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Why We Should Be Studying the Book of Revelation | Special Interview

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2021 3:00 am

Why We Should Be Studying the Book of Revelation | Special Interview

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 25, 2021 3:00 am

The person who reads, hears, and keeps the words of Revelation will be blessed in a special way. That alone is reason enough to study this book and learn all we can from it, isn’t it? 

In an exclusive interview, Pastor Greg Laurie talks about his new book, Revelation: A Book of Promises. With special guest Yves Le Sieur they will touch on several topics: 

What did it take to write the book?

Why is Revelation an important topic?

Revelation’s focal point 

God’s plan for the future

Pastor Greg will discuss all the above and more! Listen in to get answers the many questions people have on Bible prophecy.

Revelation: A Book of Promises is available now. Get your copy here.

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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.

Well, we're here at Harvest OC with Pastor Laurie and it's our second podcast interview that we're doing. And this one is about this right off the press. It's the Revelation book. And we kind of want to have a little bit of a conversation about what it took to do this and why is it such a big book?

So let's start with that. This is almost 500 pages. Yeah. So there's been a lot of books about various books of the Bible. Why did you feel that this kind of warranted this sort of volume? Yeah.

I think, well, first of all, I enjoyed the challenge of it. I am not an expert on Bible prophecy, but I am a student of Bible prophecy and I've been teaching Bible prophecy for over 50 years. So I've been effectively preparing for this for decades. But the more I teach on Bible prophecy, the more I want to make it understandable to rank and file people, make it understandable. And I think God wants us to understand Bible prophecy. You know, it's interesting when the topic of the abomination of desolation is discussed in Matthew 24. And that's the event when the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem and the Antichrist erects an image of himself, demands people worship it. When that is mentioned, Jesus says, let the reader understand.

So it's like God wants us to understand these things. When Paul is writing to the believers in Thessalonica and he's talking about the coming of the Lord, he says, brothers, I don't want you to be ignorant concerning these things. So what does the word revelation mean?

It means unveiling. It is not God's desire to conceal, but to reveal. And Bible prophecy is not given to scare us, but to prepare us. So I wanted to show the practical side of understanding end times events and how it should impact us. Studying Bible prophecy should expand our hearts, not merely inflate our brains. It should cause us to want to live a Godly life and it should cause us to want to reach out to people that don't know the Lord. But, you know, one thing I would say is when we read the book of Revelation with understanding, we realize that God's in control.

And that's very reassuring. Let me even talk about the design. When I was talking to our lead designer, I said, I want something that's vibrant and colorful. Optimistic. And optimistic because usually when you see a commentary in Revelation, it's red and black and very ominous. Dark angels.

Yeah, yeah. And I thought, let's make this because what is it? It's a book of promises. And one other thing I would add that there is a special blessing promise to the person who reads, hears, and keeps the book of Revelation.

Now, there's no blessing like that attached to any other book of the Bible. So there's a blessing if I read it and it's implied in the original language to read it out loud. So I have to read it. Then I need to hear it. I need to understand what the message is and keep it.

It should impact me in day to day living. So I thought people want to understand this book. I want to try to write a commentary on Revelation that is understandable for regular people so they can know what this important book of the Bible has to say to them.

Would it be fair to say that it's probably the most misunderstood book in the Bible? It always feels, I mean, we've talked about the design and making it look optimistic and almost joyful because Christ is coming back. And that's the end game. What do you say to people that say, you know, it's scary. When I talk to people, I was going to do this with you. They thought, oh, my gosh, this is a scary book.

So what do you say to people that say that? Well, I mean, look, there are parts of Revelation that are very intense. We see the judgment of God being poured upon planet Earth. We see the revealing of the most wicked man who will ever live, identified as the antichrist and the beast. We see the horrible tribulation period. We see the rise of Babylon. Yes, we see all that.

But it's interesting. People seem to miss the fact that the first part of the book of Revelation were caught up into heaven. And Jesus gives specific words to his church as symbolized by the seven churches of Revelation, which, by the way, followed a postal route. So these were not only actual churches that existed, actual congregations. But I believe that they speak to us today and they're very relevant words. And so it starts with the message of Christ of the church. So I begin by asking, what if you got an email from Jesus or a text from heaven? Would you read it?

