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Uncompromised | Sexuality: Gender, Sex, and Porn

How do Christ-followers live faithfully among the messages that our culture sends us about sexuality? In the fourth week of Uncompromised: Holding to Christian Convictions in a Cancel Culture, John Elmore shows us the key differences between biblical sexuality and cultural sexuality, and what our role is as believers in a world that conflicts with Scripture on this topic.

John ElmoreNov 7, 2021

In This Series (6)
Uncompromised | Immigration & Persecution of Church Internationally
Oscar CastilloNov 21, 2021
Uncompromised | Race & Racism
Oscar Castillo, John Elmore, Sierra Sanchez, Marvin WalkerNov 14, 2021
Uncompromised | Sexuality: Gender, Sex, and Porn
John ElmoreNov 7, 2021
Uncompromised | Sanctity of Life
John Elmore, Bruce KendrickOct 31, 2021
Uncompromised | Law & Religious Liberties
John ElmoreOct 24, 2021
Uncompromised | Truth & Culture
John ElmoreOct 17, 2021

Summary

How do Christ-followers live faithfully among the messages that our culture sends us about sexuality? In the fourth week of Uncompromised: Holding to Christian Convictions in a Cancel Culture, John Elmore shows us the key differences between biblical sexuality and cultural sexuality, and what our role is as believers in a world that conflicts with Scripture on this topic.

Key Takeaways

  • Gender fluidity has caused us to live in a world with the feminization of men and the masculinization of women.
  • Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He isn’t angry with those who are confused about their sexuality, rather, He would be pursuing them if He were here in the flesh today.
  • Those who live outside of God’s will need shepherding instead of shouting.
  • The goal is not heterosexuality; the goal is Christ.
  • Biblical sexuality is simple, life-giving, and unchanging.
  • Sex is a good gift from a good Father but using it outside of His will brings destruction.
  • Cultural sexuality is complex, life-taking, and ever-changing.
  • Our role as Christ-followers is to follow truth over trends (Ephesians 4:15a), disciple before the culture does, and be against the movement but for the person.
  • Be honest early and often.
  • Bring order to chaos.
  • No one has come to Christ through condemnation and shame, but through love.
  • Strive to be someone’s truest friend rather than their best friend.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • From what sources have you developed your view of sexuality?
  • What opportunities do you have to disciple those who need to develop a biblical view of sexuality?
  • How do you interact with those around you who might not have a biblical view of sexuality, and how can you more lovingly engage them without compromising your core beliefs?
  • Who is someone far from the Lord who you could be their truest friend? What are the ways you can be their truest friend this month?

Resources for Further Discussion

Hey, brothers and sisters, welcome to Watermark Community Church. My name is John Elmore. I serve here with pastoral care and re:gen. I want to tell you about a little something that happened this week. So, I walk in the back door after I get home from work. There on the kitchen island was a book. It was this book. I look at the back of the book, and I'm like, "What is this?" Because that's where the kids' homework usually is, so I grab it.

It says, "By the same author: Boy2Girl." Then it says, "He takes on his cousin's dare and attends his new…school with a fresh identity—as a girl." Then it says, "[Blacker prompts] readers to reconsider their preconceptions about the sexes and the roles people play. A refreshing introduction to the complexities of gender and self-image. Blacker artfully tackles gender identity, homophobia, and custody battles…"

I'm like, "What is this doing on our island?" I'm like, "Laura!" She's like, "What?" I'm like, "What is this book?" She's like, "Hill brought it home." Hill is our second grader, y'all…second grader in the public school system. I'm like, "What?" Then I got really offended, because I flipped the book over. I'm like, "What is this?" because it says, "By the same author."

Do you know what it says? "Parent Swap. Mom and Dad driving you crazy? Call ParentSwap today." That means my little second grader was like, "Ooh, let's see here. I don't like my… Oh, Parent Swap. I'd like to get rid of my parents." Now I'm not yelling at Laura. I'm like, "Hill, get down here, buddy! We've got to talk. You want to swap your parents? What's wrong?"

Today, we are continuing the series Uncompromised, and we're addressing all things sexuality…biblical sexuality, cultural sexuality…as an ongoing effort of our elders to equip the church as we live in this ever-changing world. Now, just to take a temperature reading of the world we're living in with sexuality and where we are… Some of you are like, "Oh yeah, I heard those headlines" or "I know those trends," but here it all is in aggregate, in one place, so that we know, "Okay. This is the world we're living in."

There is the feminization of men and the masculinization of women into this gender fluidity we live in. You have professors and doctors being fired because they will not address a person by their transgender pronoun or write it on the reports. You have bathroom assaults by transgender. So, biological other in a bathroom assaulting those who are there.

Then you also have Drag Queen Story Hour, which typically would have been a felony offense. Now we have men dressed as prostitutes in public libraries reading books about gender to children, and we're endorsing this on a national level. We have porn in the classroom under the guise of literature and sex education. As of last week, we have now made the United States passports… For gender you can have male, female, or X if you don't identify as one or the other. That'll be helpful as far as protecting the US.

There's a Twix candy bar commercial which affirms a little boy who dresses as a girl, and then the other kids who are asking, "Why are you dressed like that?" get scolded, whereas the one gets affirmed. We have Rachel Levine, who is a transgender pediatrician (those are two words that should never go together) who is the assistant US secretary of health. So, second in command over the US health department, Rachel Levine, who is a transgender woman. Meaning, a biological male. And it goes on and on.

This is interesting. Our director of communications texted me. I didn't mention this in the first service. She said, "Do you know what the number one page visited on Watermark's website is?" You might be like, "The home page? Like, people just trying to find out?" It's a message called Raising Kids in a XXX Culture. Anybody think, "Wow! So, that's a lot of parents who want to know how to raise their kids in this porn culture we're in"? No. It's because people Google search "XXX kids," and they land on a church website. That's the world we're living in.

You might think, "Wow! You're really amped up or upset about these people, whether it's Rachel Levine or the transgender in the bathroom or the pornography in the classroom." I'm not upset with the people. I am upset with this culture and the world we live in under the influence and realm of Satan that is just applauding as people are barreling forward in their sin that's going to unravel in this life and lead forever in the next in hell apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

In 2013, the DSM, which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, decided to remove something. It was gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria was known for its existence as a mental illness, but in 2013 they said, "You know what?" Now our president is calling these people heroes. But, again, the people are not the problem. I was the person, whether it was pornography or strip clubs or the way I treated women. I was one. I can't throw stones at them, because it's exactly who I was.

Let me make something really clear right from the outset as we're going to be talking about sexuality, because, as evidenced by all of culture, sexuality is incredibly powerful, and it is incredibly personal, so this needs to be said right here as an anchor for the message. God…Jehovah, Yahweh God…loves all people, no matter what their affiliation or preference or desire or appetite. He loves all people right now as they are. He loves them.

Do you know he actually has no other choice? It's Romans 5:8, where it says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this…" You have to stop there, like, "Wait. Demonstrates." He put it on display. He revealed it to the world. "This is how I'm going to show you my love for you." It says, "…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." While we were still steeped within our sin… That's how God demonstrates his love.

He's like, "No matter where you are, what you're doing, who you like, how you dress, whatever transition you've been through, I love you right now. And it's the only choice of person I have to love, because every single person apart from Jesus is in sin. Who else would I love?" So, you have this quintessential verse on the gospel, John 3:16, that I think in Christianity has become so cliché we don't even mention it anymore, but in this day and age, it becomes really important to mention.

Here it is: "For God so loved the world [and everyone in it] …" What did he do as a result of his love? "…that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in [Jesus] shall not perish [eternity in hell] but have eternal life." But we don't read John 3:17. We stop at 3:16. John 3:17 is so beautiful and powerful. It says, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Jesus didn't come to condemn the world, but to save the world through his life, death, and resurrection. That was the reason for the coming of Jesus. Why? Because the world was already in condemnation, because our sin (Romans 3:23) has separated us from the glory of God. We were already condemned. Every single person since Adam and Eve partook of the fruit has been condemned in sin, separated from God.

So, God didn't send Jesus to condemn the world but, rather, to rescue it. He sends Jesus on a rescue mission. The Titanic was already going down, and here comes Jesus in the lifeboat to rescue all. He didn't come to condemn but to save. This is the gospel. So, if someone is living outside of the norm of God's ordained sexuality, what they don't need from the church is shouting on social media. They need shepherding.

