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How to Not Be Born Again | A Message From God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2022 3:00 am

How to Not Be Born Again | A Message From God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 14, 2022 3:00 am

God had an important message to deliver to mankind. He was surrounded by heavenly messengers, called angels. But He had a different plan. He could have written His message across the sky, or fashioned creation itself to reveal His words. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out, instead, God chose to deliver the message Himself, clothed in humanity, born as a baby. Today, we’ll look at the message, and the God-man who was born in a manger.

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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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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. What's God like? Look at Jesus. He is God among us. Basically, He was God with skin on.

Jesus became human without ceasing to be God. God had an important message to deliver to mankind. He was surrounded by heavenly messengers called angels, but He had a different plan.

He could have written His message across the sky or fashioned creation itself to reveal His words. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out instead God chose to deliver the message Himself, clothed in humanity, born as a baby. Today, we'll look at the message and the God-man who was born in a manger. All right, well, let's grab our Bibles and we're going to turn to the Gospel of John.

We're starting a brand new series and the title of this series is called Life. Because this Gospel is all about life. It's about this life on earth and it's about the afterlife as well. Now, I want to look in the days ahead in the Gospel of John at the birth, the life, the ministry, the miracles, the teachings. Of course, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is found in the Gospel of John. Now, over the years, I've taught through all the Gospels, of course, and each Gospel has its own unique perspective.

It's sort of like taking photos of something from different angles. Each Gospel gives us a different angle. One Gospel is not better than another. They're just different from each other.

One is not more insightful. It's just different insights, all pictures of Jesus. Take the Gospel of Matthew, for instance.

Jesus is presented as the Messiah of Israel. It was written 30 years after his death and resurrection. And Matthew is showing that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah with 129 quotations from the Old Testament. That's unique to Matthew's Gospel. There's some other things in his Gospel that we don't find in the others, like the story of the wise men. And the nativity story, as well as the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is only in Matthew's Gospel. Then there's the Gospel of Mark. By the way, that was the first of the four Gospels that was written. Some believe it was actually dictated by Peter to Mark.

We don't know for sure about that. But Mark's Gospel, he almost writes like a reporter. There's a breathless quality. There's like movement in it. One of Mark's favorite words is immediately.

In fact, he uses it 42 times. So he has Jesus in movement, Jesus doing things. It's sort of like the Gospel for people with ADD, I don't know. But it's a fast-paced Gospel, a shorter Gospel, 16 chapters in total. Then there's the Gospel of Luke.

And again, really unique. By the way, Luke was not one of the apostles. He was not an eyewitness of the life and ministry of Christ.

In fact, he came back and interviewed the people that were involved in the story. And Luke was a physician by trade, an educated man. He also was something of a poet. The way that Luke writes in his particular version of the nativity story, it's stated so beautifully.

But he was a stickler for details. So he probably interviewed Mary, the mother of our Lord. And Simon Peter and the other disciples.

And he had some unique features as well. Like the two disciples on the Emmaus road. That's only found in the Gospel of Luke. As is the story of the prodigal son.

One of the best known stories in the Bible. That's only in the Gospel of Luke. Well, that brings us to the Gospel of John. There's no nativity story in John's Gospel.

And by that I mean the story of the birth of Christ. There's no genealogy in John like there is in Matthew and Luke. In fact, 90% of the material found in the Gospel of John is found nowhere else. While other Gospels focus on key events in the life of Christ, John focuses on the meaning of them.

Let me say that again. While other Gospels focus on key events in the life of Christ, John focuses on the meaning of them. In fact, many of the great I AM statements of Jesus are found only in the Gospel of John. Where we read Jesus saying, I am the bread of life. I am the good shepherd, John chapter 10. I am the resurrection and the life in he that believes in me. Though he were dead, yet shall he live. And of course, the very familiar John 14, 6. I am the way, the truth, and the life.

And no man comes to the Father but by me. So why did John write his Gospel? Well, for starters, he was an eyewitness of the ministry of our Lord.

And he was sort of in the inside circle. Remember how Jesus would take Peter, James, and John with him on special occasions. They were there when the daughter of Jairus was raised from the dead.

They were there when Jesus was transfigured with Moses on one side and Elijah on the other. Peter, James, and John were there in the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ sweat, as it were, great drops of blood. And Dr. Luke points that out uniquely in being a physician. Maybe he is describing a medical condition known as hematridrosis.

That when a patient is under extreme stress, they can actually have perspiration mixed with blood. So these guys saw a lot of things that the others did not see. And John often describes himself as the apostle that Jesus loved. Now that almost sounds arrogant. Like, oh, I was the guy he loved.

Well, actually, I don't think it's arrogant at all. I think it would be arrogant if he said he was the apostle who loved Jesus. Now he didn't boast of his love for Christ.

He boasted of Christ's love for him. And, in fact, John was very insightful. John seemed to pick up on things that the others would often miss. After Christ was risen from the dead and was standing on the shore with some fish that he had cooked for the boys for breakfast, he called to them and it was John, the perceptive one, who said, it's the Lord. Peter was like, what? John was like, it's Jesus. After Christ had risen and the tomb was empty, John and Peter came to see the empty tomb. Peter was trying to figure out what it meant and went away with a certain degree of skepticism. John looked in, got it, saw, and believed.

That was John, very insightful guy. But why did he write this gospel? He actually tells us in John 20, 31. He said, these things were written that non-believers might believe.

These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. Whenever I talk to someone who says they want to start reading the Bible, you might be surprised to find I don't say start in Genesis. Not that it's a bad thing to start in Genesis. But I often tell them to start in the gospel of John. And the reason I say that is because it was specifically written so a non-believer could believe.

So I think it's a great place for a person to start and of course a great place for anyone to start who wants to read through the Bible. And I'll tell them to pray something along the lines of, say to God if you're real, make yourself real to me as I read this gospel. In 21 chapters, John proves that Jesus is the son of God who should be followed. Number two, John's gospel was written that we as believers might experience more of his life in us because he says that believing you may have life in his name. So John wrote the gospel for those who already believe because the word that he uses there for believing speaks of a continual action. In other words, John is saying the more we believe, the more life we will experience. Thus John wrote to convince the skeptic but also to convince the believer in the commitment they've already made. So John's gospel was written that we as believers might experience more of his life in us. Pastor Greg picks up our study in just a moment with one of the most important precepts of the Christian faith. And it's a truth revealed right here in the gospel of John.

More about that in a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from these daily messages. God's Word ministers to them and it often gets them through some of their darkest hours. Ten years ago I lost my son to murder. I struggled with anger and hate and just so many mixed emotions of what and why. I listen to you daily and you give me so much confidence to know that one day I'll stand with him.

My life has completely changed since then. I've gone on two mission trips and I know that only through the grace of God and through listening to your powerful message that you put out each and every day, there is hope and there is God and he is with us 24-7. God bless you each and every one. It's encouraging to know that these studies in God's Word have impacted this woman's life. Has Pastor Greg heard from you? Why not drop him an email and tell him your story? Send it to Greg at Harvest dot org.

Do it today while you're thinking about it. Again that's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well today Pastor Greg is beginning a study series called Life based in the gospel of John.

Let's continue. The gospel of John and the way it begins is amazing because he goes way back before the little town of Bethlehem. He goes way back before Mary and Joseph. He goes way back even before the Garden of Eden. He goes back to the solar system. He goes back to the beginning of the beginning.

So that's where we're gonna start. John chapter one starting in verse one. We'll read verses one to five. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through him and without him nothing was made that was made in him was life and that life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. So we'll stop there. Now this is interesting because there's not a definite article before the word beginning. Meaning you cannot pinpoint this moment in time where there was a beginning. So really when he says the beginning we don't even know where that starts. But John is taking us back to eternity past further back than the human mind can imagine. And that brings me to my first point about Jesus.

If you're taking notes and here it is. Jesus is God. Jesus is God. That's a really important thing to understand and believe for a Christian.

Jesus is God. Before there was a world. Before there was planets. Before there was light or darkness.

Before there was matter. Before anything else there was the Godhead and there was Jesus. Jesus Christ co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Word was with God. The Word was God.

Jesus was deity in diapers, if you will. He did not become identical to us but he did become identified with us. In fact he could not have been any more identified with us than he was.

It was total identification without a loss of identity on his part. Jesus is God. That by the way is an essential for Christians.

There's no wiggle room here. If you don't believe Jesus is God, to be blunt, you can't be a Christian. Because who is he? Just a great man, a prophet, a guru, what? Jesus claimed to be God and for us to be genuine Christians we must believe that he is God. Jesus was fully God but just as true as that is, this is also true. Jesus was fully man. How's that possible?

I'm not really sure. But he was fully God and he was fully man. Verse 14 says the word became flesh and dwelt among us.

I mean think about it. Jesus Christ who had neither beginning nor end, who has always existed, came to this earth as a living, breathing human being. He who was larger than life, he who created the solar system became an embryo. He went from the throne of heaven to a feeding trough. That's effectively where he was born there in that manger or that cave. He went from the presence of angels to a cave filled with animals. I think it's hard for us to wrap our mind around the idea of deity and humanity in one person.

Well a good example of this would be Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee. He was tired from a day of ministry and fell asleep. And a radical storm came pitching the boat back and forth and they were waking him up saying Lord save us or we will die. So what could be more human than falling asleep, right? But then what could be more as an illustration of deity than the fact that he stood up after they woke him up and calmed the storm.

Probably because he wanted to go back to his nap again. Wake up. Lord wake up. We're gonna perish.

Oh whatever okay. Peace be still. So here's the storm. Here's the storm. Stops.

He goes back downstairs. I don't know if that happened. But that was deity on display. That he could speak to a storm.

And by the way the phrase that's used there in the original language is peace be muzzled. As though he was talking to a wild animal. I think he was talking to the spirit behind that storm in this particular instance which was the devil. Again what could be more human than his crucifixion and death. To see him beaten. He bled real blood. He felt real pain.

