WHY IS THE SANCTITY OF LIFE SO IMPORTANT?
Special Message ❧ 1 of 1
Selected Scriptures ❧ Pastor, Dr. John Denney
OPENING WELCOME: This morning we’re going to talk about a very difficult as well as highly
controversial topic. We’re going to look at abortion. Many of you are aware January is Sanctity of Life
month. It began fifty years ago, January 22, 1973, following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize
abortion. The first National Sanctity of Human Life Day was proclaimed by then President Ronald
Reagan in celebration of God’s gift of life to memorialize those lost to abortion. On June 24, 2022,
the Supreme Court did what I think many did not expect, they reversed their decision on abortion.
Though this was a victory in many ways, it has removed the need to talk about it. It in fact has made
it all the more important to talk about.
Let me say up front, what makes this topic so difficult is because it is extremely personal as
well as deeply painful. Yet, it needs to be discussed, brought out in the open. Too many are hurting
because no one cared enough to speak into their lives. Too many wake up each new day looking
through the cold prison bars of hidden torment and unresolved guilt because no one cared enough to
say something. I want you to know right up front, I’m not here to condemn, but to give hope. What I
want to share with you today is not new, but it is needed.
I’ve asked two medical doctors who are a part of our church family to join me this morning, Dr.
Bret & Dr. Lorraine Schillingstad. They will share first. Please give them a warm welcome.
MY MESSAGE: I want to briefly look at three important issues surrounding abortion: 1) Why
people avoid talking about abortion, 2) Why we can’t be silent, and 3) Will God forgive abortion?
WHY PEOPLE AVOID TALKING ABOUT ABORTION
A number of years ago the Director of Life Choices Pregnancy Center, Christine Denova,
shared with me that the super majority of churches who financially support LCPC will not talk about
abortion from the pulpit. This surprised me, to say the least. I think there are at least three reasons
many of our pulpits are silent when it comes to abortion.
I. It’s political. Some have tried to make abortion a political issue by saying abortion is about
women’s rights. But let’s be honest, those trying to make it political reveal they are suffering from
abortion distortion. Abortion is about taking a human life. The fact is that little life has its own genetic
code and is often a different blood type. Not only that it has its own immune system and half the time
it’s a male. That doesn’t sound like the woman’s body. Because it’s not. It’s a completely separate
person. Both science and medicine demonstratively prove this beyond doubt. Abortion is no more a
political issue than whether your favorite color is red or blue. Abortion is not a political issue; it is a
human rights issue. Historically abortion was not a political issue, but a moral issue. How did that
change? Jesus tells us one of the tell-tale signs of the end of the world is the love of many will grow
cold (Matthew 24:12, NLT).
II. It’s controversial. Similar to abortion being political, it is controversial because as Dr. Bret so
clearly pointed out we live in a post-modern world; a world where people have come to believe there
is no absolute right or wrong. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to
them (Romans 1:19). This belief has strengthened the argument of those who support abortion. Pro-
abortionists have carefully crafted their arguments so that if anyone questions them, they’re made to
look narrow, intolerant, and unfair. Abortionists frame their rhetoric so that abortion is a lifestyle
argument instead of what it really is a life-taking agenda. Did you know that 97% of all abortions are
not because of rape or incest or because the life of the mother is threatened, but simply because the
mother made a choice the baby is inconvenient.
III. It’s detrimental. The reason many pulpits have remained silent about abortion is they don’t
want to add to the pain of those struggling from the effects of abortion. This doesn’t make sense.
Perhaps they are afraid of sounding too condemnatory, too harsh, or too unloving. Faithful are the
wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy (Proverbs 27:6). Our silence doesn’t
spare those already suffering, it makes them suffer all the more. Our silence is withholding the very
hope and healing they long for.
WHY WE CAN’T BE SILENT Several verses in Psalm 8 tell us why. When I consider Your
heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man
that You take thought of him and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a
little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the
works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet (Psalm 8:4-6, NAS). This psalm helps
answer the question that all of us have asked at one time or another: In view of the vast immensity of
the universe, what is man in the sight of God? The heavens compared to God are tiny. Mankind
compared to the heavens is miniscule. What then, David wonders, is there about man that God
should affectionately remember him since his creation? What is man that You are mindful of him?
(v.4). Who am I God, that you take notice of me? In other words, he’s asking: What is the origin of
human dignity? The answer: You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with
glory and majesty (V.5). This is a poetic statement reflecting Moses opening words about man’s
creation in Gen. 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male
and female He created them. What is the Bible saying?
