Sanctity of Life Sunday
January 19th, 2014
Before I begin, I want to explain something. Today I will be talking about abortion. At one point I will briefly describe three methods used in abortion. If you do not want your child or teen exposed to this description you are more then welcome to have them leave the room. You can send them now to hang out downstairs in and around the nursery. Or you can send them out for the one point where I describe the abortions. Also, if you for whatever reason are not comfortable hearing about abortion, you are free to step out now or at that point. I will give you a heads up before I share that part of the sermon.
Please join me as I pray:
Father we come before you today as your people and your servants. We want to grow in our knowledge of the truth and our ability to act on it. Please open our eyes and transform our hearts so that we can put legs on our faith. We praise You and pray all these things in Jesus' name.
Yesterday I was told that a lady in our church lied (smile). She went to the Maryland clothing swap yesterday and left her children with their grandmothers. After she left, her oldest said, "Mommy lied to me today."
"What did she say?" Grandma Asked.
"I told mommy that I was going to throw up and she said that I wasn't going to throw up. I threw up in the car and now it smells like puke. Mommy lied to me."
Let me talk about another lie.
In the mid 1930's a man named Adolf Hitler preached the idea of a an elite race of people. In short he believed that the German nation and specifically genetically "pure" germans were better and destined to rule the world. He cast this vision and lead the German nation to believe they were better then the people around them. In short he shared his vision that some life had more value than others.
This is where the concentration camps fit in. Hitler believed that Jews were a scourge on society. He believed their lives were less valuable therefore he convinced the German nation to look the other way as millions of Jews disappeared. This death doctrine didn't stop there. What many don't know is that hundreds and thousands of mentally handicapped men and women were also sentenced to death in concentration camps because their lives were not deemed worth much.
Because the lives of these men and women were deemed worth less Hitler made them human lab rats. Those humans endured all sorts of experiments to see what humanity could handle. All the while Millions of Germans (and millions of German Christians) looked the other way because they had either bought the lie of worth-less lives or they didn't want to trouble themselves to worry about what was going on.
Friends The Holocaust was wrong because Hitler and others decided that life's value was ascribed by society. They took men and women that God had endowed with value and told them "You are worthless." The Holocaust was not wrong because Hitler killed God's people. It was wrong because Hitler killed humans that God created in His image.
You and I may wipe our brows and thank our God that we won the war and Auschwitz is out of business. We can rejoice Adolf Hitler is gone and his dream is stopped. But the Holocaust we ended 70 years ago cannot compare with the one we started in the United States just three decades later.
On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court ruled to legalize Abortion across the United States. Rulings in the years that followed expanded on the original decision so that now any woman, even a minor can kill her baby for any reason. (That is, as long as her child hasn't been lucky enough to take a breath of air). Hitler's Third Reich accounted for the death of between 6 and 7 million people. Legalized abortion has allowed the recorded killing of more than 52 million children.
Those who have abortions and perform them usually believe one of two things. First, they may believe that what is inside the womb is only a parasite, a collection of cells. This is a lie. Any birthing book will detail the complexity and human-ness of a baby even in the first month of gestation.
The second belief is that the life of the woman is more valuable than the life of the baby. Many passionately defend abortion because they are championing the rights of women. The mistake they make is that they have made human life valuable by achievement rather than endowment. They are saying in essence that life only has value as assigned by society. That's pretty much what Adolf Hitler believed.
Really though, why do we have endowed value as humans? And why is Abortion wrong? To answer this, please join me in Psalms 139:13-16.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I have a scarf that I really enjoyed through snowmageddon a couple weeks ago. (show scarf) My sister knit it for me a couple Christmas's back. It is complex with different designs knit in and it is warm. Making something like this requires thought and a plan (not to mention skill). Years ago some girl tried to teach me crocheting. I tried but my crocheting looked more like modern art then a scarf. I love the scarf my sister made for me.
In the same way, the assembly of the human body takes a plan and intelligence. David writes that God exercises care and plan in the building of every one of us.
From this verse and nearly a dozen other verses throughout the Bible we believe that Human life begins in the womb. God exercises intentionality in the formation of every life that comes into our world. From the baby with spine ambifida to the unwanted pregnancy to the future Einstein God is intentionally building every life. Life has it's genesis and the foundation of it's value in the womb.
The problem is that many disagree on the beginning of life. Scientists debate on what qualifies life and where the fertilized egg becomes a separate human. Many people don't even know that the baby in the womb is distinctly human. Volunteers from the Crisis pregnancy center tell me that many men and women don't know how human their baby is. That's why they push to do a sonogram.
Thankfully seeing a sonogram sometimes works. Wednesday the director of the Crisis Pregnancy center emailed out part of the story of one woman who came in planning an abortion. When she saw the sonogram she decided to carry the baby to term. Now she loves her little boy and is so happy to have him.
Our court system is confused about the beginning of life. Perhaps you may remember the trial of an abortionist named Herman Gosnell last year. He was convicted of murder because he made a practice of killing a number of babies immediately after they were born rather then killing them in the womb. If he had only killed the babies anywhere inside the mother's body the court would have said that he was simply conducting legal abortions.
As Christians we must understand that God begins life in the womb. God begins every life with a plan and purpose for his or her existence. For this reason every human life has value. For this reason we must defend life from its' conception.
