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Psalm 119: Sanctity of Human Life: The Word and our Fight for Life Print E-mail
Sanctity of Human Life
Sunday, 18 January 2015

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We have come a long way in our fight for life.  This is true in our country.  The statistics reveal that in the last twenty years, abortions have decreased in the US.  The number of abortion clinics has drastically been reduced while the number of pregnancy resource centers has steadily increased.  We still may not be winning the war, but many battles are being won.  This is also true for us locally.  We are a few weeks from seeing the Pregnancy Resource Center of Sikeston open its doors.  Our Church has been and continues to be a great supporter of the PRC, which excites and humbles me.  We are a community of faith that is laboring to end abortion in our country in real, practical ways, whether it be supporting adoption or opening the PRC.  I am thankful for God's grace in how far we have come.

Yet, the fight is not over.  More than a million babies were killed in our country last year.  And if the statistics are accurate, then many of our young men and young women are struggling with the guilt of past abortions.  The need for the PRC in our community exists because of these realities.  Mothers are still grappling with how to provide for their baby.  Fathers are still wrestling with guilt over past decisions.  And babies are still being robbed of the opportunity to take their first breath.  The fight continues.

In our time together this morning, as we celebrate the sanctity of human life, I want us to continue looking at Psalm 119.  Of course, the particular issue of abortion is not being discussed in any of the 176 verses of this psalm.  But the root issues of sin and justice and man's responsibility and God's sovereignty are being discussed.  Thus, I want us to briefly consider how Psalm 119 informs our fight for life.  Then we will come back at the end and talk about how each of us can continue in the battle ourselves.  I think we can sum up some lessons from Psalm 119 with two sentences.  Let's consider them.

We burn for justice while we weep for sin

The difficulty in talking about the issue of abortion is that our responses can become too simplistic if we are not careful.  In one sense, this is true of our response to sin in general.  We need to be more nuanced in our responses to people and their sin.  But make no mistake, we are doing no one any favors when we act like sin is no big deal, or even worse when we decide to stop even calling sin sin.  That may seem 'nice' or 'friendly' or 'welcoming.'  But treating the things that condemn us to Hell like they are no big deal or not even real is the epitome of cruelty (and perhaps even the beginning of insanity).  If you go in a coffee shop and observe someone about to pour hot coffee on themselves or on their children, the only loving thing to do is yell: 'Stop!'  Anything else is simply cruel, no matter what we call it.

So Psalm 119 teaches us to burn for justice.  We want people to see the truth about sin.  We want God's Word to bring light to the darkness. Listen to how the psalmist describes this.  Look at verse 53.  The psalmist is not indifferent to the wickedness that is going on around him.  Sin angers him.  Injustice infuriates him.  Why?  Because the effects of sin are never limited to just the sinner.  The wicked bring destruction upon others.  Their decisions negatively impact those around them. 

The same is true for abortion.  It is never a choice that effects only the mother or the couple.  By definition, it at least impacts the mother and the child, not to mention all the extended family and friends.  Thus, all sin should anger us to some degree because of its destructive nature.  We should hate it.  Look at verse 104 and 163.  We should hate the fact that abortion is legal in our country.  We should hate that young mothers have been lied to and told they have no choice but to end their pregnancy.  We should burn for justice against an industry that prophets from the death of babies. 

But we should also weep for sin as well.  Just getting angry and frustrated about sin is not enough.  It is too simplistic.  Yes, we need to burn for justice, but we need to weep as well.  Look at verse 136.  I think the motivation behind this emotional response is two-fold.  First, the psalmist weeps because God's Word is being ignored.  The Lord that he loves is being put on the shelf, and for that he weeps.  Yet, second, he also weeps for the destruction of those who do not keep God's commands. 

