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Is Love All You Really Need?

Conrad Vine
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Conrad Vine

President of Adventist Frontier Missions

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  • May 30, 2015
    12:15 PM
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It's a privilege to stand before you hear the Smalling pastor Haywood asked me to preach 3 weeks ago and I said Well I'll think about it and I thought about it and I said Ok I will preach and then I was you know as a preacher thinking what should I preach about and there's always a temptation as a preacher to try and do something that may be obscure or exciting or novel or something that will maybe take late the fancies of the congregation some may be in sight for a new interpretation of a troublesome passage. But I've chosen not to do that this morning because as I read the transcripts from Supreme Court stopped Gulf I realize that the United States is on the verge of a profound philosophical change a philosophical change that takes us from the concept that there is an absolute and revealed morality for mankind one nation under God The last time I checked to a nation that now says that we will no longer accept a revealed objective external morality but we will adopt a relative approach to morality and philosophy in which ultimately every man does what is right in his own eyes that is the philosophical change we are facing the United States and there are 4 justices probably in favor of same sex marriages there are 4 justices probably opposed to it so it falls to Chief Justice Roberts to one man to probably have the swing vote in a decision that has profound implications not just for the philosophy United States of who we are as a nation but also for the basic principles of religious liberty because do not be deceived if the decision goes in favor of same sex marriage. Religious liberty is an endangered species in the United States it will eventually erode and so I'm not going to talk about a safe topic today I'm going to talk about a topic that will directly affect each one of us one way or another because as soon as that institution is held to be a constitutional right the litigation will flow thick and fast forcing Adventist institutions to toe the line so as you probably guessed it I'm not talking about a comfortable topic this morning this hasn't been an easy sermon to prepare I recognized in my own family this issue has touched my family and I had a relatively young man died in the Bay Area when Aids was at its worst in the late 1980 s. this topic has touched my family and yet I would not be faithful to my call as a preacher of the gospel if I were to avoid the topic at such a time as this and so before we open God's Word or invites you to buy your heads with me is from vite the presence of the holy spirit among us Heavenly Father as they are the closing him will say wants to every man and nation comes a moment to decide and father today there is maybe one man in this nation the chief justice who will make a decision that will have profound philosophical consequences for United States but Father our own lives each of us has to choose ourselves this day whom we will serve and so God as we go through this study together I pray that Jesus who is the incarnation of grace and truth who spoke the lore on Calvary who spoke the lore at Sinai I pray Father that his spirit will be present amongst us this morning that we may understand his will but as his disciples we will follow his voice above all of us oh God I ask that you speak through me this morning. I ask that you take this imperfect vessel of clay and that the gospel the good news of your love and grace for all sinners will flow through me this morning in Jesus name I ask. I'll do my research for the sermon I I clicked on a youtube link Yes You Tube is sometimes useful for some preparation I I clicked on a youtube link and I typed in Jeffrey Dahmer 1904 for some of you who are not aware Jeffrey Dahmer was convicted of the the rape murder and dismemberment of 17 boys and men and boys between 78 and 1001 in the Milwaukee area many of those crimes involving necrophilia and cannibalism and Jeffrey Dahmer was not some kind of idiot Jeffrey Dahmer was raised to believe in the theory of evolution he was raised to believe in secular humanism and if you go to the 1904 You Tube clip Jeffrey Dahmer did an interview shortly prior to his death and this is what he says and I quote I always believed the lie that the theory of evolution is truth that we all came from the slime and that's when we die that is it if a person does not believe there is a god to whom we are accountable then what is the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges now Jeffrey Dahmer was no idiot he we may disagree with what he did but his philosophy and his reasoning was right on target he took the secular atheist Well view to its logical conclusion we may not like what he did but if you do not believe in a transcendent objective Murat moral framework given by a loving God and a final judgment then Jeff Jeffrey Dahmer did nothing intrinsically wrong but he merely acted in a in a socially unfashionable way you see without divine the revealed absolute morality we are left with relative morality and relative concepts of morality ultimately no behavior can ever be condemned. You simply pursue what you desire and brings you happiness and the current review of same sex marriage by the u.s. supreme court reflects our western societies abandonment of a divinely revealed objective morality that stands outside any of us which we are all called to repent and obey in favor of a relative morality in which the individual's pursuit of happiness today trumps all other concerns So how do we respond well the starting point for any discussion on these topics is the gospel of God's love of God's love his grace and His mercy given to each one of us in the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and of Christ's lordship we approach these matters not from a position of superiority but we approach these questions from a position of fundamental equality and solidarity