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When All Hell Breaks Loose: Heavenly Thoughts

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2021 3:00 am

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Heavenly Thoughts

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 23, 2021 3:00 am

Prayer has an important place in the believer’s life. It’s a lifeline that connects us to the very throne of God. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us a bit about what happens to our prayers in the heavenly realm. And we hope you might invest some of your prayers toward SoCal Harvest—Pastor Greg’s large evangelistic outreach a week from Sunday. Find out how you can use it to share Christ with a friend by going to harvest.org. But in today’s study, we're in Revelation 9. 

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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. Every prayer we offer to God is effectively answered with yes, no, or wait. And we all know which answer we're hoping for, don't we? Well, Pastor Greg Laurie says, trust God for the outcome and trust God for the timing. When we pray and we don't get a yes, we assume it's a no, but maybe it's actually a wait.

Remember, God's delays are not necessarily His denials, so keep praying. Prayer has an important place in the believer's life. It's a lifeline that connects us to the very throne of God. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us a bit about what happens to our prayers in the heavenly realm. And we hope you might invest some of your prayers towards SoCal Harvest, Pastor Greg's large evangelistic outreach a week from Sunday.

Find out how you can use it to share Christ with a friend by going to harvest.org. But in today's study, we're in Revelation 9. We're looking at this great prophetic puzzle revealed in Revelation. And at this point in our study, chronologically, we're right in the middle of what is called the Great Tribulation Period. It will last for seven years. It will be inaugurated by the emergence of antichrist. And it will be ended by the return of Jesus Christ.

The first three and a half years of the tribulation period are relatively calm and peaceful. As antichrist comes on the scene looking like a good guy. A man with solutions.

Economic solutions. Many other things that he brings to the table. He's a charismatic leader. In fact some will even think he's the very Christ. Because as I've told you before the prefix anti doesn't just mean against.

It also means instead of. He'll be a false Christ that will be embraced by many. But at the last three and a half years of the tribulation period, antichrist shows his true colors. And the wrath of God is unleashed. And demons are unleashed.

And all kinds of crazy stuff is going on. And that's where we're at in our study in Revelation 9 verse 1. Then a fifth angel sounded. And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. And out of the smoke locusts came on the earth. And to them was given power as the scorpions of the earth have power. And they had as a king over them the angel of the bottomless pit whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon. But in the Greek he's called Apollyon.

Okay. So this bottomless pit is being opened up. And out of it come what is described as locusts. But these are demonic creatures that are unleashed upon the planet doing all these awful things. So Satan is sort of whipping up this frenzy. And they've been doing this for a long time.

But now they're going into overdrive. The purpose of demons seems to be twofold. Number one they seek to hinder the purposes of God. And number two they seek to extend the power of Satan. Listen if you're taking notes here's three things you need to know about demons.

I know you don't want to talk that much about this but it's good to know these things. Three things you need to know about demons. Number one they're real and aggressive. They're real and aggressive. They're not all bound in this bottomless pit. This will happen later.

Right now many are roaming freely in sort of a search and destroy mission. So put your spiritual armor on and be careful. That's what the Bible says that we're in a spiritual battle and we must put on the whole armor of God. Number two though powerful demons and the devil himself have clear limitations.

Let me say that again. Though powerful the devil and his demons have clear limitations. Let me tell you something that Satan does not want you to know.

His power is considerable but it is still limited. Remember this is all allowed by God. We already read in Revelation to him was given the key to the bottomless pit. This is temporary and God has given his permission for a period of time. So all these demons are out and about according to Revelation 9 like scorpions with the power to sting but not to kill.

But notice that they can't attack everyone. Revelation 9 4 says they're commanded not to harm the grass of the earth or any green thing of any tree but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. Remember I pointed out last time that when you become a believer when you put your faith in Jesus Christ you become his property which is a good thing. The Bible says you're not your own you've been bought with a price and God effectively puts his ID tag on you which means you're under his protection and the devil can read and he sees that ID tag and knows that he can do nothing in the life of the Christian without the express permission of God.

So these servants of God in the tribulation period who have the seal are not affected by these demon powers. Third thing I want to say about demons and I've done demons flee at the name of Jesus Christ. They flee at the name of Jesus Christ.

