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Sunday, November 18, 2018

What Scripture Says about Homosexuality

The most loving thing we can do is understand what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and stand with God in this highly controversial area. This 1-minute devotion shares what Scripture teaches. #homosexuality #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

Our culture is convinced that homosexuality is an appropriate lifestyle.  

But Scripture says otherwise.

Satan wants to ruin lives, and Christians who approve homosexuality join him in that effort. The most hateful thing a Christian can do is condone something that God says damages people's bodies, minds, and spirits.

Let's take a look at Scripture's teaching on homosexuality so we don't fall prey to this serious error.  

Old Testament Commands

The Old Testament condemns any sexual relationship outside married, heterosexual partners.

Leviticus 18:22-24: “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion. Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.”

Sometimes people discount the Old Testament laws because not all were permanent. It's true that sacrificial and dietary laws were fulfilled in Christ. In addition, some Old Testament laws were civil laws given specifically to the nation of Israel. These laws represent an enduring principle, but we are no longer commanded to obey them.(1)

The passage below was one of Israel’s civil laws. We are no longer commanded to kill homosexuals - that was a civil law for the nation of Israel. But the principle behind the law is permanent - homosexual relationships are harmful to individuals and to the community at large.

Leviticus 20:13: "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” 

To read more about Old and New Testament laws, see: Which Old Testament Laws Apply?

New Testament Commands

Because Old Testament commands can be harder to navigate, it's helpful to see how clearly homosexuality is condemned in the New Testament.

Romans 1:26-27: “God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.”

Scripture says you cannot be a practicing homosexual and be saved. Some people claim that the word "homosexual" isn't found in Scripture or they claim that only homosexual orgies are addressed in Scripture. Those claims are completely unfounded. In fact, the verse below contains the Greek word "arsenokoites" which translates "a man in bed with another man; a homosexual."

1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

The passage below talks about the fact that the righteous man, the man who knows Christ, has the law written on his heart. God's Spirit corrects and rebukes him. He doesn’t need the external law like the unrepentant sinner needs it. 

The most loving thing we can do is understand what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and stand with God in this highly controversial area. This 1-minute devotion shares what Scripture teaches. #homosexuality #BibleLoveNotes #Bible
1 Timothy 1:8-11: “We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.” 

False Teachings that Seek to Justify Homosexuality:

1. The sin of Sodom wasn't homosexuality.

A new teaching about Sodom and Gomorrah has recently become popular. It claims the condemnation of Sodom and Gomorrah was due to their lack of hospitality, not homosexuality. The Scripture below puts that ridiculous teaching to rest. 

Jude 1:7: "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire." 

To read more about this teaching, read False Teachings about Sodom and Gomorrah.  

2. People are born homosexual.

Some people argue that people are born homosexual. Since Scripture calls it a sin, that means God designs some people to be hopeless sinners.

Not true. People may have certain tendencies toward sin and/or their environment may encourage sinful tendencies. But no one is born homosexual any more than someone is born an adulterer. Sin is always a choice (James 1:13-15).

3. Homosexuality is no worse than gossip.

It has long been popular to claim that God sees all sins the same, but this is absolutely false. God clearly differentiates between sins in both the Old and New Testament. For example:

1 Corinthians 6:18-19"Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;"

For a more thorough look at this subject with numerous Scriptures see All Sins are Not the Same.

4. Biblical morals change.

Sometimes people try to discredit Old Testament laws by claiming that God's view of sexuality changes. After all, He allowed polygamy in the Old Testament.

We don't fully understand why God allowed polygamy in Old Testament times, but polygamy was always heterosexual and never shown in a positive light. 

The most loving thing we can do is understand what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and stand with God in this highly controversial area. This 1-minute devotion shares what Scripture teaches. #homosexuality #BibleLoveNotes #BibleIt caused rivalry between wives (Hannah and Peninnah: 1 Samuel 1:1-8, Rachel and Leah: Genesis 29:30-33). It caused jealousy, murder, and rape between siblings from different mothers (Jacob’s family: Genesis 35:22-25; Genesis 37:12-36; David’s family: 2 Samuel 13). And, despite his many wives, David seems to have spent his later years without a meaningful relationship with any of his wives (1 Kings 1:1-2).

In addition, Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2 explain that leaders in the church are required to be husbands of one wife. Some translations simply say "faithful to his wife," but the Greek says "one wife." 

Since elders are supposed to model God's standards, we can trust that God's New Testament standard is heterosexual monogamy. That was God's original design.

Mark 10:6-9: “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

See also Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:31.

To read more about this: Why Did God Allow Polygamy in the Bible? 

God’s design is the only one that is right and pure and holy. Those who engage in premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexuality, or transgender sex bring God’s judgment upon themselves. It should be our heartfelt desire to prevent people from damaging their souls. And that means standing firmly on the principles of Scripture, not bending with the approval of culture. 

