The world we live is filled with controversy. But among our current controversies, one of the most prominent is the debate regarding homosexuality and the transgender movement. The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) movement is debated in politics, the news and even the church. How should church members, pastors and church leaders react to this movement? Should we promote homosexual or transgender individuals to leadership positions in the church? Should we allow such individuals to even attend church? Regarding LGBT individuals, what is the loving thing to do? These are important questions for our time, and thankful Jesus has given us the answers in His Word. But before we find the answers today, let us pray…
Father in heaven,
Please Lord I pray for your Holy Spirit. I pray that the character of Jesus may be reproduced in us. Open our eyes Lord that we may see what you would have us to do, and then give us courage and strength to stand for your truth. Help us Lord and wake us up so that we may be ready for your soon coming. We pray all these things in the name of your Son Jesus, amen.
What is the loving thing to do?
The Bible begins to give us the answer in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 when it says
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”
Have you ever heard a piece of music that was just a clanging cymbal? Or have you ever heard a piece of music that was just a banging gong? Likely not, because if I were to just hit a single cymbal over and over again we wouldn’t call that music, we would call that noise. With this in mind listen again to the words of the apostle Paul “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” Here Paul is saying “though you call yourself a Christian or though you call yourself a Seventh-day Adventist if you have not love, you are only making noise. And though you have the gift of prophecy and understand Daniel and Revelation, if you have not love, you are nothing. And though you donate your time and money to the homeless community and those in poverty, if you have not the love Christ, it profits you nothing.” Genuine love is the motivating force in God’s kingdom. Without it we cannot be saved, without it we cannot enter His kingdom. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is a necessity, this then begs the question….
What is love?
How would we find the answer to such a question? Should we take a survey to determine what true love is? Should we consult our feelings and emotions to determine what love is? Should we trust the opinions of presidents, world leaders and politicians? Perhaps we should consult psychologists, life coaches and other experts in the relationship business? No beloved, all these are faulty methods of determining what love is. Because the opinions of men contradict each other. Some experts may be promoting truth while others may be promoting smooth sounding deceptions. There is only one way to determine light from darkness in this matter.
“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)
The Bible and the Bible alone is our guide in this matter. Regarding the Bible it is written “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160) From Genesis to Revelation, every scripture is true. The words of Jesus are not from Matthew to John only, for “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” It is not our emotions that determine what love is. It is not our feelings. For feeling is not faith, faith is simply to take God at His word. In order to determine how to treat the transgender and homosexual communities in a loving manner, we must go to the word of God. No other source can be fully trusted. What God declares in His word as good is good, and what God declares in His word as evil is evil. And so what God calls love, is love. What then is love?
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;” 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
We may think of love as accepting of all behaviors and all sins. But this is not true love. For love does not rejoice in sin but rejoices in the truth. In addition, true love even issues difficult rebukes to others. For Jesus has said “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19) No human naturally likes to be rebuked. When someone rebukes you, do you think of that person as loving you? Often we do not. But Jesus says those whom I love, I rebuke. Why? Why would God tell us that something in our life was wrong? One reason is because the Bible says
“He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
If we cling to any known sin, if we do not repent, but instead tell ourselves we are rich and in need of nothing, we certainly will be lost in the end. It is in mercy that God rebukes us, to wake us up, and to turn us away from our great danger. There is no one more loving than Jesus. Yet consider the message of Jesus to His church.
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:14-17)
The message to the Laodicean church is not just a rebuke, it is a startling denunciation that is applicable to the people of God at the present time. “The Lord here shows us that the message to be borne to His people by ministers whom He has called to warn the people is not a peace-and-safety message. It is not merely theoretical, but practical in every particular. The people of God are represented in the message to the Laodiceans as in a position of carnal security. They are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”
What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.
