Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, the Sunday closest to the day the US Supreme Court issued its worst ruling in the history of the court, when it legalized child sacrifice, we call abortion. Before I begin, I want to give a very clear word of life and hope to anyone who has had an abortion or has been involved with someone getting one. Our God is gracious and merciful, He As the pastor here I want to declare our love and support for anyone who needs it. As I speak this morning if you are feeling covered up with shame, know that just means you are not yet free, and Satan still has his hooks in you. Shame is God’s grace to move us toward His forgiveness and freedom in Christ. Confess and repent and He will set you free, His perfect love casts out all fear and sin. And when Satan reminds you of what you have done, remind Him of what Jesus has done for you. Let me show you an honest, healthy, hope filled way of dealing with sin.
This evening is a continuation from this morning, a part two, to our new year’s emphasis on the importance and value of reading God’s Word faithfully. The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a story about the adequacy or sufficiency of Scripture. The rich man basically said Moses and the Prophets aren’t enough to convince someone of their need for salvation. He wants something more than the Word of God. Maybe another miracle, maybe some dramatic experience, maybe someone rising from the dead? What God said isn’t enough. If I told you that God told me that the Scripture is sufficient for our faith and practice and eternal salvation, would you believe me? Would you believe me about the part where I said that God told me? You should only accept one reason for me saying that. If I say it based on Scripture.
As I mentioned last Sunday, it is my custom to begin each new year with a reminder and call to prayer and Scripture reading. I feel a burden and a challenge this morning. How can I impress on you the infinite value in knowing God’s Word? How can I convince you to read your Bible regularly, daily? How can I persuade you that it is not as boring as you think? How can I help you to see real benefit and fruit and blessing in your life by spending time reading your Bible? We don’t have to convince King David, it is clear he values his Bible as a priceless treasure filled with incomparable gems. It revives his soul when he’s weary, it makes him wise when he is plagued with questions and doubts, it gives joy to his heart and light to his eyes. To this rich king his Bible is better than great quantities of pure gold and it gives more pleasure and delight than the sweetest honey. It was his life and his lifeline. But who thinks of the Bible that way today? Who of us would nod in agreement with what David said? Who of us would say this is our experience when we come to the Bible? Better than gold? Sweeter than honey? Really? Why isn’t it? Have you thought about that?
How many of you would say that you prayed as much as you planned to and read the Bible as much as you planned to in 2019? Good, so we have established that we all failed to some degree in our devotional lives in 2019. But here is the more important question, did we give it a good go in 2019? Did we try? Did we make a conscious effort? In other words, did we fail in the right direction, did we fail going forward? At the beginning of each year I challenge us to take up the habit of praying and reading Scripture, to renew our efforts, to seek God’s help, to say this is what I will do, God helping me. I feel a special urgency this year to call us to more faithful prayer. In my mind there is a convergence of several important opportunities for us as a congregation that call for greater prayer. These opportunities fall on top of our already on-going list of prayer needs for families, marriages, children, grandchildren, health, finances, future and any number of causes for anxiety, worry, doubt or just general concern. Those of you who have cleared out your church box this morning found a book mark with five prayer points on it. This represents a call to specific prayer in 2020. Let me give some foundation for what I am calling us to do.
Chuck Norris is a famous movie and television star, especially known for his show Walker, Texas Ranger. He is also a world-champion black-belt martial artist. Because of his character being unstoppable with insane near superpowers and skill there is a whole genre of Chuck Norris jokes, which are referred to as Chuck Norris facts. Chuck Norris jokes/facts. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris. When Chuck Norris gets pulled over, he lets the cop off with a warning. When Chuck Norris steps on a Lego, the Lego cries. Chuck Norris counted to infinity, twice. Chuck Norris was born in a log cabin he build with his own hands. That one got me to thinking there is someone about whom statements like that are actually true. Jesus was born in a manger that He created. Jesus rode on a donkey He created. Jesus was born to parents He created. Jesus walked on an earth He created. Jesus died on a cross made from a tree He made. At the time of the incarnation, Jesus who is infinite became a day old. Jesus who has power to create galaxies is now so weak He has to be carried. Jesus who’s hands can hold the oceans, now has fingers too small to hold Mary’s finger. Jesus who’s words spoke creation into existence, how has to be taught how to say words. Jesus who never hungered or thirsted, now cries when He is hungry and thirsty. He who the universe couldn’t contain, is now contained in a manger.