The Bible and Sexual Identity

What Does The Bible Really Say About Homosexuality?

Dan Franklin
Oct 31, 2021    39m
There's a lot of debate in today's society around, what does the Bible really say about homosexuality? Join us in today's message as we dive into understanding the answer to that question, and learn how we should respond to homosexuality. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] So Andy just mentioned it a few minutes ago, but we're in the midst right now of a series that we're calling Strongholds. And the whole idea behind a stronghold, it's often used as a military term to describe a base or a fortress or something that is so well guarded, so well protected, and so secure that the idea of trying to remove it or the idea of trying to defeat it just seems silly, just seems unthinkable. You wouldn't even try because it's so securely embedded. And Paul uses the word strongholds in 2 Corinthians 10 to describe ideas, ideas and beliefs that become so embedded in our culture or so embedded in our own minds and in our own hearts that the idea of removing that thought or defeating that thought or changing that thought, that belief, that idea just seems unthinkable. And so each week we're talking about a different cultural belief that has become a stronghold in our culture and then asking the question, what does the Bible have to say about this? And the one that we're talking about today is the cultural belief that tells us my sexual desires are who I am now. Before going any further, I just want to say something briefly because we at different times have said, you know, everybody is more than welcome to be in the service here, no matter how young, no matter how old. And what we're going to talk about today, I'm not going to be graphic. We're not going to get very detailed. But if you do, if you're like, hey, they said, anyone's welcome here, I want to have my kids in here with me. If you have young kids with you, I just wanted to give a warning to say, if you feel like, all right, I'm not sure we're quite ready for the follow-up conversations that might come from this because of the age of my child, then it's totally fine for you to say, we're going to step out of this one. I'll watch later online. I'll just say just because I know what I'm going to say and all of this, you know, if your kid is in the 9, 10, or up range, in my opinion, it actually would be really good for them to be in here and could make for fruitful follow up. So again, it's not going to be graphic, it's not going to be detailed. But I just wanted to give fair warning so that if you're a parent, and you're saying, I'm not sure we're quite there yet, I won't say anything if you decide we're just going to slip out real quick and we're going to save this for a different time.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:37] But when we talk about this as a stronghold in our culture, it could have lots of different implications of how this is played out. But the most prominent way that we see this idea played out that this embedded cultural belief that my sexual desires are who I am, are core to my identity is when it comes to questions that surround homosexuality. And the reason for that is that we've sort of gotten to a point where we said this isn't just something that I do. This isn't just one thing about me, but this is who I am. We see this all over the place in our culture, everything from if you have somebody wearing the popular T-shirt that says some people are gay, get over it or if you have Lady Gaga singing Born This Way, which reinforces this idea or just the many pride parades and rainbow flags, we have this constant. We're constantly being told this is not just one quality of certain people. This is who they are. This is part of the core identity. And the fact is that this cultural belief, in case you're looking up here and saying, all right, well, this is going to apply to some people. This is something that's important for all of us to talk about. It's important for all of us because in a room with this many people, I don't know if you're like, does he know something about me? I don't. But in a room with this many people, it seems unlikely to me that there's not at least some of you in here that are saying, yeah, I have same-sex attractions or that you would identify as gay. And so this is an important message if that's where you're at.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:04] It's also an important message because almost all of us, if not all of us at this point, are interacting with family members, extended family, friends. Especially if you're younger, you no doubt have friends. And you're trying to figure out, how do I interact on this? Some of you who are parents, you're trying to figure out, how do we talk to our kids about this and give them a context for this? And for all of us as believers, we should be asking the question, how do we, as a church, engage with people who are in different places? So this is an important message for us all to talk about. And I think almost all of us, when we talk about this, we feel this difficult push and pull where we feel kind of caught between because on the one hand, we look at it and we say, well, what we want, there's a good Christ given desire that He's put in our hearts that we say we want to include everyone. We don't want anybody to feel rejected. We don't want anybody to feel left out. And so we feel this strong pull to say we want to make sure everyone is included. And at the same time, if we're believers, we feel the strong pull to say we want to say what God says and we want to take what God says seriously. And we don't want to say we know better than what He does. So we feel this push and pull of saying we really, we have this good desire to say we want everybody included. And on the other hand, we have this very good desire to say, we don't want to contradict what God has said. So we feel often like we're caught in between all of this, and especially if we take seriously the cultural belief that's up on the screen that says my sexual desires define who I am.