Perhaps, over the last few days you have seen or heard the statement “Love wins”. This week the Supreme Court of the United States of America, in a landmark decision, declared that all 50 states within our union must offer and honor same sex marriages. It is a decision that some celebrate, as they feel liberated. It is a decision that some rejoice in because their friends and family can now enjoy the same benefits of marriage as defined by law, that they do. It is a decision that has saddened some because they see it as a further descent down the slippery slope of moral decay that our once proud nation has been on for quite some time. It is a decision that has angered some because they feel it is unconstitutional for the Supreme Court to overrule votes of individual states within the union. It is a decision that some fear because they believe they will be forced to perform ceremonies that contradict their religious beliefs. It is a decision that has left some indifferent because it doesn’t affect them.
Regardless of which one of those people that I just described describes you or if you fit a category I haven’t described, I want to suggest to you that there is a decision of much greater importance that must be made. It is a decision that must be made by you and a decision that must be made by me. On Friday, June 26, 2015 as a result of a decision made by the highest court in our land, The United States of America became the 21st country to legalize same sex marriage across it’s nation. The decision that you must make is this: What are you going to do about it?
What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do about the fact that a man can now marry a man and woman can now marry a woman across all 50 states instead of just the 36 that had already legalized it? What are you going to do about the fact that instead of homosexual marriage being legal in 72% of our country, it is now legal in 100%?
What will your cry sound like?
Will your cry be a cry of tears for the fallen state of our nation?
Will your cry be a victory cry celebrating social and civil equality?
Will your cry be a cry of social injustice defaming big government?
Will your cry by a cry of the wounded wincing from the pain of defeat?
Will your cry be a cry of defiance proclaiming never to accept the decision?
Will your cry be a cry of Hell Fire and Brimstone demanding repentance?
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are quick to point out the egregious sin of homosexuality. We quote the scriptures that declare a man’s love for another man to be unnatural and an abomination. We cite the foundation of marriage as established in the book of Genesis as one man and one woman. We rely on verses that tell us that when a man sins, he sins against others, but when he sins sexually he sins against himself.
Those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, and even those that do but are for gay marriage, quote scriptures that teach us not to judge. They say the Bible doesn’t say “homosexual.” They say things like “everybody sins.”
This morning, most of you have already made a preliminary decision. I don’t know what data, material, or predisposed ideas you have made your decision on. I want to challenge you however, review your decision, review the scriptures, all of the scriptures and if they don’t line up, instead of trying to reconcile the scriptures to your decision, allow the scriptures to define your decision.
I asked you what are you going to do about it? The way you answer that question will have a far greater impact on your life and the lives of those around you than any courts decision. The way you answer that question will also have a far greater impact on eternal life than any earthly courts decision.
This morning we are going to look at a passage of scripture that tells of a biblical story involving sexual immorality, social inequality, religious polarity and spiritual reality.
Text: John 8:1-11
8 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again, He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on, sin no more.”
The woman in our story was caught in the very act of adultery. We know that from the use of the term adultery, at least one of the parties involved in the act of intimacy was married and that they were not married to each other.
We could spend all morning discussing what is and is not considered sexually moral from a biblical standpoint. For time’s sake, we wont today. I will however bullet point a few thoughts
- In the book of Genesis we see that God created man. From man he created woman. He created them in a way that once the came together sexually they would once again become one flesh and procreation would be the direct result of that oneness therefore fulfilling the first command “Be fruitful and multiply.”
- We see through Scripture this coming together as one flesh is to take place solely within the covenant of marriage
- Throughout the remainder of Scripture we see men and women honoring and dishonoring the created establishment of sexuality
- Our biblical conclusion must be the following: Any sexual relationship that takes place outside of the covenant of marriage (which when biblically described can only be between 1 man and 1 woman) is a sinful act.
- Therefore, YES homosexuality even within legalized marriage, is still sinful. BUT so is every form of heterosexuality explored or entertained outside of the covenant of marriage
- Do you know the age of sexual consent in the state of Ohio is 16?
- There are plenty of laws in our country and even in our state that don’t lineup with biblically healthy sexual morality
- Civic legality however, does not and cannot establish biblical morality
- This however is not a sermon on sexuality
- According to the rally cry of our homosexual community and those who support gay marriage, equality is the motor that drives the vehicle.
- In our passage of scripture, we see an equally, unequal event taking place.
- The woman is caught in the act of adultery, dragged to the center of the temple, and put on trial to be put to death according to the law, but where is the man?
