We're 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's daily divos.
Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. Maybe you didn't plan on falling, but you fell. And you're wondering, can I get up again? Well, the answer is not in your own strength.
You need a helping hand. Before we fall, we don't think we will. After we fall, we don't think we can get up.
Pastor Greg Laurie has good encouragement today. Maybe you've seen, yeah, I have fallen and I've tried to overcome this addiction and it's become a worse addiction. I've tried to fix this.
It's gotten worse. Okay. Jesus is saying, take my hand now. Let me pull you up. 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 the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins. In 1998, the Etch-A-Sketch was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
With it, of course, you can draw picture after picture as complicated as you want. If you mess up, turn it upside down, give it a shake and start over. Well, today on The New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says no matter how your life is messed up, God offers you the chance to turn your life right side up and start over.
Shaking is optional. Occasion point today from the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Luke. 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'll strengthen your brothers. Peter said, Lord, I'm 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. 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 As He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, He knelt down and prayed, saying, Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me.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 they are in the Garden of Gethsemane.
They are sleeping when they should have been praying. Here comes the temple guard. And along with them Roman soldiers.
They have got swords and spears and shields and torches. And they are coming to arrest Jesus. 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, Ah, 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 blunder of a disciple. So coming back to our story, 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. 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. 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. Yeah, you are there. 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. And then we read that Peter began to curse and swear. And he took an oath saying, I never knew the man. Now when we read curse and swear it does not mean that Peter used profanity or swore like a sailor.
Though he was one. It means he took an oath. He took an oath and swore to God he didn't know Jesus. Now this is the worst kind of taking the Lord's name in vain. And the Bible says God gave him the commandments. A specific commandment. Thou shall not take my name in vain.
And we have heard people too. And now there is the obvious applications when people curse using the name of God. But even when someone uses the name Jesus to punctuate a sentence.
You have heard that. Someone says, Jesus Christ what is going on here? When I see someone do that I will say carefully he might answer you sometime. I don't even think people realize what they are doing. But we could even take the Lord's name in vain in church.
Because the phrase to take it in vain means to use it in an insincere and frivolous way. So I might be singing a song with the name Jesus in it. And when I am singing the song I am judging the person and the pew in front of me.
How could she wear that to church? Or I am thinking about lunch, hamburger, in and out burger, animals. Wait. You are singing Jesus, Jesus and you are thinking burger, burger.
Right? You are doing it in an insincere, frivolous way. But Peter did even more than that. Here is what he effectively did.
Because people will take a note today. I say I swear to God I put my hand on a stack of Bibles like a stack will be more important. Not just one. A stack.
A stack of Bibles. I swear. Here is what Peter effectively said. I swear to God I never knew Jesus. 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.
So here is how it works. I swear to God says Peter I never knew Jesus. Oh hi Jesus. Literally.
Right there. Oh Jesus. And the Bible says Jesus looked at him. I wonder what kind of expression that was. You know we all have looks we get.
Right? Parents we have got these looks down. Kids are acting up. We say, Johnny look at me. All that means is stop.
Stop it now. Or someone says something ridiculous. We roll our eyes. Oh that's a look. Or we look at someone with anger because they cut us off on the freeway.
We have our looks. What kind of look did Jesus give to Peter? Was it a I told you so look. But did he roll his eyes like loser.
Why did I choose you. I don't think it was. No I can't say with certainty because the Bible doesn't tell us. But here is an interesting thing. The Bible says Jesus looked at Peter.
Or a better translation. Jesus looked through Peter. Do you ever had anyone look through you? I will restate the question. Do you have a mother? You are out late.
You come in. Where have you been? Nowhere mom. Look at me. Look at me. Wait.
Whatever. He looked at him. Looked right through him. 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 your coming back part.
Because the Bible says he went out and wept bitterly. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We are so moved to hear from listeners who join us from every background, every profession and from all around the world. Hey all. Pastor Greg's life and ministry have been such a big part of my life here in New Zealand since I first saw a crusade movie of his back when I was 16.
I am 46 now. Not sure I would still be a Christian if it wasn't for some of Greg's messages that came along right at the time I needed them. Thanks. What a great encouragement to know that these daily studies in God's Word make an impact halfway across the world. If you'd like to contact Pastor Greg and tell him your story email him gregatharvest.org. Again that's gregatharvest.org. Well just a word of thanks to those who support this daily study especially our harvest partners.
