John 13:34 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.
Today, as I write this, the United Supreme Court has made two rulings that affect the rules of marriage in America. The first is that married same-sex couples are now entitled to federal benefits. The second is that they declined to decide on a case from California that effectively now allows same-sex marriages there.
Both of these rulings are historically significant because the first allows currently married couples to have the same benefit as heterosexual married couples while the second allows for Californians to engage in same-sex marriage. This means that 30% of America lives in an area that allows same-sex marriage.
Now, let me stop right here. I want you to know my stance on same-sex marriage and homosexuality as a whole, but, even if I really tick off my homosexual friends by my views, I want you to read to the end, because this blog post is less an argument against homosexuality and more a teaching experience for Christians.
Leviticus 18:22 – Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable act.
I believe the Biblical viewpoint that homosexuality is a sin. Our bodies belong to God, not us. Just as the potter makes His clay pots and determines what they should become, God has created us for a singular purpose, worship. Our bodies are part of that worship. We should be following what He desires for our bodies and our lives.
But we are human.
All of humanity fell when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge. At that point, humanity…ALL OF HUMANITY…decided from that point forward to follow our own choices rather than the simplicity of worshiping God.
So we as humans became “tolerant” of wrong. That “tolerance” led to intolerance of absolute morality. What is sad, is that those who are “tolerant” are just intolerant to other groups such as Christians who believe in absolute morality.
Now, Christian, I want you to understand this. Christianity is to be tolerant of people but intolerant of sin. But, you may ask, how can they go hand in hand?
Let’s look first at how Jesus interacted with the woman at the well in John 4 and then come up with some great applications that we can practice to show people that we believe homosexuality is a sin and sin is a bad thing BUT that Jesus is the answer to all sin.
Finally, I will come up with some practical applications for those gripped by homosexual sin so that they can live a life that honors God.
The Story of the Woman at the Well
I’ll paraphrase this story for you as I am sure you don’t want me re-printing entire chapters of the Bible in here. Basically, Jesus we to a town in Samaria called Sychar. He got tired and sat down by a well as a woman approached. Jesus, who was alone, asked the woman for a drink of water. Culturally, Samaritans and Jews did not like each other that much. They had some differing beliefs and culturally kept apart. It was at that time Jesus explained who He was to the woman and He explained that while she had water to prevent thirst, He could offer her living water, that which heals the soul. He then explained to her some of her past, about having had 5 husbands and that she was living in sin with a man who is not her husband. At that time, she called Him a prophet and while He did not deny His prophetic act, He turned the conversation around to God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. From there, the woman went and told other Samaritans that Jesus is the Messiah and they came out and believed.
That was a very quick paraphrase of the Bible story. But I want to get a couple of points across of what Jesus did and turn it into a practical application for us as Christians today.
1) Jesus approached the woman by breaking the ice with her. He simply asked her for a drink. He already knew her past. He could have judged her and condemned her to hell, but He simply spoke to her as a friend.
We as Christians have the power in our words to either turn people on to Christ or turn them off. If we take a hardcore stance to only make sure that the absolute moral view is heard, then you have made the scenario already about the view, not God and not loving the other person. If we simply blast away our viewpoint to the other person (regardless of whether we are right or wrong) then the person will immediately turn off to listening to us.
2) Once Jesus had made sure she was listening to Him, He explained that He had an amazing gift for her, living water.
The gift of Christ to someone who is living in sin is a beautiful gift. He exemplified the life that He was offering her. Once we have made contact with people, Christian, we are to simply show them Jesus and what He has to offer. If we live a life of true love and show it in our daily walk, then simply asking someone if they want to have that same joy, that same peace about life, is natural. This is not beating them over the head with “you must convert.” It is simply saying to the person, “How would you like to hear my testimony of how I came to be here.”
3) Jesus was brutally honest with her. He knew her circumstance.
He knew how she lived. He knew the sin in her life. Jesus asked her to explain her own circumstance and He listened for her to tell the truth. Once He realized that, He knew she was someone whose heart was ready for the Truth. This is the part where most Christians get it wrong. We immediately get into an apologetic debate when we simply need to understand where the person is coming from. After we understand that, then we can have a heartfelt conversation with them about God the Father and turn the conversation to God. So, for example, if the person is gay, we don’t launch in with Leviticus or 1 Kings from the Bible. We ask them for more details so we can understand where they are coming from. Jesus is able to see everything about us at all times. We don’t all have that ability. So opening a quiet, straightforward discussion with the person about who they are is imperative. Then we can share a little about where we are and why.
