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Don’t Be Afraid: Joy in Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 22, 2021 3:00 am

Don’t Be Afraid: Joy in Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 22, 2021 3:00 am

If you ask retailers, the message of Christmas is shop, shop, shop. If you ask credit card companies, the message of Christmas is charge, charge, charge. If you ask a student of the Bible, the message of Christmas is “God is with us.” Jesus came not only to be born in a manger but to give His life on a cross for our sins. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on that message that changes lives and saves lives. It’s “good news of great joy.”

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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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We are glad you're joining us for a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by harvest partners get more encouraging audio content. When you subscribe to pastor Craig daily defenses.

Learn more and sign up@harvest.org. For every one of the wise friend of the shepherds and compare the wise men were the highest of all the shepherds were very low but yet all she Jesus goes to group through the spectrum motion come to Christ today pastor Greg Laurie points out, the good news is your Christmas is for everyone and everyone needs Jesus boys and girls. Everybody needs Jesus the message of Christmas shop shop credit card companies. Christmas is charging charge chart. If you ask a student of the Bible. The message of Christmas is God is with Jesus came not only to be born in a manger give his life on the cross today on a new beginning pastor Greg Laurie focuses on the changes lives don't be afraid of those words so familiar.

They were given 2000 years ago just shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night and by the way Mike text seven to be looking out of the few moments as Luke chapter 2, but how relevant are those words for us today. Don't be afraid. People are so afraid right now but here is the message of Christmas don't be afraid because we are told that God would send his son. You would call his name Immanuel. What is that mean it means God is with us and I want to know where ever you are right now God is with you and God can come and live inside of you and be your savior in your Lord and I'll tell you how that can happen in just a few moments now let me read to you from Luke chapter 2 verse eight that night. There were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them in the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them and they were terrified. The angel reassured them, saying, spirit, or don't be afraid. I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior just the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David, and you'll recognize them. By this time, you'll find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth lying in a manger. Suddenly the angel was joined by a best host of others. The armies of heaven, praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men with whom God is well pleased with the Angels and return from heaven, the shepherds said to one another. Let's go to Bethlehem let's see this thing that this happened and they scurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph, and there was the baby lying in a manger.

Let's come back to these shepherds of Israel, they were living in frightening times. Everyone was afraid why they were under the thumb of Rome. Let me say it another way, they were under the iron fist of wrong Rome would establish what was known as Pax Romana under the rulership of justice Caesar, which it conquered most of the civilized world at that point so many Jewish people were wondering will the Romans ever leave our land again will we ever be free again will the Messiah ever, and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, but right on schedule appear these angels with this message. Don't be afraid, for or not is the message and also we have a message of great joy, fear not, and have joy.

So that's really a big part of the Christmas message is that you can get rid of your fear and replace it with joy the condition of joy is to let go of your fear because God had come to the earth, born as a baby in Bethlehem in a small town called Bethlehem on a silent night this is the most significant event in human history and by a large most people misted altogether starting with Rome.

This is an event that we did shake the planet, we would mark human time based on the birth of Christ and yet most people in Rome didn't even see the significance of it. As far as Rome went as far as a Caesar. When is it just another person to tax Jerusalem miss this announcement as well.

Jerusalem was sort of like the New Yorker, the LA of their time.

One of what would they care about some birds happening in Bethlehem Bethlehem is not held in high regard member years ago I was preaching in central California and that we have some people come and visit us from Buttonwillow Buttonwillow. There is born into this day in the city of Buttonwillow.

Who cares about what happens Buttonwillow someone might say or you know I remember I was driving through North Carolina I saw the city called Marksville a.net or by should have been born in any city. It should have been Marksville. It was in Marksville. It wasn't Buttonwillow. It was Bethlehem, but this little of scarcity will play a key role in God's plan fact, Mica says you both again though you be little among the thousands of Judah. Another which are a small town. No one really knows much about though you be little among the thousands of Judah get out of you shall come forth. One whose origins have been from ever lasting in Bethlehem itself misses significance of this event. The reason people went to Bethlehem or any city as they would go to the homeplace of their family and because Mary and Joseph were both descendents of David. They went to the hometown of David, the second king of Israel but Mary was just another pregnant woman in Bethlehem that night. There were other women probably ready to give birth. That's why all begins were full, but as everyone would soon discover, this wasn't just any woman. This is the woman that God can take to be the mother of the Messiah. It's been said history would swing on the hinge of the door of his stable.

