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HISTORY LESSON

Homosexuality: Roots and Ramifications

By Gordon Robertson
The 700 Club

CBN.comI want to share some lessons from history because I think that in America we have gotten into this never, never land where we think that we are more enlightened than previous generations, and we want to be more tolerant, and we want to have freedom of expression, and these kinds of things. I think that we need a lesson from history, specifically Greek history, which is where the first century Church developed.

Now, within that culture, there was rampant homosexuality, and here comes Christianity, essentially laying down the Law of Moses. I will give it to you from Leviticus 20. That is the chapter on sexual sins. "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination" (Leviticus 20:13, NKJV). That's the Word of God in Leviticus.

You could say, 'Well, that doesn't apply to us anymore. We are Christians. We are no longer under the law.' But that is not what the early Church said. In Acts chapter 15, there was a council of Jerusalem where they got together, where the early apostles got together, and said what rules do we want to place on the Gentile converts? What part of the Law of Moses do we want them to observe? And they came out with a letter to the Gentiles.

In it, it says, "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well" (Acts 15:28-29, NKJV).

These aren't rules designed to keep us from good things; they are designed to keep us from bad things. God knows the universe. He knows how are bodies were made. He knows what happens when you engage in sexual immorality. The gay community needs to wake up to the fact that when you engage in this lifestyle, there are consequences. I will just quote you some of the medical research:

Mental health: Gays and lesbians have high rates of depression, drug abuse, and suicide attempts. This is true even in the Netherlands and Amsterdam where this lifestyle is far more socially acceptable than in the U.S. (Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, January 2001).

Physical Health: Sexual practices among gay men lead to numerous sexually transmitted diseases and physical injuries, some of which are virtually unknown in the heterosexual population (Source: Corporate Resource Council, 2002). This is because our bodies aren't geared for this kind of sex.

Lifespan: Gay and bisexual men lose up to 20 years of life expectancy (Source: International Journal of Epidemiology, 1997).

God wants us to live. He wants us to have abundant life. He wants us to live disease free with good mental health. The early Church recognized 'keep yourself from these things and you will do well.'

Now let's get into Greek history because we need to realize it was a homosexual culture. That was the Greek world in the first century. The Roman world in the first century adopted some of the Greek practices.

We go all the way back to 400 B.C. and read Plato. Within the Symposium, you essentially have a group of gay men who practice a gay lifestyle because that is what the ruling elite did in 400 B.C., and they are having drinking parties and talking about gay sex. Here it is: "But they who are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they hang about men and embrace them. … When they reach manhood they are lovers of youth, and are not naturally inclined to marry or beget children, -- if at all, they do so only in obedience to the law; but they are satisfied if they may be allowed to live with one another unwedded; and such a nature is prone to love and ready to return love, always embracing that which is akin to him" (Source: Symposium 5, The Speech of Aristophanes).

That passage could have been written today, it sounds so modern in its orientation. But we need to realize that was Greek culture. Within Greek culture, it was popular for older men to keep youth, young boys, for sex. That was the deal.

Here comes the Apostle Paul into that culture, into Greece, and into the worst city known in the ancient world for their sexual immorality. It was Corinth. Literally in Corinth they had signs carved in marble that said "This way to the prostitutes." They had female prostitutes and they had male prostitutes. Homosexuality was rampant. Within this culture comes the Apostle Paul and talking Christ crucified.

Now, you would think, just from a human standpoint, that the Apostle Paul would not want to take on homosexuality within that culture, he wouldn't want to address sexual sin. It might be a hindrance to finding new believers. That would hinder your church growth. It wouldn't have been politically correct in Corinth to say, "Sexual immorality is wrong."

But that is not at all what he said in his letter to the Corinthians. He said it very plainly in 1 Corinthians chapter 6. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. [That needs to be underlined for America today]. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11a).

The reason he repeats homosexual and sodomite is that the English language really doesn't have words for this, but the Greek language did. Malakos is the original Greek and arsenokoites is the other Greek word behind those two words we see in English. One means the effeminate member of a homosexual couple, the youth with an older man. The other is the older man, the dominant member of the homosexual couple. Paul is very specific: Neither one can inherit the kingdom of God.

We need to recognize that in America and not be deceived. But at the same time Paul lays down the law, there is still the promise of mercy and deliverance because he ends this in 'such were some of you.' We Christians need to realize that we came out of sin. You start going down this list of sins and you will practically cover America, not just the homosexual community. All have sinned and fall short of that standard.

First Corinthians 6:11b says, "But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (NKJV). That is the good news, that you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. By the renewing of the Holy Spirit, you can change to be what God intended you to be, a child of the Living God. You don't have to walk through these kinds of degradations where you are just treated like a piece of meat. You can be treated like a child of God and know His love and inherit His kingdom. What it requires is for you to turn and accept Jesus. Repentance is first. You have to turn from your sin and embrace the Living God. When you do that, you will find the peace that you are longing for.

If that is for you, we are not here to judge you. We are not here to condemn you. We are here to bring you the love and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, of Jesus Christ. What happened to Greg and Cheryl Quinlan is not an anomaly. It can happen to you. We want to bring the love of Jesus Christ to your life so that you can be transformed from your innermost being.

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