Share This Episode
A New Beginning Greg Laurie Logo

Sunday Message: What if Jesus Sent You an Email?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 7, 2021 3:00 am

Sunday Message: What if Jesus Sent You an Email?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 2141 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


February 7, 2021 3:00 am

The Book of Revelation doesn’t just have a lot to say about the future. It speaks accurately to the present as well. In this Sunday morning episode, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us exactly what Jesus knows about you and what He has to say to you, personally. Listen in for some encouraging truth from Revelation: A Book of Promises. 

Notes

We learn about the future to motivate us to live right in the present.

They speak to us practically.

They speak to us prophetically.

They speak to us personally.

The Church has many critics, but no equals.

The Lord always knows what’s going on in His churches and with His people.

As followers of Jesus we should be busy and about our Father’s business.

As followers of Jesus we need to hang in there through thick and thin.

We need to be more discerning as Christians.

It’s not that they lost their first love, they left it.

“You have left your first love.” —Revelation 2:4

Their devotion had turned to duty.

Remember

Repent

Repeat

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the Crown of Life.” —Revelation 2:10

Different crowns promised in the Bible:

The Crown of Rejoicing

The Crown of Righteousness 

The Crown of Life 

If you have trusted Christ, you do not have to fear the second death (Revelation 2:11).

“She that lives for pleasure is dead while she is living.” —1 Timothy 5:6

For those who have trusted Christ, the best is yet to come!

Scriptures Referenced

Ecclesiastes 3:15

Matthew 6:3–4

Psalm 85:6

1 John 4:1

---

Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

Support the show: https://harvest.org/donate/

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul

Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective. To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website, harvest.org.

So thanks for joining me for this podcast. We're putting the book of Revelation together. There's a special blessing promise to the person who reads and hears and keeps the words of this book. So let's pray for that blessing right now. Father, we ask your blessing on this time of Bible study. We pray that we will hear your voice, that our hearts will be calmed as we look at all the chaos and craziness in our culture and world today.

And be reassured of the fact that you're coming everything in control. So we commit this Bible study to you now in Jesus' name. I hope you have a Bible with you and if so, please turn to Revelation chapter two.

Let me start with a question. Have you ever wondered about what is going to happen in the future? Have you ever wished you could just peer over time and see what is going to take place?

I have to be honest with you, in some ways, I'm glad I don't know the future. Bottom line, God knows the future and I know Him and that's enough. But in fact, the book of Revelation does give us a glimpse into the future. Again, the word revelation, and by the way, it's not revelations. Sometimes people say, I was reading Revelations the other day. It's Revelation.

It's singular, not plural. But the word Revelation means the unveiling because as I've said before, it is not God's desire to conceal but to reveal. The reason I'm studying this great book is God has a plan and everything is right on schedule and I also discovered that the best is yet to come and we win in the end. So why should I study the book of Revelation or Bible prophecy in general? Answer, to get a perspective because we learn about the future to motivate us to live right in the present. It's important how I view the future.

Come back at any moment. Will it not affect me in the way that I live? Hey, remember when you were a kid and maybe you got in trouble and your mom said, you just wait until your father gets home. Did you look forward to the arrival of your father? No, you did not because you'd done something wrong and when his car pulled into the driveway and you heard him walking up to the front door, you were afraid.

But on the other hand, let's say you were a good kid and you didn't get in trouble. You could hardly wait till daddy got home. Let's apply that to the Lord's return. If I'm right with God, I'm looking forward to his return.

If I've done something to dishonor him or to disobey him, then maybe I dread it. So you can see your belief in the imminent return of Jesus has an effect on you and in the way that you live. So what does Revelation unveil or reveal? Well, it reveals a supernatural world.

The world of heaven and of hell, the world of God and of angels. And of supernatural activity all around us each and every day. Revelation also reveals eternity. And we realize that there is an afterlife.

There is a supernatural realm coexisting with the natural realm. In the book of Revelation, there's a timelessness. Ecclesiastes 3.15 says, whatever exists today and whatever will exist in the future has already existed in the past for God calls each event back in its turn. You hear verse like that and you say, huh?

