INTRODUCTION: The third Sunday in January is designated by the Southern Baptist Convention as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
A. Why do we need Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
- Because of what I read in the newspaper.
- Crimes of violence are escalating – the crime clock tells us that a woman is battered every 15 seconds, 1.3 adult women are raped every minute, 6 children are reported abused in America every minute and one person is murdered every minute.
- Dr. Jack Kevorkian killed a person in 1998 on CBS.
- Child abuse is increasing: two million children are abused each year – over 1300 of them die – 100,000 children are sexually abused each year in America.
- Elderly patients in some nursing homes are neglected.
- Abortion has become a substitute for contraception.
B. Sanctity of human life encompasses a host of issues
- Abortion, infanticide, mercy killing, assisted suicide, genetic engineering, fetal experimentation and other issues.
- Genesis 1:26 tells us God made “Man in his own image.”
- Life is sacred – that involves serious personal, moral, spiritual, medical and legislative implications.
C. Sanctity of human life is a womb to tomb issue
- Abortion is terrible, but it is not the only issue we face.
- With medical advancement, experimentation is taking place today that we never thought possible.
- The cloning of animals may eventually bring about the cloning of a person.
- How far will doctors go in genetic engineering? Should everyone be tall, blonde and beautiful? A lady on TV told of choosing the father of her children through artificial insemination.
- Will old people be denied food, water and medicine to hasten their deaths? When you take life before birth what will stop the taking of life in old age?
- Christianity is the last stand against paganism, we must set the standards.
- The remainder of this sermon will be on abortion.
I. ABORTION IS CONTROVERSIAL
- I have received ugly phone calls and letters because of my stand on abortion – some from Baptists.
- Abortion is controversial for the politician – partial birth and post-viability bills passed the Alabama Legislature in 1998.
- In 1973, in Roe vs. Wade the Supreme Court ruled abortion to be legal, since then we have killed 50 million babies.
- Since that time we have attempted to restrict abortion on the state level.
- My position on abortion
- I do not speak for the Alabama Baptist State Convention, however we as a Convention have passed a position statement and several resolutions against abortion
- I am opposed to abortion
- God created life and it is very sacred
- I think we should do more than condemn abortion
- I will not break the law
- I will and have worked to get laws passed to control abortion in Alabama
- I work with other groups to offer alternatives to abortion
- I support Save-A-Life and others
- I share information on abortion
- I teach and preach in loving kindness that abortion is wrong
II. ABORTION FACTS
- Approximately 1.2 million abortions are performed in the U.S. each year – the numbers are coming down.
- 2/3 of all abortions are among never married women.
- Almost 25% of all pregnancies are aborted.
- Less than 3% of all abortions have to do with rape, incest, fetal abnormalities or the health of the mother.
- 52% of women in the United States obtaining abortions are younger than 25.
- Approximately 14,000 babies are aborted in Alabama each year.
- Except for biopsies, abortion is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States
- United States abortion laws are among the most liberal in the world.
- President Bush signed a bill making partial-birth abortion illegal in 2003
III. ABORTION AND THE BIBLE
- Psalm 139:13-16 “For thou has possessed my reins thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret.”
- Luke 1:15 declared that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.
- Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.”
- Genesis 2:7 “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves: we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
- Isaiah 49:5 “And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant.”
- Some theologians say the Bible does not directly address the question of abortion, since it is a product of our age.
- All Christians must take the principles of the Bible and apply them to modern life.
- Exodus 19:13 “Thou shalt not murder.”
- In the 7th century King Ahaz of Judah sacrificed his own son to the heathen god of Ammorites-Molech.
IV. ABORTION AND THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
- The church started with Jesus in the Jewish world.
- It quickly moved to the Greek speaking world through missionaries like Paul.
- In the Roman world the church grew quickly, becoming the state religion by 312 A.D.
- In the Roman world abortion was common
- It was done by chemical and mechanical means
- Abortion was in high places
- Juvenal writes about the Emperor Domition’s affair with his niece, abortion and her death.
- The church, from its inception, has been against abortion
- An early church document says, “Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion or destruction.”
- Tertullian, an early church leader (160-240) wrote, “a murder being forbidden we may not even destroy a child in the womb.”
- Around 300 A.D. Roman law denied abortion to people
- The church must be opposed to abortion because human life is created by God.
V. ABORTION AND THE PROPER CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
- Share the gospel.
- Preach, teach and proclaim the sacredness and sanctity of human life.
- We must pray that God will intervene in the issue of abortion. Jesus is a personal Lord.
- We must work with and through organizations that devote their time to this issue. Crisis pregnancy centers/Save-A-Life, share information.
- We can influence our legislators.
- Inform your church about the issue of abortion. The church has more influence than any organization.
- Minister to unwed mothers.
VI. ABORTION AND THE GUILTY PARTY OR VICTIM
- Sometimes the most helpless and hopeless person is the one who has had an abortion.
- Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.
- It is easy to plaster a bumper sticker on your car.
- Have you asked some of the hard questions?
- have we shown by our actions that we care about the helpless
- have we opened our homes to unwed mothers and their child
- have we offered financial support to the poor –78% of the poor in U.S. are women and children
- have our churches provided emotional, physical and spiritual support
- have we shared the good news of Jesus and forgiveness he offers
- A pastor of a prominent church in Alabama shared about a pregnant girl in his church that was ostracized. As a result she had an abortion and left town.
the child that was never born
There is a little guy waiting to appear
Curled up inside his mother’s protective atmosphere.
He’s the one they didn’t plan on, an extra mouth to feed
A little inconvenience neither of them need.
He’s doctors’ bills and formulas, He’s sleepless nights and stress,
He’s wet and dirty diapers in a house that’s a mess.
He could have been a newer car or a cabin with a view.
Or a cruise or clothes or fancy shows or other dreams come true.
So they talk about abortion as the alternative
For that fetal imposition – he would change the way they live.
He isn’t really human. He doesn’t even breathe.
He’s just a misadventure that happened to conceive.
They sit there in the waiting room with papers they must fill,
The waivers and consent forms, the arrangements for the bill.
They know it’s what they have to do, there is no other way,
But once or twice they wonder, what this little guy might say.
“I wish you wouldn’t do this, I’ve got so much to do,
I have to learn to walk and learn to tie my shoe.
I have to learn to whistle, I have to learn to run,
I have to learn to say my prayers when the day is done.
I have to watch for daddy with mama at the door,
I have to ride in carts when they take me to the store.
I have to blow out candles on a lot of birthday cakes,
I have to blow out candles on a lot of birthday cakes,
And pose for all the pictures that mommy always takes.
But if you let them do this, I’ll never learn to wave.
I’ll never have a birthday, I won’t even have a grave.
I’ll never play a game, I’ll never laugh or cry
I won’t even have a name and I’ll always wonder why.”
Joe Bob Mizzell retired from the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions in 2012. He was most recently the director of the Office of Christian Ethics & Chaplaincy Ministries. Previously, Joe served as pastor of Alberta Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa.