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What Angers and Saddens God | Living God's Way

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 31, 2022 3:00 am

What Angers and Saddens God | Living God's Way

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 31, 2022 3:00 am

We’ve all seen the bumper sticker: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” And it’s true. But if we’re SO imperfect that unbelievers wonder if Christianity works. . . they wonder if it makes any impact on someone’s life. . . haven’t we done a disservice to the body of Christ? And to the Lord Himself!? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us live the way God wants us to. It’s a message from the Gospel of John Pastor Greg has titled, “What Angers & Saddens God.”

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly 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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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. Every believer is a witness. You're either a good one or a bad one. We've all seen the buffer sticker, Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven.

And it's true. But if we're so imperfect that unbelievers wonder if Christianity works, they wonder if it makes any impact on someone's life, haven't we done a disservice to the body of Christ and to the Lord himself? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us live the way God wants us to. It's a message from the Gospel of John.

Pastor Greg is titled, What Anchors and Saddens God. Anger is generally perceived as something that is negative, and in many cases it is. But there are times when it's actually good to be angry. You might even be surprised to know that Jesus himself was angry. And we're going to see that in the story before us. And that brings up the question, what makes God angry?

Not only will we see what makes God angry, we'll see what makes God sad. John chapter 12 starting in verse 12. The next day, the news that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches out and went down the road to meet him and they shouted, praise God. Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hail to the king of Israel. Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said, don't be afraid people of Jerusalem.

Look, your king is coming, riding on a donkey's colt. His disciples didn't understand at the time this was a fulfillment of prophecy, but after Jesus entered his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized these things had been written about him. Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. This was the reason so many went out to meet him, because they heard about that miraculous sign.

Then the Pharisees, verse 19, said to each other, there's nothing we can do. Look, everyone's gone after him. So the disciples, they're stoked.

They're excited. They're thinking finally, everybody has seen how wonderful Jesus is. We've known it all along, but now everyone's becoming a part of this and they're crying out Hosanna, and now Jesus does something very unusual. He comes and he stops and he begins to weep. Why was he weeping? Well, we can only guess, but maybe it's because his ministry was almost over.

The time was short, and yet by and large he had been rejected. He healed their sick. He fed the hungry. He raised their dead.

He gave them the greatest messages ever heard in all of human history. He forgave their sins, and now he is left mostly alone and rejected. He knew that one of his own would soon betray him, Judas. He knew another would deny him, Peter. He knew Caiaphas and Pilate would conspire against him, and he knew that many of these people crying, Hosanna would soon be crying, crucify him, and let his blood be upon us and upon our children.

Not only that, he knew their future, and it wasn't pretty. Now Jesus enters into the temple. That's not here in John 12, but it's in the other gospels. He goes into the temple. He walks around. He assesses the situation, checks it out, and he leaves. So this is preparing us for the moment when he is about to do something quite dramatic. Mark picks up the narrative. It says, In Jesus arrived back in Jerusalem, Mark 11, he entered the temple, began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of money changers and the stalls of those selling doves.

So let's put it all together. Here comes Jesus riding in Jerusalem in the back of the donkey, fulfilling prophecy. He stops and looks at the city, and he weeps over it, knowing what their future is, knowing that these people were going to turn against him. Now he walks into the temple, and he drives the money changers out. He turns their tables over. By the way, it's a violent act to overturn a table.

You want to get someone's attention, turn the table over. Why did he drive the money changers out of the temple? Because basically you have the Jewish temple. First it was a tabernacle or a tent. Later it became a building built by King Solomon. Rebuilt later by King Herod. So you have the outer court of the Gentiles and the temple. Now as you get in closer, there is a special area called the Holy of Holies. And that is where the high priest would walk in once a year to offer a sacrifice to the sins of the people. Inside of the Holy of Holies and the original temple was the Ark of the Covenant. And inside of the Ark of the Covenant was Aaron's rod that butted and a jar of manna. Right?

Amazing. So that is the temple. So in this outer court, the court of the Gentiles, that would be the non-Jews, this is where these guys set up their tables. You go, so what are they selling? A few souvenirs?

No. Here is what they were doing. People were coming in with their animals to sacrifice, and these men out there said, excuse me, let me see that animal. Oh, that animal is flawed. You can't bring that animal in.

But hey, we are having a closeout deal on special approved lambs that you can buy. And they would jack up the price and rip the people off so the people were being taken advantage of. And instead of praying for the people, they were praying on the people. So Jesus walks in and this angers him.

Why? Because God welcomes all people into his house. And even though the Jews are God's covenant people, even though the Jews are God's chosen people, it is also true that God desires a relationship with all people. And even at this point historically, before the death of Christ, that opens a door to all of humanity to approach God. Even at this point, God welcomed in the Gentiles, or the non-Jews. In fact, Isaiah 56 says, God speaking, I will bless the Gentiles and commit themselves to the Lord and serve Him and love His name and worship Him.

I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices because My temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. And that is what Jesus is saying. You have taken My Father's house, which is a house of prayer, and you have turned it into a den of thieves.

So He drove the people out. It made them angry. You say, well that's interesting, but what does that have to do with us today? It can happen in the church too. You know, maybe a non-believer comes to one of our services for the first time. Maybe they look a little different than the rest of us. They don't have a Harvest t-shirt. In fact, their t-shirt says something very inappropriate for church. And it never even occurred to them that was inappropriate. They just put on their favorite t-shirt and came in. Or maybe they appear a certain way. Or they are not dressed in a way that you think they should be dressed as a believer or whoever they are. And you go, why are those people here in the church? I don't want my children seeing that. And I don't want them to be affected by the... Wait, wait.

Hold on. Let's understand what the church is. The church is a place for us to worship God. Do we agree?

That is what we have done. A church is a place for us to hear the Word of God. Right? A church is a place for us to discover, develop, and use our spiritual gifts.

Right? A church is a place for us to build friendships and relationships. It is all that and more. That is what the church is for. But that is not all the church is for. As I have often said, the church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. So the church, or let me restate it, this church, hopefully, will always be a place where people can meet God. I don't know why it is, but in a lot of churches, invitations are never extended for people to come to Christ. I think they miss out on a blessing. And I think they really, the people, want to come to Christ. We see that all the time. No matter what we are talking about or what is happening in our service.

We see people coming to Jesus. So it should be a hospital. How stupid would it be if you went to the hospital because you just broke your arm and they said you can't come in the hospital. Why? Because your arm is broken. Excuse me. Is this not a hospital?

Yes it is. Well that is why I am here in a hospital because my arm is broken and I need help. Well we don't really want people with broken arms here.

We only want people that are in perfect health here. So go away now. How absurd would that be? Well that is the same way. If it is in a church, well you are not dressed appropriately. Or wait a second. Are you in some kind of a sin? You can't come in here.

No. Let's not get the cart before the horse. Let's get them in here. Give them the gospel and their lifestyle will change after they come to Christ.

They need to be welcomed. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know there is nothing like hearing the word of God and worshipping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at Harvest.org. You can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the word of God together.

So join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well we are talking about how to be a welcoming influence for those who are interested in Christianity. Pastor Greg continues his message now called, What Angers and Saddens God.

Know this. When a non-believer comes into church, they are taking it all in. Do you remember the first time you came to church? Boy I remember so clearly when I first went to a church because I was not raised in the church.

So I had no point of reference. When I walked in I was like, what is going on here? You know this is in the early days of the Jesus movement over at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. The place was filled with people and it is so funny because back in those days after a song was sung, no one would ever applaud. They would all just point up. Like they would point up. It is called the one way sign. Just point up.

So I walk into church and a song was played. Now I am getting ready to clap and everyone just points up. I am looking up like, what is going on? Why are they pointing at the roof?

They were saying like, give the glory to God. Just an interesting little thing of that time. And there were other things I had never seen before and I am kind of checking this. I am like, what is going on in this place? But I will tell you this.