Okay, here's what it means. God living in the eternal realm can see the past with perfect accuracy. He can see the future with total clarity. So when he tells us something is going to happen, we can sure be sure it will happen exactly as he has said. And that is why the Bible is the one book that dares to predict the future. Not once, not twice, but hundreds of times with 100 preachers.

100% accuracy. Not only does Revelation reveal the future, it reveals us. It reveals us to us. You know, when we think of Revelation, we think of Armageddon and Antichrist and the 144,000 and the mark of the beast and all those things. And that's all in this book, of course.

But there's more than that in this book. Jesus has a lot to say to the church. But before we get into all the prophetic things, Jesus has a lot to say to his followers.

He has a lot to say to you and he has a lot to say to me. So in effect, before the Lord addresses our future, he says, there's some things I want to say to you, my children, right now. And that's very important because we're gonna look at the words of Jesus to the seven churches. Think of this as God's letter to you. Or you could think of it as God's email to you. Imagine if you got an email from God. Or if you got a text from Jesus, would you read it?

I think you would. Think of this as a personal email, a personal text, a letter, a card from the Lord directly to you. Three things we need to know.

Number one, this speaks to us practically. In other words, these were actual churches. We're gonna read about the Church of Ephesus, the Church of Smyrna, the Church of Pergamos, Thyatira, Laodicea, Philadelphia, and so forth. So they were actual churches.

And in fact, they followed a postal route of that day. So Jesus is speaking specifically to these existing churches and their pastors. So we don't wanna miss that. The words of Jesus to these seven churches speak to us prophetically. We have sort of a flyover of church history, starting with the Church of Ephesus and concluding with the Church of Laodicea. And the last thing we need to know about Jesus is that Jesus is the Lord of the Bible. He's the Lord of the Bible. So the good news is that we really need to know what is the Lord of the Bible. So the Bible says, you make me sick to my stomach. Wow, you know things are messed up when someone says, you make me sick to my stomach.

Guy, if you ask a girl, or guys, if you ask a girl out on a date and she says, you make me wanna throw up, that's not a good sign. And that's exactly what Jesus says to the final church we'll be looking at. In two. And one final thing as we look at the words of Jesus to these churches, they speak to us personally. Again, I want you to think of this as God's email to you. So let's look together now at Revelation chapter two. I'm reading verses one to five.

To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, these things sayeth he that holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, your labor, your patience. You can't bear those who are evil. And you've tested those who say they are apostles and are not.

You've found them liars. You've persevered, you've had patience, and you've labored for my namesake, and you have not become weary. Nevertheless, I have this against you. You have left your first love. Remember from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent. Wow, powerful words.

We'll stop right there. So let me illustrate what Jesus is saying by talking about people who get married. You know, they say marriage is like a three-ring circus. It's engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.

It doesn't have to be that way, of course, but sometimes it is. You know, when you're first courting a girl, you want to impress her as a guy, you do everything for her. You tell her how beautiful she looks. You open the door of the car for her. You pull out the chair in the restaurant for her. You take her to the finest restaurants, French restaurants, and you don't even like French food.

I can't stand French food, by the way. But you know, you do all those things for her. Then you marry her, and some time passes, and things have changed. You still open the door of the car for her. You just close it before she's all the way in. You pull the chair out of the restaurant for her, but you don't put it back in, and when she falls, you laugh.

You take her to French restaurants like Les Golden Arches and Jean-Quincy Box, and things like that. Yeah, something has gone wrong. The honeymoon is over, right? The first year of the marriage, the woman listens. The second year of the marriage, the man listens.

The third year of the marriage, nobody listens. I heard about a woman who was married, and she was very hungry, so she made the horrible mistake of committing the crime of shoplifting. She stole a can of peaches. The store owner saw her do it, and she was arrested, and she was standing before the judge, and he said, so you stole a can of peaches? He said, yes, I did. He said, how many peaches were in the can? She said, eight peaches, your honor. He said, then you will serve eight months in jail, one month for every peach, and then the husband decided it was time to speak up. He said, your honor, I would like to say something, and the judge said, yes, go ahead. What did you wanna say?

