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Sign up at harvest.org. No way. I'm not thinking about that. Or you say, hey, come right in and make yourself at home.
That's up to you. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.
Oh, can you hear all the angels are singing? This is the day, the day when life begins. Chemistry majors know that liquids can be adhesive or cohesive. Some liquids stick to other things while others cling together.
If you've broken a mercury thermometer and seen the little beads of mercury ball up together, you've seen cohesion. Well, when impure thoughts come at us, do we let them stick inside our minds or do we repel them and cling to what we know is right? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings good encouragement from the Lord's Sermon on the Mount.
This is the day, the day when life begins. I remember the first time that I was tempted as a Christian. Now, before I was a Christian, I don't know if I even thought of temptation as, well, temptation. I thought of temptation more as opportunity.
Right? I mean, why not go for, oh, that looks fun. Oh, I'll try this other thing. No, I'll do this other thing as well. So when I became a Christian, the believer told me, now, Greg, watch out. The devil's going to tempt you. And I'm like, the devil?
What do you mean the devil? No, Satan is going to tempt you. How will I know when I'm being tempted?
They said, you'll know. So next time in high school, so this is, you know, ten years ago and a few more. So I go to class in high school and there's this girl. I'd notice this girl. Trust me, she never noticed me. Very pretty girl sat toward the front of the class.
And so after the class is over, I'm not making this up. This girl comes walking up to me and says, hi, what's your name? And I momentarily forgot my name. I was so stunned by her beauty and her blue eyes. I'm just like, I'm not really sure what my name is.
And I have no idea why you're even talking to me. And I was like a brand new Christian. I had my Bible there and I had a little Jesus pin on and she's talking to me. And she says, you know, you're cute.
Now I can't believe this is happening. You're cute. And she says, you know what, my parents are gone for the weekend.
Would you like to come and stay at my house for the weekend? I thought, this is a temptation from the devil. Why did I say that? Because stuff like this never happened to me. Trust me.
I know it's hard to believe. It just didn't. Now maybe it happened to other people. It never happened to me. I thought, this beautiful girl has been sent from Satan. So I told her no.
I want you to know. I said no to this girl. But it wasn't that easy.
Ok. And that brings up a simple point. Temptation comes in attractive packages. Right? Satan makes bad stuff look good. He makes wicked things look appealing.
He makes deadly things look like they're going to be the best experience you ever had. He's a liar. And he will do whatever he needs to do to pull you down. So everybody gets tempted. But here is something to understand. It's not a sin to be tempted.
Did you know that? It's not a sin to be tempted. And I bring that up because temptation comes at the worst times.
Like in church. You are sitting here right now and all of a sudden this thought comes to you. Maybe it's an impure thought. Maybe it's a jealous thought. Maybe it's a hateful thought. Maybe it's a prideful thought. But whatever it is it comes.
Boom. And you think, I can't believe how twisted I am thinking this in church. Who says you even thought it? Have you ever heard of the fiery darts of the devil? They are like flaming arrows from hell that he fires at your brain. That doesn't mean you are a wicked person. Though you are. But what it does mean is that you don't have to let that thought into your mind. It sort of knocks at the door of your imagination and you can say, no way. I am not thinking about that. Or you say, come right in and make yourself at home. That's up to you. So it's not a sin to be tempted.
And let me take it a step further. If you are not being tempted something is wrong with you spiritually. Why would the devil waste his time on someone that is not a threat to his kingdom? So if you have been coming under spiritual attack lately that could be an indication that you are on the right track and that you are a threat to the devil.
So let's answer the question. Where does temptation come from? Now our immediate answer would be, well the devil of course. And there is truth to that. But we need to understand we play a key role in our own temptation.
Listen. Satan needs our cooperation in this area to give in to temptation. Where there is no desire on my part there is no temptation. We blame a lot of things on the devil and rightly so.
But we too are responsible. I mean wouldn't it be great if the devil just took a month off every year? Wouldn't it be great if Satan started taking the month of August off? And I can announce it has just been revealed to me that the devil is gone for August. I don't know where he vacations. We know he likes warm climates. But he is gone. No devil for the month of August. You say, oh that's awesome.
You would still get yourself into trouble. Because we play a role in it. Here is what the Bible says over in James 1.14. Everyone is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and is enticed. And when desire has conceived it gives birth to sin.
