Today is June 28th, 2015, just two days after a historic milestone in this country’s decline, as we’re watching the country rapidly decline. That decline has accelerated. I don’t know if you’ve been watching the news, but it’s, it’s going very, very fast. On Friday, June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States overstepped its authority and declared a new definition of marriage.
The law of the land today, across all fifty states, is that marriage is no longer exclusively for one male and one female. This redefined version of marriage allows homosexuals to marry one another; one man and one man, one woman and one woman. The Supreme Court made that decision without regard for the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution it was sworn to, it has sworn to uphold. The court did so, even though it knowingly trampled on a prior right guaranteed in the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, that is, the right of American citizens to the free exercise of religion. If you look at the court’s decision, the majority decision that came from the Justice there, he, he said you will have the right to advocate for your view, you’ll have the right to teach your views… exercise? That language wasn’t there.
It’s a new day, a very different day. The Supreme Court did not just disregard the U.S. constitution. The court went further: it usurped God’s authority, because marriage is his institution. He created it, he defined it, and no human court possesses the authority to redefine his definitions. The court has crossed a line with God, and God will summon that court to account, with him presiding.
Sexual immorality just became America’s newest inalienable right. The former inalienable right about the free exercise of religion, and really, all of them, now, are open targets. Those are no longer inalienable; they can be taken away. They are not inviolable, they are not sacrosanct if they conflict with the pursuit of erotic liberty. Cross that right and your rights go away.
We know, as we look throughout history, nations come and nations go. Rights change. Rights come and rights go. Freedoms change; they come and they go. Peoples change. Nations change. And this just illustrates for us that there are no guarantees when it comes to nations and peoples, to kings and kingdoms, to rights and privileges; it can all disappear in a moment.
Our national pursuit is sin, the Libertarian pursuit of an unbridled, erotic expression. And it has been that for some time now. This is not new; this has been going on for decades, probably a half century in this country. And, as surely as the Muslim fundamentalist group, Isis, is destroying historical monuments throughout the Middle East, our government seems hell-bent on following its citizens and the desires of its citizens in destroying every vestige of Christian heritage in the United States. If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not this is a Christian nation, doubt no more. It’s not. We’ve become an antichristian nation.
The Christian apologist and theologian, James R. White, expressed the new sentiment poignantly in the words of a new national prayer. Here’s his words, here, as he quotes this prayer from the country to God: “God, we do not want you, your ways, or your law. We are our own creators; we are autonomous. We hate your good gifts, the gifts of marriage, the gift of gender. We no longer want the joy of motherhood, fatherhood. We will make women husbands, men, wives. We will twist and pervert everything that gives us life and light. Go away. Leave us alone.”
God’s answer to that prayer? “As you wish.” God has given this nation over to its perversion, and to the due penalty of its perversion. And, here’s the thing, here is the key point: this decline was predictable. In fact, God already charted the course this nation followed clearly in his Word. Listen, because this is exactly what has happened in our country.
Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed [or is being revealed,] from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
“For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”
That describes the headlines in our country, does it not? Everywhere we look we see debased thinking. All of this has followed a predictable pattern, and it started with Americans suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. People have denied what’s plain to know about God’s eternal power and his divine nature, replacing that truth with this dehumanizing doctrine of Evolution.
Evolutionary theory, which put God’s special creation of humanity on the same level as the animal kingdom, has erased moral accountability. And that is what helps sinners to silence their accusing consciences so they could pursue their sexual immorality. God said, “You want sexual immorality? I’ll deliver you over to it.” And America has become saturated with it, sated with sex. The dam has burst. Every norm, taboo, and more has been broken in the overwhelming lust for sexual sin, all kinds of pornography and filth literally flooding the nation. We’re drowning in it.
God gave them over to the consequences of their sexual immorality. The law of sin’s diminishing returns means that sinners are not satisfied with that same sin. They need to go further and further and cross lines and boundaries just so they can get the same thrill. So God gave them over to s, homosexual sin and the due penalty of that error. I don’t believe that the due penalty of the error of sexual sin is AIDS, per se, but I think AIDS is part of that. The due penalty of the error of homosexuality is homosexuality. The indulgence in that sin, in all sexual sin, is its own punishment. It completely takes the life of the one who indulges in it.
