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Finding Freedom

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 30, 2021 2:00 am

Finding Freedom

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 30, 2021 2:00 am

Christopher Yuan knows what it's like to be a captive. A former drug dealer and homosexual who discovered he had HIV while serving time in prison, Yuan shares how God got his attention and eventually, his heart. Yuan explains what it's like for him now that his identity is in Christ.

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LISTEN: Christopher Yuan and his mother, Angela, talk about the way God slowly and patiently drew Christopher to Jesus Christ.

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Christopher Yuan is a male who has throughout his life struggled with same-sex attraction.

He admits there are aspects of his life that had been difficult but he says he still knows where to find joy people could say I'm suffering because I'm not married look at it that way at all.

I'm living the way that so full more full than it ever was. As a single man. The yes I'm not in a relation yes I don't have children yet now yes I don't have a spouse now living of every very full full life and it is full of joy. This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson about Lapine, how do we account for the reality of suffering in marriages and in family relationships.

Does that square up with our walk with Christ.

Spend time thinking about that today with Christopher. You want to stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us. You set a little earlier Dave that the you have had countless conversations over the last decade with people in your church people you know who are trying to deal with either for themselves or for a friend or loved one. How do I understand sexual confusion in our day. What seems simple when we were in elementary school. There are Boys and Girls Club boys like girls and girls like boys and they grow up to get married it all seem pretty simple. Today it's are you a boy or are you a girl and are you really a boy or should you change and who do you really like and who are you gonna marry and you can marry whoever you want. It's a whole different world is a different world and I honestly don't know if I go a week. I know I don't go two weeks asking these kind of questions that are centered on sexual confusion, gender confusion, I would never during this 20 years ago and you know you look at them and they really want help and I think they actually really want truth and to know how to bring grace and truth together. I think that's where it gets tricky for us because we can deliver truth, but you can bludgeon people with truth right that we need to learn how to do this and people are looking.

That's why I like this book is to make such a big part because people are looking for answers. How do I have these conversations. How do I respond. How do I help people in my church, and what is this look like in today's age when things are changing so quickly the book you're talking about is a book called holy sexuality and the gospel. The subtitle is sex desire and relationships shaped by God's grand story. The other is Dr. Christopher Yuan, welcome back. I was this a crisp memo to Christopher because as we've already talked about this week. That's your identity. Yes, think about as a follower of Christ. This is your second book your first book was a memoir of your own story and I mentioned this, but folks have not heard your story they can go to family life and listen to the interview that we did with you and your mom it's a remarkable story of a prodigal who grew up in headed off to dental school and said I think I'm gay and started living a gay lifestyle than you were involved in drugs you want up in jail and that's where you met Christ you came out of jail. The new man you want of a student at Moody Bible Institute today.

You're a professor at Moody Bible Institute, and they were sitting with the modern-day apostle Paul dies in prison and I did know your story before I picked up your book and even reading as you lay in your daily understand that pie can always Christopher shared the part where you're laying in yourself that tell us what caught your attention very well. Just a little back story so I was in prison, you know for drugs. Of course, and of course I needed could not of gays and lesbians do drugs.

Some do some don't. That is part of my story, but I not only was just sentenced to six years. I just, you know, thought I was gonna get out scot-free. I was fooling myself but then I also got the news that I was HIV-positive, so it was just the whole world was falling down on me. Life was just worthless at that moment and I was lying there, they actually just move me to another cell. I was I transferring her and so they're going thousand another cell.

No one else is in there and just down down down lie there look up the metal bunk and there is just coming you the usual scratch graffiti profanity gang symbols and I looked over and wanted other corner. Somebody scribble something and I looked in it read. If you're bored my Jeremiah 2911 for I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future coming of all the verses in the Bible all the verses I do know what that verse was in that the whole verse was a red dot in the visit. Even my mom even says you have doubled West Summit. I was just moved to a brand-new so I didn't have my Bible coming. They literally strip you down and take everything I had nothing and went to that prison cell. Nothing.

But I had garbage and you just kind of food and paper plates and so I got I was and what Jeremiah 29 is a kind of got up and I was just going through one of the have a locker there with maters, plastic cups, and there was a Bible in the back so I opened it up in a and I had go to the table contents because I don't know Jeremiah where that is in me. I kinda knew that if I Bible verse and I read and then if you kinda go down after that how it says that God will call you back from captivity. Wow. Like all the verses in that it was like was for me. Jeremiah was writing to over alias nation that he just turned so far from God. And now that then he was turning them into exile was telling them through the mouth of his prophet eyes still I still have a plan for you.