with homosexuals and I would use that phrase as a short term a short hand for all the our intentions happens to be out there today the day Brothers or not for all of us without exception are poor lost sinners without hope saved in the abiding mercy offered us by God in the cross of Jesus Christ that is the starting place for discussion I mean a church that exists by the grace of God There is no place for misplaced spiritual pride or the demeaning of others as if our own righteousness had supplanted Christ victory on Calvary as the source of our hope of eternal life the gospel is the George proclamation of God's triumphant love for all the world and a glorious message of liberation from our bondage to the powers of sin slavery and death Christ has risen victorious over every power and dominion that threatens our oppressors human life or existence now you notice this morning I kind of sticking to my text pretty precisely sometimes as a preacher you kind of you can speak extemporaneously kind of swung from here to here on the pulpits But say I'm choosing not to do that so I need to be careful in what I share this morning. From a Biblical perspective it is important for us as Christians that we recognize that human love is never a self authenticating or self justifying force love cannot dictate its own moral framework love does not exist in isolation but according to the Scriptures is the fulfilling of the law of God Romans $1310.00 therefore love is only valid when it operates in the context of God's revelation in Scripture and on as his revealed will we cannot make him behavior moral simply by calling it loving Jeffrey Dahmer could have said I ate them in a loving way it does not make that an intrinsically moral act in story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus the rich young ruler comes and says I'm good teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life and Jesus responded it says in Mark 10 verse 21 it says Jesus looking at him loved him so Jesus response of this man was not a philosophical response per se it was a response birthed in love Jesus loveless man Jesus to come to die for this young man and Jesus said He said you lacked one thing go sell what you own you give the money to the poor and you have treasure in heaven then come follow me see the love that Jesus showed was not mere acceptance acceptance which is the and tolerance which of the by words of modern philosophy and and politically correct ideas acceptance is not the same as love. I why I'm except you simply because I don't care about you I may except what you are doing because I can see it's leading to your destruction and because I neither can a love for you I would be I would say nothing and that you go your way to eternal destruction Jesus' love took the form of a challenge a demanding call for the young man to gain eternity by living in accordance with God's will that is what Biblical love is about if I am poised to harm myself with a loving friend keep quiet toward me to step back from harm genuine love for our neighbor cannot be separated from our love of God's truth and will as it relates both to myself and to my neighbor and then humbly myself living in accordance with God's will and encouraging my neighbor to also live in accordance with God's will that is Christian love so before we come to the negative texts Let's talk this morning about the positive techs what is God's positive intent for human sexuality and it's important to 1st understand before we look at the negative text that God has a positive intent for human relations if you turn in your Bibles we're going to look at Genesis chapter $1.00 and $2.00 for a few moments together turn of the Word of God to Genesis chapter one and we're going to be picking up at verse $27.00 the creation of Adam and Eve Genesis chapter one verses verse $27.00. And this is what we read it says that So God created man in His image in the image of God He created them male and female he created them Genesis teaches that God created humanity as male and female the distinction between male and female is an intrinsic parts of an intrinsically good creation and such distinction is neither day or 5 nor denied within the book of Genesis this distinction is firmly rooted within the creative and the ultimately good purposes of God and the essential need of male for female is affirmed by this passage to be human is to share humanity with the opposite sex a community comprising one sex alone cannot by definition reflect God's positive intention for us be it a monastery a nunnery or a same sex marriage now the next verse verse $28.00 says this God bless them and God said to them Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and in this verse here we notice that the ability to procreate our procreative ability is carefully separated from created in the image of God It is shifted to a subsequent And a special word of blessing said God bless them and gave the command to be fruitful and to multiply consequently despite what some people may say today sexuality in procreation are not a point of contact with God sexual ability is not a manifestation of the divine image as it is an ancient fertility cults yes man and woman become one flesh in chapter 2 verse $24.00 but this goes beyond the merely physical the cleaving together and the becoming of one flesh is the medium through which the whole personality communicates you have sex with a prostitute you make love with your wife the act is the same it's a different experience. Next passage we come to is Genesis 2 and verse 18 says the Lord God said it is not good that man should be alone I will make him a helper and as his partner in my view as a student growing up on this verse was that I left Egypt a land of slavery but a land of plenty as a teenage boy I wandered through the wilderness as I went through college looking one day for the Promised Land when I got married and I recognize that it is indeed not good for man to be alone because he survives on pastor and baked beans and my my nutritional intake on on Sabbaths was very important because Sabbath was the only day of the week when I ate fruits and salad that was provided in potlucks and I