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Friday, Jan. 22, marks the 48th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which opened the way for legalized abortion in the United States; and I would have to count that day to be one of the saddest in American history because, since that day, more than 61 million babies have been murdered in this country through legalized abortion.

It is, as I’ve said before, America’s holocaust because we have killed — or stood by and done little or nothing while it happened in our own land and communities — 61 million of our own children inside or partially inside their mothers’ wombs. More than 20 million of those murdered children are African American — more than the entire African American population in the U.S. in 1960. If God graded on a numbers-based curve — and He doesn’t — Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime would come out looking like saints in comparison to us.

And why have we done it? The argument we usually hear is that it is a woman’s right and her freedom of choice. But the truth is that it is selfishness. People do not wish to be burdened and inconvenienced with the responsibilities of giving birth to and raising a child. They place themselves and their own plans and desires above the needs of another human being and choose to kill a child rather than being responsible and giving of themselves to care for it.

Science itself tells us that the unborn child in its mother’s womb is a human being — a heartbeat at 3 weeks, a highly developed brain by 8 weeks, thumb sucking by 9 weeks — and yet we still kill each day an average of 2,360 human beings for the convenience of mothers and fathers. We are alarmed at the death toll from the coronavirus but still murder more babies each and every day through abortion.

The Bible clearly forbids us to murder human beings (Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17). And the Bible also clearly teaches that it is God who creates life in the womb and appoints to that life a number of days on this earth: “You brought my inner parts into being; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for You made me with fear and wonder; marvelous are Your works, and You know me completely. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and intricately put together in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw me unformed, yet in Your book all my days were written, before any of them came into being” (Psalm 139:13-16).

Since, as I said before, God does not grade on a curve, even one abortion is a terrible tragedy and heinous crime. But the crime goes on in America’s death camps; and the judgment of God, who created and gives life and values each life so much He gave his Son to redeem it, will fall upon our nation and people for all the innocent blood that is shed in our land, whether in abortion clinics or doctors’ offices and hospitals (cf. Deut. 21:1-9; Gen. 9:5-6). Perhaps we are beginning to see it in the current pandemic.

Some would argue and say, “What about cases of rape and incest and those pregnancies which endanger the life of a mother?”

The fact is that they are only a very, very small percentage of the pregnancies which end in abortion. But in cases of rape or incest, why should the child be put to death for the sins of another? Why not put to death the guilty rapist and the sexual predator? Yet, we destroy the innocent and let the guilty off with minimal punishment. And even when medical professionals determine the life of a mother could be at stake, is abortion the right answer? I’ve known of mothers who, without medical warning, gave their lives to deliver a healthy child and of many who’ve been told they would die if they gave birth but went on to have several children and with few complications.

My point is simply this: Pray for God’s mercy upon our people and an end to legalized abortion in our land, use your voice and your votes to protect human life whether young or old, encourage and teach Biblical morals to children and youth regarding God’s design for marriage and bearing children, and stand up for the protection of life against those who would urge us to tolerate their ongoing slaughter of the innocent.

And this is especially important now as our new federal government leadership has promised to defend and further enable this merciless slaughter of children in our land.

O Lord, open our eyes to see our great wickedness and repent before Your full judgment falls upon our land and people! Amen.

[Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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Martin Luther preaching to the faithful

In Psalm 130:6-8, we read: “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”

Do you wonder if God’s people ever got tired of waiting? The opening verses of Matthew’s Gospel list 42 generations from Abraham to Christ (this doesn’t even include the generations from Adam to Abraham) – 14 from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the exile, and 14 from the exile up through Joseph, the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus.

And what of Joseph? He was the legal father of Jesus but not the actual father, for Jesus was born by the mighty working of God’s Spirit in the Virgin Mary. She was descended from Abraham and David through David’s son Nathan rather than through Solomon the ancestor of Joseph (cf. Matthew 1 and Luke 3).

Waiting and wondering when and how God would fulfill His promises had to be on their minds and, for many, their most significant role as listed in Scripture was simply being in the Messianic line and keeping that line intact until the Christ should come. Though they may not have even known it at the time, God’s plan of salvation was being fulfilled through them. Though in many cases their lives seemed no different from those of others, God was working through them to carry out His divine work of salvation.

And, imagine Joseph’s shock when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream while he was considering quietly giving Mary a certificate of divorce rather than publicly accusing her of adultery!

The angel’s message? “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:20-21).

After generations of waiting for the LORD God to “redeem Israel from all his iniquities,” the LORD God – the eternal Son of God and ceator of all things – had taken on human flesh and blood and was in the womb of the Virgin Mary that He might “save his people from their sins.”

