August 31, 2014
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message today is God’s Standard for Sexuality. God’s Standard for Sexuality
Shortly after I came to Brainerd Baptist Church, I met a man who had just started coming to our church. He had a welcoming spirit and we became friends right away. We started talking after the services. And one day I asked him, What do you do for a living? And he said, I am actually a producer. I produce events in town. I plan events. Not on the scale of Riverbend, but like that. And he said, that is what I do. I said, that is a cool profession. And I asked him, I said, “Are you in a life group? That would be the next step of your spiritual growth.” And he said, “No, I am not in a life group now.” And I encouraged him to do so. And he did that. He was involved in one of our Life Groups for a season of time.
And then finally, he stopped me one day and he said, “Robby, can I meet with you after church or during the week to talk to you about a particular issue in my life that I am dealing with?” And I said, “Sure.” And so we planned a time. He came into my office and after small talk, he asked me a question. And the question he asked me caught me totally off guard. He said this to me. He said, “Robby, I really believe I am a Christian.” He said, “I was saved since I was a young child.” He said, “My parents raised me in church.” He said, “I love Jesus, but I also have a love for men.” He said, “What am I to do with this desire I have for men?”
You talk about catching you off guard at first, right? I mean, there was just dead silence in my office. And I responded to him. And what I am about to share with you and I will save that for a few moments, I think before I tell you how I responded and why I responded, I need to give you an historical and a Biblical perspective of how I got to that place so that you will arrive at the same place.
Homosexuality or the homosexual activity is an issue that is in our culture. It is a lightening rod, if you will. A lot of people are talking about this issue. And what I want to do is I want to give you a Biblical perspective of how to navigate some of these waters.
One of the things I was caught off guard by this man, even in my office back then, was the bravery of this individual to come to me as a Pastor and seek Godly wisdom. I was just blown away that he had come to me. And he said, “Hey, I want to know what God thinks about this particular issue.”
And so it is a difficult issue because it affects all of us. It is a hot topic for Christians and non-Christians alike. All of us know either someone who is openly gay or someone who is openly homosexual, someone in our family or someone at work or a co-worker or a neighbor in our neighborhood. It affects all of us. And I want to tell you as we begin, it is important for us to realize that we are dealing with people here. If you are here with us today and you are in a homosexual lifestyle, or you have thought about it or you just got out of it, let me just say, we welcome you here at Brainerd Baptist Church. You are welcome here any time. In fact, we are glad you are here because we want you to hear what God has to say. And that is one of the reasons I think you are here is you want to hear what God has to say.
For those who are not struggling with that desire, or the temptation for that issue in their life, let me just say, we have to remember that we are dealing with people. We are not dealing with gays, we are not dealing with homosexuals, we are dealing with men and women who have a desire to engage in that activity. It is important for us as a church to separate the participation of an act and the person. This is profound if you get this. It is important for us to differentiate between the offense and the offender. We are dealing with people here. And whenever you are dealing with people, it is a touchy subject.
And so I just want to tell you as the Pastor at Brainerd Baptist, I want to navigate these waters with you with humility and sensitivity.
If you have your Bibles, and I hope you do, we are going to look at a number of different scriptures. You can turn to Genesis Chapter 9. We will get there in a few moments. But I want to take you through an historical perspective of what homosexuality was like through the ages.
Now, before you jump to conclusions, here is my disclaimer for you. Just look at me for a moment. Do not jump to conclusions until you hear my entire message. And at the end of the message, you stick with me to the end, I think you will hear where I am coming from.
Let’s pray as we begin this morning. Father, we thank You for Your Word. It is the Word that has the final authority upon our life and so we bend our will and our spirit, our desire to Your Word. We love You and we ask it in Jesus’ name. And everyone said, Amen.
As we study through history and we study through the Bible, you realize early on that homosexuality or homosexual acts is contrary to God’s design. It is contrary to God’s design, or particularly God’s nature, who He is.
Let me give you an historical testament of what happened through the ages. It was an NBC News study that was done recently that said that 2% of Americans engage in homosexual activity. Now, we would think it is more than that, but they have polled a recent poll that it is really only 2% of the population. Well, this was not so in the Roman world. It was definitely not so in the Greek world.
In order to understand the influence of homosexuality, I think we have to go all the way back to the Garden in Genesis because I think it is the result of the fall. You see, it is the same question that the serpent put into the mind of Eve when he asked her this question. Now watch this. It is the same question you and I have probably questioned of God in our own life. Has God really said? That is the question. Remember, Eve was pondering, has God really said don’t mess with the tree. It is the same question I think we have pondered in our life at one time or another. It is a question that Satan himself has perpetrated and distorted of the Scriptures.
I believe the way we respond to that question really comes down to two things and two categories. And it is always the same two categories for every one of these topics, right? Are we going to follow God’s Word and what God says and align our life and our will and our desire to that or are we going to bend to the will of the culture and the opinions of man?
You see, through history homosexuality or the act of homosexuality ran rampant. It was always allowed in the community, but some cultures promoted homosexuality.
Let’s take the Greeks for example. If you studied Greek culture, you realize that Alexander the Great was fond of young boys. In fact, the Greek Olympic Games were run naked. Now, a lot of people including me as Pastor, we have used that as a sermon illustration that they ran naked because they wanted to remove the outer garment in order to run faster. Let’s be honest, how much does a shirt weigh? I mean, lets just be honest. It was more than that.
You have to understand for the Greek Hellenistic mind, the human body was the epicenter of creation. It was the highest form of worship. Why in the world would we cover the body when we can look at it? God created the body for us. And so it was this Hellenistic mentality that permeated the culture back then.
Rome was no different. Julius Caesar was called by many people, every woman’s man and every man’s woman. The Emperor Trajean who was the Emperor of Rome, had a love of young boys so much that he created vases and sculptors of some of the men that he was in love with and he displayed them in his home. Tasian, the Christian martyr in the Third Century of Rome said, Pederasty which is the term that I have come across in my study, which is an immoral sexual act the way God never intended. Pederasty was condemned by the Barbarians but by the Romans, they endeavored to collect herds of boys like grazing horses. It was honored in Roman culture with certain privileges.
Nero, that crazed Emperor of Rome during the time of Peter and Paul’s execution, it was said that he had a skill that was uncommon to others in seducing young boys unto himself.
I know what I am saying to you is difficult for you to hear. I know it is going to be hard to swallow some of these statistics and some of this historicity this morning, but the important thing is, I want you to understand the depths of depravity that have permeated our past.
If you study a man by the name of Edward Gibbon, I believe he is the leading historian on Roman culture. It is a great book. I commend it to you. It is called The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, for you history buffs. He wrote in there of the first 15 emperors of the Roman culture, the first 15 Emperors of Rome, only one, Claudius, had a correct view of love for women. Only one of 15, engaged in a correct view of a man and a woman being together.
Southeast Asia is not exempt from homosexuality. During the final B.C. Centuries and even the first few centuries after Christ, male homosexuality was considered to be in vogue. Six hundred years later, Mateo Ricky visited Peking in the 7th Century and he said, I quote, “Male homosexuality was practiced openly without anyone in the community saying a word about it.”
Islam is not exempt from homosexual acts as well. Much of it was taking place during that time. A Northern Morocco Muslim man said this about studying the Koran. He said, “A boy cannot learn the Koran well unless a Scribe commits pederasty with him.”
Missionaries that came to America, pre-colonial America, realized that homosexuality was running rampant in the New World. In fact, the Iroquois Indians had many people in their community that were transvestites. If you go down to South America during that time, the Mayan Indians engaged in homosexual acts.
If you go to the Aztecs, they weren’t excused as well. Aztec Indians practiced sodomy with young boys as young as six years old. In fact, in that culture, they had the false god of homosexuality.
You know, people say all the time, well, Pastor, this is the worst we have ever been in this world. No, it is not. You can never say that where we are today is the worst it has ever been. You can say that about America, but we can never say that about the world because we don’t know, we haven’t even scratched the surface in America of the depths of depravity that have plagues our culture through the centuries. We are just getting started with the acceptance and the allowance of sin.
Here is a good…I didn’t say this before but I will say this now, here is a good saying that has kind of permeated our culture. You can write it down. I have never forgotten it. What one generation allows, the next generation accepts and the next generation promotes. You take that with anything. What one generation allows, the next generation accepts and the next generation promotes. With homosexuality, we are in the promotion stage.
Most, if not all, archaic civilizations allowed and promoted homosexuality but one. There is only one civilization in all of human history that prohibited homosexuality. Do you know who it was? It is the Jewish people.
I was doing some research and I came across a recent book by a Harvard professor entitled “From Shame to Sin” which is a pretty interesting title. The author argues that while the behavior was shameful for some pagan nations, Christianity was the first to declare it a sin before a Holy God.
You see, homosexuality, the act of homosexuality was an abomination and is an abomination to God. God always declared it to be wrong. Now, because they believed that, the Jews and because early Christians promoted that, the world believed that they were wrong. You see, the world started saying, well, you guys are wrong because you are close-minded and you are bigoted. Don’t you realize, the whole world is doing it. Why would you condemn it?
