The Sanctity of Human Life (Prayer 2015)

Every year, we pray about three topics: racial reconciliation, the sanctity of human life and the nations. Its a catalyst to remind us about the importance of robust prayer, giving us a renewed resolve to carry us through the rest of the year.

Topics: Prayer | Abortion Scripture: Psalm 139:13-16

Transcript | Audio

Transcript

If you have your Bibles, go ahead and grab those. We’re going to be in Psalm 139 today. In fact, that will be really the only text we kind of open up our Bibles and stare at. If you don’t have a Bible, if you will grab one of the hardback black ones somewhere around you and open up the pages. As always, I want you to see we’re reading God’s words, not mine. I think especially today that will be important.

I want to talk about life today. I don’t want to talk about life in that kind of category of life where we mean wringing out of our days happiness and kind of Spirit-sprinkled joy. That’s not really what I want to address, although I do think that’s a legitimate subject and one we should tackle and consider. I believe, as we’ve taught here before, a life in Christ is life to the fullest because every pleasure in this life rolls past the experience of that pleasure itself into the giver of that pleasure and exponentially increases our joy in that pleasure.

The Christian faith has a strong argument to make around hedonism. Really the fullness of life possible is found in Christ and not outside of him. Not to say that you can be a non-Christian and not experience pleasure, but rather that without Christ you can never experience the fullness of pleasure possible. That’s a great subject for a great weekend, but that’s not what I want to cover today.

Today what I want to talk about is the essence of life itself and the ramifications of what the Bible teaches and…hear me now…what science teaches is the essence of life itself. To do that, I have to tackle the subject of abortion. Before you just go ahead and turn me off or start to get offended, a couple of cards on the table. This is not a political sermon, as I do not consider myself a political man.

Here’s what I know from my Bible: all the parties are going to fail me. They’re going to fail me. They cannot be where my hope resides. Now I’m a red-blooded American. Daddy was military. Don’t email me. But America is not the great light of the world. For those of you who are more conservative, how horrifically did the GOP fail us this past week on this issue of life? Just a gaggle of cowards, but I’ll maybe address that later. Maybe not. You can see I’m still a little bit animated about it.

In fact, later on I’ll be like, “You have to respectfully engage your leaders,” and I just gave you a hypocritical example of that. I want us to tackle this. First, I don’t believe this is a political issue. I believe this is a scientific issue and a deeply theological issue. I’m not trying to make political statements. I also am very aware that I have to walk this strange space, and here’s what I mean by this strange space. I’m going to speak to everyone here, so follow me.

I need to, with all the boldness the Holy Spirit will grant to me, tell everyone in this room that abortion is murder. It is the murder of a human being. I’m going to have to say it. I’m going to show it to you in the Word. I want to prove it to you with science. I want to just lay it before you and say abortion is murder. It’s a holocaust like the world has yet to see.

In fact, just to put it in perspective, Stalin was guilty of murdering 40 million of his own countrymen. Hitler, 30 million human beings. The United States, since Roe v. Wade (not globally, but the United States), has blown past both of those brothers and has made them look angelic as we have slaughtered wholesale 55 million little boys and little girls.

I have to say that. If I don’t say that, then all the things the secular world says about megachurch pastors become true about me (that I want you to like me, and I want your money, and I want to be famous). I’m not. I’m far more afraid of God than I am of you. I have to say that. Don’t aim at me too quickly. Yet at the same time, I am no fool. There are murderers among us.

At the same time that I prophetically and boldly and courageously say, “Abortion is murder,” I also need to step into this space knowing we are guilty of it. Many of us are guilty of it. Maybe we weren’t the ones who had the abortion. Maybe we coerced and pressed somebody to have the abortion or just paid for the abortion. I need to say to you…listen to me…where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.

Hear me. For you mathletes, let’s talk about this. Where the volume of sin increases… We know volume. Where the volume of sin increases, the volume of grace always abounds much more. What we know from the Scriptures is God does not look at murder, even the murder of a baby, as some sort of disqualifying sin when it comes to his grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

In fact, just to give you a really quick tour of the Bible, Moses… Can we agree Moses is a pretty legit figure? I mean, he has had multiple movies made about him in Hollywood. Right? He is a massive character. I mean, you’re talking miracles flowing through him. Did you know Moses killed a man with his bare hands?

