The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 10:10 ESV

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Remarks Given at the Memorial Service for Shanice Denise Osbourne




(Rev. Dr. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of The Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, asked me to bring some remarks at the Memorial Service for Shanice Denise Osbourne held at his church on October 14, 2008. Baby Shanice was the victim of infanticide on July 20, 2006, after being born alive during preparation surviving an abortion in Hialeah Florida. after being born alive during preparation for an abortion in Hialeah Florida. One of the abortion clinic owners cut the babies umbilical cord and placed the baby into a red biohazard bag to die. Dr. Alan Keyes, presidential candidate of the American Independent Party gave the Eulogy. These are the remarks I made before Dr. Keyes spoke.) 

My condolences and sympathy to the mother Sycloria Williams, and family of Shanice.
You are in our prayers and thoughts as you bear the pain of your great personal loss.

Last week I received a phone call from a south Florida newspaper reporter. The reporter asked me what I was going to say at this memorial service. I replied that I was not sure 
because I had just been asked to speak the day before. The reporter said that it was going to get political, and I agreed that it probably would.

I shared with the reporter how Hope Women’s Centers serves abortion minded and abortion vulnerable women that are facing an unplanned pregnancy. We provide them with the truth, the alternatives and practical help so they can make an informed choice regarding their 
pregnancy – an opportunity to make a life affirming choice. I shared the two words that are the guiding principles of all that we say and all that we do. The words – truth and grace.

I believe these two words will help shape our thoughts as we wrestle with what happened to baby Shanice. We cannot look to the politicians to adequately explain the tragedy of what happened to Shanice. Nor can we expect the social scientist to adequately explain what took place. 

 May I suggest to you that we cannot fully understand this tragedy without looking beyond the circumstances that we are all familiar with, to the spiritual context of what happened. 
If we overlook the spiritual we remove the possibility of ever experiencing the comfort, healing and restoration that is available to those who have been so dramatically touched by the death of Shanice. If we overlook the spiritual we will never make the progress necessary to see that this never happens again.

The civility of our society will always be measured by our treatment of the weakest, the powerless, and the most vulnerable among us. Our culture has devalued life at both extremities - the youngest and the oldest - those who are the most dependent on others for their survival. 

Our legislators and judges are surgically removing any notion of accountability to a sovereign God in formulating the laws and public policy of our nation. In doing so they are abandoning the concept of absolute moral truth leaving man to define the ethical boundaries of acceptable human conduct and behavior. Truth has become relative and therefore ambiguous, subservient to our self interests. Self love has triumphed over transcendent truth. The sacred value placed upon human life by our Creator has become a casualty.

But there is hope! Grace always accompanies truth. John declared that Jesus was "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). The Bible says that "grace and truth come through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Jesus himself declared, "I am the truth and the life. No one comes to the to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) and "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)     
    
I tell you this morning what America needs is to reconnect with Jesus Christ who is the Truth. And that is truth with a capital "T". That’s where grace comes into play. Our hope lies in the cross of Jesus Christ! You see truth and grace converge at the cross. The justice of God and love of God intersect at the cross. On the cross Jesus took our sin upon himself. In His death He paid the penalty for our sins. As the Scriptures say, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  
(2 Corinthians 5:21) And the Apostle Paul concluded, “since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) 

The fruit of being justified is transformation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Apostle Paul's own testimony - "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20)

Faith in Christ results in the regeneration of the human heart. We become lovers of God - and lovers of God’s moral law - and lovers of our fellow man. This is our hope – the cross of Jesus Christ. Through the cross there is forgiveness for those responsible for the death of Shanice. Through the cross there is forgiveness for those who have legalized abortion. And for those who have aborted their own children, there is forgiveness, there is healing, there is wholeness and restoration - through the cross.

So this morning, I encourage you to see the tragedy of the death of Shanice from the vantage point of the cross. It is true that in her death evil triumphed over good, wrong defeated right, deception was victorious over truth, but the final chapter has yet to be written. 

For all of us our hope lies in the cross of Jesus Christ. The power of the cross is in His truth.  The hope of the cross is in His grace. Despite the skeptics, truth and grace remain the bookends of any great nation - the hope of a free and civil society.

Friday, May 25, 2018

How Valuable Are the Unborn to God?