Boy, does that sound familiar? The whole world is doing it. Why are you guys being so close-minded? Some people even think the Jews manufactured the word “homosexuality,” or “homosexual.” So as we study through Scripture, we realize that God never minimized sexual activity. Some people probably say, well, God minimized sexual activity. He never minimized sexual activity, He magnified sexual activity in the right context.
You see, what God did in the Bible is, He elevated the status of a woman. Aren’t you glad for that? God elevated her. She is a co-equal to man. She is a help mate, co-equal. She is a partner.
The second thing God did is He elevated the marriage covenant. He said that this marriage covenant is holy, respect the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. And He elevated sexuality, sex within the marriage between a man and a woman in the right context.
But here is a question, does God ever prohibit, condemn homosexuality in the Old Testament. And the answer is yes. There are a couple of passages I want to bring to light, but I want to start with one that you may not be familiar with and that is Genesis Chapter 9. So if you are at Genesis Chapter 9, say “word.” The rabbis…now normally when someone talks about homosexual activity, people always go to Genesis 19, Sodom and Gomorrah, and we will get there in a second. But one of the things I want you to see is that the Rabbis, the Jewish Rabbis believed that the first homosexual act was committed in Genesis Chapter 9.
Now, you know the story. Moses was commanded by … Moses… that is a different story….Noah was commanded by God to build this ark. How many people made it through the flood? How many human beings made it through the flood after 40 days of rain, 40 nights of rain. How many people made it out alive? Eight. How many people were killed? Everyone else. If you don’t believe in election, friends, don’t read the story of Noah. God elects. He chooses eight, and the rest. Kandi and I were talking about this going home, just the enormity of sin and separation from God. And I said, “Kandi, can you imagine what it was like to hear the knocking and the rapping of people in the water, Let me in! Can you imagine what that was like?” That is a whole other sermon, but you get the point.
Eight people make it through alive. They land this ark, they get out of the ark. Noah says, lets celebrate. We are going to plant a vineyard, we are going to pick grapes and we are going to get drunk. That is what he says. Look at the text, Verse 20.
“Noah began to be a man of the soil and he planted a vineyard.” You can’t tell me that drunkenness is not one of the factors for opening up your body for sexual immorality. And I don’t want to preach on that now because I will in a couple of weeks, but notice what happened. And I will submit to you that maybe the first homosexual act could have been avoided if they would have never gotten drunk. But that is a whole other sermon. I will save that. But watch this. “He drank of the wine and he became drunk. And he lay uncovered in his tent and Ham, the father of Canaan, saw (here is the key) saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside.”
Now in English it just seems like he walked in and saw something that he shouldn’t have seen. But that is not what is taking place here. If you study that word, that phrase, “saw the nakedness of,” it is Hebraic euphonism for sexual intercourse. Now I know what you are saying, it seems like a big exegetical leap this morning, Pastor. Well, let me prove it to you in another context. So hold your place here and let’s go to Leviticus 18. Let me show it to you there. That phrase, “nakedness of” is a Hebrew idiom that God uses in Leviticus 18:6 and following. Now the ESV captures and preserves the context of the word. The Holman, if you are reading out of the Holman, just flat out translates what it is and what is happening there. When you are at 18:6 say “word.”
“None of you,” and this is a list of the detestable sins. “None of you shall approach any of his close relatives to do what? Uncover nakedness; I am the Lord. You should not uncover the nakedness of your father, or the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother, you should not uncover her nakedness. You should not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister,…” you get the point.
So what many scholars believe is that the sin of Ham is sexual intercourse with his father which is not only incest but homosexuality. Now we know that is the case because look what happens after Noah sobers up. Look at Verse 24. “When Noah awoke from his wine (he sobered up) and knew what his youngest son had done to him.” Now watch how he responds. Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall be to his brothers, or shall he be to his brothers.”
Canaan or the Canaanites were the descendants of Ham. Now here is a pop quiz. Where did the descendants of Ham, the Canaanites settle? The brother scattered. They took over the world now. They just settled in different places. Where did the Canaanites settle? Go to the next book, the next chapter, Genesis 10 and go to Verse 19 and God tells us. The Canaanite border went from Sidon going toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and going toward (here it is..what does it say?) Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.” Sodom and Gomorrah were one of the two cities that the Canaanites inhabited and it is cursed because of the sin of Ham. Is it any wonder that when Lot settles there, this perpetual sin of perversion is still going on among the people. It is the same sin that was started in Genesis 9 and it has blown open, right? What one generation allows, the next generation accepts and the next generation promotes.