And all of this results in an utterly debased mind, utterly useless. God said, “You want to act like animals? Then you’re going to think like animals, too.” And Americans are redefining the laws to accommodate their new moral preferences. That, folks, is a debased mind. When you have a state in our union, like our dear state of Colorado, legalizing a drug that is proven to destroy lives and families, they legalize it and say, “Go get it, kids!” That’s debased thinking. People redefine laws, they change the laws, because they’re trying to silence their consciences, which are reminded by an accusing law code. So, change the law code.
Next thing on the agenda? Silence Christian witness. Folks, their coming after you. They’re coming after me. That’s the only way to describe what the Supreme Court just did. And it’s absolutely chilling to see the court’s audaciousness, its hubris. The court actually thinks it has the right to redefine God’s institution of marriage! That is debased thinking, folks. You’ve completely lost your mind. And it’s coming from the highest court in our land.
The court, the advocates of same sex marriage, they’ve only begun to anticipate the implications of their decision. They’ve charted the course toward the further dismantling and destruction of the family. No more “mommy”, no more “daddy.” Those terms are going to lose their meaning in the wider culture. Boy and girl, male and female, man and woman, what are those words going to mean? What are the little children’s books that are taught to our preschoolers in preschool, what are they going to say? How are they going to explain the family?
When people think that they have the right to deny their own biology, to undergo hormone therapy and radical surgery to conform their anatomy and their appearance to their confused mental condition, people like Michael Jackson, Bruce Jenner, those men are only the beginning. Is this the end of male and female sports teams? By the way, if people feel free to define God’s institution of marriage however they want to, well then why define marriage as a union between two people, regardless of gender? Why not a union between three people? Why not a union between a football team? A whole bunch of people, a dozen of them? Polyamory is going to be the new normal.
We could ask other questions, as well. Why impose age restrictions? Why impose species restrictions? Why exclude family members? The list goes on and on. And I can tell you, all of this is really going to mess up the tax code. Maybe you have never felt sorry for the IRS, but it might be time to pity the tax man.
I wouldn’t want to be writing tax code in these confusing days, but then again, that is the point, isn’t it? The goal has never been to win the right of homosexuals to marry each other. The goal has been to destroy the concept of marriage altogether, because advocates for this point of view see marriage as a repressive institution that needs to go away completely. And they knew the way to destroy it was, first, to get it for themselves, to redefine it according to their own terms. Once you do that, it’s just a piece of putty in your hands.
The tax code is just one way to do that. If you generalize the tax benefits of marriage so broadly to t-apply to anybody, well then it becomes meaningless as a category, doesn’t it? Not only that, but through taxation a liberal government can begin to penalize people for Christian convictions that conflict with this moral revolution. This overreaching decision, (and that’s an understatement, right there,) this overreaching decision of the Supreme Court has massive implications on states’ rights, massive implications on the democratic process. That was just blown, right there, in that decision on Friday. This has to do with the consolidation of power to the federal government.
And again, all of these are just consequences of debased thinking. And this, folks, is the judgement of God, and it’s only the beginning. America, as our spiritual forefather, Jonathan Edwards, put it, is a nation of sinners in the hands of an angry God. While our nation is running around waving rainbow flags, draping flags around themselves as they revel in this victory, you may have seen the White House illuminated with rainbow colors. With the lights illuminating the White House it’s no longer a white house, now it’s a rainbow house, showing solidarity with gay marriage.
Amid the national revelry in this sin, Isis is executing homosexuals in the Middle East. The same day that the U.S. Supreme Court announced it was giving the right of gay marriage to the country, the Islamic state threw four homosexuals off the roof of a building. And that has become pretty routine. I don’t rejoice in that, and I hope you don’t either. That is brutal and it’s cruel. We love those people. We love all sinners. They’re our mission field. Isis is brutal. Isis took credit on Friday for killing twenty-seven people in a bombing attack in Kuwait. It also claimed responsibility for a shooting attack at a Tunisian beach resort, also on Friday, which killed thirty-eight people and injured more than two hundred others.
