Category Archives: Sanctity of Life
How do we love a mother and her unborn child? How do we protect someone whom the law does not protect? Love is our aim and justice is our cause because it is God’s aim and cause and nothing is more unjust than trampling on the rights of those who can’t defend themselves.
When I take my fourteen-year-old to school in the morning, we often listen to NPR. It affords me a moment to catch up on the local and national news, but I have discovered there is another benefit; namely, that it creates some interesting dialogue with my teenager.
This morning we were in route and we listened to a segment: “5 Ways to Make Your Classroom More Inclusive”. The title is self-explanatory enough, but so as to be clear, the segment tells the story of several teachers who are trying to make their classrooms a safe place for gender uncertainty or fluidity. For example, one teacher in Colorado “goes out of her way to address gender identity in her classroom” so that LGBTQ children are not bullied. The article goes on to suggest strategies for making the classroom more friendly to all gender possibilities. For example, teachers should not use identifiers like “boys and girls” for “ladies and gentlemen”. Instead, it is better to use terms like: “scientists” or “athletes” or “scholars”.
So we listened to the whole show and when it ended I turned the volume down and asked my son: “So what do you think about that?” He responded with a strong opinion that I would expect from someone his age. There was not much nuance, just a blunt and certain answer. I pushed back: “You don’t think there is something to learn from what we just heard?” I hope I surprised him with my response because here was the gift of a teachable moment.
I believe strongly that the substance of my son’s moral response was right on, but the way he said it needed some refinement for the sake of loving God and his neighbor with his whole being (Matthew 22:36-40).
I explained to him that there is a lot of confusion in the world today and that it was my opinion that attempts like this one only contribute to the confusion of very young children and those who are mentally and physically still developing. I further said to him that it is fine to strongly disagree with the preferences and opinions of people and that it is possible to disagree with others without hating them. But on the other hand, I explained that there is something to be learned from the article: All people are worthy of dignity and respect, regardless of whether we agree with them or not.
To be crystal clear, I would not want my six-year-old or my twelve-year-old to be taught what these teachers are specifically teaching about gender fluidity. That should be left to parents. But generally speaking, we must teach our children that all people are created with intrinsic human rights (created in the image of God) and deserve to be treated with kindness and human dignity. For instance, directing phrases at others like: “that is so gay” or using others slurs is intentionally disrespectful. It is using a term to belittle and demean. Mocking or ridiculing someone for their preference is wrong. Dehumanizing people is wrong, even if they are in fact wrong. Further, we should stand up for people who are being dehumanized, even if we find that we strongly disagree with them about why they are being dehumanized.
Again, I might strongly disagree with a person’s choice or opinion, but I can still treat them with respect and even defend them when they are mistreated or marginalized. If Christians wish to be light in the world, we must stand with conviction on the truth of God’s word. However, we must do it with a measured response that both honors the truth and the person who has innate dignity because of the truth that God has spoken about them (Genesis 1:26-28).
It should be said that no matter how nice you are about how you treat people when you disagree with them, it does not mean that you should expect the same courtesy in return. If you stand for the truth, then you can expect to be ridiculed and even hated. Jesus said as much. But aren’t we to love our enemies? Love does not mean agreement, but it does mean we honor the God-given humanity of people in our disagreement, and we must teach our children to think and do the same. That’s all I really mean to say. I hope you agree. But if you can’t, I hope we can keep it respectful.
It is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, and as you can see from the title, I am going to jump into controversy times two.
- But to begin, I want to try to clear some obstacles that might keep you from hearing.
- I plead with you to give this sermon a fair hearing. It’s too important to not give it your attention. Even if it is uncomfortable and stings.
OBSTACLE #1: THIS IS REALLY PERSONAL AND HARD FOR SOME OF YOU.
- Several years ago, we did not preach directly on Sanctity of Human Life, but chose to highlight it by promoting Stillwater Life Services and using a video.
- The video was a barrage of quotes in favor of a pro-life worldview.
- I was standing in the back at our connection table, when a young woman came to me with a concerned look on her face.
- She suggested that the video was insensitive and hurtful to those who may have had an abortion. I listened, acknowledged her concern and explained our intentions.
- She never came back. I wonder if she was speaking for herself?
- That has haunted me and I promised myself that if we ever talked about this issue, we would do it in the context of the gospel that sets us free from guilt and death and condemnation before a Holy God.
