The Wonder in the Womb

January 22, 2012 Preacher: Randy Smith Series: Abortion

Scripture: Job 31:15

Transcript

The Wonder in the Womb

Job 31:15
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Pastor Randy Smith



Beautifully placed on an eight-acre quadrant is the newly opened 9-11 Memorial in lower Manhattan. The two waterfalls, the largest manmade waterfalls in North America, each approximately an acre in size sit within the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood. The park is there to remember the nearly 3,000 people killed in the combined terror attacks on September 11, 2001. May we never forget these innocent people who deceased in the largest loss of lives from a foreign attack on American soil.

As I said nearly 3,000 innocent people died that day. But did you know that nearly 4,000 innocent people die every day in our country from a different kind of attack? These American citizens have done nothing worthy of the death penalty. They have no choice in their termination. And many people support their removal or prefer to turn a blind eye. And to the best of my knowledge, nothing even remotely close to the 911 Memorial has ever been erected in their honor.

Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday and I would like to take a one week break from our study in James to speak with you about the very controversial and sensitive subject of abortion. I am not here to condemn, shock or bring unnecessary grief. My primary goal is to present the facts and deliver a message of hope. That will become more apparent near the end of the sermon.

I suppose there are many ways we can address this subject, but where I feel led to go this morning is to tackle the one question that stands at the heart of this debate. "When does life begin?" Is abortion harmlessly extracting a glob of tissue or is it ending the life a human being no different than you and I? Scientists have shared their opinion. Doctors their opinion. Judges and politicians their opinions as well. And when the dust settles these people are still lined up in both differing camps.

So I wonder what God has to say on the matter? Isn't He the ultimate authority to whom we must submit? Isn't He more in tune to what is happening with the formation of life than we are? Shouldn't we first go to the Bible to answer the question of when life actually begins? Though you will not find the word "abortion" in your Bible (no different than the word "Trinity"), I believe the Scriptures make a strong case to provide a definitive answer as to the beginning of life. I will present the facts and then let you decide for yourself. We will look at a lot of passages this morning. Most will simply be a quick reference.

1. WHEN DOES GOD RECOGNIZE A PERSON?

Let's begin with the first point. Does the Bible clarify when a person actually becomes a person?

In Psalm 139, beginning in verse 13, we read, "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" (Psm. 139:13-16).

These verses make it clear that God's hand of development is upon us from the very moment of conception. From the split second we are conceived, God is working, forming our inward parts and weaving us together. These verses speak of purpose and intimacy. The Psalmist called it a skillful work. He called it being "fearfully and wonderfully" made.

I also find it interesting that when the Psalmist wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he identified himself as "himself" while still in the womb. He wasn't meaningless tissue with potential for life. It was him with the same personal existence that he knew out of the womb. "This is my life now (outside the womb) and that was my life then (when still in the womb). From the point of conception I have always been a person."

More of this thought is seen when God called the prophet Jeremiah. "Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations'" (Jer. 1:4-5). Not even while He formed Jeremiah in the womb, but even before birth God knew the person Jeremiah. Before birth God called not tissues, but the person Jeremiah to be a prophet.

The apostle Paul in Galatians 1:15 speaks this way too. "God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace."

Isaiah 44:2, "Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb" (cf. 44:22). Naomi in Ruth 1:11 said, "Have I yet sons in my womb." Job 3:3, "Let the day perish on which I was to be born, and the night which said, 'A boy is conceived.'" Not a thing or tissue or potential boy, but from the moment of conception, "a boy." Job 31:15, "Did not He who made me in the womb make him, and the same one fashion us in the womb." Psalm 22:10, "Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother's womb." The Bible is clear my friends, from the time of conception it is a baby. Even little kids know that! "What's in Mommy's tummy?" "That's my little brother!"

David in Psalm 51 brings up an interesting consideration when he says, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me" (Psm. 51:5). In this verse David is not talking about the sin of his mother, but his own sin that he had from the time of conception. The Scriptures teach that all, except Jesus Christ, were born in Adam's sin (Rom. 5:12-21). Theologians call it the doctrine of original sin. The point is that David traces his sin nature all the way back to his conception. And what we all know is that only humans are capable of moral sin. Therefore David is calling himself a human from conception.

One more, in Luke 1 we read about the visit between Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is six months pregnant (Lk. 1:26, 36) with John the Baptist (Lk. 1:13, 60) and Mary had just conceived and was pregnant with Jesus (Lk. 1:31, 35). When the two met the text says Elizabeth remarked that "the baby [John the Baptist] leaped in my womb for joy" (Lk. 1:44) when he encountered the Messiah in Mary's womb. Only a person can emotionally respond to the Messiah. And Jesus as that Messiah only days after conception was obviously a person to bring about this response in John. The text says both children in the womb were babies ("brephos" - Lk. 1:41, 44), the same word in the original Greek used for babies outside the womb as well (Lk. 18:15; Ac. 7:19). Again, the point is the same. There is no difference in the eyes of God. What we love and appreciate and respect after birth, we should love and appreciate and respect before birth.

2. WHAT IS GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARD A PRE-BORN BABY?

Now that we have identified what is in the womb, I believe it is important to determine God's attitude toward all conceived babies, our second point.

THE CONCEPTION FROM GOD

First of all we need to understand that the conception of all children is a sovereign decision of God. Throughout the Bible we see that the origin of all babies is not a random event, but a purposeful event based upon the will of God. Frequently we read in the Bible of God "opening the womb" (Gen. 29:31; 30:22; 1 Sam. 1:19; Job 31:15). God is the one who grants life right from the very beginning. Job said, "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life" (Job 33:4; cf. Gen. 4:1; Mal. 2:10). In Psalm 100 we read, "Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves" (Psm. 100:3). And that is also why the Psalmist concluded in Psalm 127, "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psm. 127:3).

