God gives us the power of choice and you get to choose whether you're following the Lord or whether you're not following the Lord. Even this teaching this morning, as I go verse by verse, you're going to have the opportunity to say, well, I reject that or I receive that. If you look back at human history, our darkest hours of human history hasn't been because of religion.
It's been those people who denied God and denied the validity of Scripture. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is the senior pastor of the bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. Each day as we read the word, we have a choice. When God reveals something to us, we have a choice to receive it or not. Find out more as David McGee continues in the book of Romans chapter one. But before we get into today's teaching, from beginning to end, the Bible shows the special nature of God's relationship with the nation of Israel.
But what does that have to do with you today? Romans chapter 11 tells us that God's covenant relationship with Israel has huge implications for you. To help you understand more, Pastor David wants to send you his teaching video recorded in the Holy Land called Israel, the Bible and You. This powerful resource will encourage and strengthen you as you learn how connected you are with God's chosen people. Israel, the Bible and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit cross the bridge dot com to request your copy.
Again, that's cross the bridge dot com. Now here's David McGee with his teaching. God is God. Romans chapter one, verse 21. It says, Because although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, neither were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Verse 22, professing to be wise, they became fools. As we study the word, it's interesting. And we take, again, we take that verse by verse approach. So what happens is we get into sections of scripture and to be, and kind of the sparks fly, if you will. In other words, every person in here at some point as we go verse by verse through the Bible will be challenged in what they think or they believe.
And as we go through it, then you've got the decision. Well, do I cling to my ideas or my concepts, or am I open to the Lord speaking to me through his word and glorifying God as God? Verse 23, and change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Change the glory of God into an image made like man.
See, the Bible indicates that we are supposed to be, we were both created in his image and we're supposed to be being conformed to his image. In other words, we want to be more and more like Jesus. We want to worship Jesus. We want to give him glory. And see, you're going to worship something.
That's just the reality, folks. You are going to worship something. You're going to worship something with probably a passion and abandon.
Now, you get to select what you get to worship. But let me assure you, if you don't worship God, you're going to worship something. You're going to worship materialism. You're going to worship people. You're going to worship actors, actresses, rock stars. You're going to worship something. And as I look around the landscape of the things that we can worship and understanding that conceptually you become what you worship, I want to worship God.
As I look around at people, you know, sometimes I meet people that I'm impressed with. Nobody's like Jesus. Nobody's ever impressed me like Jesus. The life he lived, the way he lived, the way he loved people, I want to be like Jesus.
That's not a blasphemous statement. I want my life to more represent Jesus in my life. And I worship him. And so I want to be conformed to his image rather than saying, God, I want you to fit into my box. See, understand, God in this book has revealed himself. And so when you come head to head with something that describes God in this book, you have to make the decision.
Is it my way or is it God's way? It's interesting as a pastor, you know, we see a lot of people come to the Lord here on a weekly basis. You know, I was just in the hallway and a young teenage boy came up and said, man, it was an awesome service this morning and I just got saved in that service. Praise God, man.
It was awesome. Yeah. And, you know, you always get excited about that.
We see that on something. Don't ever get jaded. Don't ever look down here and go, oh, there's only seven this morning. Don't ever do that. You know, I think it would be cool if some morning nobody came because everybody that's in here already knew.
But that's probably not going to happen. Hopefully we're doing our jobs. You guys are inviting people. I'm telling about Jesus. Always people coming forward.
But you know what? As pastors and the counseling staff, when people come to the Lord and they've never been in church before, you think, oh, you pastors. You got a hard job with that because you got to tell them all about Bob. Tell them all about God.
Let me help you. Oftentimes, that's an easier task than when somebody has grown up in the church and their head and their heart has gotten filled with all sorts of stuff. That's unscriptural and unbiblical and then we got to walk them through. Well, God's like this. Well, no, that's not what the Bible says. Well, people are like this. Well, that's not what the Bible says.
Well, I think this is the right thing to do. Well, that's not what the Bible says. Because you have to make up your mind, is this the Word of God, the living Word of God that speaks to us? Are you going to try to conform this book to what you think should be in there and what shouldn't? Jefferson, it said, kind of collected a Bible where he took verses out that he really liked and then left the stuff he didn't like out. Well, I don't think we're really afforded that luxury. That's one of the beautiful things really about the model of ministry, the teaching style here is verse by verse, chapter by chapter. We don't skip around.
We don't leave anything out. It's not like I'm going to get to a hard part and go, oh, well, that's difficult. Well, some people aren't going to like that. Let's just skip to Romans 4 and we'll pick up with that chapter.