- We all our dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). But while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). If we would turn from our sin and surrender our lives to Christ by faith, we know there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus before a holy God (Romans 8:1). In the end, no matter what we have done or not done, being right with God through Christ, is all that will matter and forgiveness and salvation and a new life is available to us all in Christ alone.
- It hurts me that this talk may hurt some of you who have experienced the destruction of Abortion, but I can’t stay quiet.
- I want to protect people from future hurt, and help people to think biblically about a hard topic. Please give this your hearing.
Which leads me to OBSTACLE # 2: WE HAVE HEARD THIS BEFORE – OR – AREN’T YOU PREACHING TO THE CHOIR?
- Yes, many of you have. I have preached regularly on this for years. Yes, likely most of you already agree with me and think biblically about all of human life.
- But, let me point out a couple of realities:
- There are many sides to this and the arguments are evolving.
- There are many new people in the room and many university students.
- Studies show that many pastors avoid this like the plague.
- I want our high school students and university adults to be biblically, convictionally pro-life and pro-woman.
Let’s see the big picture, think beyond our comfort and preferences, and not become apathetic. Be teachable and remember it’s not just about you, but the others who are in the room who need this.
THERE MOST CERTAINLY ARE OTHER OBSTACLES, BUT THESE ARE THE ONE’S THAT SEEM MOST RELEVANT.
READ PROVERBS 24:11-12.
- When I read this text I think about how hard it is to watch people be hurt (11a) and hurt themselves and others (11b).
- And when people hurt themselves, they almost always hurt others – I can’t think of a time when they don’t.
Now some of us might be prone to think: “Well, they are getting what they deserve. They are reaping what they sow.”
- And it is true that there is consequence to sin, but should this be the primary mindset of the Christian? That all we can think is: “Well, they got what was coming to them.”?
- Let’s see in God’s Spirit inspired word how we should respond to tragedies like abortion.
(11) God cares deeply about the oppressed and He expects His people to advocate for the vulnerable, outcast and hurting.
- Contextually, the author does not have a precise concern in mind. It is general.
- “Oh hold them back.” Indicates a Deep passion and concern to protect and rescue from harm.
Exodus 22:21-24 is another biblical example of God’s concern for the downtrodden: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.” As you can see on the bulletin (IG), this runs through the whole of the Bible – Old and New Testament.
- Let’s make it personal. You would want someone advocate for you? To pursue you? To protect you – I hope? You do believe in Matthew 7:12 – right?
- Ask yourself: Do you care about what God cares about?
As I plead with you to care, you might be thinking, “there are so many problems, what can I do?” You can start by caring!
You may not be able to do something about everything that is wrong with the world, but you can know about injustice and care about injustice. And when you can, act to rescue the hurting.
Who are you caring for? Who are you passionate about that is hurting? The LORD God cares and so should His people! That is biblical!
(12) God will hold His people accountable and the claim of ignorance won’t work.
- 12 = Three questions that expect three “yes” responses. 1) He considers and knows your motives. 2) He knows the deep-down truth 3) He will judge you justly.
- Ignorance is not bliss and is no excuse before an all-knowing and just God – especially on this subject.
- ILL: Eisenhower and the Nazi Concentration Camps in 1945 – Eisenhower visited the death camps personally and was stunned at the atrocities. He made the locals walk through the death camps so they would know what they had been an accomplice to.
- “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it.” Martin Luther King Jr.
- “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” William Wilberforce on the slave trade and what was really happening.
In light of these biblical truths, for the next ten or so minutes, I want to advocate for hurting women and the unborn persons they might hurt. But particularly for hurting women.
- You see, I am convinced the pro-life cause is the true pro-woman cause. Let me show you.
We often come at this from the side of the unborn – and we should.
- They are vulnerable, defenseless, created in the image of God. They are persons because God says so in places like Ps. 139 – You were known before time began. God knew you and everyone else.
- And even those who say the unborn are not persons often speak as though they are in fact human persons.
- Their own language betrays them. When not guarding their words, they speak truth too.
- ILL: Hillary Clinton in April 2016 The NYT reported that she was “roundly criticized” because she said, “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”
ILL: PPact wants us to believe that unborn babies are not human, but yet they sell their body parts for human research. They can’t have it both ways.
- ILL: Cosmopolitan (I don’t read it, but thanks to Twitter I came across this) ran an article in March of 2015 reporting research of ultrasounds in which babies react to mothers who smoke, “concluding that nicotine is terrible for unborn babies”.
