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This is Not a Drill | Make Your Stand for Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2022 3:00 am

This is Not a Drill | Make Your Stand for Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 2, 2022 3:00 am

When you see thousands of enthusiastic sports fans at a stadium, do they keep their team loyalty a secret? No! They yell and scream and wear the team colors . . . sometimes those colors are painted on their faces! And it’s a just a game. Do we have that same overt pride in following Christ? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see the importance of making our faith a public declaration. If our faith is a big secret, the question is...why?

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. You're going to stand up for me in heaven? That's right. What a deal. When you see thousands of enthusiastic sports fans at a stadium, do they keep their team loyalty a secret? No. They yell and scream and wear their team colors.

Sometimes those colors are painted on their faces, and it's just a game. Do we have that same overt pride and follow in Christ? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see the importance of making our faith a public declaration.

If our faith is a big secret, the question is why. We are in the book of Nehemiah. By the way, this is our last message in the book of Nehemiah. So I want you to turn to Nehemiah chapter 10. We're in our series. We're calling The Rebuilt Life.

But the title of this message is This is Not a Drill. And Nehemiah at this stage historically has gone back to Babylon. Remember that's where he was originally. Serving as the king's cupbearer when he heard the news that the walls of Jerusalem were lying in burned, charred out rubble. So Nehemiah made the journey to Jerusalem funded by the king even with an armed escort. And he rallied the people and did the impossible.

They rebuilt the walls of the city. They prayed. They dedicated themselves to the Lord. They confessed their sins. And a great revival broke out. But now he's given a message that things aren't going well back in Jerusalem. And he needed to return. So let's backtrack a little bit. Then we'll kind of get to the conclusion.

But let's pick up chronologically where we left off last time. You remember Nehemiah returns. They rebuild the walls.

Ezra is brought out of mothballs. He led the first wave of Jews returning to Babylon. He helped to rebuild the temple.

He had been largely inactive. They bring him out again. He reads Scripture to the people for three hours. Then they confess their sins to God for three hours. And there's this great revival that breaks out. And now the people make a series of very significant commitments to the Lord. And that is where we pick up. We are in Nehemiah 10.

Point number one if you are taking notes. They surrendered to the Word of God. They surrendered to the Word of God.

Nehemiah 10 28. Then the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who had separated themselves from the pagan people of the land in order to obey the law of God together with their wives, sons, daughters, and all who were old enough to understand. They swore an oath. They bound themselves with an oath. And they swore a curse on themselves if they failed to obey the law of God as issued by His servant Moses.

They solemnly promised to carefully follow all the commands, regulations, and decrees of the Lord our God. We will stop there. So this is serious.

Now there is siding on the dotted line. You know you can go look at a car all you want. I love this car. I might buy this car. I want to get this car.

And one day you say, I am going for it. So you go in and you say, I am ready to buy the car. And they bring out hundreds of sheets of paper that you have to sign. Sign. Sign. Sign. Sign and sign. And then they give you the keys to your new car and you get in it and you drive it off the lot and it drops in value by $3000 before you even got your first tank of gas.

Right? Or you sign on the dotted line and say, I am going to buy this home. I am committing myself to purchase this property. Now you must keep the commitment you have made.

That is what they were doing here. The same is true when you stand in front of a pastor and before your friends and family and state your vows to your husband or your wife to be. You are making a commitment publicly. And that is why I think it is such a great thing to make a public stand for Jesus Christ.

You sort of seal the deal. When you are baptized that is a public commitment. People can see it. They should see it.

When you make that first stand in front of your non-believing friends at your workplace or on your campus and you say, I am a Christian. And you know they are going to be watching you like hawks. Why? Because they want you to do well. No. Because they want you to do really badly so they can say, ah hypocrite.

Right? They don't want you to do well because when you walk closely with the Lord and they see the transformation in your character it drives them insane because they come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I love public profession. Have you made a public profession of your faith? Does your family know you are a Christian? All your family?

Your extended family? Do people in your neighborhood know you are a Christian? Do people in your workplace know you are a Christian? Do people on your campus know you are a Christian?

Do people that follow you on social media know that you are a Christian? Make your stand for Christ publicly because Jesus said, if you will stand up for me I will stand up for you. If you will confess me before people. If you will confess me before people Jesus says, I will confess you before the Father and the angels in heaven. What a deal.

You mean if I just stand up in front of a few other human beings you are going to stand up for me in heaven. That's right. Ok. I am all in. Ok.

So you make your public stand. I have a little granddaughter named Allie. And she was at school the other day at lunch time. And so the kids are all eating their little lunches you know. And Allie says, wait everybody. We need to pray and thank Jesus for our food.

They are all like, what planet are you from kid? I love that. Allie told me that story.

