Homosexuality: What the Bible Really Says

Monday, July 27th, 2015
Sermon Series: Tough Stuff

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Homosexuality

What the Bible Really Says

Tough Stuff 2015

 Back in the spring when we were discussing this series, we all agreed that homosexuality should be one of the topics, and we dedicated a week to it this summer. Little did we know at that time that the Supreme Court would be ruling on same-sex marriage around the same time.

In case you’ve been in a cave or hidden away in the desert, Friday, June 26th was an historic day. On that day, the Supreme Court (the highest court in the US) ruled same-sex marriage is a constitutional right by a vote of 5 to 4–no appeal possible.

The pace of change is remarkable! In 1996, President Clinton signed the DOMA into law, which defined marriage federally as between a man and a woman.

In 2000, 61% of California approved Proposition 21, which declared marriage to be between a man and a woman. More than two-thirds of our nation had laws explicitly defining marriage.

By 2004, these laws were voted into constitutional amendments. Yet by 2011, our federal government no longer was willing to defend DOMA in court. And just over two weeks ago, the US Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right.

Homosexuality, same-sex attraction and gay marriage are topics that the Church cannot avoid. That’s why we decided a couple weeks ago to devote two weeks to the subject. It’s not something we want to linger on, but it’s a topic that Christians need to be ready to give a biblical response to.

Raise your hand if you know a friend, family member, coworker, or classmate who is attracted to the same-sex? It’s everywhere. It’s not going away. We can’t turn a blind eye. We can’t pretend to live in another age.

With the recent ruling, you should expect that homosexuality will further infiltrate entertainment and even kids’ shows. With constitutional protection, there is no doubt that homosexuality will be further integrated into our schools’ educational curriculum.

And when I am talking about homosexuality, I am not talking merely about same-sex attraction. I am using it to describe active homosexual behavior.

There are already calls for churches to change their view on homosexuality. Christians are, and will be, asked to violate their convictions in the public sphere. The Solicitor General of the US said that the constitutional right to gay marriage will be “an issue” for religious liberty in the US.

So what are you going to do? What do you really believe? As Christians, we believe that there is a higher court than the Supreme Court. We believe that there is a greater Judge than the nine who sit on the judicial bench in Washington. So our great concern must be, what does the Word of God–the Great and Mighty Judge, the one who made all things, what does His Word say? At this point, we just have to start by admitting that the Bible is shockingly clear about homosexuality.

There are many, many things which Scripture does not speak about at all. Coke vs. Pepsi–it’s got nothing, though Coke is the clear winner! The use of electricity–nothing said, good or bad. Fertility treatment–nothing. Dancing–not a lot. Smoking–even less. Country music–that one’s listed as unclean in Leviticus! 😉 There are many, many things we encounter daily that aren’t discussed in the Bible at all. But when we talk about homosexuality, the Bible is shockingly clear.

Sometimes atheists try to debate Christians about topics that are not immediately clear in Scripture. They say the Bible doesn’t talk about the Trinity, or Jesus never claimed to be God. But nobody ever says the Bible doesn’t say anything about homosexuality. God’s Word is imminently clear–it is shockingly clear.

a)  Non-Christians understand what’s said, but reject it

It’s a bit like Genesis 1 and 2. You read it and it’s pretty clear about what it says. God made this. God made that. It took this many days. Not a lot of ambiguity. But because it doesn’t line up with what is popularly accepted as true, it is rejected as untrue and inaccurate.

Maybe you’re scared of being on the wrong side of history, and you know that churches got it wrong on slavery, so you wonder if this will prove to be the same sort of thing. Maybe you’ve not read the parts of Scripture that talk about homosexuality and you’re not sure what the Bible really says. This is what I’d like you to know at the outset. Non-Christians who read the Bible understand clearly what the Bible says. They don’t accept it. They don’t think it’s right and authoritative. But they do understand what’s written to be clear and unambiguous.

