The Bible and Voting – Part 3
7-17-16 Proverbs 14:34 Independence Day
Good morning everybody. If we could take our Bibles and open them to the book of Genesis, chapter 25, verse 23. If you’re visiting with us for the very first time I’ll pray for you, first of all, but you just walked into a series of studies; this is part 3 that we began on Independence Day on The Bible and Voting. And I just want to hope you catch my heart on this, I’ve felt for a long time that the Bible has a great deal to say about issues that we face as voters and I’ve felt that for whatever reason pulpits have remained silent on these subjects, largely because of fear of intimidation, a fear of offending people.
So my heart’s desire was really to put together a topical study. This is should not be interpreted as a partisan speech, we’re not getting into candidate A, candidate B, party A, party B, party C. That’s not the intent. We’re not even making comments specifically about this election cycle. But what I’m trying to do is give God’s people a set of biblical priorities that will allow them to make discerning choices in any election cycle because the Bible, whether we like it or not, agree with it or not, happens to comment on political issues. So these are the issues I’m seeking to bring to the forefront.
The Bible equips us for every good work as 2 Timothy 3:17 tells us, it says of the doctrine of Scripture, “so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Notice the qualifier “every” or all. The Bible gives us a worldview. When we understand the mind of God and the thinking of God on issues, that may not be important to people but they’re very important to God , it informs us regarding how we should engage the political process. In other words, who should we vote for, who should we not vote for. What kind of ideas do we look for in a candidate? Who should we support? And of course I’m not in the business of telling people who to vote for, the IRS wouldn’t like that very much if I did that. And even if the IRS said it’s okay I wouldn’t want to do it anyway because I don’t really feel that’s my role as a pastor. I feel my role as a pastor is to equip you with God’s Word so that you can make informed decisions in any election cycle.
So what we are doing in essence is we are going through a series of biblical issues that relate specifically to matters voters face. And we’ve divided these up into three parts: economic issues, social issues and foreign affairs issues. In the last two studies together we looked through about ten economic issues that the Bible directly speaks to. And we’re moving from there into social issues which we’re going to start today. These are issues that the Bible deals with; these are issues that the Bible speaks of and these are things that we should think about to reflect the mind of God in the polling place. And so here are a series of about eight that we will look at. We won’t finish all of them today but we’ll get a healthy start on it. I have these phrased in terms of questions; questions to ask when we think about voting, questions to ask of candidates when we think about voting.
So here would be the first, what I would call social issue: Number 1, does the candidate favor legal protection for the unborn? Sugar Land Bible Church, what you’ll discover, takes a stand on an issue that our culture has really been debating since the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973. When the Roe vs. Wade decision came out in 1973 essentially what the Supreme Court said, in a 7 to 2 decision, is that the individual state governments do not have the ability any longer to pass certain laws to protect the unborn. In essence what that decision did is it federalized the issue; they took the power away from the states to pass such laws and they said that states which passed such laws were violating the Constitution. And they found this Constitutional right in what is called the right to privacy, a woman’s right to procure an abortion.
And it’s so interesting that the court discovered this right because nobody had seen this right prior to 1973. If you go from 1973 all the way back to the beginning of our republic and the beginning of our Constitution, 1787 is when our Constitution came into existence, it was always permitted for states to pass laws to protect the unborn. Suddenly that right evaporated with the stroke of a pen in 1973. And since that point in time it’s estimated there have been probably about sixty-five million abortions in America since that decision.
Now think about the number sixty-five million, probably about a million and a half abortions per year, and rest assured that’s even a conservative estimate, think of our population of a little over three hundred million people as Americans and think for a minute if one out of every five people just disappeared. That is to put that on par with what has happened in America with abortion. It’s a tragic thing. You know, Adolf Hitler killed six million Jews, and if I’m understanding my Bible correctly, and I’ll show you the verses that God considers the unborn to be persons, we have killed (through abortion) far outdone Hitler in many respects.
