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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Is It Ever Right To Hate Something?

We are going to look at the short book of Jude. It has only one chapter with 25 verses. We can gather some information to give the book of Jude a setting.

Who was the writer of the book of Jude?

Jude is shortened version of Judas, also called Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus. He was NOT Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Christ! Four men—James, Joses, Simon, and Judas—are mentioned as the brothers or siblings of Jesus. Jesus was the son of Mary and God. He was fully human by his mother's side, and fully God on his Father's side. His half siblings would either have been children of Joseph by a previous marriage (he was much older than Mary) or were the children of Joseph and Mary, born after Jesus. It seems that they were not converted until immediately after Jesus' death and resurrection. But they all became believers and leaders in the early church. They are described in Acts 1:13-14 as uniting with the disciples and others in "prayer and supplication" prior to Pentecost.

Matthew 10:2-4 (MKJV) And the names of the twelve apostles are these: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee and John his brother; (3) Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus; (4) Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Matthew 13:55-56 (MKJV, parenthesis mine) (speaking of Jesus) Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brothers, James and Joses and Simon and Judas, (56) and his sisters, are they not all with us? Then from where does this man have all these things?

Jude 1:1 (Contemporary English Version - CEV) From Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. To all who are chosen and loved by God the Father and are kept safe by Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:18-19 (CEV) Three years later I went to visit Peter in Jerusalem and stayed with him for fifteen days. (19) The only other apostle I saw was James, the Lord's brother.

The Apostle James was "the Lord's brother". Jude was also both an apostle and brother of our Lord. James, being better known because he was the leader of the church in Jerusalem, so Jude designates himself "brother of James." Jude is NOT Judas Iscariot which is why he calls himself "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James". The brothers and their wives made missionary journeys. I Corinthians 9:5, "We each have the right to marry one of the Lord's followers and to take her along with us, just as the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Peter do". Jude was a man who lived in skepticism for a time but eventually came to a powerful faith in Jesus.

Who were the receivers of the letter, or epistle, of Jude?

Jude wrote his letter (epistle) to all believers, not just a particular church, therefore it is called a general epistle. It was written somewhere between 67-80 A.D. (or 33-50 years after Christ's death). The purpose was to address false teachings and illustrate a contrast between the error of heresy and the truth of Jesus Christ.

What is the history of the book of Jude and how it became a New Testament book?

Possible references to the letter and quotations from it are found at very early dates: in, Clement of Rome (c. a.d. 96). Clement of Alexandria (155-215), Tertullian (150-222) and Origen (185-253) accepted it; it was included in the Muratorian Canon (c. 170) and was accepted by Athanasius (298-373) and by the Council of Carthage (397). Eusebius (265-340) listed the letter among the questioned books, though he recognized that many considered it as from Jude.

According to Jerome and Didymus, some did not accept the letter as canonical because of the manner in which it uses noncanonical literature (Non-canonical writings are early Christian documents that are not found in the New Testament. The list of writings in the New Testament are known as a canon, a term that comes from a word meaning “measuring stick” or “rod.” Believers consider canonical books as inspired by God or expressing the authoritative history of God's relationship with His people. The canon of scripture are the books included in the Holy Bible. These canonical writings were chosen by religious scholars and leaders after much debate and agreement in councils. Evidence shows, within 200 yrs of Christ's death, the books included in the New Testament canon were being used, accepted and relied upon by the early churches. But the councils occurred between 350-450 A.D.) Jude references the non-canonical book of Enoch in Jude 1:14-16, "Enoch was the seventh person after Adam, and he was talking about these people when he said: Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of holy angels (15) to judge everyone. He will punish all those ungodly people for all the evil things they have done. The Lord will surely punish those ungodly sinners for every evil thing they have ever said about him. (16) These people grumble and complain and live by their own selfish desires. They brag about themselves and flatter others to get what they want". (Non-canonical books are any disputed books considered non-canonical or even apocryphal. Apocryphal means they are of unknown origin, unknown authorship and doubtful authenticity.)

What was the purpose of Jude's letter? What is the theme?

