Summary: This is the second part of a two-part message on the issue of homosexuality
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
A. This week, CNN’s Anderson Cooper announced that he is proud to be gay.
B. How does The Church respond? What would God have us do?
We tend to take two responses, and both are unacceptable:
C. My goal has been grace and truth
D. Bible Study Tools - Exegesis (To Lead Out), Biblical Theology and Systematic Theology
E. It is not my intention to give a sociological or psychological discussion, although I think you can make the case on either accounts on the impact of homosexuality on individuals and society.
F. Recap two weeks ago:
All sexual sin comes from a wounded heart, living in a broken world, trying to find intimacy outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ. You could just as easily say, “all sin comes from a sinful heart, living in a fallen world, trying to find God outside of a relationship with Jesus.”
The Bible sets the rules – not us. It does not change based on society, a speech or a new policy. It does not change based on my experience or feelings. No one here is the exception to the rules.
Genesis 1&2 sets forth a standard of relationships. There is no confusion here. This account is foundational to all Scripture. The Old and New Testaments build continually and consistently on the truth of the creation of man and woman with distinct roles within the marriage relationship.
Sex is God’s invention. It is designed as a bonding experience: an expression of union and oneness to be known by a man and woman who commit themselves to each other for life. Outside of this context of lifelong union, and outside the context of intimate self-giving, sexual activity will be destructive rather than constructive.
The Israelites moved from one idol-infested country (Egypt) to another (Canaan). They also had contact with other cultures (Moab). As God helped them form a new culture, he warned them to leave all aspects of their pagan background and surroundings behind.
Follow God by obeying his Word, and don’t let the culture around you mold your thoughts and actions.
Verse 22 is the one verse that applies to homosexual behavior
“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable”
The prohibition against homosexuality is not found solely in this one passage.
There is a distinction between major classes of OT laws.
- Civil laws – laws that pertain to the specific world around us – our country. This defined not only what the offense was, but how to discipline the offense – ex. Kill a child that is rebellious.
These concerned such matters of daily life as borrowing another’s livestock, principles of restitution for lost property and testifying in a lawsuit.
- Ceremonial laws - laws applied only to the nation of Israel in regards to their practice of worship. They were specifically repealed in the NT. Ceremonial laws defined actions or events that rendered someone unclean for ceremonial purposes, such as the handling of the dead…
The point here, however, is that the ceremonial law pointed forward to the work of Christ, which now has come so that they are set aside.
- Moral laws that were not limited to a time or place. These were repeated in the NT. These misdeeds are wrong at any time and any place. To suggest that these actions, which carry the death penalty, are of no greater significance than the eating of pork, which only renders one ceremonially unclean, betrays a serious misunderstanding of the biblical statements.
- How do we know which is which? Great question. The answer is no so clean. We have the privilege of looking at the O.T. through the lens of the N.T. When we look at moral law, it is a direct reflection of God’s nature – Ex. The Ten Commandments – good for all time.
Our answer is that we are doing what the New Testament does, namely reflecting back on the Old Testament from the perspective of Christ's finished work. Furthermore, we are forced to reflect on the New Testament examples in which certain laws are set aside - such as the dietary laws and the sacrificial system - while others are rigorously enforced - such as the moral laws of the Ten Commandment. There is a logic at work that is not seen in the Old Testament because it is the work of Christ that produces this logic.