Archive for May, 2016

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN

Leviticus 9:23-10:2  “And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”

THE TRAGEDY OF THEIR LIVES – One of the most tragic statements can ever be made about someone’s life is “What could have been” – This is what can be said about Nadab and Abihu.  They could have done so much for the Lord, they could have set a great example, they could have been remembered in their family and history as great men and great men of God; but they are not. They became part of the long line of the “What could have been’s” – They had it all at one point, and then died an early death because of sinful mistakes. What remained of their lives was wasted. Let’s look at what they had going for them.·

  • They were the two oldest sons of Aaron, nephews of Moses, they were among the privileged to see God and live to tell about it. (Exodus 24:9-11 – Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.)
  • God called them out for appointment to the priesthood and ministry to Him. (Exodus 28:1 – And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
  • After this calling out by God, God Himself participated in their ordination service to the priesthood and His ministry. (Leviticus 9:23-24 – And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.)

ONE SEEMINGLY SMALL ACT (OR SIN) RUINED EVERYTHING – Don’t make the same mistakes that Nadab and Abihu did in throwing away a promising future for one moment, for one act, for one lapse of judgment. Always, always, always do things God’s way. Always put God first in your life and in your decision making. Establish convictions on what you will and will not do in certain situations based on God’s word and stick with those convictions. There is a famous song that states “I did it my way”; what a horrible statement this is that can lead to a life of ruin. We should hopefully never be able to say that about our lives. We should always strive to always do things God’s way and never our own way. (Galatians 6:7-8 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.)

No sooner had they enjoyed the great blessing of God consecrating them for His service in a glorious moment in front of the whole nation of Israel, that then Nadab and Abihu ruin everything. Just as Adam and Eve had it all in the Garden of Eden, and chose to disobey God in their pride, so too Nadab and Abihu ruin their lives and bring great grief upon countless other lives by their sin.

THE EFFECT OF YOUR SIN – Your sin does not just effect you, it also effect’s everyone else in your life too. Psalm 119:136 was spoken in reference to the sins of others “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.”Doing things your way, your mistakes, your sins don’t just effect you, they affect everyone that loves and cares about you; they also affect all those who in the future you could have ministered too if it were not for those mistakes. Just as fire from God had consumed the animal sacrifice, it now fell upon Nadab and Abihu and consumed them because of their tragic sin and mistake.

Biblical Instruction on Gender Identity

Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

Moses gave us some foundational and relevant instruction on a hot topic of discussion happening today. Moses in his writings in the Pentateuch, gave the world God’s foundational teachings and truths on this topic of gender identity and transgenderism.

INTRODUCTION: First, before we delve into this topic of transgenderism and gender identity, we have to establish what sources are used for truth. We have to establish that absolute truth, that absolute rights, and absolute wrongs do exist. Something’s are right or permitted to be done as long as they are in the bounds of God’s Word; and something’s are wrong and sinful to do. We have to acknowledge that there is sin in the world. We have to acknowledge that there are evil things in this world. We have to be willing to accept that certain acts committed by men are in fact evil in the sight of God and condemned as such by Him in His Word.

We have going on in the news today several examples of this topic that we are going to examine in light of God’s Word. We have the new bathroom policy implemented by Target stores – In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”  We also have in North Carolina the law designed to protect the privacy and safety of women and children while using the restroom by restricting people to using the bathroom that corresponds to their sex that is on their birth certificate. Since this North Carolina law has taken affect the state has been threatened and now sued by the federal government claiming the right of a transgender person to use the bathroom of their choice, trumps the right to privacy and safety of the other 99.7% of the population of the United States.

The Texas Attorney General in response to the bathroom policy of Target issued this statement – “As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,”. American Family Association President had this to say on this topic “Nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy …Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable.” – As you can see, we live in a world that seems to have lost what historically most would have considered basic common sense. What is up is now down, what is right is now wrong, what was wrong is now right. The Bible warned us about this in Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” “Modern social righteousness often differs from the righteousness of the Bible. Someone has said: ‘A wrong deed is right if the majority of people declare it not to be wrong.’ By this principle we can see our standards shifting from year to year according to the popular vote!”Rev. Billy Graham. Hazen G. Werner, who served as a United Methodist bishop in Ohio, Hong Kong and Taiwan, once said this: “There is no more startling phenomenon in our day than the respectabilization of evil.” We are seeing this phenomenon taking place right before our eyes today. Today we are seeing things that were once generally accepted as being good, getting challenged over and over again. Governments and courts are redefining marriage and ruling that those desiring to live by Biblical standards are law breakers. So how does one know what is right and wrong in areas of morality, and specifically in the area of transgenderism? The answer I would argue is very simple; but we will first consider a few things.