It's not what I needed when I was an alcoholic. I didn't need shouting and for somebody to be like, "You know that's wrong." I'm like, "Oh, genius. Yes, I know it's wrong." I needed shepherding and to be shepherded to Jesus. You can't compromise this. Jesus loves with grace and truth, and you can't have one without the other. They are inextricably intertwined.

You see Jesus when he confronts the woman at the well… They are there to condemn her, to stone her to death, and Jesus says, "I don't condemn you." There's grace, just lavish grace that she couldn't comprehend. "You don't condemn me?" But then he says also in truth, "Now go and sin no more." There's grace and there's truth, and it's how we engage culture as uncompromised in this world.

So, today, what we're going to be talking about is sexuality, biblical and cultural, and here are the three places we're going to be. First is truth over trends. We're to speak truth over the trends. Secondly, we need to disciple before the world does. We have to be about discipleship before the world and culture does. Thirdly, and my most favorite point, is be against the movement but for the person.

With that in mind, biblical sexuality. Biblical sexuality is simple, life-giving, and unchanging. Here it is from the Scriptures, but before we do, I want to tell you a little bit of a story. When I was probably fifth or sixth grade… Fourth of July. We go out to a family event, and my dad… My buddy and I had bought a duffel bag full of fireworks. Like, spent all of our allowance, whatever it was. We went to the fireworks store and bought, like, 30 pounds of fireworks.

So, my dad sets up this board with an old glass Coke bottle that we can shoot our bottle rockets and Roman candles out of. (I'm getting some head nods in the audience, like, "Those are the good old days.") Well, after 30 minutes, my parents go inside, and they're eating their blackberry cobbler and all that. We're like, "This is kind of lame." We have a whole duffel bag full. You can only shoot so many bottle rockets before you get bored and start taking the stick off and throwing them in the air to see which way they go.

So, we take the whole duffel bag. We go to the front yard, because we know our parents won't be able to see us anymore. We just have it sitting there. One of the ones is the little thing that spins and jumps. It's just kind of bouncing around, and it lands in the duffel bag. We're like, "Oh no!" I mean, it was this split-second decision, like somebody had taken a pin out of a grenade. It's like, "Do you jump on it or do you run for your life?"

He looks at me. I look at him. We kind of grab it and sling it away from the house, which I think was a good idea, except we slung it toward a field that was dry, because it was July, and then it just combusted. Like, $30 worth of fireworks… The nylon duffel bag just melts in upon itself, and then it's just haywire, going in every direction. In the field was either an apple or peach orchard, and it sets fire. We're literally running through, stomping it out.

Here's why I share this with you. It's because fireworks, as given to me by my dad… They were good when used in the right way. My dad had given me instructions. They were made by a designer. But when I went outside of that, it got really bad really quickly, and it led to destruction and danger. God has given us the gift of sex. We are made as sexual beings, male and female, and he has entrusted us with a gift from a father.

"This is good. It's life-giving. It's for oneness and unity and procreation, but don't take it outside of that context and start breaking the sticks off the bottle rockets and using them as you please." There is a context by the Father, as made by the Designer, for this way, and when you step outside of that, it leads to death. So, biblical sexuality is simple, life-giving, and unchanging. Here it is. Matthew 19, where Jesus throws back to Genesis at the creation account. They were questioning him about marriage.

"'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "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.'"

Let me say it like this. I said it was simple. It's very simple. God permits no sexuality…none…aside from the confines and covenant of marriage. That is the only place that God says, "This is where this good gift of sex is to be," and anything outside of that is going to lead to sin and death…relational death, emotional death, spiritual, mental…all of it. You see the unraveling.

This is from Watermark's doctrinal statement on man. Every January with membership, you would re-sign this. It says, "We believe God created mankind in his image, forming each person in the womb from conception until the point of death when they breathe their last; and assigning gender to his people, male (man) and female (woman), as he created them sexually and biologically different, but with equal personal dignity and value.

