One of the most ongoing and heated debates in our culture today is that of sexuality and gender. It has infiltrated our society in how our laws are made and interpreted; it has caused lawsuits and criminal behavior; and it has even caused dissension within the body of Christ. But John Lindell, lead pastor of James River Church in Ozark, Missouri, says the Bible is very specific on the issue and uncompromising.
"The purpose of this message is not to lament the condition of society; it's not to denigrate people; it's not to juxtaposition us against anyone who may not agree with a biblical view of sexuality and gender," Lindell said in a sermon last Sunday at James River Church. "My desire is to offer hope and clarity in the midst of what is a very confusing season in our culture and in our country. Specifically, I want to offer hope to those who are in the transgender community. I want you to know that you're welcome here and we love you.
"But I also want to offer clarity to some young people who are struggling with issues of gender identity. They are struggling with issues about their own sexuality and how to process feelings they are having. I want to encourage parents and educators who are unsure about how to process this subject with children."
Our present-day culture has moved from the presumption of two genders—male and female—to an acceptance of 72 gender combinations. Lindell says a person's sex and gender were formerly considered to be synonymous but in the past 20 years, that has radically changed.
Medical News Today says this about sex and gender: "Gender is different than sex. Although genetic factors typically define a person's sex, gender refers to how they identify inside. Only the person themselves can determine what their gender identity is."
"Is that true? Lindell asks. "That's what our society says. What does the Bible say about sexual and gender identity? To start, what makes a person inherently or biologically male or female?
Lindell says there are three criteria for this:
- External sexual anatomy
- Internal reproductive organs
- Endocrine systems that produce sex characteristics by way of hormones
"Sex itself is not the result of cultural constructs, it is a matter of physical biology," Lindell says. "Today in secular society, the preferred view is that a person's gender identity is based on their own personal sense of self. They may be male, female, both or neither. Transgender in many respects is a catch-all for the ways people experience conflict and their biological sex and their belief in their gender role. They say sex and gender are two totally different things. A person's gender is the basis from which a person's identity is built."
Lindell says there are approximately 70 children's television programs featuring 259 characters that are not the typical gender, but have a variety of gender identities. Those include "Blues Clues," "My Little Pony," "DC Superhero Girls," "Clifford the Big Red Dog" and "Star Wars Resistance."
"In the media and popular culture, there is a promotion of a transgender agenda," Lindell says. "Teachers are encouraged to take kids on a gender-exploration journey without parental consent. In Scotland, all 4-year-olds can identify as the opposite sex without parental consent. In Oregon, 15-year-olds can transition from female to male or male to female without parental consent. It's incredible."
So, what does the Bible say about sexuality and gender?
Genesis 1:26 (NLT) reads, "Then God said, 'Let us make human beings in our own image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock and all the wild animals on earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground. So, God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them'."
"This passage tells us that God made two genders, male and female," Lindell says. "It further tells us that human beings are made in the image of God. Aspects of God's image that are reflected in the female gender, and aspects reflected in the male gender, too. And these aspects reflect God.
"Jesus affirmed this in Matthew 19:4 (NLT): 'Haven't you read the scriptures? They record that from the beginning, "God made them male and female."'
"All of which tells us that our sexuality and gender is not based on how we feel about it," Lindell says. "God has intentionally designed our body and our identity that we might demonstrate His will for our good and His glory. What the enemy wants to do is confuse and destroy a human being's identity so they won't understand who they are, so they won't fulfill God's purpose and they won't know who God has created them to be.
"In Genesis 1:28 it reads, 'Then God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.'"
"That's reproduction and rulership," Lindell says. "It needs to be reiterated in a day where children are viewed as an inconvenience or viewed as an option that in God's design, male and female were created for the sake of reproduction. One of the best things you can give God is a baby. One of the best things you can give society is a child who is raised to know God."
For more of Lindell's compelling message, watch this video.
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