Guess who’s coming to dinner…?

When the word homosexuality is mentioned in a Christian context, most of the responses one receives will be negative. Gays are usually talked about as “those sinners out there.” But not all who are gay are outside of the purview of the Church. (And by gay, I’m talking about all those who experience homosexual temptation, whether or not they routinely give in to those temptations.) This may not be self-evident to all who read this, so it should probably be said: gay people are among us. They serve on our committees, sing in our choirs, give us financial advice, teach our Sunday School classes, and play instruments in our services to lead us in worship.

Some of them are fully convinced that acting on their attractions would be the unforgiveable sin. Others are doing their best to keep their ‘baser desires’ in check so they won’t be invalidated for ministry. Others are off-the-radar simply because they’re between relationships, but would want a relationship with the same sex if the right one presented itself. So what is to be done with such a wide divide? And how should we as Bible-believing Christians respond?

Let’s start by asking a very simple question: does eating with a person—having fellowship with them over a meal or a movie—does that imply endorsement of the entire person’s life? Many Christians seem to answer this question with a resounding Yes. But it would seem Jesus’ example would speak to the contrary. In Mark 2:15-17 (ESV), the evangelist writes,

[15] And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.  [16] And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  [17] And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The charge of Christ eating “with tax collectors and sinners” was not something founded on the imaginations of the Pharisees. Instead, it was rooted in the facts: Christ did eat—have fellowship with—these sinners.

Let’s suppose that a young lady named Trina comes to your church. She has a child and no husband; at this point you don’t know anything beyond that. Trina is looking for a place to belong and saw your church as she was driving by while taking her son to school. What do you do? It’s likely that Trina has sin in her life. After all, even if her husband has died and the child was conceived in wedlock, she’s still born into original sin. She is still an idolater and breaks God’s law all the time. Would you eat with such a person?

Of course you would. You do every time you have dinner with your own family. Your wife, husband, children, and parents—all of them are sinners in need of Christ. Even if they already know Christ, they still need Him
In the early church, community often accompanied the preached word. This example of preached word about the person and work of Christ coupled with the attractiveness of the fellowship of believers created a situation in which pagans could be envious and would begin to want to investigate the claims made by the members of this very strange new religion. The message we, as the Church, have been given to proclaim is repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Christ (Luke 24:47).

So, if we believe that we have heard the message by which men are brought from darkness into marvelous light—the Gospel!—then we should, out of our joy in Christ, be reaching others with this same Good News by which we were ourselves made children of God from our previous status as children of the Devil. This is an important concept where our doctrine, far from dividing, should unite us in loving our neighbors in word and deed. Anyone short of a fatalist can sing with gusto the hymn in which we challenge on another, “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do if with His love He befriend thee!” God has chosen to use means to accomplish His ends. How might Christ use you to befriend a sinner and use that for His saving purposes?

By inviting sinners—repentant and currently unrepentant—into our homes, we commend the Gospel to them. We honor them as fellow image-bearers of God and offer to them the words of life in the Gospel. We also acknowledge the fact that we, too, are sinners—and need this Jesus we talk about just as much as they. And for the believing gay man or woman in our midst, we not only encourage them in repentance, but we also provide that family situation that they may miss out on as a single person.

~                    ~                    ~                     ~

Dave blogs over at Gay and Evangelical. I met him over a heated debate about Christians who struggle with same sex attractions. While I was being judgemental and harsh, he was being gracious and showing forth the spirit of Christ. Whether he knows it or not, he taught me a priceless lesson that day, and I appreciate his heart to do right and speak compassionately to those around him.

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About Dave

Seminarian, studying to be a pastor. Passion for worship leading.

Posted on March 22, 2011, in "Guest Post" March and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. I have sat with, listened to and prayed with many Christians who have homosexual temptations and have even acted out on those feelings. Jesus never says—Change your life and then come to me.

    No: instead he says…come to me all who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest….the process of change for many is a long and painful process…and some never do lose the temptation within the struggle of life.

    What is wrong is the feeling of isolation, betrayal and the even total black banning from the church that men and women who often build up the courage to share their deep issues of life with another…find happens when they do share….

