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Indecision | Right Choices

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2022 3:00 am

Indecision | Right Choices

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 29, 2022 3:00 am

When you take a road trip, you’re often faced with decisions on which road to take. Sometimes there’s a short cut. Sometimes the short cut turns out to be the long way. Sometimes an alternate route can be fiasco, or a disaster. The Donner party comes to mind. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us choose the right road in life. We’ll see how to evaluate our options and make the right choice. It’s a message with a short title and long implications.

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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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Today's episode of a new beginning is brought to you by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn and while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. We make decisions every day.

Sean very worn. Greg Laurie says we need to take the time to choose wisely.

This is super important long career choices. A big one. You're going to marry that. Think about it on the decision of all that your decision about what to do with Jesus Christ. There is no more decision. All decisions on which road to take. Sometimes there's a short sometimes the short turns out to be the long way. Sometimes an alternate route would be a fiasco/new beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie choose the right road of life see how to evaluate our option, is a message with the short title long, but we're going to the golf John together in the title of my messages in decision in our text is John 18 and Matthew 27 so turn there with you if you would John the gospel of John chapter 18 of the gospel of Matthew. If you're one of those fancy Bibles with ribbons. You might put a ribbon there and Matthew 27 because will pop over there a little bit later in the message but will start John 18 all right.

When we pray together.

Father, bless our time now, as we open your work.

Give us ears to hear, another words what is pay attention and give our attention with intention wanting to hear what it is you would say to our hearts and Freddie want to hear that this may be indecisive about the big things in life. Help them to decide biblically and properly as we learn more about that in this message.

Tonight we ask this in Jesus name, amen. In decision we've all experienced it at one time or another. Now some people are indecisive by major I'm actually not one of those people generally affect. I tend to be overly opinionated about too many things I deny very strong opinions on the best food you eat. The best restaurants to go to the best the best that just asked me about anything. I'll probably have an opinion. My wife will come to me with outfit options should I wear this or this and she knows I'm told other two love that where that or do not wear that and you know it sounds cool but she actually comes to me for honest feedback so I'm generally very decisive. But then there are times when I'm indecisive a lot of times I go to a restaurant, especially if it's a new restaurant. What is it deal with these menus and I like the size of books. I like that with pages and pages and pages of options other than the server, why is it that the server comes when you don't want them to come when you're in the middle of a conversation I take your order, and in then they got a note they get mad or something, but then they don't come back for like 25 minutes and you're ready to order right so I feel under pressure. Server zero city Capi to the menu look at the menu for which you can order and then I'll look at; yesterday about this and let me ask you about that and so you have to make a decision. That's why like In-N-Out Burger.

It just so simple.

Just like burgers burgers and burgers on some fries. Maybe them all get to bodies in the triple patties of your insane, do whatever you want to do, but these are the options for now you go to some take-out restaurant and they have so many options like Taco Bell what's going on over there so I called Igor Dedo for Dedo's. But what if I I just want a burrito and a talk: and there's all these choices and then the lines behind doing you know you can't see the little signs you get right there so you're looking and now the other lines building them and you can understand them affect what you are trying order and then that's the pressure that's on their well these things don't matter if you were a burrito or burger for lunch. It's not a life altering decision, but there are decisions that are super important in life. I think your career choices. A big one. But of course the good news is that you cannot be in one career and you can change course and have another career later in life, so that's not engraved in stone. That's a big one who you're going to marry that super bit super big. How many of you are single you're not married okay but quite a few of you, and you know I always save you look around right now just toss it again okay look around facing his eyes. I often say best place to meet your future spouse is in church right so that is true, but having said that I would to say take your time don't rush into marriage is old Benjamin Franklin once said, and by the way said this to me personally. He said keep your eyes wide open before marriage and have shut afterwords right a lot of things we have our eyes have said before marriage that were married for two weeks and their open a while ago my right so think about it. Take your time, but the biggest decision of all, it's your decision about what to do with Jesus Christ. There is no more important decision at all. Why bring that up because here before us in John 18 is a story of an indecisive man, a man who let others do his thinking for him to manage tried to appease a bloodthirsty physical crowd in his own troubled conscience.