In W. So this was big news in heaven and really no news at all on her peers. Another thing that's a big deal in heaven whenever a person puts her faith in Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, actually Christ himself said there is joy in heaven over one sinner that comes to repentance, so every time someone says yes to Jesus there's a party in heaven that we might dismiss and say what all I care. Someone got religion.

Oh no they didn't get religion. They found Christ. That's a big deal and have that brings up a really important point here Luke chapter 2 verse 10, I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. Listen to this Christmas is for everyone.

Let me say that another one, Jesus Christ is for everyone now. Later in the narrative the wisemen appear. I know this is going to upset some people, but the wise men were not present at the birth of Jesus. We read about them in the Gospel of Matthew and we read that they came to see the child not the newborn baby Jesus. And secondly, we read that they came to our house not a manger, so it's possible that the wisemen came maybe two years later. So if your Nativity said has the shepherds and the wisemen. You may want to take the wisemen bring about two weeks later, it doesn't matter, but the point of it is simply this look of the wisemen and the shepherds and compare them. The, the wisemen were the highest of the high that they were people from a foreign country there called the Magi we get our word magician from it. They were skilled in astronomy and astrology, and they were special counselors to the king, so they were men of great importance. They were very high that shepherds were very low. The wisemen were very wealthy that shepherds were dirt poor. The wisemen were educated the shepherds were uneducated and illiterate but yet they all seem did Jesus.

And here's the point. Christ is for everyone. Christmas is for everyone and everyone needs Jesus rich people need Jesus. Poor people need Jesus middle income people need Jesus. Business executives need Jesus. Blue-collar workers need Jesus.

Men, women, Boys and Girls Club everybody needs Jesus, I love what it says here in verse 10. Don't be afraid. I bring you good news and great joy for all people. It's for you. You could just as easily say I bring great joy to Greg or put your name in there as well.

You know it's a funny thing people have asked me over the years. Did someone tell you personal information about me because I felt in your message you were talking directly to me, and in fact you said things that nobody else knows did my wife talk to you and so here's my answer yes to your wives of all talk to me and I know all about you and I'm in reveal things now right here not to. I don't have any of that information.

I think it says the Lord speaking to people. 20 years ago I was giving a message and I came to the point where I was inviting people to believe in Jesus Christ and I said this I said friend. Have you asked Jesus to come in your life will as it turns out there was a guy in attendance whose name was Fred and he thought I was speaking directly to him and he ended up leaving the Jesus after that message, and he still walking with the Lord today. So a friend. God baby speaking to you right now you're Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message moment right after a quick look at the way a new beginning touches the lives of listeners and goals and have not when next I wow she that's a great little letter is netted 10 years old.

She wants to dig her cat they have, and I don't know what I can say about that. But I'll tell you this much. I'm so glad that she's watching and it's getting through to her that she loved the Russell Pope I'm always thrilled when I get a letter from a kid, I have to tell you I have a soft spot in my heart for little ones. I love to engage them because you know you never know. That might so little Steve in their heart that will break ground later but we love children and were so thankful children are watching our ministry that we put out there online and on radio and if you're a little kid in your listing right now.

I'm so thankful you're listening and I know a lot of times you tell me you love the jokes so the jokes are going to keep coming kids and keep listening. You know, these daily studies connect with people of all ages and connect with people all over the world that is only possible through the partnership of our listeners. Thank you for your support of a new beginning and you can send a generous year-end gift today by going to harvest.org and now Pastor Greg continues his holiday message called don't be afraid they'll listen to this. The shepherds had a choice as to what to do. Look at verse 15 it says when the Angels returned to Gavin, the shepherds said to each other. Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that happened to better choice. No question that this mind blowing experience of the radiant light in the angelic chorus saying, glory to God in the highest MPs on earth among men with whom God is well please and think it is Just hang out here and soak it in the might and civil.