- Notice they called them babies – little humans. Not fetuses or clumps of cells.
- ILL: The NYT Times ran an article just six days ago, marveling at a “baby” who had surgery in the womb on a spinal deformity, and came out kicking its legs.
- How wonderful that a baby could be helped in the womb – Unless no one wants to help the human baby.
You can call it reproductive rights or women’s healthcare, but we all know what is going on. Human beings are being killed.
- In most cases, organizations like Planned Parenthood are taking advantage of hurting and desperate women, prostituting them for profit.
- I say most cases because, there are women like actress, Martha Plimpton, who “shout their abortions.” Plimpton, at a pro-choice rally, said her first abortion at the age of 19 was her best one, raising her fist in the air with a “yay” as the crowd responded with cheers.
- Planned Parenthood wants women to hurt their unborn children: Planned Parenthood’s annual report typically looks like the 2014-15 report. Adoption referrals: 2,024. Abortions: 323,999 One adoption referral for every 160 abortions. And we know they are selling their dismembered bodies for money. Adoption is not profitable. Selling “human body parts” is.
- The pro-abortion cause has tried to convince us that they are the ones that are really for women because of choice.
But they don’t tell you about the immense suffering abortion produces, for those who are willing to admit it.
- NARAL Pro-Choice America – (National Associate for Repeal of Abortion Laws) tweeted: 95% of women who have an abortion do not regret it and feel it was the best choice for them.
- NARAL and PP often make these kinds of claims – that abortion is good for women.
Yet the research says otherwise:
Abortion Increases Risk of Women’s Mental Health Problems 81%
Sept. 2011 A new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry by leading American researcher Dr. Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University finds women who have an abortion face almost double the risk of mental health problems as women who have their baby. Coleman’s study is based on an analysis of 22 separate studies which, in total, examine the pregnancy experiences of 877,000 women, with 163,831 women having an abortion. The study also indicated abortion accounts for one in ten of every adverse mental health issue women face as a whole.
A new study published in the Winter 2017 issue of The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons confirms that many women suffer from long-term negative psychological effects of abortion. This includes regret, shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, loss of quality of life, and self-destructive behaviors. The study included 987 post-abortive women. The results of the study showed that 67.5 percent of respondents sought help from a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor after their abortions, compared to 13 percent who had sought help prior to their abortions. In addition, 51 percent reported prescription drug use after their abortion while only 6.6 percent used prescription drugs prior to their abortion.
58.3 percent of the women said they had their abortions to make other people happy, and 78.3 percent said that their decision to abort was aided by pressure from others. When asked about the negative results of their abortions, women stated that they felt deep feelings of loss, a decrease in their quality of life, lower self-esteem, and a decrease in their ability to connect with others. Regret, shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior were all common experiences for these women.
- 27% of women who abort contemplate suicide. Amongst teenage women, the rate rises to 50% – @CharmaineYoest CEO of Americans United for Life
BTW, our government reports that since 1973, 400 women have died from legal abortions. And yet PP often tweets that Women should have safe, legal abortion. No abortion is safe. Someone always dies.
AGAIN: NARAL Pro-Choice America – (National Associate for Repeal of Abortion Laws) tweeted: 95% of women who have an abortion do not regret it and feel it was the best choice for them.
- Somebody isn’t telling the truth about the facts or about who is really trying to protect and advocate for women.
Common sense tells us who is right and who is wrong and what is hurtful and harmful to women.
- The Bible tells us it is wrong too.
- Abortion goes against the doctrine of the Imago Dei (Genesis 1:26-18) – that humans were created to be reproducing image bearers.
I know women in our church – women who would be more than glad to talk to you – who have suffered for years because of abortion. Pushing the pain down, hoping it would go away. Living with shame. They can listen to you and help you if you have experienced abortion. We can help you find hope in Jesus Christ. We all need forgiveness and restoration.
So church, who will do Proverbs 24:11? Who will protect those slipping toward death? Who will hold them back?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Remember the gospel that sets us free from sin, shame and guilt.
- Let your mourning and anger move you to love and compassion. We must not return evil with evil and harm. Be angry about abortion, but do not sin in your anger. Rather love – do what is best for others.
- Be knowledgeable – about the Bible and about science and about the facts. Science is on the side of life.
- SLS handout – volunteer, serve, give.
