Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Gospel Without Sexual Caveats

Ok, I get it. Chris Broussard is a professing Christian who believes that homosexual behavior is a sin. I get it. Lying, greed, pride, lust, it’s all sin. I get it. But all this hysteria was in response to an NBA player saying he had same sex attractions. And as if throwing red meat into a pit bull pen many believers not only came out in agreement with his statement, which was Biblical, but they applauded him for being bold and “calling a spade a spade”. Wow, that’s all it takes to make a Christian hero? I cannot disagree with Broussard’s assessment, but I do have objections on a number of other fronts.
Let us not forget that although Broussard’s assessments were Biblical, he makes his living covering and supporting one of the most greedy, hedonistic, self elevating, and promiscuous venues in history. Somehow I do not believe Jesus endorses men making hundreds of millions of dollars to throw a ball into a hoop. And if the infidelity and strip club visitations were revealed inside the NBA I doubt there is much spiritual foundation to be throwing stones. And although Broussard makes some valid statements, he never gives the gospel.
That is like telling people their house in on fire but not showing them a door of escape. Without the gospel it is moralism which may elicit support within the camp but does very little for the spreading of the gospel. When they shove a microphone in your face talk about Jesus. The world should not be able to dictate the conversation. Talk about Jesus or give your personal testimony but avoid the trap that is being set. The gay thing continues to be a moral game of Wack-a-Mole.
So let us examine this phenomenon of professing believers being elevated and praised based in large part about what they speak out against and what they believe is sin, and in this case a very specific sin. I call it the Phelps paradigm. How about the clarity of their life prism as it pertains to Christ? You can program a computer to say homosexuality is a sin but can that computer live for Jesus? Why do I take such an issue with this gay thing and the church? Because the church has become conveniently obsessed with it and it is subtly and not so subtly used to cover the abundance of sin practiced in the church as well as the pulpit.
The President said that he was proud of Jason Collins. We should not be proud of him but we should understand he is being more honest about who he is than most believers. I have never taken the position that the gay lifestyle is godly and acceptable. Never. But I also cannot take the position that what goes on in the church is godly and represents a self denying discipleship that follows Jesus. What if Chris Broussard had said divorce was an abomination? Or greed? Or prayerlessness? Or debt? That would not have made the television report. Why? Because the world loves a good moral fight and the church has complied with its wishes. And so what transpires is a back and forth about some moral issue which cannot save even if every gay person left that lifestyle today.
The gospel calls sinners to faith first and then to change, in that order. When that order is reversed that is legalism which can never be redemptive. And so in pulpits and on radio and on television believers stand boldly and proclaim that homosexual behavior is a sin. And the kingdom of darkness gets the strong impression that God hates the gays, or at least that before any gay person approaches Jesus they better do some moral fence mending. And when it comes to the gay issue much of the church actually believes exactly that.
The entire issue continues to be centered on what we believe about redemption and how Christ desires us to present the gospel.
Matt.28: 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Do you see the chronology? Preach, baptize, and then teach. Jesus told us that the Spirit would guide us into all truth. Well how can they who do not have the Spirit understand these truths? The concept of sin may help a sinner see who Jesus is and his need for a Savior, but when you harp on a certain sin above all the rest you have become a moralist if not a legalist as well. The church has largely stepped into the world’s moral wars and thereby we have left the message we have been given.
Acts 1: 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
How have we taken our eyes off the eternal and settled for a few temporal crumbs? We belong to a kingdom that is not of this world and yet we battle to change it. There is no way to change the kingdom of darkness. God isn’t interested in leaving sinners where they are and changing their culture. God’s way is to see a sinner believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be translated from that darkness into the kingdom of light. And then and only then is that sinner’s kingdom changed.
In effect, and I say this advisedly, we minimize the cross when we rail against certain moral issues along with unbelievers both religious and nonreligious. We become one voice among many in a sea of politics gently layered with a smattering of Bible but certainly without a cross centered motivation. Our motivation is being morally right at the expense of holding our tongue in public and allowing our voices to speak deeply inside our prayer closets. I sold drugs to high school kids and I planned on robbing a bank and killing the guard. Does it make a difference that I was a rabid heterosexual who engaged in unbridled promiscuity? Why don’t believers rail against that for certainly that lifestyle lives and breathes in professional sports?
It is a riveting question the church seldom asks because we know everything already. How should we speak and what should capture our attention? And if we pursue the answer via the life and teachings of Jesus we will find some interesting templates. Sadly the church has drifted into the cultural sea until the shore of the sacred steps of Jesus has disappeared. Yes, I am suggesting that the church has so departed from the teachings and example of Jesus as to be little more than a self serving religious and moral institution. Jesus is seldom preached and there is precious little strong exhortation to surrender all and follow Him. We have been so long without seeking Him with our whole hearts that we no longer can be awakened from our religious slumber. And this slumber is sweet to the flesh.
Most of the local buildings we call church provide some excitement and some tepid Bible study as well as a well oiled ecclesiastical machine that supplements our western lifestyles with just enough religious anesthesia so as to deafen the ears and dull the senses. The Sunday morning get together is predictable and planned and orchestrated in order that people leave warm and happy regardless of their spiritual condition. With the darkness all around closing in and with sin running rampant within the church one should expect some kind of desperation in the company of believers. Should we not be earnestly seeking God’s face and power?
We are in such dire straits and in such a deep need of a spiritual revival that we should be prostrate before the Lord in repentance. But instead it is so very easy to address the sins of the dead rather than the lethargy of the living.
Is.64: Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Are we not hungry for a move of the mighty Spirit of God that strips us of our pretences and our lies? Can we not hunger for something in our lives that can only be explained by the Spirit of God? When will men say as they did in the Book of Acts, “We have never seen it on this wise?” But if we do not desire any more than what we now have then we can just do what we are doing and play pin the tail on the sinners and feel like we are fulfilling our religious obligation. It isn’t the gay community that is an obstacle to any spiritual awakening. It is the community of faith which has become adept at spying out the sin of others while remaining blind to its own sin.
Let it be known that Jesus loves every gay person even though He does not condone their sin. Pretty much like He feels about me.

