Homosexuality In Light Of Scripture

Examining The Question, "What Does The Bible Say About Homosexuality?".

Tim Lundy
Feb 20, 2022    53m
What can Christians do in a culture that approves of all forms of sexual expression? By examining the question, "What does the Bible say about homosexuality?" we can learn how to approach this subject with truth, grace, and sound doctrine. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:40] Well, good morning, Venture. It's good to see everybody today.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:45] And if you looked at your sermon notes, you recognize we're wading into a difficult topic, probably one that in a lot of ways raises a lot of emotions in different ways. And even as we dive into it, I recognize for everybody sitting out here, it can be difficult to listen to, to talk through, in different ways. For some, it may be a struggle that you have in your life, [00:01:17] for almost all of us, it's somebody that we know, somebody we love, that you're trying to wrestle with, how do you do this well? How do you approach this biblically, while at the same time being people of truth and grace? [00:01:31]

Tim Lundy: [00:01:31] And if we're honest, over the last 30 or 40 years when it comes to the topic of homosexuality, the church, and the Evangelical Church, have made a lot of mistakes, if we can just own that, of people that have been wounded and hurt in different ways. And I think as a result of that, and also as a result, as much as the culture shifted, it's easy for us to just not talk about it. It is simpler, we just won't talk about it, that way we don't have to deal with the tension of it. The problem with that is, the cultures talking about it, and they're talking all the time, whether it's through our entertainment, whether it's through commentary, whether it's through writing, everything out there. And so if we're not willing to address it, we just need to recognize that not only are we, but also the next generation, they're being told a message all the time. And so even though it's uncomfortable in different ways, one of the things I love about scripture, I love about God's truth, God speaks into everything, and we can rest in that truth. [00:02:36]

Tim Lundy: [00:02:37] But as we dive in this morning, I want to take just a moment and pray, and just pray that God would speak through this, would prepare our hearts, and would protect my words. Because I don't want to add to the hurt, I really don't. There's some conviction that can happen to the Holy Spirit, I never mind conviction, but I don't want my words, especially misspoken words, to in any way compound hurt that maybe somebody experienced in their life through this.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:03] Will you pray with me to that end? Father, we do come before you. We thank you for your word. We thank you that we don't have to live in fear, and we don't have to shy away from anything, you've addressed every area of our lives. Lord, these issues, sexual issues, we don't like talking about them because we're aware so much of our brokenness, we're aware of pain that comes out of that, and we know how the evil one loves to shame us through it. And so I pray today, would you speak through me? And even more than my words, I pray that your Spirit would move in people's hearts, that you would speak where we need to listen. I pray that you would open our eyes and minds to you, and to your truth and that in humility, we'd all approach this together. Lord, we thank you, we thank you, as Jesus promised that you declare the truth, you are the truth, and if we abide in that truth, that truth brings freedom in life. And so we pray these things with that expectation, in Christ's name. Amen.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:06] Well, as we dive into this topic, let me give you just a few categories at the beginning here that I want to make sure that you feel the freedom in, I want to give you some space here. Because especially when you're talking about a topic where within our culture there's so much difference of opinion out there, and even within the church there's a lot of difference of opinion. The first thing I would just say, is I want to give you some space to be able to disagree, you may hear me today and you disagree with it. And especially if the polling of the next generation and young people today, I'll just say at the outset, if those numbers are true at all, many of you will disagree with what I have to say. That's OK, I'm glad you're here, I really am, and my point of this is not trying to win an argument. Here's all I would ask of you, if you find yourself at a place that you go, yeah, I don't agree with what he's saying, I just would ask, would you investigate why you don't agree? Would you at least allow yourself to go, what is it about it that I don't agree with? Is it the argument itself? Is it what's presented? Because a lot of times we find ourselves in this place, I don't agree because I don't like the implications of that, or I don't like how it makes me feel, or my emotions lead me in a way that I go, that just can't be right. And you may walk out today still in disagreement, I just ask you to wrestle with it a little bit.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:30] The second place that I want to give you a little space, you may be in process on this, too. In fact, for all of us, man, when you come to Jesus, every area of our life, we're in this journey with him, this process, that our lives start looking more like him. And as we go through that journey, as the Holy Spirit leads us in that, allowing space for that, God is patient with us. Now, he always calls us to that truth, but there's that patient part. And I say that because I'm always amazed in the church, we give each other a lot of grace in the process on most every other sin, but when it comes to sexual sin, somehow, it's like, nope, you've got to be right there right now. And so you may be struggling in some ways, you may be in process on this, this is the place to do that as we wrestle with God's truth, as we live in community together, as we call people to the truth, but we experience that grace.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:26] The final thing of this category is, every one of us needs to realize the whole message of scripture is counterintuitive. And what I mean in that, if you're reading through the Bible, if you faithfully read through the Bible, I don't care who you are, you're going to hit some part of the Bible that it hit some part of your life, that you go, man, that is not how I think, that's not how I would do things. And maybe that's the place we're feeling it most, as our culture has moved so much on some of these sexual issues, we start realizing how counterintuitive and countercultural what we're talking about is.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:03] I like the words of N.T. Wright, the New Testament scholar, listen to how he says it. He says, "We need to remind ourselves that the entire biblical sexual ethic is deeply counterintuitive." He's talking about the entire ethic, no matter how you're wired. "All human beings some of the time, and some human beings most of the time, have deep heartfelt longings for kinds of sexual intimacy or gratification (multiple partners, pornography, whatever) which do not reflect the creator’s best intentions for his human creatures, intentions through which new wisdom and flourishing will come to birth." And listen to this line, he says, "Sexual restraint is mandatory for all." All of us have to exhibit sexual restraint, "It's mandatory for all, difficult for most, extremely challenging for some." And I recognize, that as we dive into this, some of these issues, they are extremely challenging with where you are today. "God is gracious and merciful but this never means “so his creational standards don’t really matter after all.” And so there's this creational standard, there's this design that he gave so that we can flourish in all of life. And in order to flourish, that's why he's called us to areas of sexual restraint.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:36] Now, specifically, when we talk about the issue of homosexuality, what we want to dive into today is, you know, what does the Bible actually say about homosexuality? And I know as I say that you may be at a place that you go, well, OK, if you're just going to go to the Bible, I don't really look to the Bible as a source to speak to modern issues today. That may be where you're coming from, and I get that. Here's what you need to know, maybe you're new to Venture or new with us, as a church, we've made a commitment that we believe this is God's revealed truth. And so we're looking to it to inform, and to layout for us, how do we live in that truth? We actually believe it's God's word, we believe he's the designer of life, and as he's laid it out in the scripture, we want to align our lives according to that. And so the fundamental place that I want to start is, let's see what scripture says about it.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:32] Now, as we do that, remember again, you've got some space to disagree, but we should be able to wrestle with scripture together on it. And specifically on this issue, because sometimes we talk about homosexuality and all the ways that people act out. Here, I think, is the core question around this, and it's what Christians who are wrestling with this topic...Preston Sprinkle puts it this way, listen to him, he says, "The question is not whether gay sex outside of marriage is wrong. It's not about whether soliciting a same-sex prostitute or sleeping around with several partners is wrong. All genuine Christians believe these are sin. The question is whether two men or two women can date, fall in love, remain sexually pure before their wedding day, and commit to a lifelong, consensual Christ-centered, self-giving, monogamous union." He says if you're going to pull it down, he says you don't have to chase all the different ways of acting out sexually. He said, but as Christians, and we're Christians who are debating this, can two men or can two women be in a marriage relationship, a monogamous relationship, that is Christ-honoring in that? Has marriage been opened or defined in a way that, that could be true?

Tim Lundy: [00:10:47] And so that's what forces us again, we should go back to scripture, and here again, don't let your emotions guide you right now. Some of you emotionally you're like on one side, and some of your emotionally, you're immediately answering it, we want to be people governed by scripture. So part of it, we have to look at, and if you weren't able to hear the message last week, I'd really encourage you to go back. That's why I started last week, you have to have a biblical foundation of sex, and marriage, and of understanding that. But if you just go last week, I made the point God's design for sex is for a man and woman in a lifetime commitment of marriage.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:20] And so when Jesus was asked about this, and he was asked within that context, notice his definition of this, he went back to the beginning. He says you've got to go back to the created design, the way God laid it out in Genesis. He says, "From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:50] And just note at this point, though, when Jesus is talking about marriage, he's asked about divorce in that, for him, the standard is God's original design. And I say that because it's easy, some people would say, well, yeah, he designed that at the very beginning, but it changed over time. At least by Jesus' time, he's going, no, that's still my standard, that's what I still go back to, that's what I'm quoting. Notice in this, Jesus didn't just speak off the top of his head either, he said, OK, let's let scripture define for us.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:50] Then when you drill into the topic of homosexuality, there are really only seven passages in the Bible that speak to it. And again, some who promote would say in that, well, if God only speaks to it seven times, it must not be that important to God. You've got to be careful making those kinds of arguments. One, does it fall under a larger umbrella of sexual immorality that, frankly, God speaks to quite a bit? Two, does he speak to what he actually is designing? And then, does scripture speak directly to these issues of homosexuality? Look at the seven passages, we'll just kind of walk through.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:00] One, you've got two stories in the Old Testament. Genesis 19 and Judges 19. Genesis 19 is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah when Lot is rescued. And part of that rescue, when the angels came, a group of men from the city came and they literally go to Lot's door, and they want to rape these men. And so there's sexual degradation, or sexual sin, in the city in different ways, but it's a pretty horrific scene. Judges 19 is almost worse, honestly, and just as you read through these stories, you do, you see the breakdown of society as a whole. Here's the only thing that I think you've got to be careful, though, there's nobody promoting a monogamous gay sexual union today that would use those stories to say, oh, that's why it should be allowed these. These stories are horrific in a lot of different details, and frankly, they're not the ones I would go to, to go, oh, we build our case off of it, but they are in scripture, I wanted to highlight that they're there in it. But anything in that story, you would walk away going, yeah, life should not be like that for a number of different reasons.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:05] The other place you see it in the Old Testament is in the law. Now, just to give you some context, God gave the Mosaic Law. Remember, he called the Nation of Israel, and he was doing a distinct work through them, and when he called them out as a nation, he gave them the law, it literally came from God through Moses. And so we used that term law, the parts of it, he's got two verses, one, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.", Leviticus 18. And then the second one is, "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." Now, let me highlight here in both these chapters, there are a lot of things he's prohibiting sexually in these chapters. So it's not like, oh, this is the only thing. And by the way, he doesn't just use this word abomination, oh, homosexuality, it's the worst. But he does, in a very straightforward manner, go, yeah, God does not consider that within the bounds of the things he would say are sexually permissible.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:08] Now I know as soon as I say that, anytime you quote anything from the law and I've heard this from people, they go, well, if you're going to go to the Old Testament law, I mean, weren't there rules against eating shellfish? Didn't you eat shellfish today? Aren't there rules about what kind of shirt you can wear, and there are rules about that? And so it's kind of like you lump all of it together, yeah, they had those crazy rules then, all of them are thrown out now. That's why you do have to come to it, and I respected that at a certain part, you can't just pick and choose. You do have to look at it as a whole and go, OK, what was God doing through this law? Because, frankly, there are parts of the law that I go, yeah, man, that does seem kind of strange, and then other parts that are very hard.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:50] Any time you're talking about the law, there is kind of three parts to understanding it today, there was the moral, there's the civil, and there's the ceremonial. Remember God's doing this unique work to the nation of Israel, and so when he called them out, he gives them this full law. And so part of it is his moral law, these are moral standards that help reveal what God is like, His character, His Holiness and so there is moral law. Part of it was civil law, remember they were a country, and they had to run in certain ways, and God said, man, these laws impact this country in this time. And then part of it was ceremonial, there were certain ceremonial functions that only Israel did, and it called people, and made them unique, and it made them different. Part of it was the ceremony that went in the temple system, and the sacrifice of the animals.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:38] So any time we now come in the New Testament, where we're not under that Old Covenant, we're under the New Covenant and we look at those laws, how do you evaluate those laws today? Let me give you three categories that you always do.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:51] Either, one, some of the laws were realized in Christ, so they were fulfilled in the New Covenant. When you came in today, we don't have an altar up here, we don't sacrifice animals. I don't wear high priestly robes. We don't have a veil. All those things that were laid out, and they were good in their time, when Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the, they were completely realized in him.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:16] The second category would be, some of them were retracted in the New Testament, they're no longer in effect because of the New Covenant. And so remember in Acts Chapter 10, Peter has this vision of all these animals, and they were unclean animals, they were things they were not allowed to eat, according to the law. And then God says, No, Peter, they're clean now. And Peter goes, those are not clean. And God said, I'm doing a new work now, and in that new work, those things that are ceremonial things, some of them even things that you could not do, I'm now telling you again. Paul said the same thing about circumcision, according to the Old Covenant, you had to be circumcised to be a part of God's people, Paul says. no, that's no longer true. That's why the church, in Acts 15, the Jerusalem Council, they came together, and they go, and we need to look at this, what has changed in light of this New Covenant? And there have been changes.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:14] The final thing is this category of what was restated in the New Testament. What parts of that law would still be true, because they said it again in the New Testament? So when you look at the Ten Commandments, they were given as part of the law, but we don't throw them out now. Why? Because the Ten Commandments are restated in the New Testament. The great commandment, "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.", it's restated in the New Testament.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:39] And so as you look at this, those Old Testament laws, what you want to look at is what was the character of it, is this part of God's moral law and has that been restated again in the New Testament? And so that's why we have to go to the New Testament passages and say, what do they say about homosexuality? Would they uphold that same standard? We've got three passages in the New Testament.