Homosexuality and How The Church Community Should View It
By Henry Nelson | August 1, 2009
John 8:11“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.””Go now and leave your life of sin.”This week I want to focus on the lifestyle of homosexuality and see what the bible says about it, but also how God wants us to minister to those who practice it. Have you ever noticed when you see Christians represented on television that is seems that they are being knocked for something? I have come to the realization that probably 90% of the time when you see an evangelical Christian brought in on the conversation they are there to denounce something. They are there to denounce homosexual marriages or denounce another Pastor’s mistakes, or denounce pro-choice advocates, or denounce evolution or whatever the hot social and political issue is at the time. Bill Maher/ Politically Incorrect. Pastor and Author Tim Stevens wrote in his book, Pop Goes The Church and the unchurched today have 6 negative images of Christians. They are hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, homophobic, sheltered, too political, and judgmental. Unfortunately some outspoken “evangelical Christians” have done much more harm than good when it comes to advancing the gospel of Christ through love and actions. Their obvious disdain for culture and lifestyle choices have given us all the stereotypical tag of extremist and we are all fighting an uphill battle to show love. A famous preacher in Topeka, Kansas is known nationally for preaching with slogans and banners that have phrases such “America is doomed”, “God hates fags”, “AIDS cures fags” and “Fags die, God laughs”. Another pastor from San Antonio Texas has made statements that suggested that the devastation of Hurricane Katrina was God’s response to homosexual sin. Lastly one other pastor in Colorado Springs, Colorado has said from the pulpit about being against homosexual relationships and marriage but was later outed about his own homosexual lifestyle. Amen!Because of these stances by the church and statements of evangelical men and women the culture around us has formed this incredibly negative view of Christians and now Christians are known more for what they are against rather than what they are for. Amen!We are known more for what we hate, what we protest, what we stand against than for what we are for like feeding the hungry and clothing the needy, and working to solve the AIDS epidemic. What we are battling today is not a “gay” issue; it’s a “love” issue. We believe in Jesus but we have failed miserably to love like Jesus. When people disagree with our beliefs we become unloving, angry, and defensive. We become judgmental of their lifestyle and life choices. We shelter our children from the world and we hide in safe comfortable bubbles where we are only surrounded by other Christians. We go to Christian functions, attend Christian schools, listen to Christian music, wear Christian T-shirts, watch Christian movies, and go to Christian concerts. We have created Christian theme parks, Christian TV Channels and hang out only with Christian friends. Christians have done all they can to segregate themselves from the very people that Christ commanded us to love the most. We have segregated ourselves from the very people who desperately need to hear about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We have segregated ourselves from the very people Christ spent time with. Instead of meeting them where they are at and showing them the unconditional love and grace of Jesus Christ we have condemned them for their sins and have expected them to live up to our standards. Instead of leveraging the culture around us to show them Jesus, just as Christ did, we wait for them to come to us, through our doors on Sunday, but they won’t come because to them we are hypocrites and judgmental. I am taking a stance today to say that I believe the modern day church has been wrong in how it has handled itself when it comes to standing for Christ in the public eye and in how we have dealt with those living lives in sin. Homosexuality is one of the topics where we as Christians have made some major mistakes in how to show Christ to those who choose this lifestyle. This has been an issue in every culture, every race, and every nation for thousands of years. If you read the paper or watch the news you can see that it is becoming more and more common and accepted in the United States. California has just followed other states and legalized gay marriage. Shortly after the announcement, Ellen DeGeneres received a standing ovation during a taping of her daytime talk show when she announced she would be marrying her long time partner. Some Protestant church denominations have accepted and ordained openly gay clergy. Popular TV shows like Will and Grace, Ugly Betty, The Office, and 30 Rock have homosexual characters and are made to be funny and acceptable. America has begun to rapidly embrace this lifestyle as natural and okay and those who take a stance against this lifestyle are considered closed minded, judgmental and homophobic. There has been great debate about whether homosexuality is biological or simply a life choice. The American Psychiatric Association has said, “There have been no replicated scientific studies supporting any biological etiology