Sermon on the Mount Bible Study

The Sermon on the Mount ~ Lesson 6

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Matthew 5:27-32

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review the “middle parts” (ex: merciful, poor in spirit) of the Beatitudes, the “salt and light” passage, and the “heart of the law” passage in Matthew 5:1-12, 13-16, 14-20. Now read 27-32 in light of those passages.

Summarize, in your own words, the main idea of 27-32.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus lists the traits that define Christian character. In much of the rest of the Sermon on the Mount He fleshes out what many of these character traits look like when walked out in “real life”. Which of the traits (the “middle parts” – there could be several) listed in the Beatitudes is Jesus expanding on in 27-30 and 31-32? How?

How do lust, adultery, and unbiblical divorce bland your saltiness? (13-16) How can crucifying your lust and being faithfully devoted to your husband make you saltier and brighter?

2. Review from our previous lessons (links above) the idea that the Sermon on the Mount is to the New Testament / new covenant what the Ten Commandments were to the Old Testament / old covenant.

How does Jesus refer back to the Ten Commandments in verse 27? How do Jesus’ phrases “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” verbally transition the people from their focus on outward obedience to the letter of the law to zeroing in on the attitude of their hearts and the spirit of the law? Explain how refraining from lust and being faithful and committed to your marriage is the heart of the law (17-20) behind the seventh and tenth Commandments. Connect these passages with 27-32. Where should our outward, behavioral obedience to Christ spring from?

3. Review: Examine again the “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” proclamation. Who had the people heard it (the law) said by? Who taught them the law? How does Jesus saying, “But I say to you…” establish Jesus’ supremacy over the Pharisees, scribes, priests, etc. Imagine you’re one of these Jewish leaders and you’re hearing Jesus say this. What might your initial reaction be?

Recalling our Sermon on the Mount / Ten Commandments motif, how might Jesus’ “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” proclamation have evoked images of Moses as lawgiver, and signaled to the Jewish leaders and people that the better Moses was here?

4. What is “lustful intent”? (28) Make the connection between lust, adultery, and divorce. How could lusting after someone else eventually culminate in divorcing your spouse?

5. Notice the progression from temptation to commission of outward sin in 28-30:

  • Sin of the e_____(28a, 29) leads to…
  • Sin of the h_____(28b) leads to…
  • Sin of the h_____(30)

Which sexual sins does this progression apply to? Which other sins does this progression apply to? Is it fair to say that this progression applies to all sin? Explain what Jesus means by gouging out your right eye and cutting off your right hand as it applies to this progression from temptation to commission of outward sin. How can removing things in your life that are conducive to temptation and sin stop this progression?

6. Using your cross-references for verse 31, what were the Old Testament parameters for divorce? Why, according to Jesus, was this allowance made?

A spouse’s “sexual immorality” (usually adultery) (32) is one of the biblically permissible reasons for divorce. What is the other? Study these passages. How is marriage symbolic of God’s relationship with His people? If marriage symbolizes how God (the “husband”) cares for His people (His “bride”), what does divorce (for unbiblical reasons) say about God? About His people?

Compare 32 to Matthew 19:3-9. Why is divorce so closely tied to adultery? Who joins two people together and makes them one in marriage? Besides divorce due to adultery and abandonment1, what is the only other way God considers a marriage dissolved? Do man’s scribblings on a piece of paper (“certificate of divorce” for unbiblical reasons) change the fact that God still considers those two people married? How does this better help you understand Jesus’ statement in Matthew 19:6: “What God has joined together, let not man separate.”? How does this concept help you understand why, in unbiblical divorces, God considers remarriage to be adultery?


1I know at this point many of you have “Yeah, but…” and “What if…” questions about abusive marriages and/or your own divorces. We can’t deal with those properly here. I would encourage you to use your cross-references and concordance to search the Scriptures about divorce and rightly apply them to your questions, and to get wise counsel from your pastor. If you are currently being abused: please get to a safe place and reach out to your pastor, the police, or another appropriate person for help. Getting to a safe place is not a sin, and it is not the same as an actual divorce.


Homework

  • Read my article The Mailbag: Is Lust a Sin for Women, Too? and study the Scriptures therein.
  • Think of one pernicious sin in your life in which you can see the progression of: sin of the eye>>sin of the heart>>sin of the hand. Explain how each of these steps are fleshed out in your particular sin. What is something you could remove from or add to your life that would make it more difficult for you to be tempted to commit this sin? Prayerfully develop a plan or strategy to “cut off your right hand / gouge out your right eye” (metaphorically speaking) in this area and begin implementing it this week.

