Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners.
I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you. If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. It's on page 1163 in my Bible. Go to the Minor Prophets and look for it.
It's there. And let me give you a little background to this great passage that I want to talk to you about today on the theme reignite. The temple in Israel was laying in ruins and a man by the name of Zerubbabel, now that's a name, Zerubbabel was charged with the responsibility of rebuilding the temple. And after 20 years or so of working and trying, doing everything that he could to gather the people, to unite the people, this wasn't like the day of Nehemiah when they're rebuilding the walls and they did it in 90 days. No, Zerubbabel was in charge of this construction project and he's spending year after year after year after year and nothing is happening.
As a matter of fact, after all this time, two decades, he's got nothing to show for his efforts but a big hole in the ground. Ever feel like that? You're working, you're trying, you're doing everything you can and it's just not happening. Maybe it's your career, maybe it's your calling, the Christian life in and of itself and you're not seeing the results, the success that you believe that God has given you. And so this man was terribly discouraged and that's when the word of the Lord came to Zerubbabel. And my prayer in this message that I'm bringing you today is that the word of the Lord will come to you today because this is what we need. The word of the Lord, the strong, vital, eternal, inerrant, infallible word of God. And God has a word for you in his word and God has a word for you today in this moment. So verse six says, so he answered me, this is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, not by strength or by might but by my spirit says the Lord of armies. That's literally the Lord of angel armies.
What are you, oh great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain and he will bring out of the capstone, out the capstone accompanying it with shouts of grace, grace to it. Then the word of the Lord came to me. Zerubbabel's hands have laid the foundation of this house and his hands will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of armies has sent me to you.
For who despises the day of small things? These seven eyes of the Lord which scan throughout the whole earth will rejoice when they see the ceremonial stone of Zerubbabel's hand. Let's pray together. We thank you, oh God, for your word, your truth which is life to us. We pray, oh God, that in the time that we have together that you would encourage us to keep going, to be encouraged in the faith that you have given us that we would not only start but finish the job you've assigned each one of us to do.
That we would fulfill our calling, we would fulfill our marriage vows, that we would fulfill our commitments to our friends and relationships and to our church. For we pray in Jesus' name, amen. Several principles that fall right out of this text that I want to mention to you today.
You may want to write some of these down. Number one, when we are weak, God is strong. When we are weak, God is strong. Here's the thing about the Christian life.
Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord. The greatest discovery I've made in my Christian life is this, after salvation itself, is Christ in me and I in Christ. Christ lives in me and I live in Christ. I am in Christ and Christ is in me. And the Christian life, therefore, is not on our own. God doesn't give us a set of plans and say go get it, but God has said here's the plan, here's the purpose, and God made you on purpose for a purpose in your life and God wants you to fulfill that purpose and he has given you the Helper, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord of armies, the Lord of life, who is in us. The Christian life is not you, Jesus said, without me, you can do what?
You can do absolutely nothing, nothing, zero with all the edges trimmed off, you can do nothing. But in Christ, there is power to do whatever God calls us to do every single day of our lives. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So when I say the Christian life is impossible, if you're struggling and many people are, I'm doing a series right now in our church on the book of Romans and we just came through Romans 7 when Paul himself is struggling to live the Christian life. The goat, the greatest of all time in my view, the greatest Christian who ever lived, the Apostle Paul, is struggling to live the Christian life. And he's saying things like, like the things that I want to do, I don't do.
And the very things I don't want to do are the things I find myself doing. And he ends up with this declaration of saying, it's a question and a declaration. He says, oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death? And Paul is talking about his self life. In fact, when you read Romans 7, you see the words I and me and my again and again and again. Paul is trying and straining, stressing and struggling and he's wondering why I can't, why are things not getting better?
Why am I not living the Christian life? Now if the Apostle Paul was struggling, I know that I'm going to struggle as well and so will you. And then of course he moves right on to Romans 8 and from Romans 7 where it's I and me and my, I heard about a bird down in the tropics. It's called the Mimi bird. And it's called the Mimi bird because that's the sound that it makes. Mimi, Mimi, Mimi, Mimi. And I've never seen a Mimi bird except in churches.