I loved what I saw. And when I would look around I would see an older person next to a younger person next to a person of a different race. Next to a person that was different than that. And I looked around and thought, wow, these are all kinds of people. There is not just people that look like me.

Because you know back in high school we want to hang around with the cool kids, right? We want to be with people that look like us and we look like them. And all of a sudden I am in this place of diversity. And I am saying, this is powerful. And I am watching people participate and then when the music happened and the worship took place and the pastor spoke I listened. And so when someone comes into our church they are checking it all out.

Not just who is up here speaking or what worship is happening. They are checking you out. They are probably watching you to wonder if you are even interested in this.

They are looking at you. You've got your phone out. You act like you are using your Bible app but you are really playing Mario Brothers or something.

I don't know what you are doing. Hopefully you are listening or taking notes or whatever. But if you are distracted or you are not engaged they are watching that.

And if you are engaged and listening they are watching that too. So here is my question for you. Are you a bridge or a barrier for people that want to come to Christ? Because it comes down to this. Every believer is a witness.

You are either a good one or a bad one. Now in closing here is an interesting twist on this story. This is the second time the temple was cleansed. The first time Jesus cleansed the temple he used a whip. That is one of my favorite Jesus stories. Jesus with a whip. Da da da da da da da da. Right? That is the theme song of Indiana Jones. He had a whip.

Why? He wanted to drive these people out. He made the whip himself. So he thought about it carefully.

This was not a temper tantrum. He drove all those money changers out before. Now a little time has elapsed.

And the temple is clean. There are no money changers left. But then one guy comes in and sets up his table. Then the second guy shows up.

Now the third guy shows up. Now there are a whole bunch of tables with more of their crummy rip off sacrifices again. And the whole routine has started over. Jesus says, time to do a little spring cleaning here.

Again. Isn't that true of our lives as well? You know we first come to Christ and God changes us. Maybe you are an alcoholic. And you are freed from the power of booze. Maybe you are a drug addict and you are freed from the power of drugs. Maybe you were into porn and you were freed from that power.

Some other sin that you were a slave to you are just filled with profanity, cussing all the time. And you stopped that and you changed the way you spoke. You changed the way that you lived. You became a different person.

But then a little time passes and you know little compromises are made. And some of those old vices are coming back. And next thing you know some of those old vices have a foothold in your life. And before you know it some of those vices are getting in control of you.

And then much to your shock you end up in worse shape than you were when you came to Christ the first time. And you are saying, how did this happen? It happened a little bit at a time. That's how.

Just a little bit. And that's the way the temple got filled with all of these people again. So Jesus had to drive the people out.

So every now and then we need a little house cleaning. That's why the Lord taught us to pray in the Lord's Prayer. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Christ taught us to pray on a regular basis to ask the Father to forgive us of our sins.

Because I hope this isn't news to you. You sin every day. You say no I didn't sin today. You just sinned right there saying that.

Because you are so proud you didn't see it. Oh you sin today. I sin today. We all sin today.

We constantly ask the Lord to forgive us. So here's two ways to clean your life up. The Greg way and the Kathy way.

My wife is Kathy in case you don't know. Here's the Greg way of cleaning. It's not a good way by the way. The Greg way is let messes build for long periods of time. If there's clutter on the desk and you don't know what to do open up a drawer and throw everything in there. With no rhyme or reason. If there's something on the floor hope the dog will get it. Even if you don't have a dog hope some dog will get it.

It's never due today which you can put off until tomorrow. So a big mess is building up. Here and there. That's the Greg way of cleaning. Here's the Kathy way of cleaning. Always be tidying things up. When you make a meal she'll make food and she's cleaning the things she cooked in before she'll eat the meal.

She's cleaning, sweeping all the time, putting things away, organizing the drawers. People couldn't find me for two days because she made the bed with me in it and no one knew where I was. That's the Kathy way. So you can do it the Greg way or the Kathy way.

I suggest you do it the Kathy way. Don't put it off. Don't wait until it's a big mess. That's why we constantly come and say Lord cleanse me today. Just forgive me of my sin.

Known and unknown. Or you can kind of let it build up and one thing becomes another thing. And then your life is sort of a tangled mess and you say oh God what have I done. Yeah even then he'll cleanse you.

But isn't it better to live constantly being cleansed by God. So let me say in closing. There might be some of you here tonight that have never asked Jesus to come into your life. I asked you if you're a visitor. Maybe you were brought by a friend and you're kind of checking this thing out. What are these people into? What do they do? What?

They do that? Wow. But maybe you've heard God speak to you. And I just want to remind you Jesus was coming into Jerusalem to go to a cross and die for the sin of the world. He was coming to die for your sin and for mine. Because we're all separated from God by our sin. But God loved us so much he sent his only son to die in our place and Jesus willingly came. And died there on that cross and rose again from the dead. And now he can forgive you. Are you under the power of some sin right now that you've tried to break and you've been unsuccessful?

Have you ever wanted to really change your life and you've tried but you can't? Well you can't do it yourself but God can do it for you. But you have to call out to him and say Lord help me. And he'll forgive you of all of your sin tonight. And you can walk out of here a new person on the inside. God says if any man be in Christ he is an altogether different kind of person. The old things have passed away and behold everything becomes fresh and new.

Everything can become fresh and new for you tonight. As God removes the barrier that separates you from him called sin. But what you need to do is say to God you're sorry for your sin. And turn from that sin and then invite Christ into your life. He will come in and forgive you and then you can know from this moment on that you will go to heaven when you die.

But not only that you can find the meaning and purpose of life in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If you've not done that yet I'm going to close in prayer and extend an invitation for you to believe in Jesus. If you need to do that respond now as we pray.

Let's all bow our heads. Father thank you for loving us so much you sent Jesus Christ your son to die in our place. Lord Jesus thank you for coming and making that great sacrifice. And now I pray for any that have joined us who don't know you yet. Lord help them see their need for you and help them to come to you and believe.

In Jesus name I pray. Amen. And then just a word of thanks to you if you've partnered with us so these daily studies can continue. It's only because of listener support that these programs reach out like they do. You're making a difference in people's lives through your generosity. And Pastor Greg we really appreciate that partnership don't we?

Yeah that's right. Now I know that some of you can't give that much so whatever you can do it's appreciated. I know some of you can give a little more and some could possibly give a lot more. But whatever gift you send will be used to continue to bring this radio broadcast around the United States and around the world. You know our mission statement here at Harvest is knowing God and making him known. Help us fulfill that mission statement and let's work together.

And in advance I want to say thanks for whatever you can do. Yeah that's right and we want to thank you tangibly with an important new resource. 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 a battle for the control of 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. And today is our last opportunity to mention this so get in touch right away. You can make your donation online at harvest.org or call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Well Pastor Greg you spoke today about having a relationship with the Lord. Someone can enter into that kind of relationship with the Lord right now, can't they? Yeah they really can. That's the amazing thing. I think people are surprised that it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months. It doesn't take weeks. It doesn't take days.

It doesn't even take hours. You can believe on the spot. And I would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask for His forgiveness. A prayer where you can receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord. So if you want Christ to come into your life. If you want Him to forgive you of your sin. If you want a second chance in life. If you want to go to heaven when you die. Stop what you're doing and pray after me.

These words. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. And I'm sorry for my sin. And I turn from it now.

And I choose to follow you from this moment forward. As Savior and Lord. As God and friend.

Thank you for loving me and calling me and forgiving me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Amen. And listen, if you have just prayed those words with Pastor Greg. The Lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin.

The Bible says Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And we'd like to send you some materials to help you begin to live this new life. We call it our New Believers Growth Packet. Just ask for it and we'll send it to you free of any charge if you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg. Just give us a call anytime at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg continues his series called Life from the Gospel of John. And answers one of the most pressing questions asked by believers and non-believers.

Why does God allow suffering? Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, 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 / 2023-05-13 19:57:32 / 2023-05-13 20:07:39 / 10

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