If you have your Bibles, would you go ahead and grab them? If you don’t have a Bible with you, will you reach around and find one of those black hardback ones that is somewhere around you? I just think it becomes rather imperative, rather important, right up front here that we kind of put some lenses on so we might hear rightly today and consider rightly today. The nature of the topic is a heavy one, and so having the right lenses on to see correctly becomes extremely important, lest we feel something or take this in a direction we shouldn’t feel or take it.
With that said, 1 Corinthians, chapter 6. I love this text we’re about to get into because it was used profoundly by God in my life to move me from different positions that were erroneous when it came to what I believed about Christians, what I believed about church, what I believed about the things of God. I’ll try to point those out as we read through this text. Let’s start in verse 9. Here’s what it says.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Now those couple of sentences there really did encompass all I understood about Christianity from my early days.
What I meant by that is there is a standard of moral behavior, there is kind of this bar of behavior, that if you were past that bar, then you were in the “thems.” But if you were under that bar, then you were in the “us-es.” There was a them vs. us. Man, in my life, when I first started hearing about the things of God and considering the things of God, listen to me. I was not in the “us-es.” I was in the “thems.” In fact, as I’m reading this list, let me tell you something. Those are my people: swindlers, revilers. Yeah, that’s my folk!
I’ll tell you what. I felt far more comfortable there than I ever did around the religious guys I knew. I’ll tell you probably what shaped it. God, help me. I mean, you can pray for me that God is still sanctifying me in certain areas. One of the things that kind of informed that was The Simpsons. I know that’s dumb, but follow me. If you’ve never seen it, just trust me. You had the Simpsons, a completely dysfunctional family, just a train wreck.
But who were their next-door neighbors? The Flanders. Ned Flanders had his joint locked down. They weren’t listening to Tupac in Ned Flanders’ house. I can tell you that. They weren’t watching any R-rated movies at the Flanders’ home. In my head, I’m not a Flanders kid. When I get upset, I do not say, “Hi-diddly-ho.” I can tell you that. That was not the word I was using when I felt anger. I can much more relate. There’s an us vs. them, and I’m not in.
Since these people will not inherit the kingdom of God, then I am these people who, because of this moral bar, will not inherit the kingdom of God. Now not only do I understand there’s an us vs. them, but now I have some animosity because these people think they’re better than I am. That was where my head was, where my heart was, where my misunderstanding was. Then look at the next sentence. I think this next sentence is profound.
Look at verse 11: “And such were some of you.” Now this idea begins to move now because now Christianity and the church is not just made up of those whose parents have protected them, who have sheltered them from the moral decline of society, who have not allowed them to come to the parties we were going to, have not allowed them to do the things, listen to the things, watch the things we were allowed. No, they have been protected and sheltered.
Now, according to the apostle Paul, such were some of you. So Christians and people in the church were not just people who had been sheltered but those who had partaken of those activities and now no longer do. You have the great story of “I used to be a drunkard, and now I’m not.” “I used to get high, and now I don’t.” “I used to whore around but not anymore.” You would get those testimonies. In my mind, it was people who had either always been good or had turned the corner and now were past that moral bar.
That did nothing to satisfy my soul because I stunk at being good. Maybe you were awesome at being good. There are some of you who are just kind of born that way. Just, “I’m going to listen. I’m going to obey all the rules.” Really you sin in the other direction. It’s still sinful, just looks different. You just become your own god, and you’re going to control. “I’m going to obey perfectly. I’ll be my own savior. I’ll be my (stressed out, hair falling out) own savior.” Crummy at it, but you still believe, still buy in.
From there, you get what comes next. So let’s look at what comes next. “And such were some of you.” Here’s the nature now of all believers. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Now the weight of this text is on the passivity of the recipient. You didn’t wash you; you were washed. You didn’t sanctify you; you were sanctified. You did not justify you; you were justified.
My whole erroneous grid collapsed under the weight of (listen to me) the gospel. Maybe let me simplify it like this. There is no sin past, present, or future that has more power than the cross of Jesus Christ. No one alive has the ability to out-sin the grace of God. No one in this room celebrates that we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps. That’s not what we believe at a fundamental level.
