I was planning to pass by “Sanctity of Life” Sunday yesterday, until I realized that 2008 marks the 35th Anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision of the Supreme Court, which opened the door for legalized abortion on demand. I have passionate convictions about the problem of abortion, and since I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties lately, I thought I would post the text of my sermon from yesterday. 

By the way, I encourage you to look at the National Right to Life web site for the latest facts and figures.  Also, check out this page for some fascinating facts and photos.  Another place to look is here, but be warned, this site WILL MAKE YOU SICK!  One of the challenges I make in the sermon is to “get the facts,” and these are but a few that are readily available for anyone who has the courage to look.

Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16)

This past Thursday, the 17th, the headline in the Boston Globe reads, “Number of Abortions Lowest in Decades. 1.2 million performed per year, study says.” The text of the article begins with this paragraph, “The number of abortions being performed in the United States has dropped to 1.2 million a year – the lowest level since 1976, according to a new report. The drop was driven by a decline in the overall rate at which women of childbearing age are getting abortions, which fell about 9 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to a nationwide survey. At the same time, the long decline in the number of abortion providers appears to be stabilizing, at least in part because of the availability of the controversial abortion pill RU 486, the report found.” There is no doubt that a decline in abortions is good news. However, let’s think about what that report is really telling us. First, 1.2 million abortions per year is too many. Since Roe V. Wade was enacted in 1973, nearly 50 million babies have been aborted in the USA. At this new, lower level, there are still 3287 abortions being performed every day! In the time that we are here in worship, more than 137 Americans will be brutally murdered while in their mothers’ wombs. According to National Right to Life, 93% of all abortions are performed for “social reasons,” according to the women who have them. That is simply unacceptable!

We always want to be sure that we turn to the Scriptures to gain insight on what happens in our world, and the Bible has plenty to say about the sanctity of human life. We can talk about how human is sacred because we are made in God’s image. We can talk about when life begins, which is at conception. We can talk about how God knows every person, even as they are being formed in the womb. We can talk about the consequences of committing murder against innocent people. And we must. But today, I want to talk about our responsibility to make the truth known and to do what we can to put a stop to this American holocaust known as legalized abortion. As we consider this passage as it relates to the subject at hand, let’s pay careful attention to the lessons we must learn and apply.

Be What You Are.

Here in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus sets forth a couple of statements of fact, not just theoretical conditions. He said, “You ARE the salt of the earth . . . You ARE the light of the world.” Each of these metaphors has a unique point to make regarding our attitudes and actions in the world. Let’s briefly consider each one in turn.

You are the salt of the earth.

Salt is perhaps the most popular of all seasonings in the world, and it certainly has been used as long as any. One reason for its popularity and value is that salt has so many uses, and all of those uses has a direct connection with the point that Jesus is making here. Salt first of all provides flavor. If I personally were to have to be limited to only one seasoning ever, it would have to be salt. Practically everything is better with a little salt. As Christians, our presence in the world should also provide some flavor to the world around us. If our joy is truly in Christ, then our lives will make the world a better, more pleasant place to live because we share the hope that is in us.

Salt is also a preservative. Since ancient times, people have desired to keep food from spoiling, and early on, they discovered that salt will do the job. This is a use of salt that is near and dear to my own heart, because I like things like beef jerky, and especially country ham. Our presence in the world is a presence that preserves life since we have the words of life that provide hope for eternity. That’s a key phrase, “words of LIFE.” We have to stand for life, to protect those who cannot protect themselves, for life. That’s the bottom line, because all human life is precious to God.

Salt produces thirst. When our lives are salted, seasoned by the Word of God, then it drives us to get more in to it, and the result on our lives makes others realize that “there’s something different about those Christians.” God uses the lives of a transformed people to draw lost sinners to Himself. Jesus drew this conclusion in v16. The glory goes to God when our lives are perfectly seasoned by heavenly salt.

One thing must be said about salt here, though. Jesus said, “but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?” How can salt possibly lose its taste? My research on the subject revealed something very simple, yet disturbing. Salt only becomes tasteless when it is tainted by impurities. Pure salt is a stable chemical compound and cannot lose its attributes under normal conditions. But if you introduce some outside pollutant then the flavor becomes overwhelmed by the contaminants. Do I have to explain the obvious connection here? The world says, “It’s not a baby, just a blastocyst. It’s not a person till it’s actually born?” Do you really believe that? The pro-abortion crowd holds to a worldview that is drastically different from the way the Bible describes life. Unfortunately, the Church has gradually become tainted by impurities from the world, and our salt is in danger of becoming tasteless. I pray to God that we will draw a line in the sand and declare with conviction, “NO MORE! It stops here!” You are the salt of the earth. Make sure that means something.

You are the light of the world.

