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Happiness: What It Is & How to Have It, Part 2: Joy, Even in Persecution

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2021 3:00 am

Happiness: What It Is & How to Have It, Part 2: Joy, Even in Persecution

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 4, 2021 3:00 am

Think persecution doesn’t happen today? More than a dozen Christians die for their faith each day around the world. But even when the persecution isn’t that severe, many of us still face opposition for what we believe. We may not lose our lives, but we may lose our job, or a promotion or a friend.

Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us a new perspective on persecution, and on several other facets mentioned in the Beatitudes—from the Sermon on the Mount.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Everybody you're listening to a new beginning, which is a podcast made possible by harvest partners.

If this program is impacted you, I love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at again it's you can learn more about becoming harvest partner by going to to be added to the Lord's prescription for happiness today on a new beginning pastor Greg Laurie explains one of the most puzzling one on the list. Jesus is blessed and those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This is one promise very few Christians claim wants to be persecuted. Even living your life as you want to start getting pushback and you catch glad it's confirmation you're a child and doesn't have more than a dozen Christians die for their faith each day around the world. But even when the persecution isn't that severe. Many of us still face opposition, we believe we may not lose our lives, or job promotion today on the new beginning pastor Greg Laurie brings a new perspective on persecution and several other facets mentioned in the Beatitudes sermon on the Mount. Okay, let's start with the question how many of you would like to be a happy person razor yet to good. How many of you are a happy person razor in how many of you would like to be a happier person razor in how many of you would like to be a miserable person razor. There are actually people like that but I hope you're not one of them. Let's pray together.

Father, we thank you that you're here in this room with us, you told us that when two or more are gathered together in your name you're there in the midst the Lord as we open your word, we ask you to speak to us now. We want to know what happiness is we want to experience the happiness you desire to give to us. So help us see what that is. As we look at these very words of Jesus. Given what we call the sermon on the mount. We ask this in Jesus name, amen. Matthew 530 University blessed or happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, you might underline that phrase falsely will come back to it falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets double before you. So let's review what we looked at last time in the initial Beatitudes we took a look at a number one if you're taking notes.

Happy are the nobody happier than nobody snow when he says poor in spirit that has nothing to do with how much money you have in your bank account. This is about your attitude toward God. It's poor in spirit.

So another way to translate this is happier. Blessed is the person who sees the real spiritual condition and what is your real spiritual condition. You are spiritually destitute. You are spiritually impoverished. You are desperately in need of God. So you want to be a happy person. You gotta know that about yourself. Number two unhappy people are happy people will work well. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. The idea of morning here is being sorry being sorry for my sins so I mourn over my sin. So I see my condition before God as the center is not a hopeless situation because there stands to save your who died on the cross for me and shed his blood for every sin I've ever committed was ready to pardon and forgive but I say Lord I'm a sinner and I'm sorry for my sin.

So Blessed are those that see themselves as they are Blessed are those that mourn over that condition Number three happy are the humble copy of the humbler Blessed are the meek, seeing myself as I really am produces a vital spiritual quality meekness. I'm humbled by the fact that God has forgiven me of my sin. So happy are the humble number four happy are the spiritually hungry copy of the spiritually hungry verse six. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

God wants to fill you to overflowing number five happy people are merciful people. Verse seven Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 63 the word for mercy is used concerning almsgiving, almsgiving, it needs to help a person in need and rescue the miserable. Let me say that again. Mercy means to help a person in need.

Mercy is that sense of pity, plus a desire to relieve the suffering see mercy doesn't just say all the good that poor person.

Mercy says I want to do something for the poor person that hungry person. Mercy says dominant fee that hungry person other than the lonely person.

Mercy says, to be a friend to that lonely person. Mercy is basically pity plus action some dental ability. All like to be that person job it. Mercy is different than pity.

Mercy is and I want to do something to alleviate their suffering. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Listen to this, the more righteous a person is the more merciful they will be the more sinful a person is the more harsh and critical they will be is a very important distinction because sometimes people in the guise of spirituality be very condemning and very angry with nonbelievers or with anyone that does anything that disappoints them and they say that spiritual that's on spiritual, godly people are merciful people and if you're not a merciful person you don't understand what it means to be a godly person who was a greater example of mercy. Then Jesus extending mercy to the woman caught in the actual act of adultery extending mercy to the woman at the well married and divorced five times in living with the man at present extending mercy to the tax collectors IKEA sin took advantage of people extending mercy to the thief on the cross next to him who was probably guilty of murder, mercy, mercy, mercy everywhere he went. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Number six, a happy person will be a holy person blessed are these people who are pure in heart to be pure in heart can also be translated to be single and hard so what it means is they have a single focus in life Europe focused person focused on your relationship with God. Number seven happy person will be a peacemaker. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.