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:29] Here's what we're going to see as we walk through the passage that you've already heard read. We're going to see this cultural assumption, this stronghold challenged by what we see in this passage. And instead of embracing the cultural belief that my sexual desires are who I am, what we're going to see is that our identity in Christ defines how we respond to our sexual desires and how we respond to all of our desires, whatever they may be. Now, in a minute, we'll get into the passage. But I just want to say something briefly before we do. For some of you right now, you're sort of like, wish I hadn't come this morning. This happens. This happens. There are certain topics that you're like, if I'd known this, I wouldn't have come because of something that for any number of things. You're just saying, I'm not going to be happy with where this goes. So I just have three things that I want to say if you're right now saying, I kind of wish I wasn't here. And the first is this. You may kind of wish you weren't here. I'm really glad that you're here. And even if I wasn't glad that you're here, the more important reality is the God of the universe is glad that you're here. You didn't know what you were getting into. God knows everything. And so here you are. The God of all creation and the God who loves you deeply has you here this morning. So that's number one. Number two is this. You'll probably be tempted at some point during this just to check out, just to say, I'm not listening anymore. And my request to you is please make the choice to engage. Make the choice to engage and don't always assume that you know exactly where this is headed and where the Scripture is headed. One of the realities for all of us as Christians is we are all going to encounter passages that tell us things that are hard for us to hear. So this may be one of those that you're like, this is hard for me to hear. I just want to invite you and I want to ask you, choose to engage.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:29] And number three is this. If at any point during this time you kind of feel like, all right, I disagree or I'm offended or I'm hurt by something that Dan said up there, I'm going to be around here afterward. I'd love to talk with you, either here or if you feel kind of self-conscious about that, if you want to email me and follow up. Would more than welcome that. You're not going to be shamed or cast out because you have questions or you have pushback. So with that, let's get into the passage that we're going to go through. 1 Corinthians 6 verses 9, 10, and 11. And it's going to break down real simply. Verses 9 and 10, Paul is going to give us a problem that needs to be solved. And in verse 11, Paul is going to bless us with a God-given solution to that problem. So we start in verse 9 and 10 with the problem. And we've already heard it, but I'll read it through again. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanders nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. So what we've got here in these two verses is we have a list of 10 sins. And by the way, in case you're looking at it, and you're like, I'm doing the math, I see nine, I'll explain in a minute why there's actually 10 in the Greek. There's 10 sins listed. And it's couched with before and after Paul talks about those who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The stakes are big with what we're talking about right now. This is not the Apostle Paul saying, well, you won't quite get the most out of life if you do these things. He's talking about life and death. He's talking about Heaven and hell. He's talking about salvation and condemnation. The stakes are big with what he's talking about.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:12] And he lists these 10 sinful activities. Now here's the deal. If you're looking at this and you're like, well, this passage is not a passage about homosexuality. It's about a whole bunch of things. You're one hundred percent right. This is not just a targeted passage talking about homosexuality. But the reason why we're going to give that question some extra focus is because if we looked at all the different sins that are listed here, for the most part, culturally, we agree that they're bad. As a culture, we see greed up there and we're like, yep, greed, that's not okay. We see kind of swindlers and thieves, and we're like, yeah, it's not okay to do that stuff. We look at slanders. I don't know if we, well, yeah, we would definitely agree that slander is bad when somebody does it against us. I don't know if we agree with it on the other times. But again, we look at most of this stuff, even adultery we're still kind of onboard saying, yeah, that's not okay. So we look at most of these, and for the most part, our instinct is to say, yes, those are bad things. But when we look in the middle and we see a question about homosexuality, we say, it feels jarring to us. We just say, whoa, whoa, what's being said here in 1 Corinthians is way out of step with our cultural norm. And so the reason that we're going to give some focus to that is to say, how does this question that sort of is the one that's different than the one that our culture responds to differently, how do we understand this?