We believe that God ordained marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Those who accept and live within God's design for sex, biological gender, and marriage experience the blessing of his good design, and decisions to change, alter, or modify God's will…" Think about the fireworks here. "…in marriage, sex, or gender are part of man's brokenness and lead to despair." But it doesn't stop there. There's the gospel. There's good news, because all of us have stepped out of those bounds in some regard, whether it's from lust all the way to transgender, wherever it may be.

"We believe that God loves and pursues mankind despite our rebellion." Romans 5:8, which we said earlier. "He offers forgiveness, healing, and abundant life to anyone who turns to him in humility." So, again, biblical sexuality is simple, life-giving, and unchanging. Now, conversely, cultural sexuality is complex, life-taking (just like the fireworks), and ever-changing.

It is complex. Even as you read the news headlines, you're like, "Wait. Transgender man. Does that mean biological woman?" It's hard to get your mind around because it's complex. It's life-taking. It does not lead to life. We'll read some of the statistics about mental health as a result. Then also, it is ever-changing. It has become this fluid reality.

Gender theory, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and also the World Health Organization, is now a social construct. Meaning, just as Marx would say, "The old way is repressive and oppressive, so we need to get rid of that, and now, by the power of the populace, we need to overthrow these existing historical things that are oppressive to us…"

In the same way, they say that gender and sex is a social construct. Meaning, "You just identify as a man because you grew up in a patriarchal society that says that's who you are, but if you really looked inside and knew within, you would explore your sexuality. That's a social construct. Throw that off and become… You do you. You find your true love." It's what we're living in. Like critical race theory, this is now critical theory applied to gender.

To Facebook (or now, as it's called, Meta)… In 2014, they offered 58 genders. They've now shrunk it down to 14. I think they realized, "Oh, this is going to be unending," so now it's 14, including androgynous and agender and cisgender and all the different things. Then, though, there's a custom field where you can enter in… It's an open text box, and as you put in A or B or C or whatever letter, it starts auto-populating over 100 of these different genders. Sex and gender used to be synonymous. They are now altogether not.

Tumblr, which is a social media and microblogging platform, offer right now (it'll change; give it a month) 121 different genders. WebMD, which you think you look for that for chicken pox and coronavirus. Like, "What are my symptoms? WebMD." WebMD has articles on all of this. They have one on polyamory, which means multiple lovers. Not like infidelity. Like, "Oh, I just love a lot of people." Right. And they not only ascribe to it, "This is a real sexuality," but they then don't just give the definition. They give you instructions on how to engage in a conversation with your partner about polyamory so you can bring them into a polyamorous relationship.

They go further and say if your partner doesn't agree with polyamory, then perhaps it's time for you to find another partner who will be better off for you, who will appreciate your polyamorous nature. It's not just that, though. It's not just gender. There's the hookup culture. I literally had to email our IT department. I was like, "Hey, guys. FYI: I am researching some dark stuff. I'm for sure getting flagged on our staff Internet." Scott Miller, who oversees all that, was like, "Hey, thanks for letting us know. If it happens next week, I'll be in your office."

Because the things I'm researching… I'm researching "Hookup app," and it's a laundry list, like, things I can't even mention from the stage with integrity because of the stumbling block it might put before someone. Some of you are like, "Oh yeah, I know about those." That's a different topic of conversation. We have a porn epidemic. It is an epidemic outside of the church and even so within the church, which is such a tragedy that it's here within the church.

Every time you say porn, you need to think in your mind, too, masturbation. Nobody is just looking at pictures. There's a sex act that's going along with the sex images, and it's epidemic within the church, within Christians. It shouldn't be. Prostitution… With shelter in place, you now have this movement toward amateur pornography, where normal people are getting online to different websites and giving themselves over to pornography for other people who will pay them.

In Europe (coming to a theater near you soon, because we usually follow the trend line), you have universities telling students, "This is how you can engage as a sex worker, either online or in person, to help offset some of your school debt." That's the reality we're living in. Thus the number one song on iTunes in all genres in the US. Here are some of the lyrics from "Brainwashed" by Tom MacDonald.

Step one: train the people only to consume;

Step two: infiltrate adults with the news;

Step three: indoctrinate the children through the schools

And the music and the apps on the phones that they use.

