FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH WAVERLY
Sunday, August 30, 2015
A Word from the Pastor - August 2015
Last month shortly after I wrote my last newsletter article, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled, in a 5 to 4 decision, that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. God speaks very clearly about such decisions in Romans 1:21-31. After giving a very clear explanation of the sin of homosexual relations, God condemns those who approve and institutionalize homosexuality. Though people know intuitively that homosexual acts are sin, “they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
My heart hurts for this country. My heart hurts for a system that completely ignores the will of the people. Tennessee, as well as some other states, have voted that marriage is between one man and one woman, just as the Bible indicates. Our courts do not care about the will of the people or God’s law. However, no matter what the people vote or the courts decide, God’s law will not be changed.
My heart hurts for those who are caught up in sexual sins (heterosexual extramarital affairs, those having sexual relations with their boyfriend or girlfriend, or homosexual relations). God created sexuality and has set the boundaries in which it is to be experienced with greatest satisfaction. His will is that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, and the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6–9). Any sexual relationship outside of these boundaries is outside of God’s will. Period.
My heart hurts because I can see the tidal wave of pain and emptiness that will come as a result of this court decision. Sin carries its own suffering. It separates us from the One who made us to live in a relationship with Himself. It creates emptiness and despair in our hearts. It deadens our soul. And on top of sin’s self-destructive power comes the wrath of God (Colossians 3:5-6). All Christians know what is coming because we have been there. We have tasted the rotten, bitter fruit of our own sin. However, we do not celebrate our sins or institutionalize them. We ask God to forgive us and turn to Jesus Christ “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).” Jesus died that our sin problem (a dead soul) and our sins might be resolved. The Bible reminds us that the blood of Jesus Christ washes away our sin (1 John 1:7) and we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In light of the changing face of our church, what should Christians do? First, we need to remember that the Lord alone is God, and we should have no other gods before Him (Ex. 20:2-3). This means that not the State, the Supreme Court, anybody, or anything is to serve as our god. Second, we must remember what the Bible commands us to do. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength,” and “love our neighbor as ourselves. ”(Mark 12:30–31) That means we are to love people, all people. All people are precious to God. We need to love those who are trying to find acceptance in our society, even if we cannot accept their lifestyle. The Bible reminds us that love is not the same as unconditional affirmation (James 5:19-20). “Love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
Of course, this stance towards loving the person but not loving his or her lifestyle is something this world will not tolerate. In such cases we need to remember that the Bible tells us disciples of Jesus will be hated as Jesus was hated (John 15:18-25; 2 Tim. 3:12). It will cost us to hold firm to the teachings of Scripture. The Bible says that when reviled we should not revile in return (1 Peter 2:21-25). We should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44).
In light of the changing times, it is imperative that we pray like never before! It is imperative that we live like those who have been brought from death to life, and it is imperative that we tell people about the forgiveness of sins found only in Christ.
Below is a link to Dr. Bray's new book, That the World May Know: M. Theron Rankin's Vision for the Globalization of the Gospel.