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God’s Love and Same Sex Attraction

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2022 9:00 am

God’s Love and Same Sex Attraction

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 8, 2022 9:00 am

Some churches have embraced gay marriage. And other churches have shamed the gay community. Are either of these responses biblical?

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. There's no question that what we'll be learning today is both controversial and divisive in Christian circles. Some churches have embraced a tolerant view of homosexual relationships while other churches have openly protested and alienated the gay and lesbian community. Are either of these responses biblical? Let's see what God's Word really says about homosexual relationships as a part of our practical series called From the Beginning. Be sure to stay tuned to the end of our broadcast today for details on getting the 2023 Summit Life day planner. But for now, let's really dig into God's Word and affirm biblical truth with Pastor J.D.

Greer. If you have a Bible, I'd invite you to take it out now and open it to the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 6. We find ourselves in the midst of a series called From the Beginning. From the Beginning is a phrase that we get from Jesus. Jesus was once asked a really controversial question about marriage and sex and the basis of his answer was what God had established about marriage from the beginning. So we are trying to answer some of our toughest questions today about relationships and sex using that same reasoning.

We're going to apply the concept of From the Beginning to the really difficult question that people have both in our church and also in the culture at large and that is the question of same sex attraction. There are three specific questions for us today. Question number one is, is it wrong?

And if so, why is it wrong? Question number two is, what do I do if this is me? And then question number three, how do I love my gay friend? The narrative that our culture puts forward is that we have only really two options in our relationship with the gay and lesbian community.

Affirmation on the one hand, that's one option or alienation on the other. I want to show you that Jesus presented a third option. Jesus' ministry, you see, was a paradox because never was there anyone who so exalted God's standards of righteousness. He said that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than one jot or tittle of the law would pass away. He said that unless our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees who were the ultra law keepers of his day, that we wouldn't enter into the kingdom of heaven. Yet at the same time, never was there anyone who so effectively drew in people who had broken every aspect of that law.

Be they the prostitutes or the tax collectors or those with broken marriages, they all loved to be around him. The last week of Jesus' life captures the paradox of his ministry. Though Jesus had never broken any laws, though Jesus had never committed any sin, the religious and political leaders called out for his crucifixion while a former prostitute washes his feet with their tears and a thief defends his reputation from the cross. The Apostle John summarized the heart of Jesus' ministry in John 1.14 when he described Jesus as being full of grace and truth. Grace and truth. I've explained to you that in order to represent Jesus, in order to know Jesus, you have to understand both concepts. Truth without grace is fundamentalism, it's judgmentalism. Grace without truth, however, is vapid sentimentality. To represent Jesus, you must be full of both grace and truth.

Let me explain to you that as I attempt to answer some of these questions, in recent years I've learned to do so, less like a theologian perhaps and more like a friend or maybe a pastor. I think, for example, as I was writing this this week and thinking through these things I think I thought a lot about a young man in our church named Dustin. He's a personal friend of mine. He actually worked directly on my team here at the church. He was one of my interns. His senior year of college, he came into my office, he sat down in the chair across my desk and he burst into tears and he says, for three years now I've had a very dark secret. I've never told anybody. He says, I have a same-sex attraction that has led me to bouts of internet pornography. I have an addiction to internet pornography now, which has led to a string of hookups that I've had with random guys that I meet in chat rooms on the internet. He has wrestled with this now for several years. Recently, he told me, he said, you know, there's no way that I would have chosen to be like this.

And I imagine this is going to be a struggle for me until the day that I die. I cannot talk about these things without thinking about ginger. So I met ginger in a cell phone store several years ago. She was in her thirties and she had been a practicing lesbian since she had been in college. She began to come to our church. She battled severe depression that really culminated. And one Saturday morning, she was driving out to the Blue Ridge Mountains in order to take her own life when God miraculously intervened in her life and did a marvelous work in her. Now she is a very active member here at the Summit Church. She told me recently, she said, these things, my desires, the depression, they've never totally gone away, but she she's following hard after God. And I love her as a friend.

And I cannot talk about these things without thinking about, about her. And I know that there are probably some of you listening to me right now who have been hurt, ostracized, maybe even cast out over this issue. We all have heard the heartbreaking stories of parents who disowned their kids when they came out, which is so tragic at the time they most needed the constant love of a parent.

They were rejected. Perhaps even more tragically, this was sometimes done in the name of Christ. What greater lie could we tell about our savior than to distance ourselves from the broken and the hurting and the moment when they needed us the most? So that is the context that I want to speak from.