And it’s always a very difficult issue to talk about and I can understand why pastors don’t want to talk about it because when you begin to talk like this no doubt someone within your earshot, someone that you’re speaking to in your flock has had an abortion. And when you begin to condemn the practice of abortion they immediately go into condemnation and guilt. And no doubt there could be somebody within the sound of my voice that has made a decision on that issue, it may not be the best decision they’ve made as they’ve thought about it, but before we get into this I just want to share with you a word of grace.
It is interesting in the Scripture that three of God’s choicest servants had murder in their background.
Moses, you can find all this in the Bible, David, and Paul. And yet the grace of God covered all three. So if someone is under condemnation today because of a mistake that they have made in the past I would encourage you to plead for the grace of God because the grace of God is so extensive, it is so inexhaustible that it even covers that particular situation.
One of our position statements at Sugar Land Bible Church reads as follows: We believe that the fetus, from the moment of conception, is a person. We also believe that all persons are created in the image of God regardless of age, health, function and/or condition of dependency. What we teach here is not quality of life; we teach the sanctity of life. Those are two different ideas. You see, we’re living in a culture that is moving in the direction of the quality of life; life has value if it demonstrates a certain quality, if a person is healthy, if a person has earning power, if a person has intelligence then we ascribe in our culture dignity or worth to such an individual. But what about the person that’s mentally retarded? What about the person with illiteracy problems? Learning disabilities? Physical, mental disabilities? The culture, what you’ll notice, is beginning to say people of that variety don’t have the same dignity and quality as other lives.
What we teach is that all people, regardless of creed, color, health, intelligence, earning power, career options are all valuable to God because they bear God’s image. Even the guy under the bridge there off of 59 that I see regularly, that with alcohol all over his breath, that lives under the box, the guy that we see on the side of the road we just sort of turn away from because we don’t know how to emotionally handle that situation. The Bible says even that person has value before God because he, or she, is an imager-bearer.
So there is a great war going on in our culture between these two different worldviews, the quality of life on one end of the stick and the sanctity of life which is what Sugar Land Bible Church, based on its founding documents, believes in, the sanctity of life. The fact of the matter is if you care about the Bible and I hope you do, the Bible makes absolutely no distinction whatsoever between unborn and born.
When Roe vs. Wade crafted that decision and tried to make a distinction between the two they were doing something that the Bible simply does not recognize. That’s why I had you turn to Genesis 25:23, notice what it says, “The LORD said to her,” this would be Rachael, “The LORD said to her, ‘Two nations are” where” “in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.’” There’s a lot of interesting facets of this passage but isn’t it interesting that the Lord said from your womb are coming forth two nations. God looked at what was happening in her womb as actual people or progenitors of two different people groups.
Notice some Psalms, if I can give these to you: Psalm 127:3, it says, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the” what? “womb is a reward.” Notice, if you will, Psalm 139, notice that we have Psalm 139 quoted in our doctrinal statement, Psalm 139:13, it says, “For You formed my inward parts, You wove me in my mother’s womb.” In my mother’s womb, David says, You were at work stitching me together. Notice, if you will, the prophet Jeremiah; as God is speaking to the prophet Jeremiah in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 1 and verse 5, God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” All over the Old Testament, I’m just giving you a very small sample of verses, God never makes a decision or a distinction between unborn and born; they are all personages or personalities in the mind of God.
And then we go into the New Testament, Luke 1:41 says this of John the Baptist, it says, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby” that’s John the Baptist, “the baby leaped” where? “in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” I remember prior to Sarah’s birth, of course us men in the pregnancy process we have the easy part, we don’t have to carry the child, but I remember my wife complaining, oh, she’s moving over here now, inside of her, she’s moving over here. And then once this kid was born I was like wow, now I understand what you’re talking about, she was wriggling and moving everywhere, I mean, we could hardly keep her still. But interesting that her exact personality and her attributes were just self-evident, even in her mother’s womb.
Now it’s interesting here in Luke 1:41, it says, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby” that’s the Greek word brephos, “the baby leaped in her womb;” notice that what is inside of Elizabeth’s womb, John the Baptist has called the baby, brephos.
