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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Abortion, the Devil & the Church - Exposing the Spiritual Forces Behind Abortion

I gave this message at New Hope Fellowship in Palm City, May 19, 2013
View the PowerPoint slides on Microsoft Web App HERE
Watch a Vimeo video of this message at New Hope Fellowship HERE
LIsten to this the latest version of this message given at Calvary Chapel,
Pompano Beach FL on January 15, 2017 HERE

Before we begin I want to acknowledge that I understand that abortion is a controversial subject, and may be difficult perhaps even painful for some to think about.Statistics would indicate that in most audiences I speak to there will be individuals whose lives have been touched by a 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 a girlfriend, wife, daughter, granddaughter or niece into having an abortion. Perhaps you paid for an abortion. Or you have lost 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. (Slide 2) There are two things a train must have to safely arrive at 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, (Slide 3) "Grace without truth deceives people, truth without grace, crushes people."

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 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. No one is here to condemn or judge you. On the contrary, we are here to extend love and compassion and a message of hope, healing and restoration available to you by faith in Jesus Christ. You are in a safe place in this church.

(SLIDE 4) Abortion was legalized just over forty years ago on January 22, 1973. According to the National Right to Life, on that day,

"...the Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion in all 50 states during all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason, medical, social, or otherwise.”

In other words, a woman was given the legal right to take the life of her unborn child at any time during the nine months of pregnancy, right up to moment of natural child birth, for virtually any reason.

Notice first of all, the Sanctity of the unborn. What value does God place on human life? To answer that we begin with creation. (SLIDE 5) Man was created by God, in His image and likeness,

 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) "...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.” (Genesis 2:7 ESV)

It should be clear from the Biblical creation account that man is not the product of a random, meaningless evolutionary process over billions of years. Man is not the result of a cosmic accident. God intentionally created man with capacities reflective of Himself, In other words, in His image. As He said in Isaiah 43:7, man was “created for my glory.”

Man is made in the image of God. In his book, Man: The Image of God, (Slide 6) pediatrician, Dr. John Rendle-Short, M.D. points out the Godlike qualities man Shares with God.

Language – humans can communicate. My dog Maggie can bark, whine, and growl, but I have yet to hear her utter a single word, no less speak a sentence.

Intelligence – man can think. Not only is he a rational being, he can think in the abstract. For example, he can compute complex mathematical, chemical and engineering formulas.

Creativity – his intelligence allows him to create sophisticated products. He can send a man to the moon, and speak instantly around the world from a cell phone or the internet.

Love - he can have relationships and live in fellowship and community. Man is a social creature with the ability to love and be loved; with the ability to care for and nurture its young; and to live in committed relationships, like we have in marriage and the family.

Holiness - man has a moral conscience with the ability to tell right from wrong.

Immortality – man is eternal. Unlike the rest of the animal world, he will live forever.

Freedom – man can make choices.

All of this “because he is human, made in the image of God.

(SLIDE 7) Notice the Personhood of the unborn. This is what God said to Jeremiah, (1:5) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Before there was any physical manifestation of Jeremiah in the womb of his mother, God knew Him. Listen to this incredible incident. These words were spoken by Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist when Mary, just days pregnant with Jesus Christ, visited her.  Luke 1:41-44  (Slide 8)
        
"When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
(SLIDE 9) But why am I so favored, hat the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.’"
Do you realize what took place? The text says that John the Baptist, leaped for joy in his mother's womb when he came into the presence of Jesus Christ, God incarnate who was but days old in the womb of his mother Mary. This is the first record of worship of the Messiah. And it took place in the womb. I call it intra-uterine worship.

Do you see the personhood of the unborn in these narratives?

(SLIDE 10) You see, the Biblical evidence is clear. The unborn are created by God and for God. They are created in His image. They are recognized by God as distinct and unique persons even in the womb. Life begins at conception.

