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August 21, 2020 3:00 am
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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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The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere no God. Check out Virtu, our Web site for Christian Women. Go to Harvest dot org. Ford's last virtue.
When a Christian loses a loved one, we grieve, but not hopelessly. We grieve, hopefully, because we know we will see them again. And that is why the Bible calls the Rapture the blessed pope.
Pastor Greg Laurie has good reassurance today about the better day coming. Believers have the promise of eternity and the presence of God and our loved ones. Your sorrow immediately damages your place with ecstatic joy.
Hambrick, glad you're joining us today here on a new beginning with Pastor Greg Laurie and Pastor Greg. We'll begin today's message in just a moment.
Our life is like a movie and where the star evangelist Craig Lord, we have questions about this movie we're in. Is it a love story?
Is this movie a tragedy? What is the meaning of my life? An online event is coming that can change your life. We can all use a rush of hope.
Russia called the world's first online cinematic harvest crusade on your favorite social media platform, Labor Day weekend, September 4th, through September seven. Invite a friend to tune in for a message of hope from evangelist Greg Laurie and exclusive performances by Jeremy. Have Mercy Me.
And for King and country.
Rash of cold coming to a screen near you. Labor Day weekend details at harvest doors.
When will this all be over? We're all asking that life has been so abnormal. And it's become obvious that normal will be some kind of new normal. But God has a plan for our lives that transcends the here and now. And today on a new beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us look at the present in light of our future. Maybe what we see is evidence that God's plan is moving ahead right in front of our eyes. It's the first message in Pastor Great new series and times living like Jesus will return any moment.
Is Corona Virus a sign of the N Times? I heard a story about some Christians who were standing by the side of a road holding up a sign. It was a hand lettered sign with these words. The end is near turned around before it's too late. Some guy drove by them, hit the brakes, rolled down his window and he said, You stupid Christians. Why don't you just leave people alone? Roll up his window and gone dead. And then a couple of moments passed and it was a loud splash. And one of the Christians turned to the other and said, maybe we should just put up a sign that says bridge out instead. Yeah. You know, there's a lot of signs out there, a lot of warnings out there that are saying one thing and that one thing is get ready because Jesus Christ is coming back again. So let's talk about some signs of the times. Luke, Chapter 21. And I want to read versus eight to eleven as Jesus talks about what will happen in the end times. He says this is in response to the question of the disciples. What will be the signs of the end? And Jesus says, don't let anyone mislead you. Many will come in my name saying I am the Messiah, saying the time has come. Don't believe them. So according to Christ, one of these signs of the end times as though will come. A world leader and other false prophets who will say I am the Messiah. By the way, the prefix and tie doesn't just mean against. It also means instead of Antichrist, the Beast is an alternate version of the Messiah. He's a fake messiah. Many will come saying I am the Messiah.
But when you see these wars and interactions. Don't panic. Yes, these things take place first. But the end won't follow immediately. Then Christ adds Nacio. We'll go to war against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There'll be great earthquakes and famines and plagues in many lands and terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven. Now, look, we've always had plagues throughout history. I mentioned the plagues that came against Egypt when he refused to release the people of Israel. There was also the Black Death and the 13 hundreds, also known as the bubonic plague, that took the lives of two hundred million people. The Spanish flu in 1918 took the lives of 40 to 50 million people. So basically, the Bible says when you see these things happen with greater frequency, you should look up in the span of 40 years. We've had HIV AIDS, swine flu, Ebola and now Corona virus.
One expert said, quote, The number of new infectious diseases like Sari's HIV and covered 19 has increased by nearly fourfold in the past century.
Since 1980 alone, the number of outbreaks per year is more than triple. Okay, so these things are coming closer together with greater intensity. So you have two choices at a moment like this in human history. You can look up or you can freak out. Jesus says when you see these things begin to happen, look up.
Look up for your redemption is drawing near. Next up on the prophetic calendar is the Rapture.
That's where believers are cut up to meet the lord in the air. And we receive our new resurrection bodies. That's also the moment that we will be reunited with loved ones who have died in faith, who have preceded us to heaven. There's another passage to look at.
