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The Clergy Connection - Sermons

PROLIFE: Life is Sacred : Sermon
Sanctity of Life Sunday

SERMON OUTLINE
"LIFE IS SACRED"

Have you ever done a piece of needlework, woodwork, or ceramics for someone special to you? Or for yourself? Or what about an organisation, a ministry, a campaign that you founded? You always have a very special place in your heart for that which you had a primary role in creating, don't you? Imagine how God feels when He creates each one of us, and then we are simply "thrown away!"

Perhaps you know of someone who's pregnant with a child the "experts" say will be less than perfect. What goes through your mind … abortion? Maybe you know an elderly person who's been incapacitated by illness. Surely he or she wouldn't want the "quality of life" they've been given, would they?

First it was the preborn, via abortion. Francis Schaeffer, the Twentieth Century writer and intellectual, warned us in the '70s that abortion was the beginning of a slippery slope of the denigration of human life that would eventually lead to euthanasia and such things as physician-assisted suicides. People then were incredulous. Now there are moves in South Africa to legalise euthanasia. WHY?

People think their answers, their solutions, their viewpoints are at least equal to, if not superior to, God's. WE decide which unborn children should be given an opportunity at life. WE decide when someone's life is no longer "useful" enough or of sufficient "quality" to be allowed to continue. Once WE decide that the preborn, the elderly, the disabled, the terminally ill are only "problems" to us with no intrinsic value, it becomes all too easy to just dispose of them.

Meanwhile, God's heart aches as He says, "My thoughts are higher than your thoughts, and My ways than your ways" (Isaiah 55:9, NIV).
ALL HUMAN LIFE IS SACRED.

I. Life is sacred ... because God made it.

A. It was created by God.
1. "God created man in His own image …" (Genesis 1:27, NIV).
2. "For by Him all things were created …" (Colossians 1:16, NIV).

B. It is protected by God.
1. "And Thy care has preserved my spirit" (Job 10:12).
2. "For He will give His angels charge concerning you" (Psalms 91:11).

C. It is valued by God.
1. "Behold I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands" (Isa. 49:16).
2. "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).
3. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" (Jeremiah 1:5).
4. "I am come that they might have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10).

II. Life is sacred ... no matter what its condition might be.

A. Life is a challenge in a sin-tainted world.

It would be wonderful if Adam and Eve had not sinned, but, unfortunately, sin came into our world and with it came pain, imperfection, injustice, etc. God warned us of these challenges. Yet, He enables those who trust in Him to be victorious through Him.

1. "Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
2. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials. . ." (James 1:2).
3. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

B. We must not overlook those who have challenges in this life.

Jesus showed special concern for the lame, the blind, the woman with the issue of blood, the lepers. In our day, we must not forget:

1. The woman in crisis confronted with an unplanned pregnancy or abnormal embryo development such as Down syndrome. Some studies report that as many as 90 percent of couples faced with an amnio-centesis report of probable Down syndrome will choose to abort. Yet, do you know anyone who has a child with Down syndrome who doesn't tell you this child is the light of their life, an absolute joy, the most loving person they've ever known?
2. The post-abortive woman who struggles with the reality that she consented to her baby's death.
3. The post-abortive father who walked away from the reality of his sin.
4. The terminally ill or aged who have been forgotten or who have outlived many of their family and friends.
5. The disabled and the disadvantaged.

(Illustration: Pastor and author Max Lucado tells in his book The Applause of Heaven about a sweater that hangs in his closet. He says he seldom wears it - it's too small, the sleeves are too short, the shoulders too tight. Some of the buttons are missing, the thread is frazzled.
Logically, he says, he should throw out that sweater since he has no use for it and will never wear it again. It simply takes up space

in his closet. That's what logic says. But love, he reports, won't let him. Why not? What's unusual about that sweater? To start with, it has no label, no tag telling you, "Wash in cold water." That's because it wasn't made in a factory, produced on an assembly line as the product of a nameless employee earning a living. Rather, it was the creation of a devoted mother expressing her love-his mother. That sweater is unique, one of a kind, irreplaceable. Each strand was chosen with care, each thread selected with affection.
And so, even though that sweater has lost all of its use, it has lost none of its value. It is valuable not because of its function, but because of its MAKER. So is each life.)
The Applause of Heaven, Max Lucado, copyright 1990, 1995, Word Publishing, Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.

6. The lonely and emotionally distraught
Jesus said, "to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me" (Matthew 25:40).

C. Our Lord places great value on those whom society has shuffled aside.

1. While on his knees, the leper begged Jesus to make him clean. The Bible says, "Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man" (Mark 1:41).
2. We are His hands and His heart to a desperate, searching humanity.
(Pastor: Most of you have illustrations of people you have pastored who will fit in here. Please use one or two of these stories.)

III. Life is sacred ... because of its eternal nature.

A. Life exists before we enter the material world.
"My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place" (Psalm 139:15-16).

B. There is life at new birth.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

C. Our earthly life is simply a prelude to eternity.
1. "Man is destined to die once and after that the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
2. "In my Father's house are many rooms; I am going there to prepare a place for you"
(John 14:2).
3. "I write these things to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13).

In other words, we can know and be assured of abundant life while on the earth-and everlasting life in eternity with Christ.

The steps to life eternal:
1. Acknowledge that you are a helpless sinner separated from God. (Romans 3:23)
2. Agree that Jesus Christ is the only provision for your salvation. (John 1:12)
3. Receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour and ask Him to come into your heart. (Romans 10:9)
(Pastor: Share an illustration of someone you know who accepted Christ after a life of struggle and challenge.)

IV. Conclusion

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill? " Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give the $20 to one of you, but first, let me do this."

He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked, "Who still wants it? " Still the hands were in the air.

"Well," he replied, "what if I do this? "And he dropped it on the ground and began to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it back up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it? " Still the hands went into the air.

"My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value at all! It was still worth $20, regardless of what had happened to it.

"Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened, or what will happen, you will never lose your value in Gods eyes. To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless."

Psalm 17:8 reminds us that God views us as the "apple of His eye."

THOUGHT: The worth of our lives comes not from what we do or who we are, but from whose we are! GOD CREATED YOU - don't ever forget it!!

ALL human life is valuable, because God creates and sustains it, in His own image and for His purpose-His sacred image, and His sacred purpose. Those are His "ways," which Isaiah tells us are so much higher than ours.

Deliberately violating God's "ways" is the Bible's definition of sin. And there's only one effective way to deal with sin: confess and repent. God is calling us to confess that we have not followed His "ways" and repent from only following our "ways" - individually, as a church, as a nation. How will you respond to God's call?

Adapted and reprinted from
Focus on the Family by:
For more information and resources contact:
AFRICA CHRISTIAN ACTION
PO Box 36129, Glosderry, 7702, South Africa
Tel: (+27 21) 689-4481 Fax: (+27 21) 685-5884
E-mail: info@christianaction.org.za