So yeah that was that was meaningful for me that a unit in the midst of my just tragedy in six years, and I mean you know at that time. This is right after Christmas of December 98, and I thought, I don't know. I got HIV I don't know how much longer I have one of them to survive six years not say what when I read that in your book on the preacher guy who doesn't want to use Jeremiah 2911 lot because you like always. Just got prosperity and then I read that your book on my own.

Never think that verse the same. I can picture you in that cell and I did and I just other silly people listening that are thinking there at the end and there is no hope. There's no way God can do anything and redeem their life and I'm sitting here going to see Kent you don't know and I also thought this then when God reaches out and gives you a sign, you better turn. I know may be later.

Like yeah whatever Jeremiah what I'm not you, but you went you sought it and that was exactly your whole life different and I just want to give people hope. Don't quit liquid on your marriage including your life. Don't and I can't stay good. Good thing that I thought to let us you are captive you are in jail as they Did Jesus set you free.

I think that's great where St. Jesus wants us that all of us free.

Because sometimes were in situations where we feel like there is no hope, and I am a captive and I'll be like this forever. Most the time when there is no bright sometime.

Were you aware as the light was coming on your life spiritually for you. Where this is can have implications for my sexuality know one thing about my memoir that I had critiqued actually was Jerry Jenkins. I he help me and even kinda read of my book and he was, like, so when exactly did you cut, you know, because it wasn't like so clean you know when exactly you become a Christian. Unlike, I'm glad you brought that up because I left it open. My mother's conversion was like so clear she knows I mean that I think it's May 15 Macy's and that the room I can ask but may something 1993 the eggs she knows exactly day to place the time he was on a train going from Chicago to Louisville. One way ticket not round-trip even asked her juice only like seven dollars more for round-trip. She said no I'm not coming back well and so she's on the train. She read and so she knew exactly the day everything for me. I don't know and and that's conversion for some it is instantaneous know some people say you're not a Christian, yet so maybe we'll think yes but it isn't always like that. But your degree was the point in time you move from death hello yes, you just may not know what that spiritual moment when writing your life right. I definitely know the time it was while I was in prison for zero.

I walked in, drug addict, drugs not only dealer supplier I was embracing same-sex relationships. I was embracing this as who I was. So I got the Jeremiah 2011.

That wasn't it. Even though that was very significant. That was not the turning point.

I was not that I was still holding on.

I thought I can have my cake and eat it to Ryan Doyle and I really really thought I did think I could have gone and I could have you know my same-sex relationships or at maybe a same-sex relationship, but it took time and honestly it was not being convicted that it was sin.

It took changing my identity that's so important because once God broke that paradigm, then it for me it was just so easy to say okay this is not who I am. This is what I do.

This is the desires that I might have, and I was able to not make it so personal and not feel like I have to like hold onto it because we hold onto things because we think that I have nothing else. This is all I only think that the only thing that will bring you satisfaction. Yes, you know there are people you could talk to today.

There are books you could get that would tell you, you can be a Christian us and continue to have same-sex relationships. We've misunderstood the Bible on this.

Yes, you come to a point where you disagree with that pretty strongly.

Oh yes I do and it's more than simply just saying it is sin, and honestly, the majority these books, what they do is they focus upon the six passages and they deconstruct them. And of course I can go in and him and I've studied of Hebrew and Greek in seminary and actually I committed all of my papers were on that because I knew that was my burden.

I studied and studied and studied and found out that those interpretations are lacking. But honestly, even if those passages aren't in Scripture we could still look at God's word, and specifically Jesus's words in Mark chapter 10 Matthew chapter 19 when he is questioned about divorce and his answer simply was not going back to the law not going to Leviticus or Deuteronomy Mosaic law. He went back to Genesis and he said in the beginning, created and made them male and female, and the two shall become one what he was doing.

