One of the hardest impacting, and most influential topics within the Christian community, and our society today, is the topic of homosexuality. In the world of politics, in the world of entertainment, in social media, in our jobs, in our schools, and in the personal lives of many people today, the subject of homosexuality has become the front and center focus of attention.
There are, no doubt, some in this congregation, struggling with this issue, whether to discern God's Truth in the matter, through all of the biased opinions on both sides of the issue, or, whether they are secretly fighting their own battle with thoughts or tendencies towards same-sex attraction. At this point, surely everyone in this room has acquaintances or family that are openly admitting to a homosexual lifestyle. With overwhelming pressure from the secular world to accept this lifestyle, or be branded a bigot and a hater, and with more and more entire denominations changing their stance towards homosexuality (including complete acceptance by the Episcopal Church, American Baptist Churches (USA), Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America—to name just a few of many denominations), where do we find the real, objective Truth behind it all? There is so much hate, and extreme bias on both sides that real Truth is often missed, on both sides. In the past, we have walked through several weeks of study, involving research, scientific evidence, and statistics to show support on particular views in this topic. Today, we will forgo most of these things (you can refer back to previous lessons for this info, if need be on the topic), and will instead, focus intently on the practicality of God's Word, and the people involved. Hopefully removing all of the myths and biases, and seeing, not only the Truth about God's Word, but the Truth of our hearts, on both sides of the issue. I can say with some confidence that no matter what side of the issue you stand on today, you will probably be offended at some point in this sermon. So, up front: I apologize for hurting your feelings, But I do not apologize for telling the Truth—for sharing God's Wisdom that will help and heal.
If you are not a Christian, I am not trying to say that you need to change, or that you are wrong in your support or practice of homosexuality. Because according to a world view without God, who am I to tell you what you should or should not do? (Any more than a Muslim / Hindu should tell me what to do) But, I would ask you to do your own research on the incredible mental, emotional, and physical harm this lifestyle brings with it (drugs, depressed, partners, lifespan, disease (regardless of religious involvement) lost, alone). I simply want to tell you that Jesus Christ is very real, and that He loves you exactly where you are today—this moment—more than He loved His own life. However, if you are in the homosexual lifestyle, and you are a proclaiming Christian, or someone that is pulled towards knowing more about Jesus, then I want you to listen closely to what I am about to say to you (don't worry—the other side will get theirs). Who really cares how many people in this nation, or the world, you can win to your favor on this topic? Who cares if the majority of this country is convinced to support homosexuality? Who cares if every law is passed in favor of this view? Who cares if all the churches in the world changed their stance to support this lifestyle? If you truly believe in, and want to follow God, the absolute only opinion that matters one iota in this debate is God's! You can’t change what He says, by changing or reinterpreting His Words, or by finding the right church to agree with your stance, or by denying that He even exists, so you can do things your way. If God really exists (and He does), then He is not only wiser, but He loves you more than you could ever comprehend. And if He tells us something, it is not because He doesn't understand us, it's because He knows us better than we know ourselves. It's because He want the best for us, not a forced second best (as many assume).
Let's begin by first, taking an objective look at what God Truly says about this topic—no changes, opinions, or politics. To objectively see the Truth of Scriptures, we have to start by addressing some popular thoughts and arguments that say Scriptures don't mean what they seem to mean. Lie #1: these were OT Laws, and we don't live under the OT Law anymore, so these commands do not concern us. This statement is absolutely true, but totally misleading. We don't live under the OT Laws anymore, but, let's look only at what only the New Testament (for us today), says concerning homosexuality: Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Timothy 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. It is God’s desire to save and be with homosexuals. Homosexual desires will not condemn, choosing sin over God condemns: Romans 1:21-22, 24-28, 32. Please tell me how, even some pastors, can say that nowhere in Scriptures is homosexuality truly spoken about directly? Or that it's just OT Law, not meant for us today? You've just heard multiple, direct (not inferred) statements, from the New Testament writings, from Jesus Himself, and Paul (An Apostle), spoken and written, to a number of different churches and individuals, all saying openly and clearly, that homosexuality is a sin worthy of death, like any other sin purposefully embraced over God. Lie #2: but, how can I trust these Words of Scriptures, when they probably don't even say the same thing that was written all those years ago? The Scriptures have more ancient copies made, in more languages, closer to the time of the original writings, than any other ancient manuscript trust by man, in all of history. The earliest document in existence about Roman history (Livy), was found almost a millennium after the events occurred, with only 20 copies in existence—and we trust these writings unquestioned. The earliest documents of the New Testament, telling of Christ, are within 30 to 90 years of the event, with over 24,600 copies, in multiple languages. It would’ve been impossible to change them without notice. And in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, containing every OT Book but Esther, written around 250-150 BC., all with a word-for-word 95% identical translation to what we have today. The authenticity and integrity of the Scriptures is firmly established in textual criticism, by the experts, so strike that objection from the books. LIE #3: if you understood what the original language meant, and the culture the authors were writing to, you'd understand that's not what they intended. In the verses just mentioned from the NT, the Greek word used for homosexual was: arsenokoites. The direct, word-for-word translation from the original Greek means exactly what it means in English: homosexuality. The language is not a barrier or mystery in any way. As for the culture in which it was written (Rome /Greece), “Maybe it was just a cultural taboo of the time in which this was written, because they didn't practice & accept homosexuality as openly then...” Absolutely false. Paul was talking to societies that openly accepted homosexuality as part of everyday life. Listen to these few, of the many articles from notable (secular) sources, concerning homosexuality in ancient Rome and Greece: Dr. Neel Burton, in Psychology Today (About Rome). And this article from PBS, concerning homosexuality in Ancient Greece. Looking at the proper word translation, and the cultures to which Jesus and His Apostles wrote, homosexuality was plainly, openly, repeatedly addressed and condemned by God, in a culture in which it was more openly and regularly accepted than even our own. It is not a mistranslation, or cultural stigma that caused their times to consider these passages differently. Scriptures say what they say, and they mean what they mean—then and now.
