Reminders in Exile…

Reminders in Exile…
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        Last Sunday we began a new sermon series on the book of Daniel in our church. This book could be summed up as a letter of hope for exiles. Christians often forget that we are citizens of the Kingdom of God; therefore exiles living in foreign lands. Our places of residence have different gods, customs, and values than our true home. It’s easy to forget this, especially for Americans. As Christians living in America, we have not often felt like exiles. We have been lulled to sleep in a sense because of the freedoms we have enjoyed; but it is becoming more and more evident, as the brokenness of this world is revealed, that we truly are exiles in a foreign land. This can be discouraging, but the book of Daniel reminds us that God will bring us home and one day make all things new. The news of last week was a stark reminder to us that we are not at home here. One of our own states passed a law allowing for the murder of children up until the day they are born. This wasn’t some evil nation known for its disregard for human life; this law was passed in the great state of New York.  While this seems unfathomable to many, the celebration by some in New York over this new law resembled a coming home party for a long-lost friend. Sadly, abortion has long been the law of our land, but the judicial decision last week brought the horrors of that law to a new light. There is no doubt we are exiles. The situation seems hopeless, but we know that we are never without hope. The question for the exile is how do we respond? Yesterday, I outlined the four things that all Christians should do as we fight against the atrocities of abortion in our nation.  

        Abortion is murder. Christians must be vocal about our stance for life and take action where we are able; however, we would be wise to first look inward before we simply offer correction for others. We need more humility in this culture. God is the creator and sustainer of life. This is the truth, but our witness of this truth has been hindered by the fact that we don’t always live this truth out ourselves. We have allowed the lie that we know better than God to creep into so many areas of our lives. We need to acknowledge our own part in perpetuating this lie within our culture. As Christians we can’t proclaim the sovereignty of God and His authority in matters such as this, but live our lives completely absent of His authority. God is sovereign and He is Lord. He is not just the Lord over the life of babies and young mothers. He is Lord. When we try to pick and choose the issues we will call for the world to listen to God on, we lose credibility. Our witness would carry much more weight if the world saw us consistently living in submission to God. We need to repent of telling the world that Jesus is Lord while we live as though we are our own gods. Imagine if we were living in total submission to God’s authority; how much more would our lives be filled with the joy, hope, love, wisdom, and grace of God. As a result, our lives would provide a light in this dark world that was much more winsome. Hearts would be changed and lives would be saved. 

        Second, we must commit to coming alongside the mothers and fathers who are facing uncertain circumstances. A true pro-life position is a pro-mother position. I cannot begin to understand the conditions that would cause a mother to feel like abortion is her only option. What I cando is come alongside her and let her know that I will support her, and stand by her and walk through this with her. By God’s grace there are many places that are equipped to help mothers and fathers who are facing these hard decisions. This is why we so passionately support our local Crisis Pregnancy Center, Hope Women’s Center. There are women who work and volunteer at Hope and similar centers, who know exactly what these mothers are facing. They are equipped to support and care for these mothers and their babies. We must commit to never allowing a mother to walk alone. They must know that Jesus will never leave or forsake them, and He created the Church as the physical witness to this truth. We walk with them for as many miles and days as it takes. If you are not involved in the work of your local pregnancy center, find a way to get involved. If your church does not actively support the work of your local center, meet with your pastors and find out how you can help lead the church to more faithfully engage with them. 

        Third, specifically thinking about New York and other states that will soon follow their lead, we must pray for the local church in those states. We must pray for more churches to be planted. There are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ striving to labor for the Kingdom of God. They need to know reinforcements are on the way! We know the reality that it is only when Jesus becomes more valuable than everything else that hearts are transformed.  Only transformed hearts will bring a change to the culture of death in our nation. The only hope for change in the law, is a change in the hearts of those who put our lawmakers in place. We need the gospel of Jesus to be proclaimed in our nation and this task has been given to the Church. Only the gospel can transform a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. This is why our church is a part of the Acts 29 Network, an organization of church-planting churches. Through our partnership we are able to support new gospel work around the globe. We must come together with the existing churches in New York and find ways to plant more churches so that the good news of Jesus can be heard and seen in every city, in every neighborhood, and on every street. Begin praying today for the churches in New York. Again, if your church is not involved in supporting the work of planting new churches, find out how you can help lead the church to engage in this great endeavor. 

        Finally, we must remember and let the world know that abortion is not the unpardonable sin. There is no sin that reaches farther than the grace of God. I say this to anyone who has been a part of an abortion, male or female. I know the scars of your past may still hurt and haunt you, but you need to know that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The blood of Jesus covers my sin and yours. Repent and put your trust in Jesus. He will surely make all things new!

        If you are facing hard questions about a pregnancy or have struggled to find forgiveness from your past, I’d love to talk and pray with you. Please reach out!

-Pastor Ryan

Meet The Author

Ryan Ross

Elder / Teaching Pastor

Ryan Ross is an elder and teaching pastor at The Parks Church Melissa.

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