You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org Pastor Greg Laurie urges us to recognize temptation and then flee. Ever been the target of a scam? Many of us have, some without even realizing it.
None of those scammers admit that they're trying to rip you off. They play upon your fear or your kindness. They find a weakness or a vulnerability. Well Satan is like that, only he's been practicing a lot longer. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie warns us about his tactics and strategies.
We're each in his cross hairs. But as believers, we're under the protection of the cross. This is the day, the day when life begins. Grab your Bibles and turn to Revelation chapter 12.
The title of my message is Angels and Demons. Revelation 12 verse 7. War broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought and they did not prevail. There was a place found for them any longer in heaven. For that great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the devil, who deceives the whole world. He was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, now salvation and strength in the kingdom of our God and the power of us Christ have come for the accuser of the brethren who accused them before God day and night has been cast down and they overcame them by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives to the death. Verse 12, therefore rejoice, oh heavens and you that dwell in them, woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the seal, for the devil has come down to you having great wrath because he knows he has a short time.
Wow, powerful verses. We learn a lot about the devil. The devil knows his days are numbered. The devil knows his days are numbered.
Verse 12, he knows he has a short time. This might come as a shock to you, but the devil is quite orthodox in his theology. By that I mean if I were to interview the devil, which I would never want to do, I think you might be surprised by his answers. If I were to say to the devil, Lou, let me ask you this. Do you believe the Bible is the word of God? If he was honest, he would say yes I do. I believe every word of it.
I hate every word of it. I'm in rebellion against it, but I believe it's the word of God because the Bible says that demons believe in trouble. If I were to ask the devil, devil, do you believe Jesus Christ is the son of God? He would say absolutely because during the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, Satan said to Christ, since you are the son of God, why don't you turn a rock into a piece of bread and so forth. So he acknowledges these things. He knows his days are numbered.
He's filled with rage and he wants to wreck as much havoc as he possibly can. Here in Revelation 12, God gives the order for Michael, a higher ranking angel than the devil, to take out the trash. By the way, the devil is not the equal of God. I think sometimes people think there's God and there's the devil. You know, God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. God is omnipresent. So God is omnipotent, which means all powerful.
That's true. We think the devil is all powerful too. No, the devil is limits to his power. God is omniscient, which means all knowing. Satan is not all knowing, though he knows some things. God is omnipresent, which means he can be everywhere at the same time. The devil can only be in one place at one time. He's not the equal of God and, in fact, he isn't even as powerful as Michael the archangel because Michael is the one that takes out the trash and kicks him out of glory.
Yay, Michael. Don't applaud for angels. They don't like it. They're God's secret agents. They would say, give the glory to God.
Right? Then why did you say, yay, Michael, you prompted us? I don't know. But the grammatical construction of the phrase in the Greek here indicates Satan starts this. In other words, it can be translated, Michael and his angels had to fight the dragon. Devil chooses off Michael.
Why? Why would you try to get into a fight with someone who could pulverize you? I don't know. Maybe because sin makes you stupid. And maybe the devil is deluded for a moment and thinks he can beat Michael and now he suffers this great defeat. Here's something now the devil doesn't want you to know. The devil does not want you to know. He attacks with accusation.
We need to understand his tactics. Going back to the story of Job. The angels appear before God. God says to Satan, what have you been up to? The devil answers. Then the Lord says, have you considered my servant Job a perfect and upright man, one that fears God and shuns evil? Satan says, let's paraphrase, oh, give me a break. Job follows you because you give him cool stuff. He follows you because you blessed him.
Let me have a little time with him. We'll see what he's really made of. The Lord allowed the devil to bring a series of hardships into the life of Job. But Job came through with flying colors, but the point is the devil's there attacking, counterpointing, accusing, and that's what he does with us. Verse 10 says of Revelation 12, the accuser of the brethren who accused them before God has been cast down. The devil uses this with great effect.
