Thinking Biblically About Homosexuality
From August 12, 2007 80-322
By John MacArthur
Well, tonight I want to talk to you on the subject of what God thinks of homosexuals. It is not a particular enjoyable subject to discuss, nor would any sin be enjoyable to discuss, for that matter. But it has become pertinent and essential and necessary for us to get a biblical view of this rapidly increasing and normalizing effort to accept homosexuality in our culture. We need to understand what the Word of God has to say.
There is so much confusion on this outside the church that’s explicable. But there seems to be about equal confusion inside the church. In fact, there is a new kind of evangelicalism that labels itself, “tolerant, loving, non-judgmental,” that is affirming those who carry about and legitimize these kind of lusts and behaviors and they do so while maintaining the name of Jesus Christ in an affirmation that they themselves are Christians.
I want you to look at 1 Corinthians chapter 6, and all I want to do is just give you a biblical picture so that you’ll know how God views this kind of behavior. And let me say at the very beginning, and I will show you this, but I want to say it because I want you to understand it. Homosexual sin is nothing more or nothing less than a perverse sexual act, or acts...it is no more than that, it is no less than that. It is a perverse abnormal sexual behavior. I’m reluctant even to call someone a homosexual because that seems to identify them with some kind of staple character that draws them into that behavior. It is no more or no less than a perverse act or acts.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 6, go down to verse 9, the Apostle Paul writes these words, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall 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 shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And 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.”
Here is the good news that answers our question...what does God think of homosexuals? It is God’s desire that they be saved, that they be justified, that they be sanctified, that they be washed. And that homosexuality and that homosexual behavior be only part of their past so that it can be said of them, “Such were some of you.”
Now the list here is interesting for a lot of reasons. There are many sins, we’re just looking at the sin of homosexuality, but there are all these other kinds of sins, as well, from which we need to be delivered and washed and sanctified and justified. Also, this list gives us some idea of the kind of people who were part of the Corinthian church. Now if you knew that a church was full of ex-fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, covetous, alcoholics, slanderers, extortioners, etc., etc., it might be the kind of crowd you’d want to avoid. But these are precisely the people who made up the Corinthian church. And that tells us not only about the church, but it tells us a lot about that society. It was a society not unlike our own society which is full of the same kinds of people...fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers, etc., nothing much has changed. So this church, Grace Community Church, like the church at Corinth is populated by people who fit into these former categories, but you have been washed, you have been sanctified, separated from those kinds of behaviors and you have been justified before God because God has set His loving forgiveness and grace upon you because of faith in Christ.
I have baptized and others have baptized in the waters of baptism right here people who have been delivered from all these sins, including homosexuality. By God’s grace and through His saving love, homosexual sinners are redeemable and some of you sitting out there are living testimony to that fact. I remember sitting in the office one day, receiving a phone call from a man who said, “My name is David Chastane(?).” He said in a faint voice, “I am in a hospital, I need you to come and see me.” I went to a nearby hospital, I walked in the room, I knew immediately he was dying of AIDS because I know the look, I’ve seen it enough. He was surrounded by friends, all of whom were obviously homosexual. He was being attended to by an obviously homosexual nurse, or attendant. And I came up to his bed and he grasped my hand as tightly as he could in his weakened condition and said, “I have lived a homosexual life for over 20 years, I was raised in a Christian family and a Christian home and a Christian church. I know the gospel. I have rejected it and hated it all my life. Now I’m going to die from AIDS and I do not want to go to hell. Can you help me?”
And I said, “Of course I can.” And I began to give him the gospel and the room was empty in ten seconds. I’m telling you, ten seconds, if that. And he opened his heart to Christ. I prayed a long prayer and I asked God to be gracious to him and to save him while he clutched my hand, after which I said, “If you desire to pray, this is your opportunity to ask for forgiveness.” And he did and he prayed one of the most heart wrenching prayers I’ve ever heard in my life, pleading with God to forgive him for the wretched life that he had lived in defiance of what he had been raised to know is true. And after this long and passionate prayer, he stared at the wall and I said to him, “What are you looking at?” He said, “I’m looking at the clock over there because I want to remember the time of my new life.” And he was overwhelmed with a sense of joy. He said, “I have a lot to make up for in a very little time.”
I took some books down to him which he read as rapidly as he could. He gave testimony of his faith in Christ. And I think if I remember right, it was about five days and he was gone.
