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Are You His Disciple? | The Importance of Growth

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2022 3:00 am

Are You His Disciple? | The Importance of Growth

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 1, 2022 3:00 am

It’s one thing to be ON the team, it’s another to be IN the action. It’s one thing to watch from the bench, it’s another to get in the game. Spiritually speaking, our salvation is a free gift from God—Jesus paid the price. But discipleship has a cost. It’s a higher level of devotion . . . and a higher level of reward! Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us chart a course for genuine discipleship. And he begins by commenting on an evangelistic outreach that had just concluded.

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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. That's not enough to just come forward. We need to go forward as followers of Jesus Christ. That's really what the Christian life is. It's a lifetime of discovery. It's a lifetime of learning.

It's a lifetime of transformation. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie launches a series on discipleship. Disciples are those who make a concerted effort to follow the Lord and to learn.

The Christian life is one of constant growth. Hey, listen, stall and you fall. It's one thing to be on the team. It's another to be in the action.

It's one thing to watch from the bench. It's another to get in the game. Spiritually speaking, our salvation is a free gift from God. Jesus paid the price, but discipleship has a cost. It's a higher level of devotion and a higher level of reward. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us chart a course for genuine discipleship. And he begins by commenting on an evangelistic outreach that had just concluded. We are still rejoicing that over 10,000 people made a profession of faith at Angel Stadium. Notice I use the phrase profession of faith.

I don't say 10,000 people were saved or 10,000 people became Christians because I don't know if they became Christians. I hope they did. I pray they did. But only time will tell.

Right? Because the Bible says, by their fruits you shall know them. The Bible says, faith without works is dead. So we are praying we will see the fruit spiritually in their life. The results. The works that follow a true conversion.

Because it is not enough to just come forward. We need to go forward spiritually. And then we continue to grow as followers of Jesus Christ.

That's really what the Christian life is. It's a lifetime of discovery. It's a lifetime of growth. It's a lifetime of learning.

It's a lifetime of transformation. Last Sunday I was at our church, Harvest Kumulani. And they all say Aloha to you. And we had a great time there. It is just exploding. So much excitement. And every week we are seeing people come to Christ.

It is an amazing thing. So I attended a number of board meetings while I was there. By board meetings I mean on surf boards. And I am a really bad surfer by the way.

I never surf in California. But when I am over there a lot of people from our church get up very early in the morning and go out for what is called a dawn patrol. Right? Very early. And so it is so cool because you are out with like 15 people from our church and everyone is giving waves away and cheering each other on.

God bless you. You know. Not fighting for waves or anything like that. So I have been trying to learn how to do stand up paddle.

Do you know what I am talking about? As opposed to laying down on a board and paddling with your arms. Stand up. You have this really big board and a paddle. And you paddle in the waves. And it has been challenging I have to admit because I am not very stable.

I fall a lot. And so when I caught a few waves and I even got a little watch. There is this little digital watch and it will tell you how many waves you caught. I have a friend named Jim who always tells me how many waves he caught.

He says, look I caught 27 waves. So I got my wave watch on. And after I was done I looked at it and the screen said, seriously? And what is this? And then I pressed a button and it said, such a loser. I couldn't believe that. So I disabled the mockery.

No. This is not true. I think I caught seven waves.

And that is really being generous. But here is what I discovered. You catch the wave. You are in the wave. You are riding the wave in. And then when the momentum of the wave stops you slow down and that is where I always fall. And so you have got to keep paddling. You have got to really dig in once the wave has stopped to turn around and go catch another wave. And so I discovered stall and you fall. Hey listen. What is true of stand up paddle is also true of the Christian life.

Stall and you fall. The Christian life is one of constant growth. Constant learning as I said.

Constant transformation. But here is the problem. Some will make what I would call a profession of faith. They will pray a prayer. Because maybe they want to get well fire insurance. They don't want to go to hell when they die. So they want to cover that base. I mean they are willing to take Jesus as their Savior but not necessarily as their Lord.

They are willing to take on Christ as their friend but not necessarily as their God. And they stay in sort of this baby-like state. You know babies are cute. I love babies don't you. Every now and then I get to dedicate babies. And you never know what a baby will do.

That is the fun part. I have had them throw up on me before of course while I am praying for them. And now as I have been doing this for a while I am meeting more people that are young adults and sometimes not even that young that will say, you dedicated me when I was a baby.

And I am looking up at them going wow. So you know babies are cute when they are babies. But babies have to be cared for.

Initially you have to nurse a baby. Then the baby learns how to eat soft foods. And then you cut the food up into little bite sized pieces for them. And one day the baby picks up a spoon or a fork and they start learning how to feed themselves.

