Dear Beloved Flock of Jesus,
With the Supreme Courtâ€™s decision to legalize same-sex marriages, there is potential persecution coming for Christians who seek to be faithful to the Gospel, and who long to see Jesus glorified in the salvation of sinners enslaved to sin. With this landmark decision, how should we then live as Christians? It is easy to be tempted to fear the worst, to overly worry, and to feed on unhealthy opinions and the words of men.
We should remember to feed first on Christ and His Word, to seek to hear His Word preached, to study, meditate upon it, and digest it (watch your diet of talk radio and news and social mediaâ€”especially if you are prone to worry, and to get angry (er, â€œpassionateâ€). Note how much youâ€™re feeding on Godâ€™s Word, and how much your feeding on the wind?! We should remember to continue feed on Christ in the Word, the Sacraments, and prayâ€¦pray a lot! We should remember to continue to be faithful to the end as a congregation (2 Tim. 4:7-8). These times should cause ever soul at our congregation to fast and pray, to daily seek and communion with God, and to show up for every prayer meeting! In fact, our next prayer meeting on Sunday, July 5th will be dedicated to praying for these things below!
We must remember at KCPC, dear ones, Jesus tends His flock like a shepherd, and he carries you in His bosom with love and gentleness; nothing can separate you from Godâ€™s love to you in Christ (Isa. 40:11; Rom. 8:31-39). Let us hear the words that God spoke to Joshua as he was living in a confrontational time of conflict in making the Gospel known in the midst of entrenched evil and an ungodly, idolatrous culture:
â€œHave I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
– Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
Our confidence is in the God who is with us! Our Immanuel, our God with us, will never leave us nor forsake us, but strengthen us, sanctify us, teach us, love us, conform us to Christ! Amen.
How then should we live in light of the Supreme Courtâ€™s decision to make legal same-sex marriages?
- God is Sovereign. Let us remember that God is sovereign king over heaven and earth! All that happens in our lives is perfectly according to Godâ€™s good will and purpose for history to glorify and exalt His King, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3-11; Acts 4:28). Let us not say: â€œMy way is hidden from the LORD,â€ but let us remember that God is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, his understanding is unsearchable, and He will give strength to those tempted to be faint and weary (Isa. 40:27-31). His thoughts are higher than ours, His ways are not our ways, but He is sovereign, good, and faithful.
- Pray. Let us remember to pray for our leaders and authorities that they would be shown mercy from our God, and that we can live at peace to make the Gospel known (1 Tim. 2:1-4; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). Pray specifically for boldness, yet with tender love and compassion for sinners, especially for Ministers of the Word and ordained teachers and elders of the Gospel (Acts 4:23-31; 5:42; Eph. 6:18-20). Note how the disciples in Acts 4 go to prayer for boldness immediately when they are experiencing persecutionâ€¦and the church increases, grows, and they preach with power!
- Faith, NOT FEAR. Let us remember not to fear and worry, but to trust our faithful God! Let us have faith and be fully persuaded that God is able to do what He has promised to do for His people! (Rom. 4:19-21; Eph. 3:20-21; 2 Cor. 1:20-22). God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. It is easy to feed on fear during these times. Fear and worry sell, and so be careful of your news and social media influences on your mind and thinking that can lead you to worry and fear (2 Tim. 1:7). Always be praying and worshipping God, but donâ€™t give way to fear. Remember how often we are told to not fear, but to believe (Isa. 40:9; Matt. 6:30; 8:26; Luke 12:28; John 11:40). Remember how often Godâ€™s people were to march forward by faith, trusting God in whatever confrontational situation, no matter what the conflict! (Deut. 1:21; 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:9).
- Grace. Let us remember grace and mercy from God the Father, that has been meditated to us graciously through the Son, by His Spirit! (Titus 2:11-14). We have been called out from darkness, into His marvelous light (Col. 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). We are recipients of Godâ€™s grace, and from Jesus, there is a fountain, a fullness of grace and power for all of usâ€”let us just touch the hem of His garment with the least amount of faith, and we shall know this grace in its fullness! (John 1:16-18; Col. 2:9; 2 Tim. 2:1). â€œâ€¦Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesusâ€ (2 Tim. 2:1).