And sin when it is full grown brings forth death. That basically breaks down temptation for you. The five steps of temptation.
Number one. The temptation itself. Every one of you is tempted. Every one of you is going to be tempted. 1 Corinthians 10.13 says, There is no temptation taking you but such is as common to man. Which means we all face the same kind of stuff.
And then over in 1 Peter. Peter says, Don't think it is strange when you go into fiery trials and times of temptation. It happens with all of us. Those temptations come our way. But again remember it is not the bait that constitutes temptation but the bite.
Let me repeat that. It is not the bait. It is the bite. So it is dangled in front of you. That is the bait.
You don't have to take the bait. But if you take the bite now you are responsible bringing you to the second phase. You are under its power and frankly enjoying the experience. James 1.14 says, You are drawn away by your own desires. So it is sort of like the temptation comes to your mind and you say, Well I am not going to do it but I am going to just kind of take it for a test drive. Right?
I am not going to just kind of think it through and what would it be like. And you kind of play it out. And now the problem is already in full bloom because now basically you have bit on the hook. You are drawn away and you are enticed. And then ultimately number four it gives birth to sin. Verse 15 says, When it is conceived it gives birth to sin. There is a momentary euphoria in sin.
So we need to understand that sin can be fun for a moment. It is sort of like getting the sugar high and then coming down. By the way if you are a grandparent here is the role of a grandparent. Pick up your grandkids number one. Fill them up with sugar number two. Return them quickly to their parents number three.
Job done. You know there is that sugar high. The kids are excited. They are climbing. The walls are so happy. And then they come down. And that is what sin is like. It is like oh this is fun. They lied to me. It is actually fun.
No I didn't lie to you. I told you sin is fun. Jumping off the Empire State Building is fun.
Until you hit the ground. That little momentary euphoria of sin can be fun. Sometimes it is not even fun is it? Sometimes you think oh this is going to be so amazing.
And it is actually not even fun for a few moments. But even when it is there are the ramifications. First there is the guilt. That is if your conscience is working.
Then that dead feeling. And now you are separated from God. And sin has done its work.
And it brings forth death. Listen. You are not separated in your relationship from God. But you are separated in your fellowship with God. See if my son sins against me he doesn't stop being my son. He is just my son sinning against me. When we sin against the Lord we don't cease to be a son or a daughter of God. But we are a prodigal son or daughter or a disobedient son or daughter.
Sort of like when you lose. There is no Wi-Fi. You can't go online. Or there is no cell service because you didn't pay your bill again.
Or whatever it is. But the point is communication is cut off. And so what you want to do is restore communication. And the way that happens is you have to admit your sin.
Turn from it. And ask God to forgive you. 1 John 1 says that we will confess our sin. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin. And cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So that is how basically sin works. We like to blame everyone for it except ourselves.
But we play a role. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody what are you doing this weekend? I would like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home.
Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is offering some important insights on how to resist sin. In his message how to overcome lust and protect your mind.
Let's continue. Now if you stop and think about the last time you gave in to any sin chances are it started right here. It started right here in your imagination and then it led to actions. That is why it says in 2 Corinthians 11.3, I am afraid that as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds will somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. So it is your mind. It starts in your thinking. 2 Corinthians 10.4 it says, We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and destroy false arguments. We capture our rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. So when those thoughts come it is like yes you can come right in. No you are not coming in.
You are not welcome here. So let's see what Jesus said now about how to deal with lust and immorality. And how to keep our mind clean. Matthew 5 verse 27. You have heard the commandment that says you must not commit adultery. But I say who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
We will stop there. So Jesus is not talking about a casual glance here. He is talking to a person who is engaged in a continual act of looking. In this usage. In this context. This is not talking about an incidental or involuntary glance. But an intentional and repeated gazing with the express purpose of lusting. So it is not just oh wow look there is a pretty girl. Or oh there is an attractive guy. No it is not just that.
Because you are going to notice that. No the difference is no there is a pretty girl. Or I am going to go find a pretty girl or an attractive guy with the intention of lusting after them.
It is a different thing. And this isn't just for men looking lustfully at women. It is also for women looking lustfully at men. Or men looking lustfully at men. And women looking lustfully at women.
