Truth and Love
June 3, 2012
Gay marriage is one of the most hotly discussed topics in the world today. We’ve heard everyone share their opinion on it, from Hollywood to Washington.
In this message, Ed Young opens up the pages of Scripture and points to something much more powerful and concrete than opinion – God’s truth. God is the one who sets the standard for our world. And when we understand His standard, we understand how to approach every topic in life with truth and love.
I would like to welcome everyone to all of our services. We have, right now, by the miracle of technology, we’re seen as I look into this camera in a lot of different places. How are you guys doing? Have a wonderful weekend this weekend.
Today I’m kicking off a very, very controversial series, a series that I’m very, very excited about. At Fellowship Church we’re not shy to talk about these things and these issues that everyone deals with, and the Scriptures definitely, definitely address these issues. I’m calling this series “Cool-Aid.” That’s right, Cool-Aid. How many of you like Kool-Aid? You remember drinking Kool-Aid back in the day. Or maybe you still like Kool-Aid, the more sugar, the better, right? Yes! Everybody likes Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid is a universal drink. Kool-Aid became famous back in the day, but the phrase “Drink the Kool-Aid” gained popularity due to cult leader Jim Jones. This wild man had his followers drink Kool-Aid that was laced with poison. The result was that many people were devastated. Many people lost their lives.
Isn’t it true that our culture is giving us some Cool-Aid? Isn’t it true that many of us are drinking the Cool-Aid laced with poison? We’re just drinking it, not thinking about it. As we look at the horizon of our land, as we look at where we’re going, we see destruction and devastation. That’s why we’re talking about the institution of marriage today. We’re talking about gay marriage, a very, very controversial subject. If you just bring up homosexuality or the gay lifestyle at a party or in a conversation at work, people get nervous. People sort of do the push-back. It’s not something that a lot of people want to talk about.
I think in a crowd this size, in this venue and our many other venues, whether you be online, in Miami, Fort Worth, Dallas, Plano, or right here in gorgeous Grapevine, I think a lot of us are in different groups and we have different mindsets when it comes to this particular subject. I believe a lot of us here are sort of ambivalent. We’re like, “You know, it is what it is. What people want to do, that’s cool. In the privacy of their home they’re not affecting me, they’re not hurting me, so I think just let people do what they want to do.” A lot of people I talk with are ambivalent.
Others of you here are silent. What I mean by that is there’s a silent struggle going on. You feel an attraction, a leaning toward the same sex. You don’t really know what to do about it. Maybe you haven’t acted on it, maybe you have acted on it. It’s your secret. I want to tell you something. It took a lot of guts to come this weekend. It took a lot of guts to show up to Fellowship Church because you knew what was gonna be on the plate. And we welcome EVERYBODY at Fellowship Church. No matter where you are, no matter what you look like, no matter who you are. A lot of people deal with different behaviors in a silent way. And I understand that with this topic, especially, a lot of men and women, a lot of young people deal with it.
Others here are defiant, though. Let me talk to those who are defiant. We have some who are just poised to pounce on any word I say, to take out of context, maybe an illustration I use or some statistical data. I understand that and there is some pain in a lot of people’s lives. And some people will leave this place and with social media they’ll do blogs and they’ll Tweet this or text that, totally out of context, totally out of the vibe of what I’m getting at and what God is getting at. So what I would tell you is just relax. Listen to this message. Let’s all see what God says about it.
You’ve gotta understand. All of us are irrationally loved by the God of the Universe. Every single person. We’re loved by God. Jesus told the truth. The truth, though, he spoke in love. That’s why the Scriptures say to speak the truth, communicate the truth, in love. We love people because God loves people, and we love people enough to tell the truth about them to others. Just like God loves me, God loves you enough to tell the truth about us in love. So we’re gonna talk about truth, but also we’re gonna talk about love. We’re gonna talk about love and we’re also gonna talk about truth.