Dan Franklin: [00:10:31] And the reason this poses such a problem for us is that when we read this passage, our instinct seems to be this. We look at this and we say, okay, well, I guess what's being said here is that some people, just because of who they are, just because of their identity, they're going to be left on the outside. And that's very sad and jarring to us. We say, just because of who somebody is, they're going to be on the left on the outside of God's Kingdom and on the outside of God's love. And so I think it's natural that we see that and we say that doesn't seem right, that doesn't seem like that's where we should be. So is there some way to understand this differently where our conclusion wouldn't be that some people, just because of who they are in the same way that if Paul is listing a bunch of sins and suddenly he says, and redheads or and people under 5'4", we'd be like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Is he really saying that just because of who certain people are, they're going to be left out of God's love? And the first way that, especially in our culture, some people have tried to solve this problem is by saying maybe Paul and other biblical authors are not really saying that homosexuality is wrong. Maybe we've misunderstood these passages and that that's the solution, that they're not actually saying that. And the way that we sort of get at it, at least in this passage and I'll bring some others to bear, is to focus in on that part at the end of verse 9, where it talks about men who have sex with men. Now I said in this passage that there's nine, or I'm sorry, there's 10 Greek words that are part of the list. The reason if you're looking up and counting, you're saying, I only see nine things listed, it's because there's two different Greek words that are used and the combination of those are what the NIV here translates to men who have sex with men. I'm not going to try to get too nerdy on you.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:17] But the two words, the two Greek words are malachi and then arsenokoitai. Now, malachi used all over the place in Greek literature during this time. Sometimes it was used to describe men who were effeminate. Now, sometimes when we use that word, we're just sort of like the way he looks or certain things about the way that he talks. But what it's talking about here is not just something like that, but a man who's sort of choosing to present himself as a woman and by feminine characteristics. And it's used frequently in Greek culture and Greek literature to talk about a man who's living as a homosexual. Now arsenokoitai is a word that a lot of people think that Paul actually coined here. It's a compound word and they think, all right, maybe Paul just sort of put these two words together because we don't find it really outside in other Greek literature there. And it's a combination word that much more overtly points towards the act of sexual intercourse between two men. So people think, all right, maybe Paul, used these words back to back just to describe overall the activity of homosexuality. Kevin DeYoung wrote a book called What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality? And he speaks of this passage, and he says this. Both terms, speaking of these two words, both terms refer to men who have sex with other men, the passive and the active partners. Paul is saying what we find hard to hear, but what the rest of the Bible supports and most of church history assumed, homosexual activity is not a blessing to be celebrated and solemnized but a sin to be repented of, forsaken, and forgiven. And part of what Kevin DeYoung says in there is he says, all right, this is not inconsistent with the rest of Scripture.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:57] We're in Southern California in 2021, we read this passage and we're like, whoa, it's shocking. But if you were just reading the Bible beginning to end and got to this passage, it would not be shocking. It would be consistent with everything that came before and after. It would be the consistent teaching of Scripture. Another passage where Paul talks about this is in Romans 1, and I'll read you verses 26 and 27. And sort of the context here is Paul is talking about what goes on in humanity as we go down the downward spiral of godlessness and of going on our own and going apart from God. And he says in Romans 1 verses 26 and 27, because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. And so here, in contrast to the 1 Corinthians passage, we say, all right, this is broadened out. This is talking about women with women and men with men. And the way that Paul describes it is he talks about it in terms of exchanging the natural for the unnatural. And what Paul is not saying is sort of like evolution got us to this point. And so for procreation, we've got to keep doing this. He's talking about a God-given path, a God-given function, and a function that would abandon what God has given us. And that's consistent. If you go back and read all of Romans 1 later, you see Paul keeps talking about these exchanges. He says, we exchange the truth for a lie. We exchange the worship of God for the worship of the creation. And then he says, we exchange our natural sexual impulses or our natural sexual activity with an unnatural sexual activity.