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October 23, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Sam Horn continues a doctrinal series entitled, “What Is Man?” from 2 Peter 1:19
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina were continuing the study series about the doctrine of man. Today's message will be preached by Dr. Sam Horn in the title of this message is gender and sexual identity. We are in the middle of a series of messages on the study of man and for those of you are visiting today I would like to take just a moment to set the context for today's session. Today's conversation in that series and this semester, our theme has been the study of anthropology, which is a fancy way of saying study of man, we began our study by looking at some eight and coming to the very heart of that Psalm with the question that God poses to us through the pen of David when he says what is man that you are mindful of him.
What is so significant about mankind that you crowned him with glory and honor and that you sent him a little lower than himself and that he gave to him dominion and that you put him over the entire planet. What is so significant about me and we have been taking our semester in looking at different aspects of that question and answering those from the text of Scripture that speak to the topic of anthropology and this morning we are coming to a topic that speaks to the very heart of who we are as human beings.
There's nothing more intimate and nothing more personal about us than our own identity, and at the core of our identity is something called her gender and her gender and our sexual identity speak to the very essence of who we are as an individual image bearer before God. So as we were looking at the series and sort of laying out the framework for the series we identified this is a topic that we needed to talk about and we laid out all of the different topics and we sent them to the faculty members that we identified as ones that were going to be speaking on this and said pick the ones that you would like to talk about and nobody picked this one so I'm speaking on this topic today, so I hope. As we come together that the Lord will allow this topic to be one that will be useful to us and helpful to us and as I thought about this topic and as I thought about the sensitive nature of it and really the application of it to my life into your life. I did something that that was very useful and very helpful to me in the process I sat down with a number of you from the student body.
In fact, there were three or four groups of you that were kind enough to to give me 45 minutes, an hour of your time and we sat and talked all the way through what I'm about to share with you. So in essence what were talking about today is is framed around the ideas that came from a number of different students across the panorama of our University family different majors different categorizations different years and every one of them had some useful information to say that I think will find its way in our sermon this morning so I'm praying as we come together around this topic, that our hearts will be challenged not just by my thinking not just by our collective thinking, but by what God has to say. So maybe the best way to introduce the sermon this morning and to tee up the topic that were to talk about is to set out a story for you since I want you to fast-forward in your mind just a few years till you're graduated from here and you're in your vocation.
You're in the place of your employment here in the place where God is planted you, you may be working in in a particular city you you have a church that you attend as you have a place that you live in some of you may be married by that time. Some of you may still be hoping to be married.
Some of you may just be enjoying life at that point and you have a place where your ministry of the place of church that you're attending ministry that God is giving you. And at some point along the way you come in contact with a woman named Joan and somehow or another you make a connection with Joan.
Joan has a little girl, maybe 10 or 11 years of age and in God prompts on your heart to reach out to Joan and to invite her to your church and you begin to talk to her about the opportunities at your church for her daughter and that speech to her. It seems to get her attention, and so she comes to church and she starts plugging into the body. Her daughter starts plugging into the to the programs that are available to her and you begin to watch an incredible thing happen in Joan's life. Over the course of the next 12 months you watch her go from someone who's just sort of really suspicious about what's happening in this group of people and and sort of skeptical about what she's hearing to over a period of time you begin to notice that she is starting to engage you happen to glance over when you're in church together and you begin to sense that God is really reaching down through his word into Joan's mind and into her heart, and you can begin to see the connections starting to happen. And of course your praying for Joan. The entire time and one day you happen to be in the lobby of the church and she comes up to you after a sermon and says do you know I really would. I would value an opportunity to have a conversation so you arrange for time to have a conversation with John maybe needed a coffee shop. Maybe there's another place where you end up having a conversation and she sits down with you and she begins to tell you what God has been doing in her life and it is astonishing she articulates to you in verbal form. Everything that you have been suspecting and that you have been observing in her life. She talks to you about how she felt when you first invited her to church and how she kept coming back because her daughter really liked the friends that she was making and she really appreciated the wholesome environment and the activities that were there, but she talks about it she starts telling you about how God began to really get her attention as she was hearing the pastor talk from his word and as she begins to tell you what was going on. She finally comes to the place where she said you know over the last several weeks. It's like God has been opening my eyes scales have been falling away and I finally understand this theme that you keep talking about when you talk to me about the gospel and I'm here today because I want you to know something. I have really understood and raised what Jesus did for me on the cross and she's telling you that she's born again and as you are talking to her. It is very evident that this is really happened or and then she says this to you. I have a question.
I have an issue that nobody here knows about. I wasn't always Joan.
I was born. John and as I was growing up. I struggled immensely with my identity. I felt like I was trapped in the wrong body.
No matter what I did or no matter how I tried to convince myself differently. No matter what my parents said to me I couldn't I couldn't get away from the reality of what I was feeling and it is I wanted in my teen years. This just accentuated even more and then when I became a young adult and might in my late teen years and and into my early 20s I just couldn't live with it anymore and I decided to make a transition into stopping John and to live as Joan and I did that and for the last 25 or so years that is been my identity at some point along the way, I really wanted a child and so I adopted the little girl that comes with me to church and she has no idea that I'm anything other than Joan.
That's all she's known but I have come to realize the truth of the gospel a knife. I have a whole new perspective on what Jesus did for me and what God's intention for me is what should I do.
Here's a question what would you say to Joan and this is not the story is a hypothetical one, but that really is a situation that many of us are going to face very soon in our life. Some of your education majors and you may be in a scenario very shortly where your teaching young children whose parents are like the parents of Ryland who at two years of age began to articulate to her parents that she was convinced that she was a boy and by five years of age.
Her parents have been convinced of that and transition her for being a girl to a boy and she showed up at school to be taught. You can have those kind of situations very shortly. Some of you are going to be the case or the situation where you have a close friend who struggles with this or you have a family member or you have an associate at work who comes in one day and says you know I used to be Bob from now on I want you to call me Rebecca or whatever.
So what do you do, do we have anything as Christians to say into these sorts of conversations. So when I sent out students and we really began talking about illustrations like this to get really clear that this was a very significant topic and due to the time that we have to address it were only going to talk about two parts of today and before we talk about those two parts to make sure that we boundary something awfully that we we need to recognize that there are people in life you really do have issues that happen to them at birth. Maybe there was an abnormal development of tissue during fetal development. Maybe there was a physical abnormality that happened to them at birth and they are working with their parents or their caregivers or even with themselves later like to try to figure out what their God assigned gender is, and we understand that that category of people exists in wheat we are not talking about that category people this morning we are talking about people who have normal functioning biological bodies that are clearly identified in one gender or another who don't want to continue living in that gender. What do we have to say to those kinds of people who are struggling with that issue and at the heart of that debate is a thorny question and the question is this who gets to determine a person's gender and sexual identity. Who gets to decide that is gender something that we choose on the basis of what we perceive in our own soul to be the case, or is it something that God assigns and that question really is at the heart of the of the debate. It's really at the heart of the issue and in order to answer that question effectively. We have to start somewhere and I don't want to assume that were all starting in the same place we either have to lean on our own understanding is the writer of Proverbs said. Solomon said or we have to go somewhere to find out if God has given wisdom about this and that's why had you turn to second Peter chapter 1 because in verse 19, Peter says that we have a more sure word of prophecy. Speaking of the Scriptures and then he says we would do well if we would heed that word, and he describes it as a light shining in a dark place waiting for the day to Don and the day started coming that's poetic language for Peter. Acknowledging that we live in a very dark place and at times we are groping in that darkness for some weight forward and there is a day coming when Jesus will arrive and fix everything. But until that day arrives, we need help and we need guide and that guidance comes in a scripture that was given by God's holy men of old were moved by the Holy Spirit to write it down and you know this from your classes and from your own study of Scripture that God would say to you about his word. It is reliable.
You can trust it is sufficient. You can use it to shape your life, even in a case like this and it is authoritative.
It will give you the right answer. It may not be comfortable may not be simple. It may not be easy, but there is an answer that God give us it is word to guide and govern us, even in an issue is deeply convoluted and is deeply intimate and personal as our gender and sexual identity. So how do we proceed.