He said, she also stole a can of peas. See, that's not good. That would say the honeymoon is over, and that could happen in our relationship with Jesus Christ as well. We start slipping.

We start losing that fervency and that passion for him. I want you to notice how aware Jesus is of what is going on in his church. Look at verse one. These things saith he that holds us seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.

Now, when you think of a lampstand, think of a menorah holding candles. These are symbols of the church. So effectively, Jesus is saying, I am walking in the midst of my church.

Let me put it another way. Jesus is saying, I know what's going on in my church, and he's also saying, I know what's going on in your life as one of my followers. You know, it's very popular today to critique the church, but remember, Jesus himself walks in the midst of it. He only started one organization when he walked this earth, and it's called the church. And he said, the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Listen, the church has many critics, but it has no equals.

And a true child of God should want to be a part of the church. So Jesus is saying to these seven churches, I know. I know what's happening. And he would say that to you as an individual right now.

Wherever you are, he'd say, I know what you're facing. I know how hard it is. I know how challenging it is. I know what your dreams are. I know what your aspirations are.

I am aware of what is happening in your life right now. Remember, this church that Jesus was speaking to was a literal church. Both the apostle Paul and possibly the apostle John were pastors of the church of Ephesus.

Now, think about that for a moment. The apostle Paul as your pastor? And then the apostle John?

It doesn't get much better than that. Two living apostles opening the word of God for you. But here's what was going on. When this church was in existence, they were in the second generation of faith. In other words, the people in this church were born to the parents that came to Jesus right after his earthly ministry. So this church is in the aftermath of the first Jesus movement. But as it often happens, sometimes that wonderful truth is not passed on to the next generation. They were losing it.

They were missing it. So Jesus comes to tell them how to get things right. And he starts with a commendation. He starts with a compliment. And he lists a number of things that they're doing right before he critiques them and tells them what they're doing wrong.

And that's a great idea to keep in mind. You have something you wanna say to someone that might be a criticism. Start with a compliment. Say something nice to them.

Then get to your criticism. Some people are only criticized and they never compliment. That's very important to remember to bring a compliment.

But sometimes in our attempt to compliment a person will actually insult them. I call it a complisult. A complisult is a backhanded compliment or really an insult that looks like a compliment but actually isn't.

Here's some examples of what I call complisults. When you say to someone, you look great for your age. What you just said to them was you're really very old, right, you have one foot in the grave already. Or when you say, you look good, have you lost weight? You effectively told them they were fat before. Or when you say, wow, I didn't expect you to get that job. Congratulations, that's a massive insult. How about this one, you look great when you smile.

Do it more. What are you telling them, they never smile? See, you think you're complimenting them, you're actually insulting them. Well, Jesus gives legitimate compliments, number one.

And if you're taking notes, here's my first point. As followers of Jesus, we should be busy and be about our Father's business. As followers of Jesus, we should be busy and be about our Father's business. Look at Revelation 2, verse 2. Jesus says to the church of Ephesus, I know your works, your labor, and your patience.

They were a very active church. This could be literally translated, you've labored to the point of weariness. They didn't just work, they worked really hard to the point of exhaustion.

It's even implied in the original language, they worked even at the cost of pain. Could Jesus say that to you? Man, thank you for working so hard for me. Thank you for all that you do for my glory. I appreciate all that you do behind the scenes.

You know, a lot of times, you don't get a lot of back pats or attaboys and you get a little bit discouraged. But here's what Jesus is saying, I know what you're doing for me, I am aware of it, and I appreciate it. I love what he says in Matthew 6, three. He says, when you give to the needy, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so your giving may be in secret.

Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. So whatever you've done in the name of the Lord, however you've served faithfully behind the scenes, be aware of this, God is aware of it, God knows about it, and God will bless you for it. Point number two, as followers of Jesus, we need to hang in there through thick and thin. As followers of Jesus, we need to hang in there through thick and thin. Jesus says, I know your works, your labor, and your patience.

The word that is used here for patience is a word that means to bear up under a load. It wasn't easy to be a Christian in the city of Ephesus. Ephesus was sort of a center of pagan idolatry. They worshiped a goddess there, and their mind's a goddess, a deity.