He tried to find a middle ground and make everyone happy in his name was Pontius pilot.

He was the consummate politician. He was trying to appease everyone and thus made the worst imaginable decision.

A decision no doubt he regretted for the rest of his life. And here was the question that was brought to him and that is eventually brought to every man and every woman what are you going to do with Jesus. That's it. What are you going to do with Jesus, you know, ultimately, when we stand before God.

It won't be a single question. There will be a son question SON. In other words, you will be will to do a little good life you did your good deeds outweighed your bad deeds and you get to heaven all your more bad deeds and good deeds and you go to help, not at all. It's all about Jesus Christ, God's provision for us to get into heaven, and because conventional thinking is that we live good lives will get to have a depleted God lives will go to hell.

But here's the biblical truth. You can live in. Some people like this you can live a wicked life and at the very and repent of your sins and you can make it into heaven above some people unless you're the person who repented at the end and then you're very thankful and then another thing that people do like to hear is you can live a good life, relatively speaking, a moral life and end up in hell if you reject God's provision for you to get into Kevin who is Jesus crying.

So it's all about Jesus. Okay so here we are chronologically in the Gospel of John. He's taken to the house of Caiaphas, he has already been cruelly beaten and rushed through a hastily prepared appearance before the religious elite of the day the Jewish Sanhedrin. There were sort of like the Supreme Court of today with the difference being they were religious rulers, so government and religion was intertwined at this time so they had great power they could decide if you would live or die.

So Jesus appears before the former high priest Annis Ennis was like a godfather like presence over the functioning high priest who was Caiaphas, and by the way Annis was the father-in-law of Caiaphas. It was a family affair and Jesus is appearing before these powerful individuals and having confirm that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. They sent him to Pontius pilot now pilot was a pagan man is not a religious guy. He was sent to rule over these Jewish people. He didn't like his job.

He probably wanted to go back to Rome were all the power was all the influence was, but he God chosen to take this task on and ended up presiding over the most important trial in the history of all humanity. The trial of Jesus Christ and Pilate wanted nothing to do with Jesus nothing to do with these religious debates. But it was dropped right in his lap normally around this time Pilate would've been kicking back at his winter palace over at Caesarea, a sort of the Palm Springs of Israel. If you will, but right there in the water very warm when the rest of the areas called see that the weather of Israel is very similar to California so it's a reminder of California when you're visiting Israel as a matter of fact, so Pilate would've normally been getting a little R&R but he had to be in Jerusalem because that was the Jewish Passover and so there were thousands and thousands of visitors in the city a lot of potential for trouble already.

He was walking on egg shells with the religious leaders he had had run-ins with them in the past and an end of this the fact that Pilate was a mean guy. He was one bad dude actually. Here's a description of him are written years ago from Agrippa to Caligula who was the Emperor after Tiberius, and he made the statement about Pontius Pilate.

This is an extra biblical source, but a historical one. He said Pilate is unbending and recklessly hard.

He is a man of notorious reputation dear brutality, prejudice, savage violence and murder. Apart from that is a really nice guy know he didn't say that.

So that's pilot for you.

We would call him a hater today. This is a man who was mean calculating merciless coldhearted. He was a killer and does so normally he would be quick to execute quick to condemn someone to death. No problem with that at all. But now he has his situation with this guy. Jesus said he had heard something about, but he really didn't want to deal with this now is also being investigated by Rome. He was under surveillance by an order of the Emperor and he was being suspected of being a bad governors. So here he is in this position a lot of pressure from Rome to not messes up a lot of pressure with the religious leaders because of run-ins from the past. So there were all kinds of moving parts here. That made this a very unusual situation when Jesus was brought before Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message in just a moment to everybody. What are you doing this weekend.

I like to hang out with you at harvest and home services own. It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place so you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at today.