Let me give you two thoughts about that. First of all we need to talk about how we should engage in this conversation, not just what should we say, but how should we speak when we engage in your notice on the screen that I've given you all three ideas at once, so that for time sake. We can look at them together. But as we talk about this conversation. Solomon reminds us that rash or careless words are like sword thrust. We can speak to this in such a way that actually does more damage than help. So as we think about a topic like this that the entire world is talking about.
CNN ran a documentary on little Ryland's life and the and the agony that her parents went through and that that documentary was called raising Ryland. It aired this this past July.
Time magazine has run several feature articles on this very topic the entire world is talking about this topic. So the question is when we come into this conversation and we start talking and we start engaging which I think we should. We must how we come into that conversation is as important as what we have to say. So how do we frame a conversation about this with people who are going through this struggle themselves. I think we need to speak lovingly and compassionately. And when you hear how Jesus speaks the people who were deeply broken by their sin or deeply trapped in their sin it becomes very very evident that the overwhelming characterization of Jesus talking to people who were bound up in their sin is compassion. They didn't just hear what he had to say they felt what he had to say so.
However else we speak. We need to speak compassionately as a fellow sufferer. We may not be broken. In this way, we may not be struggling with this particular thing, but if were all honest here this morning. We all have tasted the brokenness of sin in some capacity or another in our life. We all have experienced deep brokenness and the radical effects of sin and the ruling that it brings in our lives. We all can speak to that is a common suffer. So when we come to this issue. We, as a fellow sufferer coming in the name of Christ speaking lovingly and compassionately then secondly I think we have to speak truthfully and courageously speaking lovingly is not incompatible with speaking truthfully fact the Scripture actually marries these two ideas together in Ephesians chapter 4 when were told to speak the truth in love. So we need to speak lovingly and compassionately. But we need to speak truthfully and courageously because we speak for God.
We don't speak as God.
But we speak for him in this matter. If we really believe that there is authoritative truth that he is given that speaks to this issue.
We speak lovingly and compassionately and the most loving thing we can say is the truth that God is given, whatever that truth is about this issue and then we need to speak productively and, hopefully, because we know the power and the hope of the gospel. The fundamental premise of the gospel is this God is on a mission to redeem and restore falling people to the image and likeness of his son. The fundamental premise of the gospel is this themes are not the way they should be and things are not the way they will be. So how do we get from where we are to where God wants us to be in God's answer.
That is, no matter where you start no matter what the brokenness no matter how deep the pain you start with the gospel.
So what we bring to this conversation is the love and compassion of Jesus.
It's the truth courageously given that God is spoken about this issue and it is centered on the reality in the hope of the gospel we speak redemptive that brings us to the final thing and that is this what should we actually say to people who are struggling with this and I would say that when a frame is not so much as a proclamation that we make, because there are times in a context where you are speaking in a proclamation tied way standing up in an audience like like were doing here today and you're proclaiming something that God is said or maybe your your writing an article or your publishing a book like so many of done on this topic and your putting it out there to speak to the general public. And that's that's a proclamation that's an apologetic proclamation for a position that God is articulating and there is a need for that and there's a place for them actually talking about something different. I'm talking about when you sit down across the table from someone who is struggling with this and has questions about this. How do you talk to them and what do you say to them that setting and I would suggest that you can do more things with them.
If they are quickly number one you can remind them that God created and designed the idea of gender whatever they're struggling with.
When it comes to gender and identity. God designed at any designed it at creation your member the creation story in Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 and 27, 28, where God speaks and repeats it again in Genesis chapter 5 verse two where he articulates that he created mankind and and then he immediately says no.
I made mankind for the purpose of image bearing and that requires to all genders is when God describes the creation of man.
He describes it immediately in the form of two image bearers who are equal in value that have different genders.
They may have different roles in different responsibilities, but they stand before their creator equal in their gender. So when you stand before God as a male or you stand before God as a female.
There is no difference in value.
That's what I think Paul means when he says there is neither male nor female. He is saying there is no better standing that one gender has over the other. They stand equally before God as necessary components to the image bearing capacity that God has so the first thing you would say to somebody, as you know, God actually created gender and he designed it at creation and then secondly, he assigned it at conception is not just that he designed it sort of at the humanity level.
