Since the Australian Parliament decided to thumb its nose at God by legalising same-sex “marriage,” I have been asked numerous times how we as Christians should respond. As I pondered this question I have found myself coming up with six ways in which I will personally respond to this embracing of darkness.
1. Be Family Focused
I am convinced that family is the building block of society. If we want to see our community strengthened then we need to have strong, godly and moral families. As such, I will be seeking to love my wife as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25) and disciple my children in the truth of God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
This is a long-term mission, which I pray will have a multigenerational impact. What I do now will influence what happens downstream in my generational line. As a Father I am not just thinking about the next few years, but I also have in mind my grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all those who are still a long way off.
Just as the tide comes in and goes out, I am convinced that even though presently we are at low ebb in righteousness in this nation, that one day that will change and the tide will come back in. When that day comes, and society changes, there will be a need for Christians who know the Bible and will not compromise with worldly thinking. I may not be around for that day, but I can begin to plant the seeds of future nation building. Our families are our future.
2. Be Committed to the Church
The Church is made up of all of God’s elect from every nation, language and people group (Revelation 5:9). As followers in a common Master, we should desire to be in community with each other (Hebrews 10:25). When the Church gathers on the Lord’s Day, we do so to worship the Triune God and to declare His greatness. God’s people, the Church, also serve to be an encouragement and support to each other. In a nation that is fast running from God and His Law, we need to surround ourselves with those who will stir us up for good works (Hebrews 10:24).
Further, the Church also serves to be a visible example to the world, that God’s ways are different and better than theirs. As such, when we come together to worship God and to love and serve each other in the faith community, we are communicating to our society that Christ’s Kingdom is superior.
Our identity is to be found in the Lord Jesus and with His people. Thus, if we are going to respond to our national decay, we need to embrace the visible display of Christ’s Kingdom, the Church.
3. Be a Witness
Opposition to Christianity is not something that is new for followers of Jesus Christ. In fact, if we look at the book of Acts we see that even from the beginning of the Church there was hostility. Yet, despite being in a culture that opposed Jesus and His Word, Christians were still commanded to be a witness (Acts 1:8). As persecution increased Believers were scattered, but as they were they preached the gospel everywhere (Acts 8:4).
This is the means that God will use to change this nation, or whatever society our children will find themselves in. Politics, changing of the law, and lobbying will not achieve societal transformation, unless the hearts of the people are changed first. This is what the gospel does.
By being a witness, and telling everyone about the Lord Jesus Christ who came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), we can expect that people will be changed. God has chosen the message of Jesus as the means to save the lost (1 Corinthians 1:21); as people hear the word of Christ they will be granted saving faith (Romans 10:17).
When people repent and trust in Christ their wholes lives and belief systems will be transformed. Now our primary purpose in evangelism is to be the glory of God, but as we see from history is that when the people are converted then society changes. One of the best ways to respond to this present darkness is to lift high the light of the world, Jesus Christ.
4. Be Bible People
Our lives must reflect the message and the person we claim to believe in. As such, we must seek to bring all of life into submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Daily we should be putting to death sin, and growing in holiness. As we submit every area of our lives to Christ, we will discover that how we raise our families, conduct business, view the Church, interact with society, and do life in general will change.
In order to bring our lives into submission means that first and foremost we must be people of the Book; we must be Bible people. It is through the Bible that God has chosen to communicate. As we read the Scripture we see how we should live, and what God requires of us.
When we open up the Bible we will soon find areas of our lives that are out of alignment with God’s will. How do we respond to this? We repent and submit ourselves to Christ. God, as our Sovereign has all the rights to tell us how to live, so we must submit every area of our life to Him.
When one looks at the Protestant Reformation we soon notice that the Scripture played a central role in transforming everything. Without the Bible we would not know who God is, and what He requires. For far too long the Church in the West has embraced a low view of Scripture, which they then interpreted in the light of their current culture. We must come to the Bible as God’s Word and let it dictate to us and our culture how we should live, not the other way around.
5. Be Separate
I know when one talks about the doctrine of separation that people can become a bit cautious. Let me stress I am not talking about some kind of withdrawing from society where we go live on a mountain somewhere, home-school our children while eating survival rations and waiting for the rapture (not that there is anything wrong with homeschooling!)
What I am talking about is the biblical doctrine of separation that says we withdraw ourselves from those who preach a different gospel and have nothing to do with them (Romans 16:16-17). If someone says they are a Christian, yet lives a lifestyle of open sin and rebellion, then the biblical command is not to have fellowship with them (1 Corinthians 5:11). The reasoning behind such separation is to demonstrate that light and darkness do not mix; that one cannot be a follower of Jesus, and live like the world.
For me, as a travelling Evangelist, this means that I will not knowingly work alongside or preach in / with a church, church leader or minister, who promotes and supports same-sex “marriage” or the LGBT agenda. Those churches and church leaders who supported a “yes” vote in the recent plebiscite, or who have no issues with marriage being redefined are enemies of the truth, and must be separated from.
This means that church members need to remove pastors who are pro-LGBT or SSM. If this cannot be done, then the faithful Christian needs to leave that church and find a place to worship that loves the Lord Jesus and follows the Bible. We cannot have fellowship with those who oppose God and His Word. There needs to be a clear break, so that people may realise that truth is important.
6. Be Speakers of Truth
The final response to the darkness is to speak the truth in love in all situations. We must educate people from God’s Word; we must tell the truth. It should be noted that speaking the truth in love doesn’t always mean agreeing with someone; there are times when a rebuke is needed. But when those times come, the rebuke must flow from a heart that loves God and neighbour. We speak not because we want to be contentious or to fight, we speak because we love and want people to come to the truth.
Speaking the truth will be costly; it may cause you to lose friends, family and even work opportunities. But our calling is to be faithful to the God who loves us, and bids us to follow Him. We must speak the truth no matter what may come.
In reality, nothing I have listed should be new in the Christian life; we should already be living in such a manner. Our lives as followers of Jesus Christ are to be markedly different from those around us. We mustn’t expect to be popular, or accepted by the culture. We are called to be faithful to Jesus, to follow His commands, and to live a life that promotes His cause. Will you stand for Jesus in the midst of this darkness?
Josh has served as a Reformed Baptist pastor both in Australia and the UK. Currently, he is a missionary with the City Tabernacle Baptist Church in Brisbane. Josh is married to Louise, and has three children, Thomas, Elizabeth and Henry.