Of course, these are like the email of the Lord, a letter from Jesus directly to us as his followers. And there are rays of light throughout the book. I heard about a man who was not known for his deep Bible knowledge, who said to some others, I understand the book of Revelation. And these other guys were more theologically astute. They said, no one understands the book of Revelation. It's an enigma. It's a mystery. And the man said, no, I understand it.

They said, oh, you understand it? OK, what is the book of Revelation about? And the man said, the book of Revelation basically says we win in the end.

You know, and there's truth to that. So I think as I read through this book, I discover or I'm reminded of the fact God is in control of everything that is happening in the world. He tells us the future. And when God predicts the future, and I use the word predict loosely because he knows the future.

When God speaks of the future, it's as though we were speaking of the past. And in fact, it's more accurate because I forget things that happen. You know, sometimes I'll tell a story of what happened in a certain place that my wife would be listening. She'll say, you got the story wrong. I'll say, you weren't even there.

She said, no, but the first time you told it, you had other details you left out. And she's right. So God remembers the past, but he knows the future. And living in the realm of eternity, when he tells us what is going to happen, it's not like the Lord is out there on a limb. It's like the Lord knows what's coming down and he's just revealing that to us. So I find Revelation to be a very reassuring book.

Throughout the book and throughout the actual Revelation book, we talked about the role that America plays on there. And we live in probably in my lifetime now, the scariest time we've been. But it's also true that previous generations also lived. I mean, we looked at the father, Germany, all of this throughout the years. Hitler was looked as, that could be the Antichrist.

And you spoke about this in the book. So every generation seems to have their times. Why do you think this time is particularly significant?

Very good question. Okay, there are signs of the times and then there's a super sign. And the super sign of the time is the rebirth of the nation Israel. Which actually has a connection to what happened in World War II.

On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation. Against all odds, despite losing over 6 million Jewish people in the Holocaust, the Jewish people, almost as if on cue, return to their homeland. I think the Jewish people recognize we need to fend for ourself. We need to defend ourself.

We cannot depend on anyone else to do it. And so they return to their homeland and they fulfill the Bible prophecy. The Bible tells us on many occasions this would happen. In Ezekiel 37, 38, and 39, it talks about the regathering of the Jews into their homeland. And multiple times it says, in the end times, in the end times. So we're reminded, when this happened, it's like a prophetic clock starts ticking.

That is unique to our generation, the reemergence of the nation Israel. Now as we see hostility toward her as a nation, as we see other signs of the times happening before our eyes, we're being reminded that the Bible has told us all of these things. Jesus compared end times events to birth pain, or labor pains I should say.

So as a woman is getting closer to having her baby, her labor pains get closer and closer together. So the idea is we've always had signs of the times, if you will. And Hitler and the Third Reich and all that happened in World War II were certainly huge events. But now we're seeing things get closer and closer together, where there's not months in between events.

It seems like there's weeks and sometimes days, sometimes even hours. We see things unraveling before our eyes. Like take the Middle East as an example. What happened in Afghanistan, which in all honesty I think was done very poorly, and it was a horrible chain of events, and it was not done the way it should have been done with the tragic loss of 13 American service people.

And one who attended here. Yeah, well one of the members that died tragically there in Kabul came to Christ along with his family at the Harvest Crusade. So we're thankful that that family believes, but oh what a tragedy it is. But now we see the re-emergence of Islamic terrorism.

It never went away, but now it's on the front page again. And right as we're coming to the 20th anniversary of 9-11, and I just watched a documentary on that, and it was just so shocking to sort of relive those moments because this documentary followed it in real time, where they thought just some plane, maybe a small plane, crashed by accident into the World Trade Center. Then as they're filming the fire, they see a commercial jet fly into the tower. And then to watch those towers crumble before our eyes, and the tremendous loss of life, exceeding the lives lost, even at Pearl Harbor.

And it's hard to believe that happened. Here we are 20 years later, and we're still dealing with this threat. These two are signs of the times, reminding us that Jesus is coming back again. You said something in the book that the rule of America, it's either one of revival or judgment. And I thought it was really a great statement because we can either decide that as a country, we're going to have this great revival. We've talked about the Jesus movement in the 70s, which we're obviously a big part of. What path are we going? Are we going towards the revival, or are we going towards judgment?

Well, at the moment... I got to know the answer a little bit, but I wanted to hear from you. Well, it's hard to say. I'm reminded of the opening lines of, is it a tale of two cities? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I think both are happening at the same time. Really bad things happening in our culture, the collapse of the American family, the redefinition of a family, the redefinition of the sexes. And you could really take the breakdown of the family and it is at the root of most of our societal ills today. Almost everything is traced to a broken home.

It's specifically a fatherless home. So as we see all of these things happening, it doesn't look good. But then at the same time, as I see young people coming to Christ and I see their passion for their faith and their desire to serve the Lord, it gives me hope.

So I think we're in a wait and see moment. So we need to pray. We need to pray that God would send another great spiritual awakening.

We're starting a brand new series in the book of Acts. And so I was pointing out in a message I recently gave that if we want to learn about revival, we need to go back to the 60s. And I don't mean the 1960s, I mean A.D. 60. And that was the first Jesus movement that Jesus himself started.

There were no bell bottoms. There was long hair, beards, and sandals, like the modern 60s. But it was a different kind of movement that Christ himself started that literally changed the world. Here's what concerns me as I read the book of Revelation and other books of the Bible. I cannot see any mention of the United States. You clearly find Israel spoken of in the end time scenario. You have a very good case for Iran and their role they're going to play in the prophetic puzzle.

I think you can make a pretty good case for Russia and even China. But how is it that the reigning superpower, the United States, is really nowhere to be seen? Well, it may be that we just grow weaker with the passing of time and that we become a part of the ten nation confederacy behind a coming world leader identified in Revelation as the anti-Christ. It may be that we're decimated in some kind of a nuclear war, God forbid. And it could also be that there's such a massive revival in America and people are caught up to meet the Lord in the air that that would obviously change the nature of our nation overnight. I don't know why we're not in the end times scenario. But I'm praying that God will send one, two, three, or more revivals before he comes for his church. And I don't know when that will be.

Well, that's kind of the key. No one knows. No one knows. But we need to be prepared as Christians, correct? That's right. Let's talk about the anti-Christ because I think it's always a fascinating subject for TV shows and culture in general.

Endlessly. My number one messages on YouTube are pretty much all on the anti-Christ. And it's always portrayed as this evil looking, sort of dark. But in the book, you were very clear about this anti-Christ will be one that has a ton of charisma, will be very intelligent, will be very compelling to listen to, will bring peace in lots of ways. So if you look at all those characteristics, you would think, well, good guy, right? So how are we going to be able to discern from that? Yeah. Well, I jokingly said he could be in the cover of Newsweek and GQ at the same time.

Think the devil wears Prada, right? Why do we think he'll be a menacing figure? He has to be a charismatic figure because people follow him. And I think that he obviously has economic solutions. He has military solutions. He comes as a man of peace initially. But he's not a peacemaker. He's a troublemaker. And if Satan ever had a son, this is him. But he's a deceiver. Remember, we call him anti-Christ. The prefix anti doesn't just mean against.

It also means instead of. So he'd be a Christ-like figure to some. Jesus said one of the end time signs is many will come in my name saying I am Christ.

So he'll be that man. How will we be able to discern? Believe I don't expect to be around to discern. Because my understanding of Bible prophecy would tell me that before anti-Christ can be revealed, the church will be removed. This is based on a statement by the Apostle Paul in the book of Thessalonians when he says, He who now restrains will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that wicked one will be revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of his coming.

So that wicked one is anti-Christ. He who now restrains I believe is speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit through the church. The church is like a restraining force in the world today. It's Christians that speak up for the unborn. It's Christians that defend the family. It's Christians that try to stop the spread of evil. Imagine if we were taken suddenly from this planet how quickly evil could spread.

We're a restraining force. But once we're removed, anti-Christ can be revealed. So I often remind people don't be looking for anti-Christ. Be looking for Jesus Christ.

Well that's kind of what I wanted to get to. The point of that is while we know where our comfort lies and we know where our hope resides. A lot of people look at Revelation and say well it's a long book. There's a long period of time so we're going to wait all this time. What do you say to people that say well when's going to be our resolution? Where's our comfort now in these times?

What do you say to these people? Well the Lord's going to come when the Lord's going to come. Jesus said no one knows the day of the hour.

Only the Father in heaven. So we should never set dates. But in the meantime we have a job to do. In the book of Acts in the opening chapter the disciples come to Jesus and say basically when are you going to establish your kingdom? Jesus said it's not for you to know the times or the seasons. But you will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you to be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the enormous parts of the earth.

Allow me to loosely paraphrase it. Lord when are you going to establish your kingdom on earth? Guys get off that.

It will happen when it happens. You have a job to do. Get the gospel out. That's a very loose paraphrase.