Suggested Memory Verse

Sin

Throwback Thursday ~ 9 Things that Are Still Sins Whether We Agree or Not

Originally published June 19, 20159 still sins

 

I do it all the time, Mother, and I’ve decided something-
it’s not a sin.

I heard this line several years ago on a popular sitcom, spoken by an adult daughter to her Christian mother about a behavior the Bible unambiguously calls a sin. I mean, it’s right smack dab in the middle of the Big 10; “thou shalt not” and everything.

It’s one thing to say, “I know it’s a sin, but I don’t care. I’m going to do it anyway,” but how depraved is the world when they think they – in God’s place – are the ones who get to define what sin is? And what’s even worse is that the church has begun to adopt this audacious depravity as well, whether approving of sin by fiat or by simply ignoring God’s word and letting sin slide without rebuke.

When it comes to what’s a sin and what’s not, God made up His mind a long time ago. And He’s not changing it, regardless of what you or I or Joe Politician or Jane Celebrity might think. Maybe we all need a remedial course in hamartiology, so let’s start with the basics. These things are all still sins whether the world and the church agree with God or not:

1. Homosexuality

Let’s just get it out of the way right up front. I don’t care how many celebrity “pastors” and “Christian” authors twist God’s word to say otherwise, or how many people declare themselves to be (unrepentant, practicing) “gay Christians,” or how many homosexuals declare that God made them that way, God’s word is clear: homosexual lust and behavior are sins.

2. Abortion

Abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. We don’t murder people because they’re small or sick or inconvenient or will hinder our sucess. God didn’t say, “You shall not murder, except when…” He said, “You shall not murder.” Period.

3. Extra-Marital (Heterosexual) Sex

Adultery, fornication, whatever form it might take, if you’re not legally married to the person you’re engaging in sexual activity – up to and including actual intercourse – with, you’re sinning.

4. Cohabitation

See #3. And don’t try to whitewash it by saying you’re living together but not sleeping together. A) The Bible says we’re to flee temptation, not move in with it, and B) we’re supposed to avoid every form of evil, even the appearance of it. If you call yourself a Christian and you’re shacking up, you’re living in sin (that’s why they call it “living in sin”). Repent and move out or marry up.

5. Divorce

Yep, still a sin, except in two cases: unfaithfulness or an unsaved spouse leaving a saved spouse. In those two cases the spouse who was wronged is not sinning and is free to marry again.

6. Swearing

The air is saturated with it. Foul language coming from our TVs, music, movies, social media, and the people we’re around all day. But expletives have no place in the vocabulary of a Christian. Is your potty mouth on Saturday the same one you praise God with on Sunday?

7. Taking God’s Name in Vain

It’s gotten to the point where we think so little of casually punctuating our sentences with, “Oh my G-d,”  or using the name of Jesus as an exclamation that pastors are even doing so from the pulpit these days. God’s name is high and holy and should be spoken only reverently and worshipfully. How can we look people in the eye and call them to repentance and faith in a Person whose name we use as a cuss word?

8. Gluttony

We have almost completely amputated gluttony from the spiritual realm by cordoning it off as merely a physical or medical issue. We’ve renamed it “overeating,” but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a sin. God created good food for us to enjoy, but just as with all the other good gifts He gives us, He expects us to exercise Spirit-enabled self control when we receive it.

9. Female Usurpation

God makes it abundantly clear in His word that women are not to instruct men in the Scriptures or hold authority over them in the church. Women sin when they pastor churches, preach sermons in church, teach men in Sunday School classes, and hold other positions of authority over men in the church. Men, however, bear the primarily responsibility for this when they sin by failing to rebuke usurping women, or when women feel they have no other choice but to take on male responsibilities in the church because men are shirking their own duties before God.

 

We don’t get to decide what sin is. That’s God’s job. And all of us – whether we’ve committed one of these nine sins or not – are guilty of sinning against Him. That’s the bad news.

