Letter to the Brethren – June 15, 2004
Dear Brethren and Friends:
I am writing this letter from Canada. Delia and I are looking forward to meeting with our brethren at the Feast of Tabernacles 2004 in California. We are busy, with the help of competent volunteers, with the translation of some of our English booklets into French. At this time, two French booklets plus other French articles have been posted on our Websites (www.eternalgod.org; www.churchofgodacf.ca; and www.globalchurchofgod.co.uk). We are also investigating the possibility of printing hard copies of some of our French booklets for our French readers around the world who don’t have access to the Internet.
In Canada we will very shortly have a general election to select the next government for the next three to four years. I find it most interesting that the two major issues that have surfaced are not the economy or health care, but same sex marriages and abortion rights for women. It is really a travesty when governments rise or fall on issues like these. What are our countries coming to? I know similar issues are being faced in the United States and Great Britain, where the legal right to kill unborn children or to marry someone of the same sex are also major issues in the elections of their future governments.
Almighty God, through Paul, one of Christ’s apostles, addressed the issue of same sex relationships. We read in the book of Romans 1:24ñ27: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature [or, creation] rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust [not, love] for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”
This “penalty” might very well include the curse of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. God makes it very clear in His Word that our sins eventually will catch up with us. Paul continues to state in Romans 1:32: “…who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
God hates the sin, but He loves the sinner. He does not want anyone to perish, but His desire is that all will gain eternal life in His kingdom. However, those who refuse to repent of their sins and continue to practice them will not enter the Kingdom of God.
It is also notable to read what Christ had to say regarding the last generation, prior to His return. We find His sobering prophecy in Luke 17:26ñ27: “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, UNTIL the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” This passage does not seem to address homosexual practices per se, the people were apparently living in other types of sin. However, the next two verses are most revealing in regard to ancient Sodom: “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:28ñ29).
The quoted passages in Romans and Luke paint a picture of the times we live in today. We might note that all men, young and old, appeared in front of Lot’s house to molest the two strangers who were lodging with Lot (Genesis 19:4ñ5). They did not know, of course, that these young men were angels. Not ten righteous people could be found in Sodom to spare the city from destruction. The prevailing attitude was live and let live, that it did not matter as long as it did not harm them, individually. They approved of what was going on. They were living what appeared to be “normal lives”, they were buying, selling, planting and building. But the longer they stayed and lived in the environment, the more they approved of, and got themselves involved with, perverted activities which were being carried out around them. Sodom’s lifestyle had become “normal” for everyone living in the city, with the exception of Lot. But even Lot lingered when he was told to leave the city (Genesis 19:16).
That the Old and the New Testaments strongly condemn homosexual conduct as sinful cannot be denied. Leviticus 18:22 tells us, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” The Bible is clear, then, that homosexuality must be overcome. The good news is that with God’s help, it CAN be overcome, as can be ANY sin. Notice Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators [those who engage in pre-marital sex], nor idolaters, nor adulterers [those who engage in extra-marital sex], nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists will inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE SOME OF YOU. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS AND BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.”
We are told that if we don’t repent and give up wrong habits, replacing them with God’s righteousness, we will not enter the kingdom of God. Homosexuality is most certainly a SIN that must be overcome, but it is NOT the ONLY sin that must be overcome. These who lived before the flood were apparently involved in other types of sin (compare Genesis 6:1-6, 11-12) but they, too, were destroyed, as they were unwilling to repent of their sins and change their lives. Notice Revelation 21:7-8: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly [those who know better, but are afraid to change and stand up for what is right], unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and ALL LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Those who know better, but WILLFULLY and with HATE AND ANGER permanently and irrevocably REFUSE to repent of their evil conduct will end up in the lake of fire. They will NOT enter the New Jerusalem. Revelation 22:14-15 states: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs [compare Phil. 3:2] and sorcerers and sexually immoral [including homosexuals, AS WELL AS those who engage in other sinful sexual conduct, such as fornication and adultery] and murderers and idolaters, and WHOEVER LOVES AND PRACTICES A LIE.”
For some, it is easy to see that homosexuality is sinful. At the same time, it is very difficult for them to see that lying or killing (including killing in war or abortion) is sinful and must be repented of as well. God calls homosexuality an “abomination.” Note, however, what else is an “abomination” in God’s eyes: “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an ABOMINATION to Him: A proud look, A LYING tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A FALSE witness who speaks LIES, And one who sows discord among brethren”(Proverbs 6:16-19).
The Biblical teaching is clear and consistent: ANY SIN that we REFUSE to repent of will keep us out of the kingdom of God.
We, as part of the Body of Christ, have a duty to cry aloud and show the people their sins. We fulfill our duty through our literature, booklets, sermons and StandingWatch programs. This may seem insignificant to some, but we are commissioned by Christ to do this as His Church and to continue to do this as long as God allows us.
That is the reason why we are so busy writing, producing and publishing new booklets, in addition to our weekly Updates, sermons, and our StandingWatch programs, warning the nations as to what is to come, and offering them hope for a better world. Our most current booklet, “Sickness and Healing, What the Bible Tells Us,” is being printed. We will send it to you, once we receive it from the printer. We are planning to produce soon a StandingWatch program (www.standingwatch.org) in the German language, in our continued efforts to reach the international non-English speaking communities. In addition to the French webpage, mentioned earlier, we have also already in place a German Webpage on which we constantly post new German booklets and articles.
When you look at conditions around the world, you should be able to determine the signs of the times: Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and moral decay. These are troublesome times. We hear on an almost daily basis of continued violence in the Middle East. America and other nations are bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. In spite of all this, the average person thinks things are not that bad; that they will get better; and that there is not really any cause for alarm. This is exactly the symptoms and the attitude Christ was warning about: The people before the Flood and at the time of Sodom and Gomorrah did not think, either, that there was cause for alarm, until their destruction was imminent.
There is no question that our nations are going down economically, socially, and morally. God even warns that they will eventually be conquered in war and taken into slavery, unless, they repent. It is our job to continue warning the English-speaking nations and other nations of the world of impending disaster and to reveal a better Way of Life. In order to receive the strength to do God’s work, we ourselves must stay close to God and pray ever fervently for God’s kingdom to come soon, and for His Will to be done on earth, as it is being done in Heaven.
In Christ’s service
Rene E. Messier