Deuteronomy 30:19-20

January 22. 2012

Given by: Pastor Rich Bersett


Dr. John Hamilton and his wife Susan were prominent people in the society circles of Oklahoma City. Twelve years ago Dr. Hamilton reported to police that he had come home to find his wife strangled and beaten to death on the bathroom floor of their upscale home. Just days into the murder investigation, the community was shocked to learn that the physician himself was a suspect in that terrible crime. Blood samples taken from the doctor's clothes and the fabric in his late-model Jaguar were enough to convince the jury of his guilt

Dr. John Hamilton, the respected obstetrician-gynecologist, was convicted. He is now serving a life sentence in federal prison. But Dr. Hamilton was not arrested, tried and convicted for the other 15,000 murders he personally committed. For nearly 20 years John Hamilton, the owner of the Oklahoma City Clinic, took the lives of 20 unborn babies per week, in abortion procedures.

There was no conviction for these thousands of cases of life-termination at the hands of Hamilton-because, regrettably, there has been no law forbidding this particular brand of murder. Fortunately, however, there was a ruling on the books that outlawed the killing of a marriage partner who had just discovered her husband's affair with a topless dancer and was just about to go public and treat him to an expensive divorce. Pro-life activist Stan Engle commented: "Someone who makes a living taking the lives of the unborn is only one step away from taking the lives of the born." But the moral lines have been blurred in a nation that has rejected God's perspective on life, and worships at the altar of the god of convenience.

Yes, I said the altar of convenience. What most don't know is that 98% of all induced abortions in the United States are for elective, non-medical reasons. Since the disquieting ruling of the Supreme Court in the Roe v Wade case in 1973, over 21 million children have had their lives terminated by the willful act of others before or during their birth. In the vast majority of the cases the rationalization was convenience in the termination of those pregnancies.

  • The chances of your being killed by terrorists is (globally) 1 in 650,000;

  • The chances of your being killed by a mugger, sniper or maniac in any major city in the US is 1 in 4,000

  • The chances of your being killed if you're in the womb of an American woman - 1 in 3.5

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…

And, as social prophets predicted, it hasn't stopped there. From "Breakpoint" by Chuck Colson:

It sounds like the baby shower from hell. As cake and punch are passed around, a doctor runs medical tests on a month-old baby. If he passes the tests, the guests welcome the child to the human community. But if the baby fails -- if he has, say, Down's syndrome, or cerebral palsy -- the parents bid him a sad farewell.

And then, the doctor snuffs out his life.

Believe it or not, a Princeton professor thinks parties like these would be a good idea. This is a tragic illustration that the killing of a month-old child -- once absolutely unthinkable -- has become a debatable moral question.

In an article entitled "Killing Babies Isn't Always Wrong," philosopher Peter Singer writes: "Perhaps, like the ancient Greeks, we should have a ceremony a month after birth, at which the infant is admitted to the community. Before that time," he says, "infants would not be recognized as having the same right to life as older people."

This means that if the child is considered "defective" in some way, the parents would presumably have a different kind of ceremony -- one that ends with child being admitted, not to the human community, but to a grave.

This is morally acceptable, Singer says, because newborns, while indisputably human, are not really persons. They don't become persons, and acquire a right to life, until weeks or even months after birth because they lack "self-awareness."

Funny - just 30 years ago the liberal argument was that the fetus was not a human life until birth! What next? Kindergarten? While our culture sees a fetus often as little more than a blob of tissue and an inconvenience, it might be well for us, on the 39th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, to consider how God views a child in the womb.

Psalm 139:13-16 - "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

In this Spirit-inspired passage, the patriarch David is praising God for his own human life. As he does he wonders aloud about the way God made him. His is not a scientific treatise, but a poetic tribute to the one who made him.

When a baby is conceived by the joining of a sperm and an egg, a miracle has occurred! God has enabled the joining of these two by-products of a man and a woman, which by themselves would pass into an inert state, to form a new human being. And this process, David exults, is no less a creation of the God who made the man and the woman, than in the earliest of days when "he formed man out from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living (NEPHESH, soul) being." (Genesis 2:7)

Don't try to make the Bible a science book. David may not have known about DNA, but he knew about sex, and how babies came to be. But still he praises God that when a child is conceived, God's perspective is that He made a baby!

And, though the processes of conception bear similarity throughout the created order, this creature, MAN, is special, because he is made in the "image of God" (Genesis 1:27). God's image (a likeness to Him) is stamped into the chromosomes of every human being, and exalts each of them to a level above the rest of creation.

Abortion is not like simply stepping on a spider or crushing a bird's egg or shooting and field-dressing a deer. Abortion is snuffing out a life that was made in the image of God and intended by god to live to His glory. Genesis 9:6 - "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man."

A few of years ago I had the privilege of viewing the awesome work of art by Michelangelo called the Pieta which is on display in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Several years before a man attacked that great sculpture with a hammer, disfiguring it before he was apprehended. The whole world was shocked at such behavior-destroying such a wonderful piece of art like that! The man must have been crazy! And yet daily, thousands of living creatures, infinitely more valuable than that statue are butchered, and most of our enlightened culture doesn't bat an eye.