But, in Christianity, we never give the bad news without following it up with the good news. And, oh what wonderfully good news it is: forgiveness. Jesus paid for our sin at Calvary so that if we will only turn from it and trust Him, He will forgive us for all nine of these sins and countless others.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

Basic Training, Homosexuality

Throwback Thursday ~ Basic Training: Homosexuality, Gender Identity, and Other Sexual Immorality

Originally published September 8, 2017

For more in the Basic Training series, click here.

Sexuality in Western culture is a mess. Within the last hundred years or so, we’ve devolved from a society that had, broadly speaking, a general understanding of, and compliance with, the Bible’s parameters for sex to today’s sexual mores that barely stop short of child molestation and bestiality, and permits – even encourages – nearly every other form of perversion.

It can be difficult to know how to approach these issues which have been suddenly thrust upon us, and with which the average person – Christian or not – has very little experience. How are Christians to think about, believe, and address these issues in our families, churches, and communities? Do we just go with the “live and let live” flow of modern society? No. As with every other issue in life, our thinking, our words, and our actions must be shaped by and in submission to the authority of Scripture. Not public opinion. Not political agendas. Not our own personal feelings, opinions, and experiences. Scripture.

The Bible makes sexuality and gender identity very simple for us. God created two sexes of people– male and female¹. God created marriage to be between one man and one woman. God created human sexuality and confined its use to a man and a woman who are married to each other. Every form of gender identity or human sexuality that falls outside these parameters is sin.

Bearing that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the sexual issues impacting the world, the church, and Christians today and how we can respond to them biblically.

Get the log out
The Bible is very clear that we’re not to be hypocritical when dealing with sin. Scripture’s parameters regarding sexual sin are extremely narrow and govern not only our actions, but our words and thoughts as well. That leaves me guilty. How about you? Where’s your mind when you’re reading that romance novel or watching that steamy movie? Are you using pornography? Flirting with that good looking co-worker even though you’re married? Using double entendres or other suggestive remarks? Exchanging inappropriate e-mails with another man? Fantasizing about sexual encounters with someone you’re not married to? Going farther than you should, physically, on a date? Before we start thinking about addressing the sins others commit, we first need to make sure our own hearts, hands, and mouths are clean by repenting from any sexual sin we’re participating in.

Sweep around your church’s front door
It’s been pointed out by many lost people, that the church is oh so willing to take a strong stand against news-making sexual issues, but sexual sin inside the church is sometimes swept under the rug. They’re right. How does your church deal with an unmarried couple who are cohabiting? A pastor who uses pornography? A church member who is having an affair? A youth director who’s molesting children? A deacon who uses foul language and makes sexual jokes? Does your church practice biblical church discipline when there’s sin in the camp and comply with sexual predation laws? Do you have screening processes in place to protect the children of your church? Does your church teach against all forms of sexual sin?

Be kind
It should go without saying, but since this is a “back to basics” series it bears repeating: Christ expects Christians to be kind to people – all people – and to treat them with human dignity, respect, and biblical love. Not just in the way we talk to people, but in the way we talk to each other about people. People who live in sexual sin are still made in the image of God and deeply loved by Him. Remember, it was God’s kindness that led us to repentance.

There’s no such thing as a “gay Christian
Or a transgender Christian, or a stripper Christian, or a bank robbing Christian, or liar Christian. Qualifying someone’s Christianity by their pet sin is an oxymoron. Christians, by definition, are people who sorrowfully turn from their sin and become completely new sin-hating creations through the power of the shed blood of Christ. Christians are characterized by lifelong repentance and the desire not to sin out of love for their Savior.

and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:15-17

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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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

Are there people who are genuinely saved but still struggle against sexual sin? Of course. Every truly born again person struggles against sin for the duration of her natural life. But the Bible knows nothing of a willfully unrepentant conversion to Christ or life in Christ (regardless of a previous “decision” for Christ, participation in baptism, etc.). It is a contradiction in terms and simply does not exist. Nobody gets to carry her sin with her past the cross.

Tell the good news
People enslaved by sexual sin, especially those who think they’re Christians, need the good news of the gospel just like people enslaved to any other sin. God can and does save people out of homosexuality, transgenderism, promiscuity, and all other forms of sexual immorality, as the 1 Corinthians 6 passage above makes abundantly clear. His arm is not too short to save anyone.