Your generosity allowed us to present this message today. Pastor Greg is examining the denial of Simon Peter today. Contrast Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter. Judas, going back to the Garden of Gethsemane, was given one last chance to repent. When they came to arrest Jesus, Jesus said to Judas, friend, why have you come? Jesus was giving Judas that one last chance.
Well of course Judas went on. He betrayed the Lord and he hung himself. So two men came short. Two men sinned against the Lord. One went out and took his own life. One went out and webbed bitterly. One left and never returned.
One came back again and was restored. And that was Peter. Because three days later Jesus rises again. Oh yeah remember he not only said he would be crucified he said he would rise again from the dead.
And here's the message that went up from the angels. Go tell the disciples and Peter he's risen. Not go tell the disciples and Peter James and John or go tell the disciples and Matthew or go tell the disciples and Mary. No go tell the disciples and Peter. Why was Peter singled out? Because he needed an encouraging word.
Maybe there is someone here today that needs an encouraging word as well. You have fallen away and you don't know how to get back. You are like the lady in that commercial. I have fallen and I can't get up. Now I am not making fun of that lady. But I don't think she actually fell. I think she is an actor. Okay.
And she has seen her lines not that convincingly in my opinion. But I have fallen and I can't get up. Okay sorry. But if you have ever fallen you know what it is like. I was playing racquetball a while ago and I went for some shot and I lost my footing. Went in the air and landed on my back. It was so loud a guy upstairs on a treadmill stopped and said are you okay. I am like laying there.
Ah yeah I think so. I didn't plan on falling. Maybe you didn't plan on falling but you fell. And you are wondering can I get up again. Well the answer is not in your own strength. You need a helping hand. If you are flat on your back someone says let me help you get back up again.
Grab my hand and you pull them up. Right. So maybe you are saying yeah I have fallen and I have tried to make this better and it has gotten worse. I have tried to overcome this addiction and it has become a worse addiction. I have tried to fix this.
It has gotten worse. Okay Jesus is saying take my hand now. Let me pull you up. You have to reach out to me.
You have to call out to me. You have to ask me for forgiveness and I will extend this forgiveness to you. Listen I don't know what trajectory your life is on right now but I know this. God can change your story. He can change it today. Yeah well my dad did this and my mom did that and my grandparent in this pattern have said shut up.
I don't care. If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Everything becomes fresh in you.
I am sorry I said shut up. But I think sometimes we use a pattern of sin or bad behavior in a family to excuse our actions. And there has to come a point where we just say I am responsible for my own actions and I make my choices and then my choices make me and I have Christ living inside of me and He will give me the power to live the life He has called me to live. You know yesterday at the baptism I will take a few moments with every person and I will ask them when did you come to Christ and they will tell me their story. I heard amazing stories.
I wish I could have filmed them right there. But one guy just covered in tattoos and he said I was a heroin addict and he showed me a hole in his arm that was still there. He had used so much heroin over the years.
He had a permanent hole in his arm but he was just radiating the love of Jesus because God had changed his story. I talked to couples. We were on the verge of divorce. Our marriage is falling apart and we came to the Lord and now we are here today getting baptized and our kids are with us and I am looking at that. A whole family changed because you know here is what can happen.
You know the parents who get divorced and the kids are caught between the two parents. They remarry and they divorce again and now the kids follow that same pattern and then they have kids and they follow the same pattern and these sins go on for multiple generations. But then you look what happens. Christ intervenes. Changes this. And instead of ungodliness going to multiple generations, godliness goes to multiple generations.
It happens. That is why we are so committed to calling people to Christ. But I didn't just baptize people who would live crazy lives. I baptized some little kids too.
And you know I always want to make sure a child understands. And so someone came up to me and said would you baptize my son. So I talked to him and I baptized him. And then they said would you baptize his little brother. I said how old is he. They said he is four. I said you know that is kind of young. And you know it is not a bad thing to wait until later to baptize a little one so they understand what they are doing. You know because it says repent and be baptized. What is a four year old repent of.
You know I have had a lot of time outs lately. Anyway whatever it is. So I said well let me talk to him. And this cute little kid. His name was Graham. So I sat down on the beach with him. I said so Graham do you want to be baptized. He said yes.
I said hmm. Now tell me who Jesus is. He says Jesus is God and God is Jesus.
And I said that is pretty good. And then Graham says and then there is the Holy Spirit. I was like oh wow. So we talked a little bit more and I thought okay the way I see it is this little child wants to get closer to God knowing as much as he knows in his little four year old mind.
Who am I to say no to him. So I took him out and I baptized him. And it was such a great moment. And it reminded me of a young lady that came to me. I was at our church on Maui last Sunday. A young lady came and said I came to Christ at one of your crusades when I was four years old. I said you came to Christ at four. She says yeah I said you know don't get mad at me.