Just anything outside of God's order. And think of the pornography problem today. And how widespread it is. Seventy-nine percent of 18 to 30 year old American men watch Internet porn at least once a month. Seventy-nine percent.
Here is the stat that surprised me. Seventy-six percent of 18 to 30 year old American women watch porn once a month. One expert described it as the pornification of mass media. You see now it is not something for many that is considered forbidden.
There is no shame about it. You see it joked about on sitcoms. And you see movies like Fifty Shades of Grey bringing it to a larger mainstream audience. And if you engage in these things. And let me just say if you are engaging and watching porn this is not going to end well for you. And you are specifically doing something Jesus has told you not to do.
And let me explain why. Pornography is creating a desire in you that cannot be satisfied properly in any way. Because it is creating an unnatural desire. It is like you have an out of control fire and you are trying to put it out with gasoline.
It is just going to get worse and worse. And the Bible says can a man take fire into his lap and not be burned. And the answer of course is no.
I mean take the story of David and Bathsheba. Now you all know that David was not leading his troops into battle as he usually would be. But he was taking a little time off. And there is nothing wrong with taking a vacation. But there is never a vacation from the spiritual battle. Right. The devil doesn't take a day off from it and you can't either. You have to keep your armor on at all times. What does that mean?
It means you keep your guard up and be aware that an enemy can hit you at any time. So David was kicking back on his rooftop veranda. And he sees a beautiful woman ironically named Bathsheba taking a bath. And she was a really beautiful woman. And David saw her. Now there is no way I suppose he could have stopped from seeing her the first time.
Boom. There she was. So he needed to immediately go take a lot of cold showers and pray and get away from that situation. But instead he kept looking.
See the idea is you look and you look and you look but then he took it to the next level. And he gave a command. Bring that woman up to my palace. And then he had sex with her. And then she got pregnant. And instead of repenting of it he tried to cover it up and make it look like her husband got her pregnant.
But her husband was out at battle serving the king. So David called him back and this guy wouldn't spend the night with his wife. So David effectively had the husband whose name was Uriah killed. And then he married Bathsheba thinking that he had pulled this thing off and no one would ever know. But the Bible says the thing that he did displeased the Lord. And he was exposed and brought shame on his family and hurt his reputation.
And then even tragically he saw that same behavior repeated in the life of his children. If only we would think these things through. I am just going to have this little fling you say. I am going to have an affair. By the way I hate the word affair. It sounds like a cruise.
Nice. No just call it what it is. I am going to have an adulterous. I don't even want to call it relationship. But I am going to have an adulterous fling with a person.
And now here is what you need to know. Your sin will find you out. And it is going to catch up with you in some way shape or form. We don't think about the destruction it could bring to a marriage and destroy it. We don't think about the implication it has when it affects our children. And then one day our children grow up and they repeat our behavior. And they raise their children and they do the same thing.
And then their kids repeat their behavior. We don't think of that long term. We just think of our own selfish impulses in the moment.
It all starts in the mind. So be practical. You know if a scene comes on in a film that you should not be watching. Did you know you can actually get up and leave your seat? But I paid for it. Yeah. So get up and walk out.
Better yet demand a refund. Maybe you should do a little research on a movie before you go watch it. If you are watching something on your TV and this scene comes on you shouldn't be seen. You don't have to go reverse. Did I just see that? Reverse.
I am going to watch it in slow mo. No. No. No. Don't watch it anymore.
Turn the television off. Mind you of a story years ago. Our son Christopher was probably around 11. And Jonathan was probably around 1. Maybe Christopher was 12 and Jonathan was 2. But Jonathan was still in a high chair.
And so I am not sure exactly. But he was very young still. So Christopher is eating cereal and watching cartoons and TV. He is late for school so my wife Kathy says, Christopher turn off the TV. Go upstairs. Make your bed and get ready for school.
He just keeps eating cereal watching the cartoon. She comes back and says, Christopher did you hear what I said? Turn off the TV. Go upstairs. Make your bed and get ready for school. He ignores her again.
She says it a third time. Christopher turn off the television. Go upstairs. Make your bed. And get ready for school.
And she comes back a fourth time. Jonathan climbs out of his high chair. Walks over. Turns off the TV and says, go make your bed. He is like this big. Go make your bed.