Withholding church membership, ordinances, and leadership
Local church membership, ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and leadership positions within the church are restricted to Christians, because the church is, by definition, the body of Christ: regenerated believers. It’s certainly fine for any non-believer to attend services, classes, or events at your church as long as she isn’t being disruptive or pushing unbiblical beliefs, but people who are living unrepentantly in any sin are not Christians and should not be invited to become members of the church, participate in baptism or the Lord’s Supper, and certainly should not be given any position of service or leadership in the church.

Going to the chapel if they’re going to get “married”
Christians should not attend same sex weddings (or receptions, showers, bachelor parties, housewarmings, etc.) for any reason. (When it becomes legal, this will also apply to plural marriages (polygamy) and other unbiblical forms of “marriage”.) Regardless of your motives for attending, it appears to others and to the same sex couple as though you approve of their sin.

Often, the reason Christians will give for feeling they should attend a same sex wedding is that they are afraid declining to attend will cause the couple to cut off the relationship with them, closing the door to any future opportunity to share the gospel. But if you’re close enough to the couple to be invited to the wedding, shouldn’t you have already shared the gospel with them? Do you not trust that God can save someone, either immediately or in the future, from one instance of sharing the gospel? This person’s salvation does not rest on your shoulders. It can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit, and only in His timing. And whether you have or haven’t yet shared the gospel with the couple, what could your attendance at the wedding accomplish other than creating confusion? How can you support their “marriage” by attending the wedding and then turn around later and tell them they need to repent of this sin?

Additionally, attending the wedding sends the message to your children, family, church, friends, co-workers and others that you approve of the sin of homosexuality. We all have people watching us to see whether we stand with Christ or with the world. It’s imperative that we set a godly example.

Yes, if you decline to attend the wedding, you might lose your relationship with that homosexual friend or loved one. But Christ calls us to separate ourselves from the world and be loyal to Him even if it costs us everything- including those we love the most:

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:37

The gospel divides. And Christians are always called to stand on Christ’s side of the divide.

The Wedding Singer
For many of the same reasons Christians should not attend same sex weddings (or other unbiblical forms of “marriage”), Christian wedding service providers (singers, photographers, bakers, wedding consultants, venues, etc.) – and certainly churches – should decline to provide services for same sex weddings. Doing so facilitates sin, is unloving to the couple (who needs to hear the gospel and repent), and is disloyal to Christ. Christ died for this sin. How can someone who calls herself a Christian play any part in helping people celebrate a sin that nailed her Savior to the cross? Yes, you might lose your business. Is Christ worth that to you?

Boys will be BOYS
It is neither loving nor compassionate to help people participating in transgender or other gender identity sin pretend to be the opposite sex or several sexes or no sex at all. While it’s not a good idea to go around speculating about the biological sex of perfect strangers, if you know a person well enough to know that he was born male or she was born female, you should not be using referent terminology that indicates otherwise. A biological male is a “him” not a “her” or a “them.” A biological female is a “her” not a “ze” or “fae”. Christians should also not be participating in other activities that further gender identity sins such as helping a biological male shop for female clothing, attending “coming out” parties, referring to “pregnant men” when the pregnant person is biologically female, etc.

Policy and Procedure
One of the main ways the sexual immorality agenda is being advanced is through lawsuits. If your church won’t allow a same sex wedding in its facilities, the church could be sued. We’ve already seen many instances of wedding service providers who have been sued for declining to provide services for same sex weddings. Laws are now in effect which attempt to force businesses to use the preferred pronouns of those in gender identity sin. It’s a good idea for churches, Christian businesses and other Christian organizations to study up on the legislation surrounding sexual sin, and put in place any possible legal protections. Does your church, business, or organization have the proper written policies in place? You might want to take a look at the Nashville Statement as an example or template.

Sexual sin, whatever form it may take, is just that: sin. People who participate in sexual sin are not a special sect of society. They are sinners just like everybody else. They need love and the gospel just like everybody else. As Christians, we must stand firm on what the Bible says about sexual sin and call those who are enslaved by it out of darkness and into His glorious light. We must offer them the peace, the hope, and the cleansing from sin that only Christ can give.


¹Yes, I’m aware that the Fall brought with it genetic disorders and congenital defects that can cause abnormalities in human genitalia. These are extremely rare and require correction and treatment by medical professionals. It is also beyond the scope of this article, which refers to the overwhelming majority of those who choose to participate in sexual immorality or the mutilation of their bodies.


Additional Resources

Should Christians Attend Homosexual Weddings?