Love has to have a truth source. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Right? So there’s truth and we take truth and communicate it in, I believe love, supernatural love, grace-filled love. Because all of us here are sinners, all of us here have committed moral treason, all of us here are people who need a Savior. Many of us have stepped over the line, some of us have not. But I understand that some here are gonna be defiant. There’s gonna be some anger. That’s cool.
Others here in this group would be reliant. You’re like, “Ed, you know, I rely on what God says about it.” Maybe you’ve not studied it very much, maybe you’ve not examined it very much, but you’re saying, “I just rely on it. The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” Well, that’s good to say that. However, we’ve got to think. Jesus did not want us to check our intellect or our brains at the door. We’ve got to think and know why we believe certain things about life. Not only this particular topic, but a myriad of other issues and topics out there. We cannot have our heads buried in the sands of denial. We have to understand what’s going on. We’ve got to use our brains and think. But the huge thing is speaking the truth in love.
Now at Fellowship Church we base everything we do on two things. I want to say this right up front in my preliminary comments. Number 1, we believe, the leaders here believe, everything is under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord. Now, having said that we don’t always understand everything that goes on in life. There’s trust involved. There’s trust even if you don’t live for Christ. We, however, believe that Jesus is Lord.
Also, we believe, and this has been in effect for the 21-year history of Fellowship Church, we believe the Bible is our authority. The Bible is our standard. The Bible is our true north. So when we have a question we don’t say, “Hey, what does that say? Or what does this group of people say?” No, no. We say, “What does the Scripture say?” So, having said that we understand the Lordship of Christ. We understand that the Bible is our authority. So we are under the authority of God’s word. No one here is under it perfectly. I’m sure not, nor are you. But that is how we base our church.
Jesus said, in Matthew 19:4-5, these words about marriage. Check it out. “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them, male and female.” Uniquely male, uniquely female. “And said, ‘For this reason, this cause, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.’” I have talked about this Scripture a lot here at Fellowship Church. Lisa and I have written a book called “The Sexperiment” about this particular text. Many of you have heard it and you’re like, yeah. OK. I’ve heard that. Think about it. God made us uniquely male and uniquely female. In other words there is a male quality and aspects of God. There are also feminine qualities and aspects of God. When two become one, the math of marriage, you have something beautiful taking place. You have a picture of God’s relationship with his people. So you’ve got the masculine joining together with the feminine. That’s a picture of God’s connectivity with his people. Jesus is called the bridegroom. The church is called the bride. It pictures God’s relationship, God’s activity with his people. It’s the only relationship on planet earth that mirrors the majesty of God’s relationship with human beings. Marriage. One man, one woman, in marriage. Jesus said it. It’s talked about page after page, time after time, in Scripture.
Notice also the power of marriage. The power of it. God gave us, for example, sex primarily for pleasure. Secondarily for procreation. Man and woman, the Bible says, were naked and they were not ashamed. It’s like when we were explaining the birds and the bees to one of our daughters. I will not mention which particular daughter. But after a while we talked to her about the birds and the bees and explained how men and women are made and marriage and everything. And then she went away and came back and she asked Lisa this question. She goes,
“How about people who are gay?” This is a young girl when she asked this question. And then she said (not Lisa, one or our little daughters), “Mommy, the parts don’t fit!” And I didn’t say that to make you laugh but that’s so true. The parts don’t fit. The parts fit in marriage. So marriage is a picture. There’s power in it.
Also, there’s a purpose behind marriage. Marriage is the foundation of our culture. It’s the building block of who we are. Obviously children need masculine influence and feminine influence. A child needs both. So when we have marriage we have the building block, the family, the power that God has granted us. And it’s something that we should use to launch our kids out of the family with great trajectory as they understand what it means to be a male, what it means to be a female, as they understand the beauty of marriage, that the parts fit. That God ordained it.
Seven times in Scripture, four times in the Old Testament, three times in the New Testament, the Bible says to flee, turn from, homosexuality. Every time it’s mentioned it says we’re not to do it.