Our testimony might be, “I used to, but now I don’t,” but that’s rooted in a belief that God has met us with his grace and transformed us so the glory due our transformation is not our own, by our own effort or work, but rather by the grace and mercy of God. It becomes unbelievably important that for the next 35-40 minutes we don’t move too far from that reality. There is no sin with more power than the cross of Jesus Christ.
With that said, it has been a weird year for me. Let me try to explain it quickly. I have three children. For the last seven to eight years, I have been incessantly hounded about getting pets. My response has always been the same: “I have them.” I already have a mammal that goes to the bathroom on the floor. I am not looking for another one of those. I just don’t need to add to the family unit forces of destruction. Daughters have a weird power over dads, so I got a dog. His name is Gus. He is an Australian Shepherd, and I like him. I don’t love him; I like him.
Here’s what I’m saying. He is a smart dog, really smart dog. Australian Shepherd. To be straight, he is smarter than some of the people I know. I don’t think I’m talking to anybody in here, but he is a very smart dog. I can go, “Go get up Audrey,” and he’ll go wake her up. He’ll pick the right kid and go get her out of bed, lick her face, pull her covers, and just attack her until she gets up. A parent’s best friend. It’s like, “Audrey, go!” I just kept sipping my coffee at the table. I never even got up until she stumbled in. “Now Reid. Get Reid. Get Norah.” He’ll just go. I’m the first up. He kind of lies by my feet. He is a great dog.
Then, God help me, we got a horse. Before some of you are like, “Man, we are paying Pastor too much,” this is not some kind of thoroughbred, six-figure. He is not related to Secretariat. Are you tracking with me? This horse will break no records. I got my 10-year-old a horse. She named her Gypsy, which I thought was an evil name to name it. I was like, “Baby, do you know historically what a gypsy is?” Then I was like, “What am I doing? She is 10. Gypsy is a great name. We’ll call her Gyp.”
Here now in one year, I have a horse and a dog introduced in to our family unit, I guess. I mean, I don’t know. Here’s what I can tell you. They take time, and they take money. Yesterday was a beautiful day. I think today is supposed to be spectacular also. I don’t think I get to go outside today, but… Yesterday morning we went out to the barn where we keep Gypsy, the whole family in tow. I don’t like to ride the horses. I’m going to be straight with you. I just don’t enjoy that at all. I just find it to be uncomfortable, and I don’t like it.
But I think horses are unbelievable. They’re just majestic. I was helping Audrey groom her horse yesterday, brushing Gypsy. Gypsy is a 3-year-old mare, but man, she has just… She is getting yoked. I mean, you can see her muscles now. She is scary. As I was brushing Gypsy, I thought about how God responded to Job and mentioned the horse in particular about how majestic the horse is and how, when a horse really snorts or paws at the ground, it can strike terror into the hearts of men.
A horse is not shaken by men who rattle swords when they’ve been trained properly. God himself is kind of saying, “Hey, I nailed it on the horse.” Man, I’m sitting out there at the barn petting this unbelievable creature I have so little power over. I mean, all she has to do is decide, “We’re not doing that anymore.” Guess what? We’re not doing that anymore. What am I going to do…threaten her? “You can smack her.” Yeah, and she can jump up and kick me in the face!
Here I am with a horse and a dog, a very smart dog and a very great horse. I mean, cards on the table. I love my dog. He’ll never have organic, made-from-chicken-and-salmon dog food. If he was in the wild, he’d be eating the excrement of other animals, right? I just don’t feel like I have to pay $90 a bag for food in order for this dog to feel loved. Let me say this so we can get to the point. Dog is awesome. Horse is incredible. Neither is equal to or on par with any human being alive. They’re not.
We are not equal with the rest of the creative order. Mankind alone has been made in the image of God. We have been given by God a moral, intellectual, spiritual compass the rest of creation does not possess. They don’t possess it! This does not give us the right to be brutal or cruel, but it is man alone who has been given dominion over creation. Let me read to you where I’m getting that. I’m not pulling it out of the air. In Genesis, chapter 1, starting in verse 26, here’s what the Bible says.
