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The Danger of a Hardened Heart

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2019 7:26 pm

The Danger of a Hardened Heart

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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Harvest messages are brought to you by harvest partners to receive free email daily devotions or to become a harvest partners, please visit us Last Sunday I talked about Kanye West and his profession of faith which is created quite a stir.

I just read an article that more young people are interested in Jesus Christ now because of the release of this record. So I wrote an open letter to Kanye and you can find it on my twitter page.

It's posted on my Facebook page and it's also on but basically I just said to him what I'd say to any new believer like yours for things you need to do if you want to grow spiritually, obviously, pray, read the Bible be a part of a church. And lastly, share your faith, and so it was a letter of encouragement to him and to anyone who is a brand-new believer in Jesus Christ, but also want to mention that last Tuesday I had the privilege of going to Washington DC and being in the White House and so that was exciting. We always enjoy that. A smattering of applause will I don't know because I have political disagreement clears the way I look at it any time I'm given an opportunity to go to the White House and speak to the or listen to the leader of the free world. Although if I voted form are not right that's out works so I've been been given the privilege to be a part of a faith advisory board of the president.

There's probably around 60 of us, but around 20 of us went to the White House and so here's a photo from our meeting were sitting around the table. There you can see the president in the foreground and way in the back. There is your bald pastor is seated at the table and then the next photo is I'm there in the back again.

They kept pushing me to the back.

I don't know what's going see Circe as we go to the back of the line right here. You step back that right. The beriberi bat in there. I was listening to other president this last photo is the best one of all were praying for the president and well don't you think that's political, don't you think that just a follow-up will God. Here's what I think it is if the leader of the free world asked for our prayer.

Should we not offer prayers to God for him or her over there and I've said this before and I think people don't believe me when I say it, but I do mean it.

I whoever is our president if they invited me to the White House to come offer you know our helper counsel or advice or anything else.

And then after prayer I would give their prayer and that's because I'm commanded in Scripture to do so.

First Timothy 21 says I urge the petitions prayers, intercession and thanksgiving. The need for all people. For kings, and those who are in authority. I'll tell you this, this White House listens to what Christians have to say they're interested in what we have to say and this president has been the most pro-life president in my lifetime and I suppose ever. And so I'm thankful for that and many other things. So were just going to continue to pray for him and pray that God's will is done in the future and but it's always an honor to go so I just wanted to tell you that you know what I've been up to, but were now going to look at Exodus chapter 5 the danger of a hardened article Told you this before but when I was a kid I collected snakes. I was just in the reptiles and I'm not really sure why I actually was thinking of becoming a her pathologist which is someone who studies reptiles and and I had all kinds of snakes I had snakes I caught like gopher snakes.

King snakes ball was Python's and I had this one Python's name was Monty. No, not really. I wasn't, but I don't think I even gave him in the next day we had a very hostile relationship. The snake and I whenever I put my hand and do his terrarium get strike and bite me and so I was paranoid of the snake and I think he knew but WAP little bit of money form so I had to feed them know you know what you feed a snake right snakes eat live mice my son Jonathan when he was a little boy said that I want to get a snake.

Is it okay son, I'll get you snake a person to go to the pet store number to show you what you feed snakes and so we went down and there were these little cute newborn mice at that you bought to feed snakes and he didn't want to think anymore, so that in the back because it is kind of a sad thing to watch a little creature be eaten by a snake. Well it was time to feed Monty my Python and so I put a little snake a little mouse in there and normally the mouse would be put on the train. We walk around and see the snake be paralyzed with fear. The snake would coil up and strike okay, but this was a whole different scenario. I put the little mouse in their and the snake are ready to strike in the mouse is a K what's up when he starts walking around he sniffs the snake in the face and freak the snake he would think in a pullback. Next thing you know the mouse is standing on top of the snake that I got.

