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“God Gave Them Up” (Part 4 of 6)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
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February 27, 2024 3:00 am

“God Gave Them Up” (Part 4 of 6)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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February 27, 2024 3:00 am

The apostle Paul taught that a society’s moral decay is evidence of God’s wrath being revealed. So how do we honor God yet respond compassionately to those who choose to lead immoral lives? Hear the answer on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Cross the Bridge
David McGee

Thanks for joining us today on Truth for Life. As we begin, we are wrapping up a message today that deals with sexual immorality.

So parents, if you have young children listening alongside you, this message may contain instruction that is too mature for younger audiences. Alistair Begg is looking at the book of Romans where the Apostle Paul explains that the moral decay in a society is evidence that God's wrath is being revealed. So how do we honor God and still respond compassionately to those who are choosing to live in a moral lifestyle? Alistair is teaching today from chapter 1 of the book of Romans. We're focusing on verses 26 and 27.

Paul, two thousand years before, is describing the situations that were prevalent in both Greek and Roman culture. They gave up natural relations, they gave up the possibilities there, and they were consumed with passion for one another. To see this, to propound this, is immediately to be regarded as harsh or judgmental or bigoted. But the Bible is really clear, loved ones. Homosexuality is unnatural. It's a violation of God's created order.

It's not the greatest sin, but it is the clearest evidence of a society's defiance of God. When a culture finally reaches this place, where now even manhood and womanhood, gender itself, is deconstructed and reconstructed according to whatever agenda the individual has, whatever ethical set of norms they've decided to embrace, then the culture is in deep trouble. When you live in a culture where men and women are unclear as to why they were made, how they were made, who made them, and what they're supposed to be doing, and allow them to do whatever they choose, you're living in a really, really weird place. Christopher Ash, in his book Remaking Our Broken World, quotes J. D. Unwin, who studied eighty-six different societies spanning five thousand years, and he found an unexpected and direct correlation between sexual continence and the ability of a society to grow and remain healthy. He concluded, In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and postnuptial continence.

Prenuptial and postnuptial continence. This week, in the Times, the damaging sexual degradation of young—a new movement, new to me at least, it's called sex positivity—encourages sexual pleasure, experimentation, regards all consensual sex as fundamentally healthy. No moral distinctions to be made among types of sexual activities.

That's regarded purely as a matter of personal preference. Says Melanie, commenting on it, she says, There's a glaring contradiction in this happy state of sexual license which doesn't seem to have occurred to any of them and which illustrates the shallow, self-centeredness, ignorance, and self-destructiveness at the very core of Western culture. Sexual license, libertinism, has not formed a pathway to liberation but to degradation, enslavement, and loneliness. A shocking number of individuals are paying the steepest possible price, and an entire culture is crumbling as a result, while those responsible for this terrible damage sneer at their critics and preen themselves amidst the ruins. And you might actually see, she might have added verse 32, and they not only do them, but they give approval to those who practice them.

That's exactly where it is. And Toynbee—Toynbee, again, in that same quote—said that of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reach the moral state of the United States right now, consumed with passion, committing shameless acts, receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. John Murray says that however grievous is fornication or adultery—and it is—the desecration involved in homosexuality is on a lower plane of degeneracy, it is unnatural, and therefore evinces a perversion more basic. In the moral squalor, in the brokenness of our culture, we find a clear evidence of the wrath of God revealed from heaven. The actual immorality is not the cause.

It's the evidence. It's what happens when we turn in upon ourselves. What kind of penalty in themselves—people immediately jump to all kinds of conclusions I've found shed very helpfully—said, Surely the recompense or the penalty that they endure consists in the gnawing, unsatisfied lust itself, together with the dreadful physical and moral consequences of debauchery.

There's an old word, which simply means excessive indulgence in sensual pleasure. Now, where are we? Well, we're living now in a culture where things have changed dramatically over time.

Years ago, I think probably in the early seventies, there were two fellows, professors at one of the New England universities, both homosexuals, and both observing the way in which their design for the invasion of homosexual thought and acceptance would be effectively accomplished. And in talking with each other, they said, This is not going well. We need to have a different strategy. And this is what they said, First of all, we will get the culture to sympathize with us. Now, if you've lived through this, you know this is true. Because it starts off, Please do not be unkind to me, and do not say bad words about me, because I have a problem. Right? I am not doing things naturally.

Sympathize with me. Secondly they said, What we'll do is we'll not only have them sympathize, but we'll make sure that they normalize these things. So that people begin to say, Well, you know, there's a lot of it happening.

I saw a movie the other day, I read a book the other day, and it just seems so normal. And of course, all the figures from the media make it sound as though this is a wholesale revolution. Everybody's coming out of the woodwork.

It's a flat-out lie, okay? But we'll normalize. And then thirdly, they said, What we will do is we will demonize, okay? Sympathize, normalize, demonize.

