3 POWERFUL GOSPEL TRUTHS FOR ADDRESSING HOMOSEXUALITY

Great teaching by Jeremy Lelek, Association of Biblical Counsellors particularly number 3.

The Redeeming Hope of the Gospel

1. The Gospel and Christian Life are about God

When I counsel those struggling with homosexual attraction, one of the first things I want them to do is trust God. Now, when I use the word struggle, I am referring to a person who has not accepted homosexuality as being morally right, but who daily fights against these desires wishing they didn’t exist in the first place. By the time such individuals reach my office, they have promised themselves 100’s of times that they will never lust after the same sex again or look at homosexual pornography again or engage in other homosexual activities again. Such promises are always broken, leaving them in a cycle of shame and condemnation. Since they are unable to completely eliminate their sin, they often turn from God.

It is not unusual for me to tell such a person, “It is time to gaze upon God’s faithfulness not your own.” Jesus knows the burden of sexual temptation, and He has profound sympathy for anyone whose hearts are captured by this issue (Heb. 2:17–18; 4:14–15). He is also committed to saving and transforming His own so that they reflect children of glory (Rom. 8:28-29; 1 Thess. 4:3).

Does this mean that He has promised to remove all sexual affections or any sexual affection completely? No. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that there is a war raging in our hearts that will not rest until we see Him face to face (Gal. 5:16–17). What God promises is His presence and faithfulness (Heb. 13:5). His presence to hold His children through any storm in life until the day of resurrection (John 6:37–40). He promises the Holy Spirit as our Helper to empower us to walk wisely and resist sin (John 14:16–17). He promises His faithfulness to not allow anything to separate us from His love (Rom. 8:37–39). He assures us of His faithfulness to complete His work of redemption in our lives (Phil. 1:6). Very often it is in the presence, not the absence, of our sinful struggles that God magnifies the beauty and value of His faithfulness. The struggle is often an occasion for rich abiding worship.

2. The Redeeming Work of the Gospel Enables Us to Hear and Obey God

When Paul is addressing the Corinthians regarding sexual sin, he doesn’t tell them that if they just believe, God will remove all their ungodly sexual temptation. Instead, he assumes the possible presence of such temptations and writes things like, “Flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18a) and “… for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20).

When the author of Proverbs is counselling his son, he doesn’t treat him as though he will not wrestle with sexual temptation, but offers wisdom when such imminent temptation arises. Concerning the adulteress, he warns, “Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house” (Prov. 5:8), “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes” (Prov. 6:25), “Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray onto her paths” (Prov. 7:25).

The inference of both Paul and the author of Proverbs is that sexual temptation is a possibility, and the way to combat such longings are fleeing, resisting, and living to the glory of God. The ability to walk by faith comes through the hearing of the Gospel (Rom. 10:17) and the supernatural awaking of our hearts to want God and His ways (Eph. 2:4–8). Upon such awakening, Jesus works in us (over a lifetime, moment by moment) to create in us hearts that are zealous to do what is good and holy (Titus 2:11–14). He saves us then progressively enables us to glorify him in our lives and bodies through obedience. Healing may not be universally characterised as the complete elimination of sexual temptation from the human heart, but by hearts that are transformed and empowered by His grace to obey (from the New Self) when sexual temptation seeks to grip us (from remnants of the Old Self) (Eph. 4:22–24).

3. Hope in Symptom Eradication Minimises the Pervasive Reality of Sin and our Desperate Need for Jesus, Our Redeemer

Some people hold to the idea that homosexual or heterosexual temptations are only sins if they are acted upon. If the attraction is there, but you resist acting upon it, then you’re good to go. I think this conceptualisation minimises our Gospel need and refutes the teachings of Jesus who said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:27–28).

Jesus was speaking to people who had developed elaborate systems of “holiness” that gauged their sense of goodness and righteousness before God. Many of them likely exuded a great deal of pride, considering themselves good men because they had never given their bodies over to the act of adultery. Jesus obliterated their paradigm, however. He knew that every man standing in front of Him was guilty of this sin. In some ways, it seems as though he was setting up the despair of their situation, thereby ushering in the only hope for their dilemma—Himself. If sin was more than a behavioural issue, but was ultimately an inner issue of the heart, then they were all doomed (Matt. 15:17–20). That is, unless their righteousness could be found elsewhere.

As Christians who wrestle with either heterosexual or homosexual lusts, we must hate such sins, but not be threatened by their presence. If my hope resides in the absence of sinful thoughts and desires, then I am going to have to resign myself to a life of hopelessness. But if my hope resides in the righteousness of Another when such lusts present themselves in my heart, then there is reason for genuine hope. I can rest in the wonderful words of the author of Hebrews as the basis to fight my sins:

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,’ then he adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin” (Heb. 10:12–18).

In the end, our situation is far worse than we realise.  Even if therapy helps remove sexual temptation, we are still condemned—that is, unless we place our faith in the One who made this single sacrifice for all our sins. At that point, upon placing faith in Jesus, our situation becomes far better than we could ever imagine. Our sins remind us of our desperation and propels us towards a God of infinite love, faithfulness, and mercy. It thrusts us into the magnificent glories of the Gospel.

May we not shrink our hopes to the small goals of the temporal removal of sin, but may our hopes rejoice in the eternal removal of all our sins (past, present, and future) because of a God who loves us more than our feeble minds can fathom.

SIN DESTROYS BODY, SOUL & SPIRIT

When we are silent about our sin and shortcomings, our bodies and souls suffer. What begins as intentional minimising of sin turns into blindness to both the sin and its effects. Our view of ourselves is skewed. We begin to say, “This is just who I am.”

Sin not only damages our connection to God, but our connection to others.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. Psalm 32:3

David learned this firsthand when he tried to cover up his sin with Bathsheba. When the prophet Nathan confronted David, the cure for sin’s poison was revealed. As we confess and repent, God welcomes us back. Although the consequences of our choices remain, God’s forgiveness and the penetrating light of His truth bring life and restoration to our souls and relationships.

God’s arrows of affliction are sharp and painful so He can get our attention. He won’t let His beloved children get away with sin because He knows it robs us of blessings, opportunities, and even character refinement.
Charles Stanley

Sadly, the world increasingly, by denying the existence of God, has no concept of the eternal consequences of SIN – separation from their Creator forever, i.e. HELL. Likewise, they don’t recognise that God has provided the solution to the SIN problem (rebellion against God and His Commandments) i.e. JESUS, God’s own Son. Nor will they repent of their SIN, acknowledge His sacrifice on their behalf and let Him be Lord of their life.

The Bible provides the only history of this universe that makes sense of what we see in the world today. The initial SIN of Adam and Eve brought death, pain and suffering into what once was a perfect world. God has provided one way back into a renewed relationship with our heavenly Father – JESUS.

“Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

“Therefore, I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24

Will you reconsider? Your eternal destiny hangs in the balance.

WHAT SIN IS AT THE ROOT OF ALL SINS?

The Master Sin is no individual action, or anything that comes from mood or passion: It is the non-recognition by man of the highest of all relations, that relation which is at the root and the first essential condition of every other true relation of or in the human soul. It is the absence in man of harmony with His Creator, who thought him into existence, whose word is the man’s power of thought.

It is true that, as we are His offspring, God cannot be far from any one of us; were we not in closest contact with our Creator, we could not exist: as we have in us no power to be, so we have none to continue being; but there is a closer contact still, which is absolutely necessary to our well-being and highest existence. As the highest creation of God in man is His will, until the highest in man meets the highest in God, their true relation is not yet a spiritual fact. The relation exists, but while one of the parties neither knows, loves, nor acts upon it, the relation is, as it where, yet unborn. Mans intellect, his imagination and his reason are all inferior to his will, and indeed, in a grand way, depend upon it; his will must meet God’s – a will distinct from God’s, else no harmony is possible between them. By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, God provides in man the power to will, His will. When he is brought to that point, and declares for the truth, that is for the will of God, he becomes one with God, and the end of God in man’s creation, the end for which Jesus was born and died, is achieved. The man is saved from his sins, and the universe flowers yet again in His redemption.

new heaven and earth

Significance of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns?

