Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Death to Marriage!
A change of pace: here's a message I shared with my congregation in January of 2004 that's relevant to today's struggle.
Death to Marriage!
January 25, 2004
Pastor Glenn Layne
(Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
An Expose’ of the Homosexual Agenda Against Marriage
It is no secret that over the last ten years or so, a drive to expand marriage to people of the same sex has been gradually gathering strength in our nation. This is part of the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in our society. And to many, the idea of granting the right to marry to people of the same sex is along the lines of the fight for the rights of all minorities. It is a civil rights issue.
Recent actions in Canada and especially in Massachusetts make this a right now kind of issue. And I have to ask myself, what would Jesus say?
Notice that I’m not asking, what does my church teach? Or, what does doctrine dictate? Or, what does tradition suggest? I’m asking, what would Jesus say?
I remember when I became a Christian, I did a silly thing. I became a believer in May of that year and started reading straight through the Bible. It’s not like I understood a lot of Leviticus or Isaiah, but I kept going, looking forward to the New Testament.
Then when I got there—it was Fall—I was surprised. Jesus wasn’t the softy I expected Him to be. He was tough in the Sermon on the Mount, He was tough on a lot issues. He was tough on hell—Jesus speaks more about hell than anyone else in the Bible does.
So when I think of Jesus plunked down in 21st century America, I know He would have compassion on all people—including homosexual people. I know He would condemn the people who killed Matthew Shepherd, the young man brutally killed in Wyoming for being gay.
But what would He say about homosexuality—and same sex marriage?
The Value of Marriage in the Bible
I think He would do as He did in the Bible—He would point out that God has a design for human sexuality and marriage that’s part of the way God created.
Part of the Created Order (Genesis 1:27, 2:24)
Genesis 1:27 says,
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
And in Genesis 2:24, God says,
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to His wife, and they will become one flesh.
Passages like this were on Jesus’ mind when He was quizzed about divorce, as in Mark 10. He appealed to what His Father had done in creation to address that issue. People wanted easy divorce, and pointed out that the Old Law had a provision for easy divorce. Jesus told them to get back to what God had set up at the creation:
5"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. 6"But at the beginning of creation God `made them male and female.' 7`For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Jesus appealed to the way God set things up the creation. There was a basic God-made design: one man, one woman.
Marriage Marred (Genesis 4:19-24)
If you read just a little farther in Genesis, you’ll see that the design was damaged pretty quickly. Genesis 4 includes the story of Lamach, the world’s first polygamist (he had two wives). Lamach is a real jerk, who boasts that he’ll kill even a kid who bumps into him.
And all over the Bible, the basic design for marriage (we might call it Marriage 1.0) is messed with, marred, denied and defaced.
Marriage restored (Mark 10:5-9)
But when Jesus speaks about marriage (in passages like Mark 10), He says, “Go back to My Father’s design. That’s where you’ll find happiness. Set that aside at your own risk.”
I think—I’m convinced—that’s what He would say to us today about the prospect of same sex marriage.
What is Marriage for?
What is marriage for? Let’s think about this. Let me suggest that marriage exists for basically four purposes:
God saw—and Adam agreed—that is was not good to be alone. You’ve probably heard the statistics. 70% of all alcoholics are single. Married people live longer than the unmarried does. So much of this comes from having someone really committed to your well being—who will listen to you and help carry your load. One study had 29.6% of separated people feeling alone as compared to only 4.6% of married people.
But someone could say that same-sex marriage would have the same effect for those folks. Well, I doubt it. More on that in a few minutes. Consider the second reason marriage:
Same-sex sexuality may be legal, but it’s a twisting of God’s Genesis design. It is perverted. I don’t use that word to make fun or be mean—I use it in the technical sense: “turned away from the right.” God established a right way back at the creation. It was a union of Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!
A third purpose of marriage to be the incubation chamber of family. Here’s an original thought: the union of men and women produces babies. Bet you didn’t know that! Two men or two women can adopt, or use artificial conception, but by nature—a nature designed by God—cannot produces a baby on there own. Doesn’t God’s design in nature give us a clue here?