Not all of the conversions like that are quite that dramatic. That was one of the most dramatic. I’ll tell you about another one at the end. One of the supreme tragedies in our day is reclassification of homosexuality as a non-sin, as a normal behavior, as an acceptable behavior, even as a noble behavior because that’s the way you’re made, instead of defining it the way the Bible defines it as a perversion from which you need to be rescued. Wrong diagnosis obviates the cure. And the evangelical church must stick with a biblical definition of sin and confront the sinner with every sin, whether conventionally popular or not. And there is a massive movement to appease the guilt of homosexual behavior, and it is a fierce guilt that needs relentless appeasement. There is a massive movement to somehow free these people from their behavior that is a result of unchecked lust and to make them feel okay about what they do. There is an effort to redefine it as an acceptable alternate life style, sexual orientation, genetic difference, or personal preference.
But it is not that. It’s nothing more than a perverse sex act. That’s all it is, nothing less, nothing more. And people who get engaged in it and drawn into it for a number of reasons, find themselves spiraling deeper and deeper into this kind of conduct. The same kind of addiction that comes on those who are addicted to pornography, or for that matter adultery, only this one seems to be far more intense and far more available in terms of its fulfillment. These people who are so driven to divest themselves of guilt, to release and free themselves from any assessment that they are sinning are promoting and selling their perversion as if it’s normal on every level in this nation, starting with elementary schools, TV sitcoms, films, and every other form of media. The government has stepped up to help fund their efforts and accommodated them in all kinds of ways with non-discriminatory laws. Politicians seek the homosexual vote by campaigning for homosexual rights. They want us to accept the notion that homosexual behavior is really something that is natural for a legitimate minority, that it’s the same as being African/American, or it’s the same as being Hispanic. These people are a minority who have been unjustly discriminated against and now are entitled a special treatment under the law to make up for this long harsh discrimination. The best statistics that I could find indicate that somewhere between one and two percent of the population in our country would classify themselves as engaging in homosexual sex acts. But this very small portion of our population is commanding the attention of the 98 to 99 percent of the rest of us. They’re endeavoring to make us accept the fact that this is some kind of normal behavior. Not only that, they deserve special treatment because they’ve been so abused in the past. Their agenda is simple, they just want to desensitize us to the sinful character of this. They want to desensitize us. They don’t need us to become advocates, they just need us not to care, to roll over, if you will, to acknowledge them as just another minority who should enjoy same human rights that others enjoy. But this is not a race of people. This is a sexual behavior...nothing more, nothing less. It is ridiculous to assume that because they do a specific sexual act or acts, they therefore demand certain rights and should be granted those rights. I don’t know how you can separate it from giving people the same rights to people who do other deviant acts, like pedophiles, murderers, rapists, drug dealers. They all have a different orientation, should they have rights? Wife beaters? Child molesters? Where do we end this? All sin comes because people are bent toward it. And when a society decides that certain sins and certain sinners should have special rights, they have moved long and far from the true understanding of sin and Scripture. Are we going to give the same rights to rapists? Well, this is just the way they’re bent. They’re drawn that way, they have strong impulses that way. They should be able to express themselves in any way that they like and we should give them rights because they’re bent that direction. People who are rapists I understand are compelled, driven. So are those who are child molesters, pedophiles.
Their preference has become the cause of the most devastating public health epidemic in this nation’s history. They launched the AIDS epidemic. Their preference, if it continues along with the other sexual deviations in our culture, will cause the most devastating corruption that any nation has known since the plagues of the Middle Ages, to say nothing of the financial eruption in the medical health community trying to take care of all these people. They are very aggressive in recruiting children, as young as they can get to them in elementary school to draw them into the pit of their perversion and make themselves feel normal. They now have been given the right to adopt children so that they can have their own casualties right under their own noses in their own houses. This would be like taking two mass murderers and telling them they can adopt children and expecting that a normal child would be produced in that kind of environment. Their behavior is nothing more than the expression of a sexual lust that is unnatural, twisted and uncontained.
