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Things to Do Before the End of the World | Staying Ready for Jesus' Return

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 22, 2022 3:00 am

Things to Do Before the End of the World | Staying Ready for Jesus' Return

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 22, 2022 3:00 am

People sometimes ask, can Christians do this or that? It’s often a sneaky way of asking, “How much can I get away with and still be a Christian?” Pastor Greg Laurie would say that’s the wrong question to ask. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, he points out that we should be asking: how much can I do for God, given all He's done for me? How can I make myself most useful as I wait for that great day when Jesus returns to take us home? That's our focus in our final study in Daniel.

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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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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. If that is yes, then change your plans and live in such a way that you're in a state of readiness for His imminent return. People sometimes ask, can Christians do this or that? It's often a sneaky way of asking, how much can I get away with and still be a Christian? Well, Pastor Greg Laurie would say that's the wrong question to ask. Today on A New Beginning, he points out we should be asking, how much can I do for God, given all He's done for me?

How can I make myself most useful as I wait for that great day when Jesus returns to take us home? That's our focus in our final study in Daniel. We're going to be looking at Daniel chapter 12.

So why don't you make your way over there right now. And we're also going to be looking at Luke chapter 12. So Daniel 12 and Luke 12.

And the title of my message is, Things to Do Before the End of the World. Daniel 12 verse 1. At that time, Michael the archangel, who stands guard over your nation, will arise. And there'll 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. It 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'll stop there. The Bible teaches that there is coming a day when Christians will be judged. 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. We want to be rewarded in that day because of our faithful service to the Lord.

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 were 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 asks 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.

Okay, so here's point number one if you're taking notes. We should be shining lights in a dark place. 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. 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's 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. And as our culture gets darker, we as Christians need to shine brighter.

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.

You all remember one of the stories of Jesus sending his disciples across the Sea of Galilee and he went onto a mountaintop, no doubt to pray for them. He said, Go to the other side, which meant they're going to get to the other side. It doesn't mean it would be smooth sailing, but it meant they would get to the other side. So as they're making their way across, a great storm arises and it's so bad they're really starting to panic a little bit. They're wondering if they're going to survive and they're praying and they're calling out to God and they're living in complete fear. And we read that Jesus came to them on the fourth watch of the night.

What does that mean? Well, back in those days, a day was divided into four watches and the fourth watch of the night was that time just before dawn, which meant that the disciples had been battling that storm for nine long hours. And I wonder if you're going through a storm right now, a storm that just won't seem to let up.

And just about the time it seems to be getting better, it actually gets a little bit worse. And you're wondering, does God know what I'm going through right now? Is he paying attention? Did he hear what the doctor just said to me? Does he know about my marital problems? Is he aware of these challenges I'm facing with my kids right now? Does God know this hardship that I'm dealing with? Is he aware? Yes, he's aware. Because even when they were out at sea, even though he wasn't in the boat yet, he was watching and he was praying.

And you need to know that God is watching over you. Proverbs 15, 3 says, The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good. Yes, he came, seemingly at the last minute, but sometimes he does that so we will completely exhaust our resources. Well, we've come to the very end. It's been said, when you get to the end of yourself, you get to the beginning of God. Are you at the end of yourself right now? You've just pulled all your hair out. I have.

I don't know where to turn. It reminds me of King Jehoshaphat. Clearly he had a weight problem. First service laughed at that. I don't know what your problem is.

Jehoshaphat. And I said he had a weight problem and you didn't even laugh. They thought it was funny.

I don't know, what are you, the more sophisticated people? I'm just kidding. I didn't even think it was funny the first time.

I was surprised when they laughed frankly. Anyway, Jehoshaphat was the king. No, don't laugh anyway. It was his real name.

It was his real name and that's kind of cruel for you to laugh at it, though he's not here. But there might be a Jehoshaphat here. I'm not going to ask because there probably will be.

It will be a very awkward moment. But anyway here is Jehoshaphat. He has his enemy approaching him. A massive army.

He has no way to protect himself. He is standing there with the wives and the kids. And all the people are pretty helpless. They said, Lord we don't know what to do about this great army but here we are and our eyes are upon you. And the Lord came through for them.

