knock on wood

May 25, 2017

When was the last time you were “hewned”???

  “Hearken unto Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord; look unto the rock from which ye are hewn” (Isa. 51:1).

  If we care for His glory, we will want to serve. If we care for others, we will want to be well prepared for that service. And that care will enable us to hold still and trust Him through all that is entailed in the preparation.

When a certain breaking down of self takes place in a believer’s life, it produces a marked change in him; but afterwards he has to learn it all in detail.

  “This is a fact borne out in the case of every servant of God in history who has really come under the hand of God—that the real values of their lives for all time have been those which correspond to the wine of the grape, the thing trodden out in the winepress, the agony of heart; and you know that it is true in your case that if ever you have had anything at all which you knew to be worthwhile and which has helped someone else, it has been born out of some travail in your own experience.”

If we knew the heart of our Father we would never question any of His dealings with us, nor should we ever desire His hand lifted off us till we had learnt all He would teach us.

  “Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:19, 20).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Susan N, 2 months left to live, pancreatic cancer, knows the Lord, but is leaving behind a husband and 2 small kids

Rhonda F, 19, and in college, is going to Peru on her first missions trip, wants to be used of the Lord. (this is her first time out of the USA.

 

BUT GOD!

May 19, 2017

Isaiah 55:1-3

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Compassion of the Lord

55 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.

55:1, 2 In ch. 55 the Lord issues a general call to all who would call themselves by His name, to abandon the Babylons of this world and to find their satisfaction and their security in Him alone, and in that city of joy and peace that He will build. This passage is a call to revival for all who have wandered far from the Lord or from that grace which is the basis for our relationship with Him.

The human condition, we chase after things that won’t satisfy, that don’t bring any lasting satisfaction.

 

 

I remembering counseling a guy one time that was dealing with sexual addiction. The reason he came in was he just had fulfilled his ultimate sex fantasy, and as he was leaving the apartment where this act had taken place he understood that in 10 minutes he was wondering what he would do to top that, and all of a sudden he realized the lust was still there; it hadn’t been satisfied at all.

Sin is like that, lust of the flesh, the eyes, the mind; drugs, booze, sex, shopping; it never ends.

 

But God.

 

One of the greatest sermons in the bible; “But God.”

 

Only He can give us satisfaction, rest, peace, and end to self-destruction.

Come all that are weary, and He will give you rest.

 

The first move is up to us, come, seek, then He does His part.

 

It’s your move

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Pray for all those searching for a good church home

 

Only God can give real happiness and lasting joy, everything else is artificial.

 

  Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

  Beware! The world, both secular and religious, is seeking to destroy your individuality by conforming you to the mass of faceless ones. But our heritage and destiny in the Lord Jesus Christ is to be conformed to His image—not at the loss of our individual personality, but by the gain of His nature and character. “I in you”; “Christ liveth in me” (John 15:4; Gal. 2:20).

Something has got to be done in us as well as for us. We want to proceed on the line of having things done for us, heaven intervening for us, our difficulties removed for us, having a straight path made for us. Heaven may be ready to come in, the Lord may be prepared to work for us, but it is not sufficient for Him—and it would not prove good enough for us—if that were all. The very principle of spiritual growth and maturity demands that He keep the objective and the subjective balanced; that is, that something is done in us as well as for us.

  “We are apt to think that if and when the circumstances and conditions of our lives are changed and we are in another position than the one we now occupy, then something will happen, the purpose of God will begin to be fulfilled. But the Lord says, ‘No, it is not circumstances, not conditions, at all; it is you.’“

  “Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for me, my right foot is twice its normal size and as red as a beet , very painful, it has been like this since Friday, went to the emergency room Saturday and the medicine they gave me spiked my blood pressure and some other problems; hopefully I’ll get in to see my doctor tomorrow.

 

now you know I’m going crazy, when a rocker quotes Neil Diamond, what’s the world coming to?

MOST NEEDED, LEAST PRACTICED

Paul’s letter to Philemon is unusual in that it is not a letter addressed to an entire congregation to correct a doctrinal issue or rectify a church crisis. It is an attempt to restore the relationship between two believers: a slaveowner (Philemon) and his runaway slave (Onesimus), who might have stolen from his master but had since become a believer.