This is how he brings Christians down. First he tempts you and he puts some horrible thought in your mind at the worst imaginable time. Like right now, right now, boom, thought. Right there. Some evil, twisted thought. And he went, where did that come from?
And the devil's standing there like, where did that come from? I don't know. Man, you are such a hypocrite. Why are you even sitting here in church? Yeah, you're right. Maybe I should leave.
Yeah, leave right now. Wait, hold on. It's not a sin to be tempted. It's not the bait that constitutes sin. It's the bite. Just because the bait is tangled in front of you doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. It's when you take a bite of the bait, and then you're hooked, and then you're in the frying pan with some vegetables.
Right? So the point is, reject it. Know where it came from. I reject it. That's not from God. Okay, let's apply it a different way. So the devil says to you, why don't you go ahead and commit this sin.
No one will ever know. You'll totally get away with it. You can trust me. Remember, he's the serpent. So we say, okay. Yeah, I'll do it.
You do it. Now the devil comes back. You are the worst Christian of all time. Don't even think about opening the Bible. It would be hypocritical of you to read the Bible right now. It would be so wrong of you to even pray. You don't even think about going to church.
Those are all lies. That's the accuser of the brethren. That's the very moment you immediately go to the Lord in prayer and ask him to forgive you of your sin. Listen, Satan will always use your sins in a hateful way to drive you away from Christ. The Holy Spirit will convict you of your sins in a loving way to always bring you to Christ.
Here's how you overcome the devil. Verse 11, Revelation 12. They overcame them by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. They overcame the devil by the blood of the Lamb. What does that mean? It means the only reason I can approach God right now is because of the blood that was shed for me by Jesus Christ.
I bring this up because sometimes even we who have known the Lord for a while can get into a little work self-righteousness trip. Trip. That's a 60s word, isn't it? What's your trip, man? Yeah. So we get into the work self-righteousness trip.
What is it? Well, it is a trip. You trip there.
You get hung up there. And basically it's like, well, I've been a good Christian this week. I read my Bible every day and I prayed and I even told someone about Jesus. And, oh Lord, I come before you.
You feel so deserving. But then you mess up. You don't read your Bible. You don't pray.
And you do what you shouldn't have done. You still come because the only way I have access to the throne of God and the only way I will ever have access to the throne of God, past, present and future, is through the blood of the Lamb because Jesus died for me. Hebrews 10, 19 says, dear friends, boldly enter heaven's most holy place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new life giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain by means of his death for us. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.
We're learning today how to avoid the devil's traps and snares as Pastor Greg brings us a message called Angels and Demons. I got a really wonderful letter the other day from a young lady, age 14, and she's been raised in the church. And she started listening to me. And I'm just glad a 14-year-old is listening to me, actually.
I love it when younger people are listening. And she said, you know, sometimes I feel so bad for the bad things I've done. And then when I've heard you preach, I just realize that God can forgive me. I'm reminded of that over and over again.
And I'm thinking, I'm glad she's getting that message. No matter what you've done, you can go to Jesus right now if you come the right way through the blood of the Lamb. Lord, I've sinned. I admit it. I own it. I blew it.
I'm sorry. You paid the price for this sin. I churned from that sin.
The Bible says, if you walk in the light as He is in the light, you have fellowship one with another. And the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all sin. 1 John 1, 9, a verse every Christian should memorize. But I just forgot it.
No, I didn't. 1 John 1, 9, if we will confess our sins, He is faithful and just to what? Forgive us our sins and cleanse us from some bad things.
No, no. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness. All. Not some.
All. So, what does it mean to confess? It means I just agree with God. Let's say you and I go out and get a burger after church. At In-N-Out, of course. I wanted to go to Chick-fil-A, but they're closed on Sunday.
No, I think that's a good thing, I guess, but I kind of wish they were open sometimes, honestly. Is that sacrilegious? Anyway. So, we get a burger. I say, that was an amazing burger. You say, I agree.
That was an amazing burger. We agreed or we confessed. By that, I mean you agreed with me and I agreed with you. So, God says, that is sin and I hate it. You say, I agree with you, God. That is sin and I hate it, too.