- Foster and adopt.
- Rose Day
I want to be pro-human and pro-woman. Abortion is not the way. Brothers and sisters, hold them back. Be pro-woman. Keep them from destruction. The LORD God demands it from His people.
In response to the most recent Planned Parenthood video, I called:
- Mary Fallin, the governor of Oklahoma (405) 521-2342.
- President Obama’s comment line – (202) 456-1111. By the way, they did not want to hear about it. They couldn’t get me off the line fast enough.
- Representative Frank Lucas – (202) 225-5565
- Senator Jim Inhofe (202) 224-4721
- Senator James Lankford (202) 224-5754
And I asked them if they had seen the Planned Parenthood videos. I encouraged them to watch all of them if they have not.
I told them I was deeply disturbed that a viable baby would have its heart stopped so its face could be cut off for the purpose of harvesting its brain. I said this because I want them to know what is happening. I want them to imagine it!
I asked Governor Fallin whether Oklahoma planned to defund Planned Parenthood like several other states recently have.
Since all of my national elected representatives from Oklahoma claim to be pro-life, I told them I was appalled and encouraged them to keep putting pressure on Planned Parenthood until they are defunded, or stop doing abortions.
I gave them my name, contact information and the city I live in and I asked: “How long are we going to tolerate this atrocity against mothers, unborn boys and girls and their fathers?”
Finally, I thanked them for taking my call and hearing my concern.
It took 10 minutes to make these calls. Won’t you join me?
Perhaps you have heard about, read about or seen the infamous videos of doctors from Planned Parenthood callously discussing the sale of aborted baby parts. If you haven’t, you must have been on that island Tom Hanks was stranded on in Castaway, or maybe you have been on a news fast. Whatever the case, if you care about mothers, children and fathers, you need to look, even if you have to force yourself. Evil does not go away when we pretend it is not there.
If you have seen the videos – and there are more to come – you may wonder: “What can I do?”
First, pray for your own heart and mind and that you would remember your own need of grace so that when you act and speak, you do so in a loving way toward others.
Second, pray for God to save people like He saved the apostle Paul, who tried to destroy the lives of others. We should speak and work for justice on earth, but justice on earth without salvation is eternally deadly.
Third, post on social media. Don’t let people be ignorant. Keep up the pressure. I know it is uncomfortable and horrible, but the curtain needs to be pulled back or nothing will change.
Fourth, call your elected representative -whether they be Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc. Before you dismiss this action-step because you assume this is just a Republican political ploy in an election year, keep in mind that abortion is by its very existence a political issue. It is so readily available because it is lawful and because Planned Parenthood gets millions of dollars of tax-payer money. Politicians respond to phone calls, especially when there are lots of them. Here is the contact information:
The White House
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe
U.S. Senator James Lankford
U.S. Congressman Jim Bridenstine
U.S. Congressman Markwayne Mullin
U.S. Congressman Frank Lucas
U.S. Congressman Tom Cole
U.S. Congressman Steve Russell
Doing nothing is the worst kind of something that can be done.
Here are just a few of the reason the Eagle Heights Faith Family supports our local pregnancy (SLS):
- SLS services 1000 to 1200 clients every year.
- The majority of SLS clients are between the ages of 18 and 24.
- In 2009, just over 50% of the abortion-minded clients chose life for their babies.
In the United States alone, the richest country in the history of the world that spends $13 billion a year on pet food, there are 3,700 abortions a day and 1.2 million abortions every year. Since 1973 our country has aborted over 50 million little persons. Mark this: We have aborted around one-seventh of the population of our country, and the crisis of abortion is even more daunting when you consider that every year there are 42 million abortions world-wide.
What then can we do? What can you do? It is such a massive problem and we have so little control over laws and the personal decisions people make. The answer is simple. With God’s energy and strength, we must do what we can – with what we have – where we are. Doing nothing is doing something, and it is the worst something we can do.
We don’t need to start a ministry because one already exists. What we can do is join those who are already making a difference and help them help mothers, fathers and unborn babies. SLS offers us that partnership opportunity and we should join them in serving our city.
