Know When to Say Know

April 7, 2017 at 11:35 am | Posted in I Corinthians | 2 Comments
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Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

I Corinthians 6:1

This was another problem in the Corinthian church. The Knows were taking their legal disputes before the Know-Nots instead of resolving them within the church. This is one of the ways in which we can tell that the letter from Paul to the Corinthians that we call “I Corinthians” was not an instance of Paul simply giving out general information. He was responding to specific situations in Corinth. His reasons for rebuking them remind us, that as Knows, we must:

I. Know our future

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

I Corinthians 6:2

If we know our future, we will know our privilege. In the regeneration the “saints” (the Knows) will “rule the world.” Having this tremendous privilege, how unworthy it seems of our calling not to be able to handle such relatively petty squabbles.

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

I Corinthians 6:3

There is some disagreement about the statement that we will “judge angels,” but this is probably referring to ruling over angels, rather than sitting in judgment over the condemnation of the demons. These are eternal responsibilities, but we must demonstrate that we know our responsibility here and now.

If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

I Corinthians 6:4

This may be a somewhat sarcastic statement, because Paul was not saying that those with the least honor ought to be given this responsibility. He was saying that, in light of their boasting over spiritual gifts (highlighted both earlier and later in the letter), even the least of them should be competent to handle earthly matters.

I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

I Corinthians 6:5

childish lawsuits

Paul was trying to make them feel ashamed of hurting their testimony in front of the Know-Nots (the lost world) around them. They were acting as petty as the world acts, when they were supposed to be the ones with the true wisdom. Such behavior was the opposite of glorifying God – it brought shame to His name.

But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

I Corinthians 6:6-7

The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to use the term “utterly” because this was a clear, without-out-a-doubt, extreme fault. It would be better for them to give up their legal rights and to lose worldly possessions and prestige, than to drag their bickering and evidence of their lack of love out before the sight of those who ought to be impressed with Christians because of how different from this world’s system their attitudes are.

Knows, in addition to knowing our future, ought to:

II. Know our past

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

I Corinthians 6:9

The “unrighteous” is a reference to the behavior listed in the preceding verses on lawsuits. The Knows were appealing to an unjust “justice” system and unjust judges by going before the heathen courts. It is also a reference to their own pre-Christian behavior, delineated in the latter part of the verse, which was “unrighteous” in the sense that it is the type of behavior which you would expect to see practiced by the those who are “unjustified,” theologically speaking. These sins prohibit anyone who commits them from inheriting the Kingdom of God unless the guilty sinners are justified by the receipt of a substituted alien righteousness.

As an aside, note that homosexual activity is explicitly condemned in this verse, both the “effeminate” (the person playing the role of the “woman” in a homosexual relationship) and “abusers of themselves with mankind” (the person playing the role of the “man” in a homosexual relationship).

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

I Corinthians 6:10

“Extortioners” included swindlers and coercers by intimidation or influence, as well as by force.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

I Corinthians 6:11

The Corinthians believers had been “washed” (regenerated), “sanctified” (set apart for God’s use and identification), and “justified” (forensically declared righteous).

Knows know their past. They know who they were and who they are; they do not kid themselves. They are new creatures with their sins forgiven, no longer condemned by their past deeds, but they are allowed to remember where they were without God, how that was working out for them, and where they were headed before He rescued them. These verses remind true believers of what kind of behavior they should not be doing. In fact, they should hate the sins listed in these verses both when they are tempted to engage in them, and when they stumble and find themselves involved in them again, as they are convicted and chastened by the Holy Spirit. This means that we have legitimate grounds for being suspicious about the sincerity of the professions of those who practice these delineated sinful behaviors without repentance.

III. Know our present

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

I Corinthians 6:12

This indicates that the doctrine of Christian liberty was also an issue in Corinth, or that, possibly, someone had asked a specific question about it. “All things” is an expression referring to non-sinful things. Paul was free in Christ from trying to work for his righteousness, but there were many things which were not at all helpful, convenient, or profitable for him in his walk with Christ, and it is the same for us – especially those things which prove to be addictive or have a propensity to be addictive.

Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

I Corinthians 6:13

“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats” was probably intended as mockery of one of the Corinthians’ common expressions as they used their “freedom” as an excuse for gluttony or hedonism. So, while it is true that food is given by God to feed the body (meats for the belly), and that He has designed our bodies not only to incorporate and use food, but to enjoy food (the belly for meats), it is likewise true that the human body was never intended by God to be used in the worship of any created thing (such as food). In fact, our bodies have both temporal and eternal purposes, so that, while we have some freedom to experience pleasure with them, they must never be used as tools or instruments of sin. See the distinction between flesh-body (“belly”) and the sanctified body (“body”). The Apostle was criticizing and condemning their faulty logic: “If eating is okay, and if eating feels good to the body, then fornication, which also feels good to the body, is likewise permissible.” He reminded them that:

And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

I Corinthians 6:14

God has both temporal and eternal plans and uses for the body. We will receive glorified bodies, but they will be resurrected bodies, so they will be “our” bodies – the same ones we dragged through the physical trials, and, sadly, sins of this world. The Knows must know the present – the present importance of how we are living and how we are using our bodies. We are joined together as the body of Christ – not only with each other – but with Christ Himself.

Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

I Corinthians 6:15

When we join our bodies with other human beings in sinful sexual unions we are, in a sense, bringing part of Christ Himself into this union. This is a horrendous, defiling, blasphemous, sacrilegious abomination before God. “God forbid” is the strongest rebuke and warning – it is like saying this must never happen.

Continuing in that vein of outrage or at least righteous indignation, Paul says:

What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

I Corinthians 6:16

Physical intercourse does not make a marriage, although this is sometimes erroneously taught, but it is true that the physical sexual union is only proper within the “one-flesh” joining-together by God in actual marriage.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

I Corinthians 6:18

“Flee fornication” describes a desperate flight of avoidance or separation. Sexual sin is a special category of sin in which the sinner sins against God, against one of God’s image-bearers, and even against himself – his own body.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I Corinthians 6:19-20

We have been purchased – by an Owner and for a purpose. We do not “belong to ourselves.” This is a reminder that our bodies must be clean (kept from defilement as typified by the Old Testament Tabernacle and Temple), and must be viewed, in a sense, as the place where God lives as Owner and Ruler. My body is where God is to be served – not where I am to be served. I must not connect it to a pagan temple. I must not let pagans enter in and defile it with sin. The consequences are harsh – God does not lightly allow His temple be defiled with unholiness.

Authority vs. Empathy

October 26, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Q&A, Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 1 Comment
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Question: People always use that same Bible verse when saying homosexuality is a sin. Is that the only place that addresses the topic? What is the context of it? Having memorized the 10 Commandments in Catholic school, I know they don’t address homosexuality. I don’t think homosexuality should be called sinful because I empathize with people who aren’t hurting anyone. I understand that for a gay man the thought of being with a woman is disgusting, and that, for him, being with a man feels normal. So what should a gay person do? And when gay people fall in love and have sex what do you think will happen to them?

Response: You say: “People always use that same Bible verse when saying homosexuality is a sin.” I’m not sure what people you’re referring to who always use the same verse. There tends to be a big difference between real-life face-to-face discussion and internet polemics, but I’m assuming you mean Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. I’m only assuming that because you listed some of the other things that Leviticus elsewhere prohibits, which have to do with clothing and unclean foods and tattoos and beard-grooming and so forth. As I stated before, dietary, grooming, clothing, and things having to do with hygiene and tabernacle worship were specific as to time and place and location. The moral laws – against things like lying and stealing and cheating and adultery and fornication (including homosexual activity) and bestiality and incest and dishonoring your parents and murder – were of a different nature, and are reiterated as being sinful in the New Testament. Romans 1:20-32 are especially graphic and clear on this topic, along with I Corinthians 6:9-10. Anyway, those are some, but not all, of the passages that address the topic – which was one of your questions – so I hope that helps. But I can elaborate more if you’d like.

You say: “Having memorized the 10 Commandments in Catholic school, I know they don’t address homosexuality.” Actually the 7th Commandment (prohibiting adultery) does. The Bible’s definition of adultery would include having sex with anyone outside of your own marriage, and the Bible’s definition of marriage is what people are now calling “traditional marriage.” In other words, people of opposite genders – you know, male husband and female wife (readers are free to hurl epithets such as bigot and Bible-thumper at me for saying that, but that is what the Bible teaches). Your Catholic school teachers – sorry to be critical of them when they’re not here to defend themselves – may have taught the 10 Commandments merely as a list of rules to follow, which is a common mistake, rather than as a mirror in which we can look and see how truly wicked we are, despite our smug feelings about our own goodness, so that we can then humble ourselves before our kind and loving Maker and admit we need His Son. And that is a great segue into another one of your questions!