“Then God said, ’Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
This is called the imago Dei, that we have been made in the image of God. Again to flesh out this reality, you and I will wrestle with some things and walk in some things that no other creative thing wrestles with or has to deal with. I’ll unpack it. Let me just give you just a clean example. If you’re up late or bored or whatever and you’re watching the National Geographic Channel and they show this little baby antelope, you think, “Oh my gosh! That’s so cute.” Then three minutes later, there’s a female lion ripping it to pieces. You’re kind of like, “Oh, I can’t…! I just can’t…! Oh my gosh!” Right? Do you know who is not thinking that? The lion.
The lion is not going, “I shouldn’t be doing this!” There’s no moral quandary in the lion. Later on that evening, as she is licking the blood off of her paws, trying to get the intestine out of her tooth, she is not filled with regret and shame. She is not going, “I did it again! I need some help!” She is not Dexter. She is driven by instinct alone. She is not wondering about her future. There is no consideration in her for what happens when she is too old to hunt. She is a lion. She is magnificent, and she has no moral and no spiritual compass.
You and I do. We lie in bed at night with regrets. Anyone? We wrestle inside of ourselves often about what is right and what is wrong and whether or not we should do it. The animal kingdom doesn’t wrestle with that. Listen. This is the fourth time I’ve preached this this weekend. I know some of you are going to be like, “Well, actually my dog, Chandler, when I come home and I’m just like, ’Did you do this?’ he puts his head down in shame. Surely that’s moral, spiritual.”
No, you’ve trained him. You’ve trained him as his pack leader (unless it’s a cat) to show deference to your leadership. That’s not moral, spiritual stuff. That’s survival instinct. “This thing is stronger than me, will kill me. I had better behave.” What’s happening in that moment is, “Please don’t kill me.” All right? Let me tell you what your dog and cat are thinking all day long. “When am I going to eat? When is someone going to let me outside? When am I going to eat? I think I’ll take a nap. When am I going to be let outside?” All day long, every day, always.
That’s not how we’re wired. That’s not who we are. Mankind alone has dominion because mankind alone has been made in the image of God. Here becomes the first of the questions we have to answer. The first question is…When does this imago Dei, the soul, this moral, spiritual compass, enter into the man or the woman? That’s a huge question.
Well, the Bible is going to answer it. The Bible is going to tell us in Genesis 5:3 that the image is passed from the fathers to the sons and daughters, so when men have children, they are giving birth to little image bearers, men and women, little boys and little girls. What we see in the Bible is this moral, spiritual compass, this soul, has a presence in the womb. Let me show you this. In Psalm 58, verse 3, the Bible says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.”
That’s a strange text, isn’t it? Why am I bringing up wickedness right now? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because the Bible just said wickedness, which is a moral state of being, is in place…where? In the womb. So wickedness isn’t something morally that occurs in our hearts after we’re born, but that moral, spiritual thing that exists in mankind that sets us beyond the rest of creation, its presence (the soul’s presence) is there in utero.
Again, Job 14, verse 4, says, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.” Okay, so just quickly let me try to unpack this. Does anybody’s dad sin? If your dad is sitting next to you, go ahead and get your hand up. If he doesn’t know it, you need to tell him. All right, mom. Does anybody’s mom sin? Okay. This isn’t math where a negative plus a negative equals a positive. This is, if dad is a sinner and mom is a sinner, then guess what they give birth to? Sinners.
Job’s point is how can two unclean things produce something that’s clean? The argument in Job is the same one that was made in Psalms…that the soul is present in the womb. From there, 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?” This is the same argumentation. The soul is intact in utero.
Now, the next question. This is the big one. I mean, this has implications for a hundred different things in our lives and should drive some things once we get to the bottom of it. The question now becomes (since we know the soul is present in the womb) when in the womb does the soul become present? The question is…When does life begin? When does it begin? Well, again, the Bible won’t leave us blind. It will answer our questions.
Psalm 51, verse 5, says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” We’re just listening to the Bible. Let me answer the question according to the Word of God about when the soul comes into human cellular matter. Are you ready? At conception. Not after the first trimester, not after the second trimester. A human being is born, soul intact. When sperm and egg meet and unite, you now have a human, a living human being.
This has all sorts of implications. First of all, we should marvel at God’s detailed working of life. Psalm 139 says he knit us together in our mother’s womb. It says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. It says God knew all the days we would have before one of them was lived. In fact, the weight of the text is actually that he is building us in our mother’s womb for the things he has planned for us. It’s a beautiful text.