The gay Dutch scholar, Pim Pronk, writes, “Wherever homosexual intercourse is mentioned in Scripture, it is condemned.” Bernadette Brooten, a lesbian scholar who has written a great deal on lesbianism in ancient times, writes about Romans 1 and says, “I see Paul as condemning all forms of homoeroticism as the unnatural acts of people who had turned away from God.” Dan Via, a non-Christian liberal scholar of the Bible, says, “The biblical texts that deal specifically with homosexual practice condemn it unconditionally.”

These are just a sample to make the point. The Bible is so shockingly clear about homosexuality that non-Christians understand what’s said and do not see other options. They reject it wholesale as “not authoritative” or “true” or “from God.” But they don’t deny what’s said. It’s what Paul says we should expect of the lost. First Corinthians 2:14 says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.” He can understand what has been written, but he will not accept it as true.

You need to remember this when interacting with the lost. Many of the people you meet know something of what the Bible says. They simply reject it as untrue, mythical and antiquated. The problem is not usually ignorance, but outright rejection. On the other hand . . .

b)  Some Christians try to reinterpret what’s said (such as Third Way)

It was just June of last year that a Baptist pastor in Los Angeles decided that his viewpoint on homosexuality needed to change. He wrote to his church saying, “I realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality. And it was especially the testimony of my gay friends that helped me to see how they have been marginalized that my eyes became open to the injustice that the church has wrought.”

He went on to argue that “biblical passages supposedly condemning homosexual behavior were in fact addressing antiquated understandings of sexual domination, and are not applicable to today’s committed, loving homosexual partners.” His church, New Heart Community Church, became a “Third Way” church. That’s the name being adopted for churches that agree to disagree over what the Bible says about homosexuality and not judge one another about their differing views.

That Baptist pastor is not alone. There are many stories of pastors and churches deciding that the Scriptures don’t speak about modern homosexual behaviors. Matthew Vines recently wrote God and the Gay Christian, arguing that there is a biblical basis for same-sex relationships. He believes that Christians can affirm committed, monogamous, same-sex relationships and also affirm the full authority of the Bible.

So how do they handle the Word? How do they read something different than what’s been commonly understood for thousands of years? Listed on the side of your notes are the core passages that deal with homosexuality. These are the ones that have to be dealt with in order to affirm same-sex relationships. You’re going to hear their arguments, and I want you to understand them, so let me briefly walk you through what they would say the Bible teaches about same-sex relationships. We don’t usually do this—you’re going to hear these arguments, and you need to understand them.

Genesis 1 and 2

Open up your Bible to Genesis 2—it builds up to man’s need for woman in verse 18. Here is why they say God made woman for man—loneliness. Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” That’s the argument–it’s rooted in what God said right here. A woman is the answer for most men, but not all. God’s great concern is people being forced to be alone. So for the one whom God has made gay, he has provided a mate.

Marriage then is not foremost about procreation, especially since not all couples can have children–that doesn’t diminish their marital union in God’s eyes. You don’t look on a childless couple and say that their marriage is any less God-pleasing. That’s because marriage is about togetherness and the relationship, not the children. And that’s what a gay marriage is about!

And they would argue that if you look at the surrounding verses here, there is nothing said about sexual distinctiveness. The marriage union does not explicitly require different anatomical parts in order to become one flesh, but that happens as they join together. Even Laban would say to Jacob, “you are my bone and you are my flesh,” so that can’t be understood sexually.

So they would argue that Genesis 1 and 2, the foundation of marriage and gender roles, has been misunderstood by us, wrongly used as a proof-text, and needs to be reconsidered. Similarly, when we move to Sodom and Gomorrah, we have misread it by our prejudices.

Genesis 19

Turn in your Bible to the story of Sodom. In Genesis 18:20 the Lord said to Abraham, before sending the angels to save Lot, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.” Then we turn and read about their sin in Genesis 19:4 to 5, “Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 5 and they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may [know] have relations with them.’”

Lot tries to defend his guests by offering his daughters in verse 9, “But they said, ‘Stand aside.’ Furthermore, they said, ‘This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.’ So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.” You’ll notice that nowhere is it written what their sin actually is.

Clearly we can agree that monogamous, committed, same-sex relationships are not being described here. But the town is seeking to gang-rape its visitors. They are inhospitable and violent. Ezekiel 16:49 is used to confirm this. “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.”

