Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

The Lord’s Day Sunday February 1st 2015 at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine: “The Redeemer Will Stand” (Job 19:23-27) & LIFE Sunday

Divine Service: 9:30 am

Bible Study and Sunday School: 11:00 am (please note: tomorrow there is no Sunday School and Bible Study due to the Voter’s Assembly Meeting)

Location: Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine: 12500 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA 92618

Directions: Exit Sand Canyon from the 405 or 5, head East towards the hills, cross Irvine Blvd., turn right on Saint’s Way (this will put you on the campus of Crean Lutheran High School…we worship in the event center/gym)


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (our synod; Saint Paul’s is one among 6000 + congregations in the country) has a national life ministry committee that I serve on in my role with the synod’s board for national mission. It is an amazing and blessed service to our national church. I had the privilege to join in the recent Life Conference at Washington D.C. last week and to take part in the national walk for life along the national mall right up to the steps of the Supreme Court Building on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in 1973. Since that time some 57 million babies have been lost to abortion and countless parents have suffered the affects emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Jesus calls us to have compassion and to serve all parties involved.
We are called to speak for all who need a voice: the elderly, the disabled, and of course the unborn. Life ministry also remembers the family and is bold to defend biblical marriage even as we are upholding all religious liberty that is so threatened in our country today.
It is recommended by the synod that congregations hold a “LIFE Sunday” once per year to remember our call to serve all of these who need the love and mercy of Jesus Christ and who need a voice in our great country.
Our service will be dedicated to this theme tomorrow and I will share the sermon I had the privilege to proclaim in Washington. The readings, the hymns, the prayers, and again the sermon will all put forth this vital theme.
The culture would have us be quiet and avoid all such things since these are said to be “political issues,” but if one were to actually read the Word of God, this is a “separation” that was never intended by our original framers of the constitution.
Come be equipped, inspired, and fed. Come and receive the Holy Sacrament that fills you and equips you with the very life of the Redeemer who stands for all those helpless and hopeless…even like us poor sinners.
Here is an excerpt from tomorrow’s sermon:

“The Redeemer Will Stand”

(Job 19:23-27)

Life Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Pastor Espinosa


[Pastor originally preached this sermon at the 2nd LC-MS life conference in Washington D.C. which took place on January 22nd-24th of this year in conjunction with the national walk for life (on January 22nd) from mid-point the national mall to the supreme court building. About 600,000 people participated in the march remembering the approximately 57 million babies aborted since the 1973 Roe v. Wade landmark decision. LC-MS life ministries also focus on compassion ministry to parents who have aborted in the past and need the healing grace of the Lord Jesus. Pastor’s role on the LC-MS Board for National Mission is to support the synod’s Life and Health Ministries and we’re excited to be building bridges with Concordia University Irvine on both these fronts. Pastor hopes that Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine will conduct its own life ministry that might support a local pregnancy help ministry that stands for God’s gift of life. Note that the life ministry of the LC-MS is well-rounded and extends care to our elderly and disabled; and is working with the overall synod to stand for biblical marriage and to advocate religious liberty.]


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ who takes up the little ones in His arms to bless them. Amen.


Job presents himself – even as one with a fallen nature – as nevertheless righteous and innocent. You know the story of this godly man: he was a man of prayer; a man of faith, but he was also overwhelmed by the seeming injustice of this terrible suffering. What had he done to deserve it? Thus it was for him a burning priority to find some way to defend his integrity. Who would stand for the innocent? Who will stand for the innocent?


I imagine that if the holy innocents could speak that they might sound a lot like Job! We probably grossly underestimate their energy and dare I say “passion?” to live. John while in the womb and in close proximity to the LORD (who at the time was Himself in the womb), had a faith which caused him to leap for joy (Luke 1:44)! His life in the womb was uncontainable! But the LORD is always near to each of us. Indeed, who else but Jesus knits us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139)? The LORD is near and especially present with the weak. We must be bolder in this confession and not underestimate the grace of God who delights to be found in the things treated as nothing in the world. Nothing is more dignified than what is despised; and nothing is holier than what is forgotten.


So I hear the babies speak as Job: “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! (v 23) Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! (v 24)…My heart faints within me!”


The innocent ones created for life deserve at the very least what our great nation has done and is doing for so many others neglected. One of the current exhibits in the magnificent Library of Congress highlights the civil rights movement and presents an overview about so many who have been vindicated. The powerful testament to defend the inalienable rights of those treated as if despised is a hall-mark of America.


That same Library of Congress is marked by the word “theology” on the ceiling of the Great Hall which displays two monumental copies of the Word of God (the Giant Bible of Mainz and the Gutenberg). We are primed to speak of “the right thing to do” (even as our president did in his last state of the union address), because truth, the very Word of God is etched into stone throughout our nation’s capital (and indeed throughout our nation)! So I was not surprised when our president – who we are called to love and pray for – said in his state of the union address week before last, “In America we respect human dignity.” But the statement betrays our narrow view because the babies are left out, so much so that they don’t even have their own designation as people who need defending. They are the forgotten citizens as our politics replace the rights of the unborn with the “right to choose.”


Nor am I suggesting that you and I point fingers, as an LC-MS pastor going on 24 years I have done very little to speak for the unborn; and as self-absorbed sinners we would rather remain quiet and “not get into it” than live out true faith that is dying to remember the forgotten. We desperately need to pray that the LORD would open our lips so that we would speak for the helpless ones; we must confess our terrible pride which seeks to preserve our reputations while seeking the approval of men over the approval of God. We are called to not simply get over ourselves, but to crucify ourselves, so that “Pro-Life” is a really really good thing to say!


And if we cry out to the LORD that we would not be forgotten in our helplessness, what of the innocent ones?


O – like Job – they assuredly want someone to make their case; they want to be remembered because they too were gifted with life! They want an indelible record; a durable cast. They want it written in lead so that when the sun shines on their defense, the letters would be caused to glisten. They want their lives remembered on a rock that will stand forever! They want their gift of life to be lasting and it consumes them with longing within them – but unlike John who lept for joy – his little sisters and brothers feel their kidneys fail…they kick against and feel the pain of being slaughtered and robbed of life.


Who will vindicate them? And who will restore us who fall short of doing what we ought to do and renew us so that we may do what is beyond our ability?


Job and the innocent ones and the other children of Adam like you and me are lifted up by the words given to Job which make the brightest biblical scholars scratch their heads. How can Job find in God who has seemingly abandoned him, the same God who would also vindicate him? This is a paradox; and human reason fails in the face of it, but Job holds the Judge to another one of His offices: He is also the REDEEMER!

[come and get the rest tomorrow!]
In Jesus’ Love,
Pastor Espinosa
p.s. All members: please stay for the voter’s meeting right after worship and refreshments. Your voice as a confirmed member is very important to the life of our congregation! Thank you!
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