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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, to find out how to know God personally go to know God.org KNOW know God.org he would you do me a favor sure this message was someone who needs to hear it.
We know Jesus gave his life. We could have one.
But why did he do that today. Pastor Greg Laurie point-and-shoot of Scripture chapter 12 joy that was before him toward the cross, despising the shame, what was the joy that was every one of you when to the cross. Thinking of you knowing this was the only way that we could be forgiven of our sins mental radio WII what's in it for me. Every thought is measured against that? What's in it for me to begin.
Greg Laurie points out Jesus was just the opposite willingly gave his life for return on investment, lay down his life while we were yet Christ died for what you grab your Bible and hope you Bible are open the Bible app on your phone or tablet to go over to Hebrews chapter 12 in the title of my messages dealing with discouragement note suggesting we call this good Friday but it doesn't seem all that good doesn't imagine what it was like for them. I mean, remember, the apostles had not read Matthew Mark Luke and John.
They didn't know how the story ended. They were living a real time and in their mind they thought Jesus the Messiah had come to overthrow the Roman government and establish the kingdom of God on earth at the Palm Sunday was about remember their singing Hosanna, which means save now like yes the moment has come to it, Lord.
But he was not on his way to overthrow Rome. He was on his way to die on the cross and then what it actually happened. Even though we spoke of it constantly you would say the Son of Man is going to be betrayed and that is going to be crucified it arise again three days later. That's pretty clear but yet when it happened. They couldn't believe it.
In their world as they knew it ended over night.
They couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel, but there is light at the end of the tile. There was for them because Christ rose a mole celebrate that Sunday and there is light at the end of our tunnel. This whole quarantine is going to come to an end to get out again. We don't know what the new normals going to look like, but I know what we need to be doing in the meantime.
And the thing we should be doing is right here in Hebrews 12 it says therefore, by the way, whenever you read the word therefore in the Bible. Find out what it's therefore so the author of Hebrews who many believed to be Paul I is drawing to what is just been said so what is before Hebrews 12. Obviously, Hebrews 11 what's Hebrews 11 we call it the hero's Hall of Fame. All these great men and women of God that persevered through hardship hardship a lot worse and were going through right now as bad as it is for some and so in light of that, or therefore since were surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, so the other view resisting looking at the example of these great men and women of God. We read about in Hebrews 11 that persevered in light of that fact in the great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight in the sin that so easily. It stares us, and let us run with endurance the race of the said forest.
You might want to underline this verse looking on. Did Jesus the author and finisher of your faith. This verse is speaking to those who are disappointed and discouraged. Later on, the author of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 1211 and I'm reading from the Phillips translation. So take a fresh grip on life breaks your trembling limbs don't wander away from the path, but forward steadily.
Onward on the right path. The limping foot recovers strength and does not collapse. I love that don't wander away from the fate have you wandered away from the fake was time in your life when you were closer to God than you are right now. Listen if you feel far from God just to move it wasn't God. He's ready to receive you back again is a prodigal son or daughter of God describes you, but I hope you'll make that recommitment to him or even the first time commitment. But I'll tell you right now a lot of people are coming to the Lord and are coming back to the Lord were thankful for that. But why are people coming back to the Lord answer.
It's scary out there. Depression and anxiety are up dramatically due to the coronavirus I cited a stat that calls to the national hotline from people suffering from emotional distress are up 891% alcohol consumption is up 55%. What are people doing their drinking as a way to escape.
So these disciples were very discouraged on this first Good Friday their master there Lord, their friend had been brutally murdered in cold blood before their very eyes, and they were thinking. How does this fit into any plans either. Hope had been defeated and their dreams had been destroyed. But then when they saw the big picture that this is all part of God's plan. Then they were able to go on and literally change the world. So let me pick up on where I last left off. Hebrews 12 looking on the Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and now is set down on the right hand of the throne of God continues on for consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, lest you be wearied and discouraged in your soul that prays consider him to be translated, compare yourself with Some contrast what he went through with what your going through. And he went through so much.
First of all, he was abandoned by his own disciples and he was betrayed by another Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. You know it's an amazing thing that Jesus continued offer is forgiveness to Judas. Don't forget he went into the upper room and washed all of the disciples feet including Judas Iscariot, yet Jesus being God knew exactly what Judas would do if I knew Judas was going to betray me. I would not of washed his feet. I would've broken his feet right and then amazingly as Judas led that group of people. The temple guard some Roman soldiers to arrest Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Read Jesus saying to him, friend, why have you come there was one last opportunity for Judas to believe but you know it. It really hurts when a friend but crazy doesn't it Zechariah 13, six is one chill Sandy Kim, one of these wounds in your hands, and he will answer these are the wounds I received in the house of my friends his own friends betrayed him affectively or at least abandon him and Judas betrayed him.
But the worst was yet to come. Prior to the actual crucifixion. Jesus was scourged.
This is been described by experts as the halfway crucifixion. It was so brutal. Many people did not survive it because this this subdivides the Romans used is the this whip wasn't just the basic equipment would have multiple strands embedded with metal and glass.
So when it tore into the person's back. It would rip initially at the flashing and then it would rip in deeper, exposing vital organs. Ultimately, in the blood loss was so great that many would not survive it.
Jesus was whipped 39 times and there was a reason for that. By the way, and all bring it up in a few moments, but then he had to carry his cross. After losing all of the blood and having his back ripped open to be crucified on and they nailed those spikes into his hands and his feet and they elevated it, and ultimately he cried.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me okay but why did he keep going on. We were talking about why we should keep going on. We should keep going on because we should be looking to Jesus. See whatever you're facing right now. Remember, Jesus is with you, Jesus can help you cope with your anxiety and your peers in your depression.
The Bible says you should cast all of your care upon him for he cares for you. That's what keeps us going, but what Jesus going the answer is right here again in Hebrews 12 for the joy that was set before him. He endured the cross, despising the shame, the joy, what was the joy that was set before ready for the answer.
It was every one of you. As Paul said he loved me and gave himself for me. He went to the cross. Thinking of you knowing that this was the only way that we could be forgiven of our sins. Jesus told a story of a shepherd. What 100 feet in one want to straight so he left and 99 and sought out that stray sheep until he found it became bankrupt or were having a wrapped around his neck and he was rejoicing and then Jesus said there's more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 people who need no repentance. The joy and that's the joy, the joy was knowing what the cross would accomplish your Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message in just a moment. It's so encouraging when we hear the listeners are growing by hearing the studies peer pressure.
Greg and I found cried midnight very light. I first heard your preacher learned about evangelism at your first target group stayed in Anaheim Stadium where my friend Bill over my life.
Jesus protected me time and time again including viewing the I lived on the coast now for over 25 years and recently re-connected with you for your podcasting where I found these podcasts is a real Bible study for me and I'm learning so much that is causing me to know because were more intently nearly 70 years old on enthused and excited about my faith like I was. Those many years ago. Thank you for helping me rekindle my fire of love for Jesus and my old year lies is wonderful reached pastor Craig's teachings from God's word had made an impact on this man's life, and if you'd like to listen to pastor Craig's podcasts. You can do that through Google, Apple, or spot a fine or just go to harvest.org that's harvest.org today.
Pastor Greg is presenting a message called dealing with discouragement helping us prepare our hearts for Easter. Let's continue now look at verse three consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. That's what kept him going. This is what will keep you going looking to Jesus.
So were in a race right and in this race we want to run to win another popular trend with kids in athletics today is there's no winter there's no loser world winners. That's ridiculous as winners and losers in every soccer match every baseball game and in every race we should run to win and our motivation is doing it for the Lord and on the ancient Greek games that started in Greece. Great games would start Greece obviously but then the Olympics there. They would run for a prize and it would be the Emperor holding out the laurel leaves so maybe you're coming around the bend and you're in the last lap you'd see the Emperor holding out the laurel leaves I would give you a little extra motivation.
I know when I used to run track and field. As a kid in high school. If there was a pretty girl watching me. That always motivated me, so I have a better motive for you than a pretty girl do it for Jesus because one day he's gonna reward to, or your faithfulness that that's why we do what we do, it is him for applause. It is important notoriety or fame. Listen, God is not called us to be famous.
He's called us to be faithful and we just want to hear him say in that final date. Well done, good and faithful servant. So it's looking to Jesus keeping your eyes on him and it also means that we shed excess baggage.