 The bulk of the letter is Paul’s notice that he is sending Onesimus back to Philemon to reconcile their situation. Paul’s message is that restoration between fellow believers is more important than what divides us.

 As Christians we can, to some degree, reestablish friendly relations and be reconciled with non-believers. But the truest and fullest reconciliation between people is only possible after they have first been reconciled to God through Jesus.

 Here are a few recommendations for seeking reconciliation with a fellow Christian:

  ➤ Care more about the reconciliation than the hurt—Too often we confuse wanting reconciliation with wanting the other person to admit they’ve wronged us. When we seek true reconciliation, we let go of old hurts and grievances so we can live in peace with one another (see Ro 12:18).

 ➤ Have another believer serve as a mediator—When siblings fight they often need a parent or other relative to mediate the dispute. The same is often true for siblings in the church family. Enlisting a mediator helps broach the topic of reconciliation and reminds us that our ruptured relationships affect other brothers and sisters in Christ. In this case, Paul acted as a mediator between Philemon and Onesimus.

 ➤ Seek forgiveness first—Without forgiveness there can be no reconciliation. Forgiveness is therefore not only a necessary step, but it is also the first and most essential step in the process of restoration and peace.

 ➤ Accept what is offered—Immediate reconciliation isn’t always possible. Our words and actions might have damaged the relationship to the point where trust is difficult to reestablish. Be patient. Accept small measures that restore unity so that in time full reconciliation might become possible.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

PLEASE REMEMBER ALL OUR FOLKS IN PRAYER

 

DIRTY TOWELS AND JESUS

April 21, 2017

DIRTY BATH TOWELS AND JESUS

WARNING ADULT THEME, MATURE DISCUSSION, PLEASE DON’T READ IF YOU ARE EASILY SEXUALLY OFFENDED.

OK, THESE ARE JUST THE FACTS, NO BITTERNESS, NO FREUDIAN SLIPS JUST SOMETHING THAT CAME TO MIND.

MY WIFE CHANGES THE BATH TOWELS TWICE A WEEK (THAT I NOTICE, IT MIGHT BE MORE). I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE FOR SOME REASON WHEN I CAME OUT OF THE SHOWER AND WAS DRYING OFF, I THOUGHT OF MY MOTHER’S WEIRD HABIT ABOUT WASHING TOWELS.

EVERY TIME YOU TOOK A BATH OR A SHOWER THE TOWELS HAD TO GO RIGHT INTO THE WASHING MACHINE AND BE IMMEDIATELY WASHED.

I ALWAYS CHALKED THIS UP TO MY MOTHER BEING A PROSTITUTE. NOT THE KIND THAT STOOD ON THE CORNER AND HAD A PIMP; BUT A RENT WHORE. SHE SLEPT WITH GUYS THAT WOULD PROVIDE THE BOOZE OR THE DRUGS OR THE RENT OR WHEN THINGS GOT BAD AND REALLY WENT TO HELL A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS.

SOME MIGHT THINK THIS WAS AN ULTIMATE SACRIFICE AS OUR FATHER HAD LEFT US HIGH AND DRY. IT JUST PISSED ME OFF. SHE PUT MY LITTLE SISTER AT RISK AND IT MADE AN ALREADY VIOLENT SON EVEN MORE VIOLENT. ESPECIALLY WHEN I WOULD TAKE AN AXE HANDLE TO SOME CLOWN TRYING TO GO INTO MY SISTER’S BEDROOM.

AND THEN I WOULD GET YELLED AT BY HER FOR RUINING THE NIGHT OR THE GUY LEAVING WITHOUT LEAVING A LITTLE CASH BEHIND.

SO HERE’S THE DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT.

MY MOTHER WAS CONSTANTLY CLEANING THE HOUSE OR HERSELF, SHE WOULD TAKE SEVERAL BATHS AFTER THE GUYS LEFT, IF SHE WASN’T PASSED OUT OR DOPED UP ON PILLS. AGAIN, I DON’T LOOK AT THIS AS THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE OF A MOTHER FOR HER CHILDREN. I WAS  14 AND ALREADY DRIVING TRACTOR TRAILERS OUT OF STATE AND MAKING GOOD MONEY. I COULDN’T GET HER TO STOP. I WOULD GET ESPECIALLY PISSED WHEN SHE SAID “THIS ONE IS GOING TO MARRY HER AND WOULD THE TWO OF US CALL HIM DAD.”

