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Classic Crusade Message: God in Pursuit

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 27, 2022 3:00 am

Classic Crusade Message: God in Pursuit

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 27, 2022 3:00 am

In this episode, we revisit a message from Pastor Greg Laurie titled, "God in Pursuit." Preaching from the story of the prophet Jonah, Pastor Greg describes how God pursues us in order to have a relationship with us. 

Sometimes we run from God, not understanding that He is looking out for our own good. Are you not convinced of God's lovingkindness and offer of forgiveness of sins to you?

Pastor Greg says, "Jesus Christ came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. And if you'll believe in Him and turn from your sin, you can be forgiven."

Learn more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by going to KnowGod.org.

This message was originally delivered at the SoCal Harvest in Anaheim, California on Sunday night, August 25, 2013. 

Since 1990, more than 9.8 million people have participated in Harvest Crusades events in person or online around the United States. 

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

Support the show: https://harvest.org/support

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Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective. To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website, harvest.org.

So thanks for joining me for this podcast. Now I want to talk to you about your soul. I want to talk to you about the meaning of your life.

So I am going to ask you to just listen really carefully because honestly your eternal destiny is hanging in the balance of what we are talking about. The message I am sharing is not original to me. I am just a delivery boy. You know years ago I used to deliver newspapers as a kid. Not from a car but from my super cool stingray bicycle with even a stick shift on it.

It was sort of a forerunner of my Harley. I had my bags on there. And I would throw editions of the daily pilot newspaper as close to the front door as I could get of the person that was on my delivery route. I was just a delivery boy. My job was not to make the news. My job was not to write the news. My job was to deliver the news.

And that is what I am really still. I am just a delivery boy. I am just delivering a message from God to you. You might say, well Greg that is pretty presumptuous isn't it? No.

Not at all. I want to tell you what the Bible says about your soul. About the meaning of your life and how to get right with God. Let's pray for a moment. Now Lord I pray that you will speak to every person here. And I pray for those that have come who have never made this commitment to you. Help them to see their need for Jesus. Help them to believe in Jesus before this night is over. We ask it in your name. Amen.

The title of my message is God in Pursuit. Years ago we were doing one of our crusades and we were staying in a hotel and my son Jonathan was very little. I think he was around three or four years old. So he loved to push the buttons on the elevator. He would always run ahead of me and push the right button. So we are walking down a hallway of a hotel and he ran ahead to the elevator. I said, now Jonathan wait for dad. I am almost there.

I turned the corner to see the doors of the elevator close with Jonathan alone. I panicked. I pushed every one of those buttons. Pushing. Pushing. Pushing. Finally the doors opened.

No Jonathan. I go down to the bottom floor. Go up to the front desk of the lobby. I said, ma'am my son is lost somewhere in this hotel. Please call security. Call SWAT. Call the Green Berets. Call the Navy Seals. You have got to help me find my son.

She is like on the phone. I am sorry sir. I am just like I have got to find him. So I run back. I push every button of every floor. And when the doors open I yell out his name. Finally I found him. I don't know. Five floors up.

He is just standing there you know. Jonathan. Listen to dad. Don't run off. I was in pursuit of my son. And I want to tell you something.

Failure was not an option. Listen to this. God is pursuing you.

But wait. He wants to pursue you to show you how much He loves you. Some of us have this concept of God who is chasing us down because He wants to give us some kind of a beating. Nothing can be further from the truth. Jesus told a story to show us what God is like.

Phil alluded to it a few moments ago. We call it the parable of the prodigal son. What is God like? He is like a father who lost his son. God is like a father who misses his son. God is like a father who longs for his son's return. And God is like a father who when his son returns runs to him and throws his arms around him and kisses him. God loves you.

And God will forgive you of any sin you have ever committed. God is pursuing you tonight. Stop running from Him. I heard the story of a lawyer who was trying to deliver an important paper to a man who was determined to avoid him at all costs. You see this man thought the attorney was trying to serve him with a subpoena. So this guy managed to avoid that lawyer for years. Fourteen years passed and this man the lawyer was pursuing was in a hospital dying of cancer. And they ruled that lawyer up right next to him in another bed.

