Monday, May 28, 2012

Idolatry, Sex, Homosexuality, and Depraved minds

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore...
Rom 1:24 God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those contrary to nature; 27 and the men also gave up natural relations with women, were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, not only do them but they give approval to those who practice them. 

Think about the Biblical History of the World: In the history of the earth you have God creating Adam and revealing Himself to him. Then you have Adam rejecting God’s rule, then you have God punishing Adam, sending him from the Garden.
Then you see God reveal himself to Abram and the people of Israel. Then they reject God’s leadership, and God punished them, and sent them out of Judah to Babylon.
Do you see a pattern developing?
Paul opens Romans with the same steps but reversed. Look at verse 18. He starts this verse with God’s wrath. God reveals His wrath because men suppress the Truth of God. Men suppress the truth of God that He made very plain to them.
You see how that’s the same as with Adam and Abraham but reversed? First God made himself plain to people. People eventually decide to reject God’s rule and Suppress the truth of God. Then God revealed His wrath.
The 3 key words here are Plain, Suppress, and Wrath. God makes himself Plain. Men Suppress the Truth. God reveals His Wrath. 
            I want to say up front that I may say something you don't like; I might be misunderstood, or if you just don’t like what I have to say. But I certainly don’t want to people to be mad at me for being unloving and ungracious. More than anything I am aware of this: I am a sinner. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am a sinner who still needs to repent. I am a wicked sinner, who has been declared righteous. And I am a sinner that God is working on to make better, to be like His perfect Holy Son.I’m not mad at sinners. I AM a sinner. I pity sinners. I hurt for those who are caught in addiction to sin. I only want to help sinners find forgiveness, love, and peace with God. I’m just a beggar showing other beggars where to find food.
     Some people say Christians shouldn't call themselves sinners. Nonsense. I'll stop calling myself a sinner when I stop sinning. So should you, but not until then.
     The passage above has three natural dividers: Vs 24, 26, and 28 all have the phrase “God gave them up” or “God gave them over.”
Now some take this to mean God Gave Up on them. Sort of like, "Go your own way if you insist, I can’t help you." But that’s not what this means. To ‘give over’ is similar to giving control to another. It’s like a police officer, turning you over to the jailer. It implies a certain punishment. 
     It’s even more like a Judge turning you over to a Warden. When you were in the hands of the judge there was still some hope for leniency. Once you’re in the hands of the Warden. There is no hope.
Vs. 21-23 Is the introduction to this downward spiral of sin. It’s the on-ramp to the highway to Hell. You might look at this as a spiral or three circles, descending to complete, utter wickedness.

     In Seminary I had to read and study Dante’s Inferno. If you never read this consider yourself lucky. But it’s the story of a soul’s journey thru Hell. Now Dante wrote this to encourage people to recognize and reject sin. Then they were to read Purgatorio and Paradisio and find their way to God. But in Dante’s view of Hell, he had 9 levels or circles of Hell. Each level was worse than before. He places famous historical people there and they want him to know how horrible it is. But at the gate of Hell there’s a sign. You know what the sign says? It’s ALMOST as if Dante got the idea from the dismal nature of Romans  1. The Sign at the door of Hell says, “Abandon Hope – all ye who enter here.”
It’s a horrible thing to live without Hope. But when God gives you over to the dominion of another, Hope is lost!
1    This onramp to the downward spiral says that Humanity knows there is a God. Back in vs 19-20 we see there is an internal witness for God as well as an external – all that is made. But within people is a conscience, an awareness of a higher being. Someone that will be answered to. But man SUPPRESSES the truth He doesn’t want to deal with God. And trades God for created things. He’d rather worship animals or even other people than worship God. Why is that? Why are there atheists in the World today?
     I think its more an issue that they don’t like the idea of God. 
They don’t like his Sovereignty. You see a Sovereign God makes the rules. Its His Universe, not ours. We are His creation, He knows what is better for us than we do!
They don’t like His Holiness! They don’t like God's holy standard for their behavior. They want to be left alone!
They don’t like His omniscience. They don’t like that there’s a God that knows everything they do and will judge them.
And They Don’t Like His Immutability! What’s That? It’s the fact that God Never Changes. He will never stop being large and in charge! He will always be a Holy Sovereign God!

