Summary: God’s people must make a u-turn on the issue of homosexuality

Life in the Fast Lane

Sexual Identity: Have We Taken A Wrong Turn?

Romans 1:26-27

Woodlawn Baptist Church

November 14, 2004


Did you ever set out on a trip only to take a wrong turn and end up somewhere you never intended to go? As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve done it plenty of times. Before Kathy and I made many trips to Dallas, I tried to get her somewhere and made a wrong turn and ended up lost in a neighborhood that I knew I needed to get out of. On a vacation a couple of years ago I took a wrong turn coming out of the hotel parking lot and drove us about an hour and a half out of the way. Then just a few weeks ago, coming home from Six Flags I told Kathy to turn right when it should have been left, and we were headed to Duncanville instead of home.

While those kinds of wrong turns can be frustrating and costly in time, they pale in comparison to the wrong turn that we have made in recent years concerning the subject of sexual identity. Last week I preached a message about role reversal, and spoke specifically about two things that God instituted when He created the first man and woman. I told you that God instituted male and female equality, insomuch that there is equality between men and women as the image bearers of God. The second thing He instituted was male headship: that is, in a partnership of two spiritually equal human beings, male and female, the man bears the primary responsibility to lead the partnership in a God glorifying direction.

As I told you, there was far too much to cover under the subject of role reversal to deal with everything, so we dealt with those two things and now we’ve moved on. But before we get too far, today we will deal with this subject of sexual identity. Now I’ll be the first to admit that sexuality, sexual orientation and sexual behavior are not easy subjects to deal with, not because the Bible has nothing to say about them, but because people on both sides of the issue have such strong feelings and opinions about the issues. Specifically today I want to deal with the subject of homosexuality, and again, because this is such a vast subject, we will only be able to briefly deal with it.

We Have Taken A Wrong Turn

Imagine that we are driving down the highway of biblical morality, and suddenly you hear on the radio some of what people in our culture are saying,

· One lady says, “My lesbianism is an act of Christian charity.”

· A church minister says, “The Lord is my Shepherd and he knows I’m gay.”

· Another man is quoted as saying, “If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.”

Have we taken a wrong turn? Depending on the reports you read, it is estimated that only 1-4% of our population is exclusively homosexual, but you wouldn’t know it was that low by the way we are being bombarded with all the news about homosexual rights, gay marriage legislation, the homosexual agenda on television and so forth. It is a huge industry, but it is fueled by only a relatively small percentage of Americans who are passionate and committed to advancing their agenda.

Take television for example. You’d have to be blind not to recognize the efforts of media professionals to advance the gay agenda on TV. According to one media consultant, keeping programming with homosexual content in it “gives straight viewers a chance to make friends with gays in their living rooms. It’s like sensitivity training.” Did you know that there are over 2,000 schools in America with Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs? The purpose of the clubs is to make homosexuality acceptable to kids, to teach them tolerance of so-called alternative lifestyles.

Get Out The Road Map

Whenever I am taking a trip somewhere and I realize that I’m in the wrong place, I like to find some sort of locator, like a sign or mile marker, then I want to pull over and get out the map. Once I find where I am, then I can backtrack to see where I went astray. As I have considered the arguments for and against homosexuality, it seems that there have been several indicators of the problem, but they all point back to one wrong turn. I want to use actual arguments for homosexuality to give you these indicators. The first few are indicators concerning the Bible.

The authority of the Scriptures has been minimized

Men have always been guilty of doing this. Let me ask you something: If the Bible says to do a thing, or to believe a thing, and someone or something else says something different, which is right? If the Bible says that homosexuality is sin, but world-renowned scientists say it is biological, which is right? If the Bible says that homosexuality is sin, but you feel like you are right, which do you trust? Listen to what one man said, “I take [the Bible’s prohibition on homosexuality] no more seriously than many others…that do not make sense in the first place.” Do you see what he did? This man’s reasoning was elevated over the authority of the Bible. It doesn’t matter whether it makes sense to you or not – if God said it in His Word, then that’s it.

Another preacher says, “A careful and sensitive reading of the Scriptures does not lead to the automatic conclusion that homosexuality is a sin…For me a more important question is that of the relationship of God in Christ to a human being.” “For me?” What difference do our thoughts make?

Two final quotes on the authority of the Bible. The first comes from Catholicism. “Catholicism uses four major sources for principles and guidance in ethical questions like homosexuality: scripture, tradition, reason, and human experience.” Do you see how all four are treated with equal authority? Then the final and perhaps most plain of all these says, “Most of the Old Testament is surely not an appropriate resource from which to obtain guidance regarding contemporary ethics!”

The Scriptures have been interpreted to suit our tastes

A Jewish Rabbi states quite plainly, “I believe the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) strongly condemns homosexuality. While it is part of my tradition, I do not regard all Biblical laws as binding on me.” Are we under the Law today? So many are saying that because something is in the Old Testament it is not binding on us today, so let me address that quickly. When you think of the Law, you need to understand that when God gave the Law, He established for all eternity what His standard of righteousness was in what we call God’s Moral Law. These are the 10 Commandments in brief, and over 600 in their expanded form throughout the Pentateuch. Now, are we under God’s moral law? The answer is yes and no. Yes, we are in the sense that God’s standard of righteousness has never changed. God’s principles for being His called out people are still the same, but no one could ever live up to that standard. “All have sinned and fall short…” The Law was not given because God thought we could attain such a high standard, but to show us that we couldn’t, which is why He sent Jesus.

When we come to God’s Word and we see His standard and realize we cannot live up to it, we are compelled to cry out for mercy! If you want to try to live up to God’s standard, go ahead and try, but you can’t do it. You see, there are only two alternatives. You either try to do it or you depend on God’s grace. What homosexuals and others who want to justify their sin is try to impose a third alternative, which is to simply explain away what they don’t like.

But listen, if you can simply pick and choose what to obey and what not to obey, then there’s no need for Jesus. There’s no need for repentance, no need for salvation, or for God’s grace because when you eliminate anything and everything that you don’t like, then you begin to look pretty good in light of what’s left. If even one of God’s commandments can be ignored, then they can all be ignored.

The inspiration of the Scriptures has been called into question

How do we call into question the inspiration of the Bible? We do it by saying things like, “Was Paul’s opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance?” Or how about, “Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight…” Here’s another, “The Scriptures are old, thousands of years old, written even before the word homosexual existed.”

Listen, who wrote the Bible? If we reduce the writing to human authors writing of their own volition, then these kinds of attacks are understandable, but the Bible asserts that “holy men of old wrote as they were led by the Holy Spirit.” “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” You cannot go to the Bible and say that homosexuality was condemned because of a lack of knowledge, because the God of all knowledge wrote it. It doesn’t matter how old the teaching is because time is meaningless to God. To Him there is no 2,000 years ago because He lives in an eternal present. What He wrote yesterday is just as powerful and meaningful today. Any attempt to deny the teachings of Scripture because of the ignorance of the writers is to call into question the leading of the Holy Spirit of God as they wrote it.

A healthy fear of God is severely lacking

In his defense of homosexuality, one man writes, “The God I worship endorses loving, committed, monogamous relationships, regardless of the gender of those involved.” Another writes, “I do not believe in a…God who defines or delineates sinful behavior. But even if I did, I cannot believe that such a God would reject any of his or her children on the basis of their affectional orientations. The question I have then is this, “What God do you worship?”

“Well, Brother Kevin, that’s folk out there. That’s not us.” You’re right – we know that society has made a wrong turn – but what about those of us in the Lord’s churches? Have we too made a wrong turn? I say we have. Why is it that Christian people – God-fearing people who are supposedly filled with the love and Spirit of God so hateful when it comes to homosexuality? We don’t think of homosexuality as a sin like our sin, we loath it and treat homosexuals with contempt and ridicule. On the other hand are men and women, particularly the generation coming up under us who say that it doesn’t matter if you’re homosexual or not. God doesn’t care. I hear Christian people say that homosexuals can’t be saved, or that they never were saved.

What I’m trying to say is that sure there are a lot of indications of a wrong turn by those who are homosexual and by society in general, but what is worse is that we as God’s people have made the turn with them by either withholding the love of God from them, or by embracing their sin as simply an alternative lifestyle. Whether we like to admit it or not, we too have mistreated the Scriptures and have responded without regard to the God we claim to serve.

Let’s Make A U-Turn

Now, I’ve said that these are a few indicators that we took a wrong turn. Let’s turn now to our road map. Not only will we see where the wrong turn was, but I also want to show you what’s going to have to happen in order for us to get on the right track. Look with me at Romans 1:17 and following. The apostle Paul said,

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Now let’s get our bearings. Paul, writing under the inspiration of God, has just said that the “gospel of Christ…is the power of God unto salvation…” The gospel has the power to save the lost soul, to soften the hardened heart, to change the sin filled life. He goes on to say that God’s wrath has been revealed, or shown to all of humanity. Verse 19 tells us that God has shown this to everyone. There’s not a man or woman alive that will be able to say to God that they didn’t have a chance, or that they didn’t know the truth. God has shown it to the unrighteous and to the ungodly: everyone. Now watch the progression beginning in verse 20.