was truly grateful for potlucks not because of the spiritual fellowship communion that went with it but because I had a break from my pastor and baked beans it is indeed not good for man to be alone but on a serious note what we notice in this verse here is that man and woman are specially created for and given to one another the communion between male and female today and throughout human history is built on the foundation of an essential complementarity between male and female Eve is not the same as Adam God created Eve not as a copy but as an incredible help me to corresponds to and complements Adam verse 24 this is there for a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh the divinely willed complementarity in communion between male and female man and woman find their fulfillment and expression ultimately in institution of marriage as defined as a man and a woman and as Jesus explicitly affirmed in Matthew 19 verses one through 4 when when he was asked about divorce and marriage she referenced this passage from Genesis the next passage we come to Genesis 3 in verse 16. This is after the fall off they've eaten of the wooden fruit and God meets Adam and Eve in the serpent in the wilderness and to the woman in Genesis 3 Verse 16 so the woman God said I will greatly increase your pains in childbirth in pain you shall bring forth children yet your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you one of the consequences of the fall is the disordering of the relationship that God intended between man and woman God's positive intention for the communion between male and female God's positive intention for the sexual relationship between male and female is harmed by the fall and the sanctity of this foundational union between man and woman is hedged about in scriptures against its ultimate corruption in the form of extramarital adultery premarital fornication bestie ality incense homosexuality rape paedophilia polygamy properly guy need necromancy or any of the use of our sexual powers but is not in harmony with God's intent for us and as it is in this broader context that we interpret the Bible's consistently negative portrayals of same sex sexual activity as the creation of God falls ever further away from God as the impact of the fall and sin accumulates in compounds from generation to generation so the intended communion between man and woman outs including sexual manifestations also falls ever further away from God's original positive intentions for human sexuality. In this sense same sex attractions and in there's a whole alphabet l g b t Q z would be zoophilia the love of animals and neck necrophilia p.p. to filea we suppose one day we'll have to add those to this alphabet list l g b t q's Ed n.p. attractions but not the acts are a manifestation of human brokenness they are a manifestation of the general evil that has existed since the fall a chronic condition such as diabetes or arthritis for many people with same sex attraction it is important to recognize that their same sex attraction is simply a fact of the human experience for as long as they can consciously remember and it appears to such individuals that this is a matter it is not a matter of choice one of the greatest fallacies in the debate about same sex marriage is the notion is that if same sex attraction is something we are born with therefore it must be natural and therefore it must be intrinsically good yet and involuntary same sex orientation for all of one's conscious existence is not necessarily God's loving will for humanity each one of us is born into this fallen world with involuntary brokenness we are all broken in various ways some are born with spina bifida some are born with predispositions brokenness towards breast cancer or violent behavior or pride or selfishness or same sex attraction or the attraction towards children or towards sheep and the fact that we are born this way does not mean that these things are reflections of the way God intended us to be brokenness is still broken us and whether such brokenness is voluntary or not is irrelevant. And so now we come to what the Old Testament says and then we're going to switch to what the New Testament says I'm not going to go through all of the passages I'm just going to look at the major passages the subject of discussion before we look in detail at some of the passages in the Old Testament we just remind ourselves for a moment what the ancient world was like my great uncle was an archaeologist he spent many years in the Middle East his doctorate was on the was on these types of practices in ancient Lebanon and when I spoke with him about it he said as Solomon said Connor There is nothing new under the sun there is nothing happening today that is not already been articulated and expressed in experienced by the ancient Canaanites in the ancient world all of the perversions that we talk about today from Scripture were well known and practiced among the Egyptians the Hittites the Canaanites and the Mesopotamians that are children hits day I will not go through next an exhaustive list but such activities in ancient cultural cultures were not explicitly condemned but they were regulated and it's in the context of an ancient world where such practices were regulated and allowed to exist that we come to our 1st passage which is Genesis 19 I'm vite you to turn so that passage Genesis Chapter 19 and in this passage here is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah I think most of us are familiar with this story. 