Gay marriage is now legal in the United States. So now what? How should the Church respond? The following is the third part of five answers to that question.
Get In The Word
I’m almost 40. I’ve never been mistaken for Brad Pitt. There is nothing whatsoever that is even remotely cool about me. But none of that mattered a while back at a pizza restaurant when one of the waitresses told me that I was fine. Right to my face.
I went back to my table and told my wife. She rolled her eyes. That’s because she knew that there had to be more to the story. There was.
I was coming out of the restroom and, as is usually the case for me, I almost ran into someone. The waitress. I told her that I was sorry.
“Oh, it’s okay. You’re fine.”
It makes a big difference. Without it, you hear what you want to hear in order to prop up whatever it is that you want to believe. With it, you get to the truth. When it comes to the Bible, many in our culture pass when it comes to the truth. In politics, everyone is a Libertarian until they want something from the government. In matters of theology, every unrepentant sinner hates what the Bible says until they can make it say something different. Paul could see this coming 2,000 years ago.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV)
Paul’s words before this are shocking. They are shocking because there are many professing Christians who would tell us that, since the Bible is unpopular, we need to put it back in the drawer. We need to exchange preaching for conversations where the world speaks their own version of the truth without context while we mostly just sit back and apologize.
Paul gave completely different advice for a culture that, like ours, treated the Bible as their own personal back scratcher.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 (ESV)
Don’t abandon it.
Don’t try to make it more hip.
Don’t talk about it but never really use it.
Don’t water it down.
Paul’s answer is simple. Because it is from God and it is true.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
Politicians change their version of the truth whenever such a transition is needed in order to keep them in line with their financial backers and the popular crowd. If you don’t believe me, go on YouTube and look at those old clips of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama talking about how much they support traditional marriage.
Prophets are different from politicians. They speak the truth in love regardless of what it might cost them. The world needs more prophets. Real prophets. The kind of prophets who say hard things in a loving way. But that will never be you if your Bible is nothing more than religious paraphernalia or just something you use from time to time to support whatever opinion you’re latching on to at the moment.
And here’s a little something that you might not like. It is impossible to consistently speak spiritual truths in love while at the same time ignoring the Bible or taking it out of context.
When you die, Jesus won’t ask you how popular you were. It is your faithfulness and obedience that will matter the most. But no matter how hard you try or how well meaning you may be, authentic faithfulness and obedience will never be a part of your life if your life is not in the word.
So which will it be? Will you choose the shifting sands of popularity or the solid rock of God’s word?