And an interpretation in fact. But I think that's what we should be focusing on. You know when we pray thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven as a part of the Lord's prayer. We're praying for A, the return of Christ to the earth that will happen at the appointed moment. But we're also praying that people will come to Christ. Because every time a person believes in Jesus the kingdom of God is extended a little bit further.

So we need to focus on our job. And here's what we're told in Peter. God is not late as some men count lateness. He's long suffering toward us.

Not only that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. So God's not late. God's on time. And he wants so many people to come into the kingdom before we're caught up to meet the Lord in the air. So our job is not to stand on our rooftops staring at the sun waiting for Jesus to return. It's to be about our Father's business sharing the gospel and expanding the kingdom until God brings his actual technical kingdom to this planet. We tend to forget that a little bit. That it's not just a wait and see game.

It's an active game. We need to be proactive not only in our faith but in the message that we have. And we talked about the message at harvest which is to know him and to make him known. I think that that's pretty evident. There's something in the book that you talk about the sick and dying church.

Which I was pretty fascinated by that passage. And you talked about all the ills that can fall into a church for a variety of reasons. I mean you talk about the fact that a few years back having a TV in church was a big problem.

Or having a service that was broadcast on the website. What are the factors that contribute to a dying church if there's such a thing? Yeah well as I mentioned earlier as the book of Revelation begins. Before we get into the juicy stuff that everyone wants to talk about. Antichrist, millennial reign, second coming battle of Armageddon, false prophet, etc. Before we get into that Jesus has specific words to his church.

It starts with his words to the church of Ephesus. He says I know how hard you work. I know how discerning you are. But I have this against you. You've left your first love. So remember from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works quickly. So very tenderly and lovingly Jesus reminds the church and reminds us as Christians. Stay in your first love relationship with Jesus.

Stay close to the Lord. So you start with the church of Ephesus and you end up with the church of Laodicea. And that is a church where Jesus is on the outside trying to get in.

And he says behold I stand at the door and I knock if you'll hear my voice and open the door I'll come in. So we've gone from a church that is apostolic and we're ending up with a church that is apostate. What happened? What happened is that church did not stay close in their first love.

They began to drift and let other things get in the way. The sign of a sick and dying church is a church that is living in its past instead of in the present and looking to the future. You mentioned TVs in church. So years ago we put up a big flat screen and we filmed the services.

And I remember having a couple say we're leaving the church. We don't come to church to watch TV. Okay well we're not watching TV. It's not like we're watching a show. It's like we're just trying to take modern tech and use it to reach people. I've had people be critical of everything.

Why are you going online? That's dangerous. Well look there's a lot of wickedness out there. Don't we want to go out there with the gospel? I think Christians need to permeate everything. We need to permeate mass media, social media. We need to be involved in the arts. We need to be involved in politics. We need Christian lawyers, Christian doctors, Christian athletes.

We need to go out there and infiltrate the world and show people what a Christian looks like and share the gospel. And so we shouldn't be afraid of these things. And sometimes the church gets stuck in ruts, cultural ruts. And we can adapt to the times.

And I think that we want to adapt to the times we're living without compromising our message. And so it's interesting as you come to the church before Laodicea, the Church of Philadelphia, he says you have a little strength. And so the idea is of a sick person getting up off their sick bed. And so we start with a church that is in danger of leaving their first love, a church that gets very sick, but then a church that's coming back again. And that gives me hope for revival.

Because I believe that God could revive the church and we could have a comeback. And we need to do that. We need to be known more for what we are for than what we're against. And there is a place for us in culture, a place for us in all these things. But don't let those things take the place of our primary mission. Our primary mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ, to call people to Christ, and help them get up on their feet spiritually, discipling them and repeating the process.

That is what we call the Great Commission. We can't lose sight of that. Well, the book is about, I mean, the subtitle is The Book of Promises. I mean, the promise of what Jesus holds for us in the future.

You talk about this in the book quite a bit. There's an end game to this. Jesus is coming back. And we're going to be with him in heaven. Do you think that people lose track of that, that there is an end game?

I mean, there's an actual, there's a reward there. I mean, people go, we find people going to church and go through motion. Every Sunday on clock, you sit down at probably the same place you always sit down.

You have your routines. And some people will look at the screen. We talk about TV. Some people will look at you even though they're here. They'll look at it from the screen. But they forget that there's a reward there.

