Freedom Realized – Message at Redeemer, Utica, NY

I had the honor in May of 2013 to share my testimony of freedom from homosexuality at Redeemer Church in Utica, NY, May 5, 2013.  The community of believers there are terrific.  I enjoyed sharing the word of God, the word of my testimony as a sincere truth-filled story of God’s grace. A message where He really does change souls by His transforming grace.  My soul has been forever changed since 1983.  I am truly delivered from the trap of homosexuality and same-sex attractions.  Unfortunately this message is unpopular, and even in opposition to heretical messages being offered up by those who proclaim that 99.9% of people do not change.  There is a diabolical message of so called ‘grace’ that people need to merely bear up under same-sex lusts and embrace a gay Christian identity.  There is a hellish message of allowing for sin, lust and attractions keeping people in bondage.  They communicate a message of ‘grace’ that requires no real need of repentance, and no need to confess sin after ‘getting God’s grace’ because God’s grace covers it all, so they say.

However, this message recorded at Redeemer is one of restored hope and freedom realized!   God’s love and grace is transforming to souls who will yield in humility and truly believe from the heart resulting in righteousness!

Will the Church Show Justice and Mercy to the Same-Sex Attracted?

A Clarion Call for Genuine Salvation and Biblical Hope; Not Compromise!

___________________________________________________________________________

Church Leaders, Please Truly Love the Same-Sex Attracted Person

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

God commands us to love one another, yet only through the divine influence of the Holy Spirit living in us and moving us to love as the Lord Jesus Christ loves are we able to fulfill that command and walk out love.  The Holy Spirit creates this kind of love within God’s diligent surrendered repentant people, enabling them to walk out true love without denying true justice.  Only in His love can we avoid the great compromise of our age.

church_and_gay2God is looking all over the Earth to find a people whose hearts are completely His to pour out His love and mercy. (2 Chron. 16:9)  As God pours out His love and mercy on people whose hearts are completely His, this love manifests in Spirit-filled believers who, by striving to embrace a lifestyle without compromise for themselves, are then free to love others fully, yet without compromising the holy justice our Lord requires.  As His divine influence works in us, we are able to walk out a Heaven-birthed love that reflects the real grace of God.  Lest we forget, God gives His grace to the humble (James 4:6), not to the proud or compromising.  His grace, and therefore His power, is given to those who put their faith in Christ alone. (Eph. 2:8-9).

How do we walk humbly? The Lord showed us how in the example of His own life as he truly and justly and consistently loved people with His great mercy.  It is proven that only this long-suffering love, lived out through discipleship care and inner-healing ministry can bring real transformation for people seeking to be free from homosexuality.  A distorted and compromising love being embraced by many Church leaders across America will not bring freedom. Some leaders may believe it is kind and loving to empower the idea of “gay Christians” or to proclaim “same-sex attracted” or “gay” as legitimate titles, labels and identities, but they are separating justice and mercy from love.  This is tragic.  Encouraging people to embrace a distorted image is not loving and is certainly not just.  It is actually unloving, spiritually wounding, and could eventually be eternally harmful to souls.  (Rom. 1:18-28, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:5-6, 2 Thess. 2:10-12).

 

Same-Sex Attraction:  Temptation, Lust or an Identity?

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape (freedom), that you may be able to bear it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

The mercies of God in His extravagant grace are deposited into the humble heart.  God gives a way of escape to those tempted; however, He resists the proud. (1 Peter 5:5-10)   Many today in the Church, rather than wrestle with the issue of same-sex temptation and same-sex lust, argue instead that same-sex attraction must be recognized as a legitimate identity. There is no biblical basis for this surrender.

