Yesterday I officiated a Memorial Service for Lezlie Brown. I’ve known Lezlie for many years. My dear friend had been in a long battle with Multiple Myeloma Leukemia, Lezlie’s obituary can be read here. As a part of the service in “Remembering Our Dear Friend Lezlie” and spoke on Heaven. Several people made comments after the service and wanted to know more. I made the following video and I also have a dedicated page on Heaven here. The verses can be found in Revelation 21 and 22.
Often people of varied church affiliations use the same terminology, but may mean something totally different by their terms. Multitudes around the world say they are “Born Again” and yet their life-style demonstrates that their definition is one contrary to biblical teaching. I write this today, with the deepest concern for those who walk in bondage to sin.
Jesus said “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” [John 3:3] and “most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”. [John 3:5] We must be born again of water and of the Spirit of God to enter into God’s kingdom in heaven. If we are not, we will not go to heaven.
Many people have experiences with Jesus and with the things of God, many even pray prayers to Jesus with tears, expecting Him to be the penalty for their sin, yet without their repentance there is no forgiveness of sin. [Luke 24:47] They go to church, “believe” in Jesus, and call themselves “born again”. Many teach that if you pray a certain way or do certain things that you are “born again”. Yet many lives remain untransformed by the Spirit of God. Many continue living after the flesh and the world. The Scripture says, “For to be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace”. The mind set on the flesh is hostile to and is at enmity with God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [Romans 8:6-8] The Scripture says “therefore whoever is a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” [James 4:4] Do you believe that the enemy of God will have a place in Heaven?
Jesus Christ has not said that the assurance of eternal life or going into heaven is to be based on a one time event in one’s life. Jesus said we must be born again to a new life, a life controlled by the Spirit of God and the water of His Word. Many are born again to see God’s kingdom. Many saw the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ and followed Him for a time, yet fell away from being His disciples. [John 6:60, 66]
Many today see parts of God’s kingdom for a time, and they feel that they are eternally secure, yet walk in their own ways. There is eternal security in Jesus Christ, but not for the unbelieving, so called “believer”. “Many will come to Him in that day and say ‘Lord, Lord’ (they believed that Jesus was their Lord) have we not done many wonders in Your Name?” (church goers) and then Jesus will declare to them, “I never KNEW you, depart from me, you who practice sin!” [Matthew 7:22-23]
Jesus Christ says we must be born again into a new life, one filled with the Spirit of God, a life where He KNOWS you! This means an intimate knowing between you and Jesus Christ the Son of God. We must KNOW Jesus as our best friend, as our Master and Lord, and as the director of our daily affairs. Jesus must know you as His obedient child. He must be your heart’s desire. This means we will not continue seeking our own desires, but will seek His desires as bond slaves to Jesus. Knowing Jesus Christ in this manner, is eternal life! Jesus said, “and this is eternal life, that they may KNOW You, the only true God, and (KNOW) Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” [John 17:3] This intimate knowing of Jesus Christ is NOT praying a sinners prayer, even though that can be the beginning of knowing Him intimately. Merely calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved or delivered does not mean eternal life, though calling upon the Lord can mean you will have eternal life. We must know Him just as a husband and wife know each other intimately. This kind of intimacy doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen by just calling one’s name. Two must become married, move in with one another, and grow into a relationship. Only then do they KNOW one another.
To truly know someone you must live with them. Does Jesus Christ live in you? Is there intimacy between you and the Savior? Knowing Jesus is complete surrender and absolute dependency upon Him. Recently, my wife was witnessing to some church going relatives and asked them, “Is Jesus Christ the most important desire in your life?” She asked them, “Be honest, is He?” She told them, “This is a true Christian, someone who is always wanting to please Jesus”. If we are to understand what knowing Jesus is and what Jesus was speaking of in Matthew chapter seven, we must first know His love for us. He proved His love for us by laying down His life for us. Therefore, we must love Him because He first loved us. Yet many will say “Lord, Lord” and go to hell forever. We must have an intimate walk with Jesus Christ! This is being born again!
Some churches teach that those who practice sin, those Jesus referred to in Matthew chapter seven, were never saved, others teach that they fell away. These doctrinal differences will not matter if you are not totally devoted to Jesus; the end is the same, a Christless eternity. Please, I beg of you reader, examine yourself as the Scripture says, Examine Yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove to your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, see if indeed Jesus Christ is in you, unless you indeed fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5] See if you are truly in the faith. Does Jesus Christ speak to you? Is He in you? If someone is living in you, wouldn’t you be totally aware of His presence? Is your life totally devoted to Jesus Christ, or do you indeed fail the test?
