Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; ESV
Please also read Romans 3: 21 – 31
When I recently read a story from Fox News, I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. I wanted to Google it and find other sources to confirm or deny the story. I found a few different sources about the topic and yet I still hold my reservations until I research it more. The story is out of Houston where allegedly the Mayor of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. Should those ministers fail to comply could be held in contempt of court and face being arrested.
And, of course, we can remember earlier this year the controversy from Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame when he spoke out against homosexuality as being a sin. More and more, people are taking great offense to others saying what is and is not sin. The hot topic is the same-sex debate, but I will not focus on this; at least not alone.
It is the duty and obligation of the clergy to inform those whom God brings into their lives what sin is. Sin, and specific sins as identified by the Word of God (the Bible) is that which goes against God’s will, nature, and commands. As clergy, preaching on sin will indeed present separation and conflict because there are those who do not consider such things to be sin. These same people can justify their actions and beliefs in the eyes of man; however, clergy are trying to look at things through the eyes of God and in accordance to His Word. This is why I shared the passage from 1 Corinthians 6. It addresses several different sins at one time; however, it’s not limited to those sins alone. If I, as a pastor, were to eliminate any one from that list and justify that removal for whatever reason I give, I have compromised the Word of God and placed the eternal soul of my listeners in grave danger – regardless of what man may/may not believe. To make matters worse, if I neglect to share the truth of what sin is, according to God’s guidelines, I have created a greater sin!
This being said, it is the clergy’s obligation to not leave things there; meaning just pointing out what sin is must only be the beginning. As a pastor, I am not called to judge anyone nor am I to condemn anyone. I am called to share what sin is, to follow the way of Christ and bring forgiveness and hope to those searching for restoration, to help those entrusted to my care grow in maturity in their relationship with God the Father/Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit, to turn from sinful habits/desires, and to be there for them in the ways God leads me. I will never preach hatred; I will never support those who will use their faith as a weapon against a person or group of people, and I will stand and defend those who are wrongly judged and persecuted.
At the same time, I will not compromise what God’s Word says about what sin is, what God instructs His people to stand for and against, and I will not allow human acceptance of sinful lifestyles to be preached in the church as being accepted by God. As a pastor, I serve and answer to one: God alone. This stance I know will cause me to lose friends, family and more. I must obey what God calls me to do, say, write, and live. What exactly is that? Simply put: to love the Lord God with all that I am and to love others, period. When I love you, I am not judging you. When I love you, I am forgiving you. As I love you, I will help you better yourself. And by loving you, we grow closer together as friends and family.
God defines sin. Clergy proclaims to the world what God says is sin, God’s plan for redemption for sin, and His desire to restore our relationship with Him – in spite of our sinful nature. We, as clergy, are not perfect; for we are also sinners. We know from experience how God can and does restore us unto Himself. Now, we are trying to share that with you.