Friday, January 16, 2009

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

This Sunday is Sanctity of Human Life. After a few conversations, I have decided to share my notes for the sermon. Please note that these are notes, not a paper. A lot in my notes is copied from other sources and not my own writing. When I preach it, I will cite sources. These notes are to spur my thoughts as I preach. These notes are more exhaustive than normal because of the weightiness of this sermon.


Sanctity of Human Life Sunday - January 18, 2009


  1. Pray
  2. Turn to Psalm 1
  3. Video

PERSONAL: This is, by far, the hardest message I have ever had to preach. For two reasons: 1) Abortion has scared my life and it hurts me deeply to discuss; and 2) after studying the Bible and facts I am forced to take action. Forgive me if I cry—this is an emotionally painful subject for me to discuss.

My Role:

1. Not political in nature, even though I may encourage you to go that route…

2. Read Psalm 1 – My aim is to help you plant your roots deep within Christ that His fruit would be produced in your life.

Bible Passage:

Psalm 82:3-4, “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”

Psalm 139:13-14, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Ephesians 5:11-12, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.”

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. What is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday? Good Question!

From the President’s Desk:

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2002
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

This Nation was founded upon the belief that every human being is endowed by our Creator with certain "unalienable rights." Chief among them is the right to life itself. The Signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their own lives, fortunes, and honor to guarantee inalienable rights for all of the new country's citizens. These visionaries recognized that an essential human dignity attached to all persons by virtue of their very existence and not just to the strong, the independent, or the healthy. That value should apply to every American, including the elderly and the unprotected, the weak and the infirm, and even to the unwanted.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that, "[t]he care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government." President Jefferson was right. Life is an inalienable right, understood as given to each of us by our Creator.

President Jefferson's timeless principle obligates us to pursue a civil society that will democratically embrace its essential moral duties, including defending the elderly, strengthening the weak, protecting the defenseless, feeding the hungry, and caring for children -- born and unborn. Mindful of these and other obligations, we should join together in pursuit of a more compassionate society, rejecting the notion that some lives are less worthy of protection than others, whether because of age or illness, social circumstance or economic condition. Consistent with the core principles about which Thomas Jefferson wrote, and to which the Founders subscribed, we should peacefully commit ourselves to seeking a society that values life -- from its very beginnings to its natural end. Unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law.

On September 11, we saw clearly that evil exists in this world, and that it does not value life. The terrible events of that fateful day have given us, as a Nation, a greater understanding about the value and wonder of life. Every innocent life taken that day was the most important person on earth to somebody; and every death extinguished a world. Now we are engaged in a fight against evil and tyranny to preserve and protect life. In so doing, we are standing again for those core principles upon which our Nation was founded.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 20, 2002, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to reflect upon the sanctity of human life. Let us recognize the day with appropriate ceremonies in our homes and places of worship, rededicate ourselves to compassionate service on behalf of the weak and defenseless, and reaffirm our commitment to respect the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.


Today’s Subject: Abortion

Disclaimer: The purpose of today is not to make you miserable, although I know this is a painful subject for those who have had abortions and those who have encouraged or demanded it.

PERSONAL: This is, by far, the hardest message I have ever had to preach. For two reasons: 1) Abortion has scared my life and it hurts me deeply to discuss; and 2) after studying the Bible and facts I am forced to take action. Forgive me if I cry—this is an emotionally painful subject for me to discuss.

Encouragement from Jesus: Matthew 9:11-13

“When the Pharisees saw this; they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?" But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. "But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

POINT: If abortion has touched your life, know two things: 1) Jesus loves you deeply and has paid the penalty for your sin, abortion included; and 2) your baby is safe and secure with Jesus.

History of Abortion in USA:

1900’s: In 1847, abortion was commonly practice “before quickening.” But through the efforts of the AMA and antiobscenity crusaders and (ironically) feminists, abortion became illegal everywhere in the U.S. by 1900.

Roe Vs. Wade: Tuesday January 22 marks the 36 anniversary of the ruling.

Outcome of ruling: In effect, the law of our land is that any abortion is legal until birth if the mother can give reason that the pregnancy or the child will be an excessive burden or stress on her wellbeing. Since that ruling we have killed on average 1.5 million babies every year.


• Roe is Norma Leah McCorvey.

• From Wikipedia: At a signing of her first book in 1994, McCorvey was confronted by pro-life activist Flip Benham. Within a year, McCorvey converted to Christianity. On August 8 1995, she was baptized by Benham in a Dallas backyard swimming pool that was filmed for national television. On August 10 of that year, she announced that she had become an advocate of the pro-life movement (specifically, "Operation Rescue"), fighting to make abortion illegal.

She wrote in her book, Won by Love, "I was sitting in O.R.'s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. "Norma," I said to myself, "They're right." I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that's a baby! It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth--that's a baby!

I felt "crushed" under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn't about 'products of conception.' It wasn't about 'missed periods.' It was about children being killed in their mother's wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion--at any point--was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear."

In 2005, she petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 decision, arguing that the case should be heard again in light of evidence that the procedure may harm women, but this petition was denied.

Despite her asking for an abortion during her case, McCorvey never had the procedure. She gave birth to a girl, who was given up for adoption. This was due to the fact that contested (and sometimes uncontested) court cases take longer than nine months for decisions to be handed down.

