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Sexuality, a Biblical Perspective and Response – Part Two

Series: Hot Topics


Pastor Josh continues our Hot Topics series with a two-part look into the biblical perspective of Sexuality. For part two, we focus on how to form a biblical world view around sexuality, and how to love profoundly without changing our theology.

Speaker: Josh Stelly

August 6, 2023

Josh Stelly

Lead Pastor

Sermon Notes

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Follow Along with the Message

Part One Key Sections:

  1. The importance of language
  • Language matters and it is important to learn terms as to not offend someone who may be seeking friendship or a possible relationship with Jesus.
  1. The grace and truth way of Jesus
  • How did Jesus relate to people who were considered socially unacceptable by the religious elite?
  • Jesus always had a posture of love. Jesus fronted love. Often times, as Christians, we can create a hierarchy of sin. We deem what is marginally acceptable sins and what is possibly unforgivable sins. We create a sliding scale of what is sort of bad to what is the worse.
  • Jesus didn’t have a low view on sin. The grace/truth way of Jesus has a very high standard of obedience, but excessively loves those who fall short of that standard – especially those who have been marginalized and shunned by religion today.
  1. A Biblical theology of marriage
  • When Scripture talks about marriage, it says that sex-difference is part of what marriage is.
  • When Scripture talks about same-sex sexual relations, it always prohibits them.
  • Global, Historic, Multi-Denominational 2,000 Year Agreement.

Section 4: What does the Bible say about same-sex sexual relations?

“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

--Leviticus 18:22 (NIV)

“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

--Leviticus 20:13 (NIV)

  • The language is unqualified and absolute:
  • There is a language of mutuality

Are these Scriptures still applicable today?

  • Incest (Lev. 18:6-18)
  • Adultery (Lev. 18:20; 20:10)
  • Theft ((Lev 19:11)
  • Lying (Lev. 19:11)
  • Oppressing your neighbor (Lev. 19:14)
  • Slander (Lev. 19:16)
  • Hating your brother (Lev. 19:17)
  • Consulting witches and spiritual divination (Lev. 19:31)
  • “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18)

Repeated Commands:

  • Same sex relations are prohibited in the NT

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.
In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

--Romans 1:26-27 (NIV)

  • Paul’s use of arsenokoites (“men who have sex with males”) in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:9 is drawn from two words in Leviticus 20:13

“If a man has sexual relations (koites) with a man (arseno) as one has sex with (koites) a woman, both of them have done what is detestable…”

--Leviticus 20:13 (NIV)

  • The language in Romans is both unqualified and absolute.
  • The language is of mutuality.
  • Romans includes female same-sex relationships between consensual adults.

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, 
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

--1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV)

“We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,
for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

--1 Timothy 1:9-10 (NIV)

Section 5: Responding to affirming arguments

1.    The prohibition passages only apply to nonconsensual sexual relationships (prostitution, pederasty, master/slave).

  • The prohibitions are unqualified absolute (they don’t refer to specific kind of abusive situation.
  • Language of mutuality.
  • Adult, consensual same-sex relations existed in the ancient world – especially among women.

2.    An ethical trajectory leads to including same-sex relationships into the definition of marriage.

  • Slavery
  • Woman
  • Same-sex relations

3.    Argument from Orientation.

The argument is that some people are born with a fixed, innate, biologically determined same-sex orientation.

  • Theologically, inborn desires don’t justify behavior.

“Just because an attraction or drive is biological doesn’t mean it’s okay to act on…we all have inborn tendencies to sin in any number of ways. If gay people’s same-sex attractions were inborn, that wouldn’t necessarily mean it’s okay to act on them, and if we all agreed that gay sex is sinful, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that same-sex attractions aren’t inborn. ‘Is it a sin?’ and ‘Does it have biological roots?’ are two completely separate questions.”

--Justin Lee, Torn

  • Science doesn’t say people are simply born gay.

“No findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles.”

--American Psychological Association

“there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation…the idea that people are “born that way”…is not supported by scientific evidence.”

--Drs. Paul McHugh and Lawrence Mayer,
“Sexuality and Gender: Findings
from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Science”
The New Atlantis (2016) conservative

“The science of whether sexual orientation is biological is pretty sparse and full of disparate, mixed and un-replicated findings.”

--Dr. Sari Van Anders, professor of psychology, and women’s studies
University of Michigan (Non-conservative)

  • Biblical authority of the scriptures always supersedes.

Section 6: Can Christians truly love LGBT+ people without changing their theology?

The primary question: Is the traditional theology of marriage true?

  • But for many people, the love question – “is it loving?” – is more meaningful and compelling.

Andrew Marin has been working with the church and LGBT relations since 2001 and has a wealth of knowledge and experience.


  • 83% of LGBT people were raised in the church
  • 51% of LGBT left their faith community after the age of 18
  • Only 3% said they leave primarily because of the church’s belief that same-sex marriage was wrong

Other reasons why LGBT people leave their faith communities:

  • Do not feel safe (18%)
  • Relational disconnect with leaders (14%)
  • Incongruence between teaching and practice (13%)
  • Unwillingness to dialogue (12%)
  • Kicked out (9%)

Open to returning:

  • 76% of LGBT people who left are open to returning to the church as long as the church makes some changes.
  • Only 8% said that the church would need to change their theology of marriage for them to return.

Things that the church would need to change:

  • Feeling loved (12%)
  • Give time (9%)
  • No attempts to change their sexual orientation (6%)
  • Authenticity (5%)
  • Support of family and friends (4%)

Action Point: It’s not the church’s theology that’s driven LGBT people away – by their own admission. It’s been the church’s lack of love and care, it’s posture.



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