August 2, 2022 3:00 am
Whether it’s a small folk group or a large orchestra, beautiful music comes when everyone plays together in rhythm and harmony. If each is playing a different tune, they have a word for that: yuck! Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the importance of unity in our efforts to bring the Gospel to our generation. In a time of division and disunity in the culture, it’s more important than ever that we all come together “in one accord,” as the Bible puts it.
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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. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie has an important word of encouragement about focusing on what's most important. I don't know if I can remember a time in our nation when we've been more divided.
And I think sometimes we're allowing our political views to overshadow our theological views, and we find ourselves divided. We need to remember that our primary message is about God's kingdom, calling people to Christ. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace how sweet the sound. Again you hear when the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins. Whether it's a small folk group or a large orchestra, beautiful music comes when everyone plays together in rhythm and harmony. If each is playing a different tune, they have a word for that. Yuck. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the importance of unity in our efforts to bring the gospel to our generation.
In a time of division and disunity in the culture, it's more important than ever that we all come together in one accord as the Bible puts it. Hey if you've ever had a new car, there's nothing like the smell of a new car. You know what I'm saying? It's cruising down the road. Everything is clean and shiny and everything's working. Let's just say you got your new car and you're driving around. You're loving it.
It's so fantastic. And then after about a week or so your car just sputters and stops. You have to pull over to the side of the road. You have it tailored to the car dealership. You're pretty upset. You're saying, why did this car stop?
It's brand new. And the dealer gets in your car and he turns it on and he says, you're out of gas. Okay.
How silly would that be? And so I bring this up because sometimes as Christians we fail to realize that we need to be filled and refilled and refilled again with the Holy Spirit. And we're looking at a church. The first century church.
The church that changed the world. And this was something that they encountered on a regular basis because I think sometimes as Christians we're sort of sputtering. We're slowing down. We're not firing on all cylinders.
It's because we need fuel in the tank. But what does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? I think when we hear that phrase we imagine it must be an emotional experience. Well the fact is it can be.
Right? When you say, Lord fill me with your Holy Spirit you may feel something. But then again you may feel nothing. I said recently do you have an emotional experience when you put gas in your car or your SUV?
And I said you may once you see how much money it's going to cost you. Right? So we have to set the emotional idea aside. Understand this first century church they were filled with the Spirit again and again and again. And it set them into motion. In fact I think you could title the book of Acts the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The Bible doesn't call this the Acts of the Apostles.
It was titled later. But really this is the work of the Holy Spirit. And when we bring up the Holy Spirit some people wonder who is the Holy Spirit?
I heard someone ask my wife the other day. They're very new in the faith. Who is the Holy Spirit?
Well that's a good question. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is a personality. He is not just a force.
He has a distinct will and purpose. In fact the Holy Spirit can be resisted. The Holy Spirit can be quenched. The Holy Spirit can be lied to. The Holy Spirit can be insulted. And the Holy Spirit can even be blasphemed. In fact the only unforgivable sin in the Bible is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to Jesus Christ.
That is point number one. He has come to bring us to Jesus. In John 16 Jesus says, speaking of the Spirit, when He has come He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. So if I blaspheme it means I am resisting the primary work He has come to do in my life. I am saying no to Jesus. The only unforgivable sin is the rejection of Christ. Every other sin can be forgiven. So the Holy Spirit comes to bring us to Jesus.
Number two. The Holy Spirit seals us. So when you become a Christian He seals you.
What does this even mean? Well over in Ephesians 1 13 it says when you believed in Christ He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit whom He promised long ago. Listen.
The Spirit is God's guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He purchased us to be His own people. So let's go back to that new car purchase. You go down to the car lot and you say I like that car.
I would like to buy that car. Can you hold it for me for six months? They are going to say no we cannot do that because someone else may come and want to buy that car. But if you put a deposit down we will hold it for you for a certain amount of time. You know maybe 24 hours.
Maybe 48 hours. But we need a deposit showing that you really want to buy this car. So you put a serious deposit down on the car. In the same way God says I am serious about the work I am doing in your life and to prove it when you believe in me I am giving you the Holy Spirit. It is my guarantee that I will give you the inheritance I promise.
