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Understanding Abortion: A Thoughtful Analysis, Part 2

From the series Culture Shock

The issue of abortion in our society is so volatile that it’s escalated to near civil war proportions. Often it’s hard to get past the emotional rhetoric to hear the facts from both sides. Chip brings a balanced, informative perspective to this explosively emotional subject.

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I remember as a young Christian, I didn’t grow up as a Christian, I never read the Bible, I didn’t understand it when I started to. I read the New Testament a couple of three times before I could ever try the big part, the early part, the Old Testament.

But I’ll never forget reading the Old Testament and in some of those obscure passages it talks about the Canaanites and these weird people and God is judging them. And then it actually said some of them would take their children and they would sacrifice them, which, by the way, still happens today. That they would sacrifice to Molech, was a false god, and they thought they would appease the god’s anger by putting their babies in the fire.

And I remember thinking, I mean, I’m like nineteen years old. I’d been a Christian a year. I’m thinking, “That’s insane! How could anybody be so… I mean, how could anybody kill your own baby? How bizarre. How barbaric.”

And then I just think we’ve got it in spades. But we just have different gods. Our gods are the gods of convenience. The gods of, “Gotta finish school.” The gods of, “Can’t afford this.” The gods of, “I don’t want my life messed up.”

This is a profound issue for God’s people and I would remind you it’s not out there.

As I prepared this, and tried to look at things objectively, the thing that shocked me was sixty-five percent of all the women that have abortions self-identify as Christians.

In between services it seems like God keeps wanting to bring people that have an issue and there’s a very cute, young gal. She looked to be nineteen to twenty-three, twenty-four. And I learned from my research that fifty-six percent of all abortions are done, women in their twenties and another eighteen or twenty percent are done by teenagers.

So about seventy percent of all abortions are going to be women thirty and under.

And she said, “You know when you were talking about it and sharing about it something I think you need to say that didn’t come out very strongly.” I said, “What’s that?” She goes, “Well, I come from a very good home, a very religious home, I mean in the good way. And my parents really had high standards and I left home and I found that I missed my period.

“And it was this three weeks and I thought I was pregnant.” And she said, “I was trying to think of what my options were.” And she goes, “You know, I grew up in a Bible teaching church, I know what’s right, I know what’s really true, but when I thought because I’ve heard so much growing up, ‘Premarital sex is bad, it’s wrong, we’re moral, this is what’s right,’ I thought I would be marked for life by my parents.

“Will you please tell parents that they need to make sure their kids know, ‘Yes, premarital sex or sexuality outside of God’s boundaries is wrong,’ but will you remind the parents to let their kids know, ‘but no matter what you ever do I will love you, I’ll support you, and we’ll go through this together.’”

She said, “I was so glad and relieved because I wasn’t pregnant.” But she said, “I would have made a decision completely against everything I believe because I felt like I would have lost my parents.”

Sounds like the Church… we need a little work, huh?

Well what does God say? I mean, we’re followers of Jesus. What’s God say? I would say to you, will you please turn in the Old Testament to First Abortion 1:9? But that does not exist. The Bible, now I don’t have the eleventh commandment, “Thou shall not abort.” Although there’s one very close.

But what I will say is that there are two premises in Scripture that I think we can get God’s view on abortion. It’s by deduction. And the first premise is this, all through Scripture. The first premise is that all of life is sacred and that human life is the most valuable, precious commodity in the world.

And I wish I could have a visual where I could have one of those huge scales, you know? And there’s a big thing over here where they’re like this. And I would take all the money in Fort Knox, and all the money in the New York Stock Exchange, and I would put it over here.  And then over here, I would have you standing on the scale.

And what I want you to know, from God’s perspective, if you were a week old, if you were two weeks old, five years old, eighty years old, forty-five years old – when God sees your human life, over against all that wealth, that doesn’t even come up on the scale.

You are more valuable. You are more valuable. Every human life is more valuable than all the money, anywhere, in all the world.

And you say, well, where do you get that?

Let me give you the lines of reasoning. Value is determined by three things. Its creator and design, the protection afforded it, and by the value of its cost.

If you are a lady and I don’t know much about this. But I’ve traveled enough to know that if you have one of those really cute bags with a V and an L-type thing on it? Louis somebody? That if it’s a for real one, and not a knockoff, if Louis designed it, you’ve got a few bucks in that one, right?