This is what we often miss. He was being asked about divorce and all he needed to do was to say, you know, the two shall become one from Genesis 224 that's all he would need to do. But then he throws in this component. This this aspect from actually not Genesis 2, he goes all the way back even further to Genesis 1 in the beginning the Creator made them male and female that actually is the Amato Dave passage which then connects not only that marriage is male and female. There's no other way of understanding why Jesus was saying that Jesus was throwing it because member he saw my divorce. He threw that in the male and female. Why because there is no marriage without the male-female commentary. So when people come up to you and they say, but Jesus never said anything about a homosexual lifestyle. Is that what you would prefer to well first thing I would say Jesus also never said anything about BCL.

Eddie never said anything about incest silences never argument good enough argument for or against.

Unless you have other information and I would then point to yes he didn't say anything specifically about homosexuality, but he deftly taught on sexuality and I would point them to Jesus's own words Mark chapter 10 and Matthew 19 and say look he's talking about divorce, and sometimes I've heard the argument were people say well know this whole passage is only about divorce, he was asked a question about divorce and he was answering in my responses.

Jesus is never constrained by the questioner ever ever ever write to me how many times has someone asked something and he just gave another answer. You know, the more important answer, and he was. This is a perfect example. He was asked by divorce, and then he taught them about marriage. So when it dawned on you that your new life in Christ was could have implications for your sexuality that this was now off-limits for you.

Did you grieve that you know it was. Not easy munis or you know have my cake and eat it too. I could try to have my God and being a monogamous incestuous ship, you know, I could then you know be a gay Christian why not what I see kind of the gay Christian movement is its essence kind of a pseudo-neo-prosperity gospel movement.

If you want to get it. You have completely lacking suffering, no suffering and let me tell you there is no gospel without suffering. And is not a suffering that is like so sad and were so now it's we suffer with joy because we know all of this doesn't yes people could say I'm suffering because I'm not married. I don't look at it that way at all.

I'm living the way that so full more full than it ever was. As a single man. The yes I'm not in a rush of yes I don't have children yet now yes and Bill have a spouse now but I'm living of every very full full life and it is full of joy. I don't want to make homosexuality, or the fact that I have same-sex attractions, primarily an issue of suffering, or even primarily an issue of victimhood that this is another thing that I often hear even now kind of current things were people talk about how because there same-sex attracted or because they identify as gay Christian that then you know all this pass. However how the church is really hurt them in and etc. and I don't want to discount that. I do believe as Christians there's a lot of improvement. We do have a huge stigma around this one sin above other sins.

So we do have a lot of room to improve. But you know what, I'm never going to attack myself and it was I'm never going to attack my body. I am a part of the body of Christ if I'm going to attack the church I'm attacking myself I'm gonna compel the church to improve, but I'm never going to try to cut the Ted offer credits. I think we need to action.

So instead of approaching this primarily as an issue of I'm a victim or I am suffering. I think we need to actually approach this as how can I give myself more for the sake of the gospel for the sake of Christ, and that is going to be difficult and that is going to be not easy but I think that's the reality of every Christian I think is a lot of Christians we should be challenged.

I look at that statement. If anyone come after me, he must deny himself and pick up his cross and follow me.

We want to jump over those two things we don't want to deny yourself. We don't want to pick up our cross and we just want to follow Jesus. We can't, we can if we don't do that because following Jesus should cost us everything. It hasn't. We may be following the wrong Jesus. I think many times were following this this concept of Jesus that he'll just give me everything that I want that I will be comfortable that I'll have all my needs met and if he loves me that's what he'll do it right. And if I'm obedient yet if I do all the right thing right as if I go to church by read the Bible, then I will have an easy life now. Actually, if you do all these things and you grow in Christ. You may suffer as you walk to your life now and you talk about this in your book about temptation because it it could almost appear that Heyman you've got this down. You walked away from this lifestyle.

Your single man you're not tempted. But you talk honestly. In the book about how does a man how does a woman single, married, you name it, deal with the temptation of desire still there. What you do with them that yeah so I wanted to differentiate. Could we talk about same-sex attractions and I use that term in the book but then I shift kind of toward the beginning where I say I'm not really in a talk and address so much about same-sex attractions because for so that term attraction isn't found in the Bible. And so then we can then sort of debate and talk about what is a definition and I said let's just use the very difficult terms desire and temptation and so I have this chapter on temptation were I wanted to help people realize that temptation in and of itself is not sinful.