What do they mean by demonize? Anybody that says that this is not true, that this is not legitimate, that this is not an obvious alternative, we will demonize them, we will cancel them, we will remove them. Where are we?

We're right here. Because we live in a culture where no longer is it simply tolerated, but it is affirmed from the World Cup through the entire spectrum of Western culture. And ironically, here's a quote from a politician this week.

Do we really want here in our country, instead of Mom and Dad, to have parent number one, parent number two, or parent number three? Have they gone completely insane? Vladimir Putin. And the response of Russia in establishing a gay propaganda bill to make sure that they will not allow their culture to be invaded by this stuff at the level of media, education, and family life.

You say what you like about Russia. It seems to me that we have been trying that before. Now, remember, we're viewing society—society here. Paul is not describing the individual journey of a person. I'm not even dealing with it on that level, except in a moment as I close. But the fact of the matter is, he's talking about the development of what happens within a culture, within a nation, within a people. And here it is. And the dreadful consequences causing us to wake up in the morning and to say, Well, what about my children, and what about my grandchildren? Because what comes after, you know, sympathize, normalize, demonize?

How are they gonna go? And how in the world did we get here? 1972 was a good year. I was twenty. I don't know what age you were. East Lansing, Ann Arbor—Michigan, incidentally—Michigan—shh, don't worry, it's all the Ohio State people in here, so—East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and San Francisco were the first cities to pass a homosexual rights ordinance.

72. Sweden decided, we'll be very happy to provide on our health system sex change operations with free hormone therapy. The University of Buffalo, for the first time in a curriculum noted anywhere in North America, it was an opportunity to take a course called Lesbianism 101. In the same year, in San Francisco, the Twin Peaks Tavern, the first gay bar in San Francisco, decided that it would remove its blacked-out windows. Up until that point, it was all blacked out. Why blacked out? Because men love darkness rather than light.

Because their deeds are evil. Now they said, listen, they've sympathized with us, let's normalize it. Let's take the blinds off. Let's just be bold about this.

Let's let it be seen. In Britain, 1988, the United Kingdom Parliament passes a law banning schools from teaching, quotes, the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship. In 1928, outlawed positive depictions of same-sex relationships in classrooms. You're not going to do this to our children, they said.

Two thousand? Repealed. Huge backlash, partly because of the number of people within British Parliament who themselves are homosexuals. The same is true in each of the parties here in North America. You will be fascinated to see the coming together, not on the basis of political affiliation but on the basis of sexual commitments.

Watch for it. 2005, gay and lesbian couples were allowed to adopt in England and Wales. 2013, same-sex marriage was legalized. Later in a quarter of a century, we had an immoral revolution. At the same time, in 1968, in the American Psychiatric Association, homosexuality was a mental disorder.

1968. 1973, the American Psychiatric Association had a meeting, posing the question, Is homosexuality a mental disorder? Five thousand eight hundred and fifty-four of those who responded said, No, it isn't. But fascinatingly, three thousand eight hundred and ten said, Yes, it is. And you can still meet scientists who, if they're brave enough, will tell you straight up.

By 1992, the World Health Organization had removed the stigma entirely. And here we are. We do not need a church that will move with the world. We don't need a church that's just going to accommodate itself to every passing fancy. We need a church—I'm using church, big C—in the United States, in the Western world, that will move the world. That will move the world. Now you say, Well, what do you mean, move the world?

Well, we move the world the way the apostles moved the world. By proclaiming, verse 16—here is a wonderful story that I'm not ashamed of—that God who made you and who loves you, despite how screwed up you are, that this God has made available to you the transforming reality of a new life in the gospel, and it's there for everyone who will believe. You need to know, however, that his wrath has been revealed, and you can't produce a righteousness of your own. But don't forget, that's why he produced the righteousness, so that you might know and enjoy that.

That's what we have to be prepared to say. We have at the same time got to be prepared to say this, that we are not free to tamper with the Bible. If you simply choose the parts of the Bible you like and reject the parts that you don't like, then you don't believe the Bible. You believe yourself. That's what you believe. You don't believe the Bible. Why would I ever come here and do verses 26 and 27 unless I absolutely believed that the Bible is God's Word, that it is unerring, and it speaks truth, even on a Sunday morning like this in 2020, whatever it is? We're not at liberty to rewrite the Bible, to accommodate godless perspectives on abortion, on euthanasia, on same-sex marriage, on transgenderism, and more.

We're not. So here's the challenge. How do you do this? How do you honor God, obey his Word, and treat your neighbors and your friends and your family members who have decided to go on this path? Some people have decided the way to handle it is by admonition, so you just simply stand up and keep telling them, This is terrible, this is terrible, this is terrible. Some people have decided, Well, they don't say anything at all. Just let it go.

