Sunday, June 26, 2016

LGBT and How the Church Should Respond

This sermon was delivered on June 26, 2016, on the one-year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage in the United States. An expanded version can be purchased in a printed manuscript form by clicking here.

Introduction
The world sure loves to talk about sex. Sex, sex, sex. Money, power, sex, money, and sex. Then the church speaks into the world's sinful passions and says, "The answer is Jesus." And the world responds, "Why do Christians just want to talk about sex all the time?"

That will likely be the response to this message, re-writing a sermon that I first preached on April 28, 2013, addressing the subject of same-sex marriage and how the church should respond.

Incredibly, the world changed a lot in just three short years. Same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide on June 26, 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. With that decision, the United States became the 22nd nation in the world to recognize same-sex marriage as marriage.

Prior to 2000, when the Netherlands became the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage, no country in the history of the world considered a union between two people of the same sex to be a marriage. Yes, there were peoples and nations that engaged in and accepted homoerotic practices. We see that as far back as Genesis 19 in the city of Sodom. But marriage was still marriage: a union between a man and a woman.

If you went to the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary today, you would find three different definitions of marriage. Marriage is:
  • The relationship that exists between a husband and a wife.
  • A similar relationship between people of the same sex.
  • A ceremony in which two people are married to each other.
The importance of the sexes is gone. If a man and a woman are no longer necessary to define a marriage, neither will a definition of the sexes matter anywhere else, including, as we're now being told, on the bathroom door.

Our world has become obsessed with redefining marriage, sex, and the sexes. For years we've listened to them say, "Same-sex marriage won't hurt anyone!" And then they try to sue someone out of their livelihood when they refuse to participate in a same-sex marriage, or fine someone because they don't use the right pronouns. They are hurting others. And—They are hurting themselves.

The church is to be the light of Christ shining into this sexually depraved culture. When Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 that we are the light of the world, what does that mean? Paul explained it to the Philippians when he told them to be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which we shine as lights in the world, holding out the word of Christ (Philippians 2:14-16). By sharing the words of Jesus, we are exposing sin, presenting the gospel, and calling for repentance.

That is the loving response that the church should make to the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender movement (LGBT). At one point every one of us were dead in our sins and our trespasses in which we once walked, following the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were under the wrath of God like the rest of mankind.

But God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, didn't leave us dead in our sins. He sent his Son, Jesus, to die in our place, taking upon himself the wrath of God that we deserved. God sent someone to speak the gospel into our lives, our eyes were opened to our sin, and our hearts have been turned by his Holy Spirit toward the righteousness of Christ.

That is exactly what God did for each one of us, and so we must take this message to the whole world—because we love them, too. A year after same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States, I present this sermon again with updated information. This is LGBT and How the Church Should Respond.

A Church Address
It is important to clarify who I am speaking to. I am addressing the church, the unified body under the head that is Christ. More specifically, I'm talking to First Southern Baptist Church of Junction City, KS. This is a call to advance the gospel, not to be rancorous or quarrelsome.

Ultimately, what I want us to understand is this: We must respond to the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). To withhold the gospel and encourage a person in sin that God has promised he will judge is the most unloving response we as the church could make.

There is a lot here to fit into one sermon, so we will divide this up in the following ways: First, our culture's evolution on homosexuality; Next, what the Bible says about homosexuality; Third, what the gay marriage debate is about and what it's not about; and finally, warnings and further instructions for the church.

The LGBT (R)evolution
Think about this: a year ago, a man would be arrested for persistently and willfully using the women's bathroom. Today, you could be arrested for trying to stop him.

On the Monday, May 16 edition of The Briefing, Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the following: "Just a matter of a few months ago, America was assured that the LGBT revolution, including the legalization of same-sex marriage and all that is included in this revolution, wouldn't really change anything fundamental. It was just about a matter of fairness and inclusion. Now we are told, less than a year after the Obergefell decision, that schools must now join the moral revolution, even when it comes to bathrooms and changing areas, locker rooms and other facilities, and the absolute decree handed down by our federal government is clear in its complexity, but also its moral clarity. This is an absolute demand for total obedience to the moral revolution."

This was in response to the news the previous Friday that the Obama administration, through the departments of Justice and Education, demanded that every public education institution in the country must bow the knee and allow every boy or girl to use the bathroom of their choice. Should they refuse, swift consequences would be enforced, not the least of which was the withholding of federal funds to that institution.

There's a joke that goes, "Eight years of Obama, and we can't decide which bathroom to use." It's hilarious that this is the kind of legacy Obama will be leaving behind. But it's also deeply sad and heart-wrenching, looking toward future generations, when we realize: this is the kind of legacy Obama wants to leave behind.

Once defending the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, Obama says that he has "evolved" on the issue. With same-sex marriage legalized, he has turned his attention to the T in LGBT, pushing "executive orders" that infringe upon the conscience of most Americans in the special treatment of transgender behavior. It is on LGBT issues that he means to cement his legacy.

This past November, heading into Obama's final year in office, The Economist did a public opinion poll to find out what Americans thought of the work Obama has done as president. They singled out 15 policy issues, including abortion, the war in Afghanistan, the budget deficit, the economy, education, the environment, foreign policy, gun control, health care, immigration, Medicare, Social Security, taxes, and terrorism. Obama's disapproval rating was higher than his approval rating on every single issue except one—gay rights.

