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The Almost Christian | Checking in on Yourself

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2022 3:00 am

The Almost Christian | Checking in on Yourself

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 15, 2022 3:00 am

Ever drive away from home and had that nagging feeling you might have left the stove on? Or you forgot to lock a door? Or you left a curling iron plugged in? If you don’t go back and check, you start thinking of how things could go horribly wrong. We want to be sure about certain things, don’t we? Well, today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us check ourselves when it comes to the sincerity of our faith in Christ. When it comes to matters of eternity, “close enough” isn’t close enough.

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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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We are 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 daily defenses.

Learn more and sign up@harvest.org no one would two words together almost today pastor Greg Laurie helps us make sure our faith is sincere or faith is genuine and were not holding back our relationship for almost on your way to becoming a Christian you are Christian you not that almost person that's an oxymoron, almost Christian in nagging feeling you left the stove on the log, curling iron, if you don't go back and shed thinking about things to go wrong.

We want to be sure you check ourselves when it comes to the sincerity of our faith in Christ when it comes to matters of eternity will grab your Bible after 26. The title of my messages almost Christian. The almost Christian almost interesting word is slightly short of not quite close, merely it's often associated with delaying something.

Dinner is almost ready or Jenny almost fainted.

That's how will often use it. Sometimes it's because of confusion. So you walk into a restaurant you take your seats and the server comes and gives you a menu, and then they asked do you know what you want to order one of all the parents if I'm at cheesecake factory. I am literally overwhelmed. I googled this because I wanted to confirm it. The menu with the cheesecake factory has 21 pages of 250 items.

Do you know what you want know I'm over well. That's why like In-N-Out Burger Burger burger with fries ball Chick-fil-A similar chicken sandwich, chicken nuggets, maybe a mall, actually a chicken flavored malt.

No, not really, but simplicity so you say you know I don't know I'm I'm almost ready to order, or maybe your husband and going out to dinner and you call upstairs your bedroom and you ask your wife. Are you ready and she says almost. You know what that means right one hour more OR your you get a call from your boss says were having a meeting where are you oh I'm almost there, which really means you just woke me up out of a dead sleep and almost. It's a word we use a lot. It's a word that is associated with procrastinating not want to put two words together that don't fit almost Christian you can't be an almost Christian. Now you may be on your way to becoming a Christian you may be closer to believing, then you've ever been in any other time in your life is either you are a Christian or you not a Christian but you can't be an almost Christian. That's an oxymoron, almost Christian and oxymoron as well. Jumbo shrimp that's an oxymoron. What is it jumbo shrimp or freezer burn. How do you get burn from the freezer or government efficiency. That's an oxymoron for certain airline food.

Another oxymoron is a really food. I'm not quite sure, so we are introduced in this story to what we could describe as an almost Christian's name was Herod Agrippa and he was listening to the apostle Paul preached the handout when we hear the word or the name Herod, which is a name and the title I would get confused because there's a lot of Herod in the Bible. Number one, there's the big daddy of them all. Notice Herod the great.

This is the air that tried to kill Jesus when he was made aware by the wise men that one had been born in Bethlehem who would be the king of the Jews in this wicked Herod had all the little baby boys in Bethlehem killed and then he was the leader of a about horrible devilish dynasty after him came here at Enterprise. Herod Antipas was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist.

After that, Jesus was told that Herod Antipas wanted to speak with them. And Jesus said in Luke 1232. Go tell that fox.

I want to keep casting out demons out of people and I'm going to keep doing miracles and on the third day I will accomplish my purpose.

Ultimately Jesus did appear before this Herod but it's worth noting. He did not say a single word to him. Jesus said before Pontius Pilate had an extended conversation to this wicked Herod.

Jesus did not say a single work. Then there was a son of that here and here and enter both. He's the one who slew the apostle James and had Peter put in prison is also the one they gave a great speech. The people cried out. It's a voice of a God or not of a man and God struck him down.

Okay, that brings us to the Herod were going to be looking at that would be Herod Agrippa known one since it was Paul appearing before Garrett, but in another way, it's Herod appearing before Paul because the judgment he would render toward the apostle would effectively predict the judgment that would be rendered towards him coming back to Pilate. We could see Jesus appeared to pilot but we can more accurately say Pilate appeared before Jesus because Jesus was God walking among us. And so that's really the situation before us and so Herod Agrippa was deeply moved by what Paul said and he says in X 26 verse 28. You almost persuade me to become a Christian. Another translation of that is are you actually trying to talk me into becoming a Christian in such a short time.

