Following the decision rendered by the Supreme Court of the United States this past Friday, I offered today this message to the members of my congregation. I share it with you in the hope that you might carefully consider what God’s Word says and what our culture is saying now:
We had just arrived at our hotel in Memphis for the District convention when my phone signaled a message had been delivered. This one notified me that the Supreme Court had voted to permit same sex marriages across our country. I knew this decision was coming and I was pretty sure of the outcome but still a feeling of sadness came over me.
I was angry months, even years ago, as this issue was discussed by so many. The guiding principles that I have followed all my life were being tossed aside by the majority of my country. Those principles include: The one, true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is my Lord; and, The Bible is the Word of God; and finally, God’s Word is Truth.
At one point in my life, it appeared as if my principles were shared by most Americans. That cannot be said today and that is why I was angry and am now sad. So many have put their thinking above our Almighty God. Our Lord has been replaced by humans themselves. We know best. We know better than our Heavenly Father what is right and what is wrong.
Having said all this, I also feel hope. Throughout the history of the world, God and His Church have been replaced in the hearts of man by other gods. During those periods of time, our Lord still had the same power and authority He always has had. We are in a moment of time when God’s Word and those who have faith in Him as their Lord and Savior are seemingly irrelevant. But that, dear friends, is not so.
The Gospel message that Jesus died to take away the sins of the world and that by believing in Him we have the hope of everlasting life cannot be taken away from us. It is this message of salvation that we share with our family, friends, co-workers—everyone we meet. It is the message that God loves sinners but He hates our sin. That message has never changed.
I have hope because the opportunities to witness of my faith are increasing every day and I know that God’s Word never fails. Will everyone like the message I share? No, but I still will let others know of God’s love for them.
This is not about me, or Grace Lutheran Church, or Christianity. This is about Jesus. It seems as if the world is turning their backs on the Savior but we can still share the Good News about Him. This is what we are called to do.
After saying all of that, what about same sex marriage? I hold that any relationship, other than one man and one woman, is a sin. That is what God’s Word teaches us. While I see the sin, I am called to share the Good News with those when the opportunity presents itself to help those who are living in sin see their need for the Savior, Jesus. That is what the love of Christ in my life motivates me to do.
Will there be any same sex marriages at Grace? The short answer is, no. The Elders and I are addressing this issue and will have an amendment to Grace’s By-Laws for the congregation to consider shortly that speaks to our Marriage Policy. Simply put, anything that is contrary to God’s Word will not be a part of Grace’s beliefs, structure, or practice.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, we believers in Jesus Christ are on the outside looking in when it comes to our world’s culture today. We are the minority and you can bet that there will be more actions taken by our country that reflects a lack of respect for our faith. In what way this will take place, I don’t yet know but I also don’t think it will be too long before we find out.
As we see how things will develop, we are sure that God and His Word will continue to be our hope and help. He is our Rock and our Fortress, and ever present Help in trouble. The Lord will remain our Guide through these turbulent times.