This is the coolest mouse I've ever seen. I'm sparing the life of this mouse so I resent took the mouse out BBQ my pet so not Intel. This of the first service I don't even know I should tell you, because it's a sad ending of the story you want to hear it. This really happened. So I take a little mouse save them telling all my friends about this house the mouse if they stop with the snake's courageous little mouth so I took them everywhere and I kept them in my pocket them so that when I send. I had a paper bag and was carrying them in the paperback and I and so my friends Achilles here about six or look at him so is looking at my mouse and all that I knew we had my mouth sign in the mouse was no longer in the back and so I said hey look about this in the back and put the I'm should be so bad.

I put the mouse. I put the badly empty bag on the ground. I'm stomping on it.

Look them up. My friend looks horrified is what's wrong. He goes that you have the most he said I put them back in the bad man and I open the bag mouse is like why why why I can preach him going home… That's all a two-story, so mouse wherever you are. I'm sorry, but sooner or later the stories a lot better if I don't tell them apart.

Don't you think I love that out of the first service in their probably better for Keswick in a wreck the whole illustration of this is life people. It's messy anyway. But we're all getting up to face the serpent sooner or later may think you know what I mean by that because the Bible more than one occasion tells us that Satan is the serpent he came to E and Adam in the garden as a serpent and is described in Revelation 20. As the old serpent, who is the devil, and now in our story of Moses he has the face of the serpent of Egypt because actually the symbol of ancient Egypt was a cobra that even the Pharaoh would wear on this headdress and you remember that the Lord directed Moses to take his shepherd's staff thrown on the ground became a cobra, presumably snake at least he grabbed her by the Taylor turn into a rod again and he was to go in and perform this miracle in front of the barrel, which was God's way of saying the Moses take the snake by the tail. Face your fears. You're going to overcome the Pharaoh and the might of Egypt. But the thing is is despite the many miracles that Moses is about to do for the Pharaoh. This man's heart became hard and I'm in a talk about that in a few moments, but the hardening of one's heart can happen to anyone, certainly to a nonbeliever because every time you hear the gospel every time you hear God's offer of forgiveness for you and you rejected say no to what your heart gets a little harder. But even Christians can harden their heart and I'm in a deal with the so-called contradiction of the Bible because one verse says Pharaoh hardened his heart and another verse says God hardened Pharaoh's heart. So what gives with that.

We'll talk about that in a few moments.

But in contrast to the hardened heart of barrel iron had entered the heart of Moses. He was full of faith and courage. The Lord spoke to them at the burning bush, Moses offered a lot of excuses which God repotted and now Moses is ready for action. How was he able to do it. Hebrews 1127 gives us a little commentary it says it was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king's anger, and he kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible that for Moses going and that's what will keep you going. Having your eyes on the one who is invisible. In other words, looking to the Lord. So let's pick the story up. Here's round one with Moses and the Pharaoh Exodus 5 a reverses 1 to 3 and by the way I'm reading from the new living translation. Afterward Moses and Aaron went in an old gold Pharaoh thus says the Lord God of Israel, let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness and the Pharaoh said who is the Lord that I should obey his voice and let Israel go.

I don't know the Lord nor will I let Israel go and they said, but the God of the Hebrews is met with us. Please let us go three days journey into the desert and sacrifice of the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with sword. There so the big moment is finally come. Moses knew it wasn't any be easy and I think he was a little shocked by how unresponsive the Pharaoh was, and I think sometimes in the same way we think that once we commit our lives to Christ and choose to follow him and even take a step of faith and obey him that were going to just have green lights and smooth sailing, but instead we find we face opposition we face pushback from unexpected places.

