Monday, July 29, 2013


Homosexuality - sexual attraction to, or sexual activity with someone of the same sex.

I.  Scriptural Argument - Lev. 18:22, 20:13
Rom. 1:24-27   1 Cor. 6:9-10 ---> such WERE!!!
1 Tim. 1:9-10   ( Gen. 18 & 19 - Sodom & Gomorrah)
Gal. 5:19-21, 6:7-9  Eph. 5:4   1 Thess. 4:28
Homosexual behavior is outside of God's Will.

II.  Argument from Nature
design - male and female fit well and couple well
function - procreation
norm - though not unobserved in the animal kingdom, doesn't mean it's the norm.  seldom seen) - and always considered a deviation from the norm.

III.  Argument from tradition.
On one hand, have been times and cultures where homo was accepted.  However, most societies throughout history considered it a deviation.

Quote from G. K. Chesterton - "Traditions means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors.  It is the democracy of the dead.  Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy (government by the few) of those who happen to be walking about."

It is the height of arrogance to look back on thousands of years of tradition, and determine that it is wrong!

Answering some of the challenges:

#1.  "born this way" - there is no proof of a "gay gene", but there us evidence of homosexual inclination or tendency - Rom.3:23 - we all have issues!!!!!

#2.  "this is my natural inclination" - BUT that does not make it right or acceptable.  Tendency/inclination does not justify action.

#3.  "I didn't choose this"
This is not justification to embrace/pursue/practice
But, it is reason for our empathy/compassion (imagine the struggle)

#4.  "many homosexuals are good, loving, nice people..."
This is NOT this issue/question.  The question = is it right/wrong!!  Goes back to has God said this?

#5.  "some are truly in love" - This is NOT the issue/question. 
Note:  modern tendency to make "love" the final authority!!!

#6.  "But some are loving & faithful to one another!"  - Granted....... but that doesn't address the question of right/wrong.  Even if committed & celibate?  Then = friendship not marriage

Religious Arguments (from pro-gay churches, etc.)
1.  "scripture = mis-translated" - Answer:  texts are simple/clear 

2.  "scripture = misinterpreted" - traditionally accepted
C.S. Lewis quote:  "The old Christian rule is, 'either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.'  Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong.  One or the other."

3.  "scripture = outdated"- the moral code remains unchanged
If so, A)  must start with the issue of Scripture not with homosexuality.
         B)  other Biblical values, beliefs must also be questioned.

4.  "Jesus said nothing about homosexuality"
      A)  Gospels not comprehensive on issues  (incest, bestiality, etc.)
                                                 on quotes - John 21:25
      B)  Gospels not considered more authoritative  (what did Moses say?  Paul say?
     C)  Jesus does address proper  sexuality - Mark 10:6-9  (from Genesis)
     D)  Homosexuality was a non-issue in Jesus' day/culture - (assumed to be wrong by all)

5.  "I'm gay and I'm born again"
Example:  Mel White (pastor of America's largest gay congregation) - "I am gay.  I am proud.  And God loves me without reservation".
Question?  if loved of God, does that = therefore what I do = right??
Answer:  A)  Salvation does not exclude sin!!
               B)  Salvation does not legitimize sin!!! - Gal. 2:17, 5:13
Not to use freedom as excuse to sin any way want to.

Christian response to homosexuality - WWJD!!!
A.  Stand on truth - in a loving manner without compromising the truth.
B.  Distinguish between the Issue (truth) and the Individual (grace).  This is a person for whom Christ died.
C.  Be compassionate "but for the grace of God there go I" - Rom. 3:23 - we are all sinners.
We're all guilty of sexual sins (sometimes)
D.  Recognize homosexuality is not unpardonable, and not incurable?   Compare to an alcoholic.
E.  Reject homophobia
F.  expect sharp criticism from both camps -
         Christians because not tough enough
         Others because intolerant!!