Now notice Luke 2:16, it says this of Jesus after Jesus was born, “So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.” Now this is a reference to the baby Jesus lying in the manger and when you study the word “baby,” a born child, it’s the exact same Greek word, brephos. So you’ll notice that the same word is used to describe a born child and an unborn child; a born child in Luke 2:16, an unborn child back in Luke 1:41. My point is simply this: the Bible knows no distinction between born and unborn. They are all personages and personalities.
Luke 19:44, it’s a horrific description of what would happen to the city of Jerusalem in A. D. 70 as a result of the penalties imposed by the Mosaic Law upon the nations of Israel. Jesus gives a description of what would happen to that city because of the rejection of their king. It’s a description of what the Romans would do to Jewish women; it’s corroborated in the writings of Josephus, a Jewish historian, who works in part for Rome, who describes in great detail the horror of A.D. 70. Jesus about thirty years before A. D. 70 happened says this in Luke 19:44, He says, “and they will level you to the ground and your children within you,” notice that, “your children within you and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” Notice that Jesus says they’re coming after you, they are going to kill you, and He specifically says “the children within you.” Jesus makes this statement, “children within you” will be killed.
Now when we study those grizzly events and we study the writings of Josephus we discover that’s exactly what Titus of Rome did; it’s horrific to even describe, but the Romans actually came to impregnated Jewish women and tore open their wombs to kill the child inside of them. Jesus, in Luke 19:44 is making a prediction about that but in the process He makes a tremendously potent and powerful, what I would call a sanctity of life statement. He says; “your children within you.”
Sixty-five million abortions… you look at that number and you think about that number and I wondered to myself so many times how can God turn away from that sin and pretend like it’s not happening? Got can’t turn away from that sin any more than He can turn away from what the Nazi’s were doing in World War II.
And it is interesting to me that in the very first murder in the Bible, you remember the story about how Cain murdered his brother, Genesis 4:10 says this, “He said, ‘What have you done?’” And these are the words that really send chills up and down my spine, “‘The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.’” The blood is given a figure of speech called a personification where an inanimate object is ascribed with human attributes to describe the horror of what was happening and God was saying the blood itself is crying out to Me for retribution; the blood itself is crying out to me for justice. And I think about that in light of America and what we’ve allowed to happen and I think about that in light of the fact that so few Christians want to talk about this issue, even a smaller number want to actually vote for somebody or not for somebody on this issue. And I just wonder, how long can God simply turn away from this?
And people always want to call one’s attention to polling data, as if that means anything. Can you pass a poll or pass a vote to vote against God when God has spoken? It doesn’t matter how many people favor something or disfavor something if God’s Word speaks to the sanctity of life the issue is settled. And by the way, who are these people polling anyway? Do they poll the unborn child? Do they count their votes? Because I have a suspicion that if you were to factor in the sixty-five million voices of unborn children in this poll I think the numbers in these polls might be a little bit different; don’t you? How do you think they’re going to vote, these unborn children?
And so we’re just living in this incredible time. And I noticed this about politicians; if you can’t get this one right there’s not a lot you’re going to get right. If you won’t take a view of a position on something as simple and as fundamental as this that if the life within the womb of the mother is actually alive there ought to be laws to protect that child; if you can’t take a position on that I don’t know what I can trust you on. The Bible says if you’re faithful with the little things God can trust you with more. How can I trust someone’s worldview on something when they can’t even come down to a proper conclusion on this?
It’s not just Bible believers that think this way, I could quote to you a great deal of atheists that think this way. Why? Because medical science has finally caught up to the point where it is disproving the things that Harry Blackman said in the Roe vs. Wade decision. It’s just a matter of looking at a sonogram, for goodness sake; it is so obvious that what is happening within the womb of a mother at a very early point is an actual life. So here’s my question; my question to any politician that wants my vote is do you favor or not favor legal protection for the unborn.
