Saturday, April 30, 2016

GO: You Don't Need Permission When You've Been Called (7 Lessons We Can Learn From Paul)

When God calls you to do something, the correct answer is "Here I am Lord, send me." You don't need to wait for man's permission or to be sent by men when you've been commissioned and sent by God. Here are 7 important lessons we can learn from the Apostle Paul. (Acts 9-15 and Galatians 1-2)


1. YOU DON'T HAVE TO ASK MAN'S PERMISSION.
When Paul was saved the Bible says:

"IMMEDIATELY he preached God in the synagogues,” (Acts 9:20) 

There is no record of anyone inviting Paul to speak or giving him a platform for ministry. He just did it. He had the right of aliyah, that is, the right to ascend to the platform and bring the word of God. He just walked in like he owned the place because, as a child of God, he did!!! Paul didn't need man's permission, he had God's permission. 

2. DON'T WAIT.
Paul immediately began a 3 year ministry to Arabia and Damascus before he ever even met any of the church leaders. 

"When he who had set me apart before I was born and called me by His grace was pleased to reveal His Son to me, so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus." (Galatians 1:16-17) 

Paul did not wait to be sent because he had already been sent, into all the world, at the Great Commission. He already had permission and indeed, a divine mandate to go.


3. BE RELATIONAL (not dependant)
After his salvation, Paul met together with disciples in the area and was refreshed before beginning his first 3 years of ministry. 

"Then after 3 years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and remained with him 15 days. But I did not see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother." 

Paul met briefly with Peter and then immediately set off to minister in Syria and Cilica. He stayed connected to local churches, but his dependence was on God. He was not immediately accepted by some of the other disciples who were afraid to meet with him, so he moved on and was about the work of Jesus Christ. Psalm 133:1 says "How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity." Paul stayed connected throughout his ministry and grew in influence as he came into relationship and partnership with other believers. It was that desire for connection that led to his writing of certain letters....

4. YOU ARE ANOINTED. The moment we are saved, we receive the Holy Spirit. We are anointed. Paul did not need the disciples or any leader to recognize his anointing and sanction his ministry. 

"But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him." -1 John 2:27 

You don't need anyone to recognize your "anointing" just start walking it out. Let it sparkle and shine. Eventually they will figure it out.


5. SEEK WISE COUNSEL. After 17 years of ministry, a serious problem arose and Paul went to Jerusalem where he refused to submit to the Jewish leaders for even a moment. He did speak with the Christian leaders  and apostles who FINALLY extended the right hand of fellowship to him, accepted him as a brother and FINALLY recognized his ministry and calling. Paul mentions that they did not add anything to him. He met with them as an equal, though he humbled himself to explain what he had been teaching so they could verify. (Galatians 2, Acts 15) Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to give up meeting together. Paul could easily have been discouraged by the fear so many had of him and given up meeting together with other believers, but instead he built his ministry around the local church and stayed connected to other believers.  



6. TRUTH BRINGS UNITY: After all those years, Paul was finally accepted. But Satan was moving against the church with false teaching and the old religious elite were trying to gain a foothold into the church. After finally being accepted, one of the first things that God called Paul to do was to rebuke Peter for refusing to eat with Gentiles.

"When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned." 

Peter was afraid of men and he and others were cowtowing to the circumcision party putting the law above grace. His was teaching wrongly by his actions. Paul risked the disapproval of the apostles, but truly, he acted as a real brother to restore Peter to what he should be and to maintain the unity of the church by preaching the gospel correctly and clearly. He valued God's word above man's approval and the unity of the church was saved from the divisiveness of incorrect behavior and wrong teaching that was pulling Barnabbas and even Peter and the other apostles away from the truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and true unity can only come through the truth. In today's church, Paul might be called "divisive," or "troublemaker," for disagreeing with an apostle, but nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture makes it clear that the divisive person teaches false doctrine and the peacemaker holds firmly to the word of truth. (Romans 16:17-18, Titus 1:9-14) Paul's stance stopped Satan in his tracks. These teachings had caused a sharp divide among the early disciples and the church and Paul's words will later show that in order to defeat Satan, we must be stubbornly kind and while remaining relentlessly dedicated to the truth: 

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."



