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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8 am service, 2007-08-12

Text: Romans 1:18-27

Our scripture text shows the extent of corruption that sin has caused in man. Verse 21 tells us how sin has changed man's knowledge of God 'when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations.' Verse 25 goes on to show how sin has changed man's worship of God 'changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.' And verses 26 and 27 describe the terrible effect of sin on a particular gift that man has received from God - The gift of human sexuality. It has brought about a very radical change to this gift, a change of one's natural affections - a change to that which is against nature!

Human sexuality is actually one of God's most delightful gifts to man. But please remember that this joy is reserved only for those who carefully follow the 'Divine Manufacturer's instructions.' It becomes sinful when people fail to follow the instructions that God has given for its proper use. Today, sexual sin has become a universal problem. People everywhere have sexual desires that are sinful, unnatural and distorted, resulting in immoral relationships like adultery, fornication, prostitution, promiscuous relationships and homosexuality. These, in turn have resulted in sexually transmitted diseases, broken homes, broken families, unwed mothers, and abortions.

The only remedy for all these awful effects of sexual sin is to return to the biblical teaching of Sex and Marriage. We need this more than ever before because of all that is happening in our present time. The Bible teaches that only married couples may have a sexual relationship. This is spelled out clearly in Hebrews 13:4 'Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.' Please note that the word 'bed' here is translated from the Greek word 'koite' which actually refers to sexual relations. God wants us to know that any sexual activity outside marriage is unacceptable in His sight and merits His judgment.

Marriage was designed by God to be a monogamous, permanent, and heterosexual relationship. Listen to what our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 19:4,5 'Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?'

The first thing we observe in God's design for marriage is that it must be monogamous, i.e. only one partner and no more. However, after the fall, the sins of bigamy, polygamy and polyandry soon began to appear. Lamech (Genesis 4:19) had two wives. Today the same thing still happens. Recently a Malaysian man married 2 women at the same time!

The second thing we see in the God's design for marriage is that it has to be a permanent relationship that lasts until death comes. Jesus Himself emphasised this in Matthew 19:6 'What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.' Therefore, husband and wife must both be fully committed to be faithful and loyal to each other for life. Both must take their wedding vows seriously and keep them until death.

Now here comes an interesting question: What if a partnership is monogamous, and permanent but it is not a heterosexual relationship? Can such a union ever be accepted and blessed by the Lord? No, God rejects it, because it is a sinful relationship - and this should also be our own attitude towards homosexual relationships. However, attitudes toward homosexuality have changed drastically within the last 40 years. 

The Changing attitudes toward Homosexuality

Before 1967 Homosexuality was a crime called sodomy and was punishable by law. Then those who followed Sigmund Freud reduced it to a mental illness. By the 70s and 80s it was held to be attributed to environmental conditioning. E.g. A family with an overprotective mother and a hostile or distant father predisposes the children to it. Later on it became a normal alternative, like being left-handed. And finally today it is advocated by some as a preferred way of life to provide the highest form of loving relationships and the best means of population control. 

In former days homosexuals were very discreet about their sexual orientation. But things have changed. They are no longer ashamed to make their sexual orientation known to the whole world - even holding hands in public like this couple, or participating in a Gay Pride parade like this couple. They call this 'coming out.' Even famous people unashamedly confess that they are gay - movie stars, actors, musicians, congressmen, writers, dancers, sportsmen - giving homosexuals a new respectable image. One of them is this well-known singer, Elton John.

Within the last 7 years same-sex marriages have been legalized in 5 countries (Holland, Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa) and recognized in 3 countries (Israel, Aruba and Antilles). And some churches are now conducting gay weddings. God forbid that this should ever happen here in Life Church! 

One by one the mainline churches in America are favouring the ordination of practicing homosexuals. The first to do this was the United Church of Christ. In November 2003, an Anglican homosexual priest named Gene Robinson was ordained as the Bishop of New Hampshire in the U.S. He had been having a sexual relationship with his male partner, Mark Andrews for 13 years.