She was known as Diana. And they would chant, great is Diana of the Ephesians. In fact, when Paul went there to preach the gospel, a riot broke out because of it.

So it was a very pagan place to be. It's not always easy to be a Christian in a godless city, or a state that isn't as spiritual as you wish it was. Of course, I'm pastor here in Southern California, and I have been now for almost 50 years. I have people I know that are leaving California. They're moving to other states, moving to Texas, moving to Tennessee, moving to Arizona, and elsewhere.

And then they'll tell me how much greater it is in the state that they're living in. And I'm sure you're having a great time in whatever state you live in right now, but I feel called to live in California. I feel called to preach the gospel in this state, and I feel called to teach the word of God in this state, and to be a pastor in this place. I jokingly say when I talk to someone who's leaving California, well, someone has to stay here to turn the lights off. The fact is, I'm staying here to turn the lights on. You see, what I'm praying for is that we'll have another spiritual awakening.

I want you to remember something. The last great American revival happened in the state of California. It was called the Jesus movement. And I'm praying we have another Jesus movement because it's often said, as California goes, so goes the rest of the nation. California influences the rest of America.

President Biden recently said that he would like the whole nation to be like California. Well, I'll tell you what, I would pray that we would have a spiritual revival, and that would impact our nation as it did some 50 years ago. Our prayer like the psalmist in Psalm 85 verse six should be will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you. But it was hard to be a Christian in Ephesus. But they were very discerning.

That's point number three. We need to be more discerning as Christians. Look at verse two.

You cannot bear them which are evil. You see, they didn't just believe someone because they said they had a word from the Lord or they claim to speak for God or they claim to be an apostle or a prophet. The Bible actually warns that one of the signs of the last days will be false prophets, telling that certain things are gonna happen and then those things don't happen and they lead people astray. We need more discernment in the church today. In verse four one, he writes, dear friends, don't believe everyone who claimed to speak by the Spirit. Test them to see if the Spirit they have comes from God for there's false prophets in the world. We need to be more discerning. And I bring this up because there's a lot of crazy conspiracy theories floating around out there that sometimes I see Christians believing.

And a lot of these theories have to do with end times events. We have to be very careful and look to the scripture for direction. But Jesus says there's a problem.

You guys are doing awesome. You're hardworking, you're discerning. You do so much for me and I appreciate it, but there is a problem developing. And I have to tell you what this problem is. You no longer love me as you did at the beginning. You have left your first love. Now sometimes people say, oh, you've lost your first love. No, it's not lost, it's left. When you lose something, you may never recover it. I lose things all the time. That's why I have these little things called the tile. I have one in my wallet.

I have a few others and different things. And if I lose it, I can find them on my phone. I've also found that a great thing, there's a feature on an Apple phone, an iPhone. It's find my phone or find your iPad. But I also use it as a feature that I call find my wife. Because sometimes Kathy, my wife, will put her phone on mute and I'll call her and she won't answer.

And so I'll click the find my phone feature where you can set up the little alarm and she'll answer it. So it works for finding your wife too. But if you lose something, you may not recover it.

But if you leave something, you know where it is and you can return to it again. You've left your first love. Or one translation puts it this way. You no longer love me as you did at first.

What does that mean? It means these Christians had traded their devotion and put duty in its place. They had motion, but they lost the emotion. They had labor, but they lost the love.

They had perspiration, but they didn't seem to have inspiration. And you might say, well, but is it really that big of a deal to just leave your first love? I mean, in a marriage, you can't always have butterflies in your stomach and all that.

No, I understand that. There's sort of the spark that sets marriage into motion, but then you settle down into a deeper love. But when you see a married couple who've been together for years holding hands and walking together and still in love, that's because they've cultivated that. If you take your hand off the wheel, so to speak, your marriage is gonna go the wrong way. If you wanna keep a marriage strong, you have to do things to strengthen it. And in the same way, in your relationship with God, if you take your hand off the wheel, if you stop moving forward, you will begin to start moving backwards.