You say: “So what should a gay person do? And when gay people fall in love and have sex what do you think will happen to them?” That question is begging me to be all “preachy,” which people typically can’t stand, especially when I’m not in their shoes, but, since you asked, I’ll tell what the Bible says about it. A gay person who truly repents and trusts and receives the Savior, is “born again” (John 3:3-7). The Bible describes this in different ways. It means an “ontological” change – a change in the essence of who you are on the inside. You get a new “heart” (Ezekiel 36:26). It makes you a “new creature” (II Corinthians 5:17). You no longer love sin more than God. The sinful stuff you used to love, you begin to hate. You still struggle with desires and sinful tendencies but now God’s Spirit will live in you, and will remind you of the love of Jesus who shed His blood for your soul, and you will want to please Him more than satisfy those desires and tendencies, and they will be replaced by new passions. Some people fake it for money or parental approval or whatever, but Jesus – the only One ever to get up from the dead by His Own power – certainly has the power to transform a kleptomaniac, a heroin addict, a compulsive liar, a prideful jerk, a Satan-worshiper, a womanizing sleazebag, a person who likes to have gay sex, someone who self-righteously thinks he’s a good person – even IRS agents, lawyers, and those awful Westboro fake-Baptists!

One more thing. You say: “I empathize with people who aren’t hurting anyone.” I think by this you mean that your own personal moral compass points to murderers and thieves as being “bad” because their sins hurt others, but that gay people aren’t hurting anyone by having gay sex, so your personal moral compass departs from God’s right around that point? Tell me if I’m wrong, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I hear that line of thinking a lot. It sounds good – except: all sinners – all those who break God’s moral laws – are hurting someone. They are hurting the very God who is causing their hearts to beat, Who gave them life, Who is giving us air and food and water and children and families and friends and jobs and homes and brains that could be used to glorify Him rather than defy Him, and Who proved His love by giving up His Son for the people who hated Him. I know it sounds mean, and I know that few people will want to hear it, but no one has ever been kinder to us than Jesus. If He forbids us some things, even if we don’t fully understand why, and if He promises to change us so that we don’t want those things any more anyway, and if He’s really in charge of eternity – which He demonstrated by rising from the grave – then it is perfectly reasonable and right to do what He says.

Bible Verses Don’t Always Feel Good

October 1, 2015 at 11:44 am | Posted in Q&A, Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | Leave a comment
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Question: Why would you throw Bible verses at gay people? It doesn’t feel good to be accused of something you can’t help. You need to research how many “ex-gay Christians” struggled to be heterosexual, but then returned to a gay lifestyle because that’s who they really are.

Response: If you want to state that the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual practices must be wrong because some professing Christians are hypocritical, or because it just doesn’t feel good to hear the Bible verses that you don’t happen to like “thrown at you,” then I would like to point out that such an opinion makes no logical sense. The existence of hypocritical professing Christians doesn’t change the truthfulness of the Bible any more than the hypocrisy of some gay people changes the fact that gay people do exist. And as far as our “feelings” being the barometer for truth, think about it this way: It never “feels right” to your toddler when you tell her that she can’t have as much candy as she wants, but, let’s face it, the occasional denial of candy-all-the-time is good – objectively good – for a toddler, despite her strong feelings. In other words, nobody likes being told what to do when we are told we can’t have something we want really badly, or when it’s something we feel like we have to do, or something that we think we were born to do. We live in a culture deeply affected by what is known as “postmodernism” and it has become very common for people to horribly confuse “preferences” with “truth.” However, there is such a thing as absolute truth. If you love someone who is in danger, you warn him or her of the danger. If you don’t really care for the person, you just let him do what he wants, or, worse, encourage and celebrate his “right” to do it.

Yeah, but You Let Women Talk in Church!

September 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 4 Comments
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Here’s one of the most common attempts to silence Christians who speak out against gay fake-marriage on the grounds that it is condemned in the Bible: “Oh, so you’re against gay marriage because the Bible says so? Doesn’t that book also say you can’t eat pork or wear clothes that have a blend of fabric. Doesn’t it say that women can’t braid their hair or wear gold or pearls or expensive clothes? Isn’t there something about not rounding off your beard? Doesn’t it say you can’t eat shellfish? And don’t you go to church with women? Are they allowed to speak? Why are you picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to follow?”