Maybe your family. Maybe your friend, sometimes even your Christian friends. Certainly for nonbelievers you face opposition all around. By the way, that doesn't mean you're doing the wrong thing that probably means you're doing the right thing that's called spiritual warfare. And it's been said conversion is made our hearts a battlefield. The moment you become a Christian you enter into a spiritual battle, you're either gonna fight and win or you're going to not fight and lose, but there's no other options. You're either going to gain ground in this battle going to lose ground in this battle and Moses was discovering this for himself. That being in the will of God does not mean that you will not face opposition. So what is Moses to he's a little put off by this is a little disappointed and disillusioned. So he calls on the Lord in Exodus chapter 5 verse 22 we read Moses went back to the Lord and protested, why have you brought all this trouble to your own people. Lord, why did you even send me ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman. He's been even more brutal to the people and you've done nothing to rescue them at the party office prayer reminds us of the prayer of Mary and Martha after their brother died and Jesus showed up. They said, Lord, if you would be near my brother would not have died about the complaint and by the way, there's nothing wrong with complaining or lamenting in your prayers as long as it's in your prayers. Not crying out against God, but crying out to God, Lord, I kept this I don't understand this.

I don't know what you've allowed this to happen to me and that's exactly what Moses did and if we would've read the next verse which would've been in the Lord smote Moses that he was no more. It would've made sense, but we don't need that.

Instead, God responds to Moses in Exodus 6 verse six the Lord says therefore say to the people of Israel. I am the Lord.

I will free you from your oppression are rescue you from your slavery in Egypt will redeem you with the powerful army, great acts of judgment I will claim he was my own people. I will be your God and you will know that I am the Lord your God was freed you from the oppression in Egypt.

I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I'll give it to you as your own possession were I am the Lord. So basically God says repeatedly.

I am the Lord. Verse six I am the Lord. Verse seven.

I am the Lord. Verse eight take away message.

He is the Lord and then he says, number six, all free. You verse 86 all rescue you. Verse six all redeem you. Verse seven. I'll claim you.

Verse seven. All I will be in verse eight I will bring you finally verse eight. I will give what Moses, I want to take care of you, to rescue you, redeem you claim you because I am the Lord that Sakata seem to you right now because Mace maybe your face in a Pharaoh you're facing some scary person or some frightening situation or a set of overwhelming circumstances, and you don't know what to do when you're looking to the writing you're looking to the left number one Moses did that before he killed the Egyptian in the display look that way told the guy she looked up and this is what we need to do look up, but the problem is we can sometimes go a day without a single thought about heaven, we can go a month with any thoughts about the afterlife, but sometimes when you're down in your back. The only way to look us up and I might be talking to somebody who's on their back right now, figuratively or literally, and you don't know how you got there. But you're looking up to the Lord now, and that's a Moses needed to do.

He needed to look to the Lord. It wasn't honest prayer. Remember, Isaiah was a bit overwhelmed by the moral breakdown in Israel and the situation of his nation with any rights in Isaiah 6 I saw the Lord sitting on his throne.

He was high and lifted up in his glory filled the temple and the Angels quite wholly of your notice that when you come to church and you worship the Lord. They can change your perspective. Have you even noticed that your drive along you're stuck in traffic in and you're not happy and and you turn on some praise music you listen to a message from God's word and it changes your outlook.

That's called looking up and that's a Moses was doing now is a Lord was preparing to do an amazing thing. So let's shift gears. It's around two round one didn't go so well here's round two Exodus chapter 7 verse 10 I'm reading so Moses and Aaron went into Pharaoh and they did so just as the Lord commanded.

And Aaron cast on the rod for Pharaoh before his servants. They became assert a serpent and Pharaoh also called his wise men and sorcerers and the magicians of Egypt. They did so in like manner with their enchantments for every man threw down his rod and they became serpents but I love this little commentary but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods and Pharaoh's heart grew hard and he did not heed them, the Lord, and said okay it's time for the conflict to begin Lord predicted this is going to happen.

So basically a series of 10 plagues are going to fall upon Egypt and upon the Pharaoh, each gaining in intensity as Pharaoh's heart God harder. This includes the Nile River turning the blood a plague of frogs, a plague of lice and mortar, what is interesting is there's a strategy of strategy or as Pres. George W. Bush used to think strategically, a strategically a strategy to these judgments because it affects every one of these judgments from God was directed toward God. A beach you see the Egyptians worshiped just about everyone and everything in the mind of the Egyptian the Nile River was a deity.

