SERIES: Jesus Loves People
MESSAGE: Jesus Loves Homosexuals - Part 1
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: John 8:1-11

MESSAGE SUMMARY
There is not a hotter or more controversial subject being discussed today in our country than homosexuality. Voices are loud and tempers run hot whenever this subject is mentioned. Although the text before us doesn’t deal specifically with homosexuality, it does show us how Jesus approached a woman caught in sexual sin and what He had to say to those who were quick to condemn her.

STUDY GUIDE

Few pastors speak on homosexuality, because they worry about losing church members and diminishing tithes. The subject is made more complicated by media spin, political rhetoric, and arguing. Some consider it too distasteful or painful to think about. Many who are homosexual have been bashed by preachers, thumped by Bible verses, and rejected by Christians. While John 8:1-11 does not deal specifically with homosexuality, from it we discover how to address sexual sin in general—including homosexuality.

First, we see that Jesus was candid with all people. He was honest with the woman in our passage when He told her to ʺgo and sin no moreʺ (v. 11), thus referring to her sexual behavior as sinful. He was not condemning her sexuality, but her choice to express her sexuality in a way God had not prescribed. Our response to anyone’s sin should reflect the God we say we follow: we should love the person enough to tell him or her the truth. Homosexuality is mentioned seven times in Scripture (see Genesis 19, Leviticus 18; 20; Judges 19; Romans 1; 1 Corinthians 6; 1 Timothy 1). The Bible teaches that homosexuality is sin and is contrary to God’s original purpose and plan. In addressing it, we must have Peter’s mindset when he said to the Sanhedrin, ʺWhether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge…. We ought to obey God rather than menʺ (Acts 4:19; 5:29). We must not handle biblical prohibitions irresponsibly, nor can we shape them around personal or cultural preferences. We should never think God blesses the very behavior He denounces. Whatever the culture tells us, God’s revelation trumps all. However, in loving others, we should note the difference between a preference and a practice. The woman in this passage had a preference that became her practice; she was attracted to a man who was not her husband, and she followed her desire into adultery. The good news is that an orientation or a preference does not have to define a person when a spiritual orientation can. We must choose to be defined not by our preferences but by our submission to God. What does this mean? Read Romans 8:1-2. Have you experienced this freedom? Do you want others to?

Next, we consider that God condemns all sin, including hypocrisy, and that Jesus was confrontational with all hypocrites (see vv. 3-9a). The scribes and Pharisees were legalists who claimed to keep the Law and were zealous to judge the woman by the Law. Consequently, they gave a one-sided interpretation of Leviticus 20, which declares that both ʺthe adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to deathʺ (v. 10). This was because they were not really concerned about morality, but mortality; they were hoping to trap Jesus so that they could kill Him. They did not bring the woman to Jesus because they hated adultery; they brought her because they hated Jesus and were using her for their purposes. In response, Jesus raised the situation from a legal issue to a spiritual issue: they were unfit to be her executioners because they were not without sin. Self-righteous judgment becomes its own gallows (read Esther 5:14; 7:9). However, if we are in touch with our own fallen nature, we will be more compassionate with all unbelievers, whether gay or straight. The Bible has strong things to say about homosexuality, but it also says strong things about divorce, lust, idolatry, and greed (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). We were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord; what makes us forget this? Read Ephesians 2:8-10.

Lastly, we see that Jesus was compassionate with all sinners. We read that He ʺwas left alone, and the woman standing in the midstʺ (v. 9). In that gathering, there had been only one who was qualified to throw stones, and He didn't. Has this changed? How do we throw stones now? What should we do instead? The accusers were concerned with her punishment, but Jesus was concerned with her. Many people with same-sex attraction feel alienated and uniquely condemned by the church. Historically, the Christian church has been good at showing contempt but bad at showing compassion. It is time to reverse that, using the acronym LOVE. Listen: don’t offer advice until you have really listened. Offer support: pray, wrestle with the issues, and stand with the person through their ups and downs. Voice God’s truth: don’t be embarrassed by the Bible, but watch your tone and speak with tenderness (see Ephesians 4:15). Esteem: all people deserve respect because they are made in the image of God. Read Colossians 1:13-17. Discuss. Church should be a refuge for struggling people, not a museum of perfect people.

Adapted from Pastor Skip’s teaching

The BIG Idea
ʺWe are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good worksʺ (Ephesians 2:10). Join Jesus in saying, ʺNeither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.ʺ

