Love, hate, and mourning God's way

It's been said, "Love the sinner, hate the sin." And Scripture says, "Mourn with those who mourn." That's God’s way. And these days our convictions are really being put to the test.

On one hand, I'm convinced that the Bible forbids same-sex activity. I am saddened by the success of LGBT advocates in promoting their unbiblical agenda.

On the other hand, I'm convinced that God loves us all, no matter our sexual orientation or lifestyle. I am saddened by the response of some Christians to the Orlando tragedy. A pastor in Sacramento actually said in a sermon, "The tragedy is that more of them didn't die." A pastor in Arizona said, "I'm not sad about it; I'm not going to cry about it."

I am saddened by all of it: the massacre, the promotion of the LGBT agenda--from the White House on down, pastors spewing hatred instead of weeping with love and compassion.

Ephesians 2:1-6 (The Message) reminds us “it wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin–dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

This heinous crime and the promotion of LGBT can have Christians wondering how should we feel and how we should respond. Well, the Bible is very clear. In this week's message, we find encouragement and wisdom from the Scriptures and learn how we as believers are to respond.

I hope to see you all this Sunday. Blessings on you all.

Ephesians 2:1-6


Philippines Mission Report:

-Like Sons “That’s Why We’re The Believers” 
-Video (shot by Adam Vaden, featuring testimony by Byron Bradshaw, Lisa Bruton, Like Sons)
-Testimonies “Kodak Moments” by the team: Josiah W, Becky, Betty, Justin
11:01 - Talk about the Fastet Sermon in the West. Well we’re not in the West, so here we go. It’s always important to share what happens on mission trips because we need to be aware of what God’s doing. And we are called to be salt and light in the world. 
It can be difficult. we’re bombarded by so many things. Sights, sounds, smells. It can be confusing. How do we walk? Stand? Represent Christ well? God, what are you calling me to walk in? What does your Word say?
Last week’s message was about how our life is to be a life of worship. I didn’t talk about a current topic: what happened in Orlando.
As you know, 49 people lost their lives in that tragedy. The caveat that caused division in the community was that the nightclub where this happened was a gay/lesbian nightclub. As a result, there have been all kinds of reactions. And there’s extreme polarization.
We as believers are seeing solidarity in the LGBT movement. We’re seeing rainbow colors over the White House and over the Empire State Building and all over the world. I want to grieve about the tragedy, and I’m also concerned about the movement. 
We may have friends in this lifestyle. How do we respond? How to be salt/light in this world? 
What does the Word say about homosexuality?
The Word of God to all of us, if you want to be honest, is that it is offensive. I am constantly convicted and challenged as God speaks in his Word. He calls me to open my life to him. I see things in my life that are not godly. And I have a conflict: do I surrender to this truth or do I fortify myself in this aspect of my life? If we’re honest, we’ll ALL be challenged in this. No matter how old you are.
I want us to understand that sin is sin and love is love. What does this mean? How do they mesh together?
What God’s Word says regarding homosexuality?
Romans 1:16-32
 16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
the gospel releases us and sets us free.
 17* For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘‘The righteous shall live by faith.’’
Where’s the righteousness of God revealed? Through the gospel. The Word of God. Not through the pastor. Not through me.
Faith = confident expectation in the promises of God so that we believe that what God says is true and then we walk in it. As we walk in the truth, faith is revealed. That’s how we stand in righteousness.
 18* For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
wrath of God is revealed against what? ALL ungodliness. Like when Josiah, you tell a lie to your parents, that’s ungodliness. ANYTHING that’s against the Word of God. Anything when we walk in the flesh. The wrath of God is against ALL unrighteousness.
 19* ¶ For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
 20* For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
God clearly tells us in his Word, it doesn’t matter where you are, an isolated hut in the desert, the North Pole, the South Pole. Even if you're isolated, the Word of God has revealed himself to you. Man’s without excuse.
 21* For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
“them” = all of those who didn’t respond to him.
 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
 26* For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
“debased mind” = as God speaks about people who’ve exchanged their gender identity and God’s purpose and plan for creation and sexuality, he responded "I’ve given them up to debased mind."
Debased = something that’s not standing. That which doesn’t prove itself as it ought to.
Mind = Greek /nuous/ = intellect, understanding, faculty for understanding goodness.
God gave them up so that they’re not able to test and prove what’s right. He allows them to walk in ways that they cannot discern what’s right and godly and what’s ungodly.
Don’t jump to conclusions here. I want us to understand. There’s a Christian band called “Everyday Sunday”. The leader of that band just announced that he’s homosexual and is now finally being true to his identity. 
I’ve spoken with several on the topic of homosexuality, and they debate me and tell me the scripture is saying things it doesn’t say. For example, they bring out the story of David and Jonathan to justify it.
When we’re caught in sin and look for ways to justify ourselves, we lose sight and become unable to discern right and wrong. We lose ability to discern and begin to justify.
For example, I've had people talk about drugs. They say marijuana is a natural plant that God has put on this earth. Some people put unnatural things in their body but this is natural. "We can eat anything natural." Really? Try eating a poison berry.
Our rational minds start giving in to our fleshly desires.
 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,
 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Someone who’s a good Bible student in here, I’ll put you on the spot. What does Romans 6:23 say?
 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The wages of sin is? DEATH.
