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Sanctity of Human Life Sunday: Convenience or Life? Print E-mail
Sanctity of Human Life
Sunday, 17 January 2010

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I would guess that a large majority (if not all) of us would consider ourselves pro-life.  When it comes to this ‘issue’ we are decided: we oppose abortion, we oppose the killing of the elderly or the diseased, we oppose death in favor of life.  Of course, I believe that this is indeed the right stance (the biblical stance) on these issues.

Yet, I would also argue that there are different ways that a person can be pro-life.  For some, this is just another political issue that impacts who they vote for or who they vote against.  For others, this is far more significant than a political issue.  They pray and fight and work and do all they can to support life and oppose the culture of death.  I would dare say that most of us are somewhere in the middle of these two approaches.  My goal this morning is to challenge each of us to consider just how pro-life we are.  I want to begin by looking at four biblical principles that call us to be pro-life.  At the end, I want to come back to this question of where you are and where you should be on the ‘pro-life scale.’  Let’s begin with the four principles.

First, we are to be fruitful and multiply.

We do not have to read very far in the Bible to see the importance of life.  The very passage that speaks of our creation tells us that we are to value life.  Look at Genesis 1:27 with me.  God created us in His image.  Not only did He breathe life into us, but He created us to be image bearers.  What exactly does this mean and imply?  We see at least a partial answer in the next verse.  Look at that with me.  God gives Adam and Eve their first command: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion…God rules over all as the Sovereign Creator and He tells humanity to image His reign by subduing the earth and having dominion over it.  How are we supposed to do that?  Well, we at least begin by being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth.  We are called to fill the earth with humanity, the image bearers of God.  Theologians often refer to this as the ‘creation mandate.’  We are to fill the earth with life by being fruitful and multiplying.

Of course, you may be thinking: ‘Yeah, but this was before Adam and Eve sinned, so what about after the Fall?’  Good question.  After the Fall we are told that the corruption of sin spread through the whole world.  Thus, God judged the world through the flood.  Yet, He spared Noah and his family.  When the waters had subsided, God addresses them in Genesis 9:1.  Look at what He says there.  God gives the same command to Noah and his sons that He gave to Adam and Eve.  Thus, the creation mandate is not abandoned after the Fall.  Granted, it has been greatly impacted (pain in childbearing and infertility are two examples among others), but it has not been disregarded.  Humanity is still called to fill the earth and subdue it as God’s image bearers.  Likewise, to see the connection between being made in God’s image and the value of life look at 9:6.  We do not take life because it is made in God’s image.  Rather, we seek to fill the earth, which leads me to the next principle.

Second, we are to view children as a blessing.

Did you notice that before God gave Adam and Eve the command that the text says: And God blessed them.  The same thing is said before God calls Noah and his sons to fill the earth.  It seems that part of God’s blessing to these first families was offspring and the call to produce them.  We see this idea in other places as well.  One of the passages most often noted is Psalm 127:3-5.  Look at that with me.  Contrary to everything that our culture says, children are a blessing from the Lord.  Notice too that the Bible calls a man with many children (a full quiver of them) a blessed man.  It is not hard to see that our culture teaches and believes exactly the opposite.  Many would say that a man who has many children is not blessed but burdened.  It is easy to criticize the culture on this point, but I fear that the same thing is often believed (even if never stated) in the church.  Sure we call children a blessing, but we are still shocked when we see large families.  Yet, the Bible sees a full quiver, a large family, as a blessing.  I pray that we recover such a perspective.  Other passages teach this truth as well.  Look at the very next psalm (Psalm 128).  We could also note Jesus’ approach to children in Mark 10 and Paul’s instruction for younger widows to marry and have children in 1 Timothy 5:14.  The Bible views children as a blessing and so should we.

Third, we are to protect the needy.

