How a church can help defend life
What a church might do on a Sunday in January to faithfully remain committed to preaching the whole counsel of God and yet be a faithful testament to the issue of abortion and make sure the listeners understand the Biblical view.
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 Hello everyone. Welcome to the case for life podcast. I’m Scott Klusendorf president of life training Institute, and we’re here to equip you to be an effective pro life ambassador and apologist or advocate, whatever your role might be. And be sure to visit us on our social media sites. We are going to have a lot of things there that help you in your endeavor to be better equipped as a pro life advocate.

And, uh, including what I’m going to talk about today, we will have posted there already. The gist of what I’m going to go over with you today, and that is this. A Pew Research study just came out that quite frankly, Would have shocked me five years ago, but no longer shocks me, and that’s a sad thing. And here’s what that study showed.

Less than four percent of churches during the month of January, which is typically Sanctity of Human Life month, are even going to mention abortion, much less preach on it. And those that do preach on it Most do not do more than mention it. They don’t develop the theme. They don’t equip their people with a biblical worldview on the topic.

They don’t give them the tools to engage friends who think differently on this issue. Well, today what I want to do is, I’m not going to beat up on pastors. Rather, what I’m going to do is come alongside and say, Here’s what a pro life sermon might look like. One that integrates gospel with pro life apologetics.

One that equips people to know what they can do to make a difference and at the same time is faithful to the gospel, God centered preaching that ought to come from our pulpits. Obviously, as you know, many people think that if we preach on abortion, We’re going to distract from the main mission of the church.

And just to say up front, that is bogus, and we’ve covered this before, but if you look at the Great Commission, the job description Christ gives the church, you’re going to notice right away that we are told to go make disciples. This is Matthew 28. Well, what does it mean to go make disciples? Well, Jesus tells us, let’s not read our own stuff into it.

Let’s be faithful to the text. What does it mean to make disciples? Jesus tells us. Teach them to obey all that he has commanded. Well, what is one of those commands? We’re not to shed innocent blood. What is abortion? The shedding of innocent blood. Therefore, abortion relates to the Great Commission responsibilities of the local church, and it’s not a distraction from it.

Other people say, well, I don’t want to preach on this because It’s political. And we’ve said this too. All issues become politicized. Slavery became politicized. Sex trafficking has become politicized in our day and age. You pick any issue you want. Racism, any justice issue at all, eventually becomes politicized.

That is not an excuse to ditch our Christian responsibility to rescue those being led away to slaughter. So, with that in mind, what might a church do on a Sunday in January to faithfully remain committed to gospel, faithfully remain committed to preaching the whole counsel of God, and yet be a faithful testament to the issue of abortion and making sure that listeners understand the biblical view.

And I’m going to walk you through what a typical sermon might look like. So the first thing I would want to do is pick a scripture that will relate directly. Now, honestly, It’s not like you’re going to be doing an exegetical sermon where you’re, you’re going to just take a text and not even go outside the bounds of that text, that particular text.

When you preach on abortion, it’s going to be a bit more topical in nature, and this isn’t wrong. I know there are some people out there that say topical sermons are just by definition wrong. I don’t think so. I think that if you want to teach people a biblical worldview, You need to do two things. Teach them systematically through Scripture.

Give them the big picture of Scripture. What are the big themes? What’s the big storyline? What are the big topics that our biblical theology should inform? Well, that’s tough to do if you never, uh, jump out of the, uh, exegetical mode, systematic preaching that is more topical in nature is not wrong. I think it can be wrong if that’s all we do.

If we do nothing more than say, next month we’re going to do a series on God’s best for your life, or we’re going to do a series of topics on managing your finances, and all you ever do is is preach practical stuff that doesn’t get into the meat of scripture from an exegetical standpoint. I get that, but it’s not wrong from time to time for the biblically grounded pastor to say, you know what, We’re going to take a break here, and I want to go over what the Bible teaches about a topic that relates to where we are as a culture right now, and abortion is one of those issues.

So, how might I approach this biblically? I would start with a good passage, and I think the one I would use, and the one I plan to use this particular time, year when I preach next Sunday at my own church is Proverbs 19. And it talks about in that passage that there are things the Lord hates, one of which is the shedding of innocent blood.

Also mentioned are lips that lie. And feet that rush to evil. In other words, people that are anxious to do evil. They don’t slip into doing wrong. They run to it. It’s their, their disposition. It’s the way they go. And it’s interesting that Proverbs 6 Links the shedding of innocent blood with lying lips, with people that rush to evil.

This is a good scripture for our day and age, where we have seen in the media and in our culture, it’s not just that we shed innocent blood through abortion. We have states right now who have set themselves up to be abortion tourism states. States like California, Illinois. Colorado that are saying to the nation, you come here and we’ll fund the travel for you to come here.

