Pastor Daniel Bramlett
For the next several weeks, we will be unpacking 1st Corinthians 5-7 on Sunday mornings. This means I am studying, praying about, reading all the cultural info and preaching through Sexual Ethics. Let me just say, it’s a mess. The simplicity we see in the Gospel hasn’t been seen in our world for years, but I really believe we are at our worst in the lifetime of our country. Just today I read about a federal judge in Virginia who ruled that a man who retains all of his male parts and identifies a woman is to be allowed to stay with the female inmates in the jail. I also read about a court in Maryland that ruled against a family for wanting to protect their children from the aggressive sex education program in their school district. The class provides options for kids to begin the process of converting to another gender without parental knowledge. We can throw up our hands and scream “The world is off its hinges!” or we can try another option. What’s behind door number two? Grace.
For far too long the Church has taken the back seat in this conversation. Turning a blind eye to abuse and then bemoaning the popular demands of the LGBTQ culture with the other is arrogance. It assumes this problem can be fixed by shaming this population into submission and is incredibly angry when they do not respond. Just saying “Be like me!” won’t work. Either the Church cares or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, we need to shut our doors. People aren’t likely to listen anyway. But if we do care—and I wholeheartedly believe we do! —then we need to pick up the gauntlet where it matters most: at the point of the most vulnerable.
The argument for biblical purity or confused sexual ethics begins at home. The LGBTQ group has recognized this for decades. They began introducing gay/lesbian material into the schools in the 90’s and California made their material mandatory and available k-12 over 10 years ago. Now several states have adopted LGBTQ histories and classes. Hollywood has been including the gay agenda since the 60’s, with heavy attention since 2000. The Church is frustrated, even angry with this but we have remained largely silent when it comes to the biblical standard. We say “Heterosexuality is the way!” but we stop there. We condemn homosexuality but stop there. Something has to give. What do we do?
First, we have to understand God’s design and then we model His direction. One of these without the other is futile. For us to just say “Stop it! That’s against God’s design!” does nothing. No one listens. We are just one more voice among millions. For us to just live the model silently also does nothing. We can live out God’s plan in our homes, behind closed doors and the world will keep this sin on the forefront. But if those who are living the plan begin to be vocal about the design, they will pay attention. We don’t judge. We don’t hate. We lovingly share the truth. When we get slapped, we keep sharing the truth. When we lose our positions in society, we keep sharing the truth. When we’re hated instead of loved, we keep sharing the truth. This is the only way this conversation can be had.
God’s design looks like marriage. Any perversion of sex is not about enjoyment. It is always a backhanded slap at marriage. We all agree that marriage is a God designed institution designed for one man and one woman. Not only is it monogamous, it is preemptive. It presumes a preparatory process that begins in childhood in the home designed to model and protect: to model purity and love and protect from the perversion of those entities. Parents are designed to model intimacy, transparency and oneness in a holy way. This model is adamant about sexual abstinence until marriage. Certainly, grace is present in every part of the model, but we don’t plan for failure. We plan for faithfulness. This model is based on male leadership. It does not require or expect the sexualized girl to win her guy with any kind of flirtatious acts. It does require the man to act on the model his parents gave him and pursue a woman until they mutually agree to marry for life. It then requires this man to lay his life, wants, needs and desires down in order to meet his wife’s needs, wants and desires. It requires the same of the wife. And although infertility is a part of the fallen world, it is not the plan. Babies are most definitely a part of this plan. We are designed to have children, raise them in the Lord and meet them in Heaven. Anything, I mean anything, outside of this model is sin. No matter how it’s presented or what it’s packaged with. That’s not old fashioned or out of date. That expiration date is stamped “Heaven”.
The goal here is not perfection. We will struggle with the effects of a sexually perverted world until the way we die. Our goal is transformation and restoration. We want to see a continual process of cleaning and renewal in our hearts and lives. Maybe you think the way you see yourself and the struggles you have sexually are too far gone. Maybe you constantly punish yourself for things you’ve done in the past. The blood of Jesus is strong and deep enough to cleanse and renew any piece of your life that is dirty and old. Ask Him to allow you to trust Him more as we move through this process. The goal is newness at the hand of the Spirit.
I pray the Church will take the reigns here. We can say and do so much good! But we have to set the anger and bitterness aside. We love every single individual regardless of the different paths we’ve chosen. We love them because we are all made in God’s image. We have to know who we are and where we are headed, then we can see some powerful things take place. Are you ready?