Number three. The Holy Spirit assures me that I am a child of God. Have you ever doubted if you are really saved? Have you ever questioned if you are really going to heaven? Have you ever wondered if you really are God's child?
Listen. If you put your faith in Christ the Bible says God has sent His Spirit into your life to remind you that you belong to Him. In fact we read over in Romans 8 16, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. I know I am a Christian. I know I am a child of God. You say why?
Because you are such a great person. Yes. No. Not really. Au contraire.
The opposite of that. Despite my shortcomings and my mistakes and my sins I know I am God's child because His Spirit confirms it in my heart. And you sense that as well don't you? We are told over in 1 John 5 13, these things we write to you that you may know that you have eternal life because you have believed on the name of the Son of God.
So let's review. The Holy Spirit comes to bring us to Jesus. He seals us. The Holy Spirit reminds us we are God's children.
Here is another one. The Holy Spirit teaches us. John 14 26, the Helper Jesus says, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send to my name.
He will teach you all things and will bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you. Have you ever had a time where you are just reading the Bible and all of a sudden it just comes alive? A verse just jumps off the page and it speaks to you so directly.
That is exactly what you needed to hear. Or has there been another occasion where maybe you are sharing your faith with someone or encouraging or ministering to someone and suddenly a verse that you don't even remember memorizing jumps into your brain and you are quoting it perfectly and you are saying how did that happen? That is the work of the Holy Spirit. Teaching you and bringing things to your remembrance. And also the Holy Spirit leads us.
Romans 8 14 says, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. And I found this leading is usually just a prompting. Just a sense of direction. I feel like I need to go talk to that person.
Maybe I need to do this thing. Little promptings from the Holy Spirit that you will begin to sense as you mature in your faith. And finally the Holy Spirit wants to empower you and fill you again and again and again. Ephesians 5 says, don't be drunk with wine because that will ruin your life. But be filled with the Spirit speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your hearts of the Lord. That phrase be filled is a command. You are commanded to be filled with the Spirit.
Secondly it is something you should receive again and again. It speaks of a continuous flow of the Spirit into your life. So we need to be praying for this each and every day. So we are in Acts 2. And we are reading about the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church.
They spoke in new languages or tongues. And there were divided flames of fire on their head. Now let me say this. This was a one off event. It never happened like this again. People were filled with the Spirit again but not in this particular way. So this was sort of the explosion of the engine if you will.
Like when you start your car. That set the early church into motion. We don't need another Pentecost any more than we need another Calvary. Jesus doesn't have to die again and again.
He has done that. It is finished. And we don't need another Pentecost. What we need is to appropriate what was unleashed on the day of Pentecost for the power of the Spirit is still here for us today. For as Peter said to the believers there this promise, speaking of the Holy Spirit, is to you. It is to your children. It is to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. What is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg is about to lead us into an exciting part of our text today in Acts chapter 2.
He continues. So let's find out what happened because after this outbreak of the Spirit took place Simon Peter got up and preached a sermon and three thousand people believed. That's a lot of people.
Why? Why did so many respond? I think there's some principles in his message that we can employ in our own lives as we share the gospel. Let's read Acts 2 verses 2 to 7. I'm reading by the way from the New Living Translation. On the day of Pentecost all the believers are meeting together in one place. Suddenly there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm and it filled the house where they were sitting and then what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and they began speaking in other languages as the Spirit gave them this ability. At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem and when they heard the loud voice everyone came running and they were bewildered to hear their own language being spoken by the believers and they were completely amazed and said how can this be.
We'll stop there. So people from around the world are gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is poured out and everyone hears their language represented as people who don't know those languages are speaking in those languages and giving glory to God. This reminds us the gospel is for everyone on every continent. The gospel is not just for the white man. It's not just for the black man. It's not just for the Hispanic person or the Asian person. It's for every person and every continent and every language. It's for everybody.
Everybody. We read in the book of Revelation chapter 7 verse 9 that there's going to be a great multitude in heaven that no one could number from all tribes peoples and languages. So the question is sometimes asked what about the person in the middle of the desert who has never heard the gospel.
Apparently these people are going to hear the gospel because every language every tribe every culture every race is represented in heaven. So what's the explanation. Some people say they're just drunk. Oh yeah this is what drunk people do all the time. Speaking languages they've never heard before.
