Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Life and Responsibility

[I preached the following before the doors of the abortion clinic at 2nd and Market here in Louisville this morning. There were some times of profound silence this morning, but while I was preaching there was a great cacophony and I admit that I may not have communicated as clearly as I intended. I do think, however, that I was able to clearly articulate: 1. the command, "Love your neighbor as yourself;" 2. the fact that the abortion and the industry related to abortion stand in direct violation of this command, and; 3. the good news that Jesus has dealt with our violations of His command through His death, burial, and resurrection. My prayer is that someone was given ears to hear this message.]

In Luke 10:30[b]-37, the Bible records that Jesus told the following story:

"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.

31"And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32"Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33"But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,

34and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

35"On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.'

36"Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?"

37And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same." [NASB]

Imagine that you throw a party this weekend. Things get a little wild. You wake up the next morning and your house is trashed out and all your guests are gone. To your surprise, however, one of the guests has left a one-week-old baby on your couch. You think to yourself, “Who on earth brought this little baby to my party?” You start to think of which of your friends– or friends of friends that crashed the party–might have recently given birth. Meanwhile, the baby has started crying for some food. What is your next move? Certainly, you are going to call the police and do everything in your power to find the parents of the child. You may call Child and Human Services to try to take custody of the child until the parents can be found, but this is a weekend, and it may be hard to get in touch with them. Meanwhile, the baby is still screaming her head off. What are you going to do? Are you going to lock her in a closet and hope she doesn’t starve until the police or someone comes by to take her off your hands? Though it’s an inconvenience to you, isn’t the natural solution for you to get a friend to watch the baby while you go down the street and buy some formula (you know: getting the safest kind you can) and try to feed the child?

What if your solution is this:

You think, “This is my house. This baby is an invader here, inconveniencing me and using up my resources. In the privacy of my home, I have the right to do what I want.”

And so what you do is you hire someone to come over, to crush the head of the child, to dismember the child, and to take the child out of your house.

Now, even if your solution wasn’t illegal– even if there had been a court ruling the week before saying you could do whatever you want to the children in your home– everyone here knows that killing the child would be immoral.

Contrary to a pure, selfish, ‘give-me-my rights’ way of reasoning, the fact that a truly helpless person is in your house, using your resources, inconveniencing you doesn’t decrease or lessen your responsibility to that person, but it increases your responsibility to that needy person.

In the study of Ethics, this is called the Principle of Moral Proximity.

Jesus’ story of the loving Samaritan points to this Principle of Moral Proximity. When we hear the story of Jesus, our immediate response isn’t that some citizen in Rome should have gone down to the Jericho road and searched all over until he happened to find someone in need of help. Instead, our immediate response is to feel indignation at the priest and the religious person for avoiding the person in desperate need: the person right in their path.

Jesus told the story of the loving Samaritan as a parable to show how we should fulfill God’s command” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We are to love our neighbor by self-sacrificially helping those in desperate need whom God has placed in our path.

A woman walking into this abortion clinic may feel desperate or helpless. On the other hand some women walk into the clinic feeling empowered or self-righteous in their decision. Either way, within the walls of this abortion clinic there are truly needy and helpless lives that are being systematically disregarded and torn to shreds.

To kill a child is to disobey the command to: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

To encourage or help someone who is making a decision that involves killing a child is to disobey the command to: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In truth, we have all, at times, disobeyed the command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We have all, at times, selfishly chosen our own convenience or our own imagined “rights” and allowed those truly needy people whom God has brought into our path to remain in their suffering.

The only one who never disobeyed this command is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a life of self-sacrificially helping those who could not help themselves. He said, “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” [Matt 20:28 ESV]. Having fulfilled all of God’s commands, Jesus died on the Cross in the place of sinners: taking the punishment that we deserve. Jesus was buried, and He rose from the grave on the third day, showing that He is victorious over sin and death, and offering eternal life to all who turn from their sins and believe in Him.

Trust in Him today!



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