The Tremendous Ten: The Value of Life
The Tremendous Ten: The Value of Life
Opening Illustration: Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking is an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and perhaps the most intelligent man on earth. He has advanced the general theory of relativity farther than any person since Albert Einstein. Unfortunately, Hawking is afflicted with ALS Syndrome (Lou Gehrig’s disease). It will eventually take his life. He has been confined to a wheelchair for years, where he can do little more than sit and think. Hawking has lost the ability even to speak, and now he communicates by means of a computer that is operated from the tiniest movement of his fingertips.
Hawking said that before he became ill, he had very little interest in life. He called it a ‘pointless existence’ resulting from sheer boredom. He drank too much and did very little work. Then he learned he had ALS Syndrome and was not expected to live more than two years. The ultimate effect of that diagnosis, beyond its initial shock, was extremely positive. He claimed to have been happier after he was afflicted than before.
To a man like Hawking who thought he would soon die quickly, everything takes on meaning--a sunrise or a walk in a park or the laughter of children. Suddenly, each small pleasure becomes precious.
Life is Precious and Should be Protected!
Background of Exodus 20
We now in week three of a ten week series concerning the Ten Commandments. Today, also happens to be sanctity of life Sunday around the world. Sanity of Life Sunday takes up the plight of the unborn and the vicious attack against them through medical and pharmaceutical abortion. Most of us have seen the horrible videos from the Center for Medical Progress who have captured film documenting Planned Parenthood procedures to procure aborted fetal tissue samples and the subsequent selling of said tissue to research groups. Abortion has been a fixture of our society since Roe v Wade. In that time some 50,000,000 babies have been aborted. These are children who have been butchered. What makes matters worse is that for the most part this is government sanctioned and mine and your tax dollars have gone to pay for it all. So, in light of the day, we are going to cover Exodus 20:13 which clearly discusses life and death in just four simple words. So, let’s read together what God is telling us plainly.
Exodus 20:13 ESV
“You shall not murder.”
So, the English Standard Version of Exodus 20:13 states emphatically “you shall not murder”. I was curious to see what other translations would say. So here is the listing:
“You shall not murder.”
“You shall not murder.”
Holman Christian Standard Bible
“Do not murder”
Interestingly enough, the King James Version phrases it slightly different. Let’s look briefly at how it phrases Exodus 20:13,
“Thou shalt not kill.”
So, what’s the difference between murder and kill? What does the Bible really say and how should we interpret this short verse? On the surface, I think that we can all agree that the Scripture is telling us that taking someone’s life, murder, is wrong. In a way it is a form of theft. You are robbing someone of life. When we murder we become judge, jury and executioner. So, when we murder, we are not just robbers, we are also setting ourselves to be in the place of God. Remember, God is the judge. He is the final say and He alone makes the call when it comes to life or death.
Deuteronomy 32:35 NASB
“Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.”
It is also important to recognize that God is the giver of all life. Especially human life. We see that it was God who breathed human life into existence in Genesis 2:7. We see the progression of life from conception to birth and God’s mighty hand in the creation of that life in Psalm 139:13.
Psalm 139:13 NIV
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.”
God is the life giver. Before conception and beyond, God is the author of all life. When we murder, we set ourselves as barriers to God’s life giving force. When we snuff out life, when we murder, we deny creation it’s most basic right…God given life. Life that is important to God.
Deuteronomy 32:39 perhaps sums up what I am saying best.
“See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
Those who act on murder and never repent and seek forgiveness for that or those actions have hell to pay. The Apostle John gives warning to those who carry out the evil life robbing act of murder. Listen to his words:
Revelation 21:8 ESV
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
In order to try to figure out just what God is telling us about murder, I did a word study. That’s right, I put on my Hebrew hat and this is what I discovered. The Hebrew for murder or slay is רָצַח (ratsach pronounced raw-tsakh’). Yet, if you look a little deeper you see that the word means so much more than just to slay or murder. It’s root definition means to break, bruise, crush or dash into pieces. Friends, that’s what murder is isn’t it? Murder is dashing life into pieces. It is the breaking apart of what is most valuable to us as human beings. It is the willful destruction of life.
So, let’s examine a few important points in light of our special day and what God’s Word says.
God’s Message on Murder is…
God is making this commandment very personal. He is speaking directly to His people. God’s people are not to in any way participate in murder. God’s people are not to act like the heathen and pagan peoples surrounding them. You must remember that it was normal in the ancient world to sacrifice men, women and children to false God’s. It was also a norm for revenge and retribution to be carried out by families for wrongdoing. This would not be the same call for God’s people. They would not be allowed to murder for any reason.
