You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. Greg Laurie brings important encouragement to those of us who face opposition for our faith. We have a message that must get delivered. Be on your ground and be a man or a woman of faith because you, in effect, are changing the world because you reflect Christ. Believers are called to go forward for Christ, onward Christian soldiers. Then why are there so many Christian retreats?
Shouldn't there be some Christian charges? Seriously, though, we're often more comfortable staying in our bubble than marching onto the battlefield. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us be people who impact the culture around us. Pastor Greg says we're called to be world changers, important principles on making sure we impact the world and not vice versa. We're going to discover now 10 principles about how you can be a world changer.
So if you're taking notes, here's point number one. World changers have an active, not a passive faith. I'll say that again for emphasis. World changers have an active, not a passive faith. Listen, the more you use your faith, the stronger it grows.
Jude 1.20 says this, you see, dear friends, build yourself up in your most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying in the center of God's love, keeping your arms open, ready for the mercy of our master, Jesus Christ. Notice the emphasis there is on faith doing things. Faith is praying. Faith is staying. Faith is keeping. Faith is active. Point number two, world changers do things with their faith. They do things with their faith.
Here in Hebrews 11, we read these words. Abel offered a sacrifice. Noah prepared an ark. Abraham obeyed. Abraham offered up Isaac. You see, they did things with their faith.
Listen to this. A faith that has no works is a faith that does not work. James says faith without works is dead, bringing me to point number three. The faith we need as a world changer grows stronger through testing. If you have real faith in God, your faith will grow stronger through adversity and difficulty, not weaker. We are told in James 1, when all kinds of trials and temptations crowd in on you, brothers, don't treat them as intruders, but friends realize they have come to test your faith and produce in you a quality of endurance.
All right. Where do we get faith? Point number four, we get it by reading and understanding the Word of God. Romans 10, 17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So we want to be looking into the Word of God.
And then point number five, listen, this is a big one. Faith can make the difference between something happening and not happening. Let me repeat that for emphasis. Faith can make the difference between something happening and not happening. We see so many instances in this scripture. There was one woman that was praying for her daughter, and Jesus answered her prayer. And then he said to her, woman, great is your faith.
It will be done as you desire. See, she put her faith into action. She was persistent with her faith, and Jesus granted her request and commended her for her faith. But yet we also read Jesus could do no mighty works in the hometown he lived in of Nazareth because of their unbelief.
No miracles were done there. We can stop the work of God in our life by unbelief. Unbelief is the thief. Hebrews 11, 6 says without faith it is impossible to please God.
For he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. Listen, what God did in the lives of people years ago he can still do in the lives of people today. God wants to do something fresh in our generation.
Let me personalize that. God wants to work in your life. He wants to work in your home.
He wants to work in your sphere of influence. These men and women took risks, and God bless them. Let's read a little more about them. Hebrews 11, 33 to 35 it says, By faith these people overthrew kingdoms. They ruled with justice. They received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions and quenched the flames of fire. They escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.
Women received their loved ones back from death. That brings me to principle number six. World changers are indestructible until God is done with them. World changers are indestructible until God is done with them. So stop worrying about when you are going to die. That is in the hands of God. The Bible says it is appointed unto a man who wants to die and then comes to judgment.
It is going to happen at the appointed hour. So if you are freaking out about it and stressing about it all the time you are wasting a lot of energy. You will live as long as God wants you to live.
Not a day longer. But then again your life will not be cut short if God wants it to go on longer. You are indestructible until God is done with you. Principle number seven. World changers are never alone.
World changers are never alone. Verse 33. They quench the power of fire. Now this is probably alluding to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The king.
This is Nebuchadnezzar now who preceded Darius. Who gave a decree that everybody should bow before a giant gold statue that he had erected. And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being good Jewish boys and believing what the Bible said.
They are not going to have another God before the Lord. And they refused to bow. And the king was outraged. And he threw them into a fiery furnace. In fact the flames were so hot that they killed the men who were putting them in. After they were dropped in the furnace the king looks.
He can't believe his eyes. He is probably rubbing them and saying, wait I threw three people in the furnace and I see a fourth one. And they are walking around. Who was this mysterious shadowy figure walking with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace as though it were a walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon. It was Jesus walking with them.
And they were delivered. And Jesus is walking with you through your hardship right now. Do you feel all alone?
