Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Moral Issues Confronting Christians: Homosexuality

by Unknown
  1.  Homosexuality as an acceptable, alternative lifestyle has become more prevalent...
    1. Equal rights are being granted to practice and promote the lifestyle
    2. There are now gay churches, even gay priests and ministers in mainstream denominations
    3. Cities and vacation resorts often cater to open display of homosexual behavior
  2. It is certainly a moral issue that confronts many Christians today...
    1. Some question whether it is wrong
    2. Others react in ways unbecoming a Christian
(As with any moral issue, we must look to the Word of God. And so we start by asking...)
  1. What Does the Bible Say?
    1. In the Patriarchal Age...
      1. Homosexuality led to the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah
        1. The people were guilty of a "grace sin" — Gen 18:20
        2. The men of the city, young and old, were involved — Gen 19:4-5
        3. They are later described as "given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh" — Jude 7
      2. Does not Ezekiel say their sin was lack of hospitality?
        1. So say some, based on Eze 16:49
        2. Sodom in Ezekiel 16 is Ammon and Moab, the offshoots from Sodom — JFB
        3. Sodom in Genesis had ceased to exist nearly 1500 years before!
      -- Homosexual conduct was a grave sin in the days of the patriarchs
    2. In the Mosaic Age...
      1. The Law of Moses made it a capital crime
        1. It was an abomination, together with bestiality — Lev 18:22-23
        2. It was a reason the other nations were driven out — Lev 18:24-25
        3. The Israelites were warned the same could happen to them — Lev 18:26-30
        4. It was a sin punishable by death — Lev 20:13
      2. Remember, Jesus lived under the Law of Moses
        1. It did not end until His death on the cross — Col 2:14
        2. While in force, Jesus taught strict observance of the Law — Mt 5:17-19
        3. Thus Jesus approved of what the Law taught about homosexuality
      -- Homosexual conduct was a capital crime under the Law of Moses
    3. In the Christian Age...
      1. As written to the Christians in Rome — Ro 1:24-27
        1. Lesbianism and homosexuality both described as "vile passions"
        2. The former is "against nature," the later is "shameful"
        3. Men receiving in themselves the penalty of their error (e.g., AIDS?)
      2. As written to the church in Corinth — 1Co 6:9-10
        1. Included in a list of sins preventing one from inheriting the kingdom of God
        2. Paul uses two terms that describe homosexual conduct
          1. malakos — the passive male partner in homosexual intercourse — Louw & Nida
          2. arsenokoites — a male partner, possibly the active one — ibid.
      3. As written to the evangelist Timothy — 1Ti 1:9-11
        1. Paul again uses the term arsenokoites (men who practice homosexuality, ESV)
        2. In a list of sins that are "contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel"
      -- Homosexual conduct is contrary to the sound doctrine of the gospel of Christ
[The Bible is clear: throughout every dispensation, homosexual conduct like other forms of sexual immorality is clearly condemned. Yet many believe that God made them homosexual. Is that true...?]
  1. What Causes Homosexuality?
    1. Nature or Nurture...
      1. Is homosexuality the result of one's genetics (nature)?
        1. Many say "God made me this way"
          1. There has been no definitive study proving homosexuality is genetic
          2. News stories often fail to mention the bias of those conducting the studies
        2. If God gave a person reproductive organs...
          1. He made them physically for heterosexual relationships
          2. Homosexual tendencies thus imply psychological issues, not physical ones
      2. A study of identical twins proves that genetics alone do not account for gender preference
        1. Dr. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University examined 110 pairs of identical twins who had been separated at birth and raised in different environments
        2. He found that if one twin was gay there was a 52% chance the other was also
        3. Note well: identical twins are genetically alike
          1. If homosexuality was genetic, they would have the same gender preference
          2. That 48% were not gay confirms genetics alone does not cause homosexuality
      -- Nature alone does not explain homosexuality
    2. Simple or Complex...
      1. If homosexuality is not solely nature, is it solely nurture?
        1. Many assume it is solely environmental (nurture)
        2. Or that it is a simple choice of one's behavior
      2. The evidence suggests a complex combination of factors
        1. Some genetic factors, for example:
          1. A melancholy temperament is often a common factor
          2. In which one may be more predisposed to homosexuality
          3. Just as other temperaments make some more prone to anger or alcoholism
        2. Some environmental factors, for example:
          1. Lack of healthy parental relationships (absent father, smother mother)
          2. Early exposure to improper sexual activity, especially when one is insecure about their sexual identity
        3. The genetic and environmental factors can often be quite diverse
          1. Leading to various expressions of homosexuality (active, passive)
          2. Nor do they always lead to homosexual tendency or behavior
      -- Nurture alone may not explain homosexuality
[Sinful behavior is not always a simple choice, especially once one becomes enslaved to sin (cf. Jn 8:34). We who understand sin's power should certainly be sympathetic toward others. So let us ask...]
  1. What Is A Christian Response?
    1. To Share the Truth of the Gospel...
      1. We must hold fast to the truth that is in Jesus — Ep 4:20-24
      2. We must teach sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel — 1Ti 1:8-11
      -- It may be politically incorrect, but we cannot compromise truth
    2. To Display the Love of the Gospel...
      1. We have the duty to speak the truth in love — Ep 4:15
        1. Which affects how we approach those enslaved in sin — 2Ti 2:24-26
        -- We must hate the sin, but we must also love the sinner
      2. To Offer the Hope of the Gospel...
        1. Cleansing, sanctification and justification to all — 1Co 6:9-11
          1. The fruit of the Spirit to deal with the works of the flesh — Ga 5:16-25
          -- No matter the form of sexual immorality, the gospel provides deliverance!
      1.  Homosexuality is a volatile issue today...
        1. It is a politically charged issue
        2. Opposition to it is often depicted as being hateful, homophobic, narrow minded
      2. The challenge confronting Christians today is how to respond...
        1. Too many are indeed hateful and homophobic
        2. That is wrong, and increases the likelihood of persecution
      We must be faithful to the Scriptures, but we must also be faithful to the example of Jesus and His apostles, who reached out to all sinners with the display of love, the promise of forgiveness, and the hope of transformation...