There's another joke that goes, "Kennedy's legacy was to put a man on the moon, Obama's is to put a man in the women's restroom. Reagan was famous for saying, 'Tear down this wall!' Obama is famous for saying, 'Tear down this stall.'"

But let's be realistic: President Obama is not the one to blame. If he were impeached and we removed him from office, the person who would take his place would be just as liberally progressive on social issues as he is. Both presumptive presidential nominees, Donald Trump of the Republican party and Hillary Clinton of the Democrats, defend gay marriage and transgender laws. Even Republicans—long-held to be the conservative party—have evolved.

On the late night of Wednesday, May 25, house Republicans allowed a vote on an amendment which codified Obama's executive order 13672 making transgenderism the law of the land. The amendment passed 223-195 with 43 Republicans supporting it. Said Daniel Horowitz of the Conservative Review, "The GOP House just supported arguably the most radical Democrat agenda item in the dead of night."

So you see, Obama is merely a part, not the cause, of our changing moral ethic. Lest you forget, it was in 1969 that no-fault divorce was first introduced under then-Governor Ronald Reagan, hailed today as a conservative hero. The legal definition of marriage was being changed in 1969 before it happened in 2015. The law has changed to reflect the attitudes of the culture rather than guide, protect, and establish boundaries, as the law should.

The truth is that even American churches, are "evolving" on this issue. According to an August 3, 2015 article in The Greenville News, the First Baptist Church of Greenville, SC has taken it upon themselves to not only perform same-sex marriages, but to ordain gay and transgender ministers. At the members meeting where this was decided, every single person stood unanimously in support of the decision.

First Baptist Church in Greenville is the church home of the first Southern Baptist Convention president, and the birthplace of what is today Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. (FBC Greenville left the Southern Baptist Convention in 1999. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has been located in Louisville, KY since 1877.) Pastor Jim Dant said, "We need to do the right thing, regardless of what anybody says or thinks about us," and that they needed to be "diverse and respectful of God's unique work."

Well, let the church not be led astray, and those who seek the truth of God's Holy Word understand that affirming gay and transgender behavior is not respectful to God or to the people made in his image. In fact, embracing, supporting, or approving the gay-rights cause is one of the most destructive and unloving things that we can do.

If this concept seems crazy to you—if you wonder how supporting same-sex marriage is actually the unloving and uncaring thing—please stick with me because it's one of the major points that I wish to address.

Perhaps none of this backstory is news to you, but I bring it up to make this point: We must not be surprised when the world acts like the world, nor should we be in terror or despair. The hope for this world is not in the government or what laws are passed. The only salvation for this world is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We must not back down from sharing that message or soften it in any way. We must tell the world, our neighbors, and teach it to our children. We must be vocal about what sin is, what the consequence for sin is, and that in Christ our sin is forgiven. "For the wages of sin is death," the Scripture says, "but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

When the world acts like the world, our response is to share the gospel. We preach because we love.

To Inherit the Kingdom of God
In my first few weeks as senior pastor here, my wife and I visited with a young woman who said she was a lesbian. She wanted to know how she could still be a lesbian and be sure she would go to heaven when she died.

I read to her 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you, 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."

It was important to help her understand that one of the sins that will keep a person from the kingdom of God is homosexuality. "Idolatry" is grouped together with sexual sins because to engage in any sexually immoral practice is to bow at an altar to a false god—a god of your own design who will fulfill all your desires and give you all the pleasures you want to have.

But those who belong to Christ "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24). Peter said to "live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God" (1 Peter 4:2). Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9:23-24).

She responded with a common rebuttal: that Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality. So I took her to the part of Scripture where Jesus talked about marriage and the sexes in Matthew 19:4-6. Jesus said, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let man not separate."

Or in other words, "Let man not redefine." Jesus gave the definition of marriage as God created it to be: one man and one woman for life. When we read in Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, or 1 Timothy 1 that homosexuality is sin, though those words were written by the Apostle Paul, they are also the words of Christ. Jesus said he would send the Holy Spirit who would reveal more truth (John 16:13, 1 John 4:6, 5:6). As the Holy Spirit is God just as Christ is God, whatever the Spirit has said through the Apostles and the Prophets is also what Christ has said.

The Bible strictly condemns homoerotic behavior. To encourage someone in sin that God has promised he will judge is not loving. With the love of Christ for this woman sitting in our living room, I was not about to leave her believing that she could practice a gay lifestyle and still inherit the kingdom of God when the Bible says the opposite.

I told her to notice the part where Paul said, "'But you were washed!' Some of the men and women Paul wrote to formerly committed homosexual sins. But they were loved by God and forgiven of their sins. They were washed and cleansed by the Holy Spirit. Sitting among the people of the Corinthian church were those who could say, 'I once was that, but I've been washed.' They were being made into the image of Christ, who died for their sins so that he might present us before God purified and holy with great joy."

So I put this before her: "The question you need to ask is not, 'Can I still be this and still get to heaven?' The question is rather this: 'Do I want God?' Do you want him so much that you would be willing to give up every desire of the flesh you have to be like Jesus? The Bible says it is they who will be given life, and given it more abundantly. It is they who will receive his kingdom. 'They have conquered [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death,' Revelation 12:11."

