Posted On October 16, 2018

Isaac’s Dilemma

by | Oct 16, 2018 | Evangelism, Missions, Theology

“I’m homosexual,” Isaac told me, “and I don’t think I could give up the happiness it brings me and deny who I am — for something I am not certain about.” This was Isaac’s response to a question I asked him. What preceded and what followed the above response is the story I want to tell. I sincerely hope it will be instructive.

Background

Isaac is a student at the University of Cincinnati. On October 15, 2018, by the providence of our Lord Jesus Christ I was brought to his campus to preach the Word of God — specifically the risen Christ and the good news of salvation.

I stood outside the Tangeman Center and preached nearly an hour as students went back and forth from classes. Five other men joined me as we loved the students of UC with God’s truth.

Isaac hadn’t offered this information to me for no reason. You see Isaac approached as I was preaching the gospel to observe a friend of his who had heckled me for nearly half an hour. He watched as I engaged his friend, Brad. Brad had many questions, all of which deserved good apologetic answers. But Brad’s questions were not genuine. He didn’t like the answers he received and then he walked away.

So it was just Isaac and I. An effeminate young man of about 19 years old, Isaac did what most people do when they encounter God’s Word being heralded publicly, he questioned the method and the effectiveness of our method, specifically a sign that reads “Evolution is a Lie.”

Scene 1

The first thing I wanted to do was get Isaac to consider his standing before a holy and righteous God, rather than get into arguments about evangelism methods with an enemy of the Father of evangelism. So I changed the subject and asked Isaac point blank: “What sin do you love so much that you would rather burn in hell for eternity than give it up?’

I did not refer to his obvious homosexuality. I could have done that, sure, but many homosexuals rightly notice that Christians are often quicker to condemn that sin than the sin of the fornicator standing next to them. I preferred to NOT give Isaac a stumbling block and instead asked him to tell me his stumbling block.

When Isaac told me that he knew he couldn’t give up being homosexual, I asked him if he was really willing to suffer for eternity for that. He said he just didn’t think he could become a Christian because he knew that as a homosexual it would mean a lot of suffering in this life, even if Heaven was promised. He said he preferred the joy and good feeling of what he could see with his eyes, than something uncertain.

Scene 2

I actually didn’t see this coming. I had been preparing myself for a classic knock down dragout fight between a homosexual and a Christian. Rather, Isaac seemed to have genuinely considered what he thought the Christian life meant (I discovered that is how he was raised). He realized that to follow Christ was going to mean to deny himself, and his homosexuality. He was more than honest to admit he had no desire to deny himself.

So I decided to teach Isaac a bit about the doctrine of sanctification. I explained to Isaac that if he repented of sin and put his faith in Jesus Christ that God would actually change him from the inside out. I said, “Instead of you spending your life hating being gay and not being about to act it out, God actually changes Christians so that they being to pursue and enjoy righteousness and hate sin.”

The point, I told him, is that Christians, although they fight their sinful flesh, actually have hearts that begin to love God’s law and desire to obey it, not only because it is good for them, but because they really begin to simply enjoy the things God enjoys — and hate the sin God hates.

The Close

Isaac seemed to understand what I was saying, although he wasn’t ready to put his faith in Christ for his eternity. But I think we were both pleasantly surprised with how the conversation went. It was respectful while confrontational. It was friendly, yet full of correction. It was a conversation between two people who desperately need the hope of the gospel.

It was a conversation which I suspect is rare in our culture of increasing animosity between political groups. And, it was a conversation where I was able to reveal to Isaac some of the depth of my own depravity that God saved me from. It was a much needed reminder to me of my need for Christ’s righteousness on the day of judgement.

Epilogue

There are a few takeaways from today which I hope are instructive to you.

  1. Preaching God’s Word is never relevant (to the perishing), is always relevant (to those who are trusting Christ), and it always causes people to think about God.
  2. People innately know what sin is (because God has imprinted His law on every heart), and when confronted about it, know what their favorite sin is. The one they are willing to die to hold onto.
  3. Folks don’t really understand Christianity very well. We need to teach them lovingly and patiently, and pray that God would open their eyes to see.
  4. By focusing on the gospel — not conservative politics, not bashing homosexuals specifically, not name calling — God gives us opportunities to show people who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners.

Please pray for dear Isaac today. Pray that he would be relieved of the shackles to the sin he thinks he loves, and brought to the foot of the cross of Christ.

 

Related Posts

Reformed Systematic Theology – Vol 3: Spirit and Salvation (book review)

Reformed Systematic Theology – Vol 3: Spirit and Salvation (book review)

Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley’s Reformed Systematic Theology Vol. 3: Spirit and Salvation is another theologically rich entry in what has already become a modern classic series. As with the previous volumes, the authors effectively balance academic theological precision with pastoral and devotional care.

Book Review: How Can We Rescue Those Being Taken Away to Death?

Book Review: How Can We Rescue Those Being Taken Away to Death?

Brett A. Baggett, Dusty Deevers, and James Silberman: Rescue Those: How Can We Rescue Those Being Taken Away to Death? Copyright 2021  Rescue Those INC. You can order copies here. These booklets are given away for free. I suggest Christians who benefit from this work...

Church Discipline is for Restoration

Church Discipline is for Restoration

Below is a teaching outline that I've used to train others concerning the process and purpose of church discipline. In short, church discipline is for convincing the wayward of their sin and restoring them. I pray it would be beneficial for your congregations....

Book Review: Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial

Book Review: Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial

Chapel Library’s booklet, Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial is the perfect length. It gives just enough information to make someone interested in reading a larger work about this dear saint, yet also gain an appreciation for Ann and learn from her life without a large investment.

5 Deceitful Schemes Seeking to Ruin Churches

5 Deceitful Schemes Seeking to Ruin Churches

In Ephesians 4:14, Paul desires that local churches “…may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” In this post, I want to give you 5 examples of deceitful...

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Here are some of my thoughts on the eighth commandment from my final sermon on Exodus 20:15. Stealing is the taking of something that isn’t yours or the using of something that isn’t yours without the owner’s consent and approval. Giving Remember that the opposite of...

2 Comments

  1. KFKRAFT

    This post was excellent. Thank you

    • Michael Coughlin

      Your comment is so full of the kindness of God. Thank you for that encouragement!