Where Christians Should Stand on Same Sex Marriage Issue

Reference - recent decision of the US Supreme Court concerning same sex marriage.
Struck down Sec.3 of the DOMA - which limited the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

NOW, any same sex couple legally married in one of the 12 states that permit same sex marriage can claim spousal benefits from the Federal Government.  In essence, have the federal government's stamp of approval on same sex marriage.

SO, Question #1:   how long before the other 38 states follow suit?? (willingly or by judicial decree)

And, Question #2:  Where should Christians stand concerning this issue of same sex marriage?

Last sermon - series of questions offered to help you answer that question - Biblically.  (as well as many other ethical questions that confront)

Today - review and address the issue directly --- along with the companion issue of homosexual behavior (lifestyle)

First,  Same Sex Marriage - what does the Bible say about it?

Answer - Nothing!!!!
Why??  1)  same sex marriage wasn't an issue in the time when the Bible was taking form.
             2)  the Scripture clearly defines marriage without addressing same sex issues.
             3)  the issue of homosexual behavior is dealt with - thereby excluding possibility of same sex marriage.

#1.  Same Sex Marriage wasn't an issue in Biblical times.
Not saying it was never found but was very rare and not truly recognized as marriage.
Example:  Emperor Nero (reigned about the time Paul was writing the New Testament) - reported to have married 2 men - one of his freedmen - as the bride, and later a young boy/slave - as the groom.
On one hand, no one challenges Nero!  However, even then it lacked legal status and social recognition/acceptance.
The Latin word - "matrimonium" from which we get our word matrimony - required "mater"/mother=children.  Holy matrimony = man taking woman to have children

Today 13 countries recognize same sex marriage (Great Britain - in 2014) and several others are on deck.  BUT, the first nation in history to recog. ssm was the Netherlands in 2001 (12 years)
ie:  Same sex marriage is a brand new social experiment!!

#2.  Marriage is clearly defined in Scripture as between male and female (one each)
Gen. 1:27, 2:18, 22, 24 - through out Scripture! 
Objection!!  Also recognizes Polygamy!   Answer:  Never commended/recommended/prescribed/approved of polygamy - just reporting that it was there.

#3.  Homosexual behavior clearly prohibited in Scripture.
Example:  Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lev. 18:22  Rom. 1:26-27
So..... where does that place same sex marriage from Biblical perspective?

Back to the questions of 2 weeks ago (modified)

#1.  Does God exist?  (Supreme Being/1st. Cause, Creator, Omni_____
If "no" then ssm is not wrong.  (If no God, then no Lawgiver)
If "no" then is no right or wrong - except as man/society dictates.

#2.  Is He Personal?  (is He interested?  involved?  caring?)
If "no" then ........."whatever" - concerning ssm.
If "yes" then .... what is His will? plan?  design?

#3.  Has He revealed Himself?  (His will?  His design?)  Has He made Himself known?
Heb. 1:1-2  John 1:18 - yes, specifically through His Son Jesus Christ
Quote by Wm. Blackstone - Law is to be discovered vs designed.  Eternal laws already exist.  Our job to discover them - not invent new ones.

#4.  Does the Bible contain (record) His Self Revelations?
If "Yes" then.... we have "His Word" on the subject/issues.

#5.  Are His laws .... universal?  (for all people/all time?)
                                 practical?  designed for practice or theory?  - 2 Tim. 3:16-17
                               consequential?  Gal. 6:7 (for individual/society)  His Word will stand.  Cannot embrace same sex marriage and not encounter problems and consequences.

NOTE:  Some Christians will answer "yes" to above questions .... and still conclude same sex marriage = acceptable/good!! 

How do they conclude this??  Short answer = "It's all about LOVE".  = God is loving/ God loves love/ we should be loving/ "all you need is Love"

ANSWER: = on one hand that is true.  On the other hand, love not always tolerant, permissive, nice
Love does not permit/promote what is wrong/harmful

If Bible is God's revelation, love is not always sweet and nice.