for homosexuality.” Many non Christian Psychiatrists and Psychologists today believe that genetics, biology, upbringing, home environment, family or past sexual abuse has no direct link to a person’s sexual lifestyle. There is no conclusive evidence to prove a person chooses to be gay, or was born gay because of these things. These are non-Christians making these statements. Regardless of what people believe on an issue as sensitive as this one we need to go to God’s Word. What God says is much more important than what scientist studies show on whether someone is born that way or not. The bible, not scientific studies, must be our authority on all matters of sin. The bible is very clear that any sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sin.Leviticus 18: 22 says “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”1st Timothy 1:10 says, “For adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers and or whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”1st Corinthians 6:9 says, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders.”Matthew 19:4-5, says, “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.” God made male and female. Become one. In all of scripture there is not one verse that is positive towards homosexuality. All sex outside of a heterosexual marriage is Sin. Even if someone believes they were born that way it is still sin and should not be practiced in their life. So if it is clear that the Bible calls homosexuality a sin how do we handle it? How should we treat those who embrace this lifestyle?John 8:1-11 says,” 1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts; where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of Sin.” Amen! John 8:1-11, is not a scripture on homosexuality but a powerful scripture on how to treat those who live a lifestyle of sin. In John 8:1-6, Christ is teaching when all of a sudden these “righteous” religious rulers storm in dragging this woman with her clothes in disarray, her hair disheveled, defiant, resisting them. The crowd around Christ would naturally turn and see what all the yelling was about. They fling her down on the ground and pronounce a very harsh charge against her. “This woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.” There is no question this woman is guilty of sin. She was caught in the act of having sex with another man outside of marriage. Christ would call it sin at the end of this scripture so we know even he knew it was wrong and against God’s law. These men knew the law very well. They knew that mosaic law. Leviticus 20:10 says, “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.” But where is the man? The fact that they did not bring out the man proves that they weren’t really interested in fulfilling the “law”. They had an agenda. They wanted to trap Jesus. They didn’t want to stone her. They wanted to stone him. They wanted to trap Jesus and would do whatever it took even to the point of embarrassing another because of their sin. This woman should be stoned and they want to know what Jesus thinks. Will he contradict the Law of Moses? Will he offer some other explanation? This crowd cared more about their personal agenda than the soul of the person they were affecting. Imagine having your sins called out to a group of people, think of your deepest secrets that you don’t want anyone to know. What if someone came into the church right now and said, “This man was caught in homosexuality, this woman was caught in adultery, and he was caught looking at pornography, or drugs, or alcohol.” These men cared more about agendas than souls. It is the same today. There are so many personal and political agendas flying around today that we have forgotten to think about how people are being affected by our actions. We are so quick to bash people that we forget they do not know what they are doing. 1st Corinthians 5:12-13 says,”What business is it of mine to judge those outsides the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” Amen!What most people want to do is publicly humiliate people who are caught in homosexuality or make fun of someone that “comes out of the closet”. Instead of loving them to Jesus we call them queer’s and fags. We beat them up in bathrooms; publicly protest against them and we bash them on national TV. Amen!Hear me out many people are against gay marriage and homosexuality, against abortion, and divorce but not against the person. The problem is we are not attacking the sin; we are attacking the person who is committing the sin. Christians have made it their mission to ban gay marriage, but just because gay marriage may be banned does not mean people will stop being gay. We need to help them by attacking the sin problem. We need to help them be freed from their temptations in a way that glorifies Christ and his unconditional love. We need to be more for souls than agenda’s or just getting things done. The problem is not abortion, or economy or alcohol or money or Iraq, the problem is sin. There is a sin problem that is driving people to decisions and life styles that do not glorify Christ we need to help people see their sin problem by showing them love and grace. In John 8:6-7, the defiant woman is flung before Christ, the crowd has no respect for her embarrassment and Jesus does not look at her maybe so as to not add