We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos. Learn more and sign up at harvest.org I found that sometimes scriptures are like time bombs that detonate later. They act like they don't care but then 3 o'clock in the morning they wake up and that verse is in their head because God's word will not return void. When God wanted to share His message of love, surprisingly He chose to use people to reach people.
Flawed, fallible, Bible-filled people. But the power of the message is not in us messengers. It's built into the message. And the boldness and direction we need is built into us by the Spirit who lives within us. Pastor Greg Laurie discusses that today on A New Beginning as he continues a message from his brand new series in Acts, a series called The Upside Down Live. Let's all grab our Bibles and turn to Acts. The title of my message before us now is The Secret to Sharing the Gospel Effectively. 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 were 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 God is getting ready now to change the world with 120 people. What can we learn from them? 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. 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 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? Point number one is 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 help me open Joel.
No. He just from his heart quoted scripture. See that was his audience. They were people that knew scripture. There 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. 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. The other day a friend of mine named Larry who has recently committed his life to the Lord and is filled with passion. He texted me and said I have a friend that I think is really close to coming to the Lord. Will you meet with him?
I said sure. So we got together for coffee and Larry started sharing his testimony. And it was like a textbook case on how to share your own story.
Perfect. Just talked about what Christ had done in his life. How the Lord had changed his life. So his friend was there and I started asking his friend some questions.
And his friend said some things obviously I wouldn't agree with. I just listen. Listen. Ask more questions.
Listen some more. And then I started bringing the message of the gospel and Larry sort of set it up. It was like we were playing volleyball. Larry got the ball there and I spiked it. Right. Easiest thing I have ever done. It wasn't even hard. Well the guy actually says to me, Could you like give me some points on how I can become a Christian?
Yes I can. And then Larry says, Do that thing that you say right before you lead people in the prayer. I go what thing?
You know that thing you say. Oh you mean if you want your sin forgiven. If you want to know you will go to heaven when you die. If you want to fill that void in your life. If you want your guilt taken away.
If you want to find the meaning and purpose of your life. That thing. That thing. Yes.
See that. So I said it. I said do you want to do that? And the man I was talking to said yes.
And so we prayed right there and he accepted Christ. But here is the reason. It is taking time to listen. When I talk to people I don't pull a pulpit out and stand behind a pulpit. Just sit and talk to them. Get to know them. You know care about them. Listen people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Let me say that again. People don't care how much you know. Until they know how much you care.
Take time with people. Peter did that. And then he gave them the gospel. I think his message was effective because it was scriptural. He quoted the scripture and this is something to remember. Even though people don't believe in the Bible. Don't let that stop you from quoting it anyway. But when you quote the Bible you don't have to be weird about it. And I have seen people quote scripture strangely. Well let me just tell you something.
The Bible says, For God so loved us. What do you do? Stop it. Just stop.
Keep it conversational. There is power in the Word of God. It has built in power. Isaiah 55 10 God says, As the rain comes down from heaven and the snow comes down, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth. It will not return to me void. It will accomplish what I please.
It will prosper in the thing in which I send it. The Word has power. And sometimes you will share it and a person will say, I don't believe that. I don't accept that.
Share it anyway. Sometimes people say, Well don't quote the Bible to me. I don't believe in the Bible. Should you stop quoting the Bible?
No. Because it is a sword of the Spirit. Use the sword. If someone said to you and you are holding the sword, I don't believe that sword is sharp. Really?
Check this out. I am speaking figuratively. You understand? We don't mean literal swords. But we do mean the Word of God.
The sword of the Spirit. So when we quote it, I found that sometimes Scriptures are like time bombs that detonate later. They act like they don't care but then three o'clock in the morning they wake up and that verse is in their head. Because God's Word will not return void.
It will prosper in the place you send it. So learn the Word of God. Memorize the Word of God.
Quote the Word of God. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from the resources we make available at A New Beginning.
Like this listener. Pastor Greg, I was sitting at my grandmother's funeral this weekend talking to my cousin about the recent loss of his father. During the conversation, I found out that my uncle was given a copy of your New Believers Bible.
On the last day of his life, just before he died from a brain tumor, he understood the simple faith that you spoke of and he knew where he was going after this life. I thank God for the hope of the Gospel and its power. Thank you for being bold and using so many avenues to get out the Gospel. If you'd like information about Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible, just contact us at Harvest.org.
That's Harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg is teaching from Acts chapter 2 today. A message titled, The Secret to Sharing the Gospel Effectively.
Here's another point. The message of Peter was effective because it was Christ-centered. It was Christ-centered. Acts 2, 22. He says, Jesus of Nazareth. Acts 2, 32. This man, speaking of Jesus.
Acts 2, 36. God made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Then he spoke of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. No matter what you're talking about, you've got to bring it back to the cross.
