Sermon – January 31, 2016

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10  4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,  5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”  6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”  7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.”  9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.  10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

 

A reading of the creation account in Genesis 1 might give the impression that after six days, God ceased all creative activity. A reading of Genesis 2 might lead us to conclude that the propagation of human life after the original creation of Adam and Eve was simply the result of human processes, that God created human life in the beginning, and after that it was a human affair.

But what we learn from other passages of Scripture, and in particular, our Old Testament Reading for today, is that God is intimately involved in the creation of every human life. For human life is part of God’s own master plan, and he’s got plans for every life. Yes, every life!

God Has Plans for You!

I.

Now, as the story of Jeremiah begins in ch 1, Jeremiah is called by God as a youth. He’s to be a prophet. In spite of the honor God bestows on Jeremiah by his calling,

Jeremiah is reluctant to serve God. In fact, his first response is that he’s too young and inexperienced (v 6). God, of course, knows best, and he will make sure Jeremiah is able to fulfill the task he’s given. It’s as the Lord will later say to all his people through Jeremiah: “I know the plans I have for you . . . to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11).

Without saying it, though, Jeremiah hints he’s still afraid. For his own people are headed for judgment as a result of their disobedience of God’s commands. In fact, that will be his message to them. And since his people persecuted previous unpopular prophets, Jeremiah perhaps fears the same for himself. But God will not be deterred; his plan has already been eons in the making.

II.

After all, God “knew” Jeremiah intimately from eternity. Before Jeremiah was conceived in his mother’s womb, and even prior to the creation of the world, God had a plan for him. God “consecrated” Jeremiah for his purposes and “appointed” him to be his “prophet to the nations” before his birth (v 5). Then God’s plan continued to unfold when Jeremiah was conceived in his mother and while he was being formed in his mother’s womb.

Now God would place his own message on Jeremiah’s lips (vv 7–9). His message would certainly be one of judgment. For the nation of Judah had rejected God. Injustices abounded, the poor were neglected, and even human sacrifice was practiced. God’s patience finally ran out, as it does for every unrepentant nation. Judah would face destruction. Nevertheless, God would ultimately send a Savior, whom Jeremiah would also promise the people.

III.

Jeremiah’s calling has implications for every human life. It tells us that life is conceived in eternity by God before it is conceived within a mother’s womb. In fact, the Lord’s words to Jeremiah could have been spoken to every child: “I know the plans I have for you . . . to give you a future and a hope.”

God “knows” every child from conception and has given every child a soul. As David once confessed, “For you, O Lord, are my hope. . . . Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb” (Ps 71:5–6).  God knows you.  He knew you before conception.  If anyone has ever thought he was an accident, or wondered if his life had any purpose, here God gives us his answer.  You were planned.  You were not a mistake.  Even if your parents didn’t plan on a pregnancy, God did.  And God has a purpose for you.

He has a different plan for each of you.  He has given each of you a role to play, a job to do, a mission to accomplish.  By giving each child a soul at conception, God has created an individual person with a special destiny—a plan divinely “appointed” from eternity. And because every unborn child has a divine destiny assigned by the Creator, every unborn child has divine dignity and infinite worth.

Therefore, no life can ever be considered an accident or a mistake. Even when a child is conceived in a manner not as God desires, God still has a plan for the child. Any attack on the developing child is simply genocide and murder, a human life sacrificed for the sake of expediency. Worst of all, it is refusal to let God fulfill his intentions for every child he creates. Any nation that permits such injustice and evil to continue—and even consider it a good and positive thing—has certainly earned God’s judgment.

IV.

Eventually, Jeremiah did complete his calling by bringing a message of doom to his people. Yet, his work would still ultimately be “to give you a future and a hope.” That would be fulfilled by the prophet whom Jeremiah ultimately represented: Jesus. Once, when Jesus asked what others thought about his identity, the apostles said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Mt 16:14).

When the Virgin Mary was pregnant with Jesus, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John, and something wonderful transpired. As the two mothers greeted each other, John, the unborn but very much alive prophet, leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. John, filled with the Holy Spirit before birth, had recognized the presence of Jesus, the yet unborn but very much alive Savior. And both were destined to fulfill their own roles in God’s eternal plan of salvation.

John would grow up to prepare the way for the coming Savior, and Jesus would grow up to be the Savior and rescue his people from their sins. For Jesus was called by the Father from eternity and sent to our world to suffer and die for every sinner at the hands of wicked men. By his death on the cross our sins are forgiven.  By his suffering in hell, he freed us from hell.  Then, in the power of his resurrection, Jesus rescued every sinner from death and judgment, so that every forgiven sinner might serve him according to God’s divine plan and will.

“Why do Christians get so worked up about abortion?” “Imagine that every aborted fetus is not just a glob of cells, but is actually a human life, designed by God, and given eternal value and worth, with its own personal destiny set by God himself. About one and one half million of such unborn children are murdered in our nation each year, one every thirty seconds. That is what Christians believe.   Now, if you believed that, wouldn’t abortion bother you too?”

Don’t make the mistake of believing the wicked propaganda that the unborn are not real human beings, just fetuses, to be aborted or used in science experiments, that abortion is a health-care issue, a woman’s right, and not murder.

Having heard the Word of God for yourselves concerning the unborn Jeremiah, may the truth about God’s eternal plan for every unborn child move you to rejoice in the life God has given you.  Rejoice that God has a plan and a purpose for you.  And work to protect the precious lives of God’s littlest lambs, so that they can fulfill their destinies according to God’s plan.

And, be certain that if you yourself have ever been a party to abortion, God has fulfilled his plan to prosper—to forgive—you by his Son’s cross. Amen.

 

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