First Thessalonians four, and we read, The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ Shall Rise. Verse and we, which are alive and remaining, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we will. Ever be with the Lord, therefore comfort one another with these words? What happens to a Christian when they die?
They go immediately into the presence of God, the dead in Christ rise first. But when the rapture comes and that can happen today. It can happen tonight. It can happen tomorrow. We are reunited with our loved ones. And that is when they and we all receive our resurrection bodies because God is going to give us a new body. That's a radically upgraded version of our old one. So question number two, why is there a rapture? Why? Well, Paul, talk to these folks here who lived in Vessel and IKAR, and they were stressed out. They were unhappy. They were sad because a number of their loved ones had died and they thought they would never see them again.
So Paul wanted to share this great truth with them. In fact, he says in First Thessalonians for 13, hey, we don't want you to be uninformed about those who have died so that you grieve as those who have no hope.
Notice, he says, we don't want you to be uninformed. I bring this up because sometimes we will say no one can figure out Bible prophecy. No one understands it. There's so many different views. So we shouldn't even talk about it. Oh, contraire. That's French for stales with garlic. No, that's escargot. No, to the contrary. God wants us to know about the ant times again. Paul says, I don't want you to be uninformed. Remember in Matthew 24, Jesus said, when you see the abomination of desolation. Let the reader understand. And basically, the Bible is saying he understand what is being said. The very word revelation. And that's the title of the last book of the Bible revelation means the unveiling. Listen, it is not God's desire to conceal, but to reveal. He wants us to know these things. And he doesn't give his Bible prophecy to scare us, but to encourage us, especially if we put our faith in him. So here's what Paul is saying. Look, if you've lost a loved one and they've gone to heaven, you're going to see them again. So imagine for a moment you're just going about your daily business, doing whatever it is you do.
And suddenly in a moment that happened so quickly you can't even measured in time. You're reunited with your loved one again because the Bible says it won't happen in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. I mean, the twinkling of an eye is something that can't even be measured. The word twinkling comes from the root word atomos. We get our word, Adam, from it. How long does it take for that? They haven't probably about as long as it takes to say the word. Adam Hoess booms. You're in the presence of the Lord and you're with your loved ones that have gone before you. It's not encouraging. That's why Paul said there for comfort one another with these words. Imagine husbands will be reunited with wives and wives, with husbands. Children reunited with parents and parents with children. Brothers reunited with brothers and sisters. And everyone will be brought back together again.
Friends reunited with friends. Your sorrow immediately vanishes, and it's replaced with ecstatic joy. That is why the Bible calls the Rapture the blessed Pope. So when a Christian loses a loved one, we grieve, but not hopelessly, but rather.
Hopefully we grieve, hopefully because we know we will see them again. And that is a great encouragement.
Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.
Whenever you send a letter, an e-mail or post a comment on social media, we read every word.
I am very blessed to have rediscovered Pastor Gregs teachings. I used to listen to him when I was a state trooper in South Carolina years ago. About three months ago, a local station picked up Harvest's messages and I heard Pastor Greg speak for the first time in 20 years. I about lost my mind. I was so excited. For whatever reason, Pastor Greg has always been able to reach me and I thank the Lord in Heaven. He has made it so again. Since then. I have found Harvest Dawg become a harvest partner and have the app on my phone. So I never miss the daily devotionals or any of Pastor Gregs teachings. God is great. And once again, he has shown it to me. Thank you for your inspirational messages and reminding us that God has not abdicated his throne. He has always been there. Is there now and always will be there.
If your life is changed through Pastor Gregs teaching, would you let him know? Just drop him an email at Graig at Harvest dot org. Again, that's Graig at Harvest Dot.
Well, we're considering God's plan for our future today. Pastor Greg is giving us a glimpse of the rapture in the midst of our current time of uncertainty.
It's a good thing to think about these things, folks. It's a good thing to just think about heaven, to think about the afterlife.