How do we convince people that there's a long game being played here? Well, I think it's just look at what Scripture says. You know, C.S. Lewis once said, those that think the most of the next life do the most in this one. Loose paraphrase. And I think it's good to be heavenly minded. And I think people misunderstand what that means. You've heard the expression, they're so heavenly minded, they're no earthly good. I would say some people are so earthly minded, they're no heavenly good. Being heavenly minded means that I think of the eternal. You know, in ancient documents they used to write a phrase, memento mori.

It might be over your bank account, how much money you have in the bank, how many properties you own, whatever. Memento mori, which means think of death. And the idea was just have an eternal perspective.

It's not a morbid preoccupation with death. It's the understanding that life on earth ends but life continues on later. This should be a warning to the non-believer because there's a final judgment. It should be a promise to the believer because there are future blessings and rewards for us. And, you know, sometimes when a young person dies we feel like that's the worst tragedy. And of course it is a great tragedy when anyone dies, but especially a younger person.

But we act as though, well that's it, and they missed out on all the opportunities. We forget there's an afterlife. And maybe dreams will be realized in the next life that were not fully realized in this one. And don't forget one day heaven and earth are going to become one. This is spoken of at the end of the book of Revelation. And so we will be together again with loved ones that have preceded us in faith. The Bible even talks about building houses and planting vineyards and the lamb with the lion. These are very tangible things that are going to happen. So there's great hope for the future for the child of God. But it's not so for the person who has not put their faith in Christ. So a thing I emphasize in this book and always in my ministry is, you know, come to Jesus and believe in Him and then begin to live for Him and put God first and seek first the kingdom of God in His righteousness.

And God will just put all the other areas of your life in their proper order. There's a real promise to be fulfilled. Well, you talked about juicy stuff.

And of course, we can't leave that out. I want to talk about Armageddon. People forget that it's an actual place. It's not just a concept. In the book, you illustrate that quite a few times about President Reagan, you know, talking about the collapse and saying, I think we're headed towards Armageddon.

And it became it became a movie. And, you know, in all of this, people are curious about those actual things that are taking place in Revelation. About Armageddon specifically and the role that America would play in there because we don't really see it. So talk to me a little bit about Armageddon. Yeah, I don't know if America will play a role in Armageddon, but basically Armageddon is from the root word harmageddon or Megiddo, Valley of Megiddo.

So in Israel, there is a place called the Valley of Megiddo. According to scripture, this is where the final battles are going to be fought at the end of the great tribulation period. So here's kind of the prophetic calendar as I see it. Next event is the rapture of the church. Then we have the Antichrist emerge. He rebuilds the Jewish temple.

He comes initially with overtures of peace. But at the halfway point of the tribulation period, Antichrist shows his true colors and commits that abomination of desolation where he erects an image of himself in the temple and commands people to worship it. This sort of signals the second half of the tribulation where the judgment of God is poured out on the earth. The Antichrist is sort of a sidekick, if you will, a false prophet, a religious figure, a guru type guy who sort of brings a spiritual movement wrapped around the Antichrist with his economic and military solutions. And according to Revelation, they're both energized by the dragon. It is identified for us as Satan in Revelation chapter 12. So a lot of these things are culminating.

Things are looking pretty bleak. But even in the midst of this horrible tribulation period, God raises up his witnesses. There's two witnesses that are raised up that are proclaiming the truth. We don't know who they are. Many think they're Moses and Elijah. One has the power to stop it from raining.

Another can call fire from heaven. Unique traits attributed to those prophets. Plus, when Jesus was transfigured, Moses and Elijah were on each side of him. I don't know if it's Moses and Elijah.

I personally think it probably is. And then the Antichrist kills them so it looks like he's prevailing. And the Bible tells us then that God raises them from the dead and they ascend to heaven. So there are these glimpses of light breaking through the darkness of the tribulation period.

Including an angel flying through the heavens proclaiming the everlasting gospel. But everything is building now. Building to the final battles. The battles of Armageddon. It's the Antichrist and his combined forces of ten nations. We don't know who they are in particular.

Facing off against the kings of the east. Some of it surmised that could be China. China and Japan. Perhaps India is involved. I don't know.

That's all guessing there. But there will be the forces of the Antichrist. There will be the kings of the east.

