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The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith: Responsibility to Share

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 26, 2021 3:00 am

The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith: Responsibility to Share

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 26, 2021 3:00 am

Some seem to believe the realm of evangelism is for “men of the cloth” . . . for pastors, ministers, evangelists. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says it’s a privilege and responsibility shared by all believers. In recent days, he’s been pointing out the tremendous lessons we can learn from Jonah’s success in Nineveh. It was the most successful evangelistic gathering in history. And there are six practical lessons we can learn from that account. Let’s take some notes.

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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 supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. God has given you a simple message to give you. Your job is to deliver the message. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

Again you hear when the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins. Some seem to believe the realm of evangelism is for men of the cloth, for pastors, ministers, evangelists. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says it's a privilege and responsibility shared by all believers. In recent days, he's been pointing out the tremendous lessons we can learn from Jonah's success in Nineveh. It was the most successful evangelistic gathering in history. And there are six practical lessons we can learn from that account.

Let's take some notes. This is the day, the day when life begins. Back to the story of Jonah. The book of Jonah is a story of a massive revival that came about through the efforts of one man. And that man was Jonah. He was called to preach to Nineveh, which was a great city. We read in Jonah 1-2.

But Jonah said, I don't want to go preach to that great city. So then we read in Jonah 1-4, God sent a great wind. And then that wind brought a storm and Jonah was ultimately swallowed by a great fish. Jonah 1-17. But the ultimate story of Jonah is about a great God who showed great love to a lost city like Nineveh. God turned around 300,000 people through one man.

How was he able to do this? It started with Jonah himself. Of course, he was swallowed by maybe the whale or whatever that creature was. And it was in the belly of that whale that Jonah had a personal revival.

It was there that he repented of his sin and recommitted himself to the Lord and was willing to do what the Lord called him to do. Number two, Jonah went to where the people were. Jonah went to where the people were. Jonah 3-3 says, Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city.

It took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day's journey into the city, crying, 40 more days and Nineveh will be overthrown. Then we read these words.

The Ninevites believed God. Listen, we need to go to unexpected people in unexpected places to share with them what will be an unexpected message. And this is the thing. As Christians, we're not called to isolate. We're called to infiltrate and we're called to permeate. Number three, our message, the message of the gospel, must be delivered with urgency.

It must be delivered with urgency. Notice it says in Jonah 3-4, as he entered the city, he cried out, 40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown. He cried out. This is, by the way, not the first time that Jonah cried. He also cried out in the belly of the fish. And Jonah 2, we read, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly and he said, I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction and he answered me out of the belly of Sheol.

I cried and you heard my voice. Are you in a time of affliction? Are you in a time of difficulty? Are you in a time of trial? Cry out to the Lord. Jeremiah 33-3 says, Call out to me and I will answer you, says the Lord.

I'll show you great and mighty things that you do not know. Jonah took the desperation he felt in the belly of the sea creature and channeled it in what God had called him to do in bringing the message to the people of Nineveh. Jonah had been transformed in the fish's belly. Jonah should have died in the fish's belly. He had been saved and preserved by God. Jonah was a resurrection man.

And people cannot argue with a transformed life. Jonah should have been dead but he was alive and well. Because of this there was an urgency and there was a passion in what he was saying.

Do you have an urgency and a passion in reaching other people? Jonah certainly had it. There was an authenticity in his voice. He was a changed man as I pointed out. He probably was also a bleached man who smelled of vomit perhaps and fish. But he had a mission and he was going to fulfill that mission and the people of Nineveh could see this was a resurrection man.

This was a man brought back from the dead. There's a lot of power in your personal story. And I want to talk about that a little bit in our next message from this series that we call Refreshing. How to tell your personal story when you share your faith with others.

Point number four. We are to preach the message He has given us. Not our own message. Our own version of the gospel. The message He has given us. Verse 2 here in Jonah 3 says, Go to Nineveh that great city and preach to it the message that I give to you. God has given you a simple message to give you.

Your job is to deliver the message. I used to be a paperboy and I had a paper route and I had a really cool bicycle. It was a Schwinn Stingray with a handlebar. Sometimes they're called 8-hangers. It had a roll bar, a banana seat, and best of all a stick shift. A stick shift on a bicycle.

