Homosexuality and Christianity
What does it mean to be a Christian?
It is to be in relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. It is not the things we do (pray, read the Bible, go to church), or the things we do not do (kill, steal, lie), not where we go (the church we attend), but who we know (Jesus Christ). It is not the things we do, or the things we do not do, but who we know. Martin Luther talked about being a little Christ.
What are those things that harm and hinder our relationship with Jesus and one another?
· SIN: not Something I Need, but Someone I Need
· Ten Commandments
Hebrews 11:25 . . . enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. (And so often this season is very short, for sin quickly ensnares and enslaves resulting in bondage to sin.)
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servant to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (That is why I want to talk about replacing over and above healing and change.)
Warning and preparing our hearts: Jesus’ words from Matthew 7:1-5 (take the beam out of thine own eye.)
Temptation is not sin.
· This quote used by many including the German theologian Martin Luther I found very helpful in overcoming my struggle with homosexuality. These may not be the exact words, but the ideal is captured.
You cannot stop the birds from flying over your head.
But you can stop them from building a nest in your hair.
· Temptation may be that random thought coming into your mind; sin is when you dwell on that random thought, allowing it to grow roots and producing fruit, becoming dreams and fantasies.
· Temptation is that glance you make with your eye; sin is when you turn your head to take a second look and stare.
· Temptation may be that longing and hungering for relationship and intimacy, sin is when an illegitimate physical sexual act is used to fill and satisfy that legitimate need for relationship and intimacy.
James 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
I Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
II Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
God’s Word/Holy Bible
· High View
· Let the more clear portions interpret the less clear.
· Principles to lead and guide.
· God’s Word as a
Rule book: more than dos and don’ts but rather principles
Road map: gives directions to lead and guide through life
Repair manual: to repair and restore our lives
Justification and Sanctification
· Justification is a judicial declaration by God that one has been righteous. Sanctification is the process of one becoming more like Christ. Justification is all the work of God, as a result of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. We have a part in our sanctification the maturing of our faith, being transform into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
· The pivotal point in the annals of time was the life of Jesus Christ, His birth, death, and resurrection.
Those who have Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior their positional relationship with God has been made right. But in the here and now, experientially our lives may not always feel and reflect our positional relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
· Already/ Not Yet
George Eldon Ladd spoke of the Kingdom of God in this world as already/not yet. In the first coming of the person of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God has already come into this world. It is with the Second Coming of the person of Jesus Christ that this world will fully experience the Kingdom of God.
I want to apply these two ideas positional/experiential and already/not yet to our struggle with homosexuality. As we do so, we must remember that temptation is not sin.
The Scriptures give a very clear description and examples of physical healings. But what about when people speak of the healing of memories and/or emotions? Also Scripture is very clear when it speaks about changing what one does and/or their behavior.
Application The following song is from Mercy Records. (Vineyard Christian Fellowship)
Deliverer by Randy and Terry Butler
Deliver me, my great Deliverer
Set my heart free from those things that are holding me
Give me a clean heart
And a pure mind
Deliver me, Deliverer
Deliver me, my great Deliverer
Set my heart free from those things that are holding me
Take the enemy
And all his memories
Deliver me, Deliverer
Ezekiel 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people.
I Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Ephesians 4:20-24 But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Colossians 3:1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Philippians 4:5-9 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
I Peter 13-16 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
II Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
· Enemy (Devil or Satan)
II Corinthians 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
I John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Before you answer the questions below I ask that you visit www.banap.net and read the page that opens up. There I write about my struggle with homosexuality, and some key understandings that were very helpful for me in overcoming homosexuality. More importantly there are quotes from those who self-identify as homosexual, they are writing acknowledging their belief that people are not born homosexuals. Therefore it is not who one is, a homosexual but rather it is homosexuality, what one does.
Also before continuing on with answering the questions below I ask that you think about the concepts of ‘change’ and ‘healing’ that are often heard when discussing overcoming homosexuality. Homosexuality, along with many other things is a relationship issue. I want to talk about replacing those things that are harmful and unhealthy with those things that are more helpful and more healthy for us. For in replacing there will be change and healing. The latter are not the goals, but the results of replacing. What we need to replace are not only the things we do or not do, but also what we believe and perceive about ourselves.
I want to further write some things that I found to be very beneficial in my overcoming homosexuality. Though you may not agree with the following comments, I ask that you be open minded and give them some thought and prayer.
I strongly emphasis in my life accepting personal responsibility for not only my acts, but also those things I believe. It was very difficult for me to begin to believe that I was not a homosexual, because I was allowing my feelings and emotions to strongly influence me. I struggled with the concepts of ‘healing’ and ‘change’ because implied in them is the idea that it is from without that something would come into my struggle with homosexuality and make the difference. This also allowed me to be somewhat passive in overcoming my struggle with homosexuality. Thus it resulted in allowing me to put the burden on this other from without for failing to impact my overcoming homosexuality. But as I begin to understand the concept of ‘replacing’ it resulted in me recognizing that I must take a more active role in my overcoming homosexuality. More importantly it gave me greater control, as I took on more responsibility for my overcoming homosexuality, and thereby weakening the power of the brokenness/weakness in my life to lead and rule. The end result in this shift in my belief system was a very strong, powerful optimism and hopefulness that I would be victorious in overcoming homosexuality.
So when thinking about homosexuality and healing how do you answer the questions.
1) Who is the healer?
2) What is being healed?
3) How is one being healed?
4) What is healing of memories and/or emotions?
Understanding and Overcoming
There are multiple pathways that may lead one into homosexuality. Likewise there will be multiple pathways in overcoming homosexuality. What one does, homosexuality or who one is, a homosexual. The case for the former is much stronger. The truth be told, the former is the truth. If you do not believe me, read what those advocating for homosexuality and those who self-identify as homosexuals write.
When answering these questions below there are three areas to think about.
1) Actual behavior, those things I do.
2) How I think, which includes my perceptions.
3) My feelings and emotions.
1) Where am I now?
2) How did I get here?
3) Where do I want to go?
1) Can I? Yes
2) Should I? No But . . .
3) Do I really want to?