(I gave this message on April 28 and 29, 2018 at New Hope Community Church (C&MA) in North Port Florida. It is an update and slightly revised version of a message I wrote originally in 2013 under the title "Responding to 40 Years of Legal Abortion." You can view the PowerPoint slides of this message online at Microsoft One Drive HERE.)

After suffering his second heart attack in 1987 my Dad under went by-pass surgery in an effort to save his life. It was major surgery, very invasive. His chest was cut wide open so the surgeon could do what was necessary to save his failing heart.  

Sometimes major surgery is necessary to save the life of the patient. It was an uncomfortable and difficult procedure for my Dad to undergo but it was the only option available to keep my Dad alive. 

In the same way some subjects like abortion are difficult, perhaps even painful and uncomfortable to think about. But like major surgery is sometimes necessary to save the life of a heart attack victim, so the truth about abortion, as uncomfortable, even painful as it might be, is necessary to save the lives of unborn children at risk of being aborted and is necessary for those whose lives have been touched by abortion to receive forgiveness, healing and restoration. 

Statistics would indicate that in most audiences I speak to there will be individuals whose lives have been touched by abortion. I want you to know that I am aware of that. 

Perhaps you have had an abortion or in some way were a participant in an abortion. You pressured your wife, girlfriend or daughter into having an abortion. Perhaps you paid for an abortion. Or you have lost a child, a brother or sister, grandchild, niece or nephew to abortion.

As followers of Jesus Christ we must be willing to address this subject from the authority of Scripture. But, as we take this journey we must do so in the context of two very important Biblical truths. 

Let me illustrate it this way. There are two things a train must have to safely reach its destination. Two tracks. Two tracks that run parallel to each other all the way to its destination. A train will go nowhere without riding on both tracks at the same time all the way to the end of the rail line. 

In the same way we must communicate what God says about abortion in the context of God's grace and God's truth. You see, theologically grace and truth always go together. In fact, they are theologically inseparable. They are like the two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other. 

And here's why this is important. Pastor Randy Alcorn has written, "Grace without truth deceives people. Truth without grace, crushes people." You see, we will never understand God's grace apart from God's truth, but God's truth will always lead us to God's grace. 

And as we begin this morning let me impress this upon you. If your life has been touched by an abortion, while you cannot escape the truth about abortion, nor some of the consequences of  your abortion, please know that there is forgiveness, there is healing and restoration in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a way to resolve the guilt, shame and hurt that abortion will bring to the human experience. 

And I want you to know that you are in the right place to hear that Good News. If your life has been touched by an abortion in any way, you are in a safe place in this church. No one is here to condemn or judge you. On the contrary, we are here to extend love and compassion and a message of forgiveness, restoration and hope available to you because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on your behalf. 

We believe that the gospel is the solution to America's abortion crisis. We believe that as those who have been saved by grace and regenerated by the Holy Spirit we are to live as "children of light." as Paul says in Ephesians chapter five. 

"Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), andtry to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." (Ephesians 5:8-11 ESV) 

As Pastor John Piper says, "Another way to say this is that God calls his people to be the conscience of the culture. Our individual conscience probes into our behavior and either approves or disapproves what we do. So the children of light are to probe into the life of their culture and approve or disapprove what it does." (Exposing the Dark Work of Abortion

On January 22, we remembered the forty-fifth anniversary of two U. S. Supreme Court decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. These two rulings of the court legalized the deliberate, premeditated killing of unborn children at anytime during all nine months of pregnancy right up to the moment of natural child birth, for virtually any reason. 

This plunged America into a national tragedy that has proved to be unparalleled in our 242 year history. It is estimated that upwards of 60 million unborn children have lost their lives to abortion in the United States in the last 45 years, almost 69,000 in Florida last year  (2017) and 1,357 in Sarasota County in 2017. In January of 2014 U. S. Congressman Chris Smith made this observation, 

"Someday future generations will look back on America and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with education, advanced science, information, wealth and opportunity could have failed to protect the innocent and inconvenient.” 

This morning I begin by raising a two-fold question: How could this happen and how should we respond? How could a civilized nation historically rooted in a Judeo-Christian heritage and ethic abandon both the metaphysical and scientific evidence that the unborn are human beings and proceed to legalize abortion? 

I suggest to you the answer to that question is found in a radical worldview shift that has taken place in America in the last half-century or more. What do I mean by worldview? Here is Whitney Clayton's definition (“Basics: Defining Worldview”)  

“…a worldview is quite literally the filter through which someone interprets, defines, and engages with the world around them. Your worldview assists you in making every decision throughout your day.” 