Now, I like to fish, as you know. Back in school, back at Florida State, Lisa and I would sometimes drive from Tallahassee, Florida to see her family in Columbia, South Carolina. It was about a 400- to 500-mile drive. I always carry a couple of rod and reels with me when I’m driving. And many times I would just stop the car and fish in these random ponds throughout the dirty south. Now sometimes, I hate to admit this, I would scale fences, multiple fences, to fish in a lake that I thought had a lot of big, old, dumb bass in it. But here’s the deal. When you see a fence, what do you say? What’s the fence for? I mean, why is there a fence? I mean obviously there’s a fence for a reason. I heard someone say a long time ago, this old man said,
“When God puts a fence somewhere we’ve got to ask ourselves why.” Why the fence? I will tell you why. God knows what’s best for us. We’ve got to understand it. God knows what’s best for us. Emotionally, physically, psychologically, even sexually. God knows it, and it’s a trust issue. Either God is God or we’re God. That’s the issue we’re dealing with.
Some people choose, as we know, the gay lifestyle. Some people feel those leanings, this proclivity toward the gay lifestyle. Like any other behavior, like any other choice, like any other situation, we either align with God’s word or we malign God’s word. The Bible is a book of the alignment. But I’ve gotta address some issues. Why, why? What are people saying? Why are some people gay? Why are some people homosexual? Why do some people find themselves attracted to members of the same sex? Well, as I’ve done research for years on this topic, because I’ve spoken extensively about it, about sexuality, about marriage, and even about gay marriage and the homosexual lifestyle, many gay men and women point to an environmental influence. They say it’s the environment. Interview them, talk to them, read the data.
“Back in my family my father was this,” or “My mother was that. My mother was absent,” or “My father was absent.” Or whatever. Many times people emerge from families like this and they have heterosexual desires. Other times they emerge from families like this and they say, “You know, I have this strange attraction to the same sex.” Others, as you do research, would point to an experiential situation. They would point to an older friend, a trusted relative, who stepped in and had a sexual encounter, a same-sex encounter with them at a very impressionable age. Again, some people can absorb this and move right along and have heterosexual desires, others that I’ve talked to, that I’ve read about, would say, “You know, that was the thing, this experiential influencer, that led me into the gay lifestyle.” Still others would say, “Oh, it’s chemical. I have this proclivity.” And a lot of people several years ago began to say there was a gay gene. “There is a gay gene, I’m telling you, there’s a gay gene.” A gay gene has never been found. But let’s say there is gonna be a gay gene. Let’s say there was one discovered five years from now. Oh, that’s the gay gene. It still doesn’t take away choice.
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover of MIT in Harvard says this.
“What the majority of respected scientists now believe is that homosexuality is attributable to a combination of psychological, social, and biological factors.” Basically what he’s saying is what the scriptures have been saying for thousands of years. We have this bent toward badness, this sin nature. No one taught me how to say, “Mine.” No one taught me how to take things that were not mine. No one taught me how to think impure thoughts, I just know how to do it. And the Bible says this behavior called sin disqualifies me from a relationship with Christ. We will talk about that more in a second.
Satinover also uses the illustration of a basketball gene. I thought this was sort of interesting. He said, “What if there was a basketball gene? You had height, you had a good vertical jump, you had quickness, and you couldn’t help yourself. You just played basketball. I mean, there was no real choice in the matter. You just played the game. And now you’re in the NBA going coast to coast. There is no basketball gene just like there’s no gay gene.” I definitely believe, though, that we have tendencies and a proclivity to certain things from our parents and from our family of origin. Nod you’re head. We’re like yeah! We all do!
You ever find yourself, “Man, my father does the same thing!”
“Ah! I’m just like my mother! I said I wouldn’t be but I’m just like her!” We have a choice, though.