7. GET GOING/KEEP ON KEEPIN ON. After all this, Paul set off on more missionary journeys and began writing letter....after letter...after letter....No matter what his position or circumstances were, his calling never changed. Keep on Keepin' on. 


What has God placed inside you that is burning to get out? The Waiting is over. It is time for Christians to stop waiting and develop a Holy sense of urgency. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says "Do not quench the Spirit." We must never let the disinterest of our peers, interference from opponents, the indifference of leadership to our calling or the denial of opportunity extinguish the light of our flame, causing us to give up or become complacent. It might take training, hard work, faithfulness and patience, but the time to begin is now. Let your light shine brightly. We have been clothed with power from on high. What are we waiting for? Let's GO!!!



Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chosen

It is a Beautiful thing to be adopted into a family, to be Chosen. That word, Chosen, or Elect, is a Beautiful, Comforting word. It is also one of the most misunderstood, misused and abused terms in the Bible. In the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as God’s special, Chosen people. The New Testament says that those who believe are the True sons of Abraham and calls upon all people everywhere to repent and be saved. Now anyone, from any nation, can willingly choose to accept Jesus as their Messiah, their Savior, and become part of God’s Elect, His special Chosen people. God's method of choosing His people is to love us first and then to adopt those who willingly choose to love Him back into His family. It is a beautiful thing to be adopted into a family, to be CHOSEN, and I can promise every one of you with 100% certainty, that God has chosen you, He is offering you salvation and the opportunity to become part of His family, one of His Elect, His special Chosen people, but you have to accept His love. It is your choice to accept His offer to be adopted into the family of God or to reject it and choose Satan and destruction by default. Do you believe it? Do you trust Jesus? Before time began God made the choice to love you, to offer you forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus. Have you made the choice to love Him back? He is waiting with open arms.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

God Talks During The Test (And So Can We)

Have you ever gone through a hard time of testing and had difficulty discerning God's will or hearing from Him? I sure have. I've heard people say things like "The teacher never talks during the test," but that is not what the Bible says. When we receive the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts, He becomes our Guide, but fear, anxiety and frustration can make it hard to hear that still small voice inside. My goal is to help each reader learn to use 5 simple steps to hear God better.

First, let's start by taking a look at God's promises to help us. The Holy Spirit is called our Paraklete, our counselor, helper and guide. This word is a legal term that describes a counselor who comes alongside us to give advice and help us through difficult situations.

Proverbs 3:5-6 promises us that God will lead us:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (or make it straight). 

John 16:13 shows us that the Holy Spirit serves as our guide, fulfilling this promise:
When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever he hears He will speak and will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 14:26 show us how the Holy Spirit reminds us of the things we need to know and helps us to remember Scripture to make it through tough times and difficult decisions:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Not only does He speak to us and guide us, but the Bible says that He specifically does so in the very worst times of trial and in the most serious moment of need:
But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. -Matthew 10:19

When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." -Luke 12:11-12

This poor advice about God not speaking during our trials, our moments of testing, needs to be silenced. In addition to Matthew and Luke, Mark weighs in on this issue in chapter 13, verse 11:
And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 

God speaks during our test. But fear, panic, confusion, stress, all of these things make it hard to hear and to think clearly. The question is, what should we do when it is hard to hear Him? Hear are some practical steps to hear from God and discern His will.

1. Seek answers in His Word. If the Bible has a clear answer for your situation, follow it.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. -1 Timothy 3:16

God's Spirit and power is in His word and He speaks to us through it, so make good use of it.

2. Pray. Don't give up or give in. Keep talking to God. Keep the communication open.
Rejoice in Hope. Be patient in affliction/tribulation. Be Persistent in Prayer. -Romans 12:12

3. Seek Wise Counsel. Let others encourage you in difficult times. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says:
The one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding, encouragement and consolation

These 3 words in Greek are oikodome, paraklesis (like Paraklete--our helper) and paramuthios. They describe bringing a person peace, calming them down, helping them grow in wisdom and spiritual strength and providing counsel and guidance to help in a difficult situation. This is how the Holy Spirit speaks to us through others when we are having trouble hearing for ourselves.

4. Silence the Voice of the Enemy 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us that:
"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." 