C.S. Lewis, the great professor who taught at Oxford and wrote many significant books, including The Chronicles of Narnia in Mere Christianity, talks a lot about heaven. And he made this statement, and I quote, A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but rather it's one of the things that Christian is meant to do and, quote, very true. It's good to think about these things.
Colossians three says, set your mind on things above or another way. They're trying to say that think heaven. It's a good thing to think about heaven. Look forward to heaven. And by the way, when we talk about things like this, it makes us want to be closer to God. Again, talking about the Lord's imminent return makes us want to be closer to God. It reminds us there is a God and this word can be trusted. When we see Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes nover him first. John three, it says that he that has this hope, that is the hope of the return of Christ will purify himself. Even this God is pure.
Let me illustrate. Remember when you were a little kid, maybe you got in trouble with your mom and she said, okay, you're in trouble and you just wait until your father gets home. And so maybe around six, 30, you hear the car pulling into the driveway and the approach of your father. And you're filled with dread because he you know, he's the authority figure and there might be some discipline involved. So you're not looking forward to your father's return, but let's just say you're a good boy or a good girl and dad got home, you'd run out to greet him. So I think when we're right with God, we look forward to his return. It. It keeps us on our toes spiritually. It causes us to want to live godly lives. But if you're not right with the Lord when you hear that Christ could return at any moment, well, that's quite frightening, really. A litmus test of where you're at right now in this moment in time is if you're looking forward to the return of Jesus, that would be an indication to me that you are right with God. And if you're dreading the return of Jesus, that would be an indication to me you're not right with God. And I'm going to tell you how to get right with God in a few moments, because you're either going to get right or you're going to get left. And when I say get left, I mean, you will not be caught up to meet the Lord in the Rapture, but you'll be left behind.
Here's another point. When will the Lord return in the rapture?
Now this one gets interesting because there's people that come along periodically that say they've cracked the code and they know when Jesus is returning. They know when he will come and the rapture. Let me say something that might surprise you. I know when the second coming is, is there was no no one knows the day of the hour. Understand? There's a difference between the rapture and the second coming and the rapture, which could happen in any moment. He comes for his people in the second coming, he returns with his people. The Rapture is before Antichrist and the tribulation. The second coming is at the end of the tribute lation. Okay, so here's my point. The second coming will happen after this seven year reign of Antichrist after the battle of Armageddon. So once that happens, you can count it down seven years. Now, that hasn't started yet. So I can't give you a date, but I know in sequence one that will happen. But the rapture that could happen at any moment in Jesus, as no man knows the day of the hour. And if you were to go back to the original language and translate that, it would translate out to no man knows the day of the hour. And what it actually means is no man knows the day or the hour. Nobody. So only God knows. And he'll come at the right moment. It could happen at any time, as I've already said. But it is going to happen and you can count on it. And it's going to be one of the greatest events of all human history. And I want to ask you right now, are you going to be ready for that day?
De Jesus said to be in a field, one will be taken and the other left. A man and wife will be asleep in bed and one will be taken and the other left, which shows it's a global event. Man and wife bed. They're sleeping. That's nighttime. Two men working in the field. It's daytime happens around the world. People are cut up to meet the Lord.
You know, one night Kathy and I, my wife, were laying in bed. It's okay. We're married and we're talking about how Jesus could come back. And I said he could come back at any moment. Kathy said, just imagine, Greg, we could just be laying here in bed. None of us said we're in heaven. And being the prankster that I am, I quietly slipped out of the bed and I got down on the floor. Greg just imagined we'd go to heaven together. Greg. Greg. Greg. And she's reaching. I'm not there. And I'm down on the floor. Laughing That's really bad.
Don't do that at home. I'm a professional idiot.
Anyway, I digress. OK, so it really is a real thing. I am making a joke about that. But this is no joke and I wonder if you'll be ready. I mentioned that statement of Christ early on where he said a wicked in an adulterous generation seeks after a sign and no sign will be given to them except out of the prophet Jonah.