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:48] And here's the thing. We can read that and we can say, all right, well, so what he seems to be saying about homosexuality is this is a misuse or this is a perversion of the gift that God has given us of sexuality. And if you were to look back at this passage, if you were to look back at verses 9 and 10, what you would see is everything listed here fits that category. All of the things spoken about here are perversions or misuses of good gifts that God has given us. He starts just with the general talk of sexual immorality, which would refer to sex outside of marriage. So, yeah, that's a perversion of God's good gift of sexuality because sex is meant to be between a man and woman in the committed marriage relationship. He talks about idolatry, which is obviously a perversion of the worship of the true God and instead is putting our affection and worship to things that we make. And he talks about adultery. That's a perversion of what marriage is because it's looking for sexual fulfillment outside of marriage. He talks about the idea of being a thief or later on being a swindler, which you can think of. There's a reason why sometimes those heist movies appeal to us because we're like, oh, that creativity and that courage and that cunning. We look at that. Those can be admirable qualities, but they're perverted when they're used in these ways. He talks about slanders, which is a misuse of the good gift of us being able to talk and talks about the whole idea of being greedy, which is a misuse of the good possessions God has given us. And he talks about being a drunkard, which is a misuse of the good gift of alcohol for the point of celebration and instead being misused to dull our pain or to try to get us drunk.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:26] Sin, in general, is a misuse of God's good gifts for us, and homosexuality fits into this. And so here's where all this leads. If we're looking at this and we're saying, I don't like the idea that this seems to be saying that certain people are going to be left out just because of who they are, and we're looking for a solution to that, we cannot end up concluding, all right, the solution is that what it appears to be saying in the Bible isn't what it's actually saying. By the way, and Kevin DeYoung kind of alluded to this, the whole question of homosexuality and whether it's all right or not all right in the pages of the Bible was not controversial until very, very recently. There are biblical issues that have been debated over the centuries, and good Christians have been on both sides of them. This has not been something that there's been basically any debate over until our culture changed our attitude. And then people started scouring the Bible, desperately trying to find a way to make it say something different. And here's where this is headed. I want to say this very clearly. If somebody says to you, there's nothing in the Bible, there's nothing wrong with living a homosexual lifestyle, that person is not your friend. That person is not telling you the truth. And that person didn't get there through an honest study of the pages of the Bible. There's nobody that would come to that conclusion just by studying the passage. They'd only come to those conclusions by desperately wanting to believe that and trying to find a way to see it where it's not.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:01] So we can't look and say, well, maybe we can eliminate this just because the Bible doesn't say anything bad about homosexuality so we've got to find a different way that this is resolved. And the cool thing that Paul does is he resolves this in a way that we might not expect. Instead of picking on the part and saying, well, there's nothing wrong with homosexuality, he's going to pick on the part and say, our mistake is when we assume that this is who we are. The mistake that we make is when we equate something like this with our identity. And so Paul blesses us with a solution that we might not have seen coming starting in verse 11. He starts in verse 11 by saying, and that is what some of you, oh, you see that? That is what some of you were. You know what that implies? All of these things were things that you could be at one time and then you wouldn't be later on. And if that's true, that means they are not part of your core identity. You guys ever run into somebody that you haven't seen in a long time, and maybe they only knew you when you were really young, like a kid or a teenager and they're like, oh, you were always such a class clown. You were always such a goofball. You still that way now? And you're like, no, that was like 30 years ago. They're like, oh, well, you were always really into the Legos and you were really into dinosaurs. You still into that? And you're like, no, I'm older now. There's other things that I'm into. It's a weird thing. But in most cases, that wouldn't surprise us at all that we'd say, oh yeah, for a period of time, this sort of marked you, and now it doesn't mark you anymore. Paul is saying something really powerful even about these activities, these sinful activities. He's saying there is a while where that was who you were, that was what you are marked by. But he's saying that something happened and that's no longer who you are. And he describes how that transition happened. He says, but you were washed. You were sanctified.