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The World Changer at the End of the World, Part 2 - II

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 21, 2020 3:00 am

The World Changer at the End of the World, Part 2 - II

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 21, 2020 3:00 am

When God needed someone to build an ark, He chose Noah. But Noah was not a trained shipbuilder! Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that, when God calls us to a task, He'll enable us for the task.

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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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A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by some special friends of this ministry. Pastor Greg? I wanted to say a special word of thanks to the Harvest Partners who make this ministry possible.

Next time you're online, check out Pastor Greg's personal blog at blog.GregLaurie.com. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out great leaders in the Bible were often chosen from unlikely men and women. God often calls what we might describe as unqualified people to do His work. Listen, the calling of God will be the enabling of God.

And remember this, the ark was built by amateurs, but the titanic was built by professionals, okay? So, God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the call. When God needs a job done, He doesn't gather all the resumes of those with Harvard MBAs.

He doesn't peruse the SAT scores or the Fortune 500 listings or contact an executive search firm. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the Lord looks for those with willing hearts, and then He empowers them and equips them. We'll see today how we can make ourselves available for service to God's kingdom. Glad you tuned in for some good practical encouragement from the life of Noah. Today, everywhere you look, there are what we might call signs of the times. Things that the Bible said would be happening that remind us that the return of Christ is near.

You might say the writing is on the wall. It is an interesting story from the book of Daniel of King Belshazzar. He was a wicked man. He went out of his way to mock God and to mock the Israelites. And of course the Israelites were under Babylonian captivity at that time.

And Belshazzar was the leader of Babylon. So one day he said, hey let's get all those cups and things those Jews use in their worship services. And let's fill them with wine.

Let's drink out of them. And let's praise our false gods. I think he went out of his way to thumb his nose at God. To mock God.

And that is exactly what they did. So while they were having this drunken feast, all of a sudden he looked up and saw a hand writing on the wall. The thing is there was no arm connected to the hand. Just a hand writing on the wall. Now he was drunk.

But he had never seen anything like this. And that hand wrote these words, many, many, teclufarsen. So it freaked him out. The Bible says, I love King James, it says his knees smote one against another.

It means his knees were knocking. So he called for Daniel the prophet. Come in here Daniel. Tell me what it means. Daniel reads it and says, ok I know what it means.

Tell me. What does it mean? I will give you up to half of my kingdom.

Buddy you ain't going to have much of a kingdom in just a short while. Here is what it means. You have been weighed in God's balances and you have been found lacking. You know usually when you get on a scale you want to weigh less.

Right? But when you want to get on God's scales you want to weigh more and have some substance. And basically the prophet was saying, you are a lightweight.

You have no substance in your life and judgment is upon you. And sure enough right outside of the gates of Babylon were the Medo-Persians who quickly overtook Belshazzar. And that was the end of his reign. But the writing was on the wall for him and the writing is on the wall for us. And actually one of the signs of the end times is people will say we are not in the end times.

Did you know that? Because over in 2 Peter 3 it says, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come mocking the truth and following their own desires. And they will say, hey what happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? For before the time of our ancestors everything has remained the same. Since the world was first created they deliberately forgot that God made the heavens long ago by the word of His command. And He brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. And He used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. So this of course is a reference to the flood of Noah. And that brings us to our topic which is the world changer at the end of the world. Noah was a last days believer.

You say, but how is that possible? Well he was living in his last days. He was living in the days before the flood. Now we are not going to have another flood. But we are going to have the fire. The judgment of God. So he in effect was waiting for the flood.

We are waiting for the fire. He was in his last days. We are in our last days.

And here is why I say that. Because Jesus said, as it was in the days of Noah so will it be when I return again. Jesus said in Matthew 24, the arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah's. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual.

Having a good time. Right up to the time that Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing until the flood swept everything away. And the Son of Man's arrival will be just like that. Two men will be working in the field. One will be taken. One left behind.

Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken. One left behind. So stay awake.

Be alert. You have no idea what day your master will show up. And so I want you to turn to Genesis chapter 6. Now God gives him a very unique command in Genesis 6 verse 14. God says to Noah to build an ark. And Genesis 6 verse 14 says, God speaking, build a large boat from gopher wood and waterproof it with tar inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 70 feet wide, 45 feet high. Leave an 18 inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side and build three decks inside the boat.

Lower, middle, and upper. Now this would require a supreme act of faith because there was no body of water nearby. In fact to the point it had never rained on the face of the earth. The earth at this point in the book of Genesis was sort of like a big giant greenhouse.

There was sort of this water canopy over the earth creating this greenhouse effect. But God said a flood is coming. And so he told Noah to do something that had never been done before. To build this ark. In one of the greatest practical acts of faith in all of history was when Noah cut down the first gopher wood tree to build this ark.

