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The Test of a World Changer - I

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2020 3:00 am

The Test of a World Changer - I

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 2, 2020 3:00 am

Sarah was 89, Abraham was 99, when God told them they were going to have a newborn! Surprise is an understatement. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out there's a lot to learn from Sarah's successes and failures.

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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 know God check out virtue our website for Christian women go to visibility you become in the movie dedicated Pastor Greg Laurie point. So when you so you can watch as you can with you so you will know what you're facing right now. You're busy. No hardship, control, all you your way world seeming to steppingstone Greg Lori is pointing out those in the Bible whom I got you remarkable thing. They may not have been usually smarter school folders.

They make themselves available re-perseverance used in remarkable ways were learning how we can make ourselves available considered Abraham today is one of you let me begin with you exercise you workout in some way shape or form razor. Are you okay how you view like to exercise drug to enjoy the love a good workout.

I don't understand you people of all I thought about going to the gym the other day but I I had a donut. My got over it so that was the but you know, I've tried lifting weights. The problem is their heavy no but seriously, you know, it's a good thing to go to the gym.

But if you don't do anything when you're there. It's not all that helpful to go to the gym sit around it all on the exercise ball. Use it as a pillow.

That's not going to help you much.

You need to go and work out you need to do cardio, you need to do weights or whatever it is to get stronger because as they say, no pain, no gain that can be true in our spiritual life as well. We have to go through times of testing to build us up spiritually.

That's what I want to talk about in this message.

The testable world changer that brings me right away to point number one testings and trials are God's gym.

What we are broken down to be built up again. Testings and trials like God's gym.

What we are to be broken down so we can be built up. Let me explain to build muscle, you must break down muscle. The same is true of faith. Faith is not given to us as a trophy, put it in a display case it's not given to us is something we just stand back and admire. Faith is given to us to use the put in action.

And if you want your faith to get stronger. You will go through times of testing a good few verses together here in Hebrews 11 talking about the heroes of faith. He was 11 is a collection of the great men and women of faith from the Old Testament that did things that cause them to be singled out by God to be good in this special place that I've called them world changers describing the kind of hardship these world changers have gone through Hebrews 11 verse 36 to 39 says this and I'm reading from the new living translation.

There were torture, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free replacer open a better life after the resurrection somewhere jeered at their backs were cut open with with others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning somewhere sawed in half and others were killed with the sword.

Someone about wearing skins of sheep and goats destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world wandering over deserts and mountainside eating games and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith. Yet none of them receive all that God had promised.

There these heroes of the faith really work world changers their faith grew stronger through experience. Now let me take a quick bowl. How many of you want to be a world changer razor. Okay Alyssa when you say you want to be a world changer would you say you want God to use you. You are in effect also pray Lord, send me trials so some of your thinking I'm a truck that last statement number listen. Trials are part of the Christian life. If you want to be a world changer you go to be tested.

James one says when all kinds of trials and temptations crowd of your lies.

My brothers don't see them as intruders but treat them as friends realize income that test your faith and to produce in you a quality of endurance and let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed and you will become men and women of mature character men and women of integrity with no weak spot. Well I want to look for a few moments, Abraham's wife Sarah because she to makes it to the very exclusive Hall of Fame will get Hebrews 11 verse 11. It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren. I was too old to believe that God would keep his promise sold. Lucian came from this one man was as good as dead and they said was so many people there like the stars in the sky in the sand on the seashore.

There is no way the count will stop not to be honest with you I find it amazing that Sarah of all people made the heroes Hall of Fame. Certainly women deserve to be in the hall of faith. I think of Deborah the great warrior judge your Ruth or Esther or Mary who carried the Lord in her womb, but Sarah is one of the girls that makes it the other is Rahab will talk about her at another time. And the reason I mention this is because she didn't seem to have a lot okay when God came to Abraham and Sarah told him they were getting up a child, they balked at it because she was after all 65 years old and Abraham was 75 but Sarah thought well I don't know if this is going to happen. So maybe God needs a little bit ago, the kid she would be unable to conceive a child. She said to Abraham wanted to go and marry my maid Hagar and have a child with her Abraham reacted a little too quickly and went my moment and next thing you know, sure enough, Hagar is conceived in a child is born in the boy's name Ishmael and and Abraham doted on the boy immediately as Sarah becomes jealous and she's angry and Hagar and she's angry at her husband would frenzy the point number two when unbelief tries to solve a problem, it creates a bigger problem again when unbelief tries to solve a problem, it creates a bigger problem.

