• Tag Archives Jesus
  • Excerpt from “Tracking Kings” – Following the Kings of Israel and Judah

     

     

    Chapter 7 – “A Stone of a Lasting Standard” – David (reign -40 years – BC 1055–1015), pp 47-48

    …Shortly after David’s victory over the Amalekites, a desperate Amalekite came to Ziklag and was granted permission to approach David with news of Saul and Jonathan’s death. Believing that he was doing David a favor, he announced that he had assisted King Saul in ending his life on the battlefield. Even though the stranger had handed David Saul’s crown and bracelet, the entire story had been fabricated. In reality Saul had taken his own life (ISam.31:4) and the Amalekite had evidentially arrived on the battlefield after the fact. David was perplexed as to why the stranger seemed to possess no fear of falling on God’s anointed. Due to David’s high regard for Saul’s position and the death of his dear son, he had the man executed and then spent time grieving over the deaths of the king and Jonathan. After his time of lamenting, “…he bade them teach the children of Judah [the use of] the bow: behold, [it is] written in the book of Jasher” (ISam.1:18). The death of Saul and Jonathan appears to have triggered David’s memory of this ancient work.1  David sought God and was told to go up to Hebron (community). Upon arriving at Hebron anxious leaders soon acknowledged David as Israel’s new king.

    From our perspective of David’s family in Hebron it appears to be anything but ordinary. The Bible does not hesitate in introducing us to David’s six wives and sons – all living in Hebron: (1) Ammon (faith­ful) by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, (2) Chileab (restraint) of Abigail, (3) Absalom (father of peace) by Maacah (oppression), (4) Adonijah (my lord is Jehovah) by Haggith (festive), (5) Shephatiah (Jehovah judges) by Abital (fresh), and (6) Ithream (residue of the people) by Eglah (heif­er).2    (IISam.3:2–5)

    corresponding end notes for above (pp 403-404)

    1. The mention of this book in itself is most interesting. (1st) It has historical significance, even though it is not part of our inspired text. (2nd) It is mentioned here and in Joshua 10:12–13. (3rd) The title of the book, Jasher, is not a proper name (such as the name of a man) rather, it basically means the book of the upright, or righteous man, or the acts of true Godly people following God. (4th) This book of many writers is a vast collection (91 chapters) of about 90% Scripture covering a period of time from Adam through the Judges. It was a kind of secular chronicle of a major section of Old Testament history. (5th) In our text at hand David is referring to the dying words of Jacob to Judah. In Jasher 56:9 we read, “…only teach thy sons the use of the bow and all weapons of war, in order that they may fight the battles of their brother who will rule over their enemies.” One has to certainly admit that King David was very familiar with the book of Jasher.
    2. Old Testament polygamy appears to have been something God tolerated rather than endorsed. Note the following prophetic passage which foretells of Israel’s desire for a king and its associated warnings:

    When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that [are] about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set [him] king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: [one] from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which [is] not thy brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” (Deu.17:14–17) In the new Testament we read: “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Mat.19:4–8)

    Josephus remarked, “For it is an ancestral custom of ours to have several wives at the same time.” In paragraph 19 he recorded that King Herod was married to nine wives at the same time. (Op. cit., volume III, book 17, section 1, paragraph 3, p.472) Wherever we find polygamy we find trouble, confusion and, in the case of the Old Testament, hearts turned many directions away from God.

     

    (pp50-51)

    … Although outsiders may have seen David as being invincible, God quickly taught him that he was a sinner prone to sin just like all the rest of us. God exposed David’s sinful nature and actions to him through Nathan when Nathan addressed David’s affair with Bathsheba (IISam.11–12:7). David’s lament of this entire scenario can be found in Psalm 51. Before fast forwarding in David’s life, one quick observation of God’s revelation must be addressed: After the death of the infant child from this affair, listen to David’s God-given convictions, “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (IISam.12:23) Even way back we read of the innocence of children: Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it. (Deu.1:39).

