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April 27, 2022 3:00 am
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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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Don't ever say I will never be made to some role for anyone of us could fall in any area. If we were to lower our guard. Don't ever think you're great warriors pointed out that an unguarded string is, as the Bible says, take heed lest we fall. Recognize your weakness ability, but also recognize the power of God's desire to sustain you Internet walking along looking at your smart leaf falling fountains, swimming pool, over circuit board I got. I could remind the new beginning pastor Greg Laurie points out many of us have the same confidence in our spiritual walk. Today a message of caution anyone. Okay, let's grab our Bible passages number one go to John chapter 18 and secondly, Luke 22 John 18, Luke 22 the title of my messages how to never stumble or fall. Okay, quick question.
How many of you have ever fallen unexpected like this, you felt some okay, pretty much everybody right so I've taken up racquetball again and I was playing the other day and you know the funny thing I know the doctor will say Greg get on the treadmill are gonna walk and I I hate treadmills and I hate cardio but I will run endlessly around in circles to chase a stupid ball with the rocket right so I was running to get a shot and I somehow pivoted and I landed flat on my back and my rocket went flat on the wood floor and made a tremendous side some guy on the second level was on the treadmill. He stopped and looked over and said are you okay I'm just laying there on the floor. I was okay but I had to take a few Tylenol afterwards actually but but the thing is I wasn't planning on falling and a lot of times that happened spiritually people fall in. They weren't planning on it but maybe in the way.
Though they weren't planning on it. They were setting themselves up for. I think when a person falls away spiritually it's because there's been a neglect in their spiritual life because they're failing to move forward. They naturally not immediately but in short order start going backward again and then one day you wake up and you say you how that I end up in the state.
How do I end up in this place that I meant. I don't remember when this happened. That's because it was gradual, sort of like the frog in the cattle illustration slowly heating up. The Bible warns about backsliding in Jeremiah 219 of the Bible says your wickedness will punish you.
Your backsliding will rebuke you consider how evil and bitter it is for you when you first seek the Lord your God and have no all of me says the Lord God Almighty. Jeremiah 322 God says return for those people that I will cure you of backsliding. Yes, we will come to you for you are the Lord our God, so we want to be very careful that we don't become one of those people because as I've already said you're not moving forward, you're automatically going backward, but we can look now at the story of a backslider were talking about Simon Peter. And when you look at his denial of Jesus. Let's get to know Simon Peter, a little bit better.
Definitely one of the most colorful characters in all of the Bible. Perhaps he is my very favorite. Probably because I relate to him somewhat as many of us do. Simon Peter had a terminal case of foot and mouth disease. You know there's so much Inc. given in the Gospels to the statements of Simon Peter.
It's just nonstop action. Jesus was at a place called Caesarea Philippi. There he began to speak in great detail about the fact that he was going to be betrayed and beaten. Then crucified him. He would rise again on the third date. Simon Peter takes it upon himself to rebuke Jesus rebukes Jesus, Simon Peter dead and he didn't just do it once. He did it over and over.
He kind of God and Jesus face and said talking about you know what you saying this is crazy talk. Jesus, there's no way that you can die and be betrayed and all that.
And Jesus actually had to say get behind me Satan because at that moment the devil was actually speaking to the great fisherman, but Peter he just kept coming back for more. He was knocked out but he was never knocked out Simon Peter, the patron saint of ordinary flawed people like you and me. We can relate to him. Another classic Peter story is, is when there was a great storm in the sea of Galilee is are often was, it was so horrible that even the season fisherman started to freak out, thinking they were going to die. They spend nine hours roaming against it. Trying to get back to shore again and then what happens. But Jesus appears walking on the water. What a glorious moment again just take it all in, get a mental snapshot note, Peter. He just has to say something in this case, do something Lord. He says that you told me to come in the front of Jesus is really Peter okay buddy. Come on, it's me and Peter throws one leg over the side of the boat and swings the other one over and steps down on the water.
He that a given credit. Nobody else even tried this all right and he takes a step and he's on top of the water he takes another step. He still on top of the water as he makes his way to Jesus.
He probably takes on the reality of what's happening takes his eyes off of the Lord begins to sink, and that cries out Lord save babies going underwater Lord save me Jesus reaches down, pulled them up on the top of the water and they walked back to the boat with again classic example of Simon Peter either knocking it out of the park or striking out rarely anything in between. Whatever Peter committed to. He threw himself into a whole heartedly which sadly included this fall. You know, for the most part, with the exception of John the apostles went into hiding. When Christ was arrested not Peter was walking close to the Lord as will see in a few moments, but he ultimately denied him and then he began to self-destruct. So let's sort of get the backdrop here of what's going on and then will look at our text together. So course, Jesus has had the last supper in the upper room with the disciples and psyches, wash their feet really as the great servant he was and now he's getting ready to go and die for the sin of the world and up it before that he has a conversation with Simon Peter. So let's start with Luke and then woke make her way over to John to go to Luke 22 first and listen to verse 31 secures what Jesus says to Peter, Simon, Simon, Satan is asked to sift you as wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith would not fail so when you have repented and turned to me again might underline turned to me again, strengthen your brothers. Peter, the Lord, I'm ready to go to prison with you, even to die with you, Jesus and Peter, let me tell you something before the rooster crows tomorrow morning you will deny three times that you even knew me well what a bombshell Jesus truck. Can you imagine Jesus saying something like this to you all excuse me. Hey Greg Greg, Mary, Mary, whatever your name is Satan's been asking for you by name that you would be taken out of the care and protection of God, and a lot of times you see the devil tempted be right on the doubles hassling me the doubles. Give me a hard time. The reality is most of us are probably never been personally tempted by Lucifer himself, yet understand some of the hierarchy of fallen Angels, there's the devil who's at the top of the heat.
He was a powerful angel, maybe even an archangel, and that he was once a worship leader and then he fell from his position in heaven and became Satan or the devil well under him.
He has fallen angels or demons, as we call them today of the Bible says he's the Prince of the power of the air. Some of the Bible says we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and all that is talking about sort of the rankings. The military now short of the rankings under the devil.
So the doubles sort of like the commander-in-chief. The devil can only be in one place at one time. In contrast to God is omnipresent God can be everywhere at the same time.
If the doubles here. He can't be in Los Angeles and if he's in Los Angeles and Campion Moscow visa Moscow, he can't be somewhere else so it's pretty rare that Satan himself would come and tempt a person, though it's possible, but it was probably a demon doing his bidding, which is in effect the same thing. It's a powerful demon power doing the work of the devil.
It's one of his minions know not the kind of minion that the cute minion with one eye, but one of his demon power so in this case. In particular, the devil himself was gunning for Simon Peter is out to Jesus. He said Satan has come and ask that you be taken out of the care and protection of God that I love what Jesus is.
But I have prayed for you. Then when you have returned, you can strengthen your brothers.
Listen at the devil ever comes knocking at your door. Make sure you asked Jesus to answer it. Sure no match for him at all. I pray for you.
Jesus said, and when you have returned, you can strengthen your brothers returned yeah buddy. You're going to fall away. No Peter says not be. I will never deny you. You actually will and to be specific. You'll do it three times and also little detail for the rooster's growth plans.
Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message in just a moment.
We really enjoy hearing when Pastor Greg's teaching and preaching are impacting lives. Pastor Greg, I grew up with a Christian father had told me about God's love for me when I was 16 my dad died at that moment I said how can a God of love do this to me so I walked away from God. Over the next 11 years, God sent people in my life to nudge me back to phase and then about a year ago I was listening to you on the radio in my car at 4:30 AM one morning and finally I prayed with you leading me to ask Jesus into my life. I started listening to your podcast every day and reading the new living translation Bible for me as well. Thank you for doing God's work last year were encouraged. We hear stories like that because it helps us know how these messages are impacting people. Pastor Greg studies God's word touched your life. If so, would you let them know drop an email to email@example.com that's firstname.lastname@example.org today we're considering the spiritual downfall of Simon Peter today. Pastor Greg is helping us to keep from falling back in our spiritual walk with God. Let's continue.