She said she believed the words that I told her. She wanted to repent of her sins and no longer be identified by a label of her flesh, but by the name of Jesus. Hers was the first baptism I ever did here at First Southern Baptist Church.

Our responsibility as Christians is to take the gospel, preached in the whole world for 2,000 years, and speak it into the context of our modern culture. We do not need to change it. But we do need to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16). It is a biblical thing to have an understanding of the times and how to respond to them (1 Chronicles 12:32, Colossians 4:5-6). For that reason, it is necessary for us to see the lie of this sexual revolution for what it is. We do this not because we hate, but because we love.

Let us revisit the arguments as I presented them three years ago regarding same-sex marriage. When we looked at these arguments the first time, we were looking ahead at a turn our culture was about to take. Now we'll be looking back at a turn our culture has taken to better understand the road we're on. Let's understand what this debate is not about, borrowing in part from arguments presented by apologist Frank Turek:

What This Debate is Not About
  • It is not about equality or civil rights.
  • It is not about bigotry, discrimination, or homophobia.
  • It is not about religion.
  • It is not about love.
  • It is not even about marriage or bathrooms.
Equality, civil rights, discrimination, love, marriage and bathrooms—these are the things we always talk about when it comes to the debate, but they are a smokescreen. They are not the issue or the goal. Both same-sex marriage advocates and opponents have been forced into a debate controlled by certain language influenced by a propaganda machine conceived of nearly 30 years ago.

In 1988 in Warrentown, VA, a meeting was held by a group of prominent homosexuals where they laid out a plan to get homosexuality accepted by the general public. The next year, a book was published by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen entitled After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s. In the book, they talk about how they will achieve their goal "without references to facts, logic, or proof." By doing so, "the person's beliefs can be altered whether he is conscious of the attack or not" (pg. 152 and 153).

In other words the strategy is based purely on propaganda: to portray gays as victims and to make those who disagree with the lifestyle look like vicious haters. The agenda has worked, using bumper-sticker rhetoric and appeals to emotion while completely ignoring evidence and reason. Responding to this debate though will take more than quips and one-liners. I ask you to patiently process what we will unfold as we go through these things in order.

First of all, it's not about equality or civil rights.
The LGBT agenda wishes to paint the battle for sexual-orientation rights as similar to the civil rights struggle for blacks that peaked in the 1960s. It is not anything like the civil rights struggle. The segregation prevalent during that era was literally a black and white issue. Simply by looking at a person were they discriminated against because of the outward color of their skin. But the fight for homosexual "equality" is not an issue where a person can look at someone else and discriminate against them by their appearance.

In July of 2012, Voddie Baucham wrote an article entitled Gay is Not the New Black. One of the things Baucham mentioned in the article is that it's impossible to identify who is or is not a homosexual. There is no evidence that can confirm or deny a person's claims regarding sexual orientation. In fact, the homosexual community will distance itself from same-sex behavior they find undesirable. Try calling a pedophile a homosexual, and the backlash will be swift and unequivocal. So same-sex attraction alone isn't enough to identify a person as a homosexual.

Baucham also referenced anti-miscegenation laws—when it was once illegal for mixed-race couples to get married. Miscegenation literally means "the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types." However, a homosexual can't interbreed! How can it be considered racist to point out any two homosexual men or any two lesbian women are completely incapable of procreation? One cannot be denied something that doesn't exist.

(Baucham preached a sermon at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA, entitled Is Gay the New Black? The sermon can be found here.)

Secondly, the debate is not about bigotry, discrimination, or homophobia.
In 2013, when the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act was being challenged before the Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia made a valid point. He said, "We don't prescribe law for the future. We decide what the law is. I'm curious, when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868? When the fourteenth amendment was adopted?" Attorney Ted Olson conceded that he could not answer the question.

Prior to 2015, a homosexual adult male always had the exact same rights as a heterosexual adult male. It was always within their legal right to get married so long as the person they married was of the opposite sex—because that's what marriage is. And here's the thing: A homosexual male could not marry a person of the same sex, and neither could the heterosexual male. It was the same law for both orientations. What changed in 2015 was not that homosexuals won any rights they didn't previously have—they received special privilege.

For those who disagree with this argument, consider two things: one is a legal definition, and the second a logic argument. First, the legal definition. When the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, they said the following: "It is true the marriage statute does not expressly prohibit gay and lesbian persons from marrying; it does, however, require that if they marry, it must be to someone of the opposite sex." Even though Iowa legalized same-sex marriage, the courts acknowledged that marriage law did not discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Second, here's the logic argument. Same-sex marriage advocates wish to suggest that there is no difference between a two parent home consisting of a mother and father, and a home consisting of two parents of the same gender. So according to the gay-rights lobby, when it comes to parenting, men and women are interchangeable. But when it comes to sex partners, they aren't. Do you see the contradiction in the argument? If men and women really are interchangeable, then why not marry someone of the opposite sex?

The fact of the matter is that even the gay-rights campaign inherently understands that the definition of marriage, as has been the case in all of human history, is a union between two people of the opposite sex. Just as stated in Romans 1:24-27, they know what is natural and what is contrary to nature, but they exchange the truth for a lie.

Princeton Professor Robert George in his book The Clash of Orthodoxies points out that marriage is made real by acts that are reproductive, whether or not these acts result in children. Only a mated pair, a man and a woman, can be a complete organism capable of human procreation. By contrast, no two gay men or two lesbian women can ever be procreative.

Consider it this way: If all couples were one man and one woman, the human race would thrive. If all couples were only same-sex unions, the human race would end. Now, in no scenario would society ever be comprised of only same-sex couples. The point is merely to show that if it's bigotry to not give same-sex couples the same consideration one would give a heterosexual couple, then nature is the ultimate bigot. The man-and-woman union is the very foundation of civilization. It is the foundation of humanity.

The opposition to same-sex marriage is not based on bigotry, but on good reason. Our laws rightly discriminate against all kinds of behaviors with no intention of hating anyone. A 40-year old man cannot marry a 10-year-old girl; brothers and sisters can't marry one another; a husband cannot take more than one wife. This is no more hatred than denying two men a marriage license.

But as I said before, this is all propaganda using bigotry, discrimination, and homophobia as tools of persuasion. Who wants to be considered a bigot? I know that discrimination does exist, but merely disagreeing with same-sex marriage does not make one a hate-monger. Such a position can be based on evidence, not prejudice.

Third, this is not about religion.
Again, opposition to homosexual and transgender laws can be based simply on evidence and reason. Former psychiatrist-in-chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Paul McHugh, has outright opposed gender reassignment surgery. In an article published in the Wall Street Journal, he said, "Claiming that this is a civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder."

In a statement posted in March, the American College of Pediatricians urged all "educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex." They stated, "Facts—not ideology—determine reality."

Even those on the liberal left are uncomfortable with some of the extremes the LGBT movement has taken. Yale Law Professor Peter H. Schuck, writing for The New York Times, criticized President Obama's edict that required all public schools to allow boys and girls to use the bathroom of their choice. Last month, Life Site News reported that Maya Dillard Smith, a liberal democrat and member of the ACLU in Georgia, resigned because she was opposed to the way the ACLU was forcing transgender bathroom laws.

There are even homosexuals who do not favor same-sex marriage. Dr. Jason Hill is professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago, and an openly gay man. In an article last month entitled Loveless, Narcissistic Sex Addicts: A Gay Man Critiques His Community, he said, "Marriage between two men in our contemporary culture is a colossal waste of time, a hopeless undertaking doomed for failure, and, fundamentally, a naïve endeavor profoundly at odds with the hypersexual, broken, and ethically bankrupt ethos and nature of gay male culture."

Because gay-marriage is not about religion, it is not just the religious whom LGBT activists will come up against. Rather, anyone who opposes the LGBT movement in any way will be attacked by what some have dubbed the "gay gestapo" or the gaystapo.

In June, 2015, Dr. Paul Church, an urologist at a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital in Boston, was expelled for warning about the increased health risks of gay activity, "including STD's, HIV and AIDS, anal cancer, hepatitis, parasitic intestinal infections, psychiatric disorders." He's a leading medical expert who had been with the hospital for over 30 years, and he was fired just for doing his job.

According to a May 17 edition of The Washington Post, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio drafted new rules that require businesses to address customers by the neutral pronouns "ze" or "zir." Any business that addresses their customers as "Mr." or "Mrs." or "sir" or "madam" could be subject to penalties of up to $250,000. Referred to as the New York City Human Rights Law, violations of the law include an "intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual's preferred name, pronoun or title. For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman 'him' or 'Mr.' after she has made clear which pronouns and title she uses."

Embracing LGBT political-correctness is creating a perpetually confused culture. The only way to receive love and acceptance is to always be encouraging of all LGBT behavior all the time. Christianity is going to be in the cross-hairs more-so than anyone else because our text, the Bible, speaks the truth. Not all religion will be targeted—specifically Christianity.

After the tragic shooting at a gay night club in Orlando, FL two weeks ago—in which a Muslim terrorist, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured at least as many others, who has since been revealed to be a gay man himself—Sarah Jones, who works for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington D.C., said that by calling the LGBT movement a threat to our values, Christians "ensured that an event like Orlando was inevitable."

Chase Strangio of the ACLU said, "The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people [are] blaming Islam for this? No." Lawyer and political commentator Sally Kohn said, "Simple fact is that progressive Muslims recognize my fundamental humanity and equality as a queer person more than the Christian right does."

Even though Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi has expressed support for the LGBT community, Anderson Cooper grilled her on CNN for being a hypocrite because she had opposed LGBT rights legislation in the past.

Now, we've come to expect this kind of behavior from the left, but folks, it's coming from the right, too. Look at Georgia governor Nathan Deal, for example. I've also mentioned Donald Trump and other Republicans.

Worse yet, it's coming from those who claim to be Christians. Popular women's blogger and pastor's wife Jen Hatmaker chastised Christian ethics on her Facebook page: "We cannot with any integrity honor in death those we failed to honor in life… Anti-LGBTQ sentiment has paved a long runway to hate crimes… We are complicit." Other evangelical bloggers like Rachel Held Evans echoed her sentiment.

