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.

FORMER LGBTQ CHRISTIANS JOURNEY TO FREEDOM IN JESUS

Today’s culture tells people who are homosexual there is no other way and there is no ‘cure,’ but Christians who were once LGBTQ have a different story to tell. And they’re telling it in a new documentary.

Men and women who once embraced gay relationships and transgender identities bravely share how their lives and their sense of self completely changed after coming to meet Jesus.

Just some of the ex-LGBTQ Christians sharing their story in the upcoming ‘Here’s My Heart’ documentary are Brooklyn Wojo, who identified as lesbian aged 12 and transgender at the age of 18, before meeting Christ and being born again.

Kaya Brown, 22, was homosexual for 10 years and struggled with gender confusion during that time until she had a powerful encounter with Jesus on her grandmother’s living room sofa.

Ieacha Lusk was a lesbian for 19 years and homeless for 12 years before God removed her desire for another woman in 2015.

Casual gay sex, drinking and clubbing were all the norm for Davon Johnson before starting his own spiritual quest into his sexual identity and landing at the feet of Jesus.  Today he is a minister and husband.

Joshua Buchanan spent his high school years feeling confused about his sexual identity before fully embracing the homosexual lifestyle at community college. He tried drugs, partying and homosexual relationships before hitting rock bottom in 2009 when he was diagnosed with HIV. That’s when he started going to church and met God in a magnificent way before fully accepting Christ into his life at an altar call. His identify was never the same again and he went on to graduate from Heritage Bible College with a degree in Worship & Music.

The documentary is being put together by MJ Nixon, author of The Journey Back Home and a member of the Refuge Ranch Atlanta deliverance ministry.

She’s not documenting these powerful stories as an outside observer; rather she herself also struggled with same gender attraction before experiencing a fundamental change in her heart after meeting Jesus.

‘The Lord started showing me all these people that I knew in the different groups and communities that I’ve been a part of in the last six years since I’ve been saved,’ she told The Activist Mommy.

‘All these men and women who have powerful testimonies of only the power of God being able to set them free from being transgender, being bisexual, being homosexual.’

She has so many hopes for her documentary. One of them is, of course, to give a witness to the power of Christ.

But that’s not all, though; she also wants to ‘equip the body of Christ on how to minister more respectfully to the LGBT community.’

And importantly, she wants the documentary to minister to those within the church who deny that homosexuality is a sin.

‘What I have found is that one of the hardest groups to reach is the Christians who believe it is OK to live this lifestyle and love Jesus,’ she said.

‘I look at Romans 1:26 I cannot deny that this is unnatural. No matter how much I try to justify it, it’s unnatural. When God showed me the truth of His Word, it set me free. And I couldn’t look at it and say ‘no God, I wanna live the way I wanna live.’

extracted from article by Rachel Howard in Christian Post

PLEASE SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY, PLAINLY AND WITH LOVE

A MESSAGE FOR ALL CHRISTIAN LEADERS: Let us stop dancing around the greatest spiritual and moral challenge of this generation, and let us do the right thing, regardless of cost or consequence. We owe it to God. We owe it our kids and grand-kids. And we owe it to those who identify as LGBT, says Dr Michael Brown host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program

Let us stop dancing around the greatest spiritual and moral challenge of this generation, and let us do the right thing, regardless of cost or consequence. We owe it to God. We owe it our kids and grandkids. And we owe it to those who identify as LGBT.

At this critical time in history, we’ve got no business dancing around these life-and-death issues, issues which affect people we love. We’ve got no business playing games with words, trying to be so subtle that no one understand us, working so hard not to offend that we fail to warn and save. We’ve got no business being unclear when God’s Word is so clear, and we’ve got no business calling ourselves representatives of Jesus when our hearts don’t flow with His love.

Just consider what’s happening in our society today.

Drag queens are reading stories to our two-year-old children in libraries.

Kindergarteners are learning about being trans.

