"Ain't No Homo" Followup: How Would I Preach on Homosexuality?

"Ain't No Homo" Followup: How Would I Preach on Homosexuality? June 19, 2012

I’m not a pastor, and as long as I’m living biblically I never will be one. But yesterday’s post sparked some comments from people agreeing that homosexuality is a sin, but wondering how to preach on it. Some people were saying, “But would warnings alone draw homosexuals to God?” One person made an analogy that after all, people read warnings on cigarette packages and still smoke.
This is true. Some people don’t heed warnings. Some homosexuals contemptuously brush the Word aside and continue on in their goal to destroy western civilization.
But at that point my question is this: Just how likely is it that those people would receive the gospel in any way, shape, or form?
This is what I would say if I were a pastor preaching on homosexuality. I would begin with a message to the repentant. Then I would turn to the unrepentant:

If you’re sitting there wondering why you struggle with this attraction, and you wish with every fiber of your being that it were not so, and you yearn for forgiveness but you don’t know where to turn… come and lay down your burdens at the foot of the cross. If you hate your sin, know that the Father wants to forgive you. He wants to impute His righteousness to you through the sacrifice of His perfect, holy Son. He does not promise a life of ease and comfort. He does not promise that we will not have struggles here on this earth after we have accepted His grace. But He does promise to be with us, to provide a way of escape from our temptation. And he knows that our flesh is weak. He already knows that we will fail Him. But He promises that if we love, serve and obey Him all the days of our life, resisting the devil as much as lieth in us and returning to Him in sorrowful repentance when we allow Satan to overcome, He will welcome us into Heaven with these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” In the meantime, we promise to encourage and counsel you as you seek God’s will.

But if you are embracing this lifestyle, I have a different message for you. If you think you have no need of the grace of God, then you are an arrogant fool. With one hand you clutch your sin to yourself, with the other you shield your eyes from the sun. It burns, doesn’t it? It exposes. It shines a spotlight on you. And you hate it with all your heart. Maybe you came here to see if we would tell you that doesn’t matter. Maybe you came here to see if we would give you a safe Jesus, a fuzzy Jesus who tells you that you can come as you are and stay that way. Maybe you didn’t come looking for forgiveness at all. Maybe you came here just to see if we would let you corrupt us, and our children. If that is why you are here today, then hear this: You are in the service of the devil, and if you do not cry God to have mercy on your soul today, you will know His wrath at the coming judgment. And as long as you are here only to drag us down to Hell with you, we utterly reject and oppose you. You have no place in this congregation.

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  • darrel

    I agree completely on what you would do on this subject. That is a perfect way to handle it. Every body is not going to agree. They have a right to be wrong.

  • I’m glad you agree. And everyone is entitled to their opinion—they’re just not entitled to corrupt us in the process.

  • Lydia

    What I never know what to do about the question of preaching on this subject is the issue of child-friendly sermons. I want the church to speak out on timely issues of the day, but unfortunately so many timely issues are child-inappropriate. Nor do I want churches to make children leave during the sermons and go off to some dumbed-down “children’s worship.” So that makes it hard to know what a preacher should do.

  • One thing you might consider when you “preach” this message, Pastor…
    Take it from one that has learned the hard way over years of preaching.
    Your sermon might be more effective if you turn it around. Preach judgement to the unrepentant first and then offer mercy, love and grace to those that are sorry for their sin. The message is exactly the same and not watered down one ounce. Just flip it around.
    It is my experience that sometimes the hearers are not sure which camp they are in until you give them the word. The Word of God reveals our sin. It shines the light who it. The Word of God is like the sun. It melts some hearts and hardens others. Even the hearer can not always decide EXACTLY how they will respond. They are often surprised how God’s Word effects them. That is an awesome aspect of preaching.
    The hardened may be ready to spit when you preach the judgement to come but may be melted to repentance when you offer them hope, forgiveness, deliverance and love. I think that comes best at the end of the sermon. Sure, give it to them straight and without compromise! Then offer the grace of God that you offered at the beginning of your sermon above but after judgement.
    As the sermon stands now the struggling soul that is moved by your compassion and Gospel message in the first part may shrink back into their pew because they feel the threat of God’s judgement in the second part. The truly repentant and sorrowful often feel like they are the scum of the earth. It is the nature of true repentance. They might believe the second part of your sermon is talking directly to them. In my opinion it is better if they hear that first as well. They will be brought down low by the Word of judgement on the unrepentant and then likely run for the altar when the grace of God is extended.
    Preach on…..

  • Maybe we should improve the quality of children’s worship. Also, it might be helpful if we defined “children.” From eleven or twelve on up, I think you can address issues of the day as long as you’re not coarse, obviously.