No, no, no, no, no. Now, see, a topical is when I come up with a topic, I find verses to reinforce it. We don't teach that way.
I'm not saying that's a bad way to teach. Obviously, I'm passionate about verse by verse teaching that it's, I believe, the best way to approach the Word of God, to see what he has said. And so there's this concept of theological terms you may be curious, you may be, I don't know, but it's called exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is when you take the text and you extract the meaning from it, meaning this is what God was, we believe, was saying from this. This is the meaning you extract.
Eisegesis, I, means you are putting your meaning into the text. So obviously, as you go verse by verse, there's a protection in there. You can't really rip it out of context if you're doing verse by verse.
You can't go, what really means this? Because if you're tearing it out of context, you guys are going to go, wait a minute, that verse before that didn't say that, didn't lead up to that. So that's an important thing as we go through here. Now, verse 24 says, Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness and the lust of their hearts to dishonor their bodies among themselves. There's three God gave them ups. This is the first one, God gave them up to these things. Now, understand when it says God gave them up, God gives us the power of choice. Each person in here has the power to choose. And you get to choose whether you're following the Lord or whether you're not following the Lord.
Even this teaching this morning, as I go verse by verse, you're going to have the opportunity to say, well, I reject that or I receive that. But, guys, here's the thing, if you look back at human history, our darkest hours of human history, contrary to some of the Bill Meyer and stuff like that, hasn't been because of religion. It's been those people who denied God and denied the validity of Scripture. You can go back 2,000 years, you look at Nero, who was alive at this time, incredibly bad leader, schizophrenic, all these things used to light Christians on fire in his garden so he could visit it at night and they would provide the light.
Dark, dark man. In the last 100 years, you look at Stalin, a communist, denied the power of God, denied the validity of Scripture. You look at Hitler, I mentioned Hitler. You look at Chairman Mao.
These people denied God and not only were they darkened, but the societies that they were leading were also darkened. Now, friend, you need to understand both the individual and corporate effects of that. Because at some point you will sit and you'll hear something and go, I don't like that. You may hear something this morning. I don't like that. And you have the choice. You have the freedom to say, I reject that. Or you also have the freedom to say, you know what, God, I feel like you're trying to shine a light in a portion of my life I need to hear from you. So we all have that and we all have that decision. But understand, when you start to walk away from the Lord, when you start to choose, pick and choose the Bible, pick and choose what you believe about God in the sense of the Bible, I like that or I don't like that, but I like that, but I don't like that.
You know what? There's dark places in your heart. So the life lesson here, the farther you turn away from God, the darker your path becomes. Again, you can sit in here this morning and go, well, I don't like that or I don't like this. But again, what you're doing is you're saying, God, I don't want the light of your word to shine on this portion of my life. We're told that the Bible is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path so that we can see where we're going and how we're supposed to go and the way in which we're walking.
But, of course, we can choose not to receive these things. Now, verse 25, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, interesting phrase, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever, amen. Again, you're going to worship something. And if you're not going to worship God, then you're probably going to resort to either worshiping animals, worshiping nature, or worshiping people, other people.
You know, I love people. I've never met anybody I felt like was worthy to worship outside of Jesus. I've met some impressive people, but none so impressive, again, as Jesus. Now, it's an interesting phrase, and it says here, believe the lie. Now, what is the lie? Well, I'll be honest, friend, when it talks about worshiping the creature, I have to wonder if it's going back to the garden because initially the enemy said to Eve, said, you can be like God. You can be God really is what he was saying. And I believe that's probably the lie that continues certainly in some New Age philosophies. The Bible says you can be filled with the Spirit of God. The Bible says you can be filled with the power of God. But do you understand, they're taking a huge quantum leap and saying you can be God, both in some of these New Age philosophies that happened in the garden.
You certainly have the Mormons that say, you know, if you do this and you do that and you have enough children, then not only you get your own planet and then you become God. If you're sitting there thinking, well, one day I'm going to become God, that's not what the Bible says, that's not what it teaches. God is God. And you have to figure out if you're going to serve him as God or you're going to not serve him as God. Now, sitting here and go, well, I don't know, you know, I like this, I like that.
No, no, no, no, no, you're now trying to get God to conform to your image and you have to figure out who you're going to serve instead of – you understand all of us can always rationalize our behavior. Anything that you want to do, you can rationalize. You read it in the paper all the time. People do this, they do that, and they say, well, because of this, because of that. Like they can really come up with a good reason why they killed like 12 people or something. Like they can really explain it away.