Symbolism of thorns in Scripture

pictures-of-jesus-crown-thorns-1127729-gallery

As well as thorns and thistles being a very real physical component of the cursed world that we all now live in, they carry further symbolic negative overtones throughout the Bible, firmly pointing back to the Curse in Genesis. Their symbolic meaning also creates problems for those who do not read Genesis as a true historical account, as the negative biblical overtones associated with thorns and thistles are integral to their historical origin at the time of the Curse. Without the connection to their historical origin, their symbolic meaning becomes empty and vague.

The numerous references to thorns and thistles throughout the Bible remind us of the historical Original Sin and Curse that followed. The negative biblical overtones associated with thorns and thistles after Genesis 3:18 are demonstrated in their representation as obstacles, punishment, or serving as a reminder of sin and its consequences. For example:

  • In Numbers 33:55, God warned the Israelites that if they did not drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, allowing them to remain, the Canaanites would be an obstacle to them. They would be, “thorns in your sides”. Proverbs 15:19 again uses the imagery of thorns as obstacles, saying, “The way of the sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.”
  • The New Testament also uses thorns and thistles in reference to the inner workings of the worldly heart, corrupted by sin. In the parable of the sower, Matthew 13:3-8 some seeds “fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them” (v. 7). Also, the outward expression of that worldly heart which apostatizes from Christ is likened to a barren wasteland, which, “if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:8).

The ultimate fulfilment of the symbolism that thorns and thistles have in the Bible is found in Matthew 27:29:

“And twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ ”

Here the governor’s soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head, to mock him as the King of the Jews. Oh, if only they had known both what they were doing and the symbolism that their actions entailed! Thorns were not present in the original very good world, but the Roman soldiers didn’t have any trouble finding thorns to place on Jesus head. Thorns that were a direct result of man’s original sin are now found in abundance in a world that is steeped in sin. What the soldiers unwittingly did was hugely significant. There is nothing random in the Bible; every word that has been written in its pages is significant. The crown of thorns vividly symbolised the curse of sin being placed on Jesus’s head. It immediately takes the reader back to Genesis, reminding us of why Jesus went to the cross, to take the penalty for sin on our behalf. He died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, so that the Curse that God had pronounced upon this earth because of sin, can be removed for those that believe in him, and that ultimately creation itself can be redeemed. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” Romans 8;20-21. Christ’s actions will blunt every sharply pointed thistle and thorn as well as the other effects of the curse. The Christian can shout, “O death, where is your sting?”

extract from article Why did Jesus wear a Crown of Thorns by and  www.creation.com

DEFEND THE BIBLE – GO ON THE OFFENSIVE

Looking for Answers pic

There is now so much evidence which proves the Bible is trustworthy that Christians properly equipped can go on the offensive rather than go on the defensive as so many do when challenged as to the veracity of Scripture’s claims.

The many fulfilled Bible prophesies, such as Isaiah’s prophesy that a Persian king would arise with the name Cyrus – around 150 years before the event occurred. Three hundred prophesies in the Old Testament (OT) of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus that all occurred exactly as prophesied.

In the field of archaeology, the Bible has been confirmed accurate by numerous archaeological discoveries. The Hittites were presumed to be a mythical tribe because no physical evidence had been found. That was until a huge ‘City of the Hittites was uncovered.  The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls as late as 1947 with an almost complete copy of Isaiah in which there are so many of the prophesies of Jesus life, death by crucifixion and resurrection. As a result, the Bible is regarded as “the most accurate history book in the world”(The Archaeology of the New Testament by E.M.Blaiklock). Considering this fact alone, one can logically assume that its other historical claims in Genesis such as a real Adam and Eve and a global Flood are also true.

In the New Testament (NT), scholars used to be skeptical about John’s description of the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, but archaeology showed that John’s description was accurate (which also proved that the gospel of John was authored by someone who had been in Jerusalem before the AD 70 destruction, which fits very well with the Apostle John being the author). John and all the NT authors – and even Jesus himself – believed and quoted from Genesis more than any other book in the Bible.

It is in the area of Genesis Creation where the rubber really hits the road, and where Creation Ministries has truly shone with evidence that recent discoveries particularly on DNA (Information Theory) and the function of cells have demonstrated the futility of evolution with its proposed mechanisms of natural selection and mutation. On their website http://www.creation.com there are almost 8,500 fully searchable articles you can access to equip you with answers to provide real seekers of the truth about God and Creation.