But what about these people, Lord?
What is that to you? Follow Me and let your light so shine before these people. Preach and live the gospel and exhibit an uncomfortable love toward the most demonstrative and rebellious sinners.
Yes, but Lord, they are sinning greatly and are expecting us to approve their sin.
Take your eyes off their sin and look at their souls. So are you being forced to accept anything? How did I deal with such monsters of iniquity?

The cross.

(Go and do likewise)


Annette said...

Thank-you LORD Jesus. Once again, Pastor Rick, this post reveals the true colors of our hearts and makes one weep in the disgusting mire of our own transgressions. May God, our Father continue to use you to encourage repentance and the free gift of mercy and grace through our LORD JESUS CHRIST.

After reading this, I ran, not walked, but ran to my Bible and reread the wonderful words found in John 8:1-12. To all who happen upon these comments, I encourage you to do the same, and relish the riches of this testimony, knowing of the sins that lurk in the life of every believer and unbeliever alike.

Our Bibles are clear concerning the plight of man for we must acknowledge the truth found in Timothy 3:1-7, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people, turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the truth."

I used to think these characteristics were for all of THOSE UNBELIEVERS out there living in the lusts of their own trangressions. But after experiencing several religious systems called churches, it is with grief that I must confess, these Scriptures describe us, the so called religious of our day.

And honestly, I have discoverd the fruits of what we label as "unbelievers" are actually more in alignment with the Word than most who live in their self righteous religious systems called churches, who are caught up in a Nicolatian system of lording over those who they perceive as "less spiritual." Why is it that church people act so holy and righteous in front of men at church and the rest of the week, forget Jesus altogether?

