8/21 End of Life Questions

Please use the following questions to help others think through and live out the biblical truth preached today.

  1. If a person believes there is no God, if a person is an atheist, how would you expect that person to think about death?
  2. If a person is a Christian, reconciled to God, how would you expect that person to think about death?
  3. When is a person “dead”?
  4. Is there a difference between killing someone and letting them die? How does your answer encourage or discourage euthanasia?
  5. What is the difference between sustaining life and prolonging death? Are we obligated to do both? Why?
  6. Are you ready to die? How do you know?
  7. Who knows your desires for end of life issues? Have you given them the proper authority to carry out those desires? Are those desires good?

The Sanctity of Human Life

Click here to listen to the sermon audio

Text:  Gen 1:26-27; 9:5-6                                                       8/14/2016

Main Point: Every human, from conception, possesses the image of God.

On May 28, 2016 something terrible happened. A young boy got away from his mother and entered the gorilla exhibit. A massive male gorilla named Harambe picked up the boy and the zoo officials quickly made the decision to shoot and kill Harambe. Apparently tranquilizers would have taken up to an hour to take effect, potentially aggravating Harambe, and injuring the boy. What was surprising was the firestorm which erupted with many claiming the boy should have been risked and Harambe protected. The argument was the DNA of the endangered gorilla was more valuable than the life of the boy. How do we think about these issues and how do we respond? We must learn to think, and interact with others, out of a biblical worldview.

Read Genesis 1:26-28

  1. What distinguishes human life from other life?

In our day it has become necessary to clearly and winsomely defend the biblical truth that humans and animals are in fact fundamentally different. Humans are not simply a more developed stage of the evolutionary process

  • Humans, and only humans, possess the image of God (Gen 1:27)
    1. There is a difference between creation and those created in God’s image.
    2. Creation, living and non-living things, reflects the glory of God. In creation, we see that there is a God who must be glorious. However, the image of God in mankind is different. We are meant to see what God is like when we look at humans. Creation shows us there is a God. Humans show us what God is like.
    3. Here is an important question: Do some people possess the image of God while other people do not? Are some humans like God while others humans are like the animals? The image of God is intrinsic to every member of the human species. No matter the stage of development, every human is an actual person. To be human is to be made in the image of God. Race does not determine the image of God. Physical or mental abilities do not determine the image of God. Being human necessarily means that person was made in the image of God. Every member of the human species is a person, a person made in the image of God.
  • The image of God makes human life sacred (Gen 9:5-6)
    1. Let’s be clear. Killing a horse is fundamentally different from killing a baby because one possesses the image of God and the other does not.
    2. When it comes to taking a life; the taking of a human life is in a completely different category. The taking of animal life should always be done with consideration and purpose. I do not want to give you the idea that what we do with humans matters but what we do with creation does not matter. We have been given creation to care for it and maximize it; not abuse and exploit it. But we need to clearly affirm the biblical worldview that makes a distinction between the value of a person and the value of an animal. Genesis 9:5-6 make a distinction based upon mankind possessing the image of God.
  • What is the image of God?
    1. The image of God includes dominion (Gen 1:28)
      1. Authority and responsibility for the good of all
      2. Great White share and lion- dominion in their sphere but not a dominion for the good of all. A shark is not concerned about the stewardship of fossil fuels under the ocean floor. A lion is not concerned about the populations of zebras compared to gazelles.
      3. God like dominion is about the other
    2. The image of God includes spirituality (Acts 17:26-28)
      1. Your dog is not concerned about what is going to happen to him after he dies. Your cat is not worried about morality. People are different because of the image of God.
    3. The image of God confers the highest value (Psalm 8:3-8)
      1. Dominion- lower than the angels
      2. A human is of greater value than creation- honor
      3. Every human life is intrinsically valuable because of the image of God.
  • When does human life begin?
    1. Human life begins at conception
      1. Scientific argument[1] At the point of conception, when the sperm and egg join, a human life is created. Read quotes from Why Life Begins at Conception
      2. Biblical argument (Psalm 139:13-15)
        1. Human life begins at conception, when God who is sovereign over life and death, forms a person.
  1. Abortion and the image of God

    • Abortion is a real moral evil because it is the destruction of an actual human life; a life created in the image of God
      1. Psalm 106:34-39
      2. Horton- a person’s a person no matter how small
    • Responding to pro-choice arguments using SLED[2]
      1. S- size
      2. L- level of development
      3. E- environment
      4. D- degree of dependence
    • Abortion and the gospel of God

