About Same-Sex-Marriage, Euthanasia, and the Church.
We are in the last weeks of the plebiscite about the legalizing of same-sex-marriage in Australia. In about two weeks, the ABS will publish the results of the postal survey.
If we may believe the media, it is very likely that the majority of the Australian people has voted in favor of legalizing same-sex-marriage. Is this another defeat for Christianity?
The House of Commons in the state Victoria recently voted to legalize euthanasia. Other states are studying the matter or are working on it. Some say that it will be legalized in entire Australia, sooner or later. Is this another defeat for Christianity?
I don’t believe in defeat. I believe in victory. The Word of God is going over this world, conquering and to conquer (Revelation 6:2). Christ told His Church to go out into the world and make disciples of all the nations, because to Him has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. The New King James Version uses the word ‘therefore’ in Matthew 28:19. There is a connection. Because Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, His Church shall go and make disciples of all the nations. That is what I care about. Ultimately, I don’t care whether the Australian people will vote to legalize same-sex-marriage or not. I don’t care what the outcome is of the attempts to legalize euthanasia. I do care about the honour of Christ. And therefore, I will speak up, during the plebiscite about same-sex-marriage. And therefore, I made a submission to the committee in West Australia about euthanasia. And therefore, Christians shall speak up, about their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who is the Saviour of the world. All those who believe in Him, will be saved. That is what counts. That is what drives us.
This entire plebiscite about same-sex-marriage is another opportunity for Christians to speak up and preach Christ as the Saviour of the world. Same with the push to legalize euthanasia.
We see so often that Satan is pushing hard to impose his rule on this world. He is the driving force behind so much evil in our society. But we also see very often that Satan’s work in the end results in a backlash against him. God is using Satan, and his push for same-sex-marriage, to let His Word be heard in Australia. Many of the people who initially didn’t care and were inclined to vote yes, heard from Christians, saw the viciousness of those who are pushing for legalizing, and it made many of them think: why is this such an important issue. They started taking note, and we as Christians had a splendid opportunity to speak up.
If we read through the book of Acts and pay attention to several of the beautiful sermons and speeches of Peter, Paul and others, then we notice that most of those which are recorded in the Bible, were spoken in situations of persecution. Acts 4:8-22: Peter and John were arrested and stood before the Sanhedrin, when Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, started speaking. See the result in verse 13: those who listened, they marveled. In Acts 5:29, Peter and the other apostles again addressed the Sanhedrin, after they were captured in the temple. Their words made Gamaliel think and he came with his famous advice to the Sanhedrin. Stephen spoke to the Sanhedrin after they arrested him, in Acts 7. In Acts 22 Paul, just arrested by the Romans, addresses the crowd in Jerusalem. In Acts 23 he stands before the Sanhedrin. In Acts 24 Paul speaks before Felix and in Acts 26 he has Festus as well as king Agrippa and Bernice and many others as captive audience.
We also read in Acts 8:1-4 that those who were scattered because of the persecution through Saul, went everywhere, preaching the word. There, even before his conversion Saul (Paul) already was an instrument in God’s hand to spread the gospel. Satan is trying hard to persecute the church, but it is God Who uses this persecution to spread the gospel over the earth. It is often that in times of persecution the church grows. We may be encouraged to know that God works, through persecution. He will vindicate His Church, but it will often go through hardship and persecution. There is a war going on, and everywhere where we have the opportunity to fight Satan and his empire of sin, we will stand up and do so boldly.
Thank God for the opportunity we received to speak out during the plebiscite. Pray God for courage, so that we may continue to speak up during all the opportunities God continues to give us in this country.
Some argue that the church doesn’t do enough if it comes to evangelism. We should go out into society and preach the gospel to this world, they say. Maybe. I won’t deny that. Peter did go out, also when he was not arrested and did preach. So did Paul and all the apostles. The church should go out and preach to the world. But should we really worry about creating opportunities to speak the Word to our neighbours? We see time and again that God creates opportunities. Even if the Church sometimes in sinful complacency sits back and hides between the safe walls of the true Church, then God will open ways for the gospel to go out. God forces the Church to testify. Let us not talk and argue so much about evangelism, but let each of us take every opportunity God creates for us to speak up. Send your submissions to the government, whenever there is an opportunity and request for input from the people. Talk to your representatives. Write emails, letters. Let us be thankful for the work ARPA in Australia is doing, but let us also make use of the tools they provide us with, to speak out.
Let us also not hesitate to grab the opportunity, now that this plebiscite caused the matter of same-sex-marriage to be a hot topic in the public opinion. People talk about it. Let us then also talk about it.
We see in the history of the Church, that the Church can respond in two different ways in times of persecution:
- Being faithful to God and confess Him, going against the sinfulness of the world; or:
- Adapt to the world and try to go unnoticed, so that you may escape persecution.
Whenever the Church did the first, the Church grew, especially in times of persecution. Whenever the Church did the latter, the Church disappeared, more and more. The Middle East and North Africa once was a Christian area. Until the Church received freedom and power and wealth. Then Islam came up and in the 14th century it was able to easily take over large parts of those areas which were centuries before Christian. We see, sadly, the same happening in Europe. Many of us still have ties with the Netherlands. Large part of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands have tried to adapt their message to what would be liked by the world. But they lost their appeal. Because it wasn’t God’s Word anymore. And it happens again, when we look at our sister churches. Don’t judge, but learn from it, so that we may stand firm and don’t fall in the same trap of the Devil. God rules. Christ is conquering. His Word is being preached to all nations. Are we part of it?