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They Had Been with Jesus | Can People Tell You've Been with Him?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 10, 2022 3:00 am

They Had Been with Jesus | Can People Tell You've Been with Him?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 10, 2022 3:00 am

When we spend some serious time out in the sun, it’s pretty obvious. People can see it all over our face. “You got some sun, didn’t you?” Well today, we’ll see when we spend some time with the Son, it may be just as obvious. People will wonder what’s different about us. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie continues our studies of the Church of the First Century in the book of Acts. Let’s see how to show we’ve been with Jesus.

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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 gregatharvest.org. Again, it's gregatharvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. People tell you have been with Jesus. That's what our culture needs to see right now. Christians that walk and talk with Jesus. Christians that live such a godly life, they effectively earn the right to be heard. People that you can look at and you can just tell they've been with Jesus.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again, you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day where life begins. You know, when we spend some serious time out in the sun, it's pretty obvious. People can see it all over our face.

You got some sun, didn't you? Well, today we'll see when we spend some time with the sun, S-O-N, it may be just as obvious. People will wonder what's different about us. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues our studies of the church of the first century in the book of Acts.

It's a series called The Upside Down Life. Let's see how to show we've been with Jesus. A while ago, my wife and I were celebrating our 40th anniversary.

And so I thought I have to go big or stay home. I have to get something good for her. So I went to a nice store and I bought her a nice ring and I put it in a nice box. So I was going to present it to her that night and I made a stop at a toy store to get something for one of my grandkids and they had those little cheap mood rings.

Do you remember those? And I looked at them and I thought, you know, it's kind of cool, the design. I wonder if I were to put that in the box with a nice ring if my wife would think it's a nice ring as well. So I put it in the box with a nice ring and I presented it to her, Kathy.

Happy anniversary and I love you so much. I got you two rings. But here's the problem. You can only have one.

Which one do you want? She actually deliberated over it for a long time, which is alarming to me. It's like, really? I mean, this is the nice ring and you're actually thinking maybe the mood ring. And she goes, oh, I don't know.

Okay. And she picked the good ring. And then I said, well, good news, you can keep the other one. I paid three bucks for it.

It's a mood ring. So here's the point I wanted to make. Packaging can make a difference. You know, when something is presented in a certain way, you might think, oh, this is a quality product.

This is something that is really valuable. And so I bring this up because now in the book of Acts, we're seeing genuine believers at work. We're seeing how the Holy Spirit of God worked through the lives of the most ordinary people. If you were to sum up the book of Acts in this sentence, it would go as follows. It's the Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts of the people of God.

And that's what our culture needs to see right now. Christians that walk and talk with Jesus. Christians that live such a godly life, they effectively earn the right to be heard. People who have been with Jesus. People that you can look at and you can just tell they've been with Jesus. You should be able after church, if you go out to a restaurant, to be different in every way to a server or someone at the next table and a person who has not been to church. They should look at you and go, oh, wow, they've been with Jesus.

People should see it in us. Can people tell you have been with Jesus? I bring this up because here in Acts chapter 4, verse 13, we read these words.

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had no special training, but they also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. Being a Christian isn't trying to imitate Jesus. It's not about imitation, it's about impartation.

There's a difference, isn't there? Imitation is I'm trying to follow the example of Christ and walk in his footsteps and be a good Christian as people sometimes frame it. I'm not trying to be a good Christian because I'm a bad person. I need more than imitation. I need Christ living in me and the Holy Spirit enabling me to live the life that God has called me to live.

I can't do it otherwise. I love how Paul summed it up when he wrote over in Galatians 2.20, I'm crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.

In the life that I now live, I live by the faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. It is Christ living in us. This phrase, this expression, this term, Christian, was not adopted by the Christians initially. It was a name given to them. They were actually identified in the book of Acts as people of the way.

Isn't that interesting? They were called people of the way. Saul, later to become the apostle Paul, talked about how he persecuted those who were of the way. Why do they call them people of the way?

Well, it's pretty obvious. Jesus said in John 14, 6, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes of the Father but by me. So they said these people are people of the way, the way of Jesus. But then some non-believers said, you know what they are? They're Christians.

And the word Christian was a derogatory term to describe them. They're like little Christs everywhere. They're like of the party of Christ. It's a compliment. You go into a restaurant, you ask for a table, and it's ready after you wait for a while usually. And then they say, Lori, party of two, or if you're an angry person all by yourself, bitter, party of one, whatever.

So you take your seat at the table. I'm proud to be part of the party of Christ. I'm proud to be a little Christ if you will. And by that I mean a simple reflection of Jesus. Well, these people were walking with Jesus and the non-believers could see it and they were observing them. And now we come to the first miracle of the early church. We don't read that the Lord said, go to the temple, by the gate, beautiful, the beautiful gate. It was a special gate there in Jerusalem. And there's going to be a guy there who begs for money.

I want you to raise that guy to his feet. We don't read that happen. There was no pillar of fire. There was no angelic message. Peter and John were just doing what they did. They went to the temple and prayed.