And as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish. So the son of Mamby, three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Interesting. Jesus just validated the story of Jonah. He was a real dude with a real message that resulted in a spiritual awakening in this city known as Minova. But he was swallowed by a great fish. By the way, the Bible never says he was swallowed by a whale. Maybe it was a whale. Maybe it was a fish. It can be literally translated sea monster that never existed until the moment it swallowed Jonah. But whatever the case, it the story is not about Jonah in a whale. It's a picture of a Christ.
Jesus is effectively saying, you guys want a miracle, right? What do you want me to pull a rabbit out of a hat? Do you want me to do some trick that will convince you? Here's my sign for you. As Jonah was in the belly of that fish. I'm going to go to a cross and dove from the center of the world and rise again from the dead. That's my sign. That's my miracle. You might say, well, show me a miracle and all believe, show me and I'll believe effectively God says believe and I'll show you see.
God has demonstrated his love toward you. God has shown how much he loves you. By sending his son to die on the cross for you. You know, the Bible says some of us might die for a righteous man, but God demonstrated his love toward us while we were yet sinners.
Christ died for us when we were breaking his commandments, when we were falling short of the standards. God showed love in a tangible way.
And as I've often said, it wasn't nails that held Jesus to that cross two thousand years ago. It was love for you. God loves you. I don't know what you've been told about God, but I'm here to tell you today on the authority of scripture that God loves you. And he proved his love for you by sending Jesus to die in your place. Jesus said, for God so loved the world. He gave his only begotten son. It is whoever believes in him should not perish, but have ever lasting life.
Not only does God love you, but he has a wonderful plan for your life. And that plan starts with him forgiving you of all of your sin.
And then he has a special plan for how your life will go. And when that day comes, you'll go to meet him in heaven, in the afterlife. But maybe even before you die, the rapture can happen. It could happen in our lifetime. It could happen today.
And I asked you if Christ were to come back again. Would you be ready? Don't miss this opportunity to get right with God. I mentioned a couple earlier who wrote me and said that they were living a miserable life and they recommitted their life to the Lord and they were prodigals. And maybe you're a prodigal. What's a prodigal? It's someone that's been raised in the faith and thus walked away from it, or someone they made a profession of faith and turn their back on it.
And if you're a prodigal son or daughter, you can come back to Jesus. But there is someone watching me right now who has never asked Christ to come into your life. You've never even heard these things I'm talking about before. But you realize I need God. I want my sin forgiven. Maybe you've been trying to fill that big hole in your heart with drugs or with booze or with partying or with accomplishments.
And, you know, the whole covered 19th thing is sort of revealed how empty all those things are because people can't go out and do all the things they were doing before and they can't go and hang out at big parties with all of their friends. And you're isolated and you're alone and you're scared, but you're not alone because God is there. And Jesus says, behold, I stand at the door and I knock. And if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.
Listen to this.
The same Jesus who was born in a manger in Bethlehem, who died on a cross outside of Jerusalem. The same Jesus who will come again for his people in the rapture and we'll return to the earth in the second coming is alive.
And he's standing right now at the door of your life saying, I want to come in. Would you like Jesus to come into your life? Would you like to be forgiven? Of all of your sin? Would you like to know with certainty that you will go to heaven when you die? Or know for sure that you'll be ready when the Lord comes for us? If so, I'm going to lead you in a prayer.
And I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer with me if you want Jesus to come into your life. So if you're someone who's never asked the Lord to come into your heart or of your prodigal son or daughter, do what some 3000 people have been doing every weekend here at Harvest at Home.
Pray this prayer with me, then telling you and the authority of the Bible, Christ will come into your life right here, right now if you want Jesus to come into your life. Pray this prayer with me is pray the search frame out loud if you like. Pray Lord Jesus. I know that I am a sinner, but I know that you are the savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead.
I turn from my sin now, and I choose to follow you from this moment forward.
Thank you for hearing this prayer. Answering. In Jesus name, I pray he met.