And, of course, we know from God’s Word, how the LORD God performed what He had promised. He was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered and died under Pontius Pilate. He was crucified, dead and buried. He rose again on the third day and ascended to the right hand of God the Father in heaven. And from there, He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

And Joseph’s role? to be the husband of Mary and the caretaker and protector of the Christ Child. Joseph did what any good husband and father would do! But God chose Joseph; it was a part of God’s plan.

Followers of Jesus have been waiting and waiting for Christ Jesus to come back to establish His glorious kingdom and keep His Word. Nearly 2,000 years have passed since Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. Generations have come and gone. Believers say with the psalmist: “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.”

As we await the Lord’s return, our lives may seem pretty mundane. It may appear that nothing significant is taking place. We read our Bibles at home and gather Sunday after Sunday to hear God’s Word proclaimed, to offer up our prayers and praises and to receive in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Jesus which was given and shed for us on the cross to redeem us from all our iniquities. We come away with the assurance of sins forgiven and the promise of eternal life in heaven.

And generations pass. We too may pass before Christ returns. It seems nothing is happening.

But all who wait in faith are a part of God’s plan of salvation. We are brought to Christ in Baptism, we hear the Word proclaimed and receive Christ’s Supper and are kept trusting in Christ and awaiting His return. We bring our children to Christ in Baptism. We share with them God’s Word and point them to their Savior.

And, though our lives may seem pretty insignificant, and though we might not see it, God is carrying out His plan. Through Word and Sacrament, our children and others are brought to faith in Christ and preserved in that faith. Christ is building and establishing His eternal kingdom in plain sight though we often don’t even see it.

We are not the Messiah and we’re not even in the Messianic line, but like John the Baptist we point people to Christ, and like Joseph we stand against the assaults of the world against Christ and His Word that future generations might still hear the saving Word, receive the Sacraments and trust in Christ their Savior.

Attending church services on Sunday and partaking of the Lord’s Supper, again and again, might seem pretty mundane and insignificant, but it isn’t. God comes to us through His Word and convinces us of our sinfulness and then points us to Christ Jesus and the redemption He accomplished for us. Through Baptism we are joined to Christ and guaranteed the blessings of forgiveness and life He won for us on the cross. And, in the Lord’s Supper, we partake of Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of all that we might be assured the price has been paid, atonement made, and that we are partakers of the pardon He won when He died upon the cross for our sins and rose again.

We gather again tomorrow. We come to hear God’s Word and to receive Christ’s Supper. What happens as we gather is significant and important. God will be at work though we may not see it.

Christ would have us examine ourselves and prepare ourselves for tomorrow. And so, I ask you before God: Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner and have sinned in thought, word and deed? Do you confess and agree with God that you are guilty and deserving of his wrath and punishment? Do you trust that Christ Jesus has truly redeemed you and made atonement for all your sins? Do you also believe that Jesus, in the Sacrament, gives you to partake of His body and blood which were given and shed that your sins might be forgiven you? As a fruit of your faith, do you truly desire and seek God’s help to amend your life and live it in accord with God’s Word?

If you are truly sorry for your sins and look to Christ and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for pardon and forgiveness, I announce unto you the grace of God and, in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
and to sing praises unto Your name, O Most High:
to declare forth Your lovingkindness in the morning
and Your faithfulness in the night,
on a ten-stringed lute and on the harp,
and on the lyre with a solemn sound.
For you, O LORD, have made me glad through Your work;
I will sing joyfully at the works of Your hands.
O LORD, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep!
A brutish man does not recognize,
neither does the fool understand this.
Though the wicked spring up as the grass
and all those who do iniquity flourish,
they shall be destroyed forever:
But You, O LORD, are on high forever.
For Your enemies, O LORD,
for Your enemies shall perish;
all those who do iniquity shall be scattered.
But my horn You have exalted like the horn of the wild ox;
You have anointed me with fresh oil.
My eyes also shall see the downfall of my enemies,
and my ears shall hear the doom of my wicked adversaries.
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;
they shall be filled with vitality and foliage,
to show that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

[Scripture quotations from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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What is the most concerning thing about the 2020 election? It’s not so much about who won and who lost — the votes are still being counted as I write this and legal battles are likely to follow. It’s not even the allegations of fraudulent votes being added to the tallies in order to alter the true results of the election, although such, if true, would undermine the very core of a government by the people.

What’s most troubling is the fact that so many Americans, in many cases our neighbors and coworkers, voted against life for the unborn and elderly, against Biblical marriage and family, against the God-given right to protect life and property, against the freedom to preach and teach God’s Word, against our nation’s founding documents as written, and, sad to say, for immorality and humanism. It’s certainly fair to say that people may have voted for or against a candidate for other reasons, but many voted as they did because of support or opposition to a political platform.