2 angels come into the city they are coming down to see whether there is indeed there are indeed 10 righteous individuals in the city Abraham has bargained with God for the sake of the city and he says if there are 50 righteous individuals or lord will you save it and God says yes and then Abraham says with their $45.00 people in the city who are righteous would you destroy it God says No I was to preserve it and they have eventually bargain's God down to if there are 10 righteous individuals in the city would you preserve the city and God says Ok. And God being a God of justice sends 2 angels into the city because nobody can be condemned on the evidence of less than 2 witnesses and those a law God sends to Angel witnesses into the city but 10 righteous individuals cannot be found the only righteous individual called Book of Hebrews is locked himself and in the story he doesn't come across quite as a righteous individual but he is referred to as rights individual later in the Scriptures Sodom and Gomorra and how the men of the city they come to Lot's house they bang on the door and they say bring out the men who are there we wish to know them and the modern Turks as would say well they simply wanted to sit down and have a cup of tea with them maybe it's a willful misreading of the text. The Angels knew what was happening and Lot knew exactly what was happening hence the offer of a woman to satisfy the sexual desires this was a sexual demand and it was same sex it was homosexual and it was rape but the scriptures do not condemn Sodom exclusively for the crime or the attempted crime of homosexuals rape if you turn your Bibles to Chapter 16 we will see that there are other sins for which God was calling Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities to account and he killed Chapter 16 verses 48 thru 49. The prophet is equal in human rights the sins that God has the charges that God has against the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is Chapter 16 beginning of verse 48 says the as I live saith the Lord God Your sister saw them on her daughters of not done as you and your daughters have done this was the guilt of your sister Sodom she and her daughters had pride excess of food and prosperous ease but did not aid the poor and the needy. They were haughty or proud and did a bomb unable things before me therefore I removed them when I saw it so in the book of Ezekiel we see that Sodom and Gomorrah were not condemned primarily for homosexual rape they were condemned for their pride for their excess of food for their prosperous ease and their wilful refusal to help the poor needy in their midst all of which you may apply to modern society today they also committed adultery in Jeremiah $49.00 and a most for they committed adultery they walked in lies they were proud and they committed upon the nations so the text of Sodom and Gomorrah which is sometimes used to to condemn same sex activities in and of itself it is not that easy can to condemn same sex sexual activities purely from Genesis Chapter 19 the story of Sodom and Gomorrah it is a richer picture than that there are many sins that God was calling Sodom and Gomorra to account for not just the sin of attempted homosexual rape if you turn to the penultimate book of the Bible to because Jude just before revelation Jude mentions briefly the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah and Jude is only one chapter So Jude verses verse 7 now you will see that what Jude the brother of Christ how the Holy Spirit moved upon his hops and you'll see that what Jude says Jude and verse 7. It says there are likewise Sodom and Gomorra in the surrounding cities which in the same manner as they indulge in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust serves as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire in the King James a phrase therefore unnatural lust is strange flash other versions talk about other translations talk about the word perversion in that passage but it seems that the prophet Jude recognized that one of the reasons for Saddam's destruction was the fact that they went after strange flesh or they had an unnatural lust which would reference back to the homosexual rape of Genesis 19. This does not define whether it's homosexuality that is the problem or it is the rape that is the problem but homosexually is bound up in that one way or another and the other passage in the New Testament that references Sodom and Gomorrah is 2nd Peter chapter 2 2nd pizza chapter 2 and we read there in verse 6 2nd pizza chapter 2 verse 6 and verse 10. And it's talking about God's judgment on the ancient world through Noah and then Sodom and Gomorra 2nd Peter to in verse 6 it says and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly and verse 10 jump down to their especially those who indulge their flesh into parades last and who despise or 13 now this text seems to indicate that the dupré have lost that was the cause of Saddam's Camorra regardless of whether it was coerced or not and rape was actually same sex sexual activity or homosexual activity. However. Peter emphasizes the sexual nature of their sins and even if we do include those same sex scenes in the reasons for Saddam's destruction it is unjustified from the text in singling out same sex sins alone all deprived lusts according to this passage where included his reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah if you turn back to the Old Testament to come to Genesis 19 Genesis 19 is an echoing of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and it's a very similar story Sodom and Gomorra has 2 men who come to Sodom they are invited to be guests in the home of of Lot 2 is not a resident of Sodom he is an alien he's not a resident he's an alien and that is what the men of Sodom call him who made you judge over us you're not a citizen here you're an alien resident and judges Chapter 19 we have an echoing of that story but in this story it is no longer Sodom and Gomorrah but this is the city of Gibeah of Benjamin a Benjamin ite city and. Levites from the hill country of the frame he's passing through with his concubine his wife and he's invited to to stay the night with with another alien who lives within the city. And the men of Benjamin they come around they beat on the door demanding that the guest come out that they might know him and the language is remarkably similar between Genesis 19 and Judges 19 it appears as if Judges 19 is echoing the original story the message being that if Sodom and Gomorrah were fit for destruction for this crime than God's people so the end of the period of the judges had reached such a point of moral decline that they were no difference the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and therefore they were also fit for destruction now Jen Judges 19 is a story I used to