Gay Marriage & the Christian

Free to marry or Free to speak?
Today, The Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, striking down bans in 14 states. Christians have been wrestling with this issue. Not because of the Biblical truth, rather, we have been branded as haters, bullied into silence when we preach the Biblical truth. This issue is not about whether homosexuality is sinful, or that it is a worse sin, i.e., “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like” Galatians 5:19-21, but it’s about the freedom to preach on Biblical topics.

CHRISTIAN SHARIA?
Am I advocating for a form of a Christian Sharia Law? Certainly not. I have no interest or authority from Scripture to compel people into compliance with the Law of Christ [Galatians 6:2]. Folks are to comply with Him willfully, not out of compulsion [1Co 9:17; 2Co 9:7]. What then is the problem? The problem is that the court ruling has now given the anti-God crowd more strength in condemning the Bible, and to continue to push God out of our society.

They do this by belittling our beliefs, chiding us, calling us ignorant. A statement made by Jesse Ventura sums up what is happening to Christians, “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.”

How is a Christian to respond to gay marriage?
The way we respond to all sin. Homosexuality is a sin [Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 1:7]. Yet, it is no worse a sin than any other sin. All sin will keep a person out of heaven, separating us from God [Mt 7:23; 1Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21, 1John 1:5-10].

When we encounter folks walking in sin, homosexuality being just one of those, we need to do what the Bible has taught us to do; preach Jesus. When Paul met the philosophers on Mars Hill, he didn’t condemn them for their false religious beliefs, rather he taught them the truth about the One True God [Acts 17:22-34]. He let the word of Truth prick their hearts and their hearts convicted them, and some believed.

If we go around convincing folks to quit sinning, all we’ve done is made the lost well-behaved. Surely that could make life more pleasant, but if they don’t know Jesus, we’ve accomplished nothing. Remember also, we too are dealing with sin, [1John 1:8].

The only remedy for sin
Sin is cured by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ [Mat 26:28]. People, in order to be cured, have to hear about the Gospel and obey it [Rom 10:14-17]. They have to come to fully believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God [Mat 16:16; Acts 8:37]. They must “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” [Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4; Gal 3:27]. Then each person must continue in the doctrine of Christ, remaining faithful until death [Mat 28:18-20; Rev 2:10]

Stay off the bandwagon
The desire to fit in, or to jump on the bandwagon so as to avoid ridicule is to approve of sin, in this case homosexuality. Let us remain faithful, Jesus DID speak on gay marriage when He told us that marriage is between a man and a woman.

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” [Matthew 19:4-5]

By specifying who is to be married, male and female, He prohibited every other combination. This is a foundational principle of logic and reasoning, let alone Biblical authority. That which is stated is to the exclusion of all other options.

If we accept this sin, or any other, we become guilty of that sin. “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” [Romans 1:32-2:5; 2Jo 1:11]

What is True Love
They said that this case was about love. No, not even close. True love is telling people about Jesus Christ. [1Co 9:22; 1Ti 4:16] True love is desiring that people be saved, that is why we preach. [Mark 16:16]

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” [1Corinthians 9:16]

Let us preach the truth about Jesus Christ, which will include the truth about sin. It will include the truth about His plan of salvation which includes baptism. When we do, let us preach it in Love, let our words be seasoned with salt, let us pray so we may know how to answer each one. [Colossians 4:6]

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” [Ephesians 4:15]

 

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

I’ve recently been asked “why do we care so much about the name Church of Christ?” I’ve had this before and have a response, but then I actually came across a religious group that pride themselves on having no name.

This is a problem folks. It’s already disappointing to have denominations calling themselves after the names of men, but to go so far as to not have a name at all just takes the cake!

Why is this such a problem you ask? Because God did supply names from the very beginning. God sent the animals He created to Adam to “see what he would call them” [Gen 2:19]. God also found it important to change Abrams name to Abraham, [Ge 17:5]. Moses also needed to know God’s name, and God gave one, [Ex 3:14] which Jesus called Himself and was convicted of Blasphemy by the Jews [Joh 8:58, Mr 14:62-63].

The Psalms also proclaim the name of God, [Ps 83:18]. His name is to be revered, and not blasphemed, [Ex 20:7; De 5:11; 28:58; Ps 111:9; Mic 4:5; 1Ti 6:1]

The names of the Old Testament often had meaning. Hosea was commanded by God to give his children certain names which had meaning, [Ho 1:3,4,6,9; 2:1]

Names were given in prophecy as a proof of their fulfillment, i.e., Josiah [1Ki 13:2].Then there are the prophecies about Jesus, including His name! [Isa 7:14, Mat 1:23]. Isaiah also prophesied about a new name for God’s people, “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. [Isa 62:2]

Is this enough to show that names are important? I believe so, but let’s continue our study.