John Piper helps us connect the mission of Jesus and abortion. Listen to Piper, “Jesus did not mainly come to stop abortions in this world. He came mainly to die for abortion-committing sinners. ‘I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance’ (Luke 5:32)….The heart of Christianity is not a culture of life. The heart of Christianity is: Jesus Christ dying and rising from the dead to save sinners, who then become a culture of life.”[3]

 

  1. We must cultivate a culture where the weak and helpless are protected and valued.
    1. Protecting and valuing all persons reflects the gospel as God came to us, weak and helpless, sick with sin and redeemed us.
    2. We should advocate against abortion and support crisis pregnancy centers as well as adoption groups.
  2. We must cultivate a culture where sin will be dealt with according to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ
    1. We must interact with one another simultaneously feeling the horror of sin and the superabundant forgiveness possible in Jesus Christ. Merciful salt exposes the sin but always under the atoning work of Jesus Christ which covers every sin. We expose sin knowing it can be forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ. To talk about grace without sin is nonsense and to talk about sin without grace is torturous.
    2. But, it is so much easier to be all about grace or all about sin. We look good when we walk around telling people God loves them and it doesn’t matter what they do. We feel good when we walk around yelling at people telling them they will go to hell for what they do. The gospel brings the extremes together. You will go to hell for what you do, but there is restoration, redemption, and forgiveness because of the Father’s love and the Son’s work. What do you need this morning? Do you need a little more law or a little more grace? Who is helping you sort it all out? God has placed you in that house, on that street, and in that job to shine like a bright light.

[1] http://naapc.org/why-life-begins-at-conception/ accessed 8/11/2016

[2] http://www.str.org/articles/the-s.l.e.d.-test#.V6y_cygrI2x accessed 8/11/2016

[3] http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/abortion-and-the-narrow-way-that-leads-to-life) accessed 8/10/2016

Life or Death?

In ethics, our attitude…toward life and death is an important issue. What the sixth commandment basically says is that life and death are God’s business. He is Lord of life an death, and we may not take life without his authorization. Rather, we must respect life as an aspect of our reverence for God. We should especially respect human life because it is the image of God, that image that grounds the first prohibition of bloodshed in Scripture (Gen 9:5-6).

John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, page 685

Life Group Questions 8/14/2016

  1. What makes humans different from animals?
  2. In what ways can we see the image of God in humans?
  3. When does human life begin, and why does it matter?
  4. Explain SLED as a response to pro-abortion arguments. 
  5. How does the gospel heal those who have had, performed, or encouraged an abortion?
  6. What can you do to support anti-abortion and prolife organizations?
  7. What can you do to help the church cultivate a culture where sin is covered  according to the gospel?

Abortion and Evolution

When did the universe begin? The evolution position is fairly dogmatic while possessing no verifiable or repeatable evidence. Creation began with the Big Bang or something like it. When the universe began (Big Bang) is often assumed on the theory, not on the evidence.

When does human life begin? The abortion position is vague, claiming we don’t know, and it’s a philosophical or metaphysical question. Therefore, we should let people decide for themselves when life begins (or person-hood develops) and abort accordingly. However, the science here is verifiable and repeatable. Human life begins at conception. This is often denied against the evidence.

One position (evolution) is believed without clear, repeatable, or verifiable evidence. The other position (life begins at conception) is rejected by abortion activists in spite of clear, repeatable, or verifiable evidence. My point is this: you will not win an argument solely on the science or theory. These are matters of science, philosophy, and the heart. Christians must be prepared to make a clear and compelling arguments. We need to understand these issues and engage them at the level of science and worldviews.

What defines personhood?

Personhood denotes not merely conscious, postnatal humans, but all members of the human species, those who are genetically distinct human entities with their own unique life trajectory and developmental futures. Rather than saying that the unborn represent “potential human life,” it is more accurate to say that the unborn represent actual human life with great potential.

John Davis, Evangelical Ethics, 2nd Edition, page 139

The Prowling Wicked

Psalm 12 is a cry from God’s people who are in the weak minority. There are three things we can count on in those days. One, God’s Word is pure (v6). Two, wicked people will come after God’s people (v8). And three, God is the keeper and guardian of His people (v7). 

Listen to the Word, be mindful of your opponent, and rest in the nearness and strength of your Heavenly Father.