Testifying to the good news of God’s grace

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve had some Crosspointers ask what our response is to the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.  If you’re connected to social media in some way, you’ve seen it blow up in a sense over these couple weeks.  I wrote another blog post regarding social media, unity and our testimony here.  Sometimes, I choose not to be quick to the trigger and be so reactive to hot buttons in culture.  Or at least I desire to be delayed in my response, after the initial dust has settled.  I think there is some wisdom in that (Proverbs 12:18, 29:20).  And yet, you and I live out our faith in the context of the culture.  And as a pastor, I desire that we would not separate faith and life, but we’d continually be wrestling with applying Scripture to our daily lives and what it looks like to be in the world, but not of the world (John 17:13-19).

There have been a multitude of blog posts written on this subject.  And of those, here are a few that I’d recommend if you haven’t ran across them.

My desire in writing yet another is not to try and shepherd the nation nor the multitudes.  My desire is to shepherd the local church that I call home, Crosspoint.  A church that I dearly love.  So with that in mind, here are a handful of thoughts Crosspoint family.  None of which are incredibly profound, but I hope they will be an encouragement and challenge to you.

The ruling was disappointing, but not surprising.  This has been the direction our nation has been headed, with some states, including our own, legalizing same-sex marriage already.  It is sad to see our nation reject the truth of God’s Word and His design, and yet, the Bible never promises that our governments will support the values and things of God.  As you read the New Testament, often times the context of the culture is hostile or not accepting of Christianity, and yet the church grew (Acts 12:24), and the witness of the church drew people to faith in Christ.

The Supreme Court might’ve changed the law, but it does not dictate what we believe or teach as a church.  We still hold to the Biblical teaching that marriage is to be between a husband and wife (Genesis 1:24-25), and sex is to be reserved for the boundaries of a marriage.  That outside of those parameters is sexual sin, whether it be adultery, lust, fornication, cohabitation (living together prior to marriage), homosexuality, etc. (1 Corinthians 6:9-20).

Our mission still remains the same as a church.  To go and make disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).  We are to be ambassadors of Christ, and His Good News (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).  So our enemy is not against flesh and blood, and our enemy is not the LGBT community, but our enemy is the devil (Ephesians 6:12).  So we continue to walk by faith and not by fear, and we continue to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6), and that the Gospel is the power to save us (Romans 1:16).  We desire to be like Jesus who was full of grace and truth (John 1:14, 17).

The pursuit and practice of homosexuality is a sin according to Scripture, but not ‘the’ sin (Romans 1:24-32).  Unfortunately, as Christians we sometimes imply that though, when we blow up about this subject, but then are quiet or accepting when it comes to areas such as other types of sexual sin, racism, gossip, pride, greed, deceit, hate, idolatry, unbelief, selfishness, etc.  Sins that maybe we struggle with, but it is easier to go after ones we don’t.  I’ve always loved 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and how it lists several sins and ways that we reject God’s plan and design, and yet it is a reminder that in Christ we have a new identity, a new purpose, a new heart, and a new life!  So if we’ve repented and believed the Good News, if we are following and trusting in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our past sin, and even our current temptations don’t have to define us.  But Christ does now.  We’ve been washed, sanctified and justified in Jesus.  We’ve been shown the abundant mercy and grace of God.  Praise God!

In the past couple weeks, many people have referenced Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1, ‘Do not judge.’  Back on May 31, I preached on Matthew 7:1-6 as a part of our series, ‘Jesus Said What?’  If you missed it, I’d encourage you to listen to it or watch it.

As Christ followers, while we can’t change the ruling of the Supreme Court, here are some things we can do:

Whether we are married or single, we can pursue to live a sexually pure and God-glorifying life, both publically and privately.  So if you’re married, we can pursue to have a marriage that is Christ-centered and God-glorifying.  Husbands and wives, we can fight the temptations of lust and adultery, which are both devastating to families and lives and our testimony to the world.  If we are single, we can avoid sexual sin, and flee temptation.  As God’s people, we seek to walk in the light (1 John 1:5-7).

We can continue to grow to love God and love others as our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-40).  DA Carson said this as it related to Matthew 7, and yet also to how we love those around us.  He said, “Jesus does insist that when His disciples follow his instruction and make evaluations and judgments, they must do so without cheap criticism of others – a notoriously difficult requirement.  There must be no condescension, no double-standard, no sense of superiority, no patronizing sentimentality.  Christians are never more than poor beggars telling other poor beggars where there is bread.  This humble tone ought to characterize all Christian witness.”  And such a tone often proves to be difficult to convey through social media.  So don’t let your tone be characterized by anger, but rather one of love.

We can continue to be salt and light, and let both our words and our way of life, lead people to Jesus (Matthew 5:13-16).  We can seek to live out 1 Peter 4:2-6.  It says this, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

We can reject the temptation to make the Gospel about moralism and simply our outward behavior (Galatians 2:16).  We do that though, when we expect those who are unbelievers to act like believers.  Or when we imply that we got into the Kingdom through our good behavior, rather than speaking of our sin and the grace and mercy we have been shown.  Instead, we must proclaim that the Gospel is about Jesus getting a hold of our hearts internally first.  It is about surrender, humility, and understanding that even though we have sinned against a holy God, we’ve been shown mercy and grace through the cross and resurrection.  Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Finally, we can pray for our nation’s leaders and honor them (1 Peter 2:11-17, Romans 13:1-7).

Crosspoint family, today is the day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)!  God is still on His throne, and He’s still ruling and reigning.  He’s still drawing people to Himself.  He’s still transforming us and showing us abundant grace.  And He’s still calling us to testify to this incredible life changing, eternity changing, Gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24).