Do you feel abandoned? I want you to know that God is there and that God cares. And Jesus says, lo I am with you always even to the end of the world.
Here is another principle. World changers apply their faith. They apply their faith. Look at verse 35 of Hebrews 11. Women receive their loved ones back to death. This is probably a reference to Elijah raising the widow's son to life again. So Elijah was the great prophet of the Lord.
Right? And he went to a woman, a widow. She had very little money. She had a son. Her most prized thing on earth. Her beloved boy. And he asked her if he could crash at her house if you will. If she could put him up. And so she let him stay and she would feed him from the meager supply of food that she had.
She didn't realize she had invited a world changer into her home. The great prophet. And it is a great principle because the Lord kept providing for her and she always had what she needed. And just illustrates the principle of putting God first in your life.
And honoring him through your giving and he takes care of you. Well one day the widow's son died. She actually blamed Elijah for it.
I should have never invited you here to stay at this house. And this happened because of you. Elijah is like, God let me just take care of this alright. And the Bible tells us that he went to that boy and he carried him up to his little apartment and he raised the boy from the dead.
Listen. Even death does not stop a world changer. Now when we think of Elijah we think, oh he's a rock star. He's a biblical legend. Elijah calling fire down from heaven. Elijah stopping the rain. Elijah raising a boy from the dead. That's all true.
But guess what? Elijah was a dude like you. In fact the Bible even says in James 5 17, Elijah was as human as we are.
Yet he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall and none fell for three and a half years. Here is something to remember about Elijah. After he had his great contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel he fell into a deep funk.
He was deeply depressed and actually didn't even want to live any longer. And that brings up another point. Even world changers get depressed at times. Again they are not here in Hebrews 11 in the Heroes Hall of Faith because they were great people. It is because they put their faith in a great God. And think about the weakness of so many of them. And so we all have our moments of sadness.
We might even deal with depression. And these are human beings that God worked in and God can work through you as well. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know there is nothing like hearing the word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at Harvest.org. You can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the word of God together.
So join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is presenting a message called How to be a World Changer from Hebrews chapter 11. Now we come to another group of world changers. Now they too had great faith. They too trusted God. But they didn't walk through fires. They didn't part the Red Sea. And they did not have their dead restored. In fact they suffered greatly and many of them died.
So how does this work? Were they losers in the Hall of Faith while the others were winners? Not at all. Because we don't decide how long of a life we will live. We don't decide what circumstances we will have to face.
We just decide how we will react to them. The first group of world changers that I talked about glorified God through escaping like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The second group of world changers glorified God by enduring.
Let's read about them. Hebrews 11 verse 35. Wandering over deserts and mountains and hiding in caves and holes in the ground. But they earned a good reputation because of their faith. None of them received all that God had promised.
God had something better for them and for us. World changers are often not appreciated but instead they are persecuted. According to Jewish tradition Isaiah was sawn in half with a wooden saw. It's alluded to here in Hebrews 11. Even today around the world Christians are persecuted.
Understand this. Religious groups are persecuted. But no group is persecuted like the Christian.
All the studies that have been done on this topic bear that truth out. Christians are the most persecuted people in the world today. And we know that our brothers and sisters suffer living in nations like China and North Korea. And in certain Islamic nations where they're not allowed to practice their faith. But the Bible does say all that live godly in Jesus Christ will be persecuted.
Now that's not a promise we usually claim is it? Because who wants to be persecuted? Who wants to be jeered? Who wants to be mocked? Who wants to be laughed at? What happened to you lately? People have made fun of you.
They make jokes about you when you walk into the room. Oh here comes Holy Joe. Oh here comes Mr. Spiritual. Oh don't preach to us. You know and they put you down because of what you believe. But I'm saying to you hold your ground and be a man or a woman of faith. Because you in effect are changing the world. The very fact that you walk into a room and they identify you first and foremost as a Christian.
And it affects everything around it says something. Just be a loving Christian. Be a nice person. Make sure when you're persecuted you're persecuted for the right reasons. I've seen some Christians who are obnoxious and they're intrusive and they're overbearing. And they're argumentative and they're arrogant. And then when people reject what they say they say thank God I'm being persecuted for righteousness sake. Hallelujah. No you're being persecuted because you're a jerk.