The scientific evidence leads us to the same conclusion. Douglas Erlandson writes, (SLIDE 11)

“When the fertilized egg (or zygote) is first formed, it already possesses its full complement of DNA or genetic information. (SLIDE 12) That information never changes. A person’s sex, blood type hair and skin color, and future height are all determined in that first cell. From that moment on, unless its life is terminated, it will develop until it becomes an adult human being.”
Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, M.D. of Harvard University Medical School, (SLIDE 13) writes, “…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception…”
(SLIDE 14) Who is behind abortion? The Biblical evidence would indicate that abortion is a Satanic enterprise. (SLIDE 15) John chapter eight records an encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders. In that exchange Jesus said this about the devil,
"The devil…was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  John 8:44 (NIV)
(SLIDE 16) Here Jesus identifies two roles of Satan: A murderer from the beginning and a liar and the father of lies. Has he been successful?
(SLIDE 17) It is estimated that between 40 and 50 million unborn babies are killed by abortion worldwide each year. About one in five pregnancies end in abortion worldwide.  (AGI “In Brief”, October 2007)
(SLIDE 18) Dr. Brian Clowes estimates there have been 1.72 billion abortions worldwide since 1973. That's an average of 117,800 per day for 40 years!
(SLIDE 19) In 2011, 1.21 million unborn babies lost their lives to abortion in the United States. Since 1973, almost 56 million unborn babies have been killed by abortion.
(SLIDE  20) Abortion is the most frequently performed elective surgery in America. Over 3,315 a day. 22% of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) re surgically aborted. About one in three American women will have had an abortion by the time she reaches age  45.” (Guttmacher Institute, 2011)
(SLIDE 21) In Florida, 76,138 unborn babies lost their lives to abortion in 2012. (Florida Agency for Health Care Administration)
(SLIDE 22) 743 unborn babies were aborted in St. Lucie County in 2012. That is an average of over 56 a month.
(SLIDE 23) In the fist half of 2012, 3284 babies were aborted in St. Lucie County and 150 in Martin County, which tells us abortion is now available in Martin County.
(SLIDE 24) John Powell has written,
“In the United States it is statistically confirmed that the most dangerous place for anyone to be, with regard to the preservation of one’s life, is in the womb of one’s mother.”  (Abortion: The Silent Holocaust)
(SLIDE 25) In John 10:10, Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." The Devil has been very successful in carrying out his agenda.
(SLIDE 26) Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Deception proliferates in the abortion industry. In fact, deception characterizes the abortion industry.
(SLIDE 27) Deception involves telling lies. These were the words of an abortion counselor: "Although the test is positive, you shouldn't consider yourself pregnant," she explained. "It's really just cells dividing at this point. We can take care of the problem quickly and easily, and you'll never have to think about it again.”
She made four statements. Each statement was a lie.
(SLIDE 28) Deception involves withholding the truth. This study showed that, “Even though the majority felt rushed and uncertain, 67% received no counseling; 79% were not told about alternatives to abortion.” (VM Rue et. al., Medical Science Monitor)                                
(SLIDE 29) As Pastor Randy Alcorn has noted, "In America it is illegal to harm your pre-born child, but it is perfectly legal to kill him.”
(SLIDE 30) You see, deception leads to moral schizophrenia.
(SLIDE 31) The Devil is “a murderer., a liar and father of all lies.” These two “attributes” expose him as the Architect of Abortion.
(SLIDE 32) Look with me at the ancient origin of child killing. We trace it to Molech worship. Molech was a god of the Ammonites the descendants of Lot. Molech was a fertility god whose worship included child sacrifice. Ezekiel 16:20-21 records God's words, (SLIDE 33)
“And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols… You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.”
(SLIDE 34) King Solomon built the first high place for the worship of Molech. Subsequent kings continued the practice including King Ahaz and King Manasseh who sacrificed their own children.
(SLIDE 35) Notice the parallels with abortion: In Molech worship a child was sacrificed to gain Molech's favor. In other words, the parents sacrificed something of value, their child, to gain something at a given point in time they considered to be of even greater value. For example, seeking Molech’s favor for a good harvest, victory in battle or financial well-being.
Notice the similarity with abortion. In abortion the mother sacrifices the life of her child for something, which at that time is of greater value to her than the child. Her education, avoid personal shame, finances, personal convenience, her career, birth control.
(SLIDE 36) Sacrifice for what? Pastor John Piper,
“Abortion in America is not done consciously with any desire to get blessing from a deity. But it is done to gain something 'better' than the baby—the life of a child is being sacrificed for something. What that “something” is defines the barbarity of our culture.”
