Life: What a Beautiful Choice
January 15, 2020
This is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. We join with thousands of churches across America in upholding the value of all human life from the moment of conception to the moment of death. We choose this day because it is the Sunday closest to January 22. On that day in 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its infamous Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand in America. Since that day, over 62 million unborn babies have died legally in America.
We come together not just to celebrate the value of life, but also to protest the killing of the unborn. We raise our voices in one great call from every corner of this nation that enough blood has been shed. It is time for the killing to end.
It is time for the killing to end
How should we think properly about abortion?
Let’s start with the number 62 million.
Practically speaking, what does that mean?
Here’s a way to think about it:
Take the population of Georgia,
Plus the population of Michigan,
Add the population of Virginia,
Plus the population of Nebraska,
Add the population of Nevada,
Include the population of Iowa,
Add the population of South Dakota,
Then add the population of Rhode Island,
Take the population of Arizona,
Plus the population of Oregon,
Add the population of Kansas,
Include the population of Vermont,
Add the population of Massachusetts,
Plus the population of Mississippi,
Then add the population of Alaska.
That would total approximately 62 million people.
That’s 15 states wiped out.
That’s what we’ve done in America since 1973.
That’s what we’re still doing at the rate of 700,000 children a year.
Because this is a sensitive issue, many people prefer not to think about it. In every church you will find a spectrum of opinions and experiences. In every church on every Sunday, pastors speak to women who have had an abortion.
Some are angry.
Some are brokenhearted.
Some are guilty.
Some are frustrated.
Some are unsure where they stand.
Some want to change the subject.
It’s almost impossible to find anyone who is truly neutral.
Against that background, I want to ask a simple question. What does it mean to be pro-life?
I. We must affirm the value and dignity of all human life, born and unborn.
Consider these passages of Scripture:
1. Psalm 139:13-15
For it was you who created my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise you
because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.
Your works are wondrous,
and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from you
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
This is the strongest statement on God’s prenatal care in the Bible. How much does he know about the unborn baby growing in the womb? Everything. Like a skillful weaver, God takes the tiny hands and legs and joins them to the body. He forms the heart and then sets it beating. He watches over the thumb and makes sure it finds the mouth.
Who makes babies? God does!
Who makes babies? God does.
2. Jeremiah 1:5
“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.”
When we see the unborn, we ought to worship God because they are his creation. We ought to proceed with holy caution and respect for life. God is at work in the womb, and his fingerprints are everywhere. When you touch an unborn child, you touch the handiwork of God.
3. Luke 1:41,44
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (41) . . . ‘For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me’” (44).
This is the story of Mary (who was pregnant with Jesus) going to greet Elizabeth (who was pregnant with John the Baptist). When these two expectant mothers greeted each other, Elizabeth’s baby (the yet-to-be-born John the Baptist) leaped for joy in the womb. The Greek word translated “baby” is brephos; the same word is used elsewhere for an infant (Luke 18:15). It demonstrates the biblical understanding that the unborn child is fully human.
Who gives life? God Almighty. Who causes the unborn baby to survive inside the womb? God Almighty. Who takes the little hands and feet and eyes and nose and lips and assembles them in the womb? God Almighty.
Who gives life? God Almighty!
If we believe the Bible, then we believe in the sanctity of all human life, born and unborn. From the moment of conception, a distinct individual has come into being—an individual made in the image of God; an individual with a human soul; an individual for whom Christ died. We must say that; we must repeat it. When a baby is aborted, it is not simply the termination of a pregnancy; it is the killing of an innocent human being made in God’s image.
The Bible puts a high value on human life that stands in stark contrast to the moral schizophrenia of this age. Unborn children are just as valuable in the sight of God as those who happen to make it out of the womb. I will tell you the truth: the most dangerous place to be in America today is inside your mother’s womb. You have a one in four chance of not making it out alive.
