Summary: Finding God’s heart through conviction and compassion for the sanctity of life.

Continuing in a series designed to allow God’s word to shape our clarity and compassion regarding the critical issues of our day that so often overwhelm us. More than a series…I believe it’s a season in which God is restoring our hearts with both His conviction and compassion. My prayer is that this morning we could do the same as we come to the issue of the SANCTITY OF THE WOMB…and the question of life itself.

Throughout this series the Lord has been making each of these issues very personal…revealing new depths of personal conviction and experience…and in a very positive way He’s really outdone himself on this topic…

While I am excited and thankful for how real this makes our topic of the sanctity of the womb this morning, and what a positive back drop it provides for looking to God’s Word regarding what we are to make of this life. I am addressing these issues to help face a far more controversial and complex issue…that of ABORTION. Likely the most difficult subject to address publicly because it is undoubtedly the most passionate, political, and polarizing subject of our day. Difficult because it is a subject often reduced to slogans and simplistic assumptions about “the other side.”

One side views the other as having no convictions, and the other side views the opponents as having no compassion.

I am well aware that there are SEVERAL AUDIENCES this morning with sensitivities I may offend, and I want to offer a word to each:

Pro choice… or perhaps uncertain …I am clearly pro-life, but it will never be a banner here…always welcome. However I do want to challenge you to come and reason with me.

Pro-life …It’s not just about positions but people; not just convictions but compassion.

Which brings me to a third audience…those who have experienced an abortion.

You know better than I, the real struggle of conscience…the hard choices that may never have been settled peacefully with God.

I care more about you than anyone else I’m addressing. As we look to God’s Word for clarity of convictions, I pray that such clarity will be the start of a process of healing and forgiveness for you. With that, I want to address two issues related to the sanctity of the womb;

First, this week, the question of life…its beginning and value, second next week the question of choice…How are we to sort out the rights that surround the womb with both the clarity and compassion of Jesus at work within us?

Let me begin with…

I. THE CURRENT QUESTION: Is human life endowed or achieved?

The practice of abortion first came into public discussion in ancient Greece, during what many refer to as the first “age of enlightenment.” A rampant sense of freethinking was in the air and abortion was given place for many of the same life style reasons as today. Along with the practice of abortion came preferential treatment to male babies and abandonment of babies who were undesired.

The early church fathers remained opposed…Tertillian, Ongin, Ambrose, Augustine…all maintained every life was sacred. This conviction eventually won the day and was adopted following the emperor’s conversion to embrace Christ or at least the teachings and worldview. This conviction has stood throughout Catholic history, and was held strongly by every reformer of Protestant tradition. (Calvin, Luther, later Karl Barth, Emil Brunner and Bonhoeffer.) A general unity of conviction didn’t change until the late 1960’s in America. Freedom was once again in the air, and with it came a new approach to reasoning about life.

Originally, the question posed was one of biological life itself. Little was known of the development process so something less than human could be imagined. But quickly technology revealed just how complete life was.

· In my wife’s womb is a life, whose entire makeup has been present in DNA since conception.

· Since the third week the lobes of the brain have been distinguishable and organs begin to form.

· Since the 4th week the heart is beating, the head and face are distinguishable, and arms and legs begin budding.

· By the 7th week, sex can be identified (but don’t ask!) By approximately the tenth week, the nervous system is transmitting messages to and from the brain; skin is responsive and the child will move if touched. The brain itself has approximately the same overall structure as it will have at birth.

· Scholar Jerome Lejeune, a professor of fundamental genetics in Paris testified to a Senate committee. “Life has a very long history, but each individual has a very neat beginning, the moment of its conception.”

The result of such knowledge has shifted much of the debate surrounding abortion; shifting to higher qualities of life. Few are trying to deny the humanity of the unborn, now a distinction is being made using terms such as…

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