I've seen a lot of Mimi birds in churches. But it's all about I, me and my when you're trying to do this on your own. But when you get to Romans 8, when you read a passage, a verse like this, and it says not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, we realize that as in Romans 8, it's the spirit, the spirit, the spirit, the spirit, and in the spirit there is life, in the spirit there is liberty. So Paul makes this declaration coming out of this confession, I can't do it, I can't do it, I can't do this thing. And he says, who will deliver me? Then he says, thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He makes a declaration and I want to challenge you today to stop playing the victim constantly and to start declaring who you are in Jesus Christ. This is who you are.
You are more than a conqueror. And in Christ there's nothing that you're facing in your life, no challenge, no mountain in your life, no hole in the ground that you can't overcome in the power of Christ. Ephesians 5 18, don't be drunk with wine, that's success, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. And to be filled with the Holy Spirit means to live under the control of the denomination of the Holy Spirit. No longer dominated by sin and controlled by sin, enslaved by sin, but now infused with spiritual power.
That's how to reignite, is to be full of the Holy Spirit of God. This is how you rebuild the church. Many of us are asking in these days as we're bringing churches back together and regathering, you know, well we just want to get back to normal.
No, not really. Now maybe here, of course, it's the great dynamic spirit filled church led by one of the greatest pastors of all time, truly. And you're gathering back and you're doing well and I know it's been tough in many, many ways. And we wonder across this country and around the world, how are we going to bring the church back together? I know at our church we've been doing fairly well, but we're still missing, I don't know, six, seven hundred people that we haven't seen yet. So how are we going to do this?
How are we going to get this done? Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit. People will return to a church that is revived. And when people start coming back, let them see the fire of God, the reignition of the power of Jesus among his people. And, you know, I can't describe what this is like to be filled with the Holy Spirit, other than to say that the presence of Christ, the risen Christ, the risen power of Jesus is alive in us.
The same power that brought Jesus out of the grave, available to us. Some doubt it. Some doubt the very existence of God himself. In a mother's womb there were two babies and one asked the other, do you believe in life after delivery? The other replied, why, of course, there has to be something after delivery. Maybe we're here to prepare ourselves for what we will have later.
Nonsense, said the first. There's no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be? The second said, I don't know, but there will be more light than in here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths.
Maybe we will have other senses that we can't even understand now. The first replied, that's absurd. Walking is impossible and eating with our mouths?
Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need, but the umbilical cord is so short, life after delivery is to be logically excluded. The second insisted, well, I think there's something and maybe it's different than in here.
Maybe we don't need this physical cord anymore. The first replied, nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back here from there? Delivery is the end of life and in the after delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion.
It takes us nowhere. Well, I don't know, said the second. We have twins, by the way, in our family, so Zach and Jake are talking here. The first replied, but certainly we will meet mother and she will take care of us. The first replied, mother, you actually believe in mother?
That's laughable. If mother exists, then where is she now? And the second said, she's all around us. We're surrounded by her. We are of her. It is in her that we live. Without her, this world would not and could not exist, said the first.
Well, I don't see her, so it's only logical that she doesn't exist. To which the second replied, sometimes when you're in the silence and you focus, and you really listen, you can sense her presence, and you can hear her loving voice calling down from above. Amen? And what those little babies learn, we learn when we are born again, that there is a God. He's revealed himself in Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except by him. In him we have life. We live and move and have our being.
We have been born again unto a living hope. We know he is real. We sense his presence. His spirit is alive in us and he is all around us and we can know him. Look, Jesus is not someone I know about.