So lets go to Genesis 19. This is the passage many are familiar with. Two angels visit Lot. What is interesting about Lot…I didn’t say this last night…but I will say this to you guys. What is interesting is Abraham and Lot are deciding on where to go. And Abraham, the elder, has first choice but he defers it to his nephew, Lot. So Lot says, Okay, I am going to go to the land that looks like it is flowing with milk and honey. On the surface, Sodom and Gomorrah was the city that never slept. It was like Las Vegas. Okay, the city that never slept. Abraham looks at this barren nation and nothing but desert and nothing but sand, and he takes it by faith. And just a side note as a walking point, what looked on the surface as prosperous was the very place that would be the fall of Lot in sinfulness. Abraham walks by faith to a place that is unknown and God blesses him there. By faith and one by sight. That is a whole other issue.
The two angels come to Lot’s house, Verse 4. Before they went to bed, the men of the city of Sodom, here it is, “both young and old.” So who comes to the house? Older men and younger boys. “The whole population of them surrounded the house. They called out to Lot and said, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them!’”
Now if you want to know about the sin that permeated the city of Sodom, look at the word. That word “Sodom” is where we get the English word “sodomy,” inappropriate sexual activity, normally with a man and boy, or with men and men. And so the whole culture was permeated because of this sin. Now what liberal scholars will say, if you do a quick search on the internet, they will say, well, this has nothing to do with sexual intercourse. This has to do with social intercourse. These men weren’t coming to have sex with these men, they were actually coming to talk with them. And the reason Sodom got persecuted, the reason Sodom got decimated is because God was mad at the inhospitality of Lot or even the fact that they didn’t care for those outside of their house. Friends, it doesn’t take a seminary degree to realize in English what God is saying as the reason why He decimates and levels the city. The fact of the matter is, the men and boys came to the house. They wanted to have sex with the attractive men inside. And that wasn’t the only sin in Sodom, but that was the chief sin in Sodom. And because of that, God leveled the city.
Go to Leviticus 18, this is prior to the Law and God gives a clear ruling in Leviticus 18 about what He expects of the people of God. Leviticus 18 is the list of unacceptable sins. It was a conduct code by which the Jews would live by. Now I just want to submit to you here before you say, well, this is Old Testament Law. This doesn’t apply to me. Friends, this is as applicable to you today as it was back then. This is the moral code that Jesus and the apostles would have lived by. They would have followed this and lived by this.
And I want to show you, God gives us an interesting motivation for living by this moral code. Look at Verse 3. “Do not follow the practices of the land of Egypt, where you used to live, or follow the practices of the land of Canaan (America) where I am bringing you.” This is what He is saying. You used to live in a land that was filled with a pagan culture, with immoral lifestyles all over, running rampant. And I am about to bring you into a land that is filled with paganism. You could say this is your life before Christ and this is where Christ has you now. What he is saying is, don’t be swayed by your culture.
Let me give you some guardrails, let me give you some parameters by which you should live. Notice Verse 4. “You are to practice My ordinances and you are to keep My statutes by following them; I am Yahweh your God. Keep My statutes and ordinances; (why God?) because a person will live if he does this.” What God is saying is, it doesn’t matter if you are an Israelite or an American, it doesn’t matter if you are First Century Christian or a 21st Century Christian, this is a life or death issue here. This is not a trivial matter. What He is saying is, if you abstain from these things, you will have life. If you engage in these things, you will experience death, not maybe physical death here, but death on earth. You will be spiritually dead.
And then he gives this list of detestable sins. He says, Don’t sleep with animals. Secondly, don’t sleep with your mother. Thirdly, don’t sleep with your father’s new wife. Fourthly, don’t sleep with your sister. And then finally, Verse 22, do not sleep with someone of the same sex. “You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable.” That word “detestable” is the word “abomination.” It is an abomination to God. “The land has become defiled, so I am punishing it for its sin, and the land will vomit out its inhabitants.” Can you feel the magnitude of what God just said? God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land upon which they live, that the land itself has gotten so sick, it will vomit the sin from it. Notice how He finishes. “You are to keep My statutes and My ordinances. You must not commit any of these detestable things -- not the native or the foreigner who lives among you.”
So what happens to people who engage in this sexual activity, this sexual immoral activity. Go to Leviticus 20. God gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins, two chapters later. Look at Verse 13. “If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death; and their blood is on their own hands.” It is very sobering to hear this this morning because this is a capital offense to God. This is not a trivial matter. It doesn’t take a degree to realize God’s stance in the Old Testament on homosexual activity. But here is the better question. Does the New Testament talk about homosexual activity? And the answer is yes.