    There is no question but that God has special provision for the in­nocent children and this provision has the same destination as the re­deemed adults!5

    corresponding end note (pp 404-406)

    1. A wonderful study can be found in examining what God has to say about the “book”. Moses would pen –

    And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. (Ex.32:31–33)

    Under God’s guidance David would record –

    For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psa.139:13–16)

    In the New Testament God reveals additional information by using Paul and John.

    And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life. (Phil.4:3)

    He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev.3:5)

    For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (IJn.5:4–5)

    And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev.13:8)

    The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Rev.17:8)

    And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Rev.20:12–13)

    And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev.21:27)

    And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev.22:19)

     

    Scripture teaches that at birth one’s name is placed in God’s special book. Unless this same soul dies in infancy (please note ISam.12:16–23), at some unknown point and age this same name is removed from God’s book because of that soul’s sin. Apart from God’s help, that same soul’s name is forbidden back into the book and will remain in said condition through out eternity. The only thing that can re-write that name back into God’s book is a personal cleansing and pardoning by God upon that same soul if and when that same soul personally hears about, believes upon, and trusts in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Based fully upon the merits of Christ, the name therefore remains in God’s book forever!

    Availability

    Although this publication is available from Amazon and Barns and Noble, may I suggest contacting me at Rllroger1948@gmail.com, roger@rogerluther.com, or feel free to call 810. 569.3327.  Also, consider visiting the publisher’s web site. There you will discover an abundance books that will surely grab your attention, edify your soul, and lift up The Lord. pho. 864.836.4111 ext. 104  (the office)fax: 864.610.8047   sspillman@truepotentialmedia.com  or https://www.facebook.com/TruePotentialMedia / or tppress.com   /Digital copies are now available from the publisher, Amazon, or iTunes books. The cost is $9.99.  Tracking Kings sells for $19.95+ S.&H.

    God Bless,

    Roger

     

    Death-Of-A-Child.pdfft click to read or right click to download

     

     

     

     


  • What about Christmas?

         Over the years, believers have watched as the world’s system annually emphasis Christmas as being about feeding the flesh, feeding lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The gospel writer, John, informs us that this is not the way of God but rather the way of the world’s system that is supernatural and religious in its core elements. “For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1Jn 2:16)”

        The late Adrian Rogers reminds us, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14.
    The educated man is ignorant, the strong man is weak, and the wealthy man is poor who doesn’t understand the true meaning of Christmas.
    What good does it do us to put a man on the moon if we can’t get God in our hearts? What good is it to know astronomy, how the heavens go, and not know Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star, and how to go to Heaven? What good is it to know botany and the study of flowers and not know Jesus, Heaven’s sweetest rose, the Rose of Sharon, who can perfume any life? What good is it to know the events of history, yet not know that history is His story? What good is it to know geology and the ages of rocks and not know Jesus, the Rock of Ages? “For it is in Him we live and move and have our being.”
    Jesus was not just another child. He was not just the Galilean peasant, the great teacher. He was supernatural.
     You won’t understand Christmas until you understand that this child was born of a virgin. This child is the very Son of God. Never forget this. Read the words of Isaiah 9:6-7. Let his prophecy about this child speak to you today.

     Even though the first paragraph reminds us of the norm for the unsaved, we must be aware that a faction of that vast number does very well in blending in for the season then departing for another year. On the other hand, if believers neglect personal bible reading, personal prayer, and personally fellowshipping systematically with other believers, one day they may very well shamefully discover that their Christian life has reflected themselves more than that of their Saviour!

        Rather than experiencing another ho-hum Christmas season, it does us well to examine ourselves. Perhaps some may see the need and accept Him as the real Christmas gift, transforming from the inside to the outside in this marvelous new birth! The rest of us may   benefit greatly by handing the reigns back to Him, trusting fully in His leadership from this day forward!

        Always remember that true Christmas is 100% centered in Christ! Let Jesus set the standard and watch what happens!



     


  • Just For Pilgrims And Others -180 – “Just how contagious is our faith?”