- â€œFor All the Saintsâ€. Let us remember that saints before us have been persecuted and have lived under far worse cultural and political situations, and the Gospel has thrived and souls have been abundantly sanctified! (Acts 2:27; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; Heb. 11:32-40). Let us remember the happiness or blessedness that Jesus says characterizes disciples who stand for the truth in timesÂ of opposition, and the full reward that Jesus will grant us by His grace for being faithful (Matt. 5:10-12; Rev. 6:9-11; 14:12-13; 22:12; cf. Isa. 40:10; 62:11). â€œWell done! â€¦Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the worldâ€ (Matt. 25:21, 31-34). Get your hymnal out today and sing â€˜For All the Saintsâ€™ to remind you of your privilege of being in such a glorious family!
- A â€œPilgrimâ€™sâ€ Progress. Remember that you are only guests here–pilgrims, sojourners on this earth with eternal life and treasure safely preserved for you in heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ! Remember that although you have callings and a stewardship to tend to faithfully here in this world as pilgrims on the way in the wilderness, your ultimate citizenship is in heaven, and from there you are patiently awaiting a Savior who will restore all things! (Gen. 23:4; Psa. 39:12; Psa. 119:19; 1 Pet. 1:5ff; 2:11; Phi. 3:20-21; Rev. 21:1-7). Remember that the nations (including the USA) are â€œlike a drop from a bucketâ€ (Isa. 40:15). Remember that as members of Christâ€™s Church, you are part of the only true and holy nation under God that will never perish, nor pass away! (1 Pet. 2:9-11).
- Be Holy. Remember to live holy lives before the world, glorifying God in your bodies, watching and praying, communing with God, fulfilling your calling or work with joy, gladness and obedience to Godâ€™s commandments. Remember that we have all we need in Christ for life and godliness, and let that be evident in our lives. Remember to live the Gospel, to speak the truth in love, to avoid falsehood, sinful and angry passion, stealing, but rather showing mercy, tenderheartedness, humility, and forgiveness (1 Thess. 4:3-5; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Eph. 4:25-32). Remember you who teach others to live godly lives, and to do Godâ€™s commandments, do you teach yourself? (Rom. 2:21). Especially in times of persecution, we need to live in reliance upon Godâ€™s grace showing the truth of Titus 2:11-14, and that while we are not perfect, we nevertheless, are growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord! (2 Pet. 1:3-12). Watch and pray for your battle is not against flesh and blood, but a spiritual battle, and the Accuser of the Brethren seeks to devour you and expose your secret sinful heart and life (Rev. 12; 1 Peter 5:8; Eph. 6:10-18). Go now to the Searcher of Hearts, confessing your sin and walking uprightly (Psa. 139:23-24; 1 Jo. 1:7-2:2).
- Mercy. Remember to pray for God to have mercy on many enslaved, sinful souls who cannot be happy in their lifestyle because theyâ€™re made in Godâ€™s image, and will never find satisfaction or fulfillment in their sinful behavior. Pray that God doesnâ€™t give them completely over to their sins, and lost sinners will acknowledge that they know Godâ€™s righteous decree against such behavior (Jer. 2:19; Rom. 1:26-32). Be merciful, knowing that only God can free those enslaved to sin! (John 8:32; Eph. 2:1-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26). Pray that you will have Jesusâ€™s love for sinners combined and balanced with a love and zeal for righteousness and truth (contrast Jesus as well with Samaritan woman and Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem). Jesus was merciful, but also vehemently zealous for what was right!
- Wisdom. Pray for wisdom and the fear of God for your church leaders and elders in our congregation and denomination (Prov. 1:1-7; James 1:5-8).
- Glory to God! Pray that Christ would be glorified and enjoyed daily in our lives! Pray that God would bring great glory to Himself through this major historical event in the life of our country.
Beloved, these are just a few things that come to mind to encourage us and to guide us in times like these. How shall we then live? Knowing God is God, and has a purpose to glorify Jesus Christ and to sanctify His saints through every difficulty. Let us know that He is with us and will never leave us nor forsake us! Let us say with courage, fearlessness, faith and great confidence:
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
– Jude 24-25 (ESV)
In Christâ€™s love, I am praying for all of you this day! Your elders have been praying and thinking about these things, and I am confident that we will have further encouragement and guidance for you, Godâ€™s congregation at KCPC, as the Lord Jesus leads us through this next stage of our pilgrimage.