Jude was trying to warn believers against false teachers who were perverting the grace of God. His letter would be combating a growing cult of gnosticism. Gnosticism is the teaching based on the idea of gnosis (a Koine Greek word meaning "secret knowledge"), or knowledge arrived at by way of internal, intuitive means. I.e. personal religious experience as its primary authority versus the Bible as our primary authority. It gave way to those who felt their religious experiences could give them a higher knowledge, not from the Bible, but acquired on some mystical higher plane of existence. Gnostics see themselves as a privileged class elevated above everybody else by their higher, deeper knowledge of God. They believe God did not create this world but a lesser or evil god did because God's purity could not have allowed evil. They believe we are all part of the same substance or essence of God but our spirits are trapped in our physical bodies. All matter is evil and only spiritual is good. Jesus was a heavenly messenger but not God Incarnate (in human form). Jude was attacking such false teachers and warning believers not to be seduced by heresy. In Jude 1:17, "My dear friends, remember the warning you were given by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ." Believers were to guard themselves from heretical teachings by remembering the teaching of the apostles, building each other up in the faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, and keeping themselves in the love of God.

Now let's look at a word study of Jude. I have copied Jude 1:1 in the King James Version with Strong's Exhaustive Concordance numbers to the right of every word. For instance, "Jude G2455" means the name "Jude" is #2455 in the Greek dictionary. It makes for a difficult read but just take a look at it generally:

Jude 1:1 Jude,G2455 the servantG1401 of JesusG2424 Christ,G5547 andG1161 brotherG80 of James,G2385 to them that are sanctifiedG37 byG1722 GodG2316 the Father,G3962 andG2532 preservedG5083 in JesusG2424 Christ,G5547 and called:G2822

Now we will go to the Greek dictionary to see what some of the words mean.

sanctified - G37 - hagiazō - to make holy, that is, (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate: - hallow, be holy, sanctify.

preserved - G5083 - tēreō - to guard (from loss or injury, properly by keeping the eye upon; - hold fast, keep (-er), (ob-, pre-, re) serve, watch

called - G2822 - klētos - invited, that is, appointed, or (specifically) a saint: - called.

Verse 1 in the Amplified Version - AMP
Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, [writes this letter], To those who are the called (God’s chosen ones, the elect), dearly loved by God the Father, and kept [secure and set apart] for Jesus Christ.

Verse 1 in the Jubilee Bible 2000 - JUB
Jude, slave of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those that are called, sanctified in God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ

Verse 1 in the World English Bible - WEB
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ

Now I want to try to put Jude 1:1 in my own words:
This letter is from Jude, the brother of James and we are the half brothers of Jesus Christ. I am writing to those whom God called (God's chosen ones, the elect) who have been purified, made holy and consecrated by God the Father; and who are preserved, guarded and kept safely in Jesus Christ.

What does this verse mean to me?
When Jude addresses his audience, he lets us know right away he is speaking to fellow Christians, those called by God, purified and preserved by Christ. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior so I'm one of those called by God, purified and preserved by Christ. How thankful I am! I couldn't get my life right, I couldn't purify myself or save myself. But Jesus Christ could. I am not saved by my good works but by His good work. His work on the cross was perfect and is why I'm safe in Jesus! No one can separate me from the love of God because it's not based on my goodness or good works but based on Jesus perfection and His work. I'm safe in the hand of God! All human beings want to feel loved, accepted and like they belong. This verse reminds me I belong to God. I'm part of His Family and He loves me. Nothing can come between my Father and I!

So this is how we study the Word of God. We can do word studies; read it in multiple translations; try to put it into our own words; and, lastly, we try to apply the Word so that we are doers and not hearers only.

Having set the stage, I particularly wanted to study Jude 1:20-23 today.

