Our, ‘What About?’ series, aims to answer the most common questions we get asked as a Christian Church in Texas.
Watch the sermon or read the manuscript to find out where we stand on Same Sex Marriage.
What About, Same Sex Marriage?: Sermon Manuscript
This morning we are continuing our series called, “What About?” You can look through the devotional to see where we are going next week.
The first week we talked about the role of women, then we talked about abortion, then we talked about those who have never heard about Jesus, sex before marriage, racism, politics, and last Sunday we talked about homosexuality, all of which you can find on our YouTube Channel, and this morning we are talking about same sex marriage.
I am sure we all know this conversation is layered with politics, emotions, personal, government, history, and all those layers make this conversation complicated, but I hope there are some things that are clear as we go through this series.
I hope it was clear last Sunday that God’s Word is absolutely against the oppression of all people, no matter their sexual choices.
I hope it was clear that we approach this conversation, and every conversation with humility, because none of us are going through life in a place of superiority.
I hope it has been clear that Scripture makes it clear we are all sinners. We have all fallen short of God’s glory. We have all manifested sexual desires that are contrary to God’s Word, but the hope for humanity is that Jesus has come to expose our brokenness by living the perfect life on earth, taking our injustice upon Himself at the cross, and through the resurrection He invites all people to call on His name, receive His righteousness by grace through faith, so that we might find a fullness of life in Him. That’s the gospel!
It is with this context of the gospel that we talk about same sex marriage, and I am certain we won’t be able to touch on every part of our conversation this morning, but we do want to be clear on these three sub-points; 1. Define the Conversation. 2. How Does God’s Word Respond? 3. What Are The Hurdles? Let’s look at our first sub-point; 1. Define the Conversation.
- Define the Conversation.
When it comes to the conversation around same-sex marriage we need to start with history. The question of civil unions for same sex couples started in the 1970’s, but the legal union of marriage began to get traction in 1993 when a Hawaiian Supreme Court ruled that the states prohibition might be unconstitional.
As a result, the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 which held to the position that marriage was one man and one woman and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage granted under the laws of others states.
But, in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, therefore, legalizing same-sex marriage in all fifty states.
Today, in the United States, all people, regardless of sex, have the opportunity to participate in marriage, so that today there are three primary responses you will see around this conversation:
First, there are some who look at God’s Word, and conclude that same-sex marriage should be opposed at all levels. God’s Word speaks against homosexuality, therefore why would we embrace this as a nation through the establishment of same-sex marriage?
In addition, God’s Word describes marriage as one man and one woman, therefore, the logic is for those who oppose same-sex marriage, there is no such thing as “same-sex marriage” therefore, same-sex marriage should be rejected by any means possible.
Equally as important, those who oppose same-sex marriage are also concerned for religious liberty protected under the First Amendment, because what happens when people are required under law to provide or perform in same-sex marriages?
Second, there are some who look at God’s Word, and conclude that same-sex marriage should be supported at all levels. God’s Word values all people, therefore, why should all people not have access and availability to the commitment of marriage?
Often times this group will compare same-sex marriage to that of inter-racial marriages of the 1950’s, and even if people think it is wrong, shouldn’t happen, or uncomfortable, it is obvious to this second group that it should happen.
In addition, same-sex marriage honors the commitment of marriage, fidelity, and love, which are biblical values, therefore, why would we not want to encourage these values in other people? Do you remember when we talked about grace and truth, and sometimes you can take them too far?
Third, there are some who look at God’s Word, and conclude followers of Jesus can support laws that make same-sex marriage available to all people, and want to protect religious liberty for those who are uncomfortable providing or performing in same-sex marriages based on their beliefs.
In addition, separation of church and state is a value that is deeply imbedded in our country. The separation isn’t to guard the state from the churches, but the separation is to guard the church (faith of the people) from the state, because at no point do we want the federal government telling any faith groups in our country what to believe and not believe.
For me personally, I’ll tell you this is a tough one. I can see why the conversation around “available to all people” carries so much weight. I can also see why a follower of Jesus would hold fast to a biblical view of marriage, between one man and one woman.
I can also see we why we want to guard the freedoms of religious liberty for all faiths, and each of these responses carries a ripple of effects that I am wrestling with as a follower of Jesus, and I want to invite you to do the same, and at the end of the day, we must all submit those responses to the Lord, and follow Him. Let’s look at God’s Word:
- How Does God’s Word Respond?