I mean, you might find one that will hold as much at Wal-Mart, at Target, right? And I don’t know who designed those but the Louis Vuitton ones, they cost a lot because of who made them.

Who made us? The Bible says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female.” He created them and God says, “You have infinite value and worth because I, the Creator of all things, made you and I made you in My image. You can think, you can feel, you can respond, you can create. You were made to have fellowship with Me.”

The second basis of value is the protection afforded something. If you have a junky car you can leave it outside in the rain, the snow, the sleet. Doesn’t really matter. If you have a refurbished classic car, worth tens of thousands of dollars, it goes right in the garage.

If you have jewelry that you get that’s called, I think, costume jewelry and not that it’s not nice but it’s in the twenty to thirties, maybe even a few hundred dollars. You lay that out on the dresser.

If you have diamonds and expensive jewels, they go in a safe. You see, the more you protect something the more valuable it is.

In Genesis 9:6 God says, “Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God has God made man.”

After all the violence in the world and God judged the world through the flood Noah comes out and God says, “There’s a new parameter in the progress of revelation. I’m going to put a box around human life and I’m going to protect it. You take human life and you’ll sacrifice your life.”

And God’s saying, “Because My mark, My image, is on the soul of every human being and so I’m going to protect it.”

The third value is by cost. If I told you outside there are two cars, one costs seventy-two thousand dollars, the other costs seventy-two hundred dollars. Which one would you like? I’m running to that door, I don’t know about you.

See, the more something costs the more valuable it is. The Scripture says in I Corinthians 6:20, “You were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body.”

And if you ever wondered what that price is, how much did you cost? Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and give His life,” and here’s our financial term, “a ransom for many.”

What are you worth? What’s the life of every single person worth, in the eternal mind of God? You are worth the death of His Son, to pay for your sin, to allow relationship with Him.

So pretty logical. We know that who designs something, how well it’s protected, and the cost of it, determines value. What if we could go to Scripture and, by deduction, find out that all the same things are true of the pre-born child or in the old days, the fetus?

And what you’re going to find is that’s premise number two. Premise number two is: Scripture affords the same sacred value on the fetus, or the pre-born child, as it does all other human life.

Listen to Psalm 139. This is an amazing passage. Listen to this. This is early on. This is the embryo stage. This isn’t week six, week eight, week nine. This isn’t even fully bodily functioning.

And David would write, inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaking to God, “For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made and Your works are wonderful; and I know it full well. My frame,” or literally, “my skeleton was not hidden from You, when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body,” or literally, “my unformed substance.”

Hebrew scholars say a good rendition of that, “my embryo.” “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

See the Bible says is that the creation of who you were, and who I was, was taking place long before all the systems were on go, and long before the fingerprints were there, and long before in the womb you could suck your thumb.

A passage God is really speaking to me about right now is in Jeremiah. And as I was reading Jeremiah chapter 1 He calls Jeremiah, in the midst of a moral slide, totally away from God, to step up and make a real difference and take a very unpopular view.

And so Jeremiah is afraid. In fact, he says, “I’m a child. I can’t do it. I don’t have what it takes.” Listen to what God says to Jeremiah and think of the application for our subject.

God speaks to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Now most of all us are not going to be appointed as a prophet to the nations. But when someone is afraid and says, “I can’t do this,” God’s answer is, “Before you were ever born, I knew you. I appointed you. I wove you together. The DNA you have, the history you have, the family you were placed in, the baggage that you have, the color of your eyes, the gifts that you have – you are My masterpiece created,” Ephesians 2:10, “into Christ Jesus, for a good work that God, before the foundations of the earth wants you to walk in.”

And so God says, “I’ve been creating and designing, not just full-fledged human beings at any week or stage, but even before conception.” It’s an amazing thought.

Notice the protection afforded the fetus. Remember Acts, Acts…Exodus 20? Ten Commandments, right? Well after the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 Moses comes down and gives them.

Well Exodus 21, and 22, and 23 begin to expound on the application of not stealing or don’t commit murder. And so as we pick up the story in Exodus 21: 22-25, we don’t know the details.

But it says if two men are involved in fighting and we don’t know whether a woman comes to try and rescue her boyfriend or her husband, or why it would be. But if there gets to be violence between a man and a woman and the woman is pregnant, listen to, very carefully, the protection afforded both the woman and the unborn baby.

