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There’s a New Kid in Town | Ordinary with Supernatural Courage

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 19, 2022 3:00 am

There’s a New Kid in Town | Ordinary with Supernatural Courage

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 19, 2022 3:00 am

Believers have the privilege of sharing a life-saving message within their circle of influence. But many times, we let those opportunities pass by. Maybe we don’t feel equal to the assignment . . . we’re just “regular folks” and the stakes are so high. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie introduces us to another “regular guy” who stepped out with uncommon courage and did great things for the Kingdom. Let’s learn how we can find the courage to follow in his footsteps.

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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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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. When you stand in the presence of God, you will not bow before any man. It'll give you a courage that you never thought you could have before. It's a supernatural courage. Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the confidence we can have when we represent God well and when we tell others about Him. Keep in mind the simple fact that to whoever we speak, wherever it is and wherever we go, God is with us.

And one with God is a majority. Believers have the privilege of sharing a life-saving message within their circle of influence. But many times we let those opportunities pass by.

Maybe we don't feel equal to the assignment and we're just regular folks and the stakes are so high. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie introduces us to another regular guy who stepped out with uncommon courage and did great things for the kingdom. Let's learn how we can find the courage to follow in his footsteps. Let's go to 1 Kings 17. 1 Kings 17, we're starting a brand new series titled, Elijah, the Power to Stand. And the title of my message is, There's a New Kid in Town, Elijah the Prophet.

What do you think of when you hear that name? Well, we think of the prophet who boldly stormed into the court of the wicked king Ahab and said, There will not be dew nor rain these years except in my word. We think of a boy being raised back to life again by this miracle working prophet. Of course, we think of fire coming down from heaven up on Mount Carmel. You've heard of the shootout at the OK Corral. This was the shootout on Mount Carmel with Elijah and the prophets of Baal and God answered by fire.

And that's all true. But then there's another side of Elijah sometimes we don't think about. He was given to depression and discouragement when things did not work out. He experienced intense fear and deep loneliness. At times, he doubted the faithfulness of God. See, he would even allow his anger to distort his thinking and he would experience dark depression. On one occasion, at least, he even wanted to die. Who is this guy, Elijah?

Answer. The Bible says, Elijah was a man just like us. Or as another translation puts it, Elijah was as human as we are.

And it's so true. He came at a very dark time in the history of Israel. But this single man changed history and caused Israel to turn back to God and it shows how one man or one woman can make all the difference. And we too live in very dark times in our country right now. We have all of the turmoil. We have the crime.

We have the divisions racially and politically. And it reminds us of that passage that says in the last days, things would go from bad to worse. If you have a steady diet of news, you're going to be a pretty agitated, worked up, and depressed person. And it could cause you to just throw up your hands in despair and say, there's just no hope.

It's just so bad. But there's always hope. Because God is here and He's ready to intervene. We need a spiritual awakening in America. We need to pray for that spiritual awakening.

But listen to this. Revival is what God does for us. But evangelism is what we do for God. I cannot cause a revival to happen tomorrow, nor can you. Even if we all ask for it together, God will send that awakening when He chooses to send that awakening. But on the other hand, evangelism, that's something I can do.

And here at Harvest, we take the Great Commission really seriously. The philosophy of some is to evade the culture. You could sum it up in one word, isolation. But understand this, that is virtually impossible.

You can try to remove yourself and your children from the culture, but the culture will find you. By the way, that is not what Jesus told us to do. He has not called us to isolate. He has called us to infiltrate. He wants us to permeate. Our job is not to evade. It's to invade, right?

Invade. Meaning that we go into our culture, into our world, go into all of the world and preach the gospel, go into our world, go into every place we can. Well, that's our job because Jesus has called us to be both salt and light in the culture.

He says you're the salt of the earth. The salt that is lost at saltiness isn't good for anything. Sort of like when a coat goes flat. It's worthless. Or when you order a decaf, low-fat, lavender, worthless latte. I think you should have the word worthless.

If you're going to order that, just say I would like a low-fat, decaf, worthless latte, please. So that's what it's like to not have an influence. But a salty Christian is one that is standing up for what is true, speaking out against what is not true. But also what else does salt do?