If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Romans 1. I am going to give you the New Testament. I talked about an historical testament. I talked about an Old Testament. Let me give you the New Testament. Now a lot of people…you will say, well, Robby, we are passing the gospels. Didn’t Jesus talk about homosexuality? A lot of people use this as an argument. And they will say, well, Jesus never talked about homosexuality and you are right. He didn’t. And there is a reason I believe that Jesus never had to talk about homosexuality. The first one is this: the Jews were prohibited from engaging in homosexuality. It was condemned. He didn’t have to talk about it. He didn’t have to. They knew better.
But the second reason and I think the more important reason is this, just because Jesus remained silent on a particular issue doesn’t give you the liberty to engage in it. Jesus did not talk about every issue in the New Testament. For example, He didn’t talk about incest, but you and I both know, sleeping with your Mom or Father sleeping with his son, no matter how much he loves him, is just wrong on every account and it doesn’t take the Bible to tell you that. And so just because Jesus is silent doesn’t give us a license to engage in it.
But Paul in Romans 1 gives us a beautiful picture of the culture of the time. And what Paul does in Romans 1, he is saying, this is what I am seeing as I am looking at the Roman world. And what he is saying is, I am upholding what God said in the Old Testament in Leviticus 18:20 and what I am saying is this is what we should do in the New Testament. What he is saying is the sin of homosexuality was running rampant.
Look at Verse 18, “For the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth with their wickedness, for what has been made known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them.” He said you don’t even need the Word to understand who God is. And God’s wrath is being poured out on the people who turned from Him. Keep going. Look at Verse 24, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their heart for sexual immorality, for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped created things rather than the Creator, who is forever to be praised.”
What Paul is saying is this, these individuals who engage in these activities of sin…now this is not a one time falling into sin, this is an engagement, this is the sum total of one’s life. These individuals have heard the Word of God, they know the truth of Scripture and they have willfully and woefully denied it. They are saying, listen, we know what the Word of God says and we don’t want to listen to what God says and so we are going to do it our way. And it comes down to the same two questions, are we, as believers, going to bend our will, our desires, our opinions to God’s Word or are we going to bend to the culture of our day?
Now notice what Paul says when he finishes. Go down to Verse 26, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women (the language here is extreme), even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, the men abandoned the natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the truth of God, (here is the key) God gave them over to the sinful desires of their heart to the degrading of their bodies to do what ought not to be done.”
You see, what Paul is saying is this, Paul is saying that even the women…when he is saying this, he is saying this is reprehensible, we get men, but even the women were engaging in lesbian activity, it is extreme for Paul. It is like, I cannot believe we have gotten to the depths of depravity here. And he said, even the men do it as well. And when the men do it, they are judged for it.
Now here is an amazing insight I learned this week. Because what we tell people is, if you are engaged in homosexual activity, then God is going to punish you. Be careful. No, no, no. Listen, don’t miss this. When you engage in homosexual activity, the punishment is that God allows you to remain in the perversion. That is the punishment. It is profound. Think about it. God is saying the fact that you have willfully and woefully denied Me, I am going to let you remain in this activity and I am going to turn you over to a depraved mine to do what ought not to be done. And I don’t know about you, but aren’t you glad of the grace of God on your life that He doesn’t turn you over to your own devices? The mercy of God that He pulls back from you what you deserve? Paul says, even the women engaged in this sexual immoral activity.
Turn to I Corinthians 6:9. It is the other verse in the New Testament. I could preach on a couple of them, but let me just pick two. Because I think this one offers a word of encouragement at the end. I Corinthians 6:9. Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth. You have to understand that the church of Corinth was church going wild. It was the church going wild. The sexual perversion in Corinth had gotten so bad that they labeled the word after it. They called it to be Corinthianized and to be Corinthianized was to be a sexual pervert. The people wore that label, to be in Corinth. And so many people either came out of this lifestyle or was still battling with the tendencies of this lifestyle. That is the back story.
Notice what Paul says. “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral person, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, (the key word there is practicing), no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” And what he is saying here is, if you engage in this activity, this wasn’t a one-time lapse of your life, this was the total of your life. That word “practicing” there is an active voice word. It is an active tense word. That means it is something is done continuously. And it shows us once again that we have to, church, get this, we have to separate the perpetrator from the participation. We have to separate the person from the act. We have to separate the conduct from the character. We have to separate the offender from the offense. Do you see the difference? Your identity is not that you are gay or you are a homosexual, your identity is in Christ, which we will get to. And it seems like Paul is starting off on a bad foot, like, hey, if you do these things, you won’t inherit the kingdom of God.