In response, let’s put aside for now the logical fallacy implied by the questions, because, obviously, if the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, and that homosexual marriage is a nonsense term describing a sinful relationship, then it is irrelevant how Christians are deciding to enforce or follow or obey selective parts of the Bible. If it really was sinful for my wife to braid her hair, but she did it anyway, that would not change God’s verdict on homosexuality one iota. Instead, though, let me deal with the false understanding of hermeneutics and Biblical application that underlies these “gotcha” questions so often posed by those who hate hearing that the Bible condemns homosexuality.

First of all, yes, my wife does speak in church, and quite often! What she doesn’t do is usurp the authority of the men who are ordained as Bible teachers and pastors in our church, which is what is being prohibited in the full-context reading of I Timothy Chapter 2. If you somehow think that the Bible condemns homosexuality in the same way it condemns eating crawfish or wearing poly-cotton blends, then you are making an error common in amateurish and disingenuous attempts to discredit the Bible. The Old Testament dietary, ceremonial, and many of the covenantal laws were for the Jewish people at a specific time and place. They are no longer binding on New Testament Christians, as the Bible itself makes clear (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23–25; Ephesians 2:15). God’s moral laws, however (such as the Ten Commandments), are different. They are for all people at all times and places.

If you actually looked up I Timothy Chapter 2 to read about how women, in certain circumstances, are commanded to be silent in church, then I wish you would back up one chapter and read I Timothy Chapter 1, especially verses 14-17. “Chief of sinners” was how the Apostle Paul described himself, but it is also a good description of me and of you and of everyone who reads this. Because of our sin – our lying, our pride, our hypocrisy, our thievery, our disobedience toward our parents, our blasphemy, our idolatry, our coveting, our adultery, our fornication, our hypocrisy, our failure to love the God Who gives us the air we breathe with our whole heart – because of those sins and many more – we need the one and only Savior there is: the Lord Jesus Christ – so that we can be forgiven. What a shame it would be to go through this life rejecting Him because of some hypocrites who brought shame to His name, or because He loved us enough to tell us the truth about our sin.

Show Me Where

August 24, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | Leave a comment
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Are you a Christian who was outspoken in your opposition to the government’s and the Supreme Court’s celebration and legalization of gay fake-marriage? If you were, and if your circle of friends and acquaintances and co-workers is much bigger than 10, then I would be surprised if you haven’t encountered all sorts of nonsensical, irrational, just plain lame, and downright dumb arguments trying to point out just how wrong you are.

I saw this one recently: “Oh it says gay marriage is a sin in the Bible? Wonderful, now show me where it says so in the Constitution.”

Clever, huh? Whoever made that one up probably sat back smugly and thought, “Ha! Now I’ve got those Christian bigots! Let’s see them get around this one!”

Okay, I’ll give it a try. First, the Bible doesn’t mention the term “gay marriage.” That’s because marriage is specifically defined as a union and a covenant between people of different genders. It is definitionally impossible for two people of the same gender to be “married.” However, it does state plainly that all homosexual activity and thoughts are sinful. And, no, the Constitution doesn’t specifically talk about homosexuality or gay fake-marriage, but the Constitution omits a long and varied list of things that are wrong. The Constitution doesn’t mention shin-kicking or purse-snatching or playing Yahtzee in the middle of the interstate. The first two of those are really bad, and the third is really dumb and dangerous, but the Constitution is just not that kind of document.

The place you go to determine the “right-or-wrongness” of things having to do with marriage and sexual sin is the Bible. And, remember, since the Bible is the Word of God, it would trump the Constitution even if the Constitution condoned gay fake-marriage.

Stop Hating Homosexuals

July 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Posted in Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 2 Comments
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If you are doing one of the following, there is no denying it, you hate gay people:

-using a rainbow to show your support of gay mirage
-hashtagging #LoveWins to show your support of gay mirage
-teaching your kids that it’s okay, or even a good thing, to be a homosexual
-openly celebrating a court decision announced in a legal opinion that was so illogical, absurd, poorly written, and blatantly hypocritical that it would have earned an F-minus on any of my law school exams, and would have probably lead to expulsion on the grounds of general incompetence and stupdity

So, if you are rainbowing, love-wins-ing, or celebrating homosexual sin and the attempt to change the meaning of the word “marriage,” just stop it. You are being mean and hateful. And if you are inclined at this point to call me a “bigot,” a “bad person,” or (my favorite) a “buffoon,” then you are being intolerant and judgmental, and you need to stop that, too.