Listen, God wants to do his will in his way and his timing. God doesn't want us to do his will in our own way. God does not meet our manipulation. God does not need us to bring his will. About he will do it in his way and in the is time and sometimes we rush out ahead of the Lord thinking he needs a little help, let me say a few words to you were single. How many of you are single you're not married razor. You look around. Just don't look too long to get somewhere okay so you're single and you're wondering where is that person that God has for me. Where's that guy wears a girl, maybe your young girl hearsay Laura. I'm ready to get married.

I waited for so long. Where is that man.

I'm already 19 what's going on so you get impatient is that I really like the guys in church you know that they're not as cool as the guys out there that are in church and maybe I'll date some of these nonbelieving guys and to lead them to the Lord. Yeah, maybe you will.

And maybe it will work out that way. This is why the Bible warns, don't be unequally yoked together with nonbelievers for what fellowship does light have with darkness or righteousness with unrighteousness ready so you could tell me of a Christian girl who married a nonbelieving guy brought of the Christ. I could tell you 100 stories of Christian girls. I got involved with nonbelieving guys in a drug them down spiritually is a so God doesn't need us to do his will in our own way. You wait upon the Lord for that right guy or that right girl and again I can't think of a better place to find them right here in church but something may happen financially when you about financial crisis of some kind. So now you get a garden help God and you're going to go out and run up your credit cards and you just talked and prayed about it and say Lord I need your help. Well, 10 years pass and Sarah's plan B backfired horribly.

So the Lord comes back again and says this area you're going to be a mother you're going to bear a child. Now she's 89 years old almost 90 and Abraham is 99 years old almost 100 when the Lord says to her you're going have a son. Here's what the Bible says in Genesis 18 she began to laugh. The Lord said or is anything too hard for the Lord and then the Lord said, why did you laugh and she said I didn't a lot Lord says initiated, you can almost understand Sarah's reaction. Here's what amazes me as I look at her story in the New Testament and specifically here in Hebrews 11, not one of her mistakes. As mentioned, not one of her lapses is mentioned. That's because Hebrews 11 is a record of faith, not unbelief. It lists the victories not the defeat for God says their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. I love this because when you become a Christian, you're a new person in Christ, all things have passed away. Everything becomes fresh and you in a moment. Pastor Greg takes a look at the faith of Abraham, whom God told to sacrifice his only son Isaac will discuss that next Pastor Greg we have something exciting.

We just tallied up the numbers in this year just since January, we've now seen 100,000 professions of faith through harvest ministers, which is absolutely yes, David is incredible in the way and came about is even more incredible because of the beginning of 2020 we went before everybody in our church in our ministry and said we have a goal this year and some of you may remember this. I've seen 100,000 people make a profession of faith. I'll be honest with you I had some doubts like I we can really get this number but I thought why not shoot for will see what the Lord does well covered 19 so we went exclusively online with our weekend program that we call harvest is basically a church service that you want in your home, but each week I've been inviting people to come to Christ and on one particular Sunday we had 7000 people make a profession of being so now as we tallied the members. We've reached the hundred thousand mark we reach it in an unexpected way. So what that says to me is what we have the right idea, but the Lord had a different way of bringing it about.

So we do saying to God be the glory.

Let's just keep going because were passing that number now listen to this. The Bible says there is joy in heaven over one sinner that comes to repentance and we have seen 100,000 people in just months make this profession of faith to follow Christ. So we join the Angels and rejoicing will pastor Greg is presenting his series called world changers and today's message is titled the test of a world changer is so now we shift gears from this interesting narrative about Sarah and we come to the story of when God comes to Abraham and asks him to offer his son Isaac.

Look at Hebrews 11 starting in verse 17 by faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac and he who would receive the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said in Isaac shall your CV call concluding that God was able to raise him up from the dead from which he also received him figurative stop fellowship for a moment over to Genesis 22 I had you turn there as well… Read what actually happened in the Genesis account of when Abraham offered up Isaac. Genesis 22 verse one God tested Abraham's faith and obedience and said Abraham. Abraham replied yes Lord, here I am God says take your son, your only son yes Isaac, whom you love so much and go to the land of Moriah and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will we know what I get. If you want to be a world changer and live by faith, know that your faith is going to be tested. But this wasn't epic test.