First, we should marvel at that. Second, as believers in Christ, we should put a high, high value on human life…all human life. Third, this has massive implications for how we view social issues, none so great as the social issue of abortion. I know some of you are like, “Don’t do this, Chandler! Don’t do it, man. We just found this church. I like you. I love that little dude who was playing music. Don’t do this! I don’t want to find a new church! Don’t get political on me.”
Listen, friend. This isn’t political. This might be fought at times in the political arena, but I can assure you this is not a political issue. This is a biblical, ethical, spiritual issue that, to our shame, few of us have been moved by. Because I’m a pastor, I get to have a lot of conversations with people who don’t believe. I said, “Because I’m a pastor.” Honestly, that could be just as true for you. You just have to be willing to have the conversations.
One of the things I have found so interesting around this topic in particular is when I sit across from unbelievers, they will often bring up kind of scientific data to prove their point. “How could I believe that? Look at this!” The reason I’m becoming more and more inclined that what we’re dealing with here is no longer sane but rather insane is the science of the matter falls on deaf ears when you speak to those who are secular around this matter.
Let’s just let facts… Yes, we’ve covered the Word of God now. This is when life begins. This is what life is. We are made in the image of God. We are not equal to whales and sea turtles. They’re not more valuable than we are. In the end here, let’s just talk science…indisputable, factual science. When Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, there was no 3D sonogram. There was no ability to watch our babies smile at us before they were born.
By eight weeks… That’s not even the first trimester. Your wife is probably still throwing up. At eight weeks, babies will suck their thumbs. We see they respond to sound. There is evidence building that they’re dreaming. Here’s a crazy one. Are you ready for this one? They recoil from pain. What really the ability to do sonograms has shown us is when doctors need to draw blood or take a sample and they stick a needle up there to do that, the baby at eight weeks will pull its heel up, will pull back in away from the needle.
Why? Because at eight weeks, all major organs are functioning, which means you have a nervous system that’s developed, and you have a brain that receives signals that that hurts! We see the heart is pumping. The liver is making blood cells. The kidneys are clearing fluids, and there’s a fingerprint. By 21 weeks, a baby, with just a little bit of help, can live outside the womb. Twenty-one weeks! Listen to me. Nearly all of the 1 million abortions committed in the Western world last year were performed after this period of time. [CORRECTION]: According to the latest CDC report in 2011, the majority of abortions (91.4%) were performed before 13 weeks; 1.4% were performed after 21 weeks.
Here’s what happens. I know argumentation, and here’s what happens. In our head, it’s, “What about this? What about this horrific situation? What about this?” Listen to me. Statistically speaking, the majority of abortions are not taking place because of the woman’s life being in danger or because there was some horrific rape. It is purely around convenience. “I don’t want to do it. I’m not ready for this. I didn’t ask for this.” Murder for the sake of convenience.
What ends up happening is you’re forced, because you can’t argue with this… You can’t argue these things are true. What ends up happening is you show your cards. Your cards show this isn’t a rational argument at all anymore. This is now purely driven by the exaltation of self. Let me show you this, just show you how mad things have gone, how insane things have gone. Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote an article on January 23, 2013. Here’s what she said. She is wildly pro-choice. Let me just read you the title of her article.
The title of her article is “So What If Abortion Ends Life?” Here’s what she says. “Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.” Let’s just start thinking about the crazy that just happened there. She basically said, “I have no doubt that what I am carrying is a human life, and yet I have not wavered one iota, one little mark, away from this belief that it is the woman’s right to choose whether or not to terminate the life of this baby.”
Do you want to hear her rationale? I mean, her rationale almost made me weep in my office. “Here’s the complicated reality in which we live.” Listen to this. “All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.” Period.
That’s insane! Who chooses whose life has the most value? Who gets that power? That sounds like Nazi Germany excrement to me. That sounds like the Three-Fifths Compromise, when African Americans, when it was decided how the United States would vote, compromised three-fifths of a man. Who decides this? To whom do we give this power? “Well, it’s the woman’s body.” The baby might be in the woman’s body, but the baby is not the woman’s body.
