Bought by the Blood

June 24, 2011

What I Will Tell My Kids About Gay Marriage

Here I Stand

The problem with the way that many conservatives, including evangelicals, defend marriage is that they’ve dumbed it down to a point where when it is stood up against society’s current redefining of marriage there is hardly any recognizable difference.  Marriage, as God designed it is to be a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). In a secular society, that is not always the case especially since everyone does not have the same worldview. Marriage, in America is quickly deteriorating from what God intended, with many people living together and having sex outside of marriage, the growing popularity of no-fault divorce and how pornography and infidelity run rampant.

In light of all of this, is it correct to say “anything goes”? Because of the separation of church and state should we just take the mindset that marriage is a state institution and it is up to individual states to decide? My fear is that if I do that, then I won’t be salt and light, which is why it is important to know what I believe and why.

The Bible is the solid ground on which I stand and form my convictions, all else is sinking sand. These convictions may make me sound judgemental and condemning, but my hope is that any judgement or condemnation someone sees me passing is the same judgement and condemnation that I deserve, but because of Christ free grace and rich mercy that all who seek to be crucified with Christ and find their life in Him may be free from any judgement or condemnation.

What’s Love Got To Do With It

Many people believe that marriage should be for two people who love each other and it doesn’t matter their gender.  I am not going to argue with that statement, because it is a great proposition.  Instead, ponder this, what does it matter if a person gains marriage, but loses their soul (Mark 8:36).  If we think that a couple, straight or homosexual, having the right to marry will complete them then we have set the bar far too low.  To quote C.S. Lewis “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”  If someone doesn’t have the opportunity to marry the person they love, then they may be momentarily missing out on something.  Ultimately, marriage is nothing compared to knowing Christ. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).” By promoting any marriage not built on Christ, whether straight or homosexual, it does not matter how much love there is, there will be no eternal value in it.

The Culture Wars

Obviously, I would not stop a non-Christian couple from marrying.  I can imagine your reaction being that if a homosexual is born that way, then it is unfair that I would support laws that would stop them from marrying someone they loved.  In all honesty, I have trouble supporting laws that outlaw same-sex marriage because legislation is not the answer.  The law has no power to bring a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and without a relationship with Him how can I expect them to deny their desires?  I have friends that are homosexual and in same-sex relationships and marriages.  I have never told them that what they are doing is wrong.  Also, I have never outright supported their choice.

The media, our society and the political machine wants us to believe that a culture war is going on right now.  I believe that Jesus would scoff at the idea of a culture war.  I am not at war with any homosexuals who choose that lifestyle.  They do not need me telling them that they need to change.  They need to see the love of Jesus and that His grace is greater then all their sin.  If Jesus was walking the earth right now, it would probably be the homosexual couples and not the conservatives that He would spend His time with.

Jesus does not see people as straight or homosexual, but he sees all people as sinners who need a Savior.  Rules and laws will point out that we are sinners.  Rules and laws can go no further then bringing about shame and I fail as an ambassador of Christ if all I do is point to people’s sin without pointing to the Savior.  No one who comes to Jesus has to make a drastic life change before they come and as His representative I do not have to force people to change instantly when they come to Jesus.  The result of coming to Jesus is crucifying the flesh and no longer walking according to its passions and desires, but that always comes after faith and never as a condition (Galatians 5:24-25).  Straight people, homosexuals, all are free to come to Jesus and and find the satisfaction their soul has been longing for.

Does It Really Get Better

Many of you reading this, are probably familiar with the “It Gets Better” campaign.  Part of me wholeheartedly agrees with that campaign, with the ideal that people will grow up and mature so that others don’t have to fear being bullied, have the ability to visit a loved one in the hospital and not be ostracized by family and friends for being who they are.  Even if that day comes, things may temporarily be better, but ultimately there will be a day where we will all have to stand before God and give an account.  Hell is a real place, it is a place of eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30), and torment (Luke 16:23).  Any human rights that homosexuals gain to make this life better will not compensate for God’s holy wrath that He will pour out on sinners in the life to come.