That much I know. And they'll face off in the battle of Armageddon. While they're battling away, this is the moment when Christ returns in the second coming. He ends the battle of Armageddon and then he establishes his kingdom on the earth. Armageddon is a place. It's a battle or a series of battles which is ended by the return of Jesus Christ. I want to be part of that movie. Well you will. I want to be a part of that.

Here's why. Because the Bible tells us when Christ who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory. So the Lord is coming back with armies from heaven. So the way I see it, Eve, is we're caught up to meet the Lord in heaven. And then when the Lord returns to the earth, we return with Jesus back to the planet.

So we'll have a front row seat and I believe we'll be there. You mentioned something in the book which I literally was not aware that the word rapture is not mentioned in the Bible. Yeah. So where did that come from? Well, the word rapture. And here's the common rebuttal of rapture. That's something that was invented in the early 1900s and it didn't exist before that.

Nonsense. Okay? The word rapture comes from the Latin word rapturus that's built on the Greek word harpazo.

All right? So if I have a Latin Bible, I come to the word caught up, harpazo, it would be rapturus. So you could say that the word is in some translations of the Bible.

But the event is clearly in the Bible and spoken of often. The word harpazo is used repeatedly. Babylonians 4 is probably the most well-known use of the word when it says, The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel. The dead in Christ will rise first and we which are alive and remaining shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.

The word caught up means it's from the word harpazo, taken by force, taken quickly. It's the ultimate great escape. And so this is spoken of many times. Jesus in John 14 said, In my Father's house are many mansions.

If it were not so, I would have told you. If I go, I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again and receive you, harpazo, receive you unto myself that where I am, you may be also. We read about this event many times in Scripture. So the event has always been in the Bible and it's an event where the Lord comes for his church. I think there's a difference between the rapture, if you will, or the harpazo, if you prefer, and the second coming. In the rapture, he comes for his church. In the second coming, he returns with his church. In the rapture, it's before the great tribulation. The second coming is at the end of the tribulation. In the rapture, he comes as a thief in the night. In the second coming, every eye will see him. So there's many distinctions, but sometimes in the Bible, they're both spoken of together as the coming of the Lord. So I think the main thing is you just need to be ready to meet the Lord.

The book, I think, is a perfect sort of junction between allegory and these vivid images that we all have in our head and really practical application. Listen, your job is not, like you said, it's not to stand up on the rooftop and wait. It's to be proactive in your faith. Is there a time where we are caught standing and looking around and waiting for things to happen as opposed to just say, hey, listen, it's time for us to be proactive. It's time for me to go talk about my faith to somebody that doesn't know me. Are we caught in those moments?

Oh, sure. I think, you know what I think it is, Eve, is I think we get distracted. You know, after Jesus ascended, the angel said, why do you stand looking up into the sky? The same Jesus that you see will come back again.

Then they get on with the work that they're called to do. And I think that people, Christians today, get very distracted. We let other things take the place of the Lord.

Let me use as an example politics. You know, I've said before, I think Christians should run for office. I think it's great when Christians are elected, and the Bible even says when righteous people are ruling, the people rejoice. Having said that, our primary focus on life should not be on politics.

It should be on spreading the gospel and calling people into God's kingdom. And I've seen Christians that used to be passionate, use their social media platforms, talking about Jesus all the time. Now it's other things that they're more passionate about.

It might be their political candidate, it might be for or against the vaccine, for or against mask wearing, for or against fill in blank here. Here's what I'm saying. You're entitled to your opinion. I have my opinions. But I don't get up in the pulpit and talk about those things because those are secondary issues. My message is Jesus Christ and him crucified and resurrected. And so I think that we should not allow ourselves to become distracted.

Jesus warned actually about his servant that's waiting for his Lord to return, when they're distracted by the cares of this life. What they're going to eat and what they're going to wear, what they're going to drink. There's nothing wrong with saying, what am I going to have for dinner? What am I going to wear today?

What career path will I follow? Good. Those are good things to think about. Don't be obsessed with those things. Put God first. Go back to Matthew 6, 33, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things, speaking of what we'll eat, wear and drink, etc., will be added to you.

So all I'm saying is have your primary passion be about Jesus. It's okay to enjoy life. In fact, the Christian should enjoy life more than anybody else.

The Bible says, God has given us all things richly to enjoy. Enjoy it. Have that great meal. Admire the sunset. Enjoy time with family and friends.