There are three particular people I have in mind I want to address here at the beginning. Number one, there are some of you that for you, your mind has already made up on this issue. And if you were honest with yourself, you would admit that there's nothing that I or the Bible could say on this issue that's going to make any difference. If that is you, I want to challenge you to really think about what it means for Jesus to be Lord. Do you trust him?

And are you ready for him to lead in this? These are questions, of course, for all of us about every situation, but especially relevant for you that are in the midst of struggling with this question. And if perhaps you feel like right now you just want to walk out, I'll ask you will you at least be open to hearing what God's word says about it.

It might not be what you think. And I'll tell you what I often tell people who are investigating Jesus. I tell them that on issues like this, sometimes it may be helpful for them to punt this because this is not the center of Christianity. You might need to wrestle with the real question of Christianity, and that is, is Jesus Lord? And what is his love like?

And what does it look like extended to you? Because when you have come to terms with the lordship of Jesus and his love, then you can let him lead you on this issue. So if you're like, I'm not even ready to consider that, then yeah, maybe you need to punt this issue.

And that's okay. The second group is there are some of you who don't want to make a decision on this. You don't want to make a decision on this. It's just more convenient for you not to have an answer. You feel caught between what you think the Bible says on one hand and not wanting to offend a friend on the other. And it's better, it's easier if you just not really have an answer to this question. I want to convince you that your indifference and your cowardice, quite honestly, is harming others. You need to make up your mind one way or the other because getting this wrong either way has massive implications. And the third group is there are some of you who believe that this is wrong, believe homosexuality or same-sex attraction is wrong, but you believe it's wrong for the wrong reasons.

You say things like, it's gross. Your position is more characterized by bigotry and intolerance than compassionate Christian conviction. So I want to challenge you to rethink this issue in terms of the gospel as a center of yourself and not somebody who sits on a different plane. Here's our main passage for today. First Corinthians chapter six. You can read it along here with me if you want or find it in your Bible.

And as I read it here, do not be deceived. The apostle Paul says, neither the sexually immoral nor the idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greeting or drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were, but you were washed. You were sanctified. You were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God.

Three questions. Number one, is it wrong? There are six passages in the Bible that directly address homosexuality. Every single one of them does so like the passage here in first Corinthians in explicitly negative terms. The words that Paul uses there in first Corinthians six that we translate into English as men who have sex with men are the Greek words malakoi, which means soft or effeminate and arsenokoitai, which means sex between males. Every major Greek writer and philosopher of the time used those words to refer exclusively to homosexual relationships. There are some who have said, well, Paul does not have here in mind the committed same sex relationships that we see today. What he had in mind was male prostitution or the man boy love that was common in the Roman army. But he wasn't talking about committed same sex relationships because they didn't exist back then.

But that's not true. Historian Thomas Hubbard, who is not a Christian, wrote the definitive work on homosexuality in the ancient world. It's a 558 page volume called Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome. And he shows that homosexuality existed in a wide variety of forms in the Greek and Roman world, including committed same sex partnerships. And they were always referred to by the terms Paul uses here in first Corinthians six, malakoi and arsenokoitai. The bottom line is this to say that what Paul says here would not apply to same sex relationships today requires the most tortuous and disintegrate methods of interpretation.

There is no doubt at all that he has in mind exactly the kind of relationships that we talk about today. Well, let's look at another one, Romans chapter one, Romans chapter one, Paul is talking in Romans one about the human races rejection of God's authority. He says, because we rejected God's authority for this reason, God gave them, God gave us as a race up to dishonorable passions for their women exchange natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.

And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another. Men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Richard Hayes, who is the professor of theology over at Duke Divinity School here in Durham says that Paul here depicts gay and lesbian activity as an outward epitomization of the inward posture of all sin. That inward posture is a rejection of the creator's design and a rejection of his authority. It is unnatural, Paul says here in Romans one, homosexuality is unnatural. Somebody responds, but it feels natural to me. Well, just because something feels natural doesn't mean that it's right, right? I mean, we know that because sin has corrupted our nature. A lot of things that feel natural to us are in fact quite wrong. I feel like as a parent, I'm always trying to teach my kids that just because you feel this way doesn't make it right.

Just because you feel like hitting your sibling doesn't mean that you should. If I were to come to my wife and say, you know, Veronica, everybody tells me and I agree that you are so beautiful. I married so many levels above what I should have been able to have in a wife and you're just everything beyond what I could have dreamed. Yet here now, after 13 years of marriage to a girl that is way out of my league, I still now find myself from time to time lusting after other women. And thus I've concluded that I just must not be designed for one woman. My desires show me that in order to be true and authentic to myself, I'm going to have to have multiple sexual partners.

That's just me. And you're going to have to be okay with that. Veronica would say back to me, I'm going to have to be true to myself.