What if I said, “Dad is just unforgiving. He’s just an unforgiving guy. I grew up in that, I have this proclivity toward unforgiveness. You know a high school basketball coach back in high school really messed me around my senior year. I tried to forgive him but it didn’t work. I took the forgiveness back and now I just can’t help myself. I’m just an unforgiving person.” It doesn’t make sense. And what do we hear people say about this issue?
“I am what I am so I gotta do what I do. I am what I am. I’m gay, I can’t help it. So I gotta do what I do.” Well, psychologically it doesn’t make sense. We’re a combination of nature and nurture with the freedom of choice. Philosophically it doesn’t make sense. OK, desire. Desire is king. Desire is the deal. Well, what if I have the desire to hijack 777’s and fly them into skyscrapers into New York City? “Oh no, no. Don’t hate on me. That’s just who I am. I can’t help myself. It’s just the desire!” So we’re putting desire so often in all of our lives over and above what God says.
“Well, I feel a certain way. I’m wired a certain way. I’m attracted a certain way.” OK, we’re all sinners. We’re all attracted. We have a leaning or proclivity toward maybe greed, maybe lust, maybe anger, maybe slothfulness. I don’t know. Just pick a sin. We’re all sinners. We all have this proclivity. But to say, “Hey, I don’t have a choice in the matter. I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do.” I’m maligning, if I believe the Lordship of Christ, if I believe the Bible is the authority, if I believe God has my best in mind, I’m abusing God’s directive. I’m tearing down God’s fence. I’ve got a Cool-Aid moustache.
“Well, it’s just from within.” I’ve heard this before. “It’s just from within. I can’t help myself. I’ve got to do it! It’s just from within!” That’s right.
Mark 7:21-23, “For from within (I’m just reading the Bible) out of men’s hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality (we get the word pornea from that, that’s any sex outside the marriage bed, homosexuality, adultery, premarital sex, so forth and so on), theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, ludeness (what a laundry list), envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these things come from inside and make a man unclean.”
I’ll admit it right here. I have the potential of all of these sins in my heart for them to run rampant. I do. Name the sin. So do you… so do you. It’s a choice that we make. We either trust God with the totality of who we are, or not. God is God. I’m not God.
“God I trust you. God, I see that I’ve fallen short. I see, God, that I’m doing life my way instead of your way. Even though I’ve got to sacrifice emotions and feelings and what the culture is telling me. Even what our president is telling us.”
The gay community is a powerful, powerful community. Lisa and I have many friends who are involved in the gay lifestyle. They know where we stand and our theology is simply this. We want to build bridges and draw lines in the sand. And they know that. I know at Fellowship Church we have numbers of people who are involved in the gay community who attend each and every week. We, listen to me very, very carefully, we accept everybody. I’ll say it again. We accept everybody. We accept everybody. We’re all sinners. We accept people who have evil thoughts, those who are sexually immoral, those who steal, who lie, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, ludeness, so forth and so on. We accept everybody. We don’t, however, approve of their behavior. But, the culture, who is slurping Cool-Aid tells me, “Oh, acceptance means approval.” No. No, no, no, no, no. No. No. What are you drinking? No! Acceptance. We, however, love you enough to speak the truth and we love you enough to tell you in love the best for your life, the best way to live life. Whether it me in marriage, whether it be in dating, whether it be in handling your finances, whether it be a temptation at work, or whatever. That is who we are because that, quite frankly, is who Jesus is. Acceptance and approval. We accept people but we don’t applaud our sinful behavior.
For example, we hate homosexuality. We love homosexuals. We hate adultery. We love adulterers. We hate lying. But we love some liars. What would happen if we began to live this out?
How would you respond, let me ask you just a quick question, if some neighbors moved in who were gay? Next to you in your apartment complex, next to you in your neighborhood. Would you invite them over for coffee? I hope so. Would you invite them to Fellowship Church? I hope so. Would you build bridges and draw lines? That’s what we’re called to do.