He's someone I really know. I know Jesus. That's why Paul said to know him and the power of his resurrection. So when you face insurmountable odds and circumstances and crisis and maybe anxiety and depression or when you're trying to build something or do something or grow something and it's just not happening, remember this is the work of the Holy Spirit in you. And he will enable you and he will empower you to be the dad, the mom, the parent, the husband, the wife, the friend, all the things that we want to be, the servant of Christ, using our spiritual gifts, the gifts of the spirit that he's given us.
We have all of this and so much more because of what Christ has done in us. Never forget Jesus is alive in you. Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord. That's principle number one. When we are weak and we are, he is strong. The second thing is never assess a difficulty in light of your own resources. Say that again.
Never assess a difficulty in your life in view of your own or in light of your own resources. Verse seven, look at it again. What are you, oh great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. What are you, oh great mountain? Now apparently there was this huge mountain there. Not only was he trying to dig through this mountain, got a hole in the ground, but this mountain is standing between Zerubbabel and his calling, his commission to rebuild the temple. And God is encouraging him and says, what are you, oh great mountain? Now a mountain of course, this was a physical mountain. But Jesus talked about other kinds of mountains. He talked about faith to move mountains. And when he talked about those mountains, he was talking about anything, you know mountains can obstruct our vision. They're beautiful, but they can block your vision. And mountains can not only obstruct your vision, but obscure your mission.
And that's what was happening here. He was not able to achieve it because of that great mountain. And every day that mountain was standing there and forbidding him to go forward.
So God says to him, what are you, oh great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become as a plain. And in the language of the Old Testament, which is Hebrew, all those words there before Zerubbabel, these words, it shall become as a plain is one word. One Hebrew word.
And here it is, ready for this? Before Zerubbabel, whammo! Now that's a loose translation, but it literally means God's gonna just evaporate it, incinerate it, whammo! In God's time, in God's own way, that mountain standing before you, God has said don't assess your life, your circumstances in terms of your own resources, but assess it in the power of God because he goes on to say because that mountain is going to be removed and guess who takes credit for it? We give all glory to God with shouts of grace, grace, grace to it. Because not only we are living under the umbrella of God's provision and God's protection for our lives.
Did you know that? And there is nothing you face, no mountain that cannot be moved, no river that cannot be crossed, no difficulty that God cannot overcome. There's no person that God cannot save.
There's no sin that God cannot forgive because with God all things are possible with shouts of grace, grace to it. Amen. So when you look at your mountain today, what is it?
What are you dealing with? Trust the promise of God. He is faithful, forever faithful. And in his own time, in his own way, God's gonna tear down that obstacle.
He's gonna remove it. When you trust in him and look for him again, not by might, not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord. But then there's another principle here and that is what God starts, he finishes.
Look at verse nine. Zerubbabel's hands have laid the foundation of this house and his hands will complete it. Now that was important for Zerubbabel to know because the biggest question in Jerusalem at that time is this, is that old man gonna live long enough to ever get this job done? To rebuild that temple? And Zerubbabel no doubt was questioning himself.
How's this ever gonna happen? I don't know if I've got enough time. Well our times are in his hands and we trust in him and what God said is this. What I start, I will finish. What I begin in you, I will perfect in you.
One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1.6. He who began the good work in you will perform it, perfect it, complete it in the day of Jesus Christ. Maybe you're wondering why am I not becoming more and more like Christ the way I know that I should?
Why am I not making progress here? Maybe I'm not even saved, no. If you're saved, what God has started in you, he's just getting started and he's never gonna stop. He's never gonna quit working on you. Now as we used to say a long time ago, please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet.
We're not a finished product. God's still working on me and he's still working on you but he's doing it and by the work of his spirit in us, alive in us, it will be. You are, as we like to say, as sure for heaven as if you were always alive.
You are, as we like to say, as sure for heaven as if you were already there because what God starts, he always finishes and he's not through with you. I tell the story in my book that there was a time in this whole thing when I was dealing with this heavy anxiety and depression that I was thinking, you know, it's over because I just couldn't get going again. I'd never experienced anything like this and again, I was no longer fighting the cancer, I was fighting the fear that came with it and so I'm wondering, am I finished?
