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December 23, 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 know God, you want to hear from you. Would you consider emailing me you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org again that's Greg harvest.org and you can also make me one of your friends on Facebook and drop me a comment Joseph Goodison's, though he stood with her.
That's why I say is the song hero of the Christmas story and not every willing course, there's the Christ child, Mary Shepard is the wisemen working here in the innkeeper when oftentimes Joseph betrothed to Mary is barely mentioned he decision he made everything in motion, bringing God incarnate to earth today, have a new beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie hope to see how Joseph father often overlooked. Talk now about the family tree you might be surprised to know there were a few rogues in the gallery.
I'm talking prostitutes, lawyers, adulterers, even a murderer, you heard me right. All of these people and more were in the genealogy of Jesus Christ but start with David in verse one.
What a colorful character lot, Inc. in the Bible dedicated his life and his exploits. We know about his victories. The defeat of the massive giant of a man, Goliath 9'6" tall and we also know about is horrible failure with Bathsheba was identified in this genealogy is the wife of Arroyo. You could sum up David's name with those other two names David and Goliath's greatest victory.
David and Siva's worst defeat, but yet he makes it into those exclusive genealogy in all of human history and is not just a part of it. He's the most important member of the because Jesus was identified in his earthly ministry as Jesus the son of David talk about the redemption of a life editing. Did you know that God can redeem your life and you can redeem your name as well. Number two. We have team are in verse three. Who is she I have to admit to you, I'm shocked. She made this family trait that she was a woman who was a prostitute and not a godly woman that I can see from the story She's in the messianic line again. It's a story of redemption. Then there's Ray. Usually she just called Rahab the harlot Rahab the prostitute Rahab the hooker if you will. That's what she was. That's what she did in the city of Jericho, but when two spies were sent into check the city out before the Israelites invaded Joshua and Caleb.
She hid the manor house because of that she was spared when the Israeli army came in and somehow she makes it in to the messianic line. Absolutely amazing.
And finally we have Mary the mother of Jesus mentioned in verse 16. Far from being promiscuous. Mary was the very opposite.
She was virtuous and morally pure. She was chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah.
Mary is the only woman who actually had Jesus both in her womb, and later in her heart, so Gabriel is dispatched from heaven with the good news that Mary will be the mother of the Messiah. Let's pop over to look one known look at outburst together were dropped on the verse 26 Luke 126 down the six month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. Having come in, the angel said to rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women, and when she saw him she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. So basically the angel says hello Mary, please paraphrase you been handpicked by God to be the mother of the Messiah. And so what a special person she was. But I want to look at one last person in the Christmas story he so often overlooked show so, let's not forget about Joseph.
He's mentioned in verse 16.
In many ways is the unsung hero of the Christmas story. There's hardly any songs about them. Silent Night, it's round Yon Virgin mother and child holy infant so tender and mild. Then there's a very well-known song Mary did you know there's no song Joseph, did you know Joseph gets nothing but negativity said he sorta set over the side.
I know you were here sort of a bit part. You know, not all. We have a little nativity set.
We put on front of our house little plastic figures that light up so I pull them out of the garage, plugged in Jesus. He lit up beautifully plugged in Mary.
She lit up, plugged in, Joseph. He didn't light up courses, light bulbs that I don't why is it always shows up so replaces lightbulb but I want to give him the promise that he actually deserves.
Just as surely as God chose Mary to be the mother of the son of God.
He also chose Joseph to be the stepfather if you will, or earthly father figure on earth for Jesus. I get the big deal the father in heaven said, I'm choosing this man and who was a he was salt of the earth kinda guy, a blue-collar worker. He was a carpenter.
I think he was a man's man, a man of character, amount of principal amount of integrity.
The Lord said, I want that to be the man that helps raise the young Jesus and I'm sure Joseph taunted Jesus a good work ethic and how to put your back to a task in be responsible and such and get to put up with a lot of trauma, a lot of drama because you know here's Mary living in Nazareth already known for immorality, and she's pregnant and she says I Joseph I know this looks bad but I am the fulfillment of Isaiah. I'm the virgin that will conceive right yeah the engagement is off girl. The Bible says he decided to put her away privately because he loved her. He didn't want any harm to come to her so he asserted due this off the radar just now that were not to get married.
But when he was trouble because he loved her and he knew how godly she wasn't.
He couldn't understand how this would happen while he was sleeping. The Bible says an angel of the Lord came to him, not Gabriel hitting you Gabriel, but he got an angel and the angel said Joseph son of David, don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit, and shall bring forth a son, you call his name Jesus, because he will save his people from their son Joseph could have said no thanks.
I want to go through life being thought of as a guy who married a girl who got pregnant before she was married. Now he stood with her and that's why I say is the unsung hero of the Christmas story got extended to two unknown people living in an obscure place great grace Joseph and Mary the never be another Joseph and Mary next year will pull about in our nativity sets along with the wisemen and the shepherds again, though there will never be another Joseph and Mary, it's also true that will never be another you. I don't any of the people in the story had any idea of the part they were going to play in God's big plan to save the world. I don't think that thought never crossed the mind of team are poor. Rahab or David or any of the people other people that made it in here but they were being prepared by God, and you know sometimes in life we think I'm living in obscurity. Nobody cares about me, my life doesn't matter your life matters your life matters a lot in God is at work in your life and there are things that happen in your life that don't make sense right. One of that happen was a point of that because God is preparing you. God is preparing you for the plan that he has for you in this life and he is also preparing you for the after life and he is doing a work in your life right now know you can afford that plan you can sabotage our plan. But even if you mess up if you go to the Lord and say Lord I know you want me to do this, but I didn't do it and I made a mistake and I'm sorry God can also redeem your life. That's with the story of the genealogy of Christ tells us Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message just a moment. We hear from so many people find Christ through the study God's word dear Pastor Greg, I wake up to your voice on the radio each day. I've been a Christian since September 12, 1978 after hearing you speak in Riverside, California while living in Connecticut. My employers told me they were praying for me for many years. I did not delete that after hearing your life story all about Jesus. I begin to believe and made a decision to follow Jesus. Thank you Pastor Greg for all that you've done and continue to do for all of us need to hear the word. We hope Pastor Greg's words from Scripture continue to touch lives.
And if you have a commoner story to share, send it to Pastor Greg's email address is Greg@harvest.that's great harvest.org were considering the genealogy of Jesus today, as revealed in Scripture. Pastor Greg continues his message messed up family tree secures three final points will make why do we have the genealogy of Jesus Christ number one that God's grace may be richly displayed that God's grace may be richly displayed when you look at this list of men and women. The ideas don't focus on them. Focus on the grace of God, you know, after Jesus was born, who was the message announced to the court of Caesar. The religious leaders know shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Now we romanticize these guys what you want to understand where they were in the culture of the day they were on the bottom rung of the social ladder. They were looked down upon.
They were even despised so much so the testimony of a shepherd was not even allowed in a court of law. So Lord says okay and I'm been to announce the most momentous news in all human history who should I tell I know these guys and they heard the news before anybody else heard it, then the star comes who does it come to the Magi, the Magi were astrologers they were steeped in the occult.
They worship false gods.
But the Lord invaded their world and use the star that some believers the Shekinah glory of God to lead them to the place where Jesus was. So again God reaching out, even in this Christmas story to the people who were the lowest of the low just again displaying his grace, number two, we have the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Sharp focus would be on Jesus and not on his family. Some people come from very impressive families that all they have this great pedigree and all this, but some of us don't come from very impressive families. We have roads in our gallery maybe were one of the rogues in the gallery and we say will never amount to anything, but we have the story to show that the focus is not on the family of Christ sits on Christ himself, you know it's been said by so many of the reason I'm not a Christian is are too many hypocrites in the church. How I wish I could say oh it's not true. Come the harvest we have no hypocrites. That would be accurate. What it every church has hypocrites. I wish it were not so a lot of times we are not good representatives of Jesus Christ to our lost world today. I wish that we would spend less time bickering over minutia and spend more time in the church, loving one another. That's what we should be doing.
That's what Ephesians 432 says it says, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Those Christmas approaches.
You'll probably be gathering together with family. Some of you will be traveling some of you will have your family come to you in its extended family to and there's some family members are looking forward to seeing and there's a few, maybe you're not looking forward to seeing there some family members out of hurt you, and it's hard because you've never forgiven them and I would like to offer a word of advice this Christmas. That advice would be you need to forgive people who've wronged you and hurt you in life. He's able, Greg.
You don't even know what they've done to me you can stand up there in your stupid stage in your ugly jacket and Telesis the you don't know what these people have done no I don't but I know what God is done. What is that Scripture say be tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ is forgiven you. Here's my question. Do you deserve to be forgiven by God will answer for you know whatever gave you. Therefore you should forgive others what they don't deserve the forgiveness and thought about the listen forgiving someone is, is not letting them off the hook forgiving someone is a way for you to be free from a life of bitterness. You can be in a prison of anger and despair.
Even it's early in a way for you more than it is for them.
As I've said many times when you forgive a person you set a prisoner free yourself to not forgive is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the right to die. The rat seconded that you drink the poison idiot so you know you're the one you're the one that's being tortured by this, so let it go. Forgive and one last thing, we have the story so we might have hope for our future and the future of our family. I know most of us have murders and prostitutes in our family tree. We probably have a few adulterers, liars and cheats, but here's the point. God can intervene in your life but a word of caution.
It's been said that an ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure and I ask you today. What is the state of your family. Let me address men for a moment. I think men hold the key to a strong, vibrant family. I'm not in any way dismissing women or paying their role is any less.
I'm just saying the way God is designing this is men are supposed to take the initiative and lead be the spiritual leaders and one of the reasons our country is unraveling. And we have all of these problems and you could pretty much take every social ill that were facing today and you can trace it directly back to the breakdown of the home, and specifically the absence of a father. Men are derelict in their duty.
Far too often.
That's why commend you men that are here today at church with your family being the spiritual leader you should be. We are to love our wives is rice loves the church wives I know let you off the boat here.
You have your role to play. The Bible specifically says you should submit to the leadership of your husband by the window get hung up on that submit stuff. Who will that's chauvinistic know it isn't the word submit is used first to both husbands and wives. It says submit to one to another in the fear of God. Submit needs the support to undergird I get under my wife and I support her. She gets under me and supports me not always to the way too much, but we support each other. So take the word submit output support, but it says specifically wives support your husband submit euros of it and it also says respect your husband.
Now some of your single thing will I don't relate to any of this. Listen, you don't want to end up in a marriage that's unraveling so shoes well shoes well shoes a godly man choose a godly woman when you're making the second most important decision of your life. That is who you will marry most important decision of all is your relationship with Jesus Christ you want to make that choice. Listen, maybe your marriage is unraveling. As we come to the end of the year will put the brakes on. Don't let it happen what we've already filed papers tear the papers up change the course change the narrative God can still intervene and save your marriage but you need to apply yourself a great grade we have irreconcilable differences. As I've said before, I bet irreconcilable differences with my wife Kathy for 46 years, but we love each other more than ever is a reckoned probable damages. Giving up ready do what God is called you to do. He can turn it around. That's what the story is all about. It's about redemption. It's about a second chance, let me close with a verse that tells us why Jesus came.
Hebrews 725 it says of Jesus, he is able once and forever to save everyone who comes to God no matter how bad your situation.
He can save you. He can forgive you, Jesus will save you and if necessary give you another chance.
In this we close today. I wonder if there's someone listening to me here that does not have Christ living inside of them is a will, I'm a loser I'm not good enough know you never were good enough that Jesus died for your sin, and he rose again from the dead and now he stands at the door of your life, and he knocked and says if you hear his voice and open the door will commit the greatest gift of Christmas is the gift of eternal life. Whatever gift you're looking forward to giving or getting is going to be soon forgotten. I bet you can't even remember what gifts you receive. Last year you may remember what you gave because you had to pay for it, but a lot of those gifts are forgotten, but the gift of eternal life that the Bible calls the unspeakable or the indescribable gift that is to give the God offers to everyone the gift of knowing that you live forever in heaven in the presence of God.
Have you receive that gift yet that's all you have to do is receive it. Here it is. The Lord says I give it to you and you don't you can never repay me for but it's a gift, except this And if you're not sure that Christ is living inside of you that can change for you today. In a moment get a pray and I'm little extend an invitation for you to be forgiven by God. I'm also going to extend an invitation for someone that as well just messed up. You relate to some of these people in this story a blue that while God can. As I said turn your mess into a message she can forgive you. He can give you a second chance, but you have to admit you're a sinner yet. David Blewitt, but what did he do. He asked God to forgive him. He said Lord against you and you only have I sinned in and done this iniquity in your site, and God forgave him and God will forgive you if you'll ask him to Sonja Morgan, a pray and I meant to give you this opportunity to ask Christ into your life. If you need to, or to make a recommitment to him.
Let's all pray father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to be born in the manger to die on the cross and then to rise from the dead, and we know Jesus is here with us right here right now ready to come in the any human heart that I will ask him, but I prefer any person here any person watching or listening, whatever they are, they don't know Jesus, let this be there moment. They believe Mr. Greg important closing prayer and if you like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord today. Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's addition of a new beginning. Concludes if you weren't able to hear Pastor Greg full presentation.
You can get caught up by hearing the message again email@example.com the title to look for is a messed up family tree or call us for CD copy at 1-800-821-3300. We are here to take your call anytime 24 seven. Again, dial 1-800-821-3300 Pastor Greg we announced a few months ago that more than 100,000 people had registered decisions for Christ. Just this year through harvest ministries and it's actually more than that now yeah now that's in spite of the church being shut down and the harvest Crusade this year being canceled. Yes, it's sure to visit God said canceled shut down.
Watch this I mean he really showed up in a big way and it actually surpassed our goals. Exponentially we see more people touched with the gospel this year than any year in our history. That's really true, Dave.
You know the Bible says when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Actually, the Bible doesn't say that, but to know the Bible does give us a much better Stephen Romans 828 for we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.
Another called according to his purpose. And so what we did as our listeners knows we pivoted but we found that we could not have our live event in the stadium as we always do and we've done for the last 30 years we created what we call the cinematic crusade. One person described it as the greatest evangelistic film they'd ever seen before. It was our goal to do something that was beautiful and artistic but yet had a gospel one-two punch in it and the result of that was our movie that we put out called a rush of hope, it was seen by thousands and thousands of people around the world.
Thousands came to Christ as a result of it in our hope is next year to do another movie. It's not title yet, but I'm already talking with your when brothers about our next cinematic crusade that were going to do.
But here's the cool thing.
Now you can own your own copy of what we call a rush of hope. This beautiful film that had vignettes from other kingdom films in it like I can only imagine.
I still believe in Woodlawn, along with the special sections that we recorded live concert with for King and country and Jeremy Camp in a message that I did against one of the most beautiful backdrops of nature of ever seen in my entire life, and we've seen that this really moves people deeply. This is a tool you get to be able to use again and again and again you can invite someone over and say watch this movie with me. It's not longer than an hour and then you can talk to them about how they can come into relationship with God. What a great tool to have in the holiday season, especially as were having our first Christmas in the middle of a pandemic. So not only will we send you this DVD copy of a rush of hope will also send a special information piece that shows you how to host a watch party that simply means that it tells you how to put an event on at your house using this film, inviting people over from your neighborhood or from your family or your workplace or wherever you want to do it whereof. You can show a DVD you can do this and also we have a downloadable version as well that you could join a tablet device or a computer or even a phone.
We also in the special offer that we have right now.
Have a little evangelistic booklet called a rush of hope find answers to life's most important questions. It's all of this is in the special resource that we want to send you for your gift of any size and this is so we can finish 2020 strong. It's been a crazy year. It's been a surprising year, but it's also been a very spiritually fruitful year were praying that 2021 will even be more effective in reaching people with the gospel lesson here harvest ministries you know were all about teaching the word of God for also about proclaiming the gospel and calling people to Christ because of your prayer and support we been able to reach more people in this last year than we breached in all of our years. In doing this and were praying will reach even more next year. So as this year comes to a close. Would you prayerfully consider giving to us right now financially and I would ask you to give generously because when you do that we can reach even more people.
And guess what, it will be spiritual fruit to your account and I would like to send you is my way of saying thanks is brand-new DVD copy of our cinematic crusade film. A rush of hope. Yeah, that's right. And if you haven't seen it. Don't miss out.
If you have seen it course you know what a special movie. This is so thank you for your generous year-end donation right now and will thank you tangibly with a rush of hope on DVD you can write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org pastor Greg imagine how someone can become a Christian. With just a simple prayer yeah maybe somebody would like to do that right now.
Could you help them share a love to a simple prayers right affect. I would like to just pray a prayer and I would ask you to pray it after me right now. Pray these words learn Jesus.
I know that I am a sinner but I also know that you are the Savior because you died on the cross for my sin and he rose again from the dead. Jesus come in the my life and forgive me of every sin I've ever committed. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer Lord, and I pray all of this in Jesus name, amen. If you just pray that prayer and meant to. I want to the know on the authority of Scripture God Almighty has heard your prayer, and he will answer this prayer. You are now a newly minted child of God. So congratulations, you've made the right decision and welcome to the family of God. I want to send you a special gift because of that prayer. You've just pray it's called the new believers growth packet and then it is a copy of the New Testament in a very understandable translation called the new living translation. It also is filled with hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this commitment you made to follow Christ and there's some other outstanding materials in this little packet. I'll send you as well so order your copy today and let me be the first to see the you congratulations and welcome to the family of God and to get that new believers growth packet just get in touch and will be glad to send it right out. You can write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300 call anytime 24 seven at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God's will. Pastor Greg takes us back to the first Christmas all those years ago in Bethlehem will consider Simeon and Anna to people who may be unfamiliar played a significant part story of Messiah coming to earth to the next time you beginning and possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for pastor grades free daily email, firstname.lastname@example.org