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. There are some truths that are inconvenient truths to hear
    2. Homosexuality is one of the top ten issues facing the church today
    3. It's a difficult subject, made more complicated by our culture
      1. Some don't like to think or talk about it
      2. For others, it's too painful
    4. There is no passage where Jesus encountered a homosexual
      1. Assumed that heterosexuality was the norm
      2. How Jesus dealt with a woman caught in sexual sin
  2. Jesus Was Candid with All People (vv. 1-2)
    1. By and large, Jesus taught people
      1. He was always honest, candid
      2. We know this because many times, people didn't like what they heard
      3. The hard sayings or difficult statements of Jesus
        1. Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23
        2. John 6:60: too hard for them to tolerate
        3. John 4:16-18
    2. "Go and sin no more" (v. 11)
      1. Sin refers to her behavior of adultery
      2. Jesus didn't say mistake, hang-up, propensity, or alternate lifestyle
      3. He framed for her how God viewed her action of adultery
      4. He did not condemn her sexuality
      5. He was not referring to her preference, but her practice
      6. Instead of condemning her as a sexual being, He denounced the way she chose to express her sexuality—adultery
    3. We should respond in the way that the God we say we follow does
      1. John 3:16
      2. If God loves the world, then we should love the people in that world
    4. One of the most loving things you can do is tell people the truth
    5. The authority of Scripture
      1. Homosexuality is mentioned seven times in the Bible
      2. Genesis 19; Leviticus 18; 20; Judges 19; Romans 1; 1 Corinthians 6; 1 Timothy 1
      3. According to the Bible, homosexuality is sin, contrary to God's plan and design for humanity
    6. Acts 4:19; 5:29
    7. We can't handle biblical prohibitions irresponsibly; we can't shape them around our personal or cultural preferences
      1. We can never think that God will bless what He denounces
      2. Culture, body chemistry, genetics, feelings—the Bible trumps them all
      3. Just because someone has a preference for something doesn't make it morally correct
      4. This woman had a preference: she was attracted to a man outside of her marriage
      5. She yielded to that temptation, and it became an act and thus sinful
    8. A sexual orientation does not have to define you when a spiritual orientation can define you
    9. It is true that God loves the sinner but hates the sin
      1. Romans 2:4
      2. Jesus came to remove the debt of sin from all people
      3. He condemns all forms of sin, including hypocrisy
  3. Jesus Was Confrontational with All Hypocrites (vv. 3-9a)
    1. Scribes copied the Law by hand
    2. Pharisees were the legalists who claimed that they kept the Law
    3. Problems with their statement (see v. 5)
      1. They hadn't stoned anybody in Israel for over 1,000 years; that was something relegated to the wilderness
      2. They gave a one-sided misinterpretation of Leviticus 20:10; where was the man?
      3. They were not concerned about morality, but mortality
        1. They wanted Jesus dead
        2. They were looking for some way to trap Him
    4. This is the only time we find Jesus wrote anything
      1. Greek word kategraphen, to write an accusation against someone
      2. Jesus may have been writing the names of the religious leaders and their secret sins
    5. Verse 7
      1. Jesus raised the issue from a legal issue to a spiritual issue
      2. They had to be anamartétos: one who has not sinned, one who cannot sin
    6. Self-righteous judgment always becomes its own gallows
      1. If we were in touch with our own fallenness and desperate need for God, we would be more compassionate with all unbelievers, gay or straight
      2. "Outsiders say our hostility toward gays—not just opposition to homosexual politics and behavior but disdain for gay individuals—has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith" —David Kinnaman, Unchristian
    7. The Bible has some strong things to say about homosexuality
      1. But the Bible also has strong things to say about divorce, lust, adultery, greed, gossip
      2. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
  4. Jesus Was Compassionate with All Sinners (vv. 9b-11)
    1. "Go and sin no more" (v. 11): the implication is faith and repentance
    2. Woman was a term of respect
      1. Jesus called his own mother woman
      2. John 2:4; 19:26
      3. By calling this adulteress woman, Jesus was giving back a little of her dignity
    3. Love is the heart of the gospel
      1. Jesus was bold—calling it sin—and confrontational with the hypocrites
      2. But He was compassionate with this woman
    4. Many with same-sex attraction feel uniquely condemned by the church
  5. Closing
    1. LOVE
      1. Listen
        1. Don't give advice before you've heard the story
        2. People listen to about 10 percent of what someone tells them
      2. Offer support
      3. Voice God's truth
        1. At some point, you need to share what the Bible says
        2. Don't ever be embarrassed by what the Bible says
        3. But watch your tone
          1. Ephesians 4:15
          2. Truth and love are married
      4. Esteem
        1. All humans deserve respect
        2. We've all been created in the image of God
    2. The church should be a refuge for struggling people, not a museum for perfect people
    3. "Whenever I walk through our city, with skies so big and so blue, I go by a great big church house with people so strong and so true. I suppose I passed it a hundred times, but today I stopped in for a minute, and looked at that church, that tragic church, the church with no love for me in it" —based on Alfred Joyce Kilmer's poem "The House with Nobody In It"

Figures referenced: David Kinnaman, Alfred Joyce Kilmer

Greek words: kategraphen, anamartétos

Cross references: Genesis 19; Leviticus 18; 20; Judges 19; Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; John 2:4; 3:16; 4:16-18; 6:60; 8:1-11; 19:26; Acts 4:19; 5:29; Romans 1; 2:4; 1 Corinthians 6; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Timothy 1


Topic: Homosexuality

Keywords: homosexuality, heterosexuality, sexuality, gay, lesbian, sex, love, sin, adultery, truth, Scripture, sexual preference, sexual orientation, hypocrites, hypocritical, the church, compassion, respect


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