The gay movement is now a very visible, powerful force that is seeking recognition. They are rallying to demand the authorities to spend more tax money on AIDS research. Why? It is because this illness affects them more than anyone else. They are also lobbying for legal action against discrimination. They want to have the right to adopt children. Recently some Catholic Church leaders in Britain announced that they are closing down their 7 adoption agencies because of a new law that makes it a criminal offence to refuse to help gay couples adopt a child.

They also want children in schools to be taught that homosexual relations are normal. I recently heard that one school in Singapore invited someone to speak about their alternative lifestyle. They want their books promoting their lifestyle to be included in public libraries. Here is a children's storybook entitled King & King. It tells the story of a prince who rejects three princesses before falling in love and marrying another prince.

How about homosexuality in Singapore? The gay movement here is very active and gaining momentum. They are trying to make our city a key holiday destination for homosexual tourists. And gays in Thailand are worried that they may lose plenty of pink dollars if Singapore overtakes them as the gay capital of Asia. Gays in Singapore are trying hard to have section 377A of the penal code repealed because it criminalises homosexual acts.

Just two months ago this article appeared in the newspaper, entitled 'What price the pink dollar?' It was about the debate on whether homosexuality should be legalised here in order to attract the foreign talent our country needs. This issue cropped up when a very prominent minister said, at a youth forum in April, that 'Singapore may eventually have to legalise homosexuality, particularly if it wants to foster creativity and become more cosmopolitan; They tell me that homosexuals are creative writers, dancers; If we want creative people, then we have to put up with their idiosyncrasies' A recent survey of 300 people living in HDB flats showed that 11.3 % agreed that homosexuality should be legalized here. Another 26 % neither agree nor disagree. This means that more than a third of heart-landers are not against legalizing homosexuality. Now that we have seen how attitudes to homosexuality have changed within the last 4 decades, let us consider:

What Causes Homosexuality?

The gay movement claims that it is due to inborn genetic traits that one cannot be held responsible for. It is therefore harmful to suppress one's natural homosexual inclinations. But medical research has failed to find any evidence for this. In 1993 a paper published in a scientific journal claimed the discovery of a 'gay gene.' But the study by Simon LeVay and Dean H. Hamer has been discredited. So far, all studies fail to show any link between homosexuality and genetics.

It is now known today that it is a socially learned response. Studies from universities such as John Hopkins Schools of Medicine and the Albert Einstein School of Medicine point to environmental factors as a major cause of homosexuality. The Bible gives us the complete picture: It is the result of man's depraved sinful nature interacting with a sinful social environment. 

And gays are responsible for giving unlimited expression to their sinful nature instead of choosing to subdue it. They want to wallow in their sin, just like these people who find so much delight in wallowing in mud. Before we were saved we too were once wallowing in our sins until God's Word revealed to us that what we were doing is sinful and we must repent. How can we now help them to realize how sinful homosexuality really is? There are at least 7 ways to show them from the Bible that homosexuality is a sin:

1. It violates God's design in marriage: He made Adam and Eve (not Adam and Steve!), male and female, and married them. Genesis 1:27,28 'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them, And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.' When I solemnize weddings in Life Church, I state the 3 purposes of marriage - which are mutual companionship, procreation, and to avoid sexual sin. If a pastor were to solemise a same-sex marriage he would have to leave procreation out. Couples of such marriages can't possibly be fruitful and multiply, and if the future of the human race depended on same-sex marriages extinction is certain! 

2. It undermines what God has ordained to be the basic unit of society: The Family. One verse that defines the family unit is Exodus 20:12 'Honour thy father and thy mother' This is the fifth commandment and it shows that every child has a responsibility toward 2 important people in his or her life: Father and Mother. Each of them contributes to the nurture of the child in different ways. Study after study has proven that children normally thrive in a household with both mother and father. They combine to give children a balanced upbringing that will help them for the rest of their lives. 