So what does it mean when Jesus is blessed on the piece. Make what it means primarily in context, is blessed is the man or woman who is seen themselves as they really are a sinner without a Savior. A person who is become humble and meek. A person who hungers and thirst after righteousness. A person was a single focus on God that a person who wants others to come in to the same relationship with God because were bringing the message of the prince of peace. Blessed are the peacemakers. That's what it really means your spreading the gospel of peace. Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message just a moment. Sometimes, we can always make a picture here is his church is coming to you is coming due on your TV screen or on your tablet or your computer or even your phone.

We do it every weekend and it's called harvest home. We worship we have a message of the word of God. If you want to find out more, just go to enjoy this this weekend for harvest at all. Digging deep into the Lord's sermon on the mount today. Matthew chapter 5 Pastor Greg continues his message called happiness, what it is and how to have it hard to and know one last beatitude and I don't think you're gonna love this one.

But it's here and we can't miss it. In fact, Jesus elaborates on this one verse 10. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted the prophets that were before you. Listen to this.

This is one promise very few Christians claim will claim a promise of provision. The Lord you promise to supply all of my needs according to your riches in glory in Jesus Christ will claim promises of protection.

Lord you promise to put your angels around me was the last time you claim the promise of persecution.

The Lord, you promised I'd be persecuted, so bring it on Lord know we wouldn't pray that who wants to be persecuted. But here's what the Bible says all the live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Let me put that around. If you're not suffering persecution. Are you living godly in Christ Jesus our persecution can show itself in many ways it can be obviously physical. Many of our brothers and sisters around the world today live at risk. The moment they declare their faith in Jesus Christ.

In some countries will be tortured and put to death and other cultures. They'll be ostracized from their family and be declared dead. It can be a very dangerous thing to be a Christian in today's world. I read an article called the Warren Christians. That said, from Africa to Asia to the Middle East. Christianity and Christians of the world's most persecuted group know what is more persecuted than Christians today so can be physical, not here in America. Generally that's not the case. But there is persecution in the United States of America against followers of Jesus Christ, and it seems to be growing where your ridicule, your marginalized or mocked your threatened you lose friends, you lose jobs.

It was a lot of things if you decide to be a Christian. So how should we react to all of these things Jesus says Blessed are you when these things happen to you and I to verse 12 he says rejoice and be glad, which means jump and skip with happy excitements, no think you will know yes here's why you should rejoice because it's a confirmation you're a child of God see if no one will ever take the time to persecute you or harass you or mocked you or challenge you. Maybe you're not living as a child of God. But when you been living your life as you want to start getting pushed back and you catch flack. That's a confirmation you're a child of God. So it's a Jesus freak. I got hello do you think you will notice another thing that can come from persecution. That's positive is it just remind you that this world is ultimately not your home and you put your focus on heaven a little bit more.

Let's just make sure were being persecuted for the right reasons. Jesus says Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness sake.

It doesn't say Blessed are those who are persecuted for being moronic or idiotic or unnecessarily offensive and sometimes there are people that claim to be Christians that get persecuted they say hallelujah is persecuted for being right.

Just know you're persecuted because you're weird and your abrasive and your unkind and your insensitive okay be persecuted for being a righteous person not for being an obnoxious person like I just come to this conclusion there are weird people that claim to be Christians. I don't know if there Christians are not only God knows they claim to be and then there are people that I will even concede our Christians and their still weird salvation doesn't mean you won't be weird anymore. It just means. Thank God he saves weird people. Maybe they're a little less weird than they used to be, but they're still where and where people usually know the word people we know they are being sent to you think I'm one of them and maybe I am. I don't think so. I think a very cool actually but you know that's a problem. You're probably aware, notice someone, but we understand that we want to be persecuted for the right reasons. Blessed are you when these things happen to you. Give the glory to God.

Now I know I have not painted the most appealing picture of being a Christian you come here to church and you're not a believer in Jesus you're thinking yeah you know I don't know that I ever really want to become a Christian you guys get persecuted, you get hassled you're supposed to be humble is supposed to be forgiving and Obama live that way. Okay fine you don't of the live this way but you want to be happy in the truest sense of the word. You will live this way because you will live this way because Christ is come to live inside of you listen, it takes courage and commitment to be a follower of Jesus whims need not apply.