Verse 20 – The invisible things of God: His eternal power and Godhead can be clearly understood from the things we see every day. One only has to look at the Creation – man and the animals, the sun, moon and stars to know that a Creation presupposes a Creator. When you drive by a home, you know there was a builder and an architect. No man will have an excuse because of the evidence God has given to all.

Verse 21 – Once men understand that there is a Creator, they must either respond toward or away from Him. Paul says that these glorified him not as God. In other words, they turned away from what they knew to be true. The natural result is that when a man turns from what he knows to be true about God; when he turns from the light to walk in darkness, his heart grows dark and empty.

Verse 22 – These people consider themselves to be wise. Think of all the psychological babble, the so-called Bible interpretations these people come up with. Having rejected the simplicity found in Christ, in their wisdom they build up walls with their philosophies, their reasoning: with what seems right in their own eyes.

Verse 23 – Rather than admitting their unrighteousness and ungodliness and bringing themselves under the authority of God, they simply change God – make Him something more palatable, more humane. “The God I serve wouldn’t do that.” “The God I worship doesn’t think like that.”

Verses 24-27 – Once a man or woman rejects the truth and fashions a god after his own image, God simply turns them over to their own wicked thinking. He turns them over to their own sinful desires. God does not cause them to sin. When a man decides He does not want the God of the Bible, then the God of the Bible withdraws Himself from that person and allows him or her to pursue the sin that they love. Homosexuality is not God’s punishment; it is where a man chooses to go in his pursuit of his own sinful desires.

So what was the wrong turn? It was the turn away from God. The question now is this: can we turn it around? And if so, how?

We must allow the Bible to shape what we think about homosexuality.

I don’t care what you think, what you feel, whether you have gays or lesbians in your families or not, the Bible must be your guide to determining what you think. I cannot say that more emphatically. What are we to think? Homosexuality is sin. It is not a disease, not a genetic disorder, not an alternative lifestyle – it is sin. However, when a person stands as lost before God being homosexual doesn’t make you any more lost than any other sin. If you will look at that list in Romans 1 again, you’ll notice that it is in the same list as other sins like anger, or disobedience to parents. The point Paul was making is that when a man turns from God there is no limit to where his sin will take him. Lost is lost so far as God is concerned. Maybe you weren’t as bad as me, or maybe you were worse than me, but when you get right down to it, both of us were lost.

We must allow the Spirit of God to use us to reach these people.

Do you know why I think most believers won’t reach out to a homosexual? I think it is because most of you are afraid of them, and that is to your shame. Turn to 1 John 4 and I’ll show you why. In verse 11, John wrote,

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

It is hard to love someone when you are afraid of him or her. Let’s keep reading and I’ll show you why you’re afraid. Verse 18 says,

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”

Why do we fear? Because we don’t really know the love of God. We say we do, but your actions speak louder than your words. You must love them. I know the passage is talking about Christian brothers, but don’t forget that Jesus told us to love our neighbors, and even to love our enemies, and the only way to do that is to first be in right relation to the Lord. I know that some of you don’t like what I’m saying, but again, are you going to allow your feelings to shape your responses, or the Word of God?


So why are people homosexual? Because they turned away from God somewhere along the journey. Truth be told, that’s the answer to why anyone is living in sin. If you have unbiblical attitudes toward gays and lesbians, then you too turned away from God.

Perhaps today the Lord wants you to see some other area of your life where you made a wrong turn. He has shown you all the indications you need to be able to see that you’re headed in the wrong direction, and He’s taken you back to that place where you realize you turned away from Him. Will you turn back?

Some of you today have never received Christ as your personal Savior. I want you to know today that it really doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t even matter that you’ve lived a clean and pure life up to this point. Lost is lost, and if there’s never been a time in your life that you’ve admitted to God your own sinfulness, repented of it and made a conscious turn towards Him, you need to do that today. Will you too turn around?

You can cruise along for as long as you want; God is never going to demand a u-turn. It’s always simply an open invitation – but there’s a catch: you don’t know how long you have to do it. It’s kind of like running along with your gas gauge broke. You know that the time is coming, you just don’t know when. The best thing to do is to act now, while you still have the opportunity to come and enjoy what Christ wants to offer you.