Because the most hateful thing you can do to a group of people who are proud of their sin is to encourage them to sin more. The absolute worst, diabolical, evil thing you can do to homosexuals is to hide the truth from them, when the lies they are pretending to believe are destroying them.

If you really want to love homosexuals, tell them the truth about sin:

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Jude v. 7

When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:

Psalm 92:7

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:15

People don’t like the truth when it makes them unpopular or when it makes them feel bad, but telling the truth is the most loving thing you can do. A toddler might be having a fine old time with a container of rat poison, and might wail like a banshee when you take it away. It certainly won’t seem loving or kind or tolerant. But it will save his life. A warning sign in the middle of the highway that says “Bridge Out Ahead” is certainly inconvenient. It might add hours to your trip and make you mad and frustrated, but, when you pause to think of the consequences of ignoring it, you should be very grateful someone took the time to put it there. The U.S. court that everyone calls “supreme” has already proven itself to be an instrument of death and destruction. They have authorized the brutal murders of thousands of babies every day, as long as they are murdered just inside of, instead of just outside of, their mothers’ wombs. Now they have turned their callous hatred toward homosexuals by giving them a legal covering for their deadly and destructive behavior. It’s an old tactic. Adam and Eve tried to do it with fig leaves, but God wasn’t fooled. He killed an animal and covered their shame so that they would always remember that they needed the Truth of a bloody sacrifice to pay for their sins. This was a type of Jesus Christ Who Himself is the perfect reality of that bloody sacrifice. It you really want to love homosexuals, exhort and command them to repent and surrender to Jesus.

What Kind of a Friend Are You?

April 4, 2013 at 10:27 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 3 Comments
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Here we go again. Another well-intentioned burst of drivel has been making the rounds on Facebook. And, once again, there is no surprise that the average person would find a statement like this to be perfectly wonderful. But a professing Christian? Someone who actually claims to believe the Bible? As they say on Monday Night Football: C’mon, man!!”

I don’t care what you earn, where you live, what you drive, whether you’re gay or straight, fat or thin, tall or short, beautiful or average, rich or poor, smart or not. If you’re my friend, you’re my friend – I accept you for who you are and that’s ALL that matters.

Christian Facebook Fail

There is a classic logical fallacy known as a “category mistake.” Or, as they used to call it on Sesame Street back when I was in preschool: “Which one of these is not like the others?” You know the one: They show you three farm animals and a vine-ripened tomato, and you put down your cup of grape juice, hitch up your underoos, point at the TV screen and shout, “Tomato!” Or they put the number 4 into a group of letters: A,L,Q,4. You clap your hands, somersault out of your blankie, and proclaim, “Hey, you can’t fool me. Get that numeral outta there!” Easy enough, right? So, let’s play the game with the above statement, shall we?

The idea of the quote is that “if you’re my friend, you’re my friend.” When you click “share” or post it to your wall, it’s your way of bragging to the world what a loyal, non-judgmental friend you are. Now, let’s stand it beside the Bible and see how it measures up.

“I don’t care what you earn, where you live, what you drive.” Does Jesus want me to base my loyalty on the robustness of my friends’ bank accounts, how prestigious a neighborhood they live in, or how expensive their car is? Nope. See James 2:2-5. So far, so good.

“I don’t care whether you’re fat or thin, tall or short, beautiful or average, smart or not.” How about this one? Does the Bible support discriminating against people in an unkind way based on their physical appearance or their IQ? Certainly not. See I Corinthians 4:7 and Galatians 3:28. Again, nothing to see here, move along folks. Just a harmless quote about how we should treat our friends kindly despite our circumstantial differences. After all, the Bible says that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).

But hold on a minute, I left one out, didn’t I? Remember, we’re trying to spot the category mistake. The “one that’s not like the others.”