And she's going to smack me upside the head with a two by four. Now I use that example, not to say that all those things are the same, simply to say that our sexual desires are not a safe guide to what is right, because according to Romans chapter one, something has gone really wrong with it. We'll get back to our teaching in just a moment, but we've heard so many great stories of God transforming lives through this ministry this year. For instance, Mary, who lives in the States, but is German, has been inspired to bring the good message of God's grace back to Germany. Or Theo, who told us he passes the link to the broadcast to everyone from Christian friends to atheist coworkers. Or Matthew, who forwards our daily email devotional to people he's praying for who are hurting. This year, you gave to meet immediate needs in Ukraine and just last week gave to plant a brand new church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Your gifts enable all of this to continue.

As a thank you, you can reserve your copy of the 2023 day planner today by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at Now let's get back to the final moments of our teaching today. Once again, here's Pastor JD. Your sexual desires, whether gay or straight, on their own will lead outside of God's will every single time. The Old Testament says this, if a man, Leviticus 20, lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.

The other three passages, which I won't take time to read, are all very similar. Well, here are the most common objections that I hear to what the Bible says. People say, well, we don't heed all the Old Testament laws on things like diet or the prohibition on wearing mixed fibers. So it is hypocritical for you to pick out this Old Testament law, this prohibition, and to heed it and not all the others. Well, first, as I showed you, this is not just an Old Testament thing.

The New Testament is, if anything, even clearer than the Old Testament on homosexuality being a deviation from God's plan. But second, there are different kinds of Old Testament laws. There are what we call moral laws and ceremonial laws. Ceremonial laws, things like diet and dress and how the sacrifices went, were there to give us a picture of what Jesus would do when he came. When Jesus came, he said he fulfilled the law, which meant that all the things the ceremonies were pointing to were embodied in him.

And now that we had him, we didn't need to continue with the ceremonies, the way that you no longer need to look at a picture when you got the person standing right in front of you. When he said he fulfilled the moral law, what he meant was that he showed us what the embodiment of all the moral laws looked like, not that we could disregard the prohibitions on murder or adultery or idolatry or homosexuality. People say, well, Jesus never spoke about this.

That's just not true. Jesus affirmed the creative order. He affirmed the Mosaic law that declared sex to be permissible only between a man and a woman in covenant marriage.

Anything that deviates from that plan of sex between a man and a woman in covenant marriage, Jesus referred to with the Greek term porneia, Mark 7 21, or at least that's how they wrote it down, porneia, Mark 7 21. It is true that Jesus did not list out all the possible deviations from that plan because there are two ways that you can declare what is wrong. You can list out every possible variation of the wrong, or you can simply affirm what is right. If there were five women on stage here with me, one of whom was my wife, and I wanted to point out which one she was, there's one or two ways I could do that. I could point out the four that aren't my wife, or I could point out the one that is.

Either approach would serve the same purpose. In repeatedly affirming the Mosaic understanding of the sanctity of sex within heterosexual marriage, Jesus disallowed all deviations from that, whatever variations they take. To put this in perspective, the scriptures never record Jesus using the words idolatry, rape, fraud, or bestiality either. But is anybody really suggesting that Jesus thought it was okay for us to practice those things because he didn't mention them specifically? Furthermore, to say Jesus never talked about it, it must be okay, pits the words of Jesus against the rest of the scriptures. But Jesus himself said that all Christian scripture is inspired, which means the black letters in your Bible that records the word written by Paul have the same divine authority as the red letters that record the words that are spoken by Jesus. People say, well, Christian leaders disagree on this issue.

It is true, you can always find dissident voices in every generation on every issue. But the vast consensus of evangelical theologians see this as very clear in the Bible. And that's not even to take into account the opinion of the church worldwide and the collective witness of Christian history. For 2000 years, Christians have understood this to be clear. This is only a question for a handful of 21st century Western Christians who say that God has not really spoken clearly on this issue. And we're the first generation and culture to figure that out. More likely God has spoken clearly.

They just don't like what he has said. And let me tell you why we as a church have to be clear on this and not just abstain from the conversation. I can assure you, this is not my personal preference to stand up here and address that.

My preference would be to leave this alone, but I'll tell you why we talk about this while we have to speak. In Revelation chapter two, Jesus rebukes the church in Thyatira for tolerating somebody whose teaching led people into sexual sin. The churches in Revelation represent the churches in every age. And there was one church who Jesus said to them, you do everything so well, so well you take care of the poor, but on this issue, you tolerate those who lead people into sexual sin. And for that reason, he threatened to remove his presence from those churches altogether. That means that Jesus is not just against those who do the teaching.

