“Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.”Psalms 127:1 NLT
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT)
The father of lies
Blinded eyes from the real truth
Are opened by Christ
I am counting on the LORD; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. (Psalms 130:5 NLT)
If your hope lies anywhere else, you are hopeless. I thought I’d this last night when I penned this poem for a challenge. (The original post and challenge details can be found here.)
Life can be dismal
Filled with depression and dread
My faith is my hope
This past week the news and social media have been abuzz about the recent non-decision of the US Supreme Court on the ban of “gay marriage”. As I understand it, this decision to make no decision on the issue has paved the way to make same-sex marriage legal across the United States. It was a mere hours before there were people applying for marriage licenses and actually getting married under this newly lifted ban, with the WV Attorney General saying they had no other choice than to allow the issuance of the licenses. This news was a shocking surprise to many folks, myself included; if you had asked me (or many other Mountain State residents) a year ago, or less, if this would happen here I would have said no. But then I didn’t think it would become the national “phenomenon” it has either. The lifting of this ban is taking “holy” out of holy matrimony – and it is not acceptable according to God’s Word, no matter what any other person or official thinks or says. It is my hope in this lesson today to arm you better to answer questions you may well encounter, possibly in your own mind even, as this country rushes to embrace yet another ungodly act under the ruse of tolerance.
Marriage is an institution that God Himself ordained at the beginning of human history, the charter of which is Gen 2:24
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. The Hebrew word rendered as “wife” is Strong’s number H802 and is defined as:
1) woman, wife, female
1a) woman (opposite of man)
1b) wife (woman married to a man)
1c) female (of animals)
1d) each, every (feminine pronoun)
There are no vagaries in this statement, there is nothing to misunderstand or misconstrue, honestly, here. Yes, the woman was made to be a companion and helper to the man but the intent and purpose of marriage was and is procreation; God did not give Adam another man to be his helper and companion. Another point we will make here is on polygamy: being true in all of its way, God’s Word tells us of polygamy but never approves of it. The accounts of Scripture always include the good, the bad, and the ugly of what happened, not whitewashing the “story” to make the “heroes” look better than they were, fallen folks, just as capable of sin as you and I.
In the New Testament, Jesus repeats and reinforces the definition of marriage and then goes on to broaden our understanding of it:
Mat 19:4-6 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? (6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (In Mark 10:5-9 Jesus repeats these words).
And the Greek word He used is at least as equally powerful: G1135- a woman; specifically a wife. The New Testament uses this same word time and again to mean one thing – a woman married to a man; nowhere, however, do we read of a same-sex marriage. Crystal-clearly, Scripture tells us that marriage is for one man and one woman.
I think that almost everyone has heard of the account of Sodom and Gomorrah and the angry wrath God displayed at their sins. I am fairly sure that we have all heard and/or read of the Bible saying that a man shall not lay with (or know) another man, too. I don’t think anyone will disagree that Scripture speaks clearly and strongly against this act. A few verses from both the Old and New Testaments to illustrate what God’s Word actually says about this are:
Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Gen 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
1Ki 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
Romans 1:26-27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1 Timothy 1:9-10 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, (10) For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
Jud 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
To make it a bit clearer, possibly, without going through the meaning word-byword- of the translated words that are not familiar to most of us, I thought it prudent to include a modern translation (ESV) of each passage from the New Testament quoted above; I include the NT only here because we are under the NT Covenant of Grace but the position of God on the issue has always been the same.
Rom 1:26-27 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.
1Co 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
1Ti 1:9-10 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, (10) the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
Jud 1:7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
But there are those that will try to excuse it away as cultural misunderstandings. For instance, there was a lot of male prostitution that took place as a form of idolatry, a truth that Scripture and history bares out. And they are many who will say that people are “born that way”, thus laying blame at God’s feet rather than taking responsibility for their actions. What do I mean by that? I mean that each and every one of us is born into a fallen world as fallen, depraved humans. I mean that we all have the capacity to lie, steal, murder, blaspheme, and, yes, commit moral and fleshly sin, too. The difference is whose who exercise their freewill to choose not to commit the sins or who do and take responsibility for them now (because at Judgment we will all be held accountable for our unrepentant deeds). God is “no respecter of persons” and He is no respecter of sins either. We may think of telling a lie as a much smaller offense than committing murder but God sees them all the same – as sin. And fornicators and adulterers will receive that same punishment as murders in the end. People in all ages or times have always tried to come up with a way to explain away their sins – idolatry then and genetics now – but God’s Word is clear about the sin, the condemnation, and the judgment of the sins.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Interestingly enough, the word translated as “whoremonger” is the Greek word pornos (G4205) and means something that is probably different than you might expect:
1) a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire
2) a male prostitute
3) a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator
We all have the capacity or ability to commit all kinds of different sin. And even though it isn’t “politically correct” to say so, homosexuality is a sin according to God’s Word. Same-sex relationships are not only sin but they certainly are not eligible to be called marriages according to the Bible, regardless of what “man” may say. But there are other, greater issues at stake here; those who participate in and/or condone these acts will ultimately have to answer before God for their actions and decisions.
As of my writing this, as far as I know, it is not illegal for an ordained minister to refuse to perform one of these ceremonies. Nor, as far as I’m aware, is it illegal for a church to refuse to allow one of these ceremonies to take place on their property. But I fear this is a very temporary situation. And with the proclivity many of the liberal groups and individuals to press against anyone, person or organization, that refuses to confirm to their agendas it seems to me only a matter of time before some kind of legal battle will be brought against the “offender” in the name of equality and tolerance. This very idea should make us think very hardly how we will react when this inevitably happens.
And then there is the way that the world is blaspheming the very term that Christ uses to speak of His relationship with the church. John the Baptist said of Christ and the church:
John 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
Jesus used the term of Himself:
Mark 2:19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
The Apostle Paul develops the idea more in his writings:
2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Eph 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
And again in Revelation the writer says:
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Again and again the Word of God uses this most holy, sanctified ceremony to symbolize Christ Jesus’ relationship with the church, not just in the few passages quoted here. Now the world wants to blaspheme the term God Himself coined, that we hold so dear in our faith, to describe the joining of one man and one woman and the metaphor for Christ and His church by using it to describe a most unbiblical act.
We, the Church, the Bride, must arm ourselves with knowledge of what God says on this subject. I am not advocating any type of hate, disrespectful language, any political agenda nothing of the kind. I do believe that we must look at this subject, and all things, through the lens of God’s Word and what He says about it. And we must stand strong in what the Bible teaches. We must be able to provide biblical answers to those who question why we do not support or approve of this unholy union.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
But before we can do this we have to have a solid knowledge of Scripture on the subject, rightly dividing the truth.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I said earlier that God does not differentiate or rank sins; and He doesn’t. I also said that I was in no way making a political statement, attempting to cause pain or hurt, incite violence or “hate speech”, nor any other such thing; and I am not. What I hope is that this will open hearts and minds to see that the person living in this lifestyle is just as lost as the drunkard, the addict, the thief, or any other person living in sin; they are no better nor worse in God’s eyes. And to that end it is my sincere desire that when we find ourselves in this situation or conversation we will handle it with gentleness and meekness, although unwaveringly. I doubt very much that Jesus would agree with us ostracizing, being unnecessarily harsh with, or outright rejecting them; that is not how He treated sinners during His earthly ministry and it isn’t how He treated us when we, too, were lost, just as lost as these folks are.
When we look around us we see many things. When we see a building, we logically know that there was a builder who built it. When we see a painting, we know there was a painter that painted it. And when we see creation, we know there is a Creator who created it. Today we will talk a little about The Creator, whom Peter called the faithful Creator, and His work. (1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.)
Genesis 1:1-5 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Day 1– heavens and earth, light and darkness
1) day, time, year
1a) day (as opposed to night)
1b) day (24 hour period)
1b1) as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1
1b2) as a division of time
The world throws out all kinds of garbage today, attempting to convince us of how long the earth has been around, how old it is, and how the account of creation is just a symbolic story. And yet if we dig a little into the known language and customs of the peoples we can easily see that the writer meant exactly what he said: a single, 24-hour day. And this is true anytime the phrase “the evening and the morning” are used. Yes, that is a common way of saying a day as we know it now and it was used extensively in the Hebrew language and not just in Scripture. And it always, without exception, means a 24-hour day. And we mustn’t forget that Scripture is made up of many types of literature: prophesy, poetry, songs, wisdom books, and history. The book of Genesis is a book of history: accounts of facts, not allegory, not fables. Being a history book we must interpret it properly, as we must with all types of literature, both those included in God’s Word and those that are not. The mistake of not knowing the customs/culture and wrongly interpreting the type of literature one is working with leads to confusion and even false teaching.
Genesis 1:6-8 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Day 2– creation of the firmament, and the separation of the waters above the firmament from those below it, the atmosphere if you will
Genesis 1:9-13 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Day 3– waters are separated from the earth and formed into seas and plants are created
Genesis 1:14-19 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Day 4– the sun, moon and stars are created
Genesis 1:20-23 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Day 5– birds, reptiles, and aquatic animals are created
Genesis 1:24-28 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Day 6– all land animals are made and finally man is created in God’s image and likeness
Genesis 1:29-31 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
And so we have it, all created life were given to eat of the fruit of the earth, to be vegetarians. The significance, you may ask? To eat meat would’ve required death, and death was not a part of God’s original plan. There were no predators and prey, only all of creation living in peace and harmony.
Of course that didn’t last too long, as sin and death soon entered into the world. But thankfully The Creator had a plan to defeat these evils: redemption and salvation through His son, Jesus Christ.
This is a lesson outline I prepared for VBS 2014, the topic being “God is the Creator of all”. The Key Verse to this lesson is Psalm 24:1 and text is Genesis chapter 1.
If your Facebook newsfeed is anything like mine, you’ve seen more than your share of New Year’s Day posts: from resolutions to lists, thoughts and wishes, and about any thing that one associates with a “new start”. When the calendar rolls over from one year to the next it seems we all, or most of us, begin to think about how the new year can or will be better than the old. And many folks are seemingly quite happy at the thought of January 1 coming to begin with a fresh start. Well, I hate to rain on the proverbial parade but January 1 isn’t really going to change the situation that most folks are in on December 31. In truth, almost all of us are only going to be 24 hours older but not any “different” on this celebrated New Year’s Day.
You may be wondering at this point what my point of this post is, and maybe even thinking I’m being a bit of a “downer” but that’s not my intention. I don’t mean to infer that we can’t begin to work toward making our lives/situations better or make whatever changes we need, plan on, or desire to make the coming days and weeks better; we absolutely can, and should. But let’s be honest – most resolutions don’t make it through February but are merely a half hearted attempt to busy our minds through the winter cold. So, what am I thinking?
In reality every day is a gift from The Lord. Other than Christmas and Easter, every day should have the same preciousness attached to it, the same New Years-type of forward looking, enthusiastic feel to it. God’s blessings are new each day. His forgiveness is available always. And the things He can do through and with you are limitless every day. Don’t sell yourself The Lord short by thinking that New Year’s Day is the day for starting fresh; each new day is an opportunity for us to be humbly obedient and make a difference in our own lives and in those around us.
I challenge you to live out this year as if each day was New Year’s Day. I think if we all took this fresh attitude every day we could see great things happen in our lives and in God’s kingdom.