Remember that no one who dies practicing sin goes to heaven. Do not be deceived by preachers with empty words. Anyone who practices fornication (sexual intercourse in thought or deed outside the marriage bond), idolatry (loving something more than God), adultery (sexual unfaithfulness in thought or deed of a married person), homosexuality (sodomy – sexual activity in thought or in deed with a member of the same sex in or out of a so called marriage agreement), stealing (taking something that does not belong to you), covetousness (desire enviously), drunkenness (drinking alcohol and being overcome by it), revilement (abusing verbally), extortion (obtaining something by force and by improper means), immorality (against what God calls right living), impurity (not being pure), sensuality (being devoted to pleasing the senses), sorcery (operating in witchcraft and abusing drugs), enmities (mutual hatred – hating someone who hates you), hatred (having hate), contention (contending, argumentative – given to arguing), jealousy (suspicious of a rival), strife (given to conflict), outburst of anger (violent anger – strong feelings of disapproval with meanness), disputes (argumentative – given to argue), dissension (in discord – disagreeable), factions (given to dissension and strife), selfish ambitions (self motive and eager desire for success or power), heresies (teachings or opinions contrary to the teachings of Jesus, the apostles and prophets), envy (resentful of another’s advantage), murder (hating someone enough to put them to death in thought or deed, unlawful killing), carousing (boisterous, brawling, noisy and quarrelsome), lying (one who does not tell the truth, one who lies), abomination (anything revolting to God) shall NOT go into heaven. The Bible tells us explicitly not to be deceived about people who practice these sins. The Bible tells us that we can know for certainty that they will go to hell; that the wrath of God abides on all disobedience. We must all repent and turn totally away from all wickedness. If we do not obey God there is no hope of eternal life. [I Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:5, Col 3:5-6, and Rev. 21:18] [James 4:4-10] [Titus 2:11-12].
Remember, to obey Jesus is a walk of faith. Faith in Jesus results in a life which produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit. [Gal. 5:22-23] We do not work to be saved; we work because we are saved. We can only overcome sin by His grace, and God gives His grace to the humble. He will hear the heart cry of the humble and give them His grace which enables them to overcome any sin.
We must seek Jesus Christ as hidden treasure. If you knew that there was a chest of jewels, precious stones and gold, worth millions of dollars in a certain spot; you would dig and dig and dig there to find it. Is your relationship with Jesus Christ worth any less? We will find Jesus when we seek Him with ALL our heart. [Jer. 29:13] Jesus is hidden treasure, you must seek Him while He may be found. [Isa. 55:6-7]
Do you KNOW JESUS? Maybe you are a church goer and your church system calls knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord something different than “being born again.” Be sure of this, either you know Him intimately, or you don’t! If you know Jesus Christ and He is your Lord, you will obey Him out of a heart of love and devotion. Examine yourself, lest indeed you fail the test and windup in hell forever! Don’t be one who says “Lord, Lord” and have Jesus say “I never KNEW YOU.” Jesus Christ died to set you free from your sins and give you life abundantly, now, in this life and in the one to come. He loves you! Cry out to Jesus, and confess your sins with a true heart of repentance. He will forgive you and strengthen you to live a godly life. [I John 1:6-9]
(c) 1992 – Stephen Black
Stephen Black is an ordained minister and has been ministering to people leaving homosexuality since 1984. He has been on staff with First Stone Ministries since 1993, and can be reached at First Stone Ministries for pastoral-care discipleship and/or public speaking. stephen [@] firststone.org
I dedicate this article I wrote in 1992 to the perverse grace teachers empowering “gay Christianity” today – the former Exodus Leaders of 2012, and the Exodus board of directors 2012-2013, those in the GCN and ilk. It is not how you start this relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior, but how you finish this relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord that matters for eternity.
“ Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” 2 Cor. 5:9-11
May God grant those mercy and repentance to those who are stumbling blocks, causing many to falling away from a sincere faith in Christ in a pursuit of true holiness! May they find a path of true repentance and true faith in Jesus Christ as Lord before the end of their lives. 1 Cor. 9:24-27 & Matt. 7:13-28
by Stephen Black (2010)
Apostle Peter warned us that scoffers and mockers would come on the scene with louder and louder voices in the last days. Ruled by their own fleshly desires, appetites and seduced by demonic powers, Peter warned that the scoffers and mockers would raise a ruckus against those who desire to live godly, leaving behind their true devotion to God’s word for lifestyles of sin and pleasure. “Where is the promise of Jesus’ deliverance and freedom?” they will mock. “HE made us this way!” “Where is the promise of His coming?” they will say, “It has always been this way! You can’t change!” (2 Peter 3:3-4, 1 Tim. 4:12, 2 Tim. 3:1-7, 2 Tim. 4:14, Matt. 5:11-12, Mark 13:9-13, Matt. 24:9-13).