We’ll pay for your abortions and we will make sure you can get access to it. In other words, this isn’t, uh, uh, what some might think of as a mild toleration of abortion where, okay, we’ll just keep it legal, but we, we want to keep it rare. You know, those days of abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

They’re long gone. We now have people wanting to promote it wholesale within their churches, I’m sorry, within their states, and advertising in states that ban abortion. Come over here and we’ll give you your abortion for free. We’ll even, you know, pay for you to get here if you don’t have the money.

That’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about. And Proverbs 6 addresses this. But the point I’d want to make is this. In Scripture, the shedding of innocent blood is particularly egregious. It’s not like other sins. And it’s an important point to make because there’s this heretical view, especially in Evangelicalism, not so much in Catholic circles, but in Evangelical circles, That sin is sin, all sin is alike, and we really shouldn’t, you know, single out some sins as being worse than others.

The Bible does not teach that. The Bible, in fact, teaches, and right here in Proverbs 6, we see an example of it, that there are some sins the Lord considers worse than others. And here’s the distinction I think a lot of people miss. All humans are equal. In that, they equally share a sin nature. In other words, by disposition, we are oriented to rebel against our Creator.

We don’t just do bad things, we’re bad by nature. This is taught in Ephesians 2, Romans 5. elsewhere throughout the scriptures, okay? But it doesn’t follow that because we equally share a sin nature that the acts that spring from that sin nature are all morally equivalent. There is a difference between stealing a pencil and raping someone, or perhaps not returning a book you borrowed.

And, uh, you know, assaulting them. There’s a difference. And if you don’t see that difference between stealing a pencil and murder, there’s something wrong with your moral compass. You’re, you’re not right in your moral thinking. So scripture does not teach that all acts are equally the same in terms of their moral value, though it does teach we’re all equally sinners, justly deserving the wrath of God, because we all share a sin nature that’s in rebellion against its maker.

So we gotta be careful to clarify that point for people. And to give you some examples. If you look at scriptures like Deuteronomy 19, Psalm 94, Isaiah 1, Jeremiah 19, Ezekiel 22, and Revelation 16, you will see in each of these passages that God singles out the shedding of innocent blood, that is, the intentional killing of innocent human beings, as particularly egregious.

So once you establish that biblical foundation that the The shedding of innocent blood is strictly forbidden and is particularly egregious. The next question we need to ask is simply this. Does abortion count as the shedding of innocent blood? And the answer is yes. And here’s how we know that. We know from the science of embryology.

that the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings from the beginning, from the one cell stage, and because of that, we now know that the commands against the shedding of innocent blood in scripture apply to the unborn just like they do you and I and every other human being that’s on the planet.

The unborn, like you, like me, are image bearers, and thus intentionally killing them, or as the Bible describes it, Shedding innocent blood is an egregious wrong. So the commands against the shedding of innocent blood apply to the unborn as they do everyone else. Philosophically, you can go on to argue that there’s no essential difference between, uh, you as an embryo and you as an adult that justifies killing you.

And here’s why pastor, you need to make that argument. The culture today loves to divide humans from human persons. In other words, the culture, the secular ethos that’s in culture today says that what matters is not being human. What matters is being a person. And here’s what they mean by that. You have a certain level of cognitive development.

You have a certain level of viability, physical development, whatever trait they pick out. It’s all arbitrary, but they divide person from human. Now, just to give you a little more insight on this, this is something we’ve talked about here on this podcast. This is a worldview of the human person known as body self dualism.

And body self dualism says that the real you is not your physical body in any meaningful sense. The meaningful sense of you, according to the body self dualism, is strictly your thoughts, your aims, your feelings, your desires, your cognitive process. That’s the real you. And until you have those things, There’s no you there.

And by the way, you can lose them at the end of life and you cease being a person on this view. Body self dualism is the view that allows a man to say, I’m really a woman trapped in a man’s body. It’s the worldview that justifies transgenderism, gay marriage, abortion, and a whole host of evils we see in the culture today.

The biblical worldview is very different. Humans are intrinsically valuable. in virtue of whose image they bear. Genesis 1 teaches this, James 3 teaches this in the New Covenant, and it’s throughout scripture. In other words, your value does not come from your performance. It comes from your intrinsic dignity that is there because of the kind of thing you are, a human being who bears the image of his maker.

That is the biblical view, and you need to teach that. Now, with that in mind, You look at the child in the womb, and you look at the adult you are today. The differences between you, that embryo, and you, that adult, are not meaningful, such that we can say it’s okay to kill you then, but not now. Differences of size, level of development, environment, degree of dependency, think of that SLED acronym we’ve used before, are not good reasons for saying You had no value and thus could be killed then, but today you do.