    “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Heb.11:13)
    All of us have made promises that, at one time or another, we failed to keep them. On the other hand, how far superior are the promises of God! In the passage, preceding the above verse, we discovered that God promised Abraham and his descendents a land but was that all. Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw [it], and was glad.” (Jn.8:56)
    God’s promises to Abraham were miraculous in themselves! One would think that most would have been content by grabbing a chunk of land but not so. The impression of God’s words to Abraham were so strong that not only did he look for God’s city (vs.10) and the Messiah but also they had the same affect on his descendants for the rest of their lives. My dear friends, that is something! Secondly, God’s promises changed everyone’s view of themselves. They mirrored that they were “strangers” and “pilgrims” i.e. they viewed themselves as not being a natural born citizen of the land and could live along side of the inhabitants without becoming part of them.
    In summary, consider the work of Christ, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”(Heb. 8:6) Although Abraham’s convictions were highly contagious, how much stronger ours should be! True Christians have encountered the Messiah and the eternal indwelling Spirit assures us of arriving in His celestial city one day!
    We all need to examine ourselves – just how contagious is our faith?

     


  • REINDEER / RABBITS and REDEMPTION

    My dear friend, who led my father to the Lord many years ago, poster the following:
    REINDEER / RABBITS and REDEMPTION

    Christmas, Easter
    Amazing Grace
    Days for everything
    Measuring time
    Holidays, holy days
    Birthdays, parades
    Let’s pretend,
    Don’t tell the kids
    A game
    Things rule,
    Want reigns
    Entertain me
    Technology galore
    No relief
    Tired minds!

    To and fro
    Fro and to
    Going nowhere
    Malls full
    Things galore
    People grazing
    Reindeer and gifts
    Rabbits and baskets
    Stuff goes fast
    Nothing lasts
    Glad to sad
    Life’s endless cycle
    Bored empty hearts
    Lost in the void
    Troubled lives
    Real pain!

    Amazing grace
    Love and hope
    Hunger for meaning
    Desiring the eternal
    Reindeer, rabbits
    Can’t satisfy the heart
    Grace and peace
    Life from the designer
    GOD sent His Son
    Father wears skin
    Jesus His name
    Greatest of Gifts!

    Flying reindeer
    Bearded round men
    Gifts galore
    Rabbits, colored eggs
    Sweet goodies
    A lowly donkey
    Carries a servant King
    Hands scarred by nails
    Offering hope
    A cross
    Love and forgiveness
    A second chance
    An empty tomb
    He is risen
    New life forever!
    RISEN INDEED 24/7

     


  • Heaven Is More Than A Dream!

       Copy of New Jerusalem#2 “I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
    Do you believe that there is a home in heaven waiting for you? There is! Because Jesus cannot lie. He is Truth incarnate. He always told the truth. He said, “If it were not so, I would have told you.”
    Jesus would not let the hope of heaven go on beating in your heart if it were simply a lie, a superstition, or a fond delusion. Heaven is not merely a state of mind. It is not a condition. It is a place so real that Jesus is there in a literal, resurrected body. There is a body in this place called heaven. It is His resurrected body. Heaven is a place on God’s map.
    (above commentary by the late Dr. Adrian Rogers)
    For those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior, we truly have a dream home that is far beyond the dreams of mortal man and we will not need a GPS to find it because a personal escort awaits us on the other side!

     


  • Any Place or God’s Secret Place

    “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psa. 91:1-2)  These verses demand that we take note of where we are spiritually living. If we choose to live in God’s secret place, we quickly grow from His everlasting foundation of security. Apart from His security all else is temporal at best. God provides this promise for all but only those who willingly and whole-heartedly rely on His trustworthiness will experience this miraculous event and brag on His constant care!

        As Paul closed his letter to the Roman Christians we note:   “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: (Rom.16:25-26)

    How can we enter into God’s secret place? This can only be answered by taking heed to what Jesus told Thomas when he asked “…how can we know the way?” — “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (Jn.14:6)

    Paul’s protégé (Timothy) records, “For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”(1Ti 2:5)   

    Being in Gods secret place provides heavenly benefits on this earth and through all eternity!

    What will it be – anyplace or God’s secret place?

     

    RLL  12/12/13

     

     


  • “Yes” to Jesus but “No” to the Church?

    “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” Ephesians 5:29-30
    Many believers think they don’t have to go to church. They say yes to Jesus, but no to the church. Now, this happens for many reasons. But if you love God, you will love Jesus. And if you love Jesus, you will love what He loves, and Jesus loves the church.
    Well, can’t a man be a Christian without being a member of the church?
    Let me answer that question with another one—can a bee be a bee without a hive?
    Can a sailor be a sailor without a ship?
    Can a person be a parent without a family?
    We need one another. We were made for one another. Jesus didn’t say, “I will build you a church” or “You will build My church.” Instead, Jesus said, “I will build My church.”

    (commentary by Adrian Rogers)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • “Basics About The Blessed Book”

     

    Just as every structure has a foundation so does God’s Word. Even though we cannot see this foundation with our eyes, it exists nevertheless.  We must never forget that the Bible has stood the test of time because of its unique foundation. Those who ridicule the Bible are in reality ridiculing its foundation. In Matt.24:35 Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”. Although in the previous sentence Jesus was specifically teaching about the longevity and complete fulfillment of His words, we may, rest assured that He was also reflecting upon the Word’s foundation.  All right already, what is this foundation? The Bible’s inspiration is its foundation. We will briefly look at the majesty, the mysteriousness, the mode, the method, the mastery, and the message of this most important doctrine.

    Left click to read or right click (“save target as”) to download the entire file in PDF format:

     


  • Why Did He Do It?

       A dear pastor friend of mine in Mount Vernon, Washington, recently posted the following on Facebook:  I am taking a theology class, and one of my assignments this week is to ask the following question in the “public square”: What was the purpose of the life and death of Jesus Christ?

         The moment I read this, the gears started upstairs and I began wondering what we would say if someone simply proposed, the same question to any Christian at random. Have you considered that such a scenario is not only highly possible but, as we grow nearer our Lord’s return I am strongly convicted it will become highly probable. Folks, right now there is a growing population (many of whom who profess to be believers) all around us who are desperately searching for help and answers and eventually one of them will cross paths with one of us. The Bible says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  16.  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17.  For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” (1Pe. 3:15-17) 

        The following was my response to John. According to the Scriptures, Jesus supplied that which God requires in order for us to be pleasing to Him in this life and throughout eternity – perfection. All of humanity’s blood was and still is, tainted with sin since, consequently, the time when Adam and Eve became earth’s first two sinners. Thus, since all lineages reach back through one of Noah’s sons and eventually back to Adam and Eve through the lineage of Seth, each earthly human being is in a fix – i.e. we are all sinners and no earth-born citizen can change their condition nor do the same for another. The Scripture states in Romans 3:19-26, “ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. 21  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22  Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25  Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26  To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  God never intended the Old Testament law to provide the where-with-all to redeem anyone. At best, the law could only provide a temporal covering of sins, if obeyed. (Heb.10:1-10) “ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2.  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.  3. But in those [sacrifices there is] a remembrance again [made] of sins every year. 4.  For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.  5. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6.  In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hast had no pleasure.  7.  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.  8.  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure [therein]; which are offered by the law; 9.  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10.  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].   The law was and forever will remain God’s continual reminder that all are sinners in desperate need of miraculous intervention from Him.  

             In conclusion, by personally repenting of our sins and accepting The Lord Jesus Christ as our Savor, God instantaneously cleanses us from all sins, equips us with His type of life (eternal), and then adopts us into His heavenly family! That is the reason Jesus went to the cross, shed His blood, suffered and died, and then arose early on Sunday morning.  The Word of God says it best – (Jn. 3:16) “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • Is it true Jesus never addressed same-sex marriage?

    My dear friend, Danny Akin, recently wrote the following article that you might find very interesting and useful.

    Danny AkinWAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Today it is popular among those promoting same-sex marriage to say that Jesus never addressed the issue, that He was silent on the subject.