It isn’t just homosexuals worthy of burning of eternally, but it is everyone. No one does good, no one chooses God (Romans 3). Every single person is born with a heart that is sinful and no one deserves to go to Heaven, except for Jesus who lived a perfect and righteous life and died on the cross to atone for the sins of gays, straights, liars, murderers, thieves, gossips, etc. Yes, that is condescending and judgmental, but it is filled with hope. It is gloriously beautiful because it means that salvation is not up to us and that we don’t go to Heaven because we do good things or live a “right lifestyle” but it is only because of the merits another.

Former homosexual and current evangelist Sy Rogers once said, “People doesn’t go to hell because they’re gay; they go because they’re separated from God.  Heterosexuals don’t automatically go to heaven; they go to hell too.  The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality; it’s devotion to God and a holy lifestyle.”

In the book, “An Arrow Pointing Towards Heaven,” about the life of Rich Mullins, Rich tells the following story and I believe it truly gets to the heart of the matter.

I remember one time Beaker and I were hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and he met some friends of his, so I walked into town.  It was about a five-mile walk from the campsite down the trail…,down into town.  And when I got there I went into a restaurant and I was having a steak, and this guy started talking to me and we had this great conversation.  We were having a good time, and he said, “Hey look, it’s dark and it’s five miles up to your campground. Why I don’t I drive you up there?”
And I said, “Hey, Great!”
And so we got in his car, and just as we pulled out from under the last light in that town, the guy said, “You know what, I should probably tell you that I am gay.”
And I said, “Oh, I should probably tell you that I am a Christian.”
And he said, “Well, if you want out of the car…”
And I said, “Why?”
And he said, “Well, I’m gay and you’re Christian.”
I said, “It’s still five miles and it’s still dark.”
Then he said, “I thought Christians hated gays.”
I said, “That’s funny, I thought Christians were supposed to love. I thought that was our first command.”
He said, “Well, I thought God hated gays.”
And I said, “That’s really funny, because I thought God was love.”
And then he asked me the big one. He said, “Do you think I will go to hell for being a gay?”
Well, I’m a good Hoosier, and I puckered up to say, “Yes, of course you’ll go to hell for being gay.” I got ready to say that, but when I opened up my mouth it came out, “No, of course you won’t go to hell for being gay.” And I thought to myself, Oh my God, I’ve only been in New Hampshire for one week and I’ve already turned into a liberal! What am I going to tell this guy now?
Then I said to him, “No, you won’t go to hell for being gay, any more than I would go to hell for being a liar.  Nobody goes to hell because of what they do.  We go to hell because we reject the grace that God so longs to give to us, regardless of what we do.”

What Will I Say

I titled this post, “What I Will Tell My Kids About Gay Marriage.”  Some time in the future my children will ask me about gay marriage and human rights.  I can’t tell you today what I will say, most likely I won’t repeat all 1,800+ words to them that you just read (if you did read all of this, thank you and I’d love your thoughts). I know that it will be a message of grace because that is what everyone deserves even when we don’t see eye to eye.  It will be a message of acceptance because homosexuals are not second class citizens.  It will be a message of love because “we love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).” It will be the message of the cross because homosexuals need the cross just as much as I do.

[9] Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Advertisements

August 19, 2009

Doctrine of Adoption Discussion Outline

What two states do we see Adam and Eve?
A: Pre-fall and Post-fall

Describe the difference between their relationship with God before and after the fall?
A: Adam and Eve had an intimate relationship with God with nothing hindering their communion. Their was no sin and they were not ashamed to be seen as they are by God.

How is it possible for us to have that same kind of relationship with God?
A: Through adoption by means of redemption (you can’t have one without the other.)

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 3:26-4:7

What have we been redeemed from?
A:The curse of the law, the power of satan and demons, the influence of our sinful flesh and spiritual death

What have we been redeemed to:
A:Living transformed lives by the power of the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, freedom from our sin nature, newness of life, hope of eternity and a resurrection body.

“What christ redeemed us from is the law, with its deadly curse. This is why it was necessary for him to be born under the law. What qualified him to redeem us from the law was the fact that he kept it perfectly. Indeed, everything Paul has said so far about Christ’s coming- his timely arrival, his eternal deity, his true humanity,and his perfect obedience – qualified him to be our redeemer. John Stott writes, “So the divinity of Christ, the humanity of Christ, and the righteousness of Christ uniquely qualified him to be man’s redeemer. If he he had not been man, He could not have redeemed men. If he had not been a righteous man, He could not have redeemed unrighteous men. and if He had had not been God’ Son, He could not have redeemed men for God or made them the sons of God.” But Christ did redeem us, and he did it as the perfect God-man who died on the cross to save sinners…Christ’s coming had an adopting purpose as well as atoning purpose. God sent his Son to make us all his sons and daughters. Christ accomplished our adoption as well as our redemption. It would be enough for God to release us from slavery, to rescue us from our captivity to the law, and so to redeem us from its curse. But God did not stop there. Once Christ had gained our freedom, he gathered us into his family. He went beyond redemption, turning slaves into sons.
-Phil Ryken

What are 5 benefits of adoption that we see in this passage

Benefit 1
V.27 All are on in Christ!
What are the implications of this?
-God does not play favorites. He doesn’t look at our works and love us more or less based on what we accomplish. He loves unconditionally because of what Christ accomplished for us. Our standing before God is secure and will never change. We cannot disappoint God or lose His love, He is committed to us and loves us with an unfailing love!
-We are defined by being in Christ. We are not defined by what we do for a living, how much money we make, our appearance, our sex, etc. The only thing that defines us is our unity in Christ.
–> Ask people where they are tempted to find their identity?
–>Followup by asking how being one in Christ helps to fight that temptation

Benefit 2
v. 29 Recepients of the promise of Abraham
What is the promise of Abraham
-We are justified and made right with God. Our greatest need is taken care of.

Benefit 3
V. 4:3 No longer under bondange
Does anyone still in feel bondage to any reoccurring or besetting sin in their life? If they do, then take time to pray for them, encourage them to either share tonight or in their next accountability meeting

Benefit 4
V. 4:7 We are heirs
What are we heirs of?
All the promises of God are yes in Christ, we receive all blessings through Him and the hope of Heaven and the new earth where we rule and reign with Christ.

Benefit 5
v. 4:6 We have the Spirit
What role does the Spirit play in our adoption
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
-Romans 8:14-17

-The Spirit leads us in holiness by directing us to Christ
-The spirit reminds us of our standing before God and His love for us.

“The Galatians had indeed received the Spirit; and when they did, they also received the assurance that they were God’s sons. For God sent his Spirit as well as his Son. First, he sent His Son to make us hils children; then he sent us his spirit to let us know that we really are his children. The adoption that was accomplished by the Son is applied by the Spirit.
Here we are drawn into the mystery of the trinity. The one true God exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Adoption is the work of the Triune God. God the Father, just because he is the Father, is the one who adopts us. He did this by first sending His son to redeem us from bondage, so that we are no longer slaves but sons. Then the Father sent His spirit to convince us that we are indeed the sons and daughters of God.”
-Phil Ryken

Application 1
Romans 8:14-17 –> What practical application do people see in this verse Answer: Self image
How does the doctrine of adoption affect self image?
– Spirit testifies who we are. It speaks to truth to combat the lies that satans wants us to believe. Whenever we are more aware of our sin or circumstances we need to remember who we are in Christ, adopted as Sons and daughter of God.
–>Have someone read 1 John 3:1 When discouragement sets in take time to marvel and be amazed at the love that God has for you.
–>Based on Genesis 2:25 what can we discern about Adam and Eve’s self image?
-There was no shame and they see themselves as God saw them.

Application 2
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
-Hebrews 12:6-11

What practical application do people see in this verse Answer: suffering and trials prove God’s love for us.
What is God’s purpose in suffering and trial as His children?
-His discipline makes us holy and helps us to cultivate righteousness
-It reassures us of His love because he only disciplines those he loves
–>How do we see Adam and Eve in this application?
-They were image bearers and before the fall they perfectly bore God’s image. God uses trials and suffering to conform us more to His image.

Application 3
Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

-Matthew 6:9

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
-Matthew 7:7-11

What application do we see in this verse Answer: As children of God we have confidence that He answers our prayers
How does the doctrine of adoption affect prayer?
-We have that same relationship with him that Adam and Eve did. There is no shame and we can approach him freely.
-If we ask, seek and knock then he will answer us. He is a good, powerful and wise father and has the power to answer our prayers and give us the best according to our infinite wisdom.