At the risk of being overly simplistic the worldview issue centers around one question. Who is in charge? Or to personalize it, who do you recognize as being in charge of your world? 

A conflict of worldviews has been in play from the beginning of time. Let me begin with the  Biblical or Christian worldview. The stage was set as recorded in Genesis 3:15. After Satan successfully deceived Adam and Eve plunging mankind into sin, God said to Satan, "...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."(NIV). 

With that, the epoch struggle between good and evil began. It continues today as varying worldviews compete for the heart and soul of man. And Satan has been trying to kill the offspring of Eve ever since. He was successful in killing Jesus Christ. But the blood Satan shed on that cross came back to haunt him. As Paul said, "...having disarmed the powers and authorities, He [that is Jesus Christ] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Satan's work of evil became God's provision for his defeat and the salvation of sinful man. So today, though one can identify many different worldviews there are essentially only two. God's and Man's. 

There is a worldview chart on a very helpful Christian apologetics website that identifies six different worldviews, Islam, secular humanism, Marxism-Leninism, Cosmic Humanism, Post modernism and Biblical Christianity. But there is a sense in which there are only two worldviews because all of the five other than Biblical Christianity are in conflict with God's revelation of Himself to man through the Scriptures and the revelation of Himself by the historical intervention of Jesus Christ into our time and space dimension through His incarnation. 

So today there are essentially two worldviews vying for control of every man and woman and the fate of the unborn. One is a Biblical or Christian worldview that acknowledges there is one God who is the Designer, Creator and sustainer of this universe. In other words, He is in charge! As Paul wrote the Colossians, 

"For by him [that is Jesus Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:16-17 (ESV) 

That is a worldview statement. That is a truth statement that applies to believer and unbeliever alike. It declares in very unambiguous terms who is in charge of our world! He created us. He sustains every breath we breathe. And ultimately we are accountable to him and will face Him in the final day of judgment. 

Listen to the words of Paul, this time in Athens, as he interacted with those who disputed the Gospel he had proclaimed to them. It sparked their curiosity and this is part of his response. Again notice the emphasis on God the Creator, the cornerstone of a Biblical worldview. 

"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one  man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.'' Acts 17:24-28 (ESV) 

Do you see it? The Gospel is our worldview. That's why abortion is a gospel issue. 

 How valuable are the unborn to God? God created man in His image and likeness for his purposes. And because He values each human life He sent His Son to the cross in an obedient  act of sacrificial love to pay the penalty for our sin that by faith in Him we might be forgiven, justified and adopted into His family where we will spend eternity in thepresence of He who is both our Creator and our Savior. 

When I spoke here three years ago, on Sanctity of Human Life weekend, I make the case for the sanctity of unborn human life from both a Biblical  and scientific perspective. I hope you understand that the two are never contradictory. And as we've just noted the Christian worldview begins with creation. This is the explicit teaching of the Genesis creation account. Genesis 1:27 (ESV),

 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them." Genesis 2:7 (ESV) "...then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."

As we've noted this is the consistent and repeated declaration of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. The apostle Paul saw it as the foundation of a Biblical worldview, the denial of which prompted God's response to the ungodliness and unrighteousness of man. Romans 1:18-25 (ESV), 

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth."

What is the truth we suppress? 

"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen."

There are essentially only two worldviews. One denies the Creator and worships the creation, man, the other acknowledges the Creator and worships Him! 

As Peter Jones writes, "To speak in postmodern terms, there are only two metanarratives'---an ultimate story within the universe, or an ultimate story from outside the universe. A word from within, or a Word from without. Either creationis divine or the Creator is divine. It is one or the other, but cannot be both. To claim that creation is divine is to deny true divinity to the Creator."

Contrary to modern evolutionary theory, that denies the existence of the Creator, man was not the product of a meaningless, random evolutionary process over billions of years. Man was not the result of a cosmic accident. On the contrary the Genesis account speaks to us of a Creator who intentionally created man in His image and likeness with capacities reflective of God. The Psalmist wrote these stunning words, identifying God as the creator of what John Piper calls "independent personhood." Listen to what David wrote of his life in the womb. 

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb…Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:13,16

The Biblical evidence can be summarized this way: The unborn are created by God and for God. They are created in His image and likeness. That is, they resemble God and they represent God. They are recognized by God as distinct and unique persons from the moment of conception. Life begins at conception. Therefore to take the life of a preborn infant would constitute a violation of God's moral law, specifically the sixth commandment "You shall not murder." 