Said David French of the National Review, "The principles, such as they exist, seem to be this: If you oppose same-sex marriage or mixed-gender bathrooms, then you not only can't legitimately grieve the loss of gay lives, you're partially responsible for the massacre in Orlando. Conservative efforts to protect religious freedom and freedom of association from unprecedented infringement will kill people."

French demonstrated that opposition to same-sex marriage is not solely a religious issue. But LGBT activists and sympathizers have made the true church a target.

Fourth, it's not about love.
The fact of the matter is that two homosexual men could commit to one another with or without a same-sex marriage law. There's a whole cottage industry that has been specializing in same-sex weddings for decades—before same-sex marriage was legally recognized. But gay-rights are not about love. In fact the gay community is one of the most unloving and competitive communities of people. Just ask those who are in it.

Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez has spent more than forty years in the LGBT community. He was raised by a lesbian and her partner, identified himself as gay at the age of twenty and bisexual at the age of thirty, having worked in a gay sex club in the 90s. He saw how gays and lesbians clung to their vices and took their frustrations out on each other.

He pointed out that a homosexual male's accelerated sex drive causes an increase in rivalry as well as eating disorders. Lesbian women deal with the cloistering, smothering tendencies of other women, feuding and holding grudges against each other. And don't you dare ever become a person who was once a part of the homosexual lifestyle and then leave it. The worst attacks, it seems, are reserved for those who once were gay. Homosexual radicals will bully a person questioning their sexuality into coming out as gay and then staying gay.

Furthermore, Lopez has pointed out that homosexual-rights pundits are among the vilest commentators you can find. Here's one example. On the HBO program Real Time with Bill Maher, activist and author Dan Savage expressed a desire to anally rape then presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Comedian Marc Maron, part of the same banter, said he'd like to do the same to Congresswoman Michelle Bauchmann. Unashamedly verbalizing sexual acts of violence is their response to those who oppose same-sex marriage. (Here's the link. Caution: harsh profanity.)

Now, it might be easy for someone to look down on anyone who claims to be homosexual as being like Savage and his fan-base, but understand I'm not trying to paint them all with the same brush. Rather, I want you to understand why it is so damaging for anyone who says they're a homosexual to engage in this kind of community—the hurt, the rage, the confusion, and harmful behaviors that exist there. Again, one of the worst things we can do is actually encourage them to embrace and express a homosexual lifestyle. It is not as loving and inclusive as the homosexual lobby wants you to believe that it is.

The LGBT community has been very spiteful toward those who are intersex, or hermaphrodites, born neither male nor female. In an online article, an intersex person anonymously named Emily said, "In most mainstream LGBTQ groups, intersex people only come up when it's time to refute the gender binary. They don't care about actually helping intersex people; we're just a token to be played when people say that the gender binary is only right and natural because the sex binary is only right and natural."

Dr. Jason Hill has also been lambasted by the gay community for pulling back the curtain on the gay lifestyle. He said, "Promiscuous sex and drug use are not exceptional or marginalized currents in gay culture. They are an omnipresent force in every register, crook, and cranny of the gay world."

Hill revealed a disturbing trend emerging in the gay culture called "Poz Me," where gay men who are HIV negative hook up with men who are HIV positive. This is the gay community's version of breeding. He called it, "a desperate cry for intimacy and deep contact with another on the—literally—deepest form: an exchange of infected bodily fluids."

Hill also pointed to studies showing that 43 percent of all gay men in the Western world claimed to have had more than 500 partners in their lifetime, and 28 percent claimed to have had more than 1,000. For the few homosexuals who actually do get married, their sexual promiscuity doesn't end and their marriages are often open relationships. Popular music icon Elton John has one of those marriages. You can find articles about how he and his partner, David Furnish, have sex with numerous other partners, even flying thousands of miles to meet up with other gay men to engage in lavish and expensive orgies.

The Center for Disease Control has revealed that more than 82 percent of all known sexually-transmitted AIDS cases are the result of male-to-male sexual contact. Gay and bisexual men account for 60 percent of all syphilis cases. And this affects you, too. The gay lobby has strong-armed the government into preventing health insurance companies from asking consumers any medical questions, including if they have any sexually transmitted diseases. As a result, every consumer in America is paying a higher premium because a health insurance company is not allowed to identify clients who engage in high-risk sexual behavior.

Lesbians are at greater risk for breast cancer than any subset of women in the world. They have higher risk of cervical cancers, they are more likely to be obese and abuse drugs and alcohol, they have higher rates of bacterial vaginosis and hepatitis C. And only 7 percent of lesbians say they have sex exclusively with women. More than 9 out of 10 lesbian women admit to sleeping with both men and women.

Just like how abortion lobbyists don't want to talk about what abortion actually is—the murder of children—so the gay-rights lobby doesn't want to talk about what homosexuality actually is—gay and lesbian sex. Pardon me for being graphic, but it's like trying to put a round peg in a star-shaped hole. Homosexual acts are in direct opposition to the body's design. It is not natural nor is it healthy to insert the penis into the rectum, the organ whose sole purpose is to expel poisons from the body. And calling its abuse an act of "love" does not change how much it harms the body.

And please understand me here—I do not mention these things so that you will be reviled and repulsed by someone who identifies as gay. We must be filled with compassion and realize that you should never encourage anyone in this kind of behavior or lifestyle. Encouraging anyone to be gay or lesbian will always be unloving. In fact, it's hateful to tell a person, "It's alright to be gay."

The same goes for being transgender. Denny Burk, professor of Boyce College and author of the book Transforming Homosexuality, pointed to a 2009 interview that Fox News did with a man named "John." Ever since he was a child, John has felt like a one-legged man trapped inside a two-legged man's body and has a longing desire to cut off one of his limbs.

It's a condition referred to as "Body Integrity Identity Disorder." According to a 2012 study, the only known psychological relief is amputation. But most doctors won't participate. One man who froze his leg in dry ice until it was irreparably damaged. Another shot himself in the leg with a shotgun and it had to be amputated.

Asked Burk, "Is it right for people to amputate otherwise healthy limbs? Is it loving or helpful for friends and loved ones to encourage them to amputate healthy limbs? Is the problem here damaged limbs or a damaged mind? Does the body need adjusting, or does the thinking?" Now apply this to a man who wants to be surgically altered into a woman, or a woman into a man.

It is inconsiderate for our sex-crazed society to let people do whatever they want and force the rest to go along with it. Last month, the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina ran an editorial telling girls that they needed to overcome their discomfort at the sight of male genitalia because it was only a matter of time until transgender bathroom laws would be enacted. Our secular culture's solution to this is: "Girls, get used to seeing a man's private parts."

Consider what David Kupelian writes in his book The Marketing of Evil: "We've forgotten as a society what love is, because supporting and justifying homosexuality is not real love any more than glorifying drinking helps the alcoholic or celebrating smoking helps wipe out lung cancer. The most loving stance for others to take is not to serve as enablers of self-destructive and immoral compulsions, but to stand in patient and firm opposition."

Ethicist and political philosopher Jay Budziszewski observes that real "compassion ought to make us visit the prisoner, dry out the alcoholic, help the pregnant girl prepare for the baby, and encourage the young homosexual to live chastely. But how much easier is it to forget the prisoner, give the drunk a drink, send the girl to an abortionist, and tell the kid to just give in. False compassion is a great deal less work than true."

False love is the way of our culture; exploiting people to advance selfish pursuits. Many men and women, boys and girls, confused about their sexuality have been sucked into this agenda the goals and intentions of which do not reflect upon every single individual. But despite their mantra of, "Love Wins!" it is an agenda that certainly cannot be called a movement of love.

Finally, this is not about marriage itself.
I've mentioned already that most homosexuals don't even want marriage. Looking at countries where same-sex marriage has been legal for a longer period of time, what we see is that an average of 96% of those who claim to be homosexual never get married. There's an initial burst of participation when same-sex marriage is legalized, which has happened here in the U.S., and then it drops off. Those who do get married break up at a higher rate than heterosexual couples. Statistics show that monogamy exists in 83% of heterosexual couples, but in only 2% of homosexual couples. (Even the most moderate results show a difference of greater than 60%.)

In fact, there is more reason to believe that the homosexual agenda wants to abolish marriage than to practice it. Beginning in New York in 1969, during the free-love movement, the Gay Liberation Front stated, "We expose the institution of marriage as one of the most insidious and basic sustainers of the system. The family is the microcosm of oppression."

Paula Ettelbrick, a long-time legal figure in the gay-rights movement, once wrote, "Marriage runs contrary to two of the primary goals of the lesbian and gay movement: the affirmation of gay identity and culture and the validation of many forms of relationships." Law professor Nan D. Hunter said that government-backed same-sex marriage has the "enormous potential to destabilize the gendered definition of marriage for everyone."

Michelangelo Signorile, a prominent gay-rights activist and editor for The Huffington Post, encouraged other activists, quote, "to fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, to demand the right to marry, not as a way of adhering to society's moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution." He went on to write, "The most subversive action lesbian and gay men can undertake is to transform the notion of marriage entirely."

In May, 2012, in a panel discussion before a live audience at the Sydney Writers Festival, lesbian author and journalist Masha Gessen said the following: "It's a no-brainer that gays should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it's a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist." The audience cheered approvingly. "Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there—because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that's a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don't think it should exist."

Church, we need to realize exactly what these homosexual and anti-family zealots realize: same-sex marriage will destroy the family. It is robbing individual Americans of basic fundamental freedoms. It is hurting everyone, homosexual and heterosexual alike.

Andrew Sullivan, a gay man and one of their more conservative voices on gay-rights, has said that heterosexuals can learn something from homosexuals and engage in more openly sexual relationships. And again, that's the conservative viewpoint on the family.

And talk about being gay is absolutely everywhere. As Dr. Mohler pointed out in a June 8 edition of The Briefing, the "House and Home" section of the Financial Times mentioned gay life in every single article of its 14 pages. Said Dr. Mohler, "Here you have the Financial Times signaling to the public that it intends to push the LGBT agenda in every section, including the real estate section."

The effort to legalize same-sex marriage is not about marriage. The fact that same-sex marriage has been legalized in this country, and yet the fight just seems to be getting stronger, and all the things they promised wouldn't happen are happening—is further evidence that this has never been about marriage.

