WE begin a new series today titled “culture in crisis”. I think it was Merle Haggard who had a song in the 80’s describing America that said “Were rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell”. That is a pretty good description.
Amazingly we live in a world where What was once bad is now paraded as good----what was once good is being presented as bad.
The Bible says: 1 Cor 14:8
If the trumpet does not sound a clear call—who will get ready for battle?
I believe maybe the church has been too quiet---we have not sounded a clear call.
For the next three weeks I want us to take a look at three issues that are relevant in our culture. Issues that we see in the paper, on the news---every day.
And I’m going to ask you to help me-----
First by praying for wisdom as I choose my words. I don’t want this in any way to be a soapbox opportunity just to fire up emotions over sensitive issues.
This is not an opportunity for us to condemn and ridicule or make ourselves feel better or superior by degrading others.
I really want us to know God’s heart in these issues and then see what our responsibilities are as God’s people.
Secondly---let’s ask God to open our minds---and to show us areas that might need to be changed in our thinking and our actions.
We are going to talk about homosexuality, racism and sexual purity. I believe these are the three crucial areas we are facing as a community and as a nation. And each of these has an affect on the church.
Last summer a new show hit our television screens
Queer eye for the straight guy. It became such a huge success it made it from cable to prime time in one season. Here’s their description of what happens on that show. This is from their web site.
Each week their mission is to transform a style-deficient and culture-deprived straight man from drab to fab in each of their respective categories: (fashion, food and wine, interior design, grooming and culture).
It’s a full lifestyle make-over — a make better show where straight guys turn in their pleats for flat fronts, learn about wines that don’t come in a jug and come to understand why hand soap is not a good shampoo (and vice versa). When the journey is done, a freshly scrubbed, newly enlightened, ultra hip man emerges.”
Now---I have watched the show a couple of times. And must admit it was a bit entertaining----until I begin to see the subtle messages it presents.
All non homosexual men are in need of saving from their lifestyle. They are all dirty, ignorant, socially inept----and are to be made fun of. But the gay lifestyle can fix that for them.
Chuck Lees is a minister in Ky. He was going to the airport to pick up his wife from a conference. They had been apart for a week and so Chuck bought some roses and was carrying them through the airport to greet her. He’s on the moving sidewalk, when three women coming the other way saw him, assessed the situation and as they passed said, “Lucky woman”. To which Chuck in his humble way responded—“No—lucky guy” and all three women gasped.
Now that story---20 years ago would have gotten no response. That’s how things have changed.
This morning-----I want to share four things with you. Some concerns, Myths, Truths and responses needed from the church concerning homosexuality.
And I must say doing the research for today has elevated my concern.
#1---I am concerned about the danger of the Gay Agenda.
The homosexual movement is not just about people who want to have a different lifestyle and be left alone. There is a clearly stated, 6 point agenda that was laid out in 1989.
Step 1—talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible. People will become tired of the issue and give us anything we want to shut us up.
Step 2- Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers. Exploit things such as the murder of Matthew Shephard. Use words to build compassion for those “trapped” in this lifestyle.
Step 3-Give homosexual protectors a just cause. This was designed to tap into and exploit the innate sense of fairness that Americans have. We all cheer for the underdog and disenfranchised.
Step 4- Make gays look good. Major media campaigns, television programs all portray homosexuals as the most normal, stable, hippest, happiest people in America.
Step 5- Make the victimizers look bad. Portray people of faith as homophobes and bigots. Muddy the moral waters by getting liberal churches to say homosexual behavior is fine. Get in the leadership of those churches. Divide and conquer.
Step 6- Get funds from corporate America. Get all the tax and corporate dollars possible by any means possible.
That agenda---over a 15 year period has put the homosexual community in the drivers seat. Which is concern #2---
The progressive POWER of the homosexual movement.
Who would have thought that political and corporate America would cater and bow to be in the good graces of this segment of our society. And this election the gay community will play a major role in our political process.