AGAIN THE DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, COMING FROM A PENTECOSTAL BACKGROUND AND THE ARMINIAN THEOLOGY OF BACKSLIDING AND ALWAYS COMING “BACK INTO THE FOLD”. I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW LIFE CHANGING IT WAS TO REALIZE HOW GREAT THE SACRIFICE THAT GOD MADE AND THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND THE SECURITY OF A SALVATION I COULDN’T LOSE.

NO MORE 6 BATHS A DAY, NO MORE FEARING DYING IN SIN, NO MORE DIRTY TOWELS. JESUS’S BLOOD, TOTALLY CLEANING, WHOLLY, COMPLETELY SAVING.

SO, IN HEAVEN THERE’S A GIANT SUDS SAVING BATH, THAT WASHES ME WHITER THAN SNOW. IT’S QUITE AN IMAGE, THAT I HAVE TO BE COVERED IN BLOOD TO BE WHITER THAN SNOW.

JUST ONE TOWEL PLEASE

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

PLEASE NO PSYCHOANALYZING, JUST READ AND THINK.

PRAY FOR JOE R AND HIS SHOULDER

STEVE AND THE FAMILY LOSS

ROGER E. AND HIS BORDER COLLIE ANNIE PASSING

head case

April 19, 2017

Image result for picture of a skull

 

 

Ephesians 6:17 The helmet God provides is salvation (Isa. 59:17). No matter how hot the battle, the Christian is not daunted, since he knows that ultimate victory is sure. Assurance of eventual deliverance preserves him from retreat or surrender. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

I am always amazed at the Holy Scripture and its application and accuracy.

Salvation is all in our head, you have to know that you are a sinner, realize that there is a real hell, acknowledge you’re helpless, admit you need God and consent to the fact you need a Savior.

No emotions are needed, in fact feelings get in the way. Just as you factually accept the truth, knowledge and truth (the reckoning) is what helps you in your walk, not how you feel.

It is so very hard to counsel someone that bases their salvation on how they feel, what a rollercoaster of experiences and always feeling the need to get ‘saved’ over and over.

It’s all in your head, just make sure you keep it there and everything will be ok.

Quinton came through his surgery  just fine and appreciates the prayers

Pray for Becky and her upcoming brain surgery next Monday

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

turn it up

April 18, 2017

Image result for picture of a mouth and a ear

Paul told Timothy to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” (1Ti 4:13) That’s a passage about preaching,, “but it’s also a passage about just plain reading the Bible out loud.” Here are a number of practical reasons why reading the Bible aloud is a beneficial habit to adopt:

  ➤ Reading aloud is multisensory—Outside worship services, our engagement with Scripture tends to involve only one of our five senses—sight. When we add hearing to seeing, we stimulate different areas of our brain, providing a multisensory experience that can help us have a more meaningful experience with the Word of God.

 ➤ Reading aloud improves retention—When we read aloud, the words we speak are translated into speech, giving us two types of memories—the knowledge of producing the spoken words as well as the memory of hearing them. This makes our memory for the spoken word more distinct from the verses we read silently.

 ➤ Reading aloud slows us down—Our eyes and brains are faster than our mouths. When we read silently we see and process the words rapidly. Reading aloud forces us to read more slowly, which gives us more time to process what we’re reading and broadens our opportunity to hear God speak through Scripture.

  It is also valuable to read aloud to several individuals and groups. Here are some tips for making reading aloud part of your routine.

  ➤ You and your family—It might feel odd at first, but try reading aloud to yourself regularly during your individual Bible reading sessions. Or add reading aloud to your family night or family devotional time.

 ➤ Your church and small group—Most churches and small groups already include corporate Scripture reading into their services or meetings. If yours does not, talk to your worship or small group leader about adding regular readings to the program.

 ➤ The young and the old—Offer to read to children who might only hear about God during Sunday school class. Or perhaps volunteer to read to the elderly, who because of infirmity or advanced age might no longer be able to read the Bible for themselves. Every believer, whether young or old, benefits from being frequently engaged with Scripture.