“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”  2 Cor. 10:3-5.

gay gag flagA loving and just leader will help a person overcome lust by teaching them to take every thought captive.  A discerning and spiritual father will teach spiritual warfare to a same-sex attracted person so he or she can walk in freedom over tormenting temptations.  A Christ-led leader will not embrace temptation as an identity, misleading people in slavery to further sin and lust.  No one in the Body of Christ should have to live a life overwhelmed by attractions that keep lust operating in the soul.  Love empowers the soul to overcome temptation; anything less is evil. Unfortunately, instead of teaching the truth—that same-sex attraction is a condition of the soul as a result of fallen humanity and is typically a result of a distorted and painful history which needs Godly care—many today promote the idea that same-sex attraction is a legitimate identity. This is wrong.

There is a great need for ministry, love and understanding for the homosexual and the person who is attracted to their same-sex. Most same-sex attracted people, with the longing-hearts of broken-souls, become consumed by lust as they deal with a wounded history, trying to repair a broken image.  This attraction and its fulfillment through lust can never be the identity of anyone who is completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Still, many well-meaning Church leaders promote the idea that being “gay” or a “gay Christian”, or being attracted to one’s same-sex is a legitimate ‘orientation’ and/or an identity based on modern psychology and their own appetites.[1]  This promotes a false-self in fallen humanity as something to be acknowledged as a personality or as a part of the identity. This deceptive teaching promotes distortion in the Church and leads many astray with a false compassion.  Coining new and comforting terms, such as “mixed orientation marriages” and other forms of sexual “orientation” only further strengthen the strongholds in souls.

Gay-activists have browbeaten the Church with words like homophobic, bigoted, intolerant, unloving and unkind, making anyone who desires to be uncompromising in Biblical orthodoxy subject to scrutiny and a demonic pressure to be swayed into a man-pleasing spirit.  After-all, what sincere Christian is willing to wear the unloving labels cast on them by gay activists?  No one!  Reactionary leaders introduce deception, subtly legitimizing same-sex attractions and lust under the ever-growing cheap-grace teachings.  Well-meaning compassionate people are being seduced by false teachings about grace and mercy, thus promoting a distortion of Christianity—the ‘kind-license’ to sin—which actually makes an allowance for sins of the heart and mind to remain. We should show great compassion to all sexual sinners in the Church, but these cheap-grace teachers align themselves with demons to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. Some of them even joke outrageously about lasciviousness and mock grace.[2]   “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness (lasciviousness) and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4

 

The Grace of God is Transformational

Flee from sexual lust and fornication for every other sin is committed outside the body, but sexual immorality is a sin against your soul, your identity and body. 1 Cor. 6:18.

spiritual-transformationThe Apostle Paul used the word “flee” for a reason.  Sexual sin is very dangerous and very damaging to the soul and humans should flee as fast as humanly possible.   Teaching acceptance of gay Christianity is equally dangerous.  Gay-Christian advocates teach lies; they are blind and deceptive guides keeping the souls of many in bondage to same-sex lust.[1]  And from these teachers we should flee.   Jesus’ way is to submit the soul through faith to His amazing sacrifice on the cross, resulting in righteousness. (Rom. 10:10).  A true faith in God embraces inward holiness of thoughts.  His divine call for salvation is to a new lifestyle of turning (repenting) to Him for the joy of a deep intimate relationship with Christ as Creator.  This requires us to die to all self-promotion of the fallen Adamic nature of the flesh (orientations) and its desires, which includes same-sex attraction, homosexuality and all forms of sexual sin and brokenness.  The grace of God is transformational.[3] He always makes a way of escape from temptation for those who are completely His.  This is a very good test to see if in fact you are truly born again: do you desire to live purely in your thought life every day? Do you desire transformation?

 

We Are Created in the Image of God—Imago Dei!

