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Catechism Class – LD1A – My ONLY Comfort?

23/03/2021

Catechism Class. Lord’s Day 1A. What COMFORT? 

Ecclesiastes 1:1-4 

What is my ONLY comfort in life and in death?  Finding satisfaction in life is the quest of most of us.  Yet it is elusive. Can we find comfort in pleasure?  In doing ‘what makes us happy?’  READ Ecclesiastes Chapter 2:1-11. 

LISTEN TO THIS LESSON AS A PODCAST. CLICK THIS LINK.

1 The ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ Debate

The ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban seeks to prevent counsellors, psychological practitioners and preachers from telling homosexual people that they can be delivered from their sexual inclinations.  The ban would prevent counsellors from offering any treatment, therapy or advice suggesting that a person’s sexual preferences can be changed, even if the person concerned wants that advice and asks for it.  But remember the words of Ecclesiastes: Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, … And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.  Bearing in mind that our catechist speaks about the exclusivity of comfort, that there is ONLY one source of satisfaction, let’s explore some Christian responses to the Gay Conversion Therapy debate: 

  • ALL sexual activity outside marriage is SINFUL!  The gay lobby feign offence when we say that homosexuality is sin.  In fact if you were to say that you would not last very long in public life.  For a faithful Christian, there is no option but to confess that all sexual activity outside the lifelong, monogamous relationship between one man and one woman, known as ‘marriage’ is sinful.  The commandment, “Thy shalt not commit adultery, is to be understood to preclude any non-marital sexual activity.”  It is clearly taught in the scriptures.  And homosexuality, by its nature, is well outside that marriage bond.  Consider the moral law of the OT, in Leviticus 18:22  In the New Testament, Paul make this abundantly clear in Romans 1:24-27  So, all sexual activity, outside biblical marriage is SIN, and sin condemns us in the sight of God, and brings upon us guilt, with all the unhappiness and misery that results from it.
  • Sin does make the sinner happy, but it is an illusory, transient happiness.  The devil offered Adam and Eve something they would enjoy, even though they were unaware at the time that it would leave a very bitter aftertaste indeed. READ: Genesis 3:8-10. SIN ALWAYS BRINGS SHAME, – a bad feeling, a prick of the conscience, but worse, sin always brings guilt.  Shame may die out after a while, feelings can become adjusted to new circumstances, conscience can be massaged into compliance through time.  But GUILT – that’s different for guilt doesn’t go away.  Guilt is a judicial condition, – a law has been broken and it remains broken, and all the happiness in the world will not remove it,  it will remain as a burden on the lawbreaker forever.  Guilt cannot be hidden from our eternal judge, and demands a just punishment under the law.  No amount of pleasure can take away the burden of guilt, and that burden will be a heavy one, which will weigh the sinner down in this life and in eternity.  The pleasure of sin is a transitory illusion.    
  • True Christian conversion is NOT therapy.  Christian conversion is not brought about by therapy or indeed by any work of man. Christian workers, preachers, evangelists don’t convert anyone! Conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the sinner, whereby the sinner is convicted of their sin, and brought to repentance.  The sinner is born again or born from above, a new birth, a new life, a new creation!  That’s not achieved by therapy, it is a sovereign work of the Lord, through which the redemption purchased by Christ on the cross is applied to the life of the sinner.  We see its effects in 1 Corinthians 6, that passage so hated by the LGBT+ lobby and which no doubt would be banned under any new ‘Conversion Therapy’ law,  READ: 1st Corinthains 6:9-11  Not a mention of therapy, or therapists, or treatment or even exorcism.  The conversion of sinners of every shade is solely the work of God.  

Should Christians be worried about this sort of pressure from society, and from the legislature?  Understand that any such law won’t apply to Almighty God, who sits in the heavens, who laughs with derision at the foolish machinations of mortal rulers,  Psalm 2:1-4  The same God who, in his sovereignty, will save, forgive and redeem whom he will, and whose grace is irresistible.  Acts 13:48 

2 A Biblical Case-Study.  READ Luke 16:19-24

What I’d like to do now, is to look at a Biblical example of someone who lived for today, was true to himself, and who enjoyed all the pleasure and happiness he could get out of life.  His story is found in Luke 16.  There is no doubt that he was one who sought pleasure at every opportunity.  

  • Look at his lifestyle V19  He was living a very opulent and happy life indeed.  He purchased and wore the best of clothes.  His outer garments were dyed with an expensive purple dye, which could only be bought at a very high price. But this man wasn’t just wealthy on the surface, not just putting on an outward show of wealth. The reference to his wearing ‘fine linen’ was actually a reference to the quality of his underwear!  He ate well too.  Every day he had a diet of the very best of food, and enjoyed to excess, for he dined sumptuously, – Everything about him spoke wealth, and pleasure and happiness.  
  • Look at his destiny. V22 Then the inevitable happens.  One day life ends, and for the man who had everything in life, and neglected his soul there is a lost eternity. Luke 16:22-24.   The Bible speaks about the conscious state of the lost as being ‘a lake of fire.’  Revelation 20:14–15  There are those who think of the fires of hell as symbolic of the torment of the souls who will be there, whose real torment will be the eternal weighty condemnation of their sins.  But remember that at the resurrection day will shall be raised BODILY, – the lost souls of the dead, raised bodily at the general resurrection, with physical, risen bodies that are corruptible and remindful of the effects of sin, – what shall become of them?  They won’t have a place in the new heaven and earth, so is it not possible that those physical bodies will endure endless physical torment in hell, as did the rich man of the parable?  It is an awful prospect, a horrendous eternity, eternal life squandered for the pleasures of sin for a short time here on earth.   (Hebrews 11:24-25) 

So, while this world campaigns for so-called happiness and self-fulfilment now, and demands that the comforts of earthly pleasure be unrestricted; – that pleasure will be very short lived, and an endless eternity stretches ahead, in which there will never again be any comfort whatsoever, but endless, never relenting pain and anguish.  The Heidelberg Catechist is rightfully instructing us when he wants us to think carefully, and to consider before all else, “What is my only comfort in life and in death?”  Think carefully, and choose very wisely.  

© Bob McEvoy. March 2021

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