Enjoy what God has given you. But let your primary passion be for Christ. And that's what we should be doing all the time, but especially in light of the fact that Jesus is coming. I hate to ask the question, but is it really possible in these days to be able to say, listen, I have this life where my life is dedicated to Christ, yet I have these other pursuits that I'm doing. Can we find, I've yet to find a really good politician that doesn't get attacked for his belief. The minute that they declare themselves as Christians, you know, they're on the spot right away.

Now they'd only have to defend their positions, but they have to defend their faith as well. Is it possible? Can we do this nowadays? We can, and I think in a way we must. You know, I've had the opportunity to have in-depth conversations with many political leaders.

Many that if I named them, people would know them. But I don't always talk about what I say to these people. But I try to take, I'm a pastor. I'm not there as a political advisor.

I'm not a pundit. I'm a pastor. I'm a minister. And so I like to point them to Christ. I like to remind them of what scripture says. I pray for them. I admire them. But I don't get all involved in the political aspects of it. But I want to, you know, be able to minister to whoever God puts in my path. And I think it's a wonderful thing when people want to honor the Lord.

Take one example. My friend Marco Rubio, senator from Florida. Marco posts a scripture on his Twitter feed every day. He has come under tremendous attack for that. But I admire the fact that a senator, not some pastor, a senator wants to post a scripture.

There's nothing politically helpful about that, in fact. But this is something that's a conviction of Marco. And I once met him and his wife, Jeanette, not once. I've been with him multiple times. But I was doing a married couples conference in Hawaii. And after it was over with, someone came and said, Marco Rubio, sir, anybody like to meet you?

I said, Senator Marco Rubio? And indeed it was him. And we spent time together. And I saw how much he loved the Lord. He loved the word of God. His wife was just a great Bible student. Just a wonderful Christian couple. And my feeling is I'm appreciative that someone like that would be out there serving our nation with their faith in Christ intact.

I've talked to others that have strong faith. Now, we may not always agree with every position they take on everything. But I'm thankful when I see these people ask for prayer and ask for biblical counsel. And I think we should rejoice because there are other politicians that go out of their way to oppose biblical values.

They go out of their way to oppose things that we believe are true and right for our nation. And so we shouldn't be all about politics, but we shouldn't leave it out either. There is a place for us to be involved in that process. But again, what I'm reminding people of is God is ultimately in control. And we want to focus our primary energies on bringing people to Christ. You said something that I just picked up on.

Of all those things that we've all known. There's some famous people that have reached out to you. And that you've talked, you've counseled to them.

You said something just now. At the end of the day, I'm a pastor. When I think of you, it's always Pastor Laurie. It's never Greg. You can call me Greg. I told you.

I told you I won't do that. And it's not for any other reason other than the fact that I see you as my pastor. My wife sees you as her pastor.

And that position is rare hair. We don't see it very much now that people, because persona has become bigger. And that you've remained in your heart a pastor. It brings me back to what we did with Billy Graham with the book. And he was always a simple country preacher. You still see yourself as this simple pastor that came from really humble backgrounds. And now we are almost 50 years later.

I do. Because I'm still that person, right? And I was a confused kid, 17 years old, using drugs, going the wrong way in life. I heard the gospel. Jesus came into my life.

He changed my life. I found myself, I was a graphic designer at that time. And my sole aspiration was to go into design. That's what I wanted to do. And I did that for a couple of years. But then I saw the Lord put his hand upon me to preach the gospel and teach.

Not something I ever aspired to. In fact, I was a horrible student in school. But, you know, I had something to talk about, something to write about. And I became a student. I became a reader, which I was not up to that point. I was more of a television viewer. You know, and reading like worthless magazines and things that weren't helpful. And suddenly I find myself devouring biblical literature and other things, you know, to expand my thinking and growing.

And, you know, so fast forward 50 years, you know, I still want to just reach regular type folk. I'm not an intellectual. I've never claimed to be.

I don't think anyone has ever accused me of being an intellectual. I am a person who has Christ in my life and I want other people to have Christ in their life. And if anything, as the years have passed, I think I've become simpler by intention, wanting to bring it down in the most understandable way to people, whether I'm talking about the book of Revelation or any other thing I'm teaching through the book of Acts right now. I want people to see how it relates to their day-to-day living, how they can apply it in their life. I'm not trying to impress people when I preach. I want to reach people. I want to educate them.

I want to edify, to use a biblical word, edify and build them up spiritually. That's my job. And I think it's a very high calling. And I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a preacher. You know, sometimes people will say, well, I'm a life coach or I'm a motivational speaker or I'm an influencer. Okay, I'm a preacher and I'm happy to be a preacher.