    It appears to me that some sins and types of sinners are more acceptable within the church than what others are… As for me – I will continue to greet, meet, eat with, listen to and pray with all who are willing to listen to the gospel and grapple with the struggles of life that the Gospel calls for…in a spirit of total acceptance…

    After all Jesus loves the sinner so much..he accepts them as they are. .
    However..he also loves the sinner so much that he won’t leave them where they are…

    The process of change is in his hands… we are just a facilitator for his love.

  2. Kudos on this post. I only have one problem. Your definition of “gay” concerns me. If I think about stealing something does that make me a thief? I should hope not. So if I struggle with a homosexual thought, does that really make me gay? I think not. Sorry, I am not trying to be controversial, just wanted to bring that thought to light.

    I have struggled with befriending the “gay” community, but I believe God loves them and so should I. I think about what God saved me from, and trust me, its FAR “worse” than being homosexual. Remember, God loves the sinner and hates the sin.

    • @BrokenSoul786: Great stuff! Here’s what I’d say: if you steal something, you *are* indeed a thief. That’s kind of the point.

      Now, as far as your second point, because sexuality can be conceived of as a sliding scale, a person having a sexual thought about a person of the same gender may or may not mean that person is actually “gay” in the way I’m using it. In terms of my own story, I’m more or less exclusively attracted to men, which is why I use the term.

      We definitely should be loving those who are lost without hope because Christ has died for sinners like us…and has died for sinners like them. Since Christ came to save sinners (and gays qualify), we should be sharing the Good News of Christ’s redemption with them faithfully and lovingly. See, it’s not enough to love someone…loving someone (while good in itself) doesn’t give them what they need. They need the Gospel told to them, in love, teaching them to walk in repentance, knowing the forgiveness of their sin in Christ.

      A word of caution: Psalm 5:5 tells us that God hates evildoers (and His actions in history illustrate that point…the wiping out of the Caananites at Jericho, the wiping out of the citizens of Sodom, etc.). However, the good news in Christ is that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, thereby reconciling us to God (Ephesians 2:1-10, etc.). I know this won’t win me any friends, but it’s important to think in precise terms of Scripture rather than in short phrases which don’t really find a place in Scripture.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • @Dave: I think you misread brokensoul786’s comment. he said “if i THINK about stealing…” how would you respond to someone who says, “just because i think about same-sex intimacy doesn’t make me gay — i haven’t ever DONE anything” and really believes that to be true?

        • Yes Bob that is what I was getting at.

          • My argument would be “How often are these thoughts thought and to what degree?” Jesus did say “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28), which implies that thoughts demonstrate behavior.

            As an example, growing up I thought about ways to steal things all the time. Especially after learning in history about people attempting perfect crimes and then seeing movies on the subject, I thought about stealing a lot. I eventually tried (and sadly succeeded).

            Proverbs tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV). It is possible to look at a woman and not lust, and it is possible to consider taking something. That is where temptation comes in. If you think about stealing, are you not lusting or coveting something. That is the sin.

            I still have thoughts of stealing things, but usually it is “I could do this, here is how” and it is more mental exercise than anything else. I have learned to be content in all situations (Philippians 4:12), and it also serves as a reminder of what I am capable of without God (being a filthy rag, Isaiah 64:6 and most of Paul’s writings!).

            Does that explain things well enough, or have I just babbled?

          • That’s a good question. I don’t have an immediate cut-and-dried answer. Perhaps it would be appropriate to mention that sin can be thought, word, or deed. So while no deeds were committed, the thought itself is sin.

            Anyone else want to take a stab at this?

        • [28] But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
          (Matthew 5:28 ESV) I think that also can apply with the same sex thing as well/

          • I wanted to also add. Temptation in it self is not a sin, for even Jesus was tempted 3 times. It’s rather you allow your self to dwell on it to the point that it consumes you. Then it becomes a sin.

  3. I love this thought. Sin is equal in Gods eyes, so if we accept a liar into our churches we should also love and care for people caught in sins we consider “greater” . And just as we don’t condone lying, we don’t condone the lifestyle. We are all humans struggling with SIN. No matter what it is.