I said, Allie very good. You made your public stand for Jesus. And that is a great thing for all of us to keep in mind. And so we make that stand. And we stand by that stand that we have made. Now often we will say we believe the Bible. We will say we love the Bible. And we will quote the Bible. But will we surrender to what the Bible says. This is the big question. Don't just quote it to me.

Don't just say how much you love it. Will you surrender to what the Bible says. Let me restate it. Will you surrender to what the Bible says on every single topic.

I used to have a little plaque years ago that said God said it. I believe it. That settles it. Does that sum up the way you feel. We will come back to that point in a moment.

Point number two. They separated themselves from ungodly influences. They separated themselves from ungodly influences. Look at verse 28. Then the rest of the people, the priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants, and all who had separated themselves from the pagan people of the land in order to obey the law of the Lord. We promise to not let our daughters marry the pagan people of the land and not let our sons marry their daughters.

Note the cause and effect. They separated in order to obey. Look at it again. They had separated themselves from the pagan people in order to obey the law of the Lord. Listen to this. If you want to live a godly life you will need to separate yourself from some things and some people and in exchange surround yourself with other things and other people.

Someone sums it up perfectly. It says, Blessed is a man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly or stands in the way of sinners or sits in the seat of the scornful. Notice the words that are used. First this guy is walking. Then he is standing. Then he is sitting.

First he is walking in the counsel of the ungodly standing in the way of sinners sitting in the seat of the scornful. Sort of like let's say you are on a diet. So you have to walk every day. Good walk. So you decide to walk right by your favorite donut shop just when they are making the donuts fresh in the morning.

Mistake. But you do it. And you are walking by. I am walking.

I am getting exercise. And you look in the window. First you are walking. Now you are standing. Next thing you know you are sitting.

Not just at a table. You are in the vat of raw donut dough. Right. You can't wait. That is how sin works. It is a progression.

So don't do that. If you want to be a blessed man, a blessed woman, or change the word blessed with happy because it is an interchangeable word. Happy is a man that doesn't walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the way of sinners, sit in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord. In it does he meditate day and night.

Let me paraphrase it. He loves to read the Bible. He loves to hear the Bible preached.

He loves to hear songs that have verses from the Bible in them. He loves the Word of God and he meditates which means he thinks about it. He ponders it.

He considers it day and night. So you had to separate from one thing and join yourself to another. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. At Harvest Ministries we hear from people all around the country and in places that are sometimes hard to reach. Dear Pastor Greg, we live out in the wilds of Idaho but are able to enjoy your Harvest at Home broadcast. We call it our home church away and our 13-year-old son even gave his heart to Jesus while watching Harvest at Home. Praise the Lord and blessings to you. It's so great to know that the Harvest at Home broadcast has impacted this family in this way.

Do you have a story to tell? If so, would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop him an email. gregatharvest.org. Again, that's gregatharvest.org.

Well Pastor Greg is presenting his final study in the book of Nehemiah, a message called This is Not a Drill. Let's listen. A word to you who are single. Quick poll.

How many of you are not married? Raise your hand up. Raise your hand up. Okay.

Quite a few of you guys. Here's what I want to say to you. Don't even think about marrying a non-believer. Okay. Trust me on this. Even better trust the Word of God on this. You don't want to go there. Well you know maybe I'll lead them to the Lord.

Okay. Yeah maybe you will. Maybe you won't. And chances are you won't.

I'll explain that in a moment. But if you're a single person you want to look for a godly person. So maybe you're going up with someone right now and I'd ask you well are they a Christian? Uh yeah. They say God a lot.

Really? Let me re-state it. Look for someone that's even more godly than you.

Not less so. Well there's no question that they're a follower of Jesus Christ. Listen. The three most important decisions you're going to make in your life are number one what are you going to do with Jesus Christ? Number two what are you going to do with your life? And number three who are you going to marry?

Three most important decisions. Number one what are you going to do with Jesus Christ? Are you going to accept Him or reject Him?

Are you going to follow Him or not follow Him? Number two what are you going to do with your life? What course will your life take?

Thirdly who will you marry? You can get number one right and mess up two and three and have a really miserable life. Believe in Jesus but then go marry a non-believer or believe in Jesus and make a bunch of bad choices in your life.

You need to get all three of these right. The problem with the Israelites is they had a constant problem with this. They kept getting pulled down by ungodly people. They would intermarry with pagan people and end up doing pagan things you see.

And that's usually what happens when believers marry non-believers. See the problem is generally the believer does not pull the non-believer up but rather the non-believer pulls the believer down. I could illustrate right now. I could pick someone out here in the front row. Someone much smaller than me and I could say I am going to pull you on the platform. And I would take hold of your arm and with my considerable strength I might be able to pull you right up here on the stage. But the chances are even though you are much smaller than me and weigh less than I do you could probably pull me off the stage more easily than I could pull you on the stage even if I were stronger than you.