As I prepared this week, I thought we could go through each of those responses, and weigh out the pro’s and con’s, but instead I thought it would be better for us to lift up the gift of biblical marriage, and remind ourselves why this conversation is worth having.
It’s possible that some might see marriage as a glorified dating experiment, so what’s the big deal, but I want us to look at Genesis 2 to see how the glorious gift of marriage directly impacts the stability of human society in ways we could never imagine. Look at Genesis 2, verse 18:
Genesis 2:18, “18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
In Genesis 2 we see God zero in on His prized creation, humanity, and when you see the phrase “It is not good for the man to be alone” you are seeing the gift of marriage beginning to be introduced to humanity. The first wedding invitation! It’s right there!
This phrase, “It is not good for man to be alone” should jump off the page, because up to this point everything God has done has been, “Good.” God creates, “Good, light, good, land, good” but now in verse 18 Scripture says, “It is not good.” What!
This is before sin (Genesis 3). How could anything not be good? Adam is in the garden face to face with God, he’s playing with lions, tigers, and bears, but in verse 18 Scripture says, “It is not good for the man to be alone” so that in verse 18 is a big deal.
Keep in mind, Moses is writing these words in the midst of Israel coming out of slavery in Egypt, and in a culture of sexual desires swirling all around we see God’s Word pointing us back to what He intended at the very beginning and highlighting what’s most important for humanity.
In addition, notice at the end of verse 18 that it says, “I will make him a helper suitable for him.” When you see the words like “Helper” and “Suitable” it could make our eyes start twitching.
Remember, we reference this verse in our first message about women, because at first glance this language looks condescending, but you can’t let the “cultural baggage” of 2021 distract you from these beauty of these words.
First, we know Genesis 1 says, “Male and female are made in the image of God” so this word “Helper” can’t mean women are inferior.
In fact, this word “Helper” in the original language is a word of power. This word “Helper” has a connotation of military reinforcements, like, “Oh, no, get the helper!”
This word “Helper” is the same word used of “God as our helper” in Psalm 54. This is the same word that Jesus assigns to the Holy Spirit as “Our Helper” so that in verse 18 the God of Scripture is looking at Adam, and saying, “I am going to send him the Helper.”
And she’s not just any old “helper.” She’s a “suitable helper.” Do you see that word in verse 18? She’s a complimentary helper.
The God of Scripture could have brought in an animal, could have brought in another man, but the gift of marriage is set apart to be one man, one woman, so that they might compliment one another.
Listen, this is difficult to grasp in our Western Culture, but in Genesis we are seeing the building blocks as individuals become a family in marriage, and those families become a clan, and those clans become a tribe, and those tribes become a nation, so that what happens at the individual level in marriage influences the whole.
This doesn’t mean you have to get married, or have to have children, but society is going to be at its best when one man, one woman come together in the commitment of marriage. Look at verses 19-20:
Genesis 2:19-20, “19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.”
In verse 18 we see the divine role of a wife in marriage, and in verses 19-20 we see the divine role of a husband in marriage as a spiritual leader as Adam is given the responsibility to name creation. Do you see that?
Earlier in verse 15 you see Adam given responsibility to care for the garden. In verse 16 you see God speaking directly to Adam to obey God and enjoy God, so that in Genesis 2 we see the divine role of a husband in marriage as a spiritual leader in marriage.
It doesn’t mean the husband’s the boss. It doesn’t mean he’s more important. It doesn’t mean he gets what he wants. It means someone needs to be responsible for the health of the marriage, and God has given that responsibility to the husband.
It’s possible you are thinking, “I thought we were talking about same-sex marriage?” We are, and it’s important to clarify that we aren’t just talking about being “For” or “Against” same-sex marriage as an independent conversation.
We are talking about the gift of marriage. Marriage doesn’t exist because the government gives us a license to get married. Marriage is a supernatural gift from God that predates government, and plays a vital role in society, and from the very beginning we see there are divine roles in marriage.
One time I was sitting down with a couple who didn’t believe in the Bible, didn’t believe in Jesus, and they asked if I would help them get ready for marriage.
I said to them, “You don’t want me to help you get ready for marriage, because I am going lead you in the direction of biblical marriage.” (Genesis 2)
They said, “What’s biblical marriage?” I then described what we just went through. A supportive wife, a husband who takes responsibility, and we talked about what that looked like practically, and the woman said, “I don’t believe anything you just said, but I want a marriage like that.” Look at verses 21-22:
Genesis 2:21-22, “21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”
In verse 21we the woman comes from the man’s rib. One theologian made the observation it isn’t from Adam’s feet to be under him, or Adam’s head to be over him, but his side to be near his heart, and in verse 22 God brings the woman to the man to be given in marriage.