Friends, God’s family has been extended ever since the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are also not to murder. We are not to take a life. We are not to set ourselves up as God and we are to all appreciate the precious nature of life.
“But Stuart, what about war and capital punishment?”
Friends, I am not here to start a debate that has raged for centuries. All I know is what the Bible says. Scripture clearly gives distinction between murder and capital punishment. We see this illustrated in Numbers 35 and Leviticus 24.
“‘If anyone strikes someone a fatal blow with an iron object, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death.”
Or if anyone is holding a wooden object and strikes someone a fatal blow with it, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death.
or if out of enmity one person hits another with their fist so that the other dies, that person is to be put to death; that person is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when they meet.
Leviticus 24:17 gives clear contrast to murder and capital punishment.
“Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.”
God’s people are instructed not to take life. However, in God’s governmental system, life is to be protected from those bent on breaking the fundamental right to God given life.
“Well preacher, I am not guilty of murder. I have never taken a life. So, I am good here.”
Nope you are not good and neither am I. Remember that it was our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. It was our sin that led to His death. So, in fact we are all murderers. Don’t believe me, listen to what Scripture says.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
But we weren’t slaughtered. Jesus was. Why? Well, He died because of me and you and our willful disobedience. He paid our penalty with His life thus making us directly responsible for His death. Congratulations, we are murders. It is hard to stomach I agree but John even takes it a step further. He makes it personal.
I John 3:15 ESV
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Next Jesus Himself chimes in with this little beauty.
Matthew 5:21-22 KJV
21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
So, Jesus changes the game. Murder is not just a physical act but it is also an act of the heart. It was easy to simply say I have not murdered anyone. Sure, neither have I in the physical sense. However, how many of us are guilty of murdering people in our hearts, minds and souls? I dare say all of us have been there.
Friends, Jesus tells His followers, His family that we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Yet, the converse applies as well. When we allow spiritual murder to infect our hearts does it not infect our heart, soul, mind and strength? It does and we must guard ourselves against murder of any kind…physical or spiritual. That’s why Jesus offers clarification on an oft misunderstood piece of scripture.
Matthew 5:38-45 ESV
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[h] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
God’s Message on Murder is…
“shall not commit”
Yes, the command is personal. Those words were measured to God’s people which we have been grafted into. Yet, the command has power. “You shall not”. It sounds a lot like a parent speaking to a child right? Well, in many ways, that is exactly what God was doing. The nation of Israel was new. They were a fledgling people in need of assistance. So, God does what God does, He steps in and offers help. Powerful help.
In this piece of Scripture, we discover two things. First, we discover the power of life. Life is meant to be treasured and protected. Likewise, we discover the power of murder. Robbing humans of life is powerful and not to be trivialized.
Yet, we live in a society that trivializes life. Life is not valuable. Did you know that the United States ranks 14th in murder rates? You might be thinking that’s not so bad. Until you find out who has a lower murder rate.
Uganda has a lower murder rate that America.
North Korea, home of Kim Jung Un has a lower murder rate than America.
Rwanda, home of the Rwandan genocide has a lower murder rate than America.
There are 189 countries that have a lower murder rate than America. That is simply staggering.
It get’s worse.
In 2013, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 14,196
According to FBI.gov
A violent crime occurred every 27.1 seconds
A murder every 37 minutes
A rape every 6.6 minutes
A robbery every 1.5 minutes
It get’s worse.
Finally our state is not first in a bad statistical category, that distinction goes to Louisiana. However, Alabama ranks 9th in the entire Union in murder rates. 9th. You know who is better than us? New York. New York has a lower murder rate than Alabama.
We are a violent society that has cheapened life.
Friends, this is the tip of the iceberg. Did you know that since 2000 we have seen more than 150 school shootings. Our hearts broke and we all cried and prayed for the children whose life’s were snuffed out. We prayed for the parents who lost their babies. That is a good response. A proper response.
What about the children being killed everyday who never make headlines and no one show ups to chronicle their lives after they are terminated? What about the children who never have a voice and are never granted a chance to breath air?
Does the Bible discuss the issue of abortion? According to the Bible, is abortion murder? Well, let’s look at what God’s word says.