2      So, V 24: God gives them over.(read) The key ideas here are lust and dishonor. They got onto this hi-way thru idolatry and the first circle is sexual sin. They gave into their physical lusts and dishonored themselves. Now you know that God created us with passions, right? Its perfectly normal for adults to feel desire, fall in love and get married. And it’s in Marriage that God gave us permission to invest those passions with our husband or wife. Gen 2:22-24.
     But accompanying ancient idolatry was often prostitution and adultery. That’s how the god’s would be pleased, with sex. These of course were the god’s invented by man. You might call them the gods made in man's image. So man invented them and then invented what they wanted. And apparently Men were in control ‘cause one of them said, “I know what makes the gods happy! Sex!” And sex became a part of idolatry. These are sinful uses for "natural" passions that God gave us. These passions are damaged by the fall, to be sure, but still hetero-sexual. But it doesn’t stop there.

3      V 26: The key idea here is vile affections. God is giving them over to not just MIS-USE the passions he gave us, which should be used in a Holy way. Now He gives them over to exchange the passions he gave them for Unholy Passions. That is passion toward persons of the same gender. Women with women, Men with men, doing things – the KJV calls unseemly. The ESV says Shameful acts. But it’s more than that. It’s shameful, indecent, beyond the dishonor of adultery, it’s anti- holy.
Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God took from man, He made a woman, and brought 
her to the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: 
she shall be called Woman, for she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man 
leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh...      
Now I don’t like to focus here, but our society is embracing this evil and calling it good. 
Christians get criticized for getting hung up on this one sin, homosexuality. But this is one area that the world is pushing back so strongly on. They pretty much agree that adultery is "cheating." Prostitution is considered unseemly and a form of slavery by many people in the world. But on homosexuality they say, "Gay is OK."
Don’t be deceived. Scripture is clear. One must be totally dishonest with the texts to deny that Homosexual behavior is clearly condemned. Yes many other sins are condemned, too, but Gay behavior is clearly sin.
BUT, ListenGay People are not our enemies! Sometimes The church IS Homophobic! We act like they are the scourge of the earth. They are just sinners like us. It’s interesting to watch someone who really doesn’t like gay people, suddenly get to know one. 
What? You’re gay? But you’re so nice! How can that be?” Love the sinner! 

4      But Then, God gives them over to a Depraved Mind.(v28)
See all these sins listed here? See how they have taken a turn from the sexual “feel good” sins toward those of Malice and Hurt and Pain.God has so surrendered humanity to its own torment they invent new ways of being evil and they become heartless and ruthless. Wicked to the core.
But I want to show you the GREAT IRONY of God’s Wrath here.
God gave us over to exactly what we wanted
We wanted to turn our backs on God and not be controlled by God and God let us go one step at a time. First to Mis-use the passions He gave us. 
Then He gives us over to vile, unnatural passions. 
Then to a depraved mind. At this point the mind is so warped it cannot see any of the light of God. 

Let me show you what that looks like, because it happened before. Before God raised up Noah to build an ark to escape the flood He says this: 
Gen 6:5 The LORD saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and 
every intention of thoughts of his heart was only evil continually
Today we call these Sociopaths! No moral compass. They rejoice in sin. They look at the evil that men do and are pleased with it.
Now who are all these people? Are these people at the final judgment. Are these people in other countries? Are these the people at the flood? WHO IS HE TALKING ABOUT NOW?
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, 10 Nor thieves, 
nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Earlier, I said that each of these steps involved the loss of Hope. And it does. 
The further into rebellion against God we go the less hope there is. 
We are very much like that spider dangling by the tiniest thread over the furnace of Hell. 
As we try to climb up the thread stretches in the heat and we are still inches from the flames. 
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus- Jesus is our Only HOPE!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to tell me and others what you think. You can use the tools of rhetoric but please, be clean and nice.