The answer was absolutely that was Paul felt that this Herod would come to faith so here it was close but not close enough I suggest to you, there are a lot of almost Christians in our nation today in fact I would say there are more almost Christians than nonbelievers because when surveys are done.

There's always a very high amount of people that profess to believe in God recent survey found that 87% of Americans believe in God so we hear of the rise of deity as any other are atheist, but most people out there believe there is a God. Three quarters of Americans believe in miracles, 73% believe in heaven, 71% of Americans believe Jesus is the son of God. 71% of eyes believe in angels, 7/10 of Americans see Jesus rose from the dead and they believe that the Bible is the word of God. So I'm thinking what were are these people, I'm sure not seen them within a recent Barna poll revealed the following quote half of Americans who call themselves Christians don't believe Satan exists in one third are confident Jesus said in wall honor of Jean Houston, we have a problem. So we have a lot of people say they believe in God. They say they believe in the Bible. They believe in angels but yet they're saying they don't think there's a devil and they think Jesus sin when he was on earth, which is not true, of course, because it was a sinless son of God that 25% of others who claim to be Christians dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches so clearly there's a lot of confusion here. Look our faith that we have in Christ is a package deal.

God offers it to you. Here it is. This is not something will get a vote on this is your opportunity to believe or rejected.

But you don't pick and choose what you like. This is not la carte. Christianity but it is for some people, and these are what I would call almost Christians.

This is why Paul poses this challenge to those who claim to believe in second Corinthians 13 five he says check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians do you pass the test were you just pretending to be Christians when you actually are not at all proper question reminded of a story of a guy that needed work.

He heard they were hiring down at the local zoo and out so he went and applied it set. I'd like to get a job here they said sorry sir all the positions are filled within the person looking at this message, you know you're pretty big dude model muscle there. I'm in the say something I hope you're not offended but are gorilla died the other day and we ordered a new one and he's on his way, but I was wondering if we made you a custom gorilla suit. Would you be willing to wear it and pretend to be a gorilla for a few days will be really well know when the new gorilla comes your your good.

That's all the guys are all okay.

So they made him his custom gorilla suit.

He put it on.

He went to the gorilla area and he felt really self-conscious and was going to believe it and so he walked around a little bit pounded his chest a couple times a crowd started to form by day two is getting excited. He's enjoying it.

He's swinging on the finds everyone believing he's a real gorilla gets a little excited and swings to foreign lands right in the middle of alliance K now the lion is approaching them quickly and the guy in the gorilla suit is doesn't know what to do if he yells out help people will know he was a fraud. Finally, he just has Halpin the lion says shut up stupid or you get us both fire so he was pretending to be something he was not in.

There are people today that are pretending to be Christians when they are not Christians again check up on yourself.

Second Corinthians 13. Are you really Christians do you pass the test were are you just pretending to be Christians when you actually are not all measured regulatory will have the second half of this message just a moment. It's encouraging to hear from listeners who are impacted by pastor Grace teachings hi Pastor Greg, I'm a 65-year-old guy who grew up during the same era as you and have a similar background as I also came from an alcoholic family, I simply want to say that I feel really a special bond with you Greg and I'm sure there are others who share that with you as well.

Thank you for sharing your testimony and I feel blessed to be exposed to harvest ministries. My wife and I are also harvest partners who want to help you speak the Holy Spirit guide over our world as it is needed so much in these times. Thank you.

It is a privilege to bring these studies your way and were thankful for our harvest partners who make them possible. Would you consider partnering with this so they can continue to make a donation online@harvest.org that's harvest.org today.

Pastor Greg is presenting a fascinating message called the almost Christian is a good warning for those masquerading in their face, let me say something that might surprise it is possible for you to pray, keep the 10 Commandments are the best of your ability attend church on a regular basis, be baptized and not necessarily be a Christian. Now if you're a Christian should do all these things, but you can do all these things and not necessarily be a Christian. The word can be without the inward, but the inward can never be without the outward so make sense. The outward those things that we do can be without the inward, but the inward, if you're really a believer will never be without the outward Jesus said by their fruit you shall know them. For instance, a person can pray, and not necessarily be a Christian. Polls show that 9/10 Americans pray 76% of us believe that there is a heavenly father that can be reached by prayer. The reality is when when you're in trouble.