Jude 1:20-23 (KJV) But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (21) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (22) And of some have compassion, making a difference: (23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Here is the word study from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance:

beloved - G27 - agapētos - beloved: - (dearly, well) beloved, dear.

building up - G2026 - epoikodomeō - to build upon, that is, (figuratively) to rear up: - build thereon (thereupon, on, upon).

most holy - G40 - hagios - sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): - (most) holy (one, thing), saint.

faith - G4102 - pistis - persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: - assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

praying - G4336 - proseuchomai - to pray to God, that is, supplicate, worship: - pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer.

keep - G5083 - tēreō - (a watch; perhaps akin to G2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from G5442, which is properly to prevent escaping; and from G2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus), that is, to note (a prophecy; figuratively to fulfil a command); by implication to detain (in custody; figuratively to maintain); by extension to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively to keep unmarried): - hold fast, keep (-er), (ob-, pre-, re) serve, watch.

love - G26 - agape - love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: - (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.

mercy - G1656 - eleos - compassion (human or divine, especially active): - (+ tender) mercy.

compassion - G1653 - eleeō - to compassionate (by word or deed, specifically by divine grace): - have compassion (pity on), have (obtain, receive, shew) mercy (on).

difference - G1252 - diakrinō - to separate thoroughly, that is, (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figuratively to discriminate (by implication decide), or (reflexively) hesitate: - contend, make (to) differ (-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver.

save - G4982 - sōzō - to save, that is, deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): - heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

fear - G5401 - phobos - (to be put in fear); alarm or fright: - be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror.

pulling - G726 - harpazō - to seize (in various applications): - catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).

hating - G3404 - miseō - (hatred); to detest (especially to persecute); by extension to love less: - hate (-ful).

garment - G5509 - chitōn - a tunic or shirt: - clothes, coat, garment.

spotted - G4696 - spilos - a stain or blemish, that is, (figuratively) defect, disgrace: - spot.

flesh - G4561 - sarx - flesh (as stripped of the skin), that is, (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred, or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specifically) a human being (as such): - carnal (-ly, + -ly minded), flesh ([-ly]).

Now let's look at this passage in different translations:
Jude 1: 20-23 (AMP) 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on [the foundation of] your most holy faith [continually progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], pray in the Holy Spirit, 21 and keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [which will bring you] to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy but with fear, loathing even the clothing spotted and polluted by their shameless immoral freedom.

Jude 1: 20-23 (New International Version - NIV) But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Jude 1: 20-23 (Disciples Literal New Testament - DLNT) 20 But you, beloved, while building-up yourselves on your most holy faith, while praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God while waiting-for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. 22 And be having-mercy-on some doubting ones. 23 And be saving others, snatching them out of the fire. And be having-mercy-on others with fear while hating even the tunic having been stained by the flesh.

Jude 1: 20-23 (CEV) 20 Dear friends, keep building on the foundation of your most holy faith, as the Holy Spirit helps you to pray. 21 And keep in step with God’s love, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to show how kind he is by giving you eternal life. 22 Be helpful to all who may have doubts. 23 Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire. Then with fear in your own hearts, have mercy on everyone who needs it. But hate even the clothes of those who have been made dirty by their filthy deeds.

Now I want to try and put it in my own words:
Jude 1: 20-23 In order to overcome false teaching we must build upon our faith. The foundation is salvation through Jesus Christ and Him alone. Let us build upon this foundation, making ourselves stronger and staying in contact with God by prayer and worship. Be alert and cautious to guard yourself with God's love, always looking for the tender mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. For those who are in danger because of doubt and a weak faith, have compassion, mercy and tenderly lead them back to Christ. Distinguish those from the ones who are endangering themselves by willfully playing with sin. These we should attempt to rescue them by snatching them out of the fire before they get burned. Do so in fear, recognizing how serious it is and don't fall into sin yourself, Hidden sin is like a filthy undergarment hidden under clothing. If left alone, it will contaminate and pollute the whole outfit, saturating it with filth, stench and rot. If they will not listen to compassionate pleading, then attempt a radical intervention.

Sin is like yeast, it begin as a small bit of yeast in the dough, but left alone, it will grow and multiply until the dough is bloated with sin. It can defile everything.

The word "hate" is miseo and means a violent aversion, radical hatred, abhorrent, loathing. This same word is used in Revelation 2: 6, "But you have this, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate" and Revelation 2: 16, "So you also have those who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate." Jesus is speaking to the church of Ephesus and Jesus, Himself, is using the word "hate" as it pertains to the deeds of the Nicolatians. I.e. their deeds and teachings were repugnant, disgusting, revolting, repulsive and nauseating to the Lord.