And I bring this up because a lot of times miracles happen when the extraordinary invades the ordinary without an advance warning. You're just going about doing what you do as a Christian. What were they doing? Praying.

That's a good thing to do. Reading the Bible. Just being open to the Lord and this door opens and as they're walking in, here's a guy who was a fixture at the temple. Everybody knew him.

Most ignored him. Peter looks down on him and the Lord speaks to Peter. Loose paraphrase, he says, look buddy, I don't have any money for you.

But I have something much better. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk. He grabs the guy by the hand and pulls him up. Boy, you talk about putting it on the line.

You talk about bedding the farm. That could have gone south very easily. He could have pulled him up and then he came crashing to the ground. But Peter had an act of faith but then he took the next step and pulled the man up.

And of course the man was walking and leaping and praising God. Isn't it interesting that this miracle was not announced ahead of time? And I bring this up because sometimes churches will say, we're going to have a miracle service. This Sunday starts at seven, ends at nine. Wait, what? You're going to have a miracle service?

How do you know? We're going to just have miracles. I don't know when God's going to do a miracle.

Remember the book of Acts was written over a 30 year period of time. They did not have miracles and healings every single day. But then periodically something amazing, something out of the ordinary, something supernatural would happen but most of the time these guys just like you walked by faith with the Lord. We don't know when God's going to do a miracle. Having said that, we should pray for them and we should expect God to work but it's up to the Lord where and when he will do those miraculous things. And so Peter takes this great step of faith and now here comes an opportunity.

The focus of this story is not the miracle. It was the door that the miracle opened. It was the opportunity that was now before Peter to preach the gospel. We read in Acts 3.12, Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the people of Israel.

He saw his opportunity. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Whenever you send us a letter, text, an email, or post a comment on social media, we read every word. Pastor Greg, I want to say thank you for your series on anxiety and worry. Just recently I found out that one of the facilities I work at is closing, leaving me and my co-workers out of a job.

I'm uncertain what this outcome will do to our family and our financial situation. Your series, however, on anxiety and worry has helped me to have more faith in God and know that he is in control of the situation. Thank you again for your ministry and for what you do.

It's encouraging to know that the resources at A New Beginning are helping listeners. If you'd like to share your story, call us and let us know. Call 866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Pastor Greg is leading our study in the book of Acts today called They Had Been with Jesus. Let's continue. We need Christians today who are willing to take risks. You know, it's funny, when you're younger, you're more open to adventure, right? You're more open to trying new things. If you're a young person at an amusement park, you look at the craziest, most gnarly ride, you say, I want to go on that. And when you're older, you say, I do not want to go on that.

I don't know when it happened to me. I don't know if I ever liked roller coasters, frankly. How many of you love to go on roller coasters? How many of you actually go on them but you don't like them at all? Well, that's me. I would get on roller coasters and I'm thinking, every once in a while I'm thinking, I'm hating this.

I want this to be over with, especially when you get to the top of the track and you're getting ready for the dropout. Oh, no. Why did I do this? And one day, I may have been in my 30s, not even when I was that old. By the way, if you're 30, you're not old. I'll talk to someone who's younger, I'm 30, I'm so old. Trust me, you're not old.

You're still young when you're 30. 40? Now we're getting there. 50? It's official.

It's official. When you're my age, you're old. Okay, anyway, somewhere in my 30s, I think I just said, I don't want to go on roller coasters anymore. But here's the thing, a young person, usually, not always, will take a risk, they'll try something new. When you're older, you're more cautious, you're more careful. Even going down the stairs, be careful, careful.

Hold on the rail, careful, careful. You go to the restaurant at the same time. You sit in the same table.

You order the same thing. And then you say, life seems to be passing by so quickly. Life is not sped up, you've just slowed down.

And you're doing the same thing, so it seems like your life is on loop. But if you change it up a little bit, it might change you a little bit. I love how Peter and John took this risk, saw this opportunity. And now in his message, Peter unlocks a vital element in the gospel.

A truth that is often overlooked. I have to say that in many messages I hear people preach. This truth, this element, this key, is not in the preaching. And I think because it's not in the preaching, it's not really a complete gospel presentation.

Let's see if we can find it. Acts 3, 19, Peter turns to these people after giving a fantastic message about the death and resurrection of Jesus. He says, verse 19, repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out in times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Here's the missing key. Repentance. Repentance. People are told to believe. People are told if you believe in Jesus, he'll come into your life. That's true. People are told if you'll ask Christ to forgive you of your sins, he will.

That's true. But they're not told you need to repent of your sin. What does it mean to repent?

To repent means to change your direction. It's not just being sorry. Well, I'm sorry. But if you go and do it again, are you really sorry? Well, I cry. Well, tears don't mean you're really sorry.

You can cry chopping onions. The Bible says godly sorrow produces repentance. In other words, if you're really sorry, you'll be sorry enough to stop. Repentance means you turn.

Go in the opposite direction of where you were going before. And here's the problem. I think there's a lot of people out there that say I'm a Christian, but they've never repented of their sin. They're still living in sin.