Middle-schoolers are encouraged to come out as gay without their parents knowing. College students have to share their PGPs (Preferred Gender Pronouns) at the start of each semester (as in, “I’m Shannon, and my preferred gender pronouns are ze and zir.”).

Business colleagues have lost their livelihoods because they could not in good conscience participate in a same-sex “wedding.”

And we’re afraid to be direct and clear because we don’t want to offend someone? How is that strategy working?

In Ontario, if your child identifies as transgender and you don’t affirm and support them, they can report you to their school, which can report you to the government, and your child can be taken from you to be raised by others. This is now the law in Ontario!

Yet we’re afraid that if we speak up we’ll lose some tithing members? What kind of compromise is this? Are we mercenaries or are we men and women of God?

Things have gotten to the point where boys and men are competing against girls and women, smashing records and winning competitions because they identify as females. But we don’t want to rock the boat just in case one of our friends or family members is transgender.

How about speaking the truth in love – with tears, with compassion, and with care, but without compromise? True compassion is not silent. True compassion warns.

There’s a reason some of us have been sounding the alarm for years, despite the vilification that comes our way and despite the doors of ministry that shut in our face. We’ve seen where this was going and we’ve known that the price to pay for silence is much greater than the price to pay for obedience. Do we still not see the handwriting on the wall?

Our society is now celebrating menstruating “men” and glorifying pregnant “dads”who plan to breastfeed their kids, yet we don’t want to rock the boat. My friend, the boat is ready to capsize!

One California college is dealing with a credible threat of violence from a 46-year-old male student who identifies as a woman and is upset because there are no urinals in the women’s restrooms. As a local website reports, “She also noted how walking around on Southwestern’s campus in a bra or panties for three days has opened her eyes to having the brain of a woman…but having male anatomy.”

This is sickness and madness, yet rather than raise our voices like a trumpet and teach clearly about gender and sexuality and marriage, we retreat behind our safe sermons and soft words. In the process, we hurt people far more than we help them.

I was speaking at a conference last year when the conference organizer stated that a famous American pastor now supported same-sex “marriage.” Because I had this pastor’s contact information, I texted him, asking him how he would respond. He replied, “I don’t support this. Please ask him to correct it.”

I was glad he responded like this, but that only begged the question. Why was there any confusion to start? Why did the conference organizer, himself a careful theologian, get this pastor’s position so wrong?

Some of you are loud and clear when speaking about these issues in private but warm and fuzzy when speaking about them in public. To what purpose? To help whom?

I fully understand that most of us these days have loved ones who identify as LGBT, and we care for them deeply. As expressed very powerfully in a blog post by Rebecca K. Reynolds, “There’s a huge difference between speaking of gay people categorically and speaking of your gay friend, Christine, who was brutally abused by her uncle for two decades and now feels nauseated every time she smells a man. It might be possible for me to walk with an evangelical swagger and act like an expert when postulating about the first category, but the second is a real person whose story brings me to my knees.”

That is a perspective we must carry in our hearts, and when people ask me about me about reaching out to the LGBT community, the first thing I tell them is to ask God for a supernatural baptism of love for them. Love reflects the heart of God. Love reflects the life and death of our Savior. Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).

But love doesn’t compromise. If it did, it would no longer be love. That’s why Reynolds could also write, “Do I think sex outside of marriage is wrong? Absolutely. Do I believe in the sanctity of male-female marriage? Yes.

“Do I also sometimes kneel beside my bed and weep for my abused friends by name–friends who seek relief in ways that don’t align with God’s word? Yes. I do.”

Oh, that all of us would have such hearts!

And that brings me to the last reason why we must speak the truth in love to our congregations and followers.

If we don’t lovingly warn that gay couple in our church about the wrongness of their relationship, we have their blood on our hands.

If we don’t tell that lesbian-identified teenager that God did not make her gay, offering her real hope in Jesus, we are contributing to her demise.