So What is This About?
So if it's not about equal rights, if it's not about discrimination, if it's not about religion, love, or even marriage itself, what is this all about? To borrow from Jonathan Leeman writing for The Gospel Coalition, it's because for both gay and transgender adults, this is fundamentally about being publicly recognized as fully human.

We as Christians should have no problem with recognizing someone as fully human though they identify as gay or transgender. They're human beings made in the image of God. We love them no matter what, as we should love all no matter what. We're capable of loving them with a love greater than the love with which they love themselves. A Christian loves others contrary to what they deserve, just as Christ loves each and every one of us despite what we truly deserve.

Church, all of us would do well to remember Romans 5:8 which says that "God showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." All of us have sinned. All of us deserve God's wrath. But the death and blood of Jesus Christ satisfied the wrath of God. We need to humbly recognize that as Christ saved us from our sins, he can also save someone living as gay or transgender.

What we should not do, however, is grant that fulfilling every natural desire is what makes us human. Same-sex marriage or changing one's gender is a false hope when it comes to humanness. In fact, homosexuality de-humanizes. Everything that a homosexual must do to rationalize their desires actually takes something human away. Think about some of the rhetoric. One of the common arguments is that animals naturally experience same-sex attraction, therefore it's natural for people to experience it, too. Really? Comparing yourself to animals?

By arguing that homosexuality is "natural" and therefore must be embraced and celebrated is also an admission of defeat. The homosexual is saying that their desires are nothing more than chemical reactions they can't control. They enslave themselves to them. Remember that a slave is someone who is treated as less than human—who is dominated by someone or something else. In an effort to quantify themselves as fully human, they instead reduce themselves to a level that is less than human.

The world we live in is actively conspiring to suppress the truth with unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). What can be known about God is plain to every single person because God has revealed it to them (v.19). But they trade the image of the immortal God for images resembling mortal men (v.23). It only resembles humanity. But it's something less than human, They give up what they know is natural—acting against the human body's obvious design—exchanging it for something unnatural (v.26). The establishment of same-sex marriage is a religious act because it's trading in one God for another. God will judge idolatry—even among those who don't believe in Him.

Christian brothers and sisters: never, ever encourage someone in acts that make them less than human—less than being created in the image of God. How can this possibly be loving? We must not ever support rights for gays or transgenders. By voting for it, protesting for it, legislating it, telling your friends you approve of their behavior, letting your family members know that you think what they're doing is just fine—this is sin. You are approving of things that God has promised to judge. You cannot love your neighbor if you encourage them in behaviors that will exclude them from the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore, Christian, I warn you—Romans 1:32 says that those who approve of such things are just as guilty as those who do them.

If the culture forces you to refer to little Johnny as little Suzy because that's what Johnny wants, you cannot comply, for to do this would be to participate in sin. Jesus said that if anyone causes one of these little ones to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and drowned in the depth of the sea (Luke 17:2). Genesis 1:27 says, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." We must love them as God created them to be and in doing so giving glory to God.

Joe Carter, Senior Editor at the Action Institute and author of the book How to Argue Like Jesus, says, "The true Christian response to those who are tempted by same-sex desire or suffering from gender identity confusion is to apply a gospel-centric expression of care, concern, and compassion. This requires, first of all, that we tell the truth about mankind and sin, and that we see people as God sees them rather than through their own preferred self-distorting labels and worldview. There are no 'LGBTQ' people, only men and women made in the image of God who are suffering from the consequences of the Fall and their own sin. We do our friends, family, and neighbors no favors by 'affirming' what God says must be renounced."

What Else the Church Should Know
Paul David Washer, a Southern Baptist evangelist, has said the following: "The church in America is going to suffer so terribly. We laugh now, but they will come after us and they will come after our children. They will close the net around us while we are playing soccer mom and soccer dad, while we're arguing over so many little things and mesmerized by so many trinkets. The net, even now, is closing around you and your children and your grandchildren, and it does not cause you to fear.

"You will be isolated from society as has already happened. Anyone who believes the Bible who tries to run for office will be considered a lunatic until finally we are silenced. We will be called things that we are not and persecuted not for being followers of Christ, but for being radical fundamentalists who do not know the true way of Christ which of course is love and tolerance. You'll go down as the greatest bigots and haters of mankind in history. They've already come after your children, and for most of you they got them; through indoctrination in public schools and universities and you wonder why your children come out not serving the Lord. It's because you fed them right into the devil's mouth."

And so, Washer says, "Your mind must be filled with the Word of God when all people persecute you and turn on you." He said, "You want revival and great awakening, but know this—for the most part great awakenings have come only preceding great national catastrophes or the persecution of the church. I believe God is bringing a great awakening. I believe He is raising up young men who are strong in the providence of God to be able to wade through the hell that's going to break loose on us. And it will be on us before we even recognize it—unless in God's providence He is not done."

Kevin DeYoung writes, "The church is sometimes the most vibrant, the most articulate, and the most holy when the world presses down on her most. But only sometimes. I care about the decisions of the Supreme Court and the laws our politicians put in place. But what's more important to me—because I believe it's more crucial to the spread of the gospel, the growth of the church, and the honor of Christ—is what happens in our churches, our mission agencies, our denominations, our parachurch organizations, and in our educational institutions. I fear that younger Christians may not have the stomach for disagreement or the critical mind for careful reasoning. We're going to need a good dose of fundamental obstinacy that most evangelicals love to lampoon. The challenge before the church is to convince ourselves, as much as anyone, that believing the Bible does not make us bigots, just as reflecting the times does not make us relevant."

