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Things to Do Before the End of the World | Anticipating the Return of Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 21, 2022 3:00 am

Things to Do Before the End of the World | Anticipating the Return of Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 21, 2022 3:00 am

What do you do while you’re on-hold? Do you hum along with that on-hold music? Do you tap your pencil, or daydream a little? Few of us enjoy waiting. But we’re all in a waiting mode right now as we anticipate the return of Christ. But today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the Lord doesn’t want us to kill time, He wants us to bring light and life to those around us. Maybe we’re not waiting on God. Maybe He’s waiting for us to invite more into the Kingdom.

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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 more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith.

And as our culture gets darker, we as Christians need to shine brighter. What do you do while you're on hold? Do you hum along with that on hold music?

Tap your pencil? Maybe daydream a little? Few of us enjoy waiting, but we're all in a waiting mode right now as we anticipate the return of Christ. But today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the Lord doesn't want us to kill time. He wants us to bring life and life to those around us. Maybe we're not waiting on God. Maybe He's waiting for us to invite more into the kingdom. How many of you believe that Jesus Christ could come back in your lifetime?

Raise up your hand. You believe it's possible. How many of you believe that Jesus Christ could come back at any time? Okay.

That's good. Let's just say for the sake of a point that we knew that Jesus Christ was returning for us at three o'clock in the afternoon tomorrow. I think the first thing you'd want to do is make sure our clocks are set properly, right? Now we know this isn't possible because no man knows the day of the hour. But having said that, just for the sake of a point, let's say we knew Jesus was coming tomorrow afternoon at three o'clock p.m. I am sure we would all look like saints at 2 45, right?

Nobody would be messing around. We'd be wearing our Sunday morning smiles and we would have our come quickly Jesus attitudes. Well the fact is that's the way we ought to be every day. Martin Luther once said quote, there are two days on my calendar this day and that day.

And that day he was referring to was the day of the Lord's return. The fact is we should live every day as though it were the day Christ were coming back. We should live every day as though it were our last day.

Someone once asked the great evangelist D.L. Moody, how would you spend the last day on earth? If you knew it was your last day how would you spend it?

His response was I wouldn't do anything different than I do every day. And that is the way that we should live as Christians. So this is our last message in the book of Daniel. And Daniel is to a large degree a prophetic book. Which means it speaks of things to come.

That's why we've called it End of Days. It's a counterpart in the Old Testament to the New Testament book of Revelation. There's a lot in Daniel about the Lord's imminent return. And there's a lot in the Bible about the Lord's return as well. There are 260 chapters in the New Testament. And Christ's return is mentioned no less than 318 times in those chapters. In fact statistically one verse in every 25 verses in the Bible mentions the return of Jesus Christ.

So this is an emphasis of Scripture. You know I just wrote this book Jesus Revolution about the last great American revival. And I pointed out in our last message that one of the earmarks of that revival was we believe Jesus was coming back again. So some of you are hearing this and you're thinking well your timing was just a little bit off. Like maybe by 45 years.

Yeah well look here's my response. We've never been closer to the return of the Lord than we are right now. We're 45 years closer and I still believe that with all of my heart. Besides the Bible says one day with God is a thousand years. A thousand years is one day. The Lord is not late as some men count lateness but He's long suffering toward us.

Not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Yes it's true we were praying for Jesus to come back in the early 70s. But let me ask a question to make a point. How many of you have become a Christian since 1975? Raise your hand.

Since 19. Aren't you glad God didn't answer our prayers? You'd have gone through the tribulation period. So good news is the Lord's waiting for that last person to believe. Can you imagine if you actually knew who the last person was that was holding everything up. Like God's waiting for the last person and when they believe we're out of here. We know the rapture happens and if you knew who it was would you be tempted to apply pressure on them a little bit. It's like will you get saved already. Well we don't know who the last person is but the Lord does.

But of course we need to be ready. So here in Daniel 12 the prophet is given one final vision. He is given sort of a glimpse behind the veil of the supernatural world. The world of God and Satan.

Of demons and angels and of the afterlife as well. Daniel 12 verse 1. At that time Michael the archangel who stands guard over your nation will arise and there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued. Daniel is referring here to the tribulation period that we've talked about at length.

It lasts seven years. It begins with the emergence of Antichrist and ends with the return of Jesus Christ. Continues on. Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky. And those who lead many to righteousness will shine as the stars forever.

We will stop there. The Bible teaches that there is coming a day when Christians will be judged. Now understand the Bible speaks of the great white throne judgment toward the end of Revelation. That is a judgment that only non-believers will stand before. We read the small and the great stand before God.

And the books are open and a book is open which is the book of life. And whoever is not found written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire. That is for non-believers only. No Christians will be there. No Christian would want to be there. But there is another judgment seat for Christians. This one is not about whether or not you get into heaven. Because in fact this judgment seat I am talking about happens in heaven. It is called the judgment seat of Christ where we will receive rewards for our faithful service to the Lord.

And God does give rewards out. You know I went to my grandson's soccer game yesterday. It is Christopher. He is only five. He is playing soccer quite well. I bribed him ahead of time. I said if you score a goal I will buy you a toy.

It worked for his sister. She wasn't scoring any goals. I said if you score a goal I will buy you a doll. She scored a goal. And the next game I said I will get you a doll. She scored three goals. I stopped saying it.

It was getting too expensive. But I don't think Christopher has scored a goal yet. So I said that to him.

And sure enough he scored a goal. Now here is the problem with sports for kids nowadays. They don't keep score. Right. Because everyone is a winner. Right. So it is like who is the kid.

Nobody knows. They are all winners. And I think this is ridiculous by the way. I think we should keep score and there should be a winner and a loser. Because we are setting them up for real life. Because in life there is winners and losers.

And guess what. In heaven there are those who achieve and receive rewards and there are those that don't achieve so much and will receive no reward. God doesn't say everyone is a winner.

Well in a way we are because we are in heaven. But do you want to really have nothing to show for your life when you are in heaven. You see I am going to get to heaven because of what God has done for me by sending Jesus to die on the cross. By grace I am saved through faith not of works lest any man should boast the Bible says. But now because I am a Christian.

Because I have been saved by God I should want to do things for Him. So describing this judgment 1 Corinthians 3 says, on that judgment day fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value. If the work survives that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up the builder will suffer great loss.

The builder will be saved but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. So we want to be rewarded in that day because of our faithful service to the Lord. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's such a blessing to hear from listeners who take time to express their appreciation. Pastor Greg you are my new favorite pastor to listen to. I have your video on witnessing and I also listen to you on the radio in Ohio.

One day I heard you were talking about the Jesus movement and was excited because I was actually saved in 1975 during that time. The music artist who most influenced me was Keith Green. One month before my husband and I were scheduled to help minister at a Keith Green concert, Keith was killed in a plane crash. It was a real blow to not see him perform in person because he was so passionate about Jesus.

I still play his music and I'm also thankful that we'll see him in heaven one day. Thank you Pastor Greg for continuing to teach the word of God. If your life has been impacted through the ministry of Harvest, would you let Pastor Greg know?

Just drop him an email greg at harvest dot org. Again that's greg at harvest dot o-r-g and find out more about the Jesus music movie available through us here at harvest dot o-r-g. Well Pastor Greg is presenting his final study in our Daniel series today. A message called things to do before the end of the world. All right let's shift now from Daniel 12 over to Luke 12.

Luke 12. This is a story that Jesus told about how we are to live as we await his return. It's called a parable. A parable is simply an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

An illustration. I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Luke 12. Jesus says be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning as though you are waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth he himself will seat them put on an apron and serve them as they sit and eat. Verse 38. He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn but whenever he comes he'll reward the servants who are ready.

Understand this if a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming he would not permit his house to be broken into. You must be ready all the time for the son of man will come when least expected. Now Peter asked an interesting question. Lord is this illustration just for us or is it for everyone? The Lord replied a faithful sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. And if the master returns and finds that servant has done a good job there will be a reward.

Now drop down to verse 48. When someone has been given much much will be required in return. And when someone has been entrusted with much even more will be required. Now Jesus is using a first century illustration of a wedding. Weddings were different back in the days of Jesus than they are now. Weddings are very expensive now. There's a whole industry catering to it and people can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a wedding. Now my wedding cost about ten dollars. Early 70s wedding. It was a hippie wedding.

Okay. Everybody had long hair and my wife was a vision of beauty. She actually wore the dress her mother was married in. A classic white wedding dress. Timeless.

I don't know what I was thinking. I picked the ugliest tuxedo ever made. I had this kind of ruffly shirt. A bow tie.

Wide lapels. I am being honest I look like a pimp. I had long hair. Long red beard. I don't know why she went through with it. Seriously she should have looked at me and said I don't know. But you know underneath all that hair Kathy could see a bald man and that is exactly what she got. But it was you know 44 years later we are going strong so we are thankful to God.