So admit that you’ve always read Sodom wrong–Sodom’s sin is not homosexuality but arrogance, violence and cruel inhospitality. Sodom is not about homosexuality, at least not the kind the Supreme Court was ruling on. It says nothing about committed, monogamous, loving, same-sex relationships. Now I know you’re thinking, “What about Old Testament law?”

Leviticus 18 to 20

Leviticus outlines how Israel was to practically live in holiness, separate and distinct from its neighbors. In chapter 18:22, Leviticus speaks to sexual holiness, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” And again in chapter 20:13 Leviticus says, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”

A Third Way Christian will argue that you have been ignoring the patriarchal context in which this is written. In a male-dominant culture, this act degrades the man in the passive role to the status of a woman. The major sin here is the violation of gender roles appropriate to their society.

Sure, you might feel that the use of abomination is something significant, but Deuteronomy 14:3 uses abomination to describe unclean foods, so it doesn’t necessarily correspond to what is sinful as a Christian. They would argue that if you want to take Leviticus 18 and 20 at face value, then you need to stop eating shrimp, lobster and other shellfish. Never have sex during a menstrual period, and keep the rest of what Leviticus says. So let’s stop the hypocrisy of trying to claim that only parts of the Old Testament are for today. So let’s look at the New Testament.

Romans 1

This is considered the most significant passage for Christians on homosexuality, but there are a couple different ways that you can understand it. Romans 1:26 to 27, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” You might think that it is describing same-sex relationships, but a closer reading will reveal something else.

Some Third Way Christians argue that Paul is not condemning a homosexual orientation, so much as the practice of excessively lustful acts. Paul did not know about sexual orientation and that there could be a persistent, enduring pattern of sexual desire and attraction towards another. That natural order is a reference to patriarchal society, and so here in Romans 1 it is argued that Paul is describing an unrestrained lust for people of the same sex in a way that defies its surrounding culture. A committed, monogamous gay relationship is completely different and not being described here.

Others read here a reference by Paul to a particular form of idol worship, involving homosexual temple prostitutes. He is not speaking about modern lesbians or gays here, but about cultic sexual activity that worshipped a fertility goddess that was flourishing in first century Rome.

Regardless, their view would be, and I quote, equating, “Romans 1 with modern homosexuality is the same as equating rape to heterosexuality.” So accepting homosexuality is fully compatible with biblical authority. You simply need to read the Bible through its cultural context. And that only leaves us with the two remaining New Testament passages.

1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1

Both say something similar. First Corinthians 6:9 to 10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” And 1 Timothy 1:9 to 10, “Realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.”

Now I know that your Bible uses the word “homosexual” here, but that’s not what lies behind the original Greek. You see, Paul only means to oppose exploitative same-sex relationships. Greco-Roman homosexual culture was dominated by adult-boy relations, and that is what Paul was calling out as sinful here. A Third Way Christian would say that Paul knew virtually nothing of a committed, permanent, same-sex relationship that would honor Christ as much as a heterosexual marriage would. What he was speaking against was excessive, lustful, exploitative homosexual relations that were contrary to God’s design for permanence and love in a marital union.

So while non-Christians read the Bible and take it plainly, but reject it–there are Christians who believe there’s a third way, which affirms homosexuality while maintaining biblical authority. Sadly though, what they’re doing is called eisegesis. They are reading their preferred meaning back into the text. Most often, they will even freely confess that they were forced to re-study Scripture in light of their own sexual leanings, or those of a loved one. And the reason for that is . . .

c)  God’s viewpoint is incontrovertible (undeniable/unquestionable)

Listen, if you have to say why every passage in Scripture means something other than what it looks like, then you’re missing the point. If even non-Christians are telling you what it says, then you have to admit that God’s view on this is imminently clear. The interpretations of Third Way Christians confuse the Bible’s reliability and the Gospel itself.

As Tim Keller has said, “If you cease to believe that homosexuality is sinful after engaging with loving, wise, gay people, I’m inclined to agree that your earlier views were likely defective. In fact, they must have been essentially a form of bigotry. [BUT] They could not have been based on theological or ethical principles, or on an understanding of historical biblical teaching. They must have been grounded instead on a stereotype of gay people as worse sinners than others.” He says this because Scripture is so unambiguous about homosexuality as sin.