A final purpose is to preserve property. That includes the benefits of decision-making and shared wealth that is invested in a person’s spouse. Property is typically combined and passed on through marriage and family. But what’s happening today is that the big argument for same-sex marriage seems to be all about economic issues.
The verdict on marriage
No wonder the Bible speaks so highly about marriage: God created it, and He calls it good.
The New and Improved Marriage: Same-Sex
Now as you know, there is a push to extend marriage to people who are the same sex. Based on what we’ve seen about God’s design for marriage, what are we to make of this?
One thing you should know is that this is a pretty new idea—even in the homosexual community. The vast majority of gays and lesbians over the last 40 years rejected the idea of same-sex marriage because they rejected the very concept of marriage. The working attitude was that marriage is an old-fashioned, antiquated idea, and that it’s not reasonable to expect people to be faithful to each other for life.
But now a lot of (not all) of the homosexual community has gone from being anti-marriage to pro-marriage “2.0”—that is, the so-called new and improved marriage that allows same-sex couples to marry.
No doubt some have changed their minds because they want what marriage 1.0 (God’s design—one man, one woman) has. They want to companionship and the sense of family and the economic benefits.
But many of the hardcore activists actually view marriage 2.0 as means of permanently altering and even destroying marriage. It’s sort of like a computer virus that enters your system quietly and then deletes all the files. The plan—actually stated by some the radicals—is to destroy marriage from within. To “rewrite the files” on what marriage is all about.
Now remember that marriage is God’s design. It really only works when God is in mind. That’s why people who haven’t been to church for years call a church up when it’s time to get married. Instinctively, most people know that they need God in their marriage.
Marriage without God
But what about when you try to design marriage without God? When He is excluded from the get-go?
Well, we know. In the 1920s the communists in the Soviet Union discouraged marriage. They saw it as an institution based on religion and capitalism, and since that hated both, they tried to do without it. But within 10 years, they reversed themselves. Their society was falling apart! Birth rates were down, alcoholism was up and they could barely get people to work! Marriage creates an environment where people assume responsibility—and its absence was like that worm within, destroying the society.
But marriage without God also means we are free to throw overboard the God-designed pattern of one-man, one-woman. What does God say about this?
In Romans 1, Paul writes about what happens when the world turns its back on God. The main thing that happens is that we become idolaters—we will find something to worship if we kick God out of the picture. One thing we then worship is sex. After all, it’s a pretty powerful force. So from ancient times we’ve found all kinds of sexual art and statues and such.
Another thing is that happens that Paul says is that some people experiment with types of sex that are way outside the circle of God’s design. Look in Romans 1:26-27:
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
It’s unnatural says Paul. It’s indecent and it’s a perversion (there’s that word again). But in our infinite human wisdom, today we wonder if God knew what He was doing. Well, I don’t!
Why we must fight same-sex marriage
Instead, I am convinced that this is an area where God’s people have to stand up and fight. Some people seem to think that’s there’s nothing you or I can do, but I don’t buy that. Others say that we might as well roll over, because that’s where we’re headed. That attitude is designed for defeat, and gives no honor to God.
Let me give you seven reasons to fight same-sex marriage.
1. Marriage is not just a social institution: it’s God’s design
I hope we’ve already seen that. God designed marriage. His word clearly teaches that marriage is for a man and a woman—only.
2. Same-sex marriage would redefine marriage from God’s design to an economic relationship
The big push for same-sex marriage—the one that gets the sympathy—has to do with shared medical benefits and property rights. Economics is a small part of the plan of God for marriage. To push the dollars and benefits aspect of marriage as the big one turns marriage upside down.
3. Same-sex marriage would dilute all marriage
What I mean is this: if we allow same-sex marriage, it’s like the value of all marriage declines. So if you think that this won’t touch you because your values are different, think again.