  • Point well taken, although I think content-wise the distinction between the first kind and the second kind is made very clear. You’re addressing two distinct groups of people. But psychologically speaking, I definitely see where you’re coming from. It’s amazing what a change you can make when you’re communicating by just changing the order around.
    The thing is though, I know you do a lot of revival preaching, and I think that’s a different animal from preaching at a church. When you preach revival, there aren’t any “members” or prospective members, just a crowd listening to wherever you happen to be on a given day. I was imagining a church with a congregation, where I’m speaking as a shepherd guarding a flock. So I’m definitely trying to drive away the people in the second category. I can’t let them become members, I can’t encourage them to continue coming week after week if they have no intention of repenting. In a revival setting, those kinds of considerations are all moot.

  • I understand that but I have spent a few years in the Pastor’s role as well. I believe in the power of the preached Word of God whether that preaching comes from an evangelist or pastor. I have seen the rudest, mouthiest, vilest, despicable sinners changed by hearing the Word through preaching. Sadly I have also watch them walk away and live and die in their rebellion.
    I preach hell hot and holy living right and yet my first desire is to draw the worst sinner in. I want bring him or her to the knowledge of their sin, point out their rebellion and offer a way out. God help me if I ever preach a message with the intention of separating the sheep and the goats. I want them all to become sheep in COMPLETE submission to the Father. The Word will separate them for sure. In that you are absolutely correct.
    I can not determine ahead of time what their response will be. Their decision will determine their fate. I want offer them grace, grace and more grace. You are right. If they reject the message they certainly are not converted.
    You are bold to even write about this…
    God bless,

  • It’s why I do it anonymously. I’m deadly serious.
    God can melt the coldest heart and make the vilest sinner clean. I believe that as fervently as you do. But I also believe it is vital that we not gamble with innocent souls on the hope that wolves will become sheep. If all you mean by “drawing the sinner in” is telling them that God offers grace and mercy if they will repent, then I believe that. But if it means allowing them to become members of your church even if they refuse to renounce their sin, the church will suffer as a result. Membership should only be offered to those who are committed to leaving that sin behind them. And those who aren’t need to be told that they are not welcome.

  • No, We are on the same page… All must repent and be saved and church membership is for the saved… No doubt about that.

  • Powerful sermon indeed! In accordance with God’s word? Yea!
    I like your comment on getting rid of the sinners who come with unholy intentions to church . Paul says of them in Ephesians 5:7-12 “therefore do not be partakers with them……And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” These are rotten apples who belong in the rubbish pit.
    After reading through the comments I too thought it better for the first part of the sermon to be presented last. That way the poisonous sinners would be kicked out of church even before the sermon ends and the repentant one would remain to get relief.
    The church is the hospital for sin sick souls and the devil knows that, so he tries to keep as many people as possible out of church, this he oft achieves through unconverted ‘christians.’ the poisonous must go. Nonetheless, craft and skill, such as I have observed in the short sermon above, must be used so as not to chase away the sin sick souls seeking health from above

  • Thank you. I enjoyed having Davy offer his wisdom from experience. I like your point about getting the rotten apples out right from the beginning. Great analogy by the way.
    Oh, hehe, yeah, um, forgot about that nasty bit in Paul. Well let’s just forget about that and move on to something else shall we? How about if have another round of repeating the “judge not” or “cast the first stone” verses out of context over and over instead? I’d like that.

  • Lydia

    I’m just not into the whole concept of “children’s worship.” But that’s partly because I’m so liturgically minded. Maybe one way to approach it would be to do so in a church that has multiple services per week. One could then notify parents that the Sunday evening services for the next n weeks are going to focus on some contemporary issues and that they might want to make decisions about whether they would consider them appropriate for various younger members of their families. Separate activities will be provided for children ages __- ___ for these weeks. Please see the pastor for details. Something like that.

  • That sounds like a good idea.

  • “After reading through the comments I too thought it better for the first part of the sermon to be presented last. That way the poisonous sinners would be kicked out of church even before the sermon ends and the repentant one would remain to get relief.”
    Not to be argumentative at all but that is not exactly what I had in mind…
    I am sure that to some I was a willful sinner with no intention of repenting. Thank God that when I was lost and rebellious and going to hell because of my sin somebody preached to me and gave me a chance to respond before kicking my poisonous sorry hide to the curb.
    I am with you all 100% that some reprobates should not have a chance to influence young minds and hearts but when people are coming to church and listening to the preaching how do you KNOW who is who before the sermon is even over?