I am very burdened for those who go back to homosexuality. I long for everyone to love God, know His truth and experience His amazing grace that changed my life 28 years ago. My greater burden is for His Church to be holy and ready to answer the questions raised by scoffers and those who proclaim “gay Christianity”. Why DO some who start with a repentant life to leave homosexuality behind, and then return to their former lifestyles? Is it not making for themselves a god in their own image as “gay” Christians? We need to know some answers.
Those of us who leave homosexuality and stay repentant share a vision and a goal that differs from those who embrace a “Christian” gay identity. Our Fundamental belief – the foundation that drives lasting change – is not the same as those who relapse. The consistent “ex-gay” – former-homosexual and repentant believer – embraces a process. This new way of living enables overcoming through a mature understanding of sanctification. This process requires a lifelong conformity to live like Christ. Our heart must long for a spiritual intimacy in a love relationship with God based upon belief in God’s word. We are, in effect, in love with Jesus Christ as our God. We have faith in the Word of God, even as we “struggle,” committed unto death to embrace a lifetime process of conformity that comes from a love relationship with God and a true Biblical world-view. As we understand and embrace grace (the power of God) in weakness and temptation, we know that homosexuality is not compatible with our faith in God. The result? A victor-mentality which fuels the ability to live in repentance (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
The mockers – the “beyond ex-gay” or “gay-Christians” – initially communicate a desire to change. Exasperated, they cry out, “CHANGE ME! Oh God, I want to be CHANGED!” They look at their desires and truly wish to be “fixed.” They demand that a local ministry or God Himself change their attractions. Not keeping their eyes totally fixed on Jesus Christ, they become fixated on the problem, their attractions. “Jesus Christ alone is not enough,” they proclaim. “We need more. We want to be delivered from the ‘sufferings’ of being tempted with homosexuality.” Delivered from suffering? Christ never promised we would not suffer in the flesh. In fact, He promised us we would suffer and need to deny ourselves. Unfortunately, this resonates as victimization. In the face of suffering, some rebel against the Biblical world-view and celebrate and embrace a gay identity. Many who are mockers become completely intolerant of those who desire, by faith in God’s word, to leave homosexuality. Ironically, the very people who scream for tolerance are extremely intolerant of those who turn away from homosexual behavior and live by faith. Let’s look at the Biblical foundations for freedom, which enable us to separate ourselves from the world’s values and our own appetites.
Foundations for Freedom ~
How do we receive anything from God? How are we saved, delivered or freed? It is by grace through FAITH! The secular human mind struggles to grasp the truth of faith, which is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Still, it is impossible to please God without living by faith, which comes by hearing, listening and believing the Word of God. We must obey His Word and hear God in prayer. We can’t “see” faith! The “ex-gay” former-homosexual lives by this consistent faith. The “beyond ex-gay” lives by his or her appetites and attractions. It’s a startling difference. Jesus, reflecting on His second coming, asks, “Will I find faith on Earth?” (Luke 18:8). Living by faith transforms our lives. “Beyond ex-gay” or “gay-Christians” do not believe a faith with suffering.
~Living by Faith
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus clearly knew the statistics of those who live by faith. In the parable of the sower of the seed in Mark 4, Jesus tells us that 75% of those who hear the word of God will not experience lasting transformation by the planting of the Truth in their hearts. They will not conform to His image of self-denial. When gay activists mock ministries like First Stone for a less than 60% success rate, and claim programs like Exodus have a 30%1 success rate, I am reminded of Jesus’ statistics of the parable of the sower of the seed. Only 25% choose the narrow way. Gay “theology” ignores this foundational teaching. When Jesus explained Mark 4:1-20, He was telling us that it was important to understand this parable in order to understand all the other parables. According to this parable, only 25% really learned and desired to overcome and bear good fruit. In light of that truth as expressed by Christ, I am very grateful that many more than 50% of the people at First Stone Ministries actually embrace discipleship and find lasting freedom, yet I continue to have sorrow in my heart for those who teach another gospel (Rom. 9:2, Gal. 1:6-9).
~The Word of God
The foundation for freedom can never go any further than the bedrock of where our faith begins. The “gay-Christian” movement and those who discredit ministries like First Stone can only do so by discrediting Biblical truth and skewing Scripture. What does the Bible say is the greatest enemy of the Christian life? It’s unbelief. Hebrews 3:7-19 tells us that “unbelief” means we do not believe what God has clearly written within the pages of the Bible. Unable to believe the Scriptures from the heart, scoffers must explain away the verses that condemn homosexual behavior. This unbelief is based upon the oldest lie in the Bible, a questioning of God and His character. Just like Satan in the Garden of Eden, scoffers with their doubts ask, “has God really said?” (Genesis 3:1). According to James 1:21-22 and 1 Peter 1:22-25, we must receive the truth of God’s Word implanted into our hearts for our salvation.