With that reality, that cultural temperature and climate in mind, we're going to walk through those three things.

  1. Truth over trends. This is Ephesians 4:15: "Instead, speaking the truth in love…" This is us, as Jesus left us here as salt and light to push back the darkness, the moral decay. We're to speak the truth in love. The truth being the content, and then love being the manner and the intention of the heart, the delivery and the motive of you. It's truth, but it's all wrapped and sourced in love for the individual.

If you were here for the first week when we kicked us off, you know that love without truth is negligence. To just say, "Well, I'm going to love that person. I'm not going to share the truth. That would be condemning, and they would feel other than, so I'm just going to love them." That's negligence. That's letting someone walk full-fledged toward sin, death, Satan, and hell. But then there's the opposite side where truth without love is a nuisance.

This is 1 Corinthians 13, where he says, "If you're speaking the truth, if you have the tongues of angels, but you don't have love, you're just noise." You're just noise to them. You have to have truth and love inextricably intertwined. This is the context of Ephesians 4:15: "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves [of culture] , and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming."

That's the world we're living in: the cunning, the craftiness, the deceit. He says, "Speak the truth in love." That's your job, church. Speak the truth in love. Truth over trends. I'm going to give you an example of a good friend of mine. She is a fellow on the re:gen team out of the Watermark Institute. Her name is Mary Sivils. Mary was pursuing her master's in marriage and family counseling at a university that everyone in this room would instantly know.

She's getting her master's, and this professor, who has four PhDs, says to the class, "If you have a couple that's struggling in marriage, you should prescribe to them pornography. That will be helpful to their marriage." Mary said she engaged in this wrestling with the Holy Spirit as he was saying to her, "Raise your hand. Speak up. The students just heard what she said." She's like, "I'll just talk to the teacher after class." The Spirit spoke louder. "No, raise your hand. Speak up now."

So Mary raises her hand. "Teacher?" "Yes?" She says, "I disagree that porn is beneficial for marriage. We see in neuroscience studies that pornography trains the brain out of monogamy and depletes intimacy and purity. It quite literally changes the brain." The professor's response… Do you know what she asked? "Are you a Christian?" Not "Where did you get that research?" Not "That's an interesting counterpoint." "Are you a Christian?"

Mary said, "Yes, but the statistics and rationale I'm quoting are not faith-based studies." She said, "Get out of the class or keep your opinions to yourself." She then was expelled from the university. All of her A's went to F's, because not only that; she wouldn't put her pronouns on her email signature. They said, "That is prejudiced. You're transphobic, and that's discriminatory." Not because she was speaking against other people. Just because she wouldn't put her pronouns on her email signature. So she got all F's.

Then she checked her grades one day after that, because she was like, "Come what may. I stand with the Lord. I'm not going to waver," as they were telling her to renounce that. She checks her grades one day. From all F's back to all A's. She goes to the IT department. She's like, "Hey, I had all F's. They're now all A's, but I've been through this expulsion process. Can you help me understand?" They sent her around kind of a goose chase to find other people.

Then the IT person comes back and says, "You know what? We've looked into it. Your grades did change, but we don't know what to do, because if we change your grades back to F's manually, we're going to have to go back and manually reenter every single student of the entire student body. So you can have your A's, and I guess we're going to have to let you graduate." That's God! What? That's the Hebrew boys in Babylon saying, "Hey, king. Do what you must. Our God is able to save us, but even if he doesn't, this is what we're going to do." Mary is like, "Kick me out if you want. This is where I stand." And God is like, "I've got you. I'm with you in the fire." Truth over trends.

Some of the trends… Ninety-six percent of Millennials… These aren't troubled junior high kids. These are 25- to 40-year-olds. Ninety-six percent lack a biblical worldview. Seventy-five percent lack meaning and purpose in life. Three-quarters have no reason to get out of bed in the morning, no purpose in life. This is according to George Barna, incredible cultural research center.

Only one-third have a belief in God, leaving two-thirds to be atheistic or agnostic. This statistic. Thirty-nine percent…you heard me…of 18- to 24-year-olds, which is the lowest bracket of Millennials, identify as LGBTQI+…39 percent, 4 out of 10. Barna attributes this to media that applauds them and gives them… Our president calls them heroes. There is this fanfare around it, so now 4 out of 10.

