunday

February 7, 2011 in Abortion, Bible - OT - Ezekiel, Children, Meditations

Ezekiel 16:20-21 (NKJV)
Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to [your idols] to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter, that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire?

Once upon a time there was a couple, man and wife, who longed to have a child. But for some years the wife could not become pregnant. Finally to their great delight she found herself with child and husband and wife both eagerly awaited the birth of their first child

It just so happened that this couple lived near a walled garden that was owned by a terrible enchantress, the Witch Gothel. Each day the wife glanced down into the garden and as her pregnancy progressed she developed a craving for the rapunzel that she saw growing there. She begged and pleaded with her husband to get some of the rapunzel for her but he refused – the wrong of stealing coupled with fear of the witch enabled him to resist her pleas. But the wife became so desperate that she ceased eating altogether and her husband grew alarmed. Soon his fear for his wife overcame his scruples and his fear of the witch. He broke into the garden and obtained his prize.

His wife was delighted. She made herself a great salad and devoured the rapunzel. But her feast only increased her hunger. The next day she demanded that her husband return to the garden for more – and then the next day again. But this time just as the husband made away with his prize he was discovered by the witch. Great was her wrath as she loomed above him.

“How dare you steal from my garden?” demanded the witch. “Prepare to die!”

“Please,” begged the husband, “have mercy! I would not have dared to steal from your garden but my wife is pregnant with our first child and declared that she would die without this rapunzel.”

At these words Gothel’s demeanor softened though her lips curled in derision and her eyes bore a hungry look. “Very well, you may take the rapunzel to your wife. But this is the price you must pay – when your wife has borne this child, you must give it to me.”

The man agreed. After all, what else could he do? He had stolen from her garden and would lose his own life if he refused. So he departed with the rapunzel. Soon his wife gave birth to their child, a daughter. Immediately Witch Gothel appeared to claim her prize and the parents watched helpless as she took the child away. They were brokenhearted.

The story of Rapunzel reminds us that when we choose to serve other gods, they frequently give us their goods – even as Witch Gothel gave the husband the rapunzel – but these goods always come at a cost. And that cost is frequently our children. It was for this abomination, the abomination of handing their children over to their idols, that God exhorts the people of Israel through His prophet Ezekiel.
Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to [your idols] to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter, that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire?

Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday. Yesterday was the 38th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision. Since then Americans alone have slaughtered approximately 52 million human beings, offered them up to our gods and polluted our hands with blood. In America the gods that we have been worshiping – consumerism, greed, money, power, influence, convenience, beauty – have been demanding our children. We’ve made a pact with the Witch Gothel and now we’re giving her our children. Even more tragically, many of these slaughtered children were slain by professing Christians. We have taken God’s children and caused them to pass through the fire.

Is there hope? Only in our dear Prince, the Lord Jesus Christ. He can rescue us from our insanity, deliver us from the madness that has overtaken us, and take us to His own kingdom. For though He too demands our children, He demands them that they might live not that they might die. So let us listen to Him, hear His voice, and turn from the false gods we have worshiped.

Reminded that we have been worshiping other gods and sacrificing our children to them, let us kneel and confess our sins to the Lord.

No, Mr. President

March 9, 2010 in Abortion, Covenantal Living, Ten Commandments

During Lent our congregation is making special mention of the abortion massacre in our country – both confessing our national toleration and petitioning the Lord for deliverance. John Piper’s excerpt below is a stirring and passionate reminder why such prayer is needed.