It is difficult for those who feel secure in their attainments, and who believe themselves to be rich in spiritual knowledge, to receive the message which declares that they are deceived and in need of every spiritual grace. The unsanctified heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” I was shown that many are flattering themselves that they are good Christians, who have not a ray of light from Jesus. They have not a living experience for themselves in the divine life. They need a deep and thorough work of self-abasement before God before they will feel their true need of earnest, persevering effort to secure the precious graces of the Spirit.” ~ Testimonies For The Church Volume 3 p. 252-253
The message of Jesus to the Laodicean church applies to God’s remnant church at this moment. Does it apply to you and your church? Could it be that regarding the transgender movement and homosexuality the members of many professed Christian churches believe themselves to be right when they are all wrong? We must continue our study regarding these issues to find the answer. So far we have learned that…
1 – We must be loving to the LGBT community if we are following Christ (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
2 – True love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6)
3 – True love rebukes a sinful lifestyle, not for the purpose to put others down, but for the purpose to save others from eternal destruction (Revelation 3:19, Proverbs 28:13)
4 – Genuine love and sin can only be defined by the Bible alone, not by our feelings or opinions (Isaiah 8:20, Psalm 119:160)
5 – Jesus tells us that the condition of God’s church is not that we are already perfect in love, instead we need repentance and a deep conversion. (Revelation 3)
With these things in mind…
Is a transgender lifestyle acceptable to God or is it sinful?
Many transgender people have experienced a struggle. A struggle to know which gender to identify with. Some who have been born male may believe later on in life that they mind was designed to be a woman or vice versa. Jesus knows their struggle. He knows their thoughts. He cares about this class of people more than anyone else on this planet. Yet the struggle in many of these individuals lives continues. Should they identify as male or female? Should they determine their gender based off of their original body or how their mind thinks? Today Jesus has good news for this class of people. Because today Jesus has an answer for those in a gender identification crisis. The Bible tells us how gender is properly identified in the book of Genesis when it says “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)
Notice here it does not say “male and female they decided for themselves.” Instead it says “male and female He (God) created them”. The gender of Adam and Eve was determined at creation, by the very organs the Lord gave them. So it is with every person on this planet. If you were born with the organs of a man, Jesus says I made you to be a handsome man. If you were born with the organs of a woman, Jesus says I made you to be a beautiful woman. Some transgender people may ask “why then do I feel that I am the other gender? Why then does my mind seem geared that way?” The answer is our minds were not born perfect. Because of sin, we are born with a sinful nature. David declares “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) Our minds are not born perfect, they need to be renewed. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Our thoughts, our feelings are not a safe guide. “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) It is God who determines your gender, not yourself, for it is written.“In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.” (Genesis 5:1-2)
It is Satan’s plan to create confusion. “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” ( 1 Corinthians 14:33) The increasingly popular belief that men may have surgery and dress like women is contrary to God’s plan. More than that the Lord declares such a plan as sinful for it is written “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)
If a man were to have surgery and have his outward gender changed, this does not make him a woman in the sight of God. In addition in opens one up to homosexual activity. The Lord has laid out in black and white that homosexuality is also a sin. Speaking to men the Lord declares “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22) The word of God continues by saying “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. (Leviticus 18:24-25, 29) Some have claimed that they were born as homosexuals and that they cannot change. But the Bible records in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that there were homosexuals during the New Testament time who gained the victory of this temptation and were no longer homosexual. Those individuals were able to change. In addition, the Bible tells us that homosexuality is not natural for it is written
“For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 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 1:26-27)
The Lord has declared both a cross dressing lifestyle and homosexuality as abominations. (Deuteronomy 22:5, Leviticus 18:22). Beloved, God never declares something an abomination and then changes His mind (Malachi 3:6). The Lord continues his warning by saying “There shall by no means enter it (heaven) anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” (Revelation 21:37) There is still good news for transgender and homosexual people, for Jesus “did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). Through faith and repentance which includes a turning away from a sinful lifestyle, any individual may be saved by Jesus’ matchless grace. But based on Revelation 21:37, a homosexual lifestyle or a cross-dressing transgender lifestyle if not repented of, will disqualify an individual from entering heaven. It is in love that Jesus warns us of our danger. If you or someone you love is struggling with a transgender or homosexual lifestyle, know that there is hope in Jesus. Jesus “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20) Jesus “ is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24) His power can transform your thoughts, your mind, your desires and He can give you the victory over these temptations. He is only waiting for you to surrender every aspect of your life to Him.