Giving glory to God. Most of the time you can't even understand what a drunk is saying. What a ridiculous explanation. But it reminds us of 1 Corinthians 2 14. People who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it.
But for those who are spiritual they understand what the Spirit means. So God is getting ready now to change the world with 120 people. What can we learn from them.
Here's point number one if you're taking notes. They were unified. They were unified. They were together.
Verse 2 on the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. These believers had no earthly power. They had no armies. They had no money. They had no status. They had no political power. But they had Jesus.
And Jesus had them and they were together. I don't know if I can remember a time in our nation when we've been more divided. And I would even say in the church. So many unnecessary divisions. And I think sometimes we're allowing our political views to overshadow our theological views. And some people are even picking churches according to if they represent them in every way politically. And we find ourselves divided. We need to remember that our primary message is about God's kingdom. Calling people to Christ. It is the devil that wants to divide us.
Because the devil knows that he can divide and conquer. And my response is let's get together. Let's work together. Let's pray together. And that's what we do in the Harvest Crusade. We come together and we pray and we bring folks out to hear the gospel. And we can disagree on secondary issues and still focus on what matters which is the gospel. So the Holy Spirit is poured out. I wonder what if God was waiting for us to get together before he poured his Spirit out on us.
What if he was waiting for that. Saying I want to do it. But you need to come together. You need to stop letting things divide you. 2 Chronicles 7 14 we often quote it. God says, If My people which are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways. Notice that is not addressed to an individual. It is addressed to a group. He is talking to us. Not just to you or to me.
It applies to us of course. But saying hey all of you all y'all as they say in the south all y'all if you'll turn from your sins and get together and pray together I'll hear from heaven and forgive your sin and heal your land. So here is this violent rushing wind. The word suddenly implies it was supernatural.
And of course it was. This incredible move of the Holy Spirit. And they're filled with the Spirit. And as I have already said God wants to refill you again and again and again. As a matter of fact after the day of Pentecost some of the apostles were told to stop preaching the gospel.
So what do they do. They say let's pray for even more boldness to preach the gospel. I love that attitude. And in Acts 4 31 we read after they prayed this prayer the building where they were meeting Shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they preached God's message with boldness. So God refilled them again didn't He. Now there's no better example of the difference that the Holy Spirit can make in a person's life than Simon Peter. Simon Peter who openly denied his Lord. Simon Peter who was more concerned about the opinions of some random stranger than what Christ Himself thought. Who gets him to deliver this sermon?
Simon Peter. Where did he get this chutzpah. Where did he get this courage. Where did he get this boldness. He got it from being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Remember Acts 1 8. You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be witnesses unto me. This is practical power. This is power with a purpose. Because that's not how high you can jump.
It's how straight you walk when you hit the ground again. And I think sometimes people want to go to church. They want to have an emotional encounter.
That's ok in a way. But what I am more interested in is how it impacts you. The holiest moment of the church service is when God's people walk out the doors. And the impact we make in the world. That's what we will see.
That's what we will see if this is making any difference in our lives. So let's look now at what Peter says. Acts chapter 2 verse 36. He gets up and says these words to the people gathered.
Everyone in Israel know for certain the Lord God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah. Peter's words pierced their hearts. And they said to him and the other apostles, brothers what should we do? Peter replied every one of you should repent of your sins and turn to God and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you to your children those who are far away and to all who have called on the Lord our God. Then Peter continued preaching for a long time. I underlined that verse in my Bible. He continued preaching for a long time. See long sermons are good sometimes people.
But anyway. He continued preaching for a long time strongly urging all the listeners save yourselves from this crooked generation. Those who believe what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day about 3,000 in all. Wow. Stop there. 3,000 new believers.
It is amazing. On one day after one sermon why did Peter have such an amazing response to his message? He knew his audience or his congregation. He knew that some of the people he was speaking to literally played a role in the crucifixion of Jesus. Can you imagine if maybe one of those Roman guards was there that pounded the spikes into the hands of Jesus.
The religious leaders were there for sure listening in. Very critical. And he points maybe a finger. You crucified him.
Not speaking figuratively. He is saying you. I know you. I remember you. I was there.
I saw you. You crucified him. So it is very specific. He also quotes a lot of Scripture. He quotes huge portions of the Old Testament apparently from memory.