Issue of same sex marriage does NOT stand alone.  Is surrounded by/determined by greater issues - for example.

The issue of....
1)  Morality - is Right/Wrong?

2)  Authority - who decides right/wrong?
If answer = God ... then the issue of ...

3)  Discovery - how do we discover what He's established?

4)  Personal Practice - how do I apply these rules/laws to my life...

5)  Relational Practice - how do I relate to others - especially those who disagree with me on these issues?

6)  Obedience/Submission  to a civil government in contradiction to God's law? - how will we respond and act to this.

1.  Only thing new here = issue of same sex marriage and its legality, etc.
ALL REST (big issues) = old as Abraham!!!!

2.  God is NOT surprised/shocked/taken aback/over-ruled --
IF He ever WAS God .. He Still is!!!

3.  The law of the land has changed - our calling has NOT = same as yesterday/last month/ etc. 

So, on one hand, the same sex marriage issue stands before you...
On the other hand, the greater issue = WILL you ... Seek/submit to/serve God
If so... you;ll get past SSM issue - just fine!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why I Believe What I Believe About Same Sex Marriage

On June 26, 2013 the US Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the DOMA (which had been) passed by congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.  (17 years earlier).

Now any couple (including same sex couples) legally married (in any of 12 states) can claim spousal federal benefits.

IF this is sanctioned by Federal law and the high courts, how long before the other 38 states are forced to follow suit?

2 Questions:
1)  How do you feel about that?  (your response/opinion)
2)  Why do you feel that way?  (hold that opinion?)

Many are pleased with the decision.   I want to know: 
What you believe about S.S.M.?  (court's decision),
Why you believe that ... where are you coming from that would bring you to that conclusion?

1 Pet. 3:15 beginning with "always"

As an evangelical Christian, we need to state
1)  what we believe about S.S.M.
and 2) why we believe that ... where we come from, how we arrive at this point.

So, today is not what I believe about S.S.M., but why I believe,/why I hold this opinion, how I arrive at this conclusion.

So.... why I believe what I believe about Same Sex Marriage -- (or many other social/ethical issues of the day)

#1.  Is there a God?  ie:  Supreme Being, 1st Cause, Creator... Omni___________?
IF, your answer is "No" then (ultimately) you prob. have no problem with SSM.
Our answer is:  Gen. 1:1

#2.  Is He personal?
ie:  personally interested in affairs of man, personally involved in affairs of man.
We compare to David:  Psm. 139:13-18  Matt. 10:29-31 - I Know you!!

#3.  Has He revealed Himself?  the need?  He is TRANSCENDENT - infinitely beyond us.  Therefore, you could never, ever figure Him out.
A)  general revelation - Psm. 19:1-2 - Rom. 1:20
B)  Specific (special) revelation?  - He has revealed Himself through - instances, events, angels, patriarchs, prophets, ... Heb. 1:1  AND thru His Son - Heb. 1:2  John 1:18
And, then through the Apostles ... who recorded this (Bible)

#4.  Is the Revelation trustworthy?  - 2 Issues

A)  Transmission - example - New Testament - settled by textual criticism
B)  (original) reception

Short form:  Jesus put His stamp of approval on....
1.  Old Testament writings - "it is written", "Isaiah was right", Matt. 5:18
2.  New Testament writers - Luke 6:12-13   Acts 1:8
If you won't accept what Jesus approved, you are refuting Jesus.
To reject the Revelation - to refute Jesus!!!

So, 2 Pet. 1:20-21 - view of Peter - view of Christ.