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:04] You were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I loved in the last song that we sang and Andy leading us into it by talking about the idea when we are talking about being radically changed from who we were into who we now are, Jesus is the only one with the power to do that. But you were washed, which means that through the sacrifice of Jesus, through His shed blood on the cross, every sin you committed is washed away and you are clean. And you might even be sitting here today being like, I don't feel clean. You might not feel clean. But if you have placed your faith in Jesus, you are clean. You were washed. You were washed. You were sanctified, which basically means God set you apart as a holy person, even though you're like, I don't feel like a holy person. God set you apart as a holy person, brought you into the family, made you one of His own. You were washed. You were sanctified. You were justified, which means that you have righteous standing before God. God looks at you and He sees someone righteous and you're probably saying, I don't feel righteous. And if you looked at my life, I don't know that you would conclude, I am righteous. Your righteousness is not your righteousness. Your righteousness is Jesus' righteousness. And it came to you as a gift. You were washed. You were sanctified. You were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Holy Spirit who has given to us and now in an ongoing way is changing us bit by bit. One of the lines that struck me when we were earlier singing that song, the song Graves Into Gardens was there's a lyric early on in it that talks about you came and met me and, I'm sorry, I'm getting it all, you came to me and you put me back together.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:07] When we think, especially about some of the stuff listed in verses 9 and 10, we're like, oh my gosh, if somebody's going to move away from that stuff, it's got to be like an undoing and put him back together. It's got to be this dramatic thing that God does. Here's what we need to recognize. If you are a Christian, you met Jesus and He put you back together. You are as lost as any other person. There are not variations of being lost. You are lost or you are brought into the family. All of us were met at a point where we had to be washed, where we had to be sanctified, and where we had to be justified. And thank God that He sent Jesus to do that for us. Paul says, yeah, Paul says this is what some of you were. Now, let's talk about this because, especially if we're talking specifically about questions surrounding sexuality or homosexuality, you might say, well, so is Paul saying before meeting Jesus, I had a certain kind of orientation or I had certain temptations or I had certain desires to have romantic and sexual relationships with people of the same sex? I had those, but then I met Jesus and those all went away. And the answer to that is, well, sometimes, but not usually. Some of you know, I know a lot of people that had heavy, heavy drinking problems before they came to faith in Jesus. Just dulled their pain with alcohol and drank very heavily and brought chaos into their lives. And I have heard a handful of times that somebody's story is I drank heavily, I came to faith in Jesus, never touched alcohol again, never even wanted to. And praise God when that happens. That's amazing. The much more common story is not that. The much more common story is I was dulling my pain through drinking, bringing destruction into my life. I came to faith in Jesus. I fought by the power of the Spirit to walk in victory and sobriety. There were times where I fell, there were times where I had backslid, but I fought the good fight in the power of the Spirit. And some people will say, even today, I kind of want to take a drink. But Jesus is leading me in victory. The anticipation is not, hey, if you identify as gay or if you have these certain attractions, hey, just put your faith in Jesus, that all will go away. I'm going to ask right now for you to raise your hand if you have ever at any point in your life desperately prayed to God, please just take my desire to do this thing away. All right. And some of you are like, you wouldn't raise your hand if I said, do you want a free laptop?

Dan Franklin: [00:25:43] So I know that there's more people that have felt this than are raising their hands. There have been so many times I've said to God my life would be so much, just make me no longer want to do this. Make me no longer want to sit in this way. And it's a totally legitimate prayer to pray. And sometimes God in His mercy does choose to answer that prayer, but that's not the norm. The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 had a thorn in the flesh, we don't know what it was, cried out to Jesus three times, saying take this away. And he probably even said, take this away and I'll serve you better because it's gone. And you know what Jesus said to him? My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Jesus said, my power is going to be put on display in a greater way by the fact that you are utterly, desperately dependent upon me. Remember the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples? He said, give us this day our...? Yeah, what kind of bread? daily bread. You know what that implies? When's the next time you're going to be praying that same prayer? Tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day. God, I need everything that you can give me for today and tomorrow. I'm going to come back to you and I'm going to pray for everything that I need from you for that day. And some of you are like, it's not daily. It's like minute by minute, hour by hour. You're like, oh my gosh, I still need your help, God. This is the way that God works in us profoundly is that He shows his power in us when we are walking with Him. Paul here talks about the idea of the Holy Spirit. We are meant to have a walk with Jesus where we are day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute recognizing our absolute desperation to God. And here's what I want you to hear whether it has to do with something related to sex or whether it has to do something related to any of the other things that we're talking about. The fact that you are still in the battle does not mean that you failed. The fact that you're saying, I still kind of want to do this other stuff, on the one hand, that is a mark of sin and the fall. But on the other hand, the fact that you kind of want to do some sinful stuff is part of the fact that you have the flash in the world and the devil. And that's going to be the case until Jesus gloriously returns and rescues us all. In the meantime, our goal is not to make it not hard. In fact, sometimes I think when we're praying, God, just take the desire for this away, what we're really praying to God is God, make me not need you. That's not where God wants us. His power is shown in our weakness. And so this means we're walking with Him daily, hourly, minute by minute in continual repentance and renewal.