Summary: What does our church believe about marriage?
Our church says: “We define marriage as a life covenant between one man and one woman according to the Scripture.” We have talked about the nature of marriage as we looked to verses 3-6. Next, we considered what Jesus said about the difficulty of marriage and about divorce in verses 7-10. Now, let’s focus on what Jesus says about the exception to marriage in verses 11 and 12.
C. The exception to marriage - vs. 11-12
Jesus says some are exempted from marriage. They are “eunuchs.” The Greek word, “eunouchos,” means “One who goes to bed alone.” Dr. Spiros Zodhiates says a eunuch is “one who either demonstrates no sexual desire or who voluntarily does not engage in sex.” Jesus says some are born with no desire for sex; others are made that way (by castration); and some are eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom.
Now, let’s address the “elephant in the room.” One reason why our church felt it necessary to define marriage in our confession of faith has to do with the rising acceptance of same sex marriage in our culture.
I heard on the radio the other day how an online organization called “Change.org” had started a petition, which had been signed by more that 5,400 people, calling for the Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie to get married in order to teach tolerance to children toward people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transsexual. Sesame Street has graciously declined.
This is becoming a bigger issue in our day, and partly for that reason, our church felt it necessary to define what we believe the Bible says about marriage. My hope is to clarify things even further.
Let me first say that as citizens of this wonderful country where we have the opportunity to vote and give input to our laws and policies, we, as Christians, have an obligation before God to seek to influence our nation toward righteousness (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17).
But today’s message is not about political activism. Our focus today is on how to respond to people we know who have “come out of the closet” and admitted to having same sex attraction. I believe Paul tells us what the response of the mature Christian and what the response of a mature church should be.
"Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." - Ephesians 4:15 (NLT) - read together
With respect to the issue of homosexuality, I am afraid that the American church has not always been Christ-like. If we are to be like Christ regarding this issue, then we must speak the truth in love. But what has happened is that either truth has been emphasized at the
expense of love; or love has been emphasized at the expense of truth.
1) But some emphasize this truth at the expense of love.
An example is Westboro Baptist Church, who protest at the funerals of service men and women who have died in combat, with signs that say terrible things, insisting that the one being buried was killed as part of God’s judgment on our nation because of the rise of homosexuality.
I’m sure no one here agrees with their approach. I’m sure you agree with me that they are an embarrassment to the cause of Christ. But as much as I abhor their tactics, the thought occurred to me, “Do I find Westboro Baptist Church’s protest abhorrent for biblical reasons or for patriotic reasons?” I believe we all have some soul-searching to do. It is fine to be a patriot and object on that basis, but we should also object to their non-biblical approach toward the issue of homosexuality.
2) Some emphasize love at the expense of truth.
On the other hand are churches who, in the name of love, have sought to downplay the clarity of Scripture on this issue. They have chosen to value “tolerance” more than truth. They insist the passages referred to earlier are speaking of something other than a monogamy between two people of the same sex. So they say that accepting same sex marriage is the “Christian” and loving thing to do.
Such a conclusion is intellectually dishonest about what the Bible says. The Bible clearly says that sex is only honorable between a man and a woman within the context of a marriage covenant relationship (vs. 4-6).
3) We want to emphasize the truth in love.
We can love the homosexual without having to prove it by accepting same sex marriage just like we can love the alcoholic without having to buy them a drink. But as we think about this today, I want you to know that I do not have a faceless group of people in mind as I speak to you. I’m thinking of teenagers, college students and other singles who have come asking advice on how to deal with feelings of same sex attraction.