Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.
If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. The title of my message is what you really are looking for. You know, from the moment you were born, you've effectively been on a quest. You've been searching.
It goes back to your childhood. And sooner or later, every thinking person gets around to asking the big questions in life, such as what is the meaning of life? Why am I here on this earth? Why do I exist? What happens after I die? And finally, who let the dogs out? No, that's a stupid sign. I don't know where they are.
I don't care about the dogs. But we really do get around to asking these questions because we are wired by God for something more. The Bible says that God has placed eternity in our hearts. We want to make a mark. We want our life to count for something. We want to do something. We want to have significance. And that's why I think so many people are so drawn to social media.
I want to get more followers and I want to be more well known. In fact, I read recently that a poll was taken of young people and they were asked what they wanted more than anything else. And the answer was, I want to be rich and famous. Rich and famous.
Is that all it's really cracked up to be? If being rich and being famous was what people thought it was, why are there so many miserable, rich, and famous people? They're miserable. You look at so many of them.
What's happened? There's a group of people known as the 27 Club. In fact, I read about that in this new book, Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus.
What's a 27 Club? These are people that unfortunately died at the very young age of 27. Some of the names in that club are Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. Others joined the 700 Club in later times like Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.
In fact, outfame Amy Winehouse made this statement and I quote, famous like terminal cancer, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, end quote. And then look at how many lives have been destroyed through drugs and alcohol. Such a long list. Such a tragic list. Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Jackson, Prince, Anna Nicole Smith, River Phoenix, Scott Weiland, Corey Monteith, Elvis Presley. Most recently, Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters, John Belushi, Chris Farley, all died of drug overdoses. And then there were those that have taken their lives through suicide that reached all the goals people would hope to reach.
People like Anthony Bourdain, Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Ernest Hemingway, Alexander McQueen, Michael Hutchins, Hunter S. Thompson, Keith Spade. The list just goes on and on. This emptiness.
No. Fame is not the answer. Money is not the answer. Jesus is the answer.
This is what we're looking for. So I have a friend, Alice Cooper, as it was said already. He's been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, been the t-shirt. And I interviewed him recently. And Alice Cooper, real name Vincent Fournier, heard the Lord knocking and he gave his life over to the Lord. So I want to tell you, yes, I want to tell you a story that's 2,000 years old.
But it is totally relevant today. I want to tell you a story about a young man that had it all together. He was wealthy. He was climbing up the corporate ladder. He probably had a BMW chariot lowered super cool. Came up to Jesus.
He was drinking a lavender oat milk latte. And he asked Jesus an important question that we're still asking today. And here's what he said. It's in Matthew chapter 19 verse 16. This man came up to Jesus with this question, teacher, what good things must I do to have eternal life? Jesus said, why do you call me good? What is good? Only God is good.
But to answer your question, you can have eternal life if you keep the commandments. This rich young ruler asked, which ones? Jesus replied, do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not lie. Honor your father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself. The man replied, I've obeyed all these commandments.
What else must I do? Jesus said, if you want to be perfect, go sell all that you have. Give the money to the poor and you'll have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me. And when the young man heard this, he went away sadly because he had many possessions.
You see, this young man thought stuff would fill the hole in his heart. And we do the same thing today. Oh, if I was just married, I would be happy. Then you get married. Well, if we just had kids, then we would be happy.
Then you have kids. If we could just get rid of these kids, then it would be happy. If we just bought a home in California, I'd be happy. Oh, if we sold it and moved to Idaho, then we would be happy, right?
Oh, if I could just retire, then I would be happy. And on and on it goes. And you can be like a dog chasing its own tail, going around in circles, and literally wasting your life.
This rich young ruler hadn't found what he was looking for. So he comes to Jesus. What do I have to do to find eternal life? Jesus says, keep the commandments.
Now, let me point this out. Keeping the Ten Commandments will not make you a Christian. If you are a Christian, you should seek to keep them. But Jesus brought this up to show this man that he indeed had broken many of those commandments.
So this young guy said, oh, I have kept all of those since I have been a kid. If we would have read in the next verse, and Jesus smacked them across the face, it would have been relevant. By the way, it is never good to smack people across the face. Too soon? It is also not a good idea to throw water on Mike Tyson on an airplane.
Yeah, he was sort of the heavyweight champion of the world. I don't think this is going to end well. He had not kept the commandments, nor have you. God did not give us the commandments to make us righteous. He gave us the commandments to show us we are not righteous.
They open our eyes and they shut our mouths. Do you keep the Ten Commandments? We have all broken them. Most people don't even know them. I read a survey revealed more people know the names of the four Beatles than a single commandment. Isn't that interesting? And we say, well, I have heard some of them.