Look at verse one lay aside every weight in the sin that so easily. The statute awaits is anything that slows you down in the race of life.
So it's good to periodically look at things that you're involved in, and ask yourself the question, this is the wing risen away does it speed me up in the race. A bipartisan slow me down. This relationship is this make me want to get closer to God or does it pull me away from God I and you listen what may be a way to one is no way to another necessarily sin is sin lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily beset you so one person's weakness. You guys might not necessarily be another person's weakness. Sort of like metabolisms Steve Wilburn who I burns every calorie he eats. He never puts on weight.
I remember when Steve was a young man I knew when he was in his 20s. You know he ate like a horse and I'd say Steve one day you going to get older and your metabolism will change and you will put on a lot of weight will he's older and is metabolism is in chains and that really bothers me because I want to eat to in and out burgers in one city like Steve does and I can but you know we all have those weights and those sins in our life. So you might want to look at your life and think, is there anything I need to lay aside. So I'm not being slow down in the race of light. But look at verse three. Consider Jesus why should I consider Jesus I could consider Jesus because he never stopped considering me. I should look to Jesus because he's always looking out for me and I should live for Jesus because he died for me. And where is Jesus again verse two who for the joy that was set before me endured the cross, despising the shame, and Noah sat down on the right hand of God that interesting. He's seething with the right hand of the father, but yet I know of one time in the Bible where Jesus stood up. Stephen was put to death by stoning because he boldly proclaim the gospel and he stood before the Sanhedrin and suddenly he had a vision of heaven, and he says I see Jesus standing at the right hand of the father and the Bible says his face was shining like an angel.
That's interesting to me. He is normally sitting, but in the case of Stephen.
He was standing effectively welcoming him and to have let me ask you this argument to be welcomed into heaven.
I mean, I can imagine going through life without the assurance that I'll go to heaven when I die, you have been assurance right now. I sure hope so, because that is why Jesus died on the cross so you can be forgiven of your sin and know that you will go to heaven when you die. Okay, there's another thing you should be doing in addition to considering Jesus, you should be remembering Jesus. What I mean by that. When Jesus was in the upper room with his disciples for what we call the Last Supper. I he was not his normal jovial self and because I think Jesus was a joyful person that you know usually when we see him portrayed a religious Argie he's never smiling, rarely, and he looks kinda wimpy to you know but we know from Scripture when he had to be a pretty strong guy.
He carried his cross endured discouraging even a Pontius Pilate said, behold, the man, so I think Jesus was a man's man without a question.
I think he was also a joyful man and I think when he got together with his disciples. They had fun. They laughed together they enjoyed if they could see that there was something going on with Jesus.
They did note was the Last Supper, but he did. Then he took the bread. Then he took the cup, and he said do this in remembrance of me.
Why should I do this in remembrance of him because he wore a moment.
He has never forgotten about me.
Let me say something now about communion. It's really for believers only. You know were told to take these elements in remembrance of Kim in the upper room, Jesus took the bread he said this is my body which is broken for you taken either of this and then he took the cop and he said, drink this cup and do this in remembrance of me.
The apostle Paul elaborates on this and tells us when we receive the elements of communion that we should not do so in a reverent manner. King James is unworthy manner. What it means is I understand that they represent. These elements, the bread and the cup the broken body in the shed blood of Christ. Now we don't believe in transubstantiation year, which means that the bread literally becomes the flesh of Jesus or the Jews becomes the blood of Jesus, but we believe that they do symbolize his broken body in his shed blood so you don't want to do this in a cavalier way and I think sometimes people receive communion. In the say well you know little religious ritual would do me some good little religion would do me some good. Listen, you don't need a little religion. You need a lot of Jesus and this thing that we do, which is a very precious thing for us as believers is for that believers those who put their faith in Christ and Paul actually says if you receive the elements of communion without believing in them when they represent, you can actually eat and drink judgment to yourself. So me pause for a moment and say this. Are you sure right now that Jesus Christ is living in your life.
Are you certain right now that if you were to die, you would go to heaven if the answer to those questions is no, I would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask Jesus to come into your life, and then celebrate communion with us so if you want your sin forgiven, if you want your guilt taken away if you want to know that you go to heaven when you die if you want this friendship. This relationship with God, or if you fall in the way and you want to come back to the Lord, why don't you just pray with me right now, simple prayer. Just pray these words Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Now come in the my life.
Jesus I choose to follow you from this moment forward Jesus name I pray, amen. Today on a new beginning important prayer from a Good Friday communion service with pastor Greg Laurie and if you just prayed with pastor Greg and ask Jesus to be your Savior would like to follow-up with you by sending a free resource.
It's our new believers] will send it to you to help you begin to live this new life. Just ask for when you write a new beginning.
Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We are here to take your call around-the-clock, seven days a week. Again, dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click know God will test Greg, I hold in my hands. Your brand-new book called Billy Graham the man I knew loved the book 1 of your Best Buy links and I'm in a flip all the way back to the back of the book. The second paragraph of the chapter you call acknowledgments and I find this fascinating.
Here's what you write. You said you say my collaborator Marshall Terrell and I have consulted a veritable library of Graham books, articles, periodicals, YouTube videos and thousands of documents on the Internet including the 1004 page file, the FBI kept on Billy research reached as far back as the Civil War. Yeah. Oh my goodness, this book contains dimensions, abilities, life and background which have never been explored anywhere before that part I found absolutely fascinating. The fact that you have done.
I mean, you knew Billy, it says so in the title Billy Graham, the man I knew, yes, but you have dug so deeply into giving us such a rich biography on the man that you call the single greatest evangelist who ever lived. That's right.
What I want people to understand his place in history. He's truly a historical figure along the lines of our great presidents and people that impacted our country and even people that impacted our world and so we wanted to go back to Billy's roots.
His father and his grandfather, his great-grandfather, so we we tell the story with a wide overview but then we go in deeply into his life and what I wanted to do day was show the human side. Billy, you know, sometimes a person can fade in the history and people never really had any interaction with them and they almost become one-dimensional like Pres. Lincoln on the five dollar bill, but he was a real flesh and blood guy, Abraham Lincoln, and so was Billy Graham and it was my privilege to spend a lot of time with him a lot of time just hanging out with them a lot of time asking them questions a lot of time listening to them preach. I and and I got to know him there, I say as a friend and and he was just such a great man to observe you know the private Billy was even more impressive than the public.
Billy and the public.
Billy was very impressive but me and I can think of a greater preacher I've ever seen. But privately he was very humble, very gracious and always was interested in whoever he was speaking to. They might be a famous person like a president, and they might be somebody you've never heard of before.
Billy took an interest in people in general and and had a wonderful way about Kim and every time I was with them. I was had to pinch myself. I mean, that was with them a lot so it wasn't like every time I was with the my butterflies in my stomach or something like that but I never stop realizing this is Billy Graham I'm hanging out with here and talking to and it was great to access him in here things from him and share things with them and be of some small help to him in the final years of his ministry as Billy was ending his ministry. I was starting my crusade ministry and he asked me to assist them with illustrations and building bridges to younger audiences, so I love doing that effect.
I felt more pleasure in prepping a message or Billy Graham that I found in prepping one for myself. I would Billy actually use some of the material I gave him it was just like one of the greatest moments of my life. I can imagine it was your Billy was the kind of man we all wish we knew personally and you'll get to know him in this brand-new biography. It really is an inspiring journey again is called Billy Graham the man I knew it, I can Graham lots Billy's daughter commented about the book she wrote in this page turner of a book I learned things about my father that I never knew Greg Laurie has been a masterly job of setting my father's life in historical and cultural context. I pray that Billy Graham, the man I knew will draw readers to the gospel where they'll find the love of God that he preached so fervently and faithfully. So can we send a copy of this your way. Pastor Greg is making it available to thank you for your donation of any size. And please know there are no churches or large organizations covering all the broadcast expenses notes only through the investments of listeners, but these insights can come your way.
Each day, so thanks for being a partner with us with your donation today. Be sure to ask for Billy Graham, the man I knew you can write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300 call anytime 24 hours a day, 1-800-821-3300 or just one line to harvest.org Pastor Greg points out Easter's interest for church folks points out, Easter is for everyone because we all need the hope of the resurrection to the next for a new beginning with Pastor Greg Moore, Greg Laurie will buy harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for pastor grades free daily email, email@example.com