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Don’t Be Afraid: Prince of Peace

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 21, 2021 3:00 am

Don’t Be Afraid: Prince of Peace

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 21, 2021 3:00 am

Faith and fear are mutually exclusive. We can’t be faithful and fearful at the same time. But here during this week when we celebrate a significant event within our faith, we also face some of the most trying times of our year. If it’s not busyness, it’s finances. If it’s not the pandemic, it’s the inevitable challenges of family gatherings. But today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out our focus should be on the One whose birthday we celebrate. And that brings peace.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Today's episode of a new beginning is brought to you by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn more@harness.org and while you're there, browse our library and free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. So right now here's the thing. Don't be afraid God is with you at this time of our minds are often the horrors glory points out the whole sure is the message of Christmas right because we are told that God would send his son. You would call his name Immanuel.

No one is God is with significant event with. We also pay some of the most trying times as its finest, is the inevitable challenges of family today on a new beginning. Glory points out our focus should be on the one whose birthday we celebrate that the title of my message for you. Don't be afraid of those words so familiar. They were given 2000 years ago just shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night and by the way, my text to be looking out of the few moments as Luke chapter 2, but how relevant are those words for us today. Don't be afraid. People are so afraid right now. I read recently on the New York Times website that the top fears of Americans at this moment in history are as follows. Losing American democracy, getting sick with covert community changing for the worse facing eviction or becoming of violent crime victims. Still, we have our personal fears were afraid. What if I get sick.

What if a member of my family get sick. One of my family falls apart.

One of my wife and I end up getting divorced so many things to frighten us, but here is the message of Christmas don't be afraid because we are told that God would send his son that he would call his name Immanuel. And what is that mean it means God is with us, but here's the thing coded this message originally come to it came to shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Now here's the problem with the Christmas story when we restate that there's no problem with the Christmas story. Let's just say the problem is in the way we see it today.

We see it through a certain lens, I would sum it up this way. We've made Christmas to beautiful and we've lost the raw power of the original story. For instance, we have taken the images of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus and so romanticize them there looking tranquility into each other's spaces. They all have halos over their heads, and of course baby Jesus as a little small halo we romanticize the wisemen when they arrived there and coordinating colors getting of their camels holding up their gifts.

The Bible doesn't even say there were three wise men. By the way, what if there were nine wisemen and they just went in on the gifts together guys do that a lot noble we've taken the story and added so many layers of tradition to it. I think that were missing what the story is really all about. And we've certainly romanticize the shepherds. Let me talk to you about who the shepherds were in the first century.

Let me start by saying these were not popular people.

These were guys that were very low on the social ladder and in fact they were despised. They did the work that nobody else wanted to do these were guys I got out there and got their hands and feet dirty, they endured under their fingernails. So when they heard that some Savior was born in a manger, or in the barn they related to just that's all they had their children out in the open air, but God can pick these people were on the bottom of the social ladder to be the first evangelist with the message that the Messiah had come. This gives hope to ordinary people like you and me in first Corinthians 127 we read these words take a good look friends and who you were when God called you into this life.

I don't see many of the brightest and the best among you that many influential nominee from high society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women at the culture overlooks and exploits God chose nobodies to expose the hollow pretensions of the somebodies is in that true that's the way Jesus role that was his modus operandi.

He was always going after the outcast, there is Jesus with the woman caught in the act of adultery there is.

Jesus was IKEA's the tax collector who didn't have a friend in the little town he lived in known as Jericho. There is Jesus with another hurting person.

That's why Christ was called the friend of sinners, so the profession of a shepherd was not even thought of as really all that legitimate. There were despised and mistrusted. They were thought it was people who were dishonest.

In fact, the testimony of a shepherd was not even allowed in a court of law.

So the Bible is read, the moment it says shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks by night.

That's romanticize in our minds but if we were to updated MIB and there were use car salesman watching over their cars by night or we might read certain telemarketers were coping people at night. Not everyone's favorite people. But God chose what happened. Now let me read to from Luke chapter 2 verse eight that night. There were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them in the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them and they were terrified. The angel reassured them, saying, spirit, or don't be afraid. I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior just the Messiah, the Lord has been born today and Beth again.

The city of David, and you'll recognize them by this sign you'll find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of lying in a manger. Suddenly the angel was joined by a best host of others. The armies of heaven, praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men with whom God is well pleased with the Angels and return from heaven, the shepherds said to one another. Let's go to Beth again. Let's see this thing that this happened and they scurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph, and there was the baby lying in a manger.

Let's come back to these shepherds of Israel, they were living in frightening times. Everyone was afraid why they were under the thumb of Rome limiting say it another way, they were under the iron fist of Rome Rome and establish what was known as Pax Romana under the rulership of justice Caesar, which it conquered most of the civilized world at that point so many Jewish people were wondering will the Romans ever leave our land again will we ever be free again will the Messiah ever, and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, but right on schedule appear these angels with this message.

Don't be afraid. The Messiah has come, you know it's interesting whenever angels appeared usually started with these words, don't be afraid. You know why because when an angel appears you're generally pretty afraid angels are powerful, beautiful, magnificent spirit beings and so they usually started with those words, you know, someone said, I haven't researched this myself that the Bible says fear not, or don't be afraid 365 times. If that's true, that means that there's a fear not for every day of the year. So whatever your afraid of the message of the Lord is told me of freight. Fear not, is the message and also we have a message of great joy, fear not, and have joy. So that's really a big part of the Christmas message is that you can get rid of your fear and replace it with joy the condition of joy is to let go of your fear because God had come to the earth, born as a baby in Bethlehem in a small town called Buffalo him on a silent night.

Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment were delighted when we hear stories of people whose lives have changed because a pastor breaks teaching from God's word pastor Greg go to church as a kid at age 16 I stopped attending because I was convinced I was going to hell matter what I did, 1993 I was invited to a free concert by some very close friends.

I asked what kind of music I was told rock contemporary and country. I agreed to go was not given all the details. A few hours later they told me there would be a message. When asked what kind of message. I was told pastor Greg Laurie gives a message at that point I realized it had to do with church and I immediately told him I didn't want to go but I went as the night went by, I know God was whacking me upside the head and so I figured I get a free concert. My wife would get the church stuff, so I agreed to go. I really enjoyed the music soon as you started giving the message I got very uncomfortable and asked my friends and we can leave. They told me not until this is over my palm started sweating and I just knew that my friends and spoken to you because it seemed like you were talking just to me. Your message was about not harden your heart, and after you finished, you gave the altar call I asked my friends again if we could leave them and they said not until it's over.

Then you repeated the altar call a friend from work who was sitting right behind me later told me, when you repeated the altar call the third time she said, Lord, what about Frank and when she was done praying she said I jumped right up and ran down the stairs to the field. I remember asking myself what I was doing there young counselor approached me and began praying for me and I started crying like a baby as I accepted Jesus into my heart story doesn't end there. Over time I start to fall back into some of my old ways.

I knew deep down inside that I shouldn't be doing those things. There was no excuse. Then just this year, when I heard that you were doing another harvest Crusade in Southern California.

I knew I needed to attend again. My wife and I have both talked and we made reservations to fly from Alabama to attend October 3, 2021 SoCal Crusade once again. Your message spoke directly to me and I recommitted my life to Jesus. Thank you Pastor Greg for never wavering from the word of God through these many years since God is touching lives today. If you feel exists of this life-changing ministry can continue making your intonation online@harvest.org that's harvest.org pastor Greg is mapping out the pathway toward less fear and more joy as we move into our Christmas celebration. Let's continue today's message.

This is the most significant event in human history, and by and large most people misted altogether starting with Rome. This is an event that we did shake the planet, we would mark human time based on the birth of Christ and yet most people in Rome didn't even see the significance of it. As far as Rome went as far as it's easier when it suggests another person to tax and Caesar had a very high view of himself because we read in Scripture that a decree was sent out by Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed and actually Augustine's needs of the gods, so this particular Caesar believed he was a deity.

There were statues erected throughout Rome and Roman territories of Caesar Augustus, and he was referred to as the Savior of the world. So it's ironic that this announcement of the Savior's birth is given, but this guy thinks he is the Savior of the world. So this was big news in heaven and really no news at all honor that happens a lot today and the day Rome was all that the bag of chips Rome powerful Rome ruled by Caesar aggressive coming back to you. History tells us that he was small in stature, which means Caesar was a little too bright so we can say he was little Caesar little would he know that pizza would be named after him pizza pizza right so we don't really think much of Caesar now, but he was a big deal and earth at that time, but this event was world changing. Another thing that's a big deal in heaven whenever a person puts her faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible says, actually Christ himself said there is joy in heaven over one sinner that comes to repentance, so every time someone says yes to Jesus there's a party in heaven. Now we might dismiss and say what all I care. Someone got religion.

Oh no they didn't get religion. They found Christ and that's a big deal and have now if you were going to announce this message, you would not have gone to the shepherds you would've gone well. Probably the Caesar himself make this announcement a Caesar get the word out, but instead the Lords effectively saying little Caesar your bar to the party is over. You're no longer the Savior of the world actually you never were.

You need to stand down because the real king has arrived, you might've told the high priest or some other person of influence. If we were announcing the message today.

Let's get a PR firm and let's get the influencers out there that post about it on social media.

None of that. The Lord went to the lowest of the low shepherds don't listen to this.

The shepherds had a choice as to what to do look good first 15 it says when the Angels returned to Gavin, the shepherds said to each other. Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that happened to better choice. No question that this mind blowing experience of the radiant light in the angelic chorus saying, glory to God in the highest MPs on earth among men with whom God is well please and think it is Just hang out here and soak it in the minus symbol. We can't go there were not dressed appropriately and nobody wants shepherds around all they said let's go quickly and let let's see this thing for our selves.

And a lot of times we miss out on what God wants to do in our life because we don't respond appropriately, they render this table.

We read in Luke chapter 2 verse 17 and seen him. The shepherds told everyone what it happened and with the angel and said to them about this child and all who heard the shepherds story were astonished. But Mary kept these things in her heart and thought about them often. But the shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all the at heard and seen, as it was told of them by the angel listen you of the same message you need to share this message to. Especially in this Christmas season, listen, we all know people are really hurting this Christmas.

Some of lost their jobs. Some are sick.

Some have a loved one that is sick.

Some are very depressed. As you know alcohol use.

Drug use is dramatically calls to help lines or hotlines with people who are having suicidal thoughts are through the ceiling and we need to tell people a Savior has been born. We need to tell people there's hope. We needed tell people to not be afraid. Share this message just as the shepherds shared today on a new beginning pastor Greg Laurie with good encouragement for our Christmas season.

People may be more open to a conversation about the Lord now than it any other time of the year. Pastor Greg evangelism is our heartbeat here harvest ministry staff. It pervades all we do and we making available a great resource that undergirds our evangelism efforts season one of the chosen on DVD yes how can we use this as an evangelism tool, especially with those who just just don't go to church yet. That's a great question because were dealing with the generation now that it has been born with screens they've never normal life without iPhone are tablet device or or a big screen in front of them somewhere. So this is how many of them process information. Of course, would like them to become more literate Readmore but hey, let's meet people where they are and so that one of the best ways you can come to them is through Cinema of through film through dramatizing something and selling a true story, but in a way that connects to them culturally and I can't think of anyone who's done a better job of this than director Dallas Jenkins in this series called the chosen. The chosen is a dramatic depiction of the life and ministry of Jesus, and it's done in a way like I've never seen before. These apostles come the life these Bible stories just jump out at you in a way like you've never seen before and I'm very excited to announce that we are offering season one of the chosen to you this month for your gift of any size. What a great time to sit down to watch these stories with your family. I have to tell you the episode where Jesus encounters Nicodemus is one of the most moving things I've ever seen. In fact, I was speaking with actor Jonathan Rumi, who plays the role of Jesus and told him how powerful his portrayal of Christ was in those scenes of the chosen company to show us that is why is our contact contact person cannot see him as he is born again, humane conversion from Gentile to Jewish returned the room because I will be a problem for me. My mother and she rest in peace is dead. 20 I say to you, unless one is born of water in the spring, he cannot enter the kingdom of God, which is born of the flesh is flesh which is going on. This meeting spent that is what must be reborn, so would you send this to you for your gift of any size whatever you send a Hope is financially to continue on teaching the word of God preaching the gospel will be greatly appreciated and we will rescue your copy of season one of the chosen so you can sit down with your family and start enjoying it together but is not just entertainment here. Could it be moved spiritually and is going to make you want to open up your Bible and read the stories is given to us in the gospel so don't delay. Order your copy of season one of the chosen for your gift of any size. The harvest ministries is the perfect time to have a DVD that tells the real story of Jesus. It would make for good quality time with your kids or grandkids as pastor Greg said will send it to you to thank you for your investment in this ministry and the lives that will be touched in the coming year and does in our culture need a touch from the Lord right about now, so thanks for your investment today and will say thanks tangibly with season one of the TV series called the chosen.

You can donate securely online@harvest.org or write us at a new beginning.

Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us anytime 24 seven at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 are you receiving Pastor Greg's daily devotions each day via email is not much to care that right now you can sign up today free of charge@harvest.org and you receive a daily inspirational thought from God's word each day in your inbox again.

Go to harvest.org sometimes we can always make a picture here is his church is coming to you is coming due 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 were seven. We have a message of the word of God. If you want to find out more, just go to harvest.org enjoy this this weekend for harvest at all. When next I pastor Greg Bridges were inside the good news of great joy and angelic message given by some lowly shepherds. But before we go I pastor that closes our time together this way when the shepherds realize the Savior had been born. They went and told everyone and people were astonished. When you go out until someone about Jesus today when you tried to engage someone in what I would call an evangelistic conversation and tell them that there's hope in this hopeless world. Tell them that there's peace in the tumult, tell them that they don't have to be filled with fear and instead can be filled with joy. Tell them they can have a relationship with God.

If you do that you'll be giving the greatest gift you could ever get. Let's all pray together. Father I pray now that will take this message to heart that will look for opportunities to share this good news with people that don't know you, Lord, because this is the season where your name is sung in songs and the mention of Christmas is everywhere, but very few know what it's all about. Help us to be like the shepherds telling others about what you have done for us. Use this for your glory.

We pray in Jesus name, amen. Everybody thinks her list. Beginning this is a podcast made possible by harvest partners. So for more content can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a harvest partner. Just go to harvest.org


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