Sunday, January 19, 2014

“She Chose Life” (Isaiah 49:1)

S-1408 SOHLS/3A 1/19/2014 Hymns: (O) #394; (S) #725 LSB (C) #398

Texts: Isaiah 49:1-7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42a

Theme: “She Chose Life” (Isaiah 49:1)

Question: “What value do you put on life?” Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! The text for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is from the O.T. lesson “Listen to Me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called Me from the womb, from the body of My mother He named My name” (Isaiah 49:1).


Precious children of the heavenly Father, today we give thanks to our mothers and fathers who gave us life through the grace of God. Today, we observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Today, we declare to the world that every life is precious in the sight of God no matter how that life is brought forth—whether in the confine of marriage or out of wedlock. Today, we declare to the world that life is God’s gift to us and we have no right to destroy life by any means including abortion. To that end, we call upon the Holy Spirit to use us in spite of us to protect the life of the unborn, and provide support to anyone who find themselves in unexpected pregnancy.

In the most unusual place, under the most difficult situation, in her hour of desperation she spoke only four words. But oh the power of these four words. These four words brought light in a dark room. These four words brought peace to a troubled heart. These four words made a difference in someone’s life. These four words changed life for the person who spoke them, and to others. You know what these four words were: “I CAN’T DO IT!”

“I can’t do it!” Were the words spoken by a very frightened and scared young girl. She was only 13 and got pregnant. She was afraid to tell her mother of what had happened. Her fear drove her to an abortion mill to get rid of the evidence. But as she visited with the people at the butcher shop, she struggled with the thought she is about to murder the precious life that is growing in her womb. She was about to snuff the life out of a baby that is developing within her. Therefore, instead of death, SHE CHOSE LIFE. And we give thanks to the Lord for the godly decision.

Nine months later the 13 years old gave birth to a baby girl. Ultimately she chose not only to give her life, but to give her up for adoption—and a family that would be able to care for all of her needs. The fortunate couple was the singer John Elefante and his wife. Recently John dedicated a song to his adopted daughter Sami called “This Time”. (I will show you the video after the Divine Service).

This young 13 years old girl chose life. How thankful we are that she did. Just ask John and his wife how blessed they are because she chose life. Ask John and his wife how they felt when they held her in their arms, wiped away her tears, rejoiced at her uttering “daddy, mommy.” That life is so precious that her dad dedicated a song to his daughter in thanksgiving to the goodness of the Lord. PAUSE.

On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday we hear the prophet Isaiah proclaiming God’s Word saying: “Listen to Me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called Me from the womb, from the body of My mother He named My name.” God the Father and Author of life, created man in His own image, declares to us that life is precious. Even from the womb He has known us, given us a purpose and called us by name. That purpose is not clear at times in our lives only to God, but He has given us this purpose. This was true of the people of Judah in their Babylonian captivity. It is true of our lives, and even true in the case of those unplanned pregnancies!

With these words Isaiah states that the Servant joins others who were set apart at birth for God’s purposes. The expression “from the womb” connects the Servant with Yahweh’s choice of the nation, as well as with Isaiah’s Immanuel prophecy (Is 7:14) and other Messianic texts that reference birth. Because the Servant was set apart to be our Savior, we have likewise been elected before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in Christ (Eph 1:4–5). This Servant is Jesus our Immanuel—God with us—who comes to us to bring about salvation.

From the womb Jesus was set apart to save every person in the whole wide world. What Israel as a nation couldn’t do, the Messiah, the Suffering Servant would accomplish through His birth to a young girl who was not married, through His perfect life on earth, through His brutal demise on Calvary’s cross, and by rising from the grave on the third day; He gives us LIFE. Precious life. Eternal life. PAUSE.

The prophet Isaiah makes it clear that God loves life-even life from the womb. For He knows each and every one of us. In the book of Jeremiah we hear these words: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (1:5), again the Psalmist declares: “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. Your 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”
(139:13-16). Yes, God loves life. That is why He created it in the first place.

But not all people love life. At least not human life. Just recently I saw an ad from the The American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals that turned my stomach upside down. Here is some of what I heard in the commercial: “Every single day of the year, we are rescuing animals from a lifetime of cruelty, violence and pain. Your commitment makes it possible for our life-saving programs to create happy endings for those innocent lives touched by cruelty. 60c A Day Saves lives, give a little to make a big difference for animals. 12 Gifts in 12 months, Give a little, change a lot.” I’m not against supporting animals if you are an animal lover. But what about the unborn? Daily about 3500 babies are burned with sailene, cut in pieces and put to death. But you don’t hear of the cruelty and pain they experience they call that a woman’s choice.

How tragic that we have disregarded the Word of God and followed the ways of the world. Rather than supporting and protecting life-born and unborn many are busy destroying it. That is why it is important for us today to hear the word of Isaiah again: “Listen to Me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called Me from the womb, from the body of My mother He named My name.” Yes, listen and hear God’s Word of promise. The lord, who formed His only-begotten Son in the womb of the Virgin, has called Him to come forth and be a great light in the midst of the darkness, a great light shining throughout all the earth. The darkness has reigned far too long. The evil one has extended his rule and set his throne upon our earth. His governance is oppression, and he enslaves the citizens with his wickedness. For too long he has roamed about, seeking to devour, terrorizing the people of the land. They cry out, they groan under the load, they gasp in pain—how long, O Lord? How long?

Daily we have seen this darkness. Daily we have known the evil of this world. Life has been deluded, discarded and destroyed. It seems like we put more value on things than life. Even more shameful, is how often our world values the life of an animal over human life. PAUSE.

But on this Life Sunday, let me stop and say: “To each of you here today, welcome in the name of Him who values life—Jesus the Christ. Some of you are burdened because of abortion. Some of you are burdened because of adultery. Some of you are burdened because of gambling, pornography, alcoholol or whatever your secret sin is. I’m glad you are here. You see it is not the sin of abortion that separates us from God, but it is sin period.” I’m so glad the Holy Spirit has moved you to come today, to receive His grace and forgiveness.

O Life Sunday, I announce to you in the name of Christ Jesus the One who was appointed before the foundation of the world and called YOU out of the womb, YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN!

I am so thankful to the good Lord that this 13 years old girl chose life. I am so thankful that John Elefante chose to love his daughter Sami and dedicated a song for her. But I am most thankful on this Life Sunday that Christ chose death for you and me so that we may have everlasting life with Him beginning now and forever in eternity. Amen.

Now the peace…


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