Note from Randy: This is a small group lesson I wrote for Good Shepherd Community Church Growth Groups. It was designed for use in groups following my message on abortion in the January 18-19, 1997 services. Pastors (or anyone else) are welcome to make use of it. — Randy Alcorn
1. Read the attached article “Biblical Perspectives on Unborn Children.” Mark anything that strikes you as significant. Did something in particular stick out to you? (For example: at what point a person is created by God; Scripture’s references to people in the womb; where the incarnation of Christ took place; the early church’s teaching on abortion; contrasting God’s view of children with modern society’s.)
2. A real life situation: Your friend is pregnant. She’s told by her doctor, “Tests show the fetus has a disease that causes deformity. It will probably live no more than a few weeks after birth, and if it does it will never be able to walk, talk, see or have a normal life. I recommend you terminate the pregnancy.”
a. What would you tell your friend? Why? (Some verses that might help: Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; Exodus 20:13)
b. On the issue of the child’s handicaps, how do the following verses help you to respond further?
3. What do these passages tell you about what God calls us to do when innocent lives are threatened?
a. Proverbs 31:8-9
b. Psalm 82:3-4
c. Proverbs 24:11-12
(For further study: Psalm 72:12-14; sin of omission: Jeremiah 21:12; James 4:17)
4. Another life situation: A young single acquaintance of yours has gotten pregnant. She’s called an abortion clinic and made an appointment for tomorrow. You hear about it from a mutual friend. What should you say and/or do?
(Consider before answering: We should not intrude into everyone’s life in an attempt to prevent every sin or act of bad judgment. But should the fact that an innocent human being’s life is at stake compel us to greater involvement? How much greater? Be specific. What should you do? What should you not do?)
5. What does God say to the person who has taken a life or committed any other sin? (What does a person need to do to experience what these passages offer?)
a. Psalm 103:10-14
b. Micah 7:18-19
c. Proverbs 28:13
d. 1 John 1:9
e. Romans 8:1
6. Recent statistics indicate that nearly one in five women who get abortions identifies herself as an evangelical Christian (up from one in six ten years ago). Does this surprise you? Why do you think abortion happens so often in the church?
7. Among the Good Shepherd family who brought 35 roses up the aisle in the services (one for each child killed by abortion in America since 1973) were the following: women who’ve had abortions; men responsible for abortions; people who helped perform abortions; people who’ve lost grandchildren and siblings to abortion; a person who survived an abortion and was carried to term; a woman conceived when her 13 year old mother was raped; a woman advised by her doctor to get an abortion but didn’t; someone who had an abortion appointment scheduled and canceled it at the last moment; a woman who places flowers outside an abortion clinic on the anniversary of her child’s death. You also heard Diane’s testimony. These are only a small sampling of lives touched by abortion at our church. Do any of these stories make you think or touch your heart in a particular way?
8. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Of course, not all sins need to be confessed in a growth group, but they do need to be confessed to God, and often he leads us to share with others as part of our healing process, and to use us to comfort others with similar hurts (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). If you have had a personal or family experience with abortion, and if you think God is leading you to share it with your group, please do so. (There will be no pressure put on anyone to share—this is entirely optional.)
Questions for further reflection and study:
1. If someone in your group chooses now or later to share his or her involvement in an abortion (or any other sin) for which he is repentant, what do the following passages tell you about how you should respond? (Galatians 6:2; 1 Peter 4:8; James 2:13; Matthew 5:7).
2. How would you respond to each of the following statements? “I believe in a woman’s right to choose”; “The fetus isn’t a person, it’s just a part of the woman’s body”; “I agree with Planned Parenthood: ‘Every child a wanted child’“; “I’m against abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and deformity of the child” (see Deut. 24:16); “Abortion is a terribly difficult choice. We shouldn’t invade a woman’s privacy in making that choice”; “I’m not pro-abortion, I’m just prochoice about abortion.”
3. What do these passages teach about the importance of churches and Christians coming clean—confessing, repenting and dealing with sin? (Psalm 24:3-4; Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 28:9; Zechariah 7:13; 1 Corinthians 5:6-7)
4. What does Scripture say about a nation that spills innocent blood and does not repent? (2 Kings 24:2-4; Proverbs 6:16-19; Ezekiel 35:6; see 2 Chronicles 7:14-who does God call upon first to repent?)
5. Read Psalm 127:3-5. How does the biblical view differ from our culture’s view of children? Respond to this statement: “Christians today have bought into society’s anti-child mentality, which motivates them to see children as an inconvenience, to turn up their noses at large families, and to consider the alternative of abortion when they face an unwanted pregnancy.”