Let me take you to a related issue, let’s go to the book of Leviticus, chapter 19 and verse 32. Does the candidate favor legal protection for the elderly? It is interesting that no matter… when a society becomes pagan, when a society loses its sight on God there’s always two people that have a target on them. Those would be the people that are most vulnerable, the most defenseless, the people who don’t have an ability to protect themselves. And the people I’m talking about are the unborn, we mentioned them earlier, but the second group is the elderly. This is what God said would happen to the nation of Israel as she wandered off into unbelief—she would be disciplined by pagan powers.
And in the book of Deuteronomy, I know I didn’t have you turn to Deuteronomy, but in Deuteronomy 28:49-50 God describes this pagan power that would come against Israel, and we know that that was worked out in history through the Assyrians and the Babylonians and then Rome in A.D.70, as the cycles of discipline came upon national Israel as they were functioning under that Mosaic Covenant. Deuteronomy 28:49-50 says, “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand,  a nation of fierce countenance” watch this, “who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.” How do you define paganism? How do you define a godless culture and a godless nation? It’s characterized by a lack of respect for the young and the old. It’s right out of the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 28, verses 49 and 50.
What are the priorities of God? In our quality of life mindset we are discarding the young, we are discarding the old. Does that reflect God’s thinking at all? God’s priorities are the opposite. The book of James, chapter 1, verse 27, says this, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress,” how do you define true spirituality according to the book of James? The Lord’s brother wrote this, he said you demonstrate it by showing compassions to the defenseless, and he mentions two groups, orphans and widows. What do both groups have in common? They have no advocate. An orphan loses their parents, think about the vulnerability of a small child without their parents. Think about back in the Greco-Roman world of a widow, let’s say a woman who was dependent upon a husband for financial wellbeing, suddenly he dies, now she’s in a state of vulnerability. We’re dealing with the Greco-Roman world, you don’t have social security in that time period; you don’t have any safety net of any sort. And James says these are the people you ought to be ministering to, not neglecting. And that’s how you define true spirituality.
What was the attitude of Jesus Christ towards children? A nuisance? An annoyance? NO! It was the opposite, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” [Matthew 19:14] It seems like our priorities are diametrically opposed to the way the world system is moving.
And on this subject of the elderly we have to talk about something called euthanasia which is a reality in many countries of the world, where the elderly are made to feel that they are a burden, financially, which in some cases they are but what does that have to do with anything? And they are prompted towards what we would say “taking an early exit.” The book of Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 32, this is what it says, this is the verse I had you turn to, “You shall rise up before the grayheaded,” as my hair gets grayer I appreciate that verse, “You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged,” the culture is not honoring the aged; the aged are looked at as an annoyance and a nuisance, just like the unborn God’s priorities are the opposite.
You know, the elderly have one thing going for them that the unborn don’t have going for them. They can organize politically, they can raise their voices against a government that seeks to take away their rights. Let me tell you something, this world would be a completely different place if the unborn, who cannot speak for themselves, had that same ability to politically organize. But there is always a war on two groups of people as you move from sanctity of life into what we could call quality of life.
Does this really hit home? Let me quote to you something from March 28, 1984, this is the then sitting Governor of Colorado, Richard Lamm, this is quoted in the New York Times. “Elderly people who are terminally ill have” quote, according to the then governor, “a duty to die and get out of the way’ [close quote] instead of trying to prolong their lives by artificial means, Gov. Richard D. Lamm of Colorado said Tuesday people who die without having life artificially extended are similar to [quote] ‘leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up,’” [close quote, “the Governor told a meeting of the Colorado Health Lawyers Association at St. Joseph’s Hospital.” Quote, “You have got a duty to die and get out of the way,” close quote, “ said the 48-year-old Governor. [open quote] ‘Let the others in society, our kids, build a reasonable life.” [Close quote.] [Quoted In Gov. Lamm Asserts Elderly, If Very Ill, Have ‘Duty To Die,’ New York Times, March 29, 1984.]