It has its own DNA. It has its own genetic code. It has its own blood type. It has its own functioning brain, its own functioning kidneys, its own functioning lungs, its own dreams. It’s not the woman’s body. It’s in the woman’s body. That’s not the same. The argument is a woman should get to choose what she does with her body. Bull. Go prostitute yourself. See if you get arrested. You don’t! I don’t have the right to do whatever I want with my body. No one does!
That’s this kind of weird, ethereal argumentation that’s so detached from rational thought that it shows our consciences have been seared. You can’t do whatever you want. I’ll tell you what. Drive 95 mph naked on the way home today. Just do it! Let’s see if you can do whatever you want. See what kind of rights you have. The argument is, “No, no, no, no. You don’t get to tell me what I get to do with my body.” Of course they do! Our elected democratic republic gets to tell us all sorts of things we can and can’t do. Right now what they’re telling us we can do is murder babies.
Let’s breathe. Let me pull you back for a second. One of the things I love about the griminess of the Bible… Here’s what I know. Statistically speaking, one in four women has an abortion. One in four! No one ever mentions the men who push them that way. In fact, I talked with a Home Group leader last night who, out of 12 in their Home Group, 7 of the women have a part of their testimony having an abortion. Let me rein you in because here we’re throwing around the word murder. Listen to me.
One of the things I love about the Word of God is this. God pulls from the fringes of darkness his brightest lights. Saul of Tarsus, who wrote what we read earlier, in Corinth was kicking open doors and dragging women and men out into the street, binding them, killing them, and persecuting Christians. That’s who wrote, “And such were some of you.” David, a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery with a woman and then had her husband murdered. Moses (remember him?) killed a man with his bare hands.
Look at me. There is no sin with more power than the cross of Jesus Christ, not even the one we’re talking about today. If this had more power than the cross, we wouldn’t be talking about it. If this got to define you, we wouldn’t be talking about it. This doesn’t define you because Christ’s forgiveness will define you. I want to pull you back to those lenses before we go any farther. I want to pull you back into this reality, that it doesn’t matter what you’re guilty of if Christ washes your guilt away.
Newness of life is made available to all who will repent and seek his face. How I want us to start to move toward a conclusion is… I’ve used this verse every time I’ve preached on this subject. Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 11. Here’s the issue here. You have to kind of, with this information, go, “Okay, now what? What do I do now?” Well, here’s what Ephesians 5:11 tells us. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
Okay, so let me do this. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but it seems like because science is so on our side on this, it will only be a matter of time until Roe v. Wade has to be overturned. With that said, God has almost always accomplished social change through the outcry of his people who are against the world for the sake of the world. I think there are these defining moments of history that, as we look back on history, we kind of wish we could have been there. We wish we would have fought alongside, right?
I look at my own bloodline. I look at my family. I look back historically speaking. Let me just be straight. Where were they when Jim Crow was happening? What were they doing? When the oppression and justice that rested so heavily on African Americans in this country, particularly in the South, was occurring, my family, who are Southerners…what were they doing? I don’t quite know the answer to that question. I know there’s no one in my family who marched with King. I don’t know what they were doing.
To give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they were in their rooms weeping before the Lord, pleading for him to move. There are idiots everywhere. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone now who is a 40- to 50-year-old Anglo man or woman who doesn’t look back on the Civil Rights Movement and think their parents and grandparents who actively persecuted African Americans weren’t buffoons and are somewhat embarrassed.
I’m just telling you, 40 years from now, our grandbabies are going to think we were barbaric. They’re going to wonder what we were doing and how we could have just sat by and done nothing, how we just sat on the sidelines and refused to engage. Let’s answer the question…How do we engage? I have four things.
First, repent. Of what? Our indifference. We’ve just been indifferent. Literally, there’s not much difference between Mary Elizabeth here who we quoted and us. Right? “Yeah, abortion ends life. So what? I’m not doing it. That’s how I’m taking my stand: I’m not going to do it.” We need to repent of being indifferent. We just haven’t cared, haven’t done anything.
Then we need to pray. Let me tell you why we need to pray, because here’s where I get a bit like, “Oh gosh. What’s going to happen here?” We need to pray because it is painfully obvious this is no longer rational. It’s painfully and clearly obvious this is no longer rational. Let me give you two reasons why I think this is a spiritual issue more than anything else now, we really are dealing with a seared conscience, and the arguments are no longer rational.
