Christian Humanism: God's Design For Sexuality
Christian Humanism: God’s Design for Sexuality
Genesis 2:18 – 25
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
- Today we tackle a very delicate but important subject in the matter of homosexuality and sexuality within the marriage covenant.
- What I will share today is not particularly popular in the secular culture today but nonetheless, it needs to be said with clarity
- First of all, the church of Jesus Christ owes the homosexual community forgiveness
- Many churches over the recent years have been wrong in how they have responded to those who identify as LBGTQ.
- We have shown anger, isolation, bigotry and hatred at times for these people who need Jesus and the power He can bring to their lives
Illustration: The Westboro Baptist Church out of Topeka, Kansas is an independent non – affiliated church started by Fred Phelps. The Westboro Baptist Church is well known for picketing places and events they see as supporting either homosexuality or Jews. This protesting has grown to include actual gay and lesbian events, churches and organizations they feel do not repudiate homosexuality sufficiently, and the funerals of soldiers (who fought in a war they say was caused by America’s tolerance for homosexuality).
- Second, we as Christ followers have done a poor job of understanding those who are dealing with Gender Dysphoria / Gender Confusion
- Third, I want to say that anyone who is dealing with this issue in their life is welcome here at PVBC. We have had and continue to have from time to time people who are LBGTQ come and be a part of our church at different times.
- Fourth and last, we are not fixated on this issue. Homosexuality is NOT a greater sin than any other sin. The Bible does speak out about the consequences of sexual sin being more punitive than say some other sins. All sin is sin but God has different consequences for different sins. Adultery and pre-marital sex are just as much a sin as other sexual sins. They are contrary to God’s intended purpose and design
Purpose: Every Christ follower must understand God’s design for marriage and sexual intimacy in order to share with our culture the way it was meant to be in love.
Transition: Let’s look first at God’s design and intent for sexuality and marriage as He lays it out at creation.
God’s design begins at creation
- God created sexual identity
- God gave two distinctive human beings that were made in His image as we talked about last week.
- God created that sexual identity as male and female
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
- People who are espousing to many kinds of gender expressions obviously do not agree with this verse and many others.
- In our culture, Facebook has 58 different choices for describing your gender expression in the US, but in the UK, they have 71 choices!!
- Keeping it understandable, your gender identity does not dictate who you prefer to be sexually intimate with. Two separate things.
- Now in the Church, an article entitled “Across U.S., LGBTQ Christians try to change hearts and minds from the pews” by Julie Compton / Jan.27.2018
- Austen Hartke, a transgender Christian who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota – goes to an ELCA Lutheran church. He has a master’s degree in biblical studies.
- In reading Genesis 1:27, Austen Hartke believes that this does not mean just who you are biologically which is determined at birth but that our bodies are not made in the image of God since God is a spirit
- Duality is how God created things in Genesis, Austen goes on to say that nature is not cut and dried dual in all of its nature. Points to the Platypus as unique, one of a kind, coral which is both animate and inanimate?
- You can’t take Genesis literally, it is poetic and to have a cadence it must use things in a simple dualistic way to make it poetic.
- He goes on to say that Genesis doesn’t speak to the anomalies in nature or the unique things of nature that doesn’t fit the dualist mold so again, Genesis can’t be taken literally.
- This is the problem with people who are moving away from historical orthodoxy that has stood for nearly two thousand years of church history. They are throwing the baby out with the bath water. To be relevant and accepted which is the end goal of those who try to stretch the Bible to include LBGTQ lifestyles, they have to give up on the inerrancy and infallibility of a literal interpretation of scripture. Acceptance by the culture and its new norms is more important than proper Biblical hermeneutics.
- God created sexual intimacy
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
- Remember what I said. God created the joy that is found in sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife.
- It is to be held in highest esteem and honor because it is the God’s design for intimacy on planet earth. The sharing of two souls together in a monogamous relationship blessed by God.
- God intended sexual intimacy to be between a man and a woman in holy matrimony
- We will talk more about this later as we probe the idea of same sex marriage being legalized in our country.
- Just to be clear, civil unions are recognized by the government and marriage or holy matrimony is a sacred covenant before the church, God and the assembled witnesses.
- Turning to homosexuality and same sex marriage, it deviates from the design God had for the marriage union.
- At least until recently, it moves away from what God intended sexual intimacy to be. Within the confines of a heterosexual relationship. One man, one woman for one lifetime
I Thessalonians 4:3
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
Transition: Let’s look next at what people say are the orientations some people have toward homosexuality and other descriptions of gender identity and sexuality.