I. All people are made in the image of God. The bold statement …a little lower than God,
reveals why God gives special attention to mankind. Man is significant for two reasons: 1) Man
shares God’s glory because he was made in the image of God and 2) he shares God’s rule in that he
was made to rule over the earth. NIV, KJV and others have translated the term for God here (elohim)
as “angles” or “heavenly beings.” Though this word is translated as “angels” elsewhere (Ps. 82:1,6),
the context here refers to the creation account of man in which man is made in the image of God
Why are people different from all creation? Not because we are lower than angels. Hebrews
2 says that one day we’ll rule over all creation – including angels! We’re not mere angels. We’re
made in the image of God! David is saying that man is the crown of God’s creation!
Medical Doctor and author Paul Brand writes in his book: In His Image: Among all God’s
creatures, only humanity receives the image of God, and that quality separates us from all else. We
possess what no other animal does; we are linked in our essence to God…He goes on to point out
that difference was seen in creation when God gave man the breath of life. He says, This single act
of special creation, God breathing into man “the breath of life,” distinguished humanity from all other
creatures. We share with animals a biological shell composed, in our case, of bone, organs, muscle,
fat, and skin. In truth, we fall short in direct comparison to the strictly biological features of some
animals. Who would compete in beauty with a splashy macaw or even a lowly Luna moth? A horse
easily outruns us, a hawk sees far better, a dog detects odors and sounds imperceptible to us. The
total sum of our sheer physical qualities is no more god-like than a cat’s. And yet, we are made in the
image of God.” (Brand/Yancey, “In His Image,” p.21). We are a “repository” for His image. The
beloved children’s song: Jesus Loves the Little Children reminds us all people are made in the image
of God. Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white,
they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.
II. All people are made in God’s image before they are born. God shows us in His Word that
every child in the womb is a special creation and taking that life is the same as taking the life of a
child that is born. Psalm 139 says: You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me
together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship
is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was
woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was
recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed (Psalm 139:13-16,
God went so far to prove His love and care for children that He became one! He spent nine
months in His mother’s womb. But He didn’t stop there. He went on to die for that child and then rise
again from the dead!
Jesus rebuked His disciples once because they failed to understand how valuable children are
to Him. Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who
are like these children (Luke 18:16). Jesus did not consider children roadblock to His Kingdom work,
but an integral part of it.
What does God say about abortion? Ask Jesus and He’ll tell you: Whatever you did to the least
of these, you did to Me (Matt. 25:40).
The great theologian Dr. Seuss illustrated this poignant truth when he wrote: “Horton Hears a
Who.” Horton is a gracefully lumpy and loving elephant who is faithful to his friends. After
discovering a tiny little world on a plant that no one knew existed, Horton makes a declaration that is
packed with God’s truth: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” All people are made in the
image of God before they are born.
WILL GOD FORGIVE ABORTION?
Answer: YES! This is, I believe, the biggest hurdle. One study revealed 43% of the women
who’ve had an abortion claim to be Protestant and 28% say they are Catholic. One out of every five
US abortions are obtained by those who identify themselves as born again or evangelical Christians.
Randy Alcorn writes: “The abortion issue isn’t about the church needing to speak to the world. It is
about the church needing to speak to itself first, and then to the world.”
There are many who are the walking-wounded. They are silent and they’re in the church.
Gripped by the fear of people knowing, sabotaged by the guilt of hiding. They need to know if God
can forgive them. The emotional burden doesn’t just weigh heavily on the hearts of those who’ve had
one. A schoolteacher in her forties said, “Advising my daughter to have an abortion led me into a
long, suicidal siege, I’m not over it yet.”
Whether you’ve had an abortion or helped someone, you need to know you can be completely
forgiven. Again, I find the great theologian Dr. Seuss to be helpful to us. Writing for one of his
characters he once said: “Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.”
You need to know God wants to forgive you of abortion and every other sin. God tells it like it
is in His Word when He says: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). We’ve
all blown it. We may try to deny it or blame it on someone else, but truth is stubborn. No amount of
denying or blaming will remove the guilt that haunts us.
The only remedy to dealing with our guilt is Christ’s forgiveness He purchased for us on the
cross for all of our sins. Jesus took what we deserved, God’s judgement against our sin, and gave us
in return what we don’t deserve, His complete forgiveness. Once you are forgiven, you don’t need to
keep beating yourself up for abortion or any other wrong. We are to accept Christ’s atonement, not
repeat it. Read these passages with me: For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering
for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). If we confess our
sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1
John 1:9). The more important question, is not: Can God forgive abortion? But, have you
accepted His forgiveness?