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God Is Bigger Than Your Problem | Treatment for Spiritual Ills

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2024 3:00 am

God Is Bigger Than Your Problem | Treatment for Spiritual Ills

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 21, 2024 3:00 am

Medical science has come a long way in the last century. Little more than a hundred years ago, doctors treated many maladies by bloodletting! Now there are so many targeted medications, they have to get creative with the names . . . like Cisplatin, Moxifloxacin and Pancuronium. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie says we should treat our spiritual ills with a kind of targeted, effective treatment. Treatment recommended by our Maker.

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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 The real ills that plague us are spiritual in nature. Pastor Greg Laurie says we shouldn't try to fix spiritual issues with earthly, secular band-aids.

What culture cannot do, Jesus can, but you must call out to Him. Medical science has come a long way in the last century. Little more than a hundred years ago, doctors treated many maladies by bloodletting.

Now there are so many targeted medications they have to get creative with the names like cisplatin, moxifloxacin, and pancuronium. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says we should treat our spiritual ills with a kind of targeted, effective treatment, treatment recommended by our maker. I want to tell you a story from the Bible. It's a story of a man who had been completely taken over by the power of the devil. A tortured, miserable, suicidal shell of a man in what appeared to be an absolutely hopeless situation.

That is until Jesus came along. What we see in this man is the devil's package deal, if you will, that he has in store for any person who is in his grip. You see the devil will start with just a foothold and then he'll take over.

Give him an inch and he'll take a mile. And once he has you where he wants you, he'll chew you up and he'll spit you out. The story before us illustrates these points and more. We see three forces at work in the text that we're going to be looking at. We see Satan, society, and the Savior. Or another way to look at it, we see chaos, culture, and then Christ. Now as our story begins, we see that Jesus is on his way to reach this tragic man who had actually been taken over by the power of demons. Not one demon, not ten demons, but many demons as it turns out.

Turn now to Mark chapter five. I'm going to read verses one through nine which says, Even with a chain, whenever he was put into chains and shackles, as he often was, he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him, and day and night he wandered among the burial caves and the hills, howling and cutting himself with stones. When Jesus saw him some distance away, the man saw him and ran to meet him and bowed before him, and with a shriek he screamed, Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don't torture me. We see some interesting and surprising things here about the devil and demons.

Number one, this point may surprise you, but it's true. Demons, though wicked, are actually quite orthodox in their beliefs. Now I'm not suggesting they believe in Jesus.

It's the opposite. They're in rebellion against Jesus. But there are certain things they actually believe. It should not surprise you to know that the devil is neither atheist nor agnostic. For instance, the devil believes in the existence of God, because the Bible says the demons believe and tremble. The devil believes in the deity of Christ, which means he believes Jesus is God. Because when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, Satan says to him, If you're the Son of God, turn this rock into a piece of bread.

And a better translation would be, Since you're the Son of God. Satan was acknowledging that Christ is the very Son of God. Listen, the devil believes the Bible is the Word of God. He hates every word of it, but he knows it's true, and the devil believes that Christ is coming back again.

He's a wicked creature. I remember when I was a brand new Christian, I mean like maybe a few weeks old on the Lord, I was at a little meeting where we were singing some songs and praying, and someone came up with a bright idea. Hey, why don't we pray for Satan's conversion? Think how great things will be if the devil comes to Jesus.

I'm thinking, this is nuts. Even as a new Christian, I thought, that's not possible. And no, it is not possible. Scripture is clear about the origin, agenda, and the ultimate destruction of Satan. I already mentioned this verse, James 2, 19. It says, The demons believe and tremble. Another translation would be, The demons believe and shudder. The verb occurs only here in the New Testament. It means to bristle, and it conveys the picture of a whore causing the hair to stand on end.

And in my case, that would be singular, one hair standing on end. But why do the demons tremble? Answer, because they know that Christ has supremacy over him. In fact, the demons ask, Jesus, have you come to torment us before our time? The devil knows that a time of judgment is coming. He knows he's ultimately going to end up in the lake of fire.

Revelation 12, 12 says, He knows he has but a short time. And that is why in these last days, and I believe we are in the last days, I believe Jesus is coming back again. That is why in these last days, the devil is pulling out all the stops.

Listen to this. Even if some liberal theologians don't believe it, Satan believes that Jesus Christ is coming back again. And his goal is to wreck as much havoc as he can until that day. Man, as Christians, could we be at least as motivated as the demons are? I mean, they're out there doing all their dirty work trying to destroy lives. What are we doing for the Lord?

