June 30, 2015

A Gospel Reminder about Homosexuality and Demonic Worldviews

by Jordan Standridge

I’ve been checking my Facebook newsfeed more in the past few days than I have in the last couple months combined, and I’m filled with sadness over the response of some people I thought were Christians, but have obviously departed from the Gospel. I’m super thankful for my old pastor and his thoughts, as well as my current pastor and his video. But I’ve also been concerned about the response of other Christians.

As I was watching people’s responses and examining my own angry thoughts about the SCOTUS decision, I couldn’t help but think what is the purpose in what we are posting and saying? What is our goal? Are we trying to avoid persecution? Are we trying to convince people that we are being mistreated? Are we trying to evangelize? Can anyone come to faith by our giving crafty arguments against same-sex marriage? 

9a04485c-85d6-48fd-aaf1-ded410f33cacA few years ago, I was out doing street evangelism for one of the first times in my life in Italy, and I walked up to a market place where a guy named Mario (yes that’s a common name in Italy) was selling shoes. When I walked up you could tell he was a bit bothered by it, but since it looked like he wasn’t having a very successful day selling shoes I engaged him in conversation. I didn’t even have time to introduce myself before he asked me what religion I was. Before I could answer he said, “You’re not a Jehovah’s witness are you?!” I said “No!” Then he asked, ” You’re not a Mormon are you!?!” I said “no! I’m a Bible believing Christian!” and without hesitation he said, “Oh, I know who you are! You’re the people who don’t believe that Mary was taken up into heaven!” I said, “Well it’s not really in the Bible.” He said, “Of course it is, it’s in Acts!” So I told him that I was reading through the entire Bible in a ten week Bible school and that I had just finished reading Acts, and although I was reading quickly, I assured him that it wasn’t anywhere in there. He grabbed my Bible and flipped through it fast. I told him I’d be back the next day, so he said, “Ok come back tomorrow and I’ll show you where it is.”

As I approached him the next day, excited to have won an argument, he started shouting, “I have no interest in talking with you! The priest lied to me! I don’t want to talk!” After a couple minutes of trying to reason with him, I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to share the Gospel with him. Somewhere in Italy right now there’s a man named Mario who no longer believes that Mary 815mary3was brought up to heaven. Yet he has never heard the Gospel and without someone to share the truth of the Gospel with him, he will die and go to Hell.

People ask me all the time to pray for their family members for salvation. My response is always, “I’d love to, but have you shared the Gospel with them? “Well…” they say, “…once we had a conversation about abortion” or “I talked with them about how homosexuality is sinful!” or “we talked about how stupid it is to go confess your sins to a priest.” Although all of these things are true, none of these things can lead someone to salvation. We must explain the truth of the Gospel.

It’s time to stop trying to change people’s minds about secondary matters, and share with them the only thing that can give them eternal peace.

I recently got to lead a small group through II Timothy chapter 2, and it’s fascinating to see how Paul ends the chapter. He says, “2The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

It’s not only a great reminder to see that they are blind and need to come to their senses. It’s not only a great reminder that we need to be gentle, patient, able to teach and be kind. But, I think a reminder that we need today is that knowledge of the truth comes after God grants someone repentance. We always try to invert the two. God needs to grant repentance and then someone will be saved and start believing rightly about life matters–not the other way around.

There was a campus minister who had a student ask him to share the Gospel with his roommate, who was an outspoken atheist. Upon entering the room and introducing himself, the student answered back with, “I will never believe in a book that says that a man survived three days in the stomach of a fish!” He wisely overlooked that comment and shared the Gospel with the student. The student believed the Gospel and after talking for a while the minister asked, “Didn’t you have a question about Jonah?” The student thought about it for a minute and said, “Well, if it’s in the Bible I believe it.”

God has ordained to save people through the hearing of the Gospel, so let’s boldly approach people in face to face conversation and give them the only information that can save them from not only demonic worldviews, but more importantly from an eternity in Hell.

Jordan Standridge

Posts Twitter Facebook

Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at surrender.us.
  • RCP

    Thank you for this! I was speaking to a friend recently about this very issue. She is doing a bible study with a Catholic and I encouraged her to steer clear of arguing about transubstantiation and the like and focus on the gospel. It took me ten months to leave Roman Catholicism AFTER I heard the gospel and was born again. The gospel had to be the first thing I was convinced of and believed! The rest fell into place after that.

    • Jordan Standridge

      It’s so hard because we use so many words when we share the gospel that they use as well, but they mean completely different things. Thanks for your comment!