I don’t mix politics and sermons. I don’t tell you how to vote---and I vote people, and character---not parties. But I have to tell you it concerns me when last week on April 8, the NSD which is the political arm of the homosexual movement came out and announced their endorsement of a presidential candidate. And it concerns me when Dave Noble, the executive director of NSD says, “Even before his first year in the Senate almost 20 years ago, Senator Kerry has been a friend to gay and lesbian families”.
It concerns me when I can go to a political party web store and buy shirts and coffee mugs that say I support the gay agenda.
It concerns me that in Broward County, the school board has voted to permit a homosexual tolerance group to train teachers in what it calls “fighting harassment”. The board is endorsing an agreement with the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network to provide the training. The executive director, Kevin Jennings, of that organization says his mission is promoting homosexuality. He said, “We can make it happen”. When ask about his attitude toward Christianity, Jennings said, “I don’t care what they think. Drop dead”
It concerns me that this past Thursday six same sex couples asked our state court in Key West to overturn Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act which bans gay marriage.
The homosexual agenda is gaining power and is a force to be reckoned with.
Concern #3-The dangers and realities of the homosexual lifestyle.
While media portrays the homosexual as smarter, happier, more clever, and better dressed----
Here’s some reality figures;
A Bell and Wienberg report—A study of Diversity among men and women shared these findings.
-74% of white male homosexuals had sex with more than 100 partners
-79% said these were usually total strangers
-43% had sex with more then 500 partners
-78% were at any given time affected by sexually transmitted disease
-89% use marijuana
-50% use cocaine
-42% have experienced depression
-18% have attempted suicide.
The median age of death for homosexual men is 42—this drops to 39 if AIDS is involved, while the median age of married heterosexual men is 75.
The median age of death of lesbians is 45 while the median age of death for married heterosexual women is 79.
Thomas Schmidt—in a study of homosexual relationships found only 8% of men and 7% of the women ever had a relationship that lasted more then 3 years. He said, “Tragically, lifelong faithfulness is almost nonexistent in the homosexual experience”
It concerns me that these realities are never shown in the media or told to our children.
There are a lot of lies---I’ll call them myths in this homosexual matter.
Myth #1---People are born homosexuals.
I’ve heard well meaning people quote this, claim this, say this in defense of this lifestyle. How many of you have heard that there is a gay gene that has been found? (response) How many of us, accepted it and thought maybe it’s true?
In 1993 Dr. Hamer studied 40 pair of non-identical gay brothers and claimed that 33 had inherited the same x-linked genetic markers indicating a genetic cause for homosexuality.
Without confirmation----the media latched on to this story and exaggerated his findings to say there had been found a positive gay gene.
Hamer’s study was quickly proved misleading---and not even scientific in how it was handled. Within a year it had been proven that no such gene existed. Since that time Dr. Hamer has admitted it was not true---when asked about this he and others in the movement have said, “It doesn’t matter now, people already believe it and it’s made life easier for homosexuals.”
People are not born homosexual---it’s a myth.
Jesus did not speak against homosexuality.
It is true. Jesus never said a word against homosexuality. But he also never said a word against rape, incest, spouse abuse, or child abuse---but our intelligence understands these are wrong. And other places in scripture enforce that understanding.
Myth #3- It’s not about religion---it’s about Freedom.
This is the cry of the homosexual movement now. To separate this from morality and make it a civil rights issue. They desire to be classified as a minority---as a group that has been victimized. The language continues to change. From “Sexual preference” which indicates a choice to alternative lifestyle which gave way to sexual orientation----which has given way now to sexual identity. The goal in this is to complelty remove any responsibility or indication of choice by the person for this lifestyle. The goal is moral legitimization.
We must be aware of the lies-----and stand for the truth.
#1. The Bible speaks clearly about homosexuality.
In the old testament it is called Sodomy. In the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 it is clear.
“Do you not know the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom f God.”
IT is clear-----God would not condemn people for something they could not help. Homosexuality----like all the other sins listed-----is a sin.
Truth #2- We are in a war----and losing.
This past week a parent walked down the halls of Cape Coral High School and saw 2 girls passionately kissing. Nothing was being done---in her mind---it seemed for fear of retaliation of accusations of intolrence for this lifestyle.