As a student of the Bible and a preacher of God’s Word, I can tell you that one cannot be or continue to be a Christian and also continue to reject the teaching of the Bible regarding life and morality. One cannot be a follower of Christ and look to Him and His cross for pardon and forgiveness and at the same time set aside what He said about serving Him, about little children and babies, about the elderly, about marriage, about property, and about continuing in sin and immorality.

What this election indicates is that many, many people in this nation, even many professing to be Christian, are not Christian at all since they oppose the teaching of Christ, the Son of God, who reveals Himself as our creator in the Bible, who was there with Abraham discussing the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and then raining down fire and brimstone on the cities of the plain, who spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai giving him the Ten Commandments and again in Leviticus 18 condemning sexual perversion, who commanded the utter destruction of the wicked inhabitants of Canaan, who commissioned the Apostle Paul and gave to him the teaching written in his epistles, and who pointed out the sinfulness of lust and adultery, etc.

While God is gracious and forgives the sins of penitent sinners who look in faith to Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world, He also judges those who rebel against Him and reject His words (cf. Ex. 20:5-6; 1 Sam. 12:15; Isa. 30:1; 63:10).

If there was any question beforehand, this election makes clear to us that the United States of America is not a Christian nation and that many who hold church memberships are likely not Christians and will end up in eternal torment unless they repent of their sinful and rebellious ways and look to Christ and His cross for pardon and forgiveness.

But, perhaps most importantly, this election tells us that we have much mission work to do. We live among the lost in a nation which has lost its way.

It will do no good to impose Biblical morality on ungodly people by government legislation and enforcement. What is needed in America is a change of heart among the people. We as Americans need to see that we have sinned against the Lord God who created us and sent His Son to redeem us. We need to acknowledge our sins and the judgment we deserve and then look in faith to the crucified and risen Christ Jesus for pardon and forgiveness.

Our mission work, as Christians, is to first read and study the Word of God and then to share the Bible’s teaching with our friends, neighbors and coworkers, for it is only through the speaking and hearing of God’s Word that the Holy Spirit will convict our guilty hearts of sin and then assure us of forgiveness and life eternal through faith in Jesus.

When we think of mission work, distant lands and unfamiliar languages and people often come to mind, but this election shows us that we have much mission work to do right here at home. We live in a largely pagan nation, among a people that do not know God and know little of His Word!

How important it is for us to hear and study the Scriptures ourselves and also pray that the Lord of the harvest would raise up men to faithfully and boldly preach and teach His Word that our friends, our neighbors and our coworkers, too, would hear, repent of their sins and look to Christ Jesus and His cross for mercy and forgiveness!

Only by preaching the saving Gospel to the souls of our friends and neighbors can the heart and soul of this nation be changed into one that fears the Lord God and seeks to govern its affairs according to the truth revealed in His Word.

God grant that we pray and then rise to the task!

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Since we will gather for worship and to partake of Christ’s body and blood given and shed for the remission of our sins, it is indeed good and right that we examine ourselves in accord with 1 Corinthians 11:28-29: “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

We do so this week on the basis of Psalm 130, where we read: “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”

And it is true: if the LORD God were to mark down our iniquities – all the ways and all the times in which we have transgressed His holy commandments – who could stand? The answer, of course, is not one of us. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We are all guilty and deserving of His eternal wrath and punishment on account of our sins.

Though God’s law condemns us all to eternal torment on account of our sins, the psalmist writes: “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” Though we cannot be acceptable to God on the basis of His law on account of our sins and our sinful hearts, there is another way to be acceptable in His eyes – to have our sins forgiven and washed away and to be accounted righteous and holy in God’s eyes – and that is through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. He fulfilled the righteous demands of the law in our stead, and He suffered our just punishment when He was crucified and died upon the cross. His resurrection on the third day is proof that God accepted His sacrifice as full payment for sin and that through faith in Him we are justified and counted righteous and holy in God’s judgment.

It is as the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:20-26: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

Instead of trusting in our own sin-tainted righteousness which comes far, far short in every way, we place our confidence in the LORD. Our soul waits upon Him, because with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. In Jesus Christ, the LORD God has redeemed us from all our sins and offers and gives to us, through the preaching of the Gospel and through the right administration of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, His mercy and forgiveness, and life everlasting!

I ask you before God: Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner and have sinned in thought, word and deed? Do you confess and agree with God that you are guilty and deserving of his wrath and punishment? Do you trust that Christ Jesus has truly redeemed you from the curse of God’s law? Do you also believe that Jesus, in the Sacrament, gives you to partake of His body and blood which were given and shed that your sins might be forgiven you? As a fruit of your faith, do you truly desire and seek God’s help to amend your life and live it in accord with God’s Word?

If you are truly sorry for your sins and look to Christ and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for pardon and forgiveness, I announce unto you the grace of God and, in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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