  • 4Commencefiring4

    You make a good point, and I’m sure we’d all agree that the Gospel is the bottom line, not a side issue such as gay marriage. Yet when I see remarks online or in print by people who claim to be christians, and yet are throwing in with the world on these matters, I can’t help calling them on it.

    I know your post here is more about reaching the unsaved, but I’d like to remind those who name the name of Christ to be cautious when it comes to what they endorse or oppose, especially knowing the unsaved are watching us. It’s not your name that gets soiled, but His. Christ has more or less given us His credit card to use while we’re here, and there are some places I don’t think He’d be very pleased to see we had used it.

    • Jason

      There are a lot of people who claim to be Christian who, none-the-less, still don’t believe the Gospel and for them it would be better if people treated them as an unbeliever than to expect them to have their minds open to scriptural correction.

      This post will, at least often, be relevent when dealing with people who profess to believe but who’s actions show nothing of the transformation that follows every spiritual rebirth. There’s usually something of the Gospel that they don’t quite grasp either, and that’s probably the best place to start.

  • Johnny

    This was good, and a sound reminder of focusing on important issues. A difficult one for me now is discussing the gospel with a former strong evangelical turned catholic. It’s mighty hard to punch through that papal tradition wall in discussing theology and the gospel.

    • Jordan Standridge

      That kills me, I have a college roommate that did the same. Every time I ran into someone who did it, it was usually someone of the opposite sex that convinced them to do so. As hard as it is to punch through the papal tradition wall, I think its a whole lot harder to punch through a heart struck by cupid.

      • pearlbaker

        Struck by cupid…hmmm….I am always telling people that the enemy is very subtle, he would never come in as a big scary red monster with a barbed tail and a pitchfork…or else everyone would recognize him and run away! I never gave much thought to him coming as a plump little cherub-looking being with angels’ wings….uh, with a bow and arrow (red flag!) 🙂

  • Jordan, this is an excellent exhortation to keep the focus on the gospel and not be sidetracked by what Greg Laurie (I think it was him) always calls “red herrings.” Once you get off on a rabbit trail, you may be winning an argument, but you’re not telling the truth. Once you have explained the gospel, then you can answer those questions later if they are still there.

    I don’t want to sidetrack this thread, so if you’d rather reply by email that’s fine, but I’m interested in your engagement questions when you first talk to someone. Or if there’s already a post here or a link you’d like to share. How do you go from “How are you?” to “Christ is the way to salvation” sort of thing in random daily conversations?

    • E S Gonzalez

      I’m interested to hear that too. If Jordan messages you, would you mind sharing with me?

    • Jordan Standridge

      Hey Jennifer I really appreciate your encouragement. As far as your question goes, I think it is a tough question to answer here in the comment section, perhaps I’ll write a post on it soon, as I get that question a lot. As far as talking with family people like the book “Bringing the Gospel home” by Randy Newman. It takes more of the long term approach, having good conversations over time building towards an opportunity to share the gospel. I’m more of a share the gospel first and then live it out and love them. I think people are too concerned with having an awkward conversation. When I first started evangelizing I was super awkward, but as time goes by you get better and better at finding all the streets that lead to the gospel. As they used to say all roads lead to Rome, I think all roads lead to the gospel.

      • tovlogos

        “It takes more of the long term approach, having good conversations over time building towards an opportunity to share the gospel. I’m more of a share the gospel first and then live it out and love them. I think people are too concerned with having an awkward conversation.”

        Excellent answer, Jordan.
        I have always believed, and still do, that a person’s first responsibility in trying to serve God is to become Christlike first (as in John 3:3, which goes a long way in reducing awkwardness); study hard — as we conform to His Image, all these things will be added unto you. Witnessing the Lord becomes as effortless as a normal conversation because it is a normal part of your soul. Yet it’s not always appropriate; one has to let the Spirit lead.

        • E S Gonzalez

          Yessss! Loving this conversation… Thank you, tovlogos and Jordan, for this blessed encouragement!

          • tovlogos

            God bless you back, E S — blessings.

            Mark

        • Thanks for this, it is an excellent encouragement and I look forward to effortlessness and it being normal! I live in an area with a lot of pedestrian traffic, so I often have people stop or just have 10 seconds to say something (sometimes it turns into longer if they actually stop). That’s why I was asking. People are constantly going through and I only have a brief moment to engage them. Just wanted to say something more significant than hey, how are you lol.

