Episode 055 | Because People Are Hard
Pastor Matt, Justin and Stephanie start to break down Genesis and the story of how we all got here and how we all got so messed up. In this episode, Pastor Matt talks about the bad side of religion, what your gender says - and doesn’t say - about you and what forgiveness really is.
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is the story of how we all got here and gives us a glimpse of why God made us. Unfortunately, it also reveals that from the beginning mankind wasn’t great at relating to God or each other.
In this episode, Pastor Matt talks through whether Genesis is a historical account of what actually happened when God made the world or just a story that we use to explain what God is like. And why which side we fall on with this one matters a great deal to how we live out our faith.
Throughout this conversation about creation and what it means for our relationships with each other, Pastor Matt shares why what happened with Adam and Eve affects each and every one of us - even though we weren’t there. This makes way for an honest discussion about gender issues, from the unique roles of men and women to our response to the transgender community.
The episode wraps up with some practical advice on how to walk the line between our dreams and God’s desires and what to do when you’ve admitted a mistake but others won’t let you move on from it.
This Week's Topics
If I was baptized as a kid, had a rebellious period, then fully committed my life to Christ as an adult, should I get re-baptized?
Baptism is an act of giving as much of yourself as you can to as much of God as you understand at the time. Many people at a young age make a choice to follow Christ and get baptized. Then perhaps they fall away or drift for a period, coming back into real faith, fully giving their lives to Christ as adults. If this has been your experience, you don't need to be re-baptized. The only reason you should is if you feel like the Holy Spirit is convicting you to do so. Conversely, you should consider being baptized again if your parents or someone else made the choice for you. If you have further questions or would like to be baptized at Sandals Church, go to sandalschurch.com/baptism.
How do I explain Lent to non believers?
The Catholic tradition of Lent is the 40 day period, beginning on Ash Wednesday, which leads to Easter. It is a time of spiritual preparation that reminds us of the brevity of life, the need for renewal and the hope that comes with the resurrection. Use care when explaining this tradition to non-believers, emphasizing the reality of death and the hope of eternal life found in the resurrection of Jesus.
Would sharing trauma from my past with others help me heal from it?
The process of healing always starts with confession since sin, when kept in the dark, attains power in our lives. As mentioned in Episode 54, James 5.16 says we need to confess our sins to another person to be healed. Additionally, life brings tribulations that can deeply hurt us. What's troubling you may be something you're embarrassed to admit or something you're afraid to share because you fear rejection. Either way, sharing the trauma with a safe, trustworthy person can begin a process of healing, even though some wounds may not heal completely until Christ's return. If you are the person receiving another's confession or experience, do so with care and caution. Ask if they have any expectations of you. Sometimes, you may be too invested in their life to give an unbiased response. If so, involve a third party who can offer an unbiased viewpoint. The takeaway: Whether it is sin that's taken hold of your life or personal trauma that has left you wounded, bring it to light with a trustworthy person so the process of healing can begin.
Should Genesis be read allegorically?
Theories about creation furnish endless debate regarding the unanswerable question of how it all happened. The problem is, we're missing the point. God's concern isn't how, but why. The simple answer: love. Love drove his preparation of the Earth for humans in Genesis 1, their creation in Genesis 2, and when they fell in Genesis 3, their covering. It drove his ceaseless compulsion of the Israelites to the promise land. Genesis 3.15 provides a prophecy about Jesus' victory over death and Satan in the ultimate act of God's love for humanity. Although Genesis can be read as a historical book, its most compelling interpretation is that of God's redeeming love of humanity.
Does Eve’s misquotation of God’s commandment have significance?
In Genesis 3.3, Eve exaggerates God's commandment not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This exaggeration is the beginning of a religious effort that can be seen throughout the Bible and church history to add to God's word. Jesus condemned this practice in Matthew 23.4. Genesis 1-3 shows us that God emanates life and the choice to sin brings with it death. However, just as God covered Adam and Eve with the skin of an animal, he too covers our shame and sin with the blood of Jesus Christ.
Why does Adam and Eve’s sin separate us from God? Why didn’t we get to have a chance to choose for ourselves?
The story of Adam and Eve isn’t just the story of two people, but the story of all of humanity. Psalm 139 details the intimate detail with which God crafts us, yet the same author in Psalm 51.5 declares that we are sinners from the moment of conception. Even though God created us in his image, the proclivity to sin and rebel is inherent in each of us. Genesis 1-3 also shows us that even our gender matters to God. Being who you were made to be, including identifying with the gender God gave you, is an act of worship in itself.
How do I know if it’s ok to pursue my dreams?
We all have dreams and ambitions, but you must ask yourself, do you want to enlarge your kingdom or God's kingdom with them? Our greatest ambition must be to become more like Jesus. Examine your heart and share your dreams and ambitions with your community group, allowing them to speak into your life. Most of the time, God doesn't have to call us to do things we're passionate about. He has to call us to do the things we're ignoring so we can align our passions, dreams, and ambitions with his.
What do we do when we have admitted we were wrong but people won’t forgive us?
As can be seen in Matthew 6.15 and Matthew 7.2, Jesus maintains a strong viewpoint on forgiveness and judgment. Our ability to forgive others reflects the presence of Christ in our lives. Forgiveness is the process of releasing judgment and entrusting it to God. He will be the judge. If there is truth in what others are saying about you, own it, confess it and do your best to change. If you've done all you can and they refuse to forgive you, then move on. However, many times the hardest person to forgive is yourself. The inability to give yourself grace signals the influence of evil in your life because it is denying the work of Jesus on your behalf. The cross says you're forgiven. Accept the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ so you can move forward with your life.
What are some Bible verses and advice for growing through relationships?
Some great relational advice can be found in the Old Testament. Proverbs 27.17 exhorts us to have close relationships with resilient people who can challenge us and speak truth into our lives. Ecclesiastes 4.12 uses the metaphor of a three-corded rope to illustrate the power of Christ-centered relationships. A relationship between two people that is woven together with Christ can stand against the attacks of the enemy. No matter your relationship status, if you humble yourself and admit you don't have all the answers, much can be learned.
Watch Pastor Matt's sermon about building better relationships
Check out Genesis Unbound by John Sailhamer
Bible verses on how to grow through relationships:
- Genesis 2:18 - "It is not good for man to be alone"
- Proverbs 27:17 - "Iron sharpens iron"
- Ecclesiastes 4:12 - "A triple braided cord isn't easily broken"
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