It stimulates thirst, doesn't it? And if we're living as a true follower of Jesus, we will stimulate in others a spiritual thirst. And then Jesus said you're not just the salt of the earth, you're the light of the world. He said let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Well, Elijah was certainly that.

He was salt and light. And this stage of the history of Israel closely parallels America today. Basically the people had abandoned God. It's not that they didn't believe in God anymore, they had just put other gods in His place. It was G.K. Chesterton who said, quote, when a man stops believing in God, he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes in anything, end quote.

That's what was happening then, that's what's happening now. What we have in America is basically an ABC religion. ABC. Anything but Christ. Whatever idea, oh yeah we'll entertain that. Whatever philosophy, sure we'll get into that. But when we come to Christ, no we don't want to even hear about that at all. And the reason there was a moral breakdown in Israel is because there was a spiritual breakdown. Because there can be no real morality without spirituality.

And when I use the word spirituality I mean a relationship with God. Israel had failed to do this and that's where their troubles began. It's not that they were outright atheists, they were just worshiping other gods as well.

Now we can judge them and say they were so wrong to do it and they were. But we have our idols too. We'll get into this later. But an idol or a god with a small g is anyone or anything that takes the place of God in your life.

It's something you get fired up about, something you are passionate about, more passionate about than your faith in Jesus that could potentially be your idol. Little historical background here before we dive in. Israel had had years under the leadership of Saul David and finally Solomon. So Saul you know wasn't the worst king of all time but he wasn't a great king. And he was replaced by David who was probably the greatest king in the history of Israel. Although he had his flaws and setbacks and sins. And then finally his son Solomon who ruled well for a time and was known as the wisest man in all of the world. Even the queen of Sheba came to sit at his feet.

But of course he had his backslide but he returned to the Lord. But then there was a division after King Solomon died. And Israel was divided into two sections.

It was a southern kingdom and the northern kingdom. And idolatry exploded and now there's a new king in town. And his name is Ahab. And he was the most sinful king up to that point. And if that wasn't bad enough he married an extremely wicked woman named Jezebel who effectively was the power behind the throne. Jezebel was an overt worshiper of the god Baal. And she introduced Baal worship to Israel.

By the way Baal means master or lord. And Baal is the god of the elements. The god of the weather. The god of the sun.

The stars. And that's why it's so significant that when Elijah faced off with the prophets of Baal up on Mount Carmel really asking the god who was real to answer by fire. This should have been a walk in the park for Baal. But nothing happened because Baal wasn't real. He was a false god. And that's what Elijah was seeking to show.

Ahab and Jezebel were so bad that the Bible says of them in 1 Kings 16, Ahab did more to provoke the god of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him. So they thought hey this is great. The true god doesn't really care. We can have our cake and eat it too. Right. And by the way I've had cake and eat. Then why can't you have your cake and eat it too. So that's what they thought.

Well you know the best of both worlds. We still believe in the lord of course. But we can have all this fun. We can break god's laws.

We can live immorally and do all of these things. But of course god warns in scripture don't be deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows that will he also reap. We remember the story of the boy king Belshazzar who went out of his way to mock the true god of Israel. Taking the special vessels that were used in the temple for worship and filling them with wine and toasting and praising the false gods. And there was that hand writing on the wall.

It was a hand of god with a little heavenly graffiti telling Belshazzar that his days were numbered. God will not be mocked. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We love hearing from our listeners.

Whether it's a short word or they take some time to tell us what's going on we read every word. Pastor Greg I'm thankful for your devotions and tweets each day. They always seem to have a direct impact on what I'm going through and that is indeed the case today. Thank you for staying true to the word through all these years. I can trust your teachings and that's golden to me.

Thank you Greg. How have these studies in god's word touched your life? If you have a story to share why not call us and tell us about it. Call 866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well we're learning important life lessons from the account of Elijah in 1st King 17. Pastor Greg resumes his study now called there's a new kid in town.

You know if you play with sin it's going to eventually catch up with you. Read an interesting article about a man who tragically died recently. He was bitten by a snake. A venomous snake. But this guy had 124 snakes in his house. Including rattlesnakes, cobras, black mambas.