Now with all of this horrible stuff happening you would think people would be turning to God. You would think they would be repenting of their sin but sadly it's the very opposite. Revelation 9 20 says, but the rest of mankind who are not killed by these plagues did not repent of the works of their hands that they should not worship demons.

A modern paraphrase of Revelation 9 20 to 21 says as follows and I quote, the remaining men and women who weren't killed by these weapons went on their merry way. They did not change their way of life. They didn't quit worshiping demons.

They didn't quit centering their lives around tablets and cell phones and social media. You might be saying well that's a really modern translation. Well I made up that last part.

Here's what it actually says. They didn't quit centering their lives around lumps of gold and silver and brass and hunks of stone and wood they couldn't see hear or move. I added that other part because I thought is that not what these objects have become for some of us idols? You say well I don't worship it.

Don't you? You spend more time with that tablet or with that phone and any other thing you're always looking down when you ought to be looking up more and all that information that you get online and in social media etc can be so destructive in your life. That verse continues on to say there wasn't a sign of a change of heart. They plunged right on with their murderous occult promiscuous and thieving ways. Man that's the hardening power of sin. Okay we've talked about a lot of hellish things. Let's close with some heavenly thoughts. This message is titled When All Hell Breaks Loose. Let's talk a little bit about when heaven breaks loose.

Let me loop back to something I read with you but we didn't talk about. Back to Revelation 8 verse 3. Another angel having a golden censer came and stood at the altar.

He was given much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all of the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne and the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints ascended before God from the angel's hand. Question. What happens to our prayers when we offer them to God? Well let me say this.

That all depends. Because not all prayers are offered to God. Did you know it's possible to pray and never have a single thought of God?

Come on let's be honest. Haven't you prayed? I know I have about something. Maybe I'm in a group with other people praying and and we're praying oh yes Lord do this and that. I'm actually thinking about what I'm going to have for lunch. I'm completely disengaged. I'm at church and I'm worshiping but I'm not thinking about that song that I'm singing.

I'm sort of judging the person one row in front of me and the outfit they're wearing or something else. So it's very possible to say our prayers and not pray. Jesus told the story of two men that went into the temple to pray. One was a tax collector which basically is another way of saying he was a sinner. And then he was with the Pharisee. He was a very religious man. But Jesus said King James Version, the Pharisee prayed thus with himself, God I thank you I'm not like other men.

I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I possess and I'm especially not as bad as this guy next to me. What a messed up prayer. Meanwhile the other man the tax collector the sinner simply said God be merciful to me a sinner. Jesus said that man the sinner went down from there justified not the other man who prayed with himself.

In other words his prayer never went any higher than the ceiling. 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 calling me to your crusade and me listening 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.

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 we're considering the privilege of prayer today as a part of Pastor Greg's study series in the book of Revelation. And to get a replay of this practical insight go to harvest.org. Let's talk for a moment about those prayers that we offer to God and we don't get an answer.

Well don't we? Wait a second. Every prayer is effectively answered. Yes, no, and wait.

Let me repeat that. Every prayer we offer to God is effectively answered with yes, no, or wait. You know remember when you were a kid and you would ask your mom for something or your dad. Can we go do this?

Can you buy me that? And they would say yes that's an answer. No that's an answer.

And the dreaded maybe. And so when we pray and we don't get a yes we assume it's a no. But maybe it's actually a wait duly noted for later. Zacharias was to be the father of John the Baptist. The reason he was surprised when the angel Gabriel came to him and told him his prayer was going to be answered is because number one he was a really old man and he didn't expect that he would be a father. And number two he had been praying this for 30 years. That's a long time to pray and not get an answer.

Long enough to conclude that the answer was no. But God was going to answer his prayer and listen to this. He was going to really answer it. In other words God was going to do exceedingly above and beyond that which old Zacharias could think or ask. Because he was not just going to be the father of a son. He was going to be a father of the greatest prophet of the Bible. The direct forerunner of Jesus.

He and his wife Elizabeth were going to be the parents of John the Baptist. So coming back to this story before us. We have prayers that are stored in heaven. As I said in an earlier message your prayers are in the cloud right. They're stored.

