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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 are 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 daily Devos learn more and sign email@example.com long withdraws God was rated Jesus as you live your life so he could drink you as you live his life.
It was an uneven extreme heavily in our favor today on a new beginning pastor Greg Laurie points out what happened when Jesus gave his life for ours. Jesus, I like walk the line.
Jesus was God's time, I might enjoy his presence forever. When we ran our way. Learn from our example, what about when we read our words are not feeling well all is Jesus hung from the cross darkest hour, you essentially got a new beginning after Greg Laurie shows just how much we can learn from the Lord great inspiration every word I what you think of when you think of all of the beds in the US for little children, these array can't go to go find those eggs and for others it's pastel colors Easter outfits brothers will leave when I was a kid.
It was about getting a little baby bunny or check then will do this anymore, but I was a kid. You literally would go find them a pet store, sometimes even other stores you could buy these little bunnies or little chicks I meet with the really adorable until the turn of the full-grown chickens and rabbits running around your house. Chickens do not make good pet but they do make a great lunch actually. So I heard a story about teacher that was addressing her Sunday school bus on Palm Sunday. She said will kids today is Palm Sunday who can tell me what Palm Sunday is all about a little girl celebrated on the teacher called on her.
She said ma'am Palm Sunday is the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people they Palm branches at his feet and said hosanna the teacher was really impressed. Very good.
She said that what is next Sunday. It's Easter Sunday.
Does anyone know what that is about and the same little girl puts her hand up. The teacher calls on her again. Okay honey what's what's Easter Sunday. That's the day Jesus rose again from the dead before the teacher could congratulate her.
The little girl continued on to say, what if he sees a shadow yes to go back in for seven more weeks you remember when I was a little boy I want to my mother and I asked her what is the meaning of Easter and she said I don't know she knew she just didn't want to tell me because he was raised as a Christian went to a Baptist Church heard the word of God. Many many times, but that my mom was sort of running from the Lord at that stage of her life.
Of course, Easter is a celebration of the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. This singular event changed everything. It was literally the day the change the world. But before there was a resurrection. There was a crucifixion, Jesus was arrested on false charges and sent to Pontius Pilate.
Pilate wanting to appease the bloodthirsty crowd gave the order for Jesus to be scourged and I've told you before about the horrific whipping that what happened to Jesus, it's they probably use the Roman cat of nine tails which would rip into the skin and the skeletal tissue even exposing vital organs. In many cases people did not survive the scourging and Jesus took 39 lashes on his back. It was described as the Way crucifixion. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, but he was under political pressure and he wanted to please the religious leaders so he called for a basin and he washed his hands which you can wash your hands of Jesus Christ, nor should you let others tell you what to think of Jesus Christ. Pilate should have listened to his wife because his wife said I had a dream about this man speaking of Jesus. He's a righteous man, don't heard up and Pilate went through with Ed anyway so now Jesus is sent to the cross and the Z Kings. There he makes seven profound statements.
Every statement is significant. Even the order of the statements is significant statement number one from the cross was father forgive them for they know not what they do. Statement number two in response to the words of a thief crucified next to them said, Lord, remember me when you come in your kingdom. Christ said, verily, verily, are truly, truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise then seen his mother at the foot of the cross, Jesus said woman behold your son and seen John standing next door. He said son behold your mother presumably all the sin of the world was placed upon Christ at this moment if it wasn't at this moment it happened.
At some point where he bore the sins of the world, causing him to cry out, Eli, Eli Lama suboptimally which means my God, my God, why have you forsaken me. Then his fifth statement was I thirst for six statement was. It is finished. And finally, statement number seven to the father and your hands I commit my spirit was good to statement number one father forgive them for they know not what they do. If the first words of Jesus were my God, my God, why have you forsaken me it would make sense even of his first words were, I thirst. We would understand, but father forgive them for they know not what they do. This reminds us that no one is beyond the reach of prayer. He is literally praying for these soldiers who have nailed him to the cross. He's literally praying for his enemies who have orchestrated this series of events.
The same father. They have committed a sin that this soul horrible so beyond comprehension. They have no idea how bad it is. You don't. It's not easy to forgive people as it we've all been wrong. We've all been hurt.
We've all been taken advantage of in the Bible says forget everything in easier said than done. Love the statement of CS Lewis when he said people think that forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.