Not only are we to value life, but we are to protect the needy against those who do not value life.  Look at Proverbs 24:10-12.  The writer of the Proverbs tells us: Rescue those who are being taken away to death.  It seems as if the idea here is those who are being taken away to death due to ignorance or injustice.  In these cases, we are to step in and fight for justice.  We are to come to the aid of those who cannot fight for themselves.  We see this principle in other passages as well.  In Exodus 1, God commends the Hebrew mid-wives for rescuing the Hebrew males and later He commands Israel to not murder (Exodus 20:13).  Likewise, we read of God’s judgment against Israel for sacrificing her children to the idols of Canaan (Psalm 106:32ff).  God calls us to fight against these injustices.  In our day, we must stand against abortion.  We must fight it in every way that we can.  We must never grow comfortable with our nation’s acceptance of it.  I, like so many others, am broken by the tragedy that took place in Haiti.  In just a few moments, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost.  We should weep and mourn for this.  We should do all that we can to aid those who are suffering as a result of it.  Yet, what if I told you that another tragedy was going to take place in the world in 2010, that there would be events that would result in the loss of millions of lives?  And what if I told you that, unlike the tragedy in Haiti, these events were preventable?  Would you not do all that you could to stop it?  Well, then fight hard against abortion.  Do all that you can to stop this tragedy.  Otherwise, millions upon millions more will be lost in the months and years ahead.

Fourth, we are to care for widows and orphans.

Since I spent most of my time on this principle last year, I only want to mention it today.  Look at James 1:27.  James tells us to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.  As we saw last year, God is the Father to the fatherless, He cares for those that are neglected in our societies.  And He expects His Church to do the same.  We are not to look to the government to do this.  We are not to only do this when it involves our immediate family.  No, we are called to care for orphans and widows.  We are to view this labor as religion that is pure and undefiled before God.  Again, may we recover such a perspective in our day.

I opened this morning by pointing out that there is a difference between being conveniently committed to the pro-life cause and being radically committed to the principles that we have outlined.  Again, I believe that the vast majority of us are indeed pro-life, but I wonder just how radically and biblically pro-life we are?  Let me explain.

I would dare say that most of us are pro-life enough to let it impact how we vote.  Some of us may not be and I would challenge you to reconsider your position.  What issue takes precedence over life?  For those of us who are at least pro-life enough to vote based on this conviction, let me ask you this: how much does that cost you?  How much of a sacrifice is it for you to vote pro-life?  Maybe we would add to that that we pray against abortion.  Again, we should do this and we should do this more.  Yet, and I do not want to belittle prayer in any way, but how much do those prayers cost us if we never really act upon them?  Are we like Gideon, hoping and longing for the Lord to act, while the Lord responds: do not I send you (Judges 6:14)?  There is nothing wrong with praying until it becomes our excuse not to do what the Lord calls us to do.  At that point I wonder if our prayers do not become offensive to God.  ‘O Lord do something,’ we pray, ‘just don’t ask me to do anything.’  If this is all we do, then I fear that we are only conveniently pro-life.  We will fight against abortion and fight for life and apply the above principles only when it is convenient.

Yet, I believe that we must do more.  I believe that the Bible calls us to be radically pro-life.  So then, what might this look like?  Let me give just a few examples of radical applications of the above principles.  First, what if we as a Church decided to care for all of the orphans in our community?  Some churches are beginning to do this.  I heard of one pastor (David Platt) who simply went to the DFS office in his community and told them that his Church would provide care for all of those who needed it.  That is being radically pro-life.  Second, what if we as a Church let it be known in Sikeston that we would care for any unwanted babies?  A pastor in the Atlanta area (Vic Pentz) made this statement from the pulpit: “I make a promise to you now and I don't want you to keep this a secret, the Peachtree Presbyterian Church will care for any newborn baby you bring to this church.  We will be the family to find a home for that child, and there's no limit on this. You can tell your friends, you can tell your family, you can tell the whole world ...” 1  Another example of being radically pro-life.  Third, what if we as families reconsidered the call to be fruitful and multiply?  The Bible does not tell us how big our families should be, but it does tell us that children are a blessing.  We must be certain that the size of our families is not controlled by the culture.  Along these lines, I have recently read more on the practice of birth control and its potential to cause unknown abortions.  If this is proven, would you be willing to change your practice?  Finally, what if you regularly visited the nursing homes even though you do not have immediate family there?  Set aside a few minutes or more each week to visit the widows and to invest in the elderly.

These actions may be considered radical, but in the end, they are nothing compared to the radical love of Christ, who willingly left His Father’s side, took on flesh, and died on the cross in our place.  We are not radical for the sake of being radical.  No, we are radical because Jesus has first loved us radically!  Brothers and sisters, may we lay our lives down for others just as Jesus laid down His life for us.  Be as radical as your Savior in your efforts to be pro-life.  Amen.

1 For more visit: http://takeyourvitaminz.blogspot.com/2009/08/we-wil-care-for-any-newborn-baby-you.html.
2 For more visit:

~ William Marshall

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