What about David, right? God calls David a man after God’s own heart. What a nickname is that? I had a nickname growing up. I’m not letting you know what it is. David’s nickname was a man after God’s own heart. Yet was it not David who not only slept with his friend’s wife but also then had his friend killed? A man after God’s own heart.

Was not Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the apostle, responsible for much of our New Testament, the greatest missionary our faith has ever known? Was he not single-handedly responsible for the murder of men and women and children who belonged to the Way? He killed them for no other reason except they were Christians. In Galatians, it says it pleased the Father to reveal the Son to Saul of Tarsus.

Here’s where I need to chat with you. If, as we progress today, you become more and more aware and painfully aware that you are a murderer, the default position of the human heart is to downshift into shame, to begin to feel dirty, to begin to feel like you don’t fit, like there’s no place for you, there’s no way God can forgive you. I’m trying to just head you off at the pass and lovingly tell you that even in your murdering, you need to get over yourself.

The grace and mercy of God covers sin. What you need to do is lean into that rather than downshift into a pity party for yourself. Holy Spirit conviction always has a sweet edge to the ache. See, Holy Spirit conviction reminds us not only are we guilty but that Christ has paid the bill for our guilt. Without that sweet edge, you’re not hearing what the Bible says. You’re actually trying to sow seeds of bitterness and anger and rage in your own heart.

This is what I want to talk about this morning. I’m going to try to walk this line. So I’m going to be passionate. I’m going to look upset. I think all those things are right and good. We’re talking about 55 million souls and counting. A thousand every day, almost all under the guise of convenience, not medical emergency. It’s a horrific, brutal, disgusting practice. Many of us are guilty, but most of us are indifferent.

With that said, I want to read Psalm 139 with you. I want to show you a video of some friends of ours, Bryan and Robyn Adams, and their story. No lie. I had to watch this video like 15 times just so I could talk after it. Psalm 139, starting in verse 13. Remember we want to read the Bible paying attention to words, details, and using our imaginations…not imagining something that’s not there, but imagining what is there. Verse 13:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

There are so many things I want to dive into. I have to go short because I want to give you an opportunity to see what we have out there for you, but a couple of things right out of the gate. Notice God is knitting us together in our mother’s womb. Again, if you’re in your imagination… I’m not a knitter. Just before God and you, nothing against it. I’ve never knit anything in my life, but I know you have to pick the kind of colors you want. You have to pick the patterns you want. You’re thinking about what is to come as you knit together.

Then I also want you to notice that according to the Bible, God makes the day for the man, not the man for the day. This sovereign King of Glory is forming us, knowing he is also forming days for us in the future. With just that said, we’ll get to more later. Here are our friends, Robyn, and her husband, Bryan.

[Video]

Bryan Adams: Hi, we’re Bryan and Robyn Adams. We actually met at The Village and got married a couple of years later. Then we decided we wanted to have a family and start a family and just thought that would just come very natural and very easy. But for us, it was a big challenge. For us, we went through a couple of miscarriages. Robyn had a really bad ectopic pregnancy. We went through all of that. We finally got pregnant with twins, and we were just overjoyed.

Robyn Adams: We were at a friend’s house, and I started having some pretty intense pain in my back. She said, “Maybe you should call your nurse and just check and see what that is.” We went to the ER on New Year’s Day, and they were pretty busy.

They called up to Labor and Deliver and let us go ahead and come up even though we were 19 weeks. That’s typically not protocol for them, to let somebody come up there that early in pregnancy. They typically would just say, “You’re having a miscarriage.” We went up, and they found out I was in labor. They gave me some medication to help stop it and tried to prevent anything else progressing.

Bryan: The doctor explained all the scary odds for us. We had less than a 5 percent chance. For us, that was more than enough. We knew God could do miracles with that. But the doctor went on to explain to us that a lot of times, it’s better for you to terminate the pregnancy or abort the pregnancy and let the woman’s body heal and try again later. For us, it was something we held on hope and said we wanted to see where the Lord would take it. We believe God has a purpose for every life. For us, it was just the only option.

Robyn: The specialist came in and did a sonogram. Now Titus was lying across the cervix, and everything was relaxed. He said, “Well, this doesn’t look like you’re going to deliver at all. Everything has calmed down, and he is essentially blocking the exit.”

Bryan: We went into the hospital, and for over a month, we got to hear our sons’ heartbeats. Every other day, we got to go see them on a sonogram, which not every family gets to see their kids develop on an every-other-day basis.