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:02] The first one is Romans 1, and we've talked through it a couple of weeks ago, as we're teaching through Romans. Part of this, when people have rejected God as a culture, he gives them over to their own sin. One of those times he gives over, look what he says, "For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions." Notice that word, it's dishonorable, what they're desiring doesn't match the honor of what God created. "For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error." Now this is one of the strongest passages, and some people like to look at it and go, well, Paul's just using specific terms of non-consensual sex. That's not true in this passage, he's talking about the very core passions and the very core activity. And notice his key argument when he says it's unnatural, he's not like using it as an adjective, oh, that's unnatural, he's saying it's not according to God's design. So he's going back, just like Jesus did, back to that Genesis design, this is how God designed humanity, this is how God designed sex. And part of that, when people are handed over in sin as a culture, when they embrace that, you'll see this acting out in a way that those natural passions and the natural designs are thwarted. It's a strong passage reaffirming God's moral standard.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:39] Again, in First Corinthians 6, Paul says, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." People whose life, this defines their life, and he lists all different sins. Homosexuality isn't only sin here, by the way. In fact, I encourage you if you read through the list, you'll probably find something that hits you, and that's what Paul's point is. And by the way, he's writing to a church in Corinth that was one of the most sexually active cities in the world. I know some of you, you think when you read these Bible passages, well, of course, the Bible said that it's written to these little churches, and it's real quaint, with uptight people. Paul is writing people who literally, Corinth, the level of sexual activity all over that city would blow your mind. So is not this quaint little church, he's going, hey, how does a church of a people who come together, and that's what your culture is all around you, he says that's not your life. And I love how he puts it, but you, such were some of you, that was your life, but not anymore. Because "You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." You've been washed by Jesus, so that doesn't define you anymore, he's your identity.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:06] One more passage, First Timothy, and this is a good one, because remember we had that question about the law. What did we learn from the law? Paul says we don't throw out the law completely, he says, "Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully." If you interpret it the right way, you can learn a lot about it. And by the way, let me say this as well, because a lot of people, when they read those laws, they go, Oh, those laws? Yeah, I mean, they were crazy with that, and in Jesus we don't have that anymore. Notice what Jesus said about it though, Jesus didn't come and say, oh, we're not doing those crazy laws anymore. Jesus came and said, I'm here to completely fulfill them, I'm here to bring to fruition the good that God was doing through it. And Paul says the same thing here, he says, hey, there's good that you can learn from it if you understand this, "The law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient." It helped show me in my life, man, what is God's moral standard? And so, "For the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted." And this is a line that I want you to see, all of this behavior, whatever the category, but homosexuality was in, is contrary to sound doctrine. It doesn't match what God's teaching.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:38] And so if we put all of that together in it, you have to come to a point, and let me just give you the summary on it. Sexual intimacy between same sex partners is condemned in the direct passages of scripture. I mean, it's clearly there, there's a condemnation of that activity. Second summary point, I would say, is sexual intimacy between same sex partners is never betrayed in a positive light in the Bible. There's never a place where you go, well, this is showing it. The third thing out of that, there's no Biblical warrant for same sex marriage.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:15] Now again, and as I've wrestled with the different scholars on this, and different ones that would say, yeah, but I mean, it doesn't explicitly say that it can't be there, couldn't there be a category for that? Here is the only problem with that argument, you're making the argument from silence. And just think about it for a moment, this category of marriage that God defined from the beginning, that Jesus pointed back, that scripture, by the way, anytime marriage comes up, it always goes back to that Genesis passage, it always repeats that passage, that somehow God has now redefined or added a new category of marriage, and he never spoke to it, that he would be absolutely silent about it. Does God do that in any other way? Or could it be that I want it to be that way, and so I'm going to just go ahead and add that because I want it there, even if the Bible doesn't say it? This is why I've started with this, because one, just at least let's talk about what the Bible says, whether you agree with it or not.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:24] It's interesting to me, Luke Timothy Johnson is a New Testament scholar, he teaches down at Emory, a brilliant guy. And when he comes to these biblical texts, and by the way, he is a proponent for same sex marriage, and says Christians can, but I at least appreciate his honesty when he talks about the biblical text. Listen to what he says in this, he says, "I have little patience with the efforts of those to make scripture say something other than what it says, through appeals to linguistics or cultural subtleties. If you interpret it exegetically, it is straightforward, we know what the text says." Now, listen, though, what he's chosen to do. He said the text prohibits it, "But we do in fact reject the straightforward commands of scripture and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same sex unions can be holy and good." And what exactly is that authority? "We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others that have witnessed to us, which tell us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way that God's created us." Now, here's what he's saying in that, as a New Testament scholar, as a Biblical scholar, and he's up there with them. He says, and he'd be somebody who'd want to read it into the passage, but he said it's just not there. And so we've made a choice, do hear what he said? We've made a choice to trust something other than what's explicitly there, and we're trusting our own experience and the experience of others.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:10] I remember years ago I was riding; I was here in California; I was listening to NPR. And there was a woman on there, and just listening to her, man, I felt for her because she had grown up Evangelical, had grown up in Bible teaching churches, had aligned her life to the Bible, and then her son came to her, and her son came out as gay. And she started wrestling with that, what does that mean? And I'll never forget her words in it, because I loved her honesty, because she said, you know, I kept studying the Bible, and studying the Bible, and at some point, I realized I could either let my life be defined by the black and white of what the text said, or I could determine what I think God really meant in this, and I chose the latter. It's the same thing Luke Timothy Johnson has done as well. Frankly, it's the same thing that a lot of Christians are doing.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:05] And hear me on that, when you make that movement away from what God's said clearly, and maybe on this issue, you go, yeah, but this is what feels right to me. Where do you stop? If anybody comes forward and they said this is what feels right to me, this is my experience, how do you look at them and tell them that's wrong? And that's part of what we're feeling as a culture right now, isn't it? That literally every category, when you start that it's right to me, then nobody can say anything's wrong anymore, and we feel the effects of it. And so for me, that's why I come back to God's word, and even when it's hard. I go, OK, God, if you're the designer and I actually believe you're good, and I actually believe you're clear, and I believe that any command you gave me, no matter how hard it is and cuts across and is counterintuitive, if I believe those commands were actually for my good and flourishing, I'm going to let you be the one that maps my life, instead of my experience or my reason. Now again, maybe you're not there yet, but here's what I'd encourage you, you need to wrestle with it. And if you choose to disagree, at least understand why you're making that choice.