read as a small boy when my father would preach judges 1920 and 21 because we didn't have a television at home and this was interesting reading for a young boy but the story sets off a catastrophic downward spiral of rape the concubine is rates and she dies of dismemberment by her husband Levite the from items 12 pieces mass murder civil war mass killings the abductions of young girls and forced marriages and yet more rape the story of judges 920 and 21 reflects a time where as judges 2125 says in those days there was no king in Israel every man did what was right in his own eyes and a nation where there is no king in Israel and every man does what is right in his own eyes is a nation that is on the brink of social and moral collapse so the next passage we come to is Leviticus 18 so in 4 in your power Bibles to Leviticus 18 and you will come there to verse 22 and we also look at it is 20 verse 13 but will start off by looking at live it because 18 verse 22. How and. In the context of prohibition it's against incense incest against. Best ality and other forms of sex for morality you have this passage Leviticus 1822 you shall not lie with a male as with a woman it is an abomination. And pardon me for saying this but there are many theologians today who will say well actually God didn't really mean that we can understand it so God says you can lie with a male as with a woman as long as it's not in the context of idolatrous worship and clever theologians do their best. To to twist the wording of Scripture but the plain and obvious reading scripture here is that God condemns not the attraction but God condemns the acts themselves it is the acts that God has the problem with the the traction may be a manifestation of our intrinsic brokenness since the fall but God has a problem with the acts themselves if you turn over the page to Leviticus Chapter 20 and verse 13 just in case we didn't get the message. The passage is repeated of it's because Chapter 20 in verse 13 it says if a man lies with a man as with a woman both of them have committed an abomination they shall be put to death their blood is upon them and notice this in this passage here people today argue that as long as it's consensual it must be Ok as long as it's loving you must be Ok This passage does not discuss whether this is purchased as in temple prostitutes does not discuss whether this is forced as in homosexual rape nor does it discuss whether the motive for this is consensual it is simply the acts themselves are condemned regardless of the context elsewhere in the Levitical Law God makes a provision for when a girl is forced she is not to be proper she is not to be punished only the man who forced the girl is to be punished so the Levitical or is quite capable of making a. Between a forced act and a consensual act but in this passage here it is simply the act itself regardless of the circumstances is an abomination to God regardless of how it came about it is an abomination to God and as Christ was the one who gave the law wrong on the Sinai we read these as the words of Jesus it is an abomination to Jesus and it is a tragedy that the things that Jesus died to save us from are the things that we now say we must have the right to do and say otherwise would be hate speech Leviticus 18222013 Some argue that these passages only prohibit same sex gentle activity when associated with idolatry but this is not support of the underlying Hebrew texts and furthermore if this is the case the implications are that we must also drop our intrinsic moral objection to best ality incest and adultery all of which are condemned in the Vatican say teen and if we were to do that and we were to say that we made an practice best ality incest or dull tree as long as it is free from any overt connection with idolatry and it is practiced among loving consensual partners which should be the modern view point in this understanding of these passages the implications are that we must be open to father son marriages man dog marriages husband dead wife marriages the fact I don't mean a homosexual acts are found together in paganism does not mean that they are one in the same thing in God's eyes in these 2 passages we have a clear probation of all same sex genital activity and the fact that these acts are sometimes practiced in pagan rituals merely compounds the underlying abomination of same sex relations Chapter 18 verses one through 5 follow me there in your Bible. So the rich because 18 verse one says The Lord spoke to Moses saying speak to the people of Israel and say to them I am the Lord your God You shall not do to them as they do in the land of Egypt or the USA where you lived and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan which I am bringing you you shall not follow their statutes my ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep following them I am the Lord your God you shall keep my statutes and my ordinance says by doing so one shall live I am the Lord we all have a choice to make whose laws do we follow to we bow between the Supremes courts of the universe or Supreme Court of one country befall in world we all have that choice to make today and in the weeks ahead God's people are to mediate God's presence of the world around us our outward life is not a matter of moral indifference separation from the paganism of our surrounding culture involves more than the mere avoidance of a day of idolatry God calls us to be holy He commands us not to follow the abhorrent practices or obey the laws of the nations on these matters and notice this God does not call his people to heterosexuality God calls his people to holiness it is a crucial distinction we need to make those with same sex sexual attractions or those with exclusive sexual attraction to minus otherwise known as paedophiles to animals known as 0 files or to the dead known as necrophile Zz are not called to heterosexuality we all call to holiness and likewise for fornicating or adulterous heterosexuals or Christian men who indulge in pornography which is a large proportion of Christian men today we are all called to personal holiness and God's promise of holiness of personal sanctification is open to