When's the last time you shared the gospel with someone? So we see three forces at work in this story. As I said, Satan, society, and the Savior. Or another way to put it, chaos, culture, and Christ. So we've already seen what the devil did in this man's life.

He brought complete chaos. It was Peter Marshall, former chaplain to the U.S. Senate, who made this statement years ago. And I quote, The choice before us is plain, Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration. End quote.

That's so true. Christ or chaos. What did the devil do for this man? He brought chaos. He brought destruction. He brought bondage. Well what did society do for him? They just chained him up. What can society do? Lock him up.

Chain him up. There's not really anything else we can bring to the table. You know in America right now we have riots in our streets. In some cities we have outright anarchy. And the potential is there for it to get far worse.

Those that service in law enforcement have never had it harder and they have it right now. The family continues to disintegrate and break apart. And by the way that's at the root of most of our social ills today.

Society and culture cannot cope with the problems caused by Satan and sin. Social media. Most of us carry one of these things around with us in our pocket. A smartphone. Social media. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook.

TikTok. All these things are supposed to bring us closer together. But I think social media in many ways has divided us and driven us apart. I can think of times I'm sitting in a restaurant and there's a family all sitting at a table. I think they went to go have a meal together. But everyone is just looking at their phone. They're not even paying attention to one another.

They don't talk anymore. I read an article in Forbes magazine about this with a headline. The more we use social media the less happy we seem to be. Another article said multiple studies have found that there's a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Society has no answers for this man.

Society or culture has no answers for us either. But what the chains could not do Jesus did in one word. And that brings us to the third force if you will in the story. The Savior. What did Jesus do for this man? First of all he sought him out in his spooky little graveyard and he offered him hope. Now here's a bizarre twist in the story.

You can read it there in Mark chapter 5. But the demons actually offer up a request and say, if you're going to cast this out of this guy cast this into something. And there was a herd of pigs feeding nearby. And Jesus cast the demons into the pigs and then the pigs all ran off the edge of a cliff and died. It was mass suicide.

No I'm kidding. But it was the first case of deviled him in human history. But the pigs possessed by the demons go over the side. Wow.

Pretty scary. So what culture could not do Jesus could. What religion cannot do Jesus can't. What treatment programs cannot provide the Lord can't. Listen you don't need a 12 step program.

You need a one step program. Come to God through Jesus Christ and ask him to help you. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We hear from so many people who find Christ through the Harvest Crusades.

Like this woman. Pastor Greg I grew up going to church as a child with my family on a military post. As an adult I married into a military family and my husband and I were stationed in California. One day some of the other military wives invited me to one of your Harvest Crusades. It was there that I heard for the first time what a true relationship with Jesus Christ was. I can't thank you enough.

You have touched so many lives including mine and you're a blessing to so many. Thanks Pastor Greg. Do you have a story to share with Pastor Greg?

If so email him and tell him about it. Send it to Greg at Harvest dot org. Again that's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well we're considering the story of the demon possessed man today in Mark chapter 5. As Pastor Greg presents his message God is bigger than your problem. So this man is radically transformed. All these demons have left him and they've gone into the pigs. And the people come and see this man in his right mind. And they can't remember this is the guy that they've known all this time. Look at Mark chapter 5 verse 15. When they came to Jesus they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons sitting there dressed in his right mind.

So what's their reaction? They were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon possessed man. And they were told about the pigs as well. And the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

Wow. Now this man is so changed you couldn't even tell he was the same guy. You know you meet some Christians and it's hard to believe that they used to be who they were. I think of some people I've gotten to know quite well like Darrell Strawberry. Great baseball player for the New York Yankees and other teams. But he became the bad boy of baseball. And he was known in many ways more for what happened outside of the game. Arrested for drugs.

All kinds of problems in his life. But God ultimately got hold of him and transformed him. And I'll tell you when I hang out with Darrell it's hard to believe he was ever that guy.

But the Lord has transformed him. Then I think of my friend Michael Franzese. A mobster. His father Sonny Franzese who died recently and up until that moment was the oldest living mobster in America.

He actually made it past 100. Sonny was an enforcer or a hit man for the Colombo crime family. And his son Michael was being groomed to become the next godfather of that family. Michael was arrested. He was sent to prison.