What does "Judgement begins in the house of the LORD" mean to you?

And to those who have spiritual pride, and they are many, please consider this...."Is not the dirt underneath the hangnail equally as important as the mouthpiece in the Body of Jesus Christ?" May Jesus have mercy upon our sin.

Anonymous said...

I agree. And Amen.

Sports can become an idol. Politicians can be idolized. Radio and talk show hosts, entertainers, journalists, anyone who makes an immense living off of 'fans' have made their choice (not to be spreaders of the gospel) but to be celebrities and have their names in the halls of fame.

I suppose many are well-intentioned and feel they should spread some 'gospel' in the microphone from time to time, or show an act of contrition and humility before God, like praying before a game and such, or reminding voters that they are devoted to Jesus, etc. but, they fail to understand that when they address what sin is or not is and get on the 'homosexual sin bandwagon' they just provoke scoffers and mockers.

These people, like Broussard, are preaching to the choir. And for those who listen and aren't part of the choir, it just makes them more defiant against God. They see a multi-million dollar earner as speaking down to people from his comfy cushy platform where he is adored and held on to his every word. It's easy to preach from the mountain-top. It's not so easy to preach from the valley.

The rest of believers who are being trained in the valley have a heart for those who can't see beyond their sin. So true what Bro. Rick writes that he "doubts there is much spiritual foundation to be throwing stones" without the gospel. I think they do it because they feel the same guilt we all do, that we are so immersed in our lives, or careers, that we don't have time to share the gospel. So, they convince themselves they are doing the Lord a favor by once in a while throwing a bone out there. It satisfies their guilt for a time.

If a person wants to really talk about sin, they should become teachers or pastors or evangelists and present the 'whole' truth in one package. If they prefer to join in the worldly professions which garner loads of money, they should leave 'teaching' up to the true teachers, the ones who live in the valleys, who don't take on the job of "sin police".

It's been preached to me years ago, and I believe it, that a child of God, a believer, must be always earnestly in prayer, which keeps him anointed, and which gives him the authority to speak. With that anointing and Christ's authority, people who hear feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Words only don't garner conviction. The disciple who speaks to the world must have the Word, and the Spirit in order to properly teach. But in order for them to be constant in season, they need to show the world that they are willing to lay anything down and give up all for the Lord. I think only then will people feel a true conviction.

Anonymous said...

Acts 2:36-39 therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

So after hearing the word from Peter, the people had a godly sorrow for what they had done and the first thing Peter told them to do was to Repent of their sin and be baptized in Jesus name for the remission of sins and then they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Water baptism doesn't take away sin..the shed blood of Jesus does.

Acts 1:4,5 And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the father, which saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days from now.

So we need godly sorrow to bring us to repentance of our sins before we can be truly born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.
And as we surrender our will to God daily our inward man is renewed day by day. We don't have to live in sin any longer, praise God. If the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin after we have been born again we have a high priest in Jesus who will forgive us if we repent.

Reine Gnade said...

Precious readers, there is no spiritual foundation for throwing stones at sinners. Guilt can't be satisfied by sinning! Throwng stones of discouragement and hatred is ungodly and will and is being punished by God.

Only God's gift of forgiveness can offer us a new life wherein we say no to stone throwing of every discription.

Only faith in the uniquely gracious, truthful and loving sinless Savior can rescue sinners. How indebted are we to the shed blood of LORD Jesus on the cross.

LORD Jesus died on the cross to offer sinners a way to freedom. Let's remember also that God can rescue defiant man. He can rescue mockers. Think of one of the men hanging beside Our precious pure-hearted LORD on a cross.

He was blessed by God with the gift of godly sorrow. This thief on the cross gives us an illustration of saving faith apart from water baptism.

The LORD God welcomed him into paradise, even though initially he was a defiant mocker.

Truly the promise of a new life in Christ is to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our gracious, compassionate, forgiving God shall call!