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What If Jesus Sent You an Email? - Getting Back on Track

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

What If Jesus Sent You an Email? - Getting Back on Track

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 6, 2021 3:00 am

Back before the four-wheel drive, drivers in rural areas with lots of muddy roads learned one lesson early on: if there’s a muddy hill ahead, the only way to get up and over is to build up your momentum and then keep your foot on the gas. If you stop, you sink . . . and then you’re sunk!

Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us similar instruction for our walk with God. Keep our foot on the gas. Don’t slow down. If you’re going forward, you won’t go backward.

This year we are excited to bring back our SoCal Harvest. Why do large-scale, evangelistic crusades still matter after all these years? It’s pretty simple: in a time of division, disharmony, social unrest, and fractional politics, we, now more than ever, need to be together—physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes, spiritually. We need the presence of God in our lives, the only one with a plan, a road map for all of us, RSVP today: harvest.org/socal 

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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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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. When someone backslides or turns away from God, it's not something they generally do overnight, but it's a little compromise here, lowering your guard there. And next thing you know, you're slipping. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out if we're moving forward in our faith, we're not moving backward.

It's either or. And so if you're not moving forward and cultivating that relationship with the Lord, your spiritual life is going to come to a standstill. Back before four-wheel drive, drivers in rural areas with lots of muddy roads learned one lesson early on. If there's a muddy hill ahead, the only way to get up and over is to build up your momentum and then keep your foot on the gas. If you stop, you sink, and then you're sunk. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us similar instruction for our walk with God. Keep our foot on the gas. Don't slow down.

If you're going forward, you won't go backward. The title of my message is, What if Jesus sent you an email? And it's from the book of Revelation. And we're studying the book of Revelation together. There's a special blessing promise to the person who reads and hears and keeps the words of this book. So let's look together now at Revelation chapter 2. I'm reading verses 1 to 5.

To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, These things saith he that holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, your labor, your patience. You can't bear those who are evil and you've tested those who say they are apostles and are not.

You've found them liars. You've persevered. You've had patience and you've labored for my name's sake and you have not become weary. Nevertheless, I have this against you.

You have left your first love. Remember from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent. Wow powerful words.

Jesus says there's a problem. You guys are doing awesome. You're hard working. You're discerning. You do so much for me and I appreciate it but there is a problem developing and I have to tell you what this problem is. You have left your first love. Now sometimes people say oh you've lost your first love. No it's not lost. It's left. When you lose something you may never recover it.

But if you leave something you know where it is and you can return to it again. You've left your first love. Or one translation puts it this way. You no longer love me as you did at first.

What does that mean? It means these Christians had traded their devotion and put duty in its place. They had motion but they lost the emotion. They had labor but they lost the love.

They had perspiration but they didn't seem to have inspiration. And you might say well but is it really that big of a deal to just leave your first love? I mean in a marriage you can't always have butterflies in your stomach and all that.

No I understand that. You know there's sort of the spark that sets marriage into motion but then you settle down into into a deeper love. But when you see a married couple who've been together for years holding hands and walking together and still in love that's because they've cultivated that. If you take your hand off the wheel so to speak your marriage is going to go the wrong way. If you want to keep a marriage strong you have to do things to strengthen it.

And in the same way in your relationship with God if you take your hand off the wheel if you stop moving forward you will begin to start moving backwards. You've left your first love. See it was a heart problem. You know you can have the greatest physique. You can work out at the gym and have sculpted washboard abs and everything. Bulging biceps.

But if you have heart trouble what good is it? I knew a guy years ago. He was a workout maniac. In fact when I'd see him he'd go Greg touch my arm. Grab my arm. He'd make a muscle to me. Okay yeah your muscle is very hard.

Congratulations. And then tragically one day I got the news that my friend died of heart disease which I didn't even know he had. Sometimes we can be in great shape sort of on the outside but something's wrong on the inside.

It was a heart problem. Notice that Jesus says you've left your first love and he talks about how they have fallen. Remember from where you have fallen. See this is the first step to falling away. When someone backslides or turns away from God it's not something they generally do overnight. You don't call up your Christian buddy hey dude want to backslide tonight? Oh yeah let's do it.