Why? You have the pull of gravity working for you. So in the same way when I am with a non-believer it is easier for me to go their way than it is for them to come my way. The only way they are going to come my way is if they are born again.

If they want Jesus. But the way I could go their way is I still have an old nature. I am still potentially drawn to sinful things.

So this is where the problem begins. And this is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6 14, don't be unequally yoked together with non-believers for what fellowship does light have with darkness or righteousness with unrighteousness. Are you going to eat at the table of the Lord and also at the table of the devil?

Another translation puts it this way and I like this translation. Don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That is not partnership. That is war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands?

Who would even think of setting up pagan idols in God's holy temple? See when you combine certain things problems can ensue. You can take nitro and you can add glycerin and you have an explosion.

In the same way you can take bleach and ammonia and they can generate chlorine gas that is both toxic and deadly. And that can potentially happen with a believer and a non-believer. It is not a good result because it is going to be detrimental to the believer. Now having said that when I am saying don't marry a non-believer I am not saying don't have contact with non-believers. Because how are we going to reach people with the gospel if we don't have contact with them?

Separation does not mean isolation. Paul actually wrote about this to the believers in Corinth. And understand Corinth was a really wicked place. When we talk about the Corinthians we could have just as easily called them the Californians. First and second Californians. Because the issues of Corinth apply to California. A lot of immorality.

A lot of crazy stuff going on. So these are Christians living in a super pagan culture surrounded by idol worshipers and all kinds of other things. So when Paul is writing to them they are dealing with some issues that are similar to what we might deal with today.

So Paul writes to the believers in Corinth and he says, don't associate with a so-called Christian if they indulge in sexual sin or are greedy or worship idols or are drunk or are a cheat. He took it a step further and says, don't even have a meal with them. Wow. Really? Isn't that being a little judgmental and mean?

No. Actually it is being loving and at the same time careful. How could avoiding people possibly be loving? Because if you love them enough you will tell them the truth about what the Bible says. So someone says, I am a Christian.

And they are living with their boyfriend or girlfriend or doing drugs or getting drunk. You say, hold on. You say you are a Christian. Why are you doing this?

The Bible tells you not to do these things. Hey man. Don't judge my journey. Really? You are actually saying that.

Yeah. Don't judge my journey. Buddy I am going to judge your journey and you with it. Ok. Craig the Bible says, judge not, judge not, judge not. I don't know any other verse but judge not. Yes the Bible says, Jesus speaking, judge not lest you be judged.

Right? What does it mean? It means condemn not lest you be condemned. I am in no position to condemn a person. To say that person is going to hell. I don't know their heart.

I don't know everything about them. That is not my role. But I am supposed to judge people which means evaluate where they are at spiritually. I am supposed to judge myself the Bible says.

We make evaluations every day about all kinds of things. And does not the Bible even say, judgment begins at the house of God? So if you are a fellow Christian and you are doing things that contradict the Bible I am going to call you out on them not because I want to hurt you but because I want to help you. Because you are on a destructive path. And I want you to turn around. Galatians 6 Paul writes, brothers and sisters if another believer is overcome by some sin you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back into the right path and be careful you don't fall into the same temptation yourself.

So yes I want to help them. Because the Bible says, faithful are the wounds of a friend but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. That means I came and I love you and I am going to tell you the truth because I love you and I don't want you to go down this path. Now having said that I still need to have contact with nonbelievers because Paul continues on and he says, now I am not saying avoid nonbelievers, 1 Corinthians 5 10, who indulge in sexual sin or are greedy or cheap people. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. You might be surprised to know that when I have friendships with nonbelievers and I have friends that don't know the Lord and we talk and I stand for what I stand for and they know what I believe. But I don't expect nonbelievers to behave as believers. But I do expect Christians to behave as Christians. But if you are ignorant and you don't know what the Bible says about this and that I am not going to harp on those things that you happen to be doing as much as I am going to try to point you to Christ because once you come to Christ all those other things will get sorted out. So that is my main objective with a nonbeliever.

Bring them to Christ. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie with practical insights based in the book of Nehemiah. And there is more to come as Pastor Greg wraps up this final message in his series called The Rebuilt Life. 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. And there are 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. You say what's in it? 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 Gregg'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. You know, there's nothing like hearing the Word of God and worshiping 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, next time, Pastor Gregg has more insights from this final study in the book of Nehemiah, our series called The Rebuilt Life. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Lord. 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 / 2023-04-09 16:31:19 / 2023-04-09 16:40:59 / 10

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