Summary: There are few issues more polarizing than homosexuality. How should the church respond to criticism lobbied by the LGBT community. How do we approach our gay neighbor?
My Gay Neighbor
Today’s topic is a difficult one. In fact, there are few topics that can be more divisive in our culture than the subject of homosexuality. People on both sides of the subject are passionate about their opinions. The debate has reached fever pitch recently as politicians on both sides of the aisle debate the legality and ethics of gay rights and gay marriages.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t even log onto Facebook without reading something from the LGBT community or seeing a rainbow colored ribbon. And Lord forbid that as a Christian I post any kind of comment seen as negative towards homosexual behavior. If I do, I am immediately labeled a homophobe, judgmental, or a bigot.
Just listen to the voice of actor George Clooney. He says, “At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won't be an issue and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black.”
Outdated, intolerant, bigots. And Clooney makes an assumption that being gay is genetically the same as your and my skin color. He’s assuming that “It’s the way people are made.” There’s a reason that in a few short years, homosexuality has made the transition from sexual preference to sexual orientation.
And Christians are seen as backwards in their views. Paul Varnell, a homosexual columnist and writer, says, "It can scarcely be doubted that the primary, and perhaps only sources of our culture's anti-gay hostility are the Christian denominations."
The world wants people to able to be openly and actively gay, and what they are telling religion to do is back out of the discussion. That's the world's view.
But even within Christian culture there is division over this topic. I know that some Christian families are directly impacted by the discussion because they have friends or family who are gay. There are probably even a few who struggle with gay tendencies in the pews today. So I understand that I address a difficult issue today. But if we believe in the truth of God’s word, then this should not be an issue that we should shy away from.
So as we continue our series of messages on living in the world, but not being part of it, we discuss this topic today. We are going to explore how Christians should respond to the political and cultural criticism we receive. We are going to look at how we should respond to our gay neighbor across the street. We are going to further develop what Jesus words mean, “To live in the world, but not be part of the world.”
Today text is Romans 1:16-2:4
The apostle Paul writes, “16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Paul makes it clear as he starts off this letter that we are made right before God through Jesus Christ. The gospel message has always been and will always be that Jesus died to forgive us for our sins, and that we have eternal life through him because of the empty tomb. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes, regardless of cultural background. It is through faith that a righteous person has life. That’s the good news; that’s the gospel.
The bad news is this. (vs 18)
“18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Paul is clearly establishing God as creator. He says, "The evidence of this truth is obvious in the design of the world around us." We know this. The human eye would not function properly without precise design. It's called irreducible complexity. The eye wasn't made by a series of accidental chances. Did you know that our blood needs to maintain a precise ph balance in order to carry oxygen to our cells. If the balance drifts by .2%, our cells would suffocate. Even moderate amounts of food with acidic content (Pizza, spaghetti, jalapeno peppers) should throw off the balance, but it doesn't. In the animal kingdom, the giraffe has to have reinforced blood vessels going from it's heart to it’s head or every time it lowered it’s head, the blood vessels would burst because of the pressure. The giraffe would die from an aneurism every time it lowered it's head if it was not perfectly designed. There is evidence of God as creator. And what Paul established is this.