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Homosexuality and Sexual Sins

Church attitude and Individual attitude

                       HOMOSEXUALITY AND SEXUAL SINS


By Shawn Ragan


     Turn on the television. Open a book. Read a newspaper. You
will see a topic that wasn't openly discussed thirty years ago.
That topic is homosexuality, and with the "coming out" of
celebrities (and even some noted Christians), the topic has taken
our society by storm - and it has caught most of us unprepared.
     Responses to the major attention given homosexuality vary
within the church. Some have chosen to allow unrepentant
practicing homosexuals to preach from the pulpit (1), others have
wanted to erect anti-homosexual "hate" monuments (2) in public
parks. In between the extremes, there is often the sentiment that
homosexuality shouldn't be talked about, nor are homosexuals
wanted in the church.
     Think about it for a moment. If a homosexual were to come as
a visitor to your church, what would be your response? Would they
be welcomed? Would they be run off? Would they dare come back?
     We need, as a church, to look at homosexuality and our
response to it from a Christian perspective. How should we
respond to homosexuals? How should we react to the media and
culture that is going beyond the idea of accepting homosexuality
as a lifestyle and in many places actually promoting it and
encouraging others to do it?

     [We must be clear in what the Bible teaches, and teaches so
plainly: practicing homosexuality is a sin.]

     First, we need to understand what the Bible plainly teaches
about homosexuality. In the book of Leviticus, in the Old
Testament, we find the following: "If there is a man who lies
with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have
committed a detestable act..." (Leviticus 20:13a (3).
     If we look to the New Testament, we find additional
teachings that help us to understand the position of the early
church and the apostles. In the Apostle Paul's letter to a young
church leader named Timothy, he wrote:
"....realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous
person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the
ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who
kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and
homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever
else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious
gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted" (1
Timothy 1:9-11).

     Both the Old and New Testament agree. Practicing
homosexuality is sin. The Apostle Paul indicates so plainly that
it is "contrary to sound teaching." It is not in accordance with
the "glorious gospel." We must be clear in what the Bible
teaches, and teaches so plainly: practicing homosexuality is a
sin.

     But homosexuality is not the only sin of a sexual nature.
Adultery is also a sin - and one that is listed in the Decalogue.
Premarital sex or fornication is also listed as sinful. These
things lead us away from God. We are called to flee from sexual
immorality (4).

     In our culture, we hear so often how homosexuality is an
"alternate lifestyle." Many will argue that homosexuals are born
that way at birth, and since God created them that way, we should
accept it. I am not a scientist, nor do I understand all of the
scientific arguments regarding these ideas, but I don't have to.
I believe that God created all of us as sexual beings. He put
into us the desire to "be fruitful and multiply." (5) Most who
have a healthy perspective on sexuality also have a healthy sex
drive. Does that mean that we can have sex whenever or with
whomever we want? Can a heterosexual man, because he is a "sexual
being," have sex with any woman he would like? Can he rightly
say, "God made me sexual, so it is OK to have sex before
marriage, or with a woman outside of marriage"? Is it righteous
for a single person to say: "God gave me these desires, so I must
act upon them"?

[We are called to live a chaste life outside of a God-ordained
marriage.]

     We, in the church, recognize that sex is a wonderful gift
God gave to men and women. But the use of that gift is not meant
to be indiscriminate. There is a proper context and a proper
place for it - and that is in the marriage bed, between a husband
and a wife.

     Whether or not someone is born homosexual is beside the
point. We are called, homosexual or heterosexual, to live a
chaste life outside of a God-ordained marriage. Practicing
homosexuality is sinful, just as practicing adultery or
fornication is sinful. God has called us to a higher level.

     What we can forget, though, in the church is that sin is
sin. Whether the sin is homosexuality or pride, sin leads us away
from God, not towards Him. When the Apostle Paul wrote to
Timothy, he not only spoke of homosexuality but also of "liars
and perjurers." Have you ever lied? Do you ever misrepresent
yourself or someone else?
     In his letter to the churches of Galatia, the Apostle Paul
writes:

     Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:
     immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery,
     enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes,
     dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and
     things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have
     forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not
     inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).

     Here we find the Apostle echoing similar sentiments as he
did in his pastoral letter to Timothy. Many in the church look at
homosexuality as such an "abomination" that we do not even want
homosexuals attending services. What about those who cause
dissensions, or factions, or are involved in envying or outbursts
of anger? Would we have a church left if we made everyone who
struggled with sin leave?
     We must remember that we are called to give grace and love
to people - all people including homosexuals. This does not in
any way condone the sin, but it does allow the mercy and grace of
Jesus Christ to flow to homosexuals through us, so they can
experience the true love of God.

     Homosexuals, like those who have outbursts of anger, should
be encouraged to find a meaningful relationship with God through
Jesus Christ and His Church. After the decision is made to follow
Christ, the homosexual, or the angry man, just like all of us,
should work and try to be like Jesus, crucifying the desires of
the flesh (Galatians 5:24) and abstaining from sin.

     Father Seraphim Holland, an Orthodox priest in Texas,
writes:

If he (a homosexual) wars against this passion, as much as he
would against blasphemy or anger, or any other inclination that,
if acted upon, would be a sin, then he will be a great God
pleaser. If he caters to this passion, and satisfies it in
blasphemous carnal relations, then he is far from God (6).

     This is excellent advice for all of us, homosexual or
heterosexual, judgmental or loving, as we seek to live a life
following Jesus our Lord and Savior.

     Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:
     immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery,
     enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes,
     dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and
     things like these, of which 1 forewarn you, just as 1 have
     forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not
     inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).

                            ..................

Shawn Ragan serves as the Pastor of the Meridian Church of God
Seventh Day in Idaho and teaches Elementary Greek for Maranatha
College. He and his wife, Tori, live in Meridian, ID

1. There are many examples of this,, several denominations, one
only needs to read the paper and see what is happening in var-
ious denominations.
2. Boise, Idaho went through this several years ago. A Kansas
'minister' wanted to erect a monument stating that a young man
murdered because of his homosexuality had "entered hell."
3. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken
from the American Standard Bible (NASB).
4. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 shows us the specific harm sexual
immorality does to our body, and gives us the straightforward
encouragement to "flee (sexual) immorality."
5. Genesis 9:1, among many other references.
6. Website for the Russian Orthodox Church of St.Nicholas,
www.orthodox.net/articles/homosexuality.html

Taken from ACTS Magazine - March/April 2007 - published by the
General Council of the Churches of God, 7th Day, Meridian, ID,
USA


 
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