Please join me in the next couple verses:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
David here celebrates the wonder of the human body. He describes it as fearfully and wonderfully made. The Human body is unbelievably complex even at 30 days since it was conceived. Within thirty days the fertilized egg has grown more then 10,000 times it's original size. The child already has a heartbeat, brain, nervous system and other characteristics. It is awe-inspiring to study the complexity of the human body. David didn't know about the baby in-utero but he did understand that the human body a was wonderfully made.
David then recognizes that God saw and formed him in the secret place before his birth. In the world before he took his first breath God had already seen him and worked to form his life.
You all have heard about my love for Christina, our 17 month old toddler. From the moment we learned of her presence in Ashley's womb through today we have been amazed at her growth and intelligence. Every day it seems she is learning a new skill or making up a new game. I love her not just because she is my daughter but because she inherently has value. She was made in the image of God and her life is valuable.
In just a minute I will be describing abortion for the next 3-5 minutes. You are welcome to have your child leave or step out yourself while I share this story about Christina.
Yesterday I dipped a chip into salsa and offered it to her for the first time. She giggled at me and refused. She then grabbed a chip and starting mimicking me and dipped it into the salsa and ate the chip piece by piece. She has never dipped a chip into salsa before yesterday.
I love her but I must raise the question. Is Christina valuable because of her attributes. Is she important because Ashley and I chose to have her? The conclusion that you and I must reach from God's Word is that Christina and other babies are awesomely valuable because of God's creative work in the womb. They have value as human life, not because they have earned value.
I don't watch the national news much. I try not to watch particularly violent movies. National news and violent movies tend to focus on the negatives in our world. I don't want my daily life filled with images of murders or disasters from around the world. I know that I will pick up most of what I need to know by talking to friends and skimming the newspaper headlines at Starbucks.
That said I have become convicted that in the case of abortion I need to understand what is really going on in order to respond with appropriate conviction and action. We must understand what is going on in order to give this issue the gravity it deserves.
There are many methods for performing an abortion. Allow me to briefly describe three of them.
One method is known as dilation and cutting. In short, the woman's cervix is dilated (caused to widen by medicine) and the abortionist inserts an instrument (a knife) to cut the baby to pieces so he or she can be easily removed from the mother's womb.
Another method is known simply as suction. With this method a tool is inserted into the womb and it then exerts a suction equal to 28 times the force of a normal vacuum cleaner. This tears the baby and placenta away from the wall of the womb and removes it to a clear bottle.
The final method I will share today is known as saline injection. Here some of the fluid in the womb is removed and replaced with a concentrated salt solution. The baby breathes in and swallows the salt. This kills the baby in about an hour via brain hemorrhaging and it usually burns off the outer layer of skin
Those are horrendous. Let me ask you this. What if someone came church and said they were going to the nursery do one of those things to a child there? We would have more than a dozen people stand up to do whatever it takes to stop him. Ben and Sandy would lay down their lives to protect the children they are watching today. You would protect those children even if you weren't related, even if you didn't even know them. We value those lives. Why do we allow abortion doctors to end so many other lives?
Before I continue I must say this. God loves to make beauty from ashes. He is in the business of forgiving even the worst of sins and bringing hope to the hopeless. If you have been involved in taking the life of a baby God still loves you. If you know someone who has had an abortion, Jesus' death on the cross is still enough to forgive their sins. If you share with me that you have had an abortion, I will still love you as Christ does. The Crisis pregnancy center offers counseling to people who have had an abortion. God has the power to transform your life to bring more love, hope and peace then you have had before.
Please join me back in Psalm 139:
You eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
In this final verse David recognizes that God had a purpose and plan for his life. He stated a concept we see throughout the scripture. God knows our future and guides our lives. Before any one of us was born, God had a purpose and plan for our lives. Every human life that God forms, He has a plan for. Therefore that human life has value.
Understanding that God has a plan for every life means we must not undersell any life. We must uphold all human life as valuable. We must cling to the sanctity of life and wrestle with what that value looks like.
The answers to the question of whether or not to have an abortion are often hard answers.
The weight of caring for a child falls heavily on the woman. Since having Christina, I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a single parent. Choosing to have a child as a single woman may mean resigning yourself to a lifetime of sacrifice. I very much admire the single parents I know for their hard work and dedication.
A pregnant teen risks loosing much of the rest of her middle school and high school years in order to care for a child. Aborting the child is the easy solution.
There are a wealth of other situations full of a myriad of pressures that make it very hard to choose life for your child. I am not pretending to see the world through rose-colored glasses. I am asking you to understand the value of life and consider how you are called to act.
I have a few suggestions from the Crisis Pregnancy Center what you and I can do to value life.
Examine your heart, do you value life as much as God does?
How do you feel about abortion? What do you think of people that have had abortions? what do you think when you see a young mother, an unwed mother? Do your thoughts align with Scripture.
Pray that you would see others with the same love that Christ has given us.
Luke 6 says, "Judge not lest you would be judged" Ask God to help you see others with the same love that He sees you.
Teach a respect for all human life.
Share God's plan for life in your home, to your children and grandchildren. Share it in your friendships. Share wherever God gives you the opportunity.
Support the Crisis pregnancy center
They are the epicenter of the solution to abortion. Men and women will go there with their questions that will not grace the door of a church. Pray, volunteers, offer financial assistance. After what I have learned for this sermon, I plan to start volunteering at the center.
Friends, God created life, every single one. Marvel in it, be amazed by His beauty in creation. Then do all you can to defend it.