All 50 states in the US have strict laws protecting animals from human beings. Let me unpack this. You kill a puppy, and you go to jail. Kill a baby, and you’re fine. Do you want to hear the one that’s the craziest? Thirty-eight states have fetal homicide laws. Are you ready for this? If you’re a pregnant woman and you get in your car to drive toward the abortion clinic and, as you’re driving there, a drunk driver hits the car you’re in and kills your baby, he is charged with homicide, with involuntary manslaughter. He is arrested, prosecuted, and will go to jail.
But if you make it to the abortion clinic, for a fee, a doctor can take a vacuum pump and suck a baby with brain and nerve endings to pieces out of your womb. That’s a seared conscience. That’s madness. That’s the type of argumentation that’s no longer rooted in any type of thoughtfulness. We’re going to need to pray. Pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray.
In Daniel, chapter 9, Daniel confessed the sins of the nation of Israel. They weren’t necessarily his sins. They were the sins of the nation of Israel. He pled with God to be merciful, to intervene, to straighten out their path, to call them back to their priests and the Law, to call them back to the way of God. We need to pray that way.
The third thing is this should inform how we vote. Listen. I’m not affiliated with a party. I’m kingdom of God party. I have my Guy. This should inform how we vote. I’m not talking Republican, Democrat. I’m not talking about that. I’m saying we can’t afford for this issue to not bear weight on who we vote for. Listen. Some of you are more informed politically. You’re like, “Oh, I can’t believe Chandler. I would have thought more highly of you. You’re a one-issue voter?”
Hey, stop that! Everyone is a one-issue voter. There are thousands of one-issues people rally around. How about this? Cards on the table. You can be pro-life and be a high-functioning moron who has no business in office. Can we agree on that? There are guys who are really pro-life who I’d rather not run anything. There are pro-life guys I wouldn’t trust with my wallet, but this issue should bear weight on how we vote.
Let’s say a man gets up, and he says, “Listen, I’ve studied history. I’ve looked deeply into it. Here’s where I think we went wrong. I think we went wrong when we let women vote and when we let blacks vote. I’m going to push on women and blacks no longer being able to vote. I think we’re going to be the better for it. I think I’ll be able to get us out of debt.”
Let’s just say this. Let’s just say he is lights-out brilliant and might just be able to pull it off, get us out of debt, rebuild some structures that seem to be unraveling. Does not that one issue disqualify this buffoon from office? Yes! Yes, it does. Since 1973, 54 million babies have been murdered. We repent. We pray. We pay attention to governmental structures.
Then here’s the fourth. Are you ready? We get off the sideline, and we get involved. What does that mean? Well, I think there are all sorts of ways we can get involved. I think you can get involved in advocacy and pregnancy centers all over the place. In fact, we have tables out in the foyer right now just to help you if you’re going, “I want to get involved. I want to give myself over to this.”
Let’s talk really quickly. This is not a sexy position to take. Do you get that? You will not look enlightened among your peers. In fact, let me just lay this before you. I will have shrunk our church this weekend. I will have taken our numbers and some of the resources we had coming in and some of the people who come in and I will have effectively let them move on because they want no part of this. What a small price to pay for rallying the rest of us toward what is true and right and good before the King of Glory.
In the end, we can get involved. Listen to me. Involvement isn’t all you think it is. When all is said and done, involvement must not shake its fist at the darkness but like light in darkness. To call abortion murder is calling it what it is, but it doesn’t fix the problem. The church and the people of the church must become a beacon of hope and light for women in difficult circumstances.
Let me end with this story to accentuate this point of getting involved, getting in the game. After I finished preaching the nine o’clock at Denton last weekend, I stepped off the stage. When I was stepping off the stage, a young woman named Sarah greeted me. She had the tags on, so I knew she had kids in the nursery. Then she was also pregnant, the kind of pregnant where I wasn’t guessing. I mean, she was pregnant. You don’t guess, right? Even then, I was going to let her tell me.
She had her stickers, was pregnant. She said, “Hey, my name is Sarah. I don’t know when I’ll get to see you again. I just want to tell you my story while you’re here.” Sarah tells me this story. One of these girls who lives with her shared the other half of it, so I got her story and then the story of the girl. Sarah has a sister who lives with these other young women in a house in Denton. Sarah had not gone the Ned Flanders’ way. She had a drug issue, and she was stripping. She was just a really bad sinner. She had had her kids taken away from her and finally got evicted from her house.