Preventative Measures: 6 Steps SBC Churches Can Take to Prevent Sexual Abuse

A Review of Single, Gay, Christian by Gabe Hughes


Please remember to read the comment parameters
in the “Welcome” tab before commenting.

Basic Training, Homosexuality

Basic Training: Homosexuality, Gender Identity, and Other Sexual Immorality

For more in the Basic Training series, click here.

Sexuality in Western culture is a mess. Within the last hundred years or so, we’ve devolved from a society that had, broadly speaking, a general understanding of, and compliance with, the Bible’s parameters for sex to today’s sexual mores that barely stop short of child molestation and bestiality and permits – even encourages – nearly every other form of perversion.

It can be difficult to know how to approach these issues which have been suddenly thrust upon us, and with which the average person – Christian or not – has very little experience. How are Christians to think about, believe, and address these issues in our families, churches, and communities? Do we just go with the “live and let live” flow of modern society? No. As with every other issue in life, our thinking, our words, and our actions must be shaped by and in submission to the authority of Scripture. Not public opinion. Not political agendas. Not our own personal feelings, opinions, and experiences. Scripture.

The Bible makes sexuality and gender identity very simple for us. God created two sexes of people– male and female¹. God created marriage to be between one man and one woman. God created human sexuality and confined its use to a man and a woman who are married to each other. Every form of gender identity or human sexuality that falls outside these parameters is sin.

Bearing that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the sexual issues impacting the world, the church, and Christians today and how we can respond to them biblically.

Get the log out
The Bible is very clear that we’re not to be hypocritical when dealing with sin. Scripture’s parameters regarding sexual sin are extremely narrow and govern not only our actions, but our words and thoughts as well. That leaves me guilty. How about you? Where’s your mind when you’re reading that romance novel or watching that steamy movie? Are you using pornography? Flirting with that good looking co-worker even though you’re married? Using double entendres or other suggestive remarks? Exchanging inappropriate e-mails with another man? Fantasizing about sexual encounters with someone you’re not married to? Going farther than you should, physically, on a date? Before we start thinking about addressing the sins others commit, we first need to make sure our own hearts, hands, and mouths are clean by repenting from any sexual sin we’re participating in.

Sweep around your church’s front door
It’s been pointed out by many lost people, that the church is oh so willing to take a strong stand against news-making sexual issues, but sexual sin inside the church is sometimes swept under the rug. They’re right. How does your church deal with an unmarried couple who are cohabiting? A pastor who uses pornography? A church member who is having an affair? A youth director who’s molesting children? A deacon who uses foul language and makes sexual jokes? Does your church practice biblical church discipline when there’s sin in the camp and comply with sexual predation laws? Do you have screening processes in place to protect the children of your church? Does your church teach against all forms of sexual sin?

Be kind
It should go without saying, but since this is a “back to basics” series it bears repeating: Christ expects Christians to be kind to people – all people – and to treat them with human dignity, respect, and biblical love. Not just in the way we talk to people, but in the way we talk to each other about people. People who live in sexual sin are still made in the image of God and deeply loved by Him. Remember, it was God’s kindness that led us to repentance.

There’s no such thing as a “gay Christian
Or a transgender Christian, or a stripper Christian, or a bank robbing Christian, or liar Christian. Qualifying someone’s Christianity by their pet sin is an oxymoron. Christians, by definition, are people who sorrowfully turn from their sin and become completely new sin-hating creations through the power of the shed blood of Christ. Christians are characterized by lifelong repentance and the desire not to sin out of love for their Savior.

and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:15-17

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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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

Are there people who are genuinely saved but still struggle against sexual sin? Of course. Every truly born again person struggles against sin for the duration of her natural life. But the Bible knows nothing of a willfully unrepentant conversion to Christ or life in Christ (regardless of a previous “decision” for Christ, participation in baptism, etc.). It is a contradiction in terms and simply does not exist. Nobody gets to carry her sin with her past the cross.

Tell the good news
People enslaved by sexual sin, especially those who think they’re Christians, need the good news of the gospel just like people enslaved to any other sin. God can and does save people out of homosexuality, transgenderism, promiscuity, and all other forms of sexual immorality, as the 1 Corinthians 6 passage above makes abundantly clear. His arm is not too short to save anyone.