Pick me up at seven. No no one plans to backslide generally but it's a little compromise here. Lowering your guard there and next thing you know you're slipping. And so if you're not moving forward and cultivating that relationship with the Lord your spiritual life is going to come to a standstill. That's what's happening. Okay but Jesus doesn't just tell them what's wrong. He tells them what to do to make it right. There's three R's to get right with God. Three R's to get right with God. You need to remember. You need to repent. And you need to repeat.

So if you want to get right with God listen very carefully. First you need to remember. He says remember from where you have fallen. This could be translated keep on remembering.

Remember where you were when you were at your highest point of commitment to Christ and go back to that place. It's sort of a marker. So you have a point of reference. You know let's say you're trying to lose weight. And you're saying how did I get so overweight. Why do I have two wardrobes now.

One for skinny me and one for fatter me. Right. And you keep both wardrobes because you fluctuate between the two. Well that's not a good thing. There's telltale signs you're gaining weight. You know you're gaining weight when you take a shower and nothing below your waist gets wet. You know you're gaining weight when the couch gets up when you do. Right. You know you're gaining weight when you get your shoes shined and you have to take the guy's word for it.

So that's not good. So remember remember when your pants fit. Remember when you didn't have to punch holes in a belt that shouldn't really be there. You shouldn't have a hole in your belt right to the very edge of it. Right.

So remember it's a point of reverence. I was in better shape before. And repent. Change your behavior. Stop eating donuts all the time. Stop your late night eating. Stop the things that you're doing. Stop being complacent and lazy and get out there and exercise. So you need to repent and then you need to repeat. Do the first works quickly. All right. So go out there and think about what you're eating.

Exercise more etc. Okay so now let's apply this to the spiritual life. Remember was there a time when you were closer to God than you are right now.

We'll make that a point of reference. If the answer is yes now repent. Admit that you're not as close to the Lord as you want to be. Now repeat.

Go back and do the first works quickly. So let me ask you a question. What did you used to do when your relationship with Jesus was stronger? Well you say I used to read my Bible every day and I would listen to Bible teaching on podcasts and praise music. Go back and do that again. Yeah well I used to share the gospel whenever I could. Go back and do that again as well.

Do the first works quickly. Someone once asked the great evangelist Billy Sunday. You know how to stay strong spiritually.

And Sunday responded you know there was a man that said to me when I was a young Christian this statement and I've always tried to follow it. This man said to me Billy if you do these three things you will never have the word backslider written after your name. Number one spend every day talking to God for 15 minutes. Then he said number two spend every day having God speak to you through the Bible for 15 minutes. And finally spend every day telling someone else about the Lord for 15 minutes. Billy Sunday said if you do these three things you will never be a backslider. That's good advice.

Go back and do the first works quickly and return to your first love. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're encouraged when we hear that Pastor Greg's teaching and preaching is touching lives. Hey Pastor Greg my name is Mark from New York.

He's calling. I was saved at your crusade in Madison Square Garden in 2000s and if it wasn't for my mom called me to your crusade and me listen to your teachings I wouldn't be here today probably you saved my life. After that I became a Christian I found a church I married my wife we got baptized together but things didn't always stay good you know and last year I lost my daughter and your teachings on that subject have really helped me through a really dark and difficult time and now I have two beautiful sons and we're picking up where we left off we're living this life and I just thank you so much for always giving a good word always speaking through the Lord I appreciate you and I thank you. We're grateful to hear of the changed lives through Pastor Greg's teaching and be sure to tell a friend about Pastor Greg's upcoming SoCal Harvest October 3rd at Angel Stadium in Southern California. Help them find hope in Christ.

