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Cheapened Human Flesh

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Cheapened Human Flesh

Text: Luke 1:34-41

Thesis: To show that God commands us to regard each human highly, as worthy of our love and service.

Introduction:

  1. Mic. 3:1-4 - The very mention of the word “cannibal” fills us with disgust.  How can a human

        being look upon another human with so low regard? Are others here upon this earth merely

        to serve my needs?  Here, God is not speaking of literal cannibalism.  He is looking at a

        callous view of others, which is tantamount to cannibalism.

  2. Surely we are beyond this type of barbaric behavior!  But before we walk away with self-

        righteous feelings, let’s scan the landscape of our time.  Let’s make sure we are not looking

        upon others as mere objects for our own use.

Discussion:

I.       Abortion Is A Practice That Cheapens Human Flesh

A.    Last week marked the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, allowing the practice of abortion on the grounds of a woman’s right to privacy.  Since that ruling, there have been well over 1 million abortions every year, just in the U.S. alone.  According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1.3 million abortions were performed in the U.S. in 2000, and the period of 1973 through 2000 saw 39 million legal abortions performed in the U.S.  Worldwide, according to the same report, 46 million abortions take place every year.  Has there ever been a war which claimed so many lives?  Have all the wars ever fought claimed as many lives as this “medical procedure”?

B.     God’s word defends the humanity of the unborn:

1.      Jer. 1:4,5 - Does not God point to the personhood of Jeremiah before he was born?  He had identity; God referred to this fetus as “you”. God had formed him in that womb.

2.      Lk. 1:41, 36 - Luke wrote that the “babe” in Elizabeth’s womb leaped at the sound of Mary’s voice.  Note that this life is yet in the womb; Elizabeth is only six months pregnant when the incident takes place.

3.      Lk. 18:15 - Luke uses the same Greek word - brephos - in speaking of infants brought to Jesus for blessing.  Are these fetuses yet unborn?  Or are they not clearly children who have been born?  In God’s sight, there is no difference.

C.     Isa. 5:20 - The words we use when referring to something makes a difference.  God condemns those who change definitions He has established.  What will He think of those who change the definition of a human child?  Are we not cheapening human flesh by condoning the practice of abortion?

I.       Pornography Is A Practice That Cheapens Human Flesh

A.    Pornography as a growing phenomenon:

1.      It used to be that “pornography” meant magazine racks in a back room, or sleazy looking businesses where clients always parked in the back.  Today, pornography is much more mainstream.

2.      The biggest allure is now on the Internet.  According to The Wall Street Journal Interactive, April 17, 2000 (“The Web’s Dirty Little Secret”): “Mark Tiarra, president of the industry group United Adult Sites, offers an ‘educated guess’ that there are close to 200,000 adult sites on the Web.  Of those, he estimates, ‘there are perhaps 15 to 20 “players” in this business who see revenue in excess of $12 million per year’.  The rest of the market, he says, is made up of everything from small sites that generate less than $1,000 per month to medium-size sites approaching $1 million a year.”

3.      Dr. Alvin Cooper, director of the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Centre: "The Internet has evolved as a really powerful force in sexuality because it offers...affordability, accessibility and anonymity."  San Francisco Examiner, 4/4/99; USA Today, 3/31/99, in AFA Journal, June 1999

4.      Many would argue that pornography is not a big deal.  After all, it’s not like abortion where lives are being ended.  Is there any harm in this practice that more and more (including Christians) are getting involved in?

B.     Biblical principles relating to pornography:

1.      2 Sam. 13:15,20b - The account of Amnon and Tamar should tell us something about the effect on lives.  Amnon obsessed over his half-sister until he raped her.  Then he hated her after he had gotten what he wanted.  And Tamar?  She “remained desolate”, a life ruined.

2.      1 Cor. 6:16-18 - There’s something more than physical in the act of sex.  Even though it may not be a personal relationship, pornography is still a sin against our own body.

3.      Heb. 13:4 - Marriage is God’s gift, and sex is a blessing in that relationship.  But fornicators and adulterers are living outside of God’s will.

C.     By becoming clients of the pornographers, we contribute to the victimization of young women and men.  Our dollars encourage the pornographers to continue luring innocents into a lifestyle full of sin and shame.  These will “remain desolate”, and we will have contributed to that, even if just in a small amount.

I.       Selfishness Is A Practice That Cheapens Human Flesh

A.    This one may surprise many.  How could selfishness be put in the same categories as abortion and pornography?  In that we look at others as objects to be used to advance ourselves and our desires.  Someone has said, “Even folks with bad manners know how to be polite to those who can do something for them.”  If they can’t help us, then why should we be interested in their needs?  It is the root that will eventually bear fruits such as abortion and pornography.

B.     Selfishness has no place in the Christian’s heart:

1.      Lk. 16:19-21 - The rich man had ample opportunity to take note of the needs of the beggar Lazarus.  He was laid daily at his gate!  But there is no indication he ever did anything to help.  How could Lazarus help him?  William Barclay: “To the rich man, Lazarus was part of the landscape. If ever he did notice him, it never struck him that Lazarus had anything to do with him. He was simply unaware of his presence, or, if he was aware of it, he had no sense of responsibility for it... A man may well be condemned, not for doing something, but for doing nothing.”

2.      Phil. 2:3-5 - Selfish ambition should not be a motivation of the Christian.  We should look out for the interests of others, as well as ourselves.  In doing so, we will have the mind of Christ.

3.      1 Cor. 13:4,5 - Love does not envy, does not seek its own.  Love is “other” oriented.

C.     No, we’ve not cannibalized another human being, and we’ve aborted no unborn child.  We even agree that pornography is wrong.  But have we participated in cheapening human flesh by a selfish lifestyle?

Conclusion:

  1. Jn. 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that He gave . . .”  Those words offer great hope.  But

       they also offer a great challenge.  God looked upon humans and saw precious souls.  He

       reached out to them in need.  Can we afford to do less?  Are we “godly” if we do not look

       upon every human as being special?

  2. Look around you.  See the needs on every hand. Take time to reach out to people with

       help and hope in your hands. The flesh is the envelope in which God has placed a soul,                     and you will be showing the world that all flesh is sacred.

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