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:43] Now, as I say that as well, though, so, if homosexuality is not permitted Biblically, then why are some people attracted to the same sex? I mean, if this isn't how God designed it, why do people have that? And we wrestle with that, and Christians and secular experts continue to grapple with the issues of causality. When we go, what is the core of that? And over the years, this is one of the issues we've not done real well. There was a time in the church where the quickest thing people would say is, well, it's a choice, it's a choice, it's a choice, just don't do it. I'm going to tell you if you've ever sat down with a brother and sister in Christ who loves the Lord and they have struggled with same sex, almost every one of them, I've heard the same thing, I didn't choose this, I didn't want this, it's not like I got up and decided, oh man. And so to just equate it simply to choice for people who would go, man, from my youngest time, I've struggled with this.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:46] On the flip side, the secular experts tried to find a genetic cause, it's got to be in the genes, it got to be in the genes. Simon Levey, a neuroscientist, was one of the leading forefronts on this, determined to find it, they didn't find it, they have found it in the genetic code.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:02] Now there's another narrative, and it was big in the church as well, that it all goes back to just your relationship with your father or your mother, depending on your same-sex relationship, and if that was traumatized, and based on that. And that's true in some cases, but it was almost used as a universal narrative. And so, you had kids that were grown, I mean, I talked to one young man who was sitting with me, and he goes, I had a great dad, I had a great mom, they loved the Lord. We had a great childhood and a great home; I still have this struggle. So you have to be careful to go, oh well, I'm going to just apply one narrative to all.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:37] Some have looked at hormones within the womb, there have been studies about that, studies about brain structure, studies about sexual trauma when you're young, and the impact that can have on it. Here's what I'd say, there's not this one size fits all story for every person who struggles with this. We kind of like that because it makes it easy for us, and we kind of go, OK, it's over there, and I can explain that. There's not a one size fits all story, there is a one size fits all source though.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:10] And this is just what I think, as Christians, we have to realize the impact of the fall cannot be underestimated in the ways it's shaped our humanity, all of our humanity. Guys, this is why God hates sin so much, this is why Adam and Eve's choice was so devastating. This is what Romans says, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." The moment sin came into the world, death came with it. It is not just talking about physical death, by the way, Adam and Eve didn't drop dead, but there was relational death, there's a death of sin and sickness that came in the world, there is sexual death, that we were all impacted. And when you look at that, when sin came into the world, the areas that you look at and you look at our planet, you look at these struggles, and the screaming thing whenever you see sin is this is not the way it's supposed to be, this is not the goodness of God and his design.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:18] And the impact, and so you see it, it impacts us through disease. Anytime you see disease, I always look at it and go, I hate sin. Any time I see a friend struggling with cancer, or I know somebody who is struggling with depression, or I look at the impact of the pandemic and COVID and the lives disrupted by it, everything in it, I go, Man, I hate sin. Because in that, it's spread and impacted our world. You see it in disease, you see it in disability, people that have physical impact, physical impact on their bodies, physical impairments, through no choice of their own, but that came when sin was introduced to this planet.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:57] And guys, it impacted our desires as well, and so things that would have been normal desires get thwarted through sin. Not just around sex, but take something like food, is there anything more normal than eating food? But, you know, there are people that struggle, their very existence around food, and the choices with it, and the control of it. That, man, that is hard, those desires around that are so hard. Or something like alcohol, why can somebody have a glass of wine and it's no big deal, and somebody else has it, and man, they're consumed, and they want it, and the desires around it? It's the same way sexually, all of us, our desires have been impacted by sin.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:42] And so as we look at this, and we think about it, you then ask yourself, though, is it sinful to have same-sex desires? Am I wrong for even having the desires? And you know, there's a number within any population, I'm always wary on the stats on these things, they seem to flex a lot. One of the researchers I've found, though, that I feel like it is pretty accurate, I don't know where they are spiritually, but Lisa Diamond at the University of Utah, she's done different cross-sections with that. And so she would say, and this is her study, She says, "Fourteen percent of women, and seven percent of men, experience same-sex attraction, at least some of the time." Fourteen percent of women, seven percent of men. “But..." And this is a significant part, "...only one percent of women and two percent of men are only ever attracted to other women or men exclusively." Do you hear what she's saying in that? 14 percent of women would say, yeah, there's some form of same-sex attraction, but only one percent of women say I'm exclusively only attracted to women. And then seven percent of men, and then two percent out of that, within those categories.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:55] And part of the reason I bring this up, and especially for young people today, one of the things that makes me sad, and it's getting younger and younger, when I say young people go down to elementary ages, and some of the most confusing ages of life. Man, if you have any feelings at all, you feel any attraction across that, you're being bombarded by the culture that you've got to decide right now. Oh no, no, that shows definitely you're gay in this and embrace that lifestyle. And kids at a time that, frankly, is one of the most confusing times of life anyway, are having to make lifetime decisions about things they're not ready to yet.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:31] So I would just encourage you, maybe there are those struggles, maybe feelings out of that. One of my hopes in doing this series is that we can create the kind of culture in the church, and that you have the kind of culture in your home, that you can have conversations about this stuff. That young people, and single adults, and anyone out there, that the church would not be the place you had to feel like you hide all the time with the things you're struggling with. That we can actually step into it, because we actually believe that Jesus came to bring us life abundant, and we can address these.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:10] And so if you have these desires, well, here's what scripture tells us out of it. God never tempts us, it always comes from the world of flesh, and the devil. And I say that because if you struggle with the ongoing temptation, you'll reach a point that you're mad at God over it, and that's actually a trick of the devil. The devil wants to make you mad at God over a temptation that he's constantly fueling, and he separates you from the one who actually can make a difference in your life about it.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:38] The second thing you see is, Jesus was tempted as we are, so temptation is not sin. Jesus was tempted, so temptation itself is not sin. The fact that you have a same-sex attraction in that, and you feel a temptation in that, the temptation itself is not a sin. Jesus, it says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." And when I read that verse, I think about, you know, Jesus faced sexual temptation and he never sinned. Man, do you realize his strength, do you realize the model that he is for us? But you need to recognize this, guys, Jesus died a 33-year-old virgin. Now, if we applied that to anybody in culture today, if you heard, oh, he died as a 33-year-old virgin. Do you know what everybody in the world would say? Oh, bless his heart, poor guy. I mean, like it's derogatory. Man, when I say that about Christ, I go, man, do you realize how strong he was, do you realize how manly he was. Do you realize, his ability to relate to, and to walk with and to sympathize with single adults, and to draw close to them, because he knows their struggle in a way that, frankly, those of us who are married and got married early, we don't understand that struggle in a way, and they get to relate to their Savior in a way that we don't, and he relates to them?