The chief priests sought for a name from Jesus for the things that He said and did, [Mt 21:23]. The Samaritan Woman knew what the Savior would be called, [Joh 4:25]. His parents “called His NAME Jesus”, [Mt 1:25, Lu 2:21]

As we continue to study, we find that the Holy Spirit found it important to reveal a name for God’s people under the new covenant, “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Ac 11:26

NAMES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

So, all of this leads us to the questions, what should His church be called? Should there be a name, is there a name given in the scriptures? Let’s turn to the word of God in the New Testament….

Jesus said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Mt 16:18] Peter had just given the confession in vs 16 “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This shows upon what His church would be built. A careful examination shows that it’s NOT Peter, he has the keys. It’s NOT Christ Himself, He’s doing the building. Upon what is Christ building His church? The confession that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God. HIS NAME.

We see this confession being professed by the Ethiopian, [Ac 8:37]. There are multiple passages about confessing and believing in the name of Jesus the Christ. [1Jo 4:15; 5:5, 13]

Looking to the letters to the churches, we find the authors using names for the New Testament Church… church of God [Ac 20:28, 1Co 1:2]. Church of the living God, [1Ti 3:15]. Church of the firstborn, [Heb 12:23]. We find letters addressed to a particular city, “church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ:” [1Th 1:1] Paul ended his letter to the Roman Christians with the salutation, “The churches of Christ salute you.” [Ro 16:16]  Body of Christ, [Eph 4:12].

With all of these names, which one are we to use? Let’s consider some things about Jesus the Christ. He said He would build His church, [Mat 16:17]. He, Jesus the Christ, commanded that the Apostles “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” [Mt 28:20]. Which is His doctrine, [2Jo 1:9]. His, Jesus the Christ’s, blood was shed for us, [Mt 26:28, Mr 14:24]. He, Jesus the Christ, is the head of the church, which is His body, and is the savior of the body, which He gave Himself for it. [Eph 1:22-23, 5:23-25]. And we are often reproached for His name, [1Pe 4:14].

Space prevents me from including other “____ of Christ” writings. Doctrine, partakers, gospel, servant, word, mystery, minister, cross, faith, knowledge, work, kingdom, obedience, grace, members and of course the day of Christ.

An honest study of the Word of God reveals that the church belongs to Jesus the Christ, it is the church of Christ. What we fail to find is denominational names, too many to even list. What’s in a name? Ownership, that’s what. [1Co 6:15, 19] Who owns you, is it Jesus the Christ or someone else? [Joh 8:44]

Spencer Preaches and Teaches at the Franklin St. Church of Christ in Borger, Tx

3 BIBLE VERSES TO HELP YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Jas 1:2

 

The novice my think that God is just wrong in this verse. How could one possibly find trouble / temptations joyful?

 

If you will read the rest of the passage it says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Jas 1:3, 4

 

We need, nay, must trust God and continue to be joyful in spite of our sorrows. I find this difficult to observe, but if we will trust God and ask for wisdom, He will help us. [Look at vs 5]

 

We tend to think negatively first and most. We’ve got to remember that the righteous have never been forsaken or begging bread. [Ps 37:25]

 

And the LORD said unto him, Go, 1Ki 19:15

Elijah was down. He was being chased by that evil Jezebel for she wanted to have him dead. [vs2]

 

Elijah hid in a cave and was praying that he would die. [vs5] But God had a better idea. God always has better ideas. God told Elijah to “go”.

 

That’s what He wants for all of us. He wants us to go, get up and keep on keeping on. We can never do anything about the past, but we can ALWAYS do something about today.

 

As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. God has spoken to us today. Just as He told Elijah to get busy, He’s told us the very same thing.

 

He’s told us what to do, serve him, work hard, act honorably, love, visit folks and to spread His word. [Among other things]

This brings me to another passage…….

5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Ps 37:3-5

Sometimes we don’t know what to do when things fail to go our way. True, it is hard to know what to do next, but God has never left us without any instructions. When life gets difficult, when it seems like nothing is going your way, that’s a perfect time to check your alignment.

He said to “commit thy way unto the Lord”. This does not mean that we take our ideas and commit them, rather, it means we make sure our ideas are in alignment with His ideals, then commit yourself to the Lord. He added to “trust also in Him”.

So often we focus on how to get the things we want, overlooking the way to live.  Verse 3 said, “Trust in the Lord, and do good.” If we will just do this. I tell folks that don’t know what to do with their lives to just be the best you can be. For if you will focus on being the best you can be, doors of opportunity will open.

Unfortunately, we focus on (not)ty words. I can’t, they won’t, I’m not, are all words that have the wrong focus. It’s shameful, for it speaks against God your personal value. He loves you, so much that He gave His only begotten son. [John 3:16] He gave your abilities [Matthew 25:15], and He places you in a valued position in His church, when you obey the Gospel [Romans 12:6-8]. Let us respect God in our person, using our God given abilities to the best of our efforts.

By Spencer