Salt and Light: Living Righteously in a Homosexual-affirming Culture
Text: Leviticus 18:22-23; Romans 1:24-27; Matthew 19:1-12
Theme: In a culture that increasingly affirms and even celebrates the homosexual lifestyle, Christians need to be Salt and Light.
Date: 11102013File Name: Salt_and_Light_04.wpdSermon ID: 26
•“‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. “‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.” (Leviticus 18:22–23, NIV)
•“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:24–27, NIV)
•“When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at 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 no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” (Matthew 19:1–12, NIV)
1. in Matthew 19 Jesus is clear about the Creator’s will for His creatures in the expression of their sexuality
a. in an attempt to paint Jesus into a theological corner, some Pharisees ask him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
b. Jesus points them directly to the Scriptures ...
1) “Haven’t you read?” he asks them ... "that at 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 no one separate."
2) Jesus is, of course, quoting the great Jewish law-giver, Moses
3) and, as any Sunday School child knows, Moses is merely the conduit of the law, the real law-giver being the triune Godhead
2. in the Matthew passage, Jesus reiterates and reinforces the Scriptural view of gender, marriage, and sexual relations
a. everything outside of this matrix is sinful because it is outside the will of God— period
1) no “if’s” no “but what about’s” no “my situation is different” no “that was written for a different time”
2) I’ll say it again—everything outside of this matrix is sinful because it is outside the will of God—end of story
b. here Jesus clearly forbids, Homosexuality, Transsexuality, Bisexuality, Polysexuality, Lesbianism, Bestiality, Polyamory, Polygamy, Pedophilia, Fornication, and Adultery
1) all of these are sexual perversions because they pervert the Creator’s assigned roles for men and women and His decreed way of expressing one’s sexuality
2) the prima facie case against homosexuality or any other sexual misconduct is found in God’s creative plan for human sexuality
3. Jesus is clearly in sync with the Old Testament prohibitions such as Leviticus 18:22–23
a. He merely takes the negative command—Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman—and turns it into a positive command
1) have you not read? This is God’s will and command for human sexual expression: One woman, one man, in a covenant relationship sanctioned by the culture, establishing their own home, sexually active only with each other, united until death separates them
2) after Jesus says this, there is not much left to say—no “if’s” no “but what about’s” no “my situation is different” no “but that’s so Old Testament”
4. in the passage from the Epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul is in sync with Jesus and Moses on the issue
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31, NIV)
a. Paul reminds us in his Epistle to the Romans, that anything outside this matrix is not only sinful, but detrimental to the culture as a whole because rampant sexual sin is a clear sign of God’s rejection of a people and ultimately incurs God’s judgment (Romans 1:24–27)
1) three times in the 1st chapter of Romans, Paul writes God gave them over
2) in other words, they were so bent on sinning, that God removed His hand of restraint and allowed them to engage in sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another
b. the growing acceptance of all forms of sexual perversion, homosexuality in particular, is a sign that God has removed His restraining and protective hand from a society, allowing the consequences of sin to take their inevitable, destructive course in the life of the sexually perverse as well as the culture that affirms the perversion
5. in an increasingly sexually perverse culture Christians need to celebrate the biblical
model of marriage and sexuality
1. the Doctrine of Marriage clearly teaches, then, that marriage is the union of one woman, and one man, in a covenant relationship sanctioned by the culture, establishing their own home, sexually active only with each other, united until death separates them
a. this is not merely a New Testament doctrine
1) we believe it is a decree of God going back to the creation of the race in Adam and Eve
b. if the Scriptures are our source for faith and practice, then our duty is to bring our thoughts and attitudes and behaviors into line with the Scriptures, regardless of the protests from the culture
1) it seems that fewer and fewer Christians are willing to take such a stand
2. again, there are principles that we need to understand and affirm
“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”“ (Genesis 2:18–23, NIV)
1. there is something about Adam that is distinct from all the other creatures that God assigns Adam to name
a. 1st, we assume that when God creates giraffes, and bison, and rabbits and all the other myriads of critters the day before, that they are created in pairs—male and female, boys and girls, masculine gender and famine gender
b. 2nd, unlike the man, giraffes and bison and rabbits and other critters have no conciseness of being alone, but Adam will
2. in naming the animals Adam discovers that there is no helper suitable for him
a. the word helper essentially means compliment—Eve will be exactly what he needs, the perfect “fit” for him
b. here is where biblical honesty is very important
1) this is not a salacious biblical reference to sex, but just the obvious of how God created us and why He created us
c. Adam is in the Garden fully equipped as a man having all the physical equipment that the masculine gender has
1) but you realize from the story that without the feminine gender, much of the physical equipment Adam is endowed with is nonsensical or superfluous
3. what is interesting is that it is not Adam who makes the self-declaration it is not good for me to be alone
a. Adam doesn’t complain to God, “Hey, where’s mine? I’m lonely. Get with it.”
b. it is God who says, “I will make him a helper suitable for him, because nothing else is fit for him.”
