Archive for June, 2015

As most of you know, The Supreme Court recently made a ruling allowing gay couples to “marry” all across America.  To many of us, we believe that this was unwise and more importantly, an unbiblical stance.  Marriage has already been defined by the One who created it in the first place.  He is the supreme Judge who is over the Supreme Court.  However, we as Christians need to realize that the country that we live in is much more akin to Babylon than that of ancient Israel.  Our neighbors are no longer the Brady Bunch, and we no longer live in Mayberry.  So, we need to know how to live and what to say in the present day.  We need to act as Christ to a people who are by and large Christless.  If Jesus was here physically, I believe there are 5 things He would say to the LGBT community.

  1. You matter to Me, because I created you in My image.

According to John 3:16, Jesus came to die for a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.  No doubt, there are gays who exist within this spectrum.  We know that God has extended some portion of grace to all (although not specifically saving grace) for scripture says that “he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,”(Matthew 5:45).  Every person is created in God’s image.  He loves His creation. Those who are homosexuals matter to God in the sense that He extended love to His whole creation. It is not a complete effectual love, but it is love nonetheless.  You matter in His big picture.

  1. I can sympathize with your temptation, for I was also tempted.

Jesus was tempted. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” says the writer of Hebrews in chapter 4:15-16.  Jesus hungered, thirsted, slept, and wept.  Satan even tempted Jesus.  However, in this temptation, He was yet without sin.  Temptation is not sin, but acting upon it is. There are those who have homosexual temptations, but those temptations do not become sin until it is acted upon either through lust or a physical action.  They need to realize that Jesus understands temptation, and through Him, they can have the power to overcome that temptation.  While that thorn in their flesh may never be completely taken away, the Lord can give them the power that they need to overcome temptation (I Corinthians 10:13).

  1. I want you to have true joy, not just temporary satisfaction.

Sin can be enjoyable for a season (Hebrews 11:25).  Why else would people do it if it was not enjoyable? It is desirous for their flesh.  An adulterer must enjoy a one-night stand.  A glutton must enjoy the over eating, otherwise they would stop on their 2nd helping.  But Jesus desires your holiness more than your happiness.  To be holy, one must be redeemed by the Lord.  This happens through recognition of sin, a repentance of that sin, and regeneration for the sinner by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone.  Happiness is fleeting, but the state of joy is eternal.  The only way to have eternal joy and not just temporary satisfaction is through Jesus.

  1. I want you to know that you are destroying your body and damning your soul

It is just a simple fact that STDs are rampant among those in this lifestyle.  Statistically, 70-78% of the LGBT community has reported to have had an STD.  Roughly 50% for all people, both gay and straight, who engage in premarital sex are said to have an STD as well.  Homosexual males are 116 times more likely to be murdered and 24 times more likely to commit suicide than their straight male counter-parts.  The decision to be gay often has lasting physical consequences.  But, more importantly than the body’s destruction, is the damning of your soul. It is true that we are ALL born into sin and choose to sin. This sin separates us from God.  The Old Testament law condemned homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22).  Jesus condemned it by alluding to the Old Testament sexual laws as perverse in Matthew 19 and Mark 7.  Paul condemns it by saying “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals . . .” in I Corinthians 6:9-10.  This practice, if unrepented of, will lead you to hell – because it is sin.

  1. I love to save those who are lost.  

Jesus loves to save sinners.  He loves to draw to Himself, gossips, idol worshipers, womanizers, and yes even homosexuals.  In writing to the Roman church Paul said, Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance,” (Romans 2:4).  You cannot remain in your sin and be saved.  It would not be loving to allow a sinner to keep sinning.  It would not be loving to remain silent about the truth.  However, it is loving to warn of the coming destruction for those who refuse to acknowledge the Lord.  To do this there must be a willingness to acknowledge sin, to turn from that sin, and accept Jesus as the Lord, Savior, and Master of your life.  He loves to save those who are perishing, and is willing to save all who call upon His name.