Most people pray right. I know I did before I was a Christian way of I was in a crisis.

I call out to God. Laban called out to Jesus.

I had no relationship with him, but that doesn't mean you're a Christian. That just means you're calling out to God because I'm the story of the book of Jonah.

A great storm came in all of the sailors called out to their various gods try. They all had their gods and people will call in God in the day of trouble.

But when the crisis passed. Do you still call out to God.

Listen, you can say your prayers and never pray you, we teach people there prayers to your prayers learned that these prayers when you were in trouble free. These prayers we teach our children. Prayers say your prayers before you go to sleep. Remember your prayers we say now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep if I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take a good prayer to teach a child really. I think you might be traumatizing the little one. What you really saying you know you might died and I then your sleep, but just pray God teachers so so good night sleep tight don't let the bedbugs bite.

Bed that note instead of teaching the child a prayer. Teach them how to pray and God says in the book of Isaiah 59 the arm of the Lord isn't too short to save his ears. Not too dull to hear your iniquities have separated you from God, your sins have hidden his face from you so he will not hear so if you're living in overt sin. Don't expect your prayers to be answered. The psalmist says in Psalm 66 ever regard iniquity in my heart. The Lord will not hear me listen to this. If you're living in overt sin with no desire to repent, you are not a Christian. If you are living in overt sin with no desire to repent.

You're not a Christian now using the Greg you're wrong that everyone struggles. I didn't say if you're struggling percent over means you're living this way you're not can it change the way you're living. You have no intention of repenting. Don't tell me you're a Christian, are you a Christian do you pass the test right you pretending to be a Christian when you really are at all payment judgment list to be judged okay hold on. I am judging you, because the Bible says judgment begins at the house of God, and we don't see any spiritual fruit in your life. Why should I believe that your necessarily a Christian listen. A person can make visible change in their life not necessarily be a Christian. The book of acts. Remember we read about Simon the sorcerer and apparently became a believer. He was baptized everything look pretty good with any tried to buy the gift of God that he saw being utilized to the hand of Simon Peter.

And Peter said your heart is not right from God turn from this wickedness and I think that this Simon guy. He was a magician he was deceiving people he was going out of business. When Peter showed up in the gospel was preached and so he sort of acted. He wanted to get whatever it is they were doing so he could stay in business to keep misleading people this happens all the time. People become a Christian up with that."

When they need something politicians all yes they come calling. They come knocking. Yes I would like to come and address your church. I I too am a believer really have never seen any evidence of that before, but you know because they want to get that evangelical vote.

Sometimes a person, their career may be fading less time the recorded gospel record.

Okay, recorded gospel record but are you doing that because you believe it or you just want to boost your career is a you can do these things and not be a Christian. I mean think of Judas Iscariot.

He spent three years hanging out with Jesus.

He saw Jesus walked on the water, he saw Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead he with his own ears heard the sermon on the Mount. He knew Jesus was perfect and flawless, yet he betray them for 30 pieces of silver.

He was so close yet so far. Yes, you can appear to be a believer and not be a believer so coming back to our story. Herod Agrippa became one of the parents is coming to town. It's a big deal and his sister Bernice. They arrived with all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds visiting dignitary. He will Herod would've been arrayed in a royal scarlet robe and there were Roman soldiers around them in their dress uniforms and in every eye has on them as they take the royal seat ball center that they can will look who just walked into my next he wasn't intimidated by the power the authority or anything else about these two people he saw them as people to reach with the gospel and really as we read now what Paul says we learn how to share our faith with non-believers asked 26 verse one Agrippa said to Paul, you may now speak in your defense in public adjuster of his sin started his defense, I'm very fortunate. King Agrippa then you are the one here in my defense against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders right know you're an expert on Jewish customs and controversies now listen to me personally getting dropped on the verse not want to point out some before we read this. This is false testimony. It's a powerful story hard to talk quite frankly, he often began his messages with this testimony and everybody has a testimony.