That's not justification. But at the same time, I understand too. When I read these things of people doing things like that, I don't think, gee, how horrible a person. I think, you know, except by the grace of God, that could be me.
If I had made those same decisions that led to that act, that could be me. I think we need to understand that. You're listening to Pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge. He'll be back with more powerful insight from God's Word in just a moment. But first, God's grace and mercy is greater than any of us could ever fathom. That's why he's been so faithful to the nation of Israel throughout the ages.
And he's not finished. He's promised to remain true to them to the end. We want to show you what God's faithfulness toward Israel says about his relationship with you by sending you Pastor David's teaching video, Israel, the Bible and You. In this exciting teaching recorded in the heart of the Holy Land, Pastor David unpacks important truths from God's relationships with Israel that impact your life today. Israel, the Bible and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com to request yours.
Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. Now, back to today's teaching. Verse 26, For this reason God gave them up to vile passions, for even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. And likewise, verse 27, Also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. As we look at this, we have to understand, and we have to come to a decision about how do we tell right from wrong. Do we determine right from wrong by our culture or by our society, by the Supreme Court? I determine right and wrong by this book. I look to this book. It's timeless.
It's relevant. It tells us what's right and wrong, not really subject to my opinion. And time after time, I have to come back to this book with my opinions, with my thoughts, and say, What does the Bible have to say about this? How does the Bible speak to this?
And so I have to look to this. Why? Because culture, society. You know, 100 years ago they told us a woman was a piece of property, couldn't vote, and couldn't own land. Obviously, that was wrong.
The government at one time told us the world was flat when the Bible, 2700 years ago, said the world was a sphere. Interesting enough. Sometimes what we judge right and wrong by, I've heard this one before. Well, I felt good about it. I felt good about it. So I knew it was the right thing to do. I've done a lot of things in my life.
I felt good while I did them that were entirely wrong. So what does the Bible teach about these things, this women and women and men with men? Well, let's agree. We're going to look at the Bible. And understand, before I even get into this, Jesus always welcomed anybody and everybody.
But when they came to him, they would leave differently than when they came to him. So understand, because I'm going to tell you what I think and what is more important. It really doesn't matter what I think. What does the Bible teach? We need to understand that we're looking at the biblical concept of what it says. Now, when I look at the way churches are treating same-sex relationships, I see there's errors on two sides. There's one error in that some churches will say, Well, if you've ever committed any sort of physical activity of a same-sex nature, you're now a reprobate. There is no salvation for you. Even though you come to the Lord, you can't be forgiven. I reject that, totally reject that. You cannot show me that in the Bible.
Okay, but let's look at the other extreme. There are churches out there that say, Well, we don't feel like it's wrong and we don't feel like it's a sin. And not only are we not going to say it's wrong for that physical relationship with a man and a man or woman and woman, but we're also going to actually recognize the union, same-sex unions, and we're also going to actually put people in the office of priest or pastor or whatever who are engaged in these things. I believe from the Bible that is wrong as well.
Understand. And let me go ahead and full disclosure what I did in looking at this chapter is I did a lot of digging, and I looked into some of the gay-friendly churches because I wanted to understand scripturally how they supported the position. And if I could have come across it and it would have questioned my stance, I would have prayerfully sought that out. Unfortunately, what I found is there was some torching of the data and having an understanding of the Greek and some of the Hebrew.
It was unfortunate. Well, I gave you those words, exegesis, eisegesis, a lot of eisegesis, a lot of putting their meaning into the text instead of trying to get the meaning out of the text. So let's look at a couple places in Scripture that speak to this. Genesis 19, verses 4 and 5, we have the issue of Sodom.
We're going to talk about that in a little bit, but let's go ahead and read the passage. It says that they were preparing to retire for the night. All the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted a lot, Where are the men who came to spend the night with you?
Bring them out so we can have sex with them. So it paints it in a negative light. Some have said, Well, that's because it was rape and not a loving union. You move to Leviticus 18, 22, it says, You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. And in looking at some of the eisegesis that's been done to this verse, it said, Well, that means that you don't lie man with man in the same bed that a man with a woman lies with.
Looking at the Hebrew, you can't get that from the text. Leviticus 18, 22 says, Do not practice homosexuality as a detestable sin. Leviticus 20, 13 says, The penalty for homosexual acts is death to both parties. They have committed a detestable act and are guilty of a capital offense. Now, before you get carried away with this capital offense, you need to understand the same Levitical law. It says if your child gets rebellious, you need to kill them. So that's not a good idea.
Don't do it. But understand the context of Levitical law, that we don't practice Levitical law in this culture and this society. Now, okay, that's Hebrew Scriptures. Well, where is it in the New Testament?
