(This is part 2 of 3 dealing from a new sermon series entitled “The Bible and Sexuality”)
Love without truth can promote sin. And truth without love can devastate the sinner. This is especially true with responding to the topic of homosexuality. We need to know the truth, and we need to be able to speak the truth in love.
1. The Real Problem: A Depraved Heart
With all of the chaos and confusion regarding sexuality, how did we get to this point in our culture? Like breadcrumbs left on a path, Romans 1:18-32 helps us follow the trail and see the downward spiral from a single sin to a full blown depraved heart.
-We reject God’s authority (Romans 1:18-20). Any objective person can look around at creation and say, “Wow, there must be a Creator.” But because of the effects of indwelling sin, we naturally reject what is clear and obvious. Because of our desire to have our own way and live the way we like, the Bible says “we suppress the truth”. We cover up what we know to be true. We reject God. We reject God’s authority over our lives.
-We redirect our worship (Romans 1:21-23). God designed us to be worshipers. He intended for us to worship Him alone. But when we reject God, our hearts will soon find something else to worship. That means all sin – including sexual sin – is a matter of worship. It’s giving myself to what I value. And all sin is idolatry – a worship of creation rather than the Creator.
-God turns us over to our sin (Romans 1: 24-31). As a result of rejecting God and worshiping self, God gave mankind what they wanted – He gave them over to worship themselves. Women having sexual relations with women, and men with men. And God describes it as lustful, dishonorable, shameless, and worthy of condemning judgment. But notice in v. 29-31, other sins are listed. Homosexuality is a sin, but it’s not the only sin.
Heterosexual lust is just as offensive to God as homosexual lust. Heterosexual fornication and adultery and pornography are just as offensive to God as the homosexual versions of those sins. God hates all sexual sin, and we are all guilty. And we all need a Savior.
-We approve what God forbids (Romans 1:32). It’s one thing to struggle with temptation. We all do in some way. But it’s another thing to accept, to encourage, and even to celebrate something that God has forbidden. That’s the culture we find ourselves in today – a celebration and approval of sin, especially sexual sin. One fatal mistake the culture makes in doing this is to equate sexual behavior with identity. But to align our identity with sin is to dismiss God’s image you reflect and it neglect the cross of Christ, where your sins were paid for.
II. The Right Response: Gospel Truth in Love
When we consider the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we begin to see this downward spiral reverse. Instead of rejecting God’s authority, we will submit to it, knowing that God’s will for me is better. Instead of worshiping self and my own desires, or trying to find identity in my sin, I will find my identity in the God who made me, in the Savior who gave His life for me. Because of God’s mercy, when I repent of my sin and turn Him, He will not give me over to my sin, but He faithfully rescues me through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ and adopts me as His own. And that means I won’t excuse my sin or celebrating the sin of others, Instead, I will encourage them to turn to Christ to receive the same forgiveness and joy I have.
-Apply the gospel to our own hearts. Before dealing with the sin of others, be sure you have dealt with your own sin. That doesn’t mean unless we’re perfect and sinless we can never confront wickedness in our culture. But it does mean that we first need to be aware of how much we have been forgiven of, and how much we daily need God’s grace for our own lives.
-Know what the Bible says about the issue. For instance: God made male and female, distinct and different for His glory (Gen. 1 and 2). God judged cities that practiced homosexuality (Genesis 19). God’s law forbids the act (Lev. 18 and 20). Homosexuality is one of many sins listed in the Bible as a result of rejecting God (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:8-11). Know how to help someone see what the Bible says about sin, but don’t end with the bad news. Don’t land on the sin. Land on the Savior.
-Point others to Jesus. Show them in Scripture that for those who trust in Jesus, His blood pays for all of their sins: When we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgives us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). You were once dead in your sin, but in Christ you have been made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Jesus took your sin and your shame and he nailed it to the cross (Col. 2:14).
Show them Jesus is bigger than their sin, that He is more precious, more beautiful, more valuable, more satisfying, more wonderful, more powerful, and brings more peace and more joy than anything this world or our flesh can give.
We have to be ready to give a biblical defense for those who would challenge the Bible. Let us be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us, telling all who will hear – not just of the ugliness and deception of sin, but of the grace and greater beauty of Christ.
Whatever your sin, whatever your struggle, turn to Jesus. He forgiveness is complete. His love is forever. His way is better. And His grace is enough.