Attacks like this from this Islamic fundamentalist group are so routine that they’ve become mundane. We’re not even affected anymore. We’ve gotten used to a new level of violence in our world. Senator, New York Senator, who’s now deceased, Patrick Moynihan, called this “defining deviancy down.” We can’t handle all the sin so we kind of redefine the laws to conform to what the social climate is. So, what was once deviancy is now no longer deviancy; now it’s normal.
Isis intends to extend the geographic territory of its newly established caliphate, (a caliphate is an Islamic kingdom,) and they intend to dominate the entire world. They intend to bring every person, without exception, in the world under the submission of Islam. Isis has named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph. Caliph is a political ruler of a caliphate in Islamic government. Isis has acknowledged al-Baghdadi’s rule over the territory that they hold in Iraq and Syria, which is just the beginning of a renewed caliphate.
The goal of Isis is to call all faithful Muslims to the caliphate, to leave their country of origin and birth, to come and join them there. Recruits are pouring in from the West, by the way, even from here in America. And Isis intends to purge Islam of apostacy. Even Islamic governments like Turkey are not fundamentalist enough. They want to purge Islam of apostacy and purify Islam, they want to draw the West into a war, and they want to usher in the apocalypse, which, for them, will summon in the return of the Mahdi. To the Muslim, the m-, coming of the Mahdi is the coming of their Christ-figure, the Muslim “messiah.” In reality, when you study the Mahdi, he’s really an antichrist figure who’s to rule the world. He really fits what the Bible teaches about the antichrist; and that’s their Christ.
So, while the West is weakening through its moral decline, dancing around in rainbow colors, which, by the way, promise God’s grace that he will not judge the world with a flood anymore, (oh, but he will, 2 Peter 3, judge the world with fire,) they’re dancing around in the grace of God. They’re dancing around in God’s colors and weakening. And while that’s happening, the East is on the rise. China is on an economic ascendency. We’re seeing a resurgent Russia invading other countries at will, taking what it wants.
I just read an article last night quoting Vladimir Putin, who is condemning the West, get this, for departing from Christianity. Communist Russia, Vladimir Putin, head of the KGB, and he’s mocking our country over the Supreme Court decision about gay marriage, and saying, “You have departed. You have departed.” In his country, there is none of this gay propaganda going on. They silence it, they stop it, they cut it out of their society because they see it as a cancer.
China, Russia, the borders of the Middle East, set about a hundred years ago after World War One, arbitrarily by Europeans, (the victors always be able to divide things up as they want to,) well those borders are now being redrawn by Isis and other groups in the shape of a Muslim Crescent. Nationally and internationally, regionally and globally, the world continues to change. The ground is moving beneath our feet. All the old structures, the reliable institutions, the founding documents and principles upon which this great nation was built, everything is being dismantled. Nothing is left untouched, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Listen, can I give you a word of hope? Here it is: Malachi 3:6, “…I the Lord do not change.” The Lord God looks down from Heaven on all this nonsense going on below him, and you know what he does? He laughs. Psalm 2:4-6, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; [and] the Lord holds them in derision. [And] then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’” Folks, God is not worried. He is not worried. He’s comfortable, he is at peace, he is confident, he’s even rejoicing right now in the unfolding of his perfect plan, which is unstoppable, to send Christ back to Earth. Folks, this is all part of the plan.
Listen to Isaiah 41:1-4, “Listen to me in silence, O coastlands; let the peoples renew their strength; let them approach, [and] then let them speak; let us draw near for judgement. Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step? He gives up [the] nations before him, so that he tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow. He pursues them and passes on safely, by paths his feet have not trod. Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.”
God is executing his plan. Israel had to deal with the same kind of invasions and exile and fear and trembling, and God says, “Who do you think called the conqueror into your land? I did. I did.” God helped Israel understand the social unrest that they faced, the conquest of nations mightier than they. And you know what, folks? We can learn from that. We need to learn from that. God is the one who’s bringing America down, and he is the one who is raising up the nations of the East. God is the one who is dismantling the power and authority and the strength of the West. God is the one who is strengthening the East. He’s raising up these nations for judgement on the world, make no mistake. What America interprets as freedom, reveling in it, is actually the mark of harrowing judgement. It’s the judicial wrath of God on a nation that flaunts its sin.
