Today we begin a new message series which I’ve entitled “The Way of Love.” Oftentimes we speak of love as a feeling. You fall into love when you have feelings. You fall out of love when you don’t have feelings. The Bible, however, speaks of love, not as a feeling, but as a choice, as a commitment. Feelings may come and go, but love as a commitment is faithful.
Love refers to the relationship either of two people with one another or of a person with God. All the other things people say that love, whether chocolate, pizza, hobbies or pets, aren’t really love from a biblical perspective. Let’s look at some of the things that Jesus taught us about love.
John 14:15 (ESV) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
A lot of people have said or do say that they love Jesus. But words are only true if they are backed up by action. Here Jesus tells us that love for Him is demonstrated by obedience to His commands. A lack of obedience demonstrates lack of love, even though someone may say that they love Him. The keeping of Jesus’ commandments is a choice, a commitment, not a feeling.
Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV) And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
In these few verses, Jesus summarizes the teaching of the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets with two commandments. The first is to love God with all you have and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. In the Old Testament with have the ten commandments, which consist of instructions of what to do and what not to do regarding God and people. Jesus says that these commandments are really all about love, the way of love, toward God and other people. The rest of the instructions in the Old Testament are expansions of the ten commandments to many different situations. It’s all about love.
In our new message series, we’re going to look at some of God’s instructions or commands. We’re going to see how they are the way of love, love for God and love for people Today, my message is entitled “Value Life.” Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, in which we celebrate God's gift of life, commemorate the many lives lost to abortion, and commit ourselves to protecting human life at every stage. God’s Word is clear, commandment 6 of the ten commandments instructs us …
Exodus 20:13 (ESV) “You shall not murder.
Some translations render the Hebrew as You shall not kill. The Hebrew word for kill or murder means unlawful killing of any kind of a human being. The was obviously lawful killing in the Old Testament, for example the killing of enemy soldiers in war, the use of capital punishment, or killing in self-defense. All other unlawful killing if prohibited by God. Why?
Genesis 9:5-6 (ESV) And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
In these verses, God shows the great value that He places on human life by setting the penalty of capital punishment for murder. The New Testament teaches that murderers will not go to heaven unless they repent of their sin. Even an animal who kills a person must be put to death. In the Old Testament, as in our laws today, there are lesser penalties for accidental killing.
The reason given for the command and punishment is that people are made in God’s image. In other words, people were created by God and reflect Him. So, an unlawful attack on a human being is in effect an attack on God Himself. Since, God created people in His image, they have great value and must be protected. Today, we have a great debate on when a human being begins to exist, but the Bible is clear …
Psalm 139:13 (ESV) For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
This verse and many others shows God creating and acknowledging human life while it is still being formed in the mother’s womb. We now know scientifically that human life begins at conception. At the point of conception, the fertilized egg contains the unique DNA blueprint that defines the person for the rest of their life. From conception onward, that human life grows and matures until at nine months the baby is born. With ultrasounds today, we can see the tiny baby developing from the earliest stages. The baby in the womb is just as much a human life as a baby in the crib. We must not tolerate murder according to God’s Word.
Besides abortion, other forms of murder today are physician-assisted suicide and suicide. These are also biblically unlawful forms of killing that God prohibits. End of life issues are very complex these days with medical advances. Allowing death to take its course without artificially prolonging the dying process is certainly not prohibited by God’s Word. We need God’s wisdom to make end of life decisions.
The main violation of the 6th commandment today is the world-wide epidemic of abortion. In 2019, abortion was the leading cause of death world-wide with at least 42 million babies aborted. Abortion is also the leading cause of death in the United States. Once we accept the truth of God’s Word that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life, what can we do about it?
Leviticus 19:16b (NIV2011) … Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD.
We must not do anything that would put someone’s life in danger, whether a child, an adult or an unborn baby. We’ll talk more about that in a few minutes. And we must seek to …
Proverbs 24:11-12 (ESV) Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
As believers, we are responsible not just to avoid killing, but to rescue those who are in danger of losing their lives. As abortion is done in secret and there are no funerals for the deceased, it’s easy to forget about the holocaust this is going on. The Nazi death camps in the Holocaust killed 11 million people and were a episode of horror. Yet in the US alone since Roe v Wade in 1973, over 61 million babies have been aborted.
This is not just one of many issues, this is the most important issue of our generation and we must do what we can to rescue those in danger. What can we do?
Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV2011) Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
We need to speak out for life in every way that we can. Obviously the unborn infants cannot speak for themselves and the mothers considering abortion are overwhelmed with their pregnancies. 90% of abortions in the US are obtained by single mothers. They often feel like they have nowhere to turn in order to keep the baby. We can offer support for those mothers and their babies, so that they can either keep the babies or give them up for adoption. As believers, we must learn new ways to protecting the innocent.
As a church we support Thrive St Louis which offers help to pregnant women who are considering abortion. They help the woman through the pregnancy and after the birth in many practical ways. Let’s watch a video from Thrive St. Louis about how a young mother named Cinnamon was helped to keep her baby. We must also work through the political process to reduce abortion as much as possible and work towards making it illegal.
Through the efforts of Thrive St Louis, other pro-life organizations and pro-life law makers, all abortion clinics in Missouri are now closed, except the one in St. Louis. Various laws were recently passed in Missouri restricting abortion with the result that in 2019, the number of abortions in Missouri was reduced from 2018 levels by 50%.
A most important way to speak out is to only vote for pro-life politicians. Some people argue that abortion is only one of many issues. Let me ask the question, what other issue is more important than the murder of millions of babies? There are none. Vote pro-life and encourage others to do the same. Not only should we protect the innocent, we must …
Leviticus 20:2 (ESV) “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones.
In the Old Testament time, people would sacrifice their children to an idol called Molech by burning them to death in the arms of the idol. Why did they sacrifice their children to the idol? Because they believed that the idol would give them the things that they wanted or asked of him. In the same way, people seek an abortion because they it will help them financially, emotionally, career-wise and other ways. These reasons are as misguided as the reasons people sacrificed to Molech thousands of years ago.
We promote righteousness by helping people understand that blessing comes from following the way of love. Showing love for God by loving people, including the unborn baby.
Numbers 35:33 (ESV) You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.
This verse tells us that when there is murder of any kind in the land, it pollutes or defiles the very land. What does that mean? Bloodshed brings a curse on the land and invites further evil.
Since Roe v Wade in 1973 legalizing abortion, our nation has become further polluted by evil in many ways that we had never seen before. This verse tells us that bringing swift justice, in this case capital punishment for the murderer, the pollution of the land is reversed and evil is deterred. Not I certainly am not advocating capital punishment for women who have abortions, as they usually believe they have no way out and really don’t fully comprehend what they are doing. The point here is that the taking of innocent life has ramifications far beyond that life and impacts the entire land and nation. We must work to promote righteousness.
In America, approximate one in four women have had an abortion. The good news is that God forgives sins, even the sin of having an abortion. And I believe that when a woman repents of having an abortion and receives forgiveness, the blood of Jesus atones for that sin and cleanses the pollution of the land.
Another way to promote righteousness is to encourage marriage, rather than living together before marriage. We have seen that 90% of abortions are had by women who are unmarried. As we promote marriage, the number of abortions will decrease as well.
We are privileged to live in the state of Missouri, that is on the way to becoming the first state with no abortion clinic operating. I believe that depending on the outcome of the next presidential election, abortion may again be illegal in America in the near future. On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, may we make a commitment to value life at every state of life, from the womb until death in God’s timing. Each baby has been created by God with a purpose and a plan for their lives. May we pray and do our part to rescue as many as we can.