Now that we have established that Scriptures do indeed speak directly and repeatedly against homosexuality as a way of life, and, that Scriptures have not been tainted or rewritten through time, and, that they mean the same thing in their original language, and that they were written in a time, and to societies, who embraced homosexuality just as readily, if not more readily, than today, one must come to the conclusion—good, bad, or indifferent—that Scriptures were never meant to align themselves with the modern encouragement of this lifestyle. No matter how many churches proclaim it, they are proclaiming it against God. So again, which opinion matters? The next, and very often used argument for someone defending this lifestyle is this question: "If your God is supposed to be a God of love, then why doesn't He accept me the way I am?" Please get this point: He is a God of love. He does love and accept you right where you are this minute, with every fiber of His Being. So much so, that He paid a higher price to have a chance for your returned love than any other person in your life. The real question is not, "Does De love and accept you?", The real question is, "Do you love and accept Him in return?” If you do, then why don't you accept Him as He is? Why aren't you willing to go to Him on His terms, the way that you demand He come to you, on yours? If you have differing views on life from God, wouldn't you think He, the Creator, has a more accurate and rational view than you or I? Wouldn't it make sense that WE should be willing to trust Him, when we don't understand, or even agree with Him? Rather than demand that He accept our view, or He is not showing us real love? If He has already given up His Throne in Heaven, lived a poor, rejected life on earth, suffered shame, torture, despair, and death for you, just because He loves you, when does it become your turn to do something for Him, to prove your love and passion in return? When do you stop screaming, "Prove Your love for me?", and start asking, "What can I possibly do to show my love in return for all You've done?" When does the real question become, "Will I accept Him as He is?"
If you say, "Well, that's just who I am, it's a part of me, I can't help it," I understand and partially agree. But we have seen in our culture today, and in the case of these ancient cultures that embraced and expected homosexual activity as a regular part of life, that homosexuality can be (though not always) purposefully chosen and taught. None of these tendencies have ever been proven to be inherited, or genetic in nature. On the contrary, listen to the following summary of modern genetic research posted on the, Psychology Today website, by Dr. Stanton Peele. Looking at objective, scientific research, homosexuality has no proven direct correlation to genetics, yet, it is also equally clear, if you keep an objective mindset, that everyone who has homosexual tendencies did not choose this path. It is obvious that many do have these tendencies as a part of who they are, and again, much scientific research gives light to these causes (sexual abuse at certain ages or by certain people, perceived or real parental and/or peer acceptance, exposure to homosexual experience or pornography at an impressionable age, physical traits or personality traits that make them feel unacceptable or inadequate, misinterpreted envy, admiration, or love for someone of the same-sex, causing them to wonder about self). So, with all of my heart, I believe that many have very real impulses towards the homosexual lifestyle, that are a part of who they are, but an honest and fair response must be: Do you not think that bitterness, unforgiveness, lust, depression, anxiety, anger, and substance abuse, are also temptations that have truly become a part of who those people are as well? Does that mean they are happier that way? Does that mean they were meant to stay that way? Does it mean God should just allow them to continue embracing that which He says is hurtful to them and others? Do you not think that it is a natural thing for the average Christian to be capable of adultery? Does that make it excusable or OK? Does that mean that I should be angry at God for not allowing me to, "Just be who I am?" Absolutely not! I trust that His way is better, and I personally have gained a lifetime of love that I would never have known otherwise. Every one of us has sins that are especially appealing to us, that are a big part of, "who we are" because of our disposition, environment, and history. That does not mean it is who we were made to be, or that we wouldn't be happier if we would just trust and follow Him. We are all equal. We are all sinners. Just different sins. We all want what we want, and we don't want anyone else telling us we can't have it, telling us how to live, telling us what's best—not since Adam and Eve in the Garden. The only question to ask is not, "Will He accept me?", but rather, "Do I want Him enough, love Him enough, trust Him enough..." To just say yes? To be obedient? To accept Him, no matter the cost, expecting His wisdom to give you a better life, knowing how much He has already done for you, given up for you.
If it seems impossible—welcome to the club—it is impossible. But He promises to fill us with His Spirit, carry us when we fall, be faithful when we are weak, and never leave us nor forsake us. All we have to do is say, "Yes, Jesus—I want You!" And He will be with you until the end. 1 John 1:8-10. Will you listen to the world? Hide behind the world? Strive to gain the approval of a world that can do nothing to save your soul, just to feel better about yourself, and live a second-best life? Or will you trust Christ? And strive to live as He tells us? Strive to gain His approval, after all He has striven to do for you—no matter the cost or ridicule from this world? What you will get in return is immeasurable!
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