That's what I do. And so I try to influence and I try to do what I can in other platforms, but I'm not embarrassed to say that's what I do. You know, we do films. We're working on a new film right now that will be released in the months to come. That's an evangelistic type film similar to something we did a while back called A Rush of Hope. So yeah, I'm a bit of a filmmaker right now. But again, it's just to bring the gospel. It's just to reach people in a different way. And that's what I'm called to do.

And that's what I'm thrilled to do and privileged to do. This book is not only, first of all, it's kind of an easy read. You wouldn't think that a 500 page book is an easy read, but it is. I think it's well, you know, it's it feels like Greg Laurie wrote it.

Yeah. And of course he did. But it's spoken in the way that the same way that people that reach out to us and say, he made the Bible understood. You know, I was able to understand the concept really easily because of the language he used. And something I noticed when we speak, every time we speak, I'm kind of struck by that.

We'll end with this. In the middle of writing this and many other books that you've done, do you find still yourself excited? Because every time you talk, there's a level of excitement.

I see. I see your posture changes. And then, you know, there's an excitement that builds in the air.

You may not call yourself an intellectual, but I would certainly call you a Bible scholar. And do you still find yourself excited to find new things? Because I know you found new things when you wrote this book.

Always excited. I mean, the thing I love to do more than anything else is I love to study, discover for myself this truth, then write it in a way that is understandable. I work a long time. People might be surprised to know that I work a long time at crafting a message so it doesn't feel sermonic, but it feels more conversational.

That actually takes extra effort. I once saw Billy Graham being interviewed by, I'm on his, no, Frost, David Frost. I almost said Robert Frost. He was a writer.

No, David Frost, the British interviewer, interviewed Billy. And Billy said this, and it stuck with me. He says, I study to be simple. And so I go out of my way to simplify, to make it understandable, not to make it simplistic. It's a difficult job. Well, it is. It takes more effort. So when I get up to speak, I don't want people to see the seams in the message or whatever I went through to get that message to them. I just want them to be fed.

Just take away truth, fed, drawn closer to God. If that's the impression it makes, then I did my job. And so this is something I love to do. I actually love to study. I love to write messages. And I love to deliver messages. A lot of other things I do, I do because I need to do them.

I don't love them as much, perhaps. But I love the actual process of preparing and delivering messages. And it's always exciting to see something new or to rediscover something you've forgotten. And I'm kind of excited. Oh, I can't wait to share this, you know.

So there's a joy in learning something and sharing it with others. Reminds me of something that in the late 80s, I believe, and you and I are certainly old enough to remember, NBC didn't do new programs in the summer, but their motto was, well, if you haven't seen it, it's new to you. So I think I almost see that the same way with young Christians that may come and that message may have been old, but they hear it for the first time, it's new yet again. We're going to end on this. In the book, you write something about the best is yet to come. What is the best that's yet to come? Knowing the answer.

Set you up for that. Yeah, the best that is yet to come is the hope of heaven. It's the resolution of everything. It's the answer to every question.

It's the drawing of every tear. It's when everything comes together and we say, I finally get it. You know, there are things in life that make no sense. I've had things happen to me, tragedies, the loss of my son 13 years ago that makes no sense to me. But I know one day I'll have an eternal perspective. The Bible says, I'll know as I am known.

But right now I know in part I get little glimpses, but I don't get the big picture. But one day everything will be revealed and rewards will be given and conversations that were ended will be restarted. And everything will be returned to its proper place. God will redeem things. He will revive things and he'll make all things right.

He'll make all things new. That's the promise of revelation. That's the promise of the afterlife. That is the promise of eternity given to every follower of Jesus Christ. So I think it's always very important, you know, to be looking up. Jesus said, speaking of end times events, when you see these things begin to happen, look up for your redemption is drawing near.

He didn't say freak out. He said look up. And in Colossians 3, the apostle Paul says, set your mind on things above. And another way to translate that is think heavenly thoughts or literally just think heaven. Just, you know, every day think heaven a little bit. There is a heaven. There is an afterlife. There is blessings that are coming. This isn't all there is. Some people make it all about the here and now and they forget all about the by and by. We need the big picture.

And that's what revelation does for us is it reminds us of the big picture that God is in control. That's the glory, as always. That was great. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. 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 Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-19 16:05:31 / 2023-08-19 16:25:22 / 20

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