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Lessons from the Womb

• Greg Boyd

Greg started out by reading through Luke 1:13-17; Luke 1:42,44; and John 18:36. Luke’s gospel starts with the birth of a revolutionary movement—the beginning of the Kingdom of God. It’s like a mustard seed that though small at first will prove victorious in the end. We, as Christians are to be known by how different we are from the world. That is, how truly we love one another and the world.

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Greg started out by reading through Luke 1:13-17; Luke 1:42,44; and John 18:36. Luke’s gospel starts with the birth of a revolutionary movement—the beginning of the Kingdom of God. It’s like a mustard seed that though small at first will prove victorious in the end. Greg offered two lists that describe the differences between the two kingdoms:

Kingdom of the world

Life from the world

Self-centered

Caesar ideal

Power over

Sword (law)

Regulate behavior

Practicality/efficiency

Temporal

Conquer enemies

Kingdom of God

Life from God

God-centered

Christ ideal

Power under

Cross (grace)

Transform lives

Faithfulness

Eternal

Convert enemies

Everything hangs on our ability to keep these two distinct from one another! When the differences fade, the transforming power of the Gospel is compromised. We, as Christians are to be known by how different we are from the world. That is, how truly we love one another and the world. (Matt. 5:39; Luke 6:27; Rom. 12:17; Eph. 4:31-5:2) Where this world is characterized by violence in word and deed, the Kingdom of God is to be characterized by love. Where the world robs worth, the Kingdom of God ascribes worth.

Why bring all this up again? As long as we (Christians) are not primarily known for our outrageous love in the world, then this message is timely. As long as people process sermons in terms of political categories rather than consider how faithful they are to Scripture, this message is timely. Jesus still has the reputation of being loving in the world and Jesus never fit into political categories. When this is true of the Church then we can consider this message received.

From here Greg offered “Four Lessons from the Womb.” These lessons are for self-professing Christians. We cannot hold the world to a standard they do not accept.

A. John in the womb was created by God. (Luke 1:12) The unborn are creations of God and our role is to ascribe unsurpassable worth (love) to that creation.

B. John in the womb was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:14) John’s being filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb shows that the unborn are able to commune with God profoundly. Since God ascribes worth to John and fills him with the Holy Spirit, we too should ascribe worth to those in the womb.

C. In the womb, God already had plans for John’s life. (Luke 1:16-17) The simple fact that God has plans for the unborn is reason enough to affirm the unsurpassable worth of the child. As Kingdom people, its our job to agree with God’s plans.

D. God used John in the womb to communicate truth. (Luke 1:44) God used John to speak to Elizabeth about Jesus, even while John was still in the womb! God can use the unborn to speak truth to us about who God is, what love is and what it means to imitate Christ.

The pregnancy may not be convenient, and those who love both the mother and child will empathize and show concern for the well-being of both. This world justifies violence for the sake of convenience, efficiency and personal well-being. People of the Kingdom of God, on the other hand, are called to refuse violence in all forms and imitate Christ even if it means to suffer for others, even our enemies.

For those of you who have had abortions, Greg had a specific message: don’t let the enemy take the truth of this message and condemn you with it. You are not condemned. You, like all of us, are forgiven. God came to die for just this sort of pain, for this sort of loss, for all these forms of brokenness. We must surrender our pain to God and be free to live the abundant life God has for us. If you need to talk to someone about your situation, don’t hesitate to contact our Care ministry by calling 651-487-0001.

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Topics: Controversial Issues, Kingdom of God, Non-Violence


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 1:13-17

    But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

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