  4. I have written a post concerning the incompatibility of homosexuality and Christianity. http://rcsthe.blogspot.com/2011/03/homosexuality-is-it-just-about-sex.html

    There is a difference between reaching out to others in love, and condoning sin. Even Paul recognized that there were some things that called for exclusion. (Preaching another gospel, sexual immorality, etc) I do ask, if anyone wants to comment or reply to this post, please read the link, as I have explained in depth why this is problematic and why the two cannot mix.

    God bless, Richard
    http://rcsthe.blogspot.com

    • I’m not sure I understand your point. In your opinion, does dining with someone or inviting them into your home constitute condoning sin?

  5. In 1 Corinthians, Paul seems to associate all sex sins (homosexual or heterosexual) as about equal in seriousness – all as acts to be struggled against, repented of, and avoided. All capable of being forgiven. All those people “sinners,” but capable of being “loved.”

    None of those sins are portrayed as minor. Far from it! And, as a father who’s had a son molested by a homosexual, and a daughter by a heterosexual, I can personally attest to the devastating effects that had on both of them, and I’m sure on many others. They should never be trivialized.

    Yet Biblically none of them are the “worst” sins. For instance, remember Job? How his friends all decided he must have commited some truly terrible sins, and that God was judging him for them? His “friends” then named those sins – the sins they believed were the very worst. Do you recall what they were? ALL were one kind, the SAME kind. Examples: “For instance, you must have refused to loan money to needy friends unless they gave you all their clothing as a pledge – yes, you must have stripped them to the bone. You must have refused water to the thirsty and bread to the starving … You sent widows away without helping them and broke the arms of orphans. That is why you are now surrounded by traps and sudden fears, and wdarkness and waves of horror.” (Eliphaz speaking in Job 22:6-11, Living Bible.) And all through Job, it was the same: all those “terrible” sins were failures to “love and help” Job’s neighbors. The rest of the Bible repeatedly says the same thing, in over 3,000 verses.

    I grew up thinking those “Bible’s most serious sins” weren’t sins at all. But they are. The Bible’s very clear, if we only look to see.

    • Pete, thanks for sharing that. I think your point is even more strongly emphasized in the book of James, where we’re told what true religion is. Great point.

  6. This may not be the right place to ask this question, but I’m going to anyway. 🙂

    Is there anywhere in the Bible that talks about female sexual interaction as being wrong? Everything I have ever read on homosexuality in the Bible has been on male relationships. So I am curious if I am missing something or not.

    • Romans 1 (verse 26, specifically) speaks about females.

      • One has to be very careful about interpreting Romans 1 being about homosexuality. Paul alternatively addresses a Jewish and then Gentile audience – using language that they understand and then pulls the rug from under them.

        Paul’s talk of homosexuality within Romans 1 is in the context of a Jewish insult in that all Gentiles were homosexuals…its not that Paul was using the insult to insult Gentiles…rather he was using it to build up the pride of his Jewish hearers which he continues to do until a few chapters later – where he cuts them deeply by saying…you too have sinned as much as the Gentiles…

        Then he reverses it and does the same thing to the Gentiles about the Jews…until he is able to say…hey guys – there is no Jew or Gentile… or are one in Christ.

        Continue on with this grace filled discussion…..I’m enjoying reading all the comments.

        • A small confession: I greatly enjoy these little debates. A Jewish friend of mine said I would have made a great rabbi. I love spurring conversation as much as getting the results!

          To continue this conversation:

          It would seem that if man and woman were created for each other, then to have women pursuing women would fall under sexual immorality as much men pursuing men.

          We could even use the argument taken from 1 Corinthians 11:11-12 to say that if we have all of these laws, rules, and regulations directed to men then they should apply conversely to women. “Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.” (NKJV)

          We do know that the masculine sense is and has been used in language when being applied to everyone including women. Just because the Bible speaks to the man does not mean women are excluded. Leviticus 18:22 could just as easily be interpreted “Do not have sexual relations with someone of the same gender, it is an abomination.”

          No one questions whether or not a woman should lie, steal, murder, or worship an idol. When female sexuality arises (except with an animal, that is specifically listed in Leviticus 18:23 and elsewhere) it is questioned relatively frequently.

          • I agree to that…women pursuing women is just as much sexual immorality as men pursuing men. Homosexuality isn’t the POINT of Romans 1, per se…but it IS an example of depravity.

