I read in the news recently that more and more churches are welcoming gay men and women into their congregations and that many more churches are defending gay agendas. (I even read that there are homosexual musicians in church today, and that they are highly respected! And that there are now gay pastors also).
Immediately I read that I exclaimed inwardly, “No, that’s not the church!”
I doubt there is any man alive today who had as much grace or love as the Apostle Paul had. And yet, when Paul heard that in the Corinthian church there was a man committing adultery with his father’s wife, he was so incensed that he commanded the man be thrown out of church immediately!
Paul then went much further and made a statement which must have rubbed the liberals in the Corinthian church the wrong way (It appears the church was filled with liberals and that everyone was allowed to live as they wanted).
Paul wrote them: “9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” 1 Cor. 5:9-11
Paul had warned them earlier not to consort with a brother (or sister) who is a fornicator. And here he reiterates his stand – and takes the opportunity to add to his list of people not to company with.
Now, you wonder, if Paul directed all that anger at these kinds of relatively ‘soft’ sins, how much more would he have done on account of homosexuality? I am sure Paul would have reserved an infinitely harsher punishment for a homosexual ‘brother’, had there been one in that congregation.
Lot made a monumental mistake and it cost him dearly. The Bible tells us about Lot’s difficult life in Sodom. It says that he was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” 2 Pet. 2:7-8
He would experience more and bitter fruit later in the demise of his wife, and in the harlotry of his daughters.
And someone might probably be asking, “What was Lot supposed to do?”
The answer is that he ought to have separated himself from Sodom a long, long time ago.
Apparently there are people today – Christians – who do not realize or who have forgotten that Jesus brought not only grace, but truth also (John 1:17). We talk a lot about grace, but what about truth? The truth is that our God is a holy God.
Grace is the soft part; truth is the hard part. And there is not one without the other. You couldn’t say, for example, “A homosexual saint”, could you? That is truth. (The people who comprise the church are called saints).
Whatever sympathies we might have towards homosexuals can only be relevant in the context of repentance, just as with any other sin. God is a holy God, and we cannot compromise God’s holiness in favour of our own misguided notions of liberalism. Our God is too great a God for that.
The Apostle says, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened” (1 Cor. 5:7).
The church needs some purging today. If we are too weak-kneed for that, we could all end up either as Lot or the Sodomites. It was not a happy ending for either of them.
[A scene of downtown Dar es Salaam City]