Sanctity of Life Sunday 2022
We can take no part in the evil darkness of abortion. But instead, we must make the best use of the time to expose the darkness and protect the unborn.
1. Identifying the Darkness, v.11
2. Taking No Part in the Darkness, v. 11
3. Exposing the Darkness, vs. 11-16
a. Educate Ourselves
b. Educate Others
Sanctity of Life Sunday 2022
A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to have a hard talk with my kids. They were arguing about racing each other and who was faster and which one of the cousins was the fastest. So, I stopped them and shared with them an honest and blunt truth. You guys, I said, you need to know something. Our family is very slow, I’m sorry. You are probably not going to be very fast. You have inherited some bad genes. I have had to learn this difficult lesson and despite all my wishes to be speedy it just won’t happen. I’m sorry.
This was a hard thing for them to hear! But I felt it was time. Don’t worry, I told them it was ok that they were probably going to be slow, I still love them. And I told them that this didn’t mean they were the slowest in the world. Perhaps they would find someone slower and they could win some foot races then. There is some hope.
The reason I share this story is that this morning, Sanctity of Life Sunday, we have to face a hard reality which we don’t necessarily want to talk or think about, but we must. And that hard reality is that abortion exists, it is prevalent and celebrated in our culture and it is evil. That may not be as surprising of a truth to hear for many of us, like my kids learning that they are not very fast, but I suspect that for some people here, or watching online or listening later, that this topic hurts to talk about. Whether through personal experience, someone in the family, or just wishing we wouldn’t go into such sensitive topics, this can be painful to address.
Whatever your past and history in relation to abortion, I want you to hear me clearly this morning. Abortion exists, it is an evil work of darkness, but there is hope and abundantly more hope than what i gave my children about not being the slowest in the whole world. We will discuss this aspect a little more in a bit, but I want to start at the outset by saying that no matter what you have done or been involved in, when we seek God’s forgiveness, he is ready and willing to pour it out from his loving heart. We don’t need to run away from this hard topic even if it hurts. We need to look at it through the lens of God’s word and have it change our hearts and minds as only God can. And find the forgiveness and healing that only he can give.
When we do that, here is what I hope we will find, our main point:
We can take no part in the evil darkness of abortion. But instead, we must make the best use of the time to expose the darkness and protect the unborn.
What we will do is look at three things from our passage. We will identify the darkness, discuss what it means to take part in it, and then how to expose the darkness.
We start in verse 11 with identifying the darkness.
- Identifying the Darkness, v.11
I find that it is really easy to shield myself from the depths of evil in this world. It is easy to become insulated in our Christian community. Now, that can be a good thing, don’t get me wrong. We do not need to put before our eyes vile things in order to be constantly reminded of their existence. I think of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians, that we are to be infants in regards to evil.
But we can take it too far and never consider exactly what is happening all around us. Paul gives us a good balance here in Ephesians 5. We are now children of light in Christ, no longer in the darkness. We are to have nothing to do with the darkness, we are not to join and be partakers with those who live habitually in sin. Some of the evil that takes place in the world is so heinous that Paul says it is shameful to even speak of it.
Yet, we are to have some connection and understanding of the darkness in order to identify and know what the darkness is and to expose its evil deeds. We will get into exactly how we expose it shortly, but the point right now is that we are to be separate from the darkness, remove ourselves from it, but be aware of its reality and to be able to identify it.
And abortion is one evil act of darkness and one that is easy to insulate ourselves from. Its one of those things that, if we are honest, it’s easy to forget about. If it is not being spoken of on the news because of some legal case or during an election year, then most of us would probably not think of it, myself included. It is just not really within our daily comings and goings, which can be a good thing, but it also puts us to sleep to its horrors. And we need to be roused awake to remember the reality of this evil darkness. It exists, it is prevalent, it is celebrated and fought for so we cannot ignore it and hope that the politicians make it go away.
Here is how pervasive it is in our culture: since 1973 and the landmark Supreme Court case, Roe vs Wade, 60 million babies have been killed in the United States alone. 60 million. That is double the population of the state of Texas, equal to the population of the country of Italy. That is 2,363 children a day. Planned Parenthood averages an abortion every 90 seconds.
And if the murder of babies in the womb wasn’t horrible enough, the ways in which these 60 million little ones have died heaps evil upon evil. A baby can be starved to death in the womb, sucked out of a tube, ripped apart by metal tongs and pulled out piece by piece, poisoned to death. Or the worst, born alive, preterm, and left alone to die.
How could this be happening all around us so prevalently to the degree of these staggering numbers? One of the reasons is because of the blinding nature of darkness. Those who live in this darkness, this culture of death, seek to keep others in that darkness with them. They willingly blind people to the truth and they do so with great shrewdness. I am speaking of the way in which abortion advocates have really won the language battle, the war of words, in our culture.
