Monday, January 25, 2010

“Speaking The Truth for Life” (Ephesians 4:15)

S-1163 01/17/10 Sanctity of Human Life Sunday/3C (O) #14; (S) LSB 526, v2, 4; (C) #32

Texts: Job 10:8-12; Ephesians 4:14-16; John 17:14-19

Theme: “Speaking The Truth for Life” (Ephesians 4:15)

Question: “Do you have trouble balancing truth and love?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is from the Epistle Lesson: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15)

Introduction: In Nomine Iesu

Beloved of the Lord, chosen and redeemed, the devil has been lying to people ever since the Garden of Eden. The father of lies has been manipulating men’s hearts continuously telling them there is no absolute truth. So much so, that many have bought into the lie that a fetus is nothing but a blob of tissue. However, you can’t twist the truth or deny it, because the truth always wins out.

Jesus Himself taught us saying, I Am the Way, and The TRUTH, and the Life. But even before Jesus spoke these words, the truth was already evident in Holy Scripture. When a young virgin was told by an angel she would conceive and give birth to a son—He was telling her the truth. This young lady—Mary traveled to Bethlehem and while greeting her relative Elizabeth, Elizabeth stated, “At the sound of your greeting the child leaped for joy within my womb!” Both ladies were with child and the truth of the matter is that wonderful gift in the womb wasn’t a blob of tissue that began to leap because Elizabeth had a Middle Eastern burrito or indigestions, but rather because it is a living, moving, active child.

On this day that we set aside to observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we want to speak about the Truth for Life. It is very important that our voice be heard by all people, whether they acknowledge it or not, whether they believe it or not, or whether they practice it or not. What is important for us is to speak the truth in love for Life.

Paul in his letter to the Ephesians charged them saying: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15). The question then becomes important for us. How do we as God’s beloved children, speak the truth in love for Life? How do we convey the message that every human being in this world born or unborn is precious in God’s sight? How do we, tell the world that has been deceived for so many years with half truths, that you can know the truth; believe the truth and live in the truth that what is in the womb is not just a glob of tissue, or nothing, but a human being fashioned and formed in the image of God.

Today, we are not talking about ideology, philosophy, or idolatry but about theology—that is, God’s Life-Giving Word. This Word is truth, regardless of how that truth affects our lives. We often look at truth in the short term, how it affects me now, not how it will affect me for years and eternity to come. This is exactly what the devil likes to do by leading us to think of half-truth rather than the Truth that God speaks about in His Word.

Keeping truth alive is important. It’s important in the Church. Paul recognized that in his time. To keep from being tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, to keep that which is wrong from ruling in the world, in the church and in the lives of God’s people, Paul says speak the truth, the truth of Christ and His Word. It’s VERY important in the Church today. We need to speak it to one another, to help each other grow in the knowledge of God’s truth so we will not be so easily influenced by the latest fashion, fabrication and falsification. Yes, we need to speak the truth, but not in a way that condemns or condescends. Rather, Paul says, we are to speak the truth in love.

So often we only get that half right. We either forget the truth or we forget the love. Just speaking in love is not enough. Trying not to say anything that would offend or trying to be tolerant of false teaching so you won’t rock the boat leads us to confuse what truth and love. How loving is it to keep someone perishing in a lie to remain in that lie? Just speaking the truth is not enough. Yelling and screaming truth at someone sets up walls of defense. And they don’t hear the truth at all. But when we speak the truth in love, Paul says we “grow up”! We “grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ” (15b). Ignoring falsehood and wrong does not make the Church “one big happy family.” Lovingly confronting falsehood and wrong with the truth of Christ on the other hand, unites us as the Body of Christ with Him as our head.

Today we observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Keeping truth alive in the Church when it comes to the sanctity of human life is important. Of course, we stir things up a bit in the Body of Christ when we talk about the life issues, things like abortion and embryonic stem cell research and assisted suicide. These issues can be divisive. Some may think such things are political issues that we should not be talking about in the church. Some may think the opposite—that Christian participation and action is needed to influence society. Others might think they are personal issues and decisions and we shouldn’t be judging. For some it may indeed be very personal because they have been involved in such decisions in the past and it hurts to hear it talked about. So talking about the life issues in church can stir things up, but our purpose is not to divide, destroy or to damn; but to bring about deliverance with the Truth of the Gospel. PAUSE.

As caring brothers and sisters, we want others who have heard the father of lies speaking half truth, to know and be certain that the Word’s of Christ are TRUTH. And this truth sets them free from guilt, and sin and death. You may have swallowed the half truth—the lies of our society, that is promoted so often by planned parenthood that it is nothing but a choice—A choice of convenience, a choice of ease, a choice of denial, a choice of freedom.

But this is not a matter of choice. Rather it is a matter of life and truth and love. For this reason Jesus came into the world to let us know the TRUTH, that life is precious in His sight. David in that blessed Psalm wrote: “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. our eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (139:13-17) read this Word again and again and you will know how precious you are in God’s sight.

How precious you might ask? Then lift your eyes from where you are and look to the cross. Do you see Him…hanging there. Look closely at His face; do you see the blood trickling down His cheeks? Do you see the nails piercing His hands and feet? Do you see the split in His side? Do you see the choice the religious leaders of His day made, to end a life that did not fit into their plans, to get rid of someone who was standing between where they were and where they wanted to be? You see that choice was not so much different than the choices people make everyday. Choices that end the lives of the unborn. Choices that end the lives of the infirmed. Choices that end the lives the unloved. Choices that would take God’s power into their (our) own hands.

The difference was that that choice was part of God’s plan from the beginning. A plan that would take Satan’s lies and turn them into truth. A plan that would take death and turn it into life. A plan that would give help to the helpless, and light to the blind. You see, on that cross Jesus paid for all of the sinful choices you and I have made. There in the giving of His life He gives us new life. Life that allows us to know His love and His promise, life that allows us to be able to share His truth in love with those in love with Satan’s lies.

You see, just as Jesus said, He is the Way, the TRUTH and the life, so too, did Zechariahs and Elizabeth had no real choice but to nurture and raise John. Joseph and Mary had no choice but to nurture and raise Jesus. You and I have no choice but to sing praises to our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For it is He who cares for us. He washes us clean in the waters of holy baptism; He feeds and nourishes us with His Body and His Blood. He comforts and protects us with Word. Preparing us to go forth proclaiming His truth in love for life. So that all might know that He cherishes all life. Yes, the life of the unborn, the infirmed, the unloved. Yes even your life and mine.

By the Grace of God and His Spirit, we want to make a difference in this world of ours. We, who know the truth, ought to speak up in love for the truth of life. We will by the power of the Holy Spirit speak the truth in love for life more among ourselves. May we educate ourselves, not just on the life issues, but on what Christ’s Word of Truth has to say about them, so that we can grow together in every way into Him who is the head and bring glory to His name.

I pray that as the Redeemed children of the heavenly Father, we speak the truth in love about the value and dignity of human life out there into our society and share it, boldly and courageously but always in love. God grant us the joy, privilege and compassion to speak the truth in love for life now and always. Amen.

Now the peace…

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