But notice Verse 11, which is good news. Look at Verse 11. Paul says, “And some of you used to be like this.” Do you know what he is saying? He is saying some of you used to act like this, but now you have changed by the grace of God. You were washed. You have been sanctified. You have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. Aren’t you all like that? Aren’t we all like that? We can look at our past sins and say, hey, thank God, I am not who I used to be. By the grace of God and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, He washes me, He sanctifies me. And if you are currently engaged in an immoral sexual activity, listen to me, friends, there is hope for you. There is hope. And there is healing for you in Christ. And that is the beautiful thing of the gospel.
I am amazed that God doesn’t hold my past against me. Amen? And I am amazed that my past doesn’t predict my future. I am thankful for the grace of God.
So as we see in the Bible and as we see through history, homosexual acts were contrary to the nature of God. It is not who He was. It is not how He created us. But secondly, homosexual activity has consequences for disobedience. There are certain consequences for one’s actions. The sin of homosexuality is an attack on the family and the marriage. And it is subtle attack because we don’t think it is a big deal. We say well, equal rights for everyone. And I will get to that in a moment. Well, that is a fallacy but the issue here is, it is an attack on the family and it is an attack on the marriage, which is actually an attack on God.
Rabbi Slomo Riskine said this, he is a Jewish Rabbi. He said these words, I quote. “Homosexuality is the most lethal attack we have today against the family.” Let me say that again. “Homosexuality is the most lethal attack we have against the family.” And if the enemy can ruin the family, he wins. And it is not only a lethal act against the family, it is a lethal act, I would submit, against the person.
Dr. Dwight Pryor, who was a good friend, he died a couple of years ago. He went to be with the Lord. He was a personal friend of Kandi and mine, Dr. Pryor turned me on, he was a Jewish historian, he turned me on to the most comprehensive study on homosexuality. I will give it to you. You can go do the research yourself. It was done by a man named David Greenberg and the title was “A Comprehensive…or A Construction, sorry…of Homosexuality.” The Construction of Homosexuality.
Here is what he found. He found that as you look at the world as a whole right now, there are only 3% of the population engaging in homosexual activity. Now that is going to strike you as odd for some of you because the way people talk about it, we would think it is a bigger issue than it is. But it is the old adage, The Squeaky Wheel Gets the (what?) Gets the Grease. And so, the people that are involved in this 3% are really passionate about what they are involved in. And so it seems like a bigger issue than it is. He did some research and he found out that the majority of people who had contracted HIV Aids, over two-thirds, to be exact, looked in their past and engaged in some form of homosexual activity. There are consequences for one’s actions, particularly the sin of homosexuality. They probed a little further and found some startling research…I almost left it out but I put it in because I think you need to hear it. They found out that 43% and they surveyed thousands, 43% of men admitted to having in their lifetime engaged in homosexual activity, 500 different partners - 43%. 30% of men by their own admission, said that they engaged with over 1,000 sexual partners. Now to put it in perspective, they decided to poll heterosexual males, 18 years and older and they found out that heterosexual males on average had 7 partners.
You have to understand, monogamy in the homosexual community is frowned upon. Staying together is frowned upon. Nobody encourages that in the homosexual community. There were four people, two couples, two gay couples actually, homosexual couples who decided to perform a survey themselves and they polled 100 of their friends that they knew and outside of their friendship and they found out that zero percent had remained in a monogamous relationship for an extended period of time. No one. And it just gives us a picture of the brokenness and the insufficiency that that lifestyle gives. People are just unsatisfied with that lifestyle.
Now, I know what you are saying, well, Pastor Robby, if you are homosexual or you are actively engaged in homosexual activity, you may be say, well, Pastor Robby, I am with my partner. We are together. We don’t cheat on each other. It is just us together. Or you may say, I know some people who have been together for a long period of time. I want you to know, the issue with homosexual activity is not with commitment, it is with the corruption of your identity. That is the issue. It doesn’t have anything to do with commitment. It has to do with your corrupted identity. And that is the last point I want to make before we close.
Homosexual activity corrupts one’s identity in Christ. You see, the issue of homosexuality has to do with who am I? And sadly, in the homosexual community, what happens is, individuals, men and women, wear that homosexual badge as a badge of honor. It is an identifiable marker. We are homosexual. The problem is, that is not how we address people. Follow me for a moment. You don’t tell people who you are by your sexuality, you identify yourself by two things: your gender and your race. You say, I am a white male. You don’t go and say, hey, my name is Mike and I am a heterosexual. You don’t do that. Why? Because you can’t change your gender. You can’t change your race.