Withholding church membership, ordinances, and leadership
Local church membership, ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and leadership positions within the church are restricted to Christians, because the church is, by definition, the body of Christ: regenerated believers. It’s certainly fine for any non-believer to attend services, classes, or events at your church as long as she isn’t being disruptive or pushing unbiblical beliefs, but people who are living unrepentantly in any sin are not Christians and should not be invited to become members of the church, participate in baptism or the Lord’s Supper, and certainly should not be given any position of service or leadership in the church.

Going to the chapel if they’re going to get “married”
Christians should not attend same sex weddings (or receptions, showers, bachelor parties, housewarmings, etc.) for any reason. (When it becomes legal, this will also apply to plural marriages (polygamy) and other unbiblical forms of “marriage”.) Regardless of your motives for attending, it appears to others and to the same sex couple as though you approve of their sin.

Often, the reason Christians will give for feeling they should attend a same sex wedding is that they are afraid declining to attend will cause the couple to cut off the relationship with them, closing the door to any future opportunity to share the gospel. But if you’re close enough to the couple to be invited to the wedding, shouldn’t you have already shared the gospel with them? Do you not trust that God can save someone, either immediately or in the future, from one instance of sharing the gospel? This person’s salvation does not rest on your shoulders. It can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit, and only in His timing. And whether you have or haven’t yet shared the gospel with the couple, what could your attendance at the wedding accomplish other than creating confusion? How can you support their “marriage” by attending the wedding and then turn around later and tell them they need to repent of this sin?

Additionally, attending the wedding sends the message to your children, family, church, friends, co-workers and others that you approve of the sin of homosexuality. We all have people watching us to see whether we stand with Christ or with the world. It’s imperative that we set a godly example.

Yes, if you decline to attend the wedding, you might lose your relationship with that homosexual friend or loved one. But Christ calls us to separate ourselves from the world and be loyal to Him even if it costs us everything- including those we love the most:

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:37

The gospel divides. And Christians are always called to stand on Christ’s side of the divide.

The Wedding Singer
For many of the same reasons Christians should not attend same sex weddings (or other unbiblical forms of “marriage”), Christian wedding service providers (singers, photographers, bakers, wedding consultants, venues, etc.) – and certainly churches – should decline to provide services for same sex weddings. Doing so facilitates sin, is unloving to the couple (who needs to hear the gospel and repent), and is disloyal to Christ. Christ died for this sin. How can someone who calls herself a Christian play any part in helping people celebrate a sin that nailed her Savior to the cross? Yes, you might lose your business. Is Christ worth that to you?

Boys will be BOYS
It is neither loving nor compassionate to help people participating in transgender or other gender identity sin pretend to be the opposite sex or several sexes or no sex at all. While it’s not a good idea to go around speculating about the biological sex of perfect strangers, if you know a person well enough to know that he was born male or she was born female, you should not be using referent terminology that indicates otherwise. A biological male is a “him” not a “her” or a “them.” A biological female is a “her” not a “ze” or “fae”. Christians should also not be participating in other activities that further gender identity sins such as helping a biological male shop for female clothing, attending “coming out” parties, referring to “pregnant men” when the pregnant person is biologically female, etc.

Policy and Procedure
One of the main ways the sexual immorality agenda is being advanced is through lawsuits. If your church won’t allow a same sex wedding in its facilities, the church could be sued. We’ve already seen many instances of wedding service providers who have been sued for declining to provide services for same sex weddings. Laws are now in effect which attempt to force businesses to use the preferred pronouns of those in gender identity sin. It’s a good idea for churches, Christian businesses and other Christian organizations to study up on the legislation surrounding sexual sin, and put in place any possible legal protections. Does your church, business, or organization have the proper written policies in place? You might want to take a look at the Nashville Statement as an example or template.

Sexual sin, whatever form it may take, is just that: sin. People who participate in sexual sin are not a special sect of society. They are sinners just like everybody else. They need love and the gospel just like everybody else. As Christians, we must stand firm on what the Bible says about sexual sin and call those who are enslaved by it out of darkness and into His glorious light. We must offer them the peace, the hope, and the cleansing from sin that only Christ can give.


¹Yes, I’m aware that the Fall brought with it genetic disorders and congenital defects that can cause abnormalities in human genitalia. These are extremely rare and require correction and treatment by medical professionals. It is also beyond the scope of this article, which refers to the overwhelming majority of those who choose to participate in sexual immorality or the mutilation of their bodies.


Additional Resources

Should Christians Attend Homosexual Weddings?

