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How to be pro-life Mark 3:3-5; 5:32-42; 10:14-16 1-17-10
“The care of human life and not its destruction is the first and only legitimate object of government.” Thomas Jefferson
"The moral test of a society is how that society treats those who are in the dawn of life -- the children; those who are in the twilight of life -- the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life -- the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” Hubert Humphrey
Compassion of Christ These dreadful circumstances in Haiti this week confront evangelical Christians with hard questions about the definition of “Pro-Life.” This week’s lesson rightly reminds us that Christians need to expand their application of their life-affirming principles. This current study of the Gospel of Mark should impress us with the compassion of Jesus for the infirmed, oppressed, and suffering people of his day --- a compassion his disciples, in any generation, should mirror.
January 22, 2010 marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion in every state. To mark this anniversary each year, a Sanctity of Human Life Bible Study is taught in every lesson series across the Southern Baptist Convention. We all need to be reminded that the value of life is not a political debate but a Biblical issue.
Southern Baptists do not have a lengthy heritage in the pro-life movement In 1971 messengers to the annual Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution that allowed for abortion in language similar to the infamous Roe v. Wade court case. At the time of the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the SBC passed a resolution repudiating the 1971 resolution: “WHEREAS, Resolutions passed by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1971 and 1974 accepted unbiblical premises of the abortion rights movement, forfeiting the opportunity to advocate the protection of defenseless women and children; and WHEREAS, During the early years of the post-Roe era, some of those then in leadership positions within the denomination endorsed and furthered the “pro-choice” abortion rights agenda outlined in Roe v. Wade….” The 2003 SBC resolution continued, “RESOLVED, That we lament and renounce statements and actions by previous Conventions and previous denominational leadership that offered support to the abortion culture .....” Thankfully, Southern Baptists returned to a biblical, pro-life understanding.
The Bible presents a uniform, consistent pro-life position. Although Jesus never had to deal with issues forced upon the modern pro-life movement, Mark presented Jesus the Servant, Son of God serving as an example in terms of living out a pro-life perspective.
Is Oklahoma a safer place for babies being born?
We were all weak once. We will all be weak again.
Kentucky Oregon Oklahoma Connecticut Iowa Mississippi Arkansas Kansas Utah Nevada New Mexico West Virginia Nebraska Idaho Maine New Hampshire Hawaii Rhode Island Montana Delaware South Dakota Alaska North Dakota Vermont Wyoming 50 million If you add up the populations of these states, they equal about 50 million DEATHS SINCE 1973
1.2 MILLION CHILDREN ARE DENIED LIFE EVERY YEAR!
Number of Abortions Since 1973 Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) -- Ever wanted to know what 50 million pennies looks like? A group of pro-life advocates in Mississippi found out as they collected 50 million of the coins for a unique memorial to mark the deaths of unborn children since Roe v. Wade allowed unlimited abortions in 1973. The Mississippi Baptist Convention put together this one-of-a-kind visual reminder of the number of babies who have died from abortions
Number of abortions in Oklahoma In 2006 there were 7,088 reported legal abortions in Oklahoma as compared to 741,250 in entire United States The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation (Kaiseredu.org)
Number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, by year At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45 and, at current rates, about one-third will have had an abortion. (Jones RK et al., Repeat abortion in the United States, Occasional Report, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2006, No. 29).
USA Today/Gallup Poll, 09Shows American attitude closely divided PRINCETON, NJ -- A mid-July USA Today/Gallup survey finds 47% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" and 46% "pro-choice." This is less positive for the "pro-life" position than was true in a Gallup survey in May. However, both 2009 readings show more Americans labeling themselves "pro-life" than has been the case in recent years.
Harris Poll, Aug 09 23 percent said abortions should be allowed in all cases, 53 percent in some cases, and 21 percent in no cases. 41 percent of Americans want it to be more difficult to get an abortion while just 14 percent say they want the laws to make it easier. A majority of African-Americans and Hispanics oppose the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.
The notion that some human beings are burdens and some are disposable has become acceptable.
26 Why should you care? Abortion is the #1 moral issue of our time. It has impacted and will impact your life in one way or another – family, friends, acquaintances. Does Jesus want us to care?