Here is the problem with the argument that you close-minded Christians, one day you are going to come full circle and you are going to realize that you are being judgmental, just like racism was 50 years ago and we finally realized that now racism was an issue for Christians and now you guys have repented and come full circle, and you are going to realize that you are as foolish as we were with the movement of racism. Friends, it is not the same. And here is why. A black man can’t change his race. A white man can’t change his race. A homosexual can stop engaging in homosexual acts. You see, sexuality is a choice. Gender and race are not. It is not the same issue here.
So what happens is, you take on this identifiable mark of who you are and you start explaining to people, I am a homosexual. You are not a homosexual. Listen to me. You are not gay. You are not a lesbian. You are a child of God. You were created in the image of God. And if you are a new believer in Christ, He has given you a new identity. Your identity is in Him. Don’t miss this. You don’t label your identity by your biology, you label yourself through the Bible. It is the Bible that tells us who we are in Christ. Not our biology.
You see, it is the Word who informs who we are. God only sees two categories. God has one race, the chosen race or the human race…sorry. God has one race, the human race. He has two categories, saved and unsaved. Believers and unbelievers. That is all God sees. And so we should identify ourselves by that identifiable mark.
So Robby, what did you tell the guy in your office? What did you tell the guy who came in and said, Robby, I am a Christian. I have been following Jesus for years, but I love men. I have a desire for men. There was a bit of silence for a season of time. And I said to him, I said, “Brother, here is the deal. I am not discounting the fact that you have desires for men. I am not going to sit here and say that is not a real desire. It is a real desire. It is the same desire I have for my wife. It is the same desire that men have with a wandering eye to cheat on their wife. It is a desire. It is the same desire heterosexual males have for other women. It is a desire. It is the same desire I had to get high and score dope years ago. It is a desire there. But as a believer, God has given you the ability to choose how you will act upon your desires. He has freed you in the Spirit from your sin and you don’t have to give in to the desire. I said, as a Christian, you have a choice. Am I going to come under the Lordship of Christ and live for Him or am I going to give in to my sinful self and indulge in sin? He said, well, Robby, what do I do? He said, I have tried to be with women. I don’t have a desire for women. What do I do? You tell me, what do I do?
And I looked back at him and I said, Brother, first of all, I can’t imagine the torment internally and I can’t imagine the daily dying to self that you have to do. I can’t imagine that. But one thing I do know is this, that if you love Jesus and it sounds like you do, then your love for Jesus has to supersede any love for any person on this planet, including men. And I don’t know why God has chosen you to take the high road, but for the glory of God and for the honor of God in your body, you may have to remain single for the rest of your life. And I said, the cool thing is this, God over time will heal you. He will heal your relationship with Him, He will heal your relationship with other people. He may not take the desires away forever, but He will heal you.
You see, one of the challenges and I just want to get on a soapbox for just a moment, one of the challenges I have with Pastors behind this pulpit preaching to people about the issue of homosexuality is this, that you and I have seen way too many pastors who are overweight, railing on people about homosexual activity. We have seen way too many ministers stand behind the sacred desk and talk to people about adulterous activity and yet they have a wandering eye over their wife and they have pornography in their past and even currently looking at pornography and yet they are going to stand here and condemn the people of God. Friends, why is it that we turn a blind eye to gluttony, which is a sin. Why do we turn a blind eye to greed and selfishness and immorality. Why is it that we turn a blind eye to our own sin, and yet we elevate sins like homosexuality or adultery above others?
So what do I do, Robby? What do I do if someone in my life who comes to me and says, hey, I have these desires for men or women, and what do I do? You respond to them the way you would with any sin. Repent and turn to God. God can heal you if you turn to Him and run to Him. You have to understand, the sin of homosexuality violates God’s plan. I get that. You know that now from the Scripture, but it is not the worst sin in the Bible and it is not the only sin in the Bible. If not for the grace of God, where would you be? So what do I do, Robby, if my son or daughter comes to me and says, I am gay? What do you do in that situation? Parents, listen to me, future parents, listen to me. You love them! That is your son, that is your daughter. Why wouldn’t you love them? You love them as Christ would love them, but you don’t make a concession for their sin. It is the same way you treat your 16 year old boy who comes home from school and says, Mom, this is my new girlfriend. We will be in the room tonight on Friday night. We will have the door locked. We will see you in the morning. Do you do that, parents? You don’t do that? You have a daughter who is an alcoholic, you don’t let her come in the house with a six-pack of beer every Friday night and say, hey, this helps me unwind. Even if it does help her to mellow out, you don’t let that take place in your home. You don’t make a concession for sin. You don’t cater to sin. You speak the truth in love, but you always couch it in love. And I think we need more love in the Christian church, Amen?