They're duly noted. They're in God's to-do box. And even if you have forgotten about them God has not forgotten about them. So the answer to your prayer that you're praying now may come 30 years from today. Then again it may come 30 days from today. And it may even come after you're gone and you're in heaven.

You prayed for your grandchild's salvation or you prayed for something else. And that prayer may not even be answered in your lifetime. But it will ultimately be answered. So we need the big picture. We need to think of the eternal perspective in all things when we pray. To quote the great theologian Buzz Lightyear, it's to infinity and beyond.

Get the big picture. God hears your prayers. God notes your prayers. God does not forget your prayers. So keep praying. Closing thoughts of this message focused on prayer.

Number one. Never underestimate the power of prayer. When your prayers are in alignment with the will of God they are unstoppable. How do you get into an alignment with the will of God?

By looking at the Bible. Jesus says this, if you abide in me and my word is at home with you, you will ask what you will and it shall be done unto you. More expanded translation would say, Jesus speaking, if you maintain a living communion with me and my word is at home in your heart, whatever you ask for will immediately be yours. See if you're maintaining a regular communion with Christ and talking to him and listening to him and his word is at home in your hearts, it's going to change what you pray for. And you're going to find yourself praying for what God wants. So keep praying. Keep persisting.

Don't give up. Jesus said, ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.

And there's an ascending intensity in those words. Ask, seek, knock. Keep at it. Don't give up.

Number two. About prayer. God's timing is not always our timing. God's timing is not always our timing. In Revelation 6, we read of the martyrs in heaven crying to God and asking him to bring judgment, saying, how long, oh Lord, holy and true, until you avenge our blood. What does God say in response? Wait just a bit longer.

Be grown patient with the Lord. We're like kids on that long car ride saying to our parents, are we there yet? Are we there yet? And we might be saying to the Lord, are you going to answer this yet?

When are you going to come? Are we there yet? And the Lord would say just a little bit longer. Remember, God's delays are not necessarily his denials. Final point, your prayers are not forgotten. They're not forgotten. Even if you've forgotten them, God has not. And they are alive before God.

Let me say this now in closing. Prayer is a privilege. Prayer is something that is offered to the child of God because it's based on relationship. For instance, if my wife calls me, I'm going to pick that call up. Now, she doesn't always pick my call up, but I always take hers. If my son calls me, I'm going to immediately answer that. If one of my grandkids call me or text me or come up to me, whoever I'm talking to, I'm going to stop the conversation and I'm going to talk to them.

Why? It's relationship. And in the same way, when you're a child of God, your Father in heaven will hear your prayers. And you say, well, aren't we all God's children? My answer may surprise you.

No. We're not all God's children. We're all created by God. We're all loved by God, but we're not all God's children. The way you become a child of God is by believing in Jesus Christ, whom God has sent for your salvation, who died on the cross and shed his blood for you and then rose again from the dead. You come to the Father through the Son. And the Bible says, for as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God.

What must I do to be a Christian? I must receive him. My Bible here, if I were offering it to you. Here, take my super cool green Bible with ribbons coming out of the bottom. I want it, you say.

Here you go. And you receive the gift. You accept the gift. The way you become a child of God is by receiving Christ into your life. You're not born a Christian. You must be born again to be a Christian. Jesus said you must be born again or literally born from above. It's a spiritual rebirth.

You say, but how does that happen? Through prayer. You can call out to God right now. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

So let me ask you a question. Do you want to go to heaven when you die? Do you want to be spared from this time we've been reading about called the great tribulation period? Do you want to be ready for the Lord's return and be caught up together in the clouds with all believers? If so, you need to pray and ask Christ to come into your life.

Yes, he died on the cross and he rose from the dead. Now he stands at the door of your life and he knocks. And he says if you hear his voice and open the door, he will come in. Would you like Jesus to come into your life? Would you like him to forgive you of your sin?

Would you like to go to heaven when you die? If so, stop what you're doing if you would please and pray this prayer with me. Pray this simple prayer. You can pray it out loud if you like. You can pray it in the quietness of your heart. But pray these words if you would right here, right now.