Preventative Measures: 6 Steps SBC Churches Can Take to Prevent Sexual Abuse

A Review of Single, Gay, Christian by Gabe Hughes


Please remember to read the comment parameters
in the “Welcome” tab before commenting.

Sin, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ 9 Things that Are Still Sins Whether We Agree or Not

Originally published June 19, 20159 still sins

 

I do it all the time, Mother, and I’ve decided something-
it’s not a sin.

I heard this line several years ago on a popular sitcom, spoken by an adult daughter to her Christian mother about a behavior the Bible unambiguously calls a sin. I mean, it’s right smack dab in the middle of the Big 10; “thou shalt not” and everything.

It’s one thing to say, “I know it’s a sin, but I don’t care. I’m going to do it anyway,” but how depraved is the world when they think they – in God’s place – are the ones who get to define what sin is? And what’s even worse is that the church has begun to adopt this audacious depravity as well, whether approving of sin by fiat or by simply ignoring God’s word and letting sin slide without rebuke.

When it comes to what’s a sin and what’s not, God made up His mind a long time ago. And He’s not changing it, regardless of what you or I or Joe Politician or Jane Celebrity might think. Maybe we all need a remedial course in hamartiology, so let’s start with the basics. These things are all still sins whether the world and the church agree with God or not:

1. Homosexuality

Let’s just get it out of the way right up front. I don’t care how many celebrity “pastors” and “Christian” authors twist God’s word to say otherwise, or how many people declare themselves to be (unrepentant, practicing) “gay Christians,” or how many homosexuals declare that God made them that way, God’s word is clear: homosexual lust and behavior are sins.

2. Abortion

Abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. We don’t murder people because they’re small or sick or inconvenient or will hinder our sucess. God didn’t say, “You shall not murder, except when…” He said, “You shall not murder.” Period.

3. Extra-Marital (Heterosexual) Sex

Adultery, fornication, whatever form it might take, if you’re not legally married to the person you’re engaging in sexual activity – up to and including actual intercourse – with, you’re sinning.

4. Cohabitation

See #3. And don’t try to whitewash it by saying you’re living together but not sleeping together. A) The Bible says we’re to flee temptation, not move in with it, and B) we’re supposed to avoid every form of evil, even the appearance of it. If you call yourself a Christian and you’re shacking up, you’re living in sin (that’s why they call it “living in sin”). Repent and move out or marry up.

5. Divorce

Yep, still a sin, except in two cases: unfaithfulness or an unsaved spouse leaving a saved spouse. In those two cases the spouse who was wronged is not sinning and is free to marry again.

6. Swearing

The air is saturated with it. Foul language coming from our TVs, music, movies, social media, and the people we’re around all day. But expletives have no place in the vocabulary of a Christian. Is your potty mouth on Saturday the same one you praise God with on Sunday?

7. Taking God’s Name in Vain

It’s gotten to the point where we think so little of casually punctuating our sentences with, “Oh my G-d,”  or using the name of Jesus as an exclamation that pastors are even doing so from the pulpit these days. God’s name is high and holy and should be spoken only reverently and worshipfully. How can we look people in the eye and call them to repentance and faith in a Person whose name we use as a cuss word?

8. Gluttony

We have almost completely amputated gluttony from the spiritual realm by cordoning it off as merely a physical or medical issue. We’ve renamed it “overeating,” but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a sin. God created good food for us to enjoy, but just as with all the other good gifts He gives us, He expects us to exercise Spirit-enabled self control when we receive it.

9. Female Usurpation

God makes it abundantly clear in His word that women are not to instruct men in the Scriptures or hold authority over them in the church. Women sin when they pastor churches, preach sermons in church, teach men in Sunday School classes, and hold other positions of authority over men in the church. Men, however, bear the primarily responsibility for this when they sin by failing to rebuke usurping women, or when women feel they have no other choice but to take on male responsibilities in the church because men are shirking their own duties before God.

 

We don’t get to decide what sin is. That’s God’s job. And all of us – whether we’ve committed one of these nine sins or not – are guilty of sinning against Him. That’s the bad news.

But, in Christianity, we never give the bad news without following it up with the good news. And, oh what wonderfully good news it is: forgiveness. Jesus paid for our sin at Calvary so that if we will only turn from it and trust Him, He will forgive us for all nine of these sins and countless others.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9