Gospel based marriages

Post date: Sep 7, 2017 6:20:59 AM

The postal survey on same sex marriage has been a hot topic in recent weeks, and today the high court confirmed that it is going ahead. Its a complicated and challenging issue for Christians, one we shouldn't take lightly.

On Sunday the 3rd September I spoke on marriage and family relationships as part of our series 'Weird: because normal isn't working' and admittedly, I was trying to stir the pot! Why? Because I hear a lot of fear in the voices of those wanting traditional marriage to be preserved. "What if we lose our freedoms? What if the gays get their way? We're going to get persecuted!" There's legitimate concerns here, but its very easy for us as gospel people to start erring on the side of pharisaism. Wanting to hold up a moral code while forgetting that only by the grace of Jesus can we as human beings be changed from the inside out to live moral and respectable lives. This is why I preached on embracing our primary mandate of presenting the gospel to all people no matter what and held off from saying "I'm voting this way because..." That sermon can be found on our website, and I finished with this 'stance' which I also nervously posted to facebook that morning:

Leading up to the plebiscite, I stand with followers of Jesus.

I stand with those who make Jesus Lord of every part of their life.

I stand with those who in their family, their parenthood and their marriage wish to reflect the heart of their Father and the incredible love of their Saviour for his bride.

I stand with those who while they may vote differently to me on marriage equality, still have one primary goal of presenting Christ and his passionate love to this broken world.

I stand with those who care most of all about the spiritual orphans of this world because with me, they have experienced adoption into the family of the King.

As we go to vote on this important issue, I stand with those who know that only one thing matters in the end - that the good news of Jesus is proclaimed to all.

But what about gay marriage? Should we vote no? Should we vote yes? I'll share my view below, but let me challenge you again - if you skimmed over what I've just written without considering whether your primary motives are that our words and actions present the good news of Jesus to all, then stop worrying about the plebiscite and start worrying about the lost! Gay people, straight people, married people, single people and cohabitating people need Jesus. Only Jesus can save, transform and redeem sinners, of whom I am the worst!

So, are we on the same page now? Can we move on? Cool....

This is a big issue. This vote will affect our society, and we should vote in a way that will uphold God's order and way. Society is well past being 'Christian', but that doesn't means Christians have no place in it. So here's the way I followed up my first facebook post the other day:

Nerve wracking post number 2...

I spoke yesterday on how our marriages and parenthood are simply a reflection of the love of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. As dads and husbands, what a daunting responsibility this gives us to lay down our lives. For me, its clear that this means the Christian covenant of marriage is between a man and a woman who serve one another in love, because they serve Jesus. It doesn't mean marriage is my right, its a huge responsibility - to reflect Christ in the way I love Kerin (and now, raise Micah).

On the other hand, I'm also very much aware that we live in a post-Christian society, and the church needs to earn its voice. But that doesn't mean the principles we hold as followers of Jesus have no place either. I DO believe that no change to the marriage act would be good for our country in the long term. And I will vote accordingly.

But my concern remains the same as yesterday - do we care first and foremost that the good news of Jesus is shared with every person we meet? Or does our fear of losing control and facing persecution drive us to pharisaism? I want one thing and one thing only for those I have the chance to befriend in my life - that they know the life transforming love of the Father. So while my conviction and my vote won't change, I'll vote with a deep sense of longing that not one person whom God is pursuing will be turned away by his people. I'll vote with the hope that I'll never take my own marriage for granted. And I'll vote with the understanding that this is not just about a law, this is about people - people who like me are broken and need one thing - Jesus.

If you plan to vote no like me, consider how you will do that with a deep longing that LGBTI people will come to know the saving love of Jesus and consider how you can play a part in welcoming them into the church and introducing them to Jesus.

If you plan to vote yes, consider how men and women, different but equal, reflect the true marriage of Christ to his bride through mutual submission and love. Even though non faith based marriages don't recognise this, this is still an element of 'God design' in heterosexual marriage.

And if you're wrestling with your vote, wanting to allow same sex couples to marry but fearful about religious freedoms eroding and persecution coming, remember that we are called to present grace and truth in love and that Jesus said "blessed are the persecuted, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (more on that this Sunday).

And whatever happens, lets show the world what God has for family and marriage the way he intended it and in doing so, earn the right to share our message of good news.