Do you see the deception? The Scriptures identify the demonic nature of this child sacrifice in Psalm 106.  (SLIDE 37)
"They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood."
There are distinct parallels between Molech worship and modern abortion. (SLIDE 38) Abortion is the “sacrifice” of the unborn. “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters.”
The unborn are family – our sons & daughters. “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters.” Abortion sheds innocent blood. “They shed innocent blood.”
The innocent blood of the aborted is sacrificed to demons. “They sacrificed…to demons.”
(SLIDE 39) Eric Holmberg and Jay Rogers, in their work, Massacre of Innocence, summarize,
“The spiritual heritage of the Moabites and the Ammonites is passed down to our own day through abortion. Today the church is fighting against those same spiritual forces for the very survival of our nation.”
Pastor Randy Alcorn,  (ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments)
“As the devil loved the sacrifice of children in the ancient heathen cultures, so he loves the sacrifice of children in our modern culture. Whether children are sacrificed to a heathen god called Molech or to the god of our own convenience, he does not care. Whether these children are born or unborn does not matter to God’s enemies, for each of them is equally created in the image of God, and by killing them Satan comes as close as he can to striking out at God Himself. In killing those created in God’s image, Satan kills God in effigy.”
Lest you think that abortion and the demonic is just ancient history, let me bring you up to date.
(SLIDE 40) Modern feminism, witchcraft & abortion.
(SLIDE 41) In December of 1985, this article, entitled, "Feminist Spiritualism and Abortion" appeared in the feminist Ms. Magazine, written, and I emphasize, by feminists about themselves.
"The feminist spirituality movement began to emerge in the mid-1970s and has become one of the largest sub-movements within feminism...to the women in feminist spirituality, witchcraft had even a more fundamental meaning. It is a woman's religion, vilified by patriarchal Christianity, and now, finally, reclaimed.”
(SLIDE 42) Eric Holmberg & Jay Rogers have this to say about what was in the article, “Much space was given to goddess worship or adulation of the various demons associated with child sacrifice (including Isis and Aphrodite).” (Massacre of Innocence)
Let me give you just a sampling of the thinking of modern day feminists. (SLIDE 43)
Patricia Baird-Windle owned three abortion clinics responsible for 65,000 abortions. In an interview after retirement she said, "Abortion is a major blessing and a sacrament in the hands of women..." (The 'Sacrament' of Abortion: An Interview With a Retired Abortionist.")
(SLIDE 44) Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, President of the Episcopal Divinity School in New England said the following in a sermon given in Birmingham Alabama in 2007.
“When a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to safe, affordable abortion– there is not a tragedy in sight – only blessing.”
(SLIDE 45) Episcopal Priestess, Dr. Carter Hayward, told the National Abortion Federation in 1985, "Abortion would be a sacrament if women were in charge. Abortion should be a sacrament even today."
(SLIDE 46) One of America's educators, Psychologist Dr. Ginnette Paris, in her book The Sacrament of Abortion, wrote,
“It’s rare for a woman to choose abortion because in some way she dislikes the fetus. She sacrifices it for the sake of something she judges at this moment to be more important, whether it be her existing children… or her own physical, economic, or psychological survival or the fate of the planet."
Do you remember what I just shared, comparing abortion to child sacrifice? She continues,
“When abortion is necessary, not only should there be no shame but there should be a new consensus that to have a child who cannot adequately be cared for is shameful…                        It is not immoral to choose abortion; it is simply another kind of morality, a pagan one.”
(SLIDE 47) Frank Pavone, commenting on her book writes,
“The fact that some defend abortion as a sacred act should alert us to the depth of the spiritual warfare that is going on. Abortion has never been merely or even primarily apolitical issue. It is a false religion."
He writes of a former abortion clinic security guard who "...after being converted, admitted why he was angry at pro-life sidewalk counselors  'You were coming to protest in front of our church. That clinic was where we conducted our worship.’”
(SLIDE 48) Unmasking a "woman's right to choose" and "reproductive rights."
If you watch the news; if you read the secular press; if you listen to the main stream media; if you dialogue about abortion around the water cooler at work or at home over the back yard fence, these are the words that always come into play. These are the two terms the proponents of abortion use to frame the debate. "A woman's right to choose" and "reproductive rights" are code words for a woman's right to take the life of her unborn child. The key Scripture that addresses this issue is Genesis 3:1-5. (SLIDE 49)