I got a gift from God this week as I was preparing this message. If you can imagine, you hear it for 35 minutes, I have to wade through it for 20 hours, to wade through it. I mean, I had to stop typing and take a walk. I had to go upstairs, I was in the basement. And I said, Kandi, this is just heavy stuff. When I am studying this, I am just mindful of my own depravity. I am mindful of my own sin. And if not for the grace of God, where would I be today, right? And so I am working through the message and I get this email sent to me. Wednesday morning. It is an anonymous email from someone apparently who has been attending Brainerd Baptist. I tried to contact the people back. The person who wrote it apparently the email address is not right, to read this letter, so I am going to keep it anonymous, but I think it is going to be important for you and it is going to encourage some of you if you are living or currently thinking about this lifestyle.
Here is what the letter said. I don’t know if it is a man or a woman, but here is what the letter said. Pastor Robby, I wanted to let you know how much your prayers as a church have changed my life. In the fall of 2012, I left a prayer request on the floor in between the pews. My prayer was that God would release me from the homosexual relationship that I had been in for the past six years. And all throughout the relationship, I knew that God was calling me to Himself and away from my sin. I remember attending one of your sermons you gave about repentance and how it does not involve just saying I am sorry to the Lord, but it also involves not going back to the sin again. I was convicted and I wanted out of my relationship. However, I found that it became more difficult to end it due to the threats on my life and my family’s life. The entire time I was in the relationship, I will tell you that I knew it was wrong. But I kept trying to bury my desires by buying material things and getting drunk to avoid the blatant truth that I was living in disobedience to the Almighty God. After prayers from the church and many prayers from my family, through the strength of God, I was able to leave that relationship. I am reminded of everyone that is still living in homosexuality when we get together with our old friends. As I looked around the room recently and everyone in the circle of friends, I saw a group of people who were broken, people who were scarred, hurt and lost. It is so incredibly sad to me even to this day. And so I am asking that we continue to pray for those caught up in this lifestyle. Pray that God will open their eyes, that they would have the courage to do what is right. I still struggle with the consequences of my sin, but I know that God has not given up on me and has an incredible plan for my life. I believe Brainerd Baptist has played a huge part in getting me to where I am today in my walk with the Lord. Thank you and praise God.
So Robby, what do we do as a church? How do we respond as Christians? Christians, let me just share with you that when we are dealing with people as we are, lets remove the sarcastic vocabulary that we have. Lets get rid of the intolerant attitudes we have. Lets change the words we use. Stop bashing gays. Stop telling jokes about gay people. Remove the word “queer” or “fag” from your vocabulary. That doesn’t need to exist. I think we need more repentance in the body of Christ and less rhetoric because we can get cute in the church time to time and if it is not for the grace of God, listen to me, the sin of homosexuality may be wrong, but your sin is just as bad. Your sin is just as bad. My sin is just as bad. Shouldn’t the church be a safe place for people to come to? You see, the church is the hospital for the saints, it is not a cruise ship for the Christians. The problem is, if we are not careful, it becomes a cruise ship, right? Because what happens is, someone comes hurting and they are helpless and they say, hey, I am struggling with homosexuality, and immediately in some churches, we label that person as an outcast and they never come back again. We should be welcoming as a church. And I just want to say for the record, if you are struggling with homosexuality or in that lifestyle, we welcome you here. I am glad you are here. We want you to be here because I want you to hear what God says, not what I have to say. You could care less what I have to say. You need to hear what God has to say. And let us be more loving to people. Lets be more compassionate to people. And let us be more mindful of our own sin.
So what do you do, Pastor, if you are in this lifestyle? What do I do if I am in this lifestyle right now? You run to Jesus Christ, ruthlessly asking Him to eliminate sin from your life and you ask Him for healing. You ask Him for wholeness. You ask Him for, as the Jews say, Shalom, peace in your life. And aren’t you glad that God doesn’t hold your past against you? Aren’t you glad that God takes you right where you are and He says, your past is not going to predict your future. Come to Me all who are weary and are heavy laden and I will give you rest for your soul. There are some people in here who need rest for their souls today. Would you run to God? And maybe you are not dealing with the sin of homosexuality, but we are all dealing with sin and we all could use restoration from God, we all could use renewal from God.