It's in there. 1 Corinthians 6, verse 9 says, 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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. So what we see, and there's a couple more verses, but what we see in the light of this clear scriptural teaching, it was prophesied. 2 Timothy, chapter 4, verse 3. It says, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. Growing up, I had some really, really good teachers. I was really blessed. Some of them just really stuck with me, because that was challenging.
But the best teachers were those that challenged me, not the ones that just patted me on the head and said, Good boy. So probably everybody in here, and you'll understand what I mean in a moment, will be challenged by this portion of scripture, because here's the thing. So somebody's going, all right, all right, okay, so what do we do with this? Well, some would say, Well, you can't allow people that are in same-sex relationships to be a part of the church or to attend a church. Really, you think that, because it's sin and it's wrong. You think that.
Well, let's do this. If we're going to keep out anybody that's engaged in any form or any type of sin, nobody's going to be here next week. Is that me? No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. I couldn't be here either. I couldn't be here. So we're not about to say, Well, no, you can't come to the church.
Listen, here's what I know. There are people in this fellowship that are struggling with this issue. There are people in same-sex relationships that are wanting to hear the truth of God and the grace of God.
And because we love them, I get up to bat to talk about the things I'm talking about today. See, we don't have a membership here. That would bring in another difficulty. See, the moment you introduce a membership, then you've got to decide who gets in and who gets out. And you know what? I don't see a membership in that book other than that when you come to God, God forgives you of your sin and He begins to change your life. Are you part of the family of God?
Man, I want you here. If you're sitting here and you're an atheist, I want you here so that I can talk to you about the goodness of God and the truth of God. Now, some of you are going, Well, I don't know about all that. The Bible says it's an abomination.
Yep, it does. Let's look at that word abomination and see if you can get out of here unscathed. Because the Bible points out that there's more than one or two things that are an abomination. Proverbs 16, 5 says, Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.
Though they join forces, none will go unpunished. You ever been prideful? Yeah, I think the rest of us just got hit, right? Every one of us has been prideful. That was an abomination to God. Well, if that got you unscathed, let me throw a couple more at you. Proverbs 20, 23 says, Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord and dishonest scales are not good.
What's it saying? Have you ever charged somebody more than something is worth for an item? That's an abomination. Have you ever paid somebody less than an item is worth? According to the Lord, that's an abomination.
Not only would we do it, we'd brag about it. Oh, I got a great deal. I kind of ripped him off. I feel bad about it.
And then we tell others what a great deal we got, right? Well, if you think you were unscathed on the first two, I'm glad you're seated. Proverbs 16 says, These six things the Lord hates. Yes, seven are an abomination to him. A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift and running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. So I think at this point it's fair to say we've all done things that God considers an abomination.
What do we do with that? Thank God for grace. And come to him and say, Lord, I need your help. Understand, Paul is writing here, he's writing to the Romans. And the Romans believed that it was okay. The Greeks believed it was okay. And Paul here is saying it's not okay. We're living in a culture and a society that says it's okay. But the Bible says it's wrong, it's sin.
So where do we figure out and where do we address it? To me, it's like any other issue that any of us struggle with in the sense that we come to God and God begins to change us from the inside out. And for us to sit in here and say, and you know what, let me go ahead and say, I am glad, I am pleased that people who might be struggling in this area are coming to this church. I am pleased. If that disturbs you, praise God, it disturbs you.
Because I want a chance to teach them the truth of God and show them the love of God. I got a beautiful note. Now, if you're in here, don't get nervous. I'm not going to reveal your identity or anything. I got a beautiful note.
A week ago Thursday, I was sharing on some of these things. I got a beautiful note, one of the best notes I've ever received in ministry from a person that's in a same-sex relationship that the Lord's calling out of it. And she thanked me and thanked y'all. She said, this church has loved me and I've come to realize that the truth of God says he's calling me out of this relationship. And I'm not there yet, but I want to thank you for loving me and not sugarcoating the truth and telling me what the Bible teaches. Man, that was a huge win. A huge win. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned.
And I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him. And he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness.
Those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Before we go, we want to encourage you in your faith so that you can experience more of the grace and love of God for you. That's why we'd like to send you Pastor David's teaching video recorded in the heart of the Holy Land called Israel, the Bible, and You. This encouraging look into the history of Israel and God's covenant faithfulness to his chosen people will help you take bold new steps in your relationship with God. Israel, the Bible, and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com now to request your copy. And be sure to join us next time on Cross the Bridge with David McGee to hear more from the book of Romans. We'll see you then.
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