The Bible is trustworthy, including its claims about sin and salvation. Jesus is who he said He is. He is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus believed Genesis was true history then I suggest so should we.

ETERNITY IN HEAVEN OR HELL?

Hell

It is evident from the current fallen state of the human race, that we do not live on a planet that resembles paradise, where harmony exists and where death is absent. This is because two people, Adam and Eve decided to disobey God, even after all that God had provided for them, an awesome home (Earth), a beautiful garden with abundant food, the ability to procreate and have dominion over it all.

People alive today have the same choice as Adam and Eve  that is to obey God or reject Him and face the consequences of separation from God, only this time forever, with no second chance.

Jesus , the Son of God , gave Himself as a sacrifice for the payment of sin, not just for Adam and Eve, but for the sins of everyone who ever lived. We, therefore, have a choice to repent of our sin (disobedience) and accept Jesus offer of a new life with Him as Lord and Saviour or stay separated from God forever.

Today, instead of just one fallen angel deceiving two people, we have Satan and his demonic forces as well as two billion people who are against Jesus and deny God. There are global media corporations, government schools and universities that promote the theory of evolution and mock religion. Despite this seeming overwhelming force against God the choice is still the same, it’s a choice of heaven or hell, whether you believe it or not.

The stakes are high because we all face judgment and then eternity in a new heaven and earth with your Creator God or eternity in hell without Him.

 

THE BIBLE: the only basis for objective morality

Ten Commandments

THE MORAL PRINCIPLES THAT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED AS SELF EVIDENT AND WHICH FORM THE BASIS OF OUR LAW CODES WERE DERIVED FROM THE BIBLE.

WESTERN SOCIETY TRADITIONALLY HELD THE BIBLE AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS TO BE THE STANDARD OF HOW WE SHOULD ACT.

The Bible’s teachings and the concept of God as the moral law giver, became the overarching influence of our  western civilization. Sadly more and more people are totally ignorant of that fact and of what the Bible teaches. Whilst the Australian Federal Parliament is still opened with a reading of The Lord’s Prayer there is a strong move led by Greens Leader, Senator Richard di Natale to end the reading of prayers at the start of each sitting day. As the Bible (God’s Word) is increasingly marginalized (even in some churches), so is the Bible’s authority in areas such as morality. Young people in particular start to experience confusion regarding what used to be considered basic moral principles. Many have decided they can make up their own rules because there are no moral absolutes. This is exactly what a recent New York Times survey amongst young people reported. This is of course the logical moral outcome of the teaching of evolution and the survival of the fittest in our schools and universities.

If we want our children to be able to tell right from wrong, and to have an objective basis for doing so, the answer is a wholesale return to God’s Word as the authority in our lives. We need to be able to defend what we believe and trust the Bible in everything it teaches.

The falling away which we see happening in the world is prophetically revealed in the Bible so we shouldn’t be surprised. God is sovereign and He is working out His plans and purposes in the world. He has judged nations down through history and he is still doing so. Nations that reject God’s laws can expect His judgment. As reported on this website, Jonathan Cahn shows America has already received nine harbingers (warnings) from God and His judgment will only escalate unless the nation repents and turns back to God.

We are so blessed that our Heavenly Father has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell every born again believer to be our counsellor, comforter and teacher. God has a plan and purpose for each one of us and He will direct our paths if we allow Him – Lord, not my will, but Your will be done today, needs to be our daily prayer.

May the fruit of the Holy Spirit be evident in our lives: love, joy, peace, faith, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness and self control and may the gifts of the spirit be flowing in our churches so we start impacting the world for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

 

Roman Catholic Ireland has just voted to legalize Gay Marriage.

Did gay deviant priests bring this debacle upon the Irish people?

Supporters celebrate outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on Saturday.

Supporters celebrate outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on Saturday. Photo: AFP
NEWS BRIEF: “Church unnerved by Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ ” Sky News, Australia, 25 May 2015

“The once-dominant Catholic Church in Ireland is trying to come to terms with an overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage … the faithful attended mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape. ‘The Church has to find a new language which will be understood and heard by people,’ Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin told reporters after mass at the city’s St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

” ‘We have to see how is it that the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is not being received even within its own flock.’ ”

My wife exclaimed to me when she heard that Ireland had just voted to legalize gay marriage, “how could this happen in Catholic Ireland”?