Jesus was tempted in every way. The writer of Hebrews writes but that he was without sin. So what I often see is as human beings we always tend to kind of go from one extreme or do we up to the other rights of people on one extreme are many individuals who might experiencing such attractions and they're just beating themselves up about it. You know there like man I'm just I'm just the worst. God hates me, I can never and I want to encourage those people so you know what your sinner like everyone else. You're being tempted was sin. And if you not giving into those temptations don't beat yourself up about it. So you like everyone else and so I want to kind of encourage those but you know than the others side of the spectrum are those people who are being tempted and there like toying with it like you want so bad is not a sin, because temptation can just quickly switch right into sinful desire. I mean it's a split second and then they begin toying with and it against festering and growing and so I want to then chastise those individuals to say don't toy with temptation, though temptation in and of itself is not sinful is not innocent is not something that we can just know just kind of play with our perspective should not be how close to temptation. Can I get without stumbling.

It's how far away, stay from temptation so that I don't stumble.

Yes, exactly. I was thinking you know is you as you flew down here for this radio. It's pretty interesting.

You will not travel long in you. I have about Flynn temptation why why is that you have a policy so I do a lot of traveling.

I speak to churches and I know that I have a bull's-eye on my back. The enemy is throwing darts and trying to pull me down because he doesn't want the message that I'm talking about God's grace and truth on this issue.

Sexuality to go forward so I have that and also I know what I'm capable of.

So I committed years ago when I started speaking and traveling that I would never travel alone. So whenever I go whether I'm speaking by myself, or whether I'm sticking with my parents. I will have some traveling and so my mother I have the blessing of having my prayer warrior travel with me. She prays with me, hold me accountable when we it's in immense choice, would you know just seeing how God is given back the years that the locusts have taken away. And so I travel in that way because I don't capable. That temptation is not something that I want to toy with, and even people young men young women who are wrestling with temptation and who isn't. I look to Scripture and how just like I said in Hebrews Jesus was tempted in every way. Why is that in there it's because he has been in our shoes. He knows exactly what were going through and I know people then say will wait a second.

Jesus never sin, so he never sin.

How can you really know what I'm going through, like because he sinless right we talk about the impact the ability of Christ Jesus was incapable of sinning so he doesn't really really really know what I'm going through, but this is where that's not true because we think about this. All of us around the table. We've all been tempted and what happens sometimes, maybe many times we given so actually we don't endure temptation to the end. There's only one person that has completely endured to its that we given like I given a 20% in a high given a 25 or 30, you know, if you really, really strong. Maybe given like a 60% to 70% Jesus Christ endured temptation all the way to the end. So actually the fact that he never sin really tells us that he of all people completely knows what it is to resist sin and he is on my side and he knows exactly what I'm going through and that to me is comforting. So let's say we have all these moms that hammer thinking yes I want my son or my daughter to have this obedience in Christ and I want them to walk with Jesus like this offer my services to help them happen to any nonthinking with my kids raising three sons. You know our kids are going to temptation all the time. How can we help them. His parents face temptation without sanctimony to come with you on the day we would like to follow you everywhere you know I cannot. We want to help our kids desperate to help them.

How can we help is not moms this is yeah yeah so I became a Christian older and I went to Moody older so I was 30s I think if I was 20, and I was a Christian. I don't know if I would be the same response. I don't know.

That's just the way all 20-year-olds or maybe just wired even Christian ones, but God in his gracious, you know I'll be totally honest, when I was at Moody.

I lived on campus is a 30-year-old that come to grandpa and when I got out of Moody.

You know what I gonna do and Mike in the live out of my own magnet live at home and I went through that a crisis I am in my mid-30s and I'm in a live it home everyone to look at me like who you to make sure you know you're still living in is your mom doing your laundry (in which I mean so much. But I went through this where I was almost ashamed of it.

I'm like you know what, I'm not actually to be honest, I look to God's word. I saw that if you're single, you lived at home and actually is a matter fact, when you get married you. Actually, yeah, live for today is not like I'm living the biblical way, and I kinda got over that and realize that but I think his mother. It's good to make yourself available but I think you want the child to also kind of ask for that but I'm using the compact to maybe what might seem like a simple answer but is not simple and it is praying and fasting. My mom suggested every Monday for eight years and then God compelled her to begin fasting in and gave no end date and she ended up fasting 39 days for me. We've lost the spiritual disciplines I think we don't those if we don't see results in a couple days we guess because were praying for something and some nothing happens in my mom will even save as an oral testimony she fasted for me. And God changed her.