Here are some websites that you can look at to be further educated about life and abortion. I do however warn that the Abort73 website is very graphic. I insist though that the images need to be seen to understand what is really going on. I’m convinced that one of the reasons so many people have abortions or don’t take the time to care about the abortion issue is that they just don’t know the truth about what is really going. I’m not saying the truth is easy or makes life less difficult, but ignoring it must be a crime of its own kind that leads to greater crimes against God and people. Look prayerfully:
We have received mixed reviews on the Obama video (above) that was shown this past Sunday as a part of our Sanctity of Life emphasis. Some suggested that it was confusing. Some were concerned that we took his words out of context. Some may have only read politics into it.
Fair enough on all points, and others that have not yet come to my attention.
I must admit that I sometimes fail to anticipate how people might interpret. This is a good reminder that people filter through the lens of their worldview and knowledge, or lack thereof. I have learned a valuable lesson from this video that I thought I already knew – don’t assume. If I had it to do over again, I would still show the video but I would explain the purpose for showing it. I received an email this morning asking the question, “What was the purpose of the Obama video?” And it is a fair question and here are the answers:
- The video was intended to show the inconsistency in thinking of many in our country. Obama contends that we need to do more to protect our children, but what about the unborn children that are not protected. I mentioned on Sunday morning that the majority of Americans think that abortion is morally wrong, but 63% believe that Roe V. Wade should not be overturned. Now I confess that I made the assumption that most people would know that President Obama is not an unborn, pro-baby president (and in all seriousness, let’s pray for him with great intensity that he will change his mind on this issue). Some of his statements to the contrary are shockingly deplorable. But again, I should never assume that anything can be assumed. I was hoping the video would vividly display the inconsistency of any person’s thinking by taking the very emotional event of Newtown, Connecticut and President Obama’s comments about it and show we are not even close to protecting every child. Now for those who were concerned that some might take from the video that president Obama is pro-life, if there is any consolation for you it is this; he’s won’t be up for reelection.
- The video was intended to get people talking. And it did. I have had several comments and questions. However, here is a concern: I hope that the point of the morning was not lost on any uncertainty about the meaning or intent of the video. After hearing Leah speak about her own story and the work of SLS, I hope we can all agree that we want to help hurting mothers, babies and fathers. But it is clear that many talked about the video and even about why it confused them. I hope there was somebody who was a voice of reason and saw some benefit of the video. I’m okay with stirring the pot on occasion.
Some Final Thoughts and 40 Years
- I should never assume.
- I should explain intent. If I could do it again I would have come up after the video and prayed for President Obama and our country and said something like, “President Obama is not a pro-life president, but I pray that he will become a pro-life president so he can be consistent toward all children in relationship to the comments he made about the Newtown tragedy. We should protect all children, including the unborn.” The plan to show the video is a decision I stand behind, however, the execution was lacking. Pray for me that I will grow in wisdom and be a better communicator next time. Won’t you?
- People are catching on to the idea of context. I was actually encouraged that some objected to the video because they felt President Obama’s words were taken out of occasion. It means they are thinking about context when it comes to the reading the Bible and that is right and encouraging.
- Today (January 22, 2013) marks 40 years that abortion has been legal in our country (Roe V. Wade). Over 50 million mothers have made the painful choice to abort over 50 million babies. The pain is unthinkable and the damage is beyond our understanding. May we use every means possible to love others so they don’t add to these staggering numbers.
I was in Louisville, Kentucky when I got the call that Bella Faith was likely to be born this week. The men that I was with at a conference graciously agreed to leave a bit early so I could get back to meet her. She was born at 9:28 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was in Rolla, Missouri when I got the call that she had come out. She weighed 6 lbs. and 14 oz and she was twenty-and-a-half inches long. She is a beautiful baby girl and she doesn’t cry much – yet.
Faith, her birth mom, did a great job and we are thankful that she will trust us with such a precious gift. Lacey also did a great job and was right by her side, encouraging her the whole time.
Her brothers can’t wait to meet her face to face. With much anticipation and excitement, they have been looking forward to loving her and changing her dirty diapers . I’ll have to work hard to motivate that later act of love, but I know this will be good for our sons.
Lacey and I have a lot of love to share with Bella, but I know that what she teaches us about God and being other-centered will be a gift to us. I hope this whole process and act is for God’s glory and the good of others. Especially since God has adopted those who believe in Jesus Christ as sons and daughters. We are not doing anything that God hasn’t graciously done for us.
About Bella’s name – Bella is in honor of my grandmother, Hattie Bell, who died this year at the age of 100. Bella means beautiful. Faith is in honor of her birth mother whose name is Faith.