Tim Lundy: [00:39:19] See, it's not just the temptation, here's what it comes down to, when we allow our desire to cross the line to thoughts or actions contrary to God's design, then we've sinned. Any time you cross over from temptation. And James puts it so well, he says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire." When you allow that desire, so that desires there and the temptations there, and love the lure and entice, you give it some time, you think about a little bit, you allow yourself to go there a little bit, you feel it like it's drawing you out. And "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin." So it didn't happen immediately, there's a conception of it, and then it leads to sin. "And sin when it is fully grown brings forth..." What does it bring? Remember what we talked about? "Death.". Guys, any movement away from God's design is death. Every time you take a step, in any area of life, by the way, every time you take a step that here is God's design, here's God's goodness, here's what he wants from us, any time I take that step in sin, I need to tell myself, man, this is a step of death, and it's just getting me further away from what God desires for us.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:51] So as we look at this, let me walk through a couple of categories, and some of this, we're going to move fast because we'll cover in a couple of weeks. A lot of you had questions after first, I'm sure this prompts questions in it, we'll get more direct with it. But how have Christians with same-sex desires chosen to live out their faith? And I've used four categories? Bruce Miller is a pastor who's written quite a bit on this and walked through it, I think it's good categories in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:15] One is celibacy, the choice of devotion to Christ. That those adults that have said, I have these same sex desires, I cannot live this out in a way, so I'm giving that to Christ, and I've chosen a life of celibacy. And I don't say that lightly, by the way, and that's the part where I think as we talk about it in the church, we need to recognize the sacrifice that maybe, in a way, some of us haven't had to.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:46] In fact, I've got a friend named Tim and, he, for a part of his life, grew up in a conservative church and got a lot of wounds from it. He walked away from Christ, he really embraced the whole gay lifestyle, he was an actor and was in some movies. And finally, he just reached the end of himself, that he just said, as he described it, I miss Jesus. And so he came back to Christ, he came back to the church. And I always liked talking to him because he's always really honest and really funny, and we would just talk together. I remember one night we were at dinner, and he was eating at our house. And so I just started drilling in a little bit and said, Tim, do you think God's changing your desires any? And he said, yeah, I don't think so. At least he's honest. He said I tried dating some women, that is not my thing. And so, I mean, in honesty, I said, so if you're not going to date and you don't think that'll change, you just have embraced celibacy? And he said, yeah, he said I'm not saying it's not hard. And I love this, he goes, but Jesus is good. And so when I was living out in that, there's nothing in that that compares with walking with Christ and what I experience with him. And then he left and he goes, don't feel sorry for me, I've got a lot of friends in the same boat, some are divorced, some have never married, all of us are in the same boat together. And I go, yeah, there's an honesty in that. And there's a part of this, and this is the part we don't like talking about it, because there's a level of sacrifice on this. And maybe you're there and you go, gosh, that would be a hard step. I would encourage you, wrestle with Jesus on it.

