Summary: What Jesus Says about What the Church Should and Should Not Be.
And we wonder why it is so difficult for the world around us to separate these two words church and hate. It’s understandable why people in the world around us would not be able to do that. Obviously, we have a lot to talk about today but before we do that we need to make sure that everyone gets this. Regardless of the tension that you are feeling because of what we are talking about today you are in a safe place today full of people just like you. We have all made mistakes, hurt people, been hurt by people, have parts of our lives and stories that we wish we could change, erase, delete and do-over, we aren’t perfect, we don’t have all the answers, we have lots of questions. If that sounds like you, me too. So welcome and a special shout out and welcome to all of our new friends who are here today for the very first time, all of our friends that are tuned in and watching online, and to all of our friends and family that are a part of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, queer community that are either here or watching this today. We really are glad that you are here, we hope that you feel that and experience that in your time here with us, and that you want to come back. We mean that.
ILLUST> You know I think the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender queer community commonly referred to as the LGBTQ community, that is how I am going to refer to it today, is a little confused by the response of the church. After all, we live in a state Colorado that has legalized gay marriage. In fact, we legalized gay marriage and marijuana in the exact same year. I was talking to my friend Jim about that, he leads Flatirons Church up near Boulder and he said well you know that’s Biblical. I said what? He said it’s Biblical. I said what are you talking about and he said well the Bible says if two men lie down together they should be stoned. He had a gay man tell him that. Pray through it. It will be okay.
The title today “those” people is not intended to be disrespectful or demeaning. It is intended to stir things up and point us to one of the biggest problems facing the church. Throughout the history of the world the church has always had “those” people, Gentiles, Samaritans, women, blacks, divorced, remarried, hippies, liberals it’s a long list oh you are one of those people. Today, it is the LGBTQ community. Just think about it. This pastor’s comments sound really familiar….
ILLUST> I don’t want to be closed-minded or judgmental, but in good conscience I simply can’t approve of the lifestyle. I personally believe it’s a choice, not something predestined or forced by anyone. When people choose this lifestyle, some of them go as far as to claim that God made them the way they are, pushing onto God their responsibility for their own choices and behaviors. Activists may use the word love to justify their behavior, but those who disagree with them are seldom treated with love. They send out hate mail peppered with a wide range of threats and abusive speech, with many calling for our damnation. But even so, we have learned that we must not respond to hate with hate; we must love these people…those people…and seek to help them, even though we do not approve of their behavior. (SOUND FAMILIAR? ARE YOU READY?) Just so we are clear…I am not talking about the gay community. I am talking about the church community.
Is the real problem the real issue the people that are being talked about in that video…or is the real problem with the people doing the talking? What would Jesus say to us about our response to and experiences with the LGBTQ community? That is what I want us to talk about in the time we have left together today. Let’s do this John chapter 4. If you have a Bible you can turn there. If you want or need a Bible, we have Bibles on the back tables that you can grab right now if you would like if you close or on your way out. Or you can hit read off your program, hit our app, and then hit You Version, and it will all be right there in front of you. Everything I read is also going to be on the screens. So Jesus is walking through Samaria, is tired and thirsty, sits down at a well and asks a Samaritan woman who is there for a drink. So here we go starting with verse 9…
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”