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)

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April 2, 2010

Boasting in His Shame by John Sartelle

Filed under: cross,Galatians — cubsfan1980 @ 1:36 pm
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“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). This was an absurd statement in Paul’s world. The cross was an instrument of execution used by the government. The cross was a place of shame, disgrace, humiliation, indignity, degradation, and ignominy.  The criminal was beaten, undressed, arms spread and nailed to a cross beam, feet nailed to a vertical beam, and hoisted above the ground for the world to see. Spread eagled, naked, helpless…the scene was designed to humiliate.  Who would make that his ultimate boast?

Read the Rest at: Boasting in His Shame by John Sartelle | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

December 14, 2009

Dead, yet alive!

Spurgeon was particularly on the fire with today’s reading from Morning and Evening.  I pray that one day I am half the writer he was.

“I am crucified with Christ.”

Galatians 2:20

The Lord Jesus Christ acted in what he did as a great public representative person, and his dying upon the cross was the virtual dying of all his people. Then all his saints rendered unto justice what was due, and made an expiation to divine vengeance for all their sins. The apostle of the Gentiles delighted to think that as one of Christ’s chosen people, he died upon the cross in Christ. He did more than believe this doctrinally, he accepted it confidently, resting his hope upon it. He believed that by virtue of Christ’s death, he had satisfied divine justice, and found reconciliation with God. Beloved, what a blessed thing it is when the soul can, as it were, stretch itself upon the cross of Christ, and feel, “I am dead; the law has slain me, and I am therefore free from its power, because in my Surety I have borne the curse, and in the person of my Substitute the whole that the law could do, by way of condemnation, has been executed upon me, for I am crucified with Christ.”

But Paul meant even more than this. He not only believed in Christ’s death, and trusted in it, but he actually felt its power in himself in causing the crucifixion of his old corrupt nature. When he saw the pleasures of sin, he said, “I cannot enjoy these: I am dead to them.” Such is the experience of every true Christian. Having received Christ, he is to this world as one who is utterly dead. Yet, while conscious of death to the world, he can, at the same time, exclaim with the apostle, “Nevertheless I live.” He is fully alive unto God. The Christian’s life is a matchless riddle. No worldling can comprehend it; even the believer himself cannot understand it. Dead, yet alive! crucified with Christ, and yet at the same time risen with Christ in newness of life! Union with the suffering, bleeding Saviour, and death to the world and sin, are soul-cheering things. O for more enjoyment of them!

Read it at Morning and Evening: Daily Readings | Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

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.

February 8, 2009

Bearing Fruit

What more was there to do for my vineyard,
that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
-Isaiah 5:4

My prayer as I read this passage is that this will not be the church.  God has done so much for His people.  He has given us His Word so that we may know Him and commune with Him.  He has initiated a relationship with us by calling us from sin and darkness to live lives of holiness as our spiritual act of worship.  Because of our inability to answer that call He has given us His Holy Spirit that gives us new life.  To make a way possible for us to be in relationship with Him and not consumed by His wrath, He has sent His Son to live the life we couldn’t live and die the death that we deserved, He became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  All that we have contributed to this relationship is our sin, which shows our need.

A common misconception of bearing fruit is winning many people to Christ or having a ministry that many people are in awe of.  Bearing fruit isn’t what we produce, because none of us are able to produce anything.  We can only sow seeds and water seeds, but it is God who produces the harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).  Fruit is an overflow of the Spirit filling us, evidenced by an increase in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  We bear fruit through our union with Christ which empowers us to live and walk by the Spirit as we put to death our sin (John 15:1-10 and Galatians 5:15-25).

We have been set free from sin and bondage, made alive by the blood of Christ.  Therefore, we are called not to be wild grapes, but to bear good fruit for God’s kingdom.  He has done everything that we need to bear fruit.  He has equipped us and strengthened us, now all we need to do is be faithful and go, confident that He will work in us to accomplish His plan.  This passage is not intended for individuals, but for the church.  No Christian can fulfill God’s call on His own, but needs to be in community with others.  When in community with others we can encourage one another and bring observations on how to grow into greater Christ likeness.  As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

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