This is a test that very few people would face. In fact, in many ways, you would have to say to be tested on this level was quite an honor, because the Lord knew Abraham could handle it against what God knows what you can handle.

God knows what you can handle, so you're going through a test ride out the nursing I can handle this.

Yes, you can otherwise God would not allow you to go through whatever the Lord allows his children to go through fiery trials. He always keeps an eye on them and a finger on the thermostat. You won't let it get too hot for you, but he knew that Abraham would rally he knew Abraham would pass this test. He knew that Abraham would take this setback and turn it into an opportunity to listen to this disability can become inability one dedicated to God's. I don't know what you're facing right now you're facing a hardship tragedy, the death of a loved one.

Maybe you had to go through life with some kind of a disability is able.

Greg, it's really easy for you to say a disability can be turned into an ability you don't have a disability.

All that's true, but I know someone who does. My friend Johnny Erickson taught Izzy Johnny Erickson taught is spent 49 years in a wheelchair due to a diving accident when she was a young girl. She's a quadriplegic, but she said I wanted take this horrible tragedy and I want to use it to show people that God can help them in the worst moments of their lives and she's traveled around the world and inspired countless people and then there's my friend Nick Foye chips you've met him before born without limbs and he's been such an inspiration to so many people so look.

Here's the bottom line, you can't control what's going to happen in your life. All you get to do is decide how you're going to react to what comes your way and world changers turn seeming setbacks into steppingstones.

Succumbing back to Abraham. God asked him to make the greatest sacrifice imaginable because you see. Finally, his son was born. Sarah actually did bring forth that child in her old age and he became the light of Abraham's life. Abraham doted on that boy back. The very name that they gave him says that all the name was Isaac, which means laughter.

They love that young boy. So now Abraham is going to be tested again. He's going to go to one of the most difficult task that he has ever faced, and that is what is he going to do when God asked him to offer his son by the way, this was one of many tests they came the way of Abraham number one, there was the family test when he was called to leave his land and go to a new land. We might give him a passing grade on that see he did obey God completely. He brought along his nephew Lot, which became a problem later in life. Number two, there was a famine test a famine team in the land and how it Abraham reactive that Willie went down to Egypt. As you know, lied about his wife got rebuked by the Pharaoh that didn't go very well, so we might see. He sort of failed that test. Then there was a fellowship test where he gave a lot of his nephew first choice over the land.

He knew we had to part company with his nephew. So I said I'll tell you what lot you go to the right will go to the lab you go to the love I'll go to the right you choose the land that you want. He put the needs of others above himself by the way he passed out with flying colors. Then there was a fatherhood test would Sarah got impatient with God. Of course Yorty saw what happened there with the birth of Ishmael.

So that became a problem. But now we come to the ultimate test. And God says I want you to bring your son, your only son, let me suggest something that I can say this with certainty, but I think it may be true, could it be that Isaac can actually become the most important thing in Abraham's life. Let me put it another way, could it be that Isaac that son that Abraham and Sarah had waited for for so long, actually became the idol of his life. Did you know that a lot of things can become idols in our life, not just bad things but sometimes even good things that are out of their proper place for it since people will say, for me, family is number one. It's all about family nothing is more important than family.

Actually that is not true God should be number one in your life. Not for Jesus made this provocative statement. If anyone wants to be my disciple.

He must hate his father.

His mother is why hate the husband gave the children, and even his own life, then you can come and be my disciple. And of course you read that say why got one part down. I do hate my husband know that's a never really what is this even me is Jesus we literal that we should heed our family. No court sought a better way to translate that would be love a lot so you could read stated this way, if any man wants to be a follower of Jesus, he must love God more than his spouse. He must love God more than his parents. She must love God more than her children. But here's the beautiful thing. If you love the Lord with all of your heart, soul and mind. You'll have more love for your husband more love for your wife more love for your parents and more love for your children.

You see it's getting your priorities in order.