It is not how much you spend. Well back in biblical times our weddings weren't like ours. Our weddings you know we sent out the invitation.

You arrive. The ceremony takes place. There is a reception following etc. Back in these days a wedding could last upwards to a week. It was a big event. A big feast.

And there was sort of a fun element to it. Everyone would arrive ready to go. But you did not know when the groom was coming. So the groom might come in the morning or in the afternoon or in the evening and when he was on his way an announcement would be made. The groom is coming. So everybody fell into place and the ceremony took place. So with that in mind that is what Jesus is talking about.

Maybe He will come later than we are expecting. Ok. So here is point number one if you are taking notes. We should be shining lights in a dark place. We should be shining lights in a dark place.

Look at verse 35. Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning. Now back in those days everyone wore these long flowing robes. So when it says that you are to have your lamps burning and be dressed or as King James puts it have your waist girded it means tighten your belt. So they would wear a belt over their long flowing garment in those days. And on the belt you might have a flask with oil for your little lamp and other things. And so the idea of tightening the belt was sort of pulling your robe up above your knee. Tightening the belt giving you freedom of movement right.

So that is the idea that is being conveyed. So if we were to put it into our vernacular today it would be like saying have fresh batteries in your flashlight. Or have your phone charged. Or have gas in your car. I don't know why it is but my wife loves to run my car to the bottom of empty. And she will say it says we have another nine miles. I will drive the car just praying I make it to the gas station right.

That is not a good way to live. And so in the same way you want to have your tank filled. You want to have your phone charged.

And in light of the Lord's return you want to be ready for His return. So you take that fuel that oil and you pour it into your little dish. Now back in those days their their lights would be like a little clay dish and you would have oil in it and a floating wick. And so that is how you fueled your little first century flashlight.

So always have a little extra oil that flasks on your belt. So the idea is be brightly shining. Always have oil to shine brightly. And as our culture gets darker we as Christians need to shine brighter. Jesus said, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Notice it says let your light shine so people see your good works. So it is not only talking about the gospel. I think you know we believe in talking about the gospel here at Harvest.

If you know nothing you know that. We believe in verbal proclamation. We are not ashamed of the gospel. But having said that we need to live the gospel. And we need to demonstrate and show the gospel to people being a good and godly neighbor. If someone is in a hospital you go visit them. If someone needs prayer you pray for them. If someone has hit hard times you take a meal to them.

Doing those things that we do in the name of the Lord. Hey if a child has no hope you bring hope to them. We want to show compassion.

Why? Jesus said in the gospel of Matthew, when I was hungry you fed me. When I was thirsty you gave me drink. When I was a stranger you took me into your home. When I was naked you gave me clothing. When I was sick you cared for me. When I was in prison you visited me. His disciples said well wait when did we ever see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink or a stranger and show you hospitality or naked and give you clothing. Why don't we see you in prison and come and visit you.

And he said I tell you the truth when you did it to the least of these my brothers and sisters you were doing it to me. So we're doing it for the Lord. Listen we have all have three things we can give to God. Three things we can give to God. Our treasure, our talent, and our time.

Our treasure, our talent, and our time. First there's our treasure and that's those finances that God has put under our care. This is why we encourage every believer to give generously to the Lord because I find that your heart follows your money. Jesus said where your treasure is there will your heart be also. If you've invested in a certain stock I'm certain you will follow that stock because you want it to do well because if it does well you do well. So when I've invested in the kingdom of God I'm interested in the benefits of it.

Where we put our treasure our hearts will follow. Number two there's our talent. God has blessed every believer every person with talent. You have natural talent and then you have gifting from the Holy Spirit.

God gives gifts to people. I was talking to a young man the other day who is getting involved in ministry and he's still trying to find this place and what his real gift is and I said you know what I did when I was your age. I volunteered for everything. I offered to do anything that no one else would do and you know what I found out I was bad at a lot of stuff. But I also found that I was good at a few things.

A few things and some of those things surprised me. I didn't know that I had a gifting there but I did and so we have these gifts that God has given us and we come and say I want to serve the Lord somehow. And finally there's our time. Our time. God gives to each of us 1,440 minutes to use every day.

24 hours to invest. Now you have to sleep for part of that of course. But for those other hours we're responsible for what we do with them. That is why the Bible says redeem the time because the days are evil. And that word redeem can be translated make sacred and wise use of every opportunity.

