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LIFE -- God's Gift
January 23rd, 2005

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and savior, Jesus, the living Christ.

On this Sanctity of Life Sunday, our biblical text is Ecclesiastes 5:18:

Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the Sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. [The New King James Version]

I'm trying to make my home office look better. I'm trying to make it more functional. I'm trying to make my wife happier when she has to look at my office! And, hopefully, a more efficient office means I'll get more done!

All my bookshelves were full. So, I decided to see what books I no longer needed. It was difficult. Some of them I've had for many, many years.

One textbook I decided to keep is simply entitled BIOLOGY. A man named Claude A. Villee from Harvard University is the author. One of the reasons I like this book is a statement on page 18 that says:

"One of the fundamental tenets of biology is that 'all life comes only from living things.'"

This seems simple enough. But, somehow that "fundamental" aspect of biology has to be overlooked in the Organic Theory of Evolution.

In fact, on the very next page of this textbook, it says:

"The problem of the original source of life will be discussed later…, but it is likely that billions of years ago, when chemical and physical conditions on the earth's surface were quite different from those at present, the first living things did actually arise from nonliving material."

You see, once one no longer allows the existence of God within his knowledge, the above statement is all that can be said. Reality around us says one thing: life comes only from living things. The Theory of Evolution demands the opposite!

In the Book of Genesis – the book of origins – God doesn't leave us in the dark about origins. In a rather detailed account, God tells us the order and the time in which He took to create all things.

And, God plainly limits the power of each plant and animal to reproduce. Life reproduces only within its own "kind." God repeats the phrase "after its/their kind" ten times in Genesis One (see verses 11, 12, 21, 24 and 25). That repetition should tell us something. It's an important revealed truth.

And, reproduction "after its/their kind" is accurate in the light of modern-day scientific investigations. Animals and plants continue to reproduce after their own "kind." This is verified by observation and experimentation – the foundations of science. But, it's contrary to the Theory of Evolution that must postulate life's beginnings out of non-life! It's enough to make you begin to wonder who is teaching accurate science!

It's very important that we know and remember where life comes from. It comes from an Eternal God who has life inherent within Himself!

Because of this reality, God has the right to lay down the rules! It isn't therefore just our "opinion" against someone else's. What God says about it is LAW from the top down, from the Creator to the created.

Humanity, the Bible tells us, began with the supernatural creation of Adam and Eve. I know that today much of the highly educated laugh at this. To them we began as some primate creature long ago which had its origin in yet another still more so-called "primitive" creature, and so on.

Ultimately, we are said to have had our origin from some chemical "soup" that just happened to get "cooked." This "soup" must have been unique, since it hasn't appeared on the "menu" for a long, long time!

The Bible, of course, tells us what we can still see today. That a monkey doesn't change into a man, although it seems that man likes to make a money out of himself. Cattle still produce cattle – different varieties, but still very much cattle. They don't produce something else no matter how many generations pass. Fish are still fish and mosquitoes, unfortunately, seem to also always remain mosquitoes.

Now, I may be making a bit "light" of some of this, but unfortunately, that is the state of education today. God is nowhere to be found in museums, universities, and public educational books about life and Earth history. In fact, even the thought that the creation shows intelligent design is vigorously fought against by the establishment.

It's in this sad state of affairs that we find life issues being discussed. Laws are being made that affect life and death issues.

Unborn children are not recognized as "persons." Like the slaves in the USA before the War Between the States, the unborn also have no rights in this nation. This is in spite of the fact that the United States Constitution guarantees "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," but now the law has been changed to say it doesn't apply to the unborn!

For this reason, we have a 9-11 death rate every day in the USA due to abortions. That's right, about 3,000 abortions per day! And just think what has happened in world affairs due to the events of 9-11. Yet, every day we have the death rate of 9-11 due to the fact that the US Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that the unborn should not be considered as "persons."

Life is God's greatest gift to us. Children begin with parents. Adam's helper, a person made by God "fit for him" wasn't found among any of the animals. Eve – and as someone has pointed out – not Steve – came from Adam. And, since then, all humans have come from their mothers.

At first, everything was great. There were just Adam and Eve. God walked with them in the garden. It's a well-known story of man's beginnings. But, then something went terribly wrong!