You've left your first love. See, it was a heart problem. You can have the greatest physique. You can work out at the gym and have sculpted washboard, abs and everything, bulging biceps.

But if you have heart trouble, what good is it? I knew a guy years ago, he was a workout maniac. In fact, when I'd see him, he'd go, Greg, touch my arm, grab my arm.

He'd make a muscle, okay, yeah, your muscle is very hard, congratulations. And then tragically, one day, I got the news that my friend died of heart disease, which I didn't even know he had. Sometimes we can be in great shape, sort of on the outside, but something's wrong on the inside.

It was a heart problem. Notice that Jesus says, you've left your first love, and he talks about how they have fallen. Remember, from where you have fallen.

See, this is the first step to falling away. When someone backslides or turns away from God, it's not something they generally do overnight. You don't call up your Christian buddy. By the way, why is this the phone? We make this the phone, it's like this, I don't know. But anyway, you call up your Christian buddy, hey, dude, wanna backslide tonight?

Oh, yeah, let's do it, pick me up at seven. No one plans to backslide generally, but it's a little compromise here. Lowering your guard there, and next thing you know, you're slipping. And so if you're not moving forward and cultivating that relationship with the Lord, your spiritual life is going to come to a standstill.

That's what's happening. Okay, but Jesus doesn't just tell him what's wrong. He tells him what to do to make it right. There's three Rs to get right with God. Three Rs to get right with God. You need to remember, you need to repent, and you need to repeat.

So if you wanna get right with God, listen very carefully. First, you need to remember. He says, remember from where you have fallen. This could be translated, keep on remembering.

Remember where you were when you were at your highest point of commitment to Christ and go back to that place. It's sort of a marker. So you have a point of reference. You know, let's say you're trying to lose weight, and you're saying, how did I get so overweight? Why do I have two wardrobes now, one for skinny me and one for fatter me, right?

And you keep both wardrobes because you fluctuate between the two. Well, that's not a good thing. There's telltale signs you're gaining weight. You know you're gaining weight when you take a shower and nothing below your waist gets wet. You know you're gaining weight when the couch gets up when you do, right? You know you're getting weight when you get your shoes shined and you have to take the guy's word for it.

So that's not good. So remember, remember when your pants fit. Remember when you didn't have to punch holes in a belt that shouldn't really be there. You shouldn't have a hole in your belt right to the very edge of it, right?

So remember, it's a point of reference. I was in better shape before. And repent, change your behavior. Stop eating donuts all the time. Stop your late night eating. Stop the things that you're doing. Stop being complacent and lazy and get out there and exercise. So you need to repent and then you need to repeat.

Do the first works quickly, all right? So go out there and think about what you're eating. Exercise more, et cetera. Okay, so now let's apply this to the spiritual life. Remember, was there a time when you were closer to God than you are right now?

We'll make that a point of reference. If the answer is yes, now repent. Admit that you're not as close to the Lord as you wanna be. Now repeat, go back and do the first works quickly.

So let me ask you a question. What did you used to do when your relationship with Jesus was stronger? Well, you say, I used to read my Bible every day and I would listen to Bible teaching on podcasts and praise music. Go back and do that again. Yeah, well, I used to share the gospel whenever I could. Go back and do that again as well.

Do the first works quickly. Someone once asked the great evangelist, Billy Sunday, you know, how to stay strong spiritually. And Sunday responded, you know, there was a man that said to me when I was a young Christian, this statement, and I've always tried to follow it.

This man said to me, Billy, if you do these three things, you will never have the word backslider written after your name. Number one, spend every day talking to God for 15 minutes. Then he said, number two, spend every day having God speak to you through the Bible for 15 minutes. And finally, spend every day telling someone else about the Lord for 15 minutes. Billy Sunday said, if you do these three things, you will never be a backslider. That's good advice.

Go back and do the first works quickly and return to your first love. And if you do that, if you're walking closely with the Lord, guess what will happen. In fact, this is a confirmation you're doing the right thing Ready for it? You're thinking, what, I'll be blessed?

Well, in a way, yes. But maybe not the kind of blessing you're hoping for. You will be persecuted.

