(The following is an outline of the message that was preached on August 18, 2019)
"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ."
Do you want to stop being a baby Christian? Do you want to grow up? This is how we become wiser, stronger, holier, just like Christ: we speak the truth in love to each other.
If you look at church history, you can see that there have always been issues that have divided God’s people. These have been issues like slavery, white supremacy, evolution, the historical truth of the bible, and so on. It seems like every generation has its own battle that it needs to fight.
In our generation, the battle is being fought around the LGBT issue. People from outside the church are attacking the church’s beliefs, and people inside the church are arguing with each other. It is so important that you and I have a Christian view of homosexuality, and that this view is based on truth. Then, when we need to, we can speak this truth in love.
We’re going to look at seven truths that we need to know for a Godly view of the LGBT issue.
Truth no. 1. All humans are simultaneously sinful and loved.
“There is no one righteous; not even one.” (Romans 3:10)
Every single person in this room is a sinner. You might be male or female, you might be Australian or Japanese, you might be heterosexual or you might be LGBT. Now, being a sinner is not an external condition, that only affects the outside of you, the way you speak and act. But it’s deep down inside. The things you think about. The things you desire. None of us meets the perfectly good standard of God.
But we are all loved. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. God offers his love to all people.
Truth no. 2. God is love, but love is not God.
“God is love.” (1 John 4:16)
It says very plainly here that God is love. But what lots of people do today is that they reverse this, and they say, “Well, if God is love, then that means that love is God”. That is completely untrue.
If you believe that love is God, you get a free license to do anything you want in the name of love. People use love as an excuse all the time for having an affair or getting a divorce. The say, “I fell in love with another person.” And they think that makes it OK.
But we must not make love into a God.
Truth no. 3. Jesus wasn't silent on homosexuality.
Some people claim that Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality, and so he was neutral on the topic. But this is a very silly argument. Jesus didn’t say anything about bestiality or necrophilia or many other strange sexual practices either. But here is what Jesus did say:
Jesus answered, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
(Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-9)
This is obviously talking about a sexual relationship. It’s also obviously talking about marriage. Jesus very clearly says that this is what marriage should be. This is the definition of marriage, and this is how sexual relationships should be ordered.
So Jesus doesn’t give us a list of 100 sexual deviances which we must avoid. Instead, Jesus gives a list of one … one description of what a holy, Godly, good sexual relationship looks like.
Truth no. 4. Male and female complete God's image on earth.
If we go back to the passage that Jesus was just referring to, we read this … Genesis 1:27
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
I cannot stand in front of you right now as say, “Look at me. I am the image of God.” That is really only partly true. The image of God is man and woman. When a man and a woman come together, they are the image of God.
Many people today are trying to destroy this distinction. Some countries want to take “gender” off passports and birth certificates. Some places in the USA have introduced sexless toilets, which can be used by anyone. Some people are saying that there is no “male” and there is no “female”, but we’re just all the same.
But when you think seriously about that, it’s just ridiculous. If you just open your eyes and look around you, you can see that some people are men, and some people are women. We are different. We are wonderfully, beautifully, fantastically, different. Because that is how we were created to be.
Truth no. 5. Same-sex attraction is not a sin.
That might sound a bit surprising. But let’s pull apart what this means.
When you have an attraction, it’s something that happens deep inside your heart. You feel attracted to something, and you want to have it. Or, if we say it another way, we can say that an attraction is a temptation. Right?
And a temptation is not a sin.
“For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Jesus experienced temptation, but he did not sin. It is not a sin to be attracted to someone of the same sex.
We all have sexual temptations. It doesn’t matter if you’re LGBT or if you are heterosexual. Temptations are everywhere. Just watch the latest Hollywood movie or watch an MTV music video or walk down the street.
Being tempted is not a sin. But giving in to temptation is a sin. In other words, when you are attracted to the idea of stealing, or committing adultery, or telling a lie … if you actually go through and do it, that is a sin.
Truth no. 6. Engaging in homosexual acts is a sin.
This is very, very clear in the bible. Let’s look at just one passage:
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Living a homosexual life is a sin. And there are many other verses as well as this one.
This verse is not talking about men who have an attraction to men. Rather, it’s talking about men, and we can also say women, who are living a homosexual lifestyle.
This is a very difficult truth, a very inconvenient truth, to speak about today. You will get a lot of hate for saying this today.
So we might be tempted to rewrite God’s rules here. However …
Truth no. 7. Rewriting God's word is never an option.
This is really a test of your faith. What is more important: Believing the words in this book, or being nice and friendly to everyone and trying not to offend people?
Because you cannot do both. If you try and add things to the word of God, or take things away from the word of God, you’re heading for serious trouble. Look at what it says in Revelation:
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.”
When we read the bible seriously, it transforms us. It shapes and molds and changes us. And our top priority as Christians is to get our lives in sync with God’s word.
Not the other way around. Even though it may be tempting, we must not try and shape and change God’s word into something that we want it to be.