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The Second Coming: Run to Win

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2021 3:00 am

The Second Coming: Run to Win

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 19, 2021 3:00 am

Americans spend over 3 hours a day watching TV which is down 33% from 2014. Which is good, right? But wait. Americans spend more than 11 hours a day connected to some kind of media if not TV, then smartphones, games, or computers. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says we need to rethink how we allocate our time and attention. Jesus could return soon even today. What should we be doing when He comes?

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. The Bible describes as fruit. And if you're a real Christian, there will be spiritual fruit, i.e.

results. There will be works. There will be evidence that confirms that you are a follower of Christ. It's not always easy to tell the real from the imitation.

Appearances don't tell the whole story. But eventually the nature of each will be revealed. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how critical it is to make sure we have a sincere relationship with the Lord. Christ could return at any time, and we need to be ready now. Pastor Greg goes into more detail in his new commentary on Revelation.

You can get all the details now at harvest.org. You know, newspapers have a certain kind of type they save for mega events. And guess what it's called? It's called second coming type. They use it for special events. It's much larger than the normal type. This is the type that was used when the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor. This is the type that was used when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

This is the type that was used when the World Trade Center was attacked. And it's interesting they don't call it mega event type. They call it second coming type.

Why do they call it that? Because they're actually acknowledging there is no bigger event that is coming to the world than the second coming of Jesus Christ. By the way, it's not just Christians that believe this. I read a Gallup poll that said 66% of the American people believe that Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth in the future. And that poll was taken quite a long time ago.

I wonder if that percentage is not higher with all that is going on in our world right now. Make no mistake about it. Christ is coming again. And at the second coming, Jesus is going to come back to this planet.

He's going to judge his enemies. He's going to set up his kingdom and he'll rule over the earth for a thousand year period that is called the millennium. Satan's heyday will be over and he'll be chained up for a thousand years. By the way, the second coming of Christ is mentioned many times in the Bible. It's mentioned 1800 times in the Old Testament and 300 times in the New Testament. Specifically, one verse in 25 mentions the Lord's return in the Bible. It's referred to in 27 Old Testament books and also in 23 New Testament books.

Listen to this. For every prophecy about the first coming of Jesus Christ, there are eight prophecies about the second coming. So clearly this is a theme in the Bible that is repeated over and over again. The great British preacher C.H. Spurgeon once said, quote, the sound of his approach should be as music to our ears.

End quote. In fact, I think your reaction to the imminent return of Jesus is a real barometer of your spiritual health. I think if you're right with God and you love the Lord and you're walking with Jesus. And if you don't know what I mean by that, I'll tell you at the end of my message how you can come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. But if you don't have this relationship with God, this can be sort of a scary subject. And I'm addressing right now in Revelation 22 20.

We read these words. He who testifies to these things says, yes, I am coming quickly. And then John responds, even so, come, Lord Jesus. And that should be the response of every believer. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. You know, after Jesus was crucified and rose again from the dead, now he was going to ascend to heaven. And we read over in Acts chapter one, verse 11, that the angels told the disciples as Christ was ascending, why do you stand here gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken from you into heaven will come again in like manner as you saw him go into heaven.

So know this. Jesus Christ is coming again. The incarnation without the coronation would be like the east without the west.

It's repeated over and over. One of the more familiar passages is Matthew 24, also known as the Olivet Discourse, when Christ speaks of this. And he says, immediately after the tribulation of those days. And remember, there's going to be a great tribulation period that lasts for seven years. So the second coming is at the end of the tribulation period. So Jesus says, as this is happening, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give her light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven will be shaken, and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. No, it doesn't say great glory.

Great glory. I actually think I'll be there though. And if you're a Christian, I think you'll be there as well.

I'll tell you why I believe that in just a few moments. But the second coming happens at the Battle of Armageddon. And the Battle of Armageddon is at the end of the tribulation period. So the question may arise, what are we going to be doing as followers of Jesus while this is happening? I told you in my last message, I believe we'll have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air. We'll be in heaven. But what are we doing after the rapture and before the second coming? Revelation 19 verse 7 addresses that. Let's read it together. Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory for the marriage of the Lamb.

You might want to underline that phrase. The marriage of the Lamb has come and the wife has made herself ready. And her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright.

And the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And then He said to me, blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He said to me, these are the true sayings of God.

Now imagine hearing this. And John is just overwhelmed as the angel delivers this message to him. And John says, I fell to his feet to worship him.

And he said, don't do that. I am your fellow servant and of your brothers who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. You know more than one occasion the Bible compares the church to a bride and Jesus to the groom. In fact our Lord used this illustration many times in His parables. Remember it's a story that He told of a man who was invited to a wedding but he refused to wear the garment that was given to him at the door.

That's a picture of people that think they don't need to believe in Jesus to get into this great feast, this great promise that God gives to us. Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins. Five were wise. Five were foolish.

The wise ones had oil in their lamps. And remember there was a cry given out. The bridegroom is coming. See when we have weddings now a lot of it is about the bride.

Right? You know we all are there in our seats and then the melody is played on the keyboards. Dun dun da da. And we all stand up and we look back and there stands the bride dressed in white. Usually escorted by her father. And she comes down the aisle and then she is joined to the groom.

But in biblical times there was almost a reverse of that. Everyone was waiting for the groom not the bride. So in those days you didn't know when the groom was going to show up. He might show up at three o'clock in the afternoon. He might show up at three o'clock in the morning. And there was an announcement given. Behold the bridegroom is coming. And if you were asleep you'd miss it.

Snooze and you lose. So Jesus used that picture to say we need to be ready for this great event that is coming. You know on your wedding day you want to look your best.

I mean guys come on. You know you got to dress up. Hopefully rent a tux or look your best. You know don't show up with some funky soiled t-shirt with a hole in it. And brides you wouldn't like go through a drive through restaurant on your way to your wedding like Taco Bell. You don't want refried beans on your wedding dress now do you?

Both of you want to look your best. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody Greg Laurie here encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship. It's a message of the Word of God.

You can watch it with your family in your front room or you can watch it on the go on your tablet on your phone or your computer. Take it with you. Take the Word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well you've joined us for an inspiring study series in the book of Revelation. Pastor Greg is helping us see how we need to be prepared to meet the Lord. Now it's interesting because we read here in Revelation 19 and verse 8 about this fine linen which is the righteous acts of the saints. What does that mean? Here's what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean you have to live a perfect life to get to heaven. Because as I've said to you before heaven is not for good people it's for forgiven people. So when you've turned from your sin and you've put your faith in Christ you now have the hope you will go to heaven. And then when you get there we have the righteous acts of the saints. In other words it's not what we've done to get to heaven but it's what we've done in light of the fact that God has called us to heaven and purchased our salvation. You know we're not saved by human effort. The Bible says it's not by works of righteousness which we have done. And one of the more familiar passages on this topic is Ephesians 2.8. Paul says, So we know that but that verse goes on to say the following.

Listen to this. Works don't save a man or a woman but there are good evidence that he or she is saved. You can have works without faith but you cannot have faith without works. What are you even talking about? By works I mean evidence.

Results. Let me ask you this question. If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you? Now by evidence I don't mean by how many Bibles you have. I have a collection of Bibles because I don't think I've ever thrown a Bible away.

I've given some away. So I have a stack of Bibles on my desk going back decades. Bibles that I use are all pretty beat up. But that's not evidence that I'm a Christian. It's evidence I have a lot of Bibles. The evidence is found in the way that I live. The evidence is found by the things that I say. The evidence is found in what the Bible describes as fruit.

Spiritual fruit. The Bible says we should bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance. And sometimes you'll see a person who says they're a Christian. But they're contradicting it by the way that they're living. Oh I'm a Christian they'll say. But they're getting drunk and partying the weekends away.

Or maybe even other days of the week. They say they're a Christian but they're in an immoral relationship. They say they're a Christian and they're doing something else. And you'll say hey man I don't really know if you're living a life that a Christian should be living. And of course they're going to push back and say this to you. Hey judge not lest you be judged right.

So you could just say well I don't know that I'm judging you. Think of me as a fruit inspector. Jesus said by their fruits you shall know them. And if you're a real Christian there will be spiritual fruit i.e.

results. There will be works. There will be evidence that confirms that you are a follower of Christ. Now this is really important because something is going to happen in heaven that some Christians don't know about. It's called the judgment seat of Christ. And every Christian will be present at the judgment seat of Christ.