The value of light is so far reaching. Jesus said, “You ARE the light of the world.” I’ve had an interest in WWII for most of my life, and one thing I learned early on is that while the war was raging on the other side of the globe, communities here in America conducted drills where every home was required to “black out” so that approaching enemies could not see any lights in the darkness, whether on the ground or in the air, and be led to where people lived. But Jesus calls us not to cover or conceal the light within, which is the result of the Holy Spirit living in every true follower of Christ Jesus, but to uncover it; to clean up the windows; to turn up the power to its fullest setting so that everyone will know what we are and whose we are.

Consider the effects of light for a moment. Light illuminates. Light is necessary for the sense of sight. Have you ever seen any of those fish from the darkest depths of the sea and from caves that have no eyes? They have no eyes because eyes are of no use whatsoever without light. We live in a very dark world, spiritually speaking, and no one can see truth unless someone lets the light of truth shine forth.

Light exposes. The older I get, the more appreciate good light in the area where I am working. It doesn’t matter if I’m reading or working in the garage on something or even eating supper, I’ve discovered how valuable light is. When the light is good, I can see more clearly what I know is there, and sometimes, I even recognize something that I never realized was there before. Have you ever walked into a dark room where there were undesirable little critters? What happens when you turn on the light? They run for cover, because they know the light exposes them and they are vulnerable when they’re exposed. We have to expose the deeds of darkness. Eph 5:11-13 says, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” We have to expose the darkness of abortion to the world, especially to our kids.

Light also directs. As the lights that lie along the runway at the airport guide planes to a safe takeoff and landing, the light Jesus speaks of directs men and women toward Himself, and a safe eternity. A recent spot on the radio asks this pointed question, “Is it safe to die?” If we truly are the light of the world, then we will direct others along a safe path toward life, a path where it is, indeed, safe to die, because it is appointed to man to die once and after this the judgment.

Let Your Light Shine!

Here is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. In order to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, there has to be a real, practical result in our lives. Remember that Jesus tells us here that when we do let our light shine before men, that we glorify our Father in Heaven. If we only do good works to gain attention for ourselves, then we’ve got it all wrong. Our hope must always be that God is glorified. I want to spend the rest of my time talking about the HOW and the WHAT of letting our light shine.

Know the facts. This week has been an emotional roller coaster for me as I’ve looked at the most recent information regarding the horrors of abortion in our nation. When I read the facts and figures, I have felt outrage at the overwhelming numbers and the foolishness of the whole thing. I hear people talk about the trouble Social Security is in these days, about the national debt and the trade deficit that so adversely affect our economy. What I don’t hear the talking heads saying is that if we had not exterminated those nearly 50 million babies in the womb, there would be that many taxpayers and wage earners to pay into the system and that would make a huge difference. Have you ever thought that perhaps the cure for cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or even the common cold may have been denied us in some of those precious babies? Perhaps millions of people will never hear the gospel because of the evangelists, or missionaries who were never born.

The other side of this coin of knowing facts is sickening. When does life begin? If you haven’t made up your own mind yet, then I encourage you to take a look at the graphic information that’s available to anyone. I thought about showing you some pictures this morning, but good sense and decency prevents it. Be prepared to get sick, literally. I have wept as I briefly watched video clips and heard the testimony of women whose lives were eternally affected by abortion. If you have the courage, get the facts, and then you will know that we cannot afford to be silent.

Speak the truth. Most of us will probably never have an opportunity to make some kind of public proclamation of the truth about abortion. But we all know someone who needs to know the truth. We need to teach our children and grandchildren that sexual promiscuity has consequences. There are voices in the world teaching our kids that sex outside of marriage is normal and that if you slip up, it’s as simple as taking a pill or going to an abortion clinic. We have to proclaim the unvarnished truth that abortion is MURDER! The Word of God holds Christians to a different standard. What are you doing to teach those who need to know the truth the most?

Act on the truth. For the first time in many years, we face the real possibility that abortion on demand can be made illegal, as it should be. I’m not concerned with the partisan part of politics. I am not married to either party, and I want to encourage you to look beyond your own prejudices long enough to realize that the next president of the USA will be in a position to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court who will either be pro-life and open the possibility of overturning the abomination of Roe v. Wade, or the balance will tip again toward protecting the pro-abortion stance that has ruled the day for way too long. This election year is so important for our country. Can you, under Christian conviction, vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion? Do you think God will not hold you accountable for supporting someone who will uphold this murderous practice?

We must pray that light will shine in the dark places and that hearts and minds will be changed. We must use whatever influence we have to stand for that which is right. Remember, all that is required for evil to prevail is for righteous men to do nothing. Call, write, e-mail your representatives in Washington and Des Moines and let them know that you want to see abortion stopped. Will you have the courage to take a stand for God’s truth?

The most important action we can take is right here at home. Did you know that nearly half of all pregnancies in this country are unplanned and illegitimate? If we would have the moral courage to teach our own kids about the sanctity of sex, then we would be well on our way to turning the tide of this modern day holocaust. The answer to the problem of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, the entire sanctity of life issue, is very simple really. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” It’s not an option. It’s a command.