How old are you now. She looked like she was twenty one. She says I'm thirty and I've been walking with the Lord all these years. So someone can come to Christ at four right.
But my point is simply this. Young or old. Whatever life you've lived we all need Jesus. And we need to come to him. And when we reach out to him he'll take hold of us. And he'll forgive us of our sins.
So I'm going to close with this thought. Is there someone listening to me right now that does not have the certainty that they will go to heaven when they die. Is there someone listening to me right now that is not sure that their sin is forgiven. You can come to Jesus and be forgiven of your sin because he died on the cross for you. This can be the day where everything changes. But there might be somebody else here or wherever you are that has fallen and you can't get up.
And it's no joke. Well the Lord can lift you up but you must admit your sin and he will forgive you and restore you. So we're going to close now in prayer. And I'm going to extend this invitation for you to get right with God. Let's pray. Father I pray for every person here.
Every person listening or watching wherever they are. Help them to see their need for you and help them to come to you now. We would ask in your name. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. And if you'd like to follow through and do as Pastor Greg suggested and make a change today in your relationship with the Lord. Pastor Greg will help you with that before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Well Pastor Greg we're so excited that your new evangelistic documentary film is soon to be released. Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon.
Yes. Tell us about this new film. You know Dave as we think about Johnny Cash's life. Let me contrast it with Steve McQueen because I wrote a book on both of them and we did a film about McQueen's life as well. McQueen was a hedonist extraordinaire. He knew nothing of God.
Never went to church as a boy. One day he saw a godly man that he spent a lot of time with and that man shared the gospel with Steve and Steve McQueen became a Christian. It was a black and white moment.
It was a dramatic conversion. The story of Johnny Cash is different. Johnny was raised in a Christian home, albeit with a cold and distant father, but he did love the Lord. In fact he wanted to originally be a gospel recording artist, but he ended up becoming a country superstar and in many ways to find his own style of music, but Johnny struggled throughout his life. Johnny would be walking closely with the Lord then he would have elapsed. He struggled with drugs like amphetamines and barbiturates and drinking.
He had his highs and lows and his ups and downs, but in the end Johnny made that recommitment to the Lord. So I bring this up because we all know folks like this. You know some people come to Christ.
Their past is in their rearview mirror and it's onward and upward. Others they have a lifelong struggle sometimes with drugs or alcohol, sometimes with other sins, but they're always struggling and we say, how can I help a person like that? I have a suggestion. Bring them to see this brand new documentary film, Johnny Cash, a redemption of an American icon because they'll see a story of a man who struggled but found his way back to the Lord and how God helped him and sustained him. Oh yeah, great idea. Sometimes struggling people need to see that breakthrough demonstrated.
They need to see that someone else walked that pathway. So bring that friend to see Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon. It's a fathom event that's just days away. You can see the dates at our website harvest.org and tickets are going fast. So contact us today. We're making tickets available as a way to say thank you for your generous support that helps make a new beginning possible. So go online today to harvest.org or call us at 1-800-821-3300.
Call anytime 24-7-1-800-821-3300. Pastor Greg, you mentioned our need to come to Christ for forgiveness of sin in today's message. Maybe there's somebody listening who would like to do that. They'd like to take that step.
Could you help them with that? I'd be delighted to. Listen, if you would like to accept Jesus Christ into your life right now, by that I mean, if you would like your sin forgiven and have the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die, would you pray this prayer with me? Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I thank you for dying on the cross for my sin and rising again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin, Lord, and I turn from it now, and I put my faith in you to be my Savior, my Lord, my God, and my friend. Thank you for loving me and calling me and accepting me. In Jesus' name I pray.
Amen. Listen, if you just prayed that prayer in a minute, I want you to know on the authority of God's word that Jesus Christ has just come to take residence in your heart. The Bible says these things we write to you that believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. Listen, we want to send you some resources that will help you grow spiritually. So here's Dave with some details, and let me say God bless you and welcome to the family of God. Yeah, and those resources Pastor Greg mentioned are all included in something we call our new Believer's Growth Packet. It'll help you get started in living your life for the Lord. Can we send it to you? Just ask for the New Believer's Growth Packet when you call 1-800-821-3300.
We're here around the clock. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write a New Beginning Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514, or go to harvest.org and click on Know God. Well, next time, practical insight from the great failure of the great strongman Samson. We'll see in times of great failure, it's time to turn to God's amazing grace. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
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