But to his beloved people, God says this, Isaiah 41:8-10, “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off’; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
You recognize that verse? It, you know it comes frer, from Isaiah 41, and we sing it in that hymn, “How firm a Foundation.” What a great source of confidence there. Such comfort! Such confidence for the people of God. This, written to Israel; but folks, if we belong to Israel, if we are united in Abraham by faith, you know what? God is our God, too. We’re grafted in, we’re protected in the vine.
Listen, you need to understand the significance of what’s going on in the world around you. The world that has been, it will never return. The evangelical influence over the past hundred years in America, however real or perceived that influence was, you know what? Those times are over. That was a historical anomaly, folks. We just got used to it. The cultural acceptance and tolerance of Christianity, that level of influence, that was not normal. We enjoyed that for a time, but now it’s back to business as usual for Christians living in a hostile world. Jesus promised us, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John writes, “Do not be surprised, brothers, [if] the world hates you.” Don’t be surprised by that.
Everything is different here on the ground level, but up in heaven, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. Everything is moving along exactly according to plan. God is still sovereign. God is still on the throne. God is still bringing everything to his preordained ends. Listen to Isaiah 45:5-7, God says, “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you [don’t] know me, [I equipped you] that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none beside me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; [and] I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.”
Listen folks. That’s the God we belong to! We belong to him. We belong to God. Psalm 100, verse 3, “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” We’re going to have the opportunity, we Christians are going to have the opportunity, unlike any that we’ve had as Christians in this part of the world for the past century or more, to really learn what that means. It’s a joyous privilege that we have to learn what it is to be God’s people, to be under his care, under his protection, even though they’re going to hunt us down. I’m excited about that. I know you are, too.
You know what else? We continue to see, in Jesus words, we see them fulfilled. And we see his boast in Matthew 16:18, we see that boast vindicated, “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He’s just proven that again today, hasn’t he? Six people being baptized, twenty-something people coming into membership in this church, more waiting. He continues to build his church! Doesn’t matter what’s going on in the culture around. He is marching forward, forging ahead. He’s doing it right here in our midst. Very exciting times.
The world, the world is tearing itself apart around us. In the midst of all, all of that, Jesus Christ is, indeed, building his church, and that promise in Matthew 16:18, “…I will build my church. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Doesn’t matter how many rainbow flags you have, not prevail against my church. He’s basically taunting the enemy. It stands as a taunt to our enemy. Our membership, our involvement in this local church is absolutely vital, and it’s more apparently so today than ever before in our lifetime.
Our church stands as a protest to this ungodly world. Our church stands as a lighthouse, shining the truth of God’s holy Word to a dark and fallen world. Our church stands as a hospital, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cleanse lepers, and to cast out demons by proclaiming the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, you know what else? Our church stands as a training center, equipping the saints for the work of the ministry in this day and age.
As Jesus said, Matthew 5:13, “[You are the salt of the world.] You are the salt of the earth.” By his grace, by God’s grace, we’re going to make sure you don’t lose your savor. Jesus also said in verse 14, Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.” And, by his grace, we’re going to work hard to keep your light shining as brightly as possible. We want you to sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. We want you to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for the hope that is in you.
You say, “You know what, I don’t find too many people coming up to me and asking about the hope that’s in me.” Oh, they will. Right now, they feel pretty comfortable. They don’t feel like they need anything. But beloved, what’s going on in the world around us, this doesn’t end well for them. It does not end well. Times like these do not lead to human flourishing and happiness, they lead to suffering and sadness. Times like these bring pain and sorrow. Times like these bring dismay and despair to those who are mangled by sin, whether it’s their own sin that they’re participating in, or the sin of others that’s perpetrated upon them.
I’ve had the opportunity to counsel a number of people who struggle with homosexuality, and to a person, man and woman, they’re destroyed by that sin. It hurts them, folks. It’s not loving to celebrate it. It’s not loving to tolerate it and to overlook it. It’s loving to help them. It’s loving to confront it. It’s us Christians who have the answers from God to all the questions that are posed by a confused and a perplexed world. We are the ones holding out hope to a dejected, a degraded, and a decimated world. We have the Gospel of God!