~The Beginning of Wisdom
Wisdom from God is certainly the foundation of freedom to live a godly life. What is the beginning of walking in God’s wisdom? Where do we find the answer to the starting place of having wisdom from God? Rest assured that when the Scriptures repeat something only a couple of times it is because it is very important. How important is a subject if repeated over and over, dozens of times? I would say extremely important!
The beginning of wisdom is found in the understanding that God is holy and should be revered in intimate relationship, and feared with trembling if living in rebellion. Truly God is awesome and we should live in awe of Him. (Psalms 19:9; 25:14; 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 8:13; 9:10; 14:26-27; 15:33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4). The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God.
Unfortunately today’s Church sends conflicting messages. One message offers a Jesus who will make you happy and blessed, a better you. The other message tells us we should be grateful that a holy God frees us from destruction. A God who loved us enough to die for our sins even though we deserve hell. In a “gay-Christian” environment, hell is not preached accurately (Rev. 21:7-8). The beginning of wisdom is to teach how Christ died to deliver us from hell, but not necessarily suffering in our flesh in this life. The teaching of hell is mocked and certainly not appreciated in many circles of ministry in the Church, yet Christ mentioned hell more than heaven in His own teachings. These truths are not taught or believed by gay-affirming “Christian” unbelievers. Sincere love of God compels us to deliver souls from eternal destruction (James 5:20).
The core strength for a human being is strong abs. Our spiritual body must also have core strength – A.B.S. – as a foundation for freedom.
A – Accountability. Accountability is a core strength essential to lasting and consistent freedom. Accountability is found by living in community with other believers and enjoying life together, confessing our sins to each other and receiving healing prayer. If we confess and forsake our sin we find great mercy. Godly accountability is more than a confession session; it is living in community where accountability becomes natural in a safe environment of holy relating. Healthy accountability becomes a haven of safety, and not of condemnation. (James 5:16 and Proverbs 28:13).
B – Boundaries. We all need boundaries set in place to separate us from temptation. We must appropriately distance ourselves from people, places, things and activities that draw us into sin. If we view boundaries as “restrictions” rather than “protections” we enter into defeat; we allow “bad thinking.” If we truly want freedom, we must view boundaries as protection and embrace them. We all need boundaries on our computers and from all bad influences in order to walk in integrity, truly a foundation for freedom.
S – Spiritually-Devoted Life. We must practice spiritual warfare as a core principle for freedom. A spiritually-devoted life must be practiced in the full range of Christian disciplines to renew the mind, will and emotions. If we are spiritually-devoted, we will read God’s word daily, meditate on His truths daily, pray and fast, journal, maintain consistent fellowship, and daily worship the Creator of the Universe – Jesus Christ. We are then ready to tell others of our faith as witnesses of Christ’s great love to save. As believers, we also need to practice the sacramental institutions of communion and baptism. Those who do not succeed, but instead fall back and embrace a gay identity, do not have ABS. If you live openly, honestly and transparently, you will find freedom. If you cover up and live in darkness, unbelief and lies will find a lodging place in your soul. Secrecy empowers sin and corrupts.
Those who overcome homosexuality and find lasting freedom repair right relating with the same sex. Men and women who repair broken relationships with parents to the best of their ability, receive a blessing on their lives (Mal. 4:6, Ex. 20:12). Men and women who develop healthy relationships within the Church -men with men and women with women -embrace the restoration of Biblical gender identity and find freedom. This can be a difficult process, but is necessary for freedom.
~Complete Inner Healing “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:18-19). Unfortunately many merely start the process of allowing the Lord to heal their histories of brokenness. Our western mind-set of drive-by-Christianity gives us the expectation that change will happen quickly. However, for many people, inner-healing and transformation of the soul, the mind, the memories, the will and the emotions, can take years. Those who are open to the power of the Holy Spirit in His timing find this healing. This process brings us to the cross of Jesus Christ.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the POWER OF GOD” (1 Cor. 1:18). The crucifixion is a place of death. In His wisdom and sovereignty, the God of the Universe chose the space in time of Roman crucifixion to send His son to die a terrible death in our place and redeem mankind. God’s wisdom, to choose a horrible death through great suffering, transcends human understanding. But He understands suffering, and the power of God rests upon those who trust in God in their own suffering. Those who understand this foundational teaching will walk in freedom through the knowledge that God did not promise to deliver us from suffering, but to grace us, to empower us to rise above the suffering of our temptations and broken histories. We must come to the cross daily, bring our pain and our temptations, and by faith release our grief, our shame and sin into the Body of Jesus at the cross. There we must release our hopes, dreams, desires, and attractions. Suffering is God’s unexpected pathway to great joy if endured to the end. The cross is LIFE to those who believe and put their faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished there, enduring to the end as we deny ourselves and live for His glory.