Pastor Greg is pointed out that Pontius pilot was under great pressure from Rome to handle the trial of Jesus properly. Let's continue no Pastor Greg message pilot was trying to find a compromise like politicians often do a way to appease these religious leaders all way to not have conflict with Rome a way to keep peace somehow and in though Jesus is proper form and it's probably just got reaction that Jesus isn't innocent man so he is trying to find some way to resolve the situation, but there were other forces at work here that were more powerful than Rome, more powerful than the religious elite of those forces were the forces of heaven and the forces of hell in a rare moment.

Historically, God and Satan were moving in the same direction, but with different objectives. Satan wanted Jesus dead so he marshaled his forces and played his wicked hand infiltrating the ranks of our Lord entering the heart of Judas Iscariot, Satan thought to beget of Christ put to death that would be the end of him. Course the father also was at work in this because Scripture said that Messiah would be crucified, and he would rise again from the dead three days later, so the father was at work. That is why it's a big mistake to try to place the blame of the death of Jesus on a particular group of people.

So mostly will the Jews killed Jesus will that's really in one sensors true through it is also true that the Romans killed Jesus. But if you really want to know the biblical theological truth. Here it is. The father killed Jesus. What what the father didn't do it, but the father allowed it to accomplish his purposes because the Bible says it please the father to Bruce. It didn't please the father in heaven to see his son suffer and die with it please the father to see his righteous requirements met in the sacrifice of his son who was a fulfillment of all of those Old Testament pictures and types. So the Lord was at work in this is well and by the way, Christ laid his own life down, no one took his life from him. He voluntarily went to the cross. One of the things you want to put the blame on someone blame me my sins put Jesus on the cross your sins put Jesus on the cross so this is a very unusual situation. That's all a part of God's big plan. Pilate did have a choice in the matter and he made the wrong choice. Let's read some verses together. John 18 starting in verse 20. Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorian. It was early morning, but they themselves are not going to the praetorian list.

They should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover pilot then went out to them and said what accusation do you bring against this man speaking of Jesus, I will stop there. So showing the complete sham of their so-called faith didn't want to go on the pilots headquarters. The praetorian because that would defile them yet they're in this rush to crucify an innocent man, which was against everything the Torah, the Scripture spoke of soap there very religious and very wicked simultaneously, only we don't want to break our ceremonial lawn enter into this horrible place. The praetorian, but by the way, when you murder Jesus in cold blood for us. Thank you very much talk about missing the point in this is the weird thing about religion, how people can be very religious and very wicked at the same time because well I went to church and I give my confession to the priest for I was baptized or I receive holy communion or I did thus and so therefore now I can God and live like hell right until I go to church. The next time men are you missing the whole objective. There and so it's sort of a legalistic thing that these guys were observing. They wanted pilot to do their dirty work, or the pilot I saw a legitimate question.

What are your charges against this man and his other dignities mean impugned their response what we would've handed them over to you if you want to criminal well pilot citizen judge them according to your law.

He just gave them permission to put Jesus to death that they wanted to and by the way they did put people to death. They did it by stoning.

They stoned Stephen you remember the first martyr of the church so they did have the authority, especially in this situation to execute Jesus, but the Bible doesn't say that Messiah would die by stoning the prophecies say that he will die by crucifixion. Psalm 22 says they pierced my hands and my feet in the Old Testament we read the people asking him what did you receive these wounds in your hands and he says I receive them in the house of my friend so Scripture is very specific how Messiah would die. I don't think even they understood what they were doing, but in their mad rush to have Jesus killed. They were fulfilling prophecy to a T. By specifically wanting Pilate to do it. That's because the Romans were experts in crucifixion.

They didn't invent it. They got up from the Carthaginians and the reason the Carthaginians would crucify people as their belief was they they should not touch the year. They should be elevated above the earth, so they would hang them on crosses, but the Romans took it to new levels of twisted, sadistic, painful torture. Crucifixion was not death by Nielsen your hands and feet. Amazingly, you can actually survive such a thing.