In a separate article, DeYoung asks, "So what can be done? The momentum, the media, the slogans, the meta-stories, all seem to be on the other side. Now what? For starters, churches and pastors and Christian parents can prepare their families both intellectually and psychologically for the opposition that is sure to come. Conservative Christians have more kids; make sure they know what the Bible says and how to think. We should also remember that the church's mission in life is not to defeat gay marriage. While too many Christians have already retreated, there may be others who reckon that everything hangs in the balance on this one issue. Let's keep preaching, persevering, pursuing joy, and praying for conversions. Christians should care about the issue, and then carry on."

DeYoung went on to say, "We need more courage. The days of social acceptability for evangelicals, let alone privilege, are fading fast in many parts of the country. If we aren't prepared to be counter-cultural we aren't ready to be Christians. And we need courage not only to say what the Bible says, but to dare say what almost no one will say—that gay sex is unnatural and harmful to the body, that abandoning gender distinctions will be catastrophic for our society and our children, and that monogamy and exclusivity is often understood differently in the gay community. Let's keep preaching, teaching, and laboring for faithful churches. Let's be fruitful and multiply. Let's train our kids in the way they should go. Let's keep sharing the good news and praying for revival. And let's also find ways to make the truth plausible in a lost world. Not only the truth about marriage, but the truth about life and sex and creation and beauty and family and freedom and a hundred other things humans tend to forget on this side of Adam. The cultural assumptions in our day are not on our side, but if the last 50 years has shown us anything it's that those assumptions can change more quickly than we think."

What Else the Church Should Do
As I bring this to a conclusion, here are three more things I must urge you to do: Guard the teaching, guard your children, and guard yourselves.

In 1 Timothy 6:20 and 2 Timothy 1:14, the Apostle Paul urged his protégé to guard the good deposit entrusted to him: "O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called 'knowledge.'"

This deposit is very simply the message of the gospel. Know the sound words of Scripture and be able to defend it when it is misused. In our hearts, we must set apart Christ as holy, always ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us, doing this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). We must share it with one another, we must teach it to our children, and we must preach it to the world.

We must understand the truth of the song we have learned since childhood: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." Know the authority and the power in these 5 words: "Because the Bible says so." The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

We must guard the teaching, and secondly, you must guard your children. Just yesterday, I was in a restaurant and went to use the bathroom. In the men's room, by himself, was a boy that could have been no older than four, possibly even three. I was terrified for him and asked him, "Where are your parents?" and so he took me to where they were sitting. Folks, public bathrooms are not safe places anymore. Neither are public schools.

A year ago, the Sunday after the Supreme Court made their decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, I told this congregation that if you want to protect your children from this crooked and twisted generation, pull them out of public schools and homeschool them, or send them to a Christian school. You must know my suggestion was not unique. An exit strategy to encourage withdrawing children from the public school system was proposed at the Southern Baptist Convention over ten years ago.

It was then Dr. Mohler said, "Every week, new reports of atrocities in the public schools appear. Radical sex education programs, offensive curricula and class materials, school-based health clinics, and ideologies hostile to Christian truth and parental authority abound. These reports are no longer isolated and anecdotal. Forces opposed to what Southern Baptist churches and families believe dominate the public school arena—especially at the national level where policies are made and the future is shaped."

He pointed out, "Fueled by a secularist agenda and influenced by an elite of radical educational bureaucrats and theorists, government schools now serve as engines for secularizing and radicalizing children." And added, "The public school system in America has been controversial at various turns in our national history—but never as now." And again—this was over ten years ago. Parents, it's something you need to take seriously. No one's going to be church-disciplined for putting their kids in public school. Perhaps I won't convince you now, but you must consider the cost. I will tell you I still have a passion and a desire to start a Christian school. But that is a vision I can't share alone.

Be careful what your children watch and listen to. Know closely the friends they hang out with. Don't let them go into the home of anyone you don't know. Teach your children about sex and the sexes. Do not let the culture or their secular friends teach them. If you won't teach your children the sound doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ that accords with godliness (1 Timothy 6:3), there is an enemy who is ready to teach them his false doctrine.

Guard your children. And third, guard yourselves. If we are going to be a light to the world, we must be honorable in our conduct so that when they speak against us as evildoers, they may see our good deeds and give glory to God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:12). There must not even be a hint of sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3). This is the will of God, our sanctification, that we abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Men need to act like men (1 Corinthians 16:13), and women like women (Proverbs 31:30). Let the men of the church teach the younger men, and women teach younger women. With joy, fulfill the role that God has designed you for. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (Ephesians 5:25-26). Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (Colossians 3:18).

Men, stop looking at porn. Let your hands be holy (1 Timothy 2:8). Women, stop gossiping and control your tongue. Dress modestly and be self-controlled (1 Timothy 2:9). In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul said, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Guard the teaching, guard your children, and guard yourselves. As Paul said to Titus in Titus 2:15, "Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you."

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time, now and forever. Amen" (Jude 1:24).