“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” – Colossians 2:8
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It’s wonderful for staying in touch with distant friends and family. It’s great for connecting with colleagues and keeping up with what’s going on in our culture.
What greatly concerns me is how blatant lies spread like wildfire through every facet of our technological lives without a second thought. As my dad has said, “Social media gives everyone a podium to shout from.” And people are shouting… loudly… but not all of them have honest things to say. Not all of their words are edifying. Many mean to deceive you and weaken you.
I guess I’m taking this opportunity to shout back from my humble podium. I am an educator at heart and by profession; it pains me to see people being led astray by preachers, teachers, and elders who ought to know better. Yet, this is what I see on social media each and every day.
This morning, I made the mistake of getting on Facebook before work. I found the following sermon shared on my news feed multiple times titled “What Every Christian Should Hear.” I was greatly disturbed by it. Despite trying to put it out of my mind, it kept baffling me throughout the day.
Notice the 394,430 people who “like” this message and the 440,518 individuals who’ve shared it with others.
There are 5 blaring mistruths in this message that I am going to address. Some of these points may make you feel uncomfortable, but that’s okay. The truth tends to be offensive to sinners (that’s all of us, fyi) at first. As always don’t trust everything you read online. So please, open your Bible and see what it has to say for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it.
1.) Define “A few.”
This pastor begins his sermon by saying that “a few passages in the Bible” claim that homosexuality is a sin. It’s obvious that in using the word “few” he is trying to convey that homosexuality is not that big of an issue. In reality there are upwards of ten verses scattered through the Old Testament and New Testament which specifically discuss homosexuality. That number does not include all of the other verses which reference sexual impurity, in which homosexuality is implied.
The go-to verses of many pseudo-theologians trying to condemn homosexuality come from Leviticus.
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” – Leviticus 18:22
“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” – Leviticus 20:13
Unfortunately, what many people who quote Leviticus fail to recognize is that Leviticus contains Old Law and the consequences for breaking the laws. Leviticus instructed people on how to prepare their food, which sacrifices to make for committing certain crimes, how to treat various ailments and illnesses, etc. Leviticus served as a guidebook for God’s people prior to Christ’s sacrifice. Christ’s death on the cross was the fulfillment of the law, a one- time sacrifice to atone for the sins of believers once and for all. You see, sin prevented God’s chosen from coming before him in worship. A blood sacrifice had to be made to atone for wrong doings. In crucifixion, Christ became the atoning sacrifice and the Old Law “passed away.” Therefore, these rules and consequences no longer directly apply to us.
If the argument for homosexuality being a sin ONLY came from the Old Testament, defenders of this lifestyle might have a leg to stand on, but as you can see, this form of sexual relationship is also discussed at length in the New Testament. I’ve cited some verses below and encourage you to check them out.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28, 1 Timothy 1:10, Jude 1:7, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, 2 Peter 2:6
2.) “The Bible doesn’t say anything about the consequences of a homosexual lifestyle.”
The Bible ABSOLUTELY does mention the consequences of a homosexual lifestyle. I’m not sure how the pastor could even make a statement to the contrary. This person has obviously not read the Bible, or is deliberately twisting its message to fit his needs.
Since the pastor used the Old Law consequence for divorce (stoning) in his sermon, let’s find the Old Law consequence(s) for sexual immorality.
Leviticus chapter 18 lays out restrictions for sexual activities with family members, animals, and individuals of the same sex. Chapter 18 concludes with a warning for individuals who commit these sins.
“Whoever commits any of these detestable sins will be cut off from the community of Israel.” – Leviticus 18:29
If that isn’t a consequence, I don’t know what is. But if you’re still not convinced, look in chapter 20, which discusses punishments for disobedience.
“If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.” – Leviticus 20:12
Now, as I said in the first point… The old law has passed away. In no way am I suggesting that we stone people who have engaged in homosexual activity. So, let’s move on to the New Testament to see what it has to say.
“…And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.” – Jude 1:7
“You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. . .” – Ephesians 5:5
3.) “We overlook the consequences because…”
What a conundrum this next statement is: “We choose to overlook the consequences of divorce because time has proven that they are inhumane and cruel.”
First of all, God is not bound by time. The idea that God’s word loses effectiveness and reason with age is one of satanic deception. Secondly, God’s law is perfect and God is a righteous judge. Therefore, his consequences are sound and good. If this man truly believes, however, that the consequences of the old laws still apply after Christ’s sacrifice, he has no place to call himself a Christian. How can a person follow Christ when he doesn’t believe that Christ’s death and resurrection demolished the burden of the old law and covered us in God’s grace? This statement is so ridiculous it almost brings me to tears that people are buying into it.
After Christ’s death, the earthly consequences of the law were no longer enforced by followers of Christ. Even during Christ’s life, we see that Jesus did not require that some individuals be punished for their crimes (Ex. John 8:4-11). This change came about because Christ’s followers were spreading the message of “Repent for the forgiveness of your sins” around the land. They earnestly desired for all to believe in Christ and obey His teachings because they loved their neighbors. . . They didn’t want their neighbors to be put to death, which brings me to my next point.
4.) Is “Love Thy Neighbor” really it?
By the time you are done reading this, you will be (if nothing else) more educated on the current status of the Old Law.
After Christ’s death, we were no longer under the burdens and penalties of the old laws. Followers of Christ were given a new commandment, one of love. That does not mean that obedience flew out the window at that point. On the contrary, those who love Jesus strive to be more like him and serve Him in humble submission.
“But now, God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” -Romans 3:21-22
“Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” – Romans 6:15-18
“Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. –Hebrews 10:26-28
In this pastor’s sermon, he stated, “The Bible states to love thy neighbor. That’s it. There are no other rules or restrictions to that passage.”
This is another lie, and a perfect example for why the Bible must be studied in context.
In Mark 12:28-31, a teacher of religious law presents Jesus with a question.
“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”
So, loving God is in that passage along with loving your neighbor.
How do we love God, then?
“Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5: 3
And, in the words of Jesus himself (who is God by the way), “If you love me, obey my commandments.” – John 14:15
As mentioned above, in the book of Romans, Paul discusses the fact that God’s grace has set us free from the old law. And how we should conduct ourselves in this new found freedom?
We should put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within us, having nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires (Colossians 3:5).
I hope by now it is quite obvious that you cannot love God without loving your neighbor, but you also cannot love God without obeying Him in the other areas of your life as well. As we established earlier, homosexuality is considered to be a sin in the New Testament, and therefore, one should not take part in such a lifestyle.
5.) So… supporting equality = love?
The fifth, and possibly the most detrimental, lie this pastor wants you to believe is that you can show love by supporting equality.
Supporting equality is a principal that was taught in the New Testament with regards to Jews and Gentiles (Galatians 3:28). I’m not saying that one group of people is “good” while another group is “bad.” We are all sinners. We have all fallen short of the glory of God.
But this pastor isn’t really asking you to support equality… He’s asking that you stand by, with a smile on your face, as you watch people (Who you really do love) march down a path of destruction. But Christians, despite being flawed, should not turn a blind eye to sin. Christians should not encourage, support, or even tolerate deliberately sinful lifestyles. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
“Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.” – Ephesians 5:6
The pastor makes a comment that those who disapprove of homosexuality are trying to ruin the lives of people they don’t even know. To be completely honest, I am much more concerned about my neighbor’s eternal salvation than I am his temporary, earthly happiness. So, in my opinion, it’s not fair to accuse Bible believing Christians of “spearheading a campaign” to cause homosexuals pain and ruination. That is not the point at all. Bible believing Christians do not wish to inflict pain, but recognize the ultimate goal (salvation for sinners) and see the big picture (eternal life in heaven).
James 5:20 encourages believers to lovingly turn their brothers from sinful lifestyles so that person’s sins may be forgiven. In order to turn a brother from his error, you must first acknowledge its presence. Ignoring or tolerating the error does the individual no good.
My goal in writing all of this is not to be offensive. If you are offended, it is by the word of God. As I prefaced, the Bible tends to be offensive to us because we have no hope of achieving perfection ourselves. We are so damaged and flawed by our sin and corrupted by the world that it is tough to face the truth. I spent a hard four years of my life wrestling with the truth and coming to terms with the fact that the person in the mirror is hopeless without a gracious and loving Savior. During that time, my Christian friend (who is now my husband), often read scripture to me which I found very hurtful. I would retaliate by accusing him of being judgmental and hateful. Over time, my heart softened and I realized that I could not deny the word of God. I realized that everything my friend had said and done was out of love.
Unfortunately, there are those who claim to be Christians who do not love their neighbors. They use scripture to puff themselves up and demean others, rather than for teaching, correcting, and edifying others. These people are false teachers; they have not obeyed the instructions in the New Testament (John 15:12, 1 John 3:23). If you have been harmed by one of these individuals, I am truly sorry.
The sermon excerpt that we have been dissecting and analyzing has been titled “What every Christian should hear.” I propose a revision. The information below is truly crucial and completely scriptural. It is not coming from my heart or my feelings… It’s coming from the word of God. THIS is REALLY what every Christian (non-Christians, too) should hear.
• Everyone is a sinner
o For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23
o We are all infected and impure with sin. . . Isaiah 64:6
• Sin leads to death
o When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5: 12
o . . . You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Romans 6:16
• Christ was the perfect sacrifice to atone for sins
o God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. Hebrews 2:10
o . . . So also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. . . Hebrews 9:28
o Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. . . 1 Peter 3:18
• Forgiveness for sins is available and eternal life is accessible
o When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision – the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then, God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. Colossians 2:11-13
• Christians are warned against LIVING in sin
o We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning. . . 1 John 5:21
o So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. . . Colossians 3:5
o Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Romans 6: 13
o God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8
• There is freedom in Christ Jesus
o You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. . . Colossians 2:20
o So there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2
**It is my prayer that you will study your Bible to determine for yourself what is true and right. The Bible is the final authority on how we should conduct ourselves in this corrupt and sinful world. If your preachers are delivering any other message, they are not to be trusted.**