He is against those who tolerate the teaching in their midst. You see, we're going to have to offend somebody on this. We're going to have to offend the world or we're going to offend Jesus.

I just choose to offend the world. Apostasy a hundred years ago was the denial of Christian miracles. Today apostasy is the denial of Christian morality. You see, ours is the first not generation to be offended by the teachings of Jesus.

What offends the culture changes from generation to generation? I've often told you the Bible is an equal opportunity offender and that if you're not offended by Jesus, you're just not listening. But in every generation, we have to choose whether our allegiance is to our culture or our allegiance is going to be to our savior. I choose Jesus because our culture is passing away. The United States is not forever. Hollywood and the New York Times do not decide what things persist into eternity, but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. So is this wrong?

There's no way you can read the Bible with an open mind and to come out with any other conclusion than yes, the Bible is univocal on its declaration that is a deviation from God's plan. So that leads us to question number two, what do I do if this is me? Well, 1 Corinthians 6 is going to give us an answer here, but let me first explain that our culture says, if you find this desire in you, affirm it. The only way to be truly authentic is to be true to what is deep inside of you.

Let's forget about the issue of sexuality for a minute, okay? And let me just talk about how God says we approach him in general on every issue. One of my favorite verses about relating to God, Isaiah 66 2, this is the one to whom I will look. He who is humble and contrite in spirit and who trembles at my word. There's one kind of person God looks at with those three characteristics. Humble means God, wherever you and I disagree, you're right and I'm wrong.

Contrite means I recognize that my heart is bad and might lead me astray so I don't look within. Trembles at my word means God, whatever you say, I'm ready to obey. On all issues, whether regarding our sexuality or our opinions or anything, that is to be our posture before God. So in regards to your sexuality, that's the question.

Is your posture before God humble, contrite and trembling at his word? Rosaria Butterfield was a practicing lesbian for years, a tenured professor of women's studies at Syracuse University before coming to faith in Christ. She said the core issue is never sexual. The core issue is the attitude toward God behind our sexuality. We want to be God. We don't want to be judged. We want to judge. We want to choose what is right.

We want to remake reality around our preferences. It is not homosexuality that condemns. It is the sin behind that sin that condemns.

Let me say something. I want to make sure you don't misunderstand it. No one goes to hell for being a homosexual.

How do I know that? Because you don't go to heaven for being a heterosexual. It's not that sin that condemns. We're condemned for our refusal to submit to God and for an exaltation of our simple desires over his will and that kind of simple heart can be as present in a heterosexual person as it can be in someone that is gay or lesbian. Jesus said that following him means denying yourself. He said, if you want to come after me, you got to deny yourself, take up the cross and follow me. That's not just for gay people regarding their sexuality. That is for all of us about everything. I love how Rosaria says it herself, to follow Jesus, every person must surrender up everything, which means all my ideas, all my ambitions, all my dreams, my opinions, and yes, even my sexuality. Following Christ requires that we surrender everything, even our sexual expression.

That's a hard truth to put into practice, but it's important nonetheless. You're listening to Summit Life and the Bible teaching of pastor and author JD Greer. At this time of year, your financial support is more important than ever. So Pastor JD, when someone donates to Summit Life, what exactly does their gift do?

Yeah, Molly, that's a fair question. When you give to Summit Life, you are covering the expenses of basically purchasing radio time and to the cost to produce and distribute these messages, to be able to engage with our listeners. That's where your giving is going.

So because you give to Summit Life, we don't have to charge for content. And we can keep all of our messages on the radio for free and the web just enabling the gospel to go forward freely. That's because of the commitment of God's people, people like you. Through your partnership, Summit Life has radio stations, get this, in Bermuda, Turks and Caicos, in Canada, in Guam, 42 U.S. states were on the air.

I mean, just think about that. Think about all the places I just named that right now are hearing the gospel preached through this ministry that you're a part of. But we look forward to another year of partnering with you as God uses us to reach the nations for Jesus. Your giving enables us to make some bold decisions about where God's going to take us in the year to come and to take advantage of some new opportunities that are right in front of us. So I'd ask you to consider giving today at slash donate. As a way of saying thanks for your support, we'll get you a copy of the 2023 Summit Life Day Planner.

We're even including a year-long Bible reading plan to help you know God in a much deeper way. Ask for a copy of the 2023 Summit Life Day Planner when you donate today at the suggested amount of $35 or more. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or give online at

I'm Molly Bedovitch inviting you to join us again Friday when we'll continue our study on this relevant topic, God's love and same-sex attraction. That's right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-11 16:43:42 / 2022-12-11 16:53:51 / 10

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