And no matter how you try to glamorize it and make it look normal, and make it look nice and all of that, let me give you some statistics. Eighty percent of people engaged in homosexual acts say half their partners are total strangers, one out of two. How many partners do they have? The latest statistics that I can find indicate that the average homosexual has had more than 500 sexual partners...500. By their own admission, 50 percent of them, total strangers. Thirty percent have had a thousand partners. Some as many as 1600. The latest that I could find out on the average, the average has 300 a year, almost one different person a day. The conduct of their acts has no bounds, it all was launched in what were called gay bath houses where they used to have anonymous contact with ten to thirty unknowns in one day. Similar kind of behavior is now found its way into other places. Every conceivable and inconceivable act is included, none of which we need to talk about. They are one to two percent of the population, but 50 percent of the people with AIDS. One in twenty of these people is a child molester, for the normal population it’s about one in 500 at the most...at the least. They are one thousand times more likely to get AIDS, one hundred times more likely to be murdered. Eighty percent of them have sexually transmitted diseases. The average death of our population is now 75. The average American dies at 75, the average person engaged in homosexual life dies at 39. Two percent live to 65.
Just to take the glamor off of it, that’s what it really is. It is a sexual lust gone mad. It is suicidal. And I can give an almost endless parade of statistics and a litany of information on the problem which doesn’t, after a certain point, help. What is more important is to understand it from God’s viewpoint for what it really is. Let’s go back to our text in 1 Corinthians chapter 6.
There is a mention there in verse 9 of the word “effeminate...effeminate.” Marginal note in the NAS says effeminate by perversion, malakos is the Greek word. It seems to have been a technical term for the passive partner in homosexual relationships. Artin(?) Gingrick(?), one of the best of Greek lexicons, says that the word probably also included men and boys who allowed themselves to become male prostitutes and were the passive partners. It’s more than effeminate in the sense that we think of effeminate as a kind of superficial style, it is a kind of homosexual prostitution. Then the word homosexuals, arsenokoites, two Greek words, one meaning sexual relations, the other meaning men. It is man having sexual relations with men, it means just that.
These people practice a sin which excludes them from the Kingdom of God. They will not inherit the Kingdom of God. They will never belong to God’s Kingdom as long as they continually live in that life style. Amazingly churches today that are supposed to represent God’s Kingdom, open their doors and their arms to these people who do this kind of deviant behavior and embrace them. The Word Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches decades ago declassified this as a sin. Major denominations ordain those who practice homosexuality, both men and lesbian women, to the pastorate. Quakers, of all people, say homosexuality is no more deplorable than left-handedness. We have homosexuals among the Episcopalians and a bishop in the Episcopalian church who is openly engaged in homosexual behavior. One pastor of a Methodist church near here said, I quote, “A homosexual is welcome in this congregation and will have all rights and privileges.” In the emergent church, kind of the new wave of the church, doesn’t take a position on this. They’re not sure about anything in the Bible and they’re sure they’re not sure about this. In fact there are amazingly, there is an effort on the part of some theologians to prove that Paul was a repressed homosexual, struggling with his sexual yearnings which were never resolved and so he became a self-hating repressed homosexual. There’s even a group of churches for Christian homosexuals, the Metropolitan Community churches, founded by a man named Troy Perry(?), you may have heard of that name. I had dubious opportunity to debate him on an occasion and just to be sure, because I know these people can be violent, I took the starting right guard from, at the time, the Los Angeles Rams with me. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. Troy Perry, along with another gentleman came to argue the case for Christian homosexual behavior and they tried to glorify it. And Troy Perry was saying, “I’m monogamous, and so forth and so on, and this is a loving relationship,” and on and on and on. And I just happened to be given by the Los Angeles Police Department a complete rap sheet on all his arrests for sex in the back alleys of Hollywood. That’s why I had that guy sitting beside me. Needless to say, I pointed that out, it was the end of the debate, he was infuriated, stormed out of the room.
This Metropolitan church, Metropolitan Community Church, is still around, teaches that homosexuality is a gift from God. That Jesus was not hostile to lesbians and homosexuals. David and Jonathan were homosexuals, so were Ruth and Naomi lesbians. And Sodom was destroyed for a lack of hospitality. Exactly what they say. To the pure, all things are pure. And to the vile, all things are vile.
So, there are within the framework of Christianity all kinds of tolerances for this sin and it’s tragic. Not because...not because we want to damn these people, but because we want them to wake up to the fact that they are shut out of the Kingdom of God until they come to a realization of their sin and seek forgiveness and deliverance.