all and any who allow him to be a lot of their lives this is not hate speech this is hope speech of becoming a new creation in Jesus Christ and receiving the promise of eternal life. So in the Old Testament same sex gentle acts are not the sole mark of sin that merits the direct punishment of God Sodom witnessed many serious sins beside the attempted homosexual rape of Genesis 19 yes same sex acts were frequently connected with exploitation of violence or idolatry but such circumstances only compounded the underlying abomination and immorality of same sex genital activity so although God specifically condemns and excludes from any moral framework same sex acts in the Old Testament such acts are not the only reason for his judgments on humanity as now we turn to the New Testament time is moving on here and for before we we say that the Apostle Paul was culturally bound we need to recognize that in the time of the New Testament a sexual activity was basically a free for all in the Roman in the Greek culture of its time the gymnasia a place where young men came to exercise mostly in the nude while older men ogled them was a place of naked exercise voyeurism and unbridled loss between older men and younger boys Petter oste was common that the institution of petty Rusty. Thank God we have colleges today or right the institution of Petre Asti involved father would would would give his young boy to an older man socially established older man and the older man would agree to educate that young boy in exchange for which he would receive certain favors that was the institution of Petre esteem and Plato wrote about this when Plato talks about a platonic relationship I hope none of us ever enter a platonic relationship because when Plato talked about a platonic relationship he wasn't talking about a nonphysical relationship in the abstract he was talking about the institution of petty Rusty were an older man becomes the tutor to another man's boy and played so argue that such a relationship was supposed to be an elevated nonphysical an intellectual exercise that is a platonic relationship aimed at producing brave men and. Good citizens I hope none of us ever has a platonic relationship the reality of pet arrestee in this is well documented in the writings of antiquity was that it was the place for same sex exploitation the rape of minus exploitation violence and prostitution involving men and boys in Roman society it was acceptable to have relations with your wife with a mistress with a boy or girl and sometimes even with an animal women were used as chattels and for children but an heiress to crack reserved his most reserve reserved his most polished love for other males in society Roman society was open to unbridled lust and sexual experimentation Roman literature literature and graffiti is obscene as anything ever written when I was 16 I chose my 3 and my 2 years of high school in England we call it your 6th form Lower 6 than a percent that's less than 12 greats I've been studying Latin for 6 years so I decided that one of my 3 topics of specialty from the ages of 11 and 12 grades was Latin and I invite translated copious amounts of ancient Latin and I can assure you that it was an eye opening experience in both Greek and Roman society it was considered shameful for a free adult male to be the passive partner in same sex activity that was reserved for slaves prostitutes actors or boys men who played the female role were publicly scorned and pillory in the courts so we come to just 3 pastors are going to look at in the old in the New testament to the point of what I've just said is this when you Apostle Paul wrote what he wrote if he was to be culturally bound he would have said that this type of activity is Ok because it was the norm in wider Greek or Roman society but the apostle Paul says quite the opposite Romans chapter one for those who are familiar with these issues this is a very familiar passage in Romans Chapter one Verse 2427 of following your Bibles as I read outs these verses. Romans chapter one beginning at verse $24.00 Therefore God gave them up to the lusts of their hearts to impurity to the degrading of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator who is blasted forever and a man for this reason God gave them up to degrading passions that women exchanged natural into calls for unnatural and in the same way also the man giving up natural intercourse with women were consumed with passion for one another men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the Jew penalty for their heiress and this passage explains the inevitable linkage the Bible makes between sexual sins and idolatry Some argue that Paul is discussing the acts of heterosexuals who engage in same sex gentle activity for thrills that is a straight man having a gay fling by those who go against their natural orientation they pick up on the word thought which is natural and they say that the Apostle Paul is only condemning straight men who have gay flings they argue his not condemning constitutional homosexuals who engage in same sex activities because for them such activities are normal that is the argument that is made however in a full on world an appeal to what appears natural to determine morality is at best relative and at worst useless for your average heterosexual male who has temptations for multiple women through his life natural would be to have multiple adulterous relationships just because it appears natural does not mean it is moral or gods revealed will for us. But more importantly Paul is not discussing same sex relations at the level of the individual and to interpret Paul from the level of the individual would be to put it to interpret him wrong Paul is painting a cosmic picture of God's creation of the world of the fall that affected all of us all the universe ality of sin among Gentile pagans and circumspect circumspect Jews and of God's plan for all of humanity's salvation through the righteousness of God as revealed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these 1st 3 chapters of of the book of Romans Paul is dealing at a cosmic level the idea that sin is universal all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and