As I have oft-written, we are created in the image of God—Imago Dei! Using a “sexual orientation” for a person’s identity—such as “same-sex attracted” or “homosexual”—indicates viability for behavior outside of God’s original intent for human sexuality.  I have never agreed with the notion that “sexual orientation”—our sexual direction or desires—is equivalent to how we are sexually created to be. Using terms like “sexual orientation” and “mixed orientation marriages” communicates a distorted truth based solely on human attractions and feelings, not on God’s creation and intent. Modern psychology has provided these terms. The only intent for human sexuality or orientation is from God.  That is “heterosexuality,” a term also given to us by modern psychology. What we call heterosexuality, God calls holy relating between one man and one woman in a covenant marriage relationship with the potential to create life in His image through human sexual intercourse.  God calls this relationship holy—two becoming one—a holy relationship that can be only between one man and one woman. We are never more like God in His creativity as humans than when we are in concert with God in creating life.

One cannot create life through homosexuality. We are most like God in His creation when as ‘heterosexual’ married couples, we produce children, also created in God’s image (Imago Dei). All other “orientations” are, at the very least, distorted emotional wounds from psychological (soulish) problems with accompanying desires.  Modern psychology, at its very worst, gives us “sexual orientation” as a way to legitimize sinful behavior.  Under this diabolical plot, the “orientation” message can culminate with the potential for mutilation of the body as we see in gender-reassignment surgery. This evil is very deceptive and tormenting for people.

imago_dei_1Humans are created male and female. Heterosexuality is an innate created biological fact and therefore cannot change. It is simple biology 101, and an orientation idea given to us by modern psychology does not change the truth that we are created human beings, male and female at every level (Imago Dei).  Being human and under the curse of original sin, however, we are able to have distorted attractions and very sinful behaviors.  Humanity is fallen and, as fallen human beings, the orientation we have is a “sinful orientation,” not a “sexual orientation.”  Very simply, homosexual behavior and other“sexual orientations”outside of God’s divine intent for human sexuality are sinful. However, there is hope!

Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from all our distorted thinking. He gave us the Word of God, so our minds could be renewed by His Spirit and so transformation can occur to the surrendered soul.[3] The Holy Spirit abides in those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Isn’t it good news to know we do not have to be defined by modern psychology or our feelings, attractions, appetites or lust?  We are defined by the Creator, Who created us in His image, to be like Him in a holy identity as man and woman; and we are created as His children.  Yes! In fact, one can “change” from a ‘homosexual’ existence and live a holy and healthy life created in the image of God as ‘heterosexual’ men and women.  Imago Dei!

 

Realigning with the Words of Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures

The Church is in need of a great revival.  A revival to give justice and mercy to the same-sex-attracted person and all sexual sinners. A revival where souls are truly transformed! We must base our message upon the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ in giving a genuine message of salvation, a gospel message that conforms the soul to godliness.  The new ideas of outreach coming from Church leaders are heartbreaking.  They use the methodology of the world, through cute slogans and clever sayings to convince same-sex-attracted people they are invited and welcomed, offering no help in redemption, thus allowing the Church to become an unholy place without change.  They proclaim a message of grace where repentance is not ‘really’ necessary, where you merely pray a prayer and have your ticket punched for Heaven.  This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.reading-bible-blue

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.  1 Tim. 6:3-5.

Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’” – Jesus also said, “from the beginning it has always been this way.” (See Matthew 19:1-10).

There is a better way, expressed through the very words of Christ in Matthew’s gospel account, and on The Sermon on the Mount. His words are very clear about confronting the motivations of the heart, especially in regard to sexual attraction and lust.  The clarion call from our Savior is to present the beautiful truths of the Gospel for a genuine salvation and a Biblical hope that brings transformation in these last days.  His grace is transformative, not leaving people with an out-of-control lust for their identity. If we compromise these truths, we do an injustice to the very people we say we want to help. Don’t fall into the psychological trap of placing the labels of fallen humanity onto people concerning their sexuality. It is not mercy, justice or love!