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. The only time the bible says that “reading and hearing” the Word is a blessing. The implication is that of reading and hearing at the same time will bless.

If you can afford only one Commentary on the Bible get the one volume of Matthew Henry, here is a sample; “On all who read or hear the words of the prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employed who search the Bible. It is not enough that we read and hear, but we must keep the things that are written, in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties of this book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impress the mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, though he may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripture more fully states the gospel, and warns against the evil of sin.”

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

you move me

April 17, 2017

Image result for dancing man pictures

THREE STYLES OF RELATING

We must understand the principle that every man is moving (towards God or away from God). Movement defines a man’s existence. If we are not moving in a good direction, then we will move in a bad direction. Good movement, means moving through personal unhappiness toward God. Bad movement is movement aimed at nothing higher than relieving personal unhappiness. The things we just talked about, dulling the pain, being a tyrant, getting on with life, and recipe theology are all examples of bad movement – of an attempt to relieve the pain.

Because men are fundamentally relational beings, all movement will be seen most clearly in the way a man relates.

THE NEEDY MAN

The needy man knows that he needs relationships to be happy, but his is a distorted view of relationships. What he wants is for others to come through for him and meet his needs, without them requiring good movement from him. He is actually looking for happiness in people and not from God. He is expecting people to provide those pleasures we talked about earlier.

This is the man who comes home every evening and lets out a heavy sigh when he walks in the door so that the family will know how hard he has been working all day for them (That’s a lie. He is working for himself.). He wants them to take care of him but he is sending out his signal hoping that they will not expect anything from him.

This is the man who feels like a martyr because he’s married to a woman who has no interest in sex. The reality is that she doesn’t respond to him, because he is not moving toward her and so there is nothing to respond to. When she doesn’t meet his needs, he feels like a martyr and feels justified in lusting after other women or having an affair, because it is his right to have his sexual needs fulfilled and his wife isn’t meeting them.

What this man needs to do is see his bad movement—see his evil—and repent. But the needy man doesn’t see it.

King Saul is a good example. He had a need for respect. When he failed to kill all the Amalekites and their animals as God had commanded (he left the king and the cattle and sheep alive) and was caught by Samuel, he starts scrambling and says that they saved them for sacrificing to God. When Samuel says it is better to obey than to sacrifice, Saul says, I have sinned, but then immediately asks Samuel to return with him to the capitol city and stand beside him in public worship. When Samuel turns to leave, Saul grabs Samuel’s robe and it tears. Then Samuel says, that the tearing of his robe is an illustration that God is going to tear the kingdom away from Saul. Saul again says, “I have sinned,” but quickly adds, “but please honor me now before the elders and the people of Israel …” He was more concerned with appearances and keeping the respect of the people than with his sin. 1Sam 15:13-30.

THE TOUGH MAN

Shallow but stable describes this man. He has the “get on with life” attitude we discussed earlier. This is the “strong silent type” we talked about last week. He rarely talks about personal struggles and tends to quickly “resolve” whatever relational tensions he can’t avoid or dismiss. He focuses his energy on things he is good at and is unwilling, even for a moment, to entertain involving himself in something he is not good at—i.e. relationships. He wants to stay where he is comfortable. He wants to dispel the mystery.

Being tough doesn’t necessarily mean being mean or cruel. He doesn’t have to be abusive. He can be cordial all the time – and usually is. He is nice, above reproach, just emotionally uninvolved. He has lots of acquaintances, but no close friends.

He just doesn’t let himself feel anything. The needy man feels the pain, and is preoccupied with it. The tough man ignores it.

THE GODLY MAN

The godly man is sensitive, but it does not lead to self-preoccupation or complaint. He is hurt by broken relationships, but instead of demanding others to come through for him or running away, he uses the hurt to more sharply define and energize his call to move toward relationship. He is willing to sacrifice his pleasure (legitimate or illegitimate) so that he can help others. He releases other from his control and encourages them so that they are free to struggle with their loneliness and selfishness and pain. He’s been there through the struggles and has made it through to the other side—to God. He wants to help them find God too.

