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                 "MORAL ISSUES CONFRONTING CHRISTIANS"

                             Homosexuality

INTRODUCTION

1. Homosexuality as an acceptable, alternative lifestyle has become more
   prevalent...
   a. Equal rights are being granted to practice and promote the
      lifestyle
   b. There are now gay churches, even gay priests and ministers in
      mainstream denominations
   c. Cities and vacation resorts often cater to open display of
      homosexual behavior

2. It is certainly a moral issue that confronts many Christians today...
   a. Some question whether it is wrong
   b. Others react in ways unbecoming a Christian

[As with any moral issue, we must look to the Word of God.  And so we
start by asking...]

I. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

   A. IN THE PATRIARCHAL AGE...
      1. Homosexuality led to the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah
         a. The people were guilty of a "grave sin" - Gen 18:20
         b. The men of the city, young and old, were involved - Gen
            19:4-5
         c. They are later described as "given themselves over to sexual
            immorality and gone after strange flesh" - Jude 7
      2. Does not Ezekiel say their sin was lack of hospitality?
         a. So say some, based on Eze 16:49
         b. Sodom in Ezekiel 16 is Ammon and Moab, the offshoots from
            Sodom - JFB
         c. Sodom in Genesis had ceased to exist nearly 1500 years
            before!
      -- Homosexual conduct was a grave sin in the days of the
         patriarchs

   B. IN THE MOSAIC AGE...
      1. The Law of Moses made it a capital crime
         a. It was an abomination, together with bestiality - Lev
            18:22-23
         b. It was a reason the other nations were driven out - Lev
            18:24-25
         c. The Israelites were warned the same could happen to them
            - Lev 18:26-30
         d. It was a sin punishable by death - Lev 20:13
      2. Remember, Jesus lived under the Law of Moses
         a. It did not end until His death on the cross - Col 2:14
         b. While in force, Jesus taught strict observance of the Law
            - Mt 5:17-19
         c. Thus Jesus approved of what the Law taught about
            homosexuality
      -- Homosexual conduct was a capital crime under the Law of Moses

   C. IN THE CHRISTIAN AGE...
      1. As written to the Christians in Rome - Ro 1:24-27
         a. Lesbianism and homosexuality both described as "vile
            passions"
         b. The former is "against nature", the later is "shameful"
         c. Men receiving in themselves the penalty of their error
            (e.g., AIDS?)
      2. As written to the church in Corinth - 1Co 6:9-10
         a. Included in a list of sins preventing one from inheriting
            the kingdom of God
         b. Paul uses two terms that describe homosexual conduct
            1) malakos - the passive male partner in homosexual
               intercourse - Louw & Nida
            2) arsenokoites - a male partner, possibly the active one
               - ibid.
      3. As written to the evangelist Timothy - 1Ti 1:9-11
         a. Paul again uses the term arsenokoites (men who practice
            homosexuality, ESV)
         b. In a list of sins that are "contrary to sound doctrine,
            according to the glorious gospel"
      -- Homosexual conduct is contrary to the sound doctrine of the
         gospel of Christ

[The Bible is clear:  throughout every dispensation, homosexual conduct
like other forms of sexual immorality is clearly condemned.  Yet many
believe that God made them homosexual.  Is that true...?]

II. WHAT CAUSES HOMOSEXUALITY?

   A. NATURE OR NURTURE...
      1. Is homosexuality the result of one's genetics (nature)?
         a. Many say "God made me this way"
            1) There has been no definitive study proving homosexuality
               is genetic
            2) News stories often fail to mention the bias of those
               conducting the studies
         b. If God gave a person reproductive organs...
            1) He made them physically for heterosexual relationships
            2) Homosexual tendencies thus imply psychological issues,
               not physical ones
      2. A study of identical twins proves that genetics alone do not
         account for gender preference
         a. Dr. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University examined 110
            pairs of identical twins who had been separated at birth
            and raised in different environments
         b. He found that if one twin was gay there was a 52% chance the
            other was also
         c. Note well:  identical twins are genetically alike
            1) If homosexuality was genetic, they would have the same
               gender preference
            2) That 48% were not gay confirms genetics alone does not
               cause homosexuality
      -- Nature alone does not explain homosexuality

   B. SIMPLE OR COMPLEX...
      1. If homosexuality is not solely nature, is it solely nurture?
         a. Many assume it is solely environmental (nurture)
         b. Or that it is a simple choice of one's behavior
      2. The evidence suggests a complex combination of factors
         a. Some genetic factors, for example:
            1) A melancholy temperament is often a common factor
            2) In which one may be more predisposed to homosexuality
            3) Just as other temperaments make some more prone to anger
               or alcoholism
         b. Some environmental factors, for example:
            1) Lack of healthy parental relationships (absent father,
               smother mother)
            2) Early exposure to improper sexual activity, especially
               when one is insecure about their sexual identity
         c. The genetic and environmental factors can often be quite
            diverse
            1) Leading to various expressions of homosexuality (active,
               passive)
            2) Nor do they always lead to homosexual tendency or
               behavior
      -- Nurture alone may not explain homosexuality

[Sinful behavior is not always a simple choice, especially once one
becomes enslaved to sin (cf. Jn 8:34).  We who understand sin's power
should certainly be sympathetic toward others.   So let us ask...]

III. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE?

   A. TO SHARE THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL...
      1. We must be hold fast to the truth that is in Jesus - Ep 4:20-24
      2. We must teach sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel
         - 1Ti 1:8-11
      -- It may be politically incorrect, but we cannot compromise truth

   B. TO DISPLAY THE LOVE OF THE GOSPEL...
      1. We have the duty to speak the truth in love - Ep 4:15
      2. Which affects how we approach those enslaved in sin - 2Ti
         2:24-26
      -- We must hate the sin, but we must also love the sinner

   C. TO OFFER THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL...
      1. Cleansing, sanctification and justification to all - 1Co 6:9-11
      2. The fruit of the Spirit to deal with the works of the flesh
         - Ga 5:16-25
      -- No matter the form of sexual immorality, the gospel provides
         deliverance!

CONCLUSION

1. Homosexuality is a volatile issue today...
   a. It is a politically charged issue
   b. Opposition to it is often depicted as being hateful, homophobic,
      narrow minded

2. The challenge confronting Christians today is how to respond...
   a. Too many are indeed hateful and homophobic
   b. That is wrong, and increases the likelihood of persecution

We must be faithful to the Scriptures, but we must also be faithful to
example of Jesus and His apostles, who reached out to all sinners with
the display of love, the promise of forgiveness, and the hope of
transformation...

For more resources on the subject of homosexuality, visit these
websites:

Homosexuality - A Christian Perspective
http://executableoutlines.com/hom.htm

Christian Resources about Homosexuality and AIDS
http://home.messiah.edu/~chase/h/

Exodus International
http://www.exodus-international.org/

National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality
http://www.narth.com/index.html

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