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How to Never Stumble or Fall: Pushing Forward

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

How to Never Stumble or Fall: Pushing Forward

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 4, 2021 3:00 am

Hopefully you joined us last night, whether in Southern California or online from around the country, for SoCal Harvest, live from Angel Stadium. So many were brought face to face with their need for the Lord. And to hear about the results, get up to the minute details at harvest.org. But to help those who made commitments to Christ, today on A New Beginning Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on the next step: how to walk each day in fellowship with the Lord. Good insight is coming your way today.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. A wise Christian realizes there's always so much to learn. And you know there's so much in your life that needs to still change as you're transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Well, hopefully you joined us last night, whether in Southern California or online from around the country, for SoCal Harvest, live from Angel Stadium. So many were brought face to face with their need for the Lord. And to hear about the results, get up-to-the-minute details at harvest.org. But to help those who make commitments to Christ, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on the next step, how to walk each day in fellowship with the Lord.

Good insight is coming your way today. Not that long ago, I have a friend, he said, let's go for a walk. His name is Paul. He's much more fit than I am. I try to get on a walk every day for maybe 30 minutes or so, but Paul likes to take longer walks. I said, where are we going?

He said, I'm going to take you to a really amazing lake. Okay, so we started our walk and I noticed a lot of it is going up. I'm on the incline. And you know, I hit the 30-minute mark. I said, I'm getting pretty tired here, Paul.

Maybe we should head back. He goes, no, it's just a little further. Now we're at an hour. And my little Apple Watch is moving away and the little app's going, I'm making progress here.

Okay, now I'm getting a bit fatigued because we're at an hour and 20 minutes. And I said, how much further is it? He said, just right up here, the lake, we're almost there. So I see someone coming in the opposite direction. I said, excuse me, is there a lake up there? They said, oh yeah, way up there.

I'm like, oh no. He said, I'm going back. He's great, come on, you're going to love this lake. So I finally made it to the top and I came to the lake. Honestly, it was more of a pond than a lake.

I was a little disappointed. Then we began the journey back. So when it was all said and done, I walked six miles.

Now that's not a lot for some of you freaks. No, for some of you who are more fit. But for me, that was a long walk.

But you know what? We all need a guy like Paul in our life that pushes us forward. Because we get discouraged, we think I can't go on another step, I'm worn out, I'm done. And it's good to have a Christian friend that's saying, you can go further, you can do more. Let me help you, let me encourage you.

So I hope you have that person in your life and I hope you are that person in someone else's life. Because sometimes we find ourself going the wrong direction fast. Because if you're not moving forward in your relationship with Christ, you're naturally going backwards.

You're either going this way or you're going that way. But there's no standing still in the Christian life. And I bring this up because there's been a few stories in the news. I've even been asked about these things in interviews of some notable people who basically said, we're no longer Christians. And we get asked about what would happen, how can a person be a Christian and even a leader and then one day say they're not a Christian.

Well it's an interesting question because I don't know if they were Christians to start with. Just because someone makes a profession of faith doesn't mean they're necessarily a Christian. But maybe when we hear a story like that it concerns us because we think, am I next? Am I going to abandon my faith?

Well really the answer is that's entirely up to you. But here's one thing I would bring to your attention. One of the signs of the last days is some would fall from the faith. Because we're told over in 2 Timothy chapter 4, the Holy Spirit speaks clearly that in the last days some would fall from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines that demons teach. I think one way you know you're going in the wrong direction is when you question Scripture.

Let me put it another way. You know you're going the wrong way if you're challenging Scripture. It's not bad to question Scripture. You're going to come across passages that don't make sense to you. You can find someone that's been reading the Bible for a while or talked to a pastor and they can give you clarification. But there's a difference between that and challenging Scripture where you come to a verse and you say, well I don't like what that verse says because I've chosen to live this way and I don't want to do what the Bible says. Now that's a different matter altogether. Someone once asked me a few years ago, if you come to a passage in the Bible you don't agree with what do you do? My answer was change your opinion. You're wrong.

Right? I mean is the Bible the word of God or not? So we don't adapt the Bible to our lifestyle. We adapt our lifestyle to the Bible. And understand that this is God's inspired word that he has given to us. But this goes back to the temptation of Adam and Eve in the garden. The devil came to them and what did he really say?

He said, did God really say what you thought he said? You can eat of any tree including this one right here because in the day you eat you'll become like a god knowing good and evil. Eve check it out. You'll be a goddess girl.