Thanks for all your support and prayer and we hope that you get to meet Bella soon.
One of the most frequently repeated canards (unfounded accusations) of the abortion debate is that pro-lifers really don’t care about life. As much as they talk about protecting the unborn, we are told, pro-lifers do nothing to support mothers and infants who are already in the world. Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal Magazine, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.
If it is only an accusation, what are you doing? What can we do one person at time, right where we are?
In Why Pro-Life? Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers, Randy Alcorn gives us thirteen suggestions (pp. 116-120). I added the last one.
1. Open your home. Help a pregnant girl or welcome an “unwanted” child for foster care or adoption.
2. Volunteer your time, talents, services. Stillwater Life Services has a number of ways that you can serve and care right here in Stillwater. They serve over 1,000 clients yearly. They could use your help.
3. Be an initiator. If you don’t have a pro-life ministry nearby, start one.
4. Become thoroughly informed. Know why you believe that life is the right choice for every mother and unborn baby. Buy Alcorn’s book or go to a website like Abort73 to educate yourself. You can’t help others if you don’t know why you believe that all life is precious.
5. Talk to your friends, neighbors, coworkers. Graciously challenge others to rethink their positions. Explain to them the stages of pregnancy. Explain to them what actually takes place in an abortion.
6. Promote discussions of abortions. Post articles on Facebook. Write a blog. Retweet pro-life stories and even abortion stories.
7. Write letters. Be courteous, concise and clear and write to your local paper. Write your congressperson and governor.
8. Encourage business boycotts of abortion clinics.
9. Be active in the political process. Politics are not the answer but neither is ignoring politics. Vote.
10. Join or organize a pro–life task-force in your church. Build a team that can constantly be supporting mothers and unborn babies through a local crisis pregnancy center.
11. Utilize excellent pro–resources. Videos, pamphlets, pictures, etc.
12. Pray for pro–life ministries.
13. Give financially to pro-life organizations. Give $5 or $10 a month to a Christ-centered crisis pregnancy center.
14. Share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We shouldn’t expect unbelievers to acts like Christians. We need people to be transformed, so that they will no longer live for themselves but for Christ who died and rose on their behalf (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
“Ask yourself, five minutes after I die, what will I wish I would have given on behalf of the helpless while I still had the chance?” Randy Alcorn
I normally don’t script my notes quite like this but with such an emotional and sensitive topic I want to be especially careful with my words and argumentation. These are the notes that I preached from yesterday and thought they might be helpful for those who were curious about sources I used, how I prepare, or something I said.
P. 53 “I was exceedingly vile. I not only sinned with a high hand myself but made it my study to tempt and seduce others upon every occasion.”
P. 70 “My life, when awake, was a course of most horrid impiety and profaneness. I know not that I have ever met so daring a blasphemer. Not content with horrid oaths and imprecations (curse) I daily invented new ones so that I was often seriously reproved by the captain of my ship.”
P. 228 “My wonderful unsought deliverance from the hopeless wickedness and misery into which I had plunged myself, taken in connection with what he has done for me since seem to make me say with peculiar emphasis, ‘Oh to grace how great a debtor!’”
In 1788, 34 years after he had retired from the slave trade, Newton broke a long silence on the subject with the publication of a forceful pamphlet “Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade”, in which he described the horrific conditions (Pathos Interest Material: The story of a crewman, a mother and her baby in a longboat) of the slave ships during the Middle Passage, and apologized for. He says it was “a confession, which… comes too late….It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”
In a 2006 the movie Amazing Grace was released that summarized the story of William Wilberforce, who spent his entire political career in the British House of Commons working to abolish the slave trade in England. In the film there is a powerful scene in which Newton is speaking to Wilberforce about “His confession” of all that he did and witnessed. In the movie Newton says, “This is my confession, Names, ship records, ports, people, everything I remember is here. I wish I could remember all their names, my 20,000 ghosts. They all had names. Beautiful African names. We called them with just grunts, noises. We were apes, they were humans. I’m weeping. I couldn’t weep until I wrote this. I once was blind but now I see.”
This is snapshot of Newton’s Life is the context for the hymn Amazing Grace, which he authored. “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see.”
Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday, (January 22, 1973 Roe V. Wade 38 yrs. Later) the day we take the time stop and affirm created, human life – whether born or unborn. Both mothers and unborn babies. All human beings from all countries.