different sins though lead to a common outcome which is death nobody has any reason for complacency or self righteousness so for Paul same sex relations as you said earlier are a manifestation of the brokenness of humanity since the fall and the greater the distance that we wonder from God the greater the brokenness of same sex attraction and the greater the cultural support there is for same sex genital activity so societies turn their back on God The inevitable consequence is that we Day of Fire and we protect these very activities that God has told us not to do God If you look at this passage in verse 24 it says God gave them up in verse $26.00 he says God gave them up on the 3rd time in verse $28.00 it says God gave them up to a debased mind 3 times we are told that God gave humanity up in this way what does Paul mean here well God allows us the freedom we demand and humanity generally chooses self-willed and self-indulgence there is a law in the universe that men are left to the consequences of their freely chosen courses of action and unless that tendency is reversed by Divine Grace man situation goes from bad to worse and from worse to absolutely awful. The next passage we come to is 1st Corinthians Chapter 6 we have 2 this and one final passage will be looking out briefly this morning but so far we've seen in Romans chapter one that Paul provides an unequivocal condemnation of same sex general activities despite there except the general acceptance in the surrounding culture Paul was not culturally bound his writings are profoundly countercultural and in 1st Corinthians Chapter 6 verse 9 and this is a vice list it's common among Stuart philosophers the apostle Paul says this beginning in verse 9 of 1st Corinthians 6 he said Do you know that wrongdoers all the unrighteous the those are those who are not righteous will not inherit the kingdom of God Do not be deceived that is people are trying to deceive us today fornicators idolaters adulterers male prostitutes sodomites the the greedy drunkard reviled as robbers none of these will inherit the kingdom of God and this is what some of you used to be but you were washed us sanctified you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God. It's important to recognize that current at the time was full of pagan cults pagan religions tended to separate religion from private morality one could be devoted to have many gods without changing your lifestyle but not so for the disciples of Jesus Christ then or today and Paul here uses what scholars recall a vice list a common a common rhetorical device among Stuart philosophers and Paul lists the evils that belong to the past for any priest to any Christian to the unrighteous of verse 9 those who are not to coyotes those who have no right to sin us and included in that list are active homosexuals the word for home translated homosexuals Malik Oyo it means the soft military means soft That means the one who is how lousy himself to play the female role the word sodomite is translated as arsenic means the active penetrating male partner of another man Paul did not discuss whether such relations were coerced or bought or idolatrous the many acts themselves on both sides of the equation the dominant male in the passive male are condemned as only occurring outside of the Kingdom of God However verse 10 says this is what some of you used to be there is hope for all humanity for the constitutional homosexuals not barred from the kingdom of God any less than the covetous individual the for all the adulterer all of us however are called to resist the temptation to act upon what appears natural to us but in reality our sinful fall and desires repentance sinners prone to sin but striving against the inner and outer expressions of such saying are fundamentally different to unrepentant sinners who engage in willful repeated into liberate disobedience to God for such individuals there is no place in the kingdom of God such individuals are lost forever. That sounds strong but it's what the Word of God says the final passage we look at is 1st Timothy Chapter one it's another sin list Paul has a list of sins here it's a rhetorical device that Los was would use and we're going to pick up 1st Timothy Chapter one I'm going to read verses 8 through 11 and this is what we read he says 1st Timothy won a verse 8 now we know that the law is good if one uses it legitimately This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient for the godless and sinful for the unholy and the profane for those who kill left father or mother for murderous fornicators sodomites slave traders liars perjurers and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that confirms to the glorious gospel of the blessing of God which he entrusted to me Paul says here that the primary purpose of the law is to condemn sane now the law is intrinsically good Romans 716 but if it is used only for the use properly but is to reveal and to restrain evil in an ideal unfolding world there be no need for any law other than the positive lore of love but we live in a fallen world and therefore God gives us the tank of the law of love expressed in a negative sense because he knows that we have fallen beings Poland presents a catalogue of sins which the law must identify and condemn the 1st group he talks about are the lawless and the disobedient those who refuse to obey any law. He then talks about the godless and the sinful which of those who refuse to obey the law of God in particular followed by the unholy in the profane or those who transgress specific requirements of the Moral Law the 10 Commandments generally considered to be the 1st for commom it's here then he goes on to discuss those who kill mother and father which is an extreme violation of the 5th Commandment on your father and your mother then he mentions murderers those who break the 6 commom he's working his way through the commandments here and then he mentions fornicators and sodomites those who break the 7th commandment of not shall not commit adultery then he mentions slave traders those are they who break the 8 commandment Thou shalt not steal it's an extreme violation of the 8th