          • tovlogos

            Thanks Jennifer — “Just wanted to say something more significant…” The Holy Spirit knows that, Jen.
            Stay in the word.
            “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your heart…and your mind… in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
            I believe keeping your peace in Jesus is prerequisite to everything. The formula I used, when I first developed the ambition to serve God, is in Matthew 6:33.
            “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
            As time went on, the Lord continually had to remind me of that principle, until I possessed it. It got to the point that I said to a friend, I am not seeking anything anymore. He was actually offended, thinking, Who do you think you are?
            I quickly explained, I wasn’t talking about seeking a gas station when my car was low on fuel; I have found what I was looking for, now I have to “follow.” I still made numerous mistakes since then, but I never, ever lost sight of the goal.

  • pearlbaker

    Setting aside the Supreme Court folly for just a moment, I would like to address the encounter with Mario….

    “Somewhere in Italy right now there’s a man named Mario who no longer believes that Mary was brought up to heaven.” Oh my, Jordan, this is huge!! You cannot think for a moment that God cannot use just your foot in the door as a gateway to His next step in the plan for salvation for this man! We must pray that the man is now on a journey of seeking the truth, because he has seen just one of the many lies in Roman Catholicism.

    “The priest lied to me!” What a revelation for this man! If the priest lied to him about this, what else did he lie about? The man might not have wanted to talk at that moment, but he is bound to think!

    “Yet he has never heard the Gospel and without someone to share the truth of the Gospel with him, he will die and go to Hell.” True! But, but after we have done what we can, our hope and our faith lies in the sovereignty of God to use whatever means He wills to bring each and every one of His elect to salvation in His time. Nevertheless, your sense of urgency is warranted, and we are to do all we are able for the lost, not becoming complacent by supplanting the need for evangelism with our view on the Doctrines of Grace.

    I am so grateful the Lord gave you the courage to persist as far as you were able in the face of one of the most heinous lies against our Lord in this world. Have you ever listened to John MacArthur’s series on Mariology? I highly recommend it.

    Good job, Jordan, keep up the good work, and never underestimate what the Lord will do with even a brief moment of effort on our part. Grace and peace to you, dear brother!

    • Jordan Standridge

      Thanks for the encouragement Pearl! I guess I’m more concerned with people who just want to win arguments and not souls! Thanks for commenting.

  • Danny Barea

    Great article Jordan. Bottom line up front evangelize the lost and disciple the found. #stayfocused #thecommission

  • fundamentals

    This is good stuff! Thanks.

    • E S Gonzalez

      Sure is!

  • E S Gonzalez

    I so appreciate this article.
    I’m not sure what it is that drives us to get sidetracked with secondary issues or arguments that go less to the heart and more to the intellect … pride? Fear? Frustation? …
    It’s literal life and death, for eternity, we’re talking about here, and when some–including myself, in the past–devote more time to thinking through and crafting “solid,” air-tight arguments than crying out to the Lord from an aching and broken heart for the lost and tragically deceived and sharing the GOSPEL/serving with a sincerely concerned and loving heart toward the person with whom we share/serve, we totally MISS it!
    I have a gay cousin from whom I’d previously distanced myself. In the wake of the SCOTUS decision, she’s been on a bit of a defiant and “triumphant” tear of sorts on social media.
    Recently, I’ve learned she’s pregnant via sperm donor/IVF.
    I’ve decided to go to her–if she’s open to the idea–to see what she may need for baby and learn how I can serve her.
    She knows I stand with God on this matter (homosexuality) as I’ve already shared with her. She also knows that I’ll have no problem talking with her again about what God’s position is if the Holy Spirit grants “fertile ground” to our time together for me to seed or water.
    But she doesn’t know that I care. That I think of her often. That I’ve prayed for her. That I’ve cried for her. That I’d love to be front and center to hear her testimony of salvation and cheer her on if God chooses her!
    So then what good has the gift I’ve been granted been?! What good have I done with it if I haven’t even served those closest to me with it?
    We’re rescued to rescue! We’re blessed to bless!
    This article blesses me and is a great reminder–in the midst of all the uproar, dbl-speak, petitions, reaction/response/maneuvering, etc.–that we should just continue, undistracted, to be about the business of being His hands and feet … doing His work … making disciples!
    Thank you brother. God bless~

    • Jordan Standridge

      E S, I’m super encouraged by your comment! Thanks for your example.

  • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

    Jordan, adding to Pearl’s comment, my coming to salvation began with learning that what I had been taught by the JW’s was a lie. In fact, often times God draws people to the Truth by first exposing them to the lies they have been taught. Let us hope that we see the man from Italy at the banquet because of your faithfulness.

  • Matilda

    How do you deal with people who think they are saved (and may be nominally saved)?