You see the quality of life mentality that comes out in that? The statement comes across like the mere existence of the elderly is somehow detracting from the quality of life of the younger people. Let me tell you something; I’ve learned more from elderly people than any other group. In fact, when I was going through seminary I wasn’t really interested in taking classes from the young thirty year old with his new PhD from Europe, I wanted someone that walked with the Lord for years and had studied the Bible for years. I didn’t care if he had PowerPoints and all of the flashy educational tools that are available today; I didn’t care if he knew how to use Logos computer programs or not. I wanted someone that was older than me, that had experience in ministry, that had walked with the Lord longer, that had studied the Bible longer. My quality of life was not subtracted by being around people like that, it was enhanced.
You know, it’s interesting today, you can go to churches and you look around and you try to find older people and they’re not there; the music is done in such a way that it alienates them; I mean, do you really want a church that has no influence from elderly people at all? Is that the kind of world that we want to live in. And it’s so sad how the church starts to mirror, in some respects, the exact value system of the world.
It’s interesting that when… I did the math on this, when Richard Lamm made this quote in 1984 he was 48 years old; assuming the man is still alive today he would be in his 80’s. I wonder how he feels about what he said now? And you see, I think at some point we need to start thinking about what’s happening because we’re not getting any younger and we are putting into motion, through a quality of life mindset, forces that we may not want to face as we get older, the very forces that we unleashed.
This is what Frances Schaeffer, the great Christian apologist said. He was in the late 1970’s early 80’s he was on the forefront of all of these issues that we’re talking about and I remember watching videos of him saying virtually the same thing I’m saying now, you’d better think about what you’re doing because the Bible says what is sown you also reap. We don’t stay young forever and are we prepared to live in a quality of life society that we, in our youth thought was such a great and a grand idea. And I think there’s a reason why the Bible calls elders “elders.” You are to be governed by a plurality of godly men called elders. I’ve been in certain churches where everybody on the elder board is in their 20’s; it doesn’t look to me like an “elder board.” I want people with life experience and Christian character on the board.
Another question to ask and we’re just going to go right from the frying pan into the fire here, the third social question to think about when supporting or not supporting anybody for office is this: will the candidate respect heterosexual monogamous marriage as the time honored standard for society. Take your Bible if you could and turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 6 and verses 9-11, I have done studies on homosexuality at this church many times in the past; I won’t rehearse all of the information for you, it’s on the internet for you to look at and listen to and watch should you be interested, but I will say this: the fact of the matter is that at every turn, starting in Eden, God affirms heterosexual monogamy as the norm for marriage and He condemns homosexuality and any practice that would violate it.
Don’t get mad at me, I didn’t write the book. This is the standard of God and since this is the standard of God how in the world do we think we can change it? You see, if man created marriage then man can alter it; the problem with that is we never created marriage. The first marriage comes into existence in the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verses 18-25 with Adam and Eve long before we were ever born. It’s a standard given to us not to experiment with, not to tamper with but to receive and honor as for the best and the betterment of society. So whether it’s creation, what God did at Sodom and Gomorrah, certain provisions of the Mosaic Law, the teachings of Jesus, the teachings of Paul, you will always see God affirming heterosexuality and condemning homosexuality.
And people say well, come on now, Jesus never condemned homosexuality. Well guess what? Jesus never condemned free basing cocaine either nor did he ever directly condemn spousal abuse. Are you assuming that just because Jesus is silent on the matter (that the Bible says a great deal about elsewhere) that somehow that practice is okay? What sort of thinking is that? And yet this is standard practice if you ever get into a debate with a homosexual apologist.
Notice the writings of Paul, specifically. There’s the verses, [Pro-heterosexuality, 1 Cor. 7:2-5; Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Tim. 3:2, 12. Anti-Homosexuality, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Tim. 1:9-10.]
