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Faith 101: The Spiritual Battle

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 2, 2021 3:00 am

Faith 101: The Spiritual Battle

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 2, 2021 3:00 am

If there’s a war raging, and someone mistakenly stumbles into the middle of it, the warriors don’t suddenly stop and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, fellas, this guy isn’t part of it. Let’s wait ‘til he gets outta the way.’ No, people who stumble into battle unaware often get caught in the crossfire. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie wants to make sure that doesn’t happen to us. He points out that we’re surrounded by spiritual warfare, and we need to be prepared to fight, and fight victoriously.

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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. If you would like to know how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to Harvest.org.

That's Harvest.org. The devil whispers in your ear, you're not going to heaven, and you come back and you say, it is written, these things we write to you that believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. Boom! If there's a war raging and someone mistakenly stumbles into the middle of it, the warriors don't suddenly stop and say, hey, hey, hey, wait a minute, fellas, this guy isn't part of it. Let's wait until he gets out of the way. No, people who stumble into battle unaware often get caught in the crossfire. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie wants to make sure that doesn't happen to us. He points out that we're surrounded by spiritual warfare, and we need to be prepared to fight and fight victoriously.

This is a new series that we're doing called Faith 101, a crash course on the basics of the Christian life, things that sometimes we lose sight of. So grab your Bible and turn to two passages with me, if you would. Acts chapter 2 and Psalm 19. Acts chapter 2, verses 42 to 47.

So I'd like you to read those with me, if you would, right now. Now, by the way, before I read them, this happened on the heels of the birth of the church. This is what happened after the day of Pentecost when the church was born. The Holy Spirit was poured out on believers, the Bible tells us. And now this is what the church did in the aftermath of that, and this is what the church should be doing today to stay strong spiritually. Acts chapter 2, 42. Those that gladly received his word were baptized, and that day 3,000 souls were added to them, and they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and the breaking of bread and in doctrine and fellowship and prayers. Now drop down to verse 46. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people, and the Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved.

So I've summed this up in an acronym. W-E-L-L. W for they were a worshiping church. E, they were an evangelizing church. L, number one, they were a learning church. And L, number two, they were a loving church. I'll deal with those other principles later.

Let me just focus on this one. They were a learning church. Verse 42, they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship and the breaking of bread and prayers. This phrase continued steadfastly speaks of a passion.

It speaks of people that were really engaged. You know, we need anointed preaching today for sure, but I think we also need anointed listening, giving your attention with intention, paying attention. Jesus would often say, he that has ears to hear, let him hear. If we were to update that, it might go along these lines, listen up, pay attention because we're sharing with you the Word of God. So if you want to be a growing Christian, number one, you must read, love, study, memorize the Word of God. Principle number two, if you want to be a growing Christian, you need to read the Bible as if your life depended on it because it does.

Again, you need to read the Bible as if your life depended upon it because it does. Years ago, Kathy and I were back in Florida speaking and we flew back to LA. So we got on the plane and you know how they go through the safety protocols in case of an emergency landing. There's a seat cushion under your seat and here's your little whistle that you blow, which never gave me a lot of comfort. And here's the exit doors and they'll kind of gesture like that. They're here and they're here.

Okay, so I didn't really pay attention. I was reading a magazine, I think, and so the flight took off. We're about 45 minutes out of LAX and suddenly the voice of the pilot comes on the intercom and I couldn't believe what he was saying. He said, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to have to make an emergency landing. And the flight attendants are going to come back and go through the safety drill again. Trust me, this time I listened. As it turned out, our landing gear wasn't working, but thankfully everything worked in the end and we landed safely. But the point was when they went over the protocols again, where our cushion was, even our little whistle, and certainly where the exit doors were, I was listening.

Why? My life depended on it. When we hear the word of God, listen as though your life depends upon it because it does your spiritual life. Jesus, in his conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount, made this statement in Matthew 7-24. Whoever hears these sayings of mine will be a wise man who built his house on the rock. Then Jesus went on to say, the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. And then Jesus said, really bringing an application, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does not put them into practice, they're like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand. And the rains came down and the streams rose and it fell with a great crash. But whoever hears these sayings of mine will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

So I determined what man I'm going to be, what woman you're going to be because in every life, trust me, the rain will come down and the streams will rise. In fact, one of the things that happens to a new believer is they're hit with doubt. Remember Adam and Eve in the garden after the Lord had placed them in this paradise? The devil comes to them and says, did God really say what you thought you heard him say?

Is it really true you can't eat of this tree if you want to? And he lied to them. And when you're a new believer, you sometimes are hit with doubt. Wow, what if this is not true? What if this is all made up?

What if I just psyched myself into it? So what do you do when doubt hits? Well listen to this. You believe your beliefs and you doubt your doubts and you come back to the Word of God. Take Jesus as the example. You remember Christ was in the wilderness being tested by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights. And the devil came to him and showed him a rock and said, take this rock and turn it into a piece of bread. And of course Jesus was hungry because he had been fasting.

And Jesus said, it is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God. Then Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And he said, all of this I will give you if you will worship me. Again Christ comes back with, it is written you shall worship the Lord God only. In Him only shall you serve. Then Satan takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the top of the temple.

He says, why don't you throw yourself down from here. And then the devil quotes the Bible. For it is written, says the devil, he will give his angels charge over you. By the way the devil only quoted part of the Bible. And then Jesus comes back with the Scripture in context and says, it is written you shall not tempt the Lord your God.

Think of it this way. We are in a spiritual battle. And you fight a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons. I have got a replica of a Roman sword right here.

Pull it out of its sheath. And so think of this now in spiritual battle. Think of this as your Bible. Basically the sword and the Bible are one and the same. The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. So the devil comes with a temptation and you come back with the sword. It is written. So the devil whispers in your ear, you are not really a Christian. God hasn't forgiven you.

You are not going to heaven. And you come back and you say, it is written. These things we write to you. The belief in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

Boom! You use the sword of the Spirit. Use the Word of God. Memorize the Word of God. It will help you in times of trial. It will help you in times of temptation. The Bible says, Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Know the Word of God. Years ago a young man named Billy Sunday received Jesus Christ. He went to an older Christian and asked for some advice on how to grow spiritually. And this older gentleman said to young Billy Sunday. He said, William there are three simple rules I hope that you will practice. And if you do no one will ever write the word backslider after your name.

Number one. Take 15 minutes each day to let God talk to you. Take 15 minutes every day to talk to God. And then spend 15 minutes every day talking to others about God.

Pretty good advice. 15 minutes to let God speak to you. 15 minutes to talk to God through prayer. 15 minutes to tell others about God. How does God speak to us?

He speaks to us primarily through the Word of God. So a successful Christian will be a Bible studying Christian. And a failing Christian will be one that does not open the Word of God.

And this is the problem. A lot of people are not opening their Bibles today. Instead we are looking at social media. I read a series of stats the other day about what a lot of Christians do each and every day. And I can tell you a lot more people are looking at social media than their Bible. For instance every day 66 percent of evangelical believers are looking at Facebook. 39 percent are looking at YouTube. And 32 percent are opening their Bible.

Houston we have a problem. We have got to open the book up and hear what the book has to say. I remember the first time I started to read the Bible. I could not believe that I had finally found the user's manual of life. I could not believe that these words were so relevant to what I was facing as a 17 year old kid.

And now what I'm facing as a 67 year old kid. I found the Word of God is relevant for every phase of my life and you will find the same. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're thrilled when we hear from listeners who join us from every background every profession every age.

Dear Greg Laurie I'm 10 years old and I've been a Christian since I was age three or four. My family started listening to you as COVID hit last year. I really like your services and hope that when Jesus comes back that I can take my favorite cats with me.

I watched a rush of hope and loved it. I also love seeing your Bradley Brown and watch you on Harvest at Home. I hope you will preach on Matthew 4 1 through 11 as it's my favorite story.

Love you lots. It's great to know that the Ministry of Harvest is impacting the life of this 10 year old. Why not call us and tell us your story. Just call 866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well Pastor Greg is offering important insights from his study of the basics called Faith 101. We're seeing the importance of God's Word. It's foundational. The Bible is the most amazing book ever written.

It's literally God's message to you. Now technically speaking it's not one book. It's actually 66 books written over a 1500 year span. The words of Scripture were written by 40 authors from every walk of life.

Ranging from kings to peasants to philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, and scholars. Yet all of the authors of the Bible write about one theme which is God's redemption of mankind. And every one of these individuals that wrote Scripture were inspired by God. 2 Peter 1-20 says, understand that no prophecy in Scripture came from the prophets themselves. Because they wanted to prophesy it was from the Holy Spirit who moved these prophets to speak for God.

Point number three. The Word of God is perfect and completely trustworthy. The Word of God is perfect and completely trustworthy. But you know that when you open this book up, Psalm 19 verse 7 says, the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. And when that phrase the law of the Lord is used it's interchangeable with the Word of the Lord.

God's Word is perfect. It never goes out of style. You ever look at a yearbook, maybe your yearbook from high school? And I think we're always amazed at what our hairstyles were. A lot of strange hairstyles come and go. What were we thinking when we were all wearing mullets? And by the way I see the mullets are coming back again. I saw a guy the other day.

A young kid at some hipster coffee shop with a mullet. And I have to say it looked as bad as they used to look back when we had them. So I don't know if we should bring that back. But the point is things come and go. Trends come and go.

Musical styles come and go. So many things come and go. And the Word of God is always the same. And Jesus Christ is always the same.

Yesterday, today, and forever. And to me it's amazing that even though the newspaper is outdated in a day or so. The Word of God is always fresh and relevant to what we're facing. The Bible says His mercies are new every morning.

Listen to this. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3 all Scripture is inspired by God. Or literally breathed by God. That means that the Bible is God's infallible Word.

The original autographs. That is the first copies are without air. There are no mistakes in the Bible.

It's perfect. You can trust it. Even with a recent archeological discovery like the Dead Sea Scrolls. It only confirms what the Bible has said all along.

Point number four. The Word of God transforms us. The Word of God transforms us. So if you want to be a growing Christian. You need to spend time in the Word of God.

Why? Because it will transform you. Going back to Psalm 19 again. It says the Word of the Lord is perfect. Converting the soul.

The testimony of the Lord is sure. Making wise the simple. This phrase that is used here for converting means reviving, restoring, and transforming. So listen. When you read God's Word you're revived. When you read God's Word you're restored. When you read God's Word you're transformed. Now listen. If you don't want to be transformed.

If you don't want to be restored. Then don't read the Bible. The Bible is for people that have a sense of desperation about where they are in life.

It's for people who don't know the purpose of life and they want to know what that purpose should be. The Bible is for people who are not really sure where they came from and they're not really sure where they are going. The Bible is for people that want to change. The Bible is for people that wish they could control their passions. For people that don't want to be mere victims of circumstances. For people that wish there was not so much pain in life. The Bible is for people who want relationships with others that will be better. That's who it's for. Now if you have it all worked out then I guess you don't need the Bible. But of course you're also delusional because all of us need the Word of God.

This is the user's manual that you've been looking for. As it has been said B-I-B-L-E. Basic instructions before leaving earth. So read what this Word has to say. Now let me say one thing in conclusion. Let me tell you now what the Bible says about your soul. First of all you've been made in the image of God.

You're not a member of the animal kingdom. You're a human being made by God himself. And you are loved by God himself.

And God longs for a relationship and a friendship with you. But here's what the Bible also says. You and I are separated from God by our sin. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And to sin means to cross a line.

To break a commandment. And the word sin also means to fall short of a goal which is perfection. Jesus said be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Well who's perfect? Not me.

Not you. There's only one perfect person that ever walked this planet. And his name was Jesus. We all fall short. We've all broken God's commandments. We've all sinned. But the Bible also tells us what the solution is. And Jesus himself said in John 3 16, For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son. And whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. The Bible tells us Christ died for our sins. The apostle Paul said in scripture, He loved me and gave himself for me.

Listen. Jesus died for you because he loves you. And he wants to forgive you.

And he wants to enter into a relationship with you. You say well Greg how does that happen? You need to admit you're a sinner. Now make excuses for your sin. Not blame other people for your sins. Own it. Admit it. And ask God to forgive you.

And he will. Right here. Right now. Let me close with a series of questions. Would you like your sins to be forgiven? Would you like a fresh start in life?

Would you like that big hole in your heart filled? Would you like to know with confidence that you will go to heaven when you die? If so you need to ask Christ to come and live inside of you. Being a Christian is not becoming a religious person. I don't want to be a religious person.

I've never been a religious person. This has nothing to do with religion. This has everything to do with relationship with you and God.

Wouldn't you like to have that? Jesus is ready to come into your life. He's ready to forgive you of your sin. Jesus says I stand at the door and I knock. And if you'll hear my voice and open the door I will come in. That's right here in the Bible.

Would you like him to come in? Only you can open the door of your heart so to speak. You say but Greg how does one do that? Through prayer. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

Hey if you were drowning and you saw a lifeguard and you wanted them to rescue you. You have to cry out for help right? If you want God to save you from your sin. If you want God to give you hope and purpose in life you need to call out to him. And you can do that right here right now through prayer. In a moment I'm going to lead you in the simplest of prayers. A prayer so simple that a child could pray it and many do pray with us. But you can be an adult and pray this prayer.

It doesn't matter what your age is. It's a simple prayer where you're saying Jesus come into my life. If you would like your sin forgiven. If you'd like to know that you will go to heaven when you die. If you would like your guilt taken away. Or maybe you've fallen away from the Lord.

If you would like to come back to him. I want you to stop whatever you're doing and pray with me right now. Listen God Almighty will hear your prayer and he will answer your prayer.

But you must call out to him. I'm going to pray a simple prayer. And I'm going to ask you if you want Christ to come into your life to pray this prayer even after me. As I pray it you pray it. And this is a prayer where you're asking Christ to come into your life so you can find the meaning and purpose of life. So if you want Jesus in your life right now pray this prayer with me if you would. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner.

But I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you Jesus from this moment forward. Be my Savior and my Lord.

Be my God and my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those making the decision to follow Jesus today. And if you've just prayed that prayer we want to welcome you into the family of God. And we'd like to help you as you begin to walk with the Lord. Let us send you our New Believers Growth Packet. It's free of charge if you prayed with Pastor Greg for the first time today.

It'll help get you started off right. Just ask for the New Believers Growth Packet when you write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7. Again dial 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to Harvest.org. And if you missed any part of what Pastor Greg brought us today you can catch up by going online to Harvest.org. Just look for the title Faith 101. Or to get a permanent copy of the message on CD call 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Hey everybody Greg Laurie here talking with my friend Darrell Strawberry. An incredibly successful baseball player, really a legend. But you know in many ways Darrell some people might think you had some storybook life. And you know you just grew up and your dad coached you and played catch with you on the front street. And then one day you were discovered by an agent and you went on to glory. Well you did go on to sports glory but you had a very difficult upbringing in your home. And it was far from a storybook life.

Tell us a little bit about what it was to be a young Darrell Strawberry. And in particular your relationship with your father. But also tell us about the impact of your mother. Yeah it was very sad being a young kid because I was always in this fear of my father. Because it was like such a monster coming home and you didn't know what you were going to get on any given day or night. He would come home and he would be drunk at night and he would be loud. I was about 14 years old and he came in loud again. We all woke up and my older brother Michael told him wanted to just get out of here and leave us alone. And he was just kind of running around the table talking about well I'll kill all you guys. He pulled out a shotgun and said he would kill the whole family. And me and my brother kind of went into action there.

Ronnie went in and grabbed a butcher knife. I grabbed a frying pan and had it not been for my mother and she was a little petite woman. Had it not been for her making us get out of that house. We was going to kill him that night. We had it and she just yelled at us and she made us get out of that house and go down the streets to the neighbor's house. And we were just so mad because we didn't want to leave her and she was like I'll be okay.

You guys get out of this house. And from that night it was no more father there. After that he was not around us anymore.

She removed him from us. And that's the brokenness of who I was and my brother Ronnie was at the same time. We just suffered so many things and we were in such fear and we were so empty on the inside. Broken generations just continue to go on until you break out that cycle. And if you never break that cycle the kids come after you while your kids can be in the same cycle. So I was able to break the cycle for my kids and they never saw me put my hands on them or yell at their mothers or anything. Even though I was dysfunctioned I knew better not to touch them because I was so scarred and wounded.

And when you have wounds and scars like that it is surreal. I don't care if you put on what kind of uniform you put on. You could put on a baseball uniform. You could be a celebrity.

You could be a police officer. Those scars and wounds will always be there until you let God heal you. And it wasn't until I let God heal me. Putting on a baseball uniform did not make me a man.

People need to hear that. Making millions of dollars and being privileged did not make me a man. It just made me a baseball player. I didn't become a man until I met Jesus.

When I met Jesus that's when I became a man and started to live the right way and understand the way a man should live. You know my mom was married and divorced seven times. I lived in an abusive home. I saw her get into fights and men hit her.

One guy knocked her unconscious and almost killed her. And if I had not climbed out of the window of our house at night I may not have lived to tell the story. So I have a little sense of what you were facing. But God stepped in and he broke the cycle of sin. And God can do that for any person listening right now.

I don't care what your parents did or your grandparents did. You can have a new beginning in Jesus Christ. And it happened for Darrell Strawberry. And it happened for me.

And it can happen for you. And that's why I want you to read Darrell's powerful story and the things he has to share that he's learned in life thus far. In his new book called Churn Your Season Around subtitled How God Transforms Your Life. Yeah this could be a life saving book for someone listening.

It shows us how God can set our lives in the right direction no matter our past. And we want to send Darrell's book your way to thank you for your donation. Really an investment to help us continue to touch lives each day with this radio program.

So will you contact us today? Drop Pastor Greg a note and let him know what his teachings mean to you. And then when you include a donation be sure to ask for Turn Your Season Around.

You can write a new beginning. Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to Harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg continues his series Faith 101. With a look at how personal evangelism can keep our own faith strong and vibrant. Join us next time for A New Beginning with Pastor Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-29 01:27:23 / 2023-12-29 01:38:58 / 12

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