It is good to hate sin. We must also hate sin and not tolerate it in our own lives. We must regularly take spiritual inventory to look for sin in our own lives. Matthew 7: 3-5 (MKJV) (3) And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? (4) Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? (5) Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother's eye.

Before we can address, and rescue, someone else from sin, make sure we take care of any sin in our own life. Ask God to reveal anything displeasing to Him in your own life. Ask forgiveness and be willing to obey as He shows us how to change. He lovingly reveals things to us as we are able to bear them. For instance, if God were to show me all my sins at one time, I would probably short circuit and then I'd be so overwhelmed with shame that I would give up, kill myself or run and hide. So the Holy Spirit works on us according to His timing and in His wisdom, knowing when to reveal things to us and leading us as we address the problems in our own hearts. Oh how good He is! Salvation is a done deal when we accept Jesus as our Savior and ask for forgiveness. We are saved. But sanctification is a process, a lifelong process. The Holy Spirit comes to live within us to help us in this process of sanctification. He is our Guide, our Teacher, our Helper and Comforter. He comes alongside to strengthen and train us.

As a Christian, I am saved through Jesus Christ. My sins are forgiven and I will spend eternity with Christ in Heaven due to His work on the cross to rescue me. But while I'm alive on earth, I still have to contend with my evil human nature contained in my physical body. So, even though I'm a Christian and saved, I am still a sinner until I'm released from this corrupted flesh at death. So how do I deal with the sins I commit during my remaining life on earth? As God reveals them to us, we are led to repent. The Holy Spirit will point these things out to us as we arrive at a spiritual place where we can accept it and have a desire to do something about it. He will continue to try to get our attention and lead us to do something about it. The more we harden our heart and ignore Him, the harder we are making it for ourselves. I will still go to Heaven because I'm saved through Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. But I'm weakening myself and will suffer the consequences of my refusal to repent and turn away from the sins that so easily ensnare us. We may think we are having a good time as we play with our pet sins. But, in reality, we are causing our own problems and will suffer consequences that won't be pleasant.

In this context, Jude is pointing out some of our fellow Christians have a tender heart. They will be turned in the right direction when gently shown the danger they are in. But others require more direct action in order to snatch them out of the fire of sin. Fire is destructive, we can get burned and burned badly. If I saw my child toddling over to an open fire, I would run to snatch him/her out of danger.

Why would some need to be "snatched" versus gentle exhortation? Some people are naturally hard headed. They are just born that way. You can't expect a duck not to swim. So some only seem to learn the hard way. I am both naturally submissive and non-confrontational but I am also naturally stubborn. It's a good thing to be stubborn as long as you're being stubborn about the right things! To stubbornly cling to your faith in Jesus Christ is a good thing. To stubbornly cling to a self destructive sin is a bad thing.

Sometimes it's because we've been involved in the sin for so long that we've become hardened to it. For instance, a bad habit like cursing, participating in gossip, addictions. These are some sins we struggle with. They become bad habits or our bodies become addicted to chemicals. We feel like we can't give it up or don't want to give it up and we just have to live with it. Jesus promises freedom from sins but we can't imagine being able to stop the bad habit.

Others enjoy their pet sin. They enjoy petting it, worshiping it, indulging it, grooming it, playing with it. For instance, sex outside of marriage. Sex is a primal instinct in order to keep humanity multiplying. And it can be a joyful, exciting experience within God's boundaries of monogamous marriage. But our culture has promoted sex in every connotation and so pervasively people expect a sexual encounter on their first date. Even without dinner and a movie. Face it, remaining a virgin until marriage is considered old fashioned and entirely unnatural. We expect our teenagers to be sexually active from the time they turn 12 yrs old. We are no longer shocked by any sexual perversion like pornography, perversions, prostitution (male, female, children), adultery, fornication, threesomes, human trafficking, orgies. Young couples will have sex in public at parties, in cars, in parks, public bathrooms, etc. Sexual predators run the risk of being caught, jail time and being listed as a sexual predator for the rest of their lives which makes it hard to find a place to live or work. But they still do it in droves. Through movies, TV, music and at school (whether it's peers, sex education, counseling and/or free birth control), sex is pushed at us all day long, all our lives. So someone gets saved and they begin to find out that God has invented sex to be used within certain God ordained parameters. Outside of these parameters, it becomes sin. But because they've been brain washed into thinking this is impossible, they tend to expect God and the church to look the other way. This is just one example of a pet sin where we want our cake and eat it too.