Adam listen. You're going to be a deity. Forget what God said.

God doesn't know what he's talking about. Listen to me. I'm telling you the truth. I'm completely sincere. You know what I'm saying? You can trust me. That's a snake reference if you're missing it. And they did trust him. And we're all paying the price because of it.

Point number two. A true believer may stumble but they will ultimately return to God. And if they do not return to God then they never were really a true believer. Again a true believer may stumble but they will ultimately return to God.

If they do not return to God then they were never really a true believer. Now you're probably aware that I've written a book called Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon. You're thinking Greg why didn't you write a book about him? Well I've always been fascinated with Johnny Cash. I've always liked his music. To me he's kind of a sound all his own.

No one has really liked him and he's not really like anybody else. But I grew up thinking I was related to Johnny Cash. Because I lived for a few years with my grandparents while my mom was out living her crazy life. And so Charles and Stella McDaniel. And so whenever Johnny Cash got in trouble and he was arrested multiple times. My grandfather would say to my grandmother Stella your cousin is in trouble again.

And I thought what? I'm related to Johnny Cash? And as it turns out my grandmother's maiden name was Fowler Cash. And she was from a city in Arkansas not far from where Johnny Cash was born.

So maybe I'm a distant distant cousin you know. But I was aware of him way way back. And then when I became a Christian I realized that Johnny Cash was a Christian as well. And of course he sang at many Billy Graham crusades. But he was the man in black. He was called by some the godfather of cool.

Another called him the voice of America. Chris Kristofferson who knew Cash well said he was like Abraham Lincoln with a wild side. But Johnny got himself into a lot of trouble. And Johnny struggled with drug use and drinking and other things throughout his life. And there were a lot of up and downs.

But he had a deep faith in Christ. Johnny once said quote, sometimes I'm two people. Johnny is the nice one. And Cash causes all my trouble. They fight. Well isn't that like a lot of us?

Don't we have the dual natures that are constantly fighting? Certainly Simon Peter had it. Because his name was Simon and Jesus gave him a new name which was Peter which means rock. He didn't have a new name for all the disciples. But he had a new one for Simon. Here's your new name buddy. You're the rock.

That's pretty cool. Now Simon didn't always act like a rock. He got himself into trouble.

But Simon caused him all the trouble. And Peter was the good one if you will. In fact it was Simon Peter that told us that if we do certain things we'll never stumble or fall. In his second epistle he writes. II Peter 1.3 God has given us through his divine power everything we need for godly living. And then he tells us we must have faith. And to our faith we must add moral excellence. And to our moral excellence we must add knowledge. And to our knowledge we must add endurance and love for others. And then he says if we do these things we'll never stumble or fall. He goes on to say if you do these things you'll never fall away. And God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So here's what Peter is saying.

The Christian life is one of constant growth. Listen. You don't reach some plateau where you know it all. The moment you think you know it all you probably know a lot less than you think you know. A wise Christian, a smart Christian, a growing Christian realizes there's always so much to learn.

Right? You know there's so much in your life that needs to still change. As you're transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. And who better to tell us about this than Simon Peter. And we'll learn what Peter has to say when Pastor Greg continues our message in just a moment.

Hey everybody Greg Laurie here. You know my uncle Fred Jordan had one of the first Christian TV programs out there. It's called Church in the Home.

I remember watching it as a little boy when I was living with my grandparents. Well we have Church in the Home for you every weekend. It's called Harvest at Home and you can find it at Harvest.org. We have worship and a message from God's Word. So join us this weekend for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg is offering some important counsel today from Simon Peter. Counsel on avoiding backsliding and staying on track in our walk with God.

And our thanks to our Harvest partners and others who support this outreach. For helping to make today's study available. Simon Peter. He's famous for his legendary faux pas. Where he said things he shouldn't have said.

And he's also very well known for the fact that he openly denied the Lord. Not once. Not twice.

But three times. So I want to look for a few moments in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John. At the steps that led to Peter's fall.

And how he got back up again. And I think in these steps we'll learn about things we want to try to avoid. And before we come to our first passage let me sort of set the scene here in Luke 22. Jesus is in the upper room with his disciples. He's headed to the cross. He's told them he's headed to the cross. He's going to break bread with them.

And tell them to do this in remembrance of him. But before that he has a fascinating conversation with Simon Peter. Luke 22 verse 31. Jesus says, Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you Simon that your faith should not fail. And when you have repented and turned to me again you'll strengthen your brothers. Peter said Lord I'm ready to go to prison with you and even to die with you. Jesus said, let me tell you something.

Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning you will deny three times that you even knew me. Put yourself in Peter's sandals for a moment. You're just hanging out with Jesus. He's not his normal jubilant self. He seems very serious.

Very intense. And then he turns to you and uses your name twice. Paul, Paul. Kathy, Kathy. Greg, Greg.

Cindy, Cindy. Satan has been asking that you be taken out of the care and protection of God. Would that freak you out if Jesus said that to you?

It freaked me out. And it's interesting that he says Satan has been asking for you. Sometimes he'll say you know the devil's been really hassling me lately. The devil's been tempting me. I seriously doubt most of us listening to this message have been tempted by Satan himself. Now understand you were tempted by one of his minions. Not those minions. Not the cute ones.

No. By one of his demons. Because demons are fallen angels. Satan is a network of fallen angels or demons that do his dirty work etcetera.

So you were tempted by Satan in effect but probably not by him directly. You see the devil is not the equal of God. God is omnipotent which means all powerful. Satan though powerful has limitations. God is omniscient which means all knowing. Satan is knowledge but not equal to that of God. God is omnipresent which means present everywhere. The devil can only be in one place at one time.

But here's my point. The devil himself came looking for Peter. But Jesus then says I have prayed for you. And I want you to know that the Bible says Christ lives to make intercession for you at the right hand of the Father. Jesus is in effect praying for you. So the next time the devil comes knocking at your door send Jesus to answer it. That's what happened here. I prayed for you Peter that your faith would not fail for when you have returned you will strengthen your brothers.

Returned? Lord Peter says I will go to prison for you. I will die for you. Well since you brought it up rock.

You're going to deny that you knew me three times. So he warned Peter. That brings us to Peter's first step down. And I would say that this particular attitude is at the root of any and every person who has ever fallen away from the faith. Or any person who has ever stumbled or fallen.

I don't care what the particular sin is they're involved in. This always starts here. And it's self-confidence.

Self-confidence. Verse 33. He said Lord I'm ready to go with you to prison and to death. Jesus said Peter the rooster will not crow this day until you deny three times that you knew me. According to Matthew's gospel Peter added this detail. Even if all are made to stumble I will never be made to stumble.

How did this come up? Jesus said one of you is going to betray me. And the one who is dipping with me right now is the one. And they would take their little pieces of bread and dip it into the sauces like we might have chips and salsa. Who likes chips and salsa here? I love chips and salsa. I go into a feeding frenzy with chips and salsa. Anyway.

So think of yourself with your friends. You know you're dipping your chip. Please don't double dip. Because some of you do that and I'm going to point you out today.

Because this has to stop. No. Just one dip then you eat the chip. New chip. Okay anyway. Because I don't like to see residue in the you know.

Anyway. So here they are you know they're having chips and salsa so to speak. And Jesus says the guy who's dipping his chip in the salsa is the one who's going to betray me. At that moment Judas has a chip in the salsa. Everyone looks at Judas.

He's like. You know. Whatever you do. Do it quickly says Jesus.

Now he says these other things that Peter says. Though I'll deny you I'm not a lightweight like Judas. And even if these others betray you I rock. The guy you gave the new name to will never betray you. Careful now.

You look at someone who falls into a sin you'd say. I'd never do that. I'd never be unfaithful to my wife. I'd never become an alcoholic. I'd never become a drug addict. I'd never do that thing.

Hold on now buckaroo. You have the capacity to do that and much worse. And it's when we think I'll never do that that you're trusting in yourself instead of trusting in God. The Bible says pride goes before a fall and an arrogant spirit before destruction. So this simply means that I go through life aware of the fact of my weakness and my vulnerability and my propensity to do the wrong thing.

As the old song says. Prone to wander Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the one I love. Self confidence.

And that leads to the next step down. Prayerlessness. Now I don't even know if prayerlessness is a word. How many of you think it could be a word? Raise your hand.

I have a quorum. It's a word. Prayerlessness. Just not praying about things. Look at Luke 22 verse 39. Coming out He went to the Mount of Olives as He was accustomed and His disciples followed Him to the place and He said to them, Pray that you enter not into temptation.

Now this place being referred to by Luke is the Garden of Gethsemane. As He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw He knelt down and prayed saying, Father if it is Your will take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless not My will but Yours be done. When He rose from prayer He came to His disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow.