The problem wasn't with the Creator. It was with our first parents. You see, God had made them so they could have a choice. God told them what to do and what not to do. But, they had free will. They could disobey. They could make the wrong choice – and they did.

Satan, that old serpent, knew how to play on the human desire for freedom of choice. It's based upon the idea that we might know better than God. But, a choice of something contrary to what God has said isn't a good choice. And so, the first couple chose the way of death.

And, then, the next generation also chose the way of death. Cain decided to murder his brother, Abel. And we have around 25,000 murders each year in the USA.

From the very beginning of Adam and Eve's first disobedience, God promised the time would come when the power of the serpent – the power of the devil – would be broken. Because from the offspring of the woman would eventually come a Savior!

In that moment of life and death, the God of life promised hope, salvation, victory, and a new life. Oh, it would take a long time before the birth of the Savior. But, in the fullness of time, came He did. And His miraculous conception and his birth are all recorded in the pages of the New Testament.

God's ways are different from ours, the Bible tells us. About half way from the time of Adam and Eve to the birth of the Savior, there was a man named Abraham. He had a wife named Sarah. Sarah was much too old to have a child. Yet, God had promised them a child.

Eventually, this 90-year old woman had a child by her 99 year-old husband. She named the child "Isaac" which means "he laughs." Sarah had at first laughed at the idea that she would have a child. (she had been childless all her life!) God had the last laugh.

There are other stories in the Bible of God's gift of life. In fact, they are a major theme of the history of God's people.

In the time of ancient Israel before they had a king, there was the story of the wife of Manoah. She too, like Sarah, was unable to have children. But, God's messenger came and told her that she would become pregnant. He would be a special child. You may remember his name – Samson!

Then, there was Hannah, the wife of Elkanah. He had two wives (not the greatest idea and illegal today). The other wife had children, but Hannah couldn't. Hannah prayed for a child and the Bible says the Lord remembered her. She who could have no children had a child. She called him Samuel. And, this couple gave their child back to the Lord to serve God and His people. God used Samuel as a prophet, as a priest, and as one who helped shape their understanding of what it would be like to have a king.

Throughout all history, throughout all generations from Adam and Eve until now, God is the God of life, at work, giving the gift of life, even bringing life where there is no life.

There was Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah, a priest in Jerusalem. In spite of their prayers and hopes and dreams, they were childless. Then, one day an angel came to Zechariah and said:

"Your prayer is heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son and you shall call his name John" (Luke 1:13, RSV).

This child, too, would be very special. He would prepare the way of the Messiah! He would announce the coming of the Kingdom of God!

And, finally, there is the ultimate gift of life. This gift came not to one who was old, but rather to one engaged to a man named Joseph. But, the pregnancy was due to the power of God's Spirit!

This child's birth was due to a double miracle. It was going against nature. Without the benefit of a human father, the Creator of Life was at work again. We confess this basic truth in our creed which we say:

"…Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary."

The God of Life gives the gift of life. Indeed He gives life where there is no life. He creates it through His power. He sustains it through His Word. He is the God of Life!

But, Christ's conception and birth isn't the end of the story. It's only the beginning. The story continues in His perfect obedience to the Father's will in all things, yes, even obedience to the death on In the cross!

The God of life would give the gift of the innocent death of His own Son. It was given for the sake of the life of all other humans. And, the story doesn't end at His death. God was at work again, bringing back life into the lifeless corpse of the slain Savior! He is risen! He is risen indeed!

God is a God of life, new life after death. New life after sin has taken its terrible toll on the Lamb of God. Jesus said:

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live" (John 11:25)

With Christ our old sin-filled mortal life was buried with Him. With Christ our sins of selfishness and self-centeredness by which we chose death were buried with Him. In Christ is found our forgiveness.

In Christ, we embrace and support each other, fully aware of our bad choices, of our wrong choices. In Christ, we daily celebrate His gift of life.

In Christ, in Christ alone, by grace alone, we know God's gift of life. In Him we all have a new beginning. The God of life has given us new life in Christ. That's God's message to us and His message through us to the world around us. Amen,

Now may the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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