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What Is a Disciple?: Living Our Lives According to God’s Purpose

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2021 3:00 am

What Is a Disciple?: Living Our Lives According to God’s Purpose

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 6, 2021 3:00 am

Google processes more than 3 1⁄2 billion searches every single day. How do we know? We Google’d it. 3 1⁄2 billion searches, and there are 7 1⁄2 billion people on the planet. A lot of us are curious. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie speaks to one of the most curious issues of the Christian life. How can we discover God’s will for our lives, and how can we align ourselves with His plan? We’ll discover how we can find the fulfillment of living according to God’s purpose.

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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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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. Our objective in life is not to find out how God can bless our dreams and ambitions. Our goal or our objective is to find His plan and align ourselves with it.

That's what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. But how do we align ourselves with a plan we may not yet fully understand? Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie has counsel. Never be afraid to commit an unknown future to a known God. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again you hear all the angels are singing.

This is the day, the day where life begins. Google processes more than three and a half billion searches every single day. How do we know? We googled it. Three and a half billion searches and there are seven and a half billion people on the planet.

A lot of us are curious. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie speaks to one of the most curious issues of the Christian life. How can we discover God's will for our lives and how can we align ourselves with His plan? We'll discover how we can find the fulfillment of living according to God's purpose.

This is the day, the day where life begins. How many of you have ever seen the bumper sticker probably in a car that says God is my co-pilot? You've seen that sticker? How many of you have that sticker on your car?

Okay. If you do, please take it off now. I actually saw kind of a response to it a little bit satirical. It said, dog is my co-pilot instead of God. You say, that's sacrilegious. Honestly I like the dog one better than the God one. Let your dog be your co-pilot. God doesn't want to be your co-pilot. God doesn't even want you in the cockpit.

Okay. So this is part of the problem is is this we sort of envision God as God is my co-pilot. God is my wingman. God is my close buddy.

Well you know look yes it's true God will be your friend. But oh no He wants to be so much more than that. You see He is the potter and you are the clay. He is the shepherd and you are the sheep. He is the master and you are the servant.

We got to get this one figured out. In fact we read over in 1 Corinthians 6 19 that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us which we have from God and we are not our own. Do we understand that? You are not your own. Often we will say well you know my wife, my husband, my car, my house, my career, my ministry, my future, my past, my thoughts, my plans, my my my. Okay it's okay they have a sense of connection to all those things but we need to always remember that everything belongs to God. Your possessions belong to God. Your families belong to God. Your future it all belongs to God.

So listen to this. Our objective in life is not to find out how God can bless our dreams and ambitions. Let me say that again because this is not always what we hear being taught today.

Sometimes even in churches. Our goal in life should not be to get God to bless our dreams and ambitions. Listen. Our goal or our objective is to find His plan and align ourselves with it.

This is really important. Some of you are saying well God doesn't care about my dreams. God doesn't care about my ambitions.

He cares. But our goal is not to get God to do what we want Him to do. Our goal should be us doing what He wants us to do because eventually you will figure out God's plans for you are better than your plans for yourself. So never be afraid to commit an unknown future to a known God. That is what it means to be a servant.

Hey. That is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus told the story about a group of servants that were given a task to fulfill. And at the end of the story He said in the same way when you obey Me you should say we are unworthy servants and we have simply done our duty. You know sometimes people say Greg thank you for all that you do and the sacrifices you make.

And you know thank you for that compliment. But honestly I am just doing my duty. And the same is true of all of us. We are just doing what the Lord has called us to do. I don't deserve any special applause or praise for what I do.

Nor do you. We are just doing our duty. Hey we are just being disciples of Jesus Christ. C. S. Lewis said and I quote, all who are called to salvation are called to discipleship no exceptions no excuses.

But listen. Here is the secret many do not know. Here is the sweet spot of the Christian life. In fact this is where you will find life. You understand what I mean when I say sweet spot. Like in a racket there is a sweet spot.

And if you hit it you have the maximum control and effect. And there is a sweet spot in the Christian life where it almost becomes effortless. Where you enjoy that life and joy that God wants you to experience. And it is embedded right here in the Great Commission.

So let's look at it again. Matthew 28. We read these words. Jesus speaking, go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you and be sure of this I am with you even to the end of the age. We are in a series now on the topic of discipleship. In the last message I asked you are you a disciple. Now I am defining what a disciple actually is because I am commanded by Jesus to go into all the world and make disciples. And we all say well that is an amazing idea.

Let's do it. But you can't make a disciple if you are not first a disciple yourself. It takes one to make one. And as I pointed out all disciples are Christians but not all Christians are necessarily disciples. So here is what it comes down to. As a follower of Jesus I should either be being discipled or I should be discipling others. And sometimes I am doing both. There is someone that I am discipling and someone that is discipling me.

You say well what does all this discipling mean. It means that I am taking a younger believer under my wing. I am helping them to get established and get more mature spiritually.

But at the same time I have someone in my life that is helping me to grow as well. This is something we are all called to be. Either be a disciple or a disciple maker and preferably both at the same time. Well where does that start?

No brainer. It is right here in the Great Commission. Be baptized. What does Jesus say? Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Yesterday we baptized a lot of people down there at Pirate's Cove in Newport Beach. And it was such a joy to talk to people young and old who had been impacted by the gospel. And there was one gentleman that came up to me and he said, you know Greg I have been waiting to be baptized for 30 years. And my response was, I am really glad you are here but why did you wait so long. He goes, I don't know.

Like I don't know either. I said well better late than never but you know if you have accepted Christ you should be baptized. Well wait a second. Baptism isn't necessary for salvation. Well Bible study isn't necessary for salvation nor is prayer nor is attending church. But are those good things to do? And Jesus told me specifically in the Great Commission.

He actually broke it out. So this is important to Him. So we start in a simple act of obedience to be baptized.

So begin there. And then number two He says obey His commands. Go into all the world making disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach these new disciples to obey all My commands. Before I can teach others to obey His commands I first should be obeying His commands. What are His commands?

Well there are many I could cite but let me sum it up in a simple way. Jesus said if you will love Me with all of your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself you fulfill the commands. Think about it for a second. If I love God with all of my heart and all of my soul and all of my mind I would never want to break the first four of the Ten Commandments which deal with my relationship with God. If I really love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind I wouldn't want to have another God before him. I wouldn't want to worship a false image.

I wouldn't want to take His name in vain. And if I love my neighbor as myself I would not want to lie to them or steal from them or covet something that belongs to them and I certainly would not want to murder them. So if I focus on loving God with all of my heart, soul, and mind and my neighbor as myself I will fulfill the commands He gives.

Now let's shift gears and go to our second passage. Go over to Luke 14 where Jesus really breaks down what it means to be a disciple. Verse 26. He says, If any man comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brother and sisters, yet in his own life he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

I made this point in my last message but in case you didn't hear it I want you to know what it is. Number one if you want to be his disciple you must love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. You must love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. When Jesus says hate your father, mother, brother, sisters, brother, he is not being literal because in other passages I am told to love my wife as Christ loves the church. I am told to even love my enemies. Jesus is using a contrasting term to make a larger point.

In effect He is saying your love for God should be so intense that your love for others would be like hatred in comparison. You need to love Jesus more than you love your wife. You need to love Jesus more than you love your husband. You need to love Jesus more than you love your children. You need to love Jesus more than you love your stuff. You need to love Jesus more than you love your life itself. You say, Well I don't know if that is possible. Oh it is possible.

And listen to this. If you really love Jesus as you ought to He will give you more love for that ornery husband of yours. If you really love Jesus as you ought to He will give you more love for that.

Dare I say it. Sometimes on rare occasions nagging wife. If you really love Jesus as you ought to He will give you love for those crazy teenagers. If you love Jesus as you ought to He will give you love more love for those overbearing parents right. He will give you more love. He will expand your heart so you must love God more than anyone or anything else. Love Him more than your career. Love Him more than your ministry.

Love Him more than even your life. The Lord told us to take up our cross and follow Him. What does that mean? How do we do that? Well Pastor Greg has insight on that next. We send these daily studies out via radio, satellite, and over the internet.

And we don't always know how these messages are touching lives. Hey Pastor Greg. I stumbled onto your daily Bible studies one morning while listening to the radio. I became so interested in the way you explained the Bible.

But then the station went off the air. I searched and was able to find your Google podcast and now listen to you every day. The way you explain the Bible stories has finally let me connect with the Lord in a way I've never been able to before.

I grew up attending Christian school and church and have always believed in God. But I'm thankful to your ministry because it was like someone finally turned the lights on and connected the dots. After all these years it took someone across the country from me to finally explain things in a way I can understand.

I appreciate you and thank you for turning on the lights. We're so grateful to hear of the changed lives through Harvest Ministries. And if you'd like to download Pastor Greg's podcasts, you can do that through Google, Apple, or Spotify. Or go to harvest.org.

That's harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is offering important principles about being a genuine disciple. It's a study called, What is a Disciple?

Point number two. The disciple must take up the cross and follow Jesus. Verse 27. Whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. In Luke's gospel over in the ninth chapter Jesus addresses this again with a little more detail. He says, If anyone desires to come after me and be my disciple, he must deny himself, listen to this, and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever seeks to save his life will lose it.

And whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. So I know when I make a statement like this it sounds pretty unappealing. You imagine yourself living this miserable life. You know sacrificial life. An unhappy life. But as I said in the beginning this is the way to live as a Christian.

You sort of envision it like your friends call you. Hey you want to go out and get dinner and a movie tonight? No. I don't want to do that. Why not? Because I am bearing the cross.

Wow. Ok. What does that mean? It means I am eating bread. Very old stale bread. Drinking water. And just staring at the wall.

All the while dressed in sackcloth. Yes. That's not bearing the cross. That is being weird.

Ok. It has nothing to do with bearing the cross. Because the fact of the matter is when you are really bearing the cross you will be experiencing life.

Don't forget. Jesus said if you lose your life for my sake you will find it. I mean we want to find the meaning of life and people say, you know I am learning to love myself. I just don't love myself. But I am learning to love myself. Oh stop. You love yourself so much already. No I don't. Because I am overweight and I don't think I am attractive and I don't like the way I looked in the last 5,000 selfies that I shot and posted on Instagram yesterday.

Yeah. Because you love yourself you took 5,000 selfies. Because you love yourself you are aware of your appearance. Because you love yourself you think about yourself. So don't say you are learning to love yourself. You already love yourself.

That is an established fact. Jesus is saying no the objective is not to learn to love yourself. It is to deny yourself. And it is to lose yourself. And then you will find yourself. Sometimes people say, well I am trying to find myself. And that is just another way of saying I am going to do something really selfish right now. I hate the expression by the way. I am going to go find myself. Just shut up.

Ok. Stop. Because this is what I hear when the husband is ready to walk out on the wife and kids. This is what I hear when the wife is abandoning her family.

This is what I hear when a person is going to make really bad decisions. I am trying to find myself. No Jesus says you actually want to find yourself. Lose yourself. And how do you lose yourself?

Answer. By taking up the cross and following Him. But what does it mean to bear the cross? We use this phrase cross bearing for a lot of things. You know you might say of your husband, oh my husband he is my cross to bear in life.

And he might be saying that about you too by the way wife. Or my cross to bear is this neighbor I have. Or my cross to bear is this problem I am facing. No that is not your cross to bear.

Here is what your cross to bear simply is. It means you die to yourself and by dying to yourself or losing yourself you ultimately find yourself. You go what do you mean by die to self?

Let me illustrate. Dying to self means resisting that temptation to do what everybody else does. Dying to self means to a single person waiting to have sex until you are married. Dying to self if you are a married person means no sex after marriage. Well let me rephrase that.

With someone besides your spouse. Sometimes dying to yourself means sit down the remote control and or the cell phone and or the tablet device and or whatever electronic gadget you are holding onto the control for the video game and pick up your Bible and read it. Dying to yourself means praying when you would rather be sleeping. Dying to yourself and taking up the cross means forgiving someone who has hurt you if you feel like it or not. Dying to yourself and taking up the cross means swallowing your pride and telling someone about Jesus. Dying to yourself and taking up the cross means doing what God wants you to do instead of doing what you want to do. Dying to yourself and taking up the cross means leaving your comfort zone and engaging a person in a conversation about Jesus Christ. There is hundreds maybe even thousands of opportunities every day to die to yourself.

Hey. Dying to yourself means getting up in the morning and going to church. Because we are not always in the mood to go to church. Are you always in the mood? Really you aren't. You don't like it here. No I am kidding.

No sometimes we are. And I heard about a husband and wife that were getting ready for church in the morning. And the wife noticed the husband hadn't done a thing to get ready. She is ready to walk out the door. She said, honey we are going to church.

Why aren't you ready? He says, I am not going to church today. She said, why? He says, I will give you three reasons why.

The people in that church are cold. Number two. No one down there likes me. Number three.

I just don't want to go. She said, I will give you three reasons why you need to go to church today. Number one.

The people there are warm. Number two. Some people like you.

And number three. You are the pastor so get dressed. Let me ask you this. Has there ever been a time where you really didn't want to go to church? You just weren't in the mood or you had the sniffles or there were eight drops of rain or whatever it was. Right.

I love how you know there is a little rain. We can't go to church but we can go to the mall of the movies still. Right. So whatever it was he said, no no we are going to church because that is what we do. That is a priority in this song. So you went and the moment the worship began you thought, ah I was supposed to be here today. Have you ever had a time where I really don't want to read the Bible.

I am too busy to read the Bible. And you opened it more out of obedience almost. And then a verse just jumped off the page and spoke directly to a situation you were dealing with. Has there ever been a time where you really didn't want to leave your comfort zone and engage a person you didn't know in a conversation about Jesus but you did it out of obedience as a way of denying yourself and taking up the cross. And that conversation blew open and it resulted in that person coming to Christ.

You see that is what it means. We die to ourself. We take up the cross and we follow Him. Pastor Greg Laurie, pointing out the self-sacrificing life of discipleship.

How it is the most rewarding life we can live. And there is more to come as Pastor Greg continues his series called Discipleship, The Road Less Taken here on The New Beginning. Now to get an instant replay of today's message, go to harvest.org and look for the study called What is a Disciple?

And then a word about a brand new resource we are making available. Pastor Greg is here to introduce the book and Shannon Bream, our special guest. Shannon is an attorney. She is a journalist and the chief legal correspondent with the Fox News Channel.

She is married to Sheldon Bream and she has written a number of books and her newest book, The Women of the Bible Speak, the wisdom of 16 women and their lessons for today. So Shannon, thanks for being with us. I am sure you are very busy. I see you on TV all the time. I kind of feel like I sort of know you but it is great to actually speak with you. I feel the same about you guys too. So it is nice to meet. Great to meet you too. Hey, I wanted to just read a little excerpt from the beginning of your book because I thought it sort of set the stage for what you are writing about.

So I am quoting from you now. For many of us, 2020 was a year filled with pain, physical, financial, emotional and mental. We felt isolated, kept away from our loved ones and disconnected from our houses of worship and the sense of community they provide. There were adversities we could not have imagined we would face in our lifetimes. Hardships piled up one on top of the other and yet there was hope.

There was refuge. There was inspiration and healing. Throughout the Bible, women are at the center of some of the most critical events. They were bold and brave, finding courage in the moments when everything hung in the balance.

They were voices of truth and reason. And then you write, you can watch these women come alive as we dig into their lives significantly. So, Shannon, it is an interesting thing to me. A lot of preachers try to be political pundits and here you are, a news correspondent, a journalist, an attorney who deals with these issues every day as a part of your work. And yet you write a book about Bible stories and specifically about women of the Bible.

I think that's really cool. And what motivated you to pick this as your topic at this particular point in time? Well, Pastor, thank you. And I'm certainly no theologian. And I leaned on a lot of people in my life who are folks like you that I could call up and say, hey, what does this word mean in Greek?

Tell me more about this passage. I learned so much through writing this book. Fox had come to me about the idea of doing a book on women in the Bible.

And I immediately jumped at the opportunity seeing what a wonderful open door that they have always allowed me to talk about my faith and to be able to spread God's word. And I'm super thankful for that. Last year was really, really difficult. It's not the year I would have picked to write a book with the pandemic and the presidential election. I covered the Supreme Court.

The untimely death of Justice Ginsburg meant we had a confirmation battle. But through that, I was working on this book the whole time and just felt blessed and encouraged. I grew up in the church. I knew these stories, but I didn't really know them and the details and the back story and so much of the history. And they really came alive for me in a new way, writing this book.

And I was really so encouraged. And I thought the problems of the women centuries ago are very much like the painful problems that women have now in 2021. We have the stories of women who were widowed and fertile dealing with heartbreak and betrayal, illnesses that seem to have no cure and no hope. And I thought these are all universal problems that carry through time just as we see God never changes over time. He's the same God who intervened in these stories. And when women made bad turns and bad mistakes and bad messes with their stories, because we wanted to include those in here, too, we're all flawed. God could work through all of them. And I think he works through all of our stories now, if we're willing to put our faith in him and to trust him with the process. Well, I want to thank you, Shannon, for writing this book, The Women of the Bible Speak, subtitled The Wisdom of Sixteen Women and their Lessons for Today. And you can order this from us here at Harvest that we'll send to you for your gift of any size.

Yeah, that's right. And as you can tell, it's full of substantial encouragement for Christian women, but really for all of us. It's deep and thought-provoking, but also easy to follow and find the practical principles for our lives. And you know, with Mother's Day coming up this Sunday, this is the perfect time to give this to the special mom in your life.

So let us send you The Women of the Bible Speak. We'll send it to say thank you for your investment in the work we do each day. Just write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime, 24-7. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg, you've been teaching the Bible here on radio for many years now. In fact, almost 40 years. But you have some exciting news about television. Yeah, Dave, I'm very excited to share this news with our listeners and supporters.

Listen, everybody. We're launching a new television program called Harvest with Greg Laurie to major TV networks across the United States. This show will air on Sunday mornings on some networks you might be familiar with, like the Lifetime Network, Fox Business Network, Newsmax, Daystar, TBN, and KCAL here in Los Angeles. Combined, these air times will reach, listen to this, drum roll please, over 60 million viewers annually.

That is exciting. And some of these are secular TV networks, so we're reaching more people who need to hear the gospel. So I'm really excited about this, and I'm also grateful for our Harvest partners and donors who have helped us launch this new TV program. Join us Sunday mornings.

You can find air times at harvest.org. So next time, Pastor Greg continues his series, Discipleship, The Road Less Taken. We'll see disciples are those who make the biggest impact for our culture. That's coming up next time on A New Beginning with Pastor Greg Laurie.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-21 13:14:21 / 2023-11-21 13:25:11 / 11

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