Why is Suicide a Sin?

Text: Job 3:1-11


I.         A young man asked me, “Why is suicide a sin?”

            A.        At first it seems a strange question because the answer is so obvious.

            B.        But the young man was struggling with how to explain this to someone he knows.

            C.        You can’t turn in your Bibles to a passage that says “You shall not take your own life.”

II.        Suicide is murder

            A.        Suicide is the ending of your own life. An individual decides his life should not continue.

            B.        But this is no different from a person who decides to end the life of another person.

            C.        You shall not murder - Exodus 20:13

                        1.         Not to be confused with a government administering the death penalty for a crime - Romans 13:4

                                    a.         Governments were given the right to execute evildoers by God.

                                    b.         The act is only done after careful consideration that evil had been committed that is worthy of death.

                        2.         The person committing suicide cannot claim the right

                                    a.         He has not been given the right to end his own life by God

                                    b.         He is not in the position to accurately weigh whether a death sentence should be applied.

            D.        Once you acknowledge that suicide is a form of murder, then it is straight forward to prove that murder, including suicide, is a sin - I John 3:15

III.       A better question: “Why would someone want to end his life?”

            A.        Despair

                        1.         Today we usually call it “depression”

                                    a.         It is the attitude that life is not worth living.

                                    b.         It is the decision that there is no future and no hope of a better tomorrow.

                        2.         Job - Job 3:3-4, 11

                                    a.         In his sufferings, Job wished he never had been born.

                                    b.         Yet, in the depths of his despair Job did not commit suicide

                                    c.         Job 2:10 - Some things are out of our control, including the choice of when our lives should end.

                        3.         Elijah - I Kings 19:4

                                    a.         After successfully proving that God existed, Jezebel threatened to kill him.

                                    b.         Elijah gave up hope. He saw himself as the only faithful follower of God left in the world, and he was a failure.

                                    c.         After his best effort, he could not turn Israel from their idolatry

                                    d.         Notice that Elijah wished for death, but he did not attempt to take his own life.

                                    e.         Even in despair, he knew that the decision was God’s alone to make.

                                    f.         And God countered Elijah’s lack of hope by giving him important chores that would affect the future of Israel. He also pointed out that Elijah’s view was wrong; there were 7,000 faithful people in Israel. (Thus was Elijah a good judge of whether his life was worth continuing? NO!)

                        4.         Judas - Matthew 27:3-5

                                    a.         Judas was a man always looking for a way to make quick cash, legally or illegally.

                                    b.         He had observed how Jesus always managed to escape when the Jews attempted to arrest Him or kill Him

                                    c.         Perhaps Judas thought to cash in on this by offering to betray the Christ, fully expecting Jesus to simply walk away as He had done in the past.

                                    d.         But it didn’t as planned

                                                (1)       Jesus was arrested and condemned to die

                                                (2)       Judas could not face his own guilt and he hanged himself

                        5.         Compare Judas to Saul - Acts 7:57-8:1

                                    a.         Saul was present at the death of Stephen. He encouraged the mob in their murder of a righteous man.

                                    b.         He lead the persecution of the church, dragging many into prison and to their death - Acts 8:3

                                    c.         But Jesus sought out Saul and Saul was granted salvation.

                                    d.         Looking back on this Saul, now called Paul, said - I Timothy 1:12-15

                                    e.         Paul didn’t wallow in self-pit or despair for long. When he learned the truth he took hold of the opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of God.

                        6.         Christianity is a religion of hope; a hope that does not disappoint - Romans 5:5

                                    a.         At one time we did not have God and had no hope - Ephesians 2:12

                                    b.         Now we are called to hold on to our hope - Hebrews 10:23

                                    c.         Those who commit suicide are declaring that they have given up hope in God.

            B.        Control

                        1.         The reason many people in the Bible committed suicide was a vain attempt to control their destiny.

                        2.         Abimelech - Judges 9:53-54

                                    a.         Abimelech was fatally struck by a rock thrown by a woman.