Sort of the steps that led to Peter's backslide, step number one to Peter's fall self-confidence. Self-confidence. Look at verse 33 of Luke. He said Lord I'm ready to go with you about the prison ended death and Jesus said Peter the rooster will not grow this day before you deny three times that you know me by the way, in Matthew's gospel talk about same topic finds Peter saying even if all are made to stumble, I will never be made to stumble. No understand what Peter is doing. He's making himself look good at the expense of others. I like it when people do that when you come and see no nobody else is working as hard as I'm working, I'm your best person you know really be have to diss other people just do what you do and do it well. Don't do it at the expense of others. But the reason Peter made this statement as Jesus had just revealed that Judas Iscariot was a traitor and then he said go to this pay whatever you do, do it quickly, and Judas left the room and then Peter says, hey, if everyone denies you all never deny. I'll never do a Judas. I don't know about the rest of these guys in this room, but I'm telling you, you can depend on Simon Peter Jesus just telling member on the rock Jesus as well since you brought it up buddy you going to deny me three times. There is no way that will ever happen.
Self-confidence in the Bible says pride goes before a fall. And it's a person that says I will never fall that often falls don't ever say I will never fall in that area. I see that person did that thing. I would never do that now. Careful buckaroo pride goes before the fall. Listen you need us were all vulnerable and anyone of us could fall in any area. If we were to lower our guard. Don't ever think you're above that recognize your weakness. Recognize your vulnerability, but also recognize the power of God and his desire to sustain you. So don't worry about it is only the devil can just pick us up at will and taken you down tomorrow. Sometimes people fall into sin and Satan the devil made me do it know it didn't be tempted you even make you that's exactly what what you said, you know, what did you do eat did you tell Adam be of the forbidden fruit. She said the devil typically is a double salt the serpent strictly well yeah he tricked you, but you gave into it saying so here is a double now attacking. And here's Peter being prideful and this was a big mistake and that brings us to the next thing that he did that resulted in him falling number two prayerless nests prayer list nests. We could also say a lack of prayer I don't even know the word prayerless. This exists, but I think it ought to do good work, so lack of prayer prayerless. This button one away say that because come now to verse 39 of Luke 22 coming out. He went to the Mount of olives as he was aggressive and his disciples followed him when he had come to this place. He said pray that you may not enter into temptation when he was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw.
He knelt down and prayed same father. A picture will take this cup from me and nevertheless not my will but yours be done. And when he rose from the Prairie came to his disciples that would be Peter, James and John. He found them sleeping from sorrow and he said why do you sleep rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.
Other was sleeping again from sorrow. So let's understand these guys are broken heart of the world was falling apart around them. They left everything to follow Jesus and all of a sudden he's being arrested and everything seems to going off the rails and Judas, one of their own guises abandon them and even betrayed Christ so they don't know it's happening there just so in pain and so they fell asleep from sorrow effectively cried themselves to sleep.
What a Jesus on the do stay awake and pray pray that you don't enter into temptation.
And I think there are times the Lord might be telling us to pray, we don't pray that we get ourselves into a lot of trouble, but we don't pray because we need to pray for wisdom that we need to pray for protection, and we need to pray for provision in the Bible.
Since you have not because you ask not. I suggest you there are things that God would like to do in your life and give to you that may not be happening because you simply failed to pray about it. Ask and it shall be given, says Jesus. Seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open so it was powerlessness and now we shift over to John chapter 18 and see what else happened at Peter over to John 18 now we read in verse 15, Simon Peter, by the way I'm reading from the new living translation Simon Peter follow Jesus, as did another of the disciples. The other disciple was associated with a high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest courtyard with Jesus it's assumed that this other disciple is John the author of this gospel and John often referred to himself in this way of the disciple whom Jesus loved, he would use his own name, Peter had to stay outside the gate. The verse continues on to say. Then the disciple presumably John knew the high priest spoke to the woman walking at the gate and she let Peter read a lick of this storm that's Peter you're not one of that man's disciples, are you know I am not said Peter because it was called the household servants and the guards made a charcoal fire.
They stood around it, warming themselves.
And Peter stood with them, warming himself. Here's Peter's third step down step number one.
Self-confidence step number two prayerless this step number three. Keeping his distance from Jesus keeping his distance from Jesus. A good verse 15 Simon Peter followed Jesus ago will wait it since he followed Jesus's and that good, that's good.
But Luke gives us a detail that's important. Says he followed at a distance using Joey was close enough to sorta see what was going on but he was far enough away where he was in a bit of trouble you're watching shows on television.
You know where they show the predators like the Lions are the alligators. Even then and there, waiting for an unsuspecting animal, and often though be a flock of you know whatever gazelles you know, jumping along in their altogether zebras frighten the lion in alliance don't like to waste energy they just sit there out the sun and their weight and for the one guy that separates from the pack. The slow one, so there goes all the gazelles room room from the one guy in the back of the room that is looking around lances that looks like lunch to me and grabs at one of the pulls it down.