If homophobia and bigotry have driven your beliefs about homosexuality, you should abandon them. But if the Bible is going to drive your convictions, then you need to clearly understand what it says. Let me just walk back through those passages and look again at their arguments.

Genesis 1 to 2

They argue that God made woman for man to answer a problem of loneliness. They argue that procreation is not to be considered as a core part of marriage. They argue that Genesis says nothing about anatomical differences in a one-flesh relationship. These arguments rest on a diminished view of woman that is foreign to Scripture.

Genesis 1:27 states that she is equally made in the image of God, an essential part of creation. And Genesis 1:28 commands man and woman to do something impossible for them to accomplish in a homosexual relationship–to have babies, to multiply and fill the earth. In Genesis 2, woman is taken out of man. She is like him and different. Adam delights that she is not another animal, and not another man. A pro-homosexual reading of Genesis 1 devalues women, communicating that they are not essential to creation.

It confuses gender roles, stating that woman was not intended to be different than man, and that two people of the same gender can fulfill God’s intentions for each gender. This is why you see a more masculine person and more feminine person in each same-sex relationship.  God’s design is inescapable, even when exceptionally distorted. The utterly clear argument of Genesis is that God’s design for relationships is exclusively men and women together.

Look again at Genesis 2:23. Laban does say to Jacob, you are my flesh and my bone. Abimilech says it to a group of people in Judges 9. Israel says it to David in 2 Samuel 5, and he says it back to them in 2 Samuel 19. Being “my flesh and my bone” speaks about relationship, used by Israel, David, Laban and Abimelech.

But that is different than saying you are “one flesh”–in Genesis 2:24 the phrase “one flesh” is most often descriptive of sexual intimacy. It actually describes more than sexual union, but it does not describe less than that. That’s clear from the very next verse (verse 25). “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

This is why Paul adopts it in 1 Corinthians 6 to describe the sin of sex with a prostitute as being joined as “one flesh.” And you have to admit that there is “anatomical requirement” to what he’s describing. You can’t become one flesh by putting your finger in someone’s ear–you know what I’m saying?

The creation account is really clear about God’s design for men and women. It describes how He made each of them, it describes their complementary purposes, it defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and it classifies heterosexual married sex as very good and sinless before the fall. From the time of creation, God intended for all sexually intimate relationships to be between a man and a woman who’ve been united in marriage.

The courts may recognize a man marrying a man. The courts may recognize a woman marrying a woman. But God does not recognize that marriage. He does not consider that “marriage.” This is the clear reading of Scripture. And that’s what makes the story of Sodom so sad.

Genesis 19

It is totally accurate to say that the sin of Sodom is not explicit in Genesis 19. And it is accurate to say that the intention of the town to gang-rape its visitors is distinct from a monogamous, committed same-sex relationship. Pride was the core sin of Sodom, and Ezekiel confirms this. But to separate the pride of Sodom from the act of homosexual intercourse is foreign to Scripture.­

In fact, turn to Ezekiel 16 and look at verse 49, which is cited as proof of our misunderstanding–let’s see its context. Ezekiel 16:49 to 50, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50 Thus they were haughty and did an abomination [singular, as in ESV and NKJV] before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.”

The use of the singular “abomination” in verse 50 indicates something separate and distinct from verse 49. It is the same word used in Leviticus 18 and 20 to refer to homosexual acts. The NASB pluralizes it because it’s descriptive of multiple people and towns, but it’s got one act in mind. In fact, early Jewish, pre-Christian writers also understood a primary sin of Sodom to be homosexual sin. It was generally known.

As an example, you ever walk into a bathroom and see things scrawled on the walls? Did you know they did this in ancient times too? (If you’ve ever done it, you’re about 2,000 years behind the times.) You may know that Pompeii was covered in volcanic ash and preserved? Even in Pompeii, references to Sodom were found written in bathroom graffiti as a synonym for homosexuality. Outside of the Bible, Jewish and Roman people saw Sodom as synonymous with homosexuality.