It was death by suffocation, and really the purpose of crucifixion was to torture a person. It was to use them as an example to anyone who would dare to defy the power of Rome so it was not uncommon to go to Roman cities and see the streets lined with crucified men on your left and right. People were very familiar with crucifixion back in this time, but this is what Scripture said that Messiah would die this way, they say, verse 31 were not permitted to put anyone to death. Actually, they were in this case were told to Gordon do it but they were say no you do it and I and by the way, Jesus himself said this is how he would die over in Matthew 20. He said when we get to Jerusalem. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law, the sentence in the die had over the Romans to be marked with an crucify it on the third day be raised from the led to the crucifixion of Christ, Pastor Greg Lori is pointing out how Pilate played a key role in the situation there was more to the story is a real joy to have best-selling author Lee Strobel with his former legal editor for the Chicago Tribune he's just released a new book on the afterlife called the case for heaven. Such great meticulously researched information. It's absolutely fascinating, at least so many are familiar with your story. You were an atheist, many years ago you what did you believe about the afterlife back then yeah you know I like a lot of atheists. I believe that it was like the light going out in the refrigerator on your closer, going to future light goes out. I thought you just cease to exist, and you know, just as you didn't exist for millions of years before you came into being. Now that your life is over. You just cease to exist forever and that is actually very frightening thought, you know, I mean there were nights as an atheist. When I would stare up into the blackness and say really is.

Is this it, I mean it. Yet when I die.

Life just goes on it unchanged in this world and and I just am snuffed out forever. It's a frightening thought, fortunately, is not true. Fortunately, the greatest news about heaven is it is real. In the worst news about hell is it it's real problem. So the afterlife is is is real.

There is a reality and so that I think the evidence as I present in this book points powerfully and persuasively toward the fact that there is an afterlife and so I hope people read it and get encouraged and realize that you know is great often will say you know where we end up spending eternity is dependent on how we respond to this offer from Jesus Christ of forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift of his grace, and I think God's prewired us to long for something more data. The Bible says that God is set eternity in our heart yes and we don't know what that something more is there to be specific that someone more, but we think always a little kid a it's you know a new friend.

It's a new bike. It did get a little bit older and it's a wife it's a husband. It's a career you get a little bit older. It's retirement this is it security financially, etc., and you know in the and you keep moving forward and you find out that's not it, and I was thinking when is a little boy is like 16 years old. I would lay I would be awake at night and I believed what you believe that I would cease to exist, and it freaked me out. Yeah that how can they cease to exist because it was said kind of that pre-wiring that there's more and I was a search and of course, ultimately I came to the same conclusion you came to, I wasn't the legal editor of Hancock Tribune. I was just a confusing teenager, but II found the same answer that you found Lee in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and so that that's a great he gives as he takes us from hopelessness to hold yeah exactly and and what you said is so true. Ecclesiastes talks about God's plan eternity in our hearts where I see this illustrated in the life of nonbelievers is they tried to somehow achieve immortality apart from God, yes. And so they want to write the great novel that is going to carry their name on after they died are going to design a cathedral to get a peanut painting their unit they're gonna put their name in the side of a building, they're going to give to a hospital have a wing of the hospital named after that we all live on the thing is with you if there is no God in these these vain quest for immortality amount to nothing. The amount to nothing, and what what excites me is a guy who tends to be rational and illogical respond. Evidence is you know this is not wishful thinking is not make-believe. It's not fairytales it's not mythology.

This is based on solid data and an iSight data from the Bible. I eyesight data from outside the Bible to say that there is good evidence that we do indeed live on forever in one place or another. So if you want to know more about what Lee is addressing here. You want to get a copy of his brand-new book called the case for heaven and will send it to you for your gift of any size this month.

Yeah, that's right. And you know your gift helps us reach out with hope so many each and every month, if that.

We received a comment from a listener who said thank you Pastor Greg for today's message I recently lost my husband of 20 years it's been hard. Thank God I know Jesus.

My husband loved Jesus to your sermons on heaven help me through the toughest times even up to his last moments we were trusting God the Holy Spirit definitely used your sermons to comfort me. Well that's such good confirmation of the value of these daily studies and its confirmation that your investments are making a difference when I make an investment today and when you do would like to send you Lee Strobel's book the case for heaven and today is our last day to make this resource available, so contact us right away

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