"Now, the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Note the significance of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Here are the temptations: (SLIDE 50)
To live independent of God. Self-idolatry – self love rules. Man becomes his own god “you will be like God.” Man determines right and wrong (moral relativism). This is the underlying premise of the proponents of “a woman's right to choose" and "reproductive rights.”
As Dr. Carl Ellis has said, "Eve became, in essence, the first secular humanist."
Notice the link between abortion and the Garden of Eden. "I do not what a child at this time." Pastor John Piper points out that the legal right “to choose” gives women the legal right to define personhood or play god. He says, (SLIDE 51)
“…the awesome thing is that we endow her will not just with sovereignty over her unborn baby, but with the authority to define it. If she wants it, it is a baby, a person. If she does not want it, it is not a baby, not a person.” (John Piper, “Abortion & the Tree of Knowledge of  Good & Evil.”)
(SLIDE 52) Pastor Randy Alcorn,
“The prochoice position always overlooks the victim’s right to choose....The blacks didn’t choose slavery. The Jews didn’t choose the ovens. And the babies don’t choose abortion.”
How should the Church respond? (SLIDE 53)
First of all, we must repent of abortion in the church, "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16a,17b)
(SLIDE 54) Live in sexual purity. There is a direct link between sexual immorality and abortion. About 80% of abortions are performed on unmarried women. "…among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity.” Ephesians 5:3 (NIV)
(SLIDE 55) Why repent of abortion in the church? 43% of women having abortions identify themselves as Protestant, 27% as Roman Catholic. (AGI, “In Brief” July, 2008)
Focus on the Family's heartlink.org report that 250,000 evangelical women choose abortion each year.  (www.heartlink.org)
Do you think we need to talk about abortion in the church?
(SLIDE 56) We must also be careful in this discussion not to overlook the sometimes complex circumstances of those facing unplanned or crises pregnancies. This demands a practical and compassionate response by the church. Over 50% of all women who have an abortion feel they have no choice.
(SLIDE 57) Notice some of the reasons women have abortions. Forced by their mother; father opposed; persuaded by husband or boyfriend; never given an option; loss of family support; would be kicked out of their home; persuaded by the clinic. (Frederica Mathewes-Green, Real Choices)
(SLIDE 58) As you might know, one of the ways the Church is responding in a practical and compassionate way in St. Lucie and Martin counties is through the ministry of CareNet Pregnancy Services of the Treasure Coast. They operate a pregnancy resource center on SE Federal Highway in Stuart and one in Port St. Lucie at 8432 S. Federal Highway.
(SLIDE 59) These are just a few of the free services this ministry provides: First and foremost, they share the Gospel. They offer, Free pregnancy testing, STD/HIV testing, ultrasound pregnancy confirmation, counseling by trained advocates, community referrals and resources, an abortion recovery ministry and more.
The church should take ownership of these pregnancy resource centers. This is where the truth about abortion and the gospel of Jesus Christ are confronting the Satanic lies and deception of today's culture of death. It is where church members, the Body of Christ are intervening in the lives of men and women often at a critical time of decision when they need love, compassion and the gospel of life.
The church must also reach out and minister to the post-abortive. Does abortion hurt men and women? (SLIDE 60) This study showed that, “65% report symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder they attribute to their abortions.” (VM Rue et, all)
(SLIDE 61) This is, I emphasize, a short list of emotional and behavioral problems experienced by the post-abortive: emotions such as anxiety/panic, grief/loss, fear of losing your child, guilt, self-hatred, depression, and anger/rage.
Behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, promiscuity, overprotecting parenting, eating disorders, and inability to bond with children.
You probably realize as you look at this list, that these are very common problems pastors and counselors deal with every day in their ministry. It is important to realize, that the root cause of anyone of them, could be past involvement in abortion. Oh that God would give us the grace and perhaps the courage to simply ask this question in the counseling room, "Could it be that your life has been touched by an abortion?" That question could unlock the door to wonderful healing and restoration.
The abortion recovery ministry of CareNet I spoke of a moment ago is called C.A.R.E.  That stands for Confidential Abortion Recovery Experience. C.A.R.E. brochures are available in the foyer and Pam Durham who heads up that ministry is here this morning to share with anyone after the service. Perhaps you know someone whose life has been touched by an abortion. Please pick up copies of the brochure to share with those at work or school, in your neighborhood or family. Among other things, you will find Pam's cell number and a confidential, dedicated email address that goes only to Pam in the C.A.R.E brochure.