June 30, 2009

What A Great Salvation

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared. – Psalm 130:3-4

God has a holy standard that He has called all men to live up to.  The words that God wrote to Belshazar are true for all men, “you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; (Daniel 5:27)”  The balances is that of God’s righteousness and when ours is weighed against God’s, we are found wanting, there is no curve on God’s scale.    Our best attempts of having any righteousness of our own are filthy rags when seen in light of God’s holiness.  There is no one sin that is greater than another sin, all sin is equally heinous because it is against a holy God.  You and I are in the same boat as Adolf  Hitler and have no goodness in and of ourselves to make us attractive to God.

If you and I were to stand before God, we would be trembling in fear.  When sinful man comes in contact with a holy God there is an instant realization of our smallness and unworthiness.  The media today has presented a false portrayal of angels, but the Biblical picture of angels is one that is so beyond our imagination.  Angels, are not creatures with wings and harps that belong on hallmark cards, but in Scripture when an angel speaks to man the first thing an angel says is “fear not.”  If our immediate reaction is to fear angel’s which are messengers and servants of God’s, then it is terrifying to think what our reaction would be if we actually saw God.  When Job got a greater revelation into God’s character He was reduced to stating, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further. (Job 40:4-5)”  When we are placed next to God we realize we have no room to stand or speak, we are nothing, if God is the ocean, we are but one drop of rain.

Praise God that this is not our ultimate end, God has made a way for us to be forgiven.  This forgiveness is nothing light, but it came at the price of His Son.  For those who have faith in Christ, He has passed over their sins by the means of diverting God’s wrath away from us and onto Himself.  God’s justice has been satisfied by Christ taking the holy wrath that we deserve (Romans 3:25).  Instead of God seeing us and our sinful state that is deserving of punishment, He sees Christ righteousness.  He has washed our sins away by Christ blood and cleaned us from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  My sin is no longer on my record, but instead has been transferred to Christ, so that God may remember my sinfulness no more, although my sin was abounding more and more, grace abounded exceedingly more (Isaiah 43:25 and Romans 5:20).  Since we have such a great salvation, God’s wrath does not need to be feared, but instead we can worship Him and serve Him in loving reverence.

June 16, 2009

How are the faithless made right with God

“‘Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful,
declares the Lord;
I will not be angry forever. – Jeremiah 3:12

A key question that we all must wrestle with as we come to this text is, “who is faithless Israel?”  If we are being honest, faithless Israel is none other than you and I.  We are the one who have the played the adulteress and worshiped other God’s.  When we examine our hearts we realize that you and I are the one who have placed faith in peoples and things other than the living God.  There is no one who does God or seeks God, we are all deserving of death and God’s wrath (Romans 3:14 and 6:23).

Despite the sad state that we are in, we’re not completely without hope.  Although God has every right to strike us down and make us pay the penalty for our sins, God has called us to return to Him.  Our hope for returning is not on the basis of anything we have done or any goodness in us.  The only way we can return to God is because of Christ completed work on the cross.  On the cross God has offered to exchange my sin for Christ righteousness, but if I am to receive this free gift from God it comes on the one condition that I must confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9)

If we return to God, we will receive mercy.  To receive mercy we must turn from our sins and turn to God, this a process called repentance and it must be done daily.  The puritan Thomas Watson once said, “”Be as speedy in your repentance as you would have God speedy in His mercies.”  We have gained everything through the cross, God has promised to no longer be angry with us.  There is no more fear of condemnation and are viewed as loved in God’s sight forever more.  What greater motivation do we need to live lives of worship that are characterized by putting off sin and putting on holiness (Colossians 3).  Let us be quick to turn from the things of this world, for God’s love is in us and His will is for us to abide in Him by denying our flesh and all forms of worldiness. (1 John 2:15-17).

April 24, 2009

“Porn Again Christian” discussion

I am having the men in my small group read Mark Driscoll’s book “Porn Again Christian.” This is something that I’ve been wanting to do with them for a while since this book was made available for free online.  Below is the discussion that I prepared for them on the book.