            So how can this theology be applied in our churches where the Gospel is preached? How can and how should the Church be reaching out to sinners in the community such as homosexuals?

          • Thank you for your clear rdnmieer that we do not need to hold on to the guilt from sinning. God is with us and forgives.

      • God bless you, Diana, for sarhing so openly. How much we need to fix our eyes of Jesus!I have a dear friend who went/is going through a similar experience. Your post gives me insight on how to pray for her.

    • yes, romans chapter 1

  7. I have several friends who are tempted with homosexual desires, a sister who now dates women, and several friends/acquaintances who refuse to go to a church or believe in God. Those whom I know within the Church who are tempted are involved at all levels of ministry. My sister still holds claim to being a believer, but at the same time she got very angry recently about a friend who began going to church and renounced homosexuality (giving up the lifestyle himself). She railed against the church, my parents (she was sure !my parents would think it an outrage that he could just change like that, but was surprised to find they rejoiced), and anyone who thought this might be a good thing.

    Conversely, I have had a few conversations with unrepentant gays that one could swear was a theological debate. They hear of men or women who “go straight” and say “They must have never been gay to begin with!” I bring up there are those who believe if one commits any sin that they were never “saved” to begin with or lost their salvation, and our conversations have been marvelous examples of dialogue and discussion. Sometimes those same conversations have turned in arguments from my Christian friends.

    How is it an unregenerated individual can hold a more civil (and even fun!) conversation about controversial ideas than a supposedly regenerated individual? (I say “supposedly” in a jestful manner, for the record).

    It all comes down to the point made in this post: Love all people with the love of God. Be like our Lord.

  8. @ Dave

    I’m sure it wasn’t your intention – but to compartmentalise various groups AS sinners within our community I think is counter productive.

    I think reaching out to the community begins with understanding and listening to their stories in a non judgemental way. There are many kinds of sexual / identity issues that are miss-understood within the church. Have a read of this man’s story who underwent Gender Reassignment when born http://oiiaustralia.com/media/stories/story-r/

    He was made into a girl and grew up as a girl… but inside he is a man and is in reality a man. He looks like a girl – he has a girlfriend – society considers him a lesbian…. but in reality he is not… he had his penis cut off by the doctors when he was born.

    Over the last 40 years or more 1 baby out of 1000 – 1500 born underwent this little (huge) operation when born because they either had a micro penis – or born with both genitalia. This adds up to a lot of babies – or now a lot of adults who are deeply confused about their identity.

    Being informed is the key…acceptance of people as being people is the 2nd.

    • I think you missed my point, though my terminology may have been deficient. What I’m referring to is that people in our communities (even our churches) are, in fact, sinners. How are we going to reach out to sinners who experience homosexual temptation? Biblically, homosexuality is sin. Not the unforgiveable sin by any stretch…so how can we reach out to people and repair burned bridges between the Church and those who are gay?

      • That’s exactly what I thought you meant! 🙂 And is a good question to ask… hence my answer… get informed.

        Often we want people to repent from their sin — before we are willing to become the hand, feet and ears of Christ to them. Jesus was willing to eat with people first and not distance himself from sinners.

  9. I think most of us have had at least an extended family member tempted (or fallen) by homosexuality, while most of us do not have such a one involved in a murder. Yet Paul — complicit in Stephen’s murder, convictible if he were tried today — was forgiven by God and used in ways unmatched since then.

    Why then are we unable to accept that a forgiven Christian cannot come from a homosexual relationship?

    This is an excellent article and I appreciate the opportunity to learn from it.

    • Such a monvig testimony of God's deliverance and His grace poured out on you, Diane! Yes, let us ever fix our eyes on Christ! Thank you for your gift in words!

  10. I have a lot of problems with this post.

    1) Not all sins are the same. Yes, I understand that in eternity all sin basically has the same penalty, and I understand the passage in James that states that if you break one law you’re guilty of all, but according to these verses fornication (sexual sin) is on a whole other level than your average run-of-the-mill sin:

    I Cor. 6:18, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

    Matthew 5:32, “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

    Living today on Earth, not talking about Eternity – not all sin is the same. Not all sin has the same consequences on Earth. Tell your wife you thought a dirty thought about another woman, or tell her you had sex with another woman and you’ll see the difference.