If you will confess your sin, if you will agree with God in his assessment of sin, he's faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You know, there are things that God says that maybe we don't like. Why do I have to get married? I'd rather just have sex with this guy or this girl. I think it's okay. And we'll just move in together and we'll live together. God's fine with that. No, he's not fine with that.
God has ordained marriage for a man and a woman to leave their father and mother and be joined to each other in this bond of marriage. So, you say, well, I'm okay with it. Well, God's not okay with it. So, basically, if you're living that way, you're living in sin outside of the will of God.
And listen, if you live in sin and don't repent of that sin, that separates your communication with God. It's very important that you get this sorted out because the Bible warns about giving the devil a foothold. Giving the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4, 27 says, don't give the devil an opportunity to lead you into sin. Or another translation says, don't give the devil a foothold.
Then it goes on to say how you give the devil a foothold. By holding a grudge, by nurturing anger, by harboring resentment, and by cultivating bitterness. By holding a grudge. I can give the devil a foothold. You say, well, I hold a grudge because that person hurt me.
Yeah? So, I'm holding a grudge. Well, you know what? That's wrong.
You're giving the enemy a foothold. You should forgive them because they don't deserve forgiveness. Okay, do you? No, but that's beside the point. It's just about them.
No, don't hold a grudge. You know why? You're not hurting them. You're hurting you.
Right? Number two, it says, nurturing anger. Nurturing anger. You might be angry, but you nurture it.
You pour a little gasoline on it. In a way, you almost like to be angry. I know certain people, they're always mad at someone. Always mad at someone.
Oh, this happened, that happened. They're the people out there getting road rage all the time. Right? Don't nurture your anger. Thirdly, harboring resentment.
Harboring resentment. Finally, cultivating bitterness. See, the problem with bitterness is bitter people are not content to be bitter alone.
Though they are alone a lot. Bitter, party of one, we have your table here. But the bitter people are always spreading the bitterness. Do you think that person should do thus and so? Do you agree?
Because I don't, and they're sort of spreading it around. No, don't do these things, because when you do these things, according to the Bible, you're giving the devil a foothold. Okay, they overcame them by the blood of the lamb, by the word of their testimony. It just means that they were moving forward.
Listen, the best way to not go backwards is to move forward. The best way to not lose ground is to gain ground. And the way we gain ground as a Christian is by the proclamation of the gospel. In the armor of God, spoken of in Ephesians 6, we're told to put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit. And then it says having your feet shot with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Put on your gospel shoes. So the way a Roman soldier would advance would be through marching forward.
They would have these boots with cleats in them that would give them the ability to gain ground. So the way we overcome the devil is through the blood of the lamb, through the word of our testimony, and they loved not their lives to the death. They knew their lives belonged to God. One last thing about angels. They rejoice when a sinner turns from their sin and comes to Jesus. Jesus said there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner who repents. You wanna get the angels partying right now?
You wanna get the angels excited? Believe in Christ. Put your faith in Him. I'm talking to somebody right now that has come here under the burden of guilt and sin. You've done things you know you shouldn't have done. You don't know how to get rid of this burden. You need to get to the root of the problem, which is your sin.
You need to confess your sin and say, God, I call it what it is. I'm tired of rationalizing it. I'm tired of making excuses for it.
I need your help. Maybe you're under the control of a vice. I mentioned drinking. It could be drugs. It could be so many other things that have a stranglehold in you. You think you've sort of conquered it, but it comes back to bite you. You don't know how to get over it.
You can't do it on your own. Or maybe you're here as a person who's never heard any of these things before. This whole idea of a God in heaven who loves us and a supernatural world of angels and demons is all new to you, but it's all true. You can come into a relationship with Jesus Christ right now and be forgiven of every sin you have ever committed.
But I told you what you have to do. If you will confess your sin, he's faithful and just to forgive you your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Jesus died on the cross for you and for me, for us, because he loves us. Jesus said, for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loves you. God wants a relationship with you.