I begin today with Newton because I know that in this room there are people who have directly or indirectly experienced the pain of abortion. The pain of a decision they wished they had back. Newton shares something with those who have experienced the trauma of abortion, he shares the memory of his sin but he models for us that God’s grace is magnificently sufficient. “He who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that in Christ, we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus………. Rom. 8:1
God’s grace is amazing for those who are in Christ. John Newton loved God’s grace passionately because he realized how horrible his sin was. Some of us will not and cannot know the riches of God’s grace because we will not own up to and deal with the wickedness of our sin. Let us all, let us liars, adulterers, thieves, abusers, hypocrites, murderers, gossips, slanders, glory-robbers, blasphemers, doubters, idolaters, proud-hearted people, Let us all run to the mercy seat of Christ and embrace the God of grace through Christ. God’s grace is enough for those who acknowledge their sin, turn from sin to Christ and rest in His grace that is extended to us in his finished work on the cross.
As we talk about abortion, if you have messed up, God has cleaned your mess up in Christ.
Since 1973, when abortion was legalized, there have been over 47 million abortions in the United States.
Last year there were roughly 1.2 million abortions in the U.S. alone and roughly 42 million in the world last year.
22%, 2 out of 10 pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion. In NYC, 40% of all pregnancies end in abortion.
Abortions happen for many reasons:
- Some men and women don’t know how they will take care of a baby. Can’t take care of themselves. They are in college or even high school.
- Some women and men don’t want the inconvenience.
- Some men and women don’t want a specific gender.
ILL: Australian Couple (Jan. 11th) aborted two twin boys because they already had 3 boys and wanted a girl.
- Some women and men don’t believe they can financially afford a baby, a child.
I believe this is the biggest cause of abortions. Money. The Movie “Bella” by Metanoia Films
Abortion in recent years has declined, but the numbers are starting to creep back up again because of the economic down turn.
Why is abortion wrong? 1) Go to the podcast and listen to last year’s sermon. 2) Buy Randy Alcorn’s book “Why Pro-Life”
The question I want to answer today is, “What should we do and what are we going to do besides agree that it is wrong?” If we say it is wrong, what are we going to do about it? This is such massive problem, what can I do, what can you do?
From CT on Friday, January 21 “One of the most frequently repeated canards (unfounded accusations) of the abortion debate is that pro-lifers really don’t care about life. As much as they talk about protecting the unborn, we are told, pro-lifers do nothing to support mothers and infants who are already in the world. Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal Magazine, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”
May that never be said of this church family. What would Jesus have us do?
Turn to Luke 10:25-37
If you put Jesus to the test, Jesus is up for the challenge.
Mark this, if you put Jesus to the test, He is going to test you. He is going to push you.
Jesus is not a pushover. Jesus to the law expert, what does the law say?
The Lawyer, the law expert gives him the law (Deut. 6:5 – shema and Leviticus 19:18)
- “Do this” Imperative you shall live (promise).
- V. 25 “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” V. 28 “Do this”
There’s a word play here and an emphasis on the application of knowledge and belief.
Just stop while you are ahead.
Let me ask you, Is this hard? This Is not that complicated, yet this guy, just like many of us look for loopholes, we do biblical gymnastics to avoid doing what we know we ought to do.
We try to soften the command. Make it easier. Look for ways not to do it.
We try to shrink wrap God and compress him and make Him manageable. We try to domesticate Him and His ways. .
What is God saying to you right now, and you are looking for ways to get out of it, and you use the Bible to do it?
Catch this, this scholar is all for loving God, but he wants to know who He has to love. Who is his neighbor?
Who is your neighbor? Who should you be loving? What is love? It’s doing what is best for someone else.
The guy won’t stop and so Jesus tells an explanatory parable or story.
This story is surprising in at least three ways.
1) Those we expect to be a neighbor are not neighbors.
2) The one we least expect to be a neighbor is.
ILL: The homeless man who found a student’s backpack with several Thousands of dollars in cash. He returned it.
3) The lengths the Samaritan went to in compassionately serving the helpless man.
Actions he took Summarized in this way:
- Met an obvious, right in front of him need.
- Compassionately loving.
- Inconvenient “Ministry is hardly every convenient.”
- Costly/Sacrificial/Above and Beyond the call of duty.
- Personal (v. 35b “I” twice = emphatic) Ownership. ILL: University Student at Wal-Mart who was helping a homeless family and buying a Bible.