He experienced real thirst as he hung on the cross. But what could be more divine than the veil in the temple ripping from top to bottom and an earthquake and a darkness covering the land as he bore the sin of the world. So I think people try to wrap their minds around God.

It's not an easy thing to do. They consider his attributes. That God is omniscient. That God is omnipotent. That God is omnipresent. That God is sovereign. That God is righteous and God is holy. And those things are all true. But if you really wanna know what God is like just look at Jesus.

That's it. What's God like? Look at Jesus. What does God think of children? Look at Jesus.

Taking the children into his arms and blessing them. What does God think about that? Look at Jesus. He is God among us. Basically he was God with skin on.

God had a face. Jesus became one of us without ceasing to be himself. Jesus became human without ceasing to be God. And the Bible is clear in pointing out that Christ always was God himself. In fact before the creation of the universe Jesus was there.

Notice verse one. The word was with God. He was with God.

And that can be translated the word was continually toward God. So what that implies is a closeness among the Trinity. It implies a closeness between father and son being face to face. It's hard for us to fathom how close the father and the son were but the preposition with implies nearness.

Along with a sense of movement toward God. So if you're really close to someone you might lean on them, right? It's relationship.

It's intimacy. And that is the idea that's being implied here. In fact Jesus said I always do the things that please the father. Who could say that? But Jesus. I don't even know if he could say that for five minutes of my life. Much less all of my life but Jesus said I always do the things that please the father. And then in John 17 which really would be the technical Lord's prayer. You know we say the Lord's prayer is our father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. And nowhere in the Bible does it call that the Lord's prayer. If we wanted to be accurate it should be called the disciples prayer. Because it's a prayer only we would pray Christ would never pray that prayer. He gave it in response to the request Lord teach us to pray. Because Jesus would never say our father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Forgive us our sin.

You see he wouldn't ask for the forgiveness of sin. That's a good prayer for us to pray. But if you want to read the Lord's prayer read John chapter 17. Where that's the prayer only Jesus could pray. And he said to his father there in John 17 Oh father glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world began. And you know Jesus as a member of the Trinity was hands on at the creation of everything. Verse three says all things were made through him.

Without him nothing was made that was made. So that verse is telling us that Christ is the creator. In fact Colossians 1 16 says for by him all things were created.

Things in heaven and on earth visible and invisible. Whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities all things were created by him and for him. Okay so you're saying no wait wait I'm confused because I read in Genesis 1 one that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now you're telling me Jesus created the heavens and the earth.

So who created it? God the father or God the son? Okay you ready for the answer? Write this down. The Holy Spirit did it. What what what? Now you're really confusing me.

Okay simple answer. The father, the son, and the Holy Spirit all participated in the creation of all things. Because in Genesis 1 we read the earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters and God said let there be light and there was light. So father, son, and Holy Spirit all played a part. The whole trinity was working. Here's another interesting thing about the trinity. Genesis 1 26 has the father saying let us make man in our image and in our likeness. So who was God talking to? Angels?

I don't think so. Are you made in the likeness of an angel? Sometimes we'll say of someone oh she's just like an angel. Well no angels are created beings.

So it wasn't angels. So I believe it was the father, son, and the Holy Spirit having a conversation. And then in Genesis 3 22 we read behold man has become as one of us. And then it says let us go down and then in Genesis 1 27 we read God created man in his own image. So the father, son, and the Holy Spirit in a way we can never wrap our minds around are having a conversation about us.

So coming back to my main point Jesus was and is God. Today on A New Beginning Pastor Greg Laurie with foundational insight from our studies in the Gospel of John. He's focused on one of the central precepts of Christianity and there's more to come in his series called Life. You know Pastor Greg sometimes we'll hear from people who've moved to a new community and they want to be able to hear A New Beginning on the station in their new area and they'll write to tell us that. And we'd like to make that happen but it often takes financial resources to make those arrangements. So we hope our listeners will pray about making an investment today. And we want to thank them with an important resource we're making available.

Yeah that's right. 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 we put that gift to work to reach more people with the teaching of the word of God and the message of the gospel.

Yeah that's right. So would you prayerfully consider partnering with us today? You can make that investment online and get details on the resource we'd like to send your way to thank you. It's a book called Don't Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table written by Pastor Louie Giglio. He points out we're in the battle for our minds and our enemy is trying to push a narrative that will lead to defeat.

The subtitle is It's Time to Win the Battle of Your Mind and we'll send you this book to thank you for your investment. Just go to harvest.org or drop us a note at A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514 or call us anytime 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Are you receiving Pastor Greg's daily devotions each day via email? If not, let's take care of that right now. You can sign up today free of charge at harvest.org and you'll receive a daily inspirational thought from God's word each day in your inbox.

Again, go to harvest.org. Well next time, Pastor Greg reminds us just how big our God is and just how small our challenges are in comparison. We'll learn how we can leave our burdens in God's hands and sleep better at night. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Today, the day when life begins Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-22 19:31:53 / 2023-05-22 19:41:39 / 10

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