He welcomes you with open arms. All you have to do is admit your sin and realize Jesus died for you and put your faith in him. Or if you've fallen away from the Lord, you need to come back to him and say, I'm sorry, Lord, and he will forgive you.
We're gonna give you an opportunity to do that. Maybe there's somebody here today who would just say, I need Jesus. I don't know what will happen when I die. I wanna go to heaven. I wanna get rid of this guilt and this sin.
I wanna fill this hole in my life. Maybe there's someone that would say, I've messed up, I know it's right. I've asked Christ to come into my life but I've turned away from him. Or I've done something I know he should not have done and I wanna recommit my life to Jesus. I want to come back to Jesus. I need his cleansing now. If that's your desire, I want you to pray this prayer after me and you could even pray it out loud.
Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I've sinned against you but I know you died on the cross for my sin and you shed your blood for me. So I come to you now asking you to forgive me of my sin. Cleanse me, clean me, Lord. Thank you for all that you've done for me. Thank you that you've heard this prayer. I ask it now in Jesus' name.
Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those making a change in their relationship with the Lord today. If you've made that change today, we want to follow up with you and send what we call our New Believers Growth Packet.
It'll answer many of the questions you might have and help you get started in this new life with the Lord. We'll send it to you free of any charge when you call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-hour phone number. Again, 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. And then we want to mention Pastor Greg's brand new book called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. It's a look at the life stories of so many famous music artists whose lives self-destructed. And Pastor Greg, some might look at all the trouble that those people get into and say, yeah, that's why I don't even listen to that crowd anymore. But often, their struggles are common struggles. That's right. And there's some things we can learn from them.
Isn't that right? Oh, sure. These are just people. When the day is done and they go behind the closed doors of where they live, they're just regular people like you and I are. They have the same struggles. They have the same insecurities.
They have the same questions. And just because they have all these things doesn't mean that they're happy. In fact, that's why so many of them turn to drugs or other things because they're not finding the fulfillment and the things they may have thought they would find fulfillment in. A lady wrote a book talking about hitting the high note and she referenced different people who had great success in their careers like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. And she said the reason they turned to drugs is because they couldn't hit the high note anymore. And by that, she was not speaking of literally hitting a high note, but they couldn't maintain that level of excitement and euphoria that they may have experienced when it first started for them. You sort of adjust to that.
You become acclimated to that. So then you say, what is the next high note? What's the next accomplishment?
What is the next mountain to conquer? Then you conquer that. Then you say, what's the next thing to do?
What's the next car I should drive or what's the next house I should live in or houses I should buy or yacht I should have? Then you accomplish that and you say, and on and on it goes. And it's just empty, empty, empty. The Bible says there's nothing new under the sun.
It was Malcolm Muggeridge who once said, all news is old news happening to new people. And you would think that rock stars would look at the lives of other rock stars who have crashed and burned and say, I'm not gonna do that, but yet so many of them do. So it's a story of people who are searching, but many of them have found the Lord.
Tragically, many of them have not found the Lord. So this book looks at both sides of that and what happens with the decisions you make in life. I think, though, ultimately, it will be a very encouraging book for you to not give up praying for people you know that are not yet believers. And listen, this would be an excellent book to give to anyone you know who is not a believer but they're a fan of rock music because I think this book will really speak to them.
Yeah, yeah, that's right. And again, it's called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. It's subtitled The Spiritual Biography of Rock and Roll. Help that loved one learn from the mistakes of these high-profile music icons and avoid the heartache and tragedy.
It's a book with some strong warnings, but it's also a book of strong hope as well. And we'd like to send you Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus to thank you for your donation right now. It's your investments in this outreach that allow us to keep bringing Pastor Greg's insights each day. So call us today at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time we'll get to spend a little more time discussing Pastor Greg's findings in his new book Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. It'll be a fascinating conversation. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-23 03:45:21 / 2023-04-23 03:55:26 / 10