“If men are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there’s no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.

But if there is serious injury, the antecedent is, to the woman or the baby, you’re to take life for a life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for a hand, foot for a foot, burn for a burn, wound for a wound, bruise for bruise.”

And so God affords the same protection to a pre-born baby as He does to you and to me.

And finally Psalm 51:5, the price, the cost. David has found himself in a situation that probably some in this room are feeling right now. For many of you, sitting in this room, statistically, that have had an abortion. For many of you men who were the one who nudged them to have an abortion.

Or for some of you men who you wanted that son or that daughter and for whatever reason your wife or girlfriend said, “Not now. We can’t afford it. I can’t handle it.” And you didn’t stop it.

We are a people that have sinned greatly against God and as we look at the medical evidence, and as we look at history, and we look at the Bible, some of us followers of Jesus find ourselves sitting here realizing, “I killed a human being.”

And there’s a sense of overwhelming guilt, and shame, and remorse. For some of you it was ten, or fifteen, or twenty, or thirty years ago and you’ve pushed it down so far but the thought, when you walked in and even looked at the notes it was like, “I wish I could run out of here.”

But I’m glad you didn’t.

Because God did not bring you here to shame you, He brought you here to say, “Many other people whom I love deeply have made very deep mistakes. David committed murder, Moses committed murder, the apostle Paul committed murder. I forgave them, I cleansed them, and I used them.

“And if you would draw near to Me, I will even take the painful parts of your past and I can even use them for good. I brought you in this room today to love you and to forgive you.”

And in Psalm 51 if you ever want to find a prayer of someone who is so broken and realizes. He was in denial for a year and God sends a prophet who tells him a story that brings him out of his denial.

And then Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of confession for murder and adultery. And when he gets to verse 5 he says this, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

See the false theology is thinking somehow that sin only occurs when we act and do a sinful act. The truth of the matter is we’re in Adam. And so we’re born in Adam. In the womb we’re in Adam.

And so the price of Christ’s blood paid for all people, of all time, those inside the womb and outside the womb. And so, again, value by design, value by protection, and value by cost.

The Bible is real clear.

Now, to be fair, I think if I was at this point and I was having a debate I would ask someone from Planned Parenthood to come and say, “Okay, you’ve heard what I’ve said. There’s a very obvious bias. I believe the Bible. I’m a follower of Jesus. I would like you to give me the top three or four reasons why abortion on demand must not be made illegal. And then after you get done with yours I’m going to come over here and I’m going to ask someone from Right to Life to respond to you because all of these people in this room, they either have made, or are ready to make, or will make a decision about life itself.

“And now they know what accountability brings with knowledge. They know medically what’s inside the womb, they know historically where we’ve been, and they know what God says. So Planned Parenthood, give it your best shot.”

Planned Parenthood would say, “Here are the four reasons why we must have legal abortive options. Number one, when the woman’s life is at stake with the baby. If we didn’t have abortion how could we save the woman’s life?”

Issue number two: rape and incest. “How can we punish a person for being violated by someone else? They should never have to live with the horror and the memories of this child because they were raped or incest.”

Number three: “If we abolish abortion then all the women will go like in the past and they’ll have butchers doing illegal abortions and they’ll be killed or maimed.”

And number four: “It would eliminate the best technology that we have. We live in a day where we do realize now, because of technology, that it is a baby. But there are times that it’s just impossible for a woman to be a good mother, or a future, or it would put so much stress on her life, and her family, we now have an abortion pill and it can be taken early on and it’s very simple, it’s not painful, and RU486 is being used around the world.  If you eliminate abortion it would eliminate this new technology for those that have to have abortions.”

And that would be what they’d say.

And so I would say to the Right to Life person, “Well how would you respond?” They would respond by saying, “Well, number one, C. Everett Coop was a surgeon general, in pediatrics for thirty years, and his testimony is that in all of his time himself, his colleagues, or any medical understanding with the technology we have today there has never been a time where the life of the mother and the child had to be chosen between. So that’s a straw man.”

That’s a very emotional argument it just doesn’t happen.

Secondly, of all the people that are raped not one percent but .06 of one percent of those who are raped ever get pregnant. But, you know, it doesn’t take meeting too many guys like I did named Don that whether his fourteen year old mother got raped or whether is was by incest he’s pretty happy that he’s here. So two wrongs can’t make a right.

