As Australia confronts the Postal Vote on the so called same sex marriageissue I want to go over some of the reasons why this church has taken the stance it has & stands with other Rhema churches advocating that marriage is meant to be between one man & one woman for life.
We all know that the rate of divorce in the church is about the same as for outside the church so be aware I am not dealing with the facts but with God’s ideal plan & purpose. In an ideal world these would be one & the same thing but this is a fallen world full of fallen people, therefore the ideal is just that: an ideal. Just the same, the ideal is what we should strive for.
I am not going to run through all the verses about homosexuality. That is a separate issue. I am dealing with what God has said about marriage. Besides there are enough people already yelling & screaming about homosexuality. I don’t believe that is how Jesus approaches the issue either. Rather He points people to God’s standard of Holiness.
Firstly I believe we need to be very clear about who we are meant to be representing. There is something ingeniously called *the Social Gospel* which seeks to tie social issues & the gospel together. I don’t believe it can be done without causing great harm to the cause of Christ. It clouds our thinking when we are not clear because often the cause of Christ & the cause of the world do not, & can not, run in tandem.
We have looked @ 1 Peter 2:9 before: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Holy, hagios, separate from common condition & use; dedicated…pure…righteous… Chosen, eklektos, called out…
A great deal of the Old Testament is about defining the difference between the holy & the profane so that people understood there is a difference & would recognise it when they saw it. There is a standard God holds too. When He calls us out of darkness He makes us a new creation ~ a creation that is meant to reflect Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, not the world. Everything that is of the world is now to be rejected. Indeed we are enjoined in Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things…
Jesus Himself says: “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavour? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
Salt is a preservative. It was used extensively in the ancient world to stop rot & decay, not just as a flavouring. If it doesn’t do its job it isn’t good for anything.
So too are Christians meant to add that tart flavouring to life because salt is not sweet. When we align ourselves with the world we are not doing the job we are called to do & I want to be very, very clear here: Vilification of anyone is never ok but according to 2 Corinthians 5:20 We are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!"
Part of our ministry of reconciliation is to stand against sin. It is not love to tell people it is ok to go on sinning, God loves them & accepts them just as they are. That is hatred. That says we don’t care that they will spend an eternity in hell. That says, I’m ok, I don’t care about you.
We have spent the last 2 weeks looking @ renewing our minds & so we understand sin begins in the mind & grows to become actions & when those actions lead to rebellion against God, they lead to death.
James 1:14~15 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
As Christ’s ambassadors we represent the Kingdom values rather than the world’s values & we will be hated for it because I can assure you, sinners don’t like being called to account. They want everyone to tell them their sin is not really sin & it’s perfectly natural & normal to behave as they do.
Nothing operates in a vacuum. There are consequences to our actions, consequences to our choices. Therefore we need to make wise & Godly choices.
So let’s look @ what the bible actually says about marriage.
As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." Ephesians 5:31 Proskollaō ~ to stick like glue. This is exactly what Jesus says in Matthew 19:5 ~6 Quoting from Genesis 2:24
“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ And he said, 'This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together."
And we know what God says about all creation as He first made it: It was good, Tov…functioning perfectly in the manner in which it was designed to function.
Likewise Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 …each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband…BECAUSE of the temptation to sexual immorality.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22
It is disingenuous to claim the scriptures knew nothing of homosexuality, that it was a different world. That is to display an incredible lack of knowledge of the Greco~Roman world. Homosexual *love* was the height of love in Greece. It was rampant throughout their empire. In fact, without becoming too graphic, their schools & mentoring program were used to groom young men for older lovers. Rome, as in so much else Grecian, copied their morals & it is not surprising to find many Latin words describing homosexual acts ~ & both Nero & Elagabalus actually married their male lovers. As Israel was occupied by Rome in Jesus time & the nation as a whole was quite secular, homosexuality was certainly known of & practised but no~where in scripture is marriage ever referred to as anything other than being between a man & a woman.
What’s more the scriptures lay down clear guidelines for the behaviour of men & women within their marriage.
Ephesians 5:25~33 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, ...
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
Hebrews 13 :4 Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
And there is a reason for marriage:
Jeremiah 29:6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease
And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favour from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
Marriage was designed to be a reflection of the covenant relationship between God & His people. It is described everywhere in scripture as the marriage between a Groom & His Bride ~ male & female. This is partly why divorce is so abhorrent. It is a cornerstone of the church because where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them… so each Christian family becomes a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit ~ a mini church~ & there they partner with God for the raising of *Godly seed.*
As our nations & our world abandons the biblical view of marriage we should not be surprised if more & more they reflect bygone pagan nations but there is a cost, in biblical terms.
Proverbs 14:34 Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
If you want to know what happens when a nation abandons God & follows after their own wisdom just look to the history of Israel.
So you see, none of this is about our *gay* families, our *gay* neighbours, whether this is just or fair in secular terms because we do not belong to this world. This is about God. As His ambassadors we are called to represent Him, His concerns, His values, His message ~ & sometimes people aren’t going to like that because it is not what they want to hear. It is not what they believe. Just the same our allegiance must remain with God.
I am very aware that many Christians have come to a different conclusion but with respect that is not the conclusion I have come to after much research, study & prayer. It is not a new dilemma. Joshua 24:15
But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD."