June 29, 2015

It's Monday and time for my blog. It is good to be back in the USA and to be riding again this morning. Today I have two topics that need a lot of time and space so I may save one for next week. The topics are: the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage and our mission trip to Panama. I would rather talk about Panama but I get the feeling that you would rather hear something about the same-sex marriage controversy. So I will start there today and we may have to talk Panama next week.
I think you would have to be hiding somewhere not to know about the recent ruling by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. We were in Panama when the ruling came down and we heard about it. Facebook and the Internet in general pretty much blew up. It was everywhere and continues even today. My initial reaction was one of sadness and being disheartened. I am saddened to see so many people who have been blinded by sin. Let me start by saying that this is a sin issue. The Bible is very clear about homosexuality being a sin (Old Testament: Leviticus 18:22, 29; 20:13; Genesis 19 - see also Genesis 18 for the context and problem of unrighteousness that existed in Sodom and Gomorrah. New Testament: Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10; and see also Jude 7.) And yes, we need to be careful in condemning homosexuality but then turning a blind eye towards other sins. As I said yesterday, we are in this position because we as believers have not done a better job in sharing our faith. Hearts must be changed by God to solve the issue. The Supreme Court and our government are not basing their policies and rulings on the Word of God. God has not changed his definition of marriage no matter what man may say. It doesn't matter that the majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage. This is not a popularity contest. It doesn't even matter if I agree. When God says something it is my job to follow it.
Did you know that in a recent poll only 1.6% of Americans identified themselves as gay or lesbian and another 0.7% as bisexual? That is only 2.3% of the adult population that fit into this category. The sad part is that many others have been deluded into thinking they are showing love by showing acceptance. In the words of Jim Denison in his recent article: "'I love you' and 'I accept everything you do' are not synonymous." We do them no favors by not boldly proclaiming the word of God. But we are also called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). "Seventy percent of non-Christians ages 16 to 29 say Christians are 'insensitive to others.'" We have to engage in the conversation in a loving manner. We can't be overbearing and self-righteous and bombastic.
Another part of the equation is the excessively celebratory attitude of those in favor of same-sex marriage. It is hard to witness. It is difficult to even imagine that so many people are rejoicing in something that is clearly identified as a sin. Imagine our country passing a law that says it is now OK to take/steal whatever you want. Would there be parades? No. And you say that is ridiculous. And it is. But this is a watershed moment in many ways. What comes next? Our minds reel in imagination of how bad it could get. Most of our fears will not be realized in the near future but who would have imagined this day some 20-30 years ago? Where does it end? Legalizing Polygamy? Forcing churches to marry gay couples? And again many would say oh that's ridiculous. You've gone too far. But most of us could never imagine this . . . and yet here it is.
One more article I would recommend comes from www.desiringGod.org. I like this quote: "We speak good news, with those sweetest, deepest, most glorious words of the cross — the same words that God spoke us — 'You're wrong, and you're loved.'" Each of us is in need of a savior. Each of us, gays and straight, must turn from our sin and confess Jesus as Lord. Only then will we be transformed and be able to clearly see sin in all its shapes and forms. Jesus said, "If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn't take it seriously, I don't reject him. I didn't come to reject the world; I came to save the world. (John 12:47-48a MSG) We are called to love the unlovely.
Lastly, I would just say that we as a church will not bow to pressure if that day comes. I, as the pastor, will not stop proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. There may be consequences but we are not called to an easy life. We are called to stand firm for the sake of the Gospel. Let me encourage you today to be salt and light. Show the love of Christ to a lost and dying world. Do not be shocked when the world hates you. It hated Christ long before it hated you! But remember also to do everything in LOVE!!