And he came to Christ while he was in prison. And finally Alice Cooper. When you think of Alice you think of him as maybe the godfather of shock rock you know.

The scary guy who puts a snake around his neck. But Alice Cooper was living a crazy life. Believe it or not he was the son of a pastor. But he rebelled against God and almost died with a rock of cocaine the size of a softball. And God got hold of Alice and turned him around.

And he's a different man now. Ok so how do the people react to this amazing demonstration of the power of God? We should have read and the people all gave glory to God.

But no one of the gospels tells us commenting on the same story. The people were afraid. You see this demonstration of the power of God frightened them. They should have been rejoicing but instead they were afraid. And they should have been pleading with Jesus to stay with them.

But they did the very opposite. Apparently the guys who owned the herd of swine were pretty ticked off. Because they made a lot of money off those pigs. Hogs were big business on this side of the lake. And 2,000 hogs. That's how many went over the cliff. Is a lot of bacon. And now they're on the bottom of the lake.

Pickled ham anyone? So Jesus was bad for their business. Is Jesus bad for your business?

I hope not. Whatever career choice you've made. If you can't ask the Lord to bless it maybe you need a new career. I take that a step further. If you can't say to the Lord, Hallowed be your name over what you're about to do, then don't do it. And so Jesus was bad for their business and they wanted him to go away.

They didn't want him around. Now here as we come to the end of the story is an interesting twist. We have three prayers offered. We have the demon's prayer. We have the people's prayer. And then we have a prayer offered by the man who had been formerly possessed by demons. Jesus answered two of the prayers with a yes. And the final prayer with a no. First there was the demon's prayer.

What was it? They said to Jesus, cast us into the herd of pigs. And Jesus granted their request and that's exactly what happened. So you could say in a sense he answered their prayer. Then there's the people's prayer. They pleaded with Jesus to leave their city. He answered their prayer if you will and left their city. Hey listen. Careful what you pray for.

You might get it. Now here's the interesting twist. The formerly demon possessed man also prays. But Jesus did not answer his prayer in the affirmative. Look at Mark chapter 5 verse 18. When Jesus got back into the boat the man who had been demon possessed begged to go too. But Jesus said no. Go home to your friends and tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.

Isn't that interesting? Jesus answered the prayers of the demons and the hardened people but not his own follower. But let me say this. Thank God for unanswered prayers. Thank God when the Lord overrules your request because he knows what's best for you.

Looping back to what I said in the beginning of the message. God has a plan for you. And know this. His plan for you is better than your plan for yourself.

So never be afraid to commit an unknown future to a known God. Instead Jesus sends this man home. He says go home. Tell your friends.

Tell your family. Tell people what the Lord has done. And this guy had an amazing testimony because everybody knew him. He's a crazy dude that hung out at the graveyard running around naked breaking chains and shrieking and howling. And now he's the same man who's been transformed by Christ.

And he can say hey remember me. Well God has changed me. Jesus says transform my life. This story shows that no one is beyond the reach of God. So keep praying for them. Do you know a person that seems to be completely under the power of the devil? And you say to yourself there's no way I could ever see that person believing in Jesus.

What are you talking about? The Bible says with God all things are possible. Keep praying for that person.

Look at this man that he transformed. And I wonder if I'm talking to somebody right now that finds himself under the power of the devil. Maybe it's an addiction you can't break free from. Maybe it's a guilt that you can't get rid of.

Maybe it's a hopelessness you cannot shake. If so call out to him. Call out to him and he'll hear your prayer. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Whoever you are wherever you are Christ is the answer. So you have a choice like the people in this city. You can say Lord stay with us or you can say Lord go away.

There are really no other alternatives. We either ask Jesus to come into our lives or we turn him away. We all know that statement where Jesus says behold I stand at the door and I knock. And if you'll hear my voice and open the door I'll come in. Now think of Jesus standing on your porch at your door knocking right now.

But add another thought to it. Let's say you have a glass door which means you can see him and he can see you. So you can't say just ignore him he'll go away.

He knows you see him there on your porch knocking. So to not open the door and invite him in is a clear rejection. And Jesus said you're either for me or against me.

These people said go away. Is that what you'll say to Jesus? Or will you say come into my life right now?

I wonder wherever you are if you would just reach out to Jesus now and say Lord forgive me of my sin. I don't care how powerful your addiction is. I don't care how big your problems are. I don't care about how big of a mess you've made in your life. God is bigger than your problems. God can transform you but you must call out to him.

Listen to this. Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ came to this earth on a rescue mission and died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead. If we'll turn from our sin and put our faith in him we can be forgiven and we can know with assurance that we'll go to heaven when we die.

Wouldn't you like to know that? Jesus can come into your life right here right now. And in a moment I'm going to pray. I'm going to pray a simple prayer that you can pray with me where you will be asking Jesus Christ to come into your life. So if you need Jesus to come into your life and forgive you of your sin pray this prayer with me right now. Pray this prayer with me right now. This is a prayer where you're asking Christ to come into your life. Let's all pray. Father I pray for everyone that is watching wherever they are. Help them to see their need for you and help them to come to you we pray. Now if you want Jesus to come into your life pray these words after me.

Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Lord come into my life. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. An important prayer today from Pastor Greg Laurie with those making a decision for the Lord. And if you've just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and have meant those words sincerely then we want to welcome you into the family of God. And we'd like to help you get started in living the life of faith. Let us send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible. It has hundreds of special helps for those who are new to the faith and we'll send it free of charge. Just ask for the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to Well we have a special guest with us today Pastor Greg. Our friend Lee Strobel has joined us. Lee of course was the award winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, a former atheist. And has written so many books defending the faith, including the popular book, The Case for Christ.

That's right. Lee, we're making available your new book, Is God Real? And in it you point to the resurrection as one of the many proofs that God is real. Why is the resurrection important in this context and how strong is the evidence for the resurrection?

The resurrection is important because first of all it proves that Jesus is who he claimed to be. Anybody can claim to be God. But if Jesus claimed it, died, and then three days later rose from the dead, that's good evidence he's telling the truth. And so how good is the evidence? How strong is the evidence? People through the centuries, Christians, have talked about the evidence for the resurrection.

How strong is it? Well when I was a student at Yale Law School, one of my heroes was the greatest lawyer who ever lived. He was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful defense attorney in history. His name was Sir Lionel Lucku. He won 245 murder trials in a row as a defense attorney, either before a jury or on appeal.

Nobody has ever done that before. He was knighted twice by Queen Elizabeth. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of his country. And he was a man who understood evidence. You couldn't pull the wool over this guy's eyes. This guy knows what constitutes reliable and persuasive evidence. So he was a skeptic, like I was at the time, about the resurrection.

Until somebody said, well Sir Lionel, you know, you're the greatest lawyer who's ever lived. Have you ever really investigated the evidence for the resurrection? He said, no I haven't, but I will. And I'll recite to you one sentence he wrote that summarized his conclusion after years of investigating the historical data for the resurrection of Jesus. He said, quote, I say unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof, which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.

And Sir Lionel ended up becoming an evangelist the rest of his life, spent the rest of his life spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so how strong is the evidence? Well, strong enough to convince the most successful defense attorney who ever lived that it is true, that Jesus is who he claimed to be.

And so I think we have to be really careful these days when we say, oh yeah, I think Jesus is a great moral teacher. Yeah, but that's not all he is. That's not all he claimed.

He also made claims about his divinity that need to be taken seriously. That's right. So when someone says something like that, really they're providing you with a bridge.

Yes. And you can say, yeah, that's great. Let's talk about more of the teachings of Jesus and his exclusive claims about himself and so forth. And so we want to let you know that Lee Strobel, who you've been listening to, has written a brand new book with the title, Is God Real? It's already a bestseller, but we want to offer it to our listeners for your gift of any size this month. So whatever you send in for a copy of Is God Real?

will be used to help us continue to teach God's word and proclaim the gospel through this broadcast. And it will be our joy to send you this book that you're going to love. Again, the title of the book is Is God Real?

available to you right now for your gift of any size. Yeah, that's right. No doubt you know someone who has some questions on this subject. Maybe you yourself have some questions.

Well, be sure to get a copy of Lee Strobel's new book, Is God Real? And we'll send it to say thank you for partnering with us here at A New Beginning. You can connect with us by phone at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or just go online to And our newest film, Fame, plus our TV programs, our podcast, Harvest at Home, and a lot more.

Stream it all on any device for free using the new Harvest Plus app. Well, next time we'll see some examples of the simple truth that everybody needs Jesus. More from Pastor Greg's series in Mark called The Gospel for Busy People. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-21 05:08:23 / 2024-03-21 05:18:58 / 11

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