Robyn: They organized a prayer group at the hospital while I was on bed rest. I couldn’t go down there because I couldn’t leave my room, but Bryan sent me video.It was a waiting room full of people. There was just worship and singing and praying, just pleading with the Lord for the life of our two boys.

Then at 23 weeks and 2 days, we couldn’t stop labor any longer. We ended up having an emergency C-section and delivered Titus first. He was 1 pound 6 ounces. He lived for 45 minutes. He just didn’t have the lungs to respond to a ventilator or to treatment. Asher was born second, and he was 1 pound 2 ounces.

Bryan: Asher was in the hospital for 147 days. He had heart surgery at 5 weeks old. He had a number of different issues with his esophagus. At 23 weeks, his chances were probably about 3 percent just to live.

It’s just by the grace of God that not only is he here with us, but he is completely healthy and normal and has no real developmental issues that we know about. It’s just an answer to all those prayers we witnessed during that time.

Robyn: From then on, we always said Titus helped give Asher a chance. In everything that was taken from us, he wanted to give us so much more. He gave us just so many experiences with people that we wouldn’t have had, conversations with nurses, with other preemie parents. We got to really feel the presence of God. Those things are far better than healthy twin boys. Those things are eternal.

[End of video]

The Adams gave Titus the middle name Bauer, as in Jack Bauer, because he blocked the exit and wouldn’t let little Asher out until he had the lungs to breathe. Psalm 139, starting in verse 13.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

The idea that life begins at conception is a scientific fact. Here we are. Everyone in this room, we had a beginning. That beginning for every one of us was when a sperm and an egg collided. In that collision, a new strand of DNA was born that was wholly separate from Mom’s DNA, wholly separate from Dad’s DNA. Right out of the gate, there we are in the image of God, made in the womb. Life begins at conception.

What I love about Psalm 139 is it shows the activity of God in our personhood, shaping who we would be, not when our conscience finally turns on, not when we’re 3 years old and we’re like, “Okay, this is right. This is wrong.” No, no, no. In the womb, shaping, molding, weaving, putting together. If I understand this passage right, we see God is putting together our unformed substance, and he is putting together our frame.

The way I’ve always interpreted this is God, in his sovereign reign, knowing the days he is going to form for us, is actively involved in Mom’s womb putting together according to his will and his good pleasure the frame and unformed substance, our personality, our makeup, how we’re going to interact and react. He is putting it all together because he is building out these days in which we will invade.

I think one of the great ironies of my life is, look, I’m loud. I know I’m loud. I’ve always been loud. I didn’t get loud after I got saved. All right? I literally lived in D-hall. No inside voice. Do you know how impossible it is to get through grade school with no inside voice? My understanding coming out of Psalm 139 is God is active in my personhood, weaving me together in Janet Chandler’s womb. He knows he has these days he is going to form for me. He has days he is going to put together sovereignly 40 years from now, 20 years later.

In Janet Chandler’s womb, he is going, “Hey, tighten up those vocal folds. Put a little bit more in there. Let’s just overlap that. Put another fold in, just an extra fold in.” He knows the days he has for me, the days he will form for me, maybe even days like today coming off of a week in Louisville. I flew in in time to preach at the Movement Day Greater Dallas downtown, in time to be Friday night at our worship night, in time to be here last night to preach twice, in time to be here this morning, and I’m not hoarse! Right?

That’s Psalm 139, God knitting, putting together, knowing these days. We see God is active in the womb, but here’s the real question. I don’t think you can argue where life begins. I think that’s just silly. How can anyone say life doesn’t begin at conception? I mean, you’d be scientifically stretched. Here’s the real question…When does the soul show up? That’s really the question, because you’ll find a lot of people willing to cut out, suck out, destroy a clump of cells. We do it all the time.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find people who don’t have a seared conscience and who have left the rational world, say, “Tear that soul piece from piece.” You won’t find that. So the question of, “When does the soul show up? Where is the soul…?” Is the soul at 2 cells? Is it at 8 cells? Is it at 16? Is it at 32? I don’t want to even go up math any more than that. But when does the soul show up? At what point now are we talking personhood?