“I don’t care whether you’re gay or straight.” Ah-ha, you found it! Maybe it took a little while, but we’re talking about “Christians” posting this on their Facebook page, remember? Christians? Those people that believe that Jesus died to pay the price for their SINS? See, social standing, wealth, height, and home- and car-ownership are not sinful. Identifying yourself as “gay” is. So for me to have a friend who is “gay,” and for me to then say, “I accept you for who you are and that’s ALL that matters,” is completely unbiblical – not to mention cruel and unloving – and certainly nothing to be proud of. Because if I am truly your friend, then what matters most to me is your relationship with God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, I want you to know what the Bible says, and I want to tell you, in a kind but serious way, that Jesus paid the price so that we can be set free from our selfish, sinful desires. I want to lovingly expose the deadly lie that we should proudly identify ourselves with our sin, and seek to be accepted and approved in it. Christians are not supposed to just “have friends” or even “accept their friends.” We are supposed to love our friends. Real love deals in honesty.

Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:5-6

Born Which Way?

February 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments
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If you claim to be a Christian, how do you answer this question: “Are some people born gay?” Shockingly, more and more professing Christians these days are starting to answer that question in the affirmative. How can this be? Here are some of the foolish reasons that I have heard professing Christians use to support the belief that some people are born to be homosexuals:

1. “I have a gay brother/sister/cousin/parent/child/close friend/loved one/family member, etc., and I know this person really well, and he/she is a good person, and I can promise you, he/she did not ‘CHOOSE’ to be gay.”
2. “Gay people are persecuted and ridiculed and bullied into committing suicide. Why in the world would anyone ‘CHOOSE’ to be gay?!”
3. “People like Ellen and Elton and Rosie and [insert famous gay-celebrity-of-the-week here] are all gay and they are really brave and stand up for what they believe and they give lots of money to good causes and they are very famous and talented, so if they say they – and others – are born gay, they have to be right.”

Now, these statements are indicative of the type of unbiblical, irrational thinking you would expect from non-Christians. But, if you are a Christian, presumably you believe the Bible is right even if it contradicts the opinions of the people you love or the really popular famous people or even your own “common sense” ideas. So, at the risk of sounding like an old-fashioned, draconian fundamentalist, let’s actually look at what the Bible – God’s perfect, inerrant, infallible, inspired Word – has to say about homosexuality and those who practice it:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Leviticus 18:22

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 20:13

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

I Corinthians 6:9, emphasis added

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Romans 1:26-27

Wow. I suppose God could place a stamp on the forehead of every child who comes forth out of his or her mother’s womb that says, “I was not created by God to be a homosexual.” But I don’t think even that would be as clear as the Verses cited above. God considers all human sexual relations – except for those between a male husband and female wife within their own marriage – to be sinful. Sexual relations outside of a real God-recognized marriage are called adultery and fornication. He considers sexual relations between people of the same gender to be sinful abominations. He created marriage and He defined it. There is no such thing as “same-sex marriage.” He hates the sin of homosexuality. God cannot sin. He is not the author of sin. He has never made a human being who can or could legitimately blame God for “making” him or her a homosexual. It’s just that clear.

I am aware that there have been some people recently in the professing Christian church who would try to twist the Scriptures and claim that God is not clear about homosexuality, but you don’t have to “interpret” those Verses to get the point. You just have to read them. Any argument that says that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality is what the theologian R.C. Sproul calls “an exegesis of desperation.” It is disingenuous and it is not rational.

As human beings we have inherited a sinful nature from our forefather, Adam – the first man to sin against God (Romans 5:12). Therefore, we have a predisposition to sin – each and every one of us. So from our first moments of willful consciousness we begin doing things like lying and stealing and being greedy and being disobedient and being selfish. And some people go on to be things like extortioners and kidnappers and child molesters and arsonists and murderers and rapists and practitioners of homosexuality. In that sense only can anyone be said to have been “born gay.”

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 51:5

We are born with a predisposition to sin, but we “choose” every sin we commit, just like the gay person “chooses” to commit or fantasize about acts of homosexuality. It’s not an “alternative lifestyle.” It’s not a “celebration of diversity.” It’s not a “right.” It’s a choice and it’s a sin. Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for those who commit it and other sins. You can be forgiven for it and set free from it, if you repent and trust in Him, believing the Gospel.

If you are a Christian, you are not doing anyone a favor by “supporting” a gay celebrity or trying to justify the sin of homosexuality. If you love gay people – and all Christians are commanded to love gay people and all sinners – then you must tell the Truth. Lying to sinners about their sin is one of the worst kinds of hatred.