The Old King James starts that verse saying to cast down or throw out imaginations. Fear and panic can mess with our heads. Don't let anxiety and frustration drown out that still small voice inside. We need to throw out negative thoughts that are full of doubt and speak over them with the Word of God.

5. Be Strong and At Peace Let faith calm your fears. Don't be troubled or afraid. Sometimes God speaks in a still small voice. Don't let that voice be drowned out by the raging waters of worry:

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them. For the it is Lord your God who goes with you. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. -Deuteronomy 31:6

Conclusion
That phrase, He will never leave you, nor forsake you, is repeated throughout Scripture from the Old Testament to the New.  God's faithfullness and steadfast love is one of the primary messages of the Bible. God will not abandon you in your test. Psalm 37:25 says:

I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.

If you are a believer, you are in a right standing with God and He will never forsake you. We are his children and God loves us. Not only does this verse speak of God meeting our physical needs, but Bread, in the Bible is what prophets were paid. "Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." We are God's children. His word is our daily bread. He will not deny us the opportunity to hear His voice. I have personally struggled with this. There have been times where there was so much stress, anxiety and upset feelings over so many things that it has been hard to hear God. But I know that He has not abandoned me. Spending time reading the Bible has really helped me to break through. This life is full of tests and the key to quieting our souls is to open our mouths in prayer and listen for God's answer. Read the word. Pray. Seek Wise Counsel. Silence the enemy. Be strong and at peace. And remember: Both Teacher and Student get to talk during this test. God will show you the way to go:

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. -Isaiah 30:21













Sunday, April 3, 2016

IDENTITY CRISIS: Created In The Image of God as Male and Female

A person’s sexual identity is a special gift from God. Every person is worthy of dignity, honor, kindness, compassion and respect. Genesis 1:27 tells us that “God created man in his own image…male and female he created them.” This identity as an image-bearer of God and as male and female is something that is coming under serious attack in our culture today, just as it was under attack in the first century when the New Testament was written. Jesus affirmed this teaching and added an endorsement of marriage as being between one man and one woman for life in Matthew 19:4-6:

“Haven’t you read?” He answered. “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female” and said “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh…Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate”

Sexuality is a deeply personal issue that affects every part of a person’s life. Intimacy within the context of marriage between one man and one woman is the only type of sexual relationship permitted by God, who designed our bodies. Since satan, who the Bible calls “the enemy of our soul,” so relentlessly attacks this area of sexual identity, it is worth examining the Scriptures to see what God’s word says on the subject. It is my sincere hope that by reading this paper, you will come to a better understanding of how God’s heart is turned toward people, looking for our good, in matters of sexuality and that you will be able to take steps to bring your life into alignment with God's word to live the happy, fulfilling life Jesus died for you to have.

God’s Protection

1Thessalonians chapter 4 shows us that it is God’s will that no person ever be harmed in any sexual way. Verse 3 reads “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; to abstain from porneai.” This word, porneai, refers to any sexual sin or sex crime. Clearly it is God’s will that no one ever commit such an act and that no one ever be hurt in this way. Verse 4 continues “to know, each of you, how to gain control over his own body in holiness and honor—not in the passion of lust like the pagans who do not know God.” This passage declares God’s blessing of self-control—which is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives (Galatians 5:23). It also shows that it is God’s will that no lustful or depraved desire which would cause harm or calamity to another person would be allowed to bear its evil fruit in our lives.  Verse 6 declares that no one should ever “overstep his brother or sister or take advantage of them in this matter.” These words, in Greek, describe any action that would deceive, mislead, cross boundaries, press an advantage, encroach upon, manipulate, coerce, force, rape, pressure or otherwise impose one’s will on another person, or that would cause them to sin or to make a bad decision. It is God’s will that we be protected from every type of sexual harm and the psychological and emotional trauma that follows.

What Else Does God Considers Sexual Sin?
Leviticus chapter 18 provides more information about what God considers to be sexual sin. It forbids sexual relations with close relatives and animals. It forbids sexual relations outside of marriage or with another person’s spouse. Song of Solomon 8:8 and Ezekiel 16:7 show that it is not appropriate to have sexual relations with someone who is underage.