I believe it was Leonard Ravenhill who said, “let me spend an hour with a man in prayer and I will tell you about his true spiritual condition.” I don’t advocate judging people based upon an hour of prayer, but a man’s prayer life will determine his level of spiritual maturity. Men and women who walk in consistent freedom are intent on knowing God in prayer. Experiencing God in prayer is a consistent and diligent discipline. Jesus asked his disciples, “Could you not tarry with me just one hour?” I believe the Lord is asking that same question today.One of several reasons people don’t succeed in exiting sexual brokenness: they do not have a diligent prayer life to support the need to practice victorious spiritual warfare. Worship in prayer with a very grateful heart, for gratefulness is the will of God for the believer in Christ (1 Thess. 5:18). Many use prayer to complain or present a laundry-list of needs. These things can be a start in prayer, but the prayer life must mature far beyond that. Our fight is not against flesh and blood.
“For we are not fighting (IT IS A FIGHT) against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies – the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world” (Eph. 6:12). People become weary in the battle because of prayerlessness and the spiritual battle we are in.
~Unforgiveness and Shame
Never be unaware of the deliberate schemes of Satan. He always comes with offense. When we are angry, we provide the opportunity for Satan to set up an offense and cause us to be critical and defiled (Eph. 4:26-27). He causes the heart to be divided with bitterness so the very strongholds of sexual sin will storm back like a flood. Satan then brings his condemnation and paralyzes the solider with shame to retreat into darkness (Matt. 6:12, Matt. 18, 2 Cor. 2:10-11, Rev. 12:10-11, Romans 8:1).
The foundation for freedom and healing for all of us is to long for heaven and hear the Father say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of heaven.” Those who overcome will be clothed in white raiment, given authority to rule with God and live eternally. The “beyond ex-gay” say “It doesn’t work” because they have not thoroughly given an entire life process in commitment to the Lord to deny self and live to God only. The truth is clear from the Bible. Life is but a vapor, and we must live by this faith in God, believing and trusting in Him: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession” (1 Timothy 6:12, Colossians 1:23).
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:17-21).
God gives his power, His grace, to the humble (James 4:4-10, 1 Peter 5:5-10), yet many demand God do a work of freedom from suffering and temptation which He is not obligated to give.
GOD IS LOVE
God is love and His ways are so much higher than ours. His plan for us is to love in such a way that we would be like the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:1-3, with great sorrow to be perfected in love, and a deeper willingness to be accursed from Christ so others would have eternal life. This is godly and mature Christian living. The Church surrendered continues to grow in this extravagant love. Unfortunately, this kind of love is not demonstrated in much power in the Church at large yet. That’s why so many are without hope. May the Lord grant us His power to represent this manifestation of His love, give hope to those who are falling away, and see many restored who have gone back.
1 – URVASHI VAID on Good Morning America, August 5, 1998:“…what we have a problem with these advertising campaign is that it’s sending out the wrong message. Homosexuality is not an illness. And I think as — the other problem we have is that as people pursue a healthy relationship with their own sexual lives and their own sexual selves, that they need to be aware of snake oil salesmen. I mean, the cure rate for this so-called therapy is about 30 percent, you know.”
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!
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A Message to Pastoral Care Leaders Processing The Gospel and “Gay Christianity.”by Stephen Black, Executive Director, First Stone Ministries
The Gospel according to Jesus Christ is the same message for a gay-identified person, an idolater, an adulterer, a fornicator, a pornographer, a liar, a thief, a gossip, a slanderer or a murderer. The message of good news–redemption into a love relationship with God–is the same for all sinners. Many “Christian” leaders [see note 40 ] communicate a message that is not Biblical, but instead is deceptive and eternally dangerous. It is certainly not a message of love to lead a person into a false hope. Unfortunately, this misleading message of “gay Christianity” is spread by perhaps well-meaning but Biblically-illiterate leaders who present a message based not on the truth of the Bible, but on a man-made theology. Other leaders purposefully and deceptively spread this message, which is a much graver offense. Deception–which leads people astray–is not love; it’s evil. I share this concern with the same grief-filled compassion as expressed by the Apostle Paul to the Romans in Romans 9:1-3 when he wrote “with a great heavy heart and many tears.” Sincerely I write this article after much heart-ache and many tears. Paul reminded us that many will fall away from the faith in the last days. This perversion of The Gospel is an example of the message of ease, love of pleasure and living unrepentantly with which many will go astray. This article is equipped with many end-notes of Biblical references to back up the emphatic statements and is a Bible study with over 150 verses. Please read the Scripture references with this article and let God’s word be your guide.