embarrassment to her. He writes on the ground. What does he write? Nobody really knows. This is the only record we have of Jesus ever writing something and it was erased as soon as it was written. I like to believe that Christ was linking the names of the accusers to the sins they had committed. I think Jesus was leveling the playing field with these men. Maybe he knew of one man having an affair in Rome and he wrote the woman’s name. Maybe another man had murdered someone and Christ wrote the name of the murdered in the dirt. Maybe another cheated a person on their taxes and wrote that person’s name in the dirt or the amount of money that was stolen. Maybe another man had gotten a woman pregnant while on a trip and nobody knew but him but then Jesus wrote that woman’s name in the dirt for the accuser to see. Maybe Jesus was writing the sins of these men that were also worthy of death according to Mosaic Law. When they saw them written in the dirt and heard the words of Jesus, “Let he who has no sin cast the first stone” it would hit them. They were just as guilty as this woman. Their sins were no worse than hers. How many of our sins today are worthy of death? All of them! Romans says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Every single person in here this morning deserves hell. We are all sinners. None of us are perfect. Jesus makes it very clear that the requirement needed to judge others was sinlessness. Is homosexuality sin? Absolutely, but is it worse than any other sin? No! Regardless of what Christians on TV believe or even how you were raised homosexuality is not worse than telling a lie, it is not worse than looking at porn, or stealing, or gossip or grumbling. Since that is true, no sin is greater than another, I would love to know, why we have open arms of love and forgiveness to alcoholics, drug addicts, porn addicts, divorcees, pregnant teens and we have small groups, support groups that help them and rally around them, make meals for them and pray with them but we parade homosexuals out in front of the crowd and we treat them like this adulterous woman? Some people even Christians say, “Well it is because they flaunt it, because of their gay pride parades and their protest and their over the top public displays. Their demand for equal rights and legal marriages and they deserve it because of how they push it on everyone.” Well maybe Christians deserve it too. Are not we’re the same way? Getting on TV pushing our opinions and views and agendas on everyone else telling them we are right and their wrong and they are going to hell and then forming our own cliques and clubs with our own rules and t-shirts and music and movies and all of that. We tell everyone they are evil if they do this or practice that. The only people I ever remember Jesus scolding, literally getting angry at and calling out or debating with about politics and faith were the religious. Not the lost. We are just as loud and flamboyant and arrogant so maybe we should be lumped in with them. What have they done that is so much worse than any sin you and I have committed? The Bible says I deserve death for my sins, but Jesus paid the ultimate price. Because of his death I have been redeemed. I have been saved. His grace has washed me clean. Just as his grace has washed you clean, just as his grace will wash a person who is homosexual clean if they seek repentance and a relationship with God. Amen!No matter the sins you have committed in your life, no matter how bad of a person you think you are there is no Sin that cannot be forgiven when we humbly come before the Lord and ask for repentance. We need to learn how to challenge people without condemning people. We absolutely need to take a stand on truth. There is no place to water down the gospel and let people get by with sinning because we do not want to hurt their feelings but we need to learn to challenge people in love. It does not mean it’s going to be easy. Just because you know God has forgiven you does not mean you will not be tempted to commit the same sins again. You may have been forgiven of lying or gossip or stealing but that does not mean you will not have to work hard every day to overcome the temptation of committing those sins. It is about denying yourself. Someone who has repented of their sin of homosexuality probably would not all of a sudden stop having feelings for someone of the same sex. Can you imagine if someone said you had to stop liking woman? It would feel impossible. Those feelings may still be there and they could still even consider themselves gay, but it’s when they act on those feelings that it becomes sin. They will have to fight those feelings, deny themselves and choose Christ over their flesh. That is why we need to step in and help each other overcome our sins. It is impossible to do it alone.God’s Word is clear that the practice of homosexuality is sin. It is not a part of God’s plan. But homosexuality is not greater than any other un-repented sin in someone’s life, so it needs to be treated as equal to all sin in the eyes of believers. We have got to hold firm to His truths but at the same time be the hands and feet of Christ by showing love, mercy and grace to everyone that includes homosexuals. Now you know about homosexuality and how the Christian Community should view it. Amen!