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:36] And by the way, when we're talking about homosexuality, if you're here and you're like that, that's, you know, you might not even couch it as that's my struggle because you might be like, it's not a struggle, it's just who I am. It's just who I identify as. If that's where you're at, one of the odd things that you need to know is that that area of sin might not even be your main area of sin. Some of you know who Jackie Hill Perry is. She's a woman that does a lot of speaking and writing. She wrote a book called Gay Gir,l Good God, which I recommend to everyone. It is a beautiful and wonderful book about her story, where she lived very openly in lesbian relationships for years and then radically came to faith in Jesus and surrendered that area to Jesus and looked to live in victory in that area. And she tells a story about one time how the woman who was disciplining her had to sort of turn on the lights because Jackie was going through life thinking that was her only issue. And the woman who was disciplining her one day said, Jackie, homosexuality is not your only issue. You will have to learn how to die to so much more than that. Encouraging words, right? Like thanks. She says, whether it's homosexuality, pride, fear, anger, laziness, etc. There is more than one sin in you that needs to be overcome, not just your sexuality. And part of what Jackie then goes on to talk about is how sometimes we get so focused on the loud sins that we don't recognize that Jesus doesn't just want to transform us in part but in whole. And sometimes it's the quiet sins that others don't see that are dominating our lives. Jesus came not just to rescue us from the loud sins but from the quiet sins that others don't see. The fact that this is an ongoing battle does not mean that you're of any lower status within the church or any lower status with God.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:37] Quick question just for clarity on this. We've got seven elders at the church right now. Do you think any of the elders at our church have ongoing battles against sin? Yes. Do you think any of the elders at our church still experience times where like, I kind of just want to do this, but I'm not going to? Yes. So I remember years ago somebody asking me, you know, Dan, would we ever at the church have a gay pastor? And I was very thrown off by it because I was like, well, this guy knows what we believe, but I realized what he meant was not what I thought he meant. What he meant when he said a gay pastor was not somebody living openly in homosexual relationships. What he was saying was somebody that that is part of their orientation, that's sort of part of their sexual desires, for romantic and sexual relationships with people of the same sex as them. Would we ever have a pastor on staff that had that battle or that had that as part of their lives? For me, the answer was like, well, obviously, yes, that would not be something that eliminates that person. If we have somebody that years ago had a battle with alcohol but now is living openly in victory, are we going to say we're not going to have that guy serving here? No, we're going to say, Praise God. God brings new life. If we have somebody that used to be a liar, just constantly deceiving people, and we're like, well, no, because of that in their past or because that still is a battle, we're not going to have them leading us. Of course, we could. Your battles don't eliminate you from being able to serve Jesus. In fact, the battles that you're facing, if you're walking with Jesus, they are going to equip you to serve people that some of the rest of us could never be able to serve.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:13] You not only have a place in God's Kingdom, you have a special place within this church to be able to shine the light of Jesus to all who will respond. But here's how this works itself out. The way this works itself out is not that we treat homosexuality as some sort of special sin or a different status or sort of like it needs to be repented of in a different way that all other sins need to be repented of. We look at this and say, you know what? if you're somebody that has same-sex desires for romantic and sexual relationships with people of the same sex as you, you're like all the rest of us. You are deeply loved by Jesus and invited to new life in Him. And also, like all the rest of us, you are called to repentance and to take up your cross and follow Him. Your call to repentance is not bigger than everyone's call to repentance, and it's not smaller either. Your call to repentance is the same call to repentance and to follow Jesus for the person who is a part of this church who's living in a really, really difficult marriage but is choosing to stay and be faithful despite doing what all their friends say will make them happy in the moment. Your call to discipleship is the same call to discipleship for the woman that has the unplanned pregnancy and has all her friends telling her you should just take care of this at the abortion clinic but chooses to save that baby's life because that's what Jesus calls her to do. It's the same call to discipleship that brothers and sisters around the world are participating in when they go to prison or lose their jobs or lose their livelihood because they treasure Jesus more than they treasure the sin of abandoning Him.