A Sermon by Ralph Jackson
On a recent Sunday morning programme in the UK called ‘The Big Question’, a gay man questioned why heterosexuals only quote the first part of the passage in Leviticus 20:13, which is:
“If a man lies with a man as one lies with a women, both of them have done what is detestable….”
The passage goes on to say:
“….They must be put to death; there blood will be on their own heads.”
Of course today no-one would advocate putting to death a homosexuals for his sexual preferences and rightly so. We, as humans cannot and should not be the judges of anyone’s lifestyle preferences. After all, we are all sinners in this world? Why then does the Bible say in very strong language, that a person practicing same sex acts must be put to death? Because God wants His people to be holy – set apart from the sins of this world:
“It is God’s will that you should be holy; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God….”
1 Thes 4: 3-5
Many today see the Bible as a book with errors and contradictions written by fallible humans! They forget that every word is God inspired, therefore, as a holy book; it must be read and studied with guidance by the Holy Spirit. If a paragraph or verse is extracted to be used as an argument for a particular doctrinal belief, there must be other paragraphs in the Bible that confirm the doctrine. Scripture must compare with Scripture. Of course some paragraphs in the Bible or even chapters, speak for themselves and have no need of interpretation, but there are others, particularly the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, that must be compared to other references on the same subjects in the Bible.¹
“For everything that was written in the past, was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Rom 15:9
“All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17
The Israelites an Example for Us Today
The Israelites were chosen by God to present Him to a world that had forgotten who He was. These people were the descendants of Noah and claimed Abraham as their patriarchal father. After 430 years captivity in Egypt (Exodus 12:40) it was time to set them free to journey to the Promised Land. God would show His power through this nation so that the rest of the world would know who the Creator of the worlds is. Had the Israelites’ been true to their God in captivity, there would have been no need for them to wander in the desert for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.
Those who left Egypt had been contaminated by heathen practices. Some Israelites had married Egyptian woman and worshipped their gods made of gold, silver, stone and wood, rather than Jehovah. The law of God had been forgotten and the Sabbath was set aside in favour of Sun worship. God, however, had not forgotten his promise to Abraham that his seed would be as the sand of the sea, therefore, after many signs and wonders, culminating in the death of the first born of each Egyptian, Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave. Their journey through the desert was to purge the people of their pagan practices and make them a holy nation.
Wickedness of Nations
God did not take the Israelites out of Egypt because they were a righteous people, but because of the wickedness of the nations they would replace (Deuteronomy 9:4-6).
Even though the world had been deluged with a flood, Noah’s posterity carried the sin of transgression into the future, therefore as men began to multiply on the earth again, so did sinfulness. God therefore chose Abraham’s seed to once again purge the nations of evil. Had the Israelites been obedient to God, He would have driven out the nations before them so they would not have had to suffer fighting in battles. But the Israelites were a stubborn people and many times placed their trust in their own strength, suffering the consequences of defeat by not relying on God’s promises. How many times have we done the same?
Laws of God
During their desert wanderings, the Israelites were not only given the 10 Commandments, written with the finger of God on stone (which signified their unchanging permanence for future generations of God’s chosen people – this includes all nations and tongues who believe in Him and His Son), they were also given the written laws of Moses, (known as ceremonial laws). Within these laws were rules and regulations for daily living – eating, drinking, sexual behaviour and worship. How could God make a ‘pure’ nation? All heathen practices must be removed therefore those who refused to give up these detestable habits suffered the consequences of their disobedience. Their blood was upon their own head. God wanted to protect His people and for them to have good health, prosperity, and happiness. Consequently, if any Israelite was found practicing pagan worship or being sexually immoral, to stop them influencing others, they were to be put to death. The consequence of disobedience to God is a serious matter. He cannot allow sinful practices to flourish amongst His holy people.
Immediate Death Sentence
Because God does not carry out an immediate death sentence on those who practice sexual immorality today, they become emboldened and find arguments to promote their lifestyle to the world. Even men of the cloth, who are supposed to be the messengers of the Word of God, give their voice of consent to immoral behaviour. The divine censure against these practices in the Bible is set aside in favour of popular opinion and anyone expressing disapproval is immediately branded homophobic.
To be Born Again
If we are born again we are to put behind us those sinful practices that we did naturally in our flesh before Jesus came into our life. The act of baptism by submersion is an acknowledgement that we have died to our old self. We are cleansed by submersion under the water and we begin to a new life in Christ as we rise from the water. If after baptism old habits remain, particularly those lifestyle choices that God forbids in His Word, then there is no forgiveness for the sin.
There must be a renewing of the thoughts of the mind. (Rom12:2)
Sin Will Never Again Enter Heaven
God does not take pleasure in destroying the children He made, (Ezekiel 33:11; 18:23), but He cannot allow sin to enter heaven again. If we cling to our sin, then we will perish with it. If we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, then we have to put behind us all fleshly lust and filthy practices. We may think that whilst we continue to practice what God calls an abomination in His Word - because we still worship Him, His agape love will ultimately save us in our sin. This is a dangerous delusion. The love of God for His children does not give licence to sin! If God called the practice of same gender sex a detestable thing in the Old Testament, as did the Apostles in the New Testament, (1Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Rom 1:26-27), He does not change his moral law today, to accommodate the same practices He destroyed mankind for during the time of Noah, and Sodom and Gomorrah. The final destruction of sin by fire awaits the devil and his angels and those who remain in their sin will be consumed in that fire. (2 Peter 3:7)
The Bible is Christ - The Word
“To the Word and to the Testimony, if they speak not according to this, then there is no light in them.” Isa 8:20
Whilst there is breath in the body, there is time to repent and put away sinful practices. In doing so God will welcome the repentant sinner with open arms into His kingdom.
¹(See my article on this subject – www.faithwriters.com).
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