What I want to leave with you this morning is that there is forgiveness, healing and restoration for the post-abortive in Jesus Christ. is a priority here at New Hope Fellowship.
Several years ago I was on Facebook one Sunday afternoon. A pro-life advocate was having an online discussion about abortion. A woman came into the discussion, telling us she had three abortions in her past.  Listen what she went on to say, (SLIDE 62)
“The consequences to women who have had abortions (and men as well) cut deep into the soul…The post-abortive women sitting in church on a Sunday morning need to hear about forgiveness for ALL SIN through Jesus Christ….abortion is not the unforgivable sin so many think it is... women need to know there is healing and hope in Christ that they may also forgive themselves.”
That is the toughest battle that the post-abortive experience. It's one thing to receive Christ's forgiveness. There usually has to be a deeper work that allows them to come them to a place where they can forgive themselves.
The host asked her about how she was dealing with the loss of her three children. This was the powerful testimony she then shared,
“…the fact of the matter is that I don’t grieve any more. Christ has delivered me from all of the pain through his healing power! I know that one day I'll stand in heaven finally meeting my three precious children: David, Rebekah, and Grace Hope!... when they've asked the Father why they couldn't be with me on earth or why they never knew me here, He’ll look at them with love and say, “I don't remember” 
You see, the blood of Jesus Christ shed over 2000 years ago, has covered our sin - all of our sin! If by faith in the Lord Jesus you have received his forgiveness and cleansing, there is a way to resolve the guilt, shame and hurt that abortion will bring to the human experience.
If you today are not reconciled to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, today can be your day of salvation. The healing can begin.
(SLIDE 63) There are two conclusions I have been sharing with the Church for a number of years now with regard to abortion. The Body of Christ, the church, is the only organism (institution) spiritually equipped to engage the Satanic forces behind abortion.
You are familiar with Paul's words, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood." I have been out praying in front of abortion clinics, and I have spoken to groups that have gone out to pray in front of abortion clinics. I have reminded them over and over again, the people doing the abortions, the people coming for the abortions, the proponents of abortion, the legislators, the governors, the presidents who are defending abortion, they are not the enemy, they are victims.
“For 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.”  Ephesians 6:12
"The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:4
(SLIDE 64) Therefore the Church must take the lead in the efforts to end abortion.
Abortion is first and foremost a gospel issue. Two years ago, I spoke at the Rally for Life outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale. These were among my closing remarks.
Ultimately, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the solution to America’s abortion crisis. Innocent blood has polluted the land and profaned the name of the Lord, But there is a greater blood shed at Mount Calvary that can transform the heart of a mother so she will choose life for her child that can cleanse the guilty, forgive, heal and restore those involved in abortion. What America needs to hear is God’s Truth about abortion wrapped in the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the church sees abortion as a Gospel issue we will win the battle for life! Christ has already won the victory! (SLIDE 65)
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)
Paul goes on to say, verse 15 (SLIDE 66)
“...having disarmed the powers and authorities, [God] he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."
This is how we respond to 40 years of legalized abortion. Unashamedly proclaim the gospel of life, while responding with compassionate and practical help like that offered at the CareNet centers.
I close with this illustration, John Ensor wrote, "The commands of Scripture exist that we might be compelled to do what does not come naturally." (John Ensor, Innocent Blood)
(SLIDE 67) In Luke chapter ten Jesus tells 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 come to his rescue, 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 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."
(SLIDE 68) John Ensor, in his book Innocent Blood, 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."
(page 54)
(SLIDE 69) The writer of 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." Proverbs 24:10-12
Two years ago, Flip Benahm, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, (January 22, 2011) released this statement,
"Abortion will come to an end when the church of Jesus Christ makes up her mind it will come to an end - not a second sooner. The responsibility for ending abortion rests squarely upon the shoulders of the Church of Jesus Christ."
I think he was right.
© James P McGarvey All Rights Reserved                        