We must distinguish between weak and willful sinners. We can restore the weak in a spirit of meekness, treating them with gentleness, compassion and mercy. Others need an intervention. But even with that we must be careful not to be too harsh, thus provoking them and the result causing them to harden their hearts rather than reclaiming them. If we are too harsh, rash, extreme, severe, we do more damage than good. Our goal is to lead them to Christ and freedom. We are looking for a balance based on each individual case.

We must tread carefully in this area. We are not called to be judgmental. We are certainly not called to be self righteous, full of pride and haughtiness. Not one of us are without sin. We are all sinners and come short of the glory of God. Let's face it, because we are human beings with a sinful nature, we are hypocrits. We can talk the talk but it's often harder to walk the walk. It's why we need a Savior. We just can't save ourselves and we need Jesus' forgiveness and cleansing. Every single Christian you see in church may be saved but they also may sin because they are human. Therefore, we are all hypocrits.

How do we walk this out? Where is the balance?

First check your own self, your own life. Humble yourself before God and ask forgiveness in any areas that the Holy Spirit points out to you. Then ask for the Holy Spirit to help you walk in your new freedom from sin. You'll never get it right this side of the grave but you can certainly be working on it. Remember, sanctification is a process.

Next check your motivations, your intentions. If you suspect any self righteous pride in your attitude, humble yourself. Remember the prostitute who was caught in the act? To be caught in the act means there was a prostitute with a man doing what they weren't supposed to do. It also means someone was searching them out and caught them in the act. For some reason, she was the only one accused of sin and being stoned. Where was the adulterous john and why wasn't he being pursued and stoned? Where was the one who looked for them in order to make it public and bring about the prostitute's death? Why weren't they being chased and stoned? But Jesus stopped every thing and confronted them all. He essentially put the mirror in front of their faces and they saw their own culpability and sin clearly. Jesus didn't say the prostitute had not sinned. He merely pointed out they were all sinners in need of a Savior. When their eyes were opened, they were ashamed, guilty and they all slunk away. It is essential for us to have a clear look in the mirror of the Holy Spirit and to deal with out own sin. We must check our motivations, our intent and be humbled before we speak to another.

Continue making spiritual checks so you don't lose it in the middle of the intervention. We can go from loving entreaties to screaming matches, manipulation and condemnation in 0 seconds flat! Look out for those traps all along the way. We don't want to fall into judging, pride, self righteousness, superiority, compromising the truth, enabling/co-dependency, gossip/slander, name calling, guilting, etc. Believe me, I've found myself doing them all and pulling up short in dismay. Remember we are to love the sinner but hate the sin. Our goal is to restore them and free them, not destroy them.

Let's look at a specific example. And I hasten to add here that this could be ANY sin. All sin is sin, and sin is destructive whether it's a "big" sin or a "little" sin. We are equally guilty no matter what our sin is. But, this sin is one that has been a downright explosive topic in the last ten years or more.

Homosexuality. See, I told you it was a biggy! People are willing to do about anything for or against homosexuality and lesbianism. Homosexuality is no more or less a sin than any other sin. The sin of gossip is just as bad and destructive as the sin of homosexuality. The wages of sin is death whether it's the sin of cursing or the sin of homosexuality. But, for our example, let's look at the sin of homosexuality. God is very clear about the sin of homosexuality. Here is God's Word on the subject:

