2.2.20

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sermon on 1 Timothy 1:8-17

Unity on our Diversity: LGBTQ

The New Testament Reading: 1 Timothy 1:8-17

8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. 9This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, 10fornicators, sodomites, slave-traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

As we explore in this series our unity in our diversity today, I want to talk about people who were born with various gender expressions and sexuality. Straight, gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual and queer people, human beings. 

If the qualifier of what it means to be a Christian is that we place our faith in Jesus Christ, then there is nothing in the human panorama that separates us. Figuratively all of our clothes are on the shore and we all stand together as one wearing white robes.  And if we belong to Christ, then we are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

And yet I find that it is those of the lgbtq contingent that seem to be blamed for the sins of the world.  The evangelical church states that America is being judged by God because we are tolerant of people like my daughter and perhaps your relatives as well. 

And so, we scapegoat them because it’s easier to do that than to talk about heterosexual devices like domestic violence, affairs, promiscuity, incest and adultery. If we’re focusing on the gays, we don’t have to look inward.

And so we take the Bible and put it in a sifter, shake it all up, until 7 verses fall out onto the plate to serve to point the finger at the lgbtq community and say see here it says it in the Bible that you are an abomination to God.

We call these 7 versus The Clobber Verses because they are used to clobber people instead of welcoming them in.

Like the passage Jayne just read from 1 Timothy…

Used often as a bully club even saying that such people’s salvation if nullified because one is disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, 10fornicators, sodomites, slave-traders, liars, perjurers,as she read, and yet there isn’t a single word about salvation in the whole chapter.

That one little word, arsenokoítēs, has been translated homosexual.

However, the word is not about 2 consenting male adults who are committed to one another. The world arsenokoítēs really means sodomy, so translated accurately in our New Revised Standard Versions but in most other translations printed since 1945 the word homosexual is used. 

Basically, in the context of the clobber verse what Paul is saying is this. Those Paul is chastising has nothing to do with homosexuality, it has to do with pedophilia. 

The early church was keenly aware that separations and bifurcations would soon take place, so to teach that all who trust in Jesus are on a level playing field they were all given the same boring bleached white baggy robe to remind them that

In Christ Jesus we are all children of God through faith.

As many of us as were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free,

there is no longer male and female; and I will add, dark skinned and light skinned, rich or poor, gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, queer or straight,

for we are one in Christ Jesus.

And if we belong to Christ, then we are Abraham’s offspring,

heirs according to the promise.

As Paul’s writes us, 15The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Pray:

God of all humanity, all are precious in your sight. Together we comprise the fulness of your love. Teach us to put down our weapons that divide and control. And bless your Church Universal, as we are all one in Christ.

2.Bless the Roman Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians and RCA, this day tearing lives apart, building walls, excluding those from the household of faith. Move in love and unity among us and make us one, as Christ prayed for us to be, as you and Jesus are one. In his holy name we pray: Amen!