Is it over? Is God through with my ministry? I was just so exhausted, I was so tired and I kept coming back to this verse and verses like these, the promises of God and the provision of God that says I'm not finished with you.
You can trust me with this, even this. God's not finished with you and God is going to restore and reignite you and your life and if you're going through some things like right now and you're ready to quit, don't you dare quit. I was talking to a friend of mine just this week. He has pneumonia as a result of COVID and he's struggling. He's fighting for his life. I spoke to him on the phone and said, don't you dare quit.
Don't you dare stop fighting. God's got a plan, God's got a purpose in this. You're in his hand and what God starts, he's going to finish and what I said to my friend, I would say to you right now, anyone here who's watching this, worshiping here in this room, you're thinking about checking out. You're thinking about wanting to quit.
You're thinking about I can't do this. I can't go on, remember what God said to this man. He's saying to you what God starts, he finishes and he's given you a work to do. He's put it in your hands and he will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. So trust in him who is faithful. He's faithful.
Keep running your race. Keep doing what God has called you to do and here's one of my favorite parts of this passage. Verse 10, here's another principle. So far we've said when we are weak, he is strong, not by might, not by power, but by my spirit.
Never assess the difficulty in terms of your own resources. With shouts of grace, the mountain will be removed. What God starts, he finishes, he will complete it. And then verse 10, for who despises the day of small things?
You know what that is? Little is much when God is in it. Little is much when God is in it. We tend to ignore small things, but God doesn't. And the small progress, the small steps that we take, are the small things that we do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we're doing what God has called us to do, be it large or be it small, God blesses us in the act and he says, don't despise it.
Maybe there's someone, there's some young people here today. You're just getting started in life and you want to serve the Lord and you're ready to be on a, maybe there's a young preacher here and you're ready to preach the gospel in Angel Stadium and you're not quite being asked just yet. All right, well go preach on the beach. Go preach on the street.
Go preach where God has put you. Go where it may be a small thing, but be faithful. Jesus said, he that is faithful in that which is least shall be made faithful in that which is much. God uses small things. The stone and a slingshot in David's hand or the alabaster box, just a small ointment, a jar of perfume and when she broke that, when she did that small thing, this little lady who lived so long ago, Mary of Bethany, when she broke the perfume and the flask and anointed Jesus in preparation for his burial, though she could have never understood it, Jesus later said, Jesus said, commending her, she's done what she could.
When she was criticized by Judas and some of the others, said, leave her alone. What she's done is a testimony to me. Those little things that we do, those small acts of devotion, a cup of cold water in Jesus' name, given with love and blessing to someone and nobody knows it, nobody's applauding you for doing it, nobody's cheering you and telling you you're great, but God sees it and God knows it. At the beginning of your marriage, at the beginning of a friendship, at the beginning of anything, we often want to rush to the end, but God has a way of preparing us and producing something very special in our lives. When we take the small things and do them in a great way to the glory of God, little is much when God is in it. Just like the five loaves and the fishes, the little boy and his lunch, and given to the hands of Jesus and blessed by the words of Jesus, they're multiplied and a multitude is fed. Harvest, you have an incredible witness in this community in California, across this country and the world. As a church, the crusades that you're doing and we're already praying for you in October as the big Harvest night is coming, and sometimes I know you may wonder, well, what am I doing? What does what I do, whether it be working in a parking lot or passing out an invitation or inviting someone or sharing the gospel with someone, what little thing can I do?
What does it really matter? It can separate life and death and heaven and hell with hundreds of people that you don't even know about. This past week, we had the head of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention come to our church to speak and in it, now, this man is responsible for the world's largest mission organization and he's a wonderful guy from North Carolina. His name is Paul Chet Wood and he was telling the story, he said, about 40 years ago, there were a couple of guys that showed up at the church parking lot in a little church in Kentucky and they were doing on this Tuesday night what they always did, which was go visiting. It might be a southern thing, I don't know, but house to house, knock on doors, visitation. And so they had some cards in their hands, but they had heard about a young dad recently divorced at the top of the hill, literally at the end of the road. And they said, let's go see this man. And they walked up the hill to the end of the road to a little shack of a house.
