“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27). Some of you who have attended one of our worship services during the past month are most likely aware that I will be preaching on “Biblical Sexuality and the Trans-Community” this Sunday, Sept.25th. Let me say a few things about this upcoming sermon. First, I did not choose this topic! It was chosen for me. You see, several weeks back, as sort of a transition from preaching through Isaiah and my upcoming series on the Pastoral Epistles, I asked the congregation to give me some topics/texts to preach from – something they would like addressed. This topic of sexuality and the Trans-community (LGBTQ+ related questions) came up quite a few times. Thus, this Sunday’s message! As I’ve been prepping for the message, and, as I write (Monday, Sept.19), I still do not quite know what form/shape this message will take. My overall aim is to speak the Truth in Love. (Yes,”Truth” and “Love” are intentionally capitalized. I hope if you come on Sunday, you will see why!). So, while I am still in the infant stages of sermon-prep., let me share with you what I hope happens in the message. If you are someone who has questions about the “fluidity” of gender, what are healthy and unhealthy expressions of our sexuality, what the Bible says about some of these things, etc., I hope you will come. I especially invite those of you who might be without a church home, and it might be directly or indirectly tied to these issues. You think no one would understand. Someone will condemn you, you’ll get “preached at”, etc., I can sympathize with some of those reasons. I hope if you do come to listen, or, listen to the sermon on You Tube, that you will not isolate yourself from others. Some of you are not “struggling” at all with this issue, even though you identify yourself as non-binary in your gender identity. If you’re not struggling, then you most likely will not come. But, if you are struggling, please, don’t struggle alone. Come and spend some time with us. I could say much more, but let me just give you briefly what I hope happens through this message, whatever form it takes. . .
- I hope whoever listens to this message, that they will realize they are not alone.
- I hope whoever listens to this message, that they will know they are deeply loved.
- I hope whoever listens to this message, they will realize they need to personally receive both Truth and Love, as the Bible would understand it, not as our culture seeks to define “truth” and “love”.
- I hope those who listen will find Jesus to be a Good Shepherd who is relentless in both His Truth and Love. May all of us who want to hear from Him realize that He came to give us life and have it to the full. Conversely, we do have an enemy of our souls who only wants to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Most often our enemy seeks to destroy us through the voice of fallen unredeemed culture.
- I hope those who come will recognize that everyone to whom Jesus calls to follow Him, must learn what it means to deny themselves to the greater call of being found in Him – no matter where you find yourself in all your questions and search for identity. Heterosexual, Homosexual, Transexual, Bi-sexual, and I could go on (!), we are ALL called to deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Jesus. He is King, not our desires. And, once we find this to be true, our desires progressively take on the shape of our King, for our King. We become truly and wonderfully free in our service to Jesus.
- I hope those who come will believe the voice you hear in the sermon is more than just the preacher’s, but you will hear the heart of God. He is not against you, but for you. And, the best way God can be for you is sometimes to tell you something you might not want to hear from your Creator. I hope those who come will realize that all speech that might counter and challenge what you are hearing in the culture at large is not “hate” speech or bigoted.
- I hope I make at least one new friend this Sunday, who would dare honor me with their trust, letting me know they would like to talk further about these things.
I could go on about my hopes for this message, but the bottom line of my hope is this: that you might come one step closer to Jesus. You would become more trusting and vulnerable to His overtures of grace. He loves you more than you’ll ever fully appreciate (Romans 5:8). So, whether you come this Sunday, listen to our livestream, or listen to it later on You Tube, may you know the God who created you as either male or female, loves you deeply.