Violating any of these principles is a serious sin, but this post was originally prepared for a class as a position paper to address homosexual sin in a compassionate and grace-filled way while holding to God's infallible and inerrant word as the standard of sexual conduct for our own good. In order to Biblically examine the LGBTQ agenda that is so prevalent in our society, I will maintain that aspect of the paper. We have also read that God does not want anyone to deceive their fellow man and this makes it necessary to address transvestite and transgender behaviors as well.

TRANS
A transvestite is someone who cross dresses like the opposite sex. A transgender person is someone who either wishes to become the opposite sex, or thinks they really are the opposite sex. This second situation is known clinically as gender dysmorphic disorder or gender dysphoria. Either way, our responsibility as Christians is to provide counseling and help. Deuteronomy 22:5 warns against cross dressing or trying to deceive someone sexually:

"A woman shall not put on a man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord."

Deception is lying. Satan is the father of all lies. God hates deception. It is wrong for someone who is clearly biologically male, or clearly biologically female to choose to deceive others by living as the opposite sex. We also recognize that people in this situation have believed a lie about their own selves. This is a serious form of self-hatred and self-rejection and we want to bring truth, light and hope into their lives.

Deuteronomy 23:1 also forbid anyone whose male organ was cut off or whose testicles were crushed from entering the Old Testament temple. This relates directly to "transitioning" and gender reassignment surgery. This statute was meant to protect young boys, by preventing parents from making their children into Eunochs and to prevent the pagan practice of turning servants into Eunochs from happening in Israel. There was special concern and mercy expressed for men who had been abused and harmed in this way. While the old temple has passed away and all may enter into God's presence, the moral imperative still remains, our viewpoint as Christians is that we need to have compassion and an attitude toward rescue and the prevention of harm being done to individuals suffering from gender confusion. The New Testament application of this principle is that it is wrong and sinful to alter someone's sexuality through surgery. You cannot change a person's XY chromosomes, you can only mutilate, manipulate and make them appear like the opposite sex, but you cannot change DNA. Such action breaks a Doctor's oath to "do no harm," and is not wise, good, helpful or legitimate medicine.

Galatians 5:20 warns against sorcery or pharmakeia, which can refer to any type of harmful drug or experimentation.  It is wrong to give someone hormones to alter their sexuality in order to transition to appear like the opposite sex and it is a horrific sin to give a child drugs to prevent them from going through puberty in order to facilitate such a transition before they even have an understanding of their own sexuality. Again, I cannot understate the importance of understanding that my concern here is preventing harm to people in gender identity crisis, defending those in need of counseling and help, preventing children and mentally ill patients from being exploited for political purposes and the furthering of the LGBTQ agenda, protecting children who are not yet mature enough to understand what is being done to them and bringing hope through truth to all people.


WHAT ABOUT BIRTH DEFECTS?
A special note about the section above. In Matthew 19:12, Jesus specifically mentions and shows compassion toward the issue of "those who were born eunochs." This refers to birth defects which prevented people from being married at that time. Fortunately, Doctors are now able to correct many such congenital defects and allow children to life normal, happy lives. This type of surgery is a completely different  issue than those I mentioned above and I believe it is good and admirable medicine. Such individuals are worthy of compassion, Christian love, pastoral care, guidance and support.

WHAT ABOUT GENDER-RE-ASSIGNMENT SURGERY?
On the other hand, Jesus addresses "those who have been made eunochs" as being unable to be married. I do not believe that there is any way for a person who was born without defects as clearly a biological male or clearly female and then had gender re-assignment surgery to be biblically married and so it is very important that we prevent this from happening to them.  My counsel to someone who has undergone such a procedure and then later becomes a Christian would be to remain single.

There is special hope for those born with birth defects. There is also special hope for those who have been fooled into mutilating themselves, who later choose to follow God's ways and to turn toward him. This hope is found in Isaiah 56:4:

For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.