1) it is God who knows best exactly what Adam needs, and so he takes a piece of Adam to create Eve
2) Adam’s response to seeing Eve for the first time is “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;”
3) one commentator writes, This is Hebrew for “hubba-hubba”
4. here is the source for much of our worldview about gender and marriage and sex
a. Adam, you need a compliment—here she is, her name is Eve
5. Principle #1 Is That Marriage Is Good—a man needs a helpmeet to compliment his lack and woman meets the need
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24 NIV)
1. immediately following the creation of woman there is a therefore
a. marriage isn’t something that comes later, marriage comes now
b. marriage was made for human beings and human beings were made for marriage
ILLUS. In this particular case, Adam does not need eHarmony, ChristianMingle, or Match.com because Creator.com has made the match and it’s perfect.
2. God intended that human beings, as man and woman, would pair off in faithful monogamy of a heterosexual marriage, not as a process of or product of sociological evolution, but as the normative structure of creation
a. in other words, human society did not invent marriage—God decreed it, and it is the norm for all societies throughout the ages
b. and, up until the last decade, every society throughout the millennia of human history have seen heterosexual marriage as the norm
c. and, even in our sexually confused culture, the vast majority will find there way into heterosexual marriage
3. Principle #2 Is Marriage Is the Norm
ILLUS. Let me take a moment, however, to speak to our singles. While marriage is the norm, don’t feel rushed into a relationship with just any Norm, Dick or Harry. Many a Christian young person has found themselves unequally yoked because family or friends pressured them into marriage. When Jesus laid down the principle of a forever monogamous relationship with one person, it wasn’t the Pharisees who responded in a knee-jerk reaction, but His disciples who reply, “Wow, the same spouse forever? No Divorce? It would be better not to marry at all!” To which Jesus responds, “You’re right, not everyone can accept this. There are some who are forced into singleness, but some will choose it of their own accord for the sake of the kingdom.” Until God brings you your Adam or your Eve, use your marital unencumberedness to do extraordinary things to advance the kingdom of God—things you could not do once you have the responsibility of spouse and family.
“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25, NIV)
ILLUS. The ancient Hebrews had a healthy attitude toward sex. That attitude was drawn from the Genesis account of Adam and Eve. They saw sex as a divine gift which gave pleasure to the persons involved while providing the means for the propagation of the race. The classic example of the exaltation of human sexuality is found in King Solomon’s poem, Song of Songs. The book is a romantic celebration of human sexuality. Portions of the book were even sung during Jewish wedding processionals and wedding feasts.
1. it is in the covenant of marriage that God declares that all the goods of sex and sexuality can be enjoyed without restriction or embarrassment
a. the one flesh comment, original to Moses, reiterated by Jesus and quoted by the Apostle Paul is significant
1) the biblical understanding of man and woman becoming one flesh shows that the sexual union is not simply a union of two bodies as if the bodies were separate from the souls of the two persons
b. such an unbiblical view of the sexual act was behind the Corinthian view of sex
1) they saw sexual activity in the way they regarded food and the stomach (1Cor 6.13)
2) “It’s no big deal,” some Corinthian believers were saying, “It’s only sex, right?”
3) well, no, it’s not just sex—it is significantly more
4) sexual immorality is serious because it affects the individual more deeply and permanently than any other sin
c. the sexual union between a husband and wife does not just merely involve the sexual organs, it involves the whole person—body, soul, and spirit
2. this physical bonding is to be exclusive to one’s spouse
“Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7–9, ESV)
a. the Bible views our body as something important—something to be taken care of and used in God's service, not merely used for recreational sex
b. the Bible views sex as such a mysterious and powerful experience that it ought to be subject to certain boundaries—like marriage
•“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18, NIV)
•“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:5–10, NIV)
3. Principle #3 Is That God Created Sex as a Powerful Instrument for Good, but That it Is Reserved for Marriage
1. in the Old Testament, marriage is taken up as a metaphor for the covenant relationship between Yahweh and Israel
•“For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” (Isaiah 54:5, NIV)
•“Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.” (Jeremiah 3:14, NIV)
•“But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:20, NIV)
2. this idea is taken over in the New Testament
“for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and [cleave] be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:30–32, NIV)
a. marriage is a leave and cleave scenario
1) we leave one family group to begin another family group and we do that by cleaving to our spouse, and this second relationship is more binding than the first
2) that word cleave means to be cemented together
ILLUS. A few months ago when Kirsten Anderson was talking to me about wedding plans she brought up that she was trying to decide between having a unity candle ceremony or a colored sand ceremony. I told her that if she really wanted a biblical illustration of their union that they’d each bring a 2x4 to the ceremony and at the proper time, smear them with carpenter’s glue and clamp them together. That’s what the bible says takes place. The distinctive individuality of the boards are obvious, but there is a nearly unbreakable bond that unites them.