Is that how you feel right now? The Lord will come through for you sometimes in the fourth watch. You just need to be ready. He may come in the third watch, the fourth watch.

But know this. He's coming. I love Peter verse 41. Is this illustration just for us or is it for everyone?

Well answer it's for everyone. Because 2,000 years later we're talking about it. And as I've said we've never been closer to the Lord's return than we are now. Number one we are to be bright and shining lights. Number two we are to be watching for Him. We are to be watching for Him. Verse 37. Blessed are the servants whom the master when he comes will find watching. You should be watching. What does that mean? Standing around on a street corner staring at the sun. Come quickly Lord.

No you will probably be arrested. That's not what it means. To be watching means to be alert. To be aware.

To pay attention. When you see things happening that are fulfillment of Bible prophecies. The Bible says when you see these things beginning to happen look up for your redemption is drawing near.

Scripture tells us that Christ will return a second time for those who are looking for Him. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey I don't know if you know about this but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home.

Exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world. Listen to this we even have Harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the Word of God. So join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is offering specific biblical instructions on how we can be ready for the return of Christ. In a message called Things to Do Before the End of the World. Number three we are to be ready to go.

Ready to go. When I leave on a trip I pack my bags the night before because I usually take morning flights. And by the way I always over pack. I'm the worst. I pack more than my wife packs.

It's embarrassing. Big suitcase Greg. Smaller suitcase Kathy. And she always will say why do you schlep all that stuff everywhere? I say you never know what you'll need and sure enough she forgets something and I have it in my bag. My bag is like Felix's magic bag of tricks.

Remember that? Oh I forgot my power source on my computer. Oh look here. I have an extra. Oh I forgot the charger from my phone.

Well look at this. I have an extra one for you. So you know. And then when we are out and about I keep things in the trunk of my car like extra jackets. Kathy will say why do you carry all that stuff? You never know when you will need it.

We are in a restaurant. Cheese cold. Oh look. I have a jacket in the back of my car. I am just rationalizing the fact that I am a hoarder.

Ok. But you have your bags packed and you are ready to go. And so but the idea that Jesus is communicating is get ready to go. Have gas in your car.

Have your phone charged. In other words be ready for the Lord's return. Live that way. Ready for the Lord's return. So when you are going to go somewhere ask yourself the question this place and I am going to go. These people I am going to hang out with.

This thing I am about to do. Would I be ashamed or embarrassed to be doing this thing if Christ were to come back again? And if the answer to that is yes then change your plans. And live in such a way that you are in a state of readiness for His imminent return. Because if you really believe Jesus is coming back it should affect you in the way that you live.

Number four. We should not only be ready. We should be anxiously awaiting His return.

Look at verse 36. Be like men who wait for their master when he will return from the wedding and knocks. They will open to Him immediately. Imagine if Jesus were coming over to your house for lunch today. And so He says I am on my way.

And then He texts you ten minutes out. Five minutes out. Getting close. Pulling into your driveway.

Right? You would be excited. You would be seeing Him come up the walkway. Here He comes. Here He comes. Open the door.

That is how you would welcome Jesus I am sure. We had a friend coming over the other day to pick up Kathy. One of her girlfriends are going to some planning meeting. She likes to have planning meetings to plan meetings to plan other meetings.

And so anyway it is one of the many meetings. And so she came and so I saw her coming up the driveway so I grabbed the door. I am going to open the door before she knocks on it. So she is right there like that. Pull it over. She jumped. I almost gave her a heart attack and I felt very bad. She wasn't ready for that.

But that is the idea. Jesus is coming. Open the door.

You know I think it all comes down to how your relationship is with God. Remember when you were a little kid and you would get into trouble and your mother would use those ominous words, Just wait until your father gets home. And here comes dad. Pulls up in the driveway.

Right? But if you had done nothing wrong, Oh daddy is home. Excellent. See if you are walking with God you don't dread the return of Jesus. In fact your reaction to this idea that Christ could come back at any moment is a real indicator of where you are at spiritually. I think when you are right with the Lord you will say along with the apostle John, even so come quickly Lord Jesus. If you are not right with the Lord you probably wouldn't say that.