Some Reasons We Know Abortion Is Wrong – From John Piper,

1. Fetal Homicide Law makes a person guilty of manslaughter or worse if he kills the baby in a mother's womb - unless the mother agrees with the killing. Who is willing to live with the moral implications of making a person's "being wanted" the criterion of its right to life.

a. Exodus 21:22-25, "If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. "But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

2. There is an inconsistency between doing fetal surgery on a baby in the womb to save life, and at a similar stage of development, killing a baby down the hall.

3. A baby can live on its own at 23 or 24 weeks. Yet pro-choice people say it can be killed even at and beyond this age if the mother will be distressed by its live birth more than its abortion. What morally significant factor will prevent them from saying that two babies at 23 weeks - one born and one unborn - may both be killed because of a mother's distress?

4. A baby's living without an umbilical cord (that is, outside the womb) is not the criterion of human personhood and the condition of the right to life. We all know this because our own living on a respirator or dialysis machine would not jeopardize our own personhood. The source of food and oxygen does not determine personhood.

5. The size of a human is irrelevant to human personhood. We know this because we do not make a one-month-old baby outside the womb vulnerable to killing even though it is so much smaller than a five-year-old. Littleness is irrelevant to personhood.

6. Developed reasoning powers are not the criterion of personhood. We know this because a one-month-old baby outside the womb does not have these powers either, yet its life is not in jeopardy because of that.

7. Scientifically we are human beings by virtue of our genetic makeup. The human code in the chromosomes is there from the start. We are utterly different from monkeys or rats or elephants as soon as the chromosomes of egg and sperm meet.

8. At eight weeks, all the organs are present - brain functioning, heart pumping, liver making blood cells, kidney cleaning the fluids, fingerprints formed, etc. Yet almost all abortions happen later than this date.

9. Ultrasound has given a stunning window on the womb that shows the unborn at eight weeks sucking a thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. We can see the amazing pictures in Life Magazine or various books or Web pages. STORY: Ultrasound on Thursday (8 weeks, 6 days), beating heart, moving hands!
10. There is a principle of justice that, when two legitimate rights conflict - say the woman's right not to be pregnant, and the baby's right not to be killed - the right that should be limited is the one that would do the most harm.

11. The Word of God says, "Thou shalt not kill." But many abortionists admit they are killing baby humans. Bill Long, who used to do abortions at Midwest Health Center for Women told me over lunch some years ago that he knew he was "killing babies." Those were the abortionist's words. But he said it was a lesser evil; women must have "reproductive freedom."

Rescue the Dying: A Clear Mandate

Proverbs 24:11-12:

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work?

Like almost all Biblical proverbs, the text gives us no indication as to what specific injustice (if any) the author has in mind. There is no narrow application we can point to, but rather a broad and general guideline for what God's people are called to do in the face of violent injustice. John Piper summarizes it this way:

The duty of verse 11 could be stated like this: "If a group of humans is being taken away to death who ought not be taken away to death, the people who fear God ought to try and rescue them." Or, to use the words of the second half of the verse, "If there is a group of humans who are stumbling (literally: slipping) to the slaughter who ought not to be slipping to the slaughter, the people who fear God ought to try to hold them back from the slaughter." What is being commanded here is some kind of intervention from us when we become aware of humans being killed who ought not to be killed. -- "Rescuing Unborn Children" -- January 5, 1989

This proverb becomes even more poignant in light of verse 12. The author anticipates circumstances in which injustice will be cloaked to such an extent that people, with some plausibility, will be able to deny that they had any knowledge of it. We are warned against taking up such an excuse and reminded that God knows our every thought. Claims of ignorance will do us no good on the Day of Judgment. Let us ask ourselves, then, are there people among us today who are stumbling towards the slaughter? Are there injustices in our day that Proverbs 24 compels us to raise our voices against? Yes, and yes. Proverbs 24:11-12 is a text (Psalm 82:3-4 is another) that should have compelled masses of German Christians into the defense of their Jewish countrymen, and it is a text that should compel masses of Christians today into the defense of the unborn.

So What?

PIPER’S CHALLENGE: To be quite honest with you, I didn’t want to preach this message. Then I read this from Piper:

The point is this: I believe pastors should put their lives and ministries on the line in this issue. The cowardice of some pastors when it comes to preaching against abortion appalls me. Many treat the dismemberment of unborn humans as an untouchable issue on the par with partisan politics. Some have bought into the incredible notion that they can be personally pro-life but publically pro-choice or noncommittal.

The Video:

1. Describe what I saw in video…empty seats

2. Twelve-week baby…and card…

3. Challenge those who are pro-choice or apathetic to watch video…

Conclusion: I am committed to: 1) save babies lives, and 2) minister to those scared by abortion!

1. Determine to know what God thinks about abortion.

2. EXPOSE DARKNESS: Those aborted—In heaven.

3. BRING RECONCILIATION: Women and Men involved—There is forgiveness, but consequences remain.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

4. Christian’s wanting to do something:

a. Pray – For the pro-life cause, for those affected by abortion, those considering abortion..
b. Volunteer – Alternatives Women’s Center, the Walk for Life (May 16, Kit Carson Park), etc…
c. Give – Money – Alternatives,, others…
d. Vote – I won’t tell you how to vote, but know you will give an account for how you vote.
e. Adopt – Children…
f. Refer those in need to pro-life clinics…


Father, I confess my sin and the sins of our nation concerning abortion. Father help us to seek Your guidance concerning how we are to respond. Help us to feel as You feel on this subject. Forgiveness and healing for those suffering from the scars of abortion…