For information go to harvest.org that's harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is helping us remember repent and repeat the three R's of getting our lives back on track with the Lord. Part of today's study in Revelation chapter two. If you're walking closely with the Lord guess what will happen in fact this is a confirmation you're doing the right thing ready for it you're thinking what I'll be blessed well in a way yes but maybe not the kind of blessing you're hoping for you will be persecuted that's right the Bible says all that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution when someone harasses you makes fun of you gives you a hard time or even outright attacks you because of your faith that's an indication you're on the right track if you're never persecuted if you're never criticized if you're never hassled for your faith in any way shape or form I wonder if you're actually living a godly life and that brings us to the second of seven churches that Jesus sends a message to they're called the church of Smyrna and in Revelation 2 verse 8 he says don't fear those things that you're about to suffer the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested and you will have tribulation for 10 days be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life he that has an ear to hear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches he that overcomes will not be hurt by the second death you know it's interesting to note that this message of Jesus to our second of seven churches Smyrna is the briefest of all the messages he gave and there's not a single critical word said to them he had some criticism for the first church he had lots of criticism for the last one he had none for this particular body of believers now again this was an actual historical church and as Smyrna was like Ephesus a capital of paganism but instead of worshiping this goddess called Diana they actually worshipped Caesar around 25 a.d many Asian cities were competing with each other for the privilege of building a temple to the emperor Tiberius Smyrna had the dubious distinction of winning the contest so they prided themselves in their worship of Caesar as lord and they erected a giant temple to him and people were expected to say Caesar is lord so if you were a Christian and you said Jesus is lord they would say but you have to say Caesar is lord and many Christians would not and they lost their lives as a result it was a hard place to be a Christian Jesus says in verse 9 I know your works your tribulation and your poverty they suffered greatly they suffered in their businesses because of their faith people would not want to trade with these people that would not say Caesar is lord but instead said Jesus is lord and they were mistreated and many of them were even put to death but Jesus says in verse 10 be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life when we get to heaven someday God has some rewards waiting for us and among those rewards will be the crown of life you know the bible mentions that there is a crown of rejoicing which is a crown for winning people to Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2 19 then there's a crown of righteousness that will be given to those who love his appearing 2 Timothy 4 8 and here we have the crown of life interestingly this is the same crown promise of those who resist temptation in James 1 12 it says blessed is the man who endures temptation and perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test he'll receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him so if you want to receive the crown of life you must persevere under trial you must hang in there when you're persecuted you must resist temptation and if you are living a godly life this persecution will come into it but sometimes God allows persecution to wake us up to keep us on our toes spiritually I read about how they were having problems shipping codfish from the east coast to the west coast because when it arrived it was spoiled so they froze it but when it arrived it was mushy to the taste so they send it live but it would arrive dead so they send it alive again but with one difference they included in the tank of the live codfish the mortal enemy of the codfish which is the catfish so when the fish arrived people said they'd never had better codfish in their life because they had spent the entire journey running from a catfish and sometimes God will put a catfish in our tank so to speak one person that gives you a hard time you might be married to them somebody that makes life difficult for you someone who's always peppering you with hard questions someone who is attacking you for your faith and you're saying why is this person in my life maybe they're the catfish God has allowed to keep you stronger to keep you dependent on God be faithful and you will receive the crown of life let me close with this if you've trusted in Jesus Christ you don't have to fear the second death look at Revelation chapter 2 verse 11 he that has a near to hear let him hear what the spirit says of the churches he who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death what is the second death the second death is dying without Christ and going to hell yes hell is real we'll talk about that as we get deeper into the book of Revelation just as surely as there is a heaven there also is a hell hell was not created for people according to Jesus hell was created for the devil and his angels and the last thing that God wants is for any person made in his image to spend eternity separated from him in this place called hell or also known as the second death the first death is when we die physically the second death is when we face judgment if we have not put our faith in Christ so I could simplify it this way if you're born once you will die twice but if you're born twice you will die once does that make sense if you're born once you'll die twice you'll be born physically and then you'll die physically and die spiritually in the second death facing judgment but if you're born twice you'll die once and by being born twice I mean you've been born again yes you're born physically but then you put your faith in Christ and you're born again spiritually remember Jesus said to that religious leader named Nicodemus you must be born again or literally born from above yes this is the promise God has and we won't be hurt by the second death you know when you don't know Christ you're spiritually dead you're like a zombie oh you're alive but you're dead in the inside the bible says she that lives for pleasure is dead while she is living don't live that way God has something better for you listen to this this earth is as good as it ever will be for the non-believer but for the believer this earth is as bad as it gets because for those who have trusted Christ the best is yet to come so let me close by asking have you put your faith in Jesus yet do you have this hope of heaven do you have this certainty that when you die you will go into the presence of God or is this something that keeps you up at night the fear of death the fear of the afterlife I remember when I was a young boy it was something that really bothered me because I didn't really believe that you continue to exist after you died after you died and sometimes I would just lay awake at night thinking about how can I simply no longer exist no one had given me the gospel yet but when I heard the gospel when I heard that there was a God in heaven who loved me and had a plan for my life and would forgive me of all of my sins it changed everything now I'm not afraid to die and you don't have to be either Jesus conquered death he died on the cross and rose again from the dead when he died on the cross he defeated sin when he rose again from the dead he defeated death death died when Christ rose and now Jesus who died and rose and is alive is knocking at the door of your life and he's saying if you'll hear my voice and open the door I will come in Jesus Christ can come and forgive you of your sins so you can be born again and know with certainty you'll go to heaven when you die let's pray Lord I pray for every person watching right now that you will help them to see their need for Jesus and help them to come to you and believe let this be the moment when everything changes for them and they find not only the hope of life beyond the grave but they find the purpose of life on this earth in a relationship with you I commit them all to you now in Jesus name I pray Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer from our study series in the book of Revelation and if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord Pastor Greg will help you do that before today's edition of A New Beginning wraps up. Evangelism, sharing the gospel with people, is at the very heart and soul of this ministry and Pastor Greg will be bringing the gospel in less than a month at SoCal Harvest in Southern California, October 3rd. Join us in prayer that the Lord would use that event to bring many people to him and find out more at harvest.org. And then we'd like to help you take your study of Revelation even deeper. Pastor Greg has just released his brand new book called Revelation a Book of Promises. Now Pastor Greg nearly everyone can think of a question they'd like to ask about the book of Revelation maybe something about the 144,000 or about the mark of the beast or if believers will be here when the Antichrist is revealed. Will they find answers in your new book?