All of those are poisonous. One of the snakes bit him. So you know here's the bottom line. If you hang around with venomous snakes you're going to eventually get bitten. And if you play around with sin it too is going to bite you. Ecclesiastes 8-11 reminds us because sentence against an evil work is not executed quickly therefore the sons of men are fully set to do evil.

Let me paraphrase that because you get away with something for a long period of time you think you will always get away with it but you won't. Eventually it's going to bite you. Eventually it's going to blow up on you.

Eventually it's going to come out and you're going to have to face the consequences of it. Funny thing later on then in this story King Ahab accuses Elijah of being the one who troubles Israel. You're the one that brought all this trouble on Israel. And Elijah says I'm not the one who troubles Israel.

You're the one who troubles Israel. The nation is reaping what it sows because of the leadership of you and Jezebel. And in the same way many times we blame God for the problems we bring on ourselves.

So here's the thing. Whenever things are dark God will raise up His men or His woman. He always has the right man or the right woman at the right time. When the people rebelled against God the Lord raised up Enoch and Noah. When the people were in slavery God sent Moses. When the very survival of Israel was at stake the Lord sent Esther. And what did all these people have in common? They were imperfect people serving a perfect God.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Again Elijah was a man just like us. Now not only was he bold and courageous he didn't seem to care much about his appearance either. We're told in 2 Kings 1-8 he was a hairy man and wore a leather belt around his waist. Elijah was a rugged rough hewn unsophisticated man from the outback of Gilead.

So let's start the story. 1 Kings chapter 17 verse 1. Just simple verse. And Elijah the Tishbite of the inhabitants of Gilead said to Ahab as the Lord God of Israel lives before whom I stand. I'd underline that. As the Lord God of Israel lives before whom I stand there shall not be dew nor rain these years except in my word.

Stop there. Elijah flung down the gauntlet of his challenge at the very nerve center of Israel. There was a new kid in town and he was not afraid. And he walks right into the king's court. I mean here they are Ahab and Jezebel sitting on their regal thrones dressed in royal robes. And all of a sudden this crazy dude from the wilderness walks in all hairy. Not caring about them. No protocol. Doesn't bow before them.

No niceties. He just drops the bomb and walks out. God bless you. Thank you very much. You've been a great audience.

Good night. Drops the mic right. Who is this guy?

How did he get past security? This was Elijah the prophet. His very name said it all. His name means my God is Jehovah. It was a rebuke to the king and queen. Your God may be Baal but my God is the Lord and my God is alive and your God is not.

As the Lord God lives he served a living God and we do too. Now where Elijah's from is of note. He's described as a Tishbite from Gilead.

Now we read that. Okay I don't know where Gilead is and I don't know what a Tishbite is. Well actually Gilead was east of the Jordan river. It was sort of like well the Australian outback. The people that lived there were rough hewn, tanned from the sun, tough. You know I'm not saying Elijah was crocodile Dundee but he might have said that's not a knife this is a knife here. He was that kind of guy. He's a rough guy and just his appearance was sort of shocking and he was bold. Where did he get that boldness?

Where did he get that courage? Elijah stood continually in the presence of God. Elijah stood continually in the presence of God. Though he was technically in the presence of Ahab and Jezebel he was always conscious of God's presence. Psalm 91 says he that dwells in the secret place of the most high will abide under the shadow of the almighty.

Have you ever tried to walk in someone's shadow? You have to be very close don't you? And so he was always aware of God's presence and wherever he went he was aware God is with me. God is hearing this.

God is watching this and also God is leading me and God is guiding me. He always walked closely to the Lord and listen to this. When you stand in the presence of God you will not bow before any man. It'll give you a courage that you never thought you could have before. It's a supernatural courage. Proverbs 28 one says the righteous are as bold as a lion.

This awareness of God's presence gave Elijah to stand his ground. And it's a good reminder for us to keep in mind the simple fact that to whoever we speak wherever it is and wherever we go God is with us. And one person can make all the difference in the world. You're an army of one.