They even worshiped a frog in God, believe it or not have the body of a woman, the head of a fraud not very appealing was gold head get translated to English word Kermit known around Kermit the frog Sesame Street nears here but they really were simpler brought, which is pretty bizarre so the Lord said all you want fraud you were surprised I give you more frog than you can shake a stick at all.

The Nile River you think this is a deity alternate to blood and this brings up an important point. It shows us one of the devil's most effective tactics. It's a tactic of imitation. Notice that Moses was able to turn the Nile River to blood and the Pharaoh's magicians and by the way, these guys were like occultists as we approach Christmas will talk about the Magi remember them. There were magicians Tuesday were serving in the court of the king as astrologers and astronomers and they were deeply into the occult.

So these guys were somehow able to re-create this miracle a replication of sorts. I don't know what it was but they were able to do it and Pharaoh's Gotthard got harder and this brings us to the point of the devil's a good imitator seat.

Here's what he does. He floods the market with all kinds of cheap imitations making it harder for a person to know what the truth world is filled with all kinds of religious ideology with all kinds of gurus and self-proclaimed prophets in other religious leaders all think they have the truth. What is the genuine article my going out on a limb when I say it's the Christian faith.

That is the only genuine article. Everything else is an imitation. Jesus put it best when he said I am the way the truth and the life no man comes of the father but by me. Jesus told the parable of the wheat and the tares set up farmer went out to so we than the night.

A neighbor relic an enemy came and sold sold tears or the Darnell see no terrors.

Basically thing that one plants it looks just like wheat initially but later it actually uproots the week so the devil puts all of these fake virgins out there. We have Jesus Christ. He ultimately will have the antichrist we are real Christians to live fake Christians I know who the Christians are people that have a Christian is a quote versus and then they'll attack you and I wonder are you a Christian.

I don't know nothing. You are but I'm not certain you are, by their fruits you shall know them. But ultimately will know in the end who the real believers are so God will determine that for us, but this was an imitation to confuse and Pharaoh's heart God harder comes plague number one because the Pharaoh hardened his heart. The Nile River's turn to blood that's in Exodus 714 to 18 Moses takes his rod touches the river. It turns the blood kills all the fish and Dr. strike the Nile was to strike the very heart of Egypt thrown away. The Lord is seen accuses your God. I would take your guard down to reveal to you.

There is no God but me.

People make gods out of a lot of stuff.

The Bible tells us little children, keep yourself from idols and idle a God QB anyone or anything that takes the place of the true God in your life. For some it might be a career. For another, it might be there fame for another their beauty or their money and they worship at the altar of that God. And when I say worship.

I mean, that's all they think about. That's what they're passionate about. That's the first thing they do when they get up in the morning. They think about that. They pursue that thing and sometimes the Lord will bring our gods down so we will understand there is no God but Jim, this didn't even impact Pharaoh one bit. We read in Exodus 723 he returned to his followers about the whole thing out of his mind. Yeah until plague number two came along he changed his due. That was the invasion of frogs Exodus 8, 1 to 2. All of these frog show up. God says you want to worship your frog God you want Kermit you God Kermit, you have frogs in your oven.

You are frogs in your bed. You are frogs in your fridge you have frogs in your vehicles you have frogs in your shoulders under your feet wherever you go, there will be frog that I lived in Hawaii when I was a little boy in there were a lot of frogs in Hawaii. I love reptiles. I never been that fond of frogs become a gross me out a little bit there just little Slaney and EQ. No and worsen the holding of frog is stepping on a frog right okay so what would happen. Why is it would rain and all these frogs are come out all excited. You know, and then the rain would stop and the sun would come out there on the street" will in on the get run over by cars so they were all sort of laying there and cannabis position. You know, and we picked them up and thrown.

There were like frog Frisbees.

They were only good for one throw. This is been a really cool message today is frog Frisbees in a dead mouse and I killed him I stomped into death, but I didn't want to anyway but Todd frogs everywhere and this kind of freaked out Pharaoh anyone to Moses and said, please pray.

Dear God and tell him to remove the frog so the frogs all die, so I love the King James version of what happened. It says the land stank is that sometimes you gotta pull out a King James word and stank is a great word as landscape command job so there was a cool preview God, help me out.

Gaylord intervened in the Lord in the pros like you see next plague that we do the same thing. The good people to make great promises to God, oh God, if you get me out of this mess I'm in.

Usually a mess you created for yourself in the Lord intervenes and helps you, then you go do it again and again so the Pharaoh Hardening is hard now let me return to this idea of a contradiction in the Bible because it says multiple times Pharaoh hardened his heart.

Romans 815 be one of them and then we read in Exodus 10 one and the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart Jason which was the Pharaoh hardened his heart God hardness art answer both God is given to each of us a free will, the ability to choose God honors that privilege that we have. He will not force you to do his will. Sometimes it seems like he ought to what he doesn't say here's a Joyce like he says in Deuteronomy, I set before you life and death, blessings and curses.

Choose life, that you may live, that your choice I'm even telling you what choice to make.

Cape Verde is released the Jews, or don't release them versus hardened my heart the word that is used to refer hardened to be translated, strengthen or step, the Lord strengthened Pharaoh's heart. In other words, Pharaoh made his decision on the Lord strengthened him in it. You see, you make your choices and your choices make you but Pharaoh was culpable Pharaoh was responsible, and if your heart gets hard. It's because you chose to hardened it yourself.

How does one get hardened heart. You might be surprised by my answer one of the easiest places to get a hardened heart is where you are right now in church church.

What seems like this is the place were I should have my heart. Something that can be entered should be but for some it is. And as I've said before, this seems sun that softens the wax hardens the clay so world hearing the word of God today. I don't decide or let me restate that I decide Helen going to receive this work so summer listening with an open heart, wanting to do what God says and their heart will get softer, more pliable and another's listening to the same message on theirs and I've heard that before, already know that you're not telling me anything you and the problem is is that same message that is impacting one is actually causing you to have harder heart. You become hardened by the very truth that should have softened you, you become judge for the very message it should have set you free. Sometimes you hear of PK's getting in trouble in order PK is right.

Preachers kid, so you're this person to preachers kid and they did all these horrible things people say this headshot to Greg my responses. I'm more shocked when they don't do that stuff. I'll tell you why preachers kids are such notorious sinners because they're put under a lot of pressure from the first day I have two sons, one of course, as you know is with the Lord. Christopher my other son Jonathan is now a pastor, but both of them were prodigal's earlier in life and in my a lot of patience with my sons because I knew the foundation had been laid, and I believe that they would make that deeper commitment to Christ, which they both did in time but you see what can happen is you're so familiar with these choose and you're raised with them and then when you're preachers kid put you people put you under extra pressure. You know the preachers kid shows up and said, this quality draws a following have the pastor sends care, don't we, and we know he'll be a perfect example. Don't get that's like on them to make trouble. That's what I want to do so.

You pray for preachers, kids, it's hard for any child of someone that's in ministry, but not only nonbelievers can get hard hearts Christians can get though obviously Jesus on disciples allowed their hearts to hardened when they ran out of food before he performed the miracle of the multiple multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Rita Mark 817, why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread. Don't you perceive and understand are your hearts hardened. Let me ask you today Christian view of a hardened heart. How do you know well maybe one way, she just stopped caring is on care you don't care about your spiritual growth you don't care about your Christian brother or sister you don't care about lost people you don't want to worship you come in the church and when others are engaging the works of your arms are folded and not only do you not want to worship a dream and judgmental of those who do any sort of looked out of them all look at that.

That's far too emotional for me.

Another sign of a hardened heart is your always critical. Some people think they of the spiritual gift of criticism. That's not a spiritual gift. All this is wrong here that's wrong there, why did they do this and what about that in always complaining, always criticizing, that's a sign of a hardened heart. You always see the bad. You never see the good and when people accept Christ to you like know who cares it doesn't affect you at all affect your irritated if I go a little bit longer.