WHAT DO MANY ACCEPT AS AUTHORITY IN MORALITY? 

Their feelings. – If it feels good to them it must be right. The Bible warns us against trusting our feelings. (Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.). Others may say I have to follow my heart. The Bible also warns us against doing that as well. (Proverbs 28:26a – He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool:). Many people have destroyed their lives by trusting their feelings or following their heart. (Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?)

Their conscience – As the saying goes “Let your conscience be your guide” – But your conscience will not always be reliable, especially if you are not saved. A better saying would be to “Always let the Holy Spirit that lives in you be your guide”. An example of a conscience not being right is found in the life of Paul. He let his unsaved conscience guide him to persecute Christians. (Acts 26:9-11 – I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.)

Their friends – “Everyone else is doing it” – Remember everyone else in Noah’s day did not trust God and get on the Ark. How did that work out for them? Don’t use what everyone else does as your guide to morality but rather choose the right path and the narrow way that leads to a joyous life. (Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.)

NOW LETS EXAMINE THE CHRISTIANS AUTHORITY IN MORALITY

Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18). Jesus has all authority in all areas, including areas of sexual morals and behavior. (Ephesians 4:21-24 – If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.)·         Jesus will one day judge all of mankind. (Acts 17:31 –  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.)·         Jesus will use His Word as the standard to judge all men. (John 12:48 – He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.)

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, guided what the Apostles wrote about morality in their writings.  (John 16: 12-13 – I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.) – The argument that says Jesus did not say anything about it does not hold water. Jesus used the Holy Spirit to author the entire Bible. The entire Bible is what Jesus said. (II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.)

This authority pertains to all areas including areas of morality. – Paul charged the church of Thessalonica regarding moral issues (I Thessalonians 4:1-8). Paul also addressed the churches of Ephesus and Corinth regarding issues of morality.

CONFUSION ABOUT MORALITY – With the sources of authority the world uses you can see why there would be confusion about morality. This brings me to my original point in order to get to where one can know for sure what is really right or what is really evil in the sight of God; one has to acknowledge that absolute truth does exist and the authority for establishing that absolute truth comes from Christ Jesus. The Christian need not to be confused about moral issues, because God, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” II Peter 1:3. All need to know and accept by faith what Jesus said “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. If God is not the author of confusion then who is? —- The father of lies – Satan; and he uses his lies to help cause the confusion of the transgender person. (John 8:44 – Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.)

SO WHAT ABOUT BEING TRANSEXUAL OR TRANSGENDER?  – Deuteronomy 22:5 says “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” We find also that Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 19:4 “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” – Notice Jesus said it is God that makes people male or female. They do not later get to decide or identify as a different gender, it is God that makes that determination and that determination was made before their conception.  This verse tells us clearly that women are not to dress in a way or present themselves in a way that would lead one to possibly confuse them with a man or present themselves in a masculine way, with masculine characteristics to their dress or hair. It also teaches us clearly that men are not to dress up like women or present themselves physically in a way that could lead them to be confused for a women or to dress or present themselves in an effeminate manner.

Charles Ryrie said this about this passage – “In that society male and female dress were similar, making distinctive styles for the sexes especially important to help prevent transvestism and homosexuality.” 

The British Family Bible Commentary states this about this verse in Deuteronomy “If there were no distinction of sexes, made by their habits, it would open a door to all manner of impurity: for which reason, if there were no other, this law was very wise and pious.”

It goes against nature to blur the distinction between male and female. When such blurring of these distinctions begins it creates confusion and opens the door to all kinds of unspeakable sins. It is not just a blurring of the distinctions between male and female but those who proclaim themselves as transgender or transsexual most likely are really suffering from a psychological disorder or the effects of sinfulness of some kind; because the Bible clearly teaches all people were made either male or female by God. God is not the author of confusion and thinking one is supposed to be the opposite sex of one’s birth is a clear indication of major confusion. (I Corinthians 14:33 – For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.)