Genesis 13:12-13 (CEV) Abram stayed in the land of Canaan. But Lot settled near the cities of the valley and put up his tents not far from Sodom, (13) where the people were evil and sinned terribly against the LORD.
Genesis 19:1-17 (CEV) That evening the two angels arrived in Sodom, while Lot was sitting near the city gate. When Lot saw them, he got up, bowed down low, (2) and said, "Gentlemen, I am your servant. Please come to my home. You can wash your feet, spend the night, and be on your way in the morning." They told him, "No, we'll spend the night in the city square." (3) But Lot kept insisting, until they finally agreed and went home with him. He baked some bread, cooked a meal, and they ate. (4) Before Lot and his guests could go to bed, every man in Sodom, young and old, came and stood outside his house (5) and started shouting, "Where are your visitors? Send them out, so we can have sex with them!" (6) Lot went outside and shut the door behind him. (7) Then he said, "Friends, please don't do such a terrible thing! (8) I have two daughters who have never been married. I'll bring them out, and you can do what you want with them. But don't harm these men. They are guests in my home." (9) "Don't get in our way," the crowd answered. "You're an outsider. What right do you have to order us around? We'll do worse things to you than we're going to do to them." The crowd kept arguing with Lot. Finally, they rushed toward the door to break it down. (10) But the two angels in the house reached out and pulled Lot safely inside. (11) Then they struck everyone in the crowd blind, and none of them could even find the door. (12) The two angels said to Lot, "The LORD has heard many terrible things about the people of Sodom, and he has sent us here to destroy the city. Take your family and leave. Take every relative you have in the city, as well as the men your daughters are going to marry." (14) Lot went to the men who were engaged to his daughters and said, "Hurry and get out of here! The LORD is going to destroy this city." But they thought he was joking, and they laughed at him. (15) Early the next morning the two angels tried to make Lot hurry and leave. They said, "Take your wife and your two daughters and get out of here as fast as you can! If you don't, every one of you will be killed when the LORD destroys the city." (16) At first, Lot just stood there. But the LORD wanted to save him. So the angels took Lot, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. (17) When they were outside, one of the angels said, "Run for your lives! Don't even look back. And don't stop in the valley. Run to the hills, where you will be safe."
Genesis 19:23-26 (CEV) The sun was coming up as Lot reached the town of Zoar, (24) and the LORD sent burning sulfur down like rain on Sodom and Gomorrah. (25) He destroyed those cities and everyone who lived in them, as well as their land and the trees and grass that grew there. (26) On the way, Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a block of salt.
Jude 1:7 (CEV) We should also be warned by what happened to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the nearby towns. Their people became immoral and did all sorts of sexual sins. Then God made an example of them and punished them with eternal fire.

Leviticus 18:20-23 (CEV) Don't have sex with another man's wife--that would make you unclean. (21) Don't sacrifice your children on the altar fires to the god Molech. I am the LORD your God, and that would disgrace me. (22) It is disgusting for a man to have sex with another man. (23) Anyone who has sex with an animal is unclean.

Leviticus 20:10-16 (Easy To Read Version - ERV) "If a man has sexual relations with his neighbor's wife, both the man and the woman are guilty of adultery and must be put to death! (11) If a man has sexual relations with his father's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. They are responsible for their own death. It is as if that man had sexual relations with his father! (12) "If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. They have committed a terrible sexual sin! They are responsible for their own death. (13) "If a man has sexual relations with another man as with a woman, they have committed a terrible sin. They must be put to death. They are responsible for their own death. (14) "It is a sexual sin if a man has sexual relations with a woman and her mother. The people must burn that man and the two women in fire! Don't let this sexual sin happen among your people. (15) "If a man has sexual relations with an animal, both the man and the animal must be put to death. (16) If a woman has sexual relations with an animal, you must kill the woman and the animal. They must be put to death. They are responsible for their own death.

Mark 10:5-9 (ERV) Jesus said, "Moses wrote that command for you because you refused to accept God's teaching. (6) But when God made the world, 'he made people male and female.' (7) 'That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. (8) And the two people will become one.' So they are no longer two, but one. (9) God has joined them together, so no one should separate them."

Romans 1:18-32 (AMP) (26) For this reason God gave them over to degrading and vile passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural [a function contrary to nature], (27) and in the same way also the men turned away from the natural function of the woman and were consumed with their desire toward one another, men with men committing shameful acts and in return receiving in their own bodies the inevitable and appropriate penalty for their wrongdoing. (28) And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, (29) until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and mean-spiritedness. They are gossips [spreading rumors], (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, (31) without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. (32) Although they know God’s righteous decree and His judgment, that those who do such things deserve death, yet they not only do them, but they even [enthusiastically] approve and tolerate others who practice them.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 15-20 (ESV) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God... Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! (16) Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." (17) But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (18) Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (19) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (20) for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 (CEV) We know that the Law is good, if it is used in the right way. (9) We also understand that it wasn't given to control people who please God, but to control lawbreakers, criminals, godless people, and sinners. It is for wicked and evil people, and for murderers, who would even kill their own parents. (10) The Law was written for people who are sexual perverts or who live as homosexuals or are kidnappers or liars or won't tell the truth in court. It is for anything else that opposes the correct teaching (11) of the good news that the glorious and wonderful God has given me.