But you might say will know families number one you know some people to stop showing up in church, haven't seen you in church lately were given soccer kids are in soccer and it's always on Sundays. Okay soccer family yeah, but what about church well go to soccer non-netiquette soccer okay my granddaughters play soccer. One of them was on a team called the purple princesses is a very threatening team is the purple princesses and they didn't keep track of the score that made me laugh and I said what's his quote we don't keep score, said one person that some other guy that was watching told me what the score actually was. But here's the point. It's good to have your get involved in programs and things like that but they need to be in church with you if you're making family, your idle it can become a problem in your own life or some evils.

FYI, we can go to church anymore but we have a newborn.

We don't want to put the newborn in in the nursery. They might get sick to couple years pass by wife and I seen you at church. We have a toddler know we don't put the toddler in church, put the kids in Sunday school man listen the kid needs to learn the word of God just like you need to learn the word of God but don't let your family become the idol of your life for other people their body can become their arrival.

Everything's about their body, everything's about their appearance for other people and object can become an idol. Take the place of God.

It can be a car, it could be a career. It can be a house. It can be cell phone, so maybe God would come be with your cell phone only, so phone that you love and offer it to me. Greg Laurie insights today on the faith of Abraham and insights on the example set forth by his wife Sarah and there's more to come from. This message called the test of a world changer, including one more illustration before we close today but if you like a permanent copy of the full presentation get in touch and mention the title detestable world changer. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24 seven again at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to and it's a real privilege to have Pastor Grace wife Kathy with us today along with authors Jeff and Chante Phil Hahn. They bring the new book thriving in love and money subtitled five-game changing insights about your relationship your money and yourself that you point out that money issues spring from relationship issues.

Issues of communication, each spouse misunderstanding the others feelings and point of view on spending and saving. Let's speak specifically to somebody listening right now. Maybe there thinking how mad this is an area where we are really struggling at home right now. Let's offer some immediate help you while they wait for the book to arrive was the first thing they can do today to get them aimed in the right direction not only financially, but more importantly in the relationship. So you might get me to okay okay it's easy once so the first thing that I would do is ask each other. One question, is there anything that I could to make it easier for you to talk about money with me is anything that I could do differently that would make it easier for you to talk about money with me put the knives down.

Maybe I can open up a lot of these kinds as discussions and just get you started and hopefully sit way rather than an angry way but you know will will take what we can get in terms of a starting point asking and answering calmly the second thing that I would suggest is we actually created a free assessment that you can take it we took here in the right time, but the key is for that assessment can't seen this sense, it's only five or six minutes, but it's a very robust engine under the surface will get you some really really specialized.

Where are you starting in this lot. In many journey why are any areas that you're already doing well because if you know that my goodness, I didn't realize this is a big deal I can do more of that right like it's a good thing. Andy areas the most need to work on. It'll just get you started exactly it. It didn't take long it was and it was very easy to answer the questions and just understanding what went what you value when evaluated and once again that assessment is in this new book again. The title is thriving in love and money would like to send a copy of this your way to say thank you for your partnership in bringing these studies each day were completely listener supported without listener investments. We couldn't be here so I hope you sent a generous donation today and be sure to ask for thriving and love and money. Contact us today. You can write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or reach us by phone anytime day or night at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or just go online to when next time more on the faith of Abraham, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his only son as Pastor Greg paused in his message just a moment ago. He was speaking about those things that can become too important to us, sometimes more important than the Lord joked that maybe the Lord would want some of us to sacrifice our cell phones. Well, here's his closing comment so that you wrote an article and asked the question what if you treated your Bible like your cell phone. They ask what if you carried a Bible around in your purse or pocket. What if you grab when you are running out the door you grab your Bible like you grab yourself a mate if you ever left your house or driving on the street you realize you left your cell phone. It's like horrifying right it's like you turn around you go back you must have your cell phone. They asked the question what if you look at the Bible the same way you look at your cell phone. Think about often people check social media. You know you stand online now for coffee or whatever everyone's looking at the phone just staring at the phone. No one talks to each other anymore. I've seen people go on crosswalks across four lanes of traffic the grant of the sign says walk with her, looking at their phone the whole time. Is it really what if someone runs a line because they're looking at their cell phone to Eileen were so long we treated our Bible the same way and possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for pastor grades free daily email devotions and

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