So, there are three styles of relating – You can be a needy man, always pulling on others to meet your needs. Or you can be the tough man and ignore your feelings and the feelings of others and focus your energy on things you are good at. Or you can be a godly man and feel your pain and the pain of others, but use it to grow personally, and then use your growth to help others grow.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Coping

April 16, 2017

lightbulb

The Male Coping Mechanism (the myth) (it’s a pun)

There are many things in life which bring pleasure, such as power, influence, money, status, connections, achievement, success, possessions, food, sex, recreation, etc. All these things are good in their place, but we have a tendency to think that they are the source of happiness. They make us feel good, but they don’t bring true happiness. They do not bring contentment.

? If you are looking for happiness in money, you can never get enough. I know you’ve heard the illustration about when John D. Rockefeller was asked how much money is enough, and he answered, “Just a little more.” We can’t believe that if we were millionaires, we would want more, but if that is what we are looking to for happiness, or security then we would.

? If sex is where you are trying to find happiness, your spouse will never satisfy you.

? If power is where you are seeking to find happiness, then you can never get enough.

? If possessions are where you try to find happiness, then your house is never big enough and your car is never new enough.

? If this is where you are looking for happiness, when these things are taken away, you will be devastated.

God wants us to enjoy these things, but enjoying these things is not the reason God put us here. God has created us with a purpose. The whole Bible is summed up with two commands – Love God and Love your neighbor. And Paul sums up the whole Law with the statement – Love your Neighbor, so God’s purpose for us is to love others – to build relationships, to move into other people’s lives and help them move towards God. We will find the most joy in life when we are doing that. But relationships are messy. We talked a lot about chaos last week. Messy = chaos. Relationships = chaos. Relationships involve mystery.

We hate chaos and mystery. What we really want is certainty in life.

? It’s true in relation to our religion. We want certainty in our religion. We want everything black and white. We want to think there are knowable right answers and so we argue about points of doctrine and split churches so we can hang out with those that believe the way we do and who will reinforce our opinions making us feel certain. It is too hard for many people to recognize that God is infinite and we are finite and there are just some things we can’t understand. There are some things in the Bible that just aren’t clear.

? It’s true in the decision making process. We want to know if the decision we are about to make is the right one. We want God to show us exactly what we should do. But decisions are full of mystery. There is mystery involved in deciding who to marry, which job to take, whether to remodel our home, which car to buy, which stock to invest in, etc. Many of us are paralyzed by the process of making decisions and making a mistake. We can’t decide what to do, so we do nothing.

? It’s true in our relationships. There is no certainty in relationships. There is only mystery and chaos in relationships. People disappoint. They let us down, they hurt us… How will the person react if I do this or that? Will my wife still love me when she finds out I’m afraid of …? Why is my wife depressed? Why is my son a bully at school?

So what we try to do is find a way to eliminate the mystery. How do we eliminate or dispel mystery?

THE SEARCH FOR CERTAINTY

RECIPE THEOLOGY

Many people have a recipe theology. Recipe theology holds out the false promise of certainty. By recipe theology I mean the belief that if we can just find the right set of steps or principles, and then follow them perfectly, then they will make life work. We really like steps to follow. That’s one reason why self-help books, the promise keepers conventions and family life conferences are so popular. We usually walk away from them with a list of things to do. Some people read the books, go to the conferences and come away convicted of their sin and a new resolve to trust God more as they move through life. But others just come away from the conferences with a new set of steps to follow. Recipe theology says, “If I pick up my socks, clean the kitchen for my wife and give up Monday night football, then my marriage will be great.” When that doesn’t work, then our conclusion is that those were the wrong steps and so we go in search of another list. We never realize that what we really need to do is learn how to relate to our wives.

I think one of the best passages and most misused passages on this is Eph 5:25. It says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. I’ve heard people teach on this passage and what they get from this is that we need to sacrifice ourselves for our wives. Then they give their list of things we can do to sacrifice ourselves. But, the whole concept behind this passage is that Christ came to earth to build relationships with men. We rejected Him and killed Him. What this means to a husband is that he needs to move towards his wife to build a relationship with her. In the process, she is going to reject him, argue with him, disappoint him, not respond to him, hurt him, etc. That is where the sacrifice comes in—in being willing to be hurt in the process of moving toward his wife. The sacrifice comes in being willing to enter the chaos and mystery of relationship.

