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The Rev. William Klock: “A Gospel of Life” (Matthew 2:13-18)

January 3, 2015

From the Rev. William Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia, here is a sermon for Holy Innocents’ Sunday (this past Sunday) titled A Gospel of Life.  In this message, Fr. Bill relates what happened to those babies in Bethlehem at the order of Herod (in Matthew 2:13-18) to the current situation regarding abortion quite well, and he gives us a lot to think about:

You might think that the subject of abortion is an ugly intrusion on the joy of Christmas, and yet there’s no better time to address it.  Because at Christmas we celebrate the ultimate gift of life and grace—the Word Incarnate, born of the Virgin Mary—God himself stooping down and becoming one of us that he might give his life for ours.

So what does this mean for us as the Church?   The greatest massacre in history is taking place and it’s taking place with the approval of our government—with the approval of those whom we elect to represent us.  What do we do as the Church in response to what is easily the greatest sin ever committed by the human race?  I see the Church responding in three different ways.  Well, some might add a fourth.  There are “churches” out there that have embraced this sin and whose people have promoted abortion, or at least it’s legality.  I can’t say this clearly enough: that is not an option for us.  Jesus has given us a gospel of life.  To trade it in for a worldly gospel of death is cease to be the Church.  That is not an option.  So what remains?

The first thing we could do is ignore the issue.  We could simply chalk this problem up to a fallen world from which we’ve been redeemed.  Or we could simply choose not to address it at all – to remain neutral.  Maybe we could say, “This is a political issue and the Church isn’t supposed to get involved!”  We can stick our fingers in our ears and sing Amazing Grace at the top of our lungs.  And yet it’s not enough to sing about grace—we have to put it into action.  And grace in action is concerned about God’s Truth.  Grace in action sees a fallen and sinful world and desires to see it forgiven and redeemed.  And redemption doesn’t happen until we’ve first confronted the reality of sin—the reality that we’re all fallen creatures in need of redemption.  Grace demands that we take a stand for truth.  We need to be as passionate about the truth as God is.  Ignoring the problem—ignoring sin—isn’t the answer.  Jesus didn’t ignore sin and neither can we.

So instead we could be like some Christians.  We could take God’s Truth about sin seriously and we could stand on the street corner or in front of the abortion clinic and make sure that the women going in and the doctors and nurses and receptionists and office managers working there know they’re sinners.  We could stand there shouting “murderer!”  There are Christians that are passionate about life and who, who shout angrily, and who make sure people know the truth of their sins.  We could do that and walk away from the abortion clinic satisfied that we’ve proclaimed the truth about abortion and the truth about life.  We could walk away and hope that those people whom we told were murders will one day take it to heart, repent, and come to the Church.  Lots of Christians do that.

The problem is that it’s not just about proclaiming truth.  We need to be just as passionate about proclaiming grace.  Dear friends, it doesn’t do any good to point out the sin in another person’s life without also showing them the sin in our own lives and showing them the Saviour who died to take away the guilt of that sin.

Imagine a starving homeless man who is one day pulled aside, taken to a place to be fed and cleaned up, given a change of clothes, and given a good job.  Suddenly his life is changed.  Now can you imagine that man going back down to Skid Row where the rest of the homeless, hungry, and jobless are still hanging out—can you imagine him going back there and walking down the street, pointing his finger, and shouting, “Losers!  You’re all a bunch of losers!”  And yet that’s exactly what we’re doing when we stand up for truth by pointing out the sins of others without sharing with them the reason for hope.  We need to go back to the people still on the street and show them where we found food and clothes and a job.  They need to see that we’re not perfect—that we’ve been cleaned up, but still have some of that dirt and grime from the street under our fingernails.  We can’t condemn without at the same time leading those sinners to the Saviour.

That’s what grace is all about.  Knowledge of sin is part of God’s plan of grace, but the heart of grace is redemption.  And that’s why we need to be the kind of Christians—the kind of church—that is willing to take a stand alongside the men and women contemplating and hurting from abortion.  They need to know that it’s the wrong choice—that it’s sin—but they also need to be shown the Redeemer.  They need to know that we care as much about them and their eternal well-being as we do about saving the lives of their unborn children.  You see, grace acknowledges that there’s a gash across the souls of each and every one of us because our sins offend God.  Grace seeks not only to affirm the Truth, but it provides forgiveness and healing.  Grace restores the fallen and the wounded.  Grace condemns the sin, but it also points to Jesus Christ.

What an excellent message – and if you’d like to hear it all, you can do so here.

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