Tim Lundy: [00:43:40] Now, another category is those who've chosen marriage, heterosexual marriage, a choice of self-denial for Christ. Now, I'm not talking about they got married so that they could make it go away, that usually doesn't work, or they didn't tell their prospective spouse. But there are a lot of Christians, remember that category that some have some sexual attraction, but it's not exclusive sexual attraction. And so they've chosen in a very honest way to talk to their spouse, and as they've looked at this, they chose to get married out of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:12] Rebecca McLaughlin is a writer that I really like, a Christian writer, I've read a number of her things. She's married, has kids. I was surprised when I got to this chapter on one of her books where she's talking about this, and she started telling her own story. She said, when I was growing up, I'd find myself attracted to girls. In fact, when I turned 18, I thought, oh, this is gone. I found myself falling in love with another girl. But as she wrestled with that, she said this doesn't match the Biblical ethic, and she wasn't exclusively attracted to girls, she dated a man, and they married, very open about how God had made her. Listen to her words in it as she describes that, she said, "If I'm ever attracted to someone outside my marriage, it's always to a woman. But I'm not in that one percent of women who can only be attracted to other women, so I'm able to be happily married to a man and just like any other married Christian, when I find myself attracted to someone other than my husband, I need to ask Jesus for help to not follow that pull." It's just an openness and honesty in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:45:19] Another category is kinship partnerships, it's non-sexual intimacy with others, those who form deep relationships, they're not sexual, but they're deep. And it meets some of those intimate, deep friendship needs in that out of it, that is not sexual in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:45:37] The last category is transformation, those that would say nothing is impossible for God, those that have had their desires transformed. And as much as the culture wants to deny it, you can't deny their stories either. I think of someone like Rosario Butterfield, who is a women's study professor at the University of Syracuse, who is in a lifelong partnership with her lesbian partner, they went to the universalist church that gave permission over that. And was fully entrenched and said, this is me, this is who I am, until she developed a friendship with the pastor and his wife, who would have her and her partner over for dinner. And by the way, when they came over dinners, they didn't hammer them, they just loved them, they got to know them, they talked about everything in life. Until finally, Rosario was intellectually curious enough, she says, I know you don't think the Bible speaks the same way I do, can you tell me what the Bible says about homosexuality? And in a straightforward manner, he laid it out much like I have this morning. She told herself, I don't like this, but I can't deny what it's saying. And as she came to Christ, she knew she had to leave lesbianism. She's married today, she would say God's changed her today, she's one of the best writers on this today.