Third, the thesis that back alley abortions are going to occur, eighty-five percent of all abortions were done legally before Roe versus Wade. Only fifteen percent were done illegally and in a given year it was recorded three hundred deaths of women.

In the early days of abortion, it was 1.6 million abortions a year, we’re down to 1.2 million abortions now. And three hundred a year would not begin to tip the scales of the hundreds of women, when you’re talking of that many, who’ve died in legal abortions.

Finally, this pill that sounds so easy and the new technology. It’s not like you get a pill, take it, and everything goes away. You have one visit, followed by a second visit, by a third visit to a doctor. And when you go through all that then you, as a woman, will find yourself alone in your bathroom aborting your little baby.

And you will find yourself in one of the most traumatic situations in your bathroom you’ve ever had as this small, little child comes out of your human being and you live with the reality of that the rest of your life.

In fact, what this Right to Life person would say is, “What’s never mentioned is the trauma and the pain that women go through, years after sometimes, the post-abortive syndrome.”

I have in my hands a young girl that wrote this. She said, “At the age of fifteen I became pregnant and my mother panicked seeing only one solution. She took me to get an abortion. I spent the next twenty-five years keeping silent. I didn’t recognize that my subsequent cries for help were in the form of suicidal thoughts as being the consequence of my sin.

“Turning to drugs and alcohol for refuge only postponed my pain. A double life earned me something that was very odd. Straight A performance by day, rebellious, mind-numbing behavior by night.

“Eventually I married and sadly learned I could not bear children. And despite the inconclusive medical evidence I couldn’t help but blame the abortion.”

Where do we go, c

hurch? Where do we go from here? Get your pens out. I want to give you four specific applications. Number one, find forgiveness and healing. Find forgiveness and healing. It’s available, it’s available here, it’s available today.

The Psalmist would pray, “God, you are forgiving and good, O Lord, you’re abounding in love to all who call upon You.” And then he cries out, “Hear my prayer, O Lord. Listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble, I’ll call to You for You will answer me.”

And I would just, with all my heart, whether you’re a man, whether you’re a woman, if this is a part of your past, God brought you in this room, on this day, not to condemn but to forgive and to heal. But you have to cry out.

The Scripture is absolutely clear. If we confess. It means “agree with,” own our stuff, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Forgiveness is a step in time, healing is a journey and a process.

Second, we need to take responsibility. Proverbs 24:11 and 12 says, “Rescue those being led away to death. Hold back those staggering towards slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he’s done?”

We can’t be passive. This can’t be, “Oh, abortion, it’s political.” Abortion isn’t political. Abortion is moral. It’s just become political. We can’t know this is happening, first of all, we gotta model this in our church. And that means that there’s gotta be a safe place, in safe homes when people have unplanned pregnancy, even if it’s a result of sin where you say, “Yeah, that was wrong, but okay, we’re going to love you, we’re going to walk through this together.”

It needs to start in your homes, it needs to be taught in our youth groups, as it is, and then we have to be people who say, “We’re going to take responsibility.” If atheists are stepping up to the plate and saying, “Life matters!” shouldn’t the Church of Jesus Christ?

Are you kidding me? We gotta wait for the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens to say, “Only a species illogically and insane would kill itself.” Let’s get out of all the stuff that’s around this, and all the guilt, and all the shame, and all the issues.

It’s among us. And let’s confess our sin and then whether you need to volunteer, or whether you need to pray, or whether you need to give money, I don’t know what you need to do but there’s probably nothing more important that you’ll do than stand for the cause of life.

And that’s why we partner with organizations right here in our community who do that.

The third application is setting limits and I’ve put a passage you can read carefully. Romans 13 says, “The government will enforce certain laws.” Violence, name calling, abusive speech, so much on the pro-life agenda has been done in ways – shooting doctors – we absolutely deplore all that. Absolutely deplore.

More wrongs don’t make a right. We need to be winsome, loving, bold, treat people with dignity and respect, though you may disagree with everything they believe.

It’s love that never fails. The Bible says it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance. It will be our bold, clear, “I totally disagree but I care and we’ll treat you with dignity,” not yelling, and screaming, or shooting, or bombing.

And finally, the application is acting in love. Ephesians 4:15 says that we’re to speak the truth in love. And I would just encourage you that no matter what we do in this area, we must have our message and our methods tell the same story.