100% they will. Let me just give quick answer to every one of those questions. Who are the 144,000? There are 144,000 Jewish people who believe in Jesus as the Messiah. They're sort of like 144,000 kosher Billy Grahams combing the planet sharing the gospel and they're under divine protection. And then you mentioned will believers be here to see the Antichrist.

I think the simple answer is no because the Bible says he who now restrains will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way and then will that wicked one be revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of his coming. The restraining force in the world today is the work of the Holy Spirit through the church. It is my opinion that Antichrist cannot be revealed until the church is removed. So we should not waste time looking for Antichrist but instead be looking for Jesus Christ. The mark of the beast that will come with the Antichrist in the tribulation period. So no the COVID-19 vaccines are not the mark of the beast. No there is no thing right now that is happening that is the mark of the beast that will come later. So the main thing we want to focus on is being ready to meet the Lord.

So I answer those questions and a lot more in this brand new book that I've just written simply called Revelation a Book of Promises. It's hardcover. This is a pretty thick book folks and we're going to send it to you for your gift of any size because I believe this is going to be a resource that you can go to time and time again as you study this book. It's understandable. It's down to earth.

It's practical. I don't use a lot of theological language. I speak in a way that you can grasp it and I want to send you this book again for your gift of any size. Whatever you can send we'll use to reach more people with the gospel and the teaching of the word of God. Yeah and we so much appreciate that investment. It's really an investment in touching and changing lives as we'll be doing shortly at So Cal Harvest October 3rd. So get in touch today with that donation and we'll thank you with a copy of Pastor Greg's brand new book Revelation a Book of Promises. And by the way we'll include a bookmark designed by our team to show the timeline of end times events very clearly. What comes before what?

What comes after what? So write us today at a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg you mentioned our need to come to Christ for forgiveness of sin in today's broadcast.

Yes. Maybe there's somebody listening who'd like to do that. They'd like to take that step.

Maybe you could help them with that right now. I'd be delighted to listen. If you would like to accept Jesus Christ into your life right now by that I mean if you would like your sin forgiven and have the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die would you pray this prayer with me Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I thank you for dying on the cross for my sin and rising again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin Lord and I turn from it now and I put my faith in you to be my Savior my Lord my God and my friend. Thank you for loving me and calling me and accepting me in Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Listen if you just prayed that prayer in a minute I want you to know on the authority of God's word that Jesus Christ has just come to take residence in your heart. The Bible says these things we write to you that believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. Listen we want to send you some resources that will help you grow spiritually. So here's Dave with some details and let me say God bless you and welcome to the family of God. And those resources Pastor Greg just mentioned are all contained in what we call our new believers growth packet. It'll help you get started living for the Lord and we'll send it at no charge. So ask for your new believers growth packet when you write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or you can call us anytime 24 7 at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg brings a message called the seven love letters of Jesus to his church in-depth insight based on Jesus message to the seven churches of Revelation. Join us here on a new beginning. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life share your story leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-03 12:29:33 / 2023-09-03 12:39:25 / 10

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