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Sanctity of Human Life Sunday: Fighting Against Abortion by Fighting for Adoption (Isaiah 58:6-12) Print E-mail
Sanctity of Human Life
Sunday, 18 January 2009

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When we talk about issues of pro-life vs. pro-choice we as believers are normally pretty clear about what we oppose. We oppose abortion. We oppose death. We oppose the taking of life, be it the life of a conceived child or the life of the elderly, for mere convenience. We oppose legislation that supports such actions and do our best to fight against these ideas. Yet, what exactly are we for? If we are against abortion and the culture of death, then what do we support?

In general, we are for life (thus the title Ďpro-lifeí). Instead of death in these instances, we fight for life. And in particular, pro-life means being pro-baby, or pro-elderly, or pro- any other group that is targeted due to inconvenience. We want to see the elderly live, the handicapped live, the diseased live, and babies live. Even though there are complex issues within all of these various groups, in general, we are for life.

Today in our time together, as we observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, I want to encourage you along one of these more particular lines, namely that of being pro-baby. As believers in Christ we are not just against abortion but we are for babies being born. Unfortunately at times, it seems like we spend more time and energy being against abortion than we do being for the birth of children. To be even more particular, I want to us to consider the issue of adoption this morning. If we are pro-life, then we are pro-baby. If we are pro-baby, then we are pro-adoption. Again, these connections are not always made, but they are important if we are going to truly be pro-life. We must know what it is that we are fighting for.

Obviously, adoption is close to my heart. I stand before you a proud father of an adopted son. The adoption of Isaiah has been a huge blessing in my life in so many ways. Of course, we did not adopt Isaiah simply to fight abortion, but we did adopt because we are pro-life and more specifically because we are pro-baby. The Lord has been so kind to me and Glenna to allow us to parent Isaiah. We have been so blessed by adoption. So, needless to say, it is easy to understand my personal feeling about the subject of adoption.

Yet, the Word is not silent about our care for those in need. I know that our situation and our culture is different from that of biblical times. I know that we are not Israelites and that we are no longer under the Old Covenant. Yet, when you begin to look at the Bibleís call for followers of God to take care of the needy (and specifically the widows and orphans) it is hard to argue with the conclusion that we should be pro-adoption. Letís look at a few specific passages.

Exodus 22:22-24

The Lord has always been serious about social justice. He expects His people to treat each other justly and He expects His people to care for the underprivileged and needy. And just in case you missed it from this text, He is not just making suggestions here. After commanding the Israelites to not mistreat any widow or fatherless child, He tells them what will happen if they do. And what does He say? I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless. The Lord is not making suggestions. He does not consider the care of orphans and widows as something trivial. He commands His people to care for them.

Deuteronomy (3 passages):

Look at Deuteronomy 10:17-19. In context, the Lord is calling for Israel to walk in the ways of the Lord, circumcise their hearts, and to not be stubborn. With this in mind we are told of the greatness of God. He is God of gods and Lord of lords and He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner. This is the God that Israel is called to serve. And they are called to act in certain ways because of His compassionate character: Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. Here, they are actually given two reasons to care for the sojourner and the needy. First, they are to do so because of the character of God. Since He cares for the needy, so should His people. Second, they are to do so because they too have known what it is like to be in need. They were sojourners in Egypt and God had compassion on them. His character and His amazing grace compel them to serve the needy.

Look at Deuteronomy 24:17-22. We get some more specific commands about how they are to care for the widow and the fatherless and the sojourner. They are to leave a portion of their crops to support these needy groups. Again they are to do this because they too were sojourners at one time. We see this being lived out by Boaz in the book of Ruth.

Look at Deuteronomy 27:19. In chapter 27 and 28 the Lord pronounces the curses and blessings that will come to Israel if they fail to keep or keep the Law. Those who ignore the charge to do justice to the fatherless and the widow and the sojourner will be cursed. Once again we see a clear warning against mistreating the needy.

Psalms (2 passages):

Look at Psalm 10:12-18. Both Psalm 9 and 10 speak to the issue of Godís care and concern for the needy. The first eleven verses of Psalm 10 talk about how the wicked mistreat people and act as if God will do nothing about it. Yet, the psalmist holds out hope in the fact that God is the helper of the fatherless and He will do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed. The psalmist can put his hope in the Lord because he knows that He is kind to the needy.