So, truth over trends. Truth over trends when you're asked to use someone's pronouns, when you're asked to compromise in any way, is "Hey, I respect you as an individual." You tell them you love them, because God does. "I love you. I respect you, and I think you should be able to make your own choices. I know that as an open-minded person…" Just use their language. "…you live according to your own conscience. Right?" "Yes, I do."

"Then I know that you, as an open-minded person living according to your own conscience, wouldn't want me to then live against my conscience, would you? That's what you're for. That would violate my conscience because of my beliefs, but I love you. I care for you. It's actually the reason I'm not going along with it because of my beliefs." Truth over trends.

It's Acts 4:18-20. "Then they called them [John and Peter] in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus." You might say in the ways of Jesus. "But Peter and John replied, 'Which is right in God's eyes: to listen to you, or to [God] ? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.'"

Blake Holmes turned me on to a journal. It's called First Things, journal of religion and public life. Carl Trueman is quoted as saying, essentially, "Christianity tells the world what it does not wish to hear. We should not expect to be embraced by those whose thoughts and deeds contradict the truths of our faith, nor should we seek to make our faith more palatable, lest the salt lose its savor. Accommodating the world's demands is a fool's errand." Hold to truth over trends.

  1. Disciple before culture does. There is no more neutral. We have to disciple before culture does, because culture is discipling the world and our children and our neighbors and our coworkers and us 24/7 with the devices we have within our palms to the TV to the music to everything. There's an ongoing discipleship by the culture, so we have to disciple first and foremost, just as the culture always is.

I have a question. Do you want to know one of the greatest disciplers…arguably, I would say, second greatest discipler in the history of known religion? You're probably like, "Okay. Well, Jesus has to be first. Maybe Paul. Maybe Moses." Second greatest discipler, arguably, would be Satan. Satan is the second greatest discipler, as he's whispering his lies and infiltrating through culture and media and social media and all of it.

Jesus gave us the Great Commission. Matthew 28: "Therefore go and make disciples…" It's what we're to be about…Christ followers. That's all this is. "…of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…" So, they've trusted in Jesus. There's salvation. Now we're moving into sanctification.

Listen. "…and teaching them…" Who? All nations. "…teaching them [all nations] to obey everything…" It's not à la carte, like, "Ooh, man! That part might offend somebody, and that part they're certainly not going to agree with, and that part would really make me a hater or a bigot, so I'll just strip some of this down and just give them a little sprinkle…Jesus plus, but minus that."

"…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." They're not suggestions, they're not inferences; they are commands, and they lead to life and peace. The mind set in accordance with the Spirit is life and peace. The mind set in accordance with the flesh is death. That's Romans 8. So, we have to disciple before culture does.

Be honest early and often. My kids, my 7- and 6-year-olds in particular… Not so much my 3-year-old. He cares about ninjas and dinosaurs. But the 7- and 6-year-olds know about transgenderism. We talk about it openly. "Hey, did you know some boys decide to dress as a girl and some girls decide to dress as a boy? Did you know the Bible says you should never dress as the opposite sex, that it's sin? Now, we don't hate those people, but what they're doing is not right, so we want to tell them about God. We want to pray for them."

We talk to them about same-sex marriage. "Did you know some children have two parents that are the same gender? Did you know some mothers kill their children when they're pregnant?" We talk about all this stuff. We have very open, honest conversations, because I know if I don't, they're going to be getting it from the world. They just are.

I can either trust the world to teach them or their friends to teach them or we can do what Deuteronomy 6 says, as the Lord gave us the Shema. "Hear, O Israel, as you walk and talk along the roads and on your doorposts and everything, all of life…" We're just having these conversations, and we're engaging in it. When they bring home books that have that on the back cover… It's just an all day, every day thing. That's what we do as we make discipleship.

I have a friend who has a teenage daughter in a local high school, and I can't even say it from the stage. The teacher in four class periods played an audio of literature that was so graphic, five seconds in she's stopping her ears because of the sex acts and sounds. Friends, that's a felony offense to put pornography before minors. That's like registered sex offender action. So, rightly, they protested to the principal, and then they're going to pursue legal action, because they should.