Let me illustrate. If we have same-sex marriage, what’s to prevent two unmarried mothers “getting married” not because they are attracted to each other, but because one has a good job, and the other (and her children) can get medical benefits from the marriage? They could well agree that they would continue to date and if Mr. Right comes along, they get a “divorce.”
That slams marriage down in the mud as a mere economic contract—far from God’s design. Do you want to see that happen? Or are you prepared to fight for it?
4. Same-sex marriage is bad for kids
Look, it doesn’t take a genius (or a village for that matter) to know that the best situation for a kid is where there is a loving mom and dad. Boys need dad to learn how to be men. Girls need mom to learn how to be a woman. And kids need both to learn how to relate to both men and women, and how men and women ought to relate to one another.
5. Same-sex marriage validates homosexuality as a viable way of life
This is kind of a no-brainer. If we give the go-ahead to same-sex marriage, we’re saying that homosexual sex is as good as God’s design for sex (one-man, one-woman). If you have a TV, you know that’s exactly what the entertainment elite wants us to believe. But I’ll stick with the opinion of the Creator of the world.
6. Same-sex marriage is at odds with thousands of years of history—we know what works and what doesn’t
Do you know that in all of history, there has never been a culture that made homosexual marriage part of its society? Even in cultures that were tolerant of homosexuality (like ancient Greece), the idea of same-sex marriage never had a place.
It’s not like we don’t know whether or not this will work. We know that it won’t. Take the Netherlands, which has had same-sex marriage for a number of years. A study was published in a British medical journal about same-sex marriage in the Netherlands. These “marriages” last on average 1.5 years, and even while married, these “partners” had an average of eight sexual partners outside of their so-called “marriage.”
That’s a marriage? I don’t think so.
7. Same-sex marriage would open the door to what many now think unthinkable: polygamy, polyamory and other bizarre combinations
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that opening the door to same-sex marriage ends anything. It would be the start of a lot of other things.
I can guarantee you that ten minutes after making same-sex marriages legal, the press would be on to make other combinations legal. We’ll be back with Lamach as somebody will go to court to make polygamy legal. Other radicals talk about something called polyamory legal—where a whole group of people—maybe four women and five men—are all “married” to each other.
Unthinkable? So was same-sex marriage twenty years ago!
What to do now
What about YOUR marriage? (Matthew 7:3-5)
First of all, don’t get mad—and don’t get even. Get right. I mean right in your marriage. Make sure your marriage is where it ought to be. Remember what Jesus said?
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
That’s not an excuse to do nothing—it’s call to get it right!
Make a decision now, not later
Decide now that no matter what happens in the courts or in Congress, you will stand by what Gods says, and be a witness for God’s plan for marriage.
Into the public square
And decide now that when this gets talked about around you (and it will) that you’ll be vocal (not offensive, just vocal) about God’s plan: one-man, one-woman.
Ice Age or Renewal?
I don’t what will happen. I don’t know if this is part of a spiritual Ice Age coming, a time like the Dark Ages in Europe—or if God has a renewal, a revival, around the corner. I just don’t know. But I do know that God has a way out.
The way out: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
That way out is described in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.
Some ways of life just aren’t compatible with the Kingdom of God. Not just same-sex sex, but out-of-marriage sex, and idolatry and slander and stealing and swindling. These are all outside the kingdom.
On that list are “male prostitutes” and “homosexual offenders” (v. 9). Actually, these terms are probably broader than that: a “soft one” and “a man who has sex with a man.”
But…see what Paul says in 11: “And that is what some of you were…BUT…”
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.
That means that there is a way out. The church at Corinth had plenty of “ex’s” in it: ex-adulterers, ex-thieves, ex-slanderers, ex-swindlers.
The propaganda of our time is that people can’t change. Malarkey!
Never underestimate the power of Jesus!
Never underestimate what the Spirit of God can do!
He changes people all the time.
He is the hope for all people, in all situations.
He is the one who can transform anybody. Any situation. He does it all the time.
© G.Layne, 2004