Christopher amazingly gets up and goes upstairs at work. Right? So he got the message. Sometimes the best thing to do is just turn it off. Now this obviously includes conversations with members of the opposite sex. Don't engage in sexually suggestive conversations. This obviously includes texting. Which is sometimes called sexting.
Right? Don't do that. Don't send photographs of yourself without clothes to people.
Do I have to tell you this stuff? People do this. You know every now and then you hear about a celebrity had her phone hacked and the person has nude photos of her. And is threatening to post them. Don't carry nude photos of yourself on your phone. Even better. Never take pictures of yourself naked. Don't do it. Yeah.
These are very practical suggestions now. Because you are just headed down a road that is going to lead you to a miserable end. So you know think about these things. Think before you send that text.
Let's remove this from sexual things and just everything. I posted something on Twitter the other day. I said, think before you tweet. Think before you tweet.
T-H-I-N-K. Run it through this grid. T. Is it true? H. Is it helpful? I. Is it inspiring? N. Is it necessary? K. Is it kind?
If it isn't, don't tweet it. So we bring all of these thoughts into the captivity of Jesus Christ. Practical encouragement today on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie is presenting a message based in Matthew 5 called How to Overcome Lust and Protect Your Mind. Well Pastor Greg we're so excited that your new evangelistic documentary film is soon to be released. Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon.
Yes. You know several weeks ago you presented a message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self here on A New Beginning. If Johnny Cash had had the chance to speak a few words to his younger self, what do you think he might have said?
That's a good question. You know Johnny was a very honest guy. He was very reflective. He was very authentic. He never hid his struggles.
He never tried to appear to be something who he was not, and that was part of his appeal. I'm sure Johnny, as an older man, would tell Johnny the younger man, don't take amphetamines, because you know he started out, Dave, as a gospel singer, and then he recorded some songs, Hey Porter and I Walk the Line and Ring of Fire and many others were to follow. And he became very popular and he was traveling around the country and someone said, hey Johnny, take these little white pills.
They'll give you the energy you need. Well those are amphetamines and those became a lifelong struggle for Johnny Cash. And then he would take also barbiturates. So he'd take amphetamines to get going and barbiturates to get to sleep.
Deadly combination, add some alcohol to that, and there were a lot of troubles and problems in the life of John R. Cash. But the good thing about Johnny is he knew where to turn. He had a deep spiritual faith.
As he described it, an unshakable faith. And he would always come back to the Lord and find the forgiveness that he needed. He also had a great friend in Billy Graham. I don't know that people realize how close Billy and Johnny were. They vacationed together. They spent time together. Their wives were very close as well. And Johnny performed at many Billy Graham crusades.
So Billy was there to support, pray for, and encourage his friend that had his occasional lapses. And so we're telling that story in a powerful new documentary film that is titled Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. We have interviews with a lot of surprising people. Winona Judd, Marty Stewart, who actually performed with and played with Cash many, many times. We also have interviews with Tim McGraw and Sheryl Crow, all who admired Cash.
We also talked to Johnny's sister, Joanne, his son, John Carter Cash. So you're going to get some insights into the spiritual life of Johnny you've never seen before. Oh yeah, there have been other documentary films about Johnny Cash, and rightly so. But this film is different. That's why it's called The Redemption of an American Icon. And it's been done by some real pros, my friends John and Andy Irwin, also known as Irwin Brothers, who produced and directed Woodlawn, I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe, American Underdog, the documentary film The Jesus Music, and the soon to be released film Jesus Revolution. This film is going to touch you deeply. And another thing, there's a gospel presentation in the film.
So you see what Johnny really believed. And so get your tickets, bring someone that does not know the Lord, and come see this brand new film, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. Dave, tell us how we get those tickets.
Yeah, they're going fast. So go to our website right away at harvest.org. We're happy to make tickets available to our Harvest partners and other friends who generously support the work of evangelism through Harvest Ministries. It's a Fathom event, and the dates are coming up soon. You'll find those dates at harvest.org. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300.
That's a 24-7 phone number, so dial 1-800-821-3300. Well, next time, Pastor Greg uncovers more practical insight from Matthew 5 about how we can stand against the onslaught of temptation that often comes our way. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie.
This is the day, the day when life begins Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
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