4) Jesus turned the conversation back to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
He did not tell her to turn away from her ways. That will come in time. He simply introduced her to God and to the Holy Spirit. And that is all we need to do, we are not out to turn people away from being gay, we are out to turn people toward Christ. It is not about us healing a person’s soul, it is about God healing the person’s soul. Externally we can do nothing to change who a person is but internally God can change who a person is.
So to break it down:
1) Break the ice
2) Explain your testimony and the gift of Christ
3) Be brutally honest about both where you were and where they are
4) Turn the conversation to the Trinity. Let the Holy Spirit do the work of changing the person’s soul
A.W. Tozer puts it best when he said in his book, The Crucified Life, as he explained the impact of Acts 2:41. Peter had just finished preaching simply the Good News of Christ risen and afterward the people asked “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) and Peter told them to repent and believe and be baptized and on that day over 3,000 came to know Christ. Tozer puts it this way, “Facts and reason cannot have such an effect. I could argue with a man, I could reason with him, I could preach to him, and if I were capable of doing so with the oratory of Cicero or Demosthenes, when it was all over I could only convince his mind.”
OUR CONSCIENCE IS AWAKENED BY THE PRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST HAVING COME OUT OF THE GRAVE!
Now, if you are reading this and a consumed with homosexual sin and realize it is time for a change, then I want to come up with some practical applications to get your life off sin and get it turned toward God.
1) Call out to Christ and ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.
John 3:16-18 –Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish…[and whosoever] believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
This life that we live here is flawed. But we can rise to Christian perfection. Not many push through to Christian perfection, but we can live a life that encompasses that. The old Chinese proverb says that the journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. That first step is to call out to God. Ask Christ into your heart. When you ask Christ to be your Savior, He begins to change you from the inside out.
2) Get baptized.
Once your take that single step of asking Christ into your heart, the next logical step is to get baptized. This is the physical symbol of that which the Holy Spirit has already done inside of you. Baptism is symbolic of the washing away of the old man. You go under the water, sinful and go under the water and rise up out of it washed of sin and alive again. The close symbolism to Christ’s experience in crucifixion and resurrection is striking. He got nailed to the cross bearing the sin of all humanity, went into the grave and rose up out of, blameless as before and holding the power to take away our sin.
I know this seems like Fred is speaking in very simplistic form, but once Christ has come into your heart you are no longer owned by yourself. You now wholly belong to God. Once you give God TRUE control over your life, He will change it from the inside out. If you were trapped in homosexual sin before, now you will find that homosexual thoughts and actions begin to bother your conscience. Then, as time goes by, if you continue to stay faithful to Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, you will not even desire to be around or look at anything that reminds you of your past life. Finally, if you stay faithful until the end, you will find that you will be blessed beyond measure, whether single or in a heterosexual relationship. The only thing that holds people back in this, including Christians, is the lack of desire to give complete control over to God. We all have areas in our life as humans that we like to remain in control of. But God wants complete control. When we give it to Him, He works in us to affect change and bring about joy and peace in our souls.
4) Continue on in faith.
As a Christian, you will be tempted. You will stumble. And you will have days where your happiness is gone. But your joy will continue and your heart will be filled with peace knowing that your heart is hidden in Christ.
Homosexuality is choice. It is NOT a disease, but it is part of the sin disease that permeates throughout the core of humanity. I may get in trouble with my gay friends when I say it is like a cancer that needs to be removed. But WE cannot remove it. All we can do is add something to the lives of all those around, whether straight or gay. All we can do is add our testimony of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done in our hearts and give that testimony as to why we serve Him and love Him. After that, we pray and wait on the power of the Holy Spirit. Love is what will conform this world to a crucified life. Love is what this world needs. Not love as the world thinks of love. Love that can only come from the Creator of the universe, Lord of lords, and King of kings that we are asked to emulate here on earth. It is that sacrificial love that begins with Christ. It is THAT love that the world needs. And, I believe, it is precisely THAT love that the world wants…they just don’t realize it yet.