The best way to get people on your side is to desensitize them to what is really happening; move slowly and make it sound not so bad and even make those who oppose it sound like the monsters. This is a clever trick of the darkness, the same one the devil used in the garden of Eden in his conversation with Eve; just twist some words to capture your prey. And since it works, he keeps on using it.
For example, this is the same tactic the Nazis used in Germany in the 1930’s as they rose to power and convinced an entire nation to either join them or look the other way while they murdered millions upon millions of those they called “less than human.” Sound familiar to abortion?
I was reminded of just how startlingly well their manipulation worked in a book I am reading about American soldiers that interrogated German prisoners of war. And this one German soldier had been a prison guard at a concentration camp. He admitted unemotionally to his captor that he had in-fact executed countless prisoners of the camp. When asked why he participated in such atrocities, this young man shrugged and said, “If I didn’t volunteer to do it, someone else would have, and besides they would give out rewards for those who volunteered like weekend leave passes and theatre tickets and I like the theatre.”
How many people in Germany at that time had been so manipulated into thinking this same way? Change the narrative, change the language, and you can literally get away with murder.
And this is exactly what is happening in our country today in relation to abortion. Thousands of people everyday will unemotionally kill a baby in the womb because they have been convinced that what they are doing is right and even good.
Think about the words being used: “pro-choice.” Choice is a good thing! I don’t want the government telling me what I can and can’t do with my body. Sign me up!
Women’s rights? I don’t want to sound misogynistic, or bigoted or whatever other word. Yea, women’s rights is a good thing, I’m on board!
Terminate a pregnancy. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? After all what is it inside there?
A cluster of cells, an embryo then a fetus, and overall this is just another form of birth control anyways.
Or another ploy: the focus gets shifted away from the child and onto the mother. And those who oppose abortion are called racists, or unloving because we force a woman in dire financial straits to have a child she cannot afford. Pro-life advocates, it is said, don’t care about the mother or the baby once it is born.
Or even make abortion sound like the only loving thing one could do in the situation! The baby will have birth-defects when they are born. What kind of life would they lead? Think about the burden on the parents? It is more humane to end the pregnancy now to prevent anyone from suffering. Don’t you care about suffering?
You see what has happened? Those of us who seek to protect life, have become the evil ones in the eyes of those in darkness.
The language and the narrative have been successfully changed. The darkness of abortion has seeped into the very words we hear and say. Murder is no longer murder, but a choice, sometimes the best and most loving choice they say, to save everyone from undo suffering. The pain and death of the helpless is now considered an essential right. The life that started at conception, made in the image of God, is now just a clump of cells, a potential life that can be snuffed out any time they choose.
The darkness of abortion is pure evil and we are called to wake up to its reality and scheming.
- Taking No Part in the Darkness, v. 11
And because it is darkness, we as believers can take no part in it, verse 11. Hopefully we all agree with that statement. But that doesn’t mean we always succeed in upholding that command. In what ways have we, have I, failed to take no part in the darkness of abortion? I see two ways.
The first is in using the language of darkness, as we just talked about. Many times, I find myself using the words, categories and definitions that have been brought into the conversation by those in favor of abortion. It is so subtle, I may not even catch it, but by doing this, we are giving up the solid ground of truth that we are standing on and move over to the shifting sands of the darkness.
For example, is it a fetus or a baby? Yes, the medical terminology for the developmental stage after 10 weeks is “fetus.” But, again, what is the point of making this language mainstream? To hide the truth of what is happening so that evil can be perpetuated! We must have nothing to do with the darkness including its vocabulary that is meant to hide the truth from the world.
We will be held to account for every word we have spoken on this earth so we need to be cautious of our choice of words, something I admit can be very hard. But even if we sound foolish to the world, let us be found fools for the sake of God and his truth!
The second way I find myself taking part in the darkness is similar to the first but its opposite: silence. So, the first way is speaking the wrong words, using the language of darkness. But we also, again myself included here, take part in the darkness through our silence.
The 4th century church father, Ambrose of Milan, said, “Not only for every idle word but for every idle silence must we render an account.”
For all of the times I have not said anything, not corrected the lies of darkness, ignored the evil being perpetuated, shielded myself from the truth, punted the responsibility to someone else, I will give an account before the face of God.
No, I am not an advocate of abortion, but I don’t need to be in order to take part in its darkness, in order to be guilty of this evil sin and in need of repentance and God’s abundant mercy.
Perhaps, as I discussed at the beginning, your complicity in this goes even deeper. Maybe you have been, or are, an advocate of abortion. Maybe you have advised someone to get one, or have had an abortion yourself. If this is the case, and I am saying this from a deep care for your soul, you need to repent if you have never done so. That is a hard truth, but it is a loving truth.