Paul had to face it because it was everywhere in his culture. There’s the list of the kind of people who went to the church, ex-homosexuals, Socrates was a homosexual, we are told, a very active one as were many of the Greek leaders and philosophers. Plato penned an entire section in his famous symposium exalting homosexual love, We are told by some historians that even Alexander the Great had both male and female lovers. Some have said the Greek soldiers were believed to have fought valiantly to protect their fellow soldier lovers. Julius Caesar, history says, had his own lover. Tiberius Caesar adopted young boys and abused them cruelly, apparently a pedophile. Both Gibbon and no less than Toynbee, Arnold Toynbee, great historians, write that this was one of the major contributors to the decline of the Roman Empire and the fall of Rome. Some say nearly all the Caesars were engaged in homosexual behavior, it was so rampant, at least 14 out of the first 15, according to some historians. Nero, the current Caesar at the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, had taken a boy named Sporus(?) and had him castrated and then married him in a full wedding and lived with him as his wife. So Paul’s world was not very much different than our world. Homosexual behavior, like all the other sins that are listed there, was everywhere. He confronted it for what it is, it is a sinful behavior. It is a sinful act. He was not homophobic, he was not overreacting because he was a repressed homosexual himself, he was true to divine Scripture and he was true to the sinner to tell him his sin for the sake of repentance.
Paul knew what Scripture taught. Let’s find out, Deuteronomy 22. Deuteronomy 22, now we’re going to run fast through these, the detailed study of these texts we will leave for another occasion or for your own study. There are some extensive notes in the MacArthur Study Bible that you might find helpful. You might want to wait and read those later. In the twenty-second chapter of Deuteronomy and verse 5, “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” This is what we call today a transsexual, or a transvestite, or perhaps even another name that I’m not aware of. A person who exchanges his dress for that of the other sex because it brings on some certain kind of lustful thrill. Literally in the Hebrew it rings this way, A man shall not...a woman shall not wear that which appertains to a man, that which pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on what pertains to a woman...clothes, implements, weapons, tools, anything that robs one of clear female identity or male identity. And we’re not talking about the fact that some of the Bible bangers in the past have said, that’s why women can’t wear pants because pants belong on men. Well come on, in the Old Testament everybody wore skirts. That’s not what we’re talking about but men had robes that looked like men’s robes and women had robes that looked like women’s robes. Men were to be men, women were to be women. God made us male and female and Satan, of course, seeks to obliterate that throughout the history of false religions, that is obliterated. The ancient writer, Maimonides, whom I mentioned this morning, also says that a man dressed in fancy women’s clothes would often come and worship Venus and Ashtaroth, and by the way, typically the Greek gods were either male or female. So a man dressed in fancy women’s clothes would often come and worship Venus, says Maimonides, and Astaroth and women dressed in men’s armor would come to honor the god of war, Mars. Very typical in ancient religions, the satanic success in causing people to blur the male and female distinction, there’s nothing new about drag queens...nothing new about female impersonators, nothing new about women dressing to look like men and men dressing to look like women, sometimes in public and perhaps more often in private. It is a perversion, it is an abomination even to wear clothes that belong to or implements that belong to the opposite sex.
Go to the next chapter, chapter 23 of Deuteronomy, verse 1. “No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” This is a true transsexual, someone who in the very primitive way had his maleness destroyed. Now this was a kind of ancient surgery. It’s enough to say that the word in the Hebrew translated emasculated is the basic root word for being crushed. I will say no more. There are people who claim that they are somehow women trapped in men’s bodies and go to a doctor to have a surgery. Someone who does that will not enter the assembly of the Lord. In the ancient times people would have this done for the gods to become a eunuch and go serve the gods and go to a temple and become a male prostitute. Parents would do it to boys as young as ten years of age.
