October 5, 2022 3:00 am
Imagine sitting down for a fine meal. It may be the finest meal you’ve ever experienced. The service is first class. The chef is world renowned. His culinary creations will leave you speechless. But you can’t get your eyes off the shiny silverware. You ignore the food and gaze upon the utensil. Behold the spoon! Ridiculous. . . Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the folly of being so enamored with the world we miss eternity.
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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses. Sign up at harvest.org. Heaven.
Constantly be seeking and thinking about heaven. Imagine sitting down for a fine meal. It may be the finest meal you've ever experienced.
The service is first class. The chef is world renowned. His culinary creations will leave you speechless. But you can't get your eyes off the shiny silverware. You ignore the food and gaze upon the utensil. Behold the spoon.
Ridiculous. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the folly of being so enamored with the world we miss eternity. I remember as a little boy, to me Disneyland was like heaven on earth. I don't feel that way anymore, but I did a long time ago.
And I think it was due in part to my, you know, horrible upbringing. And I would watch this show on television called The Wonderful World of Disney. And then when Color TV came out, yes I'm that old, they changed it to The Wonderful World of Color.
And we were just amazed to watch this on our screen. These programs that Disney would do. But then Walt Disney told us about this park he was building and it was going to be the happiest place on earth. And so when I would visit Disneyland it was like heaven to me. Because I mean I felt it was just such an incredible place. And I was so sad to leave. In fact you know you're a kid when you go to Disneyland and your favorite part is when you arrive. And you know you're an adult when you go to Disneyland because your favorite time is when you leave. Right.
Is that true. So that's how I used to feel about Disneyland. And I think it's just sort of a glimpse of something much greater that is coming. We long for heaven. And the Bible teaches that when a Christian dies they go immediately to heaven. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
So if you have loved ones who have died in faith they are in heaven right now. Do they see us down here? Are they watching us up there? Do they know what we are going through down here? We will talk about that in our next message. Because those are very important questions.
And some of my answers may surprise you a little bit actually. But yes it is true. The Bible teaches we will go straight to heaven. So let's talk about heaven. And we are going to turn to Colossians chapter 3.
Since then you have been raised with Christ. Set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above. Not on earthly things.
We will stop there. So we are to set our hearts and we are to set our minds on things above. This phrase set your mind can be translated think. Or more thoroughly have this inner disposition.
Let me put it another way. The verse is actually saying simply think heaven. Think heaven. That is something we are all supposed to do as Christians.
And by the way the verb that is used in this verse is in the present tense. So it can be translated keep thinking heaven. Or keep thinking about heaven. Or keep seeking heaven.
Put it all together. It is saying constantly be seeking and thinking about heaven. You see our feet must be on earth but our minds and our hearts can be in heaven. Now back in Colossians 3 Paul starts with the word therefore put to death the sinful earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality impurity lust and evil desires.
Don't be greedy for a greedy person is an idolater worshipping the things of this world. Because of these sins the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. Now is the time to get rid of rage malicious behavior slander and dirty language. Don't lie to each other for you've stripped off your old sinful nature and all of its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him. Now look whenever you read the word therefore in the Bible find out what it is there for.
In other words when a phrase starts with the word therefore He is drawing on what has been previously said. So again what was previously said. Hey set your mind on heaven. Set your heart on heaven. Think a lot about heaven. So with that in mind therefore and now He tells us about three categories of sin that can well keep us earthbound.
Instead of being heavenly minded we're earthbound. Number one if you're taking notes sexual sin can keep you earthbound. Sexual sin. Verse five Paul mentions sexual immorality and impurity. The word that he uses is the Greek word porneia. Guess what English word we get from that. How we have normalized the word porn right.
We've normalized the word. Oh she's a porn star. Oh yeah looking at porn we make a joke out of it. You watch sitcoms mainstream sitcoms on television and they joke openly and consistently about looking at porn. We've so normalized it and made it sort of acceptable and the Bible warns us against it. Porneia is a root word that just speaks of all kinds of immorality. It's premarital sex in case you don't know what that is. That's having sex with someone you're not married to. Extramarital sex. That's also having sex with someone you're not married to. All kinds of sex outside of God's natural order.
And so when the word porneia is used it's talking about a person that fills their mind with sexual imagery and talks about it constantly and ultimately acts on it. So the Bible is warning you to not do that. Don't fill your mind with those things.
Because if you do it's like you have a fire and you're pouring fuel on your fire. It's dangerous and it's one day gonna get out of control. And what will happen is a person can only take that stuff in for so long and then they want to start acting on those impulses and get into all kinds of trouble. Do I need to actually say it's a really bad idea to sext someone.
Send a sexual image of yourself via text or Snapchat or something else. These are things that are destructive in your life and are not God's plan for your life. And things that can ultimately destroy your life. And that's why the Bible warned you about these things. Listen God invented sex. Sex is amazing. Sex can be blessed but in one place. And that's when you're married to a person in a monogamous relationship.
The end period. There's no exceptions. It's not like people come up to me and say well the Lord spoke to us and said it's cool. No he didn't say that.
You dreamt that up after you ate too much pizza. God will never contradict his word. And he says that for your own good.
He says that for your protection. So don't let that dominate your life. Idolatry can keep us earthbound. You won't be heavenly minded if you're worshiping an idol. And he mentions that as well here in Colossians. Don't let idolatry which is greed. An idol is anyone or anything that takes the place of God in your life. And specifically it says to be a greedy person is idolatry.
And by the way there's two root words here. To have and more. So what does it mean to be a greedy person? It's someone that wants to have more. It's a sin of always wanting more more more more more. It's never enough.
The Bible says hell and destruction is never full and so is the heart of a man never satisfied. And it's not just that I want more but I want what I have. Now I want what you have. I want yours. I don't just want mine.
I want yours too. That's coveting by the way. That's when the Bible says don't covet your neighbor's wife or their possessions. That's coveting something that does not belong to you. And so this is what this is saying. That's idolatry and it can preoccupy your mind.
Idolatry can keep us earthbound. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. football for the Missouri Tigers back in his early years. He became a successful businessman in California and was married four times. However through the years he was a very good father to me and my three siblings. Just recently my dad flew out for a visit and got to hold his great granddaughter for the first time.
It was on this trip that he fell down a staircase which set in motion a domino effect of health issues that were insurmountable leading to a heart attack days later. Knowing he had just hours or minutes to live and not knowing if he had accepted Jesus Christ as his savior I asked him if he would like to repeat after me the prayer of salvation that I've heard you pray Pastor Greg and he promptly said yes. After leading my dad in this prayer of salvation I said to him dad congratulations you're going to heaven.
A quiet peace settled over him and he was no longer afraid to meet his maker. Have these daily studies in God's word touched your life or the life of someone in your family? If so why not drop Pastor Greg an email and let him know. Send it to greg at harvest dot org. Again that's greg at harvest dot o-r-g. Well today on A New Beginning we're considering those things that distract us from keeping our eyes on our eternal reward.
Pastor Greg continues his message let's talk about heaven. And then thirdly rage slander and dirty language keep us earthbound. Verse eight rage malicious behavior slander and dirty language. By the way the word rage here speaks of a settled and habitual anger with the thought of revenge.
This is the person who has the bumper sticker on their car. I don't get mad I get even. Don't cut that person off.
Just give them wide berth right on the road because that that's and they have gun racks in the back of their car and Smith and Wesson bumper stickers and you know. So you know you don't want to mess with that person because there are people out there that are just waiting to get angry about something. Malicious behavior speaks of a boiling agitation of your feelings.
A sudden and violent anger. Don't be that person. Slander speaks of speaking ill of others. Man people slander so much especially online because you can do it anonymously right.