You will the testimony. I have a testimony in one testimony is not more valid than another because of more drastic or radical or whatever hears all of our testimonies. In a nutshell.

Once we were blind but now we see why Jesus Christ is changed our lives.

But Paul's story was pretty unique. So he shares it now acts 26 verse nine speaking, Herod Agrippa I used to believe I had to do everything I could to oppose the followers of Jesus of Nazareth authorized by the leading pre-site because many of the believers in Jerusalem to be sent to prison. I cast my vote against them and they were condemned to death.

Many times I had them with in the synagogue to get them to curse Christ shows how hard Saul then called what he would win people to get them to deny their faith and cursed Jesus. I was so violently opposing impulses. I hounded them in distant cities of foreign land for one day I'm on such a mission to Damascus arm of the authority and commission of the leading priests about noon, your Majesty. A light from heaven, brighter than the sun shone down to me and my companions. We all fell down and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me.

It's hard for you to fight against my will.

I said who are you, sir.

And the Lord replied, I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. He'd love to tell the story because it build a bridge. Here's a great thing about your story.

It's a great way to preach to a person without preaching at a person does it make sense though it's as I tell my story I heard a guy say Jesus said your forming or against me. So instead of me starting with this sermon, I start with my story, but in fact I am kind of preaching to them. So it's showing them I wasn't always the way I am now ice this change me that the place again. Good instruction pastor Greg Laurie today here on a new beginning. He is presenting a candid message called the almost Christian.

Now if you missed any part of this presentation or if you'd like to share these thoughts with someone else. You can listen to the study on our website any time@harvest.org just look for that title be almost Christian or subscribe to our podcast by going to Google podcasts Apple podcasts or spot a fly into the book of Revelation is a rewarding study of Bible prophecy, and in the book from Pastor Greg he paint such a full picture of its authorship.

The time in which it was written and the circumstances in which our redemption takes place.

The apostle John wrote the book of Revelation. John was one of the apostles that one would Jesus Christ.

In fact, in his gospel. He described himself as a disciple that Jesus loved, he outlived all the other disciples and they trying to put them to death. According to church mission and a pot of boiling oil, but John would not die. So instead, the banished him distant island of Patmos and isolated little island out in the middle of nowhere, and when he was placed on that island. No one ever thought they would hear from John again. Maybe even John felt abandoned by God. I don't know but I know this much Jesus Christ came to the apostle John on the island of Patmos and the Lord took John into the future. Started catapulting him into the next dimension and he saw things that no man had ever seen before.

John had a front row seat to the beginning of the tribulation. He tells us about the antichrist. The mark of the beast. The battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Jesus Christ. He also tells us about the millennial reign of Jesus with the lamb and the lion will lie together and John tells us about the momentous event heaven and earth all come together again and he wrote these words down in a book that is simply called Revelation, the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation means unveiling this book is given on to reveal Jesus Christ's to pastor Greg digs deep into these words are prophecy and revelation, a book of promises. Tell us about this resource?

Yeah, I think far too often will be think of Revelation we we think it's ominous and horrible and yes there are some very heavy duty events described in this book, but it is a book that reveals Jesus Christ to us. It's a book that is filled with promises.

That's what we called it revelation about God promises this is a book he would leave out of a coffee table or by your nightstand, a book that is over 400 pages long, but understand it's a very assessable book.

The way that I wrote it I did so in a way that you can understand what the Bible teaches on the end times because I know you have an interest in these things but but I want to help you know how it applies to you. There's not a lot of theological verbiage that will confuse you. Everything isn't down to earth terminology that you will understand and it will show you how all of these great events that are in our future apply to you and D today living I think you're gonna love this book from harvest ministries that were simply calling Revelation a book of promises. I think you're right and remaking this book available to thank you for your investment in the work we do here each day. It's an investment in changing lives for eternity. It's an investment in bringing people to Jesus Christ. As will be doing at SoCal harvest coming up November 5 and sixth so send that investment today to a new beginning.

Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime.

Again, that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org more important words of warning from the message called the almost Christian. Join us here on the new beginning pastor and Bible teacher Greg Ward and everybody thinks you're listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow the show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org and find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God


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