We've lost that and let people know that you are praying for them. I'm to be praying for you today. We need to pay privately. We need to pray corporately good so you know in the end of my first book I talk about how I came home. I think the chapter title is coming home.

And of course it wasn't some yes I came home home but is also coming home to God. But you know the story tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree, sing it for five years.

I don't know, know you see a yellow ribbon tied around the tree. Now what we think about think about the military which is which is great but what was the story really about a guy coming home from what I've done my time prison coming yes the story was about him and his wife, but the whole story was, you know that he wanted to go home to his wife but he knew him, and he was a mess.

So his. He was like he was given his wife, the chance to say no, but he did. He couldn't face that.

So you want me yellow ribbon on. Although tree so he was on the bus and he was telling the whole story to bus drivers like I can't look you have to tell me if there's a ribbon stop. If there's not a ribbon keep driving.

II hope that I'm getting the story right and he came in the yellow ribbon and yeah show. I held yellow ribbons. So he stopped so I came home, my parents picked me up in prison. I sign my name Christopher Wright Christopher Yuan so we go home and we don't have an oak tree in our front tree but we have a pine tree so that it up tight on the pine tree and I hear like something playing now yeah and it was tile yellow ribbon open the door and it was 100 yellow but it was all from people who've been praying for me.

My mom had sent like couple months before is going to come up she knew was coming home, so she mailed everyone by name. She knew that people who were praying for me hundred and so she sent them. She got a yellow tablecloth.

The other plastic kind, and she would cut them the look is ribbons are expensive so she being a thrifty mom she cut them into ribbons and sent everyone and asked them to sign their name and state an encouraging message Scripture out praying for you and that she tied them up and Adam have a picture and so that all up in the foyer and beautiful moms and dads prayer works. Yes, our prayers make a difference in the lives of the people that we love children beautiful euros.

We've had this conversation.

I just keep thinking somebody is, shape your thinking about your sexuality about your desires about what's acceptable about what's not. Somebody is gonna shape your children's thinking about that and the question is, is again be God and his word or is gonna be a culture that is eager to categorize your kids and catechized each one of us in the thinking this is okay this is normal. This is just biology and you didn't indoctrinated by movies or get indoctrinated by popular culture by songs. This is where we have to renew our minds don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind and this is a book that helps us do that. We get copies of Christopher's book in our family life today resource Center. You can go online. The family like and request your copy of holy sexuality of the gospel again. The website is family life or if you prefer to call to order our number is one 800 FL today, one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life, and the Lord today.

What is been good for us to spend some time in conversation this week with Christopher Yuan, David Robbins, the personal family life has been with us this week and I know you have found this conversation to be helpful and challenging.

You know, today made me reflect on the part of my story when identity in Christ became something I think I first fully understood. I've heard the term but it was when it really began to take root deeper in my soul and really something I haven't stopped learning. I was sitting on the beach at the end of a mission trip in Romania.

We were in a place called coaster nest which we effectually called coaster nasty because it was nasty but I read my Bible. Looking over the Black Sea were counting the ways got it shown up that summer and I read I think Psalm 139 for the first time that I really remember reading it where God was overwhelming me with his power and his knowledge and his love for me and three questions came to my mind that I remember journaling about and being really honest about actually I started telling myself I'm a journal about these three questions every day until I believe in my core that the really true that three questions were do I believe that I am complete in Christ. Nothing else is needed.

The second question was do I believe the godliness is more profitable than anything in the third question was do I really believe Jesus satisfies my soul more than anything else is a three questions have really stopped asking that I got to a point Harley goes. These are true in my life and it begin to have implications on my life for believer everything is meant to flow from identity being firmly rooted in Christ and oh how it changes things. When we live out not just being a Christian family that does all the right things. The Christians do, but to a family of Christ followers who put Christ before everything that's what abiding in Christ is all about is contrived. Thank you, David, and I hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this week and hope you can join us back on Monday when working to talk about how we are to complement one another in marriage… We say nice things to each other like you look nice today, but how we fit together in marriage. Aaron and Janie IV.

Join us for that conversation can be with us for that. I want to thank our engineer today. Keith Lynch got some extra help from Bruce Goff course our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson and Bob peen C back next time for another edition of family life, family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. The crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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