To give their children to the gods, to serve the gods, to gain some merit from the gods they believed in. Someone who was so deeply into paganism as to do this was restricted from the privileges and rites of citizenship within the nation because they had defiled the image of God and shown disregard for God’s Word and God’s design and God’s will. No place in the assembly of the Lord. Was this permanent? You mean to say in the Old Testament if you did this, if you became a eunuch you could never be saved, you could never be forgiven? Let me help you with that. Isaiah 56, and go over to Isaiah 56 and it’s important, verse 3, Isaiah 56:3, “Thus says the Lord,” by the way, the Lord’s talking here, “let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, the Lord will surely separate me from His people.” Here we have a window of hope. Let not the foreigner outside the covenant of Israel, outside the race of Jews descended from Abraham, let him not say the Lord will surely separate me from His people. Let not that foreigner who comes and says I want to be a part of this nation, I want to be a part of what God is doing here, I want to worship your God in your way, let him not say the Lord will surely separate me from His people, neither let the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I am a dry tree, it’s over for me. I have no future. I have no hope. I have no part in God’s people,.’ For thus says the Lord...verse 4, “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbath and choose what pleases Me and hold fast My covenant, to them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial and a name better than that of sons and daughters, I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.’” Now there’s a play on words. Is there forgiveness for them? Is there salvation for them? Even in the Old Testament there is forgiveness and there is salvation. “Let not the eunuch say there’s no hope for me.” Don’t let that pagan, even the castrated pagan think he can never have forgiveness from God and never have life from God. God will give him a place in his house within his walls and the name better than that of sons and daughters, an everlasting name. And this is exactly what God does in Acts 8. You remember in Acts 8...you don’t have to look it up...Philip joins himself to a chariot and in the chariot is a eunuch who was serving Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. Here is one, maybe from a child, had been given by his parents and castrated and given to this...this woman, this monarch to serve and he’s reading...what?...Isaiah and he’s instructed concerning the Messiah at salvation. And he asks if he can be baptized and he is baptized and he is saved and the Spirit of God comes upon him. And so, an unrepentant, unbelieving eunuch is shut out and God doesn’t want them anywhere near His assembly because He doesn’t want them having any of their evil influence. But salvation is open to them. In a sense, we invite all those people who live in this kind of simple perversion to embrace Jesus Christ as Savior and be forgiven and receive a new life and a new name and complete salvation and eternal heaven. But we do not welcome you to come here and propagate that perversion. We have to protect ourselves from that.
Let’s go back then to Leviticus 18 as we continue to see how Scripture speaks of this sin. Pretty clear, Leviticus 18:22...Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it is an abomination. Like you shall not have intercourse with an animal, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it, it’s perversion.” It’s perversion like bestiality. And then he goes on to say, verse 24, “Do not defile yourselves by any of these things, for by all these the nations which I’m casting out before you have become defiled.” That’s the reason that you’re going to go into the promised land and the nations that are there are going to be thrown out because this is how they conduct themselves in homosexual perversion and perversion with animals. “As for you, you are to keep My commandments, My judgments. You shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native nor the alien who sojourns among you.” Don’t allow it in the land among anybody. How could you allow it in the church? “For the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations and the land has become defiled so that the land may not spew you out should you defile it as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you.” You open the church to homosexuals and you...you may find God spewing the whole church out of His mouth. Verse 29, “Whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off, executed from among their people. Thus you are to keep My charge, or commandment, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you so as not to defile yourselves with them...here’s the reason...I am the Lord your God and I say so.”
There’s absolutely no mistaking. Homosexual perversion and behavior is defiling. It produces God’s judgment. God hasn’t changed His opinion. God isn’t any different now than He was then. He views it the very same way. Chapter 20 of Leviticus and verse 13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act, they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.” The penalty is death, execution on the spot as it was for adultery.
Now there are some people who say, “Well, Jesus said I am the end of the Law.” No, He said I am the fulfillment of the Law. He said, “Not one jot or tittle shall from this Law be removed.” God’s moral law is unchanging and absolutely unchangeable. First Timothy 1:10, “And immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.” At the beginning of the Bible it is classified as a sin, at the end of the Bible it is still classified as a sin.
Let’s go to Genesis 19. Genesis 19 is the most dramatic illustration of this sin in Scripture. Of course, Genesis 1:27 God made man and made woman, made them male, zakar, female, neqebah, they were to complete each other, making one flesh, producing offspring. This is God’s unalterable design, a man and a woman. Satan immediately wants to corrupt that, right? You have that and then in chapter 3 you have the Fall, then what comes? Chapter 12, you have adultery. Chapter 19 you have incest. Chapter 34 you have rape. Chapter 38 you have prostitution. Part of the history of Genesis is the patriarchs, another part of the history of Genesis is the development of sexual perversion. And here in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis, homosexuality is featured. Sodom is the city. And by the way, according to Ezekiel 16, Sodom was filled with all kinds of wickedness, but none more shocking than this, surely there was adultery, fornication, polygamy, incest, rape, prostitution, you name it. But notice this, two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the Gate of Sodom. Angels who had taken on bodily form. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servants house and spend the night, wash your feet that you may rise early and go on your way. They said, however, No, we will spend the night in the square.” Not a good idea. Two magnificent, heavenly angels in beautiful form, the likes of which people had never seen.