Listen to this. Sometimes in our attempts to cross over, we don't bring the cross over. Paul says, I don't want to know anything else among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was doing an interview the other day about our crusade and I was asked the question, what are you going to speak on this year? I said, pretty much the same thing I've been speaking on for 30 years. Okay?
I'll be honest with you. I mean, I'll have a theme. I'll have some opening remarks.
But ultimately, you know where I'm headed. And I say that without apology. I'm going to talk about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because that's where the power is. That's the power. There is distinct power in the simple message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. That's why Paul says, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
Here's another point. Peter's message was effective because he called sin, sin, and told them to repent. Don't be afraid to call sin, sin. And I was talking with that man yesterday. I told him, you're a sinner.
Because he said, I'm a good person. Well, you know, yeah, but you're a sinner and I'm a sinner. And let me define what sin is. Sin is crossing a line. Sin is falling short of a standard that God has set for humanity, which is perfection. We've all sinned.
So we have to understand the bad news before we can fully appreciate the good news. We have to call sin, sin. Sometimes we're afraid to say it. And then we need to tell them to repent. Sometimes preachers are afraid to use the word repent.
We can't omit it from our verbiage. It's in the Bible and it's necessary to come to Christ. Look at what Peter says. Verse 38. He said, repent. Let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
I think we've backed away from this in many ways. I read a new survey. It reveals a shocking statistic about young Christians. The survey says, quote, more than 60% of born again Christians between the ages of 18 and 39 believe that Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed are all equal in regards to a path to salvation.
Here's what that tells me. It tells me that more than 60% of born again Christians have not really read their Bibles. Or more than 60% of those who think they are born again Christians believe this. But if you're a born again Christian, you cannot believe that Buddha and Mohammed are equal to Jesus in getting you to heaven. You cannot believe that. You say, Greg, that's very narrow minded.
Yes it is. Because it's a narrow road. The Bible says narrow is the road that leads to salvation. And few there are that find it. And the Bible says there is salvation in no other name than in the name of Jesus Christ. Right?
That's it. And think about it logically. If that was true, that all roads would get you to heaven, why would God send his son to suffer and die on a cross? But he did because there was no other way to satisfy his righteous demand. You see, Jesus was not just a good man. He wasn't a guru.
He wasn't a prophet. He was the God man. He was God becoming a man and walking among us. God had a face. God had skin on.
God sent his son to die in our place so we could be forgiven of our sins. And Jesus said it so clearly. John 14, 6. You know it.
Say it with me. I am the way, the truth, and the life. And no man comes to the Father but by me. Now listen to this. This message was effective because Peter went for a decision. One of the reasons we don't evangelize is because of the fear of failure.
But maybe another reason we don't evangelize is because we have a fear of success. Like what do I do now? I remember I was in Alaska years ago with Franklin Graham. He's a great fisherman. And outdoorsman, I'm not.
I'm from California. And you know he goes out and hunts and we were out fishing for salmon. I'd never done that before so I got a salmon. I was very excited because look at the salmon. I said, will you clean it for me?
He's like, no. Clean it yourself. Where's the soap and water? No, you're going to gut it. You're going to clean it. You want to eat the salmon? I'll show you how to do it. And that's what he did.
You love the idea of doing it but oh wow I caught one. Now what do I do? I'm not suggesting we gut new believers. It's a analogy, I've never used it this way and it broke down very quickly, didn't it?
But I think you get the idea, right? Like what do I do now? Oh I caught it, now what do I do?
Now, now. You have a new believer in your life. I think it's really exciting when a new believer says, I don't know what that means.
Can you explain it? You're like, yeah, I can. And as you explain it, it re-excites you. Because sometimes we take these things for granted, don't we?
Well let me tell you about this. And as you're telling them what the Bible teaches about a given subject, it suddenly is re-energizing you. It's exciting you.
It's reviving you. That's why we need to do it. That's part of the great commission, evangelizing and discipling. My last point, the Holy Spirit will do His part. Just make sure you do yours. The Holy Spirit will do His part.
Just make sure you do yours. It's not your job to convert people. It's not my job. I've never converted anyone and I never will. The work of conversion is done by the Lord.
We read in, Jesus said in John 644, no man comes unless the Father draws him. My job is not conversion. My job is proclamation. My job is to share the truth and ask the Holy Spirit to do His work in the person's life.
Well obviously the work was done in their life. Look at verse 37. They were cut to the heart. Cut to the heart. This phrase only appears here in the New Testament.
The word cut means to stab. It speaks of something sudden and unexpected. That is a conviction of the Holy Spirit. And I've seen it. I know it when it happens. And I've seen it when it doesn't happen. Every things person just looks at you. Their eyes gonna glaze over.
They check their watch. It's not getting through. Well I just wanted to tell you those things.