I don't even think they would allow that today. But I had my bags holding my newspapers cruising around in my Schwinn Stingray. And my objective was to deliver the paper. I got pretty good at clearing the hedges and sideways throw. The over the top throw.

The underhanded throw. You know. I got pretty good at it. So my job was not to write the news. My job was not to be in the news. My job was to deliver the news. That's still my job. My job is to deliver the good news of the gospel. I don't need to add to it.

I don't need to take away from it. And that brings me to my next point. We must declare the gospel.

Now listen. If I have the luxury of time, I'll take the time to hang out with the person, talk with them, get to know them, enter their world. I won't hit them immediately with both gospel barrels. It might be a time of just sowing a seed. It might be a time of watering the seed that someone else sowed of the gospel in their heart. And it might be a time to reap. There have been times when the Lord has directed me to ask a person point blank, Would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now?

It doesn't happen all that often. But I think of one time when I was out to lunch with some of the pastors from our church and the server was helping us and she took our order. She said, you guys are from the church here in town, Harvest, right?

Yes, we are. Yeah, she said, I've been thinking of coming out to your church one of your service times because I need to get right with God. And I felt prompted by the Lord right then and there to ask her a question. I said, would you like to get right with God right here, right now? She looked a little surprised. She's got her tray here. I said, yeah, you could pray right here and right now and commit your life to Jesus Christ.

She set her tray down and said, yes, I would like to do that. And I was able to lead that server to the Lord. Now, that's not normally what happens to me. But there are those moments when the Lord says, do it now. Other times we're just sowing the seed.

We're watering the seed. So if you have the luxury of time, do that. But let's contrast that to a different scenario.

Let's say you're in a plane and all four of the engines were out and the plane was on fire and it was headed to the earth. So you know your time is limited. I hope you would have the presence of mind to proclaim the gospel. You don't have time to turn to your seat mate and say, well, tell me a little bit about yourself.

Where do you live? No, no. Tell him the gospel. There's an urgency. That was the case with Jonah. He had basically 40 days to reach 300,000 people. So with this urgency, he went and preached this message. Let me say something about preaching because the Bible says that we should preach the word and be persistent whether the time is favorable or not. We are to preach the word. Preaching doesn't mean yelling. Preaching is proclamation. Maybe you elevate your voice to be heard by a large crowd. Maybe you're talking to people one on one. I've actually seen Christians like preaching, yelling at people.

That's crazy. Don't do that. Calm down. Lower your volume. Listen more and lovingly share in an understandable way the things that they need to hear. The primary way that God has chosen to reach nonbelievers is through the verbal articulation of the gospel. You may preach it. You may text it. You may tweet it.

You may share it conversationally. But the idea is I tell people that there is a God in heaven who loves them and sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for their sin. And Christ rose again from the dead three days later.

Listen to this. There's only two things the Bible tells us have power. It's God himself and the gospel. The gospel in particular.

Because we read over in Romans 1 16 Paul says, I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. So the word for power that Paul uses is the Greek word dunamis. The story is told of a man named Alfred Nobel. He had invented this material that exploded.

There had never been anything like it before. What would he call this explosive device? He talked to a friend who knew Greek and a Nobel asked him, what is the Greek word for explosive power? And the man said, oh, it's dunamis.

And so he called it dynamite. So there's dynamic dunamis explosive power in the simple message of the gospel. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know, sometimes we can't always make it to church.

But here's the good news. Church is coming to you. It's coming to you on your TV screen or on your tablet or your computer or even your phone. We do it every weekend and it's called Harvest at Home. We have worship. We have a message from the word of God.

If you want to find out more, just go to harvest dot org and join us this weekend for Harvest at Home. We're concentrating on the gospel today. The good news of God's love.

Pastor Greg is basing our studies in Jonah Chapter three. The gospel. What is the gospel? We talk about the gospel. Oh, I love the gospel. I live by the gospel. We should preach the gospel. Do we know what the gospel is?

Why do we make the gospel so complex? It isn't. What does the word gospel mean?

Literal translation. Good news. It's good news. Why do we make the good news bad news and the way we deliver it or the way we distort it or the way we leave parts out of it?

No. Deliver the explosive dynamic dynamite gospel of good news to people. Now sometimes before we can appreciate the good news, we have to first know the bad news. I heard about two old guys that love to play baseball. And they wondered, will there be baseball in heaven?

So they made a deal. If one of them went to heaven first, he would somehow communicate with the other and tell him whether or not there was baseball in heaven. Well, one of the friends passed and a week later he spoke to his buddy still on the earth through the clouds. He said, buddy, I've got good news for you. There's baseball in heaven. And his friend was so overjoyed and he says, but I've got some bad news too. You're pitching on Friday.

That's a joke that never happened. But good news and bad news. So here's the bad news. You're a sinner. I'm a sinner. We're all sinners.

The Bible says in Romans 3, 23, we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We also read in 1 John 1.8, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Don't assume that your listener will necessarily know what sin is.

So you may have to help them with this. In the Bible, sin can be translated different ways. One word that the Bible uses for sin is translated trespass. And that means to cross a line. So you've seen the little signs in the park. No trespassing, right? So you want to immediately step over it and step on the grass. Or if it says don't touch wet paint, you want to touch it, don't you? So trespass is to deliberately cross a line.

Another translation of the word sin from the Greek word harmatia means to miss the mark. Let's imagine we're having a game of archery together. And you go first. And you fire all ten arrows into that target. But none hit the bullseye. So you miss the mark.

Now let's say that I step up with my ten arrows and I miss the target altogether. I hit a cow over in the field. I hit a building.

I hit a bird flying over. So I miss the mark. Now did I miss the mark more than you miss the mark?

Yes. But the goal is you've got to get the bullseye. And the bullseye is perfection. So when the Bible says I've sinned or missed the mark, it means I've fallen short of God's standard for humanity.

What is that? Perfection. So a person might say to you, well are you perfect?

Your answer must be no. That's where Jesus comes in. Because God knew I could not hit this mark. God knew I could not be a perfect person. And by the way someone might say, well I'm a good person.

And you might be surprised to hear me say, I won't necessarily dispute that. I would not say, no you're not a good person. You're a bad person.

I would say, I'm sure you're a good person. But you know what? You're not good enough to get to heaven.

Because you've missed the mark. Here's the good news. Jesus died on the cross for your sin. Romans 5 says, God showed us great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Here's the verse every Christian should memorize.

Get this in your brain. John 3 16. For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That's the gospel in a nutshell.

Share that message with someone. If you know John 3 16, you are effectively armed and dangerous. One last point. Jonah's message was an unapologetic biblical directive from God Almighty. And so is the gospel. And so as we proclaim this message of Jesus, He's not one of many options.

He's the only choice. Another verse you ought to memorize. John 14 6. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. And no man comes to the Father but through Me. There's only one way to come into this relationship with God. Because the Bible says there is no other name given under heaven whereby a man can be saved. The greatest revival in the history of the world came to Nineveh.

Because Jonah proclaimed God's message and not what they necessarily wanted to hear. Let me close by saying I challenge you to leave your comfort zone. I encourage you to go to your Nineveh so to speak. And engage people in conversations about Jesus. I'll talk about this more next time.

But let me just close with this. Maybe as you're watching this, you have not believed the gospel. What is the gospel?

Again it's good news. The gospel says God loves you. And God has a plan for you. And it says God will forgive you of all of your sin but you must admit you're a sinner. And you must ask Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord.

And you can do that right here right now. Jesus who died on that cross and rose again from the dead three days later stands at the door of your life and He knocks. And He says if you'll hear His voice and open the door He'll come in. One day the people came to Jesus and said we want to see a miracle. We want to see a sign. Here's what Christ said. No sign will be given you but that of the prophet Jonah. That is Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish. So will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. In other words Jesus says you want a sign.

Here it is. I died on the cross for your sin and I rose again from the dead. You might say oh come on Greg if you could just do a miracle.

Something to impress me. Then I would believe. Show me and I'll believe. Jesus in effect says believe and I'll show you. This is the message you've been looking for.

This is the answer you wanted in life. It's a relationship with God through Jesus who can come and live in your life. And listen forgive you of all of your sins. You can put your past behind you and have a new beginning.

A fresh start. But you need Jesus to do that. So in a moment I'm going to pray. And I'm going to lead a prayer. And I would ask any of you that are watching right now who have never asked Jesus to come into your life. You don't have the confidence that you'll go to heaven when you die.

You have guilt that you carry around with you. I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer with me. You could pray it out loud if you like. You could pray it quietly but say this to the Lord. If you want Jesus to come into your life right now let's pray together.

Pray these words. Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner. But I know you are the Savior.

Who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now. I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and my Lord and my God and my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those making a decision for the Lord on today's edition of A New Beginning. And if you've just prayed that prayer and meant those words sincerely, the Lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin.

The Bible tells us He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And we want to help you get started in your newfound faith. We want to send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Growth Packet.

It'll help answer the questions you might have and help you build a solid foundation for your faith. We'll send it without any charge. Just ask for it as you write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. You know, Pastor Greg, back when I was a young Christian, contemporary Christian music, or as we called it then, Jesus music, was sort of a soundtrack for my life. And I remember the very first Christian band I saw, I believe it was Mustard Seed Faith at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. Do you remember the first Christian band you saw?

Yeah, I would say it was probably Love Song. But I became friends with all the guys in Love Song, just saw them recently. Of course, Odin Fong from Mustard Seed Faith, Louis McVeigh, Pedro Buford, and the other individuals were in the band through the years. But great little band, I did a lot of ministry with them, traveled to a lot of places with them. And I was amazed, Dave, at how music could open a crowd up. You know, you get a crowd of people just standing around, the band gets up, starts playing what I would call anointed music. Music that God had his hand on. You know, you think of the story of Saul, the king of Israel, who was being tormented by demons. And the Bible tells us that David, not yet the king, still a shepherd boy, would come in and play in a stringed instrument.

Today we might call it an electric guitar. And he would play his guitar and sing his songs of praise to God, and it would bring temporary comfort to King Saul. And to me, that is the power of music that God has his hand on. It can open the heart of a person. This is one of the reasons why in our events, and of course in our church, we put a focus on really well done Christian music.

Because I believe it's a great way to reach people and to build a bridge to people. So I saw it in its origins to the present day. And I would say this, Dave, I think Christian music has come so far that in many ways it surpasses secular music.

I don't mean lyrically, I mean in the melodies, in the production, it's at least as good, if not better, and a lot of the secular stuff you're hearing out there right now. So maybe you've wondered, well how did this all start? Ah, I have a book for you. It's called The Jesus Music. It's brand new, and it's written by my friend Marshall Terrell. Marshall and I have co-written three books together, and we're working on a fourth.

Marshall is a great researcher, an excellent writer. So he takes us back to the very origins of Jesus music to the present day of what we call contemporary Christian music. So you're gonna get a little history on this music we listen to, and you're gonna learn more about some of the artists you've come to love. These are not perfect people.

These are flawed people that God has used. People like you and me, you're gonna be fascinated by this book called The Jesus Music, hardbound glossy pages, lots of photographs, interesting stories and history about this music that we have all come to love. And we'll send you your own copy for your gift of any size. And let me just say, the reason we offer these quality resources is so we can just help you, encourage you, and bless you. But also it's a way for you to support our ministry, because as you can imagine, it takes money to be on the radio, and we want to continue to reach you in your area and go into new areas where we're not on yet. So when you order one of these resources like The Jesus Music, and you send a gift to us, we put that gift to work. But as our way of saying thanks, we send you something of value, like this book we're sending this time called The Jesus Music. So for your gift of any size, you'll get your own copy, and I know it will be a blessing to you. Oh yeah, it really will. So get in touch today with your donation, and be sure to ask for The Jesus Music. It's the kind of book you won't be able to put down, and you might want to give a copy to a friend. Maybe you're looking for a good Christmas gift for a family member.

Again, it's called The Jesus Music. Now we're only able to mention this a short time longer. Ask for it when you send your contribution today to A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to Harvest.org. Well, next time, more insights on doing our part in sharing the gospel as the series called Refresh continues. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Lauren. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-17 03:02:38 / 2023-07-17 03:12:58 / 10

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