CHRISTIANS STAND FIRM IN YOUR FAITH

Hello everyone! Australia will be holding their Federal Election tomorrow (2nd July)! Just received this email and thought I should share it. Please pray for Australia that God will appoint the Government that will protect religious freedom and Christian values in this country.

The article is taken from: http://deargoldie.com/2016/06/29/christians-stand-firm-in-your-faith/

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

1 Corinthians 16:13

The events of the past few weeks overseas have no doubt been alarming to the Christian community throughout the world, especially in Australia (where the federal election will be held on 2nd July), with a female security guard arrested and facing hate crime charges for removing a male from a female bathroom in Washington, D.C.1) and the prestigious Yale University introducing gender-neutral bathrooms in 23 of their buildings2). Last year, the LGBT community welcomed the Supreme Court decision to legalise same-sex marriage in all 50 states of America. The list goes on and on, with the victories over common sense and good morals seemingly ever-increasing. The issue of tolerance for the LGBT minority’s gender and sexuality preferences has become a significant source of discussion, and indeed we find that it has become a source of persecution for the Church, as men and women of God are taken to court for resisting endorsement of same-sex marriage and gender-neutral bathrooms.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY

The Church must remember that it is the responsibility of all Christians to make a stand for what is true and what is right. Of ever-increasing importance is the role of Church leaders in educating their members about the situation. We are called to uphold God’s word as His representatives on Earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). It is incredibly vital for members of the Body of Christ to understand just where God himself stands on the issue.

Jesus said this when asked by the Pharisees about the legality of divorce:

v.4… ”Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and femalev.5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? v.6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”’ [bold added] Matthew 19:4-6

Jesus’s very own words put to rest any attempt to manipulate the Bible to support any sort of transgender or transsexual behaviours, or the so-called same-sex “marriage”. They do so by stating that from the very beginning, when God created the very first humans, he created them distinctly male and distinctly female. Jesus not only says this, but clearly states that for this very reason, because God created them male and female, a man is to leave the care of his parents to marry a woman, even stating that God himself has ordained such a joining of the two into one flesh. Marriage is clearly defined by Jesus as between one man and one woman.

So there we have it. Our King, our Lord and Saviour himself confirms our Father’s position on the matter, his eternal Sonship in the Trinity further validating it.

OUR ATTITUDE

How then shall we as Christians approach, in practicality, the reality of the situation? That is, how do we talk to those who oppose our view, the position which has been made extremely clear to us by God himself? At the root of our cause to evangelise – meaning to spread the gospel through both our actions and words with intentionality – is that we must do everything out of love.

As the Word clearly states:

v.19 “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

v.43 ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  v.44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:43-44)

We should not be attacking individuals nor see our message as one that should be used to do so. We should not be using our words as an attempt to simply force others to see things our way. As I have learned, it is possible to be right in your sentiment but wrong in your choice of words. Simply being right does not automatically mean that we are being helpful or that we are being loving. We should not simply attempt to “win the argument” and leave our opponents fuming at their loss and onlookers in awe of our intelligence. That is to say, if we are truly to act with the same love which Christ and the Father has first loved us with, by choosing to die as a sacrifice for our sins on a cross, our basis should be to warn others of the sinful behaviour which leads to eternal damnation in hell.

As Paul makes clear in his first letter to the Corinthian church:

v.9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, v.10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. v.11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1Corinthians 6:9-11

The passage is both a warning and an encouragement. It is a warning in that it clearly states that those who do not turn and repent from their sinful behaviour (homosexuality being named among them), and a warning for us not to be deceived by those who claim that the listed sins are compatible with Christianity. It is also a source of encouragement, given in verse 11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”.

Notice the words Paul uses: “And such were some of you”, “such” referring to those practicing the listed sinful behaviours, and “were” being a past tense meaning that those whom Paul is referring to practiced those behaviours in the past, but no longer do so, having been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God. There is hope for those who are caught in the snare of sin that in the name of Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit there is justification and sanctification, if we confess and repent of our sins. And for those of us who have been freed from the bondage of sin and death and are continually justified and sanctified daily, let us not forget the place that Christ freed us from, the place that God himself became flesh and blood and died a painful death on a cross in order to ransom us from our sins.

v.1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins v.2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— v.3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. v.4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, v.5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— v.6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, v.7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. v.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, v.9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. v.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:2-9

While we should not be trying to simply “win” arguments, we should also not be actively seeking to avoid such discussions or conflict, by compromising- that is to say, for example, when a friend brings up the fact that they support same-sex marriage and ask you about your thoughts on the matter, simply nodding and muttering indistinctly in agreement in order to avoid being questioned on your beliefs. Our actions should be characterised by an unshakeable conviction that God’s word is true and that it must be upheld. As Peter said in 1 Peter 3:17, it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. Whom do you love more? Christ, who in loving obedience to the Father became a man and died for your sins? Or man, whose praises are far from having eternal value?

OUR RESPONSE

So then how shall we make a stand, how shall we put our faith into practice?

There are plenty of opportunities nowadays, particularly over this next week in Australia, with a Federal election coming up where both major party leaders are in support of same-sex marriage, the time has come for Christians to stand firm in their faith.

Be prepared to be challenged about your faith. Vote for a party that upholds Biblical marriage. Invite your non-believing friends to church. Share the gospel with them. Despite wanting to please others, instead, please God, even when we so desperately want to be loved by others, the best way we can show love to them is by warning them that continued rebellion against God leads to damnation. Pray for Godly leadership in your nations, and for your neighbours suffering from the oppression of sin.

NOTES

All scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Haydn Lian is 18 years old and is a first year student in university in Perth.

References:
1) The Daily Caller. [2016]. Female Security Guard Arrested For Escorting Man Out Of Women’s Restroom. [online] Available at:http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/19/security-guard-arrested-for-removing-man-from-womens-bathroom/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

2) Mail Online. [2016]. Yale embraces transgender students with gender-neutral bathrooms. [online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3602975/Gender-neutral-bathrooms-introduced-Yale-University-embrace-transgender-students.html [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

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