The stakes are high! If the pro-abortion position is correct Abortion is required to improve society. Limiting the availability of abortions would be a huge step backward for human rights. If pro-life position is correct 99% of all murders are abortions We are killing almost 4,000 innocent humans in the U.S. every day – more than the total killed in the 9/11 attacks. We have already killed more than twice the total killed by Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Women will continue to be damaged physically and psychologically by abortions Significant negative impacts to society
What would you recommend? A teenage girl is pregnant. She's not married. Unwed mothers face serious consequences in her culture. Her fiancé is not the father of the baby, and he's very upset.
If an abortion had occurred . . . A teenage girl is pregnant. She's not married. Unwed mothers face serious consequences in her culture. Her fiancé is not the father of the baby, and he's very upset.Jesus would not have been born.
Other Social Issues Started us down slippery slope of arbitrarily deciding who gets to live. Where does it end? “Right to die” Infanticide Gender selection abortions Should the government or insurance companies decide who lives / dies based on genetic testing? Abortion pits men, women & children against each other. When did they become enemies? Have we killed those who would have cured AIDS, cancer, etc., or been incredible artists, or great leaders, or been loving friends and family members? Serious impacts to other children in the family Who will support the elderly? (tens of millions more people would be paying into Social Security today) Men involved in abortions also suffer psychological problems.
Jesus is the Author of LifeActs 3:15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
Our lesson highlights three episodes in the public life of Jesus: 1. The healing of the man with a withered hand. 2. The woman with a reproductive illness/the terminal disease of Jairus’ daughter. 3. Jesus’ ministry to children. Each story recalls the Lord’s life-affirming ministry, and gives contemporary disciples of Jesus insight into the essence of Christian concern for the preservation and enrichment of human life.
Value to Society "a man with a withered hand" (1) Dr. Luke notes that the withered hand was his right hand. (6:6), since most people are right handed, this limitationmay have kept him from any occupation, thus "useless" to society. We don’t know what caused this man’s infirmity, but his disability, no doubt, had catastrophic effects. In Jesus’ day, most people earned a living by manual labor; that is, most were, as we might say, “blue-collar” workers. This man’s infirmity probably hampered his ability to earn a living. Furthermore, his dignity must have been injured by his incapacity, a disability that must have affected his sense of self-worth. Perhaps his infirmity reduced him to depending on others or to begging in the streets. He belonged to a religious community, but the leaders seemed to care little about his needs. They seemed more concerned about their status than the wellbeing of this poor, suffering man.
A major topic in the current right-to-life debate is the benefit/burden to society of a special needs child. In November of 2008, an immigrant physician in Australia, Dr. Bernard Moeller, serving a rural population of 54,000 people was denied permanent residency status because his 13 year old Down's Syndrome son was viewed as a "potential burden to taxpayers." A 1990 law in Great Britain allows disabled children to be aborted at any time of gestation up to the point of birth. Dr. Peter Singer, Professor of BioEthics at Princeton University advocates that a baby should not be considered a person with a right to life until thirty days after his or her birth. In 1979 he wrote, "Human babies are not born self-aware...they are not persons"... therefore "the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee" (Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 1979). We can’t restore withered limbs, but we can have compassion for people whose physical limitations rob them of their daily needs and the dignity of working for a living. Give greater attention to life by ministering to those who cannot take care of all their needs.
David Self: Houston First “Please know that I have no political agenda undergirding any of my comments; indeed, I have little confidence in the government’s ability or efficiency in dealing with human need. If the evangelical church would spend less energy and resources on herself, the needs of the society could largely be met. Many evangelicals have, it seems to me, simply “baptized” American greed and consumerism and thus abrogated much of their legitimate ministry to the poor and suffering. Please forgive my candor, but this trend to religious consumerism sickens me and has fostered a profound trail of my faith. If God’s people followed the teachings and example of Jesus, I doubt that many of the current debates about universal health care, for instance, would be necessary. This is not a conservative/liberal issue, in my judgment. It is, I think, an opportunity for American evangelicals to reconsider their priorities.”
Be More Concerned About . . Restoring Life Than Man Made Rules. Mk. 3:3-5 A. Be Pro Life . . Speak Out In The Face Of Opposition. 3:3-6 3 He told the man with the paralyzed hand, "Stand before us." 4 Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.
B. Be Pro Life Express Our . . Sorrow About The Millions Of Abortions. 3:5 5 After looking around at them with anger and sorrow at the hardness of their hearts, He told the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
Be Concerned About . . Remedies And The Resuscitating Of Life. Mk. 5:33-42 A. Be Pro Life . . Express Your Personal Faith In Jesus. 5:33 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came with fear and trembling, fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth.