    Those who affirm the historical and traditional understanding of marriage between a man and woman often are admonished to go and read the Bible more carefully. If we do so, we are told, we will see that Jesus never addressed the issue. So, the question that I want to raise is, “Is this assertion correct?” Is it indeed the fact that Jesus never addresses the issue of same-sex marriage?

    When one goes to the Gospels to see exactly what Jesus did say, one will discover that He addressed very clearly both the issues of sex and marriage. He addresses both their use and misuse. And, as He speaks to both subjects, He makes it plain that issues of the heart are of critical importance.

    First, what did Jesus say about sex? Jesus believed that sex is a good gift from a great God. He also believed that sex was a good gift to be enjoyed within a monogamous, heterosexual covenant of marriage. On this He is crystal clear. In Mark 7 Jesus addresses the fact that all sin is ultimately an issue of the heart. Jesus was never after behavioral modification. Jesus was always after heart transformation. Change the heart and you truly change the person.

    Thus, when He lists a catalog of sins in Mark 7:21-22, He makes it clear that all of these sins are ultimately matters of the heart. It is the idols of the heart that Jesus is out to eradicate. Among those sins of the heart that often give way to sinful actions He would include both sexual immorality and adultery (Mark 7:21). The phrase “sexual immorality,” in a biblical context, would speak of any sexual behavior outside the covenant of marriage between a man and woman. Therefore, Jesus viewed pre-marital sex, adultery and homosexual behavior as sinful. And, He knew that the cure for each is a transformation of the heart made possible by the good news of the Gospel. The Gospel changes us so that now we are enabled to do not what we want, but what God wants. Here we find real freedom and joy.

    Second, what about the issue of marriage? Is it truly the case that Jesus never spoke to the issue in terms of gender? The answer is a simple no. He gives His perspective on this when He addresses the issue in Matthew 19:4-6. There, speaking to the institution of marriage, Jesus is clear when He says, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” That Jesus was committed to heterosexual marriage could not be more evident. A man is to leave his parents and be joined to a woman who becomes his wife. This is heterosexual marriage. That He also was committed to the permanence and fidelity of marriage is clear as well.

    So, how might we sum up the issue? First, Jesus came to deliver all people from all sin. Such sin, He was convinced, originated in and was ultimately a matter of the heart. Second, Jesus made it clear that sex is a good gift from a great God, and this good gift is to be enjoyed within heterosexual covenantal marriage. It is simply undeniable that Jesus assumed heterosexual marriage as God’s design and plan. Third, Jesus sees all sexual activity outside this covenant as sinful. Fourth, it is a very dangerous and illegitimate interpretive strategy to bracket the words of Jesus and read into them the meaning you would like to find. We must not isolate Jesus from His affirmation of the Old Testament as the Word of God nor divorce Him from His first century Jewish context. Fifth, and this is really good news, Jesus loves both the heterosexual sinner and the homosexual sinner and promises free forgiveness and complete deliverance to each and everyone who comes to Him.

    John 8 tells the story of a woman caught in adultery. The religious legalists want to stone her, but Jesus intervenes and prevents her murder. He then looks upon the woman and, with grace and tenderness, tells her that He does not condemn her. Then He says to her, “go and sin no more.” In Matthew 11:28 Jesus speaks to every one of us weighed down under the terrible weight and burden of sin. Listen to these tender words of the Savior, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” This is the hope that is found in Jesus. This is the hope found in the Gospel. Whether one is guilty of heterosexual or homosexual sin, one will find grace, forgiveness and freedom at the foot of the cross where the ground is always level.

    When I came to fully trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the age of 20, I determined that I wanted to think like Jesus and live like Jesus for the rest of my life. When it comes to sex I want to think like Jesus. When it comes to marriage I want to think like Jesus. That means I will affirm covenantal heterosexual marriage. It also means loving each and every person regardless of their lifestyle choices. It means, as His representative, proclaiming His Gospel and extending the transforming grace of the Gospel to others that takes us where we are, but wonderfully and amazingly, does not leave us there. That is a hope and a promise that followers of Jesus gladly extend to everyone, because we have been recipients of that same amazing grace.

    Daniel Akin is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.