II. Though it may be unpopular, we must continue to speak out.
Consider the words of Proverbs 24:11-12:
Rescue those being taken off to death,
and save those stumbling toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,”
won’t he who weighs hearts consider it?
Won’t he who protects your life know?
Won’t he repay a person according to his work?
This passage asks us to consider a sobering reality: Picture thousands of people being herded into railroad cars bound for the death camps. None of them will return. They are heading for mass murder. You are there, you see it, you know what is happening. What will you do? It is the Corrie ten Boom question.
Someone is dying unjustly.
You see it happening.
What will you do about it?
You can always find an excuse
Here is a solemn word from the Lord. It’s a warning against those who make excuses for not getting involved: “It’s too messy. People won’t understand. I can’t risk my reputation that way. What if someone sees me? I might get arrested. It’s not my place to say anything. I can’t change the world. Why bother trying?” On and on you go, arguing against personal involvement. Slowly the train chugs out of the station. It is too late to do anything now.
In this age when abortion has almost become a national sacrament, it’s good to remember that lives are saved and hearts changed one at a time. A moving scene from Schindler’s List comes to mind. At the end of the film, Oskar Schindler is filled with remorse that he saved so few people. But you saved 1,100, he is reminded. Yet I could have saved more, he cries. Knowing his pain, the survivors present him with a gold ring inscribed with a saying from the Talmud: “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”
A friend sent me an Advent calendar with the title “Do You Have Room?” It’s built around Luke 2:7, “And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” As you open the calendar there are tear-off strips of paper containing various contemporary excuses the innkeeper might give today:
“Sorry. It’s dinnertime. Don’t interrupt me.”
“Totally frazzled. I can’t handle more company.”
“Sorry! Christmas pageant tonight. God bless you. Bye.”
“Not now! I’m listening for tonight’s Lotto numbers.”
“Can’t afford to put up company.”
“I had no other choice”
It was a not-so-subtle reminder that for those who prefer to sit on the sidelines, there are always plenty of convenient excuses.
For Corrie ten Boom there really was no option. When she saw the Jews being herded off to the concentration camps, her Christian faith propelled her to action. One by one she hid them in her attic. Eventually the authorities discovered what she was doing and sent her to one of the camps herself. There her sister died, but Corrie lived to tell the story. When asked why she got involved, she replied very simply, “I had no other choice.”
Take a look around you. You can’t do everything, but you can do something. If you are a Christian, you have no other choice.
Brothers and sisters, we must tell the truth to a generation that doesn’t want to hear it. When you kill an unborn child, you have violated the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder.” It is not politically correct to say that these days, and those from the left have said, “No, you have to back off. If you’re going to be pro-life, you can’t use words like kill or murder.” But when the Bible speaks, we must speak. When the blood of the unborn has stained this nation to the tune of 62 million dead in 47 years, isn’t it high time for us to stand up and start telling the truth? Please understand something. We are not in a popularity contest; we are in a truth contest. And we are on the side of truth because we are on the side of life.
III. We must win this battle one heart at a time.
God has given us a weapon the unbeliever does not have—the weapon of prayer. It’s a weapon that can change the world. Instead of losing our temper, we should be on our knees in tears and deep repentance praying for our nation.
Slowly but surely, hearts and minds are changing. Today there are 3000 crisis pregnancy centers in America. Hundreds of women choose life every day because somebody is out there gently persuading them not to have an abortion. Most women really don’t want to do it. They feel backed into a corner by some awful circumstance of life and can see no other way out.
Women often feel backed into a corner
Take some time to watch Unplanned, the amazing story of how Abby Johnson left Planned Parenthood and became the most public advocate for the unborn in the US.
Let me wrap up my message with seven steps we can take if we really want to be pro-life.
1. It is time we fast and pray for America. If we get bitter about what the abortion industry has done, we make things worse, not better. It’s time for the church to fast and pray for the president, for leaders of both parties, for the members of congress, and for the justices who sit on the Supreme Court.