"OPEN" MARRIAGES/SWINGING/POLYAMOROUS RELATIONSHIPS
Marriage is between one man and one woman for life. This is the only sexual relationship allowed by Scripture. There are liars who claim to be Christians that are practicing "open" marriages or swinging in which they allow each other to sleep with other people's spouses. This clearly violates the marriage covenant and is adultery. Deuteronomy 5:21 commands us not to desire such things: You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. The word "covet" means to lust after or desire pleasure from. Leviticus 18:20 absolutely forbids acting on such desires: You shall not lie sexually with your neighbor's wife. In the New Covenant, Hebrews 13:4 contrasts Biblical marriage with this sinful and unacceptable view: Marriage is honorable among all and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Adultery, by definition is having sex with anyone other than one's spouse. A person cannot claim to be a follower of Christ, or Christian, and claim that adultery is not sin. It is one thing for a Christian to commit a sin. It is another to claim that what you did was morally acceptable.



HOMOSEXUALITY
Leviticus 18:22 reads "You shall not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, that is detestable." Chapter 20:13 explains that both the dominant and submissive partner in a homosexual relationship are at fault: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” The word abomination means that God loathes or detests such activity. Not only does such activity distort God’s view of marriage, which He uses as a picture of Jesus’ relationship with the church, but he loathes this type of activity because it robs a man of his God-given identity, of his dignity, honor and respect. It robs him through the pain, physical trauma, damage and disease associated with anal intercourse. It also robs him of his role as father and husband and it prevents men from receiving all of God's promises such as family, children, long life and health. It also robs women of the joy of motherhood, the blessing of family and marriage. Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” God created Eve to be a special partner for Adam. She was designed to be his perfect mate, a special gift from God and as James, the brother of Jesus wrote: “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” To reject God’s plan for marriage to be between one man and one woman for life is to reject a very special and precious gift that He designed for us. Many people mistakenly believe that this is just an Old Testament issue, but in fact, the New Testament authors speak frequently of these matters because Jesus died so that we might realize the abundant, full life God always meant for us to have.

God Wants All People To Be Saved (and turn away from sin)

1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” As Christians, we do not get to judge who is worthy of hearing the truth. God has already judged them worthy. We should have an attitude of grace and love toward homosexuals. 1 Timothy 1:10 tells us that “sexual immorality and homosexuality” are contrary to sound teaching. Love must tell the truth and here is a New Testament picture of where those who choose a homosexual lifestyle stand with God. Keep in mind that God does not want anyone to be wronged or deceived in any sexual way:

“You yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. Or do you no know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals…will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were, 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.” -1 Corinthians 6:8-10

The sins described above include descriptions of both the dominate and submissive partner in a homosexual relationship. It describes anyone who engages in flagrant sexual sin, participates in prostitution, sexually abuses young boys or engages in sexual religious practices. It forbids sodommy and any type of cheating or adultery against one's spouse. 

Notice, however, the good news and the message of hope and redemption contained in this passage. The term righteousness means that God sets things right in our lives. There is freedom, forgiveness and cleansing through Jesus’ name. Anyone who accepts Christ into their lives can experience healing, restoration and renewal.

What About Homosexuals Who Claim To Be Believers?

The next issue is dealing with someone who continues openly living a sinful homosexual lifestyle, while claiming to be a follower of Jesus. Every Christian struggles in some area and we are to show grace and mercy to help in time of need. But when a person blatantly defies the teachings in God’s word, there is Biblical instruction for what to do. 1 Corinthians 5:11 reads: 

But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler…Do not even eat with such people.” 

We will deal with outreach and restoration later, but the issue at hand is that anyone who is claiming to be a Christian, while living an openly sinful lifestyle for which they are unrepentant will be subject to church discipline. They may be denied church membership or have their membership revoked and might not be allowed to take communion based on this text. Please understand, this is not about dealing with someone who has committed a sin and repented of it. This is about dealing with someone who does not believe they have done anything wrong in the first place, denies the truth of Scripture, or chooses a lifestyle that blatantly defies God. Paul tells Christians not to mingle, mix, eat or go around with such people according to this passage of Scripture. While it is appropriate to interact with them at work or school in the same polite, respectful way we would interact with an unbeliever, Paul is saying that people who are habitually involved in these sins should not be brought into a Christian home for a meal or socialized with. The good news is that there should always be a path of reconciliation and restoration. When a person repents, 2 Corinthians 2:6-8 says “You should forgive him and encourage him. Otherwise such a person might be swallowed up by excessive sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.

How Do We Behave Toward Unbelievers?