Verse 3, he urged them strongly. So they turned aside to him and entered his house and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread and they ate. He was protecting them. And he expressed kindness to them as heavenly visitors, as Abraham and Sarah had done in the seventeenth chapter when they were also visited. Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. The word got out that these two magnificent creatures were in town and in Lot’s house and the men of the city, the men of Sodom surround the house, young and old men. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them,” literally have intercourse with them. That’s how perverse they were. But Lot went out to them in the doorway and shut the door behind him. Went outside and shut the door behind him and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Please. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man, please let me bring them out to you and do to them whatever you like, only do nothing to these men inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
What in the world kind of bizarre plan is that? You say, “Well maybe he just thought that because they were so lustful in the category of homosexual sin, the girls would have had no appeal to them. Maybe. Probably a more faithful exposition would be to say that Lot would sacrifice his own daughters before he would allow the angels of God to be molested.
By the way, at this point a man named Bailey wrote a book, in which he says, “The sin of Sodom was a lack of hospitality.” People weren’t very hospitable to these angels. Yeah, that’s true but it was a lot more than that. The people said, here’s their response outside, verse 9, they said, “Stand aside, out of the way, Lot.” Furthermore they said, “This one came in as an alien and already he’s acting like a judge,” speaking of Lot. “Now we will treat you worse than them. So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.” Now this is really out of control...out of control. They want the two strangers, their passion is so strong they storm the door driven by lust, but the men, the angels, verse 10, reached out their hands, brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door and they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both the small and the great, the important and the unimportant. They were old and young and small and great.
But look at this, “So that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.” Even though they had just been made blind, they were still trying to get in. You say that lust was out of control? Amazing. You would think if you had been made blind you’d get out of there. Lust is so compelling, as this kind of perversion is, they kept trying to get to the door and God eventually burned the whole city to a crisp. And born out of that was the name that has been through the years used to describe this kind of behavior, sodomy. Sodomy which appears in 1 Kings 14:24 and Deuteronomy 23:17 and 18 had its origin here. Sodomite was one who engaged in homosexual perversion. The sin of Sodom was homosexuality, not a lack of hospitality. It’s reiterated, by the way, in Jude verses 6 and 7. It’s really the best term. We should use it. Gay is preposterous as a term describing them. They’re anything but gay. Massive guilt, loneliness, no future, no hope, trying to bury their guilt under some self-justifying campaign, they’re anything but gay. Homosexuality is clinical, sodomite is biblical. That shows it for what it really is, the passion and a lust that is out of control.
There’s another Old Testament text, however, that must be addressed. Turn to Isaiah chapter 3...Isaiah chapter 3 and verse...well pick it up at verse 9. “There are certain people who rebel against God, here they are, the expression of their faces bears witness against them and they display their sin like Sodom. They do not even conceal it. Woe to them for they have brought evil on themselves.” That’s how it is. “Sodomites display their sin openly and publicly, they don’t conceal it and they bring down greater evil on themselves. You say to the righteous that it will go well with them, for they will eat the fruit of their actions. Woe to the wicked, it will go badly with them, or with him, for what he deserves will be done to him. O My people, their oppressors are children and women rule over them. O My people, those who guide you, lead you astray and confuse the direction of your paths.” Here is a picture of sodomy going on in Isaiah’s time which was part of God’s judgment of falling. The prophet said Jerusalem is ruined, Judah is fallen. They have rebelled against the Lord. They provoke the Lord. They don’t hide their sin like those in Sodom didn’t hide it. They may well have been engaging in the same kinds of sin but they were parading their sin like the sodomites openly paraded their sin. This is flagrant rebellion toward God, it is blatant. And in verse 12 where it says their oppressors are children and women rule over them. Interesting statements. The term women there can be a woman-like man, or an effeminate person. Some lexicons have it a man-like woman. It could be that even in Isaiah’s time there were sodomites in government, positions of power and positions of authority. If they can, they like to get into those positions. The Gay Invasion by William Rogers reports that there has been at least one homosexual in every presidential cabinet since Franklin Roosevelt and there are more now than ever. Isaiah likely knew that sodomy was all around and even in high places, it was part of the life of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. And some historians say the Pharaohs were engaged in homosexuality. We expect that from the unregenerate world. It took 150 years but finally this sin coupled with the rest destroyed Israel in divine judgment. What destroyed Sodom destroyed Israel, it would later destroy Greece, it would destroy Rome and it may destroy America. It is sin. It is deadly. It is destructive. And God hasn’t changed His view.