Three years ago, when I spoke here on this subject we identified the spiritual forces behind child killing. Jesus on at least two occasions revealed the nature of the Devil 's work. In John 8:44, He refers to the Devil as " a murderer" and "a liar and father of lies." making him the Architect of Abortion. In John 10:10 Jesus exposed Satan's agenda. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." (See, "Abortion, the Devil & the. Church - Exposing the Spiritual Forces Behind Abortion here.)

As I shared with you back in 2015 there is conclusive scientific evidence that human life begins  at conception. That debate ended years ago with the discovery that the first cell of human development contains its full complement of DNA. The unborn are human beings, a living person, from the moment of conception. As Dr. Jerome LeJeune, M.D. summarizes, "after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being."

You see, whether you approach the issue ofthe personhood of the unborn from a Biblical or scientific and biological perspective, the inescapable conclusion is that life begins at conception. 

How valuable are the unborn to God? The unborn are distinct living persons while in the womb worthy of our protection. (For more on this, see my message "The Scientific, Philosophical & Metaphysical Case for Life" here.) 

In light of this evidence, how is it that abortion could remain legal in America for forty-five years? To answer that question we look no further than the prevailing worldview of our nation's educational, governmental and judicial institutions and the entertainment and media establishment. 

Dr. Francis Schaeffer, over thirty years ago in his book, A Christian Manifesto wrote,
"The term humanism...means Man beginning from himself, with no knowledge except what he himself can discover and no standard outside of himself.  In this view Man is the measure of all things, as the Enlightenment expressed it." (page 24)

Man suppresses the truth, Romans 1:25,  "they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator..." Again, Peter Jones, "The main enemy of the gospel is no longer secularism but religious paganism." 

In essence, you have the deification of man according to this worldview. Man is the center of his own universe. He has put himself in charge, accountable to no one but himself! G.K. Chesterton, "When men cease to believe in God they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything." 

This parallels naturalism that denies the existence of God, believing that matter is all there is. Therefore the cosmos, as someone has said, "...exists as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system." A closed system that excludes God, transcendent truth and God's intervention in and sovereignty over His creation and the affairs of man. As someone has said, Man is but a complex machine "products of valueless processes" and the afterlife consists of the "extinction of personality and individuality" In other words, when you die, that's all there is. It's all over. Life is void of any intrinsic meaning or purpose. This is the premise of Darwinian evolution. 

As Dr. D. James Kennedy & Jerry Newcombe have written, "Evolution simply says that the whole universe is made up of nothing but matter; that matter, time and chance -- the trinity of materialism--have brought all things into existence. Therefore there is no God." (Lord of All, pg. 24) 

This mindset not only denies the inherent value of each human life but it denies any notion of purpose to his existence. After all, if man is the product of random chance he exists in the absence of any transcendent truth or moral compass that would assign purpose and meaning to his life. This worldview has had a significant impact on the fate of the unborn. 

The Founding Fathers wrote, in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self evident...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with  certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Founding Fathers recognized the truth of Genesis one, that the Creator endowed man with the unalienable right to life. Not the Federal Government, not the Supreme Court, not the state of Florida, but their Creator. 

Again, Dr. Schaeffer, (CMpg. 25-26) "Those who hold the material-energy, chance concept of reality...not only do not know the truth of the final reality, God, they do not know who Man is...They have reduced Man to even less than his natural finiteness by seeing him only as a complex arrangement of molecules, made complex by blind chance. Instead of seeing him as something great who is significant even in his sinning, they see Man in his essence only as an intrinsically competitive animal, that has no other basic operating principle than natural selection brought about by the strongest, the fittest, ending on top. And they see Man as acting in this way both individually and collectively as society."

Here is the reason why a modern, educated, highly advanced society can deliberately and legally kill its own off spring. Some advocates of abortion, however, are now acknowledging that life in the womb is human. But in an attempt preserve their right to choose abortion are sliding further and further down the inevitable slippery slope of those who deny the intrinsic value of human life. Listen to the words written by Mary Elizabeth Williams that appeared in January 2013 in the progressive online magazine Salon.com. The title of the article? "So What if Abortion Ends a Life" The subtitle: "I believe that life starts at conception. And it's never stopped me from being pro-choice" She writes, 

"While opponents of abortion eagerly describe themselves as 'pro-life,' the rest of us have had to scramble around with not nearly as big-ticket words like 'choice' and 'reproductive freedom.'  The 'life' conversation is often too thorny to even broach. 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." 

Take note of her worldview as she goes on to explain, "Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: 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." 

An astounding admission. A diabolical line of reasoning. She continues, "I can say anecdotally that I’m a mom who loved the lives she incubated...If by some random fluke I learned today I was pregnant, you bet your [expletive] I’d have an abortion. I’d have the World’s Greatest Abortion." 

Similar words to the defense of abortion by Psychologist and professor Dr. Ginette Paris "It is not immoral to choose abortion;it is simply another kind of morality, a pagan one.”

When man is considered to be nothing more than the product of a meaningless, random evolutionary process over millions of years, or the result of a cosmic accident, when he is no longer assigned the intrinsic worth given to him by His Creator, he therefore becomes  expendable in the struggle of the survival of the fittest. Might becomes right, and evolution triumphs. 

As Mary Elizabeth Williams has just acknowledged, the mother is the boss and her rights trump the rights of the child in her womb. And when the Supreme Court gave women the right to kill their unborn children the inevitable has taken place. You've just heard the admission. The stronger, in every case the mother, has used her power to take the life of the weaker-- her unborn child, allowing millions of mothers and fathers to sacrificed their own posterity to further their own convenience. The denial of transcendent truth has come at a very high price to our nation. When man becomes his own god, all hell breaks loose in society and the civility off a civilization is lost. 

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, helped to legalize abortion and was personally responsible for 60,000 abortions before his conversion. Listen to his words,