- V. 36 – The original question:
Who is my neighbor? V. 29
Who proved to be a neighbor? V. 36 question
Application: Everyone is your neighbor because you are a neighbor. Are you a neighbor?
This is our privileged job to help people. To care for people. “To rescue the perishing, care for the dying, to tell them Jesus is merciful, Jesus can save.”
Implication: If you are not a neighbor, you really don’t love God and you very well may not be a Christian. It is both.
- V. 37 Go and do the same. Here is the word “do” again.
V. 25 – “What should I do?”
V. 28 – “Do this.”
V. 29 – “Who should I do this to? Who is my neighbor?”
V. 37 – “Go and do the same. Be a neighbor by meeting needs.”
If we are going to help people, the mother’s of the unborn and the unborn, then we must be a neighbor for God’s glory. It won’t be easy. It will be messy. It will cost you something. But you should want to serve and love others.
What kind of disciple-neighbor are you?
There is so much need in the world. “How do you help millions of needy people? One at a time, right where you are.” Randy Alcorn
Randy Alcorn, in his book, “Why Pro-Life? Caring for the Unborn and their mothers.” Gives 13 suggestions to help mothers and their unborn. I want to give 5.
1.) Be a neighbor for yourself. Have compassion on yourself. Get help. Attend CR.
2.) Become thoroughly informed and educate yourself. Buy Alcorn’s book. Go to www.abort73.com
3.) Thoroughly inform others. Educate. Watch for articles on twitter and yahoo news and wisely post them on facebook. Write a blog to process the material. Writing helps us to systematically think and place our thoughts.
4.) Support Stillwater Life Service. Give financially today or monthly. Ask, what can I do? Watch this video of how two in our own church family are being a neighbor.
5.) Share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should not expect unchristian people to live like Christ. We should however expect believers/disciples to live like Christ. We need a 2 Cor. 5:14-15, 17 Revolution. We need an awakening. We need transformation that only the Spirit can induce.
Spiritually dead people (Ephesians 2:1-3) don’t make good neighbors.
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him whom died and was raised again our behalf.”
John Newton, the blasphemer, the slave trader, the fornicator, the witchcraft participant, the drunkerd.
p. 350 Newton’s Epitaph “John Newton Once an infidel and libertine (unrestrained by morality). A servant of slaves in Africa. Was By the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Preserved, Restored, Pardoned and appointed to preach the faith, He had long labored to destroy. “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great savior.”
“Ask yourself, five minutes after I die, what will I wish I would have given on behalf of the helpless while I still had the chance?” Randy Alcorn
Earthquakes can cause massive initial and primary damage, as we have seen recently in Haiti and Chile. We also know from recent history that earthquakes can cause massive secondary damage miles away from the epicenter of the original event. Whether primary or secondary, the damage can be lethally destructive. The disturbing truth about secondary damage is that sometimes we don’t see it coming. Such is potentially the case for abortion in the U.S.
I recognize these things to be true: Abortion ignores that there is a creator God who has creator rights. Abortion kills little human beings. Abortion is emotionally and spiritually harmful to mothers. Abortion withholds the privileged right of life that was given to every person who makes the decision to end the life of the unborn. These are primary. These are ultimate.
But then there are secondary issues of harm and damage that result from abortion. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that there have been 52.3 million abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973, which equals the total population of the largest 65 cities in the U.S. What are the financial implications for 52 million missing people? What does abortion mean for a country that is going to struggle to pay for its aging population through programs like social security and medicare? It is estimated that aborting 52 million people is costing the U.S. $35 trillion dollars in gross domestic product. Abortion Stats per state and financial implications.
Read me clearly. There are primary reasons for lovingly and tactfully opposing abortion, but as with so many things in life there are secondary consequences and implications for immoral behavior. It would be immoral to call for an end to abortion simply to make anyone’s life monetarily easier. That would be some sort of selfishness that itself would demean life.
But I can’t help but recognize the irony that the wealthiest country in the history of the world may soon be brought to its knees by the murder of its own. Abortion is wrong because it is defies the creator by terminating the creation to the harm of others. But as with all sin the damage it secondarily causes can be cataclysmic, even if at first it seems insignificant.
In 1973 Roe V. Wade was at the epicenter that has made legal so much death and destruction, but it is possible that the Tsunami it consequently spawned is just now reaching us in ways we would have never dreamed? God knows. We’ll have to wait and see.