You want to march in lockstep with culture and parent would everyone tell Jenna say and think what everyone tells you to think you go for any dead fish can go downstream. It takes a live one to go upstream missing so people say today I'm a rebel rebel I drink I smoke that's not rebellion that's conformity. You want to be a rebel.

I'm a rebel. I believe in Jesus.

I believe in the Bible can all stand up for that. That's a rebel. Today it is you wanted to give our counterculture that is counterculture today is a cultural norm and everything is upside down. The things that we used to see his virtues are now seen as vices. The things that we used to celebrate our know mocked the things we used to say were better now declared good everything is upside down. If you're a true Christian, you're a true rebel you're truly counterculture and you're truly a child of God.

Listen to this Jesus Christ is worth living for. And, if necessary. He's worth dying for money say that another way, if you believe something and it's not worth dying for.

Is it worth really living for. See, we follow Christ think of people who've given their lives for all these different causes people that given their life for Adolf Hitler you know they marched under that swastika followed Hitler others that have followed other false leaders, religious gurus to their own death or have followed these crazy ideas that can destroy their lives know you want to be someone that really live for Christ. That's worth dying for.

If you have to know that will ever happen to any of us here, but I know this much to live is Christ and to die is gain because for a Christian. Death is not the end, it's just moving from one place to another place, and in fact it's moving to a much better place and we have a life worth living on this earth, living life to its fullest. So it's it's the best of both worlds. It's the best of this world and then it's the afterlife in the presence of God hears the other side of that when you're not a Christian you live the best life you possible can live you live a life filled with guilt, a life filled with regret.

If you have a conscience, a life filled with repercussions of bad decisions you've made a life of emptiness and venue of a life where you fear death because you know it's coming. And then you go to the afterlife and to be honest, shall spend all eternity separated from God in hell. I take no pleasure in telling you that but that is the absolute gospel truth, and the last thing Jesus Christ wants is for any person to go to hell.

That's why he went and died on the cross for your sin and took the full wrath of God in your place or you could be forgiven and not go to hell, but instead go to heaven he wants to give mercy to you.

He wants to extend forgiveness to you but you must say I'm a sinner like we talked about the beginning just a Lord I'm a sinner and I need your help more than a closing prayer now there might be a few here that have never said that to God. You've never admitted your need for God. You've never asked Christ to come in your life but you can do that right here right now in your life can change your life in this earth, and of course you love the hope of the afterlife in the presence of God. If you've never asked Jesus to come in your life.

Respond to this invitation is enclosed now in prayer atop our heads. Father, thank you for your word to us.

Thank you for loving us.

Thank you for sending Jesus to die for us on the cross and the rise again from the dead, Lord Jesus, I pray for any person here or anyone listening or watching wherever they may be. They don't know you yet help them become to you and believing you and be forgiven by you.

We ask this in your name. Amen Greg Laurie important prayer if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord. Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's addition of a new beginning. Concludes Pastor Greg is now wrapped others look at the Beatitudes, but is not done with this study of the sermon on the mount. If you missed any part of today's study called happiness, what it is and how to habit part two. You can hear a replay by going online to you can stream the insight while you're online or downloaded MP3 for later. Again, just go to well, it's a real treat to have J Warner Wallace with us today. These are former atheist and a retired cold case detective and he's just released a brand-new book called person of interest. He puts his investigative skills to work examining the deity and uniqueness of Christ without depending on the New Testament is our proof.

He points out there are other ways to make a compelling case beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Witnesses from that time the historical record, and so on.

Pastor Greg is speaking with Jim Wallace. Are there telltale signs when someone is not telling the truth.

Oh yeah, so it's over. We do a lot since were looking at this is how I first investigated Scripture.

I was amazed at the interviewer and our team is working on investigative team is working undercover had super long hair and longer go to not have wearing today and so I thought well you know that that was. I love doing interviews. I loved looking for deception indicators when people say things and there's a process called forensic statement analysis and what you're doing as you would have somebody to say that crime occurred yesterday a murder. He was okay know what all she do me a favor on this piece of paper which happens to have 24 lines. I just want you to write down everything you did yesterday from the day you got mama when he got up to the moment he went to bed and I give my pen so any changes they make, they have to cross out and I've got a you can't his backside on these different side so that allows me to do is to see what their paces right. How many lines did they used to describe each hour because people will compress time or expand time and they're either trying to hide something or minimize something or maybe they're just impressed by what happened in that moment, Bill.