He was ill as well. The man looked at that lawyer that had been pursuing him and he laughed and he said, All right. Go ahead. subpoena me. The lawyer said subpoena you.

I was trying to give you a document that proved you had inherited $45 million. See that is us running from God. I want to tell you a story tonight about a man who tried to run from God. His name was Jonah. Now when you talk about Jonah what comes to mind? Jonah and the?

That's right. We all think of that whale. And because of that we may dismiss this story as a fairy tale or a myth but listen it is a true story. It was validated by no one less than Jesus Christ Himself who said His Jonah was in the belly of the great fish or the whale. The Bible doesn't say it was a whale. The great fish. Actually the technical translation would be a sea monster.

Whatever that beast was. As Jonah was in the belly of that great fish three days and three nights so will I the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. So Jesus validated it. Heard a story about a young girl who was out sharing her faith in a street corner.

A little crowd gathered. And a man was standing on the back who was an atheist and he thought he was going to humiliate this young girl. So while she is talking about her faith in Jesus he interrupts and says very loudly, Excuse me young lady.

I have a question. She said, Yes sir. You stand there and you talk about the Bible. Do you believe the Bible?

Oh yes sir. She said, I believe the Bible. Every word of it is true. Oh you do said the atheist. Then you must believe in the stories that are in the Bible. Oh yes I believe all the stories. Oh really. So do you believe in the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale.

She says, Yes sir. I believe that story. The Bible teaches he was swallowed by a great fish or maybe a whale.

Oh well let me ask you how is that even possible. She said, Well I don't know. When I get to heaven I will ask Him. Then the atheist said, Well what if He is in hell?

She said, Well then I guess you could ask Him. I don't know. So God used this big old fish to swallow Jonah. How many animal lovers do we have out there? If you are an animal lover raise your hand. A lot of animal lovers out there. How many animal haters do we have?

I hope we don't have many. You know it is funny when I was a kid I had two aspirations. I wanted to either be a professional cartoonist or I wanted to own a pet shop.

That was sort of my fall back plan. I have always loved animals ever since I have been a little kid. It started with my collecting of reptiles. I had every kind of reptile imaginable. In fact I was so into reptiles I actually thought about becoming a herpetologist. That is defined as a nerd. No.

Not really. It is someone who studies reptiles. I had lizards and I had snakes. I had all kinds of snakes. I had pythons and I had boas and I had gopher snakes and king snakes and you name it I had it. Then I went into my rabbit phase. I had rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats, hamsters. Then I went into my bird phase.

I had finches, parakeets, cockatiels, love birds, and a parrot. Then I went to my dog phase. I had a couple of poodles. I was too young to know what I was doing.

They were given to me. Sorry. I had a collie. One of the dumbest animals that ever lived. He was the opposite of Lassie. I had a Springer Spaniel. Two German Shepherds. One of them the greatest German Shepherd of all time.

In a few months. Then I went to my fish phase. I had angelfish and Oscars and silver dollars. But I never had a cat. Never. Because why would you have a cat?

I mean really. I mean when you call a cat does the cat come? You call a dog. Here boy he comes running up like you. Call a cat. Cat looks at you like, do you seriously think I am coming to you?

You are joking right? I have had all these animals and am I not? I have been bitten by many animals. I have been bitten by parrots, rabbits, hamsters. I have been bitten by many snakes. I was even bitten by a monkey once. A little spider monkey. It belonged to a friend of mine. I reached down to pet him on the head.

That was a big mistake. That little monkey clenched onto my finger. I pulled my hand back in pain. He is hanging on my finger. Blood squirting out everywhere.

Not a good thing. I am looking forward to the day when Christ comes back and establishes His kingdom. And the Bible says the animal kingdom will be subdued. The wolf will romp with the lamb. The leopard will sleep with the kid.

A calf and lion will eat from the same trough and a little child will lead them. I have even read stories about how animals save people's lives. I read about a dog that dialed 911 when its owner fell ill. That is amazing. Apparently the owner taught his dog Bell to bite his cell phone if he had a diabetic seizure, which the dog did. Another man I read about was saved by his dog when his SUV plunged 40 feet. He was backing out too far from his driveway. He told his dog named Honey, Go get help. The dog ran half a mile to a friend's house and brought them back. Maybe that is why dogs are getting their own TV network now. Have you heard about this?

I am not making this up. There is a whole channel now dedicated to dogs. It is programming geared toward dogs. I am kind of wondering what that would be exactly. Close up shots of fire hydrants. Toilets.

I don't know. But it keeps the attention of a dog. There will never be one for cats of course. Do you think a cat would watch it? But here is my point.

These animals are so amazing. God used this creature to swallow the man that tried to run from the Lord. It doesn't matter if there was a fish in existence now like this fish that existed then. All we have to know is it existed once. But it is a man running from God.

Here is what it says. Jonah 1. The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, Arise go to Nineveh that great city and cry out against it for their wickedness has come up before me.

But listen to this. But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and he found a ship going to Tarshish and he paid the fare and went down to it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Have you ever tried to run from God? Maybe you thought God was out to ruin all of your fun. God was out to mess your life up.

Nothing can be further from the truth. The Bible tells us that God is good. The Bible says, give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever and God's plans for you are better than your plans for yourself. He says in Jeremiah 29.11, I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. Jesus said, I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly.

In other words Jesus is saying, I came that you might live a life that is full and rich and meaningful. Meanwhile the devil. And oh yes there is a devil. As surely as there is a God who loves you there is a devil who hates you. The devil wants to destroy your life. Jesus said of Satan, the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus has come to give life because God is good. But sometimes we run from God.

We don't understand God. Our granddaughters have a little rabbit named Fuzzy. And every now and then they will pull him out. And one of my granddaughters, little Allie, Alexandra is her full name, will play with Fuzzy. Now she is only two so sometimes she doesn't hold Fuzzy the right way. Sometimes she kind of picks him up by the head you see.

And Fuzzy is like, oh no. No. You know.

No Allie. You have got to support him when you hold him. And so the other day when I was returning Fuzzy to his cage he leapt out of my arms into the open cage.

I am so happy to be home. And that is how sometimes we seek God. Oh it looks like a cage. It was a bars. Well look. That is one way to look at it. Bars keeping you in.

I think Fuzzy the rabbit says those are the bars that keep Allie out. I am safe here. Listen. Following Jesus Christ I am not going to lie to you. There are things the Bible tells us we should not do. There are commandments that are put there for our own good. Not to keep you pinned in but to keep evil out of your life. And God won't hold it away from you if it is a good thing. If it is a good thing the Bible says no good thing will he withhold from those that walk uprightly.

Not only is God good but God is love. You see these Ninevites. These people Jonah was called to.

They were wicked. That is why Jonah didn't want to go. He was a patriotic Israelite. It would be like God coming to an Israeli today and saying go to Iran that great city and preach to them.

Well maybe he wouldn't want to do that. See Jonah's fear and it was effectively justified was that God would forgive Nineveh and his hope was God would judge Nineveh and destroy them and that would be one less enemy Israel had to worry about. So he didn't want to go. So God says to Jonah go to Nineveh. Jonah's response is God they drink haterade in Nineveh.

I don't want to go. God said go. Jonah said no. Jonah said oh.

Listen. The Lord will always have the last word. But yet despite the wickedness of these people God loved them. Graphic accounts are in historical records of the cruel treatment of captives from the Ninevites. They would burn boys and girls alive. They would torture adults.

They would tear the skin from their bodies and leave them to die in the scorching sun. Yet amazingly God loved these people and was giving them a second chance. And I want you to know that God loves you. And no matter what sin you have committed He will forgive you. But you need to turn from that sin. And I am going to give you an opportunity to do that.

Just like 5,756 people have done over the last two nights filling the field behind the stage. You can make that commitment to follow Christ. So Jonah got up and went in the wrong direction. And he went down. And that is where sin is always going to take you. Down.

We don't plan on going down. But one thing leads to another doesn't it? That flirtation that ruined a marriage. That pregnancy that altered your life. That pleasure that turned into an addiction. Think about these things. Especially you that are young. The evening of your life is determined by the morning of it.

The end from the beginning. These things that you don't think are a problem now turn into big things. Have you ever seen a little baby rattlesnake? They are actually kind of cute in a weird way.

Everything is miniaturized. They have got their little fangs. And they have got their little rattler. And you might say, look at the little baby rattlesnake. And you pick it up.

And hold it up. And he bites you. The little baby rattler feeling lightheaded. Drop for drop the venom of a baby rattler.

It is super potent. And we will take a sin and we will say, oh it is just a little sin. It is just one time.

I will never do it again. And little things turn into big things. And that is what happened to Jonah.

I read about a rapper that had a number one hit. And he was talking in an interview about the effect of instant fame. His shows got bigger. His partying became more extreme. He says, I got more messed up than ever. All of a sudden he says, you are young.

You have this new found attention. I was hooking up with random females and the drugs started getting stronger. I always said, I will never do coke. But I broke that.

I started doing a little bit of Oxycontin. That scared me. His friends began to worry because he didn't respond to texts and calls.

They thought, oh he is just too cool for us now. But the rapper says, I was alone smoking in my bedroom. That is sin man. It just takes you down. Sin will take you further than you want to go. It will keep you longer than you want to stay. And it will cost you more than you want to spend.

Don't go that way. So a storm comes. A big old gnarly storm. And this was so hard core this storm that even the sailors started to panic. And they were used to rough seas.

They had never seen anything like it. In a way this was a loving storm. Because God was allowing it to get Jonah's attention. Maybe you have had a crisis in your life recently. Maybe you have had a close brush with death. You got a scary call from the doctor about the tests that they just did on you. Or something has happened to remind you of your mortality.

C.S. Lewis said, quote, God whispers to us in our pleasures. He speaks in our consciences. But He shouts in our pain. Pain is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

Sometimes God can take pain, or a storm if you will, to get our attention and show us we need God. Actor Gerard Butler who starred in 300 and also Olympus Has Fallen had a close brush with death recently. He was learning how to surf big waves and prep for his film Chasing Mavericks. He got hammered by a wave and he was pinned under water for nearly a minute. Now Butler is not a seasoned surfer. He was panicking. He thought he was going to drown.

Fortunately rescuers got to him and they told him the last guy that went down at Mavericks had drowned so he was fortunate to be alive. And Butler says in a quote, You know how people say when you are close to death you get a sense of peace? Well I didn't experience it. It was violent. And it went on and on.

It was absolutely terrifying. End quote. Yeah. That can happen. And maybe that has happened to you. Well these sailors are freaking out and they are calling out to their gods. None of them had the right god.

I think a lot of times when we are in trouble we will call out to God. I will tell you I used to. One day when I was a kid probably around 16 years old I was with some buddies. We went down and bought a kilo of marijuana.

Not to sell. We were going to smoke it all ourselves. We put it in the trunk of our car. We are cruising down Pacific Coast Highway on Laguna Beach. And it was raining that night. One of my friends was driving. Suddenly the car starts to fishtail. And I am in the backseat and I am seeing the headlines in the morning newspaper.

Drug dealers die on Pacific Coast Highway. And I said, God if you get me out of this I promise I will serve you. Suddenly the car corrected itself and we got home safely. And I said, thanks God. See you next crisis. Have you ever done that before? Oh God if you get me out of this one I promise I will follow you.

And He does. And you forget your promise. That is what these men were doing. They were crying out to their gods but none of them had the right god.

So they cast lots. They figure out the culprit is this stranger who is in the bottom deck sleeping. They wake them up. It is Jonah. They are saying, what is going on with you? We figured out this storm came because of you. Jonah said, well I am Hebrew. I worship the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the land.

They are blown away. They had heard of the God of Israel. The God who parts oceans. The God who sends food from heaven.

The God who raises the dead. And they are saying to Him, you are running from a god like that? Nothing is more pathetic than being busted by a non-Christian especially when they are right.

Have you ever had that happen? A non-Christian says, I thought you were a Christian. Well I am. Then why are you doing that?

Well good question. That happened to me years ago. I had become a Christian and I had started a church. I had real long hair and a beard Duck Dynasty style.

I was sitting in a pizza restaurant. I looked over at the table next to me and there is this guy I recognized from elementary school. His name was Paul. He said, excuse me. Is your name Paul?

