The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 31:8-9 Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
This passage of Scripture is one which is used frequently by many an Abolitionist as a proof text of sorts to encourage the Church to stand up and make Holy war against the sacrifices being made to Molech all across our land. Rightfully so, I believe. When one considers the plight of unborn children being led unsuspectingly to the slaughter by their mothers, to open one's mouth and make a plea for their lives seems like an easy choice to make.
If you are a Christian who fears the Lord, loves Christ, loves your neighbor, and believes that Scripture is the lense through which we ought to view the world, judge what God brings before us, and apply His word to all of life, then spending time defending the unborn child scheduled for death is a reasonable way to spend your time on a Saturday morning.
The unborn child is powerless to defend his or herself. They cannot open their mouth and give a defense or plead their case in any way. They have been appointed to destruction by their mothers and are powerless to change the trajectory of their brief life. In many ways, they are a picture of what it looks like to be enslaved by sinful lusts and passions. To be led along by the lust of the flesh, ends in sure death.
There is however another dimension to this text which extends far beyond the abortion scourge which I would like us to consider this morning. If we believe that apart from God's grace mankind is dead in their sins and trespasses, that lost men, women, boys, and girls have hard, stony hearts which love sin and hate God and His Law, then there are many more to plead for and with than merely the unborn child scheduled for death.
If we believe that those who hate God and love darkness do the work of their father the devil, enslaved to their sin, and conversely believe that apart from a supernatural work of God those same people cannot in a million years do one thing to deliver themselves from the destruction into which they are plunging headlong, then the scope of those with whom we plead is broadened tremendously.
Just on the surface, the folks I am referring to are those whom we encounter every single time we step foot on the sidewalk in front of the clinic. They are the orange vested ones, stumbling along in darkness, being led along as slaves by the lusts of their flesh which they love, headed for certain death and destruction lest they repent in response to God's grace acting in their lives.
The unborn child is easy to love. The deathscorts, not so much. They lie. They slander. They curse. They will threaten to stab you. They incite violence against you online. They attempt to turn your children against you. If you manage to have a conversation with them, you will most certainly be met with mocking, irrational arguments, and your every word will be used against you. Walking in the flesh, they are unlovable. Yet, as surely as the unborn child is headed to death, the deathscorts may very well be vessels of wrath appointed for destruction, and there is only one thing that can pluck them out of the fire, and that is the gospel.
You say "the deathscorts hear the gospel week in and week out", "they won't engage", "all they do is mock", "they aren't listening", "I get tired of being threatened and mocked", "I am not going to put myself, my freedom, or potentially my family in harm's way for that person's soul". So, as a result, you wind up unwilling to speak hard truths directly to the face of those who are hard to love, and eventually that pattern will follow you into other areas of your life. If we believe as we say, that we ought to open (our) your (mouths) mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy, then the scope of this work extends far beyond the plight of the unborn, or even the deathscort.
For instance, the difficult to love coworker who slanders you every time you say the name Jesus.
That family member who cuts you and your children out of their life for months at a time any time you open your mouth and judge rightly. Friends from your past who look at you now and scoff at the notion that you no longer want to run off into drunkenness and sexual immorality, because you have been born again.
The opportunities we have to love unlovable people are innumerable. But that is what we are called to, is it not? We aren't merely called to speak for the unborn, which is easy because they can't speak back. The unborn can't slander or threaten you. It's easy to forget that because the unborn cannot open their mouth, cannot defend themselves, that like the deathscorts, like the butchers who work at the abortuary, the unborn children have a sin nature that would manifest itself to you should they have the opportunity.
So, what is my point with all of this? It's this: holding back those who are stumbling to the slaughter is hard, tiring, heartbreaking work which will put both you and your family in the crosshair of the world, flesh, and devil. If you are a Christian, whether it is in your home with your wife, on the sidewalk in front of the clinic, among your extended family, online, or in the workplace, you have been called to be a faithful witness for Christ. We are commanded to count the cost, and the reality is, the cost is high. You must die to self. You must be willing to say "not my will be done, but Yours, O God".
It is not enough to simply live a quote "good life", and let your light shine before men. You must open your mouth and judge rightly with the word of God.
Experience no persecution, no separation, no conflict? Does everyone in every circle in which you move think highly of you? You may be living as an undercover Christian. Your politeness, your neutrality in every position, your disdain for rocking the boat, your aversion to ruffling any feathers, and all the goodness and kindness you muster up may allow you to fare well in the eyes of the world, but none of that is the power of God unto salvation. It isn't either or. Be kind. Seek to live peaceably with all men as much as it depends upon you, and open your mouth using the Word of God as a sword.
The bible tells us that God showed His love for us in this way, in that while we were still yet sinners, Christ died for us. This is what we are called to: loving sinners. It is the path our Lord Jesus trod, being mocked, scorned, spit on, beaten, and cursed, and Scripture tells us that a student will become like their teacher. Let us repent and ask God to forgive us wherever we have failed to open our mouths and judge righteously. If you are able, please kneel as we call upon the name of the LORD.
As we speak truth to those we live among, we find our circle of acquaintances and friends grow smaller, and smaller. Family rejects us, past friends walk away, hostility towards us and our households springs up, and if we are being faithful, at times it seems as if the whole world is against us, and it is daunting. Thankfully, we can shout "What a friend we have in Jesus!" Father, those whom we live among that are stumbling into death are too numerous to count. There are no lack of avenues which we may go down to open our mouths and defend the afflicted and needy. The problem is, we often count the cost and deem it too high. We value our peace, comfort, status, and relationships among men more than we love You and the souls of lost neighbors. Please forgive us Father. Forgive us for fear of man, for not loving as Your Son loves, for valuing peace and comfort over the salvation of lost souls. Please help us to remember Your lovingkindness towards us, while we were still yet sinners.
In Jesus's Name we pray, Amen.
Please join me in standing and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:
Romans 4:7-8 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!