Or as the kids song about it says, build it out of gopher barky barky. And that is exactly what he did. He built this amazing ark. And by the way we don't read that Noah was a carpenter and certainly not a ship builder. Reminding us that God often calls what we might describe as unqualified people to do his work. Listen. God does not call the qualified.

He qualifies the called. You say well I am not gifted in this area or I am not talented or I don't have the skill set. Maybe that is true. And maybe God will call you to do the one thing you don't feel you could ever do. Because you won't depend upon yourself but you will depend upon the Lord.

The calling of God will be the enabling of God. And remember this. The ark was built by amateurs but the titanic was built by professionals.

Ok. So this worked out pretty well. This ark didn't sink. And Noah models for us how a last days believer should live. So here is old Noah floating around in his giant box. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Altogether he is floating in the ocean for about a year. And the sea can be a very lonely place. He is in a giant wooden box filled with animals. I mean seriously that must have stunk.

So bad. But the voyage is now coming to a close. And so he is waiting and the Bible tells us that God's Spirit blew across the land. The clouds began to dissipate. The sun appears and eventually the grass and the plants and the trees begin to come back to life. Or as the song says, the sun came out and dried up the landy landy. Remember?

Do you know the song I am talking about? The Lord told Noah to build him an arky arky. The Lord told Noah to build him an arky arky.

Build it out of gopher barky barky children of the Lord. And the animals, the animals, they came in by twosies twosies. You ever heard this? It says great theology people.

You will learn the story of Noah by learning this song. And then the sun came out and dried up the landy landy. Everything was fine and dandy dandy. And that is true. It was. That is all you are going to remember from this sermon. You know it.

But I love this. Because we are told in Genesis 8 God remembered Noah. Maybe he wondered sometimes, Lord you sort of put us out in this big old wooden box and we are bobbing around here like a cork.

Are you still with us? The Lord did say come into the ark, which implied God was in the ark with them. And one other thing I would add. Before the flood came on the earth the ark was removed. And in the same way before the judgment comes upon this world the church will be raptured. Because the Bible says God has not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. God remembered Noah.

And listen to this. Noah remembered God. Genesis 8 20 says Noah built an altar to the Lord. You know we have a tendency to often forget God. I mean listen I don't know about you but if I was in a wooden boat with a bunch of stinking animals for a year and I finally hit land the first thing I would do is I would just go kiss the ground and run around and jump.

I would want to get some exercise. The first thing Noah does. I love this. And this says a lot about him.

The first thing he does according to Genesis 8 20 is he built an altar to the Lord. Lord thank you. I give thanks to you. You know Noah knew how to put first things first. And we can do the same thing.

You say how? Well how about when you go out to a restaurant or eat at home for that matter. And the food is put in front of you. How about giving thanks to the Lord.

You know I know the food is hot. But just a word of prayer. Lord we thank you for this meal. By the way we call that saying grace right. When you do that prayer it doesn't have to be a super long prayer.

I am just letting you know. Because some people feel that is the time to pray for all the missionaries and the food is getting cold. And you know we are making the kids close their eyes and pray.

You don't have to make it so miserable. The foods are. The objective of grace is thank you Jesus for this food that you have provided. Alright let's eat. But I love that act.

I think it is a great thing to do publicly. Not in a showy or ostentatious way. But your meal comes. You bow your head.

You pray. I was in a restaurant a while back and a very large family sat down. Beautiful family. And the food came and they all just bowed their head and they gave thanks. Fantastic.

You know I loved it. I think that is a great testimony. So giving thanks to the Lord.

That is a way of doing it. Remembering the Lord with a faithful giving of your finances is another. Proverbs 3 9-10 says, Honor the Lord with your wealth with the first fruits of your crops that your barns may be filled to overflowing and your vats will overflow. The idea is look everything you have is given to you by God. Now you bring a tithe to the Lord. Say what is a tithe? Ten percent. Pretty basic.

Pretty easy to figure out. You bring that to the Lord. That is remembering the Lord. That is honoring the Lord. That is acknowledging all you have comes from the Lord. I saw a bumper sticker that says, Tithe if you love Jesus.

Anyone can honk. And that is true. Also when you get Him ready for bed. You know to take your Bible out and read it.

Instead of updating your social media or whatever else you are doing. You know read the Word of God. Number four when that alarm goes off. When you think about skipping church on that particular Sunday. Get everybody together.

Load them in the car. Put first things first and remember God. You know the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 12, Remember the Creator in the days of your youth. We have a tendency to forget God in our younger days. Sometimes kids say, Well I am young. You know I have to sow my wild oats.

Do you? Well let me tell you something. You are going to reap what you sow. Ok. So these decisions you are making are going to come back to haunt you later in life.

And it ain't going to be pretty. I can't think of a better time to commit your life to Christ than when you are very young. I became a Christian when I was 17 years old.