So again, we’re talking about the Lordship of Christ. We are talking about the authority of Scripture. We do, however, have to mention the gay agenda, because it’s real. The gay agenda says that marriage and the gay lifestyle, for example, is conventional and normal. The gay agenda says that what they do is similar and conventional.
Well, a recent Bell and Weinberg study reports that 43% of gay men have had 500 or more sexual partners. In the same study 75% of gay men have had over 100 or more partners, and 28% have had over 1,000 or more partners. I’ve done some research and some study, talked to physicians and read the reports. What the gay community practices is not similar and conventional to what heterosexuals practice in the bonds of marriage. Also, the gay agenda says, “We really desire to marry and raise families.” As I said earlier, a child needs a male and a female in the home. It’s the genius of God. You’ve got the male qualities and the feminine qualities of God being joined together. And there are so, so few children who even live in gay marriage homes or homes where you have same-sex people involved, that it’s not even hardly worth mentioning.
Also, too, the gay community wants a full minority status. A full minority status. I don’t want to deny anybody, nor do we at Fellowship Church, anyone’s rights, but how can you use sexual behavior and use that as a marker for minority status? Why don’t you have minority status for adulterers? Why don’t you have minority status for child molesters? Where does the argument stop? Where does it stop?
Gallup asked Americans, “How many of you believe, how many people, do you believe are gay in our country?” Gallup reported that people responded by saying 25-26% of people in America are gay. But the most recent data that I can find from the gay and lesbian community reports that only 3.8% of the population is gay. Isn’t that interesting that we think so many more are gay than actually are? I can tell you why. We’re talking about the gay agenda here.
Only 1% of U.S. households in our country are same-sex unions. Only 1%. And only 8% of those have kids in them. So again, we need to understand these things, process these things, and we need to speak the truth in love.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?” This is another tough laundry list of some sins here. “Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.” Is that awesome? The apostle Paul is talking to some of some Corinthian Christians and they were all these things! They were slanderers. They were swindlers. They were homosexuals. They were! Isn’t that great? Were. I mean, I love that word. Were! I’m a were! How about you? Are you a were? Isn’t that great? Isn’t that awesome? Were. Were.
“But, you were washed (yeah, we reject the Cool-Aid and drink the living water, right?), you were sanctified by the blood of Jesus, being washed by the water of the word. You were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” Justified, just like I ain’t ever sinned. Jesus is righteous. He is holy. And because I have received that, when God sees me, he sees the righteousness of Christ. It doesn’t matter what your ‘were’ was. Man, that’s awesome!
I remember a friend that I knew several years ago. His name was Victor. Very, very active in the gay community. Wealthy, young, handsome, articulate. One day he came to church and he got ambushed, power-washed by the grace of God. People couldn’t believe it! I mean, this guy, we’re talking, led out in the homosexual community. A champion of these things I just talked about. As I watched him grow in his relationship with Christ, and he would be the first one to tell you,
“Ed, yeah, I still felt those leanings. I still felt the attraction.” But attraction is different from action. He turned from that. I watched him. He turned to the Lord, God power-washed his soul. I watched him get involved in church and then, over a period of time, I watched him reach out and bring dozens of his friends from the gay community. And I watched them bow the knee to Christ. It was absolutely awesome!
One day, though, I was standing in this area of this particular church and Victor walked up to me. He said,
“Ed, I want to tell you something. I just found out that I have AIDS and I’m dying.” And many of us watched Victor suffer and die and move from this life to eternity. See, we have a choice. Victor, if he could stand right here on this stage would say, “We have a choice. We all have a proclivity. We all have a leaning. It’s a choice that we make.”
And what’s so sickening and what’s so sad is to hear our Commander in Chief, Barack Obama, who has a ginormous Cool-Aid moustache, who is not involved in leadership but leaderslip, floating on the seas of relativism. Making a statement like this. When we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. How whack is that? Here’s an educated man, strongest leader as far as position, in the free world. Golden Rule? The sacrifice of Christ?