Like, we know one. You shall not commit murder. And you will say, well, at least I haven't done that. Well, I hope you have it. And if you have, please don't raise your hand.
No one will want to sit next to you. But even if you had committed that sin, God would forgive you. Remember the story in the Bible of the thief on the cross? We call him, actually, he was a criminal on the cross. He was probably a murderer on the cross because the Romans did not crucify thieves. He turned to Jesus and he said, what must I do?
What must I do? And he said, remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom. Jesus said, truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. Man.
Talk about getting in under the wire. I may be talking to somebody right now that is hearing their last sermon. Someone who is not going to live another day.
Someone's name is going to end up in that obituary column tomorrow. This could be your moment. You know, it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months.
It doesn't even take hours. It can happen in a moment just like that when you believe in Jesus. Think about it. It is not what you do for God. It is what Christ has done for you. Imagine that thief ending up in heaven. Like, who are you?
He says, I don't even know how I got here. I was talking to Jesus a moment ago and here I am. All because of what Christ did for him and Christ did the same for you. But we have broken these commandments. You say, well I haven't murdered anybody. Well the fact of the matter is Jesus said, you have heard it said you shall not murder. But I say if you have hatred in your heart towards someone you have murdered. Therefore we are all murderers. Oh you have heard it said Jesus said you should not commit adultery. But I say to you if you look on a woman or a man with lust in your heart you have committed adultery. We have broken these commandments.
And this is the point. Jesus brought this up so this man would acknowledge that he had done this very thing. And would see his need for Jesus.
And this is what we all need to see. And Jesus was giving this man a chance to believe. There is an interesting twist on this story in another gospel. After he said this the Bible says Jesus looked at him and loved him.
If you forget everything I have said to you tonight here in the extra mile arena I want you to remember this. God loves you. He loves you.
Listen to this. God is not mad at you. He is mad about you.
He wants a relationship with you. That is what we are talking about. Folks this is not about religion. This is not about just going to church.
This is about having your life transformed by Jesus Christ right here right now it can happen. There is a story in the Bible about a father who had two sons. And one of the sons ran away from home. He was tired of his father's rules and regulations.
He thought he could have more fun outside of his father's house. And Jesus said this young man went away to another country and spent all of his money. He was impoverished. He lost his money and he lost his friends. You know when you have a lot of money you will have a lot of friends. But when his money was gone his friends were gone too. Minds you have two guys that were out camping.
Probably here in Idaho. They were getting up in the morning and one friend was putting his running shoes on really quickly. And he said, where are you going? He goes, look. And there was a big bear running at them full speed. And his buddy said, you don't think you can outrun the bear do you? He says, I don't need to outrun the bear.
I just need to outrun you. See. That is how some so-called friends are. They walk out when you need them.
They are not there. So this boy lost all of his friends. And he came to his senses and he said, I will just go back home and say, Dad I have messed up. I have sinned. I am not worthy to be called your son anymore.
Could you just give me a job? I don't expect to be returned to sonship again. But Jesus who told this story to show us what God is like said, When that boy was still a great ways away the father saw him, got up and ran to him and threw his arms around him and kissed him and said, Let's have a party.
Let's have some barbecue. Because my son who is dead is alive again and he who was lost is found. And that is how God feels about you right now. I might be talking to a prodigal son or daughter. You were raised in the church. You were raised believing. But you have walked away from God. Or you have never even had a relationship with God perhaps.
You can come back to him and he will welcome you with open arms. You want to find out who your real friends are? Follow Jesus Christ and you will know quickly. So after I became a Christian I had a bunch of friends that were druggies. We did drugs together.
Made a lot of bad decisions. And I didn't know what to do. I wasn't quite comfortable around the Christians yet.
A little too much praise the Lord and hallelujah for my taste. But my friends that I used to hang out with I didn't want to do what they did anymore. So I went a week without talking to them. So we used to go to this one guy's house not far from my high school where we would literally get. It sounds like I am on high right now. I don't know. I think I drank too much coffee for sure.
So we would literally get high there every day. But I hadn't seen them for a week since I accepted Christ. And so I was on my way over to their house just to see what they were up to. And one of the Christians ran up to me and said, Greg, Greg, Brother Greg. I am thinking who is this guy. I am not his brother.
Unless it is a brother from another mother. I don't know. He says, Bro. Praise God. I am like yeah ok. Fine. Whatever.
Bro. I have a Bible for you. And he gives me a Bible. It was a beat up thrash Bible with popsicle sticks on it in the shape of a cross. This is your Bible bro.