GOOD NEWS or BAD?
The Gospel is Good News from Creator God, the Father in Heaven revealed to us through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is an amazing message of love given to fallen humanity. By truly believing in and being in Christ, believers’ relationship with Holy God is restored to the way it was before “the fall.” The Good News is that God the Father has made a way for all mankind to be restored to His original divine intent of an intimate loving relationship that is greater than any we will experience in this fallen world. His desire is for this relationship to be forever with Him. Many proclaim a message that totally contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that you can be a practicing sexually-immoral person or a practicing homosexual and go to heaven. The Bible speaks directly to this, with uncompromised clarity. The truth expressed in Ephesians 5:5 is clear: you can know with certainty that no one who practices sexual immorality will go to heaven. Interestingly, the Bible often follows these types of passages with the reminder that we should NOT be deceived by people giving us empty promises or words that contradict the truth. Jesus came to save us from and out of our sins, not leave us in them. A person who struggles with and against sin differs from a person who embraces and freely practices sin. The Good News is Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose victoriously over death, hell and the devil. When Christ rose from the dead, He gave us the promise of the Holy Spirit of Grace, assuring us that the Holy Spirit would come and live in those truly born of God unto eternal life. The Holy Spirit of Grace empowers true believers to live holy repentant lives in a devout relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord. However, the Spirit does not live in people who are hostile towards God and disobedient, walking in and embracing and practicing sexual immorality. The Bible tells us He–the Holy Spirit–is given to those who obey God. The Bible also tells us that all sexual immorality grieves God. Holy God revealed in the person of the Holy Spirit will neverabide with, or approve of any immoral behavior. God opposes the proud and gives His grace, the Spirit of Grace, to those who humble themselves and see their need for Christ. Anyone who says otherwise is not teaching the Whole Gospel of Jesus Christ and would be giving bad news instead of the good news.
The Son of God’s Beginning Message: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at Hand,” Should also be Our First Message
God’s message, revealed to us in human form through His Son, Jesus the Holy One, is very simple: turn from your ways and turn to Me. Biblically we know that turning or repenting is the evidence of true faith and a belief in God that ultimately produces obedience to God in a loving relationship. Through repentance, we replace our belief systems, our worldly thoughts, the flesh and the devil’s ways, and our minds are renewed by God’s word and by His Spirit. This “believing” in the mind and heart turns the behavior away from the way of the flesh to the way of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to BELIEVE in Christ for salvation. Believing and repentance may unfold differently in each person, depending on his or her history, but God’s grace is truly amazing as it will produce a life becoming more and more like Christ. His grace always convicts the real believer of sin, and reminds the believer of the righteousness of God and the judgment to come. If this heart-change does not happen, self-examination is in order to see whether or not you are truly born again. True faith in God is believing the Word of God and believing in Jesus Christ; such beliefs will result in a changed and righteous life. Paul’s letter to Timothy makes it clear that the Gospel Message must be based upon the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ, which conforms the soul to godliness. The goal of this message is to mature the hearer into having pure love, an undefiled clear conscience and a sincere and devoted faith. I rely on Jesus’ words for leadership and filter all teachings through His words. Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to life and FEW find it. Broad is the way of destruction and MANY will go on its path.” I also rely on Jesus’ statistics. In the parable of the sower, Jesus’ statistic is only 25% would actually bear good fruit after hearing the word of God. Shouldn’t we teach the same narrow way that leads to eternal life? If anyone–and I mean anyone–teaches otherwise, they are NOT teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should never teach people that they are justified to live in sin and an unrepentant life, a belief that is completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, many leaders today teach contradictions. John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, warns of this danger in his epistle, 1 John. “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light,as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned,we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” “Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He (Jesus) walked.” (1 John 1:5-10, 1 John 2:4-6). John also reminds us of the importance of obedience in his Gospel, in the very words of Jesus: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light (Jesus) has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light (Jesus), for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil (practices) hates the Light (hates Jesus), and does not come to the Light (Jesus) for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light (Jesus), so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” “He who believes in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:17-21 v. 36)
Follow Me to the End
My story of true conversion began in February 1983. After praying with people that were completely surrendered to Christ, I was confronted with the Word of God in many ways, two of which I’ll share here.