So back to our story. Jesus is saying have your bags packed and be ready to go even if your master doesn't return as quickly as you would hope. Look at verse 38. He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn but whenever he comes he will reward the servants who are ready. So Jesus is saying even if I come later than you originally expected be ready. Good encouragement today from Pastor Greg Laurie from his message called Things to Do Before the End of the World. He'll have more for us next time here on A New Beginning as he wraps up his series called End of Days. So have you seen the film called The Jesus Music?

It's now out on DVD. It's a fast-paced visit with some of the pioneers of what we now call contemporary Christian music. It was often a musical expression of how lost they were until they found the Lord. Tommy Coombs of Love Song. The drugs didn't work. All the free thinking and LSD and all that stuff just left people rather hopeless.

We began to hit the bottom. Glenn Kaiser of Resurrection Band. The war inside didn't go away even though we exercised our freedom to be, do, and experience whatever we wanted to experience.

Chuck Girard of Love Song. I'm still empty. I'm still clueless.

We're sitting there kind of bewildered thinking like where do we go from here? And that's when we started to hear about Calvary. Pastor Greg Laurie. Every night it was something new. A new band would form with new songs. This new thing called Jesus Music caught fire as hearts caught fire for the Lord. I saw contemporary Christian music born right before my very eyes.

Michael W. Smith. There was this one record, this big red marinara song on a white cover. It was called the Everlasting Living Jesus Music Concert. We made the album for about four thousand dollars.

It went on to sell two hundred thousand units, you know, which is unbelievable. You know, Dave, this is a new resource. We're offering to our listeners that I know they're going to love.

But let me tell you a story that I've rarely told. I was in a Christian band for one night. So this is early 70s, right? Calvary Chapel is experiencing the Jesus movement in full force.

All these new bands are literally forming left and right. And so I was over at a little home Bible study and one of the guys there was a very good guitar player and songwriter and singer. And I was in a little home Bible study and then there was another guy who was an amazing flautist.

Isn't that how you say it? A flautist, right? Really incredible. He could play that flute like there was no tomorrow. So my friend singing this song and the flautist is playing his flute and I'm sort of keeping time on the coffee table, kind of drumming a little bit. And someone said, let's form a band.

And I think I remember the band was Bright and Morning Stars, something like that. So we went down to Calvary Chapel. Hey, we're a brand new band. Can we play?

And they said, sure, you're on tonight. So next thing I know, I'm standing on the stage with a competent musician on guitar, another competent musician on a flute. And I'm standing there with a conga drum.

You know, I couldn't strap on a coffee table. And I got up, I got nervous. I couldn't keep time with the song. And I immediately discovered, this is not my calling. But you know, this just sort of gives you a sense of the times as all these bands are forming, bands like Love Song, names like Country Faith, Gentle Faith, a lot of faith back in those days, The Way and others that were creating a new kind of music. Now, let me explain. Up to that point, basically in the church, you would find traditional hymns, the odd folk song here and there, but no drum sets, no amplifiers, no electric guitars.

But that is what was happening. So I saw contemporary Christian music happen before my very eyes. I had a front row seat for a spiritual awakening.

And so this has been captured in a beautiful way by the Irwin brothers from the Kingdom Story Company, who have produced this documentary film called The Jesus Music. And we want to offer it to you for your gift of any size. Sometimes people say, does that really mean my gift of any size?

Yes, it does. Some give a little, some give more, some may give a bit more. Whatever you can give, we'll invest it in our ministry to continue to teach the Word of God and preach the gospel. And I want to thank you in advance for that. And I will send you a special little package. It has the DVD and the Blu-ray and a downloadable code so you can watch The Jesus Music on your computer, on your laptop, on your phone, or whatever device you have. So order it right now. We're so excited to offer to you The Jesus Music.

Let me add one other thing. This movie is sort of the forerunner, if you will, of a major film that's coming out next year called Jesus Revolution. The film we're going to send you is a documentary. But this other film is going to be a feature film shown all around the world. So get ready and learn about your spiritual heritage in order your copy of The Jesus Music right now.

Yeah, that's right. We have it waiting for you. We'll send it to say thank you for your generous investment in teaching believers and reaching unbelievers as we do each day here on A New Beginning.

Again, it's called The Jesus Music. And you can call us any time 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514.

Or just go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg gives us practical insights on how we can be ready for the return of our Lord. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.

Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 11:27:24 / 2023-03-21 11:37:58 / 11

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