Now, what does all that mean for our church practically in the coming years? Means we need to get busy learning, growing, training, preparing. As A.W. Tozer so famously said, “This world is not a playground, it’s a battleground.” And we are an outpost of the Kingdom of God, here, in Greeley, Colorado. We are like a forward operating base of the Kingdom of Heaven. And like Paul, 2 Corinthians 6, “…as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger.”
We commend ourselves not by big buildings, not by numbers, not by money, not by power, not by influence; we commend ourselves by those things. We commend ourselves, “…by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love.” We commend ourselves, “…by truthful speech and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness [on] the right hand and [on] the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as imposters, and yet [we’re] true; [we are] unknown, and yet well-known; [we are] as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, [and] yet possessing everything.”
Listen, as we train and prepare and conduct our mission to proclaim the truth in this world, we do not fight with the sinners in the world. They are our mission field, and our battle is part of a spiritual warfare. This is 2 Cor. 10, 4 and 5: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalt[ed] itself against the knowledge of God [even supreme court justices,] and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
So, we’re going to continue to study God’s Word together, and we’re going to create more opportunities for learning the truth of God to get equipped, to get strengthened; we’re going to continue Sunday morning expositions in this pulpit. We’re currently going through the Gospel of Luke. That Gospel, listen, is very unique in reestablishing, setting a foundation, for understanding the person and work of Jesus Christ. I don’t know about you, the so-called Christians that you run into, but they do not know the Gospel, they do not know the story. We’re going to retell it, right from the scripture.
We’re also going to continue in our Sunday schools. We plan to offer the current classes. We plan to offer more classes on doctrine, practical theology, because we need to educate ourselves in Christian truth. In fact, you know what we were doing yesterday morning as elders? We were learning. We were conspiring together to teach you about our great God. Listen to the statement we were pondering yesterday, meditating on, wrestling with how to teach. Dan read it for us.
Here’s the statement: “The Lord, our God, is the one and only living and true God, who’s subsistence is in and of himself, who is infinite in being and perfection, who’s essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself, who is the most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts or passions, who only has immortality, who dwells in the light which no man can approach, who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, in every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; who works all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his glory; who is most loving, gracious, merciful, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; who is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him, and who, at the same time is most just and terrible in his judgements, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.”
You know why we want to teach you about God? Because that God is our rock and our refuge. That God is our shield and our great reward. Folks, that’s why Christ suffered and died for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, 1 Peter 3:18, that he might bring us to that God. We want to augur your souls deeply into the bedrock truths about our unchanging God because he is the only anchor who holds fast in a rapidly changing world.
We also plan to offer a mid-week teaching format in the Fall. We’d like to consolidate all our ministries to children and students, bringing them together on one night. At this point, we’re thinking about Wednesday night, but we’d love to hear from you on that, to find the best night to meet the most needs.
Currently our ministry to people is kind of spread out throughout the week, and we have, really, nothing for the adults, so we kind of want to bring families together on one night to the church, then go to different part of the campus for age-appropriate instruction. AWANA for our children 5th grade and under; teach them the storyline of the Bible, teach them to, to memorize scripture. Then we want to step it up for student ministries to young adults, middle school, high school, because we want them to understand not just what those verses are, but what they mean, how they apply, how they, the implications of those on the worldview they face every single day in a hostile school environment.
Then we want to provide adult teaching as well, so we can equip parents to be parents, to strengthen marriages, to teach principles of apologetics and evangelism, worldview for adults. Because that mid-week teaching time is going to require some support, requires some, maybe some nursery workers, other people to serve in AWANA, student ministries, we’d also like to set aside some time on Sundays, maybe late afternoons, early evenings, to minister to those who are busy serving on Sunday mornings, like over there in the children’s wing, and serving during the week, Wednesday evenings. We want to make sure those who serve are encouraged, we want to make sure they’re well fed, make sure they’re well equipped to do the work of the ministry.