Those are bad reasons to justify the shedding of innocent blood. So you want to draw that out with people. Then you can make a biblical case, a straight biblical case that, uh, can answer the critic that says, Oh, the Bible’s silent on abortion. Because as you know, We’re in a culture today that likes to lie, and likes to mislead, and all over the press right now, since Roe has been reversed, since the Dobbs decision, you see spokesperson after spokesperson, from Whoopi Goldberg to name your celebrity, I don’t care who it is, they will stand up and say, well the Bible doesn’t even mention abortion, who are these religious fundamentalists that want to you know, make it a big deal.

And you want to make the point that the Bible does, in fact, affirm a pro life view, and here’s how you do it. You point out that Scripture is clear that all humans have value because they bear the image of God. You then point out that because humans bear the image of God, Scripture forbids the shedding of innocent blood.

Exodus 23 7, Proverbs 6, for example, teach this, Matthew 5 21. All right, that leaves us with only one issue to resolve. And that is the question, are the unborn human? Because if they are human, the same commands against the shedding of innocent blood apply to the unborn as they do everyone else. And as we’ve already discussed, we know the unborn are human from the science of embryology.

Therefore, the commands against shedding innocent blood apply to them as they do everyone. That’s your biblical case. And it’s important to make that case because people are saying, Well, the Bible nowhere condemns abortion and doesn’t even mention the word. Well, whoopee doo! Who cares? I mean, the Bible nowhere says, Thou shalt not use neighbor for shark bait.

Does that mean you can do it? And by the way, when people tell you that the Bible nowhere condemns abortion, here’s the question I want you to put to them. Are you saying whatever the Bible does not expressly condemn, it allows? And when they say no, as they must, you can simply say, well, what’s your point?

We know from scripture, from the verses we just looked at, and from the argument I just laid out for you, that the Bible does not support the shedding of innocent blood. If the unborn are human, their blood should not be spilled any more than yours should be. That’s the, the teaching of scripture. The second point you want to make with people is, and this I owe to my friend John Enzer, The shedding of innocent blood requires, for forgiveness, the shedding of innocent blood.

And the point you’re making here is that we cannot justify ourselves. Pastors, this is key. You will hear people, and I hear it all the time when I speak, people will come up to me, either men who contributed to an abortion or women who had one, and they’ll say things like this. I can’t forgive myself for what I did.

And you know what? They’re right. They can’t. And what I say to them is, you know what? You can’t forgive yourself. You’re trying to justify yourself. You can’t do it. I want you to think for a moment. Um, we, we, we as Christians I think don’t fully appreciate the predicament we’re in. I want you to think of the example in Isaiah chapter 6.

The most holy man in all of Israel. The prophet Isaiah sees a vision of the exalted Lord, and he falls to the ground, and he is in, uh, he is in abject terror at that moment. And he says to me, or he says to the Lord, woe is me, I’m a man of unclean lips. And he cannot justify himself, the most holy man in Israel at that time.

in the presence of a holy God is literally undone in the presence of that holy God. I’ll give you another example. Think of Abraham in Romans chapter 4. Abraham is the most holy man in the, in the world at that time. The, the pre Israel, we’ll call it the pagan world for lack of a better term. God has called him, and yet, Despite being God’s chosen man, and the Jews looked to Abraham as the father of their faith, and they, they were in the habit of saying, look how holy he was, he was virtuous, he did all these good deeds.

And Paul says in Romans, uh, 5, excuse me, Romans 4, that Abraham was not righteous because of the works he did. Rather, Abraham trusted in God who justifies the ungodly. Whoa! What a statement! Wait a minute, though. That raises a problem. How can a holy God justify people who are not holy, who are ungodly? How can he do that and be true to his character as a holy being in an absolute sense?

Well, the answer is simply this, it comes down to the heart of the gospel message. We are not made holy, we are declared holy, or declared righteous, if you want to use that word, in virtue of another. We need an alien righteousness outside of ourselves. Abraham didn’t have it. Isaiah didn’t have it. And the post abortion man and woman doesn’t have it.

Whether you’re post abortion or not, I don’t care if you’re a pastor. I don’t care how holy you are. I don’t care how well you’ve reformed your life. Your good deeds will never make up for your bad ones, and it can’t fix the problem that you and I have, and that is that by nature we are oriented to be rebels against our Creator in everything we do.

So what we all need is a righteousness outside of ourselves that is imputed to us on the virtue of another, and that person is Christ. Christ’s righteousness, this goes right back to 2 Corinthians 5. 21, Christ’s righteousness for the believer is imputed to the believer while our sin is imputed to Christ.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we can become the righteousness of God. In other words, your good deeds will never make up for your bad ones, whether those bad deeds involve abortion, Sexual sin, whatever. You’re never going to get right with God by doing enough good stuff to make up for your bad stuff.