And this is the problem. What does it mean to repent? It means to turn from your sin. And what is the promise attached to repentance? God says if we will repent, your sins will be blotted out and times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord.

I love that. The Greek word here for blotted out means to wash off, to erase, to obliterate. It's like a whiteboard. You know, you get those little pins out and you write on the whiteboard.

And then you're done. You bring out the little eraser and it disappears. It's gone. Or you're on your computer and you type out some things and you highlight it and hit the delete key. Where does that text go?

I don't know. It just disappears. And that's the same thing that God does for you when you repent. He blots out your sin. He's wiped away. He's washed off. He's forgiven.

He's obliterated. He's erased your sin and he's forgotten your sin. Now that doesn't mean that God literally has a lapse of memory.

Like, uh, what? No, he knows. He knows all things. But the word forget means he chooses to not remember or he chooses to not hold it against you. You see? It's a choice. So why do I choose to remember what God has chosen to forget? Why do I keep dredging up my sins over and over again when God says I've forgiven your sins, I've blotted out your sins, I've obliterated your sins, I've wiped away your sins, and I have forgotten your sins. So it means he will wipe them away.

And what happens when he does that? We're refreshed. Verse 19. Times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord. The word refresh means rest, relief, respite, refreshment. He wipes our sins away and he refreshes us.

How many of you have experienced this personally? Raise your hand. You know what I'm talking about. Isn't that great?

When you've sinned and just have the Lord wipe it away and refresh you. Well, this is a powerful message. 5,000 people believed on this day as a result. But this did not play well in Peoria.

I have no idea what that means, but it's an expression. In other words, the religious establishment didn't like this one bit. And the Sadducees in particular took great offense to it. Now the Sadducees were religious rulers along with the Pharisees. They're two separate groups. They hated each other, but the only thing they hated more than each other were the Christians and Jesus.

That's the one thing they agreed on. But the Sadducees were upset because the Sadducees don't believe in the resurrection from the dead. They don't believe there's life beyond the grave. Maybe that's why they got their name Sadducee.

If you don't believe there's life beyond the grave, you're sad. You see? So they opposed this. And now Peter and John are brought before the Sanhedrin. That's sort of like the Supreme Court of the day.

Right? They had the final ruling. We read in Acts chapter 4 verse 7. They brought on the two disciples and demanded, By what power and in whose name have you done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said, Leaders and elders of our nation, are we being questioned because we did a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to you and all the people of Israel, He was healed in the name and power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, the man you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead. For this is the one reference to in the scriptures where it says the stone the boldest rejected has now become the cornerstone and their salvation and no one else.

For there's no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them. Then the members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John. They could see that they were ordinary men who had no special training and they recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. And since the men who had been healed was standing right there among them, the council had nothing to say.

Alright, we'll stop there. So let's identify what it means to be with Jesus. What it means to walk with Jesus. If you have been with Jesus, or if you're walking with Jesus, you will boldly share your faith.

You'll boldly share your faith. I forget this, St. Peter only days earlier effectively had openly denied Christ, even taking an oath saying he never knew the man. Now he's preached on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people have believed and he's preached here and 5,000 people have believed. Where did Peter get this confidence and this courage?

He got it from the Holy Spirit. Remember we read in Acts 1-8, you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be witnesses unto me. That same power that was given to the believers in the first century is available for believers in the 21st century.

That means us. Because the promise on the day of Pentecost was this promise is unto you, to your children, to your children's children, to all that are far off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. So Peter had this boldness and we should have this boldness as well. You know for many to share their faith is a duty, it's a drudgery, it shouldn't be. Be like Peter and see the opportunities.

Here's another point. If you've been with Jesus, you'll be a person that knows scripture. As it was pointed out, Peter had not been professionally trained. He was not a theologian. By the way, they didn't have Bibles in those days. They read scrolls and they memorized them and you didn't have your own scrolls that you carry around with you everywhere. You would go and hear the reading of the scripture in temple. That means that Peter committed large portion of scriptures to memory and he was able to quote them.

I think being inspired by the Holy Spirit, we don't read that he had a teleprompter or that he was reading off his iPad or no, it just was in his heart because he knew the word of God. And listen, if you want to get closer to Jesus, you'll discover him in the pages of the Bible. People will know you have been with Jesus when you love to read and study the Bible because Jesus said lo, in the volume of the book I have come. He'll come to you in the volume of the book. Pastor Greg Laurie pointing out the characteristics of believers who have been with Jesus.

Good practical insight today here on A New Beginning and there's more to come. And then right now it's 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're up in heaven at the moment Steve McQueen and Billy Graham first see each other and you're eavesdropping. What do they say?

Oh my goodness. Well I can't even imagine what their conversation would be. I'm sure Steve would thank 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 he 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, CA 92514. Or go online to harvest.org. 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 next time, Pastor Greg brings us more insight on the characteristics that will be evident in our lives when we've been walking closely with Jesus. Good insight is coming. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-13 12:59:08 / 2023-03-13 13:10:01 / 11

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