These young women in Denton who had been praying for her simply let her move in with them and then brought her to The Village. She said her first weekend at The Village up in Denton, “God was here. God was here!” Here she is. She is evicted from her house. She is living with these young women, doesn’t see any real hope on the horizon, knows she is now pregnant, and so is headed to the abortion clinic. The young women who live with her just kind of pulled her and said, “Don’t do this. There are other ways. We can figure it out.” She was like, “I’m going.”
She gets in her car. The women she was living with just began to pray for her. She went to the abortion clinic and, a couple of hours later, came home. She pulled some of the girls in and just said, “Well, it looks like this baby is living. God was at the abortion clinic.” Now these women have rallied around Sarah, loved her, encouraged her, been there for her. A covenant member family at the Flower Mound Campus is adopting the baby Sarah is carrying.
Yes, amen! In the end, this is how we get involved. It’s not by shaking our fists at the darkness. That doesn’t work. The reason young ministers avoid this topic altogether is they don’t understand the distinction between speaking truth but then engaging lovingly. We should be a community known by our love for women, our support of women, those who have sacrificed the comfort idol, who are willing to open our homes, who are willing to open up our checkbooks, who are willing to open up space and time to this end for the glory of God, the salvation of others, and for the protection of life. May we be known as such.
I could tell you other stories. The question becomes will we sit on the sideline and just hope this works itself out, or will we get in the fight? When my grandchildren come up and go, “Hey, Pops [because I think that’s cooler than the other names out there right now], this seems so barbaric. What in the world was going on?” I just want to be able to say, “Hey, we fought our guts out. In fact, the reason you know it’s barbaric is a great number of people sacrificed and labored and didn’t build off adrenaline.”
Do you know what I mean by adrenaline? Let me tell you what’s not a win this weekend. What’s not a win is for you to hear all I’m saying, get all amped out and sprint for two weeks, and two weeks from now you’re going, “All right. Did some good.” No. This has to become our heartbeat. This has to become consistent. This has to become what we do moving forward.
Pay attention to how we spend money so we can free up more money to support such things. Look into adoption and foster to adopt. Create spaces in our homes where people who have fallen on difficult times might join us for a season to get loved back to health. This is what Christian hospitality is. Or we can just kind of cross our fingers and hope while another million babies are murdered. May it not be on our watch.
Who is going to carry their flag? Who is going to stand in their defense? You want to talk about the Civil Rights Movement? Who are you going to talk about? Martin Luther King Jr. Why? Because he was the voice. He was the flag. He was the one going, “Not on our watch!” Who? The unborn can’t do it. The unborn don’t have one among them who might lead them and protect them.
That responsibility falls on us, and the Bible clearly says our call is to the least of these. Who is more least than the unborn? There is no genocide, war, ethnic group out there who is more oppressed and suffering, more unjust slaughter today than the unborn. God help us. Let’s pray.
Father, help us. Forgive our indifference. Maybe for many of us, we just didn’t know, but some of us, we knew. I pray just a healing touch even now on sisters who are in this room. This is extremely personal for them, Father. I pray as the Enemy would like to heap shame, God, that the truth of your forgiving grace might wash like warm water to the soul over these dear women. For the men in this room who have pushed women this way, who have funded these things, I pray the same prayer, Father.
I pray where this has been a silent, quiet, unconfessed haunting of our soul, we might step into the light. Thank you there is no sin with more power than the cross. I thank you that you love to pull from the fringes of darkness to create your brightest lights. Might we move from shame and regret of former action into the bright light of a life transformed by your goodness and grace. For the rest of us, stir up our hearts. Stir up our money. Stir up our time. Stir up our zeal. Stir up our entrepreneurial gifting. Stir up steadfastness.
May we give ourselves over for the glory of your name and for the defense of life to what is right. I pray we might be marked by grace, compassion, and love, that shaking our fists at the darkness would never be how we would be defined, but rather the willingness to sacrifice, the willingness to give, the willingness to open up our homes, to give time to, and to walk in compassion with all might be a mark of our lives, our attitudes, and our homes. Help us, Father. It’s for your beautiful name I pray, amen.