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Episode 054 | The Secret to Happiness

February 22nd, 2017

Pastor Matt, Justin and Stephanie talk through how to be real with others. Listen in as they talk through whether or not to attend a gay wedding, how to confess sin and actually experience forgiveness and how to heal from things that have wounded you.

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It can be overwhelming to understand what our role in the world can be when the Bible talks about using our gifts and doing the things God planned for us long ago. In this episode Pastor Matt talks in depth about what it means to be real with others and experience the life God actually wants for each of us.

While we work on discovering our own purpose, being real with others also means facing the ways in which we’ve missed the mark along the way. And it also means learning how to respond to those who call themselves Christians but seem to keep doing horrible things. Pastor Matt talks through when, where and how we should confess our sins and what real forgiveness and healing can look like when we do.

In the middle of this conversation, Pastor Matt Brown responds to a question about whether or not Christians should attend gay weddings - and shares about the time he said something he really regrets in answering this question before.

This Week's Topics

How do we discover our purpose?

As Christians, we all have the same purpose: love God and love one another. God is more concerned about your commitment to him and his church than he is about your career path. The key to self-discovery is viewing your purpose in the context of loving God and serving his church. Jesus sets the example for us as described by Paul in Philippians 2.7. He emptied himself of everything and pursued God's will. The confusion for us comes when we individualize the Bible, seeking purpose regarding our career or who we should marry, rather than reading it in a communal context.

How should we respond to a wedding invitation from a homosexual couple?

As sinners and followers of Christ, we all struggle in unique ways to live out our faith. However, we are called to trust God and follow his teaching, even when it is hard. There is no easy answer to this question, but by attending a wedding ceremony, you are affirming the union that is taking place. Whether the couple is gay or straight, if you can't affirm the union because of your beliefs, then it may be best not to go. Rather, humbly say, "I wish you the best. I'm glad you found love, but I cannot affirm this marriage because of my beliefs. I hope we can still be friends." Unfortunately, sometimes we will lose friends due to our moral convictions.

Will someone be truly saved when they have confessed Christ, yet keep intentionally sinning?

The Bible has serious things to say about those who intentionally sin. Hebrews 10.26 warns against deliberately continuing to sin after receiving knowledge of the truth. Hebrews 10.31 says, "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of an angry God." In 1 John 5.16, the John says there is a sin that leads to death, and we should not pray for those who commit it.

God is serious about sin. We grieve his spirit when we continually sin or flirt with sin. Although you cannot lose your faith like you can lose your wallet, you can reject Christ. In Philippians 2.12, Paul exhorts believers to work out their faith with fear and trembling. However, God is in control. The very next verse says, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." The takeaway? We must be real about the sin in our lives while trusting God to help us overcome it and follow him.

Why should I join a community group with people I don’t know?

People are sinful and broken, and sometimes being in community is messy. However, you should pursue it because God has asked you to. You can't understand a relational God in isolation. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus emphasizes his presence in the company of believers gathered in his name. Community helps us understand our brokenness and leads to healing. Together we find healing in the one who was broken for us.

Am I forgiven of my past sins when I become a Christian, or do I need to confess each sin to another person in order to be forgiven?

1 John 1:9 says that we are forgiven when we confess our sins to God. However, we need to confess persistent sins to others so that we can be fully healed (James 5:16). Additionally, we must learn to receive the confession of others well. Don't minimize or rescue them from the hurt of their confession. Allow the weight of sin to be present. Afterward, grant forgiveness and acknowledge the grace and forgiveness of Christ.

How many times should we confess our sins?

As often as needed. We must exhibit self-awareness to see the log in our eye (Matthew 7:5) and confess persistent sins to others as long as they have a hold on your life.

What should I do if someone is showing up to my community group under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

Community is about cultivating authentic, intentional relationships, which means getting real about individual sin issues. If someone is attending your group under the influence of drugs or alcohol, address it. Confront the person in love, exposing it as sin. In addition, help them identify why they feel the need to be under the influence during group. It could be a struggle with anxiety or a severe addiction. Whatever the reason, don't drive them away. Be real about the issue, about the need for change and be patient with the time it takes for healing.

How can I get equipped if I think God is calling me to lead others in ministry?

As Christians, we are all called to ministry, albeit in different capacities. Some are called to lead while others are called to follow. The easiest way to find out if you have the gift of leadership is to see if anyone is following you. If not, that's okay. Genuine success is being who God called you to be with your giftedness. We are all gifted differently (Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:6). It is our responsibility to be faithful with the gifts we do have (Matthew 25:14) and use them to transform the world for his glory.

Relevant Resources

Pastor Matt's sermon on being real with others

Pastor Adam Workman's sermon on real community

The YouTube clip Justin mentioned about whether or not Christians should ever be drunk or stoned

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