Summary: Human life is full of dignity and worth because we are made in the image of God -- Jesus sees the value of every human being and calls us to do the same.
The Value of One
Rev. Brian Bill
An elderly man was out walking along the beach early one morning when he noticed a teenager ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Catching up with the youth, he asked him what he was doing. The student responded by saying that the stranded starfish would die if they were left in the morning sun.
The man chuckled a bit and said, “But the beach goes on for miles and miles, and there are millions of starfish. You can’t save all of them! How can your effort make any difference?”
The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it safely into the water. He then turned, looked at the older man and said, “It makes a difference to that one.”
As we focus this morning on the Sanctity of Human Life, we have to admit that it’s easy to wonder if we’re making any difference. Life today has been cheapened, our society has been characterized as a “culture of death,” and those of us who are “pro-life” are often ridiculed and castigated by the media.
Some people would say that abortion is strictly a preference or a political view that shouldn’t be discussed in church. I want to argue this morning that it is, in fact, a moral issue that must be addressed.
There is some good news to report. A recent study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute shows that the number of abortions in the United States dropped more than 17% between 1990 and 1997. The Centers for Disease Control has stated that one of the contributing factors for this decline is the changing attitude about the moral implications of abortion! Christians are making a difference – and churches that have the courage to speak the truth in love are positively affecting our culture. The bad news is that abortion clinics have started to aggressively compete for more clients and have begun to diversify by dispensing the abortion pill called RU-486 (BreakPoint with Charles Colson, 1/4/01).
C. Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer wrote a profound and prophetic book in 1979 called, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? They argued that without a biblical view of life, what is unthinkable today becomes thinkable tomorrow. When law and conscience are not rooted in a transcendent source of authority, relativism prevails and anything goes if those in power can be persuaded.
At the beginning, abortion-rights advocates argued that only extreme and rare conditions warranted more liberal abortion laws. Today, almost 30 years and more than 30 million abortions later, a woman can end the life of her preborn child, including using a partial-birth abortion, for any reason. The unthinkable becomes thinkable – and legally protected.
Today, respected experts are arguing that it’s OK to take the life of an infant even after it’s born. In an article entitled “Killing Babies Isn’t Always Wrong,” philosopher Peter Singer, a professor at Princeton, writes: “Perhaps, like the ancient Greeks, we should have a ceremony a month after birth, at which the infant is admitted to the community. Before that time, infants would not be recognized as having the same right to life as older people.” He’s not alone. American University philosopher Jeffrey Reiman agrees: “Infants do not possess in their own right a property that makes it wrong to kill them.” (BreakPoint with Charles Colson, 9/2/00).
Friends, the unthinkable is becoming thinkable…again.
What Can We Do?
Which leads to a question. What can we do? We must begin by recognizing the value of every created person – the preborn, the newborn, the disabled, the mentally challenged, those with AIDS, the elderly, and those we might not care for because they have a different colored skin or religion than we do.
In order to frame our study this morning, I want us to look at how Jesus dealt with people. Even though He often taught the crowds, Jesus always saw the value of one. I love the story of how Jesus ministered to the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Luke 8:42 tells us that the surging crowds almost crushed Jesus when he was trying to teach. And then this hurting woman comes up behind him and touches the edge of his cloak. In the midst of all the people, we see how Jesus places supreme value on the individual when he says, “Who touched me?” He then gives her both spiritual and physical healing.
Please turn to John 10. We’ll see at least four practical principles in this passage that can help us address the moral issues of our day. If we want to make a difference we must:
· Proclaim the Truth (10:10a)
· Preach the Gospel (10:10b-11)
· Promote Obedience (10:1-5)
· Practice Grace (10:14-18)