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Sanctity of Human Life: Reasons to fight for life from Luke Print E-mail
Sanctity of Human Life
Sunday, 20 January 2013

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We have observed the sanctity of human life Sunday for the past five years.  We take one service each January to focus on why we as believers in Christ should fight for life.  We look at passages from Scripture that encourage us in this battle and we try to find ways that we can practically get involved (adoption, supporting a crisis pregnancy center, voting, etc.).  In the past five years since we have been observing this, over 5 million babies have been aborted in this country.  That number does not include the unknown babies who are killed through ‘the morning after pill’ that is now available on demand.  Planned Parenthood reported that they performed a record number of abortions in 2010-11 (over 330,000).   However, there are signs that things are perhaps improving.  It seems that the number of abortion clinics is down and there was even an article featured on the cover of TIME magazine recently that stated that those who support abortion on demand have been losing ever since Roe v. Wade took place forty years ago.   So there are signs that seem positive.  Yet, even so, since I preached my sermon last year on the Sanctity of Human life, over a million babies were still aborted in our country.  With such overwhelming work ahead of us, why should we keep fighting?  Why not just give this battle up?

There are a host of reasons why we should keep fighting for the sanctity of human life in the pages of Scripture (and in one sense, even if there was only one that would be enough).  In particular, I want to ask and answer this question from the book that we are studying this year, namely the Gospel of Luke.  Thus, what reasons does Luke give us to fight for life?

First, we fight for life because we value children:

It is not hard to get a sense of how Luke and Jesus feel about children.  To illustrate this, let me just mention a few passages.

First, think about the story of Elizabeth’s reproach being removed with the birth of John.  Luke tells us that Zechariah and Elizabeth had no child, because Elizabeth was barren (1:7).  After the angel tells Zechariah what is going to happen and the couple conceives, Luke records Elizabeth’s response: Thus the Lord has done for me, to take away my reproach among people (1:25).  The Lord had graciously given Elizabeth the gift of a child to take away the reproach of being barren.  She did not complain about being too old or too tired or too poor to have a child.  She rejoiced at God blessing her in this way.  She viewed John as a great blessing from God. 

Second, Luke notes three times when Jesus heals children that they are an ‘only child.’  Look at 7:12, 8:42, and 9:38.  I have never noticed that before and I find it interesting that Luke would note this detail.  Why does he include it?  It is hard to be overly definite about why the Spirit would have Luke note this, but it at least shows the value of children to Jesus.  The widow of Nain had lost her only son.  Jairus’ only daughter was dying.  The man’s only son was demon-possessed.  How did Jesus respond?  He raised the son and the daughter and cast out the demon.  He valued children and showed compassion to these desperate parents.

Third, Jesus’ teaching reveals how he feels about children as well.  Look at 9:46-48.  Jesus tells the arrogant disciples that if they want to be great then they need to care for children (who were often looked down upon in their culture).  Look at 18:15-17.  The disciples felt like Jesus was too busy dealing with important matters to take time for children.  So Jesus corrects their error.  He wants the children to come to Him.  Why?  Because the kingdom belongs to them.  They illustrate how we should trust and rely on the Lord (receive the kingdom). 

Jesus and Luke make it plain that they value children.  Children are a blessing from the Lord.  Our culture often views them as a burden.  We must keep fighting for life until that changes.  I think adoption is a great way for us to demonstrate our value of children.  Whether you are adopting or just supporting those who, it shows that you view children as a blessing.

Second, we fight for life because we value the marginalized:

Children are not the only victims of the culture of death.  The elderly are under attack.  Young mothers are under attack.  Anyone with a disease is under attack.  Abortion has completely devastated any group of people that can be marginalized for whatever reason.  For example, I read that 90% of babies who have Down syndrome are aborted.   We throw away the marginalized.  Yet, one emphasis of the Gospel of Luke is Jesus’ ministry to the marginalized.  He did not look down upon them.  He did not consider them unworthy.  He poured out love and grace on them and made them His sons and daughters.

