Homosexuality brings death! The entire testimony of sacred Scriptures attests to this fact. St. Paul writes that they “dishonor their bodies among themselves.” Yet our culture continues to live as if it is simply a choice like any another. But some choices bring life, and others bring death. Again, homosexuality brings death!
This became even clearer to me today. As I began editing some work this morning at the office I received a phone call from a man I will refer to as “Bill.” Bill found our Church’s name when looking for a Reformed congregation in Pensacola. Over the years our small congregation has received a fair amount of traffic due to its status on google search as one of the first two churches listed under “Reformed/Pensacola.” I am thankful for this visibility. It has afforded me various opportunities to meet new people and interact with them on-line.
If you know anything about the Bible belt is that explicit Reformational churches are few in number. Bill comes from Los Angeles where the Reformed influence is even less. But by God’s grace, due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, he found himself in Pensacola for a day. He called wanting to talk to a brother. I listened attentively. Having exposed myself to a fair number of professional panhandlers I knew this one was different. Bill’s story was sincere and it offered no hint of deceit.
With my deacon being away and my associate pastor not available I called and told him that I would pick him up. I attended the funeral of a dear neighbor with my wife and left to meet him right afterwards.
As I arrived I immediately identified Bill. His 50 year old body could easily be mistaken for a 70 year old man. The truth is Bill is dying. He once was 250 pounds, but now he only weighs 130. Bill has AIDS and the doctor told him he only has six months to live. I introduced myself, helped him with his bags, and offered to buy him breakfast. He readily accepted, though adding he will most likely throw it up later. His body can no longer digest well.
He wanted to eat at Waffle House. We found the nearest one and sat to eat. “I want three very, very crunchy pieces of bacon,” he asked. “Sure thing, sweetie,” replied the waitress in what must be a universal Waffle House lingo. As we waited we talked. I asked him all sorts of questions. “How in the world did you end up in a reformational church in California,” I asked. Bill attends a very small congregation started by a Master’s Seminary grad from Scotland who happens to know–as Bill refers to–”brother Ferguson” personally. “Sinclair Ferguson!” I replied? “Yes, that’s him!” Bill happened to run across a passionate evangelical at Starbucks one day and the two became friends and began to talk on the phone regularly. The young man was 29 years old and suffering from serious health issues. In the process he was able to introduce Bill to Reformed literature. One day Bill fell on his face and asked God to save him. “I knew at that moment that I was no longer a homosexual,” he said. The friend who introduced him to Christ died soon after, but not without changing Bill and his life.
Bill said that J.I. Packer’s book Knowing God was his all-time favorite. “I met J.I. Packer,” I proudly stated. His eyes lit up. “I also read R.C. Sproul…lots and lots of his books.” ” I also met him and sat under his preaching many times,” I said. “You don’t know how blessed you are,” he said. The truth is I don’t. I take so much for granted.
So here I was in Pensacola sitting across a former homosexual who dedicated his entire life to the abuses of a lifestyle that he himself describes as “deadly from the start,” and this same man–who only has six months to live–has a goal to re-read Calvin’s Institutes this year. “The sovereignty of God changed my life,” he said. He only has little time left and now is consuming whatever Reformed literature he can find. Beyond that, this same man is preaching the gospel to his former homosexual community who now shuns him. “They want me gone in L.A….they don’t want to hear my message,” he says. But Bill is a changed man. He is not going to stop now. His life is vanishing little by little, but he still finds the gospel invigorating and refreshing to proclaim.
Afterwards I took Bill to his motel and bid him adieu! “God bless you and thank you,” he uttered. God bless and thank you, Bill. Homosexuality brought and will bring you death, but Christ gave you a new life in this world and in the world to come. Amen and amen!