I read about a study that was done of forgiveness and found that 75% of those who are polled believe that God forgive them of their sins. That's good, but that only 52% said they had forgiven others see here's the thing we need to remember forgiven people should be forgiving people. Jesus taught us that he taught us in the Lord's prayer. There were to pray our father who art in heaven how it would be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Is there someone you're harboring bitterness toward his or someone you have not forgiven because they have hurt you.
Well you need to forget the Bible doesn't suggest forgiveness. It actually commands it over and Ephesians 432 Paul says, because I'm one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God to Christ has forgiven you.
But listen, forgiveness is not condoning or dismissing someone's bad behavior when we say that again. Forgiving is not condoning or dismissing someone's bad behavior. The fact of the matter is, is when you are forgiving your surrendering your right to get even you're saying I'm not going to pay the person back though. They deserve to be paid back there something then is that wants to pay back is that there we love those movies are all about payback jetting even.
But we are to forgive one person put it this way and I quote the first to apologize is the bravest, the first of forgive is the strongest the first of forget is the happiest, so forgive and forget and put it behind you, and I promise you will be a much happier person.
So here's Jesus hanging on the cross, offering forgiveness to his enemies snow initially of these two thieves and we call them thieves but in reality they were probably violent criminals and probably were guilty of murder, insurrection against Rome. We, the Romans would've described them as terrorists because they would want to overthrow the Romans. That's why there were hanging on crosses so initially we have three men facing death, Jesus and the two others, and the two others joining the crowd of mockers at the foot of the cross, crying out, he saved others, let him save himself if he is the son of God, of course, he could've saved himself, but he chose to save others instead of saving himself by dying in their place. So there mocking Jesus and Jesus says statement number one father forgive them for they know not what they do. And suddenly, in a moment one of those criminals believes and turns to Jesus as Lord, remember me when you come in your kingdom. This is after he rebuked the other criminals think we deserve what we've gotten with this righteous man has done nothing wrong would cause that man to change so quickly take maybe it was the gospel track that Pilate fastened to the top of the cross. The statement Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, the religious leaders a no no no say. He said he was the king of the Jews, Pilate said what I have written a written and can better be translated what I've written has been written and it will always be written by listen, I'm not walking that back. I believe it's true.
Maybe he read that that made an impression on him, but I think the real thing that move that thieves hard was when Jesus offered forgiveness. He had never seen anything like that reverberated through his hardened guard and he believed right there on the spot that brings us to statement number two today you will be with me in paradise. Talk about getting in under the wire. This is what we would call a deathbed conversion. I've seen quite a few of these in my lifetime people that were hard to the gospel people to want to be hero did not want to hear what I had to say or what you had to say.
Suddenly find out their critically ill or terminally ill and all of a sudden they want to hear about God.
You know, I think. Take advantage of that opportunity. I think of coming back to my mom. She was married and divorced seven times in her last husband was named Bill. He was never open to the gospel at all throughout his life. And then my mom died and thankfully she recommitted her life to the Lord. Shortly before her death. Bill and I didn't have a lot of communication. After that we hadn't talked for a long while and as someone said to me you should go visit Bill. He's a dying I said oh well I will, but it turned out that I was on my way to a speaking engagement, I was literally on my way to the airport. I sent all I'll come and see you when I get back. And as I'm driving to the airport. God spirit spoke to my heart and said you go see Bill right now you turn pull over to his house, walked into this den where they had set up a hospital bed as he was in hospice care, and I realize this man is not long for this world and I said Bill I know you share this with you before, but I want to share with you again.
Let me tell you what it means to believe in Jesus so you know you can go to heaven you want to go to Gov. Bill, yes, he said, I share the gospel with them. He prayed with me to accept Christ. I got in my car and I made my plane and I was so thankful I done that and as soon as I landed I pulled my phone on. Got a text Bill just got to run another the wire is or somebody you know that is close to death someone you know they need to hear the gospel share the gospel with them. Don't wait until later.
As your great glory will have the second half of this message just a moment, emails, letters and phone calls from listeners are so encouraging to us and they let us know the effectiveness of the studies master Greg. This matter has been a long time coming.