The mad irony is that the people of such a values-twisted culture will spend millions to save an endangered tree frog. Hundreds will march and write in protest to save dolphins, but where are the moans and outcry against the murder of human infants? Mother Teresa of Calcutta - Every child has been created for greater things-to love and be loved-in the image of God. Once a child is conceived, there is life, God's life. That child has a right to live and be cared for.

If all of life is God's creation and He says that human life is of incomparably more value than any of the rest of it, then even babies born as the result of incest have a right to live. God is good and great enough to bring marvelous good out of tragedy and evil decisions.

Ethel Waters, some of you will remember, was a great jazz performer. She was also a Christian and sang at many of Billy Graham's meetings. She had a wonderful talent and a warm and engaging personality. She was conceived when her 13-year old mother was raped.

A college professor presented a challenge to his ethics class. "A man has syphilis and his wife has tuberculosis. She has become pregnant. They already have four children. One child has died and three of the surviving four have terminal illnesses. What should be done?"

The class voted unanimously to terminate the pregnancy. The professor says, "Congratulations! You just killed Beethoven!"

The argument is that a fetus is nothing more than a glob of cells hanging together, totally dependent on it's mother, and unable to survive apart from her. I was reflecting on that description again the other day, and do you know what I suddenly realized? I'm still just a glob of cells hanging together, totally dependent on my Creator-Father, and unable to survive apart from Him.

A final question I want to pose is this. Who has the right to determine what quality of life is? If a blood test or amniocentesis should show significant risk of mental retardation or physical deformity, does that justify a decision to snuff out a life that God has begun? Who are we to say that someone with spina bifida cannot have a fulfilling life? Has quadriplegia hampered Joni Earickson's ability to bring God's blessing into other's lives? Watch Joni Barner as she plays with a kitten and tell me she has a crippled capacity to enjoy life.

This story is entitled "Autumn Dance" and is written by a woman named Robin Jones Gunn - "She stood a short distance from her guardian at the park this afternoon, her distinctive features revealing that, although her body blossomed into young adulthood, her mind would always remain a child's . My children ran and jumped and sifted sand through perfect, coordinated fingers. Caught up in fighting over a shovel, they didn't notice when the wind changed, but she did-a wild autumn wind spinning leaves into amber flurries.

I called to my boisterous son and jostled my daughter. 'Time to go. Mom still has lots to do today.' My rosy-cheeked boy stood tall watching with wide-eyed fascination the gyrating dance of the Downs Syndrome girl as she scooped up leaves and showered herself with the twirling rain of autumn jubilation. With each twist and hop she sang deep, earthy grunts, a canticle of praise meant only for the One whose breath causes the leaves to tremble from the trees.

'Hurry up. Let's go. Seatbelts on.' I start the car. In the rearview mirror I study her one more time through my misty eyes, and then the tears come-not tears of pity for her. The tears are for me, for I am far too sophisticated to publicly shout praises to my Creator.

I am whole and intelligent and normal, and so I weep because I will never know the severe mercy that frees such a child and bids her come dance in the autumn leaves."

I want to conclude with a couple of admonitions for the body of Christ in our culture:

  • Choose life. Let me read once more that short passage in Deuteronomy 30:19-20 - "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you LIFE and DEATH, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE LIFE, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers…"

  • Believe and act on the truth that God highly honors human life. It was the silence of Christians that allowed the Roe v Wade decision to pass. Had a significant outcry been raised in 1973 that awful Court ruling would never have happened.

  • Raise a voice of protest against the ungodliness that permits abortion. Live the life of righteousness and justice that God has called you to and be a voice of compassion and reason.

  • Continue to support the good work of the Mosaic Crisis Pregnancy Center as they offer hope and salvation to women in crisis pregnancies. I cannot think of a single good reason that anyone here should not pick up one of those baby bottles on the back table, take it home and return it in two weeks with a generous donation inside. Our gifts will help put that mobile unit on the road, multiplying the effect of this good ministry 400%.

  • Teach your children well. Teach them the value of human life, Talk about the devastation of abortion.

  • Vote for leaders in our country who respect life

  • Love those whose lives have been damaged by abortion.

Lee Eclov tells this story - Some years ago Dr. Timothy Warner shared a story with me about a woman who had come to him for counseling. Many years earlier, long before she had been a Christian, she had gone to have an abortion. It want's legal yet. She'd gone to a clinic of sorts, and the abortion had not occurred, even though the procedure had been instituted. So when she went back to her hotel room, the baby was aborted there. It was a horrible time, and the guilt and horror of those moments had haunted her for years. Even after she'd become a Christian and asked for forgiveness, it just wouldn't go away.

Through a time of prayer with Dr. Warner, he suggested an unusual thing. He said, 'Let's go back. Let's just remember that again. Play the video again, and let's pray that God will help you to see what you need to see.' So they did.

She was transported in her memory back to that hotel room in those moments after the aborted birth. And then in her mind's memory she saw something she had never seen before. She saw a figure enter the room, and she knew that figure was Jesus. Without a word, he came, picked up that little baby, and held it close to his chest and left. And from that moment she was healed, knowing her baby was safe."

It stands to reason-if God cares as much about babies in the womb, and out of the womb, as David says He does, we ought to as well.

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