I'll pray for you. You leave it. But then other times you look at a person and you see they're getting it. Yesterday again talking to this guy.
I looked at him. I thought this guy's getting it. This guy wants it. He wants it now. He's ready.
So let's go for it. And there are those people and you have to pray for discernment when you're talking to people as to when is the right time to ask that question. So let me review what we've said. Number one, know your listener. Number two, adapt to this situation. Thirdly, quote scripture. Then call sin, sin, and tell them to repent. Ask them if they want to accept Christ. And then conversion is God's work. You do the proclamation. Here's an acronym I shared with you before.
I'll share it again. Blast, B-L-A-S-T, a way to remember how to share your faith. B, build a bridge. Start your conversation by building a bridge to your listener. You don't have to necessarily start by preaching at them.
Build the bridge. L, listen. Get to know them. Take an interest in them. Again, people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
A, ask questions. I'm wanting to know more about you. What you think about this?
What you think about that? S, share your testimony. That's your bridge.
One of the most effective bridges to start the conversation. You walk over it, telling them what Christ has done for you. And then finally, T, tell them about Jesus.
We put these principles in practice. We'll see people come to Christ. Maybe there's somebody here that has joined us and you don't have Christ living in your life. You don't know if your sin is forgiven. So, as I said to that guy yesterday, do you want your sin forgiven? Do you want to know that when you die, you will go to heaven?
Do you want to fill that hole in your heart? Do you want your sin forgiven and your guilt removed? Let's all bow our heads. Father, thank you for your word to us.
Thank you for the truth of it. And I pray for any that have joined us, wherever they are. If they don't know you yet, if Jesus Christ is not living in their heart, our prayer is that your Holy Spirit will work on them now.
Show them their need for you and draw them to yourself, we pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer. And if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will come back in just a moment to help you do that before we wrap up today here on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg, we're making available your inspiring book called Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon.
Yes. It tracks the spiritual journey of one of the biggest stars of his time. He passed away in 1980. How would Steve McQueen have wanted to be remembered?
Well, I think he would want to have been remembered as a man who finally found what he was looking for. You see, when Steve was a little boy, his mother was too busy partying away to have time for him. She was an alcoholic, married and divorced multiple times.
Steve never knew his biological father. He was sent off to live with his grandparents, sent off to live with an uncle, sent off to a reform school. He was an unwanted child, and that sent him on a search early in life. I think Steve thought, oh, if I just had a cool car, I'd be happier, or if I was married, I'd be happier, or if I had a huge career in Hollywood, I'd be happier, whatever it was.
And he actually got all those things he wanted and a whole lot more, and he still wasn't happy. He finally found what he was looking for in a relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, Steve said before he died, after he became a Christian, my only regret in life is that it was not able to tell more people about what Christ had done for me. So I wanted to tell his story, and I wrote a book about him.
It's called Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon. We go with Steve through his very difficult childhood to the peak of his Hollywood success, and then we see his life unraveling, and then we see it coming together when he finds this relationship with the Lord, and then the struggle that he had with cancer, but even more, the hope that he had that he carried to that last moment before he went to be with the Lord in heaven. It's a very inspiring story. It's a surprising story.
It's a story that will move you, and I trust if you get a copy of this book that you want to share with someone else who does not yet know the Lord. So I'll send you for your gift of any size a copy of this book, Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon. Yeah, that's right, and your partnership is a key ingredient in allowing these daily studies to continue here.
We're completely listener supported. So thanks so much for your partnership, and when you give right now, be sure to ask for Pastor Greg's book, Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 24-7, 1-800-821-3300, or go online to harvest.org. Pastor Greg, getting back to the way you closed your message, you spoke of how someone can accept God's offer of eternal life.
Yeah. Could you help the person who wants to do that right now? Yes, I'd be delighted to. Listen, as you've listened to this program today, maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing, I need to do this personally, but how do I do it, and what do I do? Let me help you. It's very simple.
In fact, it's so simple you may be shocked. God, this relationship with him is just a prayer away. The Bible says if you will call upon the name of the Lord, you'll be saved. So I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that. You call on the name of the Lord.
This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Jesus, I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In your name I pray, amen.
I know. It's such a simple, short prayer, but you just called on the name of the Lord, and you know what? He heard that prayer, and if you meant that prayer in your heart, he answered that prayer. Now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in Jesus Christ. The greatest adventure awaits you, the life of walking with God. I want to send you what we call a New Believers' Growth Pack that includes the New Believers' Bible and a whole lot more, and let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. Yeah, and to get that free New Believers' Growth Pack, just ask for it if you've prayed along with Pastor Greg to receive Christ today. We'll be glad to send one your way. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here to take your call around the clock.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Well, next time, Pastor Greg explains how the church is home base for getting believers excited and equipped to share the love of God with other people. It's a necessary part of our lives. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
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