Summary: This message focuses on the example that Jesus gave us when interacting with people who are living in sin and the contradictions that the Church exhibits when dealing with the sins of heterosexuals versus homosexuals. We must have the same standard.
Scriptures: John 8:2-11; 1 Corinthian 6:9-10
This is part two of my message I’ve titled “Christian.” Last week I shared with you the comments made by two pastors in reference to the Orlando shooting and how they were happy about it. I told you that some people who heard these comments were so offended that they no longer wanted to be identified as a Christian because of the image that the world is developing of Christianity. In part one I shared with you that the label Christian does not adequately define the Christians who were originally given that label some two thousand years ago. The original Christians were actually “disciples” who by definition followed the teachings of Christ without variances. In other words, they interpreted Christ’s teachings and lived their lives in the manner in which He wanted them to. Two-thousand years ago Christians were the followers of Christ. Today, because of all of the variances within Christianity, the label is used to describe those who associate with the cultural aspects of Christianity, irrespective of personal religious beliefs or practices. This is the reason we can have people who calls themselves Christian support violence against others who might not believe or behave the way that they do. Today some Christians are so loosely aligned to what the Word of God says that they are allowing their acceptance of His Word to be dictated to us by society and this is a problem. During our prayer circle last week my daughter shared a discussion that was happening on social media. The discussion was about the mother who supposedly killed her two teenaged daughters because they were dating boys outside of their race. Some posts congratulated the mother and said that God honored her decisions because the Bible clearly states that you should not marry outside of your race. This represents another example of Christian beliefs that could be assigned to all Christians.
In my message last week I shared with you that the issue surround the LGBT community and Christianity comes back to the belief of sin – is the gay/lesbian lifestyle a sin in the eyes of God? Some Christians believe that it is, but someone living that lifestyle will still go to heaven. Other Christians believe that it is a sin and they will not go to heaven. Finally some believe that it is not a sin at all “today” because God accepts everyone. I want to share with you two conversations that I had this week with two individuals who are not members of this Church. The question that I was asked is this: “Is there a difference between someone living a gay/lesbian lifestyle and being told they are going hell versus someone who is a member of the Church, singing in the choir, preaching God’s words and are having sex outside of marriage whether it’s adultery or fornication? Their follow-up question was – why can one be saved and participate in Church leadership and the other can’t?” These are very good questions that should be on all of our minds when we think about what we believe. You see, part of our problem is that we do delineate between sins when it comes to who is actually committing them. So my initial response to her was a question pertaining to her last question. I asked her why she thought the church goer who was living in sin was saved. When she just looked at me, I told her how when Jesus interacted with “sinners” He did not condemn them but He did tell them to “go and sin no more. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
In the fifth chapter of John there is a story of the man at the pool of Bethesda. This man had been sick for thirty-eight years, coming to the pool hoping to be healed. When Jesus healed the man, He did not ask the man to do anything but rise up and walk. The man was instantly healed. The man who was healed did not know that it was Jesus who had healed him. Verse fourteen records what Jesus told the man. It says, “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” (John 5:14) Jesus told the man to stop sinning or something worse would happen to him. Turn to John chapter eight. In this story a woman, caught in adultery, was brought to Jesus. Let’s begin reading at verse two.
“Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?’ They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." (John 8:2-11)