He he actually assigns it on the individual level and Psalm 139 talks about the fact that each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made, and we are individually designed by God in the innermost parts of our being are woven together there knit together and that process happens in the so whatever your gender is, it was designed by God as part of the image bearing capacity and purpose that he has for you and was assigned to you at conception, and then God says he delights in its consecration it comes to the end of Genesis chapter 1 verse 31 any looks at all of this and he says this is good. So the first thing we would speak lovingly and courageously and truthfully redemptive leader somebody is weird so you know when you're thinking about this issue. One of the things that you need to bring to the table in your mind is the fact that God did design.
This he did assign it, and in his design and in his assignment sheet he delights in this.
Secondly, I would say is we probably out of try to help them to see God's theological purpose for our gender. Why did God designed this and we talked earlier in the sermon about Psalm eight God desired to fill up the earth with his glory and the way that he determined to do that was to set mankind above all of the earth and to assign them a responsibility to fill out that earth with image bearers who would know and love and rejoice in the goodness of God, and there was a consecrated process by which this would happen that would involve the coming together of two perfectly designed genders in a holy relationship blasting consecrated by God. That would just be the assignment we were to do it would be the delight that God would give us as we would experience the intimacy of that relationship within the context of a covenant that was consecrated by God. That's why God designed gender. There is a theological reason for your gender and then thirdly, I would say there's a redemptive purpose for your gender, God intends to fix everything that is gone wrong in the universe through the arrival of an individual in the human race that is been described and prophesied as the coming Messiah, and he would come through the birth that God would give to a particular woman, you could say it this way and I think this is good to remind ourselves because so often we sort of joke that the whole reason were in this masses because of what Eve did were actually in the mask because of what Adam did and the reason for the mass.
Those of us who have accepted the Lord is because of what did God did to the in sending his son, born of a woman, made under the law, to redeem those.
So God has a redemptive purpose for gender in the minute you start putting all these pieces together.
You can understand. You know what, no wonder Satan is gone. After this so hard. This is why in the Old Testament there are so many prohibitions against the misuse of our sexual identity or the miss use of art Arbor gender identity. In fact, in Deuteronomy chapter 22 God expressly prohibits his people from adopting the life style or the mannerisms of the clothing of the opposite gender, and he says it's an abomination.
Why in the world is God care about this because it's part of his read tentative plan in the fourth thing I would say is there is a future plan and hope for the struggle Romans talks about the fact that there is coming a day when Messiah comes where he is going to restore everything that is been broken including our bodies so what would I say to Joan, will you say to do. Let me tell you what I would say to Joan and will praying you can decide whether not what I say to Joan matches what you've read, and what you heard in the Scriptures. I would say to Joan Joan, the gospel of Jesus Christ that you embraced changes everything.
It changes everything through that gospel, God's redeeming and restoring following people like me and like you, and that includes things like our gender brokenness so the gospel frees you to live authentically in the true gender that God designed and assigned to you at the booth at the beginning the gospel frees you to live authentically as God designed you to live. And then secondly the gospel gives you grace and strength because you and I both know that that journey is to be easy and so as you make that journey and you take those steps. The gospel doesn't just give you the freedom to live authentically you the grace to do so on the strength to do so, and then finally the gospel gives you a new and a true identity in Christ that goes beyond your gender, you are accepted in the blood, and there is present value in your struggle. There is a new creation that is happened to you and as a new creature. You now have the ability to display the incredible power in the transforming value of the gospel, not just as a theory, but in your own life.
By the way, there was a disciple named John who was known as the beloved Joan as you transition back to John.
You can become like him a beloved follower of Christ, or, thank you for your word.
We know that this is been a very significant topic and we haven't really done it justice in the time that we've had together. But Lord is we've looked at the overarching framework of what your word has to say on a much much higher level than just an immediate circumstance would you would you help us to think. Your thoughts after you were there. There are people. Perhaps you who are struggling with this Lord we we would never want anybody to to walk away from a sermon like this thinking that this is just been minimized or that they're just simple answers to profound questions that that real people are struggling with the very soul essence of who they are as a person.
So Lord, would you take your word and do the work that only your spirit can do in the previous things in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon by Dr. Sam Horn which is part of the series. What is man join us again next week as we continue this series here on The Daily Platform