Point number five. We are to be not only waiting anxiously. We are to be working. Working, verse 43, blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.

So doing. The Bible says faith without works is dead. If watching is the evidence of faith, working is the evidence of faith in action. Watching for the Lord's return will help us prepare our own lives but working will assure we bring others with us. And notice that Jesus says blessed is the person that is living this way. The word blessed can be translated happy. It is a happy thing to live a life always ready for the return of Jesus. Let me take it a step further.

This might sound odd but hear me out. It is a happy thing to be ready to die. What? Because only those who are prepared to die are really ready to live. Look nobody wants to die. We all want to get to heaven. Nobody wants to go there through death. We would all prefer going there through the rapture and that could happen.

But if it doesn't the idea is that I have got that taken care of. I have made that commitment to Christ and I am ready to go. So I wake up in the morning and say well if this is my last day then I am going to live it for your glory and if you give me a thousand more days or ten thousand more days Lord that is up to you. But I am going to enjoy each day walking with you.

But it is sort of an attitude of I have got the big things taken care of so now I can live my life the way it was meant to be lived. Let's summarize and conclude. Number one we should be shining lights in a dark place. Number two we are to be watching for Him. Number three we are to be ready to go. Number four we are not only to be ready but anxiously awaiting His return. And finally we are to be working. Now a final warning from Jesus for the person who is not ready. Luke 12 verse 45. But if that servant says in his heart, My master's delaying is coming and begins to beat the male and female servants and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of the servant will come in a day when he is not looking for him. I think this is a description of a person who thinks they are a Christian who is not a Christian because he is called a servant.

Which would imply he looks like one of us but in reality he isn't. Because he is not ready. He is living a bad life. He is getting drunk. Do we have to actually tell you don't get drunk? This comes as a revelation to some people.

They say, well, hi. Yeah, don't get drunk. Technically don't get drunk. Don't be drunk with wine.

The Bible says be filled with the Holy Spirit. But it is not just alcohol. It can be drugs. But it can be other things.

Other things can dull our senses. You know Jesus warned about the cares and riches of this life. And it is not so much that it is not a bad thing to be concerned about what you are going to eat or what you are going to wear or where you are going to live or where you are going to work. Those are important things. But don't be obsessed with those things. Be focused on Christ primarily. And those things will find their proper balance. So the idea that is being communicated is be ready and looking and don't be living an ungodly life.

He is beating the people that work for him. Don't be doing wicked sinful things. Because you are not ready for the Lord's return.

And I ask you in closing are you ready? Going back to Daniel 12 for a moment it says that there is going to be this resurrection. Those who believe will be raised to everlasting life. Those who do not believe will be raised to shame and everlasting disgrace. The believer has everlasting life. Jesus said, For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son. And whoever believes in Him should not perish but have what? Everlasting life.

That is ours. But a non-believer they are going to face everlasting shame and everlasting disgrace. Look the way to be sure that you are ready to meet God is by believing in Jesus Christ. Let's go back to that analogy of Jesus coming over to your house today for lunch. Jesus says, Behold I stand at the door and I knock and if you will hear my voice and open the door I will come in. So if you want Jesus to come into your house for lunch you open the door.

You welcome Him. You give Him a seat. You put the meal in front of Him. Or you leave the door shut. So Jesus is standing at the door of your life right now.

And He is knocking. And you have a choice to either say, Lord come in or Lord I don't want you. And those are your only choices as well. I don't want to do either.

I am just kind of like neutral. I am just not going to answer the door. Look if I come over to your house for lunch and I am out there a half hour still knocking. And by the way I can see you through the window.

And you are enjoying a nice meal. In fact you are on dessert now and I am still knocking. And you haven't opened the door I think maybe after an hour I will get the hint. Maybe they don't want me to come in. I understand that is a rejection. Well I am just not sure. I don't want to open the door. But it is a rejection.

Call it what it is. You either say yes or no. You either open the door or you leave it shut. Have you opened the door to Jesus yet? If you open the door to Him now He will welcome you into heaven then. If you leave the door shut to Him now He will turn you away then. Sadly.