Who in here has sinned? [all raise hands]
Listen carefully. Who’s really listening. 
Who has been made righteous in their own strength? [no hands]
Who’s been made righteous in Christ? [many hands]
You mean you didn’t have anything to do with it? You had need of a savior? You mean you deserved death? Well, you’re no better than the common everyday sinner. No better than the world. As I look in the mirror, “Michael, you’re not better than the world. Without Christ, you deserve death and wrath of God.” But because I’ve called on the Lord Jesus, I’m made right with God.
How we as Christians should respond: 4 things.
>>>>> POINT 1. We don’t judge.
Rom 2:1-11
 2:1* ¶ Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who do such things.
Who was this letter written to? Nonbelievers or believers? Believers!
“See the girl in that skirt?” “Did you hear what that man said?” “See how that person’s driving?” “Look at that person! They’re just as worldly as worldly can be!”
Most of the time, we look and judge people, condemning and criticizing based on our sense of self rlgtheosness. Have we forgotten what Jesus said in Matthew? (Mt 7:3-4) Do not judge!
What befuddles me is when we get upset at the world acting like the world. “Wy isn’t the world acting like Christians?” Because they’re not. They don’t have a redeemed mind.
 3 Do you suppose, O man--you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself--that you will escape the judgment of God?
Wives, love your husbands. We’re about to get real here. 
Anyone who looks upon another woman (or women who look upon another man) you’ve committed adultery in your heart. Has any of you ever lusted after someone else? Not that you’re going to do something, but you’ve looked at someone and said “hmm.” [several hands up]
It’s true that sex sells. That’s why it’s in ads and movies. Even in your righteous life, sometimes we lie, get angry, lust. This is sin.
It's a good thing God loves us, because we’re a mess.
 4* Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
This is one of those double-commandments. He’s saying two things here. As Christians, don’t walk out in grace and say “I can do what I want to do.” But he’s also saying, “Don’t you understand that God’s displaying his kindness to all of us, believers and unbelievers?” Why? to lead us to repentance. What brings you to Christ is the kindness of God.
 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
 6* He will render to each one according to his works:
 7* to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
 8* but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
 9* There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,
 10* but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.
 11* For God shows no partiality.
When you read this, as believers, our hearts should grieve. It’s saying, “Don’t you realize that all who don’t know Christ, judgment and wrath awaits them.” That should cause us to fall to our knees and cry out to God that their eyes would be opened. Just like my eyes have been opened. I know that people prayed for me day in/out. God, please display your mercy and let them see your kindness. Open their eyes. Judgment is on all who don’t believe.
It grieves my heart to hear pastors say, “I’m glad about what happened to them.” What about your sin? Your son, daughter. Walking in rebellion.
Don’t you want the mercy of God to open their eyes so they can be drawn to salvation.
In the movie “The End of the Spear”, as the little boy was talking to his father about going back to the cannibals, he asked, “Dad, will you carry a gun? What if they try to kill you?” The father, Nate Saint, says to the son, “I’m not going to take a gun.” What if they kill you? “I’m ready to meet the Lord, they’re not. If someone needs to die, let it be me.” Let them have another day to find out about Your love, grace, mercy.
We need to pray that they’ll see the kindness of God
>>>>> POINT 2. We walk in light, love, full of compassion.
 8:1 ¶ Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
 3* The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst
 4 they said to him, ‘‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.
 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’’
 6* This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’’
 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.
 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’’
Please hear this next:
 11 She said, ‘‘No one, Lord.’’And Jesus said, ‘‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’’
 12 ¶ Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’’
Who is the light of the world? Jesus.
And when light is on, it exposes what’s in the darkness. Jesus says, “Whoever follows me, will NOT walk in darkness but have the light of life.”
If you call yourself a disciple of Christ, you need to walk in light as He is light. That means you walk in light, and in love.
When you find someone who’s being condemned to death, stand in and care for them. 
What’d he say to the woman caught in adultery? Go and sin no more.
Did he condone the sin? No.
He sought to redeem her, but he didn’t condone the sin.
There’s a brother here ministering to a man who’s in a homosex lifestyle. He tells me, as I’m ministering to this man, the time may come that he shows up in this church. Amen. I pray that he does. And when he does, I pray that we don't condemn him. Rather, “Brother, I’m so glad you’re here. Sit next to me.”
When people come in, waiting to be judged, and they experience the kindness of Christ, it’ll start [phone alarm]
The kindness of Christ that leads us repentance. Here's what it means. When we start experiencing love as a sinner, and we’re expecting condemnation. When we receive love and care, this wall that has been up, to attack and defend, it starts to come down. Vulnerability starts to happen. They start saying I had you all wrong. Is this what a Christian really is like? I’d like to hear more about Jesus. Tell me more.
When the wall begins to break, the debased mind begins to open up. Truth begins to be revealed.  The Holy Spirit reveals the truth of God. The testimony of the gospel and Word of God begins to transform lives.
I’m going to stop here. Next week we’ll talk about how to pray and how to walk in the truth. I pray that, in what we have learned, we’ll rise up and walk in it. We have been born for such a time as this. The world is looking at you. How will you stand? Walk? Let the light of Christ shine.
Wes came forward to join the church this am.
Dismiss at 11:48