The answer is both simple and profound. Ireland has lost so many tens of thousands of Catholic adherents for the same reason the Catholic Church the world over has lost so many — the scandal of gay deviant priests preying upon innocent children within the church has gotten so deep and so dreadful that families have been leaving in droves for years.

The pressure for Tony Abbott to legalize gay marriage is now increasing exponentially. After the Ireland announcement, listen to what the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who is in favour of marriage equality, said, “Mr Abbott now needs explain why the Government is unwilling to pursue the change. If the Irish people can vote in favour of marriage equality, the question has to be asked, what is Tony Abbott’s problem with it?” he said. “Most places in the world are dealing with marriage equality, why is Tony Abbott stopping Australia becoming a more modern nation?”

The world is quickly shedding God’s moral standards and sadly so much of the church no longer holds to God’s Word as TRUTH and it is infallible/inerrant. As a result, many church denominations have accepted gay marriage, gay priests along with other heresies.

Those nations, such as the U.S.A, that legalized abortion and have progressively taken God out its life, which now includes embracing gay marriage, are already under God’s judgment but don’t recognize it, and that judgment is set to escalate – see my posts on Jonathan Cahn, God’s prophet to America.

Prophesied last days events are unfolding rapidly, people who don’t know God and His Word will be shattered as it becomes obvious that governments are no longer in control and anarchy abounds.

I believe, it will be opportunity time for Christians as we understand what is happening. If we stay close to God, and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our activities, His church will bear much fruit in these last days.

The Only Gateway to a Relationship with your Creator

Jesus on Cross

Belief in Jesus as Saviour is the only gateway to a relationship with God.

“Jesus  said to Thomas, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6.

This connection with Jesus (our Lord and Saviour) through faith brings forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and a friendship with God – surely the ultimate goal of every person.

Marijuana is widely regarded as a “gateway” drug, which leads some users to experiment with more serious drugs. In a similar way, every time we commit a “gateway” sin, our sin often leads us to engage in other types of sinful behaviour.

Sin becomes a gateway for the human soul to receive “the stuff of hell” rather than “the stuff of heaven” A sinful thought makes it easier to spend more time dwelling on unholy things. Sinful words make it easier to become even more unrighteous in the way we speak. And sinful deeds become a gateway to various types of sinful behaviour.

In that sense , we never really live a “neutral” spiritual life even for a moment. We are either “flowing down the river” of sinful desires, or we are flowing in the wellspring of God’s living water. And the most miserable people on the planet are those who know the Lord, and yet still pursue sins with premeditation. It feels like you are trying to go in two opposite directions. No wonder such behaviour produces deep agony and restlessness within the soul of a believer.

“1. Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2. Blessed is the man to whom Jehovah does not charge iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. 3. When I kept silence, my bones became old through my roaring all day long. 4. For by day and by night Your hand was heavy on me; my sap is turned into the drought of summer.” Psalm 32:1-4

In your life today, what is the direction of the spiritual flow?  Do you find yourself diving into those things which God forbids? Or are you enjoying what the Holy Spirit is producing in your heart as a child of God? Where do you find your joy? Is your soul flowing in the direction of sin, or in the direction of God’s will?  Most of us experience the power and flow of the Holy Spirit, as well as the reality of sinful desires. In fact, they are in conflict with each other (see Galatians 5:17). And yet, the victory is ours through Jesus. We are forgiven, and we are motivated by the Holy Spirit to do those things which please the Lord.

True and noble spirituality isn’t merely about what you did yesterday, or what you want to do tomorrow. It’s about the flow right now, in this moment. As we keep our hearts and lives open to the working of the Holy Spirit , our spiritual lives will flow in the direction of peace and righteousness in Christ.

No matter how you slice it. God’s way is the only gateway which leads to soul satisfaction and eternal life.

Extract from article by Pastor Dan Delzell, Why Every Sin is a ‘Gateway’ Sin in The Christian Post.