#5.  Does the Revelation contain His will for us?  (a plan for man?)
Answer:  Yes - Eph. 4:1 - Ephesians is 1/2 theological basis (chap. 1-3, and 1/2 practical behavior. Chap. 4-6)
We believe the Revelation IS...
Universal - for all men
Final - not evolving/changing with time
Authoritative - because it is from God!!
Sufficient (not all issues but = enough for a life of Godliness!! - 2 Pet. 1:3)

Question:  Is it obligatory?
Answer:  No - don't have to obey
But... Yes - it is consequential - here and now and in eternity
Compare gravity - don't have to obey law of gravity, but there will be consequences if jump off ten story building.
Gal. 6:7

Given the above stance... 2 more relevant questions:
#6.  How then should I live?  personal choices/lifestyle

#7.  How then should I treat others? - act, answer, respond?
Especially - those with a different stance, viewpoint

This is more than same sex marriage (and why I stand here....)
This = all moral/ethical/religious/social/political issues

Closing:  Above = objective basis for decisions, viewpoint, lifestyle, etc.
Does not address your personal/subjective encounters with God which are also necessary to a personal relationship with Him.

So - Have you been ... convicted?  Called?  Drawn? 
       Have you ... responded?  received?  obeyed?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

When Friends Let You Down

(this = common to life / always disturbing) ... so... 
Mark 14:32-42 - in Gethsemane.  "keep watch" = watch in prayer.  Especially troubling when occurs in inner circle of friends, family, etc.

we see.....
1)  Jesus trusted God - recognized His Sovereignty, sufficiency ... we know that He doesn't need Peter, James, and John in the strictest sense.

2)  Jesus desired human companionship - at His hour of need -- looked to the disciples for support!!  (his 3 closest friends)

3)  Jesus was greatly disappointed by His friends. - they fell way short of what He needed at that time
      a)  common to man
      b)  common to life                                 Job 6:14-21 (a)
      c)  common to Christian life                  2 Tim. 4:9-11, 16
Sometimes God manifests Himself through His people.

POINT:  We're often disappointed by friends, (common to humanity) because... 
#1.  People are human ---- therefore limited - in ability to know, care, minister - Mark 14:38

#2.  People are sinners -- therefore -- faulty...
        A)  tend toward SELF - (concern, fulfillment, service, etc.)
        B)  often fail even when want to do good - Rom. 7:15, 18-19, 21-24 - (introspection of a man who understands who he really is)

#3.  People are different -- therefore -- have different opinions, outlooks, viewpoints, beliefs, values...
(there are other reasons that people disappoint, but these are the basis, bulk)

So ---- what did Jesus do??  How did He handle this?

#1.  Jesus asked for support.
On one hand, asking could lead to greater disappointment - (ie:  ask and not receive support needed)
On the other hand, people won't support if they don't know.

#2.  Jesus saw their failure as human weakness (not indifference) - Mark 14:38  They really didn't understand what He was going through.

#3.  Jesus didn't cast blame on the disciples.
On one hand, Jesus was in a mess.
However, it wasn't the disciples' fault!!  (it was His choice!!)
They just failed to support Him IN the mess!!

#4.  Jesus didn't let the failure of the disciples disrupt His relationship with the Father.
Typical scenario:  "hasn't affected my relationship with God, but:  just quit the church (His bride), avoid people (for whom He died).  Keep the "Love the Lord ... with heart and mind and soul," but ignore the "love your neighbor as yourself".

#5.  Jesus didn't let the failure of the disciples disrupt His relationship with them.
Example:  Peter - after falling asleep, denial, running away --- but reinstated at the Lord's breakfast!
That's Jesus - our model.

Add something Not in this text.

People will disappoint you -- (that's clear, evident)

But.... recognize this:  you will disappoint others - you are no different.
Everything said of others is true of you also.

This doesn't alter the facts, situation.  But it helps put it in perspective .. with attitude, response

Luke 18:9-14
As we deal with one another, let us beware of 3 things:
1)  Self Righteousness
2)  Disdain
3.  Unforgiveness - when sinned against

One of our obligations after becoming a Christian is loving our neighbor as self.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Concerning the Future of the USA

Wed. June 26th. the Supreme Ct. struck down that part of the Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman.