I believe if Jesus was still physically present here on earth, this is what He might say.  However, we as His representatives need to be willing to pass this message on to our neighbor, family, and co-worker.  Yes, this lifestyle is a sin, and because of that, it is not one that is simply an “alternative.”  However, we must recognize our own lostness, sinfulness, and inability to save ourselves as well.  We need to remember that the homosexual community is not our enemy . . . Satan is.  They need Jesus just as much as us.  We must be willing to engage them in a respectful manner and lovingly have this dialog with them.  Jesus will sort out their sin in the end.  Do we let them become a member in the church while practicing this lifestyle?  No, God forbid!  But, the church is a good place for them to be to hear God’s truth and either deny Him or be convicted by His Word.  So, let’s be sure that when we are talking to our LGBT neighbor that we do it in a way that honors God.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

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When you hear the names Alice Cooper, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, or even Lady Gaga what comes to mind?  They all made/make their claim to fame by being Shock-Rockers.  They made their millions by selling people their devilish lyrics, seductive clothing (or lack thereof), and a broken needle on their moral compass.  This type of fame should come as no real shock to anyone who has a firm understanding of the doctrine of total depravity.  People sin; it is what sinners do best.  I was recently at a church service (that was geared toward youth) where a pastor chose to use some very worldly and vulgar language to drive home his preaching point.  At one point he chose to use a widely know curse word.  I am afraid it did not have the impact that he was hoping.  Most of the audience was under the age of 18, and many of them could not move past his choice of language to actually hear what he was trying to say.  Using this type of language from the pulpit is nothing new.  Over the past 20 years it has become more prevalent because of guys like Tony Campolo and Mark Driscoll.  Although it may have gained some popularity, is it really something that is helpful to the church?  Is it something that glorifies God?  Do we really need the “Cursing Preacher?”  In short, I don’t think we do, and here are a few good reasons why I stand behind the language of God, and not the language of the world.

The Gospel is Shocking Enough:

What is more shocking than the fact that all of humanity stands before a Holy God condemned for their sins, and are helpless to do anything about it?  The sentence for those sins is an eternity separated from God in a place called hell where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,”(Luke 13:28) and “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48).  Hell is shocking!  However, God because of His love for His people wrapped Himself in flesh and came to earth to die in the place of all who would follow Him and confess Him as Lord by faith.  He who was just, died for those who were unjust.  He who was holy, dieing for those who were unholy.  He who is God, dieing for vile sinners.  The King in the place of the peasant.  If this truth is digested, there can be no word or words that we could use that is more shocking than this: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”(II Corinthians 5:21).  Why use worldly words when God’s are more shocking?

The Scripture Says Enough:

There are times when Scripture uses strong language.  Jesus called the Pharisees “Whitewashed tombs,” (Matthew 23:27) and a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:33).  John the Baptist called them snakes as well.  However, we need to be careful that we do not use these examples to justify worldly language.  Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification . . .”  James wrote, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26).  We are also reminded that older men are supposed to teach young men how to have “sound speech, that cannot be condemned,” in Titus 2.  While there may be times that we need to use strong language, it is clear that we are not supposed to use vulgar language.  There seems to be no room for a loose tongue in Scripture.

The Church Has Enough:

We are called to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16) to the world.  We are also called to “not conform to the patterns of this world” (Romans 12:2).  When a preacher brings worldly language into the pulpit he brings conformity to the world’s language there as well.  There is no need to bring the world into the church, but we should be taking the Word to the world.  When we dress like the world, look like the world, and talk like the world, it is hard to be salt and light to it because the world sees no difference in themselves and the Church.  The world has enough language for itself . . . the church does not need it in an effort to make their message more palatable.

In the end, I don’t see the need or biblical support, for vulgar worldly language from the pulpit.  God has given the preacher a job to “rightly divide the word of truth,” (II Timothy 2:15) and “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).  We are to be in the world and not of it as the old adage goes.  There is most certainly a time to say hard things in a prophetic voice to a stubborn-hearted people, but that does not give the preacher the right to drag the language of the bars into the place of the Bible.  So preacher, the next time you think about dropping that four letter word from the pulpit in an attempt to shock people, make sure that word is holy.  If you preach the holiness of God before an unholy people, you will get all the shock that you were hoping for.  And if you just really feel like you want to curse . . . preach Genesis 3.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell