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How to Never Stumble or Fall | Avoiding Temptations

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 8, 2022 3:00 am

How to Never Stumble or Fall | Avoiding Temptations

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 8, 2022 3:00 am

So many people made decisions for Christ this past weekend! We had scores of people joining us for SoCal Harvest, Pastor Greg Laurie’s live evangelistic event at Angel Stadium. You can get details about the outreach at harvest.org. But we want to follow-up with them, and provide some solid insight for the rest of us. Pastor Greg helps us walk with the Lord and avoid the temptations that would make us fall. Glad you’re along for A NEW BEGINNING today as we offer practical insight for all believers.

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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 e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. You look at someone who falls into a sin, you say, I'd never do that.

Hold on now, buckaroo. You have the capacity to do that and much worse. It's so easy to underestimate our vulnerability to the lure of temptation. Pastor Greg Laurie has important counsel. The Bible says pride goes before a fall and an arrogant spirit before destruction.

And it's when we think I'll never do that that you're trusting in yourself instead of trusting in God. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again you hear all the angels are singing.

This is the day, the day when life begins. So many people made decisions for Christ this past weekend. We have scores of people joining us for SoCal Harvest, Pastor Greg Laurie's live evangelistic event at Angel Stadium. You can get details about the outreach at harvest.org.

But we want to follow up with them and provide some solid insight for the rest of us. Pastor Greg helps us walk with the Lord and avoid the temptations that would make us fall. I'm glad you're along for a new beginning today as we offer practical insight for all believers. Turn in your Bible to two passages today, John chapter 18 and Luke chapter 22.

Again John 18 and Luke 22 and the title of my message again is How to Never Stumble or Fall. Let me sort of set the scene here in Luke 22. Jesus is in the upper room with his disciples. He's headed to the cross. He's told them he's headed to the cross.

He's going to break bread with them and tell them to do this in remembrance of him. But before that he has a fascinating conversation with Simon Peter, Luke 22 verse 31. Jesus says, Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat, but I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your face should not fail. And when you have repented and turned to me again, you will strengthen your brothers. Peter said, Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you and even to die with you. Jesus said, let me tell you something.

Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning you will deny three times that you even knew me. Put yourself in Peter's sandals for a moment. You are just hanging out with Jesus. He is not his normal jubilant self. He seems very serious, very intense. And then he turns to you and uses your name twice.

Paul, Paul, Kathy, Kathy, Greg, Greg, Cindy, Cindy. Satan has been asking that you be taken out of the care and protection of God. Would that freak you out if Jesus said that to you?

Freak me out. But Jesus then says, I have prayed for you. And I want you to know that the Bible says Christ lives to make intercession for you at the right hand of the Father. Jesus is in effect praying for you. So the next time the devil comes knocking at your door, send Jesus to answer it. That is what happened here. I prayed for you Peter that your faith would not fail for when you have returned you will strengthen your brothers.

Returned? Lord, Peter says, I will go to prison for you. I will die for you.

Well since you brought it up, rock, you are going to deny that you knew me three times. So he warned Peter. That brings us to Peter's first step down. And I would say that this particular attitude is at the root of any and every person who has ever fallen away from the faith or any person who has ever stumbled or fallen. I don't care what the particular sin is they are involved in. It always starts here. And it is self confidence.

Self confidence. Verse 33. He said, Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death. Jesus said, Peter the rooster will not crow this day until you denied three times that you knew me.

According to Matthew's gospel Peter added this detail. Even if all are made to stumble, I will never be made to stumble. Careful now. If you look at someone who falls into a sin you would say, I would never do that. I would never be faithful to my wife. I would never become an alcoholic. I would never become a drug addict. I would never do that thing.

Hold on now buckaroo. You have the capacity to do that and much worse. And it is when we think I will never do that that you are trusting in yourself instead of trusting in God. The Bible says pride goes before a fall and an arrogant spirit before destruction. So this simply means that I go through life aware of the fact of my weakness and my vulnerability and my propensity to do the wrong thing. As the old song says, prone to wonder, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the one I love.

Self confidence. And that leads to the next step down, prayerlessness. Look at Luke 22 verse 39. Coming out he went to the Mount of Olives as he was accustomed and his disciples followed him to the place and he said to them, pray that you enter not into temptation.

Now this place being referred to by Luke is the Garden of Gethsemane. As he was withdrawn from them about a stone so he knelt down and prayed saying, Father if it is your will take this cup away from me. Nevertheless not my will but yours be done. When he rose from prayer he came to his disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow and he said, Why did you sleep, rise and pray lest you enter into temptation. So the second sin of prayerlessness was a direct result of the first sin of self confidence. Jesus said specifically, you guys you need to pray.

And they decided to sleep instead. And so they're sleeping when they should have been praying. And you know understand this, not praying about something can actually be a sin. It's a sin of omission. A sin of commission is doing what you should not do. A sin of omission is not doing what you should do. Because the Bible says to him that knows to do good and does not do it. To him it is sin.

Well let's see what happens next. So they're in the Garden of Gethsemane. They're sleeping when they should have been praying. Here comes the temple guard. And along with them Roman soldiers.

They've got swords and spears and shields and torches. And they're coming to arrest Jesus. But Jesus did not necessarily stand out in a crowd. Now Judas said it's a guy that I kiss. That's Jesus. So he has to locate Jesus for them. Which points out the fact that Jesus didn't look like he looks in religious paintings.

Now if you look at religious art you always know who Jesus is. Everybody else's robe is sort of dusty and dirty. He has a very white robe.

Just picked it up at the cleaners. And he has a blue sash. Nobody gets the blue sash.

But Jesus. Sometimes he is carrying a lamb around his neck. Why he would do that.

I have no idea. He has the lamb. Or he has the staff. Here everybody. Here I am the good shepherd in case you missed the memo. Now you are saying are you making fun of Jesus?

Of course not. But I am kind of making fun of religious artistic depictions of him. Jesus blended into a crowd. He didn't glow in the dark. He was not 10 feet tall. He had to be identified.

It's a one I kiss. So they are approaching and Jesus says who do you seek? This is in John's Gospel. They said Jesus of Nazareth. He said I am he. Now if you have an English Bible you might notice the word he is italicized.

Which means it's not in the original language. So a better translation would be Jesus saying who do you seek? They said Jesus of Nazareth. I am.

I am. There is power in that statement. It is a claim of deity. It is what God said to Moses at the burning bush.

We will be looking at this together. Moses says who shall I say sent me? God says I am that I am. So in a statement of deity I am and the Bible says they all fell backwards and landing on top of each other like dominoes, torches flying in the air. That shows he could have gotten out of that situation very easily.

He could have said I am and you were. Bye. End of story. But he submitted to this and they take him away and he is arrested and he is taken to the house of Caiaphas to be tried. But before that happens as the guards come in to grab Jesus one guy named Malchus, probably his first, and Simon Peter in an attempt to defend Jesus pulls out his sword and slices off the ear of Malchus. Jesus is like I have faith. You know he has to pick the ear up. He puts it back on the guy and he heals him.

So the last earthly miracle of Jesus was covering the plunder of a disciple. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody, what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. What is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home.

Join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at harvest.org. Well, our thanks to our Harvest partners and others who support this ministry for helping to make today's study available. Pastor Greg is offering biblical insight today in his message, How to Never Stumble or Fall. Now we shift over to John 18. I am reading from the New Living Translation starting in verse 15. Simon Peter followed Jesus as did another of the disciples. That would be the Apostle John, the writer of this gospel. The other disciple was acquainted with the high priest and he was allowed to enter the high priest's courtyard with Jesus. Peter had to stay outside the gate and the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate and she left Peter in. The woman asked Peter, You are not one of that man's disciples, are you?

No. He said, I am not because it was cold. The household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it warming themselves and Peter stood with them warming himself. Third step down for Simon Peter. Number one was self-confidence. Number two, prayerlessness. Number three, he was keeping his distance from Jesus. Yes he was following Jesus but he was following at a distance and this distance from the Lord in closeness and fellowship will always be at the foundation of all spiritual regression.

Listen to this. A true believer is never happy when they are out of fellowship with God. So if you are out of fellowship with God, if you have sinned against the Lord, you are an unhappy person. If you can't be happy in your sin that is a good sign. David, the man after God's own heart sinned big time. We all knew that and he described the way he felt in Psalm 32 when he said, when I kept it all inside my words became day long groans. The pressure never let up. All the juices of my life dried up.

Then I let it all out and I said, I'll make a clean break and I'll confess my failures to God. He's following at a distance. You've seen those TV shows where they'll show you maybe a lion going in for a kill and lions I have to say they are very cool cats. I don't just like all cats.

I like big cats. And so lions they don't waste energy. They sort of lay there in the tall grass and wait for lunch to come. So maybe they'll see a herd of antelope. I don't know if it's a herd of antelope.

Everything has a title now. It's a flock of seagulls. They were a band once too. Then there is a murder of crow and a pack of dogs and so forth. So I don't know if it's what you call a group of antelopes.

I'll look that up later. But they are moving together. The antelopes are kind of funny because they are kind of brum brum brum. They all do the jump brum brum brum brum brum brum.

You know there they are in the lions and that's a lot of work to get one of those. Then there is a one stray antelope following at about 20 feet behind. The dum dum dum dum dum. Who do you think the lion is going to go in for the kill on? So when he looks at a person to take down, here we are the people of God worshiping together, serving together, learning together, brum brum brum brum brum brum.

And here are you 20 feet behind the dum dum dum. You know. Yeah. The person says, oh you know do we have to go to church again?

Did we do that last week? Ah. Really?

The Bible? Really? Again? Yes.

Again. The child of God hungers for these things. The compromiser only does it out of duty or obligation.

And if no one is encouraging them to do it, they don't do it. You are the person following at a distance. And you end up in that miserable no man's land of compromise where you have too much of the Lord to be happy in the world and too much of the world to be happy in the Lord.

Don't be that person. Peter is following at a distance. And then point number four. He is warming himself of the enemy's fire. Verse 18.

They stood around this fire warming themselves. He hoped to go unnoticed in the larger crowd. He was with the wrong people at the wrong place about to do the wrong thing. Why does it come as a revelation to people that if you hang around ungodly people they will pull you down. And so you are hanging around the wrong people at the wrong places. The next thing you know you are doing the wrong thing. Why? Well you want to fit in. I want to be cool.

I don't want to think I am some you know Jesus freak or self-righteous person. Okay. So you are going to do what now.

And you find yourself saying and doing things you can't believe you are saying and doing. So here he is at the fire and now a woman asks him. This is his first denial. You are not one of that man's disciples are you. He said no I am not. Whoa.

He just did it. The first thing I would have said if I was Peter was are there any roosters around here. Jesus said something about a rooster.

Yeah. What did Jesus specifically say. You will deny me three times.

This is denial number one. Now you would have thought that Peter would have said hold on. I just I did the thing I said I would never do.

I got to get out of here. No one was holding him here. He could have escaped if he wanted to. But he did not do it.

That leads me to his next step down. Verse 25. As he was standing by the fire warming himself they asked him again you are not one of his disciples are you. He denied it saying no I am not. Ah but one of the household slaves of a high priest a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off asked didn't I see you in the olive grove with Jesus.

Your sin will find you out. Oh yeah right. You were there. I knew I should not have posted that on Instagram. Now the word had spread.

Everybody knew about what happened there in the garden of Gethsemane. But here he is still hanging around this fire. Why was he doing it? Simple answer.

Write this down. Sin makes you stupid. Doesn't it? Sin makes you stupid. You do things you never thought you would do.

You are caught in the vortex of it. And here is Peter now. It is his second denial. Why didn't he get out of there?

Good question. And that brings us to the third denial. And here is something you may have missed. Between the second and third denial there was a one hour interval. That is a long time.

That is plenty of time to get out of there. But he stayed there. He is compromised now.

He is not thinking rationally. And finally someone says to him, yes you were with Jesus. And I know you are one of his disciples because your accent betrays you. See Peter was a Galilean.

And the people in Jerusalem thought of themselves as more sophisticated. So he had a sort of Galilean accent. Just like we have accents from different areas of the United States.

You know people in Texas they are a little different thing. They say to me, you have an accent. I say Californians don't have accents. We are like devoid of accents. No you have the California accent. Why? Because I don't say, hey how are y'all doing or something like that. I mean no. You know there is, oh you must be from Boston because you just told me you are going to pack your car. Right.

I was signing books the other day and some lady mentioned she is from New York. I said see the word coffee. She said coffee. I said exactly.

Right. So different ways we speak from different parts of the country. He had the Galilean accent.

Hey man we know where you are from. And then we read that Peter began to curse and swear and he took an oath saying I never knew the man. And guess what happened. At the moment he said that Jesus was let out of the courtyard of Caiaphas and he made eye contact with Peter. What kind of look did Jesus give to Peter? I think it was a look of love.

And I will tell you why I think it was a look of love because Jesus predicted this right. He said you are going to deny me but don't forget the rest of it. When you have returned you will strengthen your brothers. Peter you are going to mess up. Trust me. It is going to happen.

Roosters are involved. But when you have returned you will strengthen your brothers. Peter you are coming back. I don't think Peter heard that you are coming back part because the Bible says he went out and wept bitterly. Pastor Greg Laurie is showing us the downward spiral in Peter's life that led to his denial of Christ three times.

We are seeing the steps that lead to backsliding and how to avoid them. And there is more to come as this message continues here on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg there are certain names that are timeless and Johnny Cash is certainly one of them. That's right. But his name resonates with you for more than just his music. True.

Explain that to us. Well you know there are certain people that become iconic. I don't know why necessarily they do because there have been a lot of famous people that have come and gone on the world stage over the years in entertainment and politics and world affairs etc.

But there are certain people that transcend time. Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen, The Beatles. They keep being rediscovered by new generations and clearly you could put Johnny Cash in that same category. You know Johnny Cash was popular with the audience of his day who would be quite elderly now.

Then he became popular with Generation X when he did a series of recordings with master producer Rick Rubin. Then he's being discovered today by brand new generations because it's hard to categorize Johnny. He is a country music star but he was kind of his own sound. My connection to Johnny goes back to my childhood. When I was living for a time with my grandparents my grandmother was related to Johnny Cash.

As it turns out they didn't live far from each other in Arkansas and her maiden name was Stella Fowler Cash and then she later married my grandfather Charles McDaniel. So I'm a distant distant relative of Johnny Cash and I remember hearing about him when I was a little kid. In fact my grandfather would be reading the paper and he would turn over to his wife my grandmother and say Stella your cousin's in trouble again and I thought wait I'm related to Johnny Cash. That's amazing but he was such a unique individual and his story is so human.

It's so real. You know he had its ups and downs as highs and as lows. He started out with a strong faith in Christ singing gospel songs out on the fields picking cotton with his family. It sounds like something from a fictional book but that was Johnny's story.

Then he ultimately recorded in the same studios that Elvis recorded in Sun Studios in Memphis Tennessee and not long after that he became a superstar known around the world. But Johnny had lapses spiritually. He had drug issues that he struggled with. When he was a young man on the road he started taking amphetamines to keep up with this hectic pace and soon it became a problem and an addiction.

He had a failed marriage. He had a lot of things go wrong but Johnny always knew where to turn and he turned back to the Lord. So we've taken this story and it's now a movie. Yes I wrote a book called Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon but now it's a brand new cutting-edge beautiful documentary film and guess what? It's coming to a theater near you. Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon is going to be what is called a Fathom Event. Fathom is an organization that books theaters around the country. This will be in hundreds of theaters and hopefully it'll be in your neighborhood and you can go see it.

In fact you can see it with a friend. Here's another cool thing about it is the gospel is in it. We tell the spiritual story of Johnny Cash and there's a lot of well-known people who are interviewed that talk about Johnny's spiritual life. Winona Judd is in it as is Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, John Schneider from the Dukes of Hazzard. He's in it as well and all kinds of folks commenting talking about the life of Johnny. A lot of unique footage some that you've never seen before showing Johnny performing Johnny doing all kinds of things. You're going to love this film.

If you're a Johnny Cash fan you're going to flip out and flip out 60s vernacular for it. You're going to love it but even if you're not a cash fan you're still going to love this story because it's an American story. It's a human story.

It's a real story. It's a redemption story. Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon coming to a theater near you and here's how you can get tickets. Yeah just contact us here at Harvest Ministries as Pastor Greg mentioned it's a Fathom event and you'll find the dates on our website. We're happy to make tickets available while supplies last to our partners who stand with us in giving a generous donation to help make Pastor Greg's teaching available each day here on a new beginning. So make a plan to take a family, to take some unsaved friends, to see Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon and you can arrange for tickets by going to harvest.org or call 1-800-821-3300.

We're here to take your call around the clock again at 1-800-821-3300. Pastor Greg today is voting day. I'm sure that hasn't escaped the attention of many people. Is it important for believers to engage in that process, to cast our vote in the election? Yes I think it's very important and I'll take it a step further. I think in a way it's irresponsible to not vote as a Christian because I have an opportunity for my voice to be heard and the Bible says to Him that knows to do good and does not do it, to Him it is sin. Let's take a candidate that barely wins the election and that candidate is pro-choice. Let's say that candidate supports abortion all the way to birth even after birth this particular candidate might think it's acceptable to take the life of that innocent child.

This is reprehensible. What if my vote could have made a difference in that issue? What if my vote could have mattered on what person would be representing us in Washington DC in issues of the family and other things that we hold dear as Christians? Your vote matters. Every vote matters. So I urge you to get out there and let your voice be heard. Oh sure I know the ultimate answer for America is a spiritual awakening but we have a responsibility.

We have an opportunity to have our voice be heard when we go to that ballot box and vote. Let's all do that today. God bless you. Well next time Pastor Greg brings more insight on how we can avoid the danger of backsliding. He continues his message how to never stumble or fall next time. 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.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-08 07:47:44 / 2022-11-08 07:53:43 / 6

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