The Bible never specifically addresses the issue of abortion. However, there are numerous teachings in Scripture that make it abundantly clear what God’s view of abortion is. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God knows us before He forms us in the womb. Psalm 139:13-16 speaks of God’s active role in our creation and formation in the womb. Exodus 21:22-25 prescribes the same penalty—death—for someone who causes the death of a baby in the womb as for someone who commits murder. This clearly indicates that God considers a baby in the womb to be as human as a full-grown adult. For the Christian, abortion is not a matter of a woman’s right to choose. It is a matter of the life or death of a human being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27;9:6).
The first argument that always arises against the Christian stance on abortion is “What about cases of rape and/or incest?” As horrible as it would be to become pregnant as a result of rape and/or incest, is the murder of a baby the answer? Two wrongs do not make a right. The child who is a result of rape/incest could be given in adoption to a loving family unable to have children on their own, or the child could be raised by its mother. Again, the baby is completely innocent and should not be punished for the evil acts of its father.
The second argument that usually arises against the Christian stance on abortion is “What about when the life of the mother is at risk?” Honestly, this is the most difficult question to answer on the issue of abortion. First, let’s remember that this situation is the reason behind less than one-tenth of one percent of the abortions done in the world today. Far more women have an abortion for convenience than women who have an abortion to save their own lives. Second, let’s remember that God is a God of miracles. He can preserve the life of a mother and a child despite all the medical odds being against it. Ultimately, though, this question can only be decided between a husband, wife, and God. Any couple facing this extremely difficult situation should pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) as to what He would have them to do.
Point: Life In The Womb
Abortion is the termination of life, human life. Just look at the scientific facts. This is not just some clump of cells. This is a distant human being.
Modern embryology tells us that at the moment of conception, the new human being possesses all of the genetic material the baby will need to develop, and if the child will be a boy or a girl. Hereditary traits such as hair and eye color are determined at this very rst instant of life. Approximately 22 days later, the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood, often of a blood type different from that of his mother. At six weeks of life, electrical brain activity can be detected and the eyes, eyelids, nose, mouth, and tongue are formed.
By eight weeks after conception, the little boy or girl is medically known as a “fetus” and contains all the organs and bodily structures, including 20 “baby” tooth buds, found in the newborn infant. Nine-week old babies are growing ngernails and toenails and are often seen swallowing, sucking their ngers or tongues, and yawning.
By ten weeks of life, the child’s sex has become clearly visible, the vocal cords are forming, and he is likely quite active, making stretching, leaping, and kicking movements. Two weeks later, at twelve weeks after conception, the unborn child has developed a habit of squirming when his mother prods her abdomen, and can perform an array of effortless movements. Unborn children at this stage of development often have well-shaped eyebrows and hair on their heads, along with softening “baby” cheeks. Babies of fourteen weeks are seen on ultrasound to be rather expressive, displaying a variety of facial expressions from wide smiles to grimaces and frowns, often in response to external stimuli. Over the next week, perceptive capacities increase and the baby becomes even better at coordinating movements in response to his place in his environment. Over the next several weeks, the child’s lungs grow stronger and more sophisticated and increasing in capacity as he practices breathing movements using amniotic fluid in place of air. The unborn child of fifteen to eighteen weeks continues to grow at a rapid pace. During that period the baby will develop an immune system. He will open his eyes and will be able to cry. During month eight, the baby prepares for life outside the womb. He is getting stronger and sleeping more and more. In month 9, the final preparations have been made and he is ready to be born.
Sadly, a woman can terminate the life of the unborn child at 24 weeks.
Over 95 percent of the abortions performed today involve women who simply do not want to have a baby. Less than 5 percent of abortions are for the reasons of rape, incest, or the mother's health at risk. Even in the more difficult 5 percent of instances, abortion should never be the first option. The life of a human being in the womb is worth every effort to allow the child to be born.
The numbers are absolutely alarming:
From 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions occurred in the U.S.
Twenty-one percent of all U.S. pregnancies end in abortion.
America is a sin sick death focused society. Our government funnels our tax dollars to programs that exterminate defenseless human life in a more humane way than many of us euthanize our pets. More American children have died at the hands of doctors, nurses, mothers and fathers than…
The Civil War
The Revolutionary War
The War of 1812
Any Conflict in Iraq
and the Philippine American War
Friends there is a murderous war being waged everyday on the unborn child and all of us are guilty of turning our heads and ignoring their silent cries. Not only are we guilty of murder in the spiritual sense, but we are all guilty of physical murder by sitting idly by while watching our country grow numb to a fetal genocide 50 million strong.
“But preacher, what about a women’s right to choose? It’s her body and who are we to tell her what to do with her body?”
Hogwash. This is the most preposterous argument I have ever heard.