Who cares? It's a big world, and people do different things. Neither is a possibility for a Bible-believing Christian. What happens to homosexual people, in my experience, is that they are either reviled or they are affirmed. The Christian has to say, We will not treat you in either of those ways. We cannot revile you, but we cannot affirm you.

And the reason that we can't revile you is the same reason why we can't affirm you—because of the Bible, because of God's love, because of his grace, because of his goodness. This is instruction for mankind, David said back in 2 Samuel 7, which I'm sure you all remember. In other words, this is not just a little thing for tucking into a corner up a side street in Bainbridge.

No. It's far bigger than that. This is a struggle. The struggle's actually about the authority of the Bible, about whether God actually said what he said and whether he meant what he said when he said it, and whether his promises are trustworthy and whether his warnings ought to be taken. That's what it's about. What symptomatically it's expressed in this way. It's not an argument now about science. It's not an argument about the resurrection. It's an argument about gender.

It's an argument about sexuality. This is where the battle is being fought. Therefore, it's a two-handed battle. On the one hand, the proclamation of the good news of the gospel, everyone, Jesus has come.

Jesus will make you absolutely brand-new. The proclamation of the gospel with the right hand, and the refuting of false bad ideas, on the other hand, in the awareness that Jesus said, you know, if the world hates you, don't worry, it hated me first. We are to treat with honor those who view us with hatred. This is the challenge on where we go back out into the community—to our families, to our homes—to be able to say to people, you know, if you come to our church—just because this is the only place we've got right now is a church—if you come here, you will find there's some really peculiar people here.

There's people here. They were completely banned from the kingdom. They were all banned from the kingdom. They couldn't get in the kingdom, because the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom. Don't be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy—interesting!

Nor drunks, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. We're busted. I mean, even if you want to just—you say you don't want to go under one of the bad headings. Oh, just come with me under greedy then.

For now, that'll be enough. What's the answer? In the next verse. Such were some of you. But you cleaned yourselves up. No. But you became religious. No. But you decided to stop.

No. But you were washed. Washed in what? Washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was given up on our behalf so that we might enjoy all the beauty and goodness that is found in him. You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. So in other words, the hope for the greedy, the immoral, the whole rotten law of us is the same hope.

The answer is the same answer. Only at the cross of Jesus Christ. That's why Paul begins with that in verse 16, before he starts on the wrath of God in verse 18.

And I want you to know that I'm not ashamed either. I don't find it easy to address the wrath of God. But I'm glad to address it knowing that it is preceded by and followed by the amazing use of the grace of God.

It's fantastic. Are you going to go home and worship your own little God again, whatever it is? Or perhaps today, in prospect of the coming of Jesus, you just bow down and say, I'm given up on these gods, none of them have worked for me, not a single one of them. There's no answer to death in whatever God you create.

No. There's no answer, only in Jesus. You're listening to Truth for Life, that is Alistair Begg with a warning and an assurance that God will do what he has said he will do.

Alistair returns in just a moment to close today's program. We hope that the teaching you hear on Truth for Life encourages you to reflect on God's word and to apply it to your life. This study in the book of Romans is challenging all of us as Christians to be light in the darkness, to share the gospel of salvation with everyone.

I hope you've been inspired today to do just that. The book we want to recommend to you today issues the same challenge. It's titled Death in the City. And it's a book that answers the question, how should we navigate a post-Christian world where our friends and colleagues increasingly dismiss God and chase after empty idols? It's the same question the author of Death in the City asked himself back in the 1960s.

He was greatly grieved by the rejection of God that he was seeing all around him. And although he wrote this book decades ago, I think you'll find the book is even more relevant for us today. As you read Death in the City, you'll learn how to compassionately reach out to those who are lost, who are dying outside of Christ.

You'll learn how to share the message of God's judgment, a message that is uncomfortable and unpopular, but so vital for understanding the good news of the gospel. There are just a couple more days available for you to request the book Death in the City. It's yours when you give a donation today, and you should know that your financial support of Truth for Life goes directly to the distribution of this daily program and toward making all of Alistair's online teaching entirely free to access and share. You can give a one-time gift at slash donate, or you can arrange to set up an automatic monthly donation when you visit slash truthpartner. By the way, if you'd like to purchase extra copies of the book Death in the City to share with others, you'll find them and other quality books in our online store where they're available for purchase at our cost while supplies last.

Visit slash store. Now here's Alistair with a prayer. Lord, please help us with this stuff, both in understanding it, believing it, taking it to heart, sharing it, living in the light of it. But thank you that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. All of our selfish, idolatrous preoccupations, we lay them down. All our passion, all our pride, all the ugly stuff that comes along with it. O God, accomplish your purpose in us and through us we pray, for Christ's sake. Amen. Bob Lapine, thanks for listening today. Tomorrow we'll find out how it's possible to become prisoners of our own freedom. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-27 07:26:37 / 2024-02-27 07:35:07 / 9

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