And that’s the view we need to preach over and over again every time we’re in the pulpit. That our only hope is an alien righteousness outside of ourselves. And the cure for the sin of abortion is not an excuse. It’s not doing good stuff. It’s not, uh, sitting around and saying, I’m going to do my own sacrifices to try to justify myself.

The only fix or cure for the sin of abortion, for the sin of shedding innocent blood, is the shedding of innocent blood. Namely, Jesus stood in our place condemned. bore the wrath of God on our behalf and lived the perfect life we failed to live. And God judged and punished Jesus instead of us. And Jesus as our legal representative before God the Father is our only avenue to being right with God.

And that’s, by the way, pastors, please get this. When you talk about the bad news of abortion, You set the stage for a very powerful proclamation of the gospel. It’s hard to see the gospel meaning something to people who don’t think they have a need for it in the first place. Well, by making sin real instead of just abstract, by pointing to a concrete example, of sin, the intentional shedding of innocent blood.

You set the stage for the solution to that sin, which is the Christian gospel that all of us need. Um, one of the things you might consider doing is giving your people a series of verses for this new year. that they can use when the enemy of their soul comes to them and says, you’re not worthy. You cannot claim God is your father.

You cannot claim to participate in the fellowship of believers. Look at what you’ve done. Think about verses that we need to help our people with Romans chapter five. For example, while we were still enemies of God, Christ came. and died for us, and reconciled us. Ephesians 2, while we were dead in sin and trespasses, God made us alive.

Colossians 1 13, he, meaning God, has transferred us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his beloved son. In a very short verse that your people should commit to memory, Jonah 2 9, think of Jonah in the belly of a big fish, and he says there, finally, he comes to his senses after running from God.

Salvation is of the Lord. You know, what a profound statement. You know, it’s a mighty fine thing when you’re in the belly of a big fish because you’ve messed up royally to come to the realization that salvation is of the Lord. These are truths our people need to understand. And then the third point we need to communicate is that the sin of shedding innocent blood requires a behavioral response.

In Proverbs 24 verses, uh, 11 to 12, we’re told to rescue those being led away to slaughter, those being led away to death. And if we pretend we didn’t see it, the Lord says, he’s going to hold us accountable for what we didn’t do. And this is important. You know, there’s a mistaken view out there that says, You know, Protestant Christians want cheap grace.

They, they want to say, oh, it’s all God who saves us, therefore we can get away with murder, literally, and it’s okay. We don’t have to do anything. Our works don’t matter, so why not live like hell? Well, that’s not a proper understanding of the gospel. Those who have truly been regenerated, who have truly been justified, who have truly been declared righteous by God are not going to take a light hearted attitude towards sin and injustice.

They will be moved to respond in a way that is biblically obedient. And this is something, again, we can stress with our people. The sin of shedding innocent blood requires a behavioral response. It’s not enough for us to be attitudinally opposed to abortion. We also have to be behaviorally opposed. And again, you can think of all the excuses.

Oh, it’s going to become political. Well, we already talked about that. But let’s talk about this. Imagine you’re on a slave ship in Charleston Harbor in 1860, and you are praying that you will be delivered. And you have brothers and sisters in the faith who are on land who are free men and women. Would you be praying that the Lord would spark them to become politically active so you could be freed from the dungeon you’re in?

I think you would be. So we as Christians need to understand our biblical worldview applies politically as it does in every other area of life. There’s not this little box over here where we say, oh, Biblical truth applies everywhere but here. Here, we don’t go there because that’s political. We need to be careful of that.

I know it’s a fearful thing. People think, man, if I speak up on this issue, I’m going to take all kinds of heat. And yeah, you will. It will not be your best life now if you choose to speak truthfully on abortion. You may pay a price for it. And the question you’ll need to ask yourself is one my colleague Greg Cunningham has asked many times, and it’s this.

Are any of the reasons I might give for not speaking out on this issue worth the price of children’s lives that might have been saved had I been more courageous? That’s the question. And you should feel that question. It should sink into you and it should cause you to take a deep breath and go, Whoa!

That kind of removes all excuses, doesn’t it? Yeah, it does. Well, anyway, pastors, church leaders, lay people, that’s what I think should be communicated on a pro life Sermon day and we’ve actually put the outline of this sermon in the notes the show notes that you can see it at Our social media sites.

They’re all there. They’ll be there for you. Please go take a look at that and remember Everything worth doing including preaching on abortion comes at a cost and you will pay a cost for doing this But the payout is children’s lives will be saved And on the end day, we get to hear from our savior. Well done, good and faithful servants.

You followed me in this difficult area. That’s all for today. Look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks for joining us again, visit our sites, our, our social media sites to get the material, to equip yourself, to engage effectively. God bless you till next time.