A BIBLICAL VIEW OF HOMOSEXUALITY
Romans 1:24-32, 7/30/2017
Introduction: In every generation since the beginning of the Church Christians have been given a unique task to understand and creatively address the controversial issues of the culture of their times. However, they were to approach those sensitive matters through the compassion of Christ. Forty years ago, most Americans said they didn't know anyone who was a homosexual and claimed to know little or nothing about homosexuality. Today, most of us either know of a friend, a family member, or a colleague who might be homosexual. Since coming to America one of the things I am trying to grapple with is, the sexual revolution of the sixties. I am amazed at its impact on society and its assault on human sexuality.
More specifically I am saddened by the homosexual agenda and its influence on sincerely Bible believing Christians. I understand this is a very sensitive subject and passions can be flared up on either side of this matter. Like you, I too have I have more questions than answers. So, let’s together explore some answers. Last week we looked at SIN and why it is a BIG deal. Today, we will look at how the moral fabric of humanity has been eroding because of SIN, and its consequences. We want to develop a balanced view of homosexuality through the lenses of scripture. As we speak there are so many that are struggling with homosexual feelings. What hope do they have? Let’s look at the passage in Romans 1: 24-32, my hope is that by the end of our time together we will leave with a Biblical View of Homosexuality.
For the past few weeks we are exploring some major themes from the book of Romans. Why is it important that we spend a considerable amount of time on this book? Because of its content and the scope of theology. Romans, the very title of this book conjures up images of the powerful empire that once ruled the Western world.
The apostle Paul was taking on some of the hot-button issues of the then Roman world since people were looking to Rome for matters of law, culture, power and learning. In the letter to Romans, Paul brilliantly tackles some difficult doctrines in a compassionate manner. He underscores his writings with the love of Christ. Paul wanted to convince his readers that Christ’s love has the answers to all of life’s important questions, including questions regarding human sexuality. In the verses from 18-23, Paul highlights SIN as the ultimate rebellion of the human heart and how the wrath of God was revealed upon the ungodly and the wicked. From vs 24-32, he graphically explains the depraved actions of mankind who indulged in SIN and God’s past, present and future dealings with man.
I. GOD’S WRATH OF ABANDONMENT (Vs 24-26a)
“Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts...” In Vs 23, we read that man blatantly violated the first commandment of God by exchanging God for images resembling mortal man, and birds and animals and creeping things, which is idolatry. Therefore, God gave them over in their sinful desires and to their shameful lusts.
Here we are seeing God’s wrath of abandonment, which is removing restraint and letting people go to their sin. In the passage we read in total we see three times, this phrase, “God gave them over or gave them up” What does this mean? It is a judicial term in Greek, used for handing over a prisoner to his sentence. When men consistently abandon God, he will abandon them. We see this played out throughout Israel’s history. This kind of wrath we are seeing in Vs (24-26a).
For example, Psalm 81:11-12 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So, I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.” Hosea 4:17, “Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.” Here Ephraim was referring to the northern kingdom of Israel. This was an expression of God’s wrath of abandonment, when sinners reject him and are bent on fulfilling their wicked purposes, God removes restraining grace and turns them over to the results of their own perverse choices. Just imagine, if all of a sudden there are no more courts, no more police to maintain law and order, all the jails open their prison doors and let the criminals loose, what will happen to our country? We will have chaos, and anarchy. Similarly, when God removes his restraint and hands over man to his sinful lusts, we will have moral decay in society.
II. MAN’S MORAL DECAY: (26b-28)
“Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.” In these two verses, we see a shameful and unnatural human sexuality.
But it was not always that bad. After creating everything God said it was good and very good, that includes sex. God was the inventor of sex, for the enjoyment and the pro-creation of mankind. However, he wanted that gift to be enjoyed between a man and a woman only in the confinement of marriage. So, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Andy. Listen to what was said after God created Eve and brought her to Adam, “that is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they both become one flesh.” Genesis 2: 24-25.
On several occasions God valued this type of covenantal relationship between a man and his wife. “Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.” Mal 2:15. When Jesus was tricked by a Pharisee in regards to a divorce related matter he replied, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, ‘and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?
From the beginning God intended this gift of sex to be enjoyed between one man and a woman in the confinements of a marriage. Whereas what we are seeing in these verses in Romans is that men and women have abandoned what was the natural way of sexual enjoyment, instead they adopted detestable and unnatural forms of men having sex with men and women with women. These are called, homosexual practices. In Vs 27, we read, “Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Here we see the law of sowing and reaping taking effect. Paul is referring here to the self-destructive nature of sin. What does the Bible say about homosexuality and is there a remedy?
III. A BIBLICAL VIEW OF HOMOSEXUALITY.
Homosexuality in this country is a hot-button issue. When we hear it mentioned passions from either side of the subject hit sky high. People take varied, evolving positions on this matter. It evokes a lot of pain, shame and grief to those who are involved in it, and are affected by it.
Keeping aside our personal view on this matter, let’s look at how God views homosexuality and what is his remedy and a path way of healing. To be very direct, homosexuality is sin just like any other sin for example, adultery, greed, steeling, cheating etc.
Why is it viewed with such severity? Because it violates many moral laws of God; therefore, it is widely condemned in Scripture. Here are a few scriptures for you to think about, (Gen 19, Lev 18:22, I Thes 4:5, I Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21, Eph 5:3-5, 1 Tim 1:9-10, Jude 7). Leviticus 18:22, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” In Leviticus, we see God detesting homosexual activity.
In the NT, it is included along with other sins. “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:9-11
Jude 5-7 “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” These two scriptures, high light homosexuality as sin, and homosexual sinners but let’s not too hard on those who might be struggling in this area and pass judgment on them.
The Bible also tells us that we all have sinned, which means either you are gay or straight we all have sinned therefore we all are in need of a savior. Paul warned the Roman believers that they had no excuse to pass judgment on someone else. You might be wondering is there a clear remedy and freedom for those who are struggling with Homosexual practices and tendencies? Can people really be set free and lead a clean life? The answer is Yes! In the Corinthian church, there were apparently some who may have practiced homosexuality, but at the time of this writing they were washed, and justified in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even today there are numerous examples of people who once struggled with homosexuality, but now have been set free by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Here is a powerful story of a former lesbian professor becoming a pastor’s wife: Rosaria Champagne Butterfield spent more than a decade of her life as a leftist lesbian English professor. She was in a committed homosexual relationship, served as the faculty adviser for a number of gay and lesbian student groups on campus. In 1999, everything changed. Rosaria had what she refers to as a "train-wreck conversion": she came to Christ and committed to pursuing a life of "holy sexuality" a commitment to either heterosexual marriage or celibacy.
She is now married to a Presbyterian pastor in Durham, North Carolina, where she is actively "living out the means of grace," raising four children, and sharing the testimony of God's redeeming love at churches, colleges, and universities.” Rosaria is a clear example of how Christian love and hospitality can win a hard-core lesbian like her to Christ.
Our today’s topic may have raised even more questions. I am open to discuss with any of these with you at the end of the service. But let’s all remember one thing as we leave, where sin increases, grace increases even more. When we come across a homosexual, friend, relative, family member or a colleague let’s love and befriend them. Let’s not reject them but accept them as Christ has accepted all of us into his family. My hope and prayer is that Hope Church will be a beacon of hope, a place of healing and restoration to all those who might be struggling in this area. May each of us find peace, joy, comfort and healing in the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ who loves us with an everlasting love. Amen.