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(Part 6)


April 12, 2012
Today’s reading: Acts 3:11-26

In the world today there are two cultures in conflict with each other -- the culture of life and the culture of death. More and more the middle ground of disinterest and non-involvement is disappearing and people are having to choose sides. In our reading today, we see what is at the very root of this clash of cultures. It is a choice for or against God.

“You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death” (Acts 3:14-15a).

What is this choice really all about?

Culture of Life
Culture of Death
Choose Jesus
Choose Satan
Choose the Author of Life
Choose a Murderer
Granted times of refreshment (v.20a)
Cut off from the people (v.23b)
Listen in all that Jesus may say to you (v.22b)
Act out of ignorance (v.17a)

The anti-lifers are not just pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-same sex union. Whether they know it or not, they are pro-Satan. They are doing the work of the liar and murderer who wants to destroy every good thing that is of God. Today billions of innocent children have been aborted in the womb, and anti-lifers continue to lie about sexuality, women’s health, etc. Further there is an intensifying assault on faith, especially the Christian faith, and more especially against the Roman Catholic Church. In their choice they have chosen to oppose God and to live a culture of death.

The greatest manifestation of the culture of death was when the Author of Life was put to death. On Good Friday it seemed as if Satan had triumphed, “but God raised him from the dead” (Acts 3:15b)! It was God who triumphed! Jesus had crushed the head of the serpent! The culture of life had won over the culture of death.

What are the implications for pro-lifers?

First, the culture of life is about living the abundant life brought by Jesus. It mimics the perfect existence in paradise as God intended, though no longer perfect in living in a fallen world. Ultimately we look forward to entering paradise once again, that perfect place called heaven. With Jesus, “the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health” (Acts 3:16b).

Second, we need to continue to educate ourselves regarding the culture of life (and conversely the culture of death). Remember Satan lies, masquerading as an angel of light. Thus many are deceived. Satan uses influential world leaders such as Obama of the USA, Ban Ki-moon of the UN, billionaire philanthropists, etc., to help him deceive the many. “Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did” (Acts 3:17).

Third, we fight against powerful earthly forces, backed by a powerful diabolical being. On our own we cannot resist or overcome Satan. But Jesus is the stronger man who has already defeated him. In Jesus we find our strength and power. “And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong” (Acts 3:16a). As the crippled beggar “clung to Peter and John” (Acts 3:11a), we must cling to Jesus.

Fourth, since Satan is the ultimate enemy, pro-life work needs to be a work of faith. It needs to have a strong evangelistic component. People are not only educated about pro-life matters, but need to meet Jesus and start to live in him. People need to be brought out from under the dominion of Satan. What do people need to do? “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus.” (Acts 3:19-20).

Fifth, while struggling and suffering in this world, we must always have an eternal perspective. We look to the restoration of life in paradise when in heaven. We endure and persevere through trials and persecution. We rejoice in suffering for the sake of the Kingdom. We work with great urgency, as we know we are in the end times. We look to “the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” (Acts 3:21).

There are also particular implications for us as CFC-FFL.

First, we must strive for holiness and live as true disciples of Jesus. This is the only way we can be effective witnesses to the faith and thus to life. Evil and sin must no longer have a hold on our lives. We must be humble servants of Jesus. “For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.” (Acts 3:26). We travel the path of life, a path of righteousness and total surrender to God.

Second, we never forget God’s covenant with us. We forcefully resist any temptation to infidelity to covenant. We must live out our covenant, since God’s promises hinge on them, and our choice is about life and death. Always remember: “You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made” (Acts 3:25a).

Third, we must bring in our children, and our children’s children, through all the generations until the Lord returns once again. We consecrate our children to God even in the womb. We bring renewal into our homes. We bring them into our various Family Ministries as they are growing. We help them to live pure. We raise them to become the generations of evangelizers after us. “In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Acts 3:25b).

Jesus is alive. The culture of life is God’s life for the world. Let us do our part to proclaim this good news and defend life; “of this we are witnesses.” (Acts 3:15c).

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