On one hand:  no surprise
On the other hand:  very disturbing - our nation is slipping from its Christian roots and Biblical moorings.

An informal survey asked:  "concerning the future of the USA ...,
Are you 1) an optimist?                     His findings:    25%
             2) a pessimist?                                           35%
             3) a dooms-day cataclysmist? -                  40%
So, 75% of American adults are pessimistic about the future of our nation.
(because of moral decline, economic woes (national debt), corrupt politics, military conflicts, terrorism, consumerism, domestic violence, breakdown of homes and marriages)

Whatever the reason(s) .. a decided majority are Pessimistic about our nation's future.

NOTE:  it was exactly the reverse 100 years ago!!!!
Beginning of the 20th. century, Americans we highly Optimistic!!

Question:  What happened??? - WW1, Great Depression, WW11 (Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam...)

The 20th. Century saw incredible progress/good technology, medicine, public education, political freedoms, financial growth, civil rights, social improvements, etc.
(who wants to go back to the conditions of 1899@@)

However, we've failed to establish a Utopian society!!!
Still have - human nature, failings, military conflicts, economic recessions, political corruption, terrorism ON OUR Soil, prisons full, schools unsafe, apathy, indifference, illness, death ..... all with us (and apparently)
all here to stay!!

As Christians, where should we stand??  - regarding our nation itself.
Optimist??  Pessimist??  Dooms-day Cataclysmist??
Answer:  I don't know.

BUT... here are some things for us to keep in mind.

#1. God is still in control.  (on His throne)
If He ever was God, He still is!!!!
              God is greater than ________.  (fill in the blank)

#2.  God's Kingdom will endure and will triumph
Matt. 16:18   Rev. 20:7-10
We are bad to measure the outcome of God's Kingdom by what's going on in the US.  We are not that powerful. 

#3.  If you're on His side, you'll be OK.
Rom 8:31-35, 37-37

The text does not meat that if you're a Christian, your life will be rosy, carefree, trouble-free.
It means if you're a Christian, you are in the hands of the Sovereign God, and, therefore will be
ultimately and finally saved and safe.  John 10:27-29

NOTE:  This promise is NOT for all who claim belief in God.  But, for those are "In Christ". - have received, accepted Him as Lord & Master.

Meanwhile, we live 'in-between'. 
Between 1)  the 1st Coming - when Jesus manifest Himself as Christ (Messiah) (by resurrecting..) to believers.
And        2)  2nd. coming - when Jesus will manifest Himself as LORD - clearly ... to ALL!!!

So.... some additional observations..

1)  The Holy Spirit is still at work. - drawing, saving, transforming (both individuals and nations)

2)  Christianity is still growing, spreading - worldwide - AD 100 - 360 non-Christians to 1 Christian.
AD 2000 - 3 non-Christians to 1 Christian.

3)  (= opinion - stated with reservation ... But... in spite of all appearances, it seems..
3)  Americans have not (yet) abandoned God.
         A)  Religious choice - 80% claim Christianity
         B  Religious expression - 62% remain "churched"
(definition of "churched" - a) make a denomination claim and b) attend services at least occasionally)

1776 = 17%
1860 = 37%
1906 = 51%
1952 = 59%
1980 = 62%
2000 = 62%

4) = opinion again - I believe..
4) God has not (yet) abandoned America 
If so ... A) there is still hope and B) we help determine the future - Jer. 18:7-10

Your Part?  (simple, general application)

#1.  Accept Christ - America needs God followers (not God claimers) - nothing greater can be done for the nation.
#2.  Live the Christian life - Matt. 5:13-16 - it's easy to make a declaration.

#3.  Pray for our nation - 1 Tim. 2:1-4

#4.  Stay the course - 2 Tim. 4:3-5 - Stand firm, be faithful

#5.  Trust God with the outcome. - if doing your part, what happens is not your fault.