I think you’ll find the idea of killing a group of cells doesn’t bother most people, but the idea of killing a human being bothers people deeply. What does the Bible tell us about God’s activity in the womb and when personhood forms? Well, I said three weeks ago that really, the next three weeks, the idea of the imago Dei and us understanding that mankind being made in the image of God would bear a lot of weight on our conversation on racial reconciliation, our conversation on the nations, and now our conversation on life.

We have been made in the image of God. As humankind, we sit above and over the rest of the creative order, which is why we don’t mourn the same way… We might mourn when our dog dies and mourn when a kid dies, but we don’t mourn the same way, right? If your neighbor’s 5-year-old is run over by a car, you’re going to mourn. You’re going to hurt. You’re going to feel something that I pray to God is different than what you would feel if little Bootsie gets run over by a car.

You’re going to feel something different because in our guts, we know one has more value. It doesn’t mean we’re cruel to other created beings. It just means we understand we have an elevated status. We have been made in the image of God. The question then becomes, as I kind of build out this progression of when does the soul show up, when does the imago Dei, us being made in the image of God…? How is it passed? How do we know we possess it?

Well, in Genesis, chapter 5, starting in verse 3, here’s what it says. “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness…” We know his boy Seth looks like Daddy. If you have kids, it kind of looks like… People will say my girls look like me. Norah and Audrey are dark-headed. They’re gangly. They look like Daddy. Reid is blonde-haired, blue-eyed. He kind of looks like Mama.

What we see here is little Seth is born in the likeness of Adam. He looks like Daddy, but this is also what this text says. “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his…” What? “…image…” Now what image was Adam made in? It’s not a trick question, guys. Yeah. You’re like, “Who was Adam’s dad?” Right? No. We know Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. Adam was created in the image of God.

He is an image-bearer, and when he has a son Seth, Seth not only looks like his dad, but his father passed on to him the imago Dei, so Seth is also made in the image of God and so on and so on and so on. The Scriptures make it clear the imago Dei is passed through daddies into their sons and daughters, through mamas into their sons and daughters. All of us have been made in the image of God.

Here’s the other thing the Bible begins to lay out clearly. Our moral and spiritual faculties are present in the womb. Let me show you some of these. Psalm 58, verse 3, says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.” If I could translate this verse for you, here’s how I’d translate it. “Don’t let their cuteness fool you.”

Don’t let it fool you! How many of you have had children or been around children? Okay. They don’t need to be taught to be shady. They don’t! You don’t have to teach them to lie. You don’t have to teach them to be selfish. You don’t have to teach them to be uppermost in their own affections. They are born that way.

My wife and I often will get in arguments. Any other married couples get in arguments with their spouse? If you’re in one this morning, I’d just keep your hand down, bro. I’m trying to help you. Just don’t even put it up. Lauren and I get in fights, but here’s what I can say. She is here today. Here’s what I can say. I have never snatched something out of her hand, shoved her to the ground, and screamed, “Mine!” over the top of her, and yet I had a child do that.

They did not learn that from their environment. They had a little wicked heart, and that came out. One of my children who will not be named bit a kid on the face in our nursery. The pastor’s kid Hannibal Lecter-ed another kid here at the church. I have never bit anyone bloody in my house nor has my wife. Where did they get it? (See, I’m protecting their identity by saying they versus he or she.) Where did they get that? Because that’s, “Oh, that’s kid stuff.” Yeah, but what’s the heart of that kid thing? “I’m not getting what I want,” and the answer to that is violence.

See, what he is saying here is really a doctrinal matter. It’s the doctrine of total depravity, that we’re born broken. We’re not born perfect. We’re not born innocent, but rather we’re born with a bent. That bent is not toward righteousness but rather toward rebellion against our Creator. From the second a kid comes out of the womb, it’s, “Me,” and, “Mine,” and, “Do this,” and, “I want it,” and, “You’d better give it to me,” and, “Feed me now,” and, “Take care of me now. Do this for me now.”

I mean, you don’t have a kid who is like, “Hey, as soon as you’re done, I have a question.” You don’t! You just have, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” You have to give the look, right? This is what he is saying. There’s a reason why children act this way. It’s because from birth, they began to speak lies. It wasn’t just their environment that taught them how to do that, although I would definitely say environment shapes. But it’s already present. It shapes what’s already present. Are you tracking with me? That’s a good way to say it. It shapes what’s already present.