If we stop standing up for what is right and our rights, then we're actually in sin. In James 4:17, it says, "If you know the good you ought to do and you do not do it, for you it is sin." We have to be the salt and light. We can't say, "Well, I'm going to be salty in my house, but I'm not going to be salt in the school or in the workplace." Then we're absolving our responsibility.

Proverbs 24:11-12 says, "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?" God knows. He knows that we know. So, accordingly, Governor Abbott (Texas governor) called upon the Texas school boards to remove pornography from classrooms and libraries. That sounds like a pretty good thing.

I mean, even the fact that we have to ask people to remove pornography is kind of shocking, but the fact that he would have to ask, like, "Hey, guys, let's not have pornography in schools…" It's like, "Oh, yeah. That's logical. It would be a felony." But another major news outlet said, "These are just the latest efforts to remove LGBT titles from schools."

I'm like, "No. No, he didn't say that, actually. He didn't say, 'Remove LGBT titles from schools.' He said, 'Remove pornography.' But I think by your response, you just admitted that the two are equal, that the ones that have pornographic material are the LGBT ones." Now, there may be some hetero ones that are out there with pornography, and they should be removed too, but even their response was an admission.

I think some of you here are outraged and offended, and that same person who is outraged and offended has no moral authority, because you yourself are addicted to pornography, or maybe the emotional affair with a man at work. It's time that judgment begins with the house of the Lord, as Scripture says. Those who are in sin while throwing stones at other sins need to heed these words. First Thessalonians 4:3-8: "It is God's will…" "What's your will for me, God?"

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified [made in the image of Christ] : that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body…" He's talking to the church here. "…in a way that is holy [set apart only to God] and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God…"

He's like, "The people outside the church… Of course they're doing what they do. They're natural-born sinners. Christ hasn't intervened in their life yet, so of course they have that sin. My problem is not with them; my problem is with the church," he's saying by the Spirit through Paul. "You're operating like the pagans who don't even know God."

"…and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister [as you lead them into sexual sin] . The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit." We have to disciple before culture does and let the discipleship begin with us, let repentance begin with us, or we will have no moral authority or integrity to speak otherwise.

  1. Be against the movement but for the person. This is my favorite point of the entire message. I had these two points, and I couldn't quite figure them out, and then God led me. I mashed them up, and it became this: be against the movement but for the person. Another fellow, Matt Robison… He worked for a major company that you would know here in this city on the entertainment side of things.

His boss came to him and said, "I want you to be captain for the night." Matt said, "Hey, I'm honored that you would ask me to be captain, but because of my beliefs that I hold to very strongly, I can't do what you're asking me to do, because that would be celebrating that which I believe is harmful for people." It was Pride Night.

Matt said in a very winsome way, "I have many gay friends, and they know I love them. They know I don't agree with their lifestyle but that I love them. It would be very confusing for them to see me on screens and monitors affirming what I've told them I think is not best for them or right or good." He thought, "I may get fired for this." The boss said, "Okay. You can do some back office work." The next time Pride Night rolled around, they just said, "Hey, you can stay home. We know where you land."

He was against the movement, but did you hear him say…? He has friends he loves in a gay lifestyle. Matt Robison, after his fellowship, has continued to be one of our leaders within re:generation, leading right now of all walks, of all sexual sin, loving them and discipling them, not condemning them, but like Jesus on a rescue mission for them with truth and grace.

By the way… This is important to say. If someone is struggling with homosexuality or transgender, the goal for them is not heterosexuality. The goal for them is Christ, that they would become like Christ, that they would become a follower of Christ. Conversely, if someone is a heterosexual, the goal shouldn't be marriage. The goal should be Christ.

Now, that may be the result. I have friends who were in a same-sex lifestyle that, having trusted in Christ, a fruit of repentance became marriage and children. Praise God. But the goal was Christ, and the goal for all of us is Christ, and then different fruits may come about. Be against the movement but for the person.

