There is a war within the church today and the enemy is having a field day, sowing in confusion and division. But we must be careful. Many are calling us to unite, but what are we to unite under? We cannot be united if we all have differences and come together, ignoring them. That is false unity, a house of cards that will be blown apart and come crashing down with the slightest wind of adversity. In order to truly be united, we must have a source greater than ourselves that we can all cling to as the anchor that will hold our ship still in the midst of the storm coming against us. While many in the church claim to follow Jesus, they are using His name without His Words. They want us to not speak the truth about homosexuality and transgenderism. We are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
His Word must be our measuring rod, our plumb line, the source of all truth. There is no truth found within us, there are no new revelations, only understanding and knowledge of what He has already said. Much of the church seems to be in a tailspin, trying desperately to swim in the crashing waves of this tumultuous sea, rather than being in the boat. We keep listening to the world and taking notes, trying to fit the Word of God into their mold so that they don’t call us hateful. We have enjoyed favor with the world in this country for far too long and it has pampered us and spoiled us. Jesus said the world would hate us. In fact, He said “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way” (Luke 6:26). He also says in John 15 that the world hates us because it hates Him. They will persecute us because they persecuted Him. He further said that because He spoke to them they had no cloak for their sin (John 15:18-25). That is why that hate Him and it why they will hate us. They don’t want to hear the truth, but it is the truth that will set them free, if they will believe it and obey it.
Jesus never said we would be hated because we lived good lives and got along with everybody. We would be hated because the world doesn’t want to hear our words, which should be His Words. It is the false prophets who offer to bring peace. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34). Jesus will one day bring peace to the earth when He returns to rule and reign in His eternal kingdom. But while Satan is still allowed to rule this world, we as the church cannot have peace with the world. In fact, friendship with the world is hostility toward God (James 4:4). Of course, that does not mean we do not love. But the world sees our love as hate. Why? Because when you embrace lies and hate and suppress the truth, everything becomes inverted. Evil becomes good, good becomes evil. Love becomes hate and hate becomes love.
Years ago, the Lord gave me a vision of people walking along a white picket fence. The white picket fence was interesting for several reasons. One, it represents iconic American life in the suburbs: peaceful, care-free, and filled with ease and comfort. It also represents a false sense of security as a picket fence is not sturdy, is easy to overcome, and has large, wide, holes in it. It is further difficult to walk on. At the time I didn’t understand why the Lord used a picket fence. Later, He clarified with what should have been obvious, “It’s not supposed to be easy to walk on. That is the point.” And I saw His hands pushing people off, one side or the other. They were no longer going to be allowed to walk along this fence that was never intended to be walked on. They must choose whether to serve the Lord and stand up for the truth, or whether to live with the world in ease and comfort and be loved by them. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:19).
I have seen this playing out over the last several years. In 2018, a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) church in St. Louis, MO held a conference called Revoice. It is a conference in which they spout the lies that you can identify as a “Gay Christian” as long as you don’t act on it. This is a lie for many reasons, and I am sounding an alarm to all to stay clear of this heretical theology. I would go and tell them in person, but they barred two of my friends from being able to attend, refunded their money and said they were not welcome. One of those friends is a former homosexual who has lived radically free from homosexual desires for over thirty years. Of all people, they should want to listen to him.
Let’s break down some of the issues. First, the name alone sends up serious red flags for me. We do not need to “revoice” anything God has said. It should be oddly familiar to us from the words of Satan, the deceiver, himself: “yea, hath God (really) said?” (Genesis 3:1). Second, the premise of it is flawed to begin with. The main crux of their message is that we should identify with our fleshly desires as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender as opposed to being redeemed by Christ and dead to self as the Bible teaches. While they do teach celibacy as the way to avoid living in sin, this is a great deception from Satan. For Jesus said that lust was no different than the act of committing adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). Third, I have an issue with the tagline for this year’s conference: “Fostering Peace, Honoring Dignity, Preserving Faith.”
Fostering Peace: Again, it is the false prophets who offer peace without repentance. Jeremiah kept trying to warn Judah of the coming destruction that God was bringing due to their idolatry and disobedience. For centuries God had tried to get His people to trust and follow Him, bringing calamity until they would cry out and repent and then God would bring healing and deliverance through various judges. But the corruption had become so vile that God was going to destroy Jerusalem and it was going to be decimated by their enemies, and God’s people were going to be taken captive into Babylon. The people didn’t want to hear this. They wanted to continue to live in peace and safety rather than repentance and serving God. They loved their flesh and serving idols who allowed them to live as they pleased. They loved the false prophets and their ears itched to hear their words. God said of these false prophets, “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace.” He asked, “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done?” He said, “They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush.” (Jeremiah 6:14-15). God repeats this two chapters later in Jeremiah 8.