It happens after the rapture and it happens before the second coming. Now you might say wait wait I thought we weren't going to be judged. Well you won't be judged at the great white throne judgment.

That is that judgment where the small and the great the rich and the poor. Every person stands before God and if your name is not found written in the book of life you're cast into the lake of fire. This is not that judgment. Not only will a Christian not be judged then but they will not even be present at that judgment in my opinion. What I'm talking about is a different judgment that's sometimes called the bema seat or the judgment seat of Christ. And that is a judgment that we're going to stand before as followers of Jesus Christ.

Describing this in 2 Corinthians 5 10 it says, We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad. So think of this as more of an awards ceremony. Many of you who are watching may be very accomplished and you have doctorates hanging on your wall and your degrees and things that you've done. Others may have shelves lined with trophies and ribbons that you've won for athletic events. When I competed in athletics as a kid I always seemed to win the purple ribbon. And by the way that was like the lowest ribbon you could win. You know there would be the gold ribbon maybe or the blue ribbon and purple was given for just existing. That was like what was given for the fact that you just were in the race and they acknowledged you lived.

That's it. I had a lot of purple ribbons. I'm also reminded of when I was in school. Teachers would give little stars on certain papers or reports. Remember those?

Some of you may have never seen them but you get them in the stationary store. Little gold stars, silver stars, blue stars. And the gold star was the big one. I never got a gold star. In fact I just had blue stars which again just meant okay you turned it in. It wasn't that great but we acknowledge your existence.

I literally went to a stationary store and bought a little box of gold stars and just put them on my papers because I wanted to see what it was like. But you know when we think about things like that well we're acknowledged for what we have done. I know the trend in kids sports today is to not keep score.

I know that because they have five grandkids and I've gone to some of their soccer games. And they'll be out there playing and I'll say what's the score? And someone will say we don't keep score.

But there are people always keeping score of course even if it's not official. But this is the idea that there's no winners. There's no losers. Everyone's a winner.

That sounds good. It's not true. It's not true in life. And guess what?

It's not true in the Bible. In the Bible there's winners. And there are losers.

And guess what? God wants you to be a winner in the race of life. On more than one occasion the Christian life is compared to running a race.

And Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9 24 don't you realize that we're in a race and everyone runs in a race but only one person gets the prize so run to win. Run to win. If you're competing in the Olympics go for the gold. If you're living as a Christian go for the gold.

Run to win. And by the way I'm not competing with my fellow Christians. My competition is not with fellow believers. My competition as a pastor is not with other churches. He who has the biggest church wins.

No, no, no. Because on that final day God is going to ask about my faithfulness. He won't say well done good and successful servant. He'll say well done good and faithful servant. I'll be held accountable for what God has called me to do. You'll be held accountable for what God has called you to do. So we need to be faithful but we must do the best we can do. My competition if you will is the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Not fellow believers. And know this there's coming today when rewards are going to be given out in heaven. Again this is like an awards ceremony. Think the Oscars or the Emmys. Generally in the old days at least there would be the big build up and the screen would be split with a tight shot of all the potential winners. And they would say and the winner is for the Academy Award for Actor of the Year, Actress of the Year, Film of the Year. And then this is it and they would announce it and the person would jump up and then he would see everybody else and they would all be applauding. You know they're mad. You know they're upset but they're actors. Oh that was a great choice.

Instead of me no. No one likes to lose and then the winner goes and gets their Oscar, their Emmy, their Grammy, whatever it is. This is an awards ceremony where you would be rewarded for what you have done with the opportunities that God has set before you. And if you are faithful there is a reward that will be given. Pastor Greg Laurie with good clarity today on what will happen at the judgment seat of Christ. We're digging deep into the book of Revelation here on A New Beginning and there's more to come in this message. 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.

Yes. 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 used. 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. 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, CA 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. Are you good with time management? Well, next time, Pastor Greg says we all need to watch how we spend our time from a spiritual perspective. We'll see time is short, and we need to invest our days wisely. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Warren. This is the day, the day when life begins.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-07 08:52:45 / 2023-08-07 09:02:02 / 9

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