And the New Testament understands it the same way in Jude 7, “Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them . . . indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, [and] are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”

They went after “strange flesh”, literally “other flesh”. Now you could take that to mean angels, but here’s the problem. The men of the town didn’t know they were angels. It’s why Lot’s sons-in-law just laughed when he warned them. And then you notice in verse 7, Jude’s indictment is on Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities around them. And there weren’t angels in every city being attacked. It’s plain that one of the major sins of the area, for which they were destroyed, was the very act of homosexuality. That’s what gross immorality and “strange flesh” here is clearly referencing.

Leviticus 18 to 20

Leviticus is a book that tells you what kind of cloth is okay, and what to do with road kill. It has 116 verses describing how to test for and deal with leprosy. It is surprisingly, almost terrifyingly, detailed. So when Leviticus is broad in description, you know that is intentional.

Open your Bible to Leviticus 18:6 to 17. It goes into all kinds of detail about what would be considered incest—not with your dad or your mom, or your dad’s wife if he remarried, not your sister or your stepsister, not your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, or your non-blood-related stepsister. Not your aunt on either side, or your uncle’s wife, or your daughter-in-law, or your brother’s wife–there’s incredible detail. Then you get to homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

That’s it–nothing else needs to be said. No detail required. It’s not restricted to lustful relationships. It’s not about exploitation. It’s not about rape and unwanted aggressive sex. I think we can agree that Leviticus is abundantly clear about homosexuality. You may not like what it says. You may not want to apply the book of Leviticus–but its prohibition on homosexuality is total. It completely prohibits homosexual sex, plainly and broadly.

Now Third Way Christians argue that the sin here is the violation of gender roles in a patriarchal culture. In that culture, a homosexual act reduces the male passive partner to the status of a woman, and that was the big sin. But when you look at Leviticus 20:13, you see that doesn’t make any sense, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”

You’ll notice that both are held culpable. It is not just the active partner who is at fault. The passive partner is not the victim here–both are culpable. Leviticus is an absolute prohibition against every form of homosexuality. But let’s be honest–I eat bacon and shrimp. I wear clothes with two kinds of fabric–even today in the pulpit. How can I uphold part of Leviticus while violating another part?

First  Because Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Testament, but to fulfill it

Acts 15 and Galatians 3 make clear that Christians are not obligated to live under the Old Testament Law, but we are to recognize its place in showing us sin. This is why the Law is called a tutor in Galatians 3:22. It reveals sin to us, and shows us how impossible it is for us to be holy on our own.

Homosexuality is called sin in Leviticus in order for us to recognize our own sinfulness, whether you are tempted by same-sex attraction, fond of watching lesbian porn, or prone to bias against homosexual people. It is called sinful so that you would know that it is not pleasing to God, and in need of redemption.

Second  Even if I do away with any connection of the Old Testament to today, almost all of the sexual ethics of Leviticus 18 are repeated and sometimes expanded within the New Testament

Adultery, incest, homosexuality, and even polygamy are explicitly listed in the New Testament as sinful. So you can eat your shrimp without worry. (Food is made explicitly clean in Acts 10.) But the New Testament is equally clear that homosexuality remains sinful. Deep breath–let’s look briefly at the New Testament.

Romans 1

Paul’s words in Romans 1 describe the decline of people in rebellion to God. Beginning with the refusal to acknowledge what they know of God, men exchange their Creator with an idolatrous love for creation. And so, God progressively hands them over to more and more sexual immorality. That is the typical meaning of “impurity” in Romans 1:24.

From there, God then gives them up to degrading, dishonorable passions. And Paul seems to use homosexuality as an illustration. It is not the climax of man’s rebellion towards God–it is a picture. Those who have suppressed the truth about God, as revealed in nature, will eventually begin to suppress the truth about themselves, written in nature. The emphasis is not on the kind of homosexuality, but on the exchange from natural to unnatural.