GETTING ON WITH LIFE

Another way we can try to dispel mystery is by trying to ignore the need for relationships and concluding that we might as well “get on with life.” So we run away from people and devote our energy towards manageable things, things we are good at. Often abilities surface like athletic talent, academic gift, or mechanical knack that give us a feeling of power, competence, appreciation, etc. When relationships are too confusing, too disappointing, we turn to the things that bring us those fleeting pleasures we talked about earlier. But they are fleeting, so we spend more and more time at work or buried in our hobbies, or in the garage fixing things, trying to satisfy the longing in our souls.

For example, if you are a computer programmer, I think it would be accurate to say that your job is never done, and if things are bad at home, it would be easy to always work late. You could honestly tell your wife that you are behind, because in that job, you are always behind. And to make it even more attractive, computer programming is a safe place to hide from people. A computer is just a dumb box that does exactly what you tell it. So you are in control. And when you are programming or designing a graphic or whatever, you are being creative. It appeals to and fulfills in a false way what God intended man to be.

Or maybe your solution is to go play golf or go fishing. Those activities are fun, challenging and most important, don’t require much in the way of relationships.

BE A TYRANT

Another way to try to dispel mystery is to be a tyrant. If your are overbearing and dogmatic, you can often beat others into submission where they won’t question you or you can at least keep them at a safe distance so that you don’t have to deal with the issues.

DULL THE PAIN

Others try to dispel mystery by trying to dull the pain through alcohol, pornography, etc. Of these four ways, this one is the least socially acceptable, but the other methods are just as evil and sinful.

So we find ourselves often coping by not coping. If I had a dollar for every time in counseling I heard a woman say; “if only my husband would……

God bless and have a blessed Easter, from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Truly, Truly

March 31, 2017

It doesn’t matter if TV or the movies paint them as funny, emotional, gifted, misunderstood, passionate. Homosexuality is a sin. I am grieved that major charities like the Salvation Army and other charities afraid of lawsuits and loss of funding have committed to the idea that homosexuality is not a sin. That is the official stance of the national office. There is hope that the majority officers still believe in the bible. The salvation army has declared over and over that it doesn’t matter what the bible says about poverty or homosexuality, or even insurance for “alternate spouses”.

Any decision based on fear is a wrong decision, I hope the following shows what the bible truly says and the grace and forgiveness God has for all people.

Lev 18:22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is a detestable act.

This straightforward law prohibits all homosexual acts. It makes no distinctions as to whether or not they were consensual. It comes in the midst of a section of laws related to sexual relationships. No consequence is given here in each verse for the individual laws, but rather they are all listed as things that must not be done. All of the items in this chapter’s list are said to “defile” (Lev. 18:24) and are called “abominations” (Lev. 18:27, 30).

Rom 1:20-32 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. (22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. (25) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

(26) For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, (27) and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. (29) They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. (32) Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

This text discusses homosexuality more extensively than any other New Testament passage. However, homosexuality is not the overarching theme of this section. Paul wants to clearly explain the gospel. To do that though, it is necessary to show that all people are under God’s judgment and condemnation—and thus in need of the gospel. He starts by declaring that because the testimony of God is visible in nature all are without excuse for their rebellion against Him. The just wrath of God is on all ungodliness (Rom. 1). Then he shows that in condemning the sin of others we actually condemn ourselves (Rom. 2). Likewise even the Jewish people with the law are still fully under God’s condemnation for their sin. Furthermore they are incapable of remedying the situation (Rom. 2-3). Thus it does not matter whether one is apart from the law or under it. All people stand condemned without partiality. This paves the way for explaining God’s grace in Jesus—which is the good news of the gospel. There is indeed one way of deliverance from this predicament.