Secondly, Job 14:4. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.” These start to flow together. We go, “Okay, so children come out with a bent. They come out, and they’re bent. They’re bent toward iniquity and sinfulness. They’re bent toward rebellion. They’re self-centered and self-seeking? How is that possible?” Well, he just told you. How can a clean thing come out of an unclean thing?

Let’s chat. My guess, if your house is like mine… I’m a sinner, and my wife is a sinner. I’m guessing your home is similar. When those two sinners come together and they have a child… Again, if you’re in math, don’t go, “A negative plus a negative is a positive.” That’s not how this works. You have two negatives, and they give birth to more negative. They don’t give birth to righteousness. That’s not how it works.

In fact, that’s Job’s point in the next text. Job 15:14 says, “What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?” What’s he arguing? He is saying, “How can one be born righteous when they’re coming out of what is unrighteous? How can someone be born clean when they’re coming out of two people who are not clean before the Lord?” That’s why our children are born bent and broken in their iniquity.

Then David would come with the strongest argument and tell us that it is at conception that this moral, spiritual personhood is present in us. Psalm 51. Again, just so we might continue to talk about grace abounding, Psalm 51 is a psalm David wrote after he was busted for sleeping with Uriah’s wife and then having Uriah killed in battle. Here’s what he writes. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

If you’re not careful, you’ll read that last line and go, “Oh, ’…in sin did my mother conceive me.’ So I’m guessing Jesse and David’s mom kind of had some kind of fling or something before they were married. That’s how we got David. David was conceived in sin. As in, a kind of scandalous, outside of the boundaries of marriage kind of hook-up in the pasture kind of deal is what he is talking about.”

That’s not what he is talking about, because David is the youngest of a lot of sons. He is saying what’s already been argued in the Scriptures, that Jesse his father was a sinner, and his mother was a sinner. They had a baby, and that baby David was a sinner. David has sinned against the Lord, and he is saying, “It’s not surprising because I was conceived in iniquity, and in iniquity I was born. I came out broken.”

His argument is our moral, spiritual makeup is present at conception. Our position, our argument, as believers in the Word of God is that not only does life begin at conception, but personhood and soul are present and being formed immediately upon conception. The termination of pregnancy for convenience or really any other reason (and we’ll get into some of the complexity of that momentarily) is murder.

You can dress it up however you want. You can change the language about it. That’s our favorite thing to do with sin these days (just soften it). “It’s not adultery; it’s an affair.” “It’s not murder; it’s a choice.” We like to soften the blow, but what kind of coward would I be if I tried to soften the blow? I used to be really hopeful that science would just win the day for us.

I work hard at trying to get around lost people. I have to work hard at that because everyone I work with is a Christian. They just make better pastors when they’re Christians. I have to work hard at it, and I especially like those who are legitimate seekers, not pretending seekers. Here’s what I mean by pretending seekers. Some people just want to argue. They’re not really seeking. They just want to argue.

But genuine seekers I love to get around. I love those who just go, “I just don’t understand. I want to understand. Can you help me understand? How does this work? What do you do with this? How do you make sense of this?” Those who just have already turned off their brain and like, “Listen, you guys are fools. I don’t care. I don’t even want to listen to it.”

One of the things that’s interesting is they almost always want to use science as their kind of trump card to make us look like idiots. They’re like, “Really? Literal seven-day creation? Moron! You’re telling me in this world that’s so evil, that’s so broken, there’s a good God, a gracious God? What do you do with this scientific fact? What do you do with this?”

I was always thinking, “Hey, science will win the day for us.” Let me give you some examples of what I mean. By eight weeks in the womb, the baby boy or girl sucks her thumb, recoils from pricking. Let’s get our minds around this. At eight weeks, if we needed to take a little sample from the baby, she already has her own blood. It’s not Mom’s blood. It’s not Dad’s blood. It’s her own blood.

We’re sticking a little needle up there just to prick the heel to get some information about what’s going on with baby. The baby will, at that prick, pull up its leg, will avoid pain. She feels pain at eight weeks. At eight weeks, she responds to sound. At eight weeks, all of his organs are present. His brain is functioning. There’s new evidence that says maybe they’re even dreaming. Her heart is pumping. Her liver is making blood cells. Her kidneys are cleaning fluid. She has a fingerprint that is her  own.

Look at me. Virtually every one of the 1 million abortions that happened last year in the United States happened after this. I used to think science would win the day for us, but now I know our arguments are no longer rational, and we’re no longer arguing from any position of sanity. Let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about.