I said, yes it is. You know some people don't change. They just get like bigger you know. He just looked like himself still. I looked very different. I said, Paul it is Greg Laurie. He goes, man I didn't recognize you under all that hair.

Use your imagination. I said, well Paul how have you been? He says, I have been good.

How about you? I said, well I have been good. I have changed a lot Paul. You see I have become a Christian. And not only am I a Christian Paul but I am the pastor of a church. He looked at me like I was crazy. He said, Greg you always used to get in trouble.

You are always smart enough to the teacher. You are always doing pranks to other people. I can't believe you are a Christian. Oh yes I am. I am serving the Lord. Hallelujah. He goes, ok that is great Greg. Thank you Paul.

Good to talk to you. I was feeling so good about myself. Well we are waiting for our pizza to come and it finally arrives. I was with a friend who went to the restroom for a moment. I forgot all about Paul and I thought it would really be funny to take the red pepper flakes and pour them on my friend's side of the pizza so when he took his first bite it would be really hot. So I am laughing.

Pouring the red pepper flakes on his side of the pizza and Paul says, haven't changed much have you Greg? He is kind of right about that. Sometimes we are like Jonah. We blow it. We have lost our testimony. We are not being the representative of Jesus we ought to be. Let me just say something. If you are looking for a hypocrite free church please don't join it.

You will ruin it. Ok. Every Christian is going to be inconsistent at times. So let me apologize for us if we have not been the best representatives of Jesus Christ.

But check this out. Jesus did not say follow my people. He said follow me. Jesus will never be a hypocrite.

You follow Him. Honestly the whole there is too many hypocrites in the church line is nothing more than a shallow excuse. Why would you run from a God like this they ask Him.

Sometimes nonbelievers have a better idea of what believers should do than some believers have. I read a true story about a bar that was being built in Texas. A local church started a campaign with petitions and prayers to stop it. Work progressed in this bar until a week before opening and lightning struck and burned the bar down. The bar owner sued the church saying they were responsible because of their prayers. The church denied any responsibility and there was no connection they said between our prayers and the fire. It went to court. The judge read the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's reply. He said, I don't know how I am going to decide this but it appears from the paperwork we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer in an entire church congregation that does not.

That is interesting. So these nonbelieving men are saying to Jonah, why would you run from a God like that. That is a good question. Why are you running from God. He just wants to love you.

He just wants to forgive you. And so the Lord had a custom made watercraft to take care of this problem. Jonah said, you throw me over the side of this boat the storm will stop.

And they did. And He was swallowed by this great fish. And now inside of the fish He stubbornly refuses to pray. Why did God do this. Because Jonah was a prodigal son.

And God loves His kids so much He is not going to let them go. It is like my son Jonathan. I was going to find my son. It was like Phil Robertson told us about his son Alan and his son Jeff. He loved his sons.

And his son Jeff said, Dad I was waiting for you to rescue me. And that comes back to that picture of God who loves you and misses you. And I wonder if we have any prodigals here tonight. What is a prodigal?

It is someone that knows what is right and does not do it. Maybe you were raised in the church. Maybe you have been living a double life. You have been putting on quite a performance. Everyone thinks you are a strong Christian. But you know what is up. You know what you are really doing.

Listen. You can fool all of the people some of the time. You can fool some of the people all of the time. But you can't fool God any of the time. Prodigal it is time for you to come home tonight to return to the Lord. That is why I am going to ask you in just a few moments to get up out of your seat and walk down here and stand in this back field and make that recommitment to Christ or maybe that first time commitment to Jesus. So now the Lord gives Jonah a second chance. Jonah 3 says, The Lord spoke to Jonah a second time. Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Deliver the message of judgment I have given you. This time the Lord or Jonah obeyed the Lord's command and went to Nineveh. He entered the city. He shouted to the crowds, 40 days from now and Nineveh will be destroyed. The people of Nineveh believed God's message and from the greatest to the least they decided to go without food and wear sackcloth to show their sorrow. I love how that says the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.

I have good news for you tonight folks. God gives second chances. And He gives third chances. And He gives fourth chances.

And as many as you need. Jonah said, 40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown. Well that is not a very hopeful message is it?