That is three years ago amazingly. But I just really aged quickly. No. It has been many years now for me. But I have never looked back and said, Oh I wish I would have done it in my thirties or forties and had some fun first. No. I am so glad.

I think of all the miserable experiences I missed and the bad decisions I avoided. By the way most people make their commitment to Christ before the age of 18. And that is why we always are reaching out to younger people in our crusades because we know that is a critical age for them. As our study of Noah continues, we will see this wasn't the time for the happily ever after ending. No. A plot twist is coming.

That is next. It is so encouraging when we hear from listeners who have been impacted by the ministry of a new beginning. Including this man who is listening to Pastor Greg while driving. I am a 50 year old man who drank terribly yesterday. Had a horrible mouth yesterday. And despised people yesterday. But today I woke up with a genuine great regard for people. I like people.

I don't have any desire to drink. I don't have a nasty mouth anymore. And I just feel hope for the first time in as long as I can recall. I am just calling to say thank you. And if you had any idea the person I was yesterday to who I feel like today. I wish this comment line were able to take an hour worth of telling you how much difference there is and what a life I have come from and out of. But more than anything I just wanted to tell you all thank you and I can't say thank you enough. God bless you Greg and everybody on staff. You have no idea what an impact you've made in at least this man's life. What a great story of how God changes lives. If you've had your life changed because of the ministry of Harvest would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop him an email at Greg at Harvest dot org.

Again that's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well today Pastor Greg is helping us consider the example of Noah. Who built an ark and preserved the lives of his family.

Not to mention the animals two by two. Let's continue. Now this is where the story should end. I should say so let's follow the example of Noah.

Let's pray. But that's not where the story ends. And this is why I love the Bible. Because the Bible is an honest book. So if someone does well the Bible tells us they did well. If someone messes up the Bible tells us they mess up. Guess what? Noah messed up. Did you know that? A lot of people don't know the rest of the story of Noah.

They just know it up to this point. I mean if this was a movie we basically have the closing scene. The camera goes in for a close up. Noah's tear stained face is looking heavenward as he gives thanks to the Lord and his family. All they have is their hands lifted. Even the animals have their little paws lifted you know. Everybody you know like that. And then the camera pulls back and we see a beautiful rainbow.

You know a seal of God's promise. And the credits roll. Right. That's the story.

That's part of the story. But the Bible has a little more in Genesis 9. We have Noah messing up big time. Here is a guy who walked with God for 600 years.

And I might add this. Nothing was ever said critically about Noah. Not one single thing. In fact quite the opposite. We just read Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a righteous man who walked with God. By faith Noah did this.

Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Amazing. But even godly people can mess up. You can mess up. I can mess up. Any of us can. So what happened?

Let's read about it. Genesis 9 verse 20. After the flood Noah began to cultivate the ground and he planted a vineyard. And one day he drank some wine he had made and he became drunk and lay naked inside the tent. Ham the father of Canaan saw that his father was naked, went outside and told his brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father.

As they did this they looked the other way so they would not see him naked. When Noah woke up from his stupor he learned what Ham his youngest son had done and he cursed Canaan the son of Ham. May Canaan be cursed and may he be the lowest of servants to his relatives. Then Noah said, May the God of Shem be blessed and may Canaan be his servant and may God expand their territory of Japheth. May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem and may Canaan be his servant. Noah lived another 350 years after the flood.

He lived 950 years and then he died. The first thing Noah's fall teaches us is anyone can fall into sin. The moment you say, Man I am doing so well spiritually. I don't think I would ever fall. You just made yourself super vulnerable. You say, But why? Because the Bible says pride goes before a fall. You see. So we have to be very careful. Yes Noah was a preacher of righteousness.

Few people have his credentials. But here is the thing. When you have known the Lord for a while it is very easy to become more vulnerable than a young Christian. Let me explain. When I take my grandkids to play in a playground they want me to come. They want me to catch them. They want me to put them up on things. They want me to do things for them. In effect they are dependent upon me. Do this Papa.

Help me here Papa. Because they know they are little kids and they know they need help. Before they cross the street they reach up for my hand. I am there to help them. And they depend upon me. That is a child.

The child knows they need help. But when I am an adult I don't reach for someone's hand to take me across the street. Right. But here is the thing. As I grow in my faith and I have known the Lord for years I will say, I am doing well.

I can pretty much lower my guard. And I might be more vulnerable than a young believer. Because a young believer knows they can potentially fall. So they ask for prayer. They depend on God.

They are more careful. But the older believer thinking they have reached some plateau of some kind begin to lower their defenses and suddenly they find themselves vulnerable. And we see this of course played out in Scripture. Simon Peter is the classic example. Jesus said one of you is going to betray me.