Do you know that if you…? Legally, the law is written with the word molest. If you molest a bald eagle egg… You’re on a hike, and you come across a nest with eggs in it. You’re like, “Oh, look how cool these eggs are.” You take a little selfie with the egg and post it on your Instagram. If somebody sees it, did you know you could be fined heavily and put in prison for molesting a bald eagle egg (also a sea turtle egg)? But you can suck a living baby limb from limb as it screams out of the womb, and it would be perfectly legal.

To put on top of it even more insanity, let’s say you get in your car. You’re on the way to the clinic to have an abortion. A drunk driver runs a red light and slams into your car, and you lose the baby. Did you know that person could be tried for involuntary manslaughter? Yet if you got to the clinic, you’re well within your legal rights to go ahead and have the baby sucked out and vacuumed. This is madness, right? This is seared conscience stuff. These are arguments that are outside the realm of rational thought. It really is crazy.

Just a couple of more things. A lot of times, people want to make this issue a woman’s issue and like you hate women if you lean on this. Listen. For the record, I don’t hate women. I actually love one quite a bit. Three, actually, and I’m not being a pervert. I have two daughters. I have ferociously preached that I am for women. Women must be theologically trained. They must be released to serve the kingdom of God. We are equal in dignity and worth before God. I just did 12 weeks on that in the fall.

But hear me. This idea that a woman’s body is her own and she can do whatever she wants is not true in any domain of society. Listen, guys. I love you. The government tells you all the time what to do with your body. Last time I checked, prostitution was illegal in Dallas. Just for the record, I haven’t checked in a long time, because I don’t need to check.

It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not, but I believe it is illegal, which I believe is the government going, “You can’t do that with your body. If you do that with your body, we will arrest you. We will put you in jail, and we will also arrest the guy who is trying to buy from you that body that is yours.” You cannot take off all your clothes and drive home naked without being pulled over and arrested. That’s the government telling you what to do with your body.

That’s on just a common sense level. On a scientific level, that baby is in your body but is not your body. It has its own blood, its own DNA, its own brain, its own liver. It is inside of you, but it is not you. “Chandler, are you saying if a woman gets raped, to have an abortion after rape is murder?” Well, let’s chat for a second.

I don’t want to blow past that without two things, first saying rape is real, and it is horrific, deplorable before God. Those guilty of rape before the Lord, if they don’t repent and confess and heal up and pay what they owe the government for their crimes, will be harshly handled by the King of Glory come that day.

Secondly, last night in both the 5:00 and the 7:15, there were women present with their daughters who did not abort that little girl and that little boy after they were raped. I got to sit over here in this corner and watch a 17-year-old girl lift up her hands in worship last night. I got to watch her as she navigates in circles we run in. Listen. It was unbelievably difficult.

Praise God for her mama who fought the good fight of working through all the collateral damage that comes, all the emotional turmoil that’s present. I am not trying to make that any lighter than it should be. It will be climbing Everest, but it is still murder. As horrific as rape is, the child who was conceived and the murder of that child cannot be the price that is paid for someone else’s heinous act.

Then lastly, I want to say that ultimately this isn’t about women’s rights at all. This is about (and I just wrote this here) the exaltation of the autonomous self and life in a throwaway culture. Just right before I came out this morning, I was meeting with some friends who actively just pray for my family and me as we do ministry.

One of these ladies is writing a little book. She was reading me kind of the front of it. One of the ideas in the front of her book is we really are a throwaway culture. We’re not a culture that fixes things anymore. We don’t sew patches in our pants anymore. In fact, we buy pants with holes in them. Right? We just always upgrade. We always throw away.

The idea of restoring or fixing something that’s broken is almost gone in our society as, instead, we just upgrade and throw away, upgrade and throw away, upgrade and throw away. When you have the exaltation of the autonomous self… “What I want matters most. What I desire matters most. Forget sacrifice. Forget hurting. Forget the long road. I want what I want.” When that collides in a society that says, “Throw it away and get a new one,” you get abortion on demand.

Do you know percentage-wise how few abortions actually even occur under the banner of rape? It’s hardly measurable. That’s everybody’s trump card. “What about rape?” Well, most abortions don’t occur because of rape. Most abortions are occurring because of convenience. “I don’t want to be pregnant. I didn’t plan this.”

