With last week’s Supreme Court 5-4 decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states, conservative Christians can feel as though our voices are being systematically silenced in the wake of unprecedented attacks against our convictions. As the pastor, I felt it appropriate to speak to our congregation about this decision and how we as a church and as individual Christians should live in this cultural climate.
1. Never forget that God is in control. Nations rise and fall according to the will of our heavenly Father. Even when godless decisions are made, they are made with His permission, sometimes as a consequence of a nation’s turning away from Him. God hasn’t been caught off guard and we should trust Him that He will bring about all things for His glory.
2. As long as I’m the pastor, we will never permit a same-sex marriage nor will I or any of our pastors officiate a same-sex marriage. Should legal and/or financial pressure be put on us to comply, we will obey the Lord and face whatever persecution/consequences the culture may bring.
3. Homosexuals and those who affirm any kind of sinful behavior are not our enemies. Every single Christian was once blinded to the reality of his/her own sin. We were enemies of God because the god of this age had blinded us. And God, rich in mercy and grace, shined His light into our hearts so that we could see our Lord Jesus Christ as the greatest treasure, see our rebellion against Him for what it was, and so that we would repent of our sins and by faith trust in the finished work of Jesus alone for our salvation. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves which means instead of shouting at those in bondage to sin, we must befriend them with a genuine love spilling over from our joy in the Lord and our hope in the gospel. Jesus was a friend of sinners and we must be their friends, too.
4. We’ve operated too long thinking that we’re the moral majority when we’re in reality the minority. We’ve assumed that the nation is like us as we pined away for days gone by. The reality is that those days are gone. We are exiles in Babylon. Christianity has always been most effective when we see the fields white unto harvest and go out into those fields as workers taking the gospel to the people. We can’t just open our doors and say, “Y’all come!” We’ve got to see ourselves as culturally out-of-step with the times. But Christianity flourishes in that environment as the Lord blesses His people and empowers them by His Spirit.
5. We’ve got to see the church, not as a location, but as God’s people in relationship with Him and one another on mission for His glory. We don’t stop being the church when we say amen at noon on Sunday. We’re the church at work, at school, in our neighborhoods, and in all of life. Living the Christian life must become who we are, not just something we do at appointed times during the week. The lost and unchurched are out there. We are out there, too. It’s time to live on mission all the time.
6. We’ve got to show our culture what a biblical, gospel-focused, Christ-exalting, one man one woman until death parts us looks like. Divorce is a terrible disease that continues to erode the moral high ground we think we have when we speak about marriage. As long as we tolerate and/or overlook divorce in our churches, we’ll lose much of our right to point fingers at same-sex marriages. And here I’m talking about divorces of convenience, not divorces with biblical grounds. Divorce isn’t the unpardonable sin. But divorce, especially when children are involved, steals, kills, and destroys. Churches need to take seriously the call to model Christ’s love for His bride, the church, by helping to strengthen biblical marriage to the glory of God.
7. We must continue to pray. We’ve got to pray corporately and individually. We must pray for our churches, for our families, for our friends, for our leaders, for our nation, for a movement of God in power, for the lost we know, etc. We may have darker days ahead of us. There’s much for us to pray about. We are grateful to know that God answers prayer.
This is how I encouraged 3BC on Sunday. May history show that in this day and time of resistance to God’s Word and ways, Christians in the US did not shrink back from the challenge of our times and boldly stood as humble but courageous people who loved the Lord, loved their neighbors, and did not love their own lives, no matter the consequences.