Old and New Testament alike express God's view on homosexuality and it is listed in with other sins like murder, sexual perversion, kidnapping, lying, theft, drunkenness, idolatry, revilers, swindlers, etc. It's clear. There is no ambiguity. Romans 1 calls homosexuality evil, degrading, vile, shameful, wrong, depraved, improper, repulsive, deserving of death. God considers homosexuality, and all other sin, to be rebellion against God and His commands. To go even further, those who condone and support homosexuals in their sinful lifestyle are also guilty of sin.

Romans 1: 32 (AMP), Although they know God’s righteous decree and His judgment, that those who do such things deserve death, yet they not only do them, but they even [enthusiastically] approve and tolerate others who practice them.

Romans 1:32 (ERV) They know God's law says that anyone who lives like that should die. But they not only continue to do these things themselves, but they also encourage others who do them.

Romans 1:32 (English Standard Version - ESV) Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Seeing this one verse in several translations clarifies it. Those who enthusiastically approve and tolerate homosexuality, those encourage homosexuals to sin, those who give their approval to the practice are just as guilty. So, today we are told we must accept, approve of, encourage, and enthusiastically support homosexuals in their "lifestyle choices". For those of us who believe homosexuality is a sin according to our faith and the sacred writing in the Holy Bible, we are called homophobes which is seemingly more despicable than being a murderer. We are brain washed, coerced and threatened if we don't show tolerance of the homosexual lifestyle. We are forced into acceptance and tolerance their lifestyle choices although they show no tolerance of our religious beliefs. Now their agenda has gone beyond acceptance to demands of preferential treatment.

Now that we have studied Jude 1: 20-23, how do we apply this to the issue of homosexuality in our example? Nowhere in the Bible does God command us to bully, abuse, beat up, or throw stones at homosexuals. Remember we are to love the sinner, but hate the sin. Tolerating sin is like yeast in the bread. It can permeate the entire dough. It pollutes everything, defiles and rots everything. It spreads. On the other hand, the homosexual is a human being created by God and loved by Him. God love us so much He sent His only Son to save us by the way of His execution on the cross. He paid a high price to obtain our freedom, including the homosexual. We must attempt to "snatch them out of the fire"! If they are unsaved, their sin could take them to an eternity of hell and damnation. If they are saved, their sin could make their life miserable with the consequences of sin, although they will go to Heaven. At the very least it will stunt their spiritual growth. Some may profit with gentle counseling; rescuing them with compassion and mercy. Others we attempt to rescue by reproving them and pointing out the truth in some type of intervention. But be careful not to fall into sin yourself. We must beware, guard ourselves with careful attention and fear, "hating even the garment spotted by the flesh"! We want to lead them to freedom, not fall into sin ourselves. We don't want to be tempted into their sin with them. We also don't want to be tempted into the sin of judgment, self righteousness, pride, compromise and tolerance of sin. We must be truthful and forthright but tempered with humility, not overly severe, extreme, rash as we may do more harm than good.

Balance here is tough. We must be unwilling to compromise the truth, implacable in the face of sin, guarding ourselves out of a healthy fear of sin. And we must not be enablers to sin. If we make it easy to sin, they have no motivation to change. Have you ever heard the old saying, "going to hell in a handbasket"? It means going to hell easily and rapidly, no speedbumps to slow them down. I would rather introduced some speed bumps with the hope they will turn back and turn to Jesus.

Is it ever right to hate something? It is not about hating a fellow human being, but it's all about hating sin, whether our own or that of others. We are all susceptible so we cannot feel superior as though we are any better. Since we are all susceptible and easily tempted, we must fear sin, loath it, see it as repugnant. If I am worth saving, then homosexuals are worth saving. God loves them just like He loves me. He loved us enough to offer us freedom from sin and the consequences.

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