Consider the various types of people Jesus ministered to.  He healed leper’s (5:12-16, 17:11-19).  He called a tax collector to be one of His disciples (5:27-32).  He healed a Centurion’s servant (7:1-10).  He forgave a prostitute (7:36-50).  He restored the demon-possessed (8:26-39).  He told stories where Samaritans and tax collectors were the heroes (10:25-37, 19:1-9).  He taught that the poor and needy would be welcome in His kingdom (14:12-14).  He praised a poor woman for her humble offering (21:1-4).  This is the portrait of Jesus that we are given in the Gospel of Luke.  He cared for the marginalized and we should do the same.

One of the front lines for this type of ministry in our day is found at crisis-pregnancy centers.  They counsel with women who have been cast out by their partners, families, and friends.  They plead for the lives of unborn children.  They serve the rich and they welcome the poor.  They don’t care if you are red, yellow, black, or white.  If we are going to value the marginalized, then we need to support their ministry either by volunteering or giving.

Third, we fight for life to bring light to darkness:

The culture of death thrives in the darkness.  It does not want the truth to be told.  It tells women that children are just tissue, abortion just another medical procedure.  It convinces abortion doctors that they are providing a necessary service.  It lulls the masses into just looking away and pretending that nothing is wrong.  It survives on these and other lies.

So what do we do?  We pull back the curtain, we turn on the lights, we shout from the rooftops that life, all life from conception to natural death, is precious.  We make sure that women have every opportunity to see their babies in the wombs.  We challenge the masses to read the accounts of partial birth abortions.  We print, we publish, we preach, we proclaim the truth about abortion.  We do not back down, even when it costs us greatly.

This is what John and Jesus did.  John spoke out against the sin of Herod the King.  And Herod took his head for it (3:19-20).  Much of Jesus’ public ministry involved His conflict with the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees.  Jesus was constantly correcting their errors.  They denied that He had the right to forgive sins, so to demonstrate His authority He healed a paralytic (5:17-26).  They had come up with crazy rules for the Sabbath that precluded Jesus even healing someone on the Sabbath.  So what did Jesus do?  He healed a man with withered hand (6:6-11), a woman with a disabling spirit (13:10-17), and a man with dropsy (14:1-6), all on the Sabbath, all while the Pharisees watched.  They focused on outward actions and ignored the heart, and Jesus called them on it (11:37-44).  He told His disciples to bring light to such darkness (12:1-3).  They challenged His authority, He challenged their loyalty (20:1-18).  They challenged His teaching, He challenged their understanding (20:19-47).  He did not back down.  He brought their errors to light.  And they hung Him on a cross for it.  But, of course, He still got the last word when the Father raised Him victorious over the grave! 

Like our Savior, like the many saints who have gone before us (like John), we must be willing to bring light to the darkness no matter the cost.  One way we can do this is by supporting a ministry like “The Psalm 139 Project” that collects money to make sure that crisis pregnancy centers have ultrasound machines so that mothers can see the life that is growing within them.  They are committed to bringing light to darkness and you can help.

Fourth, we fight for life to bring good news to sinners:

The abortion epidemic in America (and throughout the world) is not a political problem.  It is not a racial problem or an economic problem.  Ultimately, abortion is a sin problem.  It springs from selfishness, love of convenience, the idea that my rights are more important than the rights of the unborn.  The root cause of abortion is sin.  The Gospel of Luke was written so that we could be certain about Jesus and His work of saving us from our sins.  Look at 24:44-48.  Christians have the only true hope for dealing with the culture of death, namely the gospel of life.  The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can save us from our selfishness and love of convenience.  It can rescue us from sexual immorality and the idolatry of our rights.  We fight for life because the good news of Jesus Christ teaches us that we can have victory over sin through faith in Him.

The Roe in ‘Roe v. Wade’ was a woman by the name of Norma McCorvey.  In the late 90s she was working in an abortion clinic in Dallas when an anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue, moved next door.  Someone from the ministry began sharing the gospel of Jesus with her and she eventually repented and placed her faith in Christ, even going on to become a pro-life advocate.   Never underestimate the power of the gospel!  No matter how hard it gets, may we be a people who will always fight for life by the power of the gospel for the glory of our Savior.  We should value children and the marginalized like Jesus did.  We expose the darkness and preach the gospel, knowing that victory is promised through its power.  Amen. 

1 Stated in an article in “The Pathway”, vol. 11, issue 1 (Jan. 15, 2013), p. 10.
2 Discussed in this article by Al Mohler

3 see Mohler article above.
4 From an article by Joe Carter

~ William Marshall ~

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