Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.
If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. There's no more time for excuses. The reason that we don't follow Christ many times is because we offer excuses. Now you know what an excuse is. It's something we make up when we don't want to do something as compared to a reason. I remember when I was in school and I had many great excuses that I made up as to why my homework was not done. And I remember my teacher telling me, Greg Laurie, do you know the difference between a reason and an excuse?
I said, no, not really. A reason is legitimate. An excuse is something you make up because you don't really want to do it. For instance, you know, you may be at home, just really nothing to do, girls, and some geeky guy calls you up.
You know, he's the guy with the thick glasses and 12 pockets or 12 pens in his pocket and he calls you up and asks you if you would go out with him. And you say, no, I'm sorry, I really can't. I'm wallpapering my house. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Wallpapering my house. And so he hangs up and then the phone rings again and it's a really cute guy that you just met at school and he says, I was wondering if you could take me to dinner. And you drive and pay for it. You say, I'll be ready in three minutes. And boom, you're down there.
That's because you want to do it. Well, here before us in the Bible is a story that Jesus told to illustrate the excuses that people make up as to why they do not want to follow him. Again, not reasons, but excuses. And it's amazing to me that more people do not seriously look into who Jesus Christ was and what he had to say. They've never read his words, but yet they reject something they've never even examined.
I've talked to so many people and I'll tell them, well, what do you think about Jesus Christ? Oh, I don't believe in that. Well, really, have you read the Bible? No, but you know, I've heard about it. You reject something you've never read?
You reject someone you know nothing about? If the Bible is true, and of course we believe it is, eternity is at stake and that's why this is an alarming thing. For if Jesus is who he claimed to be and his words are true, then there really is a purpose for life. A master plan that God has custom designed just for you. It means it's really possible to find peace with God and have your sin and guilt removed and have the emptiness and void in your life filled. That maybe you've tried to fill it with drugs. Or you've tried to fill it with alcohol. Or you've tried to fill it with partying. Or you've tried to fill it by trying to find the perfect guy. I'm sorry, I'm already taken. I'm unavailable, but for the perfect girl.
I was kidding, by the way. You're looking for some relationship to fill that void. Maybe you've even gone looking into religion to fill that void.
But still it isn't filled because God has created that void inside of you to be filled with him. And if Jesus is who he claims to be, there is a heaven, there is a hell. It means we'll all stand before God and one day be held accountable primarily for what we did with him and the decision we made about him. And that is why before this evening is over we are going to give you an opportunity to make a decision.
Because you will make one. Now let me read to you the story from scripture that our message is based on. It's Luke chapter 14.
I know it's kind of dark out there so you'll have to just take my word for it. Luke 14 starting in verse 16. This is a story that Jesus told. He said, A certain man gave a great supper and invited many.
And he sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, Come, for all things are now ready. But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said, Well, I bought a piece of ground and I have to go and see it. Please have me excused. Another said, Well, I bought five yoke of oxen and I'm going to test them.
I ask you, have me excused. Another said, I've married a wife, therefore I cannot come. So that servant came and reported these things to his master. And the master of the house became angry and said to the servant, Go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city, and bring out the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind. And then he said, in verse 23, Go on into the highways and hedges and compel them to come, that my house may be fulfilled.
Now Jesus is comparing an invitation to an earthly meal, to God's great invitation for us to know him in a personal relationship. But as I already said, they made up excuses. And an excuse is really the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.
It's because we don't want to do something. The first excuse we know of is recorded in the first book of the Bible. The book of Genesis. And it's after Adam had sinned and eaten of the forbidden fruit that God told Adam and Eve to stay away from. And after Adam ate of that fruit, God said to him, Adam, have you eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? And Adam said, It's the woman you gave me. It's not my fault.
And then the second recorded excuse is recorded also there in Genesis, when the woman said, The serpent tricked me. The devil made me do it. It's not my fault. They were unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.
It seems to me we are living in a time when no one wants to take responsibility for what they do. It seems that there was a day a long time ago where people made commitments and they kept them. A marriage was for keeps.
A job was for work. Adultery was a scandal. Hardship was endured. Adam was punished.