I am like ok thank you. And he walks off and I shoved it in my pocket. I didn't want anyone to see it. I wasn't ready to talk about my faith yet. So I went over to my friend's house where I had often gone and I hid my Bible in the bushes in front of his house.
I wasn't a very bold witness yet. And I walked in and they said, Lori where have you been. I said, nowhere.
What have you been up to. I said, nothing. And God's Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, tell them about Jesus. And I said, no way. So I sat down and one of them said, Greg you want to get high. I said, no. Come on what have you been up to Lori.
I said, nothing. They are all thinking something is wrong with Greg. And then the guy's mother walks in holding my Bible. She says, I found this in the bushes. Who does this belong to.
Like I committed a crime or something. Or that lady who has kids doing drugs in your house and you are worried about a Bible. Who does this belong to. Every eye in the room went to the Bible and they went to me.
They knew there was a connection. I said, that is mine. Lori what is that. It is a Bible. What is a Bible.
What. It is a Bible. One of my friends said, oh a Bible. Oh praise the Lord brother Greg. Are we going to be Christians now. I said, no I am going to hit you in the mouth.
I had not read 1 Corinthians 13 yet. Ok so. They mocked me. They made fun of me. They gave me a hard time. And I walked out and I said, I don't need these so called friends anymore.
So that is how you will find out real fast who your friends are. Follow Jesus Christ. But listen this young man did not want to give up his possessions. It wasn't about his possessions.
It was about his heart. Yes you have to give some things up to follow Jesus Christ. But whatever you give up to follow him he will more than make up to you.
Think about it. What are you going to be giving up. You are going to be giving up emptiness for fulfillment. Misery for joy. Hell for heaven.
That is a good deal. So this young man heard this message of Christ and the Bible says he went away sad. I can't do that. I am not willing to make a change.
I am not willing to do anything differently. He went away sad. Now let me tell you another story briefly about a man that went to Jerusalem searching for God. He worked for the queen of Ethiopia. He was powerful. He was wealthy.
He was like a government official. And he went there searching for answers to his spiritual questions and he did not find them because religion does not have the answers to the questions you have. But then the Bible says there was a man named Philip who was a preacher who saw this man from Ethiopia. And this man who was visiting that city was reading out loud from Isaiah 53 that actually talks about the death and sacrifice of Jesus. And Philip said to this Ethiopian dignitary, do you understand what you are reading?
The man said, how can I unless someone shows me the way. And Philip climbed up into his chariot with him and read him the scripture and explained it. And that man believed in Jesus at that very moment. So here is two wealthy, affluent men.
Two powerful men. One went away mad. The other went away glad.
So you have a choice tonight as you leave the extra mile arena. You can go away mad. You can go away sad. Or you can go away glad. It is up to you.
What do you want to do? It comes down to what you do with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the son of God who came to this earth and was born in a manger in Bethlehem. He lived a perfect life. Then he died a perfect death and died on the cross for your sin. And as spikes were driven through his hands and his feet he took all of the sin of the world upon himself including yours. And then he rose again three days later. We celebrated that last week. And he is alive and he is here with us right now.
And Jesus says, Behold I stand at the door and I knock and if you will hear my voice and open the door I will come in. So here is the choice before you. You can go away mad. You can go away glad.
You can go away sad. It is up to you. If you say yes to Jesus Christ he will come into your life and forgive you of all of your sins. Think about that for a moment. Every wrong you have ever done. Every sin you have ever committed will be forgiven. And God doesn't just forgive sins. He forgets sins.
The Bible says, God speaking their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. So how do you come into this relationship with God? How can you know that you will go to heaven when you die? And I will talk about that more tomorrow night. How can you find this joy and this happiness that you are longing for?
Here is what you need to do. Step number one you need to realize you are a sinner. I know some people don't like to be called sinners. But the Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is not one righteous.
No not one. What does it mean to sin? It means to cross a line.
You have seen a sign in a park baby that says no trespassing. To sin is to trespass. It is to cross a line.
It is to break one of the commandments like we have all done. Sin also means to miss a mark. God has set a mark for all of humanity which is perfection. Jesus said be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect. Who can be perfect? Answer.
No one. That is where Jesus comes in. That is why he died for your sin. So you have to admit you are a sinner. Number two recognize Christ died on the cross in your place. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life.
That is right here on the front of the stage. I am the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by me. Only Christ was qualified to bridge the gap between a holy God and sinful humanity.
Realize that he did that for you. Coming back to the rich young rulers question. What good things must I do to have eternal life?
Answer. There are not enough good things you could do to have eternal life. You couldn't even have all of those great works to get your way in even if you tried. Besides heaven is not for good people. Heaven is for forgiven people.