Well in a way it is. Because He was giving them a warning. Sort of like a parent warning their child. You do that one more time. There is going to be a punishment.

Ok. I am warning you one last time. And then there is a punishment. Now if you are a grandparent you say, if you do that again there is a punishment. Then they do it again. If you do it again there is a punishment.

They do it again. You just keep saying it because basically grandparents don't punish their grandchildren. We let the parents do that. We just fill them full of sugar and give them back to you. That is our job.

To spoil our grandchildren. But you see sometimes we don't listen to what God says. But God was giving to them another chance. I believe God wants the United States of America to turn back to Him. I believe the only hope for our great country is to turn back to God and turn from our sin. We need a spiritual awakening in America again. We have had four great awakenings. We are due for another. I tremble to think what will happen in our country if God does not send a spiritual revival.

Let's pray for that. This is one of the reasons we are doing this event we call Harvest America. September 28 and 29 in Philadelphia.

That is basically a month from today. So you can tune this thing in. You can pull it down to your computer, to your tablet device, to your smartphone. And you can watch it. You can watch it in your front room. You can have it in your church.

You can have it in a theater. But I hope that you will all pull down that signal that we sent from Philadelphia. Once our nation's capital as we proclaim the gospel.

It is the only hope for America today. God was warning Nineveh and God is warning America. He is saying, turn back to Me now. That is His message. Listen. I am no prophet and I have never been swallowed by a fish.

Though I have swallowed a few fish called sushi. But I have a message. And here it is. There is only one hope in this life that can turn it around. There is only one lifeline that God has dropped from heaven for us to be forgiven of our sins. It is His Son Jesus Christ who was born in that manger and died on the cross and rose again from the dead three days later who now stands at the door of your life and knocks. And if you will hear His voice and open the door He will come in. Jesus said it best right in the front of this platform.

I am the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by Me. That is your answer. That is your hope. It is your only hope. So I have a message of good news.

Maybe I need to give you the bad news first. The bad news is that every one of us have sinned. The bad news is that every one of us have fallen short of the glory of God. You say, no Greg I don't really think that I am a sinner.

I think I am a good person. Have you ever read the Ten Commandments? God says, you shall not lie. You shall not steal. You shall not take the Lord's name in vain. You shall have no other gods before Me. Have you ever had another god before the true God? Have you ever lied? Have you ever said, no I haven't. You are lying right now. You have broken those commandments.

You say, well ok I have broken a few but some have broken more than me. Ok. True. But one of those commandments being broken is enough to keep you out of heaven. The Bible says if you offend in one point of the law you are guilty of all of it.

We are guilty. That is the bad news. The good news is Jesus Christ came and died on the cross for our sin. The good news is Jesus absorbed the wrath of God the Father that should have come upon me.

Jesus Christ came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. And if you will believe in Him and turn from your sin you can be forgiven. And you can have a second chance tonight. And I am going to give you that opportunity in just a moment.

So check it out. The people of Nineveh turn to God. This is one of the greatest revivals in human history. If Nineveh could turn around certainly the United States can turn around. And I hope that we will.

But let's start with you tonight. Maybe you have been running from God. It is time to throw on the brakes friend. It is time to come back to the God who loves you.

It is time to come back home again. I told you that story already of that prodigal son that ran away. But Jesus said when he was still a great ways off his father saw him and ran to him. I love the picture of the father running. You know it was considered undignified in that culture for an older man to run. Not to mention it is just hard for an older man to run.

I know this from experience. I have tried running. I have had my friends who run say, Greg just hang in there and the endorphins will be released and you will get the runner's high. I have never had a single endorphin released. I have never had this runner's high.

I just have runner's pain. But that older man. That father. Willing to lose his dignity if you will.

Ran to his son and threw his arms around him. And that is what God will do for you tonight as you come to Him or as you come back to Him. So what do you need to do to get right with God? Well number one you need to admit you are a sinner. I have already pointed out all of us have broken God's commandments. All of us have fallen short of God's standards. But number two recognize that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you.

Yes it is true. Jesus died for the whole world. Jesus said, For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son. And whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. He died for the world.

But listen. He died for you. I love the way the apostle Paul personalized it when he said, He loved me and He gave Himself for me. And Jesus loves you and He gave Himself for you. He died there in your place.