That's right. The Bible says all that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. When someone harasses you, makes fun of you, gives you a hard time, or even outright attacks you because of your faith, that's an indication you're on the right track. If you're never persecuted, if you never are harassed for your faith, never criticized, I wonder if you're actually living a godly life. And that brings us to the second of seven churches that Jesus sends a message to.

They're called the Church of Smyrna. And in Revelation 2, verse eight, he says, don't fear those things that you're about to suffer. The devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for 10 days.

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, he that overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. You know, it's interesting to note that this message of Jesus to our second of seven churches, Smyrna, is the briefest of all the messages he gave, and there's not a single critical word said to them. He had some criticism for the first church.

He had lots of criticism for the last one. He had none for this particular body of believers. Now again, this was an actual historical church. And as Smyrna was like Ephesus, a capital of paganism, but instead of worshiping this goddess called Diana, they actually worshiped Caesar.

Around 25 AD, many Asian cities were competing with each other for the privilege of building a temple to the emperor Tiberius. Smyrna had the dubious distinction of winning the contest, so they prided themselves in their worship of Caesar as Lord, and they erected a giant temple to him. And people were expected to say Caesar is Lord.

So if you were a Christian and you said Jesus is Lord, they would say, but you have to say Caesar is Lord. And many Christians would not. And they lost their lives as a result. It was a hard place to be a Christian. Jesus says in verse nine, I know your works, your tribulation, and your poverty. They suffered greatly. They suffered in their businesses because of their faith.

People would not wanna trade with these people that would not say Caesar is Lord, but instead said Jesus is Lord, and they were mistreated, and many of them were even put to death. But Jesus says in verse 10, be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. When we get to heaven someday, God has some rewards waiting for us. And among those rewards will be the crown of life. You know the Bible mentions that there is a crown of rejoicing, which is a crown for winning people to Christ, in 2 Thessalonians 2.19. Then there's a crown of righteousness that will be given to those who love his appearing, 2 Timothy 4.8, and here we have the crown of life. Interestingly, this is the same crown promised to those who resist temptation. In James 1.12 it says, blessed is the man who endures temptation and perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he'll receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. So if you wanna receive the crown of life, you must persevere under trial. You must hang in there when you're persecuted. You must resist temptation. And if you are living a godly life, this persecution will come into it.

But sometimes God allows persecution to wake us up, to keep us on our toes spiritually. I read about a problem that folks were having in shipping codfish from the East Coast to the West Coast because when it arrived, it was spoiled. So they froze it. But when it arrived, it was mushy to the taste. So they sent it alive, but it would arrive dead. So they sent it alive again, but with one difference. They included in the tank of the live codfish the mortal enemy of the codfish, which is the catfish.

So when the fish arrived, people said they'd never had better codfish in their life because they had spent the entire journey running from a catfish. And sometimes God will put a catfish in our tank, so to speak, one person that gives you a hard time. You might be married to them. Somebody that makes life difficult for you. Someone who's always peppering you with hard questions. Someone who is attacking you for your faith. And you're saying, why is this person in my life?

Maybe they're the catfish God has allowed to keep you stronger, to keep you dependent on God. Be faithful and you will receive the crown of life. Let me close with this. If you've trusted in Jesus Christ, you don't have to fear the second death. Look at Revelation chapter two, verse 11.

He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says of the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. What is the second death? The second death is dying without Christ and going to hell. Yes, hell is real.

We'll talk about that as we get deeper into the book of Revelation. Just as surely as there is a heaven, there also is a hell. Hell was not created for people.

According to Jesus, hell was created for the devil and his angels. And the last thing that God wants is for any person made in his image to spend eternity separated from him in this place called hell, or also known as the second death. The first death is when we die physically. The second death is when we face judgment if we have not put our faith in Christ.

So I could simplify it this way. If you're born once, you will die twice. But if you're born twice, you will die once.

Does that make sense? If you're born once, you'll die twice. You'll be born physically. And then you'll die physically and die spiritually in the second death facing judgment. But if you're born twice, you'll die once. And by being born twice, I mean you've been born again. Yes, you're born physically, but then you put your faith in Christ and you're born again spiritually. Remember Jesus said to that religious leader named Nicodemus, you must be born again, or literally born from above.