Sin is destroying people's lives all around us.  Our neighbor is working himself into the grave because he just cannot get enough.  Our co-worker's marriage is falling apart due to selfishness and laziness.  Our best friend will not come to Church and just keeps looking for joy in all the wrong places.  It might not always look like destruction (and many have no idea that it is even happening), but sin is ruining lives all around us.  And guess what?  It has brought tragedy into our own lives as well.  None of us have escaped the devastation of the Fall.  We all live in a sin-saturated environment.  The problems are not just 'out there' they are 'in here' as well.  When we consider all of this, there should be a response of sorrow.  We should weep and wail over sin and its effects.  And we should weep and wail over abortion and the destruction that it brings for all of those involved.  Yes, we burn for justice, but we weep as well. 

We labor for change while trusting in God

It is not enough to just be angry or sad about sin and injustice.  We must take action.  We must labor for change.  Look at verse 30.  The way of faithfulness is found through setting Godís rules before us.  His Word tells us how we should live and how we should approach the issue of life.  The people of God are to provide for the needy and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.  We are to value life, all of life.  And not just theoretically or politically.  We are to value life through giving and counseling and adopting and fostering.  We are not the generals setting on our horses at the back of the battle directing traffic.  We are mud-stained, blood-stained, warriors on the frontlines.  Why?  Because through faith in Christ and the power of the Spirit we have chosen the way of faithfulness.  We donít just walk in Godís commands.  We run in them.  Look at verse 32.  I love that image.  We run to the battle.  We donít wait until its safe or until we have a full-proof plan, we run headlong into a broken world with the good news of Godís righteousness and justice and mercy and grace. 

We take action.  We speak.  Look at verse 46.  We open our mouths and talk with others about the Word of God.  We do not shy away from culture that thinks we are narrow-minded and outdated.  We run to them with the good news of the gospel, be they kings or politicians or family or neighbors.  We act because we are committed to justice and doing what is just.  Look at verse 121.  The psalmist had done what is just and right in obedience to the Law.  And letís be clear: doing what is just and right is not always easy.  We have to do hard, sacrificial things to fight for justice in this life.  That will look different from person to person, but all of it will be difficult at times.  We must be committed to action, committed to speaking, committed to doing justice.  We must be committed to labor for change.

But we cannot do it by ourselves or in our own strength.  A good majority of Psalm 119 is a prayer.  The psalmist declares his commitment to keeping Godís commands, but he recognizes his desperation for God to act.  He knows that God must deal with sinners.  Look at verse 21.  The Lord rebukes.  Look at verses 118-119.  These can be hard verses for us to read until we remember that God is a just God.  In my anger over sin, I do not have to take justice into my own hands because I can trust God for that.  And this will happen in one of two ways. 

First, perhaps God will bring sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus.  We should pray this for all who have performed abortions or had abortions.  May they turn from their sins and trust in what Jesus did for them at the cross.  If His blood could buy my pardon, then it can buy theirs as well.  Yet, if they will not repent.  If they do not trust in Christ, then the Lord will bring justice through judgment.  Either way, I can trust the Lord to be just.  Along with every other sin (my own included), every abortion will be paid for.  We can trust Him for justice.  And we can trust that He will indeed act.  Look at verse 126.  He will give life according to His justice.  Look at verses 148-51.  We can trust the Lord to act and bring justice.

How does the psalmist inform our fight for life in Psalm 119.  He instructs us to burn for justice while weeping for sin and to labor for change while trusting in God.  How can we apply these attitudes and actions to our own fight for sin?

I want to close with a simple pointed question: how are you partnering with the PRC for life.  We have come a long way and we are close to getting our doors opened.  But we still need your help.  Will you partner through giving?  Could you give or give more to the PRC to support the fight for life taking place there?  Could you partner through prayer?  Will you add the PRC to your prayer list and be faithful in lifting up the counselors and the clients and the children?  Or will you partner by volunteering?  Could you give a couple of hours a week to serve?  These are ways that we can be on the frontlines of this battle and I want us all to choose how we will partner for life.  The Lord has graciously given us His Word so that we could know His ways.  And Jesus has graciously put on flesh to give us hope and victory over sin.  May we look to Him as we continue our efforts for life.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Monday, 26 January 2015 )

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