God’s approach to deal with sin
- I want to be clear here that homosexuality, based on what God says in His Word is sin. The act or acts of carrying out the desires in a person’s heart toward someone of the same sex is not permitted anywhere in scripture
- The Gay community, who wants their lifestyles accepted by the church, point to seven particular sections of scripture and work to reinterpret them to support their lifestyle.
- There is so much discussion going on in the Evangelical and Mainline Protestant world right now about how LBGTQ people should be treated in the Christian community, Bible believing church and Liberal churches. Numerous differing opinions
- Revoice conference in St. Louis – Nathan Collins / Matthew Vines
- If you want more information, I would be glad to steer you to some websites and articles if interested.
- Let’s look at what the Bible says about homosexuality from one or two sections of scripture
“Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin. (NLT)
“If a man has sex with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is abhorrent. (The Message)
Romans 1:25 – 27
25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
Quote: “The moral tradition of the church, from the earliest period into the Reformation and since, has been emphatic. Homoerotic behavior is against the will of God.” – Edith Humphrey – What God Hath Not Joined – Christianity Today article – September 1, 2004
- The challenge of the OT passages by some
- Gay people would argue that Leviticus went on to condemnshellfish eating, cutting your sideburns and getting tattoos.
- You can’t write these and others off because these and other verses speak to homosexuality in the OT. They say that we are now under grace and not the law so the OT does not pertain to Christians today.
- The gay community tries to say that these were OT cultic practices that included homosexual prostitutes for the purpose of worship to an idolatrous god. They follow this argument into the NT with the Romans passage written by Paul and the church at Corinth based in the midst of an extremely carnal, sexual society.
- To understand the OT, you have to know there is a whole lot of teaching ritual uncleanness and a whole body of clear teaching on immoral behavior. One is time bound – caught up with the sacrificial system of the people of Israel.
- The other is timeless. One describes temple rituals. The other deals with moral laws. They are two different things.
- Further, when the OT talks about homoerotic behavior, it is rooted in the creation story with Adam and Eve and a man and his wife in holy matrimony before God. It is rooted in morality.
- It is not the same as which foods to eat and what is kosher or not. Just like the prohibitions in the OT against incest, the prohibition against homoerotic behavior is for every age – James Emery White -Meet Generation Z
- Jesus didn’t speak against homosexuality so He must be ok with it.
- I will touch on this briefly and there is plenty of material I can steer you to in order to get more information about this.
- It is true that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality. Jesus did not speak about a lot of things.
- The fact that Jesus himself did not directly address the specific question of homosexual acts carries little weight. His intent was not to publish a compendium of moral theology; rarely does Christ address particular moral issues but focuses instead on the broader goals of love of God and love of neighbor.
- It says in John’s Gospel in the last verse he wrote: 21:25, it states that not everything Jesus did or said was written down.
- As a faithful and practicing Jew, Jesus accepted and lived by the moral code passed down through Hebrew tradition. Among its tenets (Leviticus 20:13) was that “if a man lies with a male as with a woman, they have committed an abomination; the two of them shall be put to death.” – The Crux – Rev. Kenneth Doyle – July 20, 2015
- Jesus did talk about the marriage relationship as being a man and woman when He quoted from the OT verses in Genesis
Matthew 19:4- 6
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
- Homosexuality is an orientationjust like any other sin
- James Dobson taught for a long time through the ministry of Focus on the Family when he was with them that this was a conscious choice that people were making.
- There is a lot of material to say now that people are born with a tendency or an orientation to do things that are sinful by the personality traits and a sinful nature that they are born with.
- Some have the orientation toward addictive behavior, others’ sexually deviant things, others toward extreme anger, etc.
- We all have proclivities toward certain sins and what my issues of orientation are, are different than your orientation toward certain sins.
- For one it may be pornography
- For someone else is obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to not being able to stop playing video games.
- The truth is that someone who has a homosexual orientation is no different than anyone else’s orientation to other sins.
- It is dangerous to say “God made me this way, so its ok for me to pursue this.” No, it is not! We have the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to help us exhibit the fruit of the Spirit called self-control in areas we have a bent toward a certain sin.
- Homosexuality has destructiveconsequences as does all other sexual sin
- Paul’s dealing with an incestuous relationship among the believers in Corinth in I Corinthians 5. The man was not repentant about the family relationship he was destroying as well as the testimony of Christ and the church in Corinth
I Corinthians 5:9 - 13
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
- Homosexuality desire must be dealt with as any other desire to sin must be dealt with
James 1:14 – 15
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
- Temptation comes through desire.
- The next step is what are we going to do with that desire?
- If we act on it, that is when it becomes sin.