At the end of Chapter 1 Driscoll says:

“God is honest and forthright about the truth and his people must not be so prudish as to try and speak in ways that are holier than their God. In our age of lewdness and perversion we, like our Father, must avoid crassness, while wisely and boldly speaking frankly about the joy and beauty of sexual intimacy when it is confined by the loving directions of the God who created both us and our desires. And, we must refuse to speak in sanitized clinical euphemisms like calling adulteries “affairs,” fornication “dating,” and perverts “partners” because God uses frank words for deplorable sin so we will feel its sickness without anesthesia.”

-Do you see lust as deplorable and sickning as God does? What does it look like to have a right reaction toward this sin?

-Do you view yourself as committing adultery against your future wife when you look lustfully at a woman?

In chapter 3 Driscoll states:

“However, throughout history men have been prone to obey the letter of the law on these matters, while violating the spirit…Practically, this all means that only you and God truly know your heart and, rather than trying to obey legalistic rules, you must be honest about the lusts in your heart and reduce those triggers that stimulate you.”

-very specifically, what does it look like for you to violate the Spirit of God’s commands about lust?

-What are your triggers and how do you fight them?

-Did chapter four change or inform the way you think of the dangers of pornography?

-How did chapter four help you think of what “beauty” is?

-Driscoll says in chapter four “In creation, we see the wise pattern that for every man his standard of beauty is not to be objectified, but rather it should simply be his wife. ” Since you guys are single, what does that mean for your standard of beauty?

-Can masturbation be separated from sexual thoughts? Why is this question important?

-What do you learn from chapter 7 about why and how to fight lust and sexual sin?

-in chapter 2 Driscoll talks about fear of the Lord and uses many verses to help us view sexual sin the way God wants to view it. Does anyone have any questions about these verses? Pray through each verse for greater conviction for ourselves and the singles ministry at CLC

These are the verses that Driscoll uses in chapter 2:

  • 1 Peter 4:3
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • 1 John 3:9
  • 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
  • 1 Corinthians 10:8
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

February 17, 2009

All we need is love

Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. -Psalm 106:8

The reason God saved Israel and the reason He saved you and I is because of His grace. My salvation is solely on the basis of God’s undeserved favor. There is nothing I could do to deserve God’s love, but He freely gives it to the ungodly, so that by faith they can find redemption and be reconciled to Him. In my natural state God and I are enemies, I would never reach out to Him and seek to be in relationship with Him. Before God gave me a new heart I was dead in sin and transgressions, like all dead people, I could do nothing to move towards God. God did all the work in raising me up to new life and opening my eyes to see my need for Him and His great worth. Without God acting I would never have salvation, it is all because of Him that I am in union with Christ.

The way that I am saved is completely outside of my self, it is the power of God working through Christ death on the cross. God’s power is infinite and unimaginable. At the dawn of creation He spoke the heavens and earth into existence, He never lifted a finger or did any work but by His breath all things were made. Kings and nation are raised up by the power of God and brought low by Him as well, all world powers do not get power from their working, but from God’s mercy that grants all things to all beings. God’s power is a means to display His glory so that all creation might come to a saving knowledge of Him. God’s power is what breaks a sinner’s heart of stone and makes it like flesh so that we can live transformed lives to the praise of God’s name. His power has defeated sin and death, so that we may have new life and life for Him.

Why has God displayed His power like this to sinful man that has no interest in Him (Romans 3:11-12)? It is for His name’s sake. If God were ever to look for a reason in you and I to save us, He would never find any. In Old Testament times when a covenant is made between two parties it is ratified by both members, but in God’s covenant with Abraham, only God participated in the covenant (Genesis 15:17 and Hebrews 6:13-15). You and I are temporal, God is eternal, therefore, God finds His highest reason love sinful man not in us, but in Himself. God coming to save us is not on the basis of our belief or on us loving Him first. God loves us because He is love, mysterious and unfathomable love that has no end(Deuteronomy 7:7-8). It is because of us that He loves us, but because He is love. His name is love and so He loves us (1 John 4:16).

Blog at WordPress.com.