We can't go there were not dressed appropriately and nobody wants shepherds around know they said let's go quickly and let let's see this thing or are so a lot of times we miss out on what God wants to do in our life because we don't respond appropriately, they render this table. We read in Luke chapter 2 verse 17 and seen him. The shepherds told everyone what it happened and with the angel and said to them about this child and all who heard the shepherds story were astonished. But Mary kept these things in her heart and thought about them often. But the shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it was told of them by the angel, listen, you have the same message you need to share this message to. Especially in this Christmas season, listen friend. We all know people are really hurting this Christmas.

Some of lost their jobs. Some are sick. Some have a loved one that is sick. Some are very depressed. As you know alcohol use.

Drug use is up dramatically calls to help lines or hotlines with people who are having suicidal thoughts are through the ceiling and we need to tell people a Savior has been born. We need to tell people there's hope. We need to tell people to not be afraid and share this message just as the shepherds shared it. You know the Lord sent a start of the wisemen knows shepherds.

These are Jewish men, God spoke to them through angels. The wisemen already mentioned you the Magi the stargazers the astronomer astrologers, the Lord came to them in the way they would understand that he sends a star. Some believe it was the Shekinah glory of God in the sky. We don't know what this star led them to where Jesus was how easily the wisemen kit is at all minutes. That's a long journey. You know from their location to where Jesus was was around a 400 mile journey that would be a long journey today. Think about in the first century of you did on camel. It would take you 2 to 3 weeks. If you did that on foot.

It would take much longer think it is that that's too much work.

That's too difficult a journey know they found their way and they were rewarded. Here's my point. Sometimes people say we know it. It's very hard to find Jesus Christ it's very hard to come into this relationship with God.

Let me give you a different view on that to sometimes people say you know I'm in the process of converting listen, you're either converted or you're not converted conversion doesn't take years. It doesn't take months.

It doesn't take days, it doesn't even take hours can happen just like that in your life when you put your faith in Jesus Christ. And if you really want to know. Listen to this. He will reveal himself to you. The Lord says in Scripture. For those that seek me, they will find me at the search with all of their heart. I'm wondering if you will come to the one who was born in that manger so many years ago and believe in him you know Christmas is a time of giftgiving.

I'm sure a lot of you are getting your gifts online right now. That's where most people are doing their shopping in your thinking the people you may have forgotten. And so we think of giving the appropriate gift to another person.

We know that the wisemen brought their individual gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but I want you to think about the birth of Jesus is a time of the gift exchange. You trade your fear and worry for his peace and joy.

You trade your sorrow for his joy. You trade your wrong fridges right you trade effectively.

Hell, or heaven, you might civil Greg.

I'm still afraid. Why should I not be afraid.

This go back to that message. We have a Savior God would save them see they were hoping that someone would overthrow Rome. There were hoping for a militant Messiah to free them from their captivity. But Jesus was not coming to overthrow Rome. He was coming to die for the sins of the world, God would give them what they really needed there. A lot of people write nowhere. Very depressed there depressed because of the political season, wherein there depressed because they put too much hope and politics and politicians politics will not give us the ultimate answer. The reason I don't have to be afraid is because Christ is, Christ is been born, Christ is walk this earth. Christ is died on the cross and he is risen again from the dead, and you can come into relationship as well.

So as I said that message some time ago friend you can believe in Jesus and they can happen for you right now I got a star led you to this program or an angel. But here you are and I want you to know that which you do in the next few moments could result in a headline in heaven.