I realize that you may not be used to this type of plain speaking. It probably sounds “intolerant” to you. But if you believe that some people are “born gay,” then you have no logical grounds for being critical of my intolerance. After all, if our genetic make-up is to blame for our sin, then why couldn’t Jeffrey Dahmer have been “born a serial killer?” Why couldn’t Hitler have been “born a mass murderer?” Why couldn’t Bin Laden have been “born a terrorist?” And how do you know that I wasn’t “born intolerant of gay people?” If you’re tempted to excuse or support sin, at least try to be consistent. But if we claim to be Christians, we are far better off getting our opinions from God than from a daytime TV talk-show host.

God’s Reason for His Delivery

August 26, 2010 at 9:57 am | Posted in Romans | 5 Comments
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The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans was written around A.D. 56. “A.D.” means anno domini, Latin for “in the year of the Lord.” What we now know as the Book of Romans was written in Corinth and sent to Rome from there by Phebe.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Romans 1:1

Paul was a voluntary slave to Christ. All slaves serve their masters, but many slaves do not love their masters and question their orders. Paul served Christ willingly, and did not question His instructions.

The part of the Bible which is its main theme, and which we must not, as believers, get wrong, is the Gospel. It is the Gospel of God and of the whole Bible. Most people think of the “Gospels” as the first four books of the New Testament, but it is much more than that.

The Holy Spirit through Paul refers right away to the holy Scriptures – opening the Word of God.

By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Romans 1:5

Paul had a mission. He was sent with grace and a special calling. With these gifts came his obedience to go to all “nations” (Gentiles). What do we have that we can honor God with? Our obedience.

Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

Romans 1:6

The Holy Spirit had Paul remind other believers that they were appointed – given a special commission. Let’s not waste time waiting around to receive our special “anointing.” God can find me wherever I am. I need to be busy taking the Gospel everywhere and reminding others to do the same, unless and until God leads me into some very specialized ministry. The “body” starts off as just one small cell. It gets more specialized as it develops. God is really the One Who owns “my” time.

In Romans 1:8-15, Paul expresses his love for the other Christians.

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

Romans 1:13-14

He freely told them he was in debt to them – but also to many others. I need to remember that I owe a debt to God I can never repay. What if you discovered a cure for cancer? Would you anxiously start telling everyone, or would you keep it to yourself? When God revealed His Gospel to you by His Spirit, you discovered something far greater than the cure for cancer.

In verse 17, Paul begins to preach:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:17

This is the main theme of Romans Chapter 1, and, again, Paul preaches straight from the Word of God:

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Habakkuk 2:4

He now begins to explain where the Gentiles went wrong in relation to sin, and he shows that all are guilty before a holy God.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Romans 1:18-19

Unbelievers “hold” the truth, but do not allow it to have any effect in their lives. Sadly, the areas where sinful man first went wrong are the areas where we go just as wrong today.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Romans 1:26-27

I believe the King James version, cited above, is the best translation of these verses, which clearly condemn homosexual acts, but there are many modern Bible scholars who are trying to prove from the New Testament that the original languages didn’t condemn homosexual behavior. However, even in today’s liberal and disbelieving climate, there are still scholars who believe that the Bible passages on this topic are even more clear and more graphic than most fundamentalists believe. From Robert Jewett’s 2007 Romans commentary, here is his version of Romans 1:26-27: “For this reason, God delivered them to the desires of their hearts for passions of dishonor, for their females exchanged the natural use for the unnatural, and likewise also the males, after they abandoned the natural use with females, were inflamed with their lust for one another, males who work up their shameful member in other males, and receive back for their deception the recompense that is tightness in themselves.”

Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Romans 1:31

The Holy Spirit through Paul is speaking of people whose affections, desire, love, and “knowledge” were so far from God that He gave them over to a reprobate mind.

And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Genesis 6:3

A reprobate mind is what happens when God’s Spirit is so grieved that He no longer strives with someone. Let us pray for the unbelievers we know that their hearts would not be hardened.

Getting a Lot Out of the World

February 15, 2010 at 10:55 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Genesis | 10 Comments
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In Genesis Chapter 12 God calls Abram.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1

God tells Abram, “Vaya con Dios,” go with God. When you “go” with God, you leave behind the world. Attempts to bring a part of the world along with you will cause trouble. I have heard stories about missionaries who bring someone not called by God to go along on a mission trip, and they say it does not work out well.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1, emphasis added

So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Genesis 12:4, emphasis added

I wonder if Abram considered Lot’s coming with him as a training opportunity. If so, he learned the danger of disobedience even if your motives are right. Lot was Abram’s nephew, but consider what Jesus said about family.