        
                                                       




















 




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Responding to 40 Years of Legal Abortion


View the PowerPoint slides of this message HERE
Download free Microsoft SkyDrive HERE 

(This message was given at Pines Baptist Church, Pembroke Pines on January 27, 2013)

Before we begin I want to acknowledge that I understand that abortion is a controversial subject, and may be difficult perhaps even painful for some to think about.

Statistics would indicate that in most audiences I speak to there will be individuals whose lives have been touched by a 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 a girlfriend wife, daughter, granddaughter or niece 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. (SLIDE 2) 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. I've shared this with you before, but it bears repeating. Pastor Randy Alcorn has written, (SLIDE 3)

"Grace without truth deceives people, Truth without grace, crushes people."

You see, we will never understand (SLIDE 4) 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 5:8. We are to (vs. 10) "find out what pleases the Lord" and "have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather to expose them." 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)

This last Tuesday, [January 22, 2013] we remembered the 40th 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 childbirth for virtually any reason.

This plunged America into a national tragedy that has proved to be unparalleled n our 237 years of history.  It is conservatively estimated that (SLIDE 5) nearly 56 million unborn children have lost their lives to abortion in the U.S. in the last 40 years. That's an average of (SLIDE 6) 1,394,000 unborn babies each year. Over116,000 per month nearly 27,000 per week or 3,820 per day for the last 40 years.

Several years ago I read these words from Michael Spielman founder of abort73.com.

"The domestication of abortion has made it tragically commonplace, so much so that we seem to have lost our ability to be outraged by it. How is it that even we who oppose abortion are not more overwhelmed by the fact that it is legal, in the United States of America, to tear apart the tiny bodies of helpless unborn children?” (“A Biblical Mandate to do Something About Abortion”)

The questions I raise this morning are, how could this happen and how should we respond? How could a civilized nation historically rooted in a Judeo-Christian heritage and ethic abandon the metaphysical and scientific evidence that should lead to the prohibition of taking the life of pre-born children?

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.

I have spoken here each of the last three years for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, making the case for the sanctity of unborn human life from both a Biblical and scientific perspective. 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. (SLIDE 7)

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)

Let me summarize (SLIDE 8) the Biblical evidence that we have looked at in Previous messages. 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. 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, we also identified the spiritual forces behind child killing. Jesus on at least two occasions revealed the nature  of the Devil 's work (SLIDE 9) 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 said, (SLIDE 10) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy," thus exposing Satan's murderous agenda.

As I shared back in 2011 there is conclusive scientific evidence that human life begins at conception. That debate ended years ago with the discovery of DNA  present in the first cell of human development.

As Dr. Jerome LeJeune, M.D. (SLIDE 11) summarizes,  "after fertilization has taken place new human being has come into being."

You see, whether you approach the issue of the personhood of the unborn from a Biblical or scientific and biological perspective, the inescapable conclusion is that life begins at conception. The unborn are distinct living persons while in the womb worthy of our protection.

In light of this evidence, how is it that abortion could remain legal for forty years? Just this past week, (SLIDE 12) U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, posed the question this way,

"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.”

To answer that question we look no further than the prevailing worldview of our nation's institutions; our public schools and state universities, courts and legislatures, government agencies, medical, scientific, and business sectors, and our arts, entertainment and media.

Our nation is embroiled in a war of worldviews. Perhaps you remember back in November we took some time to define what a worldview is. Here is Whitney Clayton's definition (SLIDE 13) (“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. 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,  (SLIDE 14)

"...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."  

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, (SLIDE   15)

"...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 Scripture and the revelation of Himself by the historical intervention of Jesus Christ in 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 a God who is the Designer, Creator and sustainer of this universe. In other words, He is in charge!

As Paul wrote the Colossians, 1:16-17 (ESV) (SLIDE 16)

"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."

Friends 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 response: Acts 17:24-28  (ESV) (SLIDE 17)

"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man (SLIDE 18) every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 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, 28 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.’"

Do you see it? The Gospel is our worldview. That's why abortion is a gospel issue. 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 we might be forgiven, justified and adopted into His family where we will spend eternity in the presence of He who is both our Creator and our Savior!

Note the contrast, of the worldview that has become the dominant mindset in 21st century America. Dr. Francis Schaeffer, defined it over thirty years ago, (SLIDE 19) in his book, A Christian Manifesto (pg. 24). Note the stark contrast with what I have just read from the Apostle Paul.

