God Values Life, So Should We—Selected Texts

INTRODUCTION

 

Sanctity of Life Sunday is a day to remember that life is a precious gift from God, whether it moments after conception or a frail, unconscious person moments from taking his last breath. Life is precious.

 

Several years ago, my first Christian mentor died of brain cancer. His final days were painful. His son, Jason, however, saw his father’s life as precious. The church that Jason pastored also saw his father’s life as precious and gave Jason all the time he needed to be with his father before he died. Jason wrote a thank you to his church:

 

Because of your kindness, I could be one to help Dad in those last few weeks when he first couldn’t put on his shoes, then his clothes, then couldn’t move from one place to another alone. You made it possible for me to be the one to spend his last night with, hold his hand, tell him I loved him, and witness his leaving for Home. “Thank you” will never seem like enough, but there are no other words (from an open letter to his church).

 

There are many today in our nation who would suggest that a lot of trouble, pain, and expense could be spared if, when someone like my friend got to the point of no return, we should simply inject them with a lethal drug and get it over with. It would be more convenient for everyone.

 

Abortion is a convenience issue as well. People will say that abortions are sometimes necessary to save the mother’s life; they pretend that there is a great medical necessity for abortions (a late-term abortion is NEVER medically necessary to save a mother’s life because the baby can be taken via C-section). The simple fact is that the vast majority of abortions are performed out of convenience, despite the rationalizations that might be put forth to justify it.

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Rejoicing Over The Lost—Luke 15:1-10

INTRODUCTION 

 

Have you ever been lost? We all have been at one time or another. In fact, there are some here that are still lost—you’ll know what I mean in a few minutes.

 

A few months ago, Amanda Eller went hiking in Hawaii and got lost in a 2,000 acre forest reserve. She only intended to go for a short walk, but at one point, she got turned around and after hours of hiking, got hopelessly lost. Then she fell 20 feet off a steep cliff, fracturing her leg. Then she lost her shoes in a flash flood. When rescuers finally found her 17 days later, she was miles from her car. You can just imagine the joy she and her family felt when she was found. Someone used the word, “elated.”

 

Being found and joy go hand-in-hand. Not just for the one who was lost, but also for their family, and for those involved in the rescue (in Amanda’s case, that was about 150 or so, including one who was fired from his job for spending too much time with the rescue). The Pharisees and scribes, we are told, did not like the idea of rescuing people—

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Are You A Disciple?—Luke 14:25-35

INTRODUCTION 

 

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple

 

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple

 

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

 

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple

 

34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 14:25–35)

 

Three times in this passage, Jesus makes the statement, “cannot be my disciple.” What is meant by “disciple”?

 

The word for disciple appears 269 times in the New Testament—all of them in the Gospels and Acts. It does not appear at all in the rest of the New Testament.

 

The word “disciple” (mathētēs) means a follower or learner.  A disciple was someone who followed and learned from a teacher. We usually think of Jesus having disciples, but so did John the Baptist (Matthew 9:14), the Pharisees (Matthew 22:16), and Paul (Acts 9:25).

 

Jesus had many disciples who followed Him (Luke 6:17), but sometimes they stopped following Him and left (John 6:66; Luke 19:37-39). This tells us that not every disciple was a true believer in Christ. Those disciples who left, came to Jesus to learn if He was the Messiah and, finding Him not to their expectations, they left.

 

In our passage today, Jesus places some very strict requirements on being His disciple. As we look at His requirements, be asking yourself: is being a disciple the same as being a believer? 

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The War We All Fight—2 Corinthians 10:3-5

INTRODUCTION 

 

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:3–5)

 

THE FACT OF THE WAR (10:3)

 

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh [as human beings], we do not war after the flesh [human standards]: 

 

Most of the time, people know whether or not if a war is going on. Can you imagine being a Polish citizen in September of 1939? The German Blitzkrieg was overwhelming the Polish from the West. From the East, the Soviet armies were marching in. Suddenly your town and home is being bombed, shelled, and overran. It seems so unfair, because of the desires of dictators in Berlin and Moscow, you no longer have a home. You have only the few possessions you can carry as you join hundreds of refugees walking down a road to a place that is safe (if there is a safe place). Most of the time, people know if there’s a war going on.

 

Did you know that, if you are a Christian, you are in the midst of a war? You might say, “Well, from time to time, it sure does feel like it!” Maybe when you’ve had a bad day at work, or a bad argument with your spouse, or an illness suddenly besets you. Those days do indeed feel like a war.

 

But our text tells us that we are in a war all the time.

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The Light Rejected, The Light Received—John 1:9-13

INTRODUCTION

 

So far, in the Gospel of John, we’ve seen Jesus Christ described using two words. The first was simply, “the Word,” and the second, “the Light.” The first emphasizes God’s desire to communicate with His creation. The second displays God’s ability to shine in our hearts, reveal our sin and point us in the true way. 

 

Now, in the next verses, we are challenged to respond to the Word and the Light. There are two possible responses—and only two—rejection and reception. 

 

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:9–13)

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Jesus Is Light And Life—John 1:3-8

INTRODUCTION 

 

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (John 1:3–8)

 

In this passage, it seems that verse 5 stands as a key verse, so let’s start with it. 

 

THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS

 

John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended [overcame] it not.

 

What is this “light” and what is the “darkness” that it is shining in? 

 

The light is Jesus Christ Himself. Later in the Gospel of John, Jesus says—

 

…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

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Jesus Christ Is The Eternal God—John 1:1-2

1) JESUS CHRIST IS THE WORD

 

John 1:1 IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 

 

To our modern ears, it might be strange to call another person “the Word” (logos). But while it might be strange to us, it wasn’t strange to either the Jews or the Greeks. 

 

The Jews shied away from using God’s name at all, lest they accidentally use it in vain. They would substitute other titles—like “Heaven”—instead of pronouncing the divine name. Another title they would have used was, “the Word.” Any Jew reading this would have known from the first phrase who John was talking about. 

 

The Greeks also used this title, “the Word,” but not in the same way as the Jews. They would have used it to refer to the ultimate reason or the purpose of the universe. They would have used it more in an impersonal sense or philosophical sense rather than a personal sense.

 

Both Jews and Greeks reading the Gospel of John would have been hooked from the very first line. For both Jews and Greeks, John points them to a specific person. Who is the Word? John makes that clear in later verses:

 

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (John 1:14–15)

 

The Word made flesh? John being His forerunner and witness? This can only be referring to Jesus. For the Jewish reader, their own God was made flesh. For the Greek reader, the impersonal reason behind the universe was, in fact, a person!

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