That's what happens to us all with God's people were moving in harmony or safety in numbers.
Praying for one another, encouraging one another when you're the straggler when you're far away from everybody so you come in sorta herein enough to kinda know what's going on but dreaded distance, you know, when you come to church. You always sit in the back row.
Thank you. It's okay. It is in the back room that seriously. Sometimes these are the ones who are the last to get here. I don't get it. Now I know you when you're working. It's hard to get in on time but you don't this worship. If you can avoid it.
Okay if you can't get here until you get here. At that time find you're welcome but but you know when worship is happening you want to be a part of that engaged in it until be the first to leave you get out of here, you know indicates meet some people develop some friendships of Christian brothers and sisters that you can I engage with and even have an accountability to People to pray for you and help you through life. You know there's a great things to do.
Don't be the straggler still be the person following out a distance was too much of the world to be happy in the Lord, but too much of the Lord to be happy in the world. That's a miserable no man's land don't go there.
That's a Peter was doing. Oh yes, he was following Pastor Greg Laurie is helping us learn from Simon Peter's fall considering the steps that lead to backsliding so we can avoid them. And there's more to come in this message here on a new beginning were so grateful to have Lee Strobel with us today, best-selling author, former legal editor for the Chicago Tribune and he just finished a book on the afterlife and eye-opening book called the case for heaven and that pastor Greg you made the point before that after your son went to heaven so unexpectedly it peaked your interest in heaven doesn't run it did I wouldn't say I'm an expert on heaven, but I would say I'm a student of heaven always believed in it. Obviously I've always taught on it when my son went to be with the Lord.
I just really started digging in like never before into the topic of heaven, wanting to know more details of a better sense of it. Something I can almost imagine it's very hard to imagine but trying to wrap my mind around it a little bit more and and so I'm always interested in talking about the subject.
Learning about the subject.
That's why I'm so excited that my friend Lee Strobel is written about the case or have another cool thing about Lee is generally I think it's true to say that there still is skepticism and you and addicted to be a healthy skepticism. Yeah, you know it's been said skepticism is not necessarily a sign that a man is wrong and may be a sign he's thinking, yeah, and Christians can be gullible and just believe what anybody says all summonses I want to have an inside X, Y, and Z and I wrote a book about it and they may just believe it but no wheat.
We need a reliable source. But, of course, is the Scripture right but you go with the degree of skepticism. Looking at these things and you do research to well, sort of like you're in a court room and it's a case and tell us about how your brain works when you come to a subject, and specifically the topic of heaven.
Yeah, I mean, I spent a lot of time trying to determine who the best experts in the world and talk to because you know I can't be an expert on everything, but as a journalist you seek out people who have spent a lifetime investigating these issues and so I have interviews in this book with Dr. Sharon Derek's who's a neuroscientist with a PhD from Cambridge University talk about the existence of a soul that we do possess a soul that continues after the demise of our physical body binary John Berkley say he studied a thousand near-death experiences and is written up around book about him. I interviewed Clay Jones, a professor who wrote a book called immortal, which deals with how people try to cope with her fear of death, I interviewed by the most profound interview I want to interview someone who was headed for heaven soon and so I sat down and had the last interview before he died, with Luis Palau, who was one of the great evangelist of our generation shared his faith with a billion people around the world. He knew he was dying, he hasn't had stage IV cancer and I sat down with him just to say we are what's it like knowing that you can be going to heaven like any time now, and he'd already exceeded the lifespan that they had expected him to have an and so we had a profound conversation and that is in the book and I think that'll encourage a lot of people because even Luis Palau said you know, and in these last days. Satan whispers in your years at OU you've pointed millions of people toward heaven, but you're not going to know you been disqualified. You don't, you never had. For heaven, and even the pilgrims wrote about this that of the Puritans.
Rather, that Satan will whisper in your ear.
Those those last moments and and Luis said you know he had come against it with the word of God says she's not true. And so he gives some great insights into what it's like to be on the precipice of entering into heaven beautiful. That's all. And please do book the keys for heaven brand-new and will send it to you for your gift of any size this month. Yeah, that's right, and will take that gift that investments and reach out on your behalf. We are all about teaching believers and reaching unbelievers effect since March 2020.
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