Third Way Christians argue that Paul was ignorant of sexual orientation and committed relationships. Others argue that it’s descriptive of cultic sexual activity. But the description is broader–it describes a mutual desire–a mutual affection. Verse 27, “They burned in their desire toward one another.” Romans 1:26 to 27, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

This is not exploitative or domination–gender exchange is the point. It’s the exchange of natural desire for the opposite sex for what is unnatural. And we know that natural here means created order, because again and again Paul is referencing creation in verses 20, 23, and 25. Louis Crompton, a gay scholar who wrote a massive book entitled, Homosexuality and Civilization, has said, “Some interpreters . . . argue that Paul’s words were not directed at genuine homosexuals in committed relationships. But such a reading, however well-intentioned, seems strained and unhistorical.  Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish write of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstance. The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any Jew or early Christian.”

Again, it’s clear enough that non-Christians understand what’s said but reject it. So don’t be misled. Romans 1 clearly presents homosexuality as contrary to God’s design. So it is no surprise when we turn again to . . .

1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1

A Third Way Christian argues that Paul uses language that prohibits excessive, lustful, exploitative homosexual relations. And Paul does use two distinct words here. In 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1, he uses arsenokoitai–a word he literally makes up that links two words in the Greek version of Leviticus 18, and basically means “men who have sex with other men.” It communicates activity, not merely attraction or identity, but action.

In 1 Corinthians 6, he also uses the word malakoi, which is used to describe the passive homosexual partner, the one who is penetrated like a female would be. The active and passive partners are equally condemned here–and this shouldn’t be shocking.  Look at the rest of the list. First Corinthians 6:9 to 10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

What would be strange is if you restricted it to exploitive forms of homosexuality. He just condemned a loving case of incest in 1 Corinthians 5, he’s about to link sexual sin to creation in 1 Corinthians 6:16, but here in verses 9 to 10, do you really think that Paul is saying nothing to the homosexual in a committed, long-term, monogamous relationship? As one biblical scholar (DeYoung) wrote, “The disputed words are not so broad as to include feminized heterosexual behavior or so narrow as to exclude everything but exploitative homosexual behavior. Both terms refer to men who have sex with other men, the passive and active partners.” Whether it’s part of a pagan worship rite, or a mutually consenting homosexual partnership, Paul says that those with such habits will not inherit the kingdom of God.

So understand this–the Supreme Court’s ruling does not mean that homosexual sex is now only sinful when the participants are unmarried. Some will claim that it’s sex within marriage, and therefore fine. But God condemns the act of homosexuality plainly and broadly. That is the clear teaching of the Scripture from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. And you need to be confident in what the Bible teaches. Your convictions about it will be tested.

The historical and biblical view of marriage is what the Supreme Court has rejected–and it’s no real surprise. The court’s embrace of same-sex marriage simply institutionalizes sin. We’ve always been able to mess up God’s design in marriage, but now the template itself has been ripped apart by the judiciary. So what are we as Christians to do? You can try moving to Texas, or out to Anza-Borrego, but you can’t escape it. Much of the industrialized world has adopted the American view of homosexuality. The US government is now sometimes tying US Foreign Aid to the homosexual agenda. And even among the Supreme Court justices, there was general agreement that religious convictions will be tried in the courts. So what are we as Christians to do?

We’re going to talk about that next week. And I have no doubt that some sitting here struggle with same-sex attraction. Some of you have been in homosexual relationships–maybe you still are. Today you may have heard condemnation. But I want you to know that there is also hope. God’s Word doesn’t simply abandon homosexuals in condemnation–it offers hope. It offers peace. It offers a greater satisfaction than can be found in any marriage. Please come back next week to hear the rest of the story.

Were you thinking only THEY needed to change? Today we needed to start with clarity about what the Bible teaches because it’s under attack. If this is not something that God hates, for which Christ died, from which you can be saved, then what is? As Russell Moore has said, “All the gymnastics of the revisionists does nothing to silence what honest people read in our Scriptures. When they hear us clearing our throats in embarrassment or explaining away things unfashionable at the moment, they hear from us that we are more afraid of them than we are confident in our gospel. How then can they trust us with words of life that can overpower the grave, when they see that we are not even willing to go against the spirit of the age?”

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

John serves as a pastor and elder at Faith Bible Church

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