Ala. Code §§ 13A-12-120, 13A-12-121 is a state wide government law strictly prohibiting anyone, including a women, from using their bodies to make money. The great state of Alabama has made it illegal for women to prostitute their bodies for gain.
If a woman breaks this law, the government will send her and her body to jail for up to one year and a $6000 fine.
Friends we tell each other what to do with our bodies all the time. It is illegal for a woman to take her body, get her body drunk and then get behind the wheel of a car.
In all professional sports there are rules what men and women can do to their bodies. They cannot ingest drugs or take anything giving them an advantage over an opponent. OUR SOCIETY TELLS US WHAT CAN CAN AND CANNOT DO WITH OUR BODIES ALL THE TIME.
God even has rules for our bodies. We are to treasure our bodies and take care of them.
I Corinthians 3:16-17 ESV
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
When we destroy life at any stage, it destroys the temple of God.
To say that we should not infringe on the right of woman to choose simply because she has say over her body just doesn’t stick.
Taking life is Biblically evil but there is something particularly wicked about robbing the life of a child before he or she ever has a chance to life. There is no excuse for it. Simply put abortion is the breaking of 6th commandment, you shall not murder.
Quote: Mother Teresa
The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.
Psalm 127:3-5 ESV
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
God’s Message on Murder is…
“shall not commit”
III. Purposeful (Redemptive)
Friends, we are all guilty. We have committed murder. I killed Jesus. I have killed others in my heart spiritually. I have sat idly by and said nothing as millions of innocent children have died. I am complient in their deaths and so are you. One day we will stand before God and have to give a reason as to why we, the church, did not do more to protect those He loved. What will our answer be? What will we say?
Chances are abortion has touched your family. In rooms this size there is probably someone who has experienced abortion. What do I say to you today? Where do you go from here? Do you deny the truth? Abortion is murder! Or, do you accept the truth for what it is? You are not alone. You are not the only guilty one. There is a plan for me and for you. The plan is forgiveness. God has a purpose for your life and that purpose is redemption
Jesus forgives you. Jesus wants to make you whole again. No, the life terminated cannot be brought back and the consequences for those actions cannot be undone. However, redemption and reconciliation can be accepted. They are freely offered from God. We are all murderers in one form or another. All of us sinners in need of saving.
Friend God wants to redeem you and me. He wants to save us from our wicked, violent desires.
Not only does God want to redeem you but he wants to redeem the aborted child. That child, from conception was given a soul. An eternal soul that would last forever and ever. When that child, I believe that soul went to heaven and is now at peace and rest with God. That life may have been wasted on earth but it will not be wasted for eternity. That baby is still alive and well. How do I know this?
Scripture of course.
"God is love (1 John 4:8) and desires that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). God is love and His concern for children is evident in Matthew 18:14 where Jesus says, 'Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.'"
The Old Testament account of David and Bathsheba when their baby boy dies. David "confessed his confidence that he would see the child again and he comforted his wife Bathsheba," indicating that David believed his son was with God.
Luke 18:15-17. Jesus affirmed that the kingdom of God belonged to little children.
So for the mother and father who had that child terminated, Jesus loves you and desires to save, redeem and forgive you.
For the child aborted, that little one is with Jesus.
For the rest of us guilty of murder, may we seek the forgiveness of Jesus.
So, what can we do? We can advocate for the lives of the unborn. We can talk about it and we can share the story of God’s plan for children. We can take over social media in a loving way. We can write our senators and congressmen and women and tell them to make more strides to end abortion.
We can adopt. Friends, imagine if abortion became illegal. Where would those children go? Whose home would accept them? Currently there are half a million orphans in the United States today. You could see those numbers dramatically increase if abortion ceased to be law of the land. We must prepare ourselves to take in the abandoned and the forgotten about. We must agree to enter the foster care system and the adoption system to care for children.
We can support. One of my favorite organizations on the Eastern Shore is the Women’s Care Medical Center which help men and women make educated, responsible and Christlike decisions when it comes to their pregnancy. Women’s Care in Robertsdale actively shares Christ with women and men in hopes to save their eternal souls and the baby’s physical life. Pray about what you can give to aid this important organization become a barrier between parents and abortion.
We can pray. Pray that God changes the hearts of men and women in powerful positions. Pray that God convicts law makers, church leaders and community leaders to chart a different course of life instead of death.
Friends, we all need forgiveness. We all need saving. Today, we murderers should repent, turn from our wicked ways so that our land, hearts and souls can be healed.
Acts 3:19 NIV
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
Turn This Information Into Your Inspiration