Big Idea: God advances a radically high view of human life, affirming its intrinsic value by commanding us not to murder. We can love God and others well not only by not committing murder, but by advancing God’s value of life through passionate and informed advocacy that protects life in many ways.
I. The Biblical and ethical foundations for the command not to murder
A. Men and women have intrinsic value because of God’s plan. (Genesis 1:26-27, Psalm 8:4-6, 139:13-16)
B. Destroying what is precious grieves the heart of God. (Genesis 4:10-11, Revelation 6:9-11)
C. The scope of the command in the Old Testament
1. Murder – intentionally taking a life (Joshua 20:1-5)
2. Second decree murder
3. Judicial murder – using the justice system to kill people (I Kings 21:5, Acts 7:52)
D. The scope of the New Testament teaching on murder
(Matthew 5:21-22, 15:19; James 4:2, 5:6; Acts 7:52, 9:1; John 8:44, 1 John 3:15)
II. What does this look like today? Short answer: about the same, except worse.
A. First degree murder
B. Second degree murder – Criminal neglect
E. Assisted suicide or murder of self with assistance
F. Areas not included
III. A Story of brokenness and healing
IV. A call to action
A. Develop a robust understanding of why life matters to God.
B. Be an advocate for life.
C. Deal with any anger by applying Jesus’ teachings.
D. At work and at home, love others well by taking reasonable steps to protect life.
Identify business practices that could cause loss of life.
E. If you are having suicidal thoughts or know someone who does, seek help.
(see Compassion Counseling Center resources)
1) Did you hear much about this commandment when you were growing up? Was it “do not kill” or “do not murder”? What’s the difference? Is all killing murder?
2) Why do you think God loves humanity? What are the implications of God’s love for us? Why does every life matter to God? How is that different from the world’s understanding of worth?
3) Why do you think the New Testament teaching widens the scope of murder to include things like anger, envy and gossip? Do you normally think of these things as connected to murder? Why did Jesus and the apostles make those connections?
4) How many people die every year from preventable accidents that result from a failure in “duty of care”? Is not intending for something to happen enough to wipe out a duty of care?
5) Have you ever heard of “wrongful birth” or “wrongful life” lawsuits before? Is genetic testing that gives parents detailed information about birth defects a good thing or a bad thing? Why do you suppose 90% of Down Syndrome babies are aborted?
6) In 45 of 50 states, helping someone kill themselves is a crime, but 5 other states have decided that physicians should be able to help patients die if that is their wish. What do you think about that? Is it hypocrisy to have a big suicide prevention push in the same states that make assisted suicide legal?
7) Have you ever heard of Kevin Heins’ story of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and surviving his attempted suicide? If you are in a setting where you can watch the YouTube video, please do so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcSUs9iZv-g.
If people feel regret after they make a decision to kill themselves, a decision they would not make in their right mind, do we as a State and a people of God have a duty of care to help them? If such a duty of care exists, should physicians be held to a lower standard? If your pet was suffering horribly from a terminal illness, would you view it as humane to put it down? If you would, is helping a person who is in pain from a terminal illness die the same? If not, what is the difference? What alternatives are there to assisted suicide?
8) What did you think of Jana’s story? [video in service] Is abortion the unpardonable sin in Christian circles? Is the shame people feel over this produced by the community of faith, or is it felt by the individual because of the act itself? What can you do to help promote healing in this area?
9) What can you do differently to be an informed and passionate advocate for life? What aspect of this huge topic do you feel passionate about? How would you express your advocacy?