B. Be Pro Life . . Expand The Influence Of Your Healing At The Hand Of Jesus. 5:34 34 "Daughter," He said to her, "your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free from your affliction." Have Christians kept more silent than we should on the sanctity of life? Did Jesus confront his critics?
C. Be Pro Life . . Explain The Extent Of The Need For The Touch Of The Lord.. 5:35-39 35 While He was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader's house and said, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?" 36 But when Jesus overheard what was said, He told the synagogue leader, "Don't be afraid. Only believe." 37 He did not let anyone accompany Him except Peter, James, and John, James' brother. 38 They came to the leader's house, and He saw a commotion—people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, "Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep."
A helpless child "your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" (35) - No one is more helpless than a dead person. With the last breath of life, without Christ, goes all hope, all meaning and all dignity. A dead body was also ceremonially unclean; to touch it was to be declared unclean as well.
D. Be Pro Life . . Encircle Yourself With Like Minded People. 5:40-42 40 They started laughing at Him, but He put them all outside. He took the child's father, mother, and those who were with Him, and entered the place where the child was. 41 Then He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talithakoum!" (which is translated, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). 42 Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was 12 years old.) At this they were utterly astounded.
Faith can grow in others as they see us expressing our faith. The lady in the text demonstrated her faith in a secretive manner but other knew of the results. When we express our faith it helps others. In showing our faith we may have to encounter people with less faith or no faith. It did not stop Jesus because He knew what He was going to do. His children must express faith in times of ridicule and depend on Jesus to work as we know He can. Jesus did not allow any doubters to go in the room with Him. He encircled Himself with a select group who received the privilege of seeing the girl arise. Simon Peter used the same words when God allowed him to be used in the restoring a life. (Acts 9:40)
Be Concerned About . . Receiving Children Into The Kingdom. Mk. 10:14-16 A. Be Pro Life Declare Your. . Indignation Concerning the Rejection Of Children. 10:14 14 When Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me. Don't stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
B. Be Pro Life . . Identify With Those Who Love the unborn and Little Children. 10:15-16 15 I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16 After taking them in His arms, He laid His hands on them and blessed them. HCSB
The Bible condemns the shedding of innocent life. The Bible clearly prohibits taking the life of an innocent person. It follows that if the developing baby is a "qualified" member of the human race, all of these scriptures apply: Genesis 9:6 - Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man. Exodus 20:13 - You shall not murder. Deuteronomy 27:25a - Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person. Proverbs 6:16-19 - There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood... See also Exodus 23:7 and Deuteronomy 19:11-12
A child is a "person" whether born or unborn. The Bible consistently uses the same word for a "born" or "unborn" baby. This is because the divine Author of the Bible did not recognize a material difference between the two. In Scripture, there is not some special event when a "human being" becomes a "person". Rather, he or she is a person from the beginning who goes through growth and development both inside and outside of the womb.
IIn the New Testament the Greek word "brephos" is used to describe the unborn, newborns and youth. In Luke 1:44, the word is used to mean unborn baby: "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy." Then, in Luke 2:12, it means a newborn: "So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger." And in Luke 18:15, "brephos" refers to a young child: "And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them."
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word "yeled" is used in the same way. In Exodus 21:22 it means an unborn child, "If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely...". And yet, in other Old Testament usages, it means "youth" or even a teenager.
God knew you before you were born. Psalm 139:13-16. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. Luke 1:15. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. Jeremiah. 1:5. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. Before we are even formed in the womb, God knows us. He knows how each day of our lives on earth will unfold. His love and care go with us throughout life.
Proverbs 24:10-12 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.Rescue those who are being taken away to death;hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
48 Suggested debating / discussion ground rules Always be sensitive that the person you are talking to may have guilt or unpleasant experiences with abortion. No name calling or “ad hominem” attacks (attacking the messenger, not the message) Focus on how intellectual integrity requires us to follow the facts where they lead, not where we want them to lead. Always be factual Make a clear distinction between scientific and Biblical arguments. Share the truth in loving way.
49 Abortion is a difficult topic that has touched nearly everyone’s life in one way or another. Our challenge is to share the truth, in love. We must be willing to risk hurt feelings, as the alternative has irrevocable consequences and is literally a matter of life and death. While abortion is a sin, it is forgivable because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The Good News is that there is forgiveness, hope and healing in Jesus.