Commandment when he mentions liars and perjurers those who break the 9th commandment thou shall not bear false witness and then whatever else is contrary to the Gospel breakers of the 10th commandment to catch all phrase Paul works his way through to Timothy the 10 Commandments in this list of sins and included in that list of sins of those who break the 10 commandments Paul discusses the fornicators the word is poor Noyo those who are sexually immoral and Arsenault coital we've come across come across that word once before those are the dominant partner in a same sex gentle activity Paul links same sex general activity not with idolatry not with coersion or not with prostitution but links it with the breaking of the 7th commandment same sex activities intrinsically a breaking of the commom into gainst adultery because it is outside God revealed will be for human sexual activity the deck log of the tank a moment is normative for all of God's people at all times and therefore same sex gender activity in and of itself regardless of the circumstances is just as much a breaking of the 10 Commandments as it's adultery there is never a justification for either jet the story of Joseph and part of his wife and the story of David and Bathsheba remind us that we would all on such a God for how we control and express our sexual impulses. So the New Testament includes homosexual acts in the vise lists of Romans one 1st Corinthians 6 and 1st Timothy Chapter one ancient philosophers had similar negative lists of what to avoid in an ethical life but for the Christian but reality involves more the presence of the positive rather than the absence of the negative and a beautiful passage there is Romans Chapter 12 verses 9 onwards where the apostle Paul describes the marks of a true Christian that you weep with those who weep when you rejoice with those who were Joyce etc etc The Christian life is not one of negatives it is one of the bountiful outflow of God's love and mercy to humanity around us however. Homo sexual activity never peer is anyone the New Testament in any positive list of what it means to be a Christian but it explains it appears exclusively and only in the negative vice lists no where does Polish instructions for the gay couple or how they may integrate into church life he has issues instructions for slaves for families where only one spouse is a believer for those coming into Christianity from pagan cults for virgins non-virgins Jews Pharisees and Gentiles with all their cultural baggage but homo sexual acts solicit exclusively as one of the lifestyles left behind fundamentally incompatible with acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior So the idea today the old beacon for given while the self sinful practice willfully continues is nothing more than cheap grace it is the grace that amounts to the justification of saying without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs justification sort without the need for confession repentance or sanctification and tragedy of tragedy the sinner remains on saved and that is the tragedy and just as God came and died on Calvary that we might all receive eternal life it is a tragedy to God as well so what are we saying conclusion today. Well 3 simple things firstly in Daniel Chapter 3 The golden statue in the plain of juror did not appear overnight as the statue went up God's children exiled in Babylon had plenty of time to reflect on how they would respond when the expected crisis arrived Likewise we are not blind to what is happening around us in Western society God has given us each each and every one of us time to reflect on how we will respond when the constitutionally mandated works of the flesh are imposed when to say otherwise would be to be accused of hate speech and discriminate speech to be prosecuted as you can be now prosecuted in Canada just north of the border we respond with the Hebrews that would not bow down nobody remembers the names of those who bowed Does anybody know who bowed to the golden statue No we only know the names of those who would not bow and Shadrack and Abednego I mean that particular story Jesus was closest to the 3 Hebrews when he walked with them through the fire each one of us today has to go home and choose you this day whom we also have this is not an abstract discussion this is a rain train coming down the track somewhere right in its path and we have to choose one way or the other we cannot expect the Christian experience in America will continue as it always House we are to tipping point to a secular totalitarianism rules the day Secondly for those who experience the brokenness of sin as an involuntary same sex attraction and that's affected people in my own family as well we have firm today that Jesus died on Calvary for all people and that his forgiveness and grace is sufficient for all who turn to him in repentance and faith in Jesus commanded that we love one another not as the world loves but as he 1st loved us and this genuine love for our neighbor cannot be separated from our love of God's truth and will as it relates to ourselves and to our neighbor. Therefore each one of us today is called to personal holiness in all areas of human experience actual expression we are called to humbly live in accordance with God's will and to encourage others to do likewise and finally for a nation the decision from the Supreme Court is expected any time now if you never prayed before now as the Times gets on your knees and pray for God to give a dream to Chief Justice Roberts who is the swing vote in this matter ask that God will give him a dream that he may choose for what God has revealed is right and why do we ask this we ask this that religious liberty made for a few more years here in the United States and then with that liberty we will not be hesitant to share the good news of Jesus soon return for all who will hear that message may God bless us as we live lives in a country where the darkness and the gloom is gathering but Jesus walked with the 3 Hebrews through the fiery furnace and he will not abandon us should Dr same experience come our way to this day so. 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