The Gospel of God #17 and a Pastoral Note
February 12, 2014
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. You may watch a video preview about this week’s sermon here. In preparing for this message, and the one last week, I sent the following pastoral note to our congregation. (Note, if you missed last Sunday’s sermon, you can listen online here.) This coming weekend, February 8-9, and the following Sunday, February 16, we are beginning to delve into some of the most important words in Scripture for the contemporary cultural scene in the Western world today. I will ask for your prayerful attention to these critically important matters, and also for your boldness in inviting friends to come for these two sets of worship services. I also need to draw your attention to Paul’s boldness in addressing the issues in his own ancient world, which have commensurate relevance to our own: namely, sex, and in particular homosexuality.
This weekend, we will be talking about worship—and how behind all of our decisions and lifestyle options is a worship orientation. I will not name body parts, but I will talk about sex. Paul does. I need to do so. If you are uncomfortable with a young child hearing the word “sex,” then you might like to encourage them to be in one of our classes during the sermon time instead.
The following Sunday, February 16, will be a more explicit and particular discussion of homosexuality. Again, Paul discusses it. We need to. It’s in the text, and few things are more relevant to our contemporary culture today. How do we approach this topic with biblical fidelity and gospel graciousness? What does it mean to love the sinner, and be aware of all our own sins, not least the disobedience of parents with which Paul’s well-known list concludes? Again, I will ask for your prayerful attention to these important verses, and your bold confidence in inviting friends.
Also, parents, if you are uncomfortable with your child hearing homosexuality being addressed from the pulpit, then February 16 would be a Sunday to encourage them to attend one of our classes on campus during the service instead. I will not be inappropriately explicit, and will draw a veil over some of the matters in the same way that Paul does in the text, but, again, he does address the matter directly, and we need to do so too. If you do feel comfortable with your children being present and feel they are old enough to handle this topic, then I would encourage you to encourage them to attend. It would certainly be appropriate for teenagers, and you will no doubt discover (if you have not already) that they are talking about these matters at school.
For college students, February 16 will be a particularly important time for you not only to be in attendance during one of our main worship services, but also to invite friends from campus for whom this may well be an issue which, if not a personal one for them particularly, is nonetheless one that is of course a live discussion in contemporary contexts on many university campuses. As someone who has spent all my education on secular university campuses, I am fully aware of those discussions and look forward to engaging on these matters.
What does the Bible say about it? How do we affirm our commitment to all people of all types, and also hold on to the biblical witness in this regard? Again, there could not be a more important topic to put within the context of gospel graciousness and biblical fidelity, and I look forward to exploring these matters with you as we listen together to God addressing us through His Word.
Warmest good wishes,
Your pastor in Christ,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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