Notice the picture that is being described in verse 22 is that of a wedding as the God of Scripture brings the woman to be the man’s wife.
You might not know it, but this is why at weddings we have the father walk his daughter down the aisle, people stand in reverence, and the officiate asks, “Who gives this woman to be the man’s bride?” It’s a throwback to Genesis 2.
The presentation of the bride isn’t because she’s the pretties, the purest, or the nicest, but she’s the reminder of Genesis 2 when marriage is introduced to humanity. Look at how man responds in verse 23:
Genesis 2:23, “23 The man 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.”
In verse 23 we see language which is that of a poem. It’s a song. It’s an outburst of excitement. The woman’s not a possession to be received. She’s a crown to be treasured. It’s the gift of marriage!
Again, our purpose in life isn’t to get married. It doesn’t matter if you are single, married, heterosexual desires, or homosexual desires, but that all of us would see that biblical marriage is a gift that absolutely ripples into society in ways we could never imagine. Look at verses 24-25:
Genesis 2:24-25, “24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
In verse 24 you see the sexual union taking place between husband and wife. We talked about this a few weeks ago. It is the chemical and biological attachment that takes place between two people when we experience sexual release. It’s in Scripture!
This isn’t dating. This isn’t two people living together. This is the foundation that launches a family. Unites clans. Builds tribes, and establishes nations, and we are deceiving ourselves if we think we can just tweak foundational parts of humanity, and it not ripple into society, which is what makes this conversation important. Lets talk about the hurdles:
3. What Are The Hurdles?
- How should someone’s faith influence society? As a follower of Jesus, we are called to be salt and light. We are called to seek justice. We are called to be a blessing and a benefit to those around us, see Matthew 5.And, at the same time Scripture guards the follower of Jesus from pushing biblical values on a people who aren’t followers of Jesus, see 1 Corinthians 5, so that we need to wrestle with what this looks like practically.
- Should the follower of Jesus attend or participate in same-sex marriage? I can tell you that North Village Church will not host or perform same-sex marriages, but each of us needs to wrestle with how we respond personally to same-sex marriage. There are times when it might be helpful to attend, and there are times when it might be helpful to decline.
- Does this mean people with homosexual desires who submit those desires to Jesus might not ever get married? Maybe. First, it is possible that Jesus can change our sexual desires, because that’s what He does as we mature and grow in Him in all areas of our lives. Second, it is likely that marriage and children have been too elevated in the local church. We do want to hold marriage in high regard, but our purpose in life isn’t to get married and have children, and it is likely the local church has a lot to learn from those who are setting aside their sexual desires to follow Jesus.
- Are we being consistent in our convictions on marriage? Are we being careful not to just isolate same-sex marriage in our attempt to hold marriage in high regard? Are we stewarding the gift of marriage in our own life personally? Are we challenging heterosexual couples who are professing faith in Christ and living together before marriage? Are we challenging couples who profess faith in Christ, and are quick to get a divorce, remarry, and divorce? I believe it was Reagan who implemented “No Fault Divorce” in California in the 1970’s and today divorce is rippling through our country.
- Should there be a distinction between civil unions and biblical marriage? It is possible that some might pursue civil unions that are made available to all citizens to have all the privileges of marriage, but the local church is free to officiate biblical marriages, and perhaps that is a common ground that would be helpful.
Overall, lets close with a reminder of why Jesus is so important. It’s possible that this conversation on marriage and sexuality is too difficult to explore, and if so, then I would encourage you to set this conversation aside for the moment, because at the center of this conversation isn’t sexual and societal ethics, but at the center of this conversation is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Therefore, might we all begin this conversation by leaning into the life of Jesus. Reading about the life of Jesus. Looking upon the life of Jesus, and seeing the One who created us, knows us, loves us, and even when we spat in His face to reject Him, He pursues us to the point of death on a cross, and conquers death in the resurrection.
Do you know why, it is because Jesus loves you? He loves you so much. The invitation of Jesus isn’t to get married one day. The invitation of Jesus is that He’s already prepared a great wedding day for you. He’s already come to make you pure, dressed in white, ready to be presented at the gates of heaven.
Might we all start there and hear Jesus inviting us to submit the whole of our life to Him. We will have people at the front to pray for you. Will you pray with me?
North Village Church
This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.
Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.
North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.
You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.
Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.