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Abortion: A Kingdom of God Approach

• Greg Boyd

The Cross and the Sword series continued with this sermon, which covered two more consequences of fusing the kingdom of God with the kingdom of the world. To illustrate the damage this can cause, Greg discussed using the Kingdom of God approach with abortion: don’t limit ourselves to the options given by the kingdom of the world, but ascribe unsurpassable worth to others (mother and baby) at cost to ourselves. This is the unique mission of the Kingdom of God, and it’s not easy.

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Greg began this week’s sermon by reading Luke 12:13-15. Here a man tries to get Jesus to use his authority to support his financial agenda. Jesus refused to be tangled in the “civilian affairs” of this man and his brother. The Kingdom of God is the first priority, and this is reflected in Jesus’ response. Greg’s message today deals with this same issue. What is the distinctly Kingdom of God perspective on whatever the world puts before us? We need to be careful not to let the world define the terms of the issues. The Christian response (the loving response) is always rooted in our willingness to be the ones who will sacrifice on behalf of others. Jesus is the example. We need to have a distinctive perspective that doesn’t trap and prevent us from acting effectively on behalf of those we are called to serve. In this case, Jesus’ concern that both of the people dealing with the inheritance are tempted by greed is greater than one or the other getting what he wants. Greed endangers a person’s soul, and this is an attack on the Kingdom of God! That is what Jesus deals with because that is what really matters. If that gets resolved, then justice in matters of money will follow as a matter of course (Seek ye first…).

Greg’s message has a similar structure. He too is concerned that we not threaten our own souls by failing to do the most basic thing: seek first the Kingdom of God on God’s terms, not our own. This is why “idolatry” became the key word in this message. When we prioritize a cause (even the very best cause in the world!) higher than obedience to God and service in God’s Kingdom, we are guilty of idolatry. God will stand second to none. This was the point of the excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world are simply not the same. A distinction must be made and maintained because we can only truly be loyal citizens of one of these kingdoms. The scheme of the enemy is to get us to confuse the two so that we compromise our loyalty to God. The enemy knows that anything that we put in God’s place becomes an idol. Any one of us can become guilty of idolatry: conservatives, liberals and moderates included. It doesn’t matter what draws us away from loyalty to God; whatever it is becomes an idol and we become guilty of idolatry. This is especially deceptive when we use Christianity to justify our loyalty to idols!

Greg’s warning is that if we allow our politics to be more important to us than our daily obedience to God, many disastrous consequences happen. Some of those include:

  1. It compromises our witness to God because we are associated with our cause/idol more than Christ.
  2. We begin to believe that the pseudo-Christian veneer that our culture has is true Christianity and forget that our citizenship and loyalties lie with a kingdom that is not of this world.
  3. We begin to trust “power over” like the world does, rather than “power under” which Christ models.
  4. We know we are in danger of this when we put our hopes in passing laws or electing a certain candidate rather than keeping all our hope in Christ.
  5. We let the kingdom of the world set the agenda. The example used here was abortion. If we let the world set the agenda on this issue, we will be trapped by the impossibility of the situation. Remember Jesus’ response: he didn’t side with one brother versus the other; instead, he was concerned for both of their souls because of their greed! God is concerned about the well-being of all involved, and as Christians our action is more important than our words. Are we willing to truly sacrifice for the sake of our cause? This means not just going to the polls but walking with those we seek to affect with our votes? Go ahead and say your piece – the world invites you to speak your opinion. But the Kingdom of God requires that your actions speak louder than your words and that they demonstrate loyalty to God above everything else. Greg told the story of Dorothy who relentlessly supported a young mother and did all she could to make life possible for her and her unexpected child. Dorothy demonstrated allegiance to the Kingdom of God by sacrificing of herself for the sake of this mother. And she votes pro-choice. But her actions show that she is more pro-life than most who claim that title.
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Topics: Controversial Issues, Kingdom of God, Power

Sermon Series: The Cross and the Sword

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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 12:13-15

    Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."

    Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."

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