And by that I mean if you choose to believe in Jesus Christ and ask him to forgive you of your sins still be a shout of joy and glory. As Jesus said there is joy in heaven over one sinner that comes to repentance. Let's remind ourselves of why Jesus came. Why was he born in that manger so we could have a holiday where we would exchange gifts and have parties and you know shop till we drop know know he came to this earth to live a perfect life and die a perfect death, then to go to the cross and died for our sins and rise again from the dead three days later and now he offers to you the ultimate gift, the gift of eternal life, and if you will believe in him, you can be forgiven. Are you afraid right now. Are you filled with anxiety right now with all the uncertainty in our world.

Here's the message of the first Christmas. Don't be afraid, and instead, you can have great joy in a moment I'm going to extend an invitation for you to put your faith in Jesus Christ to forgive you of all of your sin. If you need Christ in your life. If you're not sure of your life is right with God. If you don't of the certainty that you go to heaven when you die, please respond to this invitation that I will extend out as we pray. Let's pray father I pray you'll speak to every person were ever they are and show them their need for Jesus.

Show them they need to believe in you.

Now we ask this in Jesus name, amen.

Listen to this. If you want Jesus Christ to come into your life if you want to be forgiven of your sin if you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven. I want you to pray this prayer that I'm the lead you in right here right now. Again, as I pray you pray this prayer is pray these words Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who was born in that manger who died on the cross, who rose again from the dead three days later, in the my life.

I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord is my God. Amen with those making a decision for the Lord today no better time than Christmas to get things right with the Lord. And as you listen to a new beginning today.

If you prayed along with Pastor Greg Laurie, we want to be the first to welcome you into the family of God, and second, let us help you get started off right want to send you our new believers growth packet. It will help answer some questions you might have and lay a foundation for your face and will send it free of charge.

Just ask for the new believers growth packet as you write a new beginning.

Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime.

Again, that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God will Pastor Greg as many of our listeners know our mission here harvest ministries is to make disciples.

Yeah, we reach out as far as we can with the gospel and then we help new believers get started in their walk with the Lord. That's right now were making available the TV series called the chosen is a great series yes how can this resource help those who are new to the faith.

But I think it it strengthens us and what we believe these are true stories center in the Bible the greatest stories ever told. But when they're traumatized when you see them in cinematic form, they can come the light for you and a way that maybe they didn't come to life.

Are you reading them from the page. Of course, I encourage everyone to read the Bible, but I appreciate any tool that is out there that will reinforce the great stories of Scripture I can't think of anyone who's done a better job of this than Dallas Jenkins who was the producer and director of this new series on the life of Christ, called the chosen. It is a monster's success. Millions and millions of people have watched it and are watching it and I'm very excited to announce that we are offering this month, the month of December, the month will we celebrate the birth of Jesus, season one of the chosen you're gonna want to sit down to watch us with your family me at this.

What a great way to start in evangelistic conversation invite somebody over and have them watch an episode of the chosen with you and then afterwards talk about Jesus, you'll find this is a very engaging series.

It's something that's going to actually be a blessing to you and I have to say it's very entertaining as well so order your copy of the chosen. I will send it to you for your gift of any size. Let me encourage you to be generous because we will take the resources that you send the money you send and use it to expand this ministry to reach more people look, I've dedicated my life to teaching the Bible to telling people about Jesus. So this is a great resource to reinforce that help us to continue to bring the message of the gospel to our generation. So whatever you send will be put to good use and will rush you your copy of season one of the chosen yeah that's right in your investment.

Help us reach literally all over the planet. In fact we receive this note, is it I'm 16 years old from the United Kingdom. I've been listening to the new beginning podcast for the past seven years since I was nine. I'm so thankful for the content you put online you been a blessing to my friends and family what you know it's only through the investments of listeners that we can reach out like that.

If you been a partner with us. Thank you so much and if you can partner with us right now.

We hope you will ask for a copy of season one of the chosen. You can donate securely online@harvest.org or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 one next time. Pastor Greg takes us to a familiar verse in the Old Testament that reveal some dimensions of the character of Christ and how he meets us at our every point in the joint is hereunder new beginning pastors and Bible teachers regularly and thanks for the with Greg Laurie podcast made possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a harvest partner harvest.org


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