You know, there’s another reason, also, for proliferating teaching opportunities around the campus: we need to raise up godly leaders for the future. If we don’t have places for them to learn to teach, then we cannot reproduce ourselves and carry out the mandate that’s given in 2 Tim. 2:2. Paul commanded Timothy there, he said, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
Apart from parents raising and training their own children in the context of the home, that’s the only text of the New Testament that commands Christian education. We’ve historically relied on Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries to conduct that education for us. Well, listen, in this new, anti-Christian climate, which will prohibit and penalize the free exercise of religion, Christian education is under fire. They’re going after it. They already signaled that.
Also, the education that’s going to happen in the context of the local church, that’s where it needs to happen is here. Needs to happen here. Christian education will need to happen in partnership with other local churches that are like-minded. We need to prepared for this. Dr. Albert Mohler is the president of Boyce College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He believes that the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage is going to have the most, eh, al-, almost immediate implications on Christian education, particularly in the areas of faculty and staff hiring, student enrollment, married student housing. If a gay couple comes to your campus and says, “I want housing,” can you let them in if you’re a Christian institution? No. But what’s going to happen to your funding? What’s going to happen to your grant money? What’s going to happen to your student loans? What’s going to happen to your taxes, your tax status? Are you going to be protected anymore? No, you’re not.
In oral arguments before the Supreme Court last month, Donald B. Verrilli, the solicitor general of the United States, member of the Obama Administration, bringing that case to the courts from the administration, Verrilli signaled the government’s intention to do just that. To go after Christian institutions. It’s not enough to tolerate gay marriage anymore. They demand that you celebrate it with them. Anything less than unqualified support and celebration will be interpreted as hostility and hatred, and you’ll be penalized into compliance.
That’s going to apply to all kinds of Christian institutions and parachurch organizations and will likely encroach into local churches as well. If a Christian organization, a college, seminary, church, parachurch, if a Christian organization has the timidity, the courage to stand firm on biblical conviction regarding issues of marriage and sexuality, you know what? It needs to be prepared to forfeit its tax-exempt status, to forfeit federal grants, to forfeit student loans, and perhaps face penalties for engaging in hate speech.
For us, it doesn’t matter if the government penalizes me for attending church, imprisons me for preaching the Gospel. I’m preaching! And I’m gathering…. So glad to hear you clap, because I was about to say I’m gathering with all of you. So, we’ll go to jail together. But, together, by the grace of God, and with the enablement of his Holy Spirit, we’re going to obey his Word. That’s what we’re going to do here. We’re going to follow Paul’s directive to entrust the Gospel ministry to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. And if they double my taxes for coming to church, I’m going to come to church poor, yet rich.
To that end, we also want to strengthen our association and our partnership with like-minded churches. We need friends in the region; we need partners to cooperate with us in reaching northern Colorado with the Gospel of Christ. And just to get things started, and as a ministry to our own church, we’re going to have a men’s conference in October. We’re going to minister to men, we’re going to strengthen them for the unique role that God has given them in leading their homes, in taking initiative as strong men, courageous men in the workplace and society, as husbands, as fathers, we’re going to strengthen their hand. We’re going to tell them and remind them of what God created them to do. It’s not to sit around and be the butt of every joke on a sitcom. Men are to be men as God designed them.
I’ve gone a little bit longer than I probably should have, but you know that about me by now. But I just wanted you to have a little perspective about why, about what we’re doing and then why, wha-, what we’re doing here is so vitally important. You need to understand, this is the place to be. This is the place to be, because your leadership, coming before you today, has every conviction that I’ve laid out here. These are their convictions. These are your convictions. We stand together.
I just wanted to give you also a little preview of what’s coming. This church is definitely worth praying fervently about, supporting faithfully, serving diligently. And just understand, God has raised us up for such a time as this. That’s why we’re here. And we have his backing. When we stand and we face the enemy, not the world, understand, they’re our mission field, when we stand and face the enemy, who is Satan and all his hoard, the spirit of the age that’s coursing through the minds of all these people, when we stand and face that, you know what? Behind us is our great God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and he’s the one who will go before us. Amen?
Well, let me just pray briefly and then bring Gary back up, to come because we have a couple of items of business to take care of. Let me pray.
Father, we commit ourselves to you. Everything that we have described here is our shared conviction and we stand, because you help us to stand. We pray that you give us courage and boldness to face whatever is coming in the future. Help us to be gracious and winsome. Winning souls for the sake of Christ and his glory. Amen.