Sunday, April 14, 2013 This will not be my normal devotional. The gay issue was brought to my attention today, and I believe the Lord Jesus would have me address it. My authority on these issues is always the word of God. Please bear with me while I present my case. Let me quote from Romans 1: On the gay issue, I have to agree with the word of God. I have friends and family who think otherwise. I still love them and I hope they will respect my right to believe differently from them and that they will still love me. I am not here to debate that issue with them. Yet, lest we are on the precipice of thinking we are somehow superior, or lest we look at those with disgust, prejudice, disdain and/or even hatred with whom we disagree with their lifestyle of choice, I must remind all of us that this is not speaking only of those who choose to have unnatural relations with those of the same sex. This is speaking against all the godlessness and wickedness of people. This is speaking, first of all, of those who do not glorify God as God and do not give him thanks. Those of us who claim to know Christ and who claim to be his followers, do we show him the honor, respect and reverence he so deserves by the words we speak, by our thoughts, actions, and conversations with people, and by the things we read and view, for instance? Do we obey him? Is he truly the boss of our lives? Do we honor him above all other “gods,” i.e. are we faithful to him in thought, word and deed? Do we tell others about him? Do we tell them the truth of the gospel? Or do we shrink back out of fear of what others will think of us? Is the main goal of our lives to live lives pleasing to God, or to live to please ourselves? Ok, the next big thing I see here is that they exchange the truth of God for a lie. I am going to be quite frank with you here and say that probably the majority of our preachers from the pulpit in evangelical Christianity today are doing that every week, and yet how many professing Christians continue to sit underneath their leadership, many of them knowing full well that what they are teaching is a half-truth diluted gospel, which is a lie. When a preacher or teacher of the word of God purposefully leaves out portions of scripture that are critical to the gospel and to people’s eternal security with God in heaven, just so that it is not so offensive to people or to make it more inviting, then those preachers are not only lying to people, but they are giving them a false hope of heaven, which is worse than a lie, because they are condemning those people to hell just so the people won’t be offended, and just so they will come back. Jesus said we have to turn from our sin and we have to obey him if we want to spend eternity with him in heaven. He said we have to die daily to sin and self, and we have to follow him in obedience, doing whatever he asks us to do. If that is not the gospel your preacher is presenting, then he is exchanging the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served created things rather than the creator. Do we do this? To worship means to adore, love, reverence, and respect; be devoted to, be committed to, be loyal, steadfast, dedicated, showing fidelity, faithfulness, etc. Well, do you know that when you pledge allegiance to the flag of the USA with your hand over your heart, that you are making a vow on oath, promising to be loyal, committed, faithful, dutiful, and to demonstrate fidelity to the republic of the USA? That is worship. And, do you even know to what you are vowing on oath such worship? Check out the roots of this nation of ours. Check out our symbols, statues (idols), structures and the layout of Washington, D.C. Our government is a pagan government and all over Washington, D.C. and in our government buildings, on our Great Seal and on our money are images of Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythological gods and goddesses. This government is not of God. It is of Satan, and yet we, as Americans, without thought just do as we were taught to do. This is an abomination! And, then there are smart phones, the internet, TV, movies, video games, careers, houses, etc. that have become idols in many people’s lives because they take the place of God or they certainly are given more time and attention, heart, passion and commitment, emotion and thought to them over and above God, which makes them idols. So, when the things of this world become more important than God and more important than following Jesus Christ in obedience and surrender to his will for our lives, then we are worshiping created things rather than the creator. And, then he gives us a whole list of wicked things that are done by those with depraved minds – greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, arrogance, boasting, pride, disobedience, no fidelity, no love and no mercy. And, then this is the clincher, and we need to all get this. The word says that those with depraved minds not only continue to do these things, but they also approve of those who practice them. When we knowingly submit ourselves underneath the ministry of a man (or woman) we know is preaching a diluted gospel and is not dealing with sin in the church but glorifies it before mankind, and who follows after other false teachers who promote the blending of religions and agreeing to help other religions to worship their own gods, which is against the very premise of the gospel, then we are guilty of approving those who practice such evil. And, when we make comments on social or discussion sites, or we put a “like” on something someone posts that is contrary to the teachings of scripture, or when we read books or watch TV shows or movies or play video games which dishonor God and which honor and promote lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, etc., we are approving of those who practice such things. So, before we go pointing a finger at others, we need to take a good hard and honest look at our own lives and inquire of God to see if any of Romans 1 is speaking to us. Then, when we have repented of all sin that Jesus points out to us, we can begin to address the sins of others, but not in condemnation (that is God’s job), but in love, compassion and mercy, believing that those outside of faith in Jesus Christ will go to hell without Christ, and so we need to tell them the truth of what it means to believe (see Luke 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24), and we need to share with them how Jesus Christ came to deliver them out of their sin so they can go free and so they can spend eternity with God. But we also need to address sin in our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living no differently from those who make no confession of Christ as Savior and Lord. And, we need to do this in love, because we care about them, because we care what these things will do to ruin their lives and the lives of those they touch, and because we care about their relationships with God, too. And, we need to get radical in coming out from underneath the influence of those who are not preaching the true gospel, and we need to get radical by refusing to approve of sin by what we watch, listen to, respond to, think about, or participate in ourselves.