Please open with me to Philippians 3:14-21.
Each of us who have had a spiritual heart transplant (Ezekiel 36:26-27), and have been born again (John 3), and have become a temple (I Corinthians 6:19-20) that the Living God lives in—are also now citizens of Heaven.
This morning we are to be those who declare God’s forgiveness as we live in this world as strangers and pilgrims, while having our real citizenship in Heaven. As citizens of Heaven we have a duty God has given us to expose evil.
It was 36 years ago this week that America officially launched the longest running war of her history.
This war against the weakest and most helpless of our citizens has left over 50 million dead, and as many wounded.
This month another 70,000 will die, and an equal number will also be wounded.
All of those who die are less than 9 months old, and the vast majority of those who die are just 8 weeks old.
The wounded are all women, and amount to more than 1/3 of all the women in America. Of those wounded women: 17% were wounded in their teens, 50% were over age 25, and astoundingly 60% of those wounded were already mothers of one child when their next child was killed.
I am sure that you understand that I am speaking about the long war America and the world is waging against the unborn.
The deaths are the over 50 million lives crushed by abortion since this week, 36 years ago.
The wounded are the 70,000 mothers each week, adding up to an astounding 50+ million mothers wounded and infected with the guilt of sin that only Jesus Christ can remove who sought for what ever reason, to end the life of their child growing within them.
All this incredible carnage and destruction of human life by death and by guilt for the living, leads us to ask, in the fast eroding morals of our post-Christian society, drifting away from any Biblical moorings, what should be:
The Convictions of a Citizen of Heaven
Philippians 3:14-21 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule,[a] let us be of the same mind. 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
[ Pray ]
Today is the national remembrance of the Sanctity of Life by churches across our great Land. But abortion is only part of a larger issue and that is:
What are the Biblical Convictions we should embrace as a Citizen of Heaven—Still living on Earth?
If I were to apply the Scriptures as far as they relate to the current moral and political climate in 21st Century American society, I would say that the Lord has revealed His convictions very clearly in His Word as:
- GOD is Pro-Life—God is absolutely opposed to Abortion and Euthanasia. He is the Creator and Sustainer of Life, and He is the One who grants conception.
- GOD is Pro-Marriage—God is eternally opposed to Gay and Lesbian Unions, as well as divorce, adultery, fornication, pornography, and any other form of immorality.
- GOD is Pro-Justice—God is constantly opposed to murder, violence, discrimination, prejudice, and any abuse of the weak, the poor, and the unborn; God is the One who invented and commanded capital punishment, and expects all societies to have a just legal system.
- GOD is Pro-Work—God is equally opposed to indolence, sloth, entitlements, oppression of the poor by the rich, and every form of false hope produced by gambling and lotteries.
As we saw last time in Romans 13, God’s call is for all believers to be subject to the human government they find themselves living under. We should be model citizen, subject and obedient to all laws unless they directly go against specific Scriptures God has commanded us to obey.
But we are neither passive nor idle as aliens and pilgrims on Earth. Turn with me to Ephesians 5:11, as we listen to Paul most likely writing this letter from Rome where he sat in prison. What does a citizen of Heaven do while being subject (even to the point of being in prison) to the powers that be? In Ephesians Paul declares our responsibility as citizens of Heaven (believers) is that we are to—expose sin.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
So--the responsibility of a Biblical Christian is to be subject to government (Romans 13) and to expose evil (Ephesians 5).
Of all people on earth we should have the most consistent, loving advice—abstain from everything that is evil. We should have the most compelling reason—it doesn’t please God. That is why we should engage our culture and point out that there are absolutes.
How do we live out those Biblical Convictions about God’s revelation of what is right and wrong?
How do we reconcile living on earth with all this evil and all of the sin that surrounds us?
To answer that let me just address one area of current controversy. There are countless other areas I could address from the Scriptures, but this morning let me limit this to just this issue: GOD is Pro-Life—God is opposed to Abortion and Euthanasia. He is the Creator and Sustainer of Life, and He is the One who grants conception.
Remember the responsibility we have to expose evil? Here is how we do so, using God's Word!
Exposing the Dark World of Abortion
Look again with me to Ephesians 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them”.
Paul tells us that we have a personal responsibility to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness”. No fellowship means that we are to ‘avoid, stay away from’, and ‘have no contact with’ evil. But that doesn’t mean isolation; it means a personal commitment to consecration. But the verse goes on to say that we have a public responsibility, one that we often have forgotten—we are to expose evil.
The Greek word ‘reprove’ or ‘expose’ means to point out in a public way those things that are in opposition to God's Word. Here is the dictionary definitions of elengcho: “to convict, refute, confute; generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted; by conviction to bring to the light, to expose; to admonish, reprove, to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation.”
So how should we respond to abortion since GOD is Pro-Life—and since God is opposed to Abortion and Euthanasia? He is the Creator of Life, the One who grants conception. All human life is His personal act of power as the God of this Universe allowing another human in His image to be conceived. But abortion is the worst form of all types of murder:
“Abortion is one of the darkest works of the human race—it is child sacrifice. And the only way it can survive is for darkness to survive. Wherever the light of truth and love comes, darkness flies away.
Therefore it is one of the great callings of the followers of Jesus to let their light shine in both ways: to live a holy life and to expose darkness.
The aim is partly negative: reveal the error hidden in the darkness, but mainly positive: to bring people to love the light and be made light in the Lord Jesus.”
So what do we, as Christ's children, need to expose in our world as His salt and His light to those around us?
Today we solemnly pause and remember that upwards of 50 million unborn children have been killed here in America through the abortion process since the notorious HYPERLINK "http://tourolaw.edu/Patch/Roe/" Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was issued on January 22, 1973. The average abortion rate in America alone is now over 70,000 children who are murdered in abortion clinics each month.
