I wrote this and read it to the church in the evening service on June 28, 2015.

This morning I made a subtle reference to the recent Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage. By God’s providence we were honoring our elected leaders in our morning service and I didn’t think it appropriate to talk directly about it then. We invited them for the purpose of honoring them; not for the purpose of making them feel awkward.

We live in a topsy turvy world where wrong is called right.

Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV) Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

The Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage is a civil right. That’s not a righteous decision, and it’s also not a constitutional decision. Nothing in the constitution talks about marriage at all. Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment.” You cannot redefine a term because you feel bad for people. Calling a circle a square doesn’t make it a square. Calling the relationship between two homosexuals a marriage doesn’t make it a marriage. This was a narrow victory, 5 to 4. For such a far-reaching and impactful decision they won by one vote.

Christians have known virtually no persecution in the United States. That is a historical bubble in the history of the church, and it’s unique even today as our brothers and sisters in Christ in other countries face persecution and oppression for their faith.

This ruling will probably change that. It will be subtle at first. A newspaper in PA immediately after the Supreme Court ruling said this: “As a result of Friday's ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will very strictly limit op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage. These unions are now the law of the land. And we will not publish such letters and op-Eds any more than we would publish those that are racist, sexist or anti-Semitic.”[1]

Did you catch that? Opposition to same sex marriage is going to be seen as bigotry, and there is no civil discourse to be had with a bigot. It’s in the same category as racism, sexism, and anti-semitism. Of course that shuts down discussion. The paper later backtracked and said they were only concerned that profanity not be used, but that’s dishonest. That was already the policy of that newspaper and every other newspaper in the land. Opposition to homosexuality has been called homophobic for a long time. It’s a pejorative term designed to equate religious objections with hatred and ignorance.

And Christians will be hated. This shouldn’t surprise us.

Luke 6:22 (NKJV) Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake.
John 15:18–19 (NKJV) “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

This ruling by the Supreme Court sets the stage for the elimination of certain government privileges and constitutional safeguards for religious groups. They will start with Christian businesses, then non-profit parachurch organizations like Christian colleges, and finally churches. If you disagree with same sex marriage, you will lose your non-profit status. Christian colleges will lose their accreditation. The government will be used to pressure you to conform. It’s a sad day for religious liberty, and it’s all the more ironic when you realize that people that were fleeing religious persecution founded our country. All they wanted was freedom to practice their religion and allow their faith to intersect public life. It seems that that will eventually be restricted after this ruling by the Supreme Court.

And this ruling won’t provide the happiness that homosexuals want. They believe that their unhappiness is caused by the bigotry of others. One of the arguments at the Supreme Court was that the only reason for preventing homosexual marriage is animus—strong dislike or hostility to homosexuality. If you eliminate the animus they assume, they will be happy. That’s not true.

John Piper says “Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way. Sin carries in it its own misery.”[2] There is a built in dissatisfaction with sin. Buyer’s remorse is part of sin. Homosexuality cannot satisfy no matter how much society changes.

Romans 1:26–27 (NKJV) For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
Romans 1:27b (NASB95) men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Romans 1:27b (ESV) men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

All sin has built in dissatisfaction, but we’re told specifically that homosexual sin does. It has the seeds of punishment built into it.

Piper goes on,

And on top of sin’s self-destructive power comes, eventually, the final wrath of God…. Christians know what is coming, not only because we see it in the Bible, but because we have tasted the sorrowful fruit of our own sins. We do not escape the truth that we reap what we sow. Our marriages, our children, our churches, our institutions — they are all troubled because of our sins. The difference is: We weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We don’t institutionalize them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help.[3]

How do we respond?

We trust God.

God is still in control. He could have had Justice Kennedy vote the other way, but He didn’t.

We love homosexuals.

We will be accused of hatred, but they shouldn’t have any reason to believe that other than our opposition to their sin. We should love them like any other neighbor God calls us to love.

Russell Moore is a Southern Baptist leader and he said in a commentary in the Washington Post, “We must stand with conviction and with kindness, with truth and with grace. We must hold to our views and love those who hate us for them. We must not only speak Christian truths; we must speak with a Christian accent. We must say what Jesus has revealed, and we must say those things the way Jesus does — with mercy and with an invitation to new life.”[4]

We stand for traditional marriage.

We don’t validate their sin. Chisago Lakes Baptist Church will not concede on traditional marriage. We will continue to uphold God’s plan for marriage as one man and one woman for life. We are imperfect in our pursuit of it, so humility is in order. But you don’t help a sinner by validating their sin.

This is very serious. 1 Corinthians 6 gives a list of sins that cannot characterize a genuine believer.

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NKJV) 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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 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 and by the Spirit of our God.

This is not the only sin, but it is clearly one that cannot be habitually practiced by a believer. Same sex attraction is a struggle for some Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. There is grace for their struggle. There really is. But giving into homosexual practice is not a mark of a believer. A habitual practicing homosexual is unsaved. A habitual drunk is unsaved. That’s what God’s Word says. This is a Gospel issue and in coming years churches will be divided between those that love the Gospel and those that have given up the Gospel over this issue. Our church has loved the Gospel for over 50 years. By God’s grace we will continue to preach the Gospel not just to homosexuals, but to all people that are broken by sin.

Russell Moore ends his article this way,

The witness to marriage will be, like the pro-life movement, a long-term strategy that is multi-pronged. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing. We see that we are strangers and exiles in American culture. We are on the wrong side of history, just like we started. We should have been all along. Let’s seek the kingdom. Let’s stand with the gospel. Let’s fear our God. But let’s not fear our mission field.[5]

Let’s not fear the future. God still reigns. As I said this morning, the Supreme Court doesn’t get the last word. The Supreme Being does.

[1] “The Supremes got it right - It's no longer 'gay marriage.' It's 'marriage.' And we're better for it: Editorial,” PennLive Editorial Board, accessed 6/28/2015, http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2015/06/gay_marriage_anthony_kennedy_o.html#incart_2box_opinion.

[2] John Piper, “So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity,” Desiring God, accessed 6/28/2015, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/so-called-same-sex-marriage.

[3] John Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/so-called-same-sex-marriage.

[4] Russell Moore, “Why the church should neither cave nor panic about the decision on gay marriage,” Washington Post, accessed 6/28/2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/26/why-the-church-should-neither-cave-nor-panic-about-the-decision-on-gay-marriage.

[5] Russell Moore, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/26/why-the-church-should-neither-cave-nor-panic-about-the-decision-on-gay-marriage.

I came across this blog post by Randy Alcorn and it's interesting food for thought. It doesn't take long to read.