King Jesus: The Final Word
Starting this Sunday, we are suspending our discipleship series for the summer. On June 2, we will begin a series of “stand-alone” sermons in support of our Wednesday night Bible class.
This Sunday morning’s sermon will be a “teaser” for the Sunday morning Bible Class series (which also begins June 2) entitled “Left, Right, and Christ.” As you’ve noticed, I don’t typically preach about social and political issues as topical sermons. I subscribe to the Pauline notion of preaching Christ and Him crucified. When we immerse ourselves in the King Jesus Gospel, we find it much easier to respond well to the social and political issues of our culture.
However, you may have noticed that we have become a highly politicized culture. Many of you have come to me wanting to know where the church stands on issues like immigration, homosexual marriage, climate change, and racism. So, we will spend some time hearing the viewpoint of both the liberal and conservative Christian. But ultimately, we will give Jesus the final word on these issues.
This Sunday morning, we will revisit the now four-year-old Obergefell v. Hodges decision on same-sex marriage. In 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that same-sex marriages must be treated exactly like opposite-sex marriages—that under law, those marriage should be extended the same rights and privileges as traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Now that this decision is four years old, what is our position on it? Are our feelings today different than they were in 2015?
In discussing human sexuality and marriage, most Christians immediately go to 1 Corinthians 5-7, maybe the lengthiest discussion of human sexuality in scripture. However, many folks in the world say that Paul wrote in a vastly different culture than our culture today. And they’re right. So, we must be careful.
I think it’s better to start with King Jesus. What does He have to say about marriage? His words transcend culture, place, time, and people. Since Jesus is King, He has the final word.
In Matthew 19, the Pharisees come to Jesus with a trick question about divorce. Jesus is not interested in that discussion. Instead, He’d rather talk about marriage! “God loves marriage! Let’s talk about that!”
Okay, Jesus … tell us about marriage.
It’s always best to listen to King Jesus. His words transcend culture, place, time, and people. He has the final word.
Jesus says, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 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’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).
Jesus says, “Here’s how God created things to be: there are men and there are women. Period. No gender fluidity. No issues of gender identity. He made them male and female. The man is to leave his parents and cling to his wife. The two of them will become one flesh, spiritually and sexually. This union between a man and a woman happens by the will of God, so people better not mess with it.”
Isn’t that what Jesus is saying? King Jesus lays out the ideal. Anything other than what Jesus describes is NOT the ideal. Anything other than “one man and one woman joined together by the hand of God for life” is outside of the will of God. And anything outside the will of God is sin.
Now that we’ve heard from Jesus, it becomes much easier to interpret what Paul says to the church in Corinth. In that church, the problem is that a church member is bedding down with his step-mother. Paul says that even the pagans draw the line there. This is an abomination against God and instead of the church condemning it, they seem to be proud of it. Paul says that the remedy for this problem is to stop associating with this man (1 Corinthians 5:9,13). Hopefully, this action will cause him to repent. In 2 Corinthians, we find out that he did.
Now, before we go thinking that these verses are a license to disfellowship all the sinners in the church, we need to take a deep breath and count to ten. Because I’m pretty sure that we’re ALL sinners (Romans 3:23). In the next chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul offers up a list of nine sins. He says that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Then, in the very next breath, Paul says to the church, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, set apart, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). In the past, these people were practicing sinners. But now, they are saved—washed clean by the blood of Jesus.
So, what do we do when we encounter the practice of sin in the church? This is what we will discuss on Sunday morning. Here’s a hint: we treat sinners the same way King Jesus treated sinners.