3. the Christian life is also a leave and cleave scenario
a. we leave one family unite—a worldly society broken and damaged by sin—and we cleave to a new spouse—the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ and become part of His extended family—the Church
c. our love for and unity with Jesus, is an illustration of the kind of love for and unity we have with our spouse
4. Principle #4 Is That Christ’s Relationship to His Church Is a Picture of Biblical Marriage
1. the challenge of our culture is the brokenness of human sexuality revealed in the growing affirmation of homosexuality, and the resulting redefinition of marriage
•Generally speaking, nowhere has Christian morality come under greater attack than in the whole area of sex outside marriage. The Biblical teaching that sex is only for marriage does not even enter the thinking of most people today. The Bible’s condemnation of illicit sexual acts has become for many a source of ridicule. The popular acceptance of sexual permissiveness is evidenced by the introduction and use of "softer terms." Fornication, for example, is referred to as "pre-marital sex" with the accent on the "pre" rather than on the "marital." Adultery is now called "extra-marital sex," implying an additional experience like some extra-professional activities. Homosexuality has gradually been softened from deviate behavior to "alternative lifestyle."
•The sexual revolution of our time has glamorized sexual profligacy and prowess, ridiculing sexual chastity as a prudish superstition. The catastrophic consequences of the sexual revolution can be seen in the ever-increasing number of divorces, abortions, incidents of incest, sexual abuse of children, and the loss of the true meaning and function of sex.
•The very idea of a normality of sexuality — what is biblical heterosexuality — is under assault and by secularist and liberal religionists. The result is that gender, marriage, and family are all being redefined as to whatever the practitioners desire these things to be.
•More specifically, homosexuality is the sexual behavior where Americans have made an unprecedented moral shift in their views. Not too long ago, the majority of Americans believed that homosexuality was a deviant sexual behavior and were staunchly against homosexual marriage. Now, a majority of Americans see little if anything wrong with homosexuality, and fully favor homosexual civil unions, and are quickly moving toward full acceptance of homosexual marriage. ILLUS. Between 2001 and 2012, the proportion of Americans who favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally increased from 35% to 49%. In a Gallup Organization poll taken just last month (Sept. 2013), 52% of Americans believe that same-sex marriage should be legal in all states. In 1996, 70% of Americans were against homosexual marriage. Assuming that our neighbors to the East in Illinois shortly pass it, 15 states will have legalized same-sex marriage. This has been an astounding world view lurch in our culture.
•As we lurch into this new era of sexual deviancy, long-time constitutional freedoms are being sacrificed on the altar of sexual freedom. I’m referring to our Religious Liberty and our Freedom of Speech. Homosexual activists have transitioned our culture from the decriminalization of homosexuality, to grudging acknowledgment of it, to full affirmation of the lifestyle, and now demand that everyone celebrate it as absolutely equal to heterosexuality. And if you’re not willing to celebrate it, watch out—the full weight and power of the law will come down upon you. Today, Canada and Sweden have essentially outlawed preaching from Scripture on the subject of homosexuality, by linking biblical references to homosexuality to “hate speech.” It is only time before such laws come to America. Already Christian florists, photographers, and bakers have been sued or punished under state nondiscrimination laws for refusing to provide services to same-sex couples. In these cases the nondiscrimination laws did not carve out religious liberty exceptions. The result is that we are living in a culture where increasingly, “sexual license” trumps “religious liberty”.
1. how do Christians, committed to a biblical worldview, respond to a homosexual-affirming culture that is increasingly leaning toward re-defining marriage?
1. plainly, those individuals in the LGBT community who are actively engaged in their perversions are sinning
a. a culture that affirms their perversion of human sexuality is sinning and either is, or soon will, experience the judgement of God
b. that judgement is often experienced in hardening of the hearts, the closing of the minds and the blinding of the eyes of the individuals involved in sexual perversion and the culture that affirms their perversity
2. everywhere in the Scriptures where homosexuality is mentioned it is condemned as sinful behavior
ILLUS. In June of this year a divided Supreme Court gave a major boost to gay and lesbian rights, striking down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. The majority opinion forcefully criticized what it considered unconstitutional discrimination against homosexuals. Justice Kennedy wrote that anyone opposed to same-sex marriage is “an enemy of human decency” who are "unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob." Translation? If you’re against same-sex marriage, you’re nothing but a bigoted homophobe. Get over it or we may come after you. Well, I’ll tell you. In some places they’re already coming after us.