Yes, this is the promise God has, and we won't be hurt by the second death. You know, when you don't know Christ, you're spiritually dead. You're like a zombie. Oh, you're alive, but you're dead in the inside. The Bible says she that lives for pleasure is dead while she is living. Don't live that way. God has something better for you.

Listen to this. This earth is as good as it ever will be for the non-believer, but for the believer, this earth is as bad as it gets, because for those who have trusted Christ, the best is yet to come. So let me close by asking, have you put your faith in Jesus yet? Do you have this hope of heaven? Do you have this certainty that when you die, you will go into the presence of God, or is this something that keeps you up at night? The fear of death, the fear of the afterlife.

I remember when I was a young boy, it was something that really bothered me, because I didn't really believe that you continued to exist after you died, and sometimes I would just lay awake at night thinking about how can I simply no longer exist? No one had given me the gospel yet. But when I heard the gospel, when I heard that there was a God in heaven who loved me and had a plan for my life and would forgive me of all of my sins, it changed everything.

Now I'm not afraid to die, and you don't have to be either. Jesus conquered death. Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead. When he died on the cross, he defeated sin. When he rose again from the dead, he defeated death. Death died when Christ rose, and now Jesus who died and rose and is alive is knocking at the door of your life.

And he's saying, if you'll hear my voice and open the door, I will come in. Jesus Christ can come and forgive you of your sins so you can be born again and know with certainty you'll go to heaven when you die. Let's pray. Lord, I pray for every person watching right now that you will help them to see their need for Jesus and help them to come to you and believe. Let this be the moment when everything changes for them and they find not only the hope of life beyond the grave, but they find the purpose of life on this earth. In a relationship with you, I commit them all to you now.

In Jesus' name, I pray, amen. Okay, so I've left the pulpit. Now I'm just sitting here on a stool because I want to talk with you one on one. It's as though you and I are sitting over a cup of coffee at a table. And we're gonna talk about things that matter. I want to talk to you about how to have a relationship with God.

Let's get rid of all the religious stuff and let's just talk about what's real. Deep inside of you, there's a hole. A hole you've tried to fill throughout your entire life with everything imaginable, from a possession to an experience, to a relationship, even religion.

And it hasn't worked, has it? Let me tell you why. That hole, if you will, is designed to be filled by God. He holds the missing piece of the puzzle you've been looking for. You know my wife, Kathy, that you've already met, she loves to put puzzles together. If we walk into a store and there's a puzzle out, she'll sit down and start assembling it. I'll walk right past it.

I have no interest in puzzles at all. One day she was putting a puzzle together in our home and then she yelled, Greg, Greg, help me. I'm missing a piece of the puzzle. Literally, we are on our hands and knees looking.

I finally found it under a chair. I said, here it is, the missing piece. That's how life can be. We're trying to put all the pieces in place and if I just have this career and I get married and we have kids or I reach this goal or reach that goal, I'll be happy, but something's missing.

Guess what? God holds the missing piece of the puzzle. It's a relationship with him through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the son of God. God became a man and walked among us. There's never been anyone like Jesus.

Not man becoming God, that's impossible, but God became a man and he went to a cross and died for your sin because you and I and all of us have broken his commandments time and time again. But Jesus came to pay a debt he did not owe because you owed a debt you could not pay. But Jesus rose from the dead three days later and now he is ready to come into your life. So if you want Jesus to forgive you of your sin, if you want to know that you will go to heaven when you die, if you wanna fill that hole in your heart and find the missing piece of the puzzle, just pray with me. I'll lead you in a simple prayer. I'd ask you to pray this with me or after me. Pray it out loud even. This is a prayer where you are asking Christ to come into your life. Let's pray. Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord, as my God and friend. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast and to learn more about Harvest Ministries, please subscribe and consider supporting this show. Just go to harvest.org. And by the way, if you wanna find out how to come into a personal relationship with God, go to knowgod.org. That's K-N-O-W-G-O-D.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-27 00:35:50 / 2023-12-27 00:53:04 / 17

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime