************ Sermon on Psalm 8:2 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on January 21, 2001
"From the Lips of Children and Infants"
One of the reasons God has made children is so that His name will be praised. God made McKayla Katrina Koetsier, whom we baptized this morning, to bring Him praise. God made you, boys and girls, to praise His name. In our text for this morning King David says, "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise." Let me tell you a story to illustrate this:
Topic: LoveBoys and girls, God wants you to give him the best gift of all. God wants you to give Him yourself. God wants you to sing His praises. God wants you to give Him your love. Don't forget, God made you to praise Him. As our text says, "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise."
Subtopic: To God Commanded
On a little farm in China a farmer lived with 3 sons. The first son grew up and left the farm. He moved to a big city and became a rich businessman.
The second son grew up and left the farm, too. He took a job with the government and became an important official.
But when the third son grew up, he decided to be a farmer. He bought a little farm miles away from his father's home.
The farmer missed his sons. He grew old and lonely. Because his sons were busy and far away they did not come to see him.
When the farmer was 75 years old, kind friends planned a birthday party for him. The 3 sons and many friends were invited. It was to be a happy celebration. The father was excited. Soon he would see his sons!
On his birthday the farmer sat watching and waiting for his sons to come. At last he saw a rickshaw coming up the road. "Ah, my first son," he said to himself. But when the carriage came near, he was disappointed. In it was only his son's wife.
"Isn't my son coming?" asked the old farmer.
"He is too busy, dear Father," said his daughter-in-law. "But he has a beautiful gift for you. He has bought you a little home in the village. It will be much nicer than this farmhouse."
The old man smiled sadly. "That is a fine gift," he said.
Just then he saw another carriage coming up the road. There, that must be my second son, he thought. But in the rickshaw was only his second daughter-in-law.
"Your second son is sorry he could not come," she said. "He is sending you a gift you will enjoy using. It is a pretty carriage and he is sending a man to pull it for you."
"That is kind of him," nodded the old many slowly. But he looked sad. He kept watching the road and waiting for his youngest son. Finally, he saw a group of people walking up the road. It was the third son, and behind him came his family. The old father beamed. He hurried to meet his son and to greet his wife and family.
The third son bowed his head politely. "Father, I am sorry we are late," he said, "and I am sorry we could not bring you a gift. My farm is small and the crops were poor this year. All we could do is come to see you and tell you we love you."
The old farmer wiped away happy tears and said, "My son, you have brought me the best gift of all. You came yourself to tell me you loved me!"
On this Sanctity of Life Sunday we are reminded that the reason, the purpose, for our children's existence, for MaKayla's existence – like everything else in all Creation – is to praise God, to glorify God, to enjoy God, and to live with God forever. But even as we are reminded of this, we also remember with sorrow the many children who, because of abortion, are not given the opportunity to fulfill this purpose.
A On average, women give at least 3 reasons for choosing abortion (what I am about to say comes from the Tulare County Right to Life web-site): three-quarters say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities; about two-thirds say they cannot afford a child; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.
These are not the only reasons that women choose abortion. Some women choose to have an abortion because they become pregnant after rape or incest. Nation-wide, however, only about 14,000 women each year have abortions for this reason. Other parents choose an abortion if amniocentesis indicates the child is abnormal or has the wrong hair or eye color. In fact, after talking to some of our expectant mothers, I have learned that it is pretty well assumed by the medical establishment that all parents want to go through amniocentesis so they are able to prevent the birth of a baby with severe disabilities.
B The following war casualties represent all American combat-related deaths: Revolutionary War - 25,324; Civil War - 498,332; World War I - 116,516; World War II - 545,108; Korean War - 54,246; Vietnam War - 56,555; Abortion War on the Unborn - 40,000,000± as of January 2001.
Here are some more statistics taken from the Tulare County Right to Life web-site:
• 49% of pregnancies among American women are unintended; half of these are terminated by abortion.
• In 1996, 1.37 million abortions took place, down from an estimated 1.61 million in 1990.
• Each year, 2 out of every 100 women aged 15-44 have an abortion; 47% of them have had at least one previous abortion and 55% have had a previous birth.
• An estimated 43% of women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old.
• Each year, an estimated 50 million abortions occur worldwide.
C It has been 28 years now since the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized abortion for all 9 months of pregnancy. During those 28 years, Christians have fought and prayed and worked and campaigned against abortion. It is safe to say that most of our fellow Americans now realize there are two distinct positions: one that says abortion is a woman's right; the other that says abortion is morally wrong. Even though most of our fellow Americans know of these two distinct positions, most of them refuse to take sides. The latest opinion polls indicate that 20% of the population is opposed to abortion, 20% are in favor, and the remaining 60% are smack in the middle. What do these 60% say? They agree that abortion is wrong but they also believe it is a woman's right to choose – in other words, they agree with both sides of the issue. How discouraging that after 28 long years they take such a position. We have to wake up this lethargic, daydreaming 60% and let them know there is no middle ground on an issue like abortion: either you are against it or you are for it.
D Why is abortion wrong? Why are we opposed to it? There are many things we can mention: man's creation in the image of God; God's prohibition against murder in the 6th commandment; the cultural mandate to fill the earth and subdue it; the Bible's teaching that children are a blessing from God; the Scriptural message that God knows and loves us in the womb already; the Gospel stories which show children have a special place in the Kingdom and in Jesus' heart. Our Scripture reading from Psalm 8 gives us another reason: that God has ordained children to give Him praise. When a baby is aborted, someone is missing who could be and should be singing God's praises. When the cradle remains empty, someone is missing who was created by God to sing His praises.
II Jesus' Use of Psalm 8:2
A We cannot look at Psalm 8:2 without recalling that Jesus used these words one day in a disagreement with the chief priests and the teachers of the law. It was right after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what we know as Palm Sunday. Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
Do you recall what happened next? Let me quote from Matthew 21 here:
(Mt 21:14-16) The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. (15) But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant. (16) "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him.Did you catch that? The Pharisees are indignant and aghast about all of this. According to the Pharisees' interpretation of the Law, the blind and the lame were forbidden from appearing before the Lord in His temple; being imperfect they were viewed as being unclean and therefore unfit for worship. And, the running and shouting of children praising God was viewed as an act of the greatest irreverence.
Hard to believe, isn't it?! The Pharisees said and did nothing to the merchants who turned God's House into a den of robbers, but they did become upset when children start shouting and the blind are healed. What hypocrites! They saw those wonderful healings taking place, they heard the melodious voices of children singing God's praises, and they became upset.
B In responding to the indignation of the Pharisees Jesus quoted from Psalm 8:2. The Pharisees asked Him, "Do you hear what these children are saying?"
(Mt 21:16) "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?"Jesus is saying that God wants His house to be a place of healing, a haven of rest, a dwelling of joy, a location of spontaneous and heart-felt praise. It is to be a place where wonderful things happen and where wonderful things are heard. God wants His house to be filled with the praises of little children.
But this can happen, the praises of little children can be heard, only if the cradle is not empty, if babies are given the opportunity to live. Whenever a baby is killed, one voice is missing in that temple throng. Whenever a baby is aborted, one voice is kept from praising God.
III Ordained Praise
A "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise."
God has "ordained" praise. That word "ordained" means "predestined, appointed, established, prepared, equipped." God wants praise. And, by His plan He gets that praise from the lips of children and infants.
Boys and girls, God desires, God loves, God ordains praise from you. God wants you to praise Him. God wants you to sing His praises in church, in school, in Sunday School, at home. God wants you to sing out your heart.
I think everyone agrees with me that one of the most beautiful services of the year is our children's Sunday School program. Many of you, like me, have also enjoyed the various Christmas-time programs from CVC. At such times, do you know what our boys and girls are doing? They are doing what God has ordained them to do. They are giving God the praise that He has ordained.
B "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise." God has ordained this praise from the lives of all His children. Abortionists forget this. Doctors do an amniocentesis and if the results show a Down's Syndrome child, or a baby with cerebral palsy, or an infant with spinal bifida, the decision is made to abort. Such lives are judged to be useless and worthless. But they aren't: "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise."
God is able to prepare praise for Himself from the life of everyone of His children, whether they be young or old. Euthanasiasts – those who kill old people – forget this. If an old person has Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's, or an incurable disease, the decision made in some places and some cultures is to kill, because they too are judged to be useless and worthless. But they aren't: "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise."
Professor Jerome Lejeune, discoverer of the chromosomal pattern of Down's Syndrome once related a story he had heard from a geneticist colleague.
Topic: ChildrenFrom whose life, do you think, did God ordain praise? From the life that today would probably have been aborted.
"Many years ago, my father was a Jewish physician in Braunau, Austria. On one particular day, two babies had been delivered by one of his colleagues. One was a fine, healthy boy with a strong cry. His parents were extremely proud and happy. The other was a little girl, but her parents were extremely sad, for she was a Mongoloid baby. I followed them both for almost fifty years. The girl grew up, living at home, and was finally destined to be the one who nursed her mother through a very long and lingering illness after a stroke. I do not remember her name. I do, however, remember the boy's name. He died in a bunker in Berlin. His name was Adolph Hitler."
-- Abortion Questions & Answers, Dr. & Mrs. J.C. Willke, p. 211
C What if the cradle remains empty? What happens when babies are aborted, when old people are killed? Very simple really: the praise that God has ordained these people to give, is not given; God, in other words, is being robbed and deprived of what is His due. For years I have wondered what King David meant when he said,
(Psalm 115:17) It is not the dead who praise the LORD, those who go down to silence ...Now I understand: God has placed us on this earth to live for Him and to praise Him; however, the dead are not able to do this.
On this Sanctity of Life Sunday we praise God for our children. On this Sanctity of Life Sunday we praise God with our children.
Praise. As far as God is concerned, that's the best gift of all. God wants you and me and MaKayla to bring Him praise. That's why He made us. That's what He has ordained from us. As the song we sing puts it:
Topic: Praise to God"From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise."
Title: Praise to the Lord!
Praise to the Lord!
O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath
Come now with praises before him!
Let the Amen
Sound from his people again:
Gladly for aye we adore him!
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