So Peter thought that would be a good opportunity to boast about his love. Yeah well I will tell you what Lord. They will all deny you. I will never deny you. So it wasn't enough to just say he would never let Jesus down. But he said, even if these other losers let you down I will never do it. With this paraphrase Jesus says, well buddy since you brought it up you are going to deny me three times before the rooster crows twice. Oh no way.

Oh yeah way. It happened. And that is exactly what he did. So what was Peter's real first step down? Pride. Thinking it would never happen to him. And by the way there are other men of God and women of God who fell later in life too. Moses. I mean Moses. The guy that God gave the Ten Commandments to. The guy that God used to lead the Israelites to the wilderness gets right to the brink of the promised land. And he just got ticked off at the Israelites one time. They were thirsty and wanted water and he comes up with the staff and he goes, you rebels must we fetch water like we have always done for you. And he hits the rocks. There is your water.

God says, Moses come here. Let's go behind the woodshed. What are you talking about? Must we? Who is doing the miracles here? You or me? I will tell you what Moses because of this you are not going to enter the promised land.

You will see it with your eyes but you won't go in. He blew it toward the end of his life. David did the same. David the king of Israel. But I love David because he is well just so real. He is so human.

He is so much like us. I mean the little shepherd boy who sang praises to God. The giant killer in the valley of Elah. The warrior.

The poet. The man after God's own heart. That was said of no other man. Yet he also was an adulterer and he ultimately was a murderer. And he did many things wrong. And then his son Solomon who he passed the kingdom onto who at one point was the wisest man who had ever lived went into a horrible time of backsliding.

So here is the point I am trying to make. These people messed up at the end. Look you can run a good race but if you run first place all the way to the end and collapse before the finish line you lose. I don't care if you were ahead for all the other time.

So it's not just about starting well it's about finishing well. Good insights from Pastor Greg Laurie today from our study of the life of Noah. It's part of his series called World Changers here on A New Beginning. And to get a copy of today's full presentation what will take us three days on the air to complete contact us and mention the title The World Changer at the End of the World Part 2. You can call 1-800-821-3300. We're here to take your call 24-7. Again that's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. You know Pastor Greg I'm sure you've seen all the 2020 memes about the mess we're in right now. Someone wrote has anyone tried unplugging it and then plugging it back in? You know the world is just out of control on so many levels and things need to change. And you have your new book called World Changers that explains how our culture can find its way back to God and his plan. It's a plan that'll work even in the mess of 2020 isn't that right? Yeah totally true you know 2020 has been the craziest year I think that pretty much any of us can remember because nothing is gone is expected. There was a buoyant optimism at the beginning of this year 2020 sounded so futuristic. So many opportunities and all of a sudden seemingly out of nowhere comes the coronavirus and on the heels of that social upheaval riots in the streets. In some ways it looks like our country is starting to unravel and I think that people are so uncertain and they're searching and they're trying to figure out what's going on and there's never been a more important time for Christians to let their light so shine before men that people might see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.

It's time to be a world changer. So I've written a brand new book called World Changers and it's based on Hebrews 11 which is sometimes called the Hall of Faith instead of the Hall of Fame because it's the stories of great men and women of God who did extraordinary things and again I want to emphasize they were ordinary people but they were willing to step out of their comfort zone and take a step of faith and the theme of Hebrews 11 is what these people did with their faith, how their faith motivated them. You know another interesting thing is some of these people were pretty flawed characters. Samson made it into the Hall of Faith and we all know about his shortcomings and downfall but it's interesting to note that none of their mistakes or sins are recorded in Hebrews 11, only their victories and I think that's just a perfect picture of grace is God forgives us and he sees us in Christ and he says your sins and iniquities, well I remember no more. So if you've messed up in life, if you've failed and you feel that there's no more chances for you, you need to read this book because it's going to encourage you.

It's going to show you how people that failed like Samson, like David and others got up again and served the Lord and really impact their culture, their world. You know Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel. Well the world's a very big place isn't it?

So let's personalize that for a moment. Go into all of your world and preach the gospel. You know some people say they want to cross the sea and be a missionary.

How about crossing the street and talking to your neighbor? How about your sphere of influence? You can change your world. You just need to take steps of faith and this book is sort of like a blueprint on how to do it based on biblical characters that made an impact on the culture they were living in and then reminding us of how we can do the same in our culture today.

Yeah, yeah that's right and there's never been a time when our culture was more ready for solid answers and real hope. So we'd like to send you Pastor Greg's new book, World Changers, to thank you for your investment. It's an investment in changed lives.

We're working to change the world each day here on A New Beginning and your investment helps us reach even further. So we hope you'll get in touch today. You can write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. And there's someone here to take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Again 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg brings us the conclusion to his insights from the life of Noah, part of his series called World Changers. Be sure to tune in for A New Beginning with Pastor Greg Laurie. The preceding message from Greg Laurie was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for Pastor Greg's free daily email devotions at harvest.org.
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