Our society refuses to see it that way because we’ve bought in to a lot of lies. There was born a man named Sigmund Freud who among many human behaviors became interested in dealing with sodomites. He determined that it was the psychological disorder related to a domineering mother. In 1930's there came a man named Ellis, who published a manual, a sexual book bringing sodomy into the open and pointing out some famous sodomites. He concluded that sodomites tend to be great men because they have a special genius attached to their sodomy. He wrote about Erasmus, the Dutch humanist, sixteenth century, Christopher Marlowe, the English poet, Michelangelo, the Italian genius who was not a homosexual, Lord Byron who was, Francis Bacon, Oscar Wilde who was, Walt Whitman. He put together this list of formidable folks to prove the genius of being a sodomite. Freud said, some kind of a quirky reaction to a domineering mother, Ellis said quite the contrary it is in fact a kind of genius.
Then came a real fraud, Albert Kinsey in the forties and the fifties, publishing the famous Kinsey Report which was a whole pack of lies which tried to normalize sodomy by saying one out of ten people does this. The American Psychiatric Association declassified sodomy as a sickness, removing it from its standard diagnostic manual, determining that it is hereditary. All this has led to the epidemic today. There is no evidence that it is anything other than a deviant perverted kind of behavior. Are some people drawn to it? Yes. Why are they drawn to it? There could be a lot of reasons why they’re drawn to it. Why is anybody drawn to any kind of sin? I’m not drawn to it. There are some sins I can’t comprehend. I can’t comprehend that sin. I can’t comprehend a lot of sin. I can’t comprehend murder. In early America do you know that they used to give people shock therapy to try to blast blank spots into their brain hoping to hit the homosexual lust zone? Do you know that once they did radical lobotomies on people who did this? None of that is going to work because this isn’t something in the flesh of the brain, the tissue of the brain. This is a choice. Why do people choose it? Maybe they had an experience, some kind of molestation when they were young, a kind of early homosexual experience and it’s easy and it’s available, maybe a need for intimacy and an inability to connect with the opposite sex. The developing sub-culture certainly makes it acceptable and sucks in many. I don’t know all the reasons. Why do people get drawn into adultery? Why do people get drawn into pornography? Choices, not just one but many.
A final passage that we have to go to. God is going to judge this sin as He always has judged it. Romans 1, and this really should have its own study, but in order not to belabor this pressing theme, let me just give you a little bit of an insight, Romans 1:18, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” God’s wrath is revealed from heaven continually, all the time against those who suppress the truth. They suppress the truth of God which is known, evident within them. God made it evident to them through the creation. You know, you’re familiar with this text. Even though they knew God by conscious and creation, reason, they didn’t honor Him as God or give thanks. They’re futile in their speculations. Their foolish heart was darkened, professing to be wise they became fools, exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man, birds, four-footed animals, crawling creatures. Let’s just give that one title. Rejection of the true God and idolatry, okay? Idolatry. God’s wrath is revealed against those who make an exchange. They exchange, verse 23, they exchange the glory of the incorruptible God. Verse 25, “They exchange the truth of God for a lie.” And then they exchange, verse 26, “The natural function for that which is unnatural and in the same way men abandon the natural function of the woman, burn in their desire toward one another, men with men, committing indecent acts and receiving in their own person the due penalty of their error.”
Reject God, reject the true God, become an idolater, worshiping a God of your own fashion, and you have exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for some other God and idolatry will always result in immorality. It is a built-in judgment. So God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity that their bodies might be dishonored among them. Idolatry leads to immorality. You can pair the two up throughout all of history. Idolatry leads to immorality. God gives them up to their lusts. And where do their lusts take them? To homosexual behavior, women exchanging because they’ve exchanged the glory of the true God and the truth of God for a lie, they also exchanged the natural function for what is unnatural. Men do the very same.
And what do they get out of it? The end of verse 27. “In their own persons the due penalty of their error.” I think that primarily prefers to physical death as well as divine judgment. They get sexually transmitted diseases of all kinds, some that I wouldn’t even mention. They get a shortened life span. They have no hope and no future and they are living under massive guilt. Tragic life, sad tragic life. Reject God, exchange the true God for an idol, exchange the truth of God for a lie and you’ll exchange natural behavior for what is unnatural.