Whoever is preaching to give an imitation old is he really have to do is yeah I really do. I really do because God cares about lost people and you used to be a lost person tell you this. If you're in church with a friend who is not accepted Christ on that day when I or someone else's, giving an imitation you're praying that your friend response or your family member. But if you have a hard heart.

You can't remember the last time you brought anyone to church yet Pharaoh hardened his heart. We want to keep a tender heart member years ago I was in Portland, Oregon. The Billy Graham Crusade, and after Billy spoke.

We got out of the car when driving out and I I love one point he made. I turned over to the back where he was seated with his son Franklin.

I said Billy I love your point.

When you said Christ can re-sensitize your conscience. That's a God to do your heart may be a little hard, but Christ can re-sensitize your conscience, and he can soften your heart. Hebrews 312 from the Phillips translation says you should therefore be most careful my brother so this is been directed toward believers that there should be in any of you a hardness of art which refuses to trust, and instead desserts and because of the living God help each other to stand firm in the faith every day while still called today and will wear that none of you becomes deaf and blind to God through the elusive glamour of sin, for we continue to share what Christ has for us.

As long as we steadily maintain until the end, the trust with which we began. Yes, don't harden your heart. The Bible says if you can hear his voice, do not harden your heart yeah you harden your heart that God will strengthen you and that decision so let me say something enclosing to someone that is not a believer. Maybe you've been here before. Maybe this is your first time.

Maybe you're watching online somewhere, but you've not asked Jesus to come into your life. Yet he can change your life. You could forgive you of all of your sin, you can have a fresh start a new beginning.

If you ask him to come into your life and he died on the cross for your sin.

We paid the price for every wrong you've ever done.

And then he rose again from the dead. Now he stands at the door of your life and knocks and says if you hear his voice and open the door to come in.

Would you like Christ to come into your life would you like to be given of your sin. I can happen for you right now he's just a prayer away. So in a moment were going to bow our heads. I'm gonna pray and I'm going to extend an invitation to anybody that wants to believe in Jesus.

Let's pray father I pray that you'll speak to the hearts of those who do not yet know you, Lord, we know you love them with an everlasting love. We know you want them to believe, help them to do that now. Help them to come to you now. We pray that our heads about her eyes are closing were praying together.

Maybe there somebody here that would like Jesus to come another life they would like to be forgiven of their sin. They would like to go to heaven when they die, that you if you want Christ to come in your life if you want him to forgive you of your sin if you want your guilt taken away if you want to go to heaven. Would you just raise your hand up right now.

Wherever you are and I'll pray for you. God bless you and you raise your hand up. I reckon see it. God bless you and you got bless you where we are seated. Raise your hand up I can see you even though the doctor got bless you bless bless all of you.

Some of you are watching the screen right now.

One of our campuses. You can raise your hand up as well.

Of course, I can't see you, but the Lord sees you as raise your hand saying I need Jesus to pray for me. Wherever you are done and asked if you would please everyone of you that raise your hand saying you want Jesus to come in your life. I want you to stand your feet and I'm a lead you in a prayer stand up wherever you are all of you the raise her hand. Even if you did not what you want to make this commitment or recommitment to Christ stand up, stand up, got bless you that are standing you guys watching on the screens. Another campuses stand up right where you are, you stand to even if you did not raise your hand. You want Jesus to come into your life. Let me lead you in this prayer publish a wait another moment. There might be a few more come bless you stand up and there were all gonna pray together. Anybody else stand out there other standing by the way, you won't be alone. Others are standing. God bless all of you standing got bless you all you that are standing. I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me again as I pray pray this out loud right where you stand after me.

Pray these words Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I choose to follow you, Jesus.

From this moment forward as my Savior and Lord is my God and my friend. Thank you for sharing this prayer in answering this prayer in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

God bless each one of

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