THE IMAGE OF GOD

Not only is God the Giver of life, He is also the One who stamps His very image upon every conceived baby. The creation of humans is different than the creation of every other life form. Right from the very beginning (Gen. 1:26-27) every person that has been created is created in the image of God (Jas. 3:9-10). Yes, that image has been marred since the Fall, but we are all in the image of God nonetheless. And because of this incredible truth, all human beings have dignity and value.

Psalm 8:5 says were are "crown[ed] with glory and majesty." Our worth is not relative based upon our talents, race, age, gender or usefulness to society. Our worth is intrinsic based upon the fact that every person is made in the likeness of God and stands as the apex of God's glorious creation. We are not equal to, but are unique and set above all of creation. That little child who is teased at school throughout the day has more worth in God's eyes despite what he or she may feel than every humpback whale swimming in the Atlantic.

You see, only humans have the ability to enter a relationship with the living God. And it was only for humans (not even fallen angels), that Jesus Christ came and gave His life because of our sin (Rom. 5:6-8) that we might be reconciled to the Father. And when we come to Christ by faith, the image of God seen in us begins to be restored in this life. Colossians 3:10, "[Christians] have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" (cf. Rom. 8:29). And we receive a complete restoration of the image of God in the life to come (1 Cor. 15:49; 1 Thes. 5:23). And to show His love for humankind and stamp His approval on the sanctity of humankind, Jesus Christ became one of us. Human life is sacred, and God taking upon flesh to become human is proof of that.

THE RESPONSE FROM GOD

So based upon all that I said, what may we conclude regarding God's response to abortion?

We just learned that God loves all humans He created in His image. Furthermore we see God throughout the Scriptures always taking a higher concern for the helpless and the innocent. No doubt a baby in the womb falls into this category. For instance, Deuteronomy 10:18, "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien" (cf. Ex. 23:7; Dt. 25:1; 2 Ki. 17:17; Psm. 106:37). In speaking of new believers Jesus said, "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea" (Mt. 18:6). And He calls us to do the same. Psalm 82:3-4, "Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked" (Pr. 17:26; 18:5; 24:11-12; 31:9; Isa. 5:23; Jas. 5:6).

Jesus Christ has a special place in His heart for the innocent little ones. It was prophesized, "For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and him who has no helper" (Psm. 72:12). And it was seen in His actions. While the children were disregarded by the apostles (Lk. 18:15), Jesus said, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Lk. 18:16; cf. Mt. 19:14).

So what is God's perception of abortion, based solely on the teaching of the Bible? He gives life. He creates life in His own image. He considers life to be life from the time of conception. He takes His stand for the innocent and helpless. And He loves children.

Though I believe the conclusion is obvious, I will let the Bible again speak for itself. Though it has been debated, Exodus 21:22-23, says, "If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him… But if there is any further injury [implied: of the mother or child], then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life." Even in the Old Testament, killing a baby in the womb was punishable by the death penalty. Amos 1:3, "Thus says the Lord, 'For three transgressions of the sons of Ammon and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their borders."

Proverbs 6 says, "The Lord hates…hands that shed innocent blood" (Pr. 6:16-17). Taking a life that has been created by God stamped in the image of God can be none other than murder in the eyes of God (Gen. 9:6). It should be seen as the same in our eyes as well. And it should therefore be incumbent upon us as children of God to do all that can to oppose the acts of abortion presently happening in our age. And under point number four I have provided several action items that I pray all of you will strongly consider. If we believe the teaching of Scripture, we have a holocaust on our hands, and nobody seems to even care.

3. WHAT IS GOD'S COMPASSION FOR THE INVOLVED?

But before we close, there is one more point that needs to be considered at this time. I have shared God's compassion for the aborted babies, but does God have compassion on those who have contributed to aborting these babies in any way? A mother who has had an abortion, a father or parent who promoted an abortion, a doctor who performed an abortion, a politician who defended abortion or even an average person who has turned a blind eye to abortion. The answer is a resounding "yes!" God does have compassion!

When Jesus Christ came on the scene He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mk. 2:17). Abortion is a sin, but so is lying and greed and fornication and gossip and materialism and the list continues. All of us are sinners. We are all sick. And we all need a spiritual physician to make us well. We need to be saved from a literal hell and an emotional hell that our sin brings about. And we need to know that His grace is always greater than our sin.

Specifically I want all those who deal with the guilt of abortion to know that there is forgiveness. Jesus Christ forgives all sins, casts them far from His presence, removes the guilt and in its place grants peace. This is the reason why Jesus Christ came - to restore sinners. And this is the love that I hope all of you will embrace this morning, whether it be needed in relation to abortion or because you, like me, are sinners in need of forgiveness and healing from the Divine Physician.

4. WHAT IS MY RESPONSE TO THIS SERMON

1. Pray.

2. Share the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.

3. Support your local crisis pregnancy clinics (Solutions).

4. Be vocal and educate others. Speak on behalf of the babies.

5. Peacefully protest at local abortion clinics.

6. Vote only for "pro-life" candidates.

7. Call and write elected officials.

8. Stay informed.

9. Open your home to unwed pregnant mothers.

10. Check if your Ob-Gyn performs abortions.

11. Consider adopting.

12. Teach single people about the joy and beauty of premarital purity.


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