    • Jordan Standridge

      This is so hard, I think that the easy believism mindset has produced this type of “Christian”. I think as persecution increases we will see less and less fake Christians. Not too long ago you were looked at funny if you weren’t a Christian, now that has flipped. I know many people who were saved after someone took the time to explain to them what a christian is and after being told that their life didn’t match up. I think the key is clarity, gentleness, and being willing to ask lots of questions. Some of the questions you could ask are: When were you born again? Where do you go to Church? How are you doing spiritually? How is your relationship with Christ? Hopefully this helps, thanks for your question.

      • Matilda

        Thanks for your response. I have three sets of relatives that I’m dealing with.

        – set one latched onto the idea that you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian and thinks they are saved forever because they prayed the prayer when they were five but never go to church or crack a bible, and jesus will be cool with them.
        – set two are ECLA lutherans and fans of rachel held evans and her ilk
        – set three latched onto the idea that wherever two are gathered the spirit is with them so they just gather in homes and rely heavily on liver quivers and the ‘spirit’ moving them.

        If you talk about sin and the gospel they will agree with you but if you talk about orthodoxy and fruits of the spirit they will get angry or try to correct you with their own theology. I guess maybe when ideas are so entrenched there might not be a whole lot that can be done besides pray.

        • Truth Unites… and Divides

          Matilda, do you look forward to evangelizing and/or discipling your three sets of relatives in a loving verbal way?

          • Matilda

            I drag them to church every time they visit :). I also managed to convince one to get baptized. Another is miserable with no friends so I am leaning heavily on them to find a church. One of them is secretly more christian with me than with their friends so I’ve been trying to run with that thread. Overall it’s hit or miss most of the time.

          • Truth Unites… and Divides

            Good job, Matilda!
            I invited unbelieving relatives to church this past weekend, and was met with adamant refusals.
            It’s disappointing. As far as I know I’m the only one within their circle of friends, families, and co-workers who invites them to know Christ. But they refuse. And their children will probably do the same.
            Only the Spirit can regenerate. All I can do is be faithful.

  • tovlogos

    Thanks Jordan — You hit the heart of the matter.

    “My response is always, “I’d love to, but have you shared the Gospel with them?”

    That’s a line with which I am very familiar. For example: “Mark, pray for me, God listens to you. Wait a minute — He listens to all of his faithful.”

    No doubt many people miss that point. It is nevertheless something I like to hear, because it means they are open to hearing the Gospel.

    Recently a well known person in Christian ministry exclaimed:
    “Is it too late to save Western civilization?” I was dumbfounded that he would ask such a question; when salvation is of the individual and not a nation. “Our citizenship is in heaven,”to applies individuals.

    “What is our goal? Are we trying to avoid persecution? Are we trying to convince people that we are being mistreated?”

    Good point. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:17 — that’s reality.

    • Jordan Standridge

      Thanks. well said!

  • L. Rios

    Jordan! Thank you for your timely article. Very helpful and edifying! Thank you so much for the encouragement!

    • Jordan Standridge

      You’re welcome. Thanks for your encouragement!

  • tonib

    Hi-

    With respect to the fine points you made about the need for gospel truth in the dying culture I wanted to point out something that I have noticed over the last few years, and especially in the last few days: that is the absence of the power and work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a true convert, and His guiding us away from error.
    “Christians”, it is said, have differing views on the issue of same sex marriage…Not. The book of Acts gives us a clear picture of the Body of believers and we are told that they were all of “one mind”…maybe not on the color of the carpet or the best guy to lead the Bible study, but the regenerate believers were most definitely completely united in theology. One of the signs of a regenerate believer is death to self (that includes opinions), and complete submission to the perfect word of God. I realize that this is completely foreign in today’s professing church, as it is considered rude and unloving to dis-respect another person’s “opinion” by calling out error, but it is nevertheless what scripture demands.
    The scriptural truth is that the one, Holy God is mocked every time 2 homosexuals approach a mock altar to have a false pastor join them in un-holy matrimony; The grief this brings on the Holy Spirit must be unimaginable, therefeore any Spirit indwelt, professing Christian who is not grieved beyond words is likely a false convert and not a fellow Christian….and for some reason, Christians seem to have no concept of this. ??
    Matthew 7:14
    “Narrow is the way to life, and few there be that find it.”

  • Jaime L. Alviola

    Jesus commanded his followers to preach and share the Good News of God’s great work of salvation to everyone. He did not command Christians to argue and debate about it with anyone.

  • Rachel

    Excellent. agree 100%