God warns the people by the voice of Jeremiah not to listen to these false prophets: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, ‘You will have peace’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’” (Jeremiah 23:16-17). He instructs Ezekiel to warn the people of the same thing, that the false prophets will prophesy peace when there is no peace (Ezekiel 13:10).
So, what is the peace when there is no peace? We must first determine where peace comes from. We know that the world will offer a false peace. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians, “While they are saying ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.” Real peace comes by faith. A woman with an issue of blood who touched Jesus for healing by faith (Mark 5:34, Luke 8:48) and the woman who washed Jesus’s feet with her tears and her hair (Luke 7:50) were both told, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Paul reiterates this in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
If we claim to have faith, and yet still identify with our sins and our flesh, we are liars. “5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:5-8). Corrupt desires and behaviors, whether it be sexual, addictions to food, deceitfulness, drunkenness, envy or many other desires listed throughout the Scripture are things of the flesh. We are to walk in the Spirit, not according to the flesh. Furthermore, those who don’t have peace are equated with those who have no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:17-18).
Jeremiah was preaching repentance. The false prophets were telling the people that judgment was not coming, and they didn’t need to worry (Jeremiah 14:13-16). Specifically, these false prophets told the people God would give them everlasting peace without repentance. Jesus will one day bring everlasting peace to His kingdom, but the world will first be judged and destroyed by fire. It is those who love and obey Jesus and live by faith that will enter into His Kingdom and enjoy everlasting peace.
Honoring Dignity: While we are to respect and love those who struggle, we cannot come to Jesus in our own dignity. We often hear that we cannot do anything to save ourselves. While this is absolutely true, said out of context it can be misleading. We know that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10), but how are we given grace? While there is nothing I can do or give to earn salvation or obtain it, there is a prerequisite. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). Jesus’s very first words of His ministry were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:13-4:17). Not only were these His first words, we are told from that time on that is what He preached.
Preserving Faith: This sounds really good, but if it isn’t defined correctly, it loses its meaning. They talk much at the Revoice Conference about the “historic Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.” They talk about observing or adhering to such doctrine. But as I have already pointed out, celibacy without dying to our old nature, without crucifying our flesh, with still entertaining our desires in our mind, is not the historic Christian doctrine. Notice what they do not say: that they adhere to the Word of God. They are claiming to adhere to a specific doctrine of historic Christianity, not to the Bible itself. They are cherry-picking a small portion of Scripture without context. Again, celibacy without crucifying the lusts and passions is not a lack of sin. Preserving the faith which they speak of is like preserving meat once it is already rotten. It doesn’t matter how much preservative you put on it or how deep you freeze it—once it is rotten, it must be thrown out. Eating such meat could lead to serious poisoning and violent illness and it is no different with being fed spiritual poison.
We as the church need to stop trying to make the gospel more palatable. When the Lord called me out of the lifestyle, I spent 2 months crying out to God with all my heart, begging Him to take my life because I saw no way out of the transgender identity. I believed it was who I was. But He did not give me an easy way out. He did not help me feel better about it.
If you have struggled with sexual sin of any kind, you cannot continue to identify with your sin. Stop putting labels on yourself that God did not give you. Cry out to God for mercy, walk away from it all and reckon yourself crucified with Him. We all have to die to our desires. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20-21). He goes on to say in chapter 5, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24). Notice that he says those who have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. We are to not only cease doing the sinful acts, but to crucify the desires as well. The desires are just as sinful.
Jesus calls us to come and die, to identify with His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6). This message is not easy. Many will reject it. Many will hate us for it. Many will slander us and say all kinds of evil against us for it. But the Word of God was not intended to make us feel good about ourselves. Rather, it is intended to make us feel bad about ourselves and our sin and to glorify God and how awesome and worthy of all praise that He is. It is like John Newton wrote in the beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace…That saved a wretch like me”. We must realize what a wretch we are and how undeserving of grace we are. True repentance is not out of feeling good about self, but rather out of desperation for salvation. When we truly begin to understand our sin in the light of His holiness, then we will humble ourselves and seek His face and cry out to Him for mercy.