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The Parable of Spiritual Growth: The Best Comes from God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 10, 2021 3:00 am

The Parable of Spiritual Growth: The Best Comes from God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 10, 2021 3:00 am

Everyday, there are hundreds of decisions. The healthy breakfast or the quick one with all the bad stuff in it. Read your on-line Bible or check out your Facebook news feed. Listen to the zany radio station and hope they keep it clean this time, or tune in a good Bible study. Glad you made the choice you did! Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out those decisions can help strengthen our spiritual foundation or erode it. Today, good encouragement about those choices.

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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 don't want to hear from you. Would you consider emailing me you can reach me at greg@harvest.org again that's Greg harvest.org and you can also make me one of your friends on Facebook and drop me a comment and said the second is often the worst enemy of the pastor great warrior Jesus to choose the best, which comes from God, not the second-best retention hardly wait to get done with reading the Bible so you can get really wondering could hardly wait for the church service to be over so you can go to the stuff you really want to do the terrible things. It's just that everything is more interesting to you than spiritual thing. This is a healthy breakfast one with all the best of breed your online Bible got your Facebook news.

Listen to the Seney radio station and hopefully keep it clean this time, or to another good Bible study like you make the choice today on a new beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie points out, those decisions can help strengthen our spiritual foundation today.

Good encouragement about situations. Everyone is either progress or regressing in this virtual life, you're either growing or you are not growing you're either gaining ground in your losing ground as a follower of Christ.

Now, sometimes the question is asked why is it that some succeed others just effectively crash and burn, or others may slowly wither away while the answer is, these are people who did not choose to take advantage of what God had given to them I were told over and Deuteronomy 3019 God says I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you.

I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life. I love that since I got to them I give you a test and here's the answer.

I wish they would do that for us in school.

The answer, so you'll get today I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. By the way, the answer is choose life. God says but I have to do that if I don't do that that I effectively choose death.

There's God's part and there's my part. You know an interesting passage Philippians 212 says, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Now that doesn't say work for your own salvation. Salvation is a gift of God to the man of the woman that puts her faith in Christ. What it does say work it out and it could better be translated carry into the goal and fully complete as St. Paul and St. John once said, we can work it out, the Beatles, forget it. That's if you left your all okay but anyway was a song from years ago carried to the goal and fully complete, but then the rest of that verse puts it all together, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that works in you both to will and the two of his good pleasure to God's work through you, but you have to carry it to the goal and complete it all right so that brings us to our text portion of Scripture. We often call the parable of the sower. The Bible doesn't call it.but it's been called, so will refer to it as such, I think you could just as easily call it the parable of the soil's because it's really about the different kinds of soil that the seed lands in this is a story Jesus tells to explain to us why some press on in the Christian faith and others do not. Let's read it together. Luke chapter 8 starting in verse four when a great multitude to gather it come to him from every city. He spoke by a parable about parables and illustration an earthly story with a heavenly meaning he spoke by a parable of the sower went out to sow a seed, maybe as Jesus was speaking to the people. There was a sower off in the distance and casting to see that he may have just sower over there, a sower went out to sow his seed he sowed something on the wayside. It was trampled down and the birds of the air devoured it; walking as soon as it sprung up and withered away because of like moisture. Some fell among thorns, or weeds and the weeds sprang up and choked it, others: good ground and yielded a crop a hundredfold when he said these things, he that has ears to hear, so someone asked him the question, what is this parable me and Jesus says to you, it is been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but to the residents given in parables that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand how Christ goes on to explain the parable of the sword very clear here it is. The parable is this this seed is the word of God goes by the wayside are the ones to hear. But then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

The ones on the rock of the rocky soil are those who, when the care received the word with joy. They have no root, they believe for a while but in time of temptation, they fall away, the one that fell among thorns are those who, when they've heard go out on their choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life may bring no fruit to maturity, but the ones that fell in the good ground are those who have incurred the word of the noble and good heart.

Keep it and bring forth fruit with patients a better translation would be perseverance or endurance hard. So what does this mean to me. Basically, you up for kinds of people. Your life is represented in one of these categories for types of soil if you will. I want you to notice in the story. Only one out of four makes it look at category number one I want to call them the highway. Here's the highway. Here's a good verse 11 of the date the parable is this a seed is the word of God goes by the wayside of the ones who cure and then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts that they should believe me say this is really a description of people that you may share the gospel with and they just don't respond.

Second Corinthians 4 forces Satan, the God of this evil world has blinded the minds of those that don't believe so there unable to see the glorious light of the gospel that shining upon no matter what you say, no matter what clever arguments you use there just unaffected sometimes are hostile.

Sometimes I'll scream at you and tell you to get out of there face. Other times are very nice about it.

No matter what you say. Nothing seems to penetrate. It's sort of like water off of it ducks back. Now category number two. This one is really interesting and surprising.

Look at verse 13.

Those are plenty of heard the word look at this received the word with joy but because they have no root for a while.

They believe in and time of temptation, they fall away. These folks are very different from the colonists hardhearted in different highway cures and when the invitation is given, they respond they walked forward they pray the prayer and they are so fired up. They don't going to just buy a Bible by the biggest Bible you've ever seen.

You know there they start quoting Scripture when you have a time of worship. They sing louder than anybody else. They lift their hands higher than anybody else talk to everybody about their newfound faith in you state that is the most amazing conversion I've ever seen.

This goes on for maybe a week or two weeks or maybe a month maybe even too much and then don't seem in church pay.

I was in your church lately worry, I'm not into that remark. What I'm not into that and I believe it anymore. What happened to them today would happen to them there.

The seed sown on the rocky soil. And here's the problem with people like this is they will say to others. I went to the whole Jesus freak phase and you know it didn't work for me. I was into it for a while but but it just didn't work for me or they'll say something like how I try Christianity, but it didn't really take with me. You know what they never tried Christianity because Christianity is in a product like toothpaste. We use its Christ if it didn't take it because you didn't do your part Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message in just a moment. It's a blessing when we hear the people are listening to pastor Grace messages on the radio. Pastor Greg I listen to a new beginning every morning on KPD radio in Portland, Oregon. It's a wonderful way to start my day. Thank you for sending me your Christmas card last year with the pictures of your family. It's a good reminder to pray for you and your family.

God bless you. Are you being impacted by the teaching hereunder new beginning. If so, why not drop pastor Greg an email and let them know.

Send it to grade@harvest.org doing today what your thinking about again.

That's great harvest.org pastor Greg continues now with his message. The parable of spiritual growth. Number three. Only one more after this will call them thorny.

Here's this one is fascinating reporting they that fell among thorns, or weeds are those that when they prove the word go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life and they bring no fruit to perfection another seed was planted in the soil was in a constant battle with weeds and weeds don't attack plants, at least not quickly. They doing time but you've never seen a nice little flower growing and suddenly the ground starts to rumble next to it in some muscular little weed burst up.

You know the lunges and start shaking the plantwide experiment smacking the back-and-forth pebbles flying doesn't happen but you see a little weed grew up in the next day it's a little closer and the next it's a little closer and the next day it's gonna wrapping itself around it and ultimately it can choked out the plan. And that's the picture that we have here. This is not something that happens over night. Notice what choked this out doesn't say said, though it could include that it's choked with cares and the riches and the pleasures of this life is not necessarily bad.

It's just life, but we are led the normal affairs of life become more important than the spiritual things of life. It's been said, the second best is often the worst enemy of the best is a person that says I will pray I will read the Bible, I will go to church brother to person that does that for a while but then they start thinking I'm too busy today. I have to check my emails and I have to read the news and then I have to update my Instagram and I have to send out a few tweets and and you know send out some tax and I just enough time to read the Bible. It's a person is a shuttle to go to church with them. The new movie or TV show or this other thing is going on. It's a person who says I don't really have time to pray which is so you know busy right now you see it's gradual in things of God become less and less appealing.

Other pursuit crowd out God and before you know it.

He's not a part of your life anymore.

It happened so gradually, and it happened so subtly you didn't even see it until it was a actively done, these are people that were with us for a time and that we see them less that we don't see them at all you know even the apostle Paul had this problem started believe that you could know Paul personally and not walk with the Lord because he was such a tremendous example but the Paul and Philemon. Chapter 1 verse 23 talked about a few people up. Chris, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus send you greetings, so do Mark Aristarchus Dimas look my coworkers. How awesome would it be to be mentioned in an epistle of Paul that I would bring that up in every conversation.

My name is Dimas. You may have heard of me in Paul's letter to the Philemon ring Paul single this guy out a group of people by me so Dimas is mentioned in the writings of Paul. Not once but twice. So that's a good news is mentioned in more than one epistle, here's the bad news. The second mention wasn't so good because in second Timothy 410. He says Dimas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life is going to Thessalonica while I read about your one of Paul's writings that seemed Dimas with see this is the guy that was singled out for his friendship and his commitment and now he's fallen away and what caused Dimas to fall away doesn't say overt sin. He loves the things of this earth. The King James version puts it, having loved this present world.

Listen to this. There's nothing wrong with having a career. There's nothing wrong with having possession. There's nothing wrong with having a home.

There's nothing wrong with having a car but those things become more important to you then spiritual things, then suddenly they can start choking you out in this virtual line. Here's the better plan, put God first and seek first his kingdom and the Lord says all these things shall be added to you in the proper priority. We can be so things and they choke us out. So that's what happened to that category one less category will close this number four will call them fruitful.

Here's these are the ones that got it right with diversity. Those on the good ground are those when they have heard the word receive it with an honest and good heart, and they keep it and they bring forth fruit with patience. Having heard the word they keep it one of the keys to growing spiritually is getting as much of God's word into you as possible and it comes down to how you ^ while talk about this more next time. But you know you can come and listen and hear nothing right here and talk to somebody in maybe there like texting and and they got the data here were just that it is finished texting and let me know when you're done and then I'll say it again and we can sit in church of what was said. I have no idea I was texting in my heart all how you hear this is why Jesus would often say he that has an ear to hear that Kim listen. The story is told of Pres. Franklin Roosevelt got tired of these long receiving lines. He would have to stand in and shake everybody's hand.

So one day just decided to do something crazy and see if anybody noticed we stood in line and people came to shake the hand of the president of the United States and every person that came to him he he said these words to them. I murdered my grandmother's morning, Mr. Pres., it's an honor to meet you, Pres. Roosevelt said I murdered my grandmother this morning and went home. That's wonderful, Mr. Pres., thank you for that and fantastic Mr. present God bless you Mr. prep.

No one is listening.

There were so excited to meet the president. They did listen to what he said. I murdered my grandmother this morning. Finally, I think it was the ambassador from Bolivia, hearing them say that said response will Mr. Pres., I'm sure she had it coming. That's all we can be. Here's the key to success or failure of the Christian life depends on how we hear God's word and when you hear and remain responsible for that I believe a few of ruling that God you will have a hunger for Scripture. And if you do not have a hunger for God's word. There's something wrong with you. Healthy people are hungry people.

When you go to see the doctor and not feeling well which one of the first things he asks how is your appetite. This is all I know I'm healthy right now because I'm hungry. By the way, I am always hungry. Well, maybe 10 minutes are Friday I'm not but it comes back quickly.

That's a good sign.

In some ways, but if you're constantly hungry for God's word that's good so your Bible think that was great.

I'm dead, but she little later that night he get up the next morning, hungry again. Could good for you and that's this category. They are hungry for God's word and when trials, persecution comes they don't think of bailing. They just dig in. Listen, I know it gets hard at the time to follow Christ, but it's worth it. Paul says to Timothy, endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Some people need to just toughen up a little bit don't be so weak there people today that are standing up for the most insane thing speaking up for things that are so wrong and were timidly hiding in our little closets as followers of Jesus lets people look be brave. Let's be strong.

Let's speak up for him and not back down.

So which one of these four are you. Why don't you the first category probably wouldn't even be here if you were but maybe you're here, brought on by a friend in your disc. You know the whole night. You've just been watching and praying.

Looking at your watch and pray, and I stops in the Donya telescope so I don't know what I can say the only God's Holy Spirit can help you see your need for Jesus. Some of you may be like the one on rocky soil.

You made this so-called profession of faith, but maybe it was not genuine at all and you sort of fell away in a way you then really follow what you were never even there to start with. I would say to you tonight whether to build your life in Christ now and get serious and do it the right way. Some of you may be like the people choked out. It's not that you're involved in bad things. It's just that everything is more interesting to you, then spiritual thing. You can hardly wait to get done with reading the Bible so you can get to the fun stuff you really want to read could hardly wait for the church service to be over so you can go do the stuff you really want to do. It should be the opposite.

And if that's you, then you need to say Lord help me with this and I want to make a real commitment to you and maybe some of you are just a seed on the good ground and I'm sure most of you are and you're just bringing forth spiritual fruit. That's amazing, then God bless all of you, but there might be some of you that have joined us to have an even asked Jesus to come in your life you you can make that commitment right here right now as we bring the service to a close. If you're not certain that Jesus Christ is living in your life. If you're not sure that your sin is forgiven. You don't know with confidence that you will go to heaven when you die you can get that resolved. Right now by saying God, I'm sorry for my sin by asking Jesus Christ to come into your life. There might be some of you that made a commitment to follow Christ, but you fallen away like to see you make that recommitment as well so begin a close in prayer and if you need to make a commitment or a recommitment to Jesus to have right now.

Okay, let's pray father, thank you for your word to us and I pray that it will land on good soil and I pray for those that may not yet know you yet that you show them their need for Jesus, help them to come to you tonight pastor Greg Laurie important prayer if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord. Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's addition of a new beginning. Concludes and if you missed any part of today study you can hear an instant replay@harvest.org is a message called the parable of spiritual growth. Or you can request a CD copy by calling 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 and what a privilege it is to have baseball great Darrell strawberry with us today. Darrell is just released a new book called turn your season around. The subtitle is how God transforms your life. You know Darrell you made a U-turn from so many issues in your life. What counsel do you have for others who need to turn their back on drugs or drinking or immorality. They just find themselves being pulled back into all that stuff especially during this pandemic. If they were sitting right across the table from you, what would you say to them I will say to them that they really should be able to accept the help from someone who truly loves them and I think of my life are made to turn it was because my wife Tracy. Michael was 18 years ago I was in the house in South Florida should go smoke crack and she was banging outdoors, kicking him down, pulling me out and she asked she was loving me through the whole process when I can love myself and I want to say to someone to struggle with that when you see someone loving you through the process. When you can't love yourself allow that help to to help you in that period of time, roaming on was a lot of confusing Milano you feel hopeless at that time but one thing I've learned through this process of change your life. My life and change, so God uses people to help people and we can understand the importance of other people encouraging you and walking what you and not tolerating which Tracy did and she didn't tolerate my my madness but she still encouraged me to help meet that God had a plan for me. You'll have to accept euro what the person is going through, but at the same time, you still show love and compassion. So I was I would encourage anyone that struggling some assurance of love and compassion, trust the process is not overnight miracle just doesn't happen like that is a process and once I went through the process and accept the help from somebody else.

I started getting on the side because when you think about everybody.

God used in the Bible. They all have struggles and issues to just like all the rest of us and those don't struggle with issues they only get on the right side with other people helping you and encouraging you to your faith. So if you want to get a copy of Joe strawberries brand-new book that he feels is the most important book he's ever written.

You can get it from us here the new beginning again. The title is churn your season around how God transforms your life. I will send you this book for your gift of any size to help us to continue on here at a new beginning to teach the word of God and to preach the gospel. They change the life of Darrell strawberry yeah that's right it's the gospel that continues to change lives anywhere any time, even in a pandemic, even in a time of uncertainty and your investment helps that kind of outreach happen to be ask you to partner with us now and if you can send an investment right now. Be sure to ask for Darrell's book turn your season around. 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 yesterday. Today you wrapped up your message by talking about eternity.

Yeah. How can someone listening know that they're going to heaven.

That's a great question and I guess we take it a step further.

I know that is the most important question you can ask, how can a person know they're going to have let me say at the outset, I believe I'm going to have an effect on think of a step further. I know I'm going to have is a Greg is not kind of arrogant, not really, because I know this because God is made a promise to me and I've believed that promise. The Bible says we write these things to you that believe on the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. I've believed on the name of the son of God. Thus, I know I'll go to heaven when I die, here's my question. Do you, do you believe on the name of the son of God, is there any more important issue that that I can think of one.

So I like to lead you in a simple prayer and this is a prayer will you will be asking Jesus to forgive you of your sin and you'll be asking them to be your own Savior friend Lord.

It's a prayer. Only you can pray pray these words.

If you would, Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner but I know that you are this Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead. Jesus come in the my Lai. I want to believe in you. I want to follow you.

I want this relationship with you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin and rising again from the dead, and I think you that you've heard this prayer and I believe you've come into my life in Jesus name I pray, amen.

I want to help you grow in your faith. I want to help you grow spiritually. So I've a free gift for you. It's called the new believers growth packet what's in it know not a bag of seeds to plant in your backyard. I guess it's sort of a form of a bag of seeds because I want to sell some spiritual seed in your life to help you develop as a follower of Christ, so I'm of the send you a copy of the New Testament and the new living translation but it's a special edition that's called the new believers Bible and it's filled with notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this new commitment or recommitment you've made to Christ and there's some other materials in the new believers packet as well so order your copy today and I'm so glad I have this privilege today to lead you, and that prayer. God bless you. You've made the right decision.

The decision to follow Jesus Christ.

Here's how to get that new believers packet just writers at 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 and click the words know God will Pastor Greg tackles one of the most important aspects of growing spiritually into the vital role God's word the life of the healthy believers should Greg Laurie was made possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for pastor great free daily email, devotions@harvest.org


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