You don't have to face the person. You can take on a different name and say complete lies about a person and destroy a person's reputation. Spread gossip about a person. Even the word gossip kisses like a snake. Have you ever noticed that? It's gossip.
And there's something very appealing about it. I just heard something and I don't know if it's true but I just wanted to share it with you so you can pray. So you can pray. Wait. You just heard something. You don't know if it's true and you're going to share it about someone? And I know it's going to be critical or demeaning or degrading. So why would I share something about someone that I don't know is true that can hurt that person? And what if that person is standing over there right now?
Here's a thought. Walk over to them and say I heard the craziest thing. I know it's not true. And they can tell you the truth. But see we'll embrace these things and internalize these things and even worse spread these things.
Don't let that happen to you. These are not the things a Christian should be doing. Especially a heavenly minded one. Listen if you've put your faith in Christ you're a child of God. You are a citizen of heaven and it's time to start living like what?
A child of God. And we're not known for slander. We're known for love. We're not known for condemnation.
We're known for forgiveness and restoration. That's who you want to be. You want to be that guy. That girl that people go to and say you know you're always fair-minded about these things. You're always compassionate. You're always caring.
Don't be known as that mean spirited judgmental harsh person. But be a heavenly minded person. And when we begin like never before to think about and seek heaven. Because you know what the great thing is is when you're focused on heaven you'll live the most fulfilling life on earth. To quote C.S. Lewis one last time he said aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in aim at earth and you will get neither end quote.
That's true. Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. So the idea is I'm so focused on heaven that I'm living the fullest life on earth. But some people I don't want to think about the afterlife. I want to just get the most out of this life and you end up not living a full life in this earth and then you end up not being prepared for the afterlife. So how can you know for sure that you'll get to heaven? Some people would say well live a good life. Okay that's not true.
But let's just say it is true for the sake of a point. Live a good life. How good? Well as good as I choose to live. Oh I see. So you're making the rules.
Well of course I am. Well that's not the way it works. Because even if you were to live a good life and granted some people live better lives than others I'll admit it's still not good enough to get you to heaven because one sins enough to keep you out. The Bible says if you have sinned in one part of the law you're guilty of all of it. So if you have ever sinned at any time in your life that's enough sin to keep you out of heaven. Well that that's pretty harsh.
Yeah that is. That's why there's only one way to get to heaven. And it's through Jesus who died on the cross for our sin and paid the price for our sin and rose again. And now He offers us this gift of eternal life. Years ago I was given I think I can't remember three or four tickets to Disneyland.
And so we went into the park. It was very nice because it's very expensive. What is it like five thousand dollars a ticket.
Now I'm not sure. It's really a lot. And that's just one park.
Not both sides right. So and so I had these tickets. We got in.
We're starting to have a good time. And I felt guilty because one of the people didn't show up. And I had a free ticket to Disneyland. And I thought I can't walk around with a free ticket to Disneyland. What if there's somebody outside that would love to come in and they can't afford it and I can give them this ticket. And I said to my wife I'll be back in like literally four minutes.
How long is it going to take me to get rid of a free ticket to Disneyland. I came back like 30 minutes later. She said what happened to you.
I said I couldn't get anyone to take it. Because I walked up to strangers. Hi would you like a free ticket to Disneyland.
They started and they started like backing away. What is this. Is this a cult. No it's a free ticket. You want it. No I don't want it.
Okay. Hey would you like a free ticket to Disneyland. What's the catch.
There's no catch here. Here I want to give it to you. I just have an extra. The pertinent.
No one would take it. I finally had to assault a person. No I didn't. But I finally found someone that said oh thanks. Well you're welcome. And I just lost a half an hour of my time in Disneyland. And that's how it is when we offer this gift.
You can go to heaven by believing in Jesus. No it's good works. No it's not good works.
