Episode 065 | Coffee, Cigarettes and Cash

May 16th, 2017

Can you be a gay Christian, how do you apologize to an ex and how do you know if your guilt is from God or the enemy? Pastor Matt Brown shares his thoughts on how to grow in your faith, not become a slave to money and how exactly to go about enjoying God.

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Summary

In this episode, Pastor Matt starts out by continuing to unpack the complicated nature of sexuality in the church and discusses whether or not using the term “gay Christian” is biblically correct or not. As the group covers this topic and the church’s approach to a broad range substances including nicotine and caffeine, he talks through the importance of allowing anyone and everyone to see and experience God before being expected to know or understand Christian rules and teachings.

As the episode continues, Pastor Matt answers some practical questions about marriage, including whether couples should aim to serve together or in places that suit their individual gifting and how to apologize to an ex without dishonoring your spouse or reopening a toxic relationship.

As the conversation shifts to unpacking the first sermon in the Beyond Happy series, Pastor Matt talks through some of the warnings from the bible that he used in his message including the temptation to pursue money instead of God. He then unpacks verses about what guilt really is, what the “good work” God has begun in us is and how to actually enjoy God.

Resources

Pastor Matt’s recommended reading for growing in your relationship with God: Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner

Books of the Bible: James Philippians

The Sandals Church REAL Study Method

  • Read: Read the passage slowly and carefully.
  • Extract: What is this passage saying? What is the universal principle being communicated?
  • Apply: What does this mean for you? What needs to happen in your life based on what you read?
  • Let It Out: Tell someone what you learned and experienced.

This Week’s Personal Reflection Guide by Pastor Dan Crowley

Find a place where you can be alone with God. Talk to God about your happiness. Ask him some questions like, “God, please reveal to me three desires that could make me happy.” Are these desires aimed at an external, internal or eternal happiness?” Next, offer them to God and ask if there are any eternal desires that he would like to give you. End your prayer by thanking God for wanting to give you things that will last.

Pastor Matt’s sermon about finding real happiness

This Week's Topics

Is it ok to use the term “gay Christian”?

At Sandals Church, we try to use language that non-Christians can understand. As Christians we know that there should be no adjective in front of Christian because our identity lies in Christ alone. In Galatians 3.28 Paul writes that “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” However, we need to use language that gay people and other non-Christians understand in order to communicate to them that God has a plan for them and that even though their sexual orientation may not change the direction of their life can.

Should married couples volunteer in the same area at church?

It is okay to choose different ministries that align with our individual gifting as long as it can work for your schedule and doesn’t take away needed time from your family. Sandals Church has many areas of service on the weekends that allow people to serve at the same time on different teams.

I am recently married and have a history of sexual sin, do I need to apologize all the people I sinned with and led into sin? What is the best way to heal from that?

When we look to reach out to someone from our past we should seek the advice of our Christian community, so that other people can judge our motives in reaching out to the people from our past. Mark Driscoll spoke about three question we should ask ourselves to help judge our decisions:

  • Is this decision foolish?
  • Is this decision wise?
  • Is there evil in my heart?
If we desire to reconnect with the person for anything other than repentance, then we shouldn’t do it. 2 Timothy 2.22 says to “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.” We should also check with our current spouse to see if they are okay with us reaching out prior to doing so. If reaching out personally would cause the party we sinned against pain we can use a third party to relay the apology. We shouldn’t just think about our need to apologize, we should consider the victim’s feelings when we are thinking about reaching out.

Is it okay for Christians to consume caffeine and nicotine?

Consuming these substances isn’t an outright sin, but just like alcohol we shouldn’t abuse them. While caffeine and nicotine don’t affect us in the same way as copious amounts of alcohol, smoking has been proven to be harmful and addictive and caffeine can be harmful to our bodies if we consume too much. We should watch our addictions, as Paul warns in [verse] we “must not become a slave to anything.”

Is there a certain level of belief or faith that we should have when we pray?

Yes, we need to have faith when we pray. James said that a “double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. We need to have faith that God can and will answer our prayers. However, miracles are not dependent upon our faith, God can act in spite of our faith. We should know that God can fix our situation, but we shouldn’t assume that he will.

How do I balance a desire to provide and care for my family well with not craving money and wandering from the true faith?

We should evaluate what our motives are in pursuing more money. Sometimes we need more money for the essentials in life. However, a raise and a higher position is not always what is best for us. Many people lose their focus on God because they are chasing material things and experiences instead of God. As Christians it’s not that we can’t have nice things, we should just be careful that it isn’t our main focus. Success is not building our kingdom, it is building God’s.

I’ve heard only the enemy gives us guilt. How do we know what is guilt and what is conviction?

The world doesn’t want us to feel guilty because they don’t want you to feel God. Part of confession is feeling the weight of our own sin and confessing to people is a powerful piece because we have to look someone in the face and say what we did. We need to feel guilty of sin unless we have confessed it to someone and repented of (or stopped doing) it.Conviction is alleviated by confession. However, if we don’t feel guilty when we have sinned we aren’t Christian or we are so far from God we can’t feel him.

How do we go about enjoying God?

There is joy in doing things that please God and we should enjoy what he enjoys, which is righteousness. Philippians 1.3-11 says that our lives should constantly glorify God and that we should know what is right and true. We should be attentive to the Holy Spirit as it tells us what is right and wrong.

What does Paul mean when he says a “good work” in Philippians 1.6?

The work Paul is speaking about is a three part process: justification, sanctification, and glorification. These words describe the components of salvation. When we are saved we are declared righteous and justified before God. We still sin so God begins to sanctify us by changing our hearts, and he will finally glorify us on the day of judgement. We must anchor our lives in our faith and trust that he will get us through this process of work in our lives.

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