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26-27

Abraham is considered to be the father of faith, but he did not pass every test of faith. When there was a famine in the land, Abraham went down into Egypt.

And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

Genesis 12:10, emphasis added

In Scripture, Egypt is a picture of the world – what we call “culture” or “society” – but which is really a system which operates apart from the will and the Word of God. When you go into the world, you are going “down” spiritually. We might say, in a sense, that this was when Abraham “put a Lot into the world.” Abraham had problems in Egypt, because, the Bible tells us, he was a friend of God. Egypt is where Lot learned to be a friend of the world. Abraham had trouble in the world because he was friend of God. Lot had trouble following God because he was a friend of the world. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4

Lot came out of Egypt physically, but his heart never came out. He never forgot the lessons he learned there: the coveting of the pleasures and the material things of the world. Abraham – at least for brief period – was able to “get a Lot out of the world,” but he was not able to get the world out of Lot. Be careful about letting the world get into you. Be careful about leading your friends, your brothers and sisters, your children, into the world. Remember, if you’re trying to get a brother out of the world – only Christ can get the world out of him.

The worldly heart attitude of Lot revealed itself in his actions. He desired the world in his heart, so he began to behave like a worldly person.

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

Genesis 13:7

Still, Abraham, striving to “get a Lot out of the world” – out of his worldly ways – showed love to Lot.

And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

Genesis 13:8

Abraham knew that the neighbors were watching. The Canaanites and the Perizzites who live around your local church are watching. When “brethren” fight it gives them a bad opinion of God. There are some things that even brethren have to divide over. When it comes to your family, Dad – when it comes to your wife, husband – these things aren’t up for compromise. You are answerable to God alone for their provision and their protection. But in issues that are not matters of Bible doctrine or of spiritual significance we should try to have the attitude of Abraham toward Lot: Let’s don’t fight; we be brethren; you choose first; in love preferring one another.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Romans 12:10

But when Abram let Lot choose, we see the proof that he never got the world out of his heart.

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

Genesis 13:11

East was away from “Bethel” (house of God), and toward “Hai” (ruins). Should Lot have pitched his tent toward Sodom? The plain was well-watered over there – it made sense from a worldly viewpoint. But what about from a heavenly viewpoint? We can see that Lot’s worldly way of thinking may have given him an excuse, but look at what God says about the people of Sodom:

But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Genesis 13:13

We say that, before a holy God, sin is sin, but there was something about the sin of the men of Sodom that made them not just “sinners,” but “wicked.” And not just wicked sinners, but sinners “exceedingly.” This was no place for a man who is following God, but it was a very attractive place to a man like Lot – a man overtaken by worldly desires.

You are probably familiar with what happened to Lot. He wound up going from lifting up his eyes and looking toward Sodom – to lifting up his feet and moving toward Sodom – to lifting his family right inside the city walls, making a name for himself and living right in the gates of the city with the other worldly big-shots. But God – maybe out of love for Abraham – maybe out of mercy on Lot – maybe both – wanted Lot out of the world. So He allowed a war to happen, and many of the people of Sodom were captured, and Lot was with them, and he was taken away prisoner.

Abraham, the friend of God, loving his brother, Lot, and wanting to “get a Lot out of the world,” went into action. There are a couple of interesting things to note in Abraham’s rescue of Lot, because some of us have “put a Lot into the world.” More of us “know a Lot in the world.” These people are our brothers – and we want to get them out of the world.

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

Genesis 14:14, emphasis added

First, Abram’s servants, called out on a moment’s notice, had already been trained for battle. Do you have trusted friends in Christ that have been trained in battle? Our weapons are not carnal (fleshly). They are spiritual, but they are still weapons and we are still in a battle. Are you training anyone for battle? Have you yourself been trained for battle?

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

II Corinthians 10:3-6

Verse 4 presupposes that you know how to use a weapon – that you have been trained. The “readiness” in Verse 6 means a preparedness, a time of training.

Every believer ought to participate in discipleship training. This means sacrifice, not just a time of fellowship. There needs to be memorization. There needs to be straight talk about a new level of commitment to God’s Word. And there needs to be training.

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

Genesis 14:14, emphasis added

First, they were trained. Second, they were born in his own house. When you want to “get a Lot out of the world” – you are going to be tempted to use worldly programs – or earthly family members – but your first call should be to someone who has been born (“born again”) into the family of God.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

I John 5:4


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