2. We need to speak out in the name of Jesus Christ. That means taking a stand for life on the job, in the office, in the classroom, in the neighborhood, and when we talk to our friends and loved ones. If we stay silent, how will things ever change?
We must speak up!
3. We need to reach out with a message of love to the women who have had abortions. I know there are women reading my words who have had an abortion. There may be a lot of pain in your heart. We are not angry at you. We’re not mad at you. We love you in the name of Jesus Christ. You may have felt trapped or pressured into it, maybe you had a boyfriend who got you into trouble, and then he walked away. Maybe you knew what you were doing, but now you feel the moral ramifications of your decision. We do not condemn you. We love you, and we want to introduce you to the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Abortion is bad, but it is not the unforgivable sin. God calls the church to reach out to women who have had abortions, put our arms around them, and say, “We love you in Jesus’ name.”
4. We need to take our pro-life convictions into the voting booth. If we did that, America would change.
Vote like a Christian!
5. We need to support those who are on the right side of this issue. This includes the crisis pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, foster parents, people who are taking in unwed mothers, and those who through gentle persuasion help in this area. We need to support the good guys instead of shooting the bad guys. Find the good guys and give them some help.
This principle involves all those who love little children.
It includes an army of doctors and nurses who treat infants and young boys and girls. It includes those who teach our children. It certainly includes those who rescue children from brutality, abuse, slavery, and sexual exploitation.
God bless all the Sunday School teachers.
God bless the Vacation Bible School volunteers.
God bless the Awana workers.
God bless the children’s choir leaders.
God bless those who lead backyard Bible clubs.
God bless those who take in foster children.
God bless those who fight against child abuse.
God bless those who adopt children.
God bless those who care for children with special needs.
God bless those who lead Children’s Church on Sunday morning.
6. We need to get down to the root of the problem. We need to practice sexual purity, and we must teach it to our teenagers and children. Because our young people don’t know right from wrong, they are making foolish choices.
“Take care of that baby!”
7. We must do whatever we can to protect our children. When our grandson Eli was just over a year old, I took him with me when we went shopping. I held him in one arm and wrapped the other arm around him to keep him from squirming out of my grasp. As we entered the store, an older man was coming out. When he saw I was holding Eli with both arms, he smiled and said, “Take care of that baby!”
That’s why we do what we do.
In this dangerous world, God has called us to take care of the babies. We want to make sure they arrive safely and have a safe place to grow up healthy and strong. We believe every child deserves our love and care.
We are on the side of the angels when we do everything in our power to take care of the babies!
We’re doing what Jesus would do.
Keep lifting up the name of Jesus
We’re going to have to change hearts if we want to see this country changed. Only Jesus can do that, so let’s keep on loving others, let’s speak out for the unborn, and let’s share the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s not give in to anger or despair, but with grateful hearts let’s keep following our Lord and keep lifting up his name.
Abortion will not last forever.
One day the killing will end.
God’s truth is indeed marching on.
Jesus taught us that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Let’s lift up Jesus and bring life back to our dying nation.
The Door is Open and the Light is On
I close with one final word. Abortion is not the unpardonable sin. Abortion is a sin, but it is not the worst sin and it is not unpardonable.
Abortion is not the unpardonable sin
Nowhere is Romans 3:23 more needed than in the discussion over abortion: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That applies to you whether you have had an abortion or not because we’re all in the same boat. We are all driven to the cross of Jesus Christ because that’s our only hope of forgiveness. If you will kneel at the cross and say, “I have sinned,” you will hear the Father say, “You are forgiven.”
It doesn’t matter what your past is.
It doesn’t matter what you have done or where you have been.
It doesn’t even matter where you have been sleeping.
If you are struggling with guilt because of abortion or because of any other sin, I have good news for you.
God still loves you.
He has never stopped loving you and he never will.
The light is on in the Father’s house. He stands at the door waiting for you to come in.