Tim Lundy: [00:47:03] There can be transformation, but that doesn't mean everyone, and that's why I put all the categories here. Some people have prayed for their whole life, and they've not experienced that change. Some people have been able to enter into a marriage relationship and make that work. And some people, they've seen God totally changed them. Again, I don't understand the mysteries of God in this all, but I think we've got to be honest about when people are in this, what God can do, and then what he chooses to do.

Tim Lundy: [00:47:36] As we finish out, how do we respond as a church? Let me just give you a few walk-away things. One, we can love all people knowing it's not our responsibility to judge them. We don't have to go out from this place, this is where I think the church is blown it, we think if I'm going to define this Biblically, now, I've got to go change everybody in the world on this. Look what Paul said to the church in Corinth, he said, "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.". They were dealing with big sexual issues in the church, and people had just kind of condoned it. And so he says, "I was not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. For what have I to do with judging outsiders?" Here's what he's saying, he said, hey, I'm addressing you as a church, these are things you got to live on, this is what you've got to focus on. You don't have to worry about them out there, you don't have to go out there and judge everyone, we don't need to go out of this place and tell everybody, Oh man, we're against that, man, I leave them to Jesus.

Tim Lundy: [00:48:35] In fact, as I go interact with people, my number one message is not trying to change somebody sexually out there. Here's the number one message when we go out of this place, man, can I introduce you to Jesus? Because here's the deal, guys. no one changes apart from Jesus. And so our number one goal is, how do I introduce people to Jesus, and then to the power of the Holy Spirit, then through the power of the Bible, man, as they start that journey, I'd love to see their life match God's design, but I'll never get them to live the design until they've experienced the Savior of the design. And so that's our message to the world. And I say that to free you up, that you don't have to go out, that you've got neighbors, you've got coworkers, you've got friends, do I have to go correct them on that, you need to go. Model Jesus and introduce them to him, that's what we take to the world in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:49:28] As we do that as well, we welcome all people to join us as we desire as a church for everyone to find and follow Jesus. Man, if you're here on that journey, I'm so glad you're here, I'm so glad that we can come, and you can be a part of it. Now here's what we're going to call you to always, man, if you don't have a relationship with Jesus, then you need to find that relationship because that is the start of all life. And I'll tell you as well, if you come to worship with us, man, we're trying to follow Jesus, and for us, that means a straightforward telling of what we say scripture says. And so much like today, we don't try to camp out on issues, but we do call people to what the Bible says because that's what we're aligning our lives to.