Pastor Greg Laurie praying with those who are making a decision for Christ today. And if you've made that change, we'd like to help you as you begin to walk with the Lord. We'd like to send you our new believers growth packet. It's free of charge for those making a first time commitment to Christ today. Just ask for it as you write. A new beginning box 4000 Riverside, California, nine two five one four. Or call one 800. Eight to one. Thirty three hundred. That's one 800 eight two one three three zero zero. Or go online to harvest dot org. If you missed any of today's study, you can get a replay by going to harvest dot org. It's a study titled Is Corona Virus A Sign of the End Times. Download it for later or stream it on demand to order a C.D. Copy. Call one 800 A2 one 30 300. Again one 800 eight two one three three zero zero. And then we want to make available a riveting book about a momentous act of heroism that took place during World War Two. The author, John Irwin, writes about his own grandfather.
So the morning was April 12th, 1945. My grandfather, radio operator onboard a B twenty nine Super Fortress, disoriented, was trying to understand what had happened because a bomb.
Made of phosphorus that was spewing everywhere on the plane, filled the plane with smoke and sent the plane into a dove. Was rolling around the plane just in front of him. And he had a choice to make in that moment.
The choice that he made would come to be the defining moment of his life and be a moment that would define my life as well as his grandson.
It's a gripping story in the book called Beyond Fowler. John's grandfather, Henry Read Irwin would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest military honor. And we're happy to have John with us today. John's a good friend, a film director, having directed. I can only imagine Woodlawn. I still believe. And many others. John, know what a thrill to write this book about a story you've known since you were a kid.
You know what's interesting about my grandfather is like when I was seven years old, I was I was around that age and I held the Medal of Honor. Mm hmm. And he said over my shoulder, freedom isn't free. Wow. I had no concept of what he meant. Yeah. So I think a lot of the times grandparent should know beyond just loving your grandkids. My mom and dad, I love it. They are the best grandparents. And. And, you know, Bethany had four kids and and 11 to three. And so grandparents are our assets.
Yes. Know it's helpful.
Thank God. But, you know, beyond just the love and you know. And boy, did they spoil my kids.
Gladly. That's our job. Done that. Where's Clay? You spoil it. All those little sugar sentinel, which gives us a date, which is great. It's a good.
Anyway, you know, I think even though I was not yet in a place to really value and understand his story, those words were still there when I needed them. And I think that that if you speak truth to your grandkids in bite sized snippets, just trust that when the time is right, those seeds will will sprout. And that's what happened in my life. And, you know, I think I finally when I was ready to understand what he meant. Those memories were there and they came flooding back. And so just trust that even if in the moment, you know, they don't understand. They will they will later.
Well, we're talking with John Irwin about his brand new book called Beyond Valor, a World War Two Story of Extraordinary Heroism, Sacrificial Love and a Race Against Time. It's hot off the press. And we'd like to make a copy of this riveting book available to you. We're sending it to say thank you for your investment and making these daily programs available. You know, Pastor Greg dedicates these half hours to teaching believers from the word and sharing Christ with those who don't yet know the Lord. And your investment helps us reach further and touch more lives. So can we count you in with your donation right now? We'll be glad to send you this new book again called Beyond Valor. Just write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside, California, nine two five one four. Or call one 800. Eight to one. Thirty three hundred. That's one 800 eight two one three three zero zero. Or go on line to harvest dot org.
Our life is like a movie where the star evangelist Craig Lord. We have questions about this movie we're in. Is it a love story?
Is this movie a tragedy? What is the meaning of my life? An online event is coming that can change your life. We can all use a rush of hope.
Russia called the world's first online cinematic harvest crusade on your favorite social media platform, Labor Day weekend, September 4th, through September seven. Invite a friend to tune in for a message of hope from evangelist Greg Laurie and exclusive performances by Jeremy Camp Disaster.
Mercy Me. And for King and country.
A rush of hope coming to a screen near you. Labor Day weekend details at harvest doors.
Well, next time, Pastor Gray continues his series in Times Living Like Jesus will return at any moment.
Important insights from the pages of Bible prophecy next time on a new beginning.
The preceding message from Greg Laurie was made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere, no God sign up for Pastor Gregs free daily email devotions at Harvest StarTalk.