But one with God is a majority. Because you stand in his presence you stand in his strength. Remember David facing Goliath in the valley of Elah. Here's David he's just a young man still. And here's Goliath who's an overgrown beast of a man over nine feet tall solid muscle covered in body armor. And David attacks Goliath. He doesn't just hold his ground he goes toward Goliath. He says you come to me with sword and spear but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts.

And he had a boldness that God gave him and we can have that boldness as well. You may be the only Christian in your family. The only Christian in your workplace.

The only Christian in your neighborhood. Are you willing to take a stand like Elijah did? It's easy for us as believers to sort of fade into the woodwork. You know we don't want to stand out. We don't want to be the person who disagrees or the person who doesn't laugh at the dirty joke that everyone thinks is hilarious. Or the person that stands away from the crowd so we might wink at that indiscretion for fear of coming off to goody good. Or tell that lie to get that promotion.

But you don't want to be a compromiser. God is looking for men and women today who are willing to stand in the gap like Elijah. Because Ezekiel 22 30 the Lord says I sought for a man and I would add a woman among them who would make a wall and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land and I should not destroy it but I found none.

Be that person that makes that stand. Elijah continually walked in the presence of God. Great encouragement from Pastor Greg Laurie about the courage and boldness we can have as we serve the Lord. And there's more to come as this study continues here on A New Beginning. You know Pastor Greg when we look at world events, global hostility toward Israel, recovering from a worldwide pandemic but talk of new ones, you know contempt for biblical values, it sure seems like the time is right for the Lord to return.

But many people our age remember Pastor saying that back in the 70s. What can we learn from your book we're making available on Revelation? Well I think we want to always live our life ready for the Lord's imminent return. He may come tonight. He could come in a year. He may come in 10 years, 20 years. We don't know when he's coming.

I've always avoided any kind of date setting because Jesus says no one knows the day or the hour. However there are so many passages that tell us to wake up spiritually and to put on the armor of God because the day of the Lord is coming. It will come. It could come in our lifetime. It may come after but no matter what life will come to an end and we will enter eternity so we want to be ready for that moment. But there are many signs of the times happening right now that I think we should pay attention to. The Bible tells us that in the end times it would be like a woman having labor pains. Now you know when a mother is ready to give birth her labor pains become more frequent and they're closer together and that is exactly the analogy Jesus issues.

When you see these things begin to happen he says look up for your redemption is drawing near. We've had an increase in many things the Bible said would be happening. As an example the Bible predicted that one day there would be a cashless society. 100 years ago that would have seemed absurd but today with modern technology with cryptocurrency with all of the tech that's happening around us we can see how we could step into that immediately. The Bible tells us in the last days that there would be a spread of plagues globally.

I think that you could say that this pandemic COVID-19 was a plague and that is a sign of the times. I could go on and on and things that are happening the tension in the middle east and much much more as we see these things happen they're reminders that Jesus is coming again. Well I'll tell you what the book of revelation unlocks this for us and I've written a book simply called revelation subtitled a book of promises. This is a thick book. This is a hardcover book that will be a resource that you can go to again and again and it's going to help make the book of revelation more understandable to you and you'll begin to understand perhaps for the first time how to apply these truths in your own life.

Listen I want to send this book to you for no charge. It's actually for your gift of any size so we're encouraging you to send something to help us continue to reach out through this radio broadcast a new beginning and our other outreach efforts as well as how we proclaim the gospel. This is how we do it. You pray for us. You support us. You give us the ability to reach new people and as our way of saying thanks we'll send you your copy of this book revelation subtitled a book of promises. Yeah and we'll be glad to get it on its way to you immediately and we'll also include a custom bookmark we've produced that lays out the timeline of the events of bible prophecy the rapture the second coming the tribulation the millennium see them all displayed in proper order it's very helpful and the bookmark is included when we send you a copy of pastor greg's book when you send your donation be sure to ask for revelation a book of promises just call us at 1-800-821-3300 our team is standing by around the clock so dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org well next time more insights from pastor greg's study of the life of elijah join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher greg lorry hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow this show and consider supporting it just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know god personally go to harvest.org and click on know god
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 21:04:37 / 2023-01-25 21:13:59 / 9

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