    2) I take offense to the idea that if a Christian struggles with this sin they’re automatically gay. I’ve personally dealt with a young man who has struggled with homosexuality. Today I can tell you that by the grace of God he has overcome that sin, but he still has tendencies and he will his whole life. But for crying out loud, the last thing he needs to hear or believe is that he’s gay. What he needs to hear is that he’s a Christian and in Christ he is an overcomer and conqueror. Our identity should be in Christ, not in whatever tendencies we may struggle with.

    II Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

    Romans 8:37, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

    It’s all about identity. Your post would lead a Christian to identify themselves as gay, I see nothing in this post about overcoming sin – it reeks of nothing but condoning sin, which leads me to my next point…

    3) Gay Sunday School teachers? You said that like it’s no big deal. Why stop there – why not gay pastors too? Is anything a big deal? Is any sin a big deal? Whatever happened to being shocked at sin? We’re all so afraid of offending someone that we’ve completely desensitized ourselves to sin. Sin is repugnant and offensive to God, and it should be to us. Yes, I know… all sin should be repugnant and offensive to us. See point one when it comes to drawing a moral equivalence to homosexuality and other sins. Someone who is living in sin should be in a position of authority.

    When Billy Sunday preached against the bottle, he didn’t go around talking about how “there’s lots of people around us that have a social drink, we need to be more accepting of them….” He called it wicked and said he’d fight it ’till his last dying breath. Revival followed him – God blesses that kind of preaching.

    I see none of that in this post.

    4) My biggest problem with this post is that it’s very unbalanced. Let me take a step back and say that you probably agree with most of what I’m saying here. If I seem a little harsh, it’s because I’m trying to level this thing out a little. When you talk about sin, you need to do it the way God did. He didn’t pull any punches and try to soothe people or make them feel comfortable in their sin. He called it wicked, an offence to Him, a loathsome and vile disease. A person with leprosy shouldn’t be made to feel comfortable and accepted, they need a cure.

    Is. 1:4-6, “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
    5) Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
    6) From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”

    The young man I dealt with about this – I didn’t tear his head off. I showed him the truth about what God said about his sin. I told him I’d help him however I could if he wanted to get right. If he decided to not fight the sin, I would have separated myself from him as the Bible tells us to. It’s ironic that this post is called “Guess who’s coming to dinner” because God explicitly tells us not to eat with unrepentant fornicators:

    I Cor. 5:11, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

    The young man did repent, and the more he studied the Bible, the more it sank in, and it changed his life. He now preaches in various ministries and is very active in his church. He struggles with it like we all struggle with sin, but that young man is an overcomer.

    5) Nowhere in the Bible are we told to focus on our sin to overcome it. I understand the need for personal accountability, but this young man is not going around telling everyone that he struggles with homosexuality, he’s ashamed of his sin like we all should be. He doesn’t dwell on it is the point. He doesn’t spend all his time thinking about his struggles, his mind is where it should be. He spends his time immersed in the word of God, out soul winning, and surrounding himself with other young people who do not struggle with that sin. Why? So they can rub off on him! Because his focus is on Christ, and being in love with Him and staying as close to Him as he can – he doesn’t have time to focus on his sin.

    Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”

    • EDIT: “Someone living in sin shoult NOT be in a position of authority.”

    • Thanks for your comments, Rick. They’re rather lengthy, so I won’t respond to all of them, though they are well-conceived.

      I appreciate your concern regarding overcoming of sin. We are told in Scripture to put to death the deeds of the flesh and to hate even the garment stained by sin. We are also told that all manner of liars, fornicators and homosexuals will not inheret the kingdom of God. Sin is, very clearly, on God’s black-list. He hates it. And He doesn’t tolerate it.

      The focus of this article is the posture the Church should have in relationship to sinners who are, in fact, in need of a Savior. People both inside and outside the Church are lovers of themselves rather than lovers of God…a point that was summed up by many in church history as labeling those in fellowship with a local church “simultaneously justified and sinner”.

