The Promise of Matthew 28

flower-3 Matthew 28: 18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I know many Christians are very upset over the Supreme Court’s ruling on Gay Marriage which was announced today. Some are wondering how could an institution created by God in order to serve His purposes be hijacked? It is amazing that in 5,000 years, though there have been differing views on homosexuality depending on the time and place, nowhere in history has a society pretended that a union of same sexed individuals constituted a marriage. That is, until our present Western world.

Some have remarked that America has fallen off the precipice, never to be restored, and is to face certain removal of God’s grace and blessing. There are predictions of harder times for our country due to the laws of the Land clearly stepping away from the Biblical prescriptions of right and wrong.

So, here are my thoughts.

First, in all of this, let us remember to love everyone. Don’t be mad, but I just recently set up a photography business and my non-discrimination policy states I will not discriminate against anyone. That includes homosexuals. (I don’t do wedding photography so I guess I don’t really address the bigger question some photographers have to address. I clearly state I will not photograph any nudity or anything sexually suggestive, of a political nature or offensive.) I want to continue to love everyone, including my friends who are not living up to Scriptural standards.

flower-4Along with loving everyone, I clearly recognize we must, out of a deep sense of love, preach the gospel of truth. I do not “rejoice” in sin. Not any sin. But my wrath will not convict anyone. Instead, I try to love everyone and tell them the truth as outlined in Scripture. Real love cares enough to be truthful. (I do not believe the doctrine of “higher” truths trumping “lower” truths – such as “it is more important to love and not judge than to condemn homosexuality.”  Somehow I do not think God was too foolish to figure out that he made too many rules but He did not have to worry because some of them would be filtered out through a hierarchy of truths. Such reasoning is utter nonsense and is an affront to God’s divine wisdom and His being all-knowing.)

Second, the Supreme Court, or even Mark Strohm for that matter, does not decide for God what His laws are. As Christians we need to continue to live by His laws. In some states it is legal to visit prostitutes, get drunk (as long as you don’t drive), to covet your neighbor’s wife, and if she consents you can even legally sleep with her, to divorce without cause, you may legally gossip, etc. But Christians may not, because God states we may not.

Third, while it is true any sin is enough to condemn us, any sin destroys our ability to save ourselves, however after its ability to condemn, sin is not equal. There are sins which have greater consequences. Both here on earth, and apparently afterwards as well. (I am thinking about a warning on leading little ones astray and it being better to have a millstone tied on us and being thrown into the sea. Sounds like this sin is pretty bad.) I do agree that the acceptance of homosexual practice is a strong affront to God’s purpose for his creation. In reviewing history it appears that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not just a one time event, but revealed a pattern of God’s in dealing with nations other than Israel. God appears to scatter and punish Israel quickly but flower-2-smallallows them to down through the ages, but allows other nations to continue in sin into eventual destruction. These sin patterns, so I have been taught, tend to follow similar paths eventually leading to rebellious youth, lawlessness and widespread practice of sexual sins which nearly always feature homosexuality. So my heart is heavy in recognizing that the country I love appears to be quickly nearing a time when God will withdraw his favor and allow us to fall victim of our own sinfulness. I am very sad and concerned that such laws will likely now be used as a club to beat down Christian organizations and businesses and Churches in an attempt to destroy what these institutions stand for. God help us.

Finally, I am once again convinced that as Christians we need to hold fast to the promise and commands found in Matthew 28: 18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

As many of you know I live with a benign tumor behind my eyes. Because it is partially wrapped around my left carotid artery and would have a high chance of growing back if removed, I have elected to leave it. However, I have to take multiple medications each month to counter the hormonal imbalance the tumor creates. Some days I wish I could stop treating the symptoms and just deal with the root of those symptoms.

As Christians we seem to spend loads of time and money attempting to deal with symptoms of sin. For caring Christians there is a tendency to become so focused on the work of relieving symptoms we may fall victim to one of two errors. That of believing relief of the symptoms will in and of itself eliminate the root problem or we become so busy we neglect the work of dealing with the root problem.

My prayer on this day, where the Supreme Court of our land has clearly set our nation on a course away from our founding on Christian principles, is that we use this decision to refocus on Matthew 28: 18-20 and rededicate ourselves to make disciples, baptize them and teach them to obey God’s commands.

It is only then, as we fulfill Matthew 28, that the root problem, the “tumor” will be dealt with. Then the symptoms will leave. May God help us to be dedicated to His work!

May God’s grace and peace be with you,

Mark

2 Replies to “The Promise of Matthew 28”

So, what do you think? Tell me below.