- Sin if not repented of and becomes a habit, it leads to extreme consequences and even separation from God for all of eternity if not repented of
- As men, we are tempted by our eyes to look on a woman lustfully and that is equal to adultery in Jesus estimation
- But if we don’t act on our lust, if we turn away from it and gain victory of it, it will not destroy us.
I Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
To flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness
- Some in the church of Corinth, Paul noted, overcame their temptations for sexual immorality by the power of the Holy Spirit transforming their lives.
2 Corinthians 6:9 - 11
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.
- The goal with God is NOT to make all homosexuals or people who have an orientation toward it to make them heterosexual but to not act on their desires in a sinful way. Jesus can transform those desires
Transition: Let’s talk about why same sex marriage, while legal is not God’s design for marriage.
God’s design for marriage
- Same sex marriage is a contradictionof God’s design for marriage
- We have said that several times in several ways through this message but I want to be clear on that.
- The same can be said for adultery, pre- marital sex, polygamy, pedophilia, incest, etc.
- The only design for marriage is one man, one woman for one lifetime
- He does allow for and forgive those who divorce for particular reasons but that is beyond the scope of this message.
- Divorced people are not second-class citizens in God’s view
- Sanctioned civil unions are not equal to holy matrimony
- Some in our culture would say that regardless of where you might stand morally, gay marriage should be endorsed as a fundamental civil right.
- Further, any pledge of love and commitment between two people can only be positive even if you one does not support the lifestyle
- The point is being missed here. Civil unions are what the government recognizes and holy matrimony is what God and the church recognizes
- Just because it is legal does not mean we can violate scripture and endorse it. It means the culture is going contrary to the word of God.
- If as a society, we want to equate civil unions with holy matrimony I cannot do that.
- Two choices – lower marriage to the level of civil unions or just a contract but that waters down the Bible definition of holy matrimony. You can’t do that
- Or you can elevate civil unions to the status of God’s view of marriage and say that fulfills God’s design but you cannot do that either.
- As Christians, we need to elevate the vision God has for marriage and call it a sacred covenant which is exactly what it is.
- Should Christians be opposed to same sex couples to have the right to have same sex marriages?
- That battle has been fought and lost by the church
- The Supreme Court has made that decree
- It is up to us to speak up now for the Biblical definition of what marriage is by God’s design and let the culture respond how it will respond as long as we do it in a respectful and loving way.
Transition: Which brings us to our application. Here are some very important things to think about and say in response to homosexuality, same sex marriage and the LBGTQ discussion in our culture and churches.
God’s desire for Christ followers in responding to this issue
- Acceptanceout love but not giving affirmation
- As I said at the beginning, we are to welcome them into our church
- Not to affirm them by membership or leadership positions
- But make them know that we are all broken sinners trying to find victory over the sin orientations we are all tempted with. Join us in the journey toward victory.
- Ableto share God’s design for marriage and sexual intimacy
- We need to be able to explain God’s perspective on this very important issue.
Quote: “If you will stand for the Bible’s clear teachings on sexuality and gender, you had better be ready to answer the same way over and over and over again. The question will come back again and again, in hopes that you have finally decided to “get on the right side of history.” Faithfulness requires consistency — that “long obedience in the same direction.” – Albert Mohler: The Agonizing Ordeal of Eugene Peterson — You Might Be Next, July 17, 2017
- Admit that all sin is equal in God’s sight
- Allow the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of those who do not follow God’s design
- Always remain faithful to God and His Word no matter what the culture may say
2 Timothy 4:1 - 5
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Transition: God will judge us on our faithfulness to His word and ministry and not how culture accepts us. Tough truth to hear but we must heed that call.
Key Thought: As humans, we should never endeavor to deviate from God’s perfect blueprint for sexuality and marriage.
Quote: “The chaos and confusion which are the inevitable products of the Sexual Revolution continue to expand and the challenges constantly proliferate. The LGBTQ+ revolution has long been the leading edge of the expanding chaos, and by now the genuinely revolutionary nature of the movement is fully apparent. The normalization of the behaviors and relationships and identities included (for now) in the LGBTQ+ spectrum will require nothing less than turning the world upside down.” – Albert Mohler - Torn Between Two Cultures? Revoice, LGBT Identity, and Biblical Christianity - August 2, 2018
Instead of questions this week to close, I want us to focus this week on the last point of application.
- We need to understand, love and engage with people who are searching through their sexual identity and their gender confusion who they are.
- We can point them to the place where if they receive Christ, they could understand who they are in Christ.
- If you know someone in these conditions, reach out and build a relationship with them in hopes of sharing God’s perspectives on marriage
- This is a great sermon for parents and grandparents to go to in order to help their children and grandchildren hear the truth from God’s Word to counter what the world is teaching and indoctrinating into them through the media and some of our schools.