Instead of Psalm 82:1-4 (which was on my outline), letís look at 68:5. God is the Father of the fatherless and the protector of widows. This is who He is. The Bible is not unclear about how the Lord feels about the fatherless and the widow. He clearly values them and takes up their cause. It is part of His character to care for the needy.

Isaiah (2 passages):

Look at Isaiah 1:16-17. As we have seen in our study of the book of Isaiah, the prophet is consistently calling Israel to repent for her social ills. Here the call is to bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widowís cause. To fail to do this is to continue in the evil that they were currently walking. Thus, the command is clear: take care of the needy among you. Look at verse 23. Here again we see the leaders being condemned for their failure to take care of the fatherless and the widows. We looked at Isaiah 58:6-12 last week, so I do not want to say much here concerning that text except that it clearly calls the exiles to provide for the needy.

James 1:27

This is the one New Testament passage that clearly calls us to care for orphans, or the fatherless. Yet, make no mistake about it, James is very clear about the importance of caring for orphans and widows. If we claim to worship the Lord and be followers of Christ but do not care for the widows and the orphans, then James says that we are hypocrites and our religion is not true religion. You cannot love God and hate your brother. You cannot worship God and ignore the needy. We are fooling ourselves if we think we can. The Bible is clear.

What implications can we draw from all of these passages? Let me mention just a couple. First, the Lord cares for the needy. He is the Father to the fatherless. His compassion on the outcasts of society is obvious and abundant in the text. Second, the Lord commands us to care for the needy. The Israelites were soberly warned against mistreating the needy. I think we can say it this way: one of the central means that the Lord uses in caring for the needy is His people. He cares for the needy through them. Since His people know that they are His people only by His compassion and grace, they are free to show such compassion to others. Their redemption and His character compel them.

Practical Application:

The Word calls us to care for the needy and specifically to care for orphans. So, how can we do this practically? Let me give you four ways to support adoption:

First, support adoption personally. The most obvious way for you to support adoption and care for orphans is to adopt a child. I know that not everyone is called to adopt, but having said that, let me just challenge each and every couple in this Church to consider it. Ask the Lord for wisdom and faith and follow His leading. Do not just assume that you are not called to adopt. Pray and let the Lord lead you.

Second, support adoption financially. I know that I am preaching to the choir on this one. Glenna and I cannot even express how you guys have blessed us with your giving for Isaiah. What I do want to say this morning is letís keep giving to support adoption. Letís continually be looking for ways to support couples who are seeking to adopt. We talked about keeping the adoption fund open at the last business meeting and I think that is a great idea. Letís be known as the Church that continually supports adoption financially.

Third, support adoption politically. I should mention this morning that a certain bill called the ĎFreedom of Choice Actí or FOCA is stringently being pushed in Washington right now. This bill would overturn much of the work that has been done to decrease abortion in this country. We must oppose this bill and do all that we can to see that it does not pass. Likewise, the government is considering cutting the tax-break that is given to couples who adopt. When you put this together you have increased funding for abortion and decreased funding for adoption. Of course if the tax-break is ceased, then the Church must step in to help support adoptive families.  Continued below the banner...

Fourth, support adoption culturally. What I mean by this is letís become a people who live out the truth that children are a blessing of the Lord. Letís pass on the blessings of adoption to the next generation. Letís dream big about what the Lord could do among us in regards to the care of the fatherless (crisis pregnancy center, orphanage). Letís build this culture in our homes, at work, and here at Church.

To close, look at Galatians 4:1-7 with me. We are no longer slaves, but we are sons and daughters of God because He has adopted us into His family through the person and work of Jesus, our Savior. In light of such a salvation, such an adoption, may we labor to be pro-life by being pro-baby and pro-adoption to the glory of the Father of the fatherless. Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 January 2012 )

User Comments

Pastor Marshall,
My husband and I visited your church this past Sunday with 3 other couples from Cape Girardeau. I just want to tell you how refreshing it was to come and be taught Biblical truth expositorily. We also have a heart for those who are or who have adopted. We are in the process right now of adopting 2 children from Russia. God willing they should be with us by this time next year, hopefully sooner!

Posted by Shannon Nelson, on 12/02/2009 at 01:45

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