It's his work on the cross. Now you just accept it. What's the catch. Well I don't know what the catch is. I'm just telling you it's a gift.
You can never afford it so why don't you just take it. The gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And then you can know you'll go to heaven.
So look. Do you know right now that if you died you would go to heaven. If you don't don't you want to get that resolved. Why would you want to go on for another minute without being sure you're prepared for the afterlife. So we're going to pray in a moment. I'm going to extend an invitation in closing for you to ask Christ to come into your life and forgive you of all of your sins so you can know you'll go to heaven when you die. If you don't know this for sure respond to this invitation because 2,000 years ago God sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross on our place and to pay the price for all the wrongs we've done all the sins we've committed and three days later he rose again from the dead and here he is now alive with us in this place standing at the door of your life and knocking and he says if you'll hear my voice and open the door I will come in.
If you've never asked him to come in to your life do it now. Let's all bow our heads. Father thank you now for your word to us. Thank you for sending Jesus.
Lord Jesus thank you for coming and laying your life down for us. Now we pray for any here that do not yet know you. Help them to come to you.
Help them to believe in you. Help them to receive the hope of heaven we would ask. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer and if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. You know Pastor Greg you've spoken a lot about getting the basics right in our Christian faith. We've got to have a strong foundation to build on.
Yes. And you have a helpful resource we're making available that addresses the fundamentals of Christian living don't you? That's right Dave and you could read this in one sitting. It's called The New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. Now I know that I'm speaking to people that have known the Lord for many years but if they're honest they might say well they're sort of stuck. They don't know what's going on.
They don't know how to get back into gear again. This is a book that's going to take you back to the basics. Basics you never outgrow.
Things you need to remind yourself of over and over again. As an example in this little book we talk about how to know God through Bible study. What is prayer?
How can I pray effectively? Why fellowship with other believers matters? And we also talk about overcoming temptation, dealing with problems, discovering the will of God, keys to sharing your faith effectively, and much much more. So get your own copy of The New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. This has been one of our best received resources we've ever offered. I know it's going to be helpful to you.
Yeah that's right and we're eager to get a copy of this in your hands. Let it bolster your own faith or keep copies on hand to give to others who need a hand in growing in the Lord. Use it as a follow-up resource as you share your faith.
Again it's called The New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living and we'll send it your way to say thank you for partnering with us so we can continue to teach believers and reach unbelievers through A New Beginning. Contact us today. You can call 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.
Or go online to harvest.org. And then Pastor Greg, just before we go, would you mind praying with the person listening who wants to make a change today in their relationship with the Lord? I'd be happy to Dave. You know as you've been listening to this today maybe you've heard another voice. By that I mean yeah you heard me say a few things but you heard God's voice speak to you deep in the recesses of your heart and it suddenly dawned on you this is what I need. Or to state it more accurately, this is who I need. I need Jesus and I want Jesus.
But maybe you don't know how to make that connection. Let me help you. Pray this after me right now if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I am sorry for my sin and I need your forgiveness right now. Would you come into my heart in my life as Savior, as God, as friend?
I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for calling me and accepting me and forgiving me. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. I know that was a relatively short prayer. Maybe you felt something as you prayed it.
Maybe you felt nothing. That doesn't really matter because God's word says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. It doesn't say so you may think you have it or you may hope you have it if God's in a good mood. No, that you can know it and I want you to know if you pray that prayer in a minute, Jesus Christ the Son of God has come into your life.
So congratulations. You're now a Christian. Now continue to follow the Lord. Yeah and to help you as you follow the Lord we'd like to send you some resource materials we call our New Believers Growth Packet. It'll answer many of the questions you might have and get you started off right in your new relationship with the Lord. So get in touch and ask for it. We'll send it to you free of any charge.
You can call us anytime day or night at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the two words know God. Well next time as Pastor Greg continues his series on the afterlife we'll focus on the bodies we'll have in the hereafter. How different will they be?
We'll find out next time. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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