  • I guess what I would say is those who are truly convicted are going to stick around, but those who are offended will leave voluntarily. They aren’t physically getting pushed out the door. On the other hand, if the Spirit causes somebody to do a complete 180 by the time the service is over (unlikely, but all things are possible with God), they’ll humble themselves and voluntarily seek grace. It’s their choice.
    As for telling who is who, obviously it’s often impossible to tell just by looking, but one clue might be if a gay couple walks in holding hands and kissing. Sometimes people like that come to a church just to push the envelope and see what’ll happen.

  • I believe the current debate regarding homosexuality is their right to marriage, which Christians view as an abomination. I also believe that this problem could be solved by making one simple change in marital law.
    Any couple wishing to have the rights currently afforded to them by marriage (tax laws, health benefits, etc.) should enter into a legal civil partnership. Remove the word “marriage” from the equation. Nothing more than a legal document saying, “Yes, these two individuals are now legally united and shall enjoy the rights and benefits of such.” End of story.
    “Marriage,” as legally defined, would then be removed from the law books and become nothing more than a religious ceremony celebrated at your church of choice. If a particular church refuses or allows any particular couple to be wed, that’s their business. They can still go get a partnership certificate (read: marriage license) and be legally “married” without the ceremony.
    I am actually shocked that, given our current social climate that seems to be anti-religion, that no one has stopped to realize that marriage is ultimately a religious/spiritual union that is legally recognized. In this case, let the “separation of church and state” be in full force; a marriage should be a religious event – protected by our First Amendment rights, but not necessarily legally recognized.

  • Two problems with that:
    #1: First, a civil union is just marriage by another name as far as the law is concerned, and this is still fraught with practical problems. One of the most urgent is child custody. Suppose your spouse leaves you for a same-sex partner and forms a civil union with that person. Call it what you will, that spouse still has all the same joint custody rights that would apply in an ordinary divorce. Some years ago there was a news story about two lesbian women where one of them tried to leave the lifestyle and take her child with her, and her partner in the civil union went to court to try to steal the child back. Fortunately the leaving partner was able to escape and disappear with her child. And obviously, there is the whole problem that these “couples” are allowed to raise children at all! These are the kinds of concrete issues that can still arise even if we replace the word “marriage” with the phrase “civil union.” The fact that it’s legally identical is by no means a triviality.
    #2: Secondly, civil unions are wrong in principle. It’s a sign of corruption when a society legally recognizes a “partnership” other than traditional marriage. Two men have no more right to be granted a civil union than a man and his dog. And the corruption of our society and of western civilization as a whole should be just as much of a concern to Christians as the corruption of the Church.

  • Also, the right to marriage is not the only issue at stake. It’s the right to bully employers, businesses, teachers, news outlets, and any other entity that dares to discriminate against or criticize homosexuals. A teacher recently got fired because he posted a normal negative comment about homosexuals ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE. And it wasn’t a “God hates fags” comment. It was about watching two men kiss on television and being repulsed by that. He was a Christian, and he was simply voicing his beliefs in accordance with free speech. Yet he lost his job. That’s what the homosexual movement is all about: Trampling on the real rights of others to obtain more imagined “rights” for themselves.

  • JSR

    I appreciate your strong stand against homosexuality. The devil is pushing and pushing hard to make us a Godless society through any means possible. I appreciate those who honor Godly principals.
    I am concerned with one thing you said. “And he knows that our flesh is weak. He already knows that we will fail Him.” While this is a popular religious opinion, it isn’t scriptural. When you tell someone struggling with homosexuality, or any sin, to come to God and continue to be a failure, where is the power of God over sin in that message.

  • Thanks for your question. I paused over that line myself, but ultimately decided it was legitimate. Here was my thinking:
    When we become Christians, we are expected to do our utmost to resist temptation. And yet because our nature is fundamentally evil, we will still sometimes fall short of God’s standards. Being saved doesn’t mean we become incapable of sinning. It does mean that we are convicted to repentance, and that we can obtain grace to cover our failures.
    As long as we are living in these broken bodies in this broken world, living righteously will be an uphill battle. It is a battle we are called to fight, and we must impress that on new converts. At the same time, we must not give them the impression that if at any point they fall short of perfection, it will be impossible to find forgiveness and grace. As long as they are earnestly asking for it, God will ALWAYS forgive. That was what I was trying to convey. At the same time, I was referring to the biblical passage where we are told that God always provides a way of escape, so in no way was I downplaying the power He gives us to resist temptation.

  • JSR

    Thanks for the clarification.
    I would encourage you to consider that you don’t have to occasionally fall short. Jude said, maybe around verse 24, that God can keep you from falling. I agree that being saved doesn’t mean we are incapable of sin, but it does mean that as new creatures we don’t sin any more. As Paul said in Romans chapter 6, sin doesn’t have dominion over us anymore.