Monday, January 24, 2011

“God Can USE You!” (Mt. 4:18-20).

S-1231 3SAE//3A 01/23/10 Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Hymns from LSB (O) #851; #725; (S) #826; #866; LS. #867; #620; #862; (C) #924

Text: Isaiah 9:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-25

Theme: “God Can USE You!” (Mt. 4:18-20).

Question: “Do you value LIFE?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the Third Sunday of the Epiphany is from the Gospel: “While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Mt. 4:18-20).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

You who are the most treasure possession in God’s sight and loved by Him eternally hear the words of life so that you can celebrate life because life is a most precious gift from Him who is the Lord of LIFE, Jesus Christ.

Today, as we gather in His house and read the Book of life, we see how the Savior takes simple fishermen, common ordinary men from Galilee and make them the best fisher of men in the world. They go on His mission; they carry the torch of life and love, and share the hope of glory that their teacher and Rabbi has taught them. For 3 years these men walked with the Savior, accompanied Him, saw Him heal the sick, raise the dead and taught that life is precious from the womb to the tomb.

From Capernaum they go out and reach the end of the world—even reaching you. And today, the Savior equips you, common ordinary men and women, boys and girls to be used by Him to bring about the healing ointment of the Gospel to those who are walking in the darkness of sin.

On this Life Sunday, I implore you fellow saints in the name of Him who is Life, Jesus, to join me on this journey and see how the God of the universe will use you as He used others.

In our Gospel reading today, we heard the Savior calling these Galilean men to follow Him and He will make them become fishers of men. And indeed, by His power and might they did become the greatest fishermen the world has ever seen. They went far and near to proclaim the salvation that is found in Jesus. They spoke with young and old. They told them of His life and ministry. They told of His death and resurrection. They spared no expense to get the Word out that Jesus is the Lord of life and love. They even paid the price with their lives to be used by Him, so others might know Him and become His fisher of men. PAUSE.

These Galilean men are not the only ones who have been called by Jesus to follow Him. You, too, have been called. Yes, you sitting here in the pew have been called by the Gospel, and through Baptism have been marked as one who has been touched by the loving hands of Him who knit you together in your mother’s womb.

So why then, are we not at all time being used by the Savior to tell His story? Why don’t we stand up for the life of the unborn? Why don’t we do all we can to promote and preserve life at every stage including the unborn? Simply, because we choose not to be used by God. We want to do what is good for us and shut our eyes against the inhumanity of the unborn.

This past week I was visiting with one of our members and he was relating to me of what Kimberly Martinez (the director of the Alpha Center “a pregnancy crisis center in Sioux Falls”) said to our Lutherans For Life chapter while meeting in Alexandria. Kimberly stated that a pregnant woman walked to the office. After Kimberly spent considerable time attempting to convince her that life is precious and she shouldn’t abort the baby. She refused to hear any of Kimberly’s advice. Kimberly suggested an ultra sound, perhaps seeing the baby moving and having all of his fingers and toes might deter her, again she was adamant about the destruction of that little gift in the womb. Kimberly thought of one final plan. She took her behind the office and showed her the many plaques of baby’s lives that were spared in the Garden of Life; the woman was still not convinced. Finally, the woman said, “I know I am killing a human being, but I DON’T CARE, I’m going to do it anyway!!!”

Now we may sit here and wonder how could any woman be so callous, cruel, cold-hearted and calculating on destroying life? How could you see a life knit together in your womb and still end that life because you want to? How could you terminate it by destroying not only one life, but many who will never hold that child! Think of the father, uncles and aunts, cousins, grandparents and friends. Why? Because she has chosen not be used by God to be a caring and loving mother. She has chosen to walk in darkness instead of the light.

But we are not any better. Don’t think for a moment you are better than that woman because you have not ended the life of a child. Why do I say that? So many of us don’t let God use us. Yes, you heard me right. It is discouraging that in a congregation of 100 + we can’t get a slate of volunteers to serve as ushers or be greeters. We can’t meet the budget. We can’t always get people to stand up for what is right. We can’t get people to do what is right for the benefit of all. We are so selfish and desire only that which is good for us

Do you know that on the average 10% of the people of this congregation carry the weight for the other 90%. Many of you come to God’s house and expect everything to be ready. Lights on, heat on, bulletins folded, side walk cleaned. But do you ever wonder who does it? Do you even care? Sadly many of us DON’T. Many of us don’t even care about Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because we make it out to be a political problem. This is not a political problem but a spiritual problem.

But it doesn’t have to be that way my beloved and you His most treasured possession. God wants to use you like He did the men of Galilee. He wants you to continue to invite the little ones to come to Him. For He specifically stated, “Let the little children come to Me!” Jesus loved the little one and old ones too. He died for all so that they may have life to the full. The cross is for them just as much as it is for YOU.

God wants to use you to speak and speak loudly of His grace to those who are still walking in their selfish and self-centered ways; who pe rmit the darkness to rule their lives and hearts. Who have no joy in their lives because they let circumstances rule and reign on them. How sad, we are part of that group. How sad that we don’t protect the little ones, the vulnerable ones, the innocent ones and the precious ones—for they belong to Him. He knit them together by His grace and love. Even they have been purchased and won by the holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death of our dear Lord Jesus Christ!

So why are we here today? Why are we observing a Sunday called, “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday”? Isn’t that getting a little political? Are we doing this because we live in a society that does not uphold the God-given value of human life? No, there is more to it than that. We do not uphold the sanctity of human life because we live in a society that doesn’t, but because we serve a GOD WHO DOES. Why are we observing this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday? Is it because life is precious? No, there is even more to it than that. We uphold the sanctity of human life because life is precious TO GOD! Life is so precious to Him that He was willing to sacrifice the life of His One and ONLY Son!

The Word of God On the page, in the flesh and on the Cross, before us today raises the life issues—things like abortion and assisted suicide—way above the political realm. The Word of God before us today reminds us why it is important for us who are members of the Body of Christ to address these issues. The Word of God before us today tells us that every human life is a life created by God, every human life is a life for whom Jesus Christ died, and every human life is a life Jesus desires to take into His arms and call to an eternal relationship with Him.

Yes, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God wants to use you. Yes, I am talking to each and every one of you here today. God brought you here today to equip you as you hear His Word of forgiveness for all sins. God brought you here to feed you, nurture and equip you to be fishermen for Him. God brought you here to show you that you can be used by Him, who was used by the heavenly Father to give His life for all sinners—YOU.

But this call is for more than just today. It is a call that is more than for us just to sit here. God is here with us to make us fishers of men. We are His net to be cast into the sea of this sin darkened world to bring life. As we have been made whole by Christ, we are used by the Holy Spirit to catch them so that they too might be brought to Jesus and made whole. This includes even callous sinners like the young woman Kimberly was ministering to. May we by the power of the Holy Spirit continually be used to share the words of hope with all people by going fishing daily, defend the unborn, preserve life and share the good news with a world that desperately needs it. God grant it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Now the peace of God.

Soli Deo Gloria

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