What are we to do in light of living in a day and age in which consciences are seared and science doesn’t matter? There are two things we can do. First, we have to pray. This is a spiritual demonic area, and we’re going to have to pray. We’re going to need to pray and ask God to end this injustice. We need to ask God to forgive whatever part we played.

Maybe we’re in here today, and we’re guilty of having an abortion. Maybe we’re in here today, and we’re guilty of pushing or coercing someone to have an abortion. Maybe, God help us, we’ve just been indifferent. We’ve just been indifferent! We have to ask forgiveness for whatever part we played. Then we need to ask the Holy Spirit to convict those who are in power. We have to ask God to convict those who are in power.

Again, I don’t know how you keep up on things or where you get your news, but this past week, the GOP had a bill all set going to the House floor. The bill was called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Here’s the Act. “Scientifically, here’s when babies feel pain in the womb, so let’s outlaw all abortions that occur after this point. We know the baby feels pain. The baby can live outside the womb, and it feels pain. It needs help but feels pain at this moment. So let’s outlaw abortions where the baby will feel itself getting torn to pieces.”

That’s rational, is it not? Then in an act of astonishing cowardice, they pulled the bill at the last moment. It was a layup. It went across the aisle. It would have passed through easily, public opinion on its side. Even in this crazy day, you will find that even those who are staunch atheists would not go, “Oh, it feels pain? Kill it anyway.” No, the bill was a layup, and they punked out. We need to pray God would convict them. God, help us when they’ll actually require some political maneuvering for the cause of life.

We don’t just pray. We don’t just pray! How many of you saw Selma? How many of you have seen Selma? Go ahead and get your hand up. You’re not going to get in trouble for it. You’re like, “I think… What was it…PG-13 or R? I’m in church. I’m confused. I was raised weirdly.” Okay, so do me this favor. I’ve never said this before. See it before it leaves theaters. As I watched Selma, man, I wanted to give myself to something, wanted to bleed for something, wanted to give myself to be wrung out for something that will push back the most horrific offenses against the powerless.

Gosh, man! This is why we’re driven to the movies we are. You went to American Sniper knowing how that was going to end. You watched Braveheart on repeat. You watched Saving Private Ryan. Do you know what that is? We were created for a type of war. We want to give ourselves over to sacrifice for the good of others. It’s in our spiritual DNA. There’s not a better fight than this. Who is weaker than the unborn? Who is more voiceless than the unborn? No one.

We don’t just pray; we participate. Here are a couple of ways. You can write to your representative. I put this note here, because I knew I would do differently in my talk. You can write to your representative clearly and respectfully. So “gaggle of cowards” probably shouldn’t be in your letter or email to your representative or senator.

We need to write clearly and respectfully and lay out why abortion in this country must stop and hold them to account. Again, I’m not a political man, but I believe we should leverage being citizens in this country. You can’t legislate morality. You’re not going to change anybody’s heart, but you can save quite a bit of lives. Write clearly, respectfully. Lay out why abortion is wrong to your representative.

Work with, give yourself over to, participate in ministries that serve poor and needy women and come alongside of those in difficult scenarios and situations that we might give ourselves over. A list here is that you might work with an advocacy and pregnancy center. You might see what they need, how you might give to, how you might serve.

Organizationally, one of the things we’ve done this year, that you’ve done this year with your giving, is we’ve built out a mobile unit that, starting in April, will begin to roll around in this area and give free ultrasounds and give free sonograms and let young women hear the heartbeats down in Lewisville. You funded that. You’ve done that. We’ve done that organizationally.

You can work with organizations like YoungLives that work with teen moms. You can open up your homes and open up your hearts to those. Listen. My sister got pregnant when she was early in high school. It’s scary. How do you put food on the table? What are you going to do? What happens if the family is not supportive? Where are you going to go? See, all of a sudden abortion starts to sound somewhat attractive, because how are you supposed to handle this? You’re not ready for this.

See, this is where the church, if we say, “This is murder,” and yet we don’t say, “We’re here for you. We’ll walk alongside of you. We’ll provide for you. Come into my house. Come eat dinner with our family. How can I serve you? How can I come alongside of you? We’ll help you get diapers. We’ll get you bottles. We’ll show you kind of what to do. We’ll support you. We’ll help you get into school. We’ll watch the baby while you go to work. We’ll come alongside…” If the church doesn’t do that, then we probably don’t understand the gospel and should shut our mouths on this being murder.

