The following was said by Pastor Justin to Forest Hills Baptist Church concerning the SCOTUS decision on the legalization of same sex marriage during the worship service on June 28, 2015.
Before we begin our time together studying God's word, I want to say a brief word on the Supreme Court’s decision which legalized same sex marriage in our country. The decision handed down on Friday creates a lot of different emotions. We may be outraged at our country. We may be fearful of what’s to come. How should we as Christians respond to the redefinition of marriage in our country?
First, we must remember that the grave is still empty. Jesus is alive and he is reigning and ruling even now. Christ is on the throne. He is the King and in the end he is victorious. In this we always have hope, no matter our present circumstances. Christ is the resurrected and glorious king. Though our country may have changed, Jesus certainly has not.
Second, we must remember as the people of Christ we are under the rule of Christ. Meaning, it is Jesus and his word as revealed in the Scripture that governs us. In the coming days I’m sure Christians in our country who hold to biblical authority will face increasing hostility. The threat this court decision brings to religious liberty is very real. Yet, I assure you now, that we as Forest Hills will not buckle under the tsunami of the new orthodoxy, but rather we will stand firm on the infallible word of Jesus no matter what the cost. We will be happy to render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, but we will give to God that which belongs to him. Marriage is created and defined by God as a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman, therefore we will not give it to Rome. It will be tempting for many Christians, and sadly so many churches already have, abandoned the teaching of Scripture in order to give approval to those who practice sin. As the fiery furnace of Babylon grows hotter and hotter around us, it will be tempting for us to bow down to the golden statue of same-sex approval in order to escape the ostracization and persecution that will come. Yet, like those brave men in the book of Daniel, may God give us the courage to live under the rule of our savior and refuse to bend our knee no matter the cost.
Third, we must learn to faithfully follow Christ in Rome. Christianity was birthed in one of the most oppressive and morally depraved empires the world has ever seen. As Christendom in the western world is replaced with humanistic secularism, we find that the influence of the church is waning. The days of the moral majority are over. Now, we must learn to be the body of Christ as a prophetic minority. Like Rome, we must learn to live as the distinct people of God in a hostile culture. Our hope was never in the United States, but rather in the Kingdom of God. We have been blessed to live a country in which the majority embraced a Christian worldview for so long. Yet, as the age darkens we must learn to be holy as Christ is holy. This means that though our country may have abandoned God’s design for marriage, we as a church have an opportunity now to be a counter-culture. We must model for a confused world God’s design for marriage and family. We must be salt and light, in a putrefying and darkening world.
Fourthly, this court decision provides us with a great opportunity to proclaim Christ in love to all people. All sin promises us something that it cannot give us. It may promise joy, peace, or satisfaction. Yet, we know that true life is found only in Christ. We as a church must be prepared to accept, embrace, and love the hurting refugees of the sexual liberation who will be barbed and bruised with the thistles of sin. In order to minister to such people, we must watch our tone. We must not shriek in angry bitterness, but rather continue to proclaim the redemptive love of Christ while we call all sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus. This means we must love our homosexual neighbors well. We must speak with humility and kindness, tenderness and compassion, as we invite all sinners to the foot of the cross where Christ died for both homosexual sinners and heterosexual sinners.
Though the times are changing, we know that God has not. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus is alive and he is coming again. As sinners redeemed by the blood of Christ, we know that no matter what suffering we must endure in faithfulness to our master, we do so with joy. Any affliction in this life is but light and momentary. May we count the cost of following Christ, and by the grace of God may we as a church continue to do so no matter what is to come. This landmark decision marks a redefined landscaped in which we are to minister. May we be devoted to pray for our fellow citizens of these United States, and may we pray that the bride of Christ, the church, would be faithful to her husband, the Lord Jesus Christ, during these coming years. So be encouraged and do not fear, God is with us and love does win. This love is not the promiscuous freedom now celebrated by the sexual revolutionaries. But this love is the sanctifying and redemptive love of God who sees us in our vile sin yet in holy compassion sends his son to die in our place to call us out of sin into his righteousness. The love of God does win as he redeems his church and defends her from her enemies. In these days, may the church of Christ flourish and may our confidence grow in our savior and king!