Just pray. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, but I know that you are the savior who died on the cross for me. Come into my life, Jesus. Forgive me of all of my sin.

Make me ready for your return. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer. In Jesus' name, I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie, leading those in prayer who want to make a change in their relationship with the Lord. And if you've just prayed that prayer, we want to help you get started in your new relationship with God. Let us send you our New Believers Growth Packet.

It's a resource collection Pastor Greg has assembled to help you get started off right in your walk of faith. And we'll send it to you without charge. Just write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7.

Again, dial 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to Harvest.org and click the words Know God. And by the way, let us know how you're enjoying Pastor Greg's series in Revelation. You know, Pastor Greg, when we look at world events, global hostility toward Israel, of course a worldwide pandemic, contempt for biblical values, it sure seems like the time is right for the Lord to return.

But many people our age remember pastors saying that back in the 70s. What can we learn from your new book on Revelation? Well, I think we want to always live our life ready for the Lord's imminent return. He may come tonight. He could come in a year. He may come in 10 years, 20 years. We don't know when He's coming.

I've always avoided any kind of date setting because Jesus says no one knows the day or the hour. However, there are so many passages that tell us to wake up spiritually and to put on the armor of God because the day of the Lord is coming. It will come. It could come in our lifetime.

It may come after. But no matter what, life will come to an end and we will enter eternity. So we want to be ready for that moment. But there are many signs of the times happening right now that I think we should pay attention to. The Bible tells us that in the end times, it would be like a woman having labor pains.

Now, you know, when a mother is ready to give birth, her labor pains become more frequent and they're closer together. And that is exactly the analogy Jesus issues. When you see these things begin to happen, He says, look up for your redemption is drawing near. We've had an increase in many things the Bible said would be happening. As an example, the Bible predicted that one day there would be a cashless society.

A hundred years ago, that would have seemed absurd. But today, with modern technology, with cryptocurrency, with all of the tech that's happening around us, we can see how we could step into that immediately. The Bible tells us in the last days that there would be a spread of plagues globally.

I think that you could say that this pandemic, COVID-19, was a plague. And that is a sign of the times. I could go on and on and things that are happening, the tension in the Middle East, and much, much more. As we see these things happen, they're reminders that Jesus is coming again. Well, I'll tell you what, the book of Revelation unlocks this for us. And I've written a brand new book simply called Revelation, subtitled A Book of Promises. This is a thick book. This is a hardcover book that will be a resource that you can go to again and again. And it's going to help make the book of Revelation more understandable to you. And you'll begin to understand, perhaps for the first time, how to apply these truths in your own life. Listen, I want to send this book to you for no charge.

It's actually for your gift of any size. So we're encouraging you to send something to help us continue to reach out through this radio broadcast, A New Beginning, and our other outreach efforts, as well as how we proclaim the gospel. This is how we do it. You pray for us.

You support us. You give us the ability to reach new people. And as our way of saying thanks, we'll send you your copy of this brand new book I just wrote, Revelation, subtitled A Book of Promises. Yeah, and we'll be glad to get it on its way to you immediately. And we'll also include a custom bookmark we've produced that lays out the timeline of the events of Bible prophecy—the rapture, the second coming, the tribulation, the millennium.

See them all displayed in proper order. It's very helpful. And the bookmark is automatically included with Pastor Greg's new hardcover book. When you send your donation, be sure to ask for Revelation, A Book of Promises. You can write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. Our team is standing by around the clock, so dial 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. And then something exciting is coming up a week from Sunday. It's SoCal Harvest at Angel Stadium, Pastor Greg's live evangelistic event. On October 3rd, he welcomes Phil Wickham and For King and Country and presents a powerful gospel message. If you're here in Southern California, be sure to join us and bring someone who needs to meet the Lord. Elsewhere, be sure to tune in online and invite someone who needs to meet the Lord to watch along with you. You can get all the details at harvest.org slash SoCal. Well, next time, Pastor Greg helps us understand the two witnesses mentioned in the book of Revelation. Who are they and what do they do?

We'll find out. Join us here on A New Beginning with Pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. 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 / 2023-08-20 04:51:08 / 2023-08-20 05:01:10 / 10

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