Here is the sermon I delivered yesterday on the attempted murder of Joseph and his eventual enslavement into Egypt. It’s a story that touches on powerful human emotions, such as those of betrayal, fear, rejection, as well as matters of generational sin. Here’s the passage (New King James Version): we had read out 1 John 2:4-11 and all of Genesis 37.
Here’s the sermon I preached this week on the generosity of God in giving a man called Liar a new name (from Genesis 35). We look at how God uses our past to fashion our future in His good sovereignty, to bring glory and honour to Himself. Shalom.
I found this article on homosexuality quite informative: it argues, as I have long believed, that homosexuality is not merely about ‘outward’ acts, but actually about inner disposition. Merely defining sin as being external for those struggling with homosexuality is to say that all sin is thus; however, the biblical witness says that it is the desires themselves that are sinful, and must be slayed with the power of the Sprit (Colossians 3:5, 1 Peter 2:11, Titus 2:11-14, Ephesians 5:3). Many with same-sex attraction and others want to diminish the personal challenge to kill sin and obey Christ by toying at the edges and going easier on themselves but in the end it will avail little. The desires must die, just as Cain was told in Genesis 4 to overcome his blood lust to kill his brother. Be killing the desire to sin, or it will kill you.
Here is the sermon I gave on Sunday, April 12 2015, on the disgracing of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, in Genesis 34, at Georges River Congregational Church. Not an easy topic, but important to understand its message and place. God bless.
Last weekend I was giving some thought to how parents ought to respond when a son or daughter “comes out” and starts calling themself “gay”. (This is true of a child who wants to live in any kind of rebellion against God and their parents.) Very often with parents, however, they can be so eager to to stay in contact with their child that they give way on God’s truth. The child puts emotional pressure, usually through guilt and manipulation, to wear down the parents. Finding the narrow and painful way of loving such a child in truth and grace is incredibly difficult. After all they rightly want their child to follow God and one day get married and have children. Why not? God has programmed that into our humanity and there is something sad when that does not happen, for whatever reason.
However, God revealed to me something quite profound through the parable of the Lost (Prodigal) Son that I believe might give some help and strength to parents. In this story, a son runs off to pursue a life of sin, which eventually leads him to live with pigs and virtually wishes his father dead. This is an insight that God spoke to me through the story:
The parable of the Lost Son in Luke’s gospel says so much. When the son runs off to squander his father’s money and live with the pigs, the father doesn’t follow him to win him back. He doesn’t call living with pigs good. He doesn’t join the Prodigal Pride Parade or say his son must have been born that way. He doesn’t invite over for dinner the people who were sinning with his son in order to keep fellowship with the son. To do so would be to mislead his son and stain himself with a greater sin. Rather, he waited for the son to return to HIM, interceding and patiently waiting.
I don’t know who is reading this blog: Christian, “gay”, or those who are parents or friends who love gay people but are saddened by their loved one’s sinful choices. Regardless, I can say from someone who has come out of homosexuality in Christ’s power, please never ever support your child’s sinful choices. Who knows if one day they come to Christ and wonder why you supported their sin? Stand firm and pray earnestly for your loved one and wait patiently. Haydn.
Sadly, in the April 2015 edition of the Christian newspaper, Eternity, there appeared an article by a man calling himself evangelical, Christian, and gay. As I have said time and again calling oneself gay and Christian is going to make the “struggle” against homosexuality easier. It won’t. Why? Because a Christian must never make peace with his sin, or use it to identify himself- that is entrapment in the sin nature. Identity will eventually lead to action. A man cannot love both God and money, and the same goes for any other sin. Overcoming sin and walking in purity (Hebrews 12:14) involves dying to self and facing pain – it’s extremely uncomfortable. Making peace like Wes Hill has will give some false sense of peace, but in the end it will not (and cannot) diminish the hard road of godly obedience. Not even Jesus could escape it.
Here is what I wrote to Eternity in response to the article:
“As I read the article in the April edition of Eternity (“Wesley Hill, Gay and Christian) I was deeply troubled. In effect, it denies the saving grace of God in being able to redeem and sanctify people from sin. While Hill uses Scripture to bolster his position he fails to observe that in fact God’s people are not to fuse a sin identity with their salvation. ‘Gay and Christian?’ Christians are empowered by the Spirit to kill sinful desires (Col. 3:5, 1 Pet. 2:11) and resist sin (Titus 2:11-14). Simply because Hill hasn’t experienced this in his own life does not mean that others can be denied God’s work. God has been very much at work in my life to overcome homosexuality, and that has come about through walking intimately with Him. If Hill can call himself ‘gay and Christian’, can someone else call themselves ‘alcoholic and Christian’? Christ has come to redeem us from sin, not to keep us entangled in it.”
As one person said to me, “I reckon the problem with a lot of people is that they seek freedom from homosexual desires, and that they use God as a tool to do this. But when that fails, they conclude that God doesn’t “work” and so they give up and capitulate to their desires, as if God either doesn’t care or that he wants them to be that way. I think the problem in each case is that the person is seeking to be delivered per de, and they are not primarily seeking the DELIVERER, who is God. If people would seek a close walk with God and not just a deliverance, they would get the deliverance they need.“. That, therein, lies both the problem and the solution.
In the last few months, I have gone through many ups and downs. In November of 2014 I got a short-lived pastoral trainee job at a church in Sydney’s south-west that didn’t work out. But in God’s loving providence, He has recently made me sole (senior) pastor of Georges River Congregational Church in the southern suburbs of Sydney. This church previously was Milperra and Panania Congregational Churches, respectively, but due to past constraints, they had to merge. It is conveniently situated near Panania train station. The role here is a considerable step-up from what I was doing previously, and I can already see clearly why God has placed me here since He will use me to give the church a new position to help it grow. My family and I moved in last week into the area and we are enthusiastic about joining this church (which is a fellowship of about 30 people). There is much room and potential for growth and I am very humbled to be there, leading this congregation. My email address there will be firstname.lastname@example.org. I will still be helping people with unwanted same-sex attractions, so feel free to contact me about this if you wish.