First, Jesus spoke to me in the power of His Spirit. I didn’t understand what was happening to me; my heart was pounding and I felt very strange. I heard in my mind a voice I know now as the Holy Spirit, telling me that if I did not surrender to Christ, I was going to die. The fear of the Lord gripped my heart. I knew in my soul that I did not know Jesus Christ like these people. They spoke in terms of a relationship with God that I thought was crazy. They told me that Jesus was answering their prayers, speaking to their hearts, that He was consistently known and felt in their home. I had never experienced Christ in that way, but I wanted to. They prayed with me to receive Jesus Christ as Lord.
Later that evening in the car going home, my friend who had been with me and witnessed my surrender to Christ, asked me; “Does this mean you will stop being gay?” I told her I didn’t know for sure, that I wanted to follow whatever Jesus had for me. At home that night I got out the big table-Bible, our only family Bible. Holding it my lap, I prayed and asked God to show me in His Word whether homosexuality was a sin. After all, the gay Catholic priest from my parent’s parish had told me God loved me just the way I was as a gay man; and he stated all the more reason to visit him at mass. God heard my prayer for truth and revealed it to me through His Word found in the Holy Scriptures.
Secondly, Jesus spoke to me through the Bible. As I opened the Bible, it fell directly upon Leviticus with the heading, “Laws on Sexual Immorality.” There it was right before my eyes: chapter 18, verse 22. It was undeniable that God detests homosexual behavior. Initially, I was angry. I could clearly see that I was worthy of death. However, I also understood now that Jesus Christ paid for all my sins in His death on the cross and that He loved me. He saved me from destruction and death.
In the summer of 1983, we began to hear of a strange disease being reported by the news in Oklahoma City hospitals. At that time, the doctors were calling it G.R.I.D.–Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (syndrome)–or G.R.I.D.s. Many of my friends, people who had seemed so vibrant and healthy, were now dying. In fact, more than half the people I knew in the Oklahoma City gay community died within the next few years. In the midst of this tragedy, the fear of God instructed me and gave me life. God spared me and revealed His mercy.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Anyone claiming to declare the Gospel, but excluding the fear of the Lord–the very beginning of wisdom–is immediately suspect to me. I look first to see if a messenger/teacher knows and demonstrates the fear of God, as this is how the Gospel was presented to me by the Holy Spirit. Does the messenger teach that God is holy? Does the teacher instruct that we must turn to God in intimate relationship to become holy because God commands it? These questions must be answered with an emphatic “Yes!” We must respect the word of God. Yes, we must know the kindness, but we also must know the severity of God, for no immoral person or idolater will be in Heaven.
Many times I have been asked if I ever considered returning to the gay lifestyle. I decided in 1983 that I would rather live celibately than return to a life that clearly is not God’s divine intent. However, I am married now with three adult children, and grandchildren. I truly believe God’s word concerning homosexuality. I know He is holy, and I tremble when I think of the fate of people who choose to continue to live in immorality. The Scripture is very clear. No one who practices sexual immorality will go to Heaven. Yet, false teachers, under the guise of hope and kindness, persist in spreading a message that is contrary to God’s Word. Therefore I embrace the words of Jesus Christ for clarity: “And many false (pastors) teachers will arise, and lead many astray (they will tell you can be a gay Christian), and because lawlessness (the practice of sin) will be increased,the love (real love) of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:11-14.
Will you endure to the end with me and the many others who will never go back to sexual immorality? We must endure to the end in a love relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the pearl of great price. Even if we live to be 100, this life is a mere vapor. I will never be sorry I embraced Christ, His word and repentance from all immorality. Even if I am wrong, even if there is a remote possibility that a Christian could be gay, I have merely denied myself in pursuit of obedience. But, if the gay Christian or teacher of gay Christianity is wrong, the consequence may be eternal death. That’s not a gamble I am willing to take. Are you? Even if you struggle with homosexual temptation to the end, if you deny the fleshly desires out of love for Christ, isn’t eternal life better than hell? Isn’t loving Christ instead of the world or our pleasure the better choice?
Assurance of Salvation and Answers to Prayer
You can have assurance of salvation. The Bible is clear we can have security IN Christ. If you repent of your sins and put your faith completely in Jesus Christ for your salvation and you continue in this faith in Him, you WILL have eternal life. The promise is found in 1 John 5:13-15: “…to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” Unfortunately there are doctrines and traditions of men and churches that communicate a relationship with Christ by praying a prayer, or being a member, or being present in an organization. Jesus never taught praying prayers to receive Him as Savior; He taught discipleship and Lordship. Although we should pray to receive Christ, it is not merely praying a prayer that gives us an assurance of salvation. A devoted relationship, a sincere faith in Christ resulting in righteous repentant living and becoming His disciple are the Biblical truths for an assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation to a sexually immoral person may begin by praying a prayer, but if not accompanied with a sincere faith producing the fruit of repentance, giving an assurance of eternal life would be a very dangerous teaching in leading people into a false hope. Would you like to be prepared on judgment day to give an account of leading people into a false hope of salvation based upon the traditions and doctrines of men? Would you like to give an answer to God for giving a message that actually sent people to hell?