      Because no one is or can ever be made right with God by what we do (since all of our efforts are stained with selfishness, a skewed view of God, etc), what message do we have to offer? Is it, “this is sin…turn it over to God?” Yes, in fact, it is…but only in part. When we leave people with “repent of your sin,” but don’t give them the good news of the forgiveness of sins in Christ, we actually ignore the very commision that Christ has given his Church in Luke 24:47.

      Billy Sunday is one such example of this. He preached against the evils of alcohol consumption, but failed to give people the good news that Christ had, in fact, died for *drunkenness*. Of course, Billy was not preaching against drunkenness, which was his first problem. Instead, he was making more rules which is something Jesus had some harsh words about in the Gospels.

      I do not use my temptations to justify my sins. If this is, as you say, an identity question, I would answer that my identity is one who is “in Christ,” that is, united to Him by faith. This union brings about works which are good and acceptable because Christ gave them for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

      Because of this union, I must be honest about my temptations, not allowing them to be my guiding principle, but honest about where I struggle for the sake of the Gospel. Paul continued to boast in his weakness for Christ’s sake…and that is what we as the Church must demonstrate to the world who for so long has simply seen hypocrisy and malice toward the very haters of God to whom we’re *supposed to be* preaching the Gospel…the good news of life in Christ.

      Finally, I would like to clarify a point that you made, and did so effectively: we are not to eat with unrepentant fornicators. The passage you quote is addressing those who are in the Church who are persisting in sin and church discipline is to be exercised when all else has failed, for the purpose of that person’s restoration to fellowship in the Body.

      Here’s the important part: we are not to separate ourselves from those in the world…and Paul clearly makes that point elsewhere. You can’t light a room you aren’t in, to borrow our Lord’s words in Matthew 5. Also, we aren’t to hold each other to sinless perfection. If a brother is among us who wrestles with sin and sometimes loses, that’s not to be taken as an automatic earmark of his damnation. Instead, we should lovingly, in community, surround him with care and show him the love that Christ has shown us in *our* rebellion…even shedding His blood for this brother who is stumbling.

  11. God blessed Billy Sunday’s preaching, but you think he was “making more rules which is something Jesus had some harsh words about” and he “failed to give people the good news that Christ had, in fact, died for *drunkenness*?”

    Billy Sunday was a biblical preacher and preached against sin according to the examples laid down in Scripture. I can’t believe you would cast aspersions on a man that did so much for God. If the pulpits of this country were afire with the preaching of Billy Sunday our nation would be in much better shape – that is the posture that the church should have towards sin.

    When Christ dealt with the woman at the well He didn’t get the cart before the horse. He dealt with the sin problem first – then He revealed Himself as the Messiah who could provide forgiveness for her sins. He had opportunities to earlier – but he waited until the time was right. Modern day Christianity focuses on how Christ can make you feel fulfilled, happy, satisfied, complete, and forgiven (usually in that order), and barely even touches (if even at all) the idea that sin is a reproach to a thrice holy God.

    The Gospel isn’t the “good news of life in Christ,” it’s the good news that there is forgiveness of sins in Christ. There’s a big difference.

    What Billy Sunday did was preach hard on sin, specific sins, and God used that to convict people of the condition that they were in. Once a person is convicted of their sin, it’s at THAT time that they see their need for salvation or repentance.

    Here’s where the balance comes in: a Christian living in sin doesn’t need to be coddled or have his sin glossed over – he needs to see it how od sees it and he needs repentance. If he refuses to repent from open and blatant sin, he needs to be separated from – it’s biblical. If he repents, it’s at that point that he needs help, and woe to the Christian who would refuse him that.

    Once he repents, then that Christian needs believe from the heart that God has forgiven that sin and it’s separated from him as far as the east is from the west. He should grasp hold of that promise with everything he’s got in him and live for the Lord counting all things as dung for the testimony of Jesus Christ – not looking back but pressing on.

    Phil. 3:8, 13-14, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,
    13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
    14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

    • Thanks again for your comment. I’d be interested to know what you make of the passage from the Gospel of Mark that I cited in the original post…that Christ ate with sinners.

      • Sure, that was evangelism, not backslidden church members who refuse to repent. I’ve never had a harsh word with any homosexual. I treat them like any other lost person.

        I’ve distanced myself from people who are cheating on their wives and put out of the church because they won’t repent. I’m not about to have them over and eat with them because it would be wrong.

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