President Obama, no disrespect, but Jesus sacrificed his life for your sins and mine. He sacrificed his life for (let’s go back here) evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, homosexuality, malice, slander, arrogance…” What? We’re to treat others like we want to be treated?
Well, if I’m dying (and I’m dying because I have a disease called sin), if I’m dying I’m gonna say,
“Hey, tell me! Show me that I’m dying. I want to go a doctor and get some medicine!” Well, we have people who are dying without Christ, dying in sin. Christ sacrificed himself for our sin and rose again. And God loves us enough to speak the truth to us in love. So I want to speak the truth to everyone in love. That’s the way I want to be treated. I know you want to be treated that way. Speak the truth in love!
I’m telling you, there’s another scripture that our president should read. Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good, evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” It’s time that we stand up, church. It’s time that we talk openly, firmly, and lovely about our culture. It’s time that we build bridges and draw lines of love and authority in the sand, and say, “This is what God says.” This is what he says!
So just to close it down, I could easily diesel on and talk more and more about this subject. But next week we’re talking about vulgarity, another light subject. Vulgarity, no big deal. And then we talk about bullying the next week. What a great, great subject for Father’s Day, bullying. Isn’t it? You’ve going to find it very interesting the twist on some of these topics, it’s gonna be fun.
Anyway, here’s what the gay community can expect from us, OK? First of all, obviously, we’re gonna speak the truth in love. And we love the sinners (we’re all sinners) enough to speak the truth. Because truth is about love and love is about truth, and Jesus is truth and God is love. So that’s settled. We will give everybody, from this day forward, respect. Respect. That does not mean approval, yeah! Respect and acceptance. 1 Peter 2:17, “Show proper respect to everyone.” Everyone! The adulterer, everyone. The pornographer, everyone. The slanderer, everyone. The one who thinks evil thoughts, everyone. The murderer, everyone. The homosexual, everyone. Everyone! We’re all sinners.
Secondly, we will be a place of understand. Now to put it in the right context, Matthew 19:19, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All this junk and funk comes from within our hearts. Our hearts! If they have not been power-washed by the Lord Jesus, man, they’re evil. We have a bent toward badness. So we can all identify because we’re all sinners. I can identify, so can you. So we should have that kind of grace and that kind of mercy.
One final word to those here who are in the gay lifestyle, or those who are struggling with it, or having thoughts about the same-sex situation. I want to encourage you to do what my friend Victor did several years ago. I want you to confess. The word ‘confess’ means to tell the truth about your condition. And say, “God, power-wash my soul. I want to do life your way. I give everything, even these leanings, these burnings, these yearnings, I submit my desires to you, God.” God can change your life. You’re just one prayer away from it.
After you confess, because this is a complex issue, I would submit to you to walk into a counselor’s office. You can do it in the privacy of your home, your apartment, just log onto www.FellowshipChurch.com and type in “counsel.” We have a list of men and women who would love to sit down and talk to you about your situation. Because I truly believe revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing. And so often we think, “OK, if I share this people will think I’m really crazy.” No, no, no. When we reveal it we have great empathy and sympathy and understand and a greater respect. So I challenge you to do that.
So after you confess, no doubt, seek counsel. And then I cannot emphasize the third thing enough. Become a part of the church. That’s what Victor did. I’m telling you, that is what Victor did. And his life was never the same. He didn’t begin to date women. He just said, “You know, I understand who I was. I understand the ‘were’ part. I know what God wants me to do. And I just am following him.” And man, what an impact that he made.
So I’m so excited to see and to know so many people who have come from the gay lifestyle, so many here who are struggling with it, so many here who are dealing with it, and a church that is so, so accepting of people from all walks of life. I thank you, church, for praying. I thank you for listening. I thank you for engaging. Let’s no longer gulp down the Cool-Aid of our culture. Let’s drink the Living Water and be washed by it as we discover what God has for us.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]