I'm glad you're enjoying the shovel Web Site. Please feel free to ask anything you want. :) As to your request, I have a few thoughts.
When the world makes so much noise over the acceptance of different lifestyles, beliefs and cultures, I have to wonder what it's up to. I mean, the world has a consistently bad track record to come off sounding so righteous when it criticizes those who aren't as tolerant as the rest, don't you think?
Now, you might be thinking that I misunderstood your question since it was about a church, but this so-called Total acceptance and belief in the gay lifestyle is just another hypocritical value of the world that dresses itself in church clothes. It is nothing more than a flesh-issue that seeks to justify itself by its own merits. It has nothing to do with love and acceptance, for its purpose is to establish itself as the criteria by which to judge those who don't conform. Just because it may come off sounding so positive doesn't mean that it really is, because anyone who doesn't agree will be attacked in one form or another.
Total acceptance sounds so Christian, doesn't it? Did you have any of these thoughts running through your mind: Aren't I supposed to being accepting of everybody? Who am I to be so judgmental? Am I being homophobic? Such thoughts are provoked by the LAW. A law or a principle was thrown in your face and it said, If you don't agree with OUR choices and OUR beliefs then you are WRONG and you are not being tolerant which is also wrong. The law pushed you into judging based upon a standard of right vs. wrong. I'll bet you did a lot of rationalizing as you tried NOT to pass judgment and maybe even tried to convince yourself that you weren't being judgmental. It's a trap, believe me. I know this from personal experience (And I don't mean from years past, for I could easily find you a good example from just earlier today!).
My point? Simple. Only in Christ do we know what it is to accept one another. Everything else is a cheap imitation. The world forms itself around its preferred issues and contrasts itself against others so that its morality becomes the basis of its acceptance. Jesus was acceptable to His Father, and He took upon Himself the unacceptability of us all and killed it on the cross. Our acceptability is secure for it is found outside any of our preferences. It is found totally outside of what we were. We are acceptable because the old has been done away and Christ is now our life. Too many organizations are STILL looking to these old-life factors as the basis of how and why we are to accept one another.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Those who take a stand against homosexuality somehow think they are exempt from judgment based on their ability to judge the wrongness of the others' sin. I find it amazing how easy it is to quote a verse to prove someone else's sin, while overlooking the mention of other sins that I won't make a big deal over. How many moralistic churches will condemn homosexuality and yet will downplay the mention of the covetous and swindlers since to do so might adversely affect the amount of money that is put in the plate? The fact is that we have created a pretty convincing set of loopholes by which many are able to avoid falling into certain sinful categories.
But justification is not found in one's ability to remove oneself from a particular category, but in the fact that Christ took IT away from us. He washed us, and sanctified us, and justified us ... us who USED TO BE these things.
Such WERE some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
Okay then, to Jude...
These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Jude 1:19-23
Now, the KJV uses the word "sensual" instead of "worldly-minded". I think because sensual looks almost like sexual we automatically assume that it is almost the same. I think we've read a lot into BOTH of these words that might not be there.
Sensual has to do with the senses, and even though sexual is very much connected with the sense of touch, there are huge distinctions. The apostle Paul was one who was driven by the sensual for his history was that of a man-pleaser. Totally sensual. Who were these sensual men who caused divisions?
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4
Those who turned grace into lasciviousness (that is, a license to sin) were the lawmen, the same kind of men Paul mentioned in Galatians
But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. Galatians 2:4
Living by law causes sin to abound. "Licentious" because it allows those who break it to find a way around it.
I'm not telling you all this to diffuse what Jude says, but to expand your view of how far-reaching this whole thing is. MANY of the people in MANY of the churches are "devoid of the Spirit". Don't let their poisonous lies cause you to think that God might justify, sanctify and cleanse others by anything other than Jesus Christ in His finished work.
Well, it's way past my bedtime and my eyes hurt ... so I hope this will be a start. :)
When I asked you about homosexuality, it's what my sister is suffering from. It sounded as if you were saying that yes it was okay, acceptable. anonymous
I think you need to read that email again. :) Acceptable? Okay? Works of the flesh are works of the flesh. It is the WORLD that tries to justify the works of the flesh. Conservative works of the flesh are no better than liberal works of the flesh. ALL OF IT is the same. Christ did not die to make the flesh okay, he hung on the cross to KILL it ... and to give us NEW life in HIM.
The religious mindset will have us considering one sin to be worse than the other, though. I don't say this to put a soft spin on homosexuality, but to put all sin in the same category of death. When I am intent on making an issue of somebody else's sin it is an all-too-clear indication that I'm desperately trying to take the focus off of my own sense of guilt. This doesn't mean I have to try to ignore what's going on in the world around me, but that I refuse to see the world outside the reality of Christ. Christ is the equalizer and he has made it clear that death is death.
Paul had told the Corinthians:
For I determined to know nothing among YOU except CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED. 1 Corinthians 2:2
These people were definitely pushing the limits, but Paul demanded that that is what they USED TO BE. He KNEW what they had been doing and attributed it to their getting caught up in the wisdom of the world. But he knew who they REALLY were in Christ. I'm telling you, the stuff that was in his face about them would have convinced him otherwise, but he REFUSED to let those things define them.
We were always brought up to believe it wasn't. After all it is in the bible. It sounds like we can't believe what we read in the bible, either that or we need to interpret what we read. I mean, yes it says this, but it doesn't really mean that, it means this etc. I mean, the Christian life, is it do whatever you want, knowing that Grace would cover your butt? Or yes, Grace will protect you, but there are certain lines in moral behavior we don't cross?
We have read the Bible with religious glasses on for so long that we can't even see what it is saying. If you are looking to find God's moral absolutes in the pages of scripture then you have missed the message. Morality is only a cheap counterfeit of true life. Moralists have twisted the Bible in so many ways that you think they are actually being moral about it, but in doing so they have overlooked the weightier matters. That's what Jesus told the self-righteous Pharisees. They picked and chose the scriptures that put them in the best light, but Jesus exposed their pretentiousness, for they had evil in their hearts. Jesus told them that they misunderstood Moses for the simple reason that Moses was writing about HIM ... and yet they refused to believe him when he was standing right in front of them.
Jesus did good, and yet in the eyes of the religious community he was a sinner that needed to die. True good is mostly overlooked because it is a matter of the heart and will be disregarded based on technicalities.
Aren't you tired of the counterfeits of real life? I wonder how much real life I have overlooked because I was looking at the outward appearance. I wonder how much I considered to be real life when it was merely the appearance of real life and not life at all. I'm tired of the fake.
Your sister gravitates toward that which she thinks will fulfill her. She senses her emptiness as you sense yours. Her choices fit with her perceptions as yours do with your own perceptions. None of it fills the emptiness. But Christ does. If you view your sister according to her sins then you will have no life to offer her, but you will instead minister death to her. And she will look at what you offer her and will in turn view you according to your sins. Do you hear that I am not saying that real sin isn't happening here? But if anyone is in Christ they are new creations in him, the old has passed away and the new has come!!!
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17