Saturday, July 4, 2009

The People of Life

Ephesians 5:28, 29

I. Preservation of Life Begins with Attitude

A. God’s call to promote life begins in the home; love like the love of Christ for His church first displays itself in the home. “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” (Ephesians 5:28-29)

B. Human love of life derives from that love which enlivened the Garden of Eden at the Creation. “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:21-24)

C. Believers must appreciate the influence of the mind. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

D. Death begins with a bad attitude. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)

II. Civil Society Must Follow the Same Law

A. Just as people seek to preserve and promote their own lives, people should preserve others in danger even when that danger appears under the color of civil law. “For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” (1 Kings 18:4)

B. The temptation to solve social problems through judicial murder is an old and insidious one; people wanted to silence the word of God by killing the messenger of God in the day of Jeremiah. “But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears. Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 26:15-16)

C. The Roman sense of law and justice saved Paul’s life and his ministry when former co-religionists sought to silence the Apostle permanently. “And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.” (Acts 23:12) “And when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.” (Acts 23:16-17) “But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.” (Acts 23:21) This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.” (Acts 23:27)

III. Avoid Things Which Kill

A. Protect people against accidents; Biblical case law called for railings to keep people from falling off housetops. “When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.” (Deuteronomy 22:8)

B. Avoid temptation; it is always the wrong time to be in the wrong place. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:” (Proverbs 1:10-11) “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. (Proverbs 1:15-16)

C. Come to the aid of the defenseless. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:4)

D. Neglecting to do what is right is a decision to do what is wrong; abortion and elder abuse are not matters of private judgment. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” (Proverbs 24:11-12)

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