It may seem unloving to quote Deuteronomy 22:5 and Leviticus 18 when it declares the LGBT lifestyle sinful. But it is not unloving friends. The most unloving thing in the world is to tell someone that they are fine as they are, when in reality if they do not repent they will be lost. No greater injustice can be done to a human being. How sad it will be when in the judgment many will wake up to discover that they are lost when they believed they were saved. “Many are led to think that they are on the road to heaven because they profess to believe in Christ, while they reject the law of God. But they will find at last that they were on the way to perdition instead of heaven. Spiritual poison is sugar-coated with the doctrine of sanctification, and administered to the people. Thousands eagerly swallow it, feeling that if they are only honest in their belief they will be safe. But sincerity will not convert error to truth. A man may swallow poison, thinking it is food; but his sincerity will not save him from the effects of the dose.” Faith and Works p. 32-33
I believe everyone wants homosexuals, transgender individuals and all people with all sins to feel welcome to visit church. The church as a whole has not done all it can to reach out to the LGBT community. I would love to see more homosexuals and transgender individuals attending our churches. But should those practices be permitted by those who hold church membership or leadership positions? It is true all have fallen short of the glory of God, but does that mean that everything is then permissible in the church? Certainly not friends, such is faulty logic. Consider the inspired counsel of 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?”
Imagine I am an adulterer, if the church knew I was a practicing adulterer and they allowed me to both be baptized and receive a church leadership position, would that not send a strong signal that what I was doing was acceptable to them? Would that be the loving thing to do? No, for the result would leave me to continue in my sin and in the end be lost while I thought I was saved . The true loving, morally courageous thing to do would be to, in the love of Christ show me my fault and point me to the Savior who can give me the victory over my fault. For only those who overcome sin shall inherit eternal life. For it is written “Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Why did Paul counsel one who was sexually immoral to lose their standing in the church? So that such an individual may repent and be saved for it is written “I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5) What then is the result of not following the Holy Spirit’s counsel in 1 Corinthians 5? Many will be lost, and their blood will be at the foot of the church.
We must not promote a lifestyle which God determines as an abomination inside the church. Never should one who is currently living such a lifestyle be an instructor, pastor or elder. Portraying these currently lost souls who are need of a Savior as being already a brother or sister in Christ is not only doing a great injustice and wrong to that individual, it preaches an anti-gospel to all who hear. The gospel is about repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, not about excusing sin. “The condescension and agony of God’s dear Son were not endured to purchase for man liberty to transgress the Father’s law and yet sit down with Christ in His throne. It was that through His merits and the exercise of repentance and faith the most guilty sinner might receive pardon and obtain strength to live a life of obedience. The sinner is not saved in his sins, but from his sins.” Faith and Works p. 31
Thankfully the gospel is not just about loving rebukes. It is not just about warnings. The gospel is about victory over sin and forgiveness from it. The wonderful news is, Jesus does not open his arms in love to us only after we repent, He opens His arms of love to us while we are still in a sinful state.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8)
To those who are struggling with an incorrect lifestyle we must declare…“With the rich promises of the Bible before you, can you give place to doubt? Can you believe that when the poor sinner longs to return, longs to forsake his sins, the Lord sternly withholds him from coming to His feet in repentance? Away with such thoughts! Nothing can hurt your own soul more than to entertain such a conception of our heavenly Father. He hates sin, but He loves the sinner, and He gave Himself in the person of Christ, that all who would might be saved and have eternal blessedness in the kingdom of glory. What stronger or more tender language could have been employed than He has chosen in which to express His love toward us? He declares, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” Isaiah 49:15.
Look up, you that are doubting and trembling; for Jesus lives to make intercession for us. Thank God for the gift of His dear Son and pray that He may not have died for you in vain. The Spirit invites you today. Come with your whole heart to Jesus, and you may claim His blessing.” (Steps To Christ p. 54)
Today the Lord is making an appeal to homosexual or transgender individuals. He says “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) If you only surrender your opinions and will to Christ, He has the power to transform your life. He died to save you, will you put your trust in Him? If so let us close in prayer.
Father in heaven,
I pray for those who are struggling with gender identity or homosexuality. Please Lord may your word give them clarity of thought, a clear purpose in life, and strength to overcome everything you have determined as an abomination. Lord we thank you for your love and grace and forgiveness. Please help these individuals to overcome sin and inherit your gracious gift of eternal life. We thank you for loving us while we were yet sinners. Please create in each of us clean hearts everyday so that we may serve you with our whole heart. We thank you Lord for hearing and answering this prayer in the name of your Son Jesus, amen.
For additional help regarding overcoming homosexuality and transgenderism we recommend the following resources..