In 2000 1709 lost our three-year-old son to a nonsensical questions and no answers seem to be found. One evening I was watching TV and came across your message is about to change the channel that something can help me to watch you are giving your testimony, the more I watch the angrier I became thinking, oh great another pastor with a perfect line. What is he now Moment you begin to Sharon on the passing of your son Christopher, your testimony, saved my life because for so long I thought I deserved what had happened to our standing in my medians to God's word and hearing your testimony for not realizing God doesn't waste her pain then and there I set my heart and seeking God. I started listening to your podcast and devotion and wouldn't you know it you are in a series called hope for hurting hearts I know it was the leading of the Holy Spirit for me to tune in.
Thank God for that moment is perfect timing, grace and love and thank you Pastor Greg you have done more than you realize were so blessed to hear rings messages have comforted this woman would you like to share a personal story with us. If so, drop pestering an email and let them know. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org that's great that harvest.org today. Pastor Greg is helping us consider the Lord's words as he hung from the cross. Each word is a powerful lesson for us today. Let's continue standing at the foot of the cross is Mary the mother of Jesus. Imagine the anguish she's feeling at this moment.
This is her boy heard her little baby boy that she love she taught him to walk and now his feet are nailed to a cross. She held those tiny little hands in her hands and now they have spikes driven through them he so beaten and traumatized. Isaiah 53 said you couldn't even tell he was a man. Her heart is breaking which is going to be strong, shall not collapse.
If she's looking up at him and Jesus says woman behold your son then seen John the apostle standing next to Mary. He says son behold your mother. In other words take care of my mother, John, Jesus was the firstborn.
It was generally the responsibility of the firstborn son, and the Jewish family to care for the mother, but now Jesus would not be able to do that.
He gives that responsibility and the privilege over to John. Now comes the moment that Jesus has been ready.
Suddenly the sky turns dark from the six hour, which is 12 noon to 3 o'clock in the afternoon darkness falls across the land, and some believe this was a universal blackout darkness over the entire planet in the darkness is pierced by the voice of Jesus giving the Ford statement from the cross, which according to Mark chapter 15 is Eli Eli Lammas about Vinnie or my God, my God, why have you are sick.
No fiction writer would have the hero make a statement like this. We wonder what he was saying Jesus was experiencing the greatest loneliness any man is ever experienced was the loneliest man who ever walked the earth.
It was Jesus. Especially at this moment as he was bearing the sins of the world. He had been betrayed by Judas. He had been abandoned by his disciples but the father was always with you. He always knew the father was there to call upon even said in John 16 hour is coming and has now come when you will all be scattered each to his own, you leave me alone, yet I am not alone, because the father is with me, but now for a moment. Even the father has good turned his face away as he pours all of his wrath and anger on Jesus Christ, who is dying in our place as a substitute. It's an incredible moment that took place. It was God's most painful moment, but he must feel. First, thinking of God because that's the consequence of sin. But listen to this. Jesus was first taken, so I don't have to be. Jesus was for thinking of God, so I might be forgiven. Jesus entered the darkness that I might walk in the light. Jesus was first taken of God for a time that I might enjoy his presence forever.
So he was doing that for me. One person put it this way on the cross. God treated Jesus as if he had lived your life so he could treat you as if you had lived his life. Not good.
Let me repeat it on the cross. God treated Jesus as if he had lived your life so he could treat you as if you had lived his life that justification just as if it never had happened.
God is done that for you know Christ gives his food statement from Calvary the first of a personal nature. He says I first confessed was, not just a casual versus this man is completely dehydrated and you know when you're dehydrated how bad it can be. And so he's reaching out and someone offers him something to leave his thirst and he comes the statement number six.
It is finished. By the way, were told that he cried this out with a loud voice. It is finished with it is finished. It is finished.
See, this is a man who was in control. Jesus was not a victim. He was a victor. He knew exactly what was happening and he knew exactly why I was happening even though he's been whipped even though he's been crucified, even though he's basing all this physical pain.
He cries out it is finished and in the Greek it's one word Katella Scott, not three words. One, which means it's completed. It's made an end of its accomplished they would use this word day-to-day living builder table. It's finally done to Palestine, I made you a great meal it's completed to tell us thy Jesus that I bore the sins of the world Katella sky. It is finished.
A new covenant is been established. Now I call this the battle cry of the cross, Jesus is effectively saying the war is over.
I'm sure these words reverberated through the hallways of heaven, is a shot of victory, and they also reverberated through the core doors of how is a shot of you are now defeated. God is satisfied, and now his final statement into your hands I commit my spirit.
The sin of the world is been atone for he has looked out for the welfare of his mother.
He is born, the sins of the world is done at all. Now he says, into your hands I commit my spirit went took his life. He gave us life, he laid it down. It's interesting that three times on the cross, Jesus addressed the father in prayer.
Statement number one father forgive them for they know not what they do. Statement number two my God my God why you forsaken me statement number three of prayer when he says father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
This is something we can learn from. We should call on God in the beginning in the middle and the end of our life know when you're young, commit your life to the Lord. Kids listen to me you want to live a happy life you want to live a fulfilled life. You want to live a meaningful life commit sure life to Jesus Christ and follow him.
And you'll never regret it right. Never regret. The Bible says remember the creator in the days of your you. The Bible also says how can a young man or woman. Of course, cleanse our way by taking the heat according to your word. In other words, you want to live a life that matters obey the word of God.
He's put those parameters in there for your own protection for your own good. I became a Christian when I was 17. That's 10 years ago plus many more years. It seems like yesterday and I've never regretted that decision. You won't either, but then you get to the middle part of your life. Sometimes we have what is called a midlife crisis, which is an excuse for acting like an idiot and then you forget God sometimes maybe you reach goals. Maybe you been successful. Maybe you've exceeded your wildest dreams. Don't forget God in the middle of your life and then you come to the end of your life and eternity is right around the corner. Make sure you remember the Lord then Jesus called on the father beginning in the middle and the hurt from Pastor Greg Laurie today on a new beginning where examining the seven statements from Jesus on the cross and how they apply to our lives.
Even here in 2022.
There's more to come in this message was such a privilege to have best-selling author Lee Strobel with us today. He's a former atheist and the former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune in 1981 he gave his heart to Christ and for over 40 years has been telling people about the Lord and his new book is called the case, for heaven solely you're still though you know you still have a great mind, you're still in intellectual years, but your theologian now to see you brought these skills to the study of heaven. I think it's hard for people to wrap their mind around have it yet and there's caricatures of it in films, you know like it's a wonderful life you provided every Christmas or or even cartoons or songs and aren't yeah you know, so give us a few thoughts about maybe something you learned about heaven that you didn't know before area or something that impacted you about the afterlife. Yeah, couple of things I think that when you look at Jesus and what he talked about when you talk about having heat. He painted the picture to his disciples of heaven being a home and so I made me think, you know I like you I travel around the world and often very difficult situations. I remember being in India and you know sleeping on the ground and living out of a knapsack and and missing home.
You get homesick you got along for home and and then when you finally get home and see you don't think some months later you finally get home you walk in the door in such a place of warmth and the relevant security and you get your own bed and it feels so good as I think Jesus at sats the image I want you to keep in your life. Heaven is our home and and and those qualities of love and security in grace and so when we think of home. We have a think of those things we think of heaven and somebody else sets out to be something recently that I thought so.
It's really kind of profound said, you know, heaven is kinda like having a vacation on your calendar but I support you mean by that. He said you know when things are hard at work when when you're working long hours and customers are difficult in your bosses bringing down your neck and the monies not coming in and things are hard when you gotta vacation on your calendar. Coming up in a few months you go you know what I'm going to Hawaii. I'm going to Maui in a couple months with my wife and and just knowing that's on the calendar helps you get through the tough times and heaven is like that. It's like having something on the killed women of the date, but in our future that we can help us get past the difficult times in this life, as we say yes it is hard.
It is difficult but you know what I'm going to heaven wonderful and beautiful like a home. I can never experienced it and just having that in the future I think gives us courage and justice perspective dealing with the present, the that's Lee Strobel you're hearing from everyone and he is a brand-new book out called the case, for heaven, subtitled a journalist investigates evidence for life after death. There were sending it to you for your gift of any size this month. Yeah that's right in your gift enables us to keep bringing Pastor Greg studies your way, and they also help us reach out far and wide with the gospel. For instance, Pastor Greg and the team will be in Boise, Idaho, April 23 and 24th for Boise harvest powerful gospel messages.
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That's a 24 hour phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go online to harvest God for what next time Pastor Greg offer some important insights of the Lord's resurrection and all that accomplishes for us even today. Join us here on a new beginning. Pastors and Bible teachers regularly and everybody thinks or listening to an 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