But if a homosexual couple were to adopt and raise up a child together, they obviously can only fulfill the role of either father or mother, but not both. And when the child grows up into adulthood we wonder what kind of choice he will make regarding marriage since he grew up in such a different home environment? 

3. It is unnatural Romans 1:26-27 'For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly,..' This verse speaks of both gays and lesbians, and describes their sexual activity as being 'against nature' and 'changing or leaving the natural use.' This completely removes any possibility of a genetic basis for homosexuality, because all that is expressed in nature comes from the genes. Thus according to God's Word, all human beings are genetically and naturally heterosexual beings.

The 3 points that we have seen thus far have only shown that homosexuality deviates from the natural and established order in marriage, in family life and in nature itself. But some may then say that such deviations do not necessarily make it sinful, because things that are new and deviant may sometimes prove to be an improvement over the natural order (and evolutionists will make a big thing out of this!). The remaining 4 points will show that this is not the case.

4. It is an abomination to God. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 - 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination; If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.' Those guilty of homosexual sins were to be put to death. Because it is such an abomination to God,

5. It brought God's fiery judgment upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 19:4-5 'But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.'

There are people who claim that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah not because of their homosexual activities but because the people were inhospitable to the angels. This claim is silenced by Jude 7 'Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.'

6. It is condemned by the Law of God. 1 Timothy 1:8-10 - 'the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine'

7. It excludes those who indulge in it from God's Kingdom. (SLIDE 56) 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 'Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.' The term 'effeminate' (Greek: malakos) literally means 'soft' refers to homosexual who has the passive role. The phrase 'abusers of themselves with mankind' (Greek: arsenokoites) literally means those who go to bed with males, and it refers to the partner who takes the active role in the homosexual relationship. Both types of homosexuals are excluded from God's kingdom, because they are indulging in an activity that was only meant for a heterosexual relationships within marriage.

Some may then ask: Since according to the Bible, marriage must be heterosexual, can the problem of homosexuals then be solved by changing the sex of one partner? If there are 2 males one of them can change into a female. And if there are 2 females in a homosexual relationship one of them can become a male in order to have a heterosexual marriage. Some have in fact opted for this. This is now possible with modern advances made by science. Men can be physically transformed into women, and women can be physically transformed into men. Those who are in favour of such change say, 'This is my own body, this is my life: I have the right to do whatever I like with it.' There are at least 3 important reasons why sexual reassignment is an unacceptable solution.

a. The Bible says that your body is not your own but God's. 1 Corinthians 6:19 'What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?' 

b. Since God assigned your gender to you, it is His will for you to be that way and to remain that way. God never makes mistakes. To change one's sex is, in effect, saying, 'God, you have made a great mistake, and now I have to correct it for you.' This is contrary to what David wrote in Psalm 139:14,16 'I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. - Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written.' 

c. Wanting a gender which is not God's will for you is to commit the sin of covetousness. Ephesians 5:3 'But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints'

Since sexual reassignment is not an option for a homosexual is there any hope for him to be made right with God? Yes, we want to emphasize that there is abundant hope for homosexuals if they are willing to repent of their sin and turn to Christ for salvation. Christ's power is available to those who sincerely want to change. Many have reported success in putting away their sinful past life. Some are even married and have children. Stephen Bennett, a former homosexual, testifies that his life was wonderfully changed through the power of Jesus Christ. Another former gay person testified: 'For many years I thought I was gay. I finally realised I was not a homosexual, but really a heterosexual man with a homosexual problem.'

For this reason we should not hate homosexuals or shun them. We should love them and reach out to them with the Gospel. They are sinners who need salvation and can be saved by Christ. In John 8 we are told that a woman who was caught in adultery was brought to Christ. What did Jesus say to her after all the accusers had left? Verse 11 'Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.' This should be our attitude to the homosexual. We must fully accept the homosexual sinner who does not justify his sinful behaviour but confesses it and seeks God's deliverance from it. May this message of deliverance from God be lovingly proclaimed to all sinners not only those who are homosexual but also to those who are not.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25