No be persecuted for righteousness sake because you reflect Christ. A world changer is someone who changes the temperature of a room. I open by asking the question are you a thermostat or are you a thermometer? A thermostat sets the temperature. The thermometer tells you what the temperature is.
Do you set the temperature in the room or do you merely reflect it? Let me put it another way. Are you changing the world or is the world changing you?
Hey these world changers in category two they suffered. And it doesn't seem fair does it? And we feel that way in life where we think why am I suffering? You know why am I going through this when other people are not going through this? Why am I single when all my friends are married? Why can't we have children when one of my good friends has five children? Why did my child go prodigal and their children did not?
Why do I have this horrible illness while all of my friends are healthy? Why did my child die? The list goes on. I'm not speaking from a vacuum here. I've struggled because as you know our son went to be with the Lord in 2008. And I remember after it happened I would look at so many people who had huge families and all their children were alive and I had two sons. And one of my sons is taken from me and it was devastating and heartbreaking and I struggled with it but I had hope and I have hope.
And that brings me to my last point. World changers have a reward waiting that will make it all worth it. We have a reward waiting that will make it all worth it because it promises restoration here for these people who have suffered. One day all of our questions will be answered. One day God will restore in heaven and in the next life what we have lost in this life.
Look at verse 35 of Hebrews 11. They place their hope in a better life after the resurrection. You know we put all of our focus on this life. But there's an afterlife.
And that goes on forever. This life on earth even if it's long it's relatively short isn't it? The Bible says we spend our life like a story that's already been told. The puff of smoke that appears for a moment Scripture says and vanishes away. Then there's the afterlife. And I want to ask you this question in closing. Are you ready for the afterlife? Let me put it another way. If you died today would you go to heaven?
You say well I hope so. I have faith in the good Lord and the man upstairs and I've lived a good life. Well that's all nice but he doesn't want to just be the good Lord or the man upstairs. And a good life isn't going to get you to heaven because heaven is not for good people.
That might surprise somebody right now. Heaven is not for good people. Heaven is for forgiven people. You see you can live a good life and not go to heaven. I'm not going to get to heaven because I'm a preacher. I'm not going to get to heaven because I've done X amount of good things.
I'm going to get to heaven because I've put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord who died on the cross for me 2,000 years ago. And here's my question to you. Have you done that? See being a Christian is not just saying well I'm going to read the Bible now and go to church and say Christian things. No.
No. Being a Christian is having Christ himself come and take residence in your heart. The Bible says for as many as received him he gave them the power to become sons and daughters of God. Have you received Christ? You say what do you mean receive Christ? I mean have you said to God I'm a sinner and I know Jesus is the Savior and I want him to forgive me of my sin and come and live in my life.
If you've not done that you can do it right here right now. He stands at the door of your life and he knocks. And he says if you'll hear his voice and open the door he'll come in. Would you like your sin forgiven? Would you like to know that when you die you will go to heaven? Would you like him to fill the big hole inside of you?
Maybe you've been trying to fill with other things. He's just a prayer away. In a moment I'm going to pray and I would ask you if you want Christ to come into your life to pray this prayer with me. Again as I pray pray this prayer. You could pray it out loud right here. Let's all pray.
Pray these words. Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner. I know that I've fallen short of your glory. But I thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sin. And to rise again from the dead. I turn from my sin. I repent of my sin. And I ask Jesus to come into my life right now. To be my Savior and Lord.
My God and my friend. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie with those making a decision for the Lord today. And if you've just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and have meant those words sincerely. We want to welcome you into the family of God. And we'd like to help you get started in living the life of faith. Let us send you something called our New Believers Growth Packet. It will answer many of the questions you might have and help you build a strong foundation for your faith. So ask for the New Believers Growth Packet as you call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to Harvest.org and click the words Know God. You know Pastor Greg when we look at world events. Global hostility toward Israel.
Recovering from a worldwide pandemic but talk of new ones. Contempt for biblical values. It sure seems like the time is right for the Lord to return.
But many people our age remember pastors saying that back in the 70's. 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. A hundred 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.
And today is our last opportunity to mention this resource. So write us today at A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 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 we'll explore what's waiting for us in the hereafter in a message called Let's Talk About Heaven. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. Hey everybody thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others. Or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner just go to Harvest.org.
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