                                    b.         He did not want it to be known that a woman killed him, so he ordered his armor bearer to strike him dead.

                                    c.         But it didn’t work. We remember that a woman was the cause of Abimelech’s death - II Samuel 11:21

                                    d.         He tried to change history and failed

                        3.         Saul - I Samuel 31:4

                                    a.         Saul was in the midst of battle, his sons were killed, and he was fatally shot by a Philistine archer

                                    b.         Saul feared that the Philistines would abuse his body after his death

                                    c.         But it didn’t work - I Samuel 31:8-10

                                    d.         You see, once you are dead, you have no control. You give up all possibility of affecting the world.

                        4.         Ahithophel - II Samuel 17:23

                                    a.         Absalom rebelled against his father, King David. One of David’s advisors, Ahithophel turned traitor and began advising Absalom.

                                    b.         However, in a critical matter Absalom took the advice of another over Ahithophel.

                                    c.         Ahithophel knew disaster was coming, so he decided to control his own death.

                                    d.         Funny thing is, nothing changed. He would have died one way or another.

                                    e.         By taking himself out of the picture early on, he insured the defeat of Absalom by removing any possible good advice he might have gained.

                        5.         Zimri - I Kings 16:18

                                    a.         He killed King Elah of Israel, but soon faced defeat at the hands of a rival general

                                    b.         Zimri chose the method of his death, but in his death he gave his enemy exactly what he desired.

                                    c.         Zimri’s suicide only made Omri’s triumph easier.

                        6.         Suicide doesn’t give men control.

                                    a.         It is a means of abandoning any control of your future.

                                    b.         It makes no change. It cannot cause an improvement.

                                    c.         It is a coward’s escape.

                                    d.         Oh! But do they truly escape? - Revelation 21:8

            C.        Revenge

                        1.         Jonah - Jonah 4:1-3

                                    a.         Jonah was commanded to preach to his hated enemies.

                                    b.         He did not desire their salvation, so he tried to rebel; but in the end Jonah was forced to deliver God’s message.

                                    c.         The message filled Jonah with glee, in 40 days the capital of his enemies, Nineveh, would be destroyed.

                                    d.         But to his dismay, the people listened to his warning and repented of their sins!

                                    e.         Jonah would have rather died than to see Nineveh survive.

                        2.         Often people committing suicide are trying to strike back at others whom they perceive as causing them harm.

                                    a.         Christians are warned - Romans 12:19

                                    b.         These people are trying to take matters into their own hands.

                                    c.         They believe they know better than God what to be done and when it should be done.

                        3.         Revenge is the motivation behind suicide bombers

                                    a.         Here is a way they believe they can strike back at their most hated enemies.

                                    b.         If they die in the process, they deceive themselves into believing God will be happy with their deed.

                                    c.         Such woefully foolish people!

                                                (1)       Their deaths guarantee facing an angry God

                                                (2)       They killed others and themselves – murderers will not enter heaven; especially murderers trying to take matters into their own hands rather than giving place for the wrath of God.

                                    d.         Remember when the disciples sought to take vengeance on a village that insulted Jesus? - Luke 9:55-56

IV.      Suicide holds no solution

            A.        It fixes no problems

            B.        It gives no control

            C.        It is not heroic, but cowardly

            D.        It brings wrath upon the one seeking vengeance

            E.        It brings no comfort to the suffering soul

V.        The true solution

            A.        When the jailer sought to take his life - Acts 16:28

                        1.         The cry brought the jailer back to his senses

                        2.         He wanted to know how he might be saved from his predicament

                        3.         Perhaps he was only focused on his immediate problems, but Paul pointed him to a greater need - Acts 16:31

            B.        How can a man believe in what he never heard? - Romans 10:14

                        1.         So we find the jailer and his household learning about Jesus in the middle of the night - Acts 16:32

                        2.         That word made a difference! - Acts 16:33

            C.        Here, then, is the solution to your problems, no matter how overwhelming they may seem.

                        1.         Suicide doesn’t bring joy into anyone’s life

                        2.         But Jesus is the key to eternal joy


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