3. unfortunately, the court never addressed the single most significant issue in the debate, but rather “assumed” what the culture broadly “assumes” —that homosexuals are born that way
a. homosexual activists have fostered a belief system in our culture, based upon a falsehood
1) that falsehood is that those who experience same-sex attraction are born with that attraction, that it is normal, and cannot be reversed
2) the lie is so broadly accepted that “everyone knows” that homosexuals are born homosexuals
b. however, in spite of numerous research attempts, to discover the existence of a “gay gene,” science has not found one
1) nor has research proven “gene linkage” between specific human genes and particular human behaviors
ILLUS. In other words, red-heads are not always hot-tempered; overweight people are not always jolly; effeminate males are not always gay, nor masculine females always lesbian.
2) human beings are not “hard-wired” for certain behaviors
ILLUS. Dr. Francis Collins, the scientist who headed up the Human Genome Project that mapped every single gean in the human body, has stated, that while we may be born with certain predispositions, that "Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired."
4. but in an effort to affect public policy and mainstream sexual perversion, homosexual activists and their supporters advocate that homosexuals deserve equal rights just as other minority groups—and should not be punished for, or forbidden from, expressing their homosexuality
a. the argument goes like this: “Just as a person cannot help being black, female, or Asian, I cannot help being homosexual. We were all born this way, and as such we should be treated equally.”
b. unfortunately, for the most part, our culture has drunk the Kool Aid and swallowed the lie
1) but homosexuality does not fit into the niche of a civil rights issue
ILLUS. All of us would agree that it is wrong to discriminate against a person who’s skin has a different pigmentation than ours. Or against one who is born with a deformity, or mental handicap. A person born with diabetes has no hope of changing that condition. But unless someone admits to being homosexual we would never know that by any outward physical characteristics. Without the behavior, they would be indistinguishable from all other people.
c. the Apostle Paul’s statement to both the Corinthians and the Colossians that such were some of you reveals that homosexual behavior is not something a person is locked into
5. a culture that begins granting civil rights, or “uber-rights” to certain groups based on a behavior is a culture riding the tiger
1. sin permeates every aspect of human personality—including our sexuality
a. this is not a popular message
ILLUS. Some will ask the question: “Who would actually choose to be gay or lesbian or bisexual?” Well, who would actually choose to be a serial adulterer? Who would actually choose to be addicted to pornography? Who would actually choose to be a pedophile? Who would choose licentiousness hopping from bed to bed to bed?
b. the Scriptures provide the answer—we are sinners
2. no issue defines our culture’s moral abyss as clearly as homosexuality
a. some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle
b. other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns
c. within a few short years, a major dividing line has become evident–with those churches endorsing homosexuality on one side, and those stubbornly resisting the cultural tide on the other
1) the homosexual rights movement understands that the evangelical church is one of the last resistance movements committed to a biblical morality
2) because of this, the movement has adopted a strategy of isolating Christian opposition, and forcing change through political action, the courts and cultural pressure
d. time appears to be on the side of the homosexual rights movement
1) polling reveals that we have experienced a significant loss of conviction among youth and young adults regarding homosexuality
ILLUS. 65% of 18 to 29 year olds currently say homosexual relations should be legal. In March of this year, a PewResearch poll showed that 70% of “Millennials” – those born since 1980 (ages 18-32) – in favor of same-sex marriage.
2) no moral revolution can succeed without shaping and changing the minds of young people and children and the culture has been wildly successful in accomplishing that
3. in response, our churches must teach the basics of biblical morality to Christians who will otherwise never know that the Scriptures prescribe a model for sexual relationships
a. young people must be told the truth about homosexuality and taught to esteem marriage as God’s intention for human sexuality
b. we must talk about what the Scriptures teach about gender—what it means to be a man and a woman
c. we must talk about God’s gift of sex and the covenant of marriage
d. and we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight
1. the tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with same-sex attraction or even involved in homosexual acts
2. liberal churches have redefined compassion to mean that the church changes its message to meet modern demands
a. they argue that to tell a homosexual he is a sinner is uncompassionate and intolerant
b. this is like arguing that a physician is intolerant because he tells a patient she has cancer
c. to hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception
3. the Gospel is for sinners—for homosexual sinners just as much for heterosexual sinners
a. as Paul explained to the Corinthian church, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
b. if we are really a Gospel people; if we really love homosexuals as other sinners; then we must get beyond the “yuck factor” and reach out to them with a sincerity that makes that love tangible
c. that means looking the LGBT person in the face and saying, “We want you to know the fullness of God’s plan for you, to know the forgiveness of sins and the mercy of God, to receive the salvation that comes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to know the healing God works in sinners saved by grace, and to join us as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, living out our obedience and growing in grace together.”
Con. We sin if we call homosexuality something other than sin. We also sin if we act as if this sin cannot repented of and forgiven. We cannot settle for truth without love nor love without truth.