What Will Be The Message? A Biblical Message or Man’s Theologies?
Several church leaders embrace the emergent message of gay Christianity and present a gay Gospel. Their teachings are not based upon the sound doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or New Testament Biblical instruction. They choose to embrace a false social gospel of a more palatable feel-good-God, a man-made theology, yet they do ‘good things’ under the banner of Christianity. Unfortunately, rather than embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel of self-denial that produces a Spirit-filled life that really does do good, they are embracing a man-made theology promoting gay Christianity. Which gospel message will you embrace? Will you follow a Biblical message that allows the human heart and soul to be transformed by the Word of God or a man-made theology that allows men to live in self-centeredness and indulgence? Shall we teach people that just praying a prayer and being a part of a community saves them eternally? Or shall we teach a true belief, that accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and following Him in discipleship will result in a life of righteousness? Which Gospel will you teach or follow? The true gospel of Jesus Christ, which leads to life, or a gay gospel according to man’s words, which leads to death? “There is a way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death.”
More Recommended Reading on this topic:
Dr. Robert Gagnon’s Online Library of Articles <– Excellent Resource
Mastering Life Ministries Online Library of Articles and Video’s by Pure Passion TV <– Excellent Resource
End-notes: (Please read the following scriptures in context of this article:)
 – i.e. Adam Hamilton, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Jay Bakker, Ray Boltz, Andrew Marin, Troy Perry, Mel White, Tony & Peggy Campolo, Reba Rambo-McGuire, Gene Robinson, Alan Chambers, Justin Lee & Neill Spurgin (Neill Spurgin Coffman)
Coram Deo is Latin, translated as a phrase – “in the presence of God” from Christian Church theology which communicates the idea of Christians living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God at all times!
Coram Deo is living in a cognitive state of being before the face of God Almighty. To live Coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, always for the glory of God. To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are before the gaze of Almighty God. God is omnipresent. Therefore, there is no place that we can escape His penetrating gaze, HE SEES! Coram Deo is to be live in a state of awareness of the presence of God, so acutely aware of His sovereignty, we enjoy the terrible awesomeness and FEAR God to encounter HIS fountain of life so as to be overwhelmed by HIS LOVE, because He is so forgiving and so merciful. Only those who are truly born of the Holy Spirit can understand this awesomeness! God is terrible, fearful, awesome and FULL of AWE… God is NOT tame, He is NOT safe, but HE IS oh so very good, so holy, so merciful and so loving. Without understanding the holy severity and the incredible kindness of God, we cannot grow in maturity.
The fear of God is NOT mere reverential trust, just ask those who have actually received a glimpse of God; peer into the Holy Scriptures and READ about those who have encountered God in His glory. They fall in awe-ness, in terrible fear – TREMBLING before the Almighty. May God transform my life, and those who read this to fear God, and live in Coram Deo! CORAM DEO — God sees you all the time and everything you do, and you will give account to HIM.
“For The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight (God sees all), but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Jesus Christ – The Word of God – will be our judge). Hebrews 4:12 & 13.
“For we know him who said,”Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again,”The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:30 & 31
“Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship, with modesty and pious care and godly fear and in trembling awe; for our God [is indeed] a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28 & 29
FOR JESUS’ SAKE AND FOR HIS GLORY!
A Warning from the Word of God, from the book of Jude:
A Warning to those who are unfaithful; who engage in all forms of sexually immorality and homosexuality.
This is also a Scriptural warning to those who are rebellious to God’s Holy Word, and who scoff and mock at the Scriptures, and it is a warning to those who are greedy for gain and the selfishly ambitious.
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the precious salvation we all share from Jesus Christ our Lord. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his people who are called holy. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ by their way of living life.
So I want to remind you and warn you, though you already know these things if you have studied the Word of God, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later He destroyed those who did not remain faithful. This is a sober warning for anyone who names Jesus Christ as Lord. The commandment is clear, “Thou shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.” Saying that Jesus Christ is your Lord and then living ungodly. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because their arrogance blinded them and taking them into sexual perversions of every kind.
In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. Those who believe it is justifiable to live according to their own desires will bring judgment down upon themselves. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money — greediness brings deception and death. And like Korah with rebellious hearts they perish in their rebellion.
When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. Be careful with those who you have fellowship with least they turn you away from following the Lord Jesus Christ. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their own desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want. But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives, never allowing yourself to compromise, but be all the more diligent as you see the day drawing closer to the end.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.