A few months ago The Episcopal Church was in the news when Gene Robinson, an unapologetic practicing homosexual was made Bishop of New Hampshire.
We have buried our heads in the sand for to long----and the battle has overtaken us and the war is on.
20 years ago Psychiatrists recognized and categorized homosexuality as a form of mental illness. In the last two years, that has changed completely and now they say that homosexuality is normal and those who oppose it are mentally ill and they define homophobia as an “irrational fear and hatred of homosexuals” and in our culture, anyone who verbalizes anything negative about homosexuality is homophobic or mentally ill.
Truth #3-----God LOVES Homosexuals.
Not their homosexuality----but we have to remember that every person caught up in homosexuality is a face, a name, a son, a daughter, a family member, a friend.
Just as we have friends caught up in other sin------just as God wants everyone to repent and be his children. God loves those are in the homosexual lifestyle----and wants to free them from it.
And too often our response as the church has been a refusal to reach out and love these people. We have set this sin in a different category as other sins------and God does not do that.
So---what is our response as God’s People to be?
1. Hold on to the truth.
a. The current homosexual agenda is to force acceptance without repentance. Even though in scripture, this is listed as sin----they would not see repentance as a part of the process. Just down the street we have a church where you can be a remain homosexual and call yourself a Christ Follower. There is no such thing. If we follow that line of reasoning then we would have churches for every sin. Adulterors go here, liars go here, greedy go here----. The reality should be that every church if for homosexuals---and liars, and greedy, and all the sins that all of us wrestle with in our lives. But the sin must be acknowledged and repented of.
b. The church must never waver on the truth. We must not be swayed by our culture of false tolerance to okay behavior that God says is not okay. Isa 5:20 says “woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”
c. The truth is that God loves imperfect people and wants to meet the needs they are trying to fill in this lifestyle. He wants to give them peace, and joy, and love and meaning. But they cannot be Christ followers and continue in that sin.
#2. We must see people through God’s Eyes.
Many of us in this room have had the problem of homosexuality hit our families. The picture changes when we know someone wrestling with this choice. WE begin to soften---or at least we should. Because as much pain as it causes us---it causes God more. He sees each and every person in the homosexual community as one of his children that needs to be brought home. One who is looking for the right answers in the wrong places. Usually one who has been hurt in some great way. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi in a parents guide to preventing homosexuality, wrote, “In 15 years of speaking with hundreds of homosexual men, I have never met one who said he had a loving, respectful relationship with his father”.
I have talked to homosexuals who had a desire to walk away from this sin, only to find themselves outcast and bashed by the church. With no place to go they would invariably find themselves back in the gay community who would at least show them some compassion.
Which leads us to Response #3
We have to provide a place for people to experience God’s love.
God never ask us to change, and then come to him. He doesn’t say that those who run a perfect race get the prize.
He says if we will follow Him-----he will transform us. His spirit in us will make the difference. If we will run the race and finish---we get the prize.
But the church has not done a good job wrapping our arms around those who are coming, seeking relief from this empty lifestyle that has promise so much and delivered so little.
It means looking at our attitudes-----adjusting our language. Seeing their sin as God sees us.
Extending grace as God has extended it to us.
For too long we have thrown stones----instead of invited people to join us on the journey of walking with Jesus.
We have said “change your ways—and we will accept you. While Jesus says, follow me, and you cannot help but change. Transformation is an unavoidable by product of walking with Jesus.
One of the great culture cancers---of every society that has risen and fallen has been homosexuality. This lifestyle has been a strong determining factor in every culture that has disappeared in time----and the only answer---is God. The church. God’s people showing a love that is not found any where else. God’s love.
C.S.Lewis said, “We’re all either helping people toward God or away from him”
In the queer eye for the straight Guy show-----homosexuals take a poor lost straight guy and save him from his ways.
God has an eye for the homosexual----and he wants to take poor, lost, searching, people and save them. And it might be homosexuality, or hatred, or gossip, or greed, or pride, or lying, or stealing---name your struggle. It’s all sin-----and God has an eye for us all.