"The abortion holocaust is beyond the ordinary discourse of morality and rational condemnation. It is not enough to pronounce it absolutely evil. . . . The abortion tragedy is a new event, severed from connections with traditional presuppositions of history, psychology, politics and morality. It extends beyond the deliberations of reason, beyond the discernment of moral judgment, beyond meaning itself. . . . This is an evil torn free of its moorings in reason and causality, an ordinary secular corruption raised to unimaginable powers of magnification and limitless extremity." (Bernard Nathanson,“Pro-Choice1990,”NewDimensions, 
October 1990, 38 quoted in Innocent Bloodpages 109-110) 
Do you see why this is a gospel issue? The Gospel has not failed abortion. The church has failed  to apply the gospel to abortion. I have said it before. I know of no greater issue facing our nation to wrap in the gospel than the killing of unborn children. Just turn the page in the book of Romans to chapter three. In verses 21-26 Paul writes, 
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's  righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
A propitiation is a blood sacrifice that covers sin, so that God’s wrath and judgment will be averted! There is only one remedy for the shedding of innocent blood -- the innocent blood shed on the cross. You see Jesus died in our place. He paid the penalty for our sins; your sin and my sin, any sin and all sin, the sin of killing your unborn child, the sin of pushing a girlfriend, wife, daughter or granddaughter into an abortion, the sin of paying for an abortion, the sin of performing an abortion, the sin of doing nothing to end abortion. It matters not what sin it is. We can be forgiven and justified, declared righteous in God's sight, our sin no longer being held against us.
In January of 2013, Don Schanzenbach posted the following on blog site "Mission to Restore America". 
"The science is on our side. The supposedly scientifically-oriented secularists, are refusing to embrace the science they purport to use as their source of absolute truth. Given the trouncing they have received in these science-related categories, we would expect the battle should long ago have turned in our favor. Yet, this has not been the case. Secularists struggle on with undying emotion in their now scientifically disproven cause..." He goes on to write, 
"The unsaved do not have the power to act righteously. Their minds are at enmity with God. As a group, they will not turn toward the civilization of Christ without His Spirit and prevailing influence... Our only path to success is to preach and teach Biblical truth as it applies to the abortion issue. The only tool God uses to transform people isHis word preached. The culture calls it foolishness, but we call it the power and wisdom of God. God truly transforms men, and the societies of men, through the word preached. This then, must be our chosen road for the future." 
I remind you this morning that in one sense the advocates of abortion are not the “enemy." The doctors who perform abortions and their clients, and those who defend a woman's right to kill their unborn are not the enemy.  Paul identified the enemy when he wrote of the unseen reality behind this kind of evil, Ephesians 6:12  (NIV),
"...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
You see, tragically those involved in the abortion industry are themselves the casualties of Satan's deception and darkness. To the Corinthian church Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:4, 
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (NIV)
Only Jesus can open the eyes of the blind. The writer of Proverbs, 24:10-12 says, "Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; Don't stand back and let them die. Don't try to avoid responsibility, by saying you didn't know about it." 
John Ensor wrote, "The commands of Scripture exist that we might be compelled to do what does not come naturally." (Innocent Blood) 
In Luke chapter ten Jesus helped a lawyer understand what it meant to love his neighbor. He told the story of a man on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem who was robbed and beaten and left half dead alongside the road. Three different individuals had the opportunity to render him assistance, in all likelihood to save his life. Two of the three, did not respond to the needs of the man bleeding by the side of the road. Those two were the church leaders of that day, a priest and a Levite, responsible for the spiritual care of their nation. And Jesus points out that not only did they fail to respond but they "passed by on the other side." In other words they consciously and deliberately went out of their way not to respond. Jesus then pointed out that the one who proved to be the neighbor to the dying man was the one who showed mercy to the badly beaten traveller. He then said, "Go and do likewise." 
John Ensor, in his book Innocent Life, defines "Samaritan compassion" this way, 
"Doing right in the sight of the Lord means acting to stop the shedding of innocent blood. The only person in Jesus’ parable who is pro-life according to the demands of love is the Samaritan. Only he was willing to make the nearly dead man’s problem his own. Only he was willing to see the victim’s suffering as his own. Only he was willing to act according to what he would cry out for if their positions had been reversed." 
The Church in America is struggling with how to respond to America's abortion crisis. We have failed to expose the shedding of innocent blood and proclaim the full pardon available through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We have failed to grasp the implications of the gospel with regard to the killing of over 3,000 unborn children each day in the USA. According to Jesus' parable our salvation has a moral imperative built into it with regard to the needs of those around us. 
John Ensor has written, "Loving God and loving neighbor are not separate choices. One flows sweetly from the other. Loving my neighbor will always mean a desire to help him or her find the grace of God in all its manifestations. Loving my neighbor will occasionally arrest me, and maybe even require me to help prevent someone from being murdered. Loving God and loving neighbor are never at odds with each other. Those who try to do one at the expense of the other offend both God and neighbor." 
One of the ways we can love our neighbor is by providing practical and compassionate help to those at risk of abortion. Pregnancy Solutions offers such help here in the Tri-County area providing these free services to those facing an unplanned pregnancy at pregnancy centers in North Port, Venice and Port Charlotte. 
Perhaps you know someone at school or work a neighbor or family member who would benefit from their help. Please pick up one of their brochures at the display table. Pregnancy Solutions also provides help for post-abortive women and men.  
As we have already seen there is a way to resolve the guilt, shame and hurt that abortion will bring to the human experience. As it says on their website, supportafterabortion.com, "You're not alone. Have you been impacted by an abortion decision? Whatever your story, you have found the right place. We are here for you. Reach out to day to find out how we can help." Karin heads up their post abortion recovery ministry. You can reach her by phone, text or email.
The Apostle Paul wrote, (2 Cor. 7:10) "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leadsto salvation and leaves no regret"You will never regret yielding to God. You will never regret obeying God. Remember the words of Jesus in exposing Satan's agenda, John 10:10 (ESV), "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." Listen to the 2nd half of that verse. In stark contrast, Jesus said, "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." 
Here's Jesus' invitation to each of us this morning, Matthew 11:28-30. It comes with a promise. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in hear, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (ESV)
If you hear His voice calling you to salvation this morning I urge you to surrender to His call, go ahead and do it. Cry out to Him. He will save you and you will never be the same again and you will never regret it. If there is sin that needs to be forgiven, repent and confess it. His blood will cover it for all eternity and you will be forgiven. 
(We closed the service singing "No One Understands Like Jesus")
No one understands like Jesus; He's a friend beyond compare. Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there.
Chorus: No one understands like Jesus, when the days are dark and grim. No one is so near, so dear as Jesus; Cast your every care on Him.

No one understands like Jesus; Every woe He sees and feels. Tenderly He whispers comfort, and the broken heart He heals.

No one understands like Jesus when the foes of life assail. You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail.

No one understands like Jesus when you falter on the way. Though you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today."   (John W. Peterson)

(c) James P. McGarvey  All Rights Reserved