Paul clarifies the position of the church toward unbelievers who are in sexual sin in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 explaining that “I wrote to you in my letter not to mix together with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral people of this world…for then you would have to exit the world.” Jesus ate with sinners and ministered to them. These restrictions on interactions are in no way meant to hinder the spread of the gospel. The attitude of believers toward homosexuals in the world is evangelical. Jude 1:23 says “Have mercy on some who are doubting, save others, snatching them out of the fire on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” It is appropriate to show mercy, but to do so with caution and within appropriate boundaries so that we are not affected by their behavior: “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

An important thing to remember in dealing with someone who is caught in this type of spiritual bondage is that only God’s words can save a life. Hebrews 4:12 says “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword and capable of dividing soul from spirit.” God’s word can shatter strongholds, break generational curses and cut away harmful spiritual influences from a person’s life. It is our most powerful tool for ministering freedom to those suffering in the bondage of homosexuality and other sexual sins as we fulfill our calling to “set the captives free.” We fight the lies the enemy has told them with the Truth of God’s word. There is no room for rudeness or hateful arguments. Those things stir up a spirit of rebellion and might cause the person to slip deeper into the grip of the enemy. Truth should be told, but with kindness and graciousness. Peter wrote: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Paul likewise wrote “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that it will minister grace to the hearers.”

Conclusion

Those of us who love Jesus must tell the truth in love. Romans 1:8 says that it is not right to suppress the truth. Causing a person to reject their own identity as a child of God, created in His image as male and female is one of the strongest holds that satan can get on a person. Romans Chapter 1:24-32 shows what happens when people exchange the truth for a lie, reject God’s plan and choose to believe satan’s lies over Jesus’ truth. It also shows that both male and female homosexuality are sinful and demonstrates what happens when a spirit of uncleanness rushes in on a person. This is what Jesus wants to save people from:

Therefore God gave them over in the evil desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies with one another. They EXCHANGED the TRUTH of GOD for a LIE and worshipped and served the creature (satan) rather than the Creator (God), who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to shameful passions. Even their women exchanged natural relations for what is against nature. Likewise the men abandoned natural relations with women and were burning with passion toward one another—men committing shameful acts with other men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And just as they did not see fit to recognize God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what is not fitting. They became filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents. They are foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree—that those who practice such things deserve death—they not only do them but give hearty approval to others who practice the same.” Romans 1:24-32

This passage shows what happens over time, the longer a person persists in open sin. In choosing to believe the lies that satan tells them about themselves instead of God’s truth, they make the same mistake Adam and Eve made—listening to satan’s voice over God’s. They ascribe more worth to his lies than to God’s truth. They worship the creature, satan and become his subjects, gradually falling under wrongful spiritual influences and slipping deeper into darkness.

This passage teaches that such sins are worthy of death, but sexual, or otherwise, every person has committed a sin deserving of the death penalty. Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," and Romans 6:23 explains that “The wages of sin is death but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus died in the place of every sinner. He can forgive and heal homosexuality just as easily as anything else. Jesus continually healed every sickness and disease and cast out unclean spirits and He gave those of us who are His disciples the same authority: “Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, so they could drive them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:1) This is why we offer counseling and ministry to help those who are trapped by sexual sin and why it is important for people to submit to receiving this help.


Here is the Truth, especially if you have struggled in this area of your life. God, your Creator, says that you are dearly loved and longed for, chosen, created in His image as male and female, a masterpiece who is reverently and wonderfully made. That’s who you really are. He loves you and He desires reconciliation. He wants to welcome you back, forgive you and have fellowship with you. Jesus said “Here I Am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.”  God desires relationships. He desires family. Jesus gave His life up for it. And He is happy to restore fellowship and communion. “IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins AND to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:19) He is eagerly waiting to forgive your past AND to heal you from it and put things right in your life. If you need to be rescued from a homosexual lifestyle, or any other type of sin, Jesus is waiting. He is in the business of rescuing souls. “If you declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, You will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Jesus wants to heal the wounds of your past. Satan is an identity thief. Jesus is the giver of identity. Whatever may have happened to cause you to question your sexual identity, whatever lies you may have believed about yourself, God did not want that to happen to you. He wants to heal you, restore you and deliver you. “Adonai is close to the broken hearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit…He gathers the outcasts…He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 34:18, 147:2-3)