- Nothing happened to the man because according to the law, the woman was the transgressor
- This does not represent equality, but rather is a social inequality
- This however is not a sermon on social inequality
- The religious zealots of the day were not much different than what I’ve seen from some of the church today
- The demanded that their laws, the law of Moses (which indeed was handed down by God) be the presiding law of the land
- In most cases, instead of promoting growth, such a position polarized the church.
- Such a position today is still polarizing
- The Bible does not tell us Jesus came to invoke the law.
- The Bible does not say the US Supreme Court will uphold or even establish the law
- The Bible says that Jesus came to fulfill the law and it is only in HIM that the law can be fulfilled!
- So as long as we continue to fight legal battles from our political positions as the religious zealots of the day did in our passage of scripture, religious polarity will be the result
- This is not a sermon on religious polarity
- After identifying sexual immorality, overlooking social inequality and dismissing religious polarity we see Spiritual Reality
- Jesus addresses the masses by saying “Let him without sin cast the first stone.”
- He then addresses the woman. He didn’t dismiss her sin. In fact, he addressed it. And not by saying “eh its ok, everybody sins.” Instead he told her “go and sin no more.”
- And the position he did it from is a position of love
- This is a sermon on spiritual reality and so for the next little while, we are going to talk about love, because love wins.
Turn in your Bibles to Romans 13:8-10
8Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Love is the beginning, the middle and the end because love wins.
First, while we are busy quoting our “You shall nots,” we must not lose sight of the fact that we are a part of the you in the you shall not.
Second, while we are busy quoting our “You shall nots,” we must not lose sight of the “You shalls” which there are 2 of: You shall love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind; AND you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
- Jesus follows that by saying ON this hangs all the laws and the prophets
- We see that reiterated her in Romans 13. All of the don’ts are really summed up in one “do”.
- Do love your neighbor as yourself and in doing so, do no wrong to your neighbor and by doing so, you will fulfill the law
- At the beginning of the message I asked you a question. What are you going to do about it, about the decision the Supreme Court made? I told you the decision you make is more important than the one the SC made and it is.
- We can see clearly from this passage of scripture, the choice we must make is love.
- Why? Because love wins!
- In the scenario above we don’t see Jesus
- Cry a cry of tears for the fallen state of the nation
- Cry a victory cry celebrating social and civil equality
- Cry a cry of social injustice defaming big government
- Cry a cry of the wounded wincing from the pain of defeat
- Cry a cry of defiance proclaiming never to accept the decision
- Cry a cry of Hell Fire and Brimstone demanding repentance
- What we do see is Jesus cry the cry of love, of compassion, of mercy and tenderness
- Why? Because love wins
- Church, how long are we going to throw stones from our synagogues and expect people to receive the love of Christ?
- We must no longer allow things that are taking place within the social and political landscape of our country to decide if and how we are going to model Christ and therefore model love
- We must make that decision and we must make it according to scripture
- Why? Because love wins
I Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails!
- Love wins church!
- Love wins church!
- Love wins!
- Not the love of a man and a man for each other, not the love of a woman and woman for each other and not the love of a man and a woman for each other
- While yes, the legalization of homosexual marriage paves the way for equal benefits and protections under the law it will also pave the way for homosexual divorce.
- Human love comes equipped with its failures and disappointments because it is limited.
- Our friends and family within the gay and lesbian community are correct when they say love wins.
- However, it is the love of God and only the love of God that wins, and it wins every time
As we close this morning, I again want to remind you of the question you must answer. The Supreme Court made a decision, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to walk in love or are you going to walk in something else. We often quote the Old Testament “If my people will humble themselves and repent, I will heal their land.” When that statement was recorded, the “my people” being referenced was the nation of Israel. Today, when we read that statement, the “my people” is referring to the church. Maybe just maybe if we the church humble ourselves….Maybe, just maybe if we the church repent, God will heal our land.
A part of that humbling and a part of that repentance is learning to walk in love even with those we disagree. I want to read a recent facebook post from one of our teens. “All these Christian posts about Gay marriage being legal, but no posts about God. People are angry about What? The fact that the Bible even strictly states that mans law would come to not line up with God’s law? God calls us to LOVE EVERYONE. No matter who they are. If they are a sinner, someone who has fallen away, someone who you completely disagree with, brother or sister, or your best friend, God has called us to love them. Its time to move on Christians, and to become the models of Christ we are called to be.” Social Media is not a place to put your hatred…Whether you agree or disagree with someone or something, we need to get back out and share the word of God.
We have a decision to make church. I know what I am deciding. What will you decide? I am deciding to love. Love won me and I’m pretty sure it is love that won you. Remember LOVE WINS!