Right now, ally… If you're an ally of transgender, if you're an ally of same-sex, if you're an ally of all of the different genderisms… That's a verbiage. We are not to be culture's ally. We are counterculture, but we are to be Christ's ambassador. Not culture's ally but Christ's ambassador. So, you are to be for the person. As we're against the movement, we are for the person. Why do I say that? How can I say that? Because it's what Jesus…

When he walked this earth, was he against oppression of the poor, extortion? Yes, absolutely. He was against the oppression of the poor and extortion. He was against theft. Yet do you know who he was for? Levi and Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus, who went on to become the bishop of Caesarea. Levi, who became Matthew, one of the apostles, one of the ones who was sent out. He was against the movement but for the person.

Or then you have Jesus who was against lust and fornication and adultery, yet he was for the woman at the well, and he was for the woman caught in adultery. He is and was against Satan and all the demonic realm, yet he was for Mary Magdalene, out of whom seven demons came, and for the Gerasene demoniac. He went through all that for that one singular soul to be saved. He was against the movement of Satan but for the individual.

He was against the pharisaical system that was just dead religion, heaping up a load on people. "Just follow the rules." He was against the pharisaical system, said they were sons of hell, but he was for Nicodemus, and he was for Saul, who we know as the apostle Paul. He was for them. And do you know what else? Jesus is against alcoholism. He's against alcoholism and addiction and sexual sin, but he was for me.

So we, church, are against the movement but for the person. Thank God that somebody was against alcoholism and addiction but for John. They saw me in the back of that A.A. room and said, "Hey, if you're going to do this, you're going to need help. Here's my cell phone number. Call me tomorrow. Hey, I know you need a place to live. I know you're changing friends." A guy where I was working was like, "Hey…" He wasn't shouting at me; he was shepherding me.

He was like, "Hey, what if you and I just started talking about God and studying the Bible? Do you want to come to church with me? I know you're going through a hard time." I had people who supported me. I had people three months sober invite me to go on a mission trip to share the gospel, because they were against the movement of alcoholism and addiction, but they were for me, and it made all the difference.

Let me tell you, the exact same is true of you. Every single one of us could stand up and say, "This is what I was steeped in," and I would say, "I am against that," but somebody was for you. They loved you. They shared Jesus with you. Friends, the people outside of these walls… Don't be against them. You should be their truest friend. Not their best friend who celebrates every single thing they do. "Man, you be you. You find your true love." Don't be their best friend, but you be their truest friend, the truest friend who loves them when the bottom falls out, the truest friend who loves them with truth and grace.

Right now, you need to know… Who's that person? If right now you're like, "Oh, I'm disgusted by them," then you do not have the mind of Christ. They are the one Jesus has sent you for. You should know their birthday. You should invite them to lunch. You should invite them over to your house to watch the game. You should be their truest friend. He sent you for them, just as one was sent for you. It's why you're sitting here this morning and you're hearing.

The same house I picked up this book in sat on the market a long time. Nobody bought it. I asked the realtor once, because I was like, "Man, what is wrong with this house that nobody wants it?" The realtor said, "It's the backyard. Nobody wants it because of the backyard." The backyard, straight-up, like, veritable jungle. You couldn't even walk through it…branches and trees and weeds. It was horrible. But the backyard wasn't the problem. The backyard just needed a new owner.

That's what it is out in the world. There are weeds and overgrown wickedness, but the people are not the problem. They just need a new owner. They are, right now, under the influence of Satan, and when they come under the influence of Christ, it will be a beautiful thing. My backyard is now probably my favorite part of our house. It's clean and safe, life-giving, kids playing out there. It just needed a new owner. So do they. Maybe so do we. Let's pray.

Father, thank you so much for your love for us, that through Jesus you didn't come to condemn us, but you came to save us. You came to rescue us. You said that you came for the sick, not for the healthy, of which there are none. You came for the sick. You want us to hold to truth over the trends of culture. You want us to disciple, because, Lord knows, culture is.

And, Lord, most of all, that we would be against this cultural compromise but that our lives would be marked by being for the people, for the individual. They're just lost, but you're the way, the truth, and the life. How else are they going to become unlost other than someone saying, "I'm just one beggar showing another how to find the bread"? May we be faithful, not to shout but to shepherd, because it's what you did for us. May we be found faithful at your coming. Amen.