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:53] Sometimes we look at homosexuality and we're just like, well, gosh, I'm asking somebody to give up a whole bunch that I'm not willing to give up. That's a you problem. If you're looking at this and you're saying, why should they have to give up something when I haven't had to give up anything? If you have not given up anything to follow Jesus, you are not a Christian. It's as simple as that. If you are not in the fight of leaving behind sin and looking to be renewed and leaving behind opportunities that would make your life in the short term easier, if you have left nothing behind to follow Jesus, you're not following Jesus. We are all called to radical discipleship where we are allowing Jesus to undo us and to redo us through His grace. Now, here's what we're going to do at this point in the service. We felt like this is an opportunity where we don't want to leave and say, go think about this later. We want to allow some time in a minute for just some quiet prayer in response to this. And the reason is several. First of all, there needs to be repentance within our church, within our country. That repentance is not limited to people who are in the category of my particular sin has to do with homosexuality. It's all of us. You notice that, again, that there were 10 sins listed up there. We need to have time where we repent of our sin. And your sin might be sexual. It might not be sexual. It might have to do with lying. It might have to do with cheating other people. It might have to do with dishonesty or embezzling from the company that you're in. It might have to do with any number of things.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:27] But we want to allow time to say, you know what? Our next step in all of this is repentance. And another way that we need to make sure we take the step of repentance is that there might be some of you here who are saying, you know what? I'm looking at this now and I'm really realizing that in my mind and in my heart and in my actions, I've despised people who are in this category of same-sex attractions or of living out a same-sex kind of centered lifestyle. It's one thing to say that's wrong. It's another thing to despise people and dehumanize people. So there may be some of you that in your heart right now, you're saying, you know what? I need to repent because I've despised people made in the image of God and somehow convinced myself I'm greater than they are. And we also need to pray because maybe right now you're like, gosh, thank God, my heart is pretty clean right now. I'm walking with Jesus closely. We need to just pray that we as a church can be a place of the healing and grace of Jesus, that we can allow people to come to us and confess anything. And instead of being shocked and casting them off, that we say Jesus is strong enough for this and we want to be agents of that healing.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:40] So here's what we're going to do now, I'm just going to ask you to bow your heads quietly where you are. Whatever you feel like is the thing that God wants you to deal with before Him right now, bring that to Him. Repentance, grace, requests, and help. And at the appropriate time, I'll close that time in prayer. Father, as we come before you, we just confess that even if some of us have walked with you for a long time, we still recognize that we need to be undone and redone by you constantly. Father, we pray that you bring forgiveness and healing where we've bought the lie of sin instead of walking the narrow road Jesus has called us to. And Father, we pray for forgiveness and healing where we need to repent, of despising and dehumanizing people who are beloved by you and created in your image. Father, we want to see Jesus put on display within our church. We want to see Jesus praised and honored. We want to see new life happening. We want to see new people come into faith in Jesus, and we want to see old wounds being healed by the power of Jesus. We pray for that healing and we pray that you lead each one of us to get over whatever it is that we need to get over so that we can be part of that healing for others.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:02] God, I just pray in particular for anyone here who this is just a hard Sunday and something that they want to close their ears to, and Father, I pray that instead your Spirit will bring new life and new hope even to tired souls who feel like throwing in the towel. We pray that the power of Jesus will be put on display in all that we do and that you do that work in us. In Jesus' name. Amen. And I'm going to ask you to stand and I'm just going to read a word of benediction over us. And as we prepare for that, you can already see that there's some folks on both sides of the stage. I'm going to go down and join them there in the minute. If you feel like, first of all, if earlier when Andy had some of you raise hands, I just want to say, if you raised your hand at that point, don't leave without talking to somebody. And if you're like, I kind of feel like I need a follow up, don't leave without talking to somebody. We want to be part of one another's healing and growth in this area. But let me read as a benediction over us from 1 Thessalonians 5 verses 23 and 24, may God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who calls you as faithful and He will do it. Amen. Amen. God bless you the rest of this day.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848