Ponder the Horrible Facts
As we mark the 36th anniversary of the landmark ruling, does the majority of Americans really support what the court found?
We need to expose the horrible fact that there are nearly a million children murdered by abortions each year in America. That means someone has hidden the remains of over 50 million murdered bodies since the Supreme Court overturned the right to life of babies 36 years ago.
We need to expose the hideous fact that 70% of abortions are performed between the seventh and tenth week when the baby is already sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, and responding to sound.
We need to expose the stunning fact that 70% of abortions are performed on a child who has all of his organs are present, her brain is functioning, his heart is pumping, her liver is cleaning blood cells, his kidneys are cleaning fluids, and this child already has a unique fingerprint. This tiny baby’s genetic code is uniquely and unquestionably human. And, if we are willing, this baby can be seen by ultrasound.
We need to expose the staggering fact that 43% of all American women will have at least one abortion by the age 45.
We need to expose the fact that 33% of all babies conceived and viable in this country are killed by abortion.
We need to expose the fact that Christianity doesn’t seem to stop this murderous war for each year 31% of all abortions are done on women who say they are Catholic; and 16% are done on women identifying themselves as "born again" Christians. One writer concludes, "Indeed, the abortion industry could not survive financially without paying customers drawn from the church (pp. 21)."
Remember that modern day abortion is as hideous as the horrific child sacrifice by wicked parents recorded in the Old Testament. God hates both eras of child sacrifice. He condemned and judged the worship of false gods (Molech and Baal) in the Old Testament, and the child sacrificing gods today—convenience and materialism.
Even the secular world is aware of how devastating this so called “procedure” has become in the mental and emotional health of so many women. The following ran at Thanksgiving time in the Daily Telegraph, a newspaper in London. Headline:
- Abortions linked to mental illness
- Women who have an abortion are 30 per cent more likely to develop a mental illness, research has shown. They are also three times more likely to develop a drug or alcohol addiction compared with other women, another report claimed. It comes as the number of women having an abortion in England and Wales exceeded 200,000 for the first time last year.
- More abortions – 57,000 – were carried out on women aged 20 to 24 than any other age group. There were 4,400 on the under-16s. A study of 500 women published in the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that anxiety and drug abuse are the most common mental problems following an abortion.
So what is our duty as citizens of Heaven? We are to:
Proclaim Christ's Powerful Gospel Hope
To anyone who has had one or more than one abortion, here or somewhere else—Christ's words are for you. Open with me to Acts 13:38, please.
If 43% of all women in America have a child they are carrying killed by abortion, then doubtlessly some of us who are here this morning have felt that horror to their soul.
If you know the pain and guilt of being a murderer of your very own child, listen to these powerful, hope-giving words Paul lovingly proclaimed to sinners in the ancient Roman town of Antioch Pisidia, recorded inActs 13:38-39.
“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses”.
Jesus is the One alone who offers genuine and complete forgiveness. He has made it possible for all sins to be forever wiped away, with soul and mind cleansed pure white of even the worst form of murder (the killing of a helpless, innocent, and unsuspecting baby) called abortion. Christ's forgiveness includes justification, which is the complete payment of all the guilt and punishment each sin deserves, as well as the complete obliteration of the record of that sin every having occurred. This all is done by the life of Jesus given as payment through His death on the Cross. Jesus said that those who are forgiven much should love much (Luke 7:47); and oh how much those men and women who have participated in the grievous sin of abortion (and any other sin) should love their Savior Jesus Christ!
Shine Your Life into the Darkness of Abortion
If God is Pro-Life, and He is, what would He have us do in light of our child sacrificing culture that lies in darkness all around us?
Here are just a few suggestions that all of us should pray about today.
Rejoice in the Wonder of Christ's Forgiveness: understand and share the good news that Christ alone can forgive and wipe away ALL sins, and share that message of Hope regularly!
Consider adoption. If you are physically and spiritually able to—you should at least be praying about helping take some unwanted children of this world into your home and raise them in the light of the Gospel and for the Glory of God.
Consider regular support of Alternatives Pregnancy Care Centers. There are 29 present and former volunteers and current Alternatives staff who are part of CBC (any here this service please stand), also three of our Life Groups minister in various ways with ACPC.
Most of us can’t interact with young girls (and older ones) at the point of their crisis. There is a ministry that can and does. They have the plan, they have the skill, and they have the track record—all they need is the support of God’s people. Think about this—is it enough to be against abortion without being for life in a tangible way? Serve and support pro-life ministries in Christ's Name.
Consider direct involvement. Perhaps some of you need to start making your presence know at the abortion clinics of the Kalamazoo area. How about other forms of involvement, like writing or phoning or visiting and talking, if you can, with those who work there, volunteering in a Alternatives Pregnancy Care Center, participating in some way through a Chain of Life, literature distribution, fund raisers for Life.
Consider using your most powerful tool--always pray. If you haven’t started yet, get literature about the horrors of abortion, and start to plead with the God of Heaven to deliver us from this evil. Ask for lives to be intercepted by loving believers before that babies life is taken, pray for a baby to be born and adopted, for a godly home to take it, and for a soul to come to faith in Christ's offer of salvation through your investment. Think of it as another way to take someone with you to Heaven.
Tonight we will explore even more of the wonders of Christ's offer of forgiveness.
But now, stand with me as we close with a reminder of our Creator, who gives life and grants conception, and knows every part of us today!
October 26, 2008 AM service BYCT Series #7.
Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
John Ensor , Answering the Call : Saving Innocent Lives One Woman at a Time , Colorado Springs, CO: Focus on the Family, 2003, pp. 18-35.