California megachurch pastor Greg Laurie used his sermon on Sunday to help Christians across the United States deal with the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. He gave out six different points on how to tackle the controversial issue.
The sermon entitled "Stand Your Ground!" has been posted on the Harvest Ministries website. Laurie explained in under an hour's time how Christians can show the power of a biblical marriage to a secular world.
"The church is under attack around the world," Laurie said. "We look at our own country and we see persecution getting stronger here as well. But you need to know that this is a sign of the times."
Laurie expressed his opinion on the Supreme Court decision, which was handed down on Friday. He urged his congregation to stand their ground.
"I'm very disappointed by this decision. It is clearly the wrong decision," Laurie said.
However, Laurie pointed out that since God created marriage in the first place, this institution predated all civilizations, culture and everything else.
"This special union will happen only between a man and a woman," Laurie said.
The pastor also believed that "Bible prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes." He noted that Christians can do six things in reaction to both the high court's decision on same-sex marriage and persecution around the world.
"Don't panic. God is still on the throne," he said of the first point.
Laurie argued that the church thrived best when it is in sharp contrast to the culture around it. He cited evangelical theologian Russell Moore's column in making his point.
"The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court can't put Jesus back in that tomb," Moore wrote. "Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is still calling the universe toward His kingdom."
The California pastor noted that 1st century Christians kept their values alive in a culture centered on immorality and pagan beliefs. In addition, they did it without the use of protests or marches.
"The turned the world upside down," Laurie said. "They out-loved, outplayed and out-gave the non-believers."
For his second point, Laurie cited Romans 8:28 (NIV), which read: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
"Even a ruling like this can, in God's sovereign will, work together for our good and His glory," the pastor said to his congregation.
As for the third point, Laurie contended that Christians "should be a testimony and an example" of what a biblical marriage looks like to the world. He acknowledged that while differences are bound to emerge, he urged married Christians to "forgive and move forward" since love can overcome any challenges that strain a marriage.
"Of all of the pictures, of all of the illustrations He could have chosen to illustrate His love for the Church and His Church's love for Him, He chose marriage," Laurie said in explaining why marriage is a big deal to God.
Laurie's fourth point was that the love of Christ has to be shown to everyone by sharing the Gospel with other people beyond the walls of the church building.
"God loves everyone, no matter what they have done," Laurie quipped. "He loves the person who is living or identifying as a homosexual. Clearly, people struggle with same-sex attraction."
Laurie once told a young man who gave into homosexual temptation by giving him some advice.
"Just because you have a same-sex attraction doesn't mean you're gay," Laurie recalled of what he said to that young man. "That just means that's what you're tempted with. The point is you want to resist those temptations."
The pastor added that the Gospel defines all of us "by the righteousness of Christ," not our temptations. He explained that is possible to love homosexual people without condoning or accepting homosexuality altogether by elaborating on the context behind the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:1, which read: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
"We love all people, and we want to reach them," Laurie said. "Sometimes well-meaning but misguided Christians will say that we should love and accept and that's OK. He is not saying that I should never render an evaluation about anyone or anything because in that same line of thought, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus went on to say, 'Don't cast your pearls before swine, or give that which is holy to a dog.' What?"
According to Laurie's interpretation, Jesus meant that the holy things from God shouldn't be given "to a person who has no interest in it whatsoever." The better translation for that verse, according to Laurie, would be "condemn not, lest you be condemned."
"Here's what He's saying: evaluate and tell people the truth," Laurie said. "We are to speak the truth in love ... don't turn a person away because of their sin."
For the fifth point, Laurie pointed out that all people need to be engaged with the Gospel because "everyone is searching."
"Deep down, everyone is searching for a relationship with God," Laurie said. "And it may seem like certain people can never change, but no one is beyond the reach of God."
As for the final point, Laurie asked Christians to pray no matter what happens in the future.
"We need to pray that America has a spiritual awakening," Laurie said. "This is bigger than politics, this is bigger than culture ... this is a spiritual war we are engaged in, and we need a spiritual solution."