"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."

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! It 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, and his working in 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, (SLIDE 20)

"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, in the Declaration of Independence wrote, (SLIDE 21)

"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 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, (A Christian Manifesto pg. 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."

Friends, here is the reason why a modern, educated, highly advanced society can deliberately and legally kill its own off spring.

Some advocates for abortion, 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 slippery slope of those who deny the intrinsic value of man. Listen to the words written by Mary Elizabeth Williams that appeared this last week  (Jan. 23, 2013) in the progressive online magazine Salon. The  title of the article? "So What if abortion Ends a Life" 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."

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."

When man is considered to be nothing more than the product of a meaningless, random evolutionary process over billions 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 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 society. When man becomes his own god, all hell breaks loose in society and the civility of a civilization is lost.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who helped to legalize abortion and who himself was  responsible for 60,000 abortions before his conversion, wrote,

"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."
(BernardNathanson,“Pro-Choice1990,”NewDimensions, 
October 1990, 38 quoted in Innocent Blood pg. 109-110)
I believe we are witnessing what the Apostle Paul spoke of in Romans chapter one verses eighteen through twenty-one. (ESV)  (SLIDE 22)
"18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  20 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 [natural revelation] So they are without excuse. (SLIDE 23)     21 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."

And verse twenty-eight,'And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done."

Do you see why this is a gospel issue? The Gospel has not failed abortion. The church has failed to apply the gospel to the abortion debate. I have said it before; I know of no greater issue facing our nation to wrap the gospel around than abortion. Just turn the page in the book of Romans to chapter three and verses twenty-one through twenty-six. Paul continues, (SLIDE 24)

"21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (SLIDE 25) 25 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. 26 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! You see, Jesus died in our place.  He paid the penalty for our sins; your sin and my sin, any and all sin, the sin of abortion, the sin of pushing a girlfriend, wife or daughter or granddaughter into an abortion, the sin of paying for an abortion, the sin of performing an abortion, the sin of doing nothing about 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.

Listen to what Don Schanzenbach posted just a few days agp [01-21-13] on his blog, "Mission to Restore America" Roe v. Wade -- 40 Years and Counting (to 55 Million Abortions), Part 1

"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 say,

"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 each Biblical truth as it applies to the abortion issue. The only tool God uses to transform people is His 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." 

And I remind you this morning that the advocates of abortion are not the "enemy." The doctors who perform abortions and their clients, those associated  with the killing of the unborn, 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 schemes.

To the Corinthian church Paul wrote, chapter 4, verse 4, (NIV) (SLIDE 26)

 “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."

This is how we respond to 40 years of abortion. Unashamedly proclaim the gospel. But we must also respond with mercy and compassion to the practical needs of those at risk for abortion.

In Luke chapter ten we have the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem was robbed and beaten and left half dead alongside the road. Three different individuals had the opportunity to render him assistance - in all likely hood to save his life. Two failed to respond to the victim. In Jesus day, the one thought to be the least likely to help did so at personal cost to himself.

Jesus then pointed out that the one who proved to be the neighbor was the one who had shown mercy to the badly beaten traveller. He then said, "Go and do likewise."

The Psalmist wrote, Psalm 82:3-4 (SLIDE 27) 

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;

maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
                             
Commenting on this, Pastor John Ensor, in his book Innocent Blood (pg. 12) writes,  (SLIDE 28)
"The commands of Scripture exist that we might be compelled to do what does not come naturally.
The innocents whom God has commanded us to care about are precisely the kind of people we are apt to overlook— and would prefer to overlook...                                                 
These people have little or no claim on our love or kindness. Their problems are not personal to us. They are usually strangers. But they are personal friends of our God. In their plight they have cried out to God for help. He has heard their cry. In response, God calls us to look for them and drop everything, if need be, to come to their aid. Lest innocent blood be shed."
On January 20, 2011, Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America issued the following statement in a press release.                                                  
“Abortion will come to an end, when the Church of Jesus Christ makes up her mind it will come to an end - not a second sooner. The responsibility for ending abortion in America rests squarely upon the shoulders of the Church of Jesus Christ.”
(c) James P. McGarvey  All Rights Reserved