It is loving because when we confess our sin, when we admit our part in darkness and turn away from it, no matter how deep it goes, God is faithful to forgive from his very heart. He does not look at us with contempt, or with disgust, as someone who is not worthy of him. Oh yes, he knows our frame, and our sinfulness, our brokenness, better than we know it ourselves. But instead of treating us how our sins deserve, he showers us with his abundant grace and love and mercy.
No matter how unloveable, undeserving, unforgiveable we may feel, God’s grace and love and mercy is more. There is no sin his forgiveness can’t reach because it was bought for us by the infinitely precious blood of Jesus Christ, God the Son. Who gave himself up on our behalf, taking on himself the penalty for all of our sin in his death on the cross, including that of abortion. All we are called to do is come to him in faith, believing that forgiveness is found in him alone and in return we will receive his new life, his resurrection life of healing, wholeness and joy.
But if we reject that offer, we will only find the darkness swallowing us up more and more for all eternity. The choice seems pretty clear. Don’t stay on the side of darkness. Come to Christ and his kingdom of light and life.
No matter what our level of complicity has been, let us confess and repent of our part in the dark work of abortion. And let us cling to the cross of Christ where our forgiveness is found.
- Exposing the Darkness, vs. 11-16
We have identified the darkness and also looked at our part in it. What, then, are we to do in order to effect change? Verses 11-16 give us the answer: we are to make the best use of our time and expose the darkness.
How do we do that practically? While we could mention a lot of different things, I will focus on just three.
- Educate ourselves
The first is to educate ourselves. One of the reasons it is so shocking that abortion is so prevalent in our world today is that we an abundance of resources and evidence proving that the child in the womb is a person; a living, breathing, growing baby from conception. Maybe in generations past we could claim ignorance, but not anymore. We would be wise to educate ourselves on the facts. Whether from the biblical and theological stand-point of why we believe abortion is a sin, to the scientific case of the life of the unborn. There are lots of amazing organizations that are doing a wonderful job in putting out resources like Alternatives, or LiveAction. The better educated we are, the more that we understand, the less we will be able to be lulled to sleep by being removed from its horrors and we will not fall for the schemes of darkness to trick us into a level of complicity.
- Educate others
And once we are educated, the next thing we can do is educate others. As I said before, I think many, many people are simply blind to the truth about abortion. They have been tricked by the darkness and have never heard a Biblical and scientific case for the sanctity of life. Simply telling people the truth can make a huge difference! Not being silent when we hear people repeat errors and falsehoods can save a life. This happened a few times that I can remember at my previous job. There would be conversations about abortion or those crazy pro-lifers that someone saw in a movie or on the news and they would just parrot lies. So, I would speak up and try to have a gentle conversation about what is actually true and what we really believe. It was like people were hearing it for the first time! You mean what I saw in a movie isn’t true? Gasp! You have a coherent worldview? Shocking!
Knowing that people have been blinded to the truth, should give us compassion for them, and a desire to share the truth with them. If it can save a life, if it can stop someone from getting an abortion because they were misinformed, praise God!
But we must speak up, lives are at stake because of the blindness of those stuck in darkness.
Finally, we need to evangelize.
This one is the key to real lasting change. Yes, education is important and necessary. Many people are simply blinded by false teaching when it comes to abortion and they may change their minds when faced with the truth. That is God’s common grace working in the hearts of believers and unbelievers alike. But that can only take us so far. That is not the end of the matter and doesn’t truly solve the issue. Even if we educate ourselves and others, the darkness still exists. Even if we get abortion outlawed in this country, the darkness still exists and those trapped in its clutches will still seek out this evil practice in new and creative ways. They will continue to find ways to lie and murder and people will still spend an eternity in hell separated from God.
The real answer, the only thing that will affect true and lasting change, is when people have new hearts by hearing the Gospel and coming under the Lordship of Christ. This is the key! Only Christ can change hearts and pull people out of darkness and into his light. Only the Holy Spirit can turn what was dark into what is visible, as verses 13 and 14 say. Only God can take out a heart of stone and give someone a heart of flesh with a new life to follow him with a new mind and heart with new desires to protect the vulnerable and the weak and to love others as themselves.
Without the Gospel changing hearts, the darkness will continue to spread. Education and legislation have their place and we should take advantage of the legal process to protect the unborn, don’t misunderstand me, but those things aren’t the end goal. The goal is for the lost to hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We need to make the foundational thing our priority, which is seeing those dead in their sin being brought to life. And then the truth of God and his word will change hearts and minds on the subject of abortion on a deeper level then we could ever accomplish on our own.
When faced with the reality of this prevalent and every grpwing darkness it is easy to get discouraged. But we must always Remember, God is more powerful than the darkness. When it seems that his kingdom is losing ground we must cling to the hope that we have in Christ. We must pray and evangelize fervently that his kingdom of light would overcome the darkness and that the lives of the vulnerable unborn would be protected because the souls of those who heard the good news have been given new life and new desires in him.