Paul, three times promotes heterosexuality as the norm and condemns the practice of not homosexuals, because they are souls for whom Christ died, but homosexuality. And that’s why I had you turn to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and notice what this particular passage says. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
You see all those sins he mentions there, and right in the middle of the list is homosexuals or homosexuality. The Greek word for homosexuality is arsenokoitus, where we get the word arson, or arsonist. What does an arsonist do? He creates fire that’s out of control. What is sin? It is giving vent to desires that get out of control. That’s the word that’s used to describe homosexuality. It is sexual passions, which are God-given, but channeled in an out of control manner in the wrong way. And you’ll notice that homosexuality is mentioned right alongside a list of other sins, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, the covetous, the drunkards, the revilers and the swindlers. How does the church of Jesus Christ think about the subject of homosexuality? Just like you would think about a thief, an adulterer, a swindler, a drunkard, a reviler, right in the same list is a statement there about homosexuality.
Now did you catch this part here, “such some of you were.” Did you catch that? “such” referring to homosexuality and these other sins, “such some of you were, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” You’ll notice that someone can be touched by the Spirit of God and their lifestyle can change from being a thief to no longer being a thief; from being a drunkard to no longer being a drunkard, from being a homosexual to no longer being a homosexual.
Why is this significant? Because here is the argument that is used in the culture constantly: homosexuality is no different than one’s civil rights; just as we have laws, rightfully I might say, such as The Civil Rights Act of 1964 that protect people from discrimination based on an attribute about themselves, like skin color that they cannot change, we ought to have laws protecting homosexuals the same way, because after all, they are just like Hispanics, Caucasians, African-Americans, Asians, they have an attribute about themselves they cannot change so let’s take civil rights protection and broaden it to include homosexuality. That’s the argument that’s said over and over again.
You’ll notice that the Bible goes directly against that because it does not put homosexuality in some sort of race category; it puts it in a sin category. I have never met someone that used to be black, Michael Jackson might be an exception but…. I have met people that used to be homosexual. I have met people that used to be swindlers. I have never met someone that used to be Hispanic. I have never met someone that used to be Asian. I have never met someone that used to be Caucasian but I have met a lot of people with all sorts of sins, including arsenokoitus who under the power of the Spirit of God have changed under His influence and power.
You see, if you care about the Bible you cannot think about the issue of homosexuality the same way the culture wants us to think about it. You say well Andy, Andy, don’t you have a compassion, I mean, what if somebody has a same sex attraction, don’t you have compassion for the person that is wrestling with… I have a lot of compassion for that person, also for the same person that’s wrestling with covetousness, also for the person that’s thinking about stealing something, also for someone that’s a drunkard that’s wrestling with the desire to inebriate themselves constantly. My compassion goes to all of them but it isn’t compassionate to take somebody who is a drunkard, let’s say, build civil rights law around them and affirm them in a sinful pattern. How is that love?
See, we throw this word “love” around, we throw this word “compassion” around, most of us don’t even know what we’re talking about any more. That’s not love; it is not loving to affirm someone in a self-destructed, sinful, habitual lifestyle. What’s loving is to call them out of it, just like the Bible has called me out of a lot of my own sin behavior and patterns.
And by the way, just because you’re born with an inclination to do something doesn’t make it right. I was born with a pretty bad temper, I was born to just go off on people and lose my fuse at the slightest provocation. I was born with a desire for compulsive eating, you put something in front of me I’ll eat it. I was born that way. That has never made it right. I am a sinner in Adam, I do all sorts of things that I shouldn’t do, that I have a desire to do, having a propensity to do something out of my sin nature does not in and of itself make it right because people are always trying to argue that same sex individuals… and by the way, if I can go out on a limb and say this, I think we should stop using the word “gay.” What does the word gay mean? It means happiness. Let me tell you something about people caught in a sin, whether it’s homosexuality or any other sin, there isn’t any happiness in it, there’s nothing gay or festive about it. There is perpetual condemnation, there is perpetual guilt, the suicide rates, as you know, people caught in this type of lifestyle are much higher than the average individual. There’s nothing gay about it; the proper vocabulary for this is the same sex movement. When you start using the word gay you start using vocabulary that the other side has invented. Words mean things.