Number three. You need to turn from your sin. The Bible uses the word repent.

You say, well I haven't even pented yet. Why should I repent? Listen. Repent means to change your direction. Instead of running from God you need to run to God. To repent is to acknowledge that the things you are doing are wrong before the Lord. They are sins before God. They are sins before God. And being sorry enough to stop those things and turn to Him and He will give you the strength to live the life He has called you to live. But then you must receive Jesus Christ into your life. Being a Christian is about a relationship. You know I think there is a lot of people that know a lot about God.

But they don't know God. You know I knew a lot about Phil Robertson before I met him. I watched his show. I read his book. But it was really a lot different in the back there meeting Phil in person. Now I have a different sense of who he is. He is really the same guy but I sort of know him a little bit now you see. And we all do after listening to him. But we know about people. We see him from a distance.

No. Being a Christian is having Christ come and live inside of your heart. You will never be alone again. He will take residence inside of you and give you the strength to be the person He has called you to be.

You need to receive Jesus. He says, I stand at the door and I knock. Now if you will hear my voice and open the door I will come in. He will come into your life tonight.

But listen. You will have to invite Him in. He doesn't say, Behold I stand at the door and knock and if you don't open it I will kick it in. Because I am God and you are not.

No. He is the God who is pursuing us but He will not force His way into our lives. You have to in effect open that door through prayer and say, All right Lord come in. Then you must do it publicly. That is what thousands of people have already done this weekend. Thousands and thousands more have done it over the last 24 years.

We have been holding these Harvest Crusades here at Angel Stadium. Jesus said, If you will acknowledge Me before people I will acknowledge you before My Father and the angels in heaven. But He added, If you deny Me before people I will deny you before the Father and the angels. That is why I am going to ask you to make a public stand in just a few moments. And finally you must do it now. Do it now. Don't procrastinate. Don't put it off until tomorrow. The Bible says now is the time. Today is the day of salvation.

Tonight is your night. Some people think they can just keep putting this off and putting this off. And one day my fear is your heart will get so hard you won't even hear God speak to you anymore. You know there is another city in the Bible that God judged. They are known as Sodom and Gomorrah. There was no warning for them. There was no Jonah barfed out of a whale walking through their streets because they had gone beyond the point of no return. There was still hope for Nineveh.

There is still hope for you. Be careful. There is a point of no return where you can go too far. Jesus said it is the unforgivable sin. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

What does that mean? It means that you reject the work the Holy Spirit has come to do which is to make you aware of your need for Jesus. You say no to Him and your heart can become irreparably hardened. The Bible says, He who is often reproved hardens his heart and it will be cut off and that without remedy. Listen. The Holy Spirit is working on you.

Some of you are saying, You know what Greg? I know I need Jesus. I know I am a sinner. I know He will forgive me. I believe it is all true but I still want to party or I still want to have sex with my girlfriend or I still want to do drugs and drink and I still want to lie and cheat and steal.

Listen. To know this is true and not act on it that is super scary. Because you could miss this opportunity to get right with God and then you will be separated from Him for all eternity. Friend there is a heaven for those that put their faith in Jesus. And there is a hell for those that reject Him. Well how could a God of love send someone to hell?

Listen. God doesn't send people to hell. You effectively send yourself there by rejecting God's only offer of forgiveness through Christ. God doesn't want you to go there.

He wants you in heaven. Your eternal destiny hinges on your decision. You are going to either say yes or no to Jesus right now. We are going to pray. And I am going to give you an opportunity to make this commitment or recommitment to Christ. If you haven't done it yet please do it tonight.

I promise you you will never regret it. Let's all pray. Lord this is Your Word.

It is good news if we listen. I pray for those that do not yet know You yet. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will convince them of their need for Jesus. I pray that they will see their sin and see the Savior and that they will come to You tonight and be forgiven. And I pray for prodigal sons and daughters Lord that have been running from You. Help them to come back home tonight. As you throw your arms around them and you say, Welcome home son. Welcome home daughter. Help them to come we pray. And we ask it now in Jesus name. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-05 04:40:08 / 2023-03-05 04:56:39 / 17

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