For Scriptures about these other sexual sins, see Sex Outside of Marriage-What Scripture Says, What the Bible Teaches about Transgenderism, and God's View of Sex 1-Minute Archive.

Let's pray for people caught up in sexual sins of any kind, and let's stand with Jesus against everything that damages people's souls.  

copyright 2018, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Why Christ-Followers are Love Letters

Bite Size Bible Study: Why Christ-Followers are Love Letters. This is an amazing Scripture and this short Bible study gives insights into it's wonderful meaning!

Since you are a "letter," why not get a pen and paper and jot down insights for each Scripture passage below.

Did you know that Christ-followers are letters?  Paul told the Corinthians:

“You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3  

God wrote His laws on tablets of stone.

Exodus 31:18: "When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God."  

But He doesn't write on hearts of stone. Instead, He writes on repentant, converted hearts:

Jeremiah 31:33: "'This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,' declares the LORD. 'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.'"

Ezekiel 36:26: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

I encourage you to study what Scripture says about "hard hearts."
Start with this list on Bible Hub and write down insights from each passage.  

Bite Size Bible Study: Why Christ-Followers are Love Letters. This is an amazing Scripture and this short Bible study gives insights into it's wonderful meaning!Christ-followers are:  

♥ Letters of recommendation... for those who brought us to the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:1-2: "Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone."

Who helped lead you to the Lord? Did you realize you are a letter written on their heart? Why not take some time this week to thank them. 

Letters of emancipation... from our slavery to sin. 
John 8:36: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

I encourage you to study what Scripture says about "slavery to sin."
Start with this list on Bible Hub and write down insights from each passage.

Letters of adoption... as sons and daughters of God. 
Romans 8:15: "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'"

We use the term "children of God" rather loosely. This 1-minute devotion explains that this term is reserved only for believers: Who Are Children of God? 

Letters of clemency... from a death sentence we deserved.
Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

For additional insights on being set free from your death sentence, read this 1-minute devotion: What Kind of Dead Man are You?

Letters of hope... to a lost and dying world. 
1 Corinthians 1:18-25: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate”...  23 we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God..."

You might say we are letters that are scented with perfume. This 1-minute devotion gives more insights about our effect on the world: Why Good Christians Stink and Smell Wonderful

Bite Size Bible Study: Why Christ-Followers are Love Letters. This is an amazing Scripture and this short Bible study gives insights into it's wonderful meaning!Love letters... from our Savior.
Ephesians 2:4-5: "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."

 Jesus is the Word.
John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." 

Because Jesus is the Word, we should be offended by any book or teaching that changes His words. See 5 Ways the Shack Contradicts Biblical Salvation and see the 1-Minute Bible Love Notes archive Christian, Beware!

 If you know Jesus, you are His letter.
1 Corinthians 1:18: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 


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Sunday, September 23, 2018

God is Never, Never, Never on Vacation

Let these Scriptures and insights encourage you of this truth that God will never leave you! #Bible #Biblestudy #BibleLoveNotes

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 
The wording of this verse in the Greek gives it emphasis, almost as if God is saying, "I will never, never, never forsake you."  God's Spirit is with us no matter what...through thick and thin...in good times and bad...always...no exceptions...whether we feel His presence or not.

From the Benson Commentary: "The many negative particles, and their position in the original [Greek], render this passage extremely emphatical and beautiful. Doddridge renders it, I will not, I will not leave thee; I will never, never, never forsake thee; words from which all God’s people (his love to them being the same in all ages) may take a just encouragement in all the difficulties to which they may be exposed."

Knowing God is always with us, will we ignore Him or take His hand throughout the day? Will we acknowledge His presence or take Him for granted?
Please join me today in thinking of ways to remember God's faithfulness.  One way to do this is to set an alarm to go off every hour as a reminder to pause and say "I love You" to the God who will never, never, never leave you.

Here are some additional Scriptures to encourage you: 

These two verses are part of Moses' speech to the Israelites, assuring them that God would be with them as they entered the unknown territory of the Promised Land. Are you entering unknown territory in your life? Why not memorize one of these verses:

Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. 

Deuteronomy 31:8: The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. 

God spoke these words to Joshua when he was facing enemies greater than any he'd faced before. Do you feel you are facing greater obstacles than you've ever faced? I encourage you to memorize this verse:

Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. 

We may not always understand the way God works in our lives, but we can rest assured that He treasures us as His children. These Psalms are good verses to recite whenever you feel lonely or afraid:

Let these Scriptures and insights encourage you of this truth that God will never leave you! #Bible #Biblestudy #BibleLoveNotes
Psalm 94:14: For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. 

Psalm 37:25: I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

This passage is a good one to read every day when you are struggling with doubts, fears, or loneliness: 

Romans 8:31-39: What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What passages of Scripture help you when you need assurance of God's presence and concern?

copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com