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Sanctity of Human Life: Reasons to fight for Life from 1 Corinthians Print E-mail
Sanctity of Human Life
Sunday, 17 January 2016

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The fight for life in our culture is a constant battle. There are circumstances that make me think that we are winning ground. More and more pregnancy resource centers are being opened and more and more abortion clinics are being closed. Ultrasound technology has helped the newest generation actually see life in the womb. Even some legislation (mostly at the State levels) has helped protect the unborn. Yet, the battle continues. I remember watching the Planned Parenthood videos that came out last year and wondering what impact they would actually have on the issue of abortion in our country. I think we are still waiting to see the full impact, but I am thankful for the light that has been brought to darkness and for the response of many asking for the closing of that company, which has resulted in numerous closures in certain States. But, the battle continues. Even if Planned Parenthood closed for good tomorrow, it seems that someone else would replace them. Even if abortions may be down in some places, the use of the morning after pill continues to grow. Even if it gets harder and harder to argue that a baby is not a baby until it leaves the womb, some still just do not really care if it is a baby or not. And so, the battle rages on.

So then, it is good for us each year to stop on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and remind ourselves of why we must keep fighting. We must remember what is at stake and renew our efforts to end abortion. We must weep and wail for those who have been lost and those who are broken and continue to hurt over past actions. And we must fix our eyes firmly on the great hope that we have in the gospel for new life in Christ.

With all of this in mind, I want us to ask and answer this question: What reasons to fight for life do we see in the book that we are currently studying, namely 1 Corinthians? What reasons does Paul give us in this letter to continue in the battle? Letís consider three this morning.

We fight for life because God makes foolish the wisdom of the world

As we have seen, the Corinthians were somewhat obsessed with wisdom. In their culture, wisdom was put on display through lofty speeches and grand rhetoric. They actually looked down upon Paul because he did not use these in his preaching. For these reasons, Paul addresses the issue of true wisdom in 1:18-25. Look at that passage with me. The Corinthians wanted pretty speeches. The Jews wanted signs and the Greeks wanted wisdom. People were tempted to subject the glorious good news of the gospel to the standards of the day. And many found it wanting. How could a man who hung naked on a cross be God in the flesh? How could His death pay for my sins? Who says I even need such a Savior? Such questions caused many to conclude that the gospel that Paul preached was nothing more than folly.

But not everybody. For others, both Jews and Gentiles, the gospel became the very power and wisdom of God. It became their hope for forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and eternal life. For them, the crucified Savior became the very source of wisdom and the so called wisdom of this world was seen for what it is: foolishness. The gospel may seem ridiculous to some, but to the followers of Christ, those who have turned from their sins and trusted in His sacrifice, it is the very beginning of wisdom. And the truth of things becomes plain: For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

In the fight for life, we need to recognize the fact that wisdom and folly are important categories. The world often points to science and reason and claims superiority over the folly of faith. The cross is continually mocked and belief in the Bible is ridiculed and dismissed. Yet, what happens when science begins to affirm what the Bible has always said. For years, the arguments for abortion centered around the claim that the only thing in a motherís womb was a clump of cells. It was not a baby. It was not really life. It was just medical tissue that a woman could remove if she chose to do so. Yet, the Bible says things like: For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my motherís womb...my frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret (Psalm 139:13, 15). The world heard such words and laughed. The medical community dismissed them as just poetic words from a time before we knew better. And many were convinced that they were right. They were scientific. They had wisdom.

But something changed all that, something medical and scientific, namely ultrasound. Women did not have wonder what was in their womb, they could actually see pictures of it. And you know what? Those pictures look a whole lot like a baby and not a clump of cells!! Many young mothers look at those images and realize that you would have to be foolish to call that anything other than a human being. The so called wisdom of the world is shown to be foolish, even in 3D these days. Paul encourages the Corinthians to not be taken in by the wisdom of this world but to hold on to the wisdom from above. Look at 3:18-20. We can listen to men of wisdom or we can listen to the wisdom of God. Paul encourages us to hold fast to that which will last!

We fight for life because we are the building and the body of Christ

Paul uses two main metaphors to talk about the local Church: a building and a body. He uses the building metaphor in 3:10-15. Look at those verses with me. The local church is a building that is being built upon the foundation of Christís work on the cross. Because of His death and resurrection, we are now a new community, joined together by our faith in Jesus. We are called to build faithfully upon this solid foundation, knowing that our works will be judged on the final Day. Paul uses the analogy of the body in his discussion of spiritual gifts in chapters 12-14. Look at 12:12-13. Through faith in Jesus and the power of the Spirit, all believers are now a part of the body of Christ. Whatever our background, whatever our history, if we have turned from our sins and believed in Jesus, we are now a part of His Body.

What does this mean for our fight for life? If we are the building of Christ and the body of Christ, then we are His representatives on the world. People see Christ through the Church and the actions of the individuals that make it up. We can represent Him well, through faithful obedience and sacrificial love, or we can misrepresent Him altogether. Either way, we are His building and His body. Paul draws certain commands (imperatives) from the truth of who we are in Christ (indicatives). When Paul tells them to flee from sexual immorality (6:18), he bases that on the fact that they are members of Christ (6:15). How could members of Christ be joined with a prostitute? How can such an action come from those who belong to the body of Christ?

In the same way, the fact that believers are the building and body of Christ means that they should fight for the unborn and the elderly and whoever else is targeted by our culture of death. We should be a light in this darkness, holding out hope to the desperate and the needy. If we are to represent Christ well, then we must continue in the fight for life.

We fight for life because the gospel is the only hope we have

In a culture that prizes comfort and convenience over life, what hope do we have? In a culture that glamorizes sex and promises no consequences, what do we have to offer? In a culture where one in three women have already had abortions and many are taking the morning after pill not really knowing what they are doing, where do we even begin? What do we say to the teenage girl who is pregnant? What do we say to the woman who has had numerous abortions? What do we say to the man who has encouraged his girlfriend to abort? What do we say to the doctor or the nurse who has performed abortions in the past? What hope do we have for them?

We point them to the truth of 6:9-11. We take them in and we listen to their stories. We weep with them over their sin and shame. We confess to them our own rebellion and our own brokenness. And then we tell them what is of first importance: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (15:3-4). We tell them about a man named Paul who persecuted the Church and killed believers but through the grace of God found forgiveness for his sins and became the greatest missionary the world has ever known. We proclaim to them that the power of sin that seems so strong in their lives has been overcome by our God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (15:57). In short, we give them the gospel, the good news of Jesusí death and resurrection for our sins. He is the hope that we have and the hope that they need for new life.

David Platt describes such hope: ďTo all who trust in Christ, remember this: in Christ you are not guilty, and there is no condemnation for you. This is true whether you have medically performed thousands of abortions or legally permitted millions. You do not walk around with a scarlet A on your chest, for God does not look at you and see the guilt of abortion. Instead, he looks at you and sees the righteousness of Christ. God restores, and he redeems.Ē

The wisdom of God, the identity of the Church, and the hope of the gospel, are all central themes of 1 Corinthians. And they are all reasons that we must continue in the fight for life. I challenge you to once again consider how you can be involved. Volunteering at the PRC, giving financially to support it, praying for the clients and volunteers, voting in November, all of these are ways that you can join the fight this year. May we not grow weary in our efforts. Rather, remembering who we are in Christ and what He has done for us, may we hold out hope to the desperate and the needy and continue to bring light into darkness. Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 January 2017 )

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