Thursday, February 7, 2013

what's keith READING?

Ultimate Issues
HOMOSEXUALITY       If you’re like most American teenagers, the day you get your driver’s license and can take the car out for a drive—alone—is a day you dream (or dreamed) of.  Before that, Mom, Dad, or the driving teacher rode “shotgun” to make sure you drove safely.  But now, with your license, you’re on your own.  The thrill or freedom and the increased sense of responsibility make you feel more like an adult.  No one will tell you when to stop or remind you to use your turn signal.  It’s up to you. Suppose you decide that, contrary to everything you’ve been told up to now, you want to drive on the left-hand side of the road.  (Remember, we’re talking about the U.S., not England or Hong Kong.)  You will quickly encounter serious opposition to your choice of driving style (like a head-on collision).  You can either learn from your observations and experiences, or you can insist that you have the right to drive however you wish, and whatever happens, happens.          When it comes to driving, it’s pretty obvious what the wisest choice is.  Here in Romans 1, Paul addresses and issue that seems equally clear-cut, and yet men and women have struggled with it since Adam and Eve were evicted from Eden.  The issue is homosexuality.        Paul argues that all people everywhere are without excuse in knowing that there is a God.  Proclaiming that nature itself reveals its Creator, Paul then begins a scathing rebuke against people who deny God and HIS PLAN FOR CREATION.  Paul has particularly harsh words for those who engage in the sins of idolatry and homosexuality.  These people, he writes, go against God’s design for human sexuality, and in so doing will experience drastic consequences for their behavior.  Like our fictional teenage driver, men and women who practice homosexuality experience tremendous oppositions—socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Yet they ignore all these warning signs.  Sooner or later, though, they will CRASH AND BURN.    Two important messages need to be given on the subject of homosexuality.  One is for our society, which has lost any meaningful idea of sin, righteousness, holiness, and truth.  That message is that all lifestyles are not acceptable.  Some lifestyles—such as alcoholism, or materialism . . . or homosexuality—are wrong; they are sinful.  Those who engage in such behaviors should come to God in confession and repentance and ask for forgiveness and healing.      The second message is for the church (meaning all Christians).  What they need to understand is that while homosexuality is sin, it is not the unforgiveable sin.  God love homosexuals just as much as he loves other sinners.  Jesus’ death on the cross paid for the sin of homosexuality, just as it paid for the sins of lying, greed, lust, hate, and pride.  It has been said—and it is true—that the church is a HOSPITAL FOR SINNERS, not a showcase for saints.  It is a place where those caught in the sin of homosexuality can come to be freed and forgiven.  It is a place where believers who have committed the sins of hatred, prejudice, and self-righteousness toward homosexuals need to go to ask the Lord for forgiveness and healing.  Homosexuals, like all sinners, stand guilty before God.  If that were the whole story, there would be no hope.  The great message of Romans—and the entire Bible—is that there is hope for sinners of all kinds through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He is the one who will set us free, regardless of our sin. 

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