But today we blame everyone and everything for our problems. It's not my fault. I had a traumatic experience in my childhood. Or you might even say I had a traumatic experience when I was in the womb, you know. I've heard that one.
It's my neighborhood. It's this, it's that, it's the way I am biologically. And then there was a man who copped a plea after being accused of breaking into a corporate computer system and stealing an expensive security program. But did the judge see this man as guilty?
No, he said, this man has an insidious space age element or ailment called computer addiction. And sentenced him to a year's treatment for this new and growing impulse disorder. The author of this article says Bonnie and Clyde came along too soon.
Nowadays they could settle for a year at the Betty Ford Center as victims of compulsive bank robbing addiction. And then the person who writes this article correctly concludes, the problem with all of this is you can't run a society or cope with its problems this way. If people are not held accountable for what they do, the way we are headed, the only generally acknowledged responsibility for our actions may be to explain them away on night line. But you see it's so easy for us to blame someone else. And Adam and Eve blame someone else.
In essence they blame God. It's your fault. You put us in this place.
You made this mess. It's not my fault. It's her fault. And she of course blamed it on the devil. So we always have an excuse that we can offer.
But it's time to take responsibility for our actions. And then as we read this text before us, the invitation was given out to come. Now it's important to understand the culture of this time to appreciate what was really taking place. There would be two invitations given as a part of the protocol at such a feast. The first announcement would be made and you were asked to RSVP.
In other words you were asked to let them know if you could attend. We're having a great banquet. And we have chosen you to come. Would you like to come?
And you would write back and say yes. Therefore considerable expense would be spent on your behalf so you could be an honored guest at this great feast. And then when the day came, when the second invitation was given, that was only to tell you what time to show up. Already the finest food was ready. The tables were decorated. The cooks had worked overtime.
The musicians had rehearsed. And to refuse at the second invitation was the ultimate insult in this culture. It was even grounds for declaring a war. And that is the situation before us here where they were invited once and they accepted and then they were invited for the exact time. And they said I'm sorry we just can't make it.
It was inexcusable. All of these people rejected at the second invitation. Many people today will make a commitment to Christ.
But if it involves any commitment or any change in their lifestyle or any inconveniencing of their plans they renege. No time for church but they have plenty of time for movies. No time for prayer but lots of time for television.
No time for the Bible but lots of time for newspapers and magazines and anything else you want to read. It's all a matter of priorities. You make time for what is important. And drawing the parallel from this story, God has made the ultimate sacrifice for you. Great expense was spent for this feast and they said no.
Great expense has been spent on your behalf. God sent his own son to come to this earth and to go to that cross and die for you there. And he took all of the sin of the world upon himself and then he rose again from the dead and offers you forgiveness. It would be as though you stood before a judge for crimes you had committed. And the judge because of the law that you had violated had to condemn you to death. And then it would be as though that same judge took off his robes, laid down his gavel and stepped down from the bench and said, Now I will go and pay the price for your crime.
I will die in your place. And it would be as though you slapped his hand away and said, No. Get away.
What can he do? Here he has made this incredible offer to you and you have turned him away. God wants to forgive you of your sin. Which is that barrier that separates us from him. A lot of people get real uptight when you tell them they are sinners. You say you know all of sin and fallen short of the glory of God. I am not a sinner. Oh but you are.
No I am not. But you see, let's understand what the word sin means. The word sin does not just mean to break a commandment though it includes that.
Adultery or murder or theft. Those are not the only sins mentioned in the Bible. The word sin means to miss the mark. And the mark that God has set for all of humanity is perfection. Jesus said, Be perfect as my Father in Heaven is perfect.
Therefore if you are not perfect and living a completely flawless life you have missed the mark and have fallen short. Alright well I don't sin as much as that guy over there. Look at his lifestyle. He just left his wife. I am only on my second wife.
He is on his third. But one sin is enough to keep you out of Heaven. Oh but I keep the Ten Commandments. No you don't. You already broke one of them. Thou shall not bear false witness.
You are a liar and you know it. Even if you have only broken one commandment the Bible says if you offend in one point of the law you are guilty of all of it. And because of our radical situation. Because of this dilemma God had to take drastic measures and that is what he did when he made the supreme sacrifice and sending Jesus.
So to reject this is crazy. What do you gain by rejecting Christ? You gain emptiness. You gain guilt. You gain separation from God. And you gain eternal judgment.
But if you accept him what do you really get? Oh you get the forgiveness of sin. You have peace put in your life. You have the hope of Heaven. And as you look at the world crumbling in front of you you have hope. In a hopeless world. And you know that Jesus will come again and receive you.
And you know that whatever problem you face he will be there with you walking with you each step of it. That is what he offers. To turn that away is crazy.
The Bible says how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation. Now I want to look at these excuses for a minute because they are really ridiculous. The first guy said I bought a piece of land and I have to go and see it. Now does that make sense to you?
Would you buy a piece of land without going and looking at it first? Have you ever bought anything from a catalog and when it arrived it didn't look anything like it looked in the picture? I remember once I was reading a comic book. This was probably a week ago.
I don't know. And on the back of it it said a thousand army men for one dollar. A thousand army men.
Yeah I was about nine years old. That sounds great. So I ordered them.
Sent my dollar. And I got a thousand army men. And they were like the size of ants. And they had no dimension. They were flat.
And the tanks that came with it they were made out of little cardboard things that you cut out and stuck up. I thought you know it just doesn't look like the advertisement. But what I really love is the vivid imaginations that real estate sales people have. Have you ever gone to the real estate section of your newspaper and looked at those great terms that they come up with to sell you a property? No picture but it'll say something like retirement haven.
Great starter home. Only steps from beach the headline will exclaim. And then have you ever gone and looked at some of those homes?
They don't quite measure up do they? If it says retirement haven that's probably a 30 year old sunbeam trailer with two rusty lawn chairs in front. Ocean view the advertisement says. And you go there and yeah there's an ocean view if you stand on the pitch of the roof looking through high powered binoculars on a very clear day.
Ocean view. Or steps from beach. Of course they don't tell you how many steps.
Three miles to be exact worth of steps. Here's the one to watch out for though. Cute fixer upper. This is basically a home with no windows or roof but excellent ventilation. Or great starter home.
That sounds nice. Great starter home. That's probably a pile of lumber with a set of plans next to it. Or when it just says sparkling pool and no mention of the house. I know we have trouble for all they can sell is the pool.
But that's the idea here. The man says I bought a piece of land and I have to go and see it. Now what was holding this man back? Possessions. He was saying land and possessions were more important to him than eternal things. A man's love for real estate is often an indication of his real state before God.
What do you really love in this life? As I was getting ready to come here I was watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Now I don't watch this every night. It just happened to be on. But they showed the birthday party that Malcolm Forbes threw. And he spared no expense in flying people from around the world over to Morocco and spent lots and lots of money. He had everything money could buy. The people woke up in the morning and he had a fleet of Mercedes to shuttle them around to see the sights of the city.
They had marching bands and soldiers and the finest food. Everything. And they interviewed Malcolm Forbes and they said, well are you going to do many birthday parties like this? And he said, well I don't think they will all be as grand as this one.
That was an understatement. Because that was his last birthday. And though it was wonderful and spectacular and the television cameras were worrying away and so many people would sit at home and say if only I were Malcolm Forbes one day he would die. And he left this life and went into eternity. I heard that Malcolm Forbes once said, I am not looking forward to the life I am going into because I know I will not be as nearly as comfortable in that life as I was in this one.
Well that could be an understatement. I don't know if Mr. Forbes made a commitment to Jesus Christ before his death. I sure hope he did. But if it did not, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Some people live for possessions. That is all they think about.
You know it is interesting. Back in the 60s when they would interview college kids they said, what is your goal in life? And the kids back then said, hey to change the world. They asked kids in college today, what is your goal in life?
It is to make money. I don't care what career choice I make. Whatever can get me the most money in the fastest way.
That is what I want to do. But for what? At what cost?
At the cost of your soul? To drive the ultimate car? To have the perfect watch? To have the greatest home? To have the most money? And then it can all be gone so quickly and you are left with nothing. You know, I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer.
Have you? You leave it all. You leave everything. Jesus spoke of a farmer whose crop brought forth generously. And that man said, oh man I don't have enough room for all that I have.
I'll pull down my barns and build bigger and better. And I'll say to my soul, take it easy. Hey, they were saying that 2000 years ago. We still say it today. Hey man, take it easy.
Right? This man said, take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry. God said, you fool, this night your soul will be required of you. So was the man who lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God. Are you living for possessions?
Or are possessions keeping you away from Christ right now? The Bible tells a story about a rich young ruler. And by the way we will talk about him in a later message. But the Bible says that he was a ruler which means that he had to at least be 30 years old. It says he was rich. It says he was young. That means he was sort of the first century equivalent of a yuppie. Probably had a BMW chariot.
Came up with a bottle of Perrier. Hey Lord, how are you doing? What must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus looked at him and the Bible says he loved him.
And then he says, I'll tell you what buddy. Take all that you have, sell it, give the money to the poor and come follow me. Now that doesn't mean that every man or woman has to give up every possession to follow Christ. Because I would suggest that that man would have said, alright Lord no problem I'll do it right away. Lord might have said, forget it I just wanted to see if you'd do it.
Or maybe he would have had him do it. But the reason Jesus asked that is because he looked right through to that man's heart. And saw that that man's heart was ruled by possessions.
On the throne of that man's life were things, objects. Bigger and better. Isn't it amazing you can be happy with what you have until someone comes along with the newer version? You can put two kids in a room and have a hundred toys. And if one kid picks up the one toy the other one will immediately go over and they'll fight over that one toy. It's called coveting.
And you know what? You don't have to teach kids to do that do you? It just comes naturally.
I never had to sit my boys down and say, now boys today I'm going to teach you how to be selfish. Say this word after me, mine. Hey man there are naturals at it.
We're all naturals at it. Wanting these things. But what does it profit you if you gain this whole world and lose your own soul? So many people spend their money on the lottery hoping they're going to go to the big spin.
They're going to win it all. Living their life in the pursuit of things that will pass away. Now the second excuse is a man who said well I have five yoke of oxen I have to go and test them. Now either this guy is a complete idiot or a blatant liar. Buying animals without seeing them. Would you buy a car without test driving it? Would you be suspicious if the car dealer said sorry I can't drive that car I just have to buy it as it is. And then you get in and you read the little sticker engine optional. Transmission optional. Yeah I want to drive it.
I want to see if the thing works. But oxen would be used to plow a field. And so what this man in essence was saying is my career is more important than God.
I want to pursue my career. Getting ahead no matter what the cost to my relationship with God or even family. I read in the newspaper today how many Orange County families are facing great stress because the husband and the wife is working and they have no time to be with the children and the impact that has on the kids. And so many people they don't have time for God because they are too busy with their career. But isn't it amazing that when the bottom drops out we suddenly have time for God. When tragedy hits we suddenly have time for God. I remember the extent of my relationship with God used to be whenever I was in trouble I would cry out God help me. And you know what he is so good and loving he always came through. And I would make great commitments God if you get me out of this one I will do anything. Just help me. He would get me out and I would say thanks God see you next crisis.
A lot of you are that way. But he has brought you here tonight to realize it is time to come up with your commitment. It is time to follow through. It is time to respond to him. But this man was letting career get in the way. And then the final excuse is my favorite because he didn't say I have oxen I have to test them or I have possessions. He said simply I got a wife.
That is it. Life is over. I am married. You know Benjamin Franklin said keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half open afterwards. Well this man was saying I can't come because I am a married man. Now that doesn't make sense. Wouldn't his wife like to have had the night off and hey we are going to go to a great feast honey and you can just enjoy it.
You don't have to even do the dishes. Come on. Well he said I married a wife I cannot come. He was putting relationships before his relationship with God.
Some of you have been held back to coming to Christ because of a relationship with a person. You say if I became a Christian what would my husband say? What would my wife say? What would my parents say? What would my co-workers say?
What would my friends say? The question is what does God say? One day we are going to stand before God. The Bible says that the small and great will stand before God and the books will be opened and a book will be opened.
And if your name is not found written in the book of life you will be judged. You are not going to be up there with all your buddies kind of snickering nudging each other. It is going to be just you all by yourself looking at him.
Is a relationship keeping you back right now? It might be with someone sitting next to them and you are thinking boy I would love to say yes to Jesus Christ but what will this person next to me think? And the person next to you is thinking I would love to make a commitment to Jesus Christ but what will this person next to me think?
Forget it. You will find out who your true friends are. When I came to Christ I found out who my friends were. I found out I didn't have a lot of friends. But then I found a friend the Bible says sticks closer than a brother. Jesus Christ. And I found.
Yeah. And I found Christian brothers and sisters and that is something I never had in that world. I remember when I first went to Calvary Chapel right up the street. I was a two week old Christian. I was a little hung up about expressing any kind of affection.
I definitely did not like to hug people. And I go into this place that is filled with Christians. Wall to wall Christian carpeting you know. And there was so much love in that place it kind of bothered me. And even though I was a new believer I really didn't want to go in because there was so much of it.
And I thought these people can't be for real. Loving each other. Hugging each other. Hey brother I will pray for you. God bless you.
I thought give me a break. It is all an act. They get together before church and say ok this non-believer is coming tonight. Let's put on a good act.
Then afterwards we can be normal again. Now I am not saying to you Christians are perfect. And I am not saying I have never seen a Christian hurt another Christian.
But what I am saying to you is I have seen an authenticity when a life has been changed by Christ because I have seen it happen to me. Because I was about as cynical and as angry and as bitter and rebellious as a kid can be. I was raised down here on the coast in Newport Beach. Came from a broken home. And I was just sort of ticked off at the world. And I had this cynical sarcastic nature.
No one could tell me anything. And I was so hardened in my life. And when someone told me hey ask Jesus to come in. He will give you peace and love. I thought oh give me a break.
What is this Disneyland? And then will I live happily ever after? And even when I prayed and asked Christ to come into my life.
I had my arms folded and I said to myself. It won't work for me. But you know what?
He did work for me. And that is why I am here talking to you. If you give your life to Jesus Christ you may lose a few quote friends end quote. Some people make fun of you. Some people may give you a hard time.
But listen. You are either going to have harmony with God and friction with people. Or friction with God and harmony with people. But if your life is going to be right with God it is going to bother some people. Because the light will shine brightly and they will be under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But you just hold your course.
And don't let that keep you back. There is no valid reason to not come to Christ. Only excuses. In every phase of life we are asked the reoccurring question. What do you think of Christ? That is the question Jesus asked the religious leaders of his day. What do you think of Christ he said?
And whose son is he? When we are young we are asked that question. But we say well I am too preoccupied.
Hey man I am having fun. Plenty of time for that later. Then as we age into adulthood we are too busy to think.
Hey man I have got to make a living. In older years we say well I am too old to think about it. My pattern in life is set. As death approaches you are too ill to think. Your sensibilities have been dulled and your mind is tired. And then at death it is too late to think. The day of opportunity has passed.
It is judgment time. And what guarantee do you have that you will live to be older? We all think we are going to live forever especially when we are young. Of course here in California we don't like to acknowledge aging.
We have ways to erase it. If your hair gets gray dye it. If you lose it wear a wig.
The skin wrinkles. Get a face lift. They even do surgery now for hands.
You can get a hand lift. Get all this cosmetic surgery. Change yourself around. You are still getting old. You can try to cover up the effects of aging but you are still aging. You can run around dressing like a teenager. Pretending you are a teenager but you are not one anymore.
You will find that out if you try to keep up with them. The body is fading. The body is aging. If you are a Christian that is not something to dread because it just means we are getting closer to the Lord and hopefully we are becoming more like Him.
But if you are a nonbeliever it is all that you have. They have this thing now they call a midlife crisis. I don't even know if I believe there is such a such thing as a midlife crisis.
I think it is a convenient way to explain away bizarre behavior. But there are certain telltale signs they say. You start unbuttoning your shirt down. Wearing a lot of gold chains.
Get a red sports car. Try to relive your youth. But every day we are reminded that time is marching on and life is passing by and some people don't even live to the older years. The Bible says in James 4 you don't know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life?
It is like a vapor of smoke that appears for a moment and vanishes away. That is why we are told in the book of Isaiah seek the Lord while He may be found. You see you say I will do it later. In a few moments I am going to give you an opportunity to decide for Jesus Christ. And some of you are going to say I will do it later.
That is an excuse. How do you know there will be a later? Every time you hear the gospel and you don't respond to it your heart gets a little harder. The Bible says he who is often reproved hardens his heart and that without remedy. When you hear the gospel and you hear the truth of what it is to come into a relationship with Christ and have your sin forgiven you enter into a spiritual danger zone.
A decision must be made. And if you don't say yes you automatically say no. And then you become inoculated against the gospel.
Because the best inoculation against the gospel is the gospel heard but not responded to. That means if you listen to this message tonight and you don't respond to Jesus Christ if you have not yet done so and follow him that you are tampering with your soul and you are gambling with eternity. You say well I will just do it later. If you keep hardening your heart if later ever comes you may come to a point of no return. You might say are you suggesting that there would come a time in my life where God would not forgive me.
No. I am suggesting there may come a time in your life where you will not want to be forgiven. Because your heart has gotten so hard by continually rejecting what you know is right.
Or you might give the excuse I would like to become a Christian but I can't give up my ways. Hey it is important to realize that these things you won't give up could cost you eternity. Is it really worth it? Is it really that fun?
Is it really that great? You know let's be honest. Sure sin can be fun. Anyone that gets up and says sin is not fun they are not telling the truth. We all know sin can be fun. But man it has a big time penalty attached to it. The Bible says Moses chose to not enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
And that is what it is. Sin is fun for a while but then payday comes. It seems to me that the world is a lot like an amusement park. You spend a lot of time waiting in line. A lot of time waiting for the big party. Waiting for the great fun. Waiting for the great payoff. You know you get in a line in an amusement park and it seemed like such a good idea that morning.
Let's go to, and I won't say which park, but whatever. You fill it in. And after you get there, you've been there five minutes, you say, Why am I here?
I'm $100 poor already and I haven't even bought anything yet. I'm standing in a three mile line. And finally you get up and it's your turn to get on the ride and you get in and they pull the little restraint down on you. And off you go. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Get out. That's it. Get out.
Time to go to another line. Hey stop and think about it. All the fun, all the pleasure, all the joy you had in the world. It was so short lived and there was so much waiting in between. And even as you were laughing and whooping it up, there was an emptiness. The Bible says even in laughter the heart has sorrow.
You can be laughing, oh it's so great, happy hour, you know. There's a void and there's an aching emptiness in your life. You say I can't come to Christ, I could not give up my ways. Sure you can because if you become a Christian, Jesus Christ will take residence in your heart and he will give you a new nature. The Bible says if any man be in Christ he is an altogether different kind of person.
Old things are passed away. All things have become new. He'll change you. He changed me. He can change you. You say well I'd like to come to Jesus Christ but I need to clean my life up first.
Hey you'll never make it. Jesus doesn't say clean your life up and come to me. He says come unto me. All ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. He says come let us reason together sayeth the Lord. Though your sin be as scarlet I'll make it as white as snow. Come and if you're thirsty drink at the fountain of the water of life freely.
He didn't say get this together or change that. Hey come as you are. Come with all your problems. Come with all your sins. It's like that old hymn says just as I am without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me O Lamb of God I come.
That's exactly how you must come just as you are. The Bible tells a story about a young man known as the prodigal son. And by the way tomorrow night I'm going to talk about the prodigal son. And this young man went out and wasted his life. God involved in immorality and spent all his money and just took the family name and drug it through the gutter. And one day that boy came to his senses and decided to go back home. And upon returning to his father's house and walking down the road Benny sang about it when he told us when God ran. Took him in his arms and said my son's come home again.
God ran symbolically as the father ran. And the father didn't come up to that boy and said boy you stink. Go in there and take a shower you smell like the pigs you've been hanging around with.
And we'll talk about it later maybe. Now get out of my sight. No that father jumped up and sprinted so fast to that boy and threw his arms around him and smothered him with kisses. That's how God feels to any person who comes to him no matter what they've done. No matter what sin they've committed. Even if they knew him at one time but have fallen away and would come back. Is God going to condemn you?
No. He already took me. We slapped his hand away and said I don't want your forgiveness. We bring it upon ourself. Well I can't believe in a God of love that sends people to hell. Well I can't either.
Join the club. Because the God I serve doesn't send people to hell. We send ourselves there. The last thing God wants for any man or woman is for them to go to hell. You know he didn't create hell for people. He didn't say heaven's for good people and hell is for people who, well, tick me off.
That's how some people falsely envision God. The Bible says God created hell for the devil and his angels. For Satan and the demonic forces that follow him.
Not for humans. The desire of God is for you to join him in heaven. Jesus said in his prayer to the Father, Father my desire is that they may behold my glory. Jesus said in John 14, let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also.
He wants you to join him in heaven. But you see Satan is going to face judgment and hell and so are his demons. And so if you reject the offer of forgiveness and say no to God over and over and over and over again and one day you face judgment, you can't shake your finger in God's face and say hold on here.
This isn't fair. Hey buddy, you had chance after chance after chance. God bent over backwards. And to get to that place of judgment you had to reject him over and over again and practically climb over Jesus to get there.
The Bible says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. God wants to forgive you. He wants you to enter into a relationship with him. He wants you to be with him in heaven.
He wants to come again and receive you unto himself. I don't know what's holding you back but whatever it is, it won't hold water when you stand before God. Yeah, well there's so many hypocrites in the church. You're going to say that to God on that final day?
Too many hypocrites, that's why. Did God ask you to follow people? I'm not excusing the behavior of certain so-called followers of Jesus who have not toed the line. What I'm saying to you is people will let you down. People will fall short.
People will disappoint. But Jesus said, follow me. Now I've been following Jesus for 20 years.
And you know what? He's never let me down. He's never been a hypocrite.
He's never been inconsistent. He's never lied to me. He's done everything he said he would do. He's been all that he promised. And it's him I'm following right now. If people mess up then I'll pray for them because maybe one day I'll mess up and they'll have to pray for me.
But just because there are certain people that haven't lived it as they ought to doesn't mean that you can use that as a reason as to why you did not follow Christ. He's calling you to follow him now. And there's no valid reason to keep you away.
Only excuses. It's time to come. It's time to say yes to him.
It's really what you want down in your heart. Jesus said you're either for me or against me, with me or opposed to me. No middle ground. To be undecided is to be decided.
To not say yes is to say no. Now have you ever noticed that when you go to an elevator it says up or down? It doesn't have a floor.
Undecided. You get up to that floor and all the indecisive people are pacing around. I don't know.
Shall I go to the third floor, the first floor, the thirteenth floor? It's up or down. It's yes or no. It's in or out.
It's for or against. And that's where you are now. It's time to decide what's your excuse. Don't let possessions hold you back. Don't let career hold you back.
Don't let relationships with others or fear of what others will think of you hold you back. Come to Jesus Christ now and find the forgiveness of sin that you really want. Jesus wants to come in the door or through the door of your heart right now. But he wants you to ask him. You see, as I was saying earlier, God doesn't send people to hell.
He wants them to go to heaven. But Jesus doesn't say, look, I stand at the door and knock. If you don't open it, I'm going to kick it in. Okay? No, he says, I want you to open it. I want you to want me.
Isn't that amazing? The creator of the universe knocking on the door of my heart saying, could I come in? Can you come in?
Are you serious? Yes, I'd like your permission. He wants to come in your life right now and forgive you. Fill that void in your life and all you have to do is open the door.
Let's pray. Lord Jesus, come into my life. I know that I'm a sinner, but I thank you for dying for me and rising again from the dead. Now be my personal Lord and Savior. I repent of my sin. Write my name in your book of life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to be your disciple and to follow you all the days of my life.
Thank you that my sin is now forgiven and that I am now a child of God and that I am going to heaven. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Amen.
Thank you, Lord. Hey, everybody, this is Greg Laurie, and you've just been listening to a classic message from Harvest Ministries. This podcast is supported by Harvest Partners. To learn more and to find out how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-19 13:22:11 / 2023-06-19 13:39:33 / 17