AN EXAMPLE OF THE CONFUSION INVOLVED IN THE SIN OF TRANSGENDERISMThere was a man who had medical procedures in the 1980’s to become like a women. He has since reverted back to his biological gender as that of a man. He changed back because he said he found God and God redeemed him, forgave him and changed his life and gave him the hope he had been searching for. This man lived for 8 years as a woman. He said the physical change did nothing to resolve his mental and emotional struggles. He simply needed God and instead searched for fulfillment in other things. He said one day he had an epiphany, he was not transgender he realized he was simply a man with a psychological problem. He now says that no one is born transgender but people can suffer from psychological disorders brought about by sin. Either their own sin or by being abused sinfully by others usually at an early age. This man said “God designed man; He designed women, God will redeem the lives of people who struggle with gender identity issues just like I did. He redeemed my life, and I’ve been free from it as a result of that. I can see that changing genders, quite frankly is just pure foolishness.” God’s power, love and forgiveness can redeem sinful man; it can redeem the transgender person. We need to demonstrate God’s love and compassion to the transgender person, while making sure at the same time to not condone their sin. Remember, such were some of the church at Corinth and God changed their lives and used them to do great things for Him. (I Corinthians 6:11 – And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.)

SO IS TRANSGENDERISM ACCEPTABLE OR SHOULD WE ACCEPT IT? – NO, it is NOT acceptable in God’s sight. It should NOT be accepted. It is not intolerant to be against sin. It is loving to be against sin and proclaim sin as sin. It is wrong to remain silent on the issue when you know the truth; and you know the truth has the power to set men free from the shackles of sin and the shackles of the sin of transgenderism. (John 8:32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)

It is not acceptable because God created two distinct genders and roles at creation. (Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.)

It is not acceptable because nature teaches us that transgender conduct is sinful. (Romans 1:26-27 – For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.)

It is not acceptable because it disregards our God given gender. (Deuteronomy 22:5 – The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.)Ø  It is not acceptable because it promotes homosexuality. (Leviticus 18:22 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.)

It is not acceptable because it dishonors God’s creation. (Romans 1:24 – Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:)

It is not acceptable because it dishonors marriage and the home as ordained by God. (Genesis 2:23-24 – And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.)

IN CONCLUSION: Temptations and sin are not insurmountable. There is no sin too big or egregious that God cannot forgive and help the sinner to overcome it. We need to be ministry minded to those who are affected by this sin. Remember how God was able to use those that used to be affected by this sin in the church of Corinth to do service for Him. God can change lives and change hearts if the person affected by this sin will open up and let Him. It is that God forms our identity as male or female and He knows us before our birth. (Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.)

We just examined a foundational truth as found in the writings of Moses in Deuteronomy 22:5. This truth is a key teaching to be familiar with in light of current events going on in our country. We have to establish that absolute truth that absolute rights and absolute wrongs do exist. In order to get to where one can know for sure what is really right or what is really evil in the sight of God; one has to acknowledge that absolute truth does exist and the authority for establishing that absolute truth comes from Christ Jesus. We learned that this passage given to us through Moses clearly teaches women are not to dress in a way or present themselves in a way that would lead one to possibly confuse them with a man or present themselves in a masculine way and that men are not to dress up like women or present themselves physically in a way that could lead them to be confused for a women or to dress or present themselves in an effeminate manner.

Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord , and to do it , and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

To Ezra the law of God was more important than the teachings of the day. Gods Word took the preeminence in his life. Ezra sought to learn the law of the Lord. He searched the Scriptures seeking knowledge of God. Then he set about to teach and share what he had learned about God with others.

Is God’s Word that important to us? Are we purposely seeking to learn His Word so we can then share the good news of Christ with others? – Have you prepared your heart to learn of God and live for Him? Are you seeking out the truth of God’s Word? Are you seeking to grow spiritually?

The lack of spiritual growth in the life of a Christian is a very dangerous thing. It can lead you to live a life of foolishness, it can lead you to make dumb and dangerous decisions that can have drastic and life altering consequences for you. The lack of spiritual maturity is sad and dangerous because there may be blessings to be enjoyed in Christ that only the mature or maturing Christian can truly understand and enjoy. The spiritual immature do not fully understand or grasp the incredible importance of their standing with Christ. Staying spiritually immature is dangerous in that in leaves those people wide open to falling for the “wiles of the devil”.

Are you preparing your heart to seek and to learn the Word of God? Are you acting on what you have already learned of the Word of God? Are you teaching and sharing what you have learned from the Word of God with others?