And He said, Why did you sleep? Rise and pray lest you enter into temptation. So this second sin of prayerlessness was a direct result of the first sin of self confidence. Jesus said specifically, You guys you need to pray. And they decided to sleep instead. And so they're sleeping when they should have been praying.

And you know understand this. Not praying about something can actually be a sin. It's a sin of omission. A sin of commission is doing what you should not do. A sin of omission is not doing what you should do.

Because the Bible says to Him that knows to do good and does not do it to Him it is sin. So what do we do instead of pray a lot of the time? We worry.

Like that is going to really help. Worrying. But yet we are told in Philippians, Don't worry about anything. Pray about everything and the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard and keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

So we don't pray. Oh I can handle this God. I will fix that Lord.

Wait a second. Pray about it. Lord I need Your help right now. I need Your provision right now. I need Your healing right now. I have tried to fix my marriage Lord.

And it has only gotten worse. And I am at the point now where I am tired of trusting in myself. And I am calling out to You Lord. Heal my marriage. By the way this is not a personal statement I am making right now. I am just sort of putting myself in someone else's shoes. But every marriage could always use some help including mine right.

And yours. But maybe your marriage is hanging by a thread and the thread is on fire. Or I thought I could overcome this addiction. And I have tried on my own strength. But I keep falling back into it. Lord help me.

See that is the idea. You are calling out to God in prayer. Pastor Greg Laurie with important counsel to help us seek the Lord in those times of desperation. And Pastor Greg has more insight to come as this study continues here on A New Beginning.

And to get an instant replay of today's study just go to harvest.org. The time is now for you to read the Bible. You can read the Bible. You can read the Bible. You can read the Bible. You can read the Bible. You can read the Bible. You can read the Bible. You can read the Bible.

To get an instant replay of today's study just go to harvest.org. The title of the message is How to Never Stumble or Fall. You know Pastor Greg so many people wish they knew the book of Revelation better. They wish they understood the symbolism and had a clearer picture of what it all means. And of course your new book will help them with that. But let me ask you what is the byproduct of having a good understanding of Revelation? What will it do for us as Bible students?

It will be a blessing in your life. And I base that on a statement in Revelation itself when it says, Blessed is the person who reads, hears, and keeps the words of this book. So there's three conditions to receive the blessing promised to the person who opens up Revelation. First you have to read it. It's interesting that word read can be translated read it out loud. And so you just need to read the book and then you need to hear it. Jesus would often say, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

You need to open your heart up spiritually and let God speak to you. A Bible prophecy is not a bunch of data. We want to just fill our head with. God wants to move your heart with it as well. You know in 1 John it says, He that has his hope, that is the hope of the Lord's return, purifies himself even as he is pure. That brings me to the third point, you have to keep it. So you read it, you hear it, then you keep it.

You do what the book says you should do. Actually Revelation has a lot to say to you personally as a follower of Jesus Christ. It's not just about eschatology.

That's a you know a theological word that speaks of the study of end times events. But these are powerful truths that God wants us to understand because he's attached a blessing to it. Listen, though you'll be blessed by reading the Bible and studying Bible prophecy in general, the fact of the matter is there is no other book that comes with a specific built-in blessing apart from the book of Revelation.

So I'm sure you that are listening right now want to be blessed. And that's why I want to send you a copy of this new book that I've written based on Revelation. I've simply called it Revelation a Book of Promises. I think this will probably be the easiest to understand book maybe you've read on the book of Revelation.

And I think that you'll find it will open it up maybe in new ways for you. Look, the book of Revelation tells me that God is in control. The book of Revelation tells us about Jesus Christ.

In fact, it's the unveiling of Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation tells me that we win in the end. So I want you to know more about that. So order your copy of Revelation a Book of Promises. It's a brand new book, very happy with it. It's a big book. It's a book that will be a great addition to your library.

Oh yeah, that's for sure. And we'll be glad to send it your way to thank you for your partnership with us. It's only through the support of listeners that these daily studies can come your way. So get in touch with your donation today and ask for Revelation a Book of Promises. And if you get in touch right away, we'll include a custom bookmark that shows an overview of the events of the end times in chronological order.

It's very helpful to keep it straight. So contact us today at a new beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7, again at 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time, more insights drawn from Peter's denial of Christ. We're looking at the steps to spiritual decline and how to avoid them. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Lord. This is the day, the day when life begins Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner just go to harvest.org
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-14 08:58:22 / 2023-08-14 09:09:00 / 11

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