But He will. It is all up to you. If you are not sure if Jesus Christ is living inside of you.

If you don't have the confidence that your sin is forgiven and that you will go to heaven when you die. Respond to this invitation. I am going to give now. Let's all bow our heads. Father now thank You for Your love for us in sending Jesus. Lord Jesus thank You for dying on that cross for our sin and rising again from the dead. Now I pray for anybody here who does not yet know You. Help them to see their need for You. And help them to come to You and believe.

We ask in Jesus' name. Amen. They had no idea they were helping to create an entire industry. I saw contemporary Christian music born right before my very eyes.

You don't know you're a pioneer of something when you're doing it. We were just doing what we love. You had grunge and you had pop and you had rock and you had hip-hop. There was so much great music going on. Everything felt so fresh and new. What we were doing said so much across the world. It was so much drama in the church.

Every setback there would be a glimmer of hope. Hey that's a little snippet from a special resource that we want to send you for this month for your gift of any size. It's called The Jesus Music. You may have seen it in the theaters.

You may have seen it on a streaming platform. So this documentary film, The Jesus Music, tells the story of how this contemporary Christian music that is so much a part of our lives today started. How it started out of a spiritual awakening. How young people had their lives changed and wanted to speak to their culture. And it's still alive and well today.

There's contemporary Christian music stations all around the world and concerts that are being done all the time. It's fantastic but it had a very incredible beginning. And we want to tell you that story. You're going to be moved by this. You're going to laugh.

You might even get a tear in your eye. But you're going to love to hear the history of this music that is so much a part of the landscape today. So it's called The Jesus Music. We're going to send it to you on DVD and Blu-ray and also send you a downloadable code.

So you can put it on your tablet or your phone or watch it on your computer. It's yours to keep and enjoy. So whatever you can send will be greatly appreciated because we'll put that to work helping us continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God. So order your copy of The Jesus Music. You might even do it right now.

Yeah, great idea. It's here waiting for you at a new beginning. And thanks so much for your generous donation that helps us continue to teach believers and reach unbelievers. Every day we hear from people whose lives have changed because of the teaching of God's word. And when you invest, you play a part in that. So thanks for sending a donation today and be sure to ask for The Jesus Music.

It'll come to you on DVD, Blu-ray, and in downloadable form. So call us any time, night or day at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. And then if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with God today, Pastor Greg has some additional thoughts to share. Maybe as you've been listening to this message, you've thought, I wish I could come into this relationship with God.

I just don't know how. Let me tell you how you can come into a relationship with God right here, right now. First of all, you need to recognize you need God. You need to admit you're a sinner. I know some people choke on that word, but the Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But then you need to recognize that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for your sin. The Bible says, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And then you need to believe in Jesus. Jesus put it this way, for God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. You might ask, how does one believe in Jesus?

To believe means to put your faith and trust in Christ and Christ alone, and to receive him into your life as your own friend, Savior, and Lord. The Bible says, for as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God. Would you like to receive Christ? And by that I mean, would you like to ask Jesus to enter into your life and be your Savior, your friend, your Lord? If so, you can just pray this prayer after me. It's a simple prayer.

You can pray it out loud if you would like, or you can pray it in the quietness of your heart. But if you want Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sin, if you want to go to heaven when you die, or maybe you want to make a recommitment to the Lord, just pray this prayer after me now. Pray these words if you would. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. I turn now from my sin, and I ask you to come into my life and forgive me of all of my sin.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for hearing this prayer, and thank you for answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Hey, if you just prayed that prayer, I want to congratulate you and say welcome to the family of God.

Yeah, that's right. And we have some follow-up materials ready for you to help you as you begin this new relationship with the Lord. We call it our New Believers' Growth Packet. It'll answer many of the questions you might have, so if you prayed along with Pastor Greg today, let us send this follow-up material your way free of charge. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here around the clock.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. Well, next time Pastor Greg brings us a fascinating message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self, Personal Practical Wisdom Coming Your Way. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 21:21:41 / 2023-03-20 21:33:04 / 11

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