So the fisherman had been busy. He had been reading and memorizing the Bible. It is not like he pulled out the scroll of Joel here.
That is a big giant scroll. They didn't have Bibles like we have now. Someone helped me open Joel.
No. He just from his heart quoted Scripture. See that was his audience. They were people that knew Scripture. They were Jewish people in Jerusalem for Pentecost and he spoke to them in a way they would understand.
Contrast that to Paul on Mars Hill. Speaking to the people of Athens. We would describe that as a pagan culture. They didn't know the Lord. They didn't know Scripture.
They worshiped false gods. And so Paul spoke in a different way to them. And if we were to look at our country today we are much more like Athens than we are like Jerusalem. We are in a post-Christian era. When I began preaching back in the 1800s people were more biblically literate then. When I would say Adam and Eve or Noah and his ark or reference some story they at least had a general sense of what that meant. Nowadays people they don't even know the most basic Bible stories. That is why we have to really speak in a clear way to people today because they are so biblically illiterate. So when you are sharing your faith get to know the person you are speaking to. Pastor Greg Laurie with great insight today from our studies of Acts chapter 2 and our need to unify and deliver the good news to a culture that needs it so desperately. And then right now it is our privilege to make available a wonderful book called Steve McQueen The Salvation of an American Icon. As many people know, in fact they may have learned it in your book Pastor Greg, Billy Graham gave Steve McQueen his own Bible and McQueen was clutching it when he passed away. So let's say you are up in heaven at the moment Steve McQueen and Billy Graham first see each other and you are eavesdropping. What do they say?
Oh my goodness. Well I can't even imagine what their conversation would be. I am sure Steve would think Billy for that Bible.
But it just reminds us that what happens on earth has an impact on eternity. You know Steve McQueen had horrible cancer. This is after he had already committed his life to Christ and the doctors in America had really given him no hope.
So he started going down and getting what we might describe as unorthodox treatments at a clinic in Mexico. So Steve had chartered a private plane and he really wanted to meet Billy Graham and talk with him. So his pastor Leonard DeWitt reached out to Billy Graham's team and an arrangement was made and Billy actually showed up on the runway, boarded that plane and sat down and had a conversation with Steve McQueen. They had prayer together and Billy reassured Steve and then Steve was alarmed to find that he had forgotten his Bible and Billy said here let me give you mine and Billy gave to Steve his well-worn New Testament. He inscribed it to Steve as well and Steve took that Bible with him down to Juarez Mexico. The surgery was successful but tragically McQueen died in recovery but when they pulled that sheet back he was tightly clutching the Bible that Billy Graham gave him. I was talking with Barbara McQueen Steve's widow and she pulled that Bible out and I held it in my own hands and it was a small New Testament and I just thought of all that Steve had.
He had a literal airplane hangar full of the coolest cars and motorcycles and planes and things that any guy could want. It was the ultimate man cave but when it was all said and done the most precious object Steve had was that Bible given to him by Billy Graham. Powerful story and it's in my new book that is titled Steve McQueen the Salvation of an American Icon. It's a story of the conversion of the most unlikely person. In his days Steve McQueen was the number one movie star in all of the world and he came to faith in Jesus Christ after he saw the emptiness of the life he had pursued. He had everything that most people dream of and more and he realized that was not the answer. So that sent him on a search and he found his way to Christ and he became a Christian and was walking with the Lord and then later found out he was sick and tragically died of that cancer but thankfully he is in heaven now and him and Billy Graham are rejoicing together.
Yeah that's right. It's a great story and Pastor Greg goes into even more detail in his book Steve McQueen the Salvation of an American Icon. It's so moving and that story is just the tip of the iceberg of the surprising things you'll learn about Hollywood's number one movie star of his day. We'd like to send this to you to thank you for partnering with us so these daily studies can continue to come your way. We appreciate the fact that you join us and so many others here in this community listen as well and your donation helps these teachings continue to teach believers and reach unbelievers.
So thanks for your gift today and don't forget to ask for the book Steve McQueen the Salvation of an American Icon. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime that's 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning box 4000 Riverside, California 92514 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time we'll take a close look at the message Peter preached in Acts chapter 2 and identify several principles for effective evangelism. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-17 15:30:14 / 2023-03-17 15:40:26 / 10