If we don’t urge that husband not to leave his wife and have sex-change surgery, telling him we’ll get in the trenches and stand with him for his marriage, he can point to us on judgment day: “They never told me it was wrong!”

So, I’m pleading with you as a fellow-leader and fellow-elder and fellow-servant. Let us stop dancing around the greatest spiritual and moral challenge of this generation, and let us do the right thing, regardless of cost or consequence. We owe it to God. We owe it our kids and grandkids. And we owe it to those who identify as LGBT.

Just this week I received an email from a woman named Nadia who used to be “married” to another woman. She wrote, “Hi Dr. Brown! First I want to thank you for having the courage to speak the truth in love on various unpopular topics, especially marriage and sexuality. Your teaching helped me find freedom in my own life.”

Let us help others find freedom as well, the freedom that comes by knowing the truth (see John 8:31-32).

So from the depth of my heart, in the strongest way I know, I urge you once more: Please join me in speaking the truth in love. The Father will be glad as you do.

Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

 

PERSECUTION IN THE “LAST DAYS” FOR PROCLAIMING TRUTH

Three Christian street evangelists are standing trial on Thursday (February 23rd, 2017) at the Bristol Magistrates’ Court in the U.K., facing public order offences for preaching the “uniqueness of Jesus Christ” and challenging homosexuality and the teachings of Islam.

Isis beheading 21 coptic Christians

Note the three issues: I contend they are clearly issues Jesus spoke of as “end times” indicators. 1. uniqueness of Jesus Christ, 2. challenging homosexuality and 3. Islam (greatest Antichrist religion – God has no Father, God has no Son, Ishmael is the heir of Abraham).

Are we preparing for Jesus return? Is the church prepared for increasing persecution?  “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9. The beheading of Christians by ISIS in the Middle East and elsewhere, “all these are the beginning of sorrows”. Matthew 24:8.

Christian Concern has reported that Michael Overd, Adrian Clark and Michael Stockwell were accused by police of “challenging Islam” and “challenging homosexuality” for their preaching at a Bristol shopping area in July 2016.

The evangelists reportedly engaged with the crowd and pointed out the differences between Islam and Christianity, using references from the Bible and the Quran to speak of “God’s love, and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.”

persecution-in-these-last-daysMike Overd, a street evangelist and client of the British group Christian Legal Centre in the U.K. (seen in this undated photo), has been charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act with “causing offence” for public remarks where he drew a comparison between Jesus Christ and Muhammad, September 2014.

Overd was also charged in 2014 for “causing offence” when he publicly denounced the Islamic  prophet Muhammad for marrying a 9-year-old girl, and was subsequently interrupted by a police officer and forcefully removed from the area.

The officer at the scene accused Overd and his friends of purposefully trying to agitate the crowd, arguing that the preacher has “gone over the top” and “he’s just wound up people.”

The evangelists were taken to Patchway Custody Center in Bristol and held for several hours, after which they were charged under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Public Order Act 1986.

The three men are arguing that their freedom of speech and freedom of religion are being violated, and insisted that all they were doing was sharing the teachings of the Bible and responding to questions from the crowd.

“Mr Overd and his friends are motivated by love. They want to share the Good News of Jesus with people who might not otherwise hear it. Sometimes that means addressing the false claims of other religions or ideologies,” said Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre. “Robust debate is sometimes necessary, especially when objections are being raised or abuse hurled. We shouldn’t be afraid of it,” Williams added. “The aggressive treatment of Overd and his friends by the police and prosecution is shocking. The police should be defending freedom of speech, not clamping down on it.” Williams further argued that being “offensive” is a subjective accusation, as it goes down to people’s individual viewpoints. “This was not just an attack on freedom of speech but an abuse of power. We will not only be seeking the acquittal of these Christian men but seeking an apology from the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset police, compensation and assurances that officers are better trained to protect freedom of expression,” she continued.
“We cannot allow the Gospel to be shut out of public debate. Please pray for a successful outcome to this important case,” she added.