So this section on homosexuality occurs in the portion showing why God’s wrath is upon humanity, and how humanity is inexcusable before Him. Before moving to the negative, Paul starts with the positive good news that he is intent on sharing. The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel which is received by faith (Rom. 1:17). By contrast the wrath of God is revealed as being upon the ungodliness of mankind (Rom. 1:18). Where is this ungodliness seen? Where is this suppressing of the truth seen? It is seen in the inexcusable idolatry of humanity. All have seen in creation the invisible attributes of God, His eternal power and nature (Rom. 1:19-20). However instead of worshipping the true creator, humanity moved to idolatry and worshipping creation (Rom. 1:23-25). The existence of nature demands that there be a designer. This truth is suppressed and turned to the worship of self or some other created thing. One of God’s judgments for this behavior is the turning over of humanity to their own sinful desires (Rom. 1:24). This giving over to sinfulness and its consequences specifically includes homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-28). It also includes a whole list of other sins more briefly mentioned (Rom. 1:29-32).

God has designed men and women with functional capabilities. According to this text these capabilities are rebelled against through homosexual acts.

From this text then, we see that homosexuality is an example of God having delivered people over to the consequences of having rebelled against Him. It is not the only sin listed, but is indeed the highlighted one. It seems that this example is given because homosexuality diametrically opposes the clear design of God. God made people in His image (Gen. 1:27) with a built in complementary design in the marriage of a male to a female (Gen. 2:22-25). To commit actions clearly opposite God’s plan at the nature level distinctly declare the reality of rebellion. It declares that God’s very design and plan were wrong and inadequate. As it is listed here, homosexuality and the rest of the sins listed, are a part of God’s immediate (though not final) judgment. Sin is a judgment upon itself—in that it reaps what it sows. Additionally, the willful exchange of the truth of God for a lie can result in God delivering people over to a depraved mind. One’s ability to reason or view things in an accurate moral way can be seriously impaired (Rom. 1:28).

However, lest any become self-righteous, Paul immediately moves on to showing that all are condemned under sin. Indeed, condemning the sin of others condemns oneself (Rom. 2:1-5). The only reason Paul can share any of this in a worthwhile way is because he is not relying on his own righteousness. He is relying on the righteousness of God. This has been given to him in Christ Jesus by the grace of God. He himself has been forgiven of his sin. The point was not to condemn others in order to justify himself. The point was to make clear the existence of sin for every individual so that the grace of God that had rescued him could be shared with fellow humans who needed deliverance just like he had needed it.

The same purpose and point that Paul had here in the book of Romans remains for Christians to share today. We too are fellow sinners. We too were under God’s full and immense wrath. I too am a sinner condemned by these truths. By God’s grace we may be forgiven. Yet even with that grace, in ourselves we are not any better than anyone else. We have nothing of which to boast. This shows God’s work to be that much more amazing. That He would love and redeem us while we were His enemies in such a deep rebellion against Him is almost incomprehensible. This same grace that has changed and is changing our lives and that will bring us eternity with God in a perfected existence is available to the whole world. No person, gender, race, nationality, ethnic group, class, or any other possible division is excluded from this offer of the gift of grace. This is the grace Christians should be offering, because it is the true grace of God.

1 Cor. 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, (10) thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. (11) Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Unequivocally then this is a strong and definitive statement about sin and its consequences as well as about the one way to be rescued from them. In this context Paul is powerfully reminding the Corinthian church that these kinds of behavior are not compatible with the kingdom of God. In this portion of the book Paul has been dealing with quite a number of behavioral and ethical problems that have been plaguing the church. Their former behaviors were influencing their lives presently in a completely inappropriate way. Apparently it had gotten so bad that Paul even challenged them in a following letter to examine themselves to see whether they had truly become believers (2 Cor. 13:5).

These sins in and of themselves were nothing that would keep them from truly accepting the grace of God and becoming children of God. However a continuation in them as a manner of life11 would be an indication that they were not truly believers and not going to inherit the kingdom of God (cf. 1 John 3). Quite helpfully for us today, this is a clear statement that some of the Corinthians had become believers out of that manner of life. This should lead us to at least two conclusions:

  1. Like other sins, homosexual behavior may be forgiven. God’s grace is not limited by this or any other sin. As Romans 5:20 states:

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)

  1. Since Christians have come out of such sins, they should be the ones most desirous to share God’s love with others. As 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 states:

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away — look, what is new has come! (18) And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (19) In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. (20) Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” (21) God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

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