And so we’re walking this very tight, delicate line in biblical Christianity today in America where we are trying to love the sinner but condemn the sin. I wish I had all the answers on how to do that; I’m learning and growing as I’m going, but what you find is people are erring on one side of the equation or the other. They’re either so vitriolic in their condemnation of a particular sin that they’ve lost sight of love. Or they are so tolerant of anything and everything that they’ve lost sight of truth. The last time I checked Ephesians 4:15 says, speak the truth in love. [Ephesians 4:15, “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,”] It isn’t loving, folks, to affirm somebody in a lifestyle that’s destructive to them.
What happens to a culture and a society where marriage, monogamy, heterosexuality, is no longer the standard? Marriage just becomes between a man and a woman one of many options; that’s where we’re headed. I’m glad it works out for you that you’ve chosen heterosexual monogamy but there’s lots of alternatives out there… and let me tell you something else; do you know where this leads? It leads inevitably to discrimination against people that want to stand on the biblical view.
These cases, there are so many of them I wouldn’t have time to read them all to you but if you follow this issue you know these cases are breaking out all over America. Jack Philipps, the baker “who declined to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple,” by the way, that same sex couple could have gotten their cake made anywhere but they ganged up on this guy because he wouldn’t submit to the new standard. “Jack Phillips is a baker who declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because his Christian belief is that marriage exists only between a man and woman. Now a Colorado judge has ordered him” you with me, this is American, “Now a Colorado judge has ordered him,” I thought we lived in the home of the free and home of the brave, I thought we had a First Amendment in this country, I thought we had freedom of religion, I thought we had freedom of speech, what is this business about a judge ordering somebody to do something that violates his conscience? “Now a Colorado judge has ordered him to bake cakes for same-sex marriages, and if Phillips refuses, he could go to jail.” [Ken Klukowski, “Baker Faces Prison for Refusing to Bake Same-Sex Wedding Cake,” online: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government t/2013/12/12/Christian-Baker-Willing-to-Go-to-Jail-for-Declining-Gay-Wedding-Cake, 12 December 2013, accessed 16 May 2014.]
I was in Colorado speaking at the Steeling the Mind Conference, I gave this slide and this talk and a judge comes up to me afterwards, from Colorado, and I said oh no, what have I done now, have I messed up the stats? And she says I want you to know that I know the judge that did this and what you said is exactly right; this is exactly what happened.
Oregon, “In yet another example of gay activists overreach,” these are all newspaper clippings, if you look at the bottom you can see the sources I got these from. “In yet another example of gay activist overreach, an Oregon official has not only burdened a Christian couple with a ridiculous fine, he has imposed a gag order on them…In one of the most egregious anti-Christian acts committed by a state official in recent memory, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian not only upheld the ridiculous $135,000 fine levied against Aaron and Melissa Klein for declining to bake a cake for a lesbian commitment ceremony, but he ordered the Kleins to ‘cease and desist’ from making any public comments about their religious convictions relative to this case.”
In other words, we’re going to put a fine on you that’s unbearable; anybody that runs a small business knows that 135,000 fine is not chunk change; that is enough to cripple a florist shop, a bakery. And by the way, John Marshall said this, our third Supreme Court Justice, “With the power to tax is the power to destroy.” You unleash big government into the realm of the morality police and you are living in a culture where the government has the ability to wreak destruction through fines (as they call it) on a person’s life, livelihood and business. This is the United States of America we’re living in; this is happening. I know people would rather talk about something else; frankly I’d rather be talking about something else, the weather, anything, but at some point we have to come to grips with reality. May God help us.
The interesting thing about these two cases is neither the Klein’s nor the prior gentleman, Mr. Phillips was discriminating against homosexuals in employment, they weren’t even discriminating against homosexuals when they came into their shops and wanted floral arrangements. What bothered them, these two small business owners, where they drew the line is I don’t want to be involved in a wedding, providing services for a wedding, whether it be a wedding cake or a floral arrangement at a same sex wedding. And even though the homosexual movement could have gotten its needs met through any other local establishment they went to war against these two people, because the name of the game in the new morality that we’re living in is you will comply and if you will not comply and if you will not accept the new way of thinking we are going to force you to do it.