We should at least embrace an intercession of sincere love with great sorrow and tears as the Apostle Paul told the church in Rome.  Read his words: “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow, weeping and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymenaccording to the flesh…”  Yet the Apostle Paul’s love—so profound—is willing to be accursed from Christ; willing to go to hell so others would be saved!  Most in the Church are not weeping and praying, never mind being willing to be accursed from Christ on behalf of another’s potential for salvation. Rather, they are too afraid to call out how destructive homosexuality is to our society.

A clarion call and warning from the Lord concerning this day is found in Jeremiah 6:14-15 – “The Shepherds (Church leaders) have healed the hurt (deep wounding) of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations (homosexuality)? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush (blush or show shame over abominations or sexual sins). Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,’ says the LORD.  Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”

church decisionBeware of believing that the old ways of preaching the Gospel are not relevant. You may find yourself as a false shepherd, not really calling for holy repentance and a sincere healing of your own soul or the soul of the person who struggles with same-sex attraction or homosexuality.  The Lord requires that we do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him in bringing souls sincerely to Christ in complete abandonment.  “No greater love than this, for a man to lay down his own life for his friends.” John 15:13.  In this, is true justice, love, mercy and a humble walk.

written by Stephen Black, Executive Director — First Stone Ministries, Oklahoma City, OK

 

[1] Adam Hamilton, Alan Chambers, Tony Jones, Wesley Hill, Justin Lee, Matthew Vines, Andrew Marin, Brian  McLaren, Tony & Peggy Campolo, Mel White, Rob Bell, Jay Bakker, Ray Boltz, Gene Robinson and many others.

[2] Clark Whitten, Chairman of the Board of Exodus International’s teaching on ‘Grace’ at the National Exodus Freedom Conference, July 15, 2008. (EXODUS08-D)

[3] Transformation of Persons with Same-Sex Attraction: Becoming Who We Are

Luke 18:8

eternal_cover_luke_18_8

A Thorough and Scholarly Video Presentation of The Bible and Homosexual Practice — by Dr. Robert Gagnon

There are very few men who are as thorough and scholarly on the subject of the Bible and homosexuality.  Dr. Robert Gagnon, Associate Professor of the New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is one such scholar.  Based upon Dr. Gagnon’s fantastic work,  The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, an excellent video presentation is presented here to give clear answers from the Bible texts and Bible hermeneutics.  This presentation also gives a clear historical background in context that is very helpful.  This video series is very clear that the Bible teaches a prohibition against homosexual behavior, to argue otherwise is disingenuous.  There is also a clear warning that should be listened to from the Bible for those who embrace homosexual behavior and those who teach an acceptance of homosexuality. Do you really want a thorough understanding?  Do you really want to know the truth?  Please review the following videos for a scholarly and thorough teaching on the subject of homosexuality and the Bible.  This video series is an excellent resource for the student of God’s word, the theologian or for anyone desiring to gain understanding in this day when many are embracing homosexuality.  Please watch this entire +3 1/2 hours of video with your Bible in hand and ready to take notes!

Part 1 of 7

Robert Gagnon: The Bible & Homosexual Practice – The Old Testament – Genesis 1 & 2 from Jim Garlow on Vimeo.

Part 2 of 7

Robert Gagnon: The Bible & Homosexual Practice – The Old Testament – Sodom from Jim Garlow on Vimeo.

Part 3 of 7

Robert Gagnon: The Bible & Homosexual Practice – The Old Testament – The Levitical Prohibition from Jim Garlow on Vimeo.

Part 4 of 7

Robert Gagnon: The Bible & Homosexual Practice – The Old Testament – David & Jonathan from Jim Garlow on Vimeo.

Part 5 of 7

Robert Gagnon: The Bible & Homosexual Practice – The Witness of Jesus from Jim Garlow on Vimeo.

Part 6 of 7

Robert Gagnon: The Bible & Homosexual Practice – The Witness of Paul from Jim Garlow on Vimeo.

Part 7 of 7

Robert Gagnon: The Bible & Homosexual Practice – The Hermeneutical Relevance of the Bible from Jim Garlow on Vimeo.

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