You need to be forgiven of your sin. Eternal life is a gift. The Bible calls it the indescribable gift. So if I were to offer you a gift here tonight and you wanted the gift what do you need to do? You just reach out and take it.
And I don't care how you take it. Just take it. It is a gift. You don't earn it. You don't deserve it. But God offers it to you.
Christ bought it for you at the cross with his own blood. It is sort of like when you give a gift to a man or a woman. When you give a gift to a woman with a card she will open the card. She might even be touched by what she reads.
Thank you so much. She will carefully undo the ribbon. She will say, I am going to use this somewhere else. Undo the package. Open it.
Thank you. That is a woman opening a gift. You give a gift to a man. He opens a card. He is not reading it. He is just seeing if there is money in it. Or a gift card. He tosses it aside. The wrapping paper is just a barrier to him. I don't care if you open it like a man or a woman. Just open the gift of eternal life that God offers to each and every one of you here.
And you that are watching as well. It is a gift. The Bible also says you need to repent of your sin. What does repent mean? It is a military term. It means to change your direction.
Sort of like an about face. So you turn away from that old life. You turn away from that sin. The Bible says repent and be converted in times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord.
And then you must do it publicly. That is why in a few moments I am going to ask you to do what over 600,000 people have done for the last 30 years at our Harvest events. I am going to ask you in a few moments to get up out of your seat. Walk down on this field and stand here and I will lead you all in a prayer. A prayer similar to the prayer that the character Lonnie prayed with Greg in that film clip that you just saw.
A prayer where you will ask Christ to come into your life and finally you must do it now. Say well come back tomorrow night. No don't wait until tomorrow night. The Bible says today is a day of salvation. Tonight is your night.
This is your moment. Why do I call you publicly? Because everyone that Jesus called he called openly and publicly. He says if you will acknowledge me before people I will acknowledge you before the Father and the angels in heaven. But then he added if you deny me before people I will deny you before the Father and the angels. So that is why I am going to ask you to come publicly in just a moment. This is a moment in time where your life can be changed. And your eternal address can be changed as well from a place called hell to a place called heaven.
Oh why did you have to say that? I don't believe in hell. How could a God of love send anyone to hell?
Listen. God doesn't send anyone to hell. You send yourself there when you reject God's offer of forgiveness. The last place God wants to see any person go to is this place of final judgment. It wasn't created for people.
It was created for the devil and his angels. Jesus said God wants you to join him in heaven. And then he wants to give you a life worth living on this earth. It is all waiting for you. Will you accept the gift? Would you like your sin forgiven? Would you like to go to heaven when you die?
If so I am going to give you the opportunity to do it right here right now. Let's all pray together. Father I pray now for every person that is here.
I know you love them. I know you have a plan for their life. And I know you are ready to forgive them right now. I pray that your Holy Spirit will help them see their need for Jesus and that you will bring them to yourself. I pray for people that are watching right now.
If they don't know you Lord bring them to yourself as well. We commit everyone to you now that needs you. Work in the hearts of these folks we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Amen.
Listen very carefully. If you want your sin forgiven. If you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven.
If you want to fill that hole in your life that you have tried to fill with all the things this world offers. If you want Jesus Christ to come into your life tonight to be your Savior and Lord. I want you to get up out of your seat. And I want you to walk down these aisles and stand in front of this platform. And when you get here we are going to give you a Bible.
And we are going to talk to you about the commitment you have just made. So wherever you are get up out of your seat. Come down and make your public stand for Jesus Christ.
Listen to this. You are not too good to come to Jesus. No matter how good of a life you live or how moral of a life you have lived. You have broken God's commandments and you need Christ tonight. But having said that you are not too bad to come to Jesus. No matter what sins you have committed God will forgive you. You are not too young to come to Jesus. If you have understood what I have said here tonight you can come and ask Christ to come into your life. But you are not too old to come to Jesus. You might say, well Greg I am set on my ways and you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Well you are not a dog and these aren't tricks. You have fallen away from God. You have pushed Him out of your life. But you can return to Him. The Bible says, seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake His way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.
And let Him return to our God who will pardon them. You come and make this public stand for Christ. You will never regret this. It is the most important decision that you will make in your life. And this decision will determine where you spend the afterlife.
You decide in this life where you will spend the afterlife. You come to Jesus. I am going to lead you in a simple prayer. I am going to ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me. This is where you are asking Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your Savior, your Lord, your friend, your God. Just pray this prayer from your heart and God will hear you and answer.
Let's all bow our heads. Pray this after me. Lord Jesus I know that I am 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. I choose to follow You from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord. As my God and my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Amen. God bless each one of you. God bless you.
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