Tell me something about that day in terms of how they expand and compress I'm looking for things like pronoun use. This is my good friend Greg. I used a first name. This is not good for the past are now calling the pastor, so I'm looking for the context of how the pronouns change over the course of the description right. I love my my wife Susan.

I we went on vacation. It was beautiful.

I love my lovely wife, Susie was asked. That's what I describe. I took a Susie on vacation writing describes my life. I took the wife on a vacation now as I had a possessive pronoun now is like the wife he was going on with that now.

Maybe that's what you do all the time, or it might be that you changed here because at that point, the day you were upset about something, so I'm looking at all those deception indicators and wiring to the gospel of Mark for the first time I didn't think much of it. But then someone told me that an early bishop in the church name APS said that Mark's Gospel was written at the feet of Peter at that contest that casinos mark March not have enough Mark was in that at the at the scene we on them to Peter was, is there any evidence in Mark's gospel that points to Peter. Specifically, I'm looking for deception indicators places where you allow how the story is different. Comparing the other gospels I think are actually a lot of forensic evidence in Mark that demonstrates that Peter is a source to substantial additions how I approached it right because the discipline I had in my pocket. This I just I knew there a certain number skills. If you get this, but this way if there's a murder from 20 years ago. The witnesses sometimes are dead by the time I get to the case and honor that the guy she did the interviews of the gals. The detectives were at the entrance of the supplemental reports sometimes there had to. So now I've got an account of a supplemental report I got no access to the witness and I got no access to the report writer. That's the Gospels got no access to the latest no access to the report writers don't how I determine what happened 30 years ago. I use the same process to determine what happened in the making of is how long that that that time is gone by in the end, there are linguistic there little things that people say or don't say that tell you a lot about what this is like my daughters would hate agreement with me because I would they become what would come in. I was eight before you say anything, just know that every word that comes on your mouth and then analyze on a test and she was my gosh, is all. And before you standing also know that everything you could have said, but chose not to say I'm also not holding aspect as you like my, what's the point just invested so that made it easier right but the point is that process you could actually apply the gospel out. All this explosive information is contained in this book that we are offering to you. It's called person of interest by J Warner Wallace why Jesus still matters in a world that rejects the Bible. I will send you this book for your gift of any size because we want to put quality resources into your hands and we also want to give you an opportunity to support us as we teach the word of God and proclaim the gospel around this planet. So if you like your own copy. He's going to give you the contact information and will send you person of interest, yet it's right it's brand-new and we so much appreciate your investments of this daily study can continue. And when you send a donation today. Let us thank you with a copy of person of interest. You can write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24 seven.

Again, dial 1-800-821-3300 Wabash guy just before we go. Would you mind praying with that person listening wants to make a change today, and their relationship with the Lord.

I'd be happy to Dave you know is you been listening to this today. Maybe you've heard another voice. By that I mean, you heard me say a few things, but you heard God's voice speak to you deep in the recesses of your heart and it suddenly dawned in you. This is what I need or stated more accurately.

This is who I need I need Jesus. And I want Jesus, but maybe you don't know how to make that connection.

Let me help you pray this after me right now if you want Jesus Christ to comedy your life Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I am sorry for my sin and I need your forgiveness right now. Would you come in the my heart, my life as Savior, as God as friend. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for calling me and accepting me and for giving me in Jesus name I pray, amen. I know there was a relatively short prayer. Maybe you felt something as you prayed it. Maybe you felt nothing, that doesn't really matter because God's word says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. It doesn't say so. You may think you have it or you may hope you have it of gods in a good mood. No that you can know it and I want you to know if you pray that prayer and minute Jesus Christ, the son of God has come into your life.

So congratulations, you're now a Christian now continue to follow the Lord young to help you would like to send some resource materials recolor new believers growth packet it will answer many of the questions you might have get you started off right in your new relationship with the Lord. So get in touch and ask for it will send it free of charge. Write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock, 1-800-821-3300 or go to and click the words know God answering says temptation often comes at us like flaming arrows from the devil we resist that attack will find out next time.

As we continue our studies in the sermon on the Mount tune in to join us new beginning and cast with meat will buy harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God learn how to become harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith

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