We're invited in by the young divorced dad with two little boys sitting there, one about seven, one about four. And those two faithful men doing a little thing began to talk to this man who was broken hearted because his wife had left. They began to talk to him about Jesus. And that day in that room, that old house, that young dad gave his heart and his life to receive Christ as his savior. And Paul, now preaching in our church, now heading the largest mission organization in the world, said, I was that four year old little boy sitting at the feet of my daddy when my daddy heard the gospel from these two faithful men and he said it wasn't long till I was asking Jesus in my heart too and now God has given me this privilege of being responsible to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Those two men who walked up that dirt road so long ago could have never known that that little four year old boy would grow up to change the world. Just be faithful at what God has called you to do. It's not about you, it's not about me, it's all about Jesus and his gospel. So don't despise the day of small things.
Thanks. Would you bow your heads with me in prayer, every head bowed and every eye closed. Do you know Jesus? Maybe somebody invited you here today or if you're watching on the webcast at this time or you're right here in this room and you don't know Christ, someone invited you. Someone has shared their faith with you. They risked even maybe your displeasure to talk to you about Jesus because that's who we are, that's what we do because we love Jesus.
We want you to know him as well. And so right here, right now, if you've never come to that place in your life where you have personally invited Jesus into your life, many people have a relationship with the church but don't have a relationship with Jesus. We talk a lot about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
That's what we've been talking about today. Clearly, what we're talking about is not religion. It truly is this friendship that we have with Christ, this relationship that we have and you can have it too because Jesus went to the cross and he laid down his life on the cross and he took your place and died for your sins, every one of them. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, cleanses us from every sin. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. And you can be forgiven of all your sins because of what Christ has done for you on the cross when he gave his life for you.
He loves you and he has a plan and a purpose for your life. And then on the third day, he rose again. He is alive. The Bible says if we confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus and believe in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead, we will be saved. With the heart, we believe and with the mouth, we confess to salvation. For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Saved from what? Saved from your sin. Saved by the life of Christ, now to live in you. Saved not only for sin and saved for heaven but saved for now, saved for this life. That you may make a difference in this world for Jesus Christ so you can be saved today. Jesus welcomes you and invites you into his family. So pray a prayer like this. Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me and dying on the cross for my sins. I believe you rose again on the third day.
I do trust in you. I confess you as my Lord and my Savior. Just tell him in your own words.
You don't even have to say all these words. Just say, Jesus, come into my life and be my Savior, my Lord, my God, my friend. And if you will receive him, promise him now that I will follow you openly and publicly and live for you by the power of your Spirit until you come for me. Pray that prayer. Invite Christ into your life.
And for that person right now who may be struggling and there are many who are struggling in these days. You're looking at a situation in your life like this man we just read about in the Bible and you don't know what to do and it just seems so hopeless and so endless what you're trying to do. Not by might, not by power, my Spirit. Surrender your life to the Lordship of Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with his presence and his power and start doing what God has called you to do even if it's a little thing because here's what the scripture says. The eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in behalf of all whose hearts are steadfast in him. And God's eyes are scanning the room and wherever you are and he's looking for men and women whose hearts are given to him.
Blameless and steadfast towards him. Thank you Lord for your word, for the power of your Spirit, for the blessing of this church and the congregation of your people. Now Lord we pray that these who are responding and receiving you will now follow you openly and publicly and live for you and the power of your Spirit all the days of their lives and Lord that's all of us. We pray as we face our mountains Lord in your own time, in your own way, remove the mountain because we believe and trust in you in Jesus' name. Amen and amen. God bless you and thank you Harvest.
Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on The Harvest Ministries.
We'll be right back. To find out how to know God personally click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-15 12:41:48 / 2023-09-15 12:54:54 / 13