You can’t do both. It’s deplorable. It’s pharisaic to do that. To say, “It’s murder, but good luck” is sinful and disgusting for the church of Jesus Christ. No, we roll up our sleeves, we foster, we adopt, we babysit, we come alongside, and we free up capital to support. We send off to junior college, and we watch. It’s difficult, and it’s messy. It feels like it will never end. God honors it, and lives are saved.

Young women get established. They turn into strong, grown women with beautiful sons and daughters. We just get in the fight lest we join that whole crew who still looks back on the Civil Rights Movement with a hint of shame that they did nothing but watch. See, I don’t want to just watch. I’d like some scars. I want to, when God… I’m hopeful God eradicates this.

I want to be able to look my daughters, my son, in their faces when they’re 30 and they’re 40 and say, “Dad did all he could. Dad did all that he could. Dad was bold. Dad had people… Do you remember them in our home? Do you remember this, how we did this, and how we invited them in? Dad was in the fight. We gave it all we had. We trusted God to push it back.”

I don’t want to look them in their faces and have them go, “Dad, what in the world?” and be like, “Well, you know, we wanted to go on the Disney cruise. Why are you so ungrateful? Do you not like hanging with the Disney princesses?” I want to hurt a little bit on this front. Who is weaker than the unborn? Who has less of a voice? Yet here we are given the opportunity to engage.

Consider adoption and foster care. That’s a growing movement here at The Village, at Prestonwood. I looked out, 7,000 to 8,000 strong at Prestonwood and just thought, “Golly, we could eradicate foster care just being The Village in this area.” Foster care is not easy. It can be heartbreaking, but again, it’s not a bad thing to give oneself over to.

Let me just end like this. For those of you who are walking in quite a bit of shame on this front, where sin abounds (that means a lot), grace abounds all the more (which means more). Sin abounds. There’s a lot of sin, guilty of murder. Grace abounds all the more. Forgiveness, mercy, grace, come on in. “Is that all you got?” says the God of the universe. You can’t out-sin the cross of Christ. Don’t downshift into shame. Don’t, “Well, I guess I can’t be… I can’t fit in here.”

If you had any idea who was surrounding you… If you have been indifferent, look at me. We don’t need adrenaline. We need resilience. If you get all emotionally worked up and go out and sign up at every table, “That and that. I’m going to foster. I’m going to adopt. I’m going to work with YoungLives. I’m going to give all my money here.” and then Tuesday this isn’t on your radar anymore, we didn’t do anything.

We don’t need adrenaline. You understand adrenaline, right? That shot of energy. We need resilience. We need steadfastness. We need marathon runners who will ache for miles, not sprinters who will be done in 30 seconds. Might we as a covenant community of faith be on the front lines of this one. Let’s pray.

Father, I know much of this is difficult. It’s definitely heavy. I pray for my sisters in here who have had an abortion and even no one has ever heard about it. No one knows they did it, so they’ve walked in this kind of quasi-shame that has affected their relationships. They’ve felt the weight of this secret now for years. I just pray this morning that you might embolden them to come forward, grab the hand of a woman who will be up here, grab the hand of someone, and just share that burden.

Even though abortion is murder, here at The Village Church, we understand we have all come broken and sinful before you, it is your grace that saves us all, and that you would not look upon abortion as some sort of unforgivable sin or something that someone should continue to walk in shame in. Rather you might allow us as a covenant community to share the burden, to share the load, to walk alongside as we heal.

I pray for my sisters and maybe even some of my brothers who coerced or paid for or pushed someone to. I pray maybe even they this morning would confess that, would seek prayer, and would begin to heal. Father, for those of us who have just been indifferent, forgive us. I pray not for a shot of adrenaline but rather a resilience, a steadfastness of soul where we might figure out the space we’ll play in and begin to play in that space. It’s for your beautiful name I pray, amen.    

Related Resources

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What Does Science Say About Abortion?

Matt Chandler

We don’t need to shy away from scientific research when we talk about abortion. The pro-life understanding of life beginning at conception is backed up by science more now than ever before.

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Is Abortion Murder?

Matt Chandler

We must say, “Abortion is murder,” because it’s true and weighty, but we must say it with great compassion, knowing that God redeems and restores from even the darkest places.