Verse 27, the little phrase, “Burned in their desire.” Burned in their desire. I just have to say this and I’m done. This literally, ekkaio, means to burn out, consumed by desire, raging desire. They engage in things that are painful. Many mass murderers were homosexuals. One illustration. Dr. Milton Helpburn(?), former chief medical examiner of New York City, the New York Times said the man who knows more about violent death than anyone else in America, he wrote a biography called Where Death Delights, did Helpburn, not a Christian. This is what he said, “It’s not my role to condemn homosexuality as such and I leave it to the psychiatrists and psychologists to try to figure out why people practice homosexuality, but having performed sixty thousand autopsies, he said, it is high time that those who deviate from the norms should understand the risks. I don’t know why it is so, but it seems that the violent explosions of jealousy among homosexuals far exceed those of the jealousy of a man for a woman, or a woman for a man. The pent-up charges and energy of the homosexual relationship simply can not be contained when the explosive point is reached, the result is brutally violent. But this is the normal pattern of these homosexual attacks,” he writes, “the multiple stabbings, the senseless beatings that obviously much continue long after the victim dies, when we see these brutal multiple wound cases in a single victim, we automatically assume that we are dealing with a homosexual victim and a homosexual attacker,” end quote.
Consumed with this lust. Well you say this sounds like bad news. This is really good news. Good news for the perverse cause if you will recognize this as sin, see it for what it is, quit trying to defend it and sanctify it, and justify it, confess it as the sin that it is, cry out to God, He’ll forgive you and wash you and sanctify you and justify you. And dear ones, this is the message we have to give to these people, there isn’t any other message.
I remember one night on the Larry King program, talking to Chad Allen, the actor, about this very thing. And I started in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 that someone engaged in this kind of life, as he is, would not enter the Kingdom of God. And then I went back to that same passage at the end and said, “But such were some of you, but you’re washed and sanctified and justified.” And I told him that God would forgive him and wash him and justify him and sanctify him. That’s the message. That’s the only message we have.
I close with a story. Sorry to keep you long, but that will mean I don’t have to talk about this again. Psalm 107...Psalm 107, one Sunday morning in this very auditorium I stood up and read Psalm 107 as I often read a Psalm. And I came to verse 10, “There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor, they stumbled, there was none to help, then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble. He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke their bands apart. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his loving kindness and for His wonders to the sons of men, for He has shattered gates of bronze and cut bars of iron asunder.” And I went on to read a further portion of the Psalm.
But one verse stood out. Verse 6, “They cried out to the Lord in their trouble. He delivered them out of their distresses. He led them also by a straight way.” Now if you’re living in a homosexual world, the word straight has significant meaning. Sitting right back there was a young man named Robert Lagerstrom (sp?). He was one of the leaders in the Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles. He was dying of AIDS, he said to one of his friends, “I’m dying, I’m afraid to die. I’m not ready to die. Where can I go to get help?” One of his fellow sinners said, “There’s a church in the valley called Grace Community Church, go there.” He came here. I read that Psalm. He was a man crying to the Lord in trouble. He was a prisoner in misery and chains. He was in the darkness and the shadow of death and I read that Psalm.
Later that day he said to me, “You read that and I knew I was in the right place. You read that and I kept saying to myself, how do I get delivered, how do I get delivered? Where do I go? What do I do?” And then he said, “You got up and you preached this really long, long sermon and the more you talked, the more irritated I became because I wanted to be delivered and you kept talking and talking, I didn’t hear a word you said.” So he came at the end of the service, came to the prayer room, fell on his face before God, repented, embraced Jesus Christ as Lord, was wonderfully saved and I baptized him right here in these waters. Before I did that, he gave testimony to everyone he knew and his...when the Gay Pride Parade came, all the leaders of the parade, when it came by because he lived on the route came to his house to wish him well cause he was dying. Gave them all the gospel, went to heaven.
We speak the truth about the sin in order that we might speak the truth about the Savior who forgives, right?
Father, we thank You again for Your Word. It opens up so much to us, so current, so pertinent. Thank You for the clarity with which it speaks to these matters. May we be faithful to call these people who are caught in this vicious sin to repentance, not accepting the sin but loving the sinner enough to give the hope of the gospel and would You continue to save and wash and sanctify and justify sinners in this church of all kinds and may we live lives that please You and honor You as those who are forgiven. We thank You in Christ’s name. Amen.