Tim Lundy: [00:50:08] We must continue to speak the truth and love to those in the church, calling all of us to the sexual standards of scripture. The reality is, in the American church, in the Evangelical Church, and in Bible churches today, homosexuality is probably not our greatest issue, it's actually calling heterosexuals to live according to the standards of scripture, and we've got to speak that truth in love as well.

Tim Lundy: [00:50:32] We must support and celebrate our brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with same-sex attraction but are choosing to pattern their lives according to Scripture. Support and celebrate them, because they're sacrificing in a way that many of us are not.

Tim Lundy: [00:50:47] We must develop a more robust understanding and celebration of single adults in the church. And I'll talk a little bit more on this in a couple of weeks, but if we don't develop this, it's hard to speak to the other.

Tim Lundy: [00:51:00] The final thing I would just ask all of you to do, we must open our homes and families to those who are longing for community and were promised it in the church. If you want to make a difference on this issue, maybe there's part of it, you go, man, I see our culture changing, I see what's going on out there, if you want to make a difference on this issue, do you know where you could start? You could start by looking at your dinner table and asking yourself, who's sitting around this table that needs to be here? Who have I invited into our family? Who have I invited into our home? Who am I doing life with together? When you come to church on a Sunday morning, who sits alone in your section every week and you let them sit alone? And you've yet to go over and introduce yourself, and you've yet to grab them on a Sunday and say, hey, let's go get lunch together, let's do community together.

Tim Lundy: [00:51:48] Guys, there's a reason the LGBT community has their arms open wide, especially the young people who have left the church, they say, come here will love you. We need to be the community that actually delivers on what we promise. We need to be the people that we cross in fellowship and in love and open our homes and lives in a way. You know, somebody may leave our church one day, maybe after today, because they go, if that's what you believe the Bible says, I can't believe that. I understand that, but do you know what I would want? I would want that if they left over that reason, they were so sad to go, because they were so loved in this place, and the people of this place offered real community in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:52:38] I put in your notes, just a few of the resources, I could've listed so many. These are three strong ones, if you want to wrestle with these issues, I'd encourage you to do that. I'd also encourage you; I know you have questions out of it, go online, we'll try to answer as many as we can. We went a little bit long on this one, I know it's been a full week, so let me close us in prayer and then I'll dismiss.

Tim Lundy: [00:52:56] Father, we thank you, we thank you for your word, we thank you for your truth. Lord, I pray today that your Holy Spirit would convict those who need to be convicted. I pray as well that your Holy Spirit would comfort those who need to be comforted. And I pray for all of us, Lord, that your Holy Spirit would give us the courage to align our lives to the truth because you promised us the truth brings true freedom. And we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032