For years, for decades I have monitored the same sex movement and what it’s done. I watched in California what it did to the Boy Scouts of America. In fact, my father, who at that time was sitting on the bench, this whole thing came up in California, I was so proud of him; he wrote a glowing Appellate Court Justice opinion standing up for the Boy Scouts of America. But I’ve watched them go after the Boy Scouts of America, I’ve watched them go into the military and try to shift the thinking of the military; now they’re going after private businesses.
Let me ask you a question; how long do you think it’s going to be until they come into a church? Until they start putting pressure on churches and pastors, and I realize that in the state of Texas, and I thank God for it, we have pastoral protection legislation, other states don’t have it, do you think that the same sex movement is somehow going to be satisfied with what they’ve accomplished in the military? Or the Boy Scouts? Or these private business establishments? And they’re going to say well, we’ve won the war, we’ll let the Christians in the churches say what they want. It is just a matter of time if this trend is not held at bay or checked when even what is articulated from a pulpit of a church will be put under regulation.
One of my seminary professor friends teaches a class, teaches it in America, he teaches it in Canada. He posts his syllabus online in America and he posts it online in Canada. And let me tell you something, those are two different syllabi. When he posts it in America he can put all the Bible verses on the syllabus that he wants to put on it. When he posts it in Canada he’s got to exercise or remove all references to Romans 1. Well, what’s wrong with Romans 1? Backing up to Paul, the second point down, second sub point, that’s Paul’s greatest denunciation of homosexuality. The Canadian government says we cannot and we will not tolerate that verse in education, which the last time I checked was supposed to be about the free exchange of ideas. They will not tolerate that verse in Canadian higher education.
Beloved, Canada is not that far from America; they’re just there on our northern border. How long is it until this mindset seeps in? And as you see the enemy coming in like this I look at the Christian public in America and you can’t even get people registered to vote. You can’t even get pulpits for churches to directly address some of these things. And I keep saying to myself, this time the church will wake up, or this time the church will wake up, or this time the church will wake up and it never does; it just slumbers right along, business as usual.
One of the few times in my lifetime I have ever see the church wake up and do something, and I suggest we wake up and do something while we have the freedom to do it, and the numbers; one of the few times in my entire lifetime that I’ve ever seen the church wake up and do something was this totalitarian power grab by the Mayor of Houston a year or two ago when she began to subpoena the sermon notes of eight pastors in the city. Finally the church said is this America or is this the former Soviet Union? What country are we living in? And the church, for a season, woke up and voted off the ballot that piece of legislation, that ordinance where this whole dispute was about, and it was fantastic. The church didn’t do it violently, they did it through peaceful means using the legal channels that God has given us. And then the church went back to sleep again and who got elected mayor in her place? Another homosexual.
Stewardship is important; stewardship means we are not the owner, we are the manager. We are the manager of time, talent and treasure, three things God has given us. I want to add something else to your stewardship list; this is not partisan, it’s a stewardship issue. I want to add to your list your own government because what did Benjamin Franklin say? “What have you given us, Doctor, a republic or a monarchy?” His response: “A republic, if you can keep it.” That’s the challenge to American evangelical Christianity today. “If you can keep it!”
I was going to talk about capital punishment today but I have to leave a little early, I’ll explain to you why at the benediction. If there’s anybody here that has never come to a realization of their need for Christ, our admonition, exhortation to you at Sugar Land Bible Church is to respond to the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus came into the world not just to bring light to the culture but light to the individual soul. And that can only happen when an individual believes or trusts in the promises of Jesus Christ for the safe keeping of one’s soul. If somebody is here today and they’ve never done that, they’ve never made that decision, our exhortation to you is right there where you’re seated to trust in Christ and His gospel so that light will come to you, and then you in turn can be a vehicle of change for others. If it’s something you need more explanation on the elders of this church in the lobby afterwards are more than willing to talk to you about it.
Shall we pray. Father, a heavy series, heavy talk today, sometimes Father we need some tough love and help us to understand the time period that we’re living in, give us grace as we seek to walk out these principles as we seek to speak the truth in love; we’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We lift these things up in Jesus name, and God’s people said….