And they get more food on them than in them. And I feel sorry sometimes for servers and restaurants after a toddler has been in there. You look under the high chair there is just mounds of food everywhere splattered up against the wall on the ceiling you know. That is a little baby learning how to eat.

It is ok. It is cute. That is what babies do. That is how babies roll actually. But it would be sad if someone was still behaving that way when they are in their 20s. Right. You still have to feed them and you still have to make airplane noises when you are coming in with a bite to keep their attention.

All right. Well what is true of babies can also be true of us as we grow spiritually. We all start out as babies. We all start out with a hunger for the Word. In fact the Bible says in 1 Peter 2 as newborn babes desire the pure milk of the Word that you may grow thereby.

And by the way there is no shame in that. That very hunger for spiritual truth is an indicator of spiritual health. Because a healthy person is a hungry person. If you are not feeling well and you go to see your doctor one of the first things I will ask you is are you hungry? How is your appetite? Well I am always hungry so I know I am in good health right now. I am perpetually hungry.

I don't know if I am alone in this. But that is true spiritually too. If you are hungry for God's Word. If you want to hear God's Word that is a good thing.

It is something you should be desiring. And if you are a young Christian. If you are brand new in the faith I am so glad you are here. Because we are here to help you grow up spiritually. Here is the objective. We want to take you from getting your food in bite size pieces and that is effectively what a sermon is. I sort of prepare it and cut it up and give it to you. But we want to teach you how to read the Word of God. Process its truth.

Learn how to think and then live biblically. My granddaughter Allie she has lost a couple of her front teeth. And so she has a really hard time eating like a nectarine. She loves nectarines. So she will always say to my wife Nama, that is what she calls Kathy, would you cut the nectarine up so she can eat it.

She doesn't ask me. Because when I cut a nectarine up it is a scary sight. I don't know why it mystifies me. Kathy's slices are so perfect and minor. All strange shapes.

I don't know. It is crazy. But she needs it cut up in bite size pieces.

That is what we all need initially. But then we need to grow up. You know when I was a young person in school I had many teachers say to me, Greg Laurie will you just grow up. Because I was always acting like a little kid.

And sadly I just heard this yesterday from my wife and a grandchild. Because what happened was we ate dinner and there was a store that had just closed their doors and there were still some salespeople in there. I shouldn't even admit this.

I don't know why I am saying it. So you know there are people in there. My wife is standing there looking in and my grandkids are looking in. So I knocked on the window and then ran off.

And so everybody turned and there is my wife standing there. She says, Greg will you just grow up. Stop acting like a sixth grader. And then my granddaughter Riley said, Papa you are a pastor. You shouldn't be acting like a sixth grader. And she was right of course.

It's time to grow up. Is the term disciple synonymous with believer? Is every believer a disciple? Pastor Greg answers that important question in just a moment. We're 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'm 46 now. Not sure I'd 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.

Greg at harvest dot org. Again, that's Greg at harvest dot o-r-g. Well, Pastor Greg continues now with his kickoff message from the new series, Discipleship, The Road Less Taken. Discipleship is all about growing up.

It's about going to the next level, if you will. It's about really living the Christian life to its fullest, living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. It's called being a disciple, then in turn going out and making disciples of others. That brings us to our first passage, Matthew 28. These are the words of Jesus.

Now these are familiar words. Words that many of us have even committed to memory. But I want you to consider the fact that these were the last words of Christ before He left earth. This is after the crucifixion. He is risen again from the dead.

And He is going to ascend into heaven now. So this is the final charge from the Lord. You know last words matter. If someone is on their death bed and they have one last statement, we always want to know what it was. There is an emphasis on last words.

And so these are the last words of Christ to us. And they are a charge. They are a command. They are a commission.

That is why we call this the Great Commission. Matthew 28 verse 16, Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him.

But some of them doubted. Jesus said to His disciples, I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this.

I am with you always, even to the end of the age. There it is. We are all commanded to go and make disciples.

But listen to this. It takes one to make one. So we say we should go make disciples.

Right. Let me ask you this question. Are you doing that? Are you fulfilling the Great Commission? Are you making disciples of others? You say, well I am not really sure what that means. Good.

That is what we are going to talk about. Because before you can make a disciple you have to be a disciple. Sort of like when you fly and you are seated there and they are going through the routine of what to do in case you lose altitude and you need to use your oxygen masks. And so they will say, if the oxygen mask should come down, put it if you are traveling with the child, put it on yourself first and then on the child.

That seems counterintuitive. It seems like oh man if we are losing altitude I should take the mask and put it on the child first and then meet the needs of the child. No. First. No.

Put it on yourself first because I can't help the child if I am blacking out. Right. The same is true in discipleship. I can't help somebody else be a disciple of Jesus if I am not first a disciple myself. Again it takes one to make one.

So listen to this. While it is true that not every person who makes a profession of faith is a Christian it is equally true that not every Christian is a disciple. Let me put it another way. Every disciple is a Christian but not every Christian but not every Christian is necessarily a disciple. Let me say that again. Every disciple is a Christian but not every Christian is necessarily a disciple. So you should not say, well this doesn't apply to me.

I am happy with fire insurance and I will leave it at that. No. If you are a true follower of Jesus you should want to be a disciple. And I am asking you this question. How many of you are disciples of Jesus? So let me ask you this question. How many of you would consider yourself a disciple of Jesus Christ? Raise up your hand.

Ah. You didn't all raise your hand. Because you know I ask trick questions don't you. Yeah well I think I am but I want to see where He is going and then I will decide if I am a disciple. And you know that is ok. That just shows you are actually very smart.

That is all that shows. But really every one of us should be able to say I am a disciple. Maybe not a perfect disciple. Not someone who has this totally down but I am a growing disciple of Jesus.

And everyone should be a disciple of Jesus. Because really what is discipleship? It is living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. Discipleship is living the Christian life as Jesus taught it. As the early church understood it.

It is real Christianity. But I think some are reluctant to want to live that way because it seems well radical. That is why I called this series discipleship the road less taken. Because some don't want hardship. They don't want a challenge. They don't want difficulty. So they take the path of least resistance instead of discipleship road.

And listen to this. Discipleship road is challenging but it is fulfilling. It is hard but it is more than worth it. Because as I said it is living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. And so here is what it comes down to. Every one of us should be a disciple. And then as a disciple we should either be being discipled by someone more mature than us or we should be discipling someone less mature than us. Every one of us should either be being discipled or discipling someone else. Really what it comes down to is you take a new believer under your wing. You are helping them to grow spiritually as you teach for them and model for them what a Christian looks like.

Or you should be being discipled by someone more mature than yourself. I will tell you what. Right after I accepted Christ on my high school campus I could have fallen through the cracks so easily. And some guy I had never met before walked up to me. I have told you about him before. His name was Mark. And Mark effectively discipled me. He said, Greg I am going to take you to church.

And he did. And then he took me home and I met his parents and we had Bible studies around the dinner table and he kind of helped me get to that rough spot. And then I started hungering for it myself and pretty soon I found myself doing it for others.

Can you be that for someone else? If you know someone that accepted Christ I hope you will seek them out and say, I want you to come to church with me. And I want you to go out to lunch with us after church. And I want to help you grow spiritually.

That is what people need. And not everyone is a disciple who claims to be a Christian. You know it is interesting when Christ walked our planet. He spent a lot of time with those 12 handpicked disciples. Matthew 5 we read, one day as the crowds were gathering Jesus went up to a mountainside with His disciples and He sat down to teach them.

This is what He taught them. And after that comes the Sermon on the Mount. So we envision Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount speaking to the multitudes. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Blessed are the meek. You know that message was given to His disciples who were gathered around them you see. So the point is that He took time with these guys.

He spent time with these guys. And the basic definition of the word disciple means a learner. You are a learner. You are someone that is listening and you are processing. And these disciples listened and followed Him around. And there are sort of like three phases we can go through. And I was reading a book on discipleship written by Dwight Pentecost.

It is out of print now. But the title of it is Designed for Discipleship. So I borrowed this from him.

I wanted to give him credit. He had three words he used to describe different phases of where people are at spiritually. The three words were curious, convinced, and committed. And you fit into one of these categories today.

Category number one. Curious. Jesus had a lot of curious people gather around Him. Especially when He performed a miracle.

And by the way His most popular miracle was when He multiplied the fish and loaves. I mean healing blind people. That is awesome. Restoring deaf to those that can't hear. Fantastic. Curing a leper. Amazing. Free lunch.

Now we are talking. So when Jesus would show up the crowds would show up. They would listen to Him. But it wouldn't really impact them for the most part.

They would just go on back home as they did before. So we would classify those people as curious and that may be you. You are here today. You are curious.

You know I will go to church today. But some of you have already mentally checked out. You know you are updating social media. You are looking around for Pokeman still.

Even though that is long over with you are still looking for him. Or you are distracted. You are curious but not that curious. And you are already checking your watch and planning your exit plan.

But then there is the next level which is interesting. It is convinced. It is convinced. In other words you believe these things are true. You would sit here today and say, Greg I actually agree with everything you are saying.

It is all true. Now maybe it doesn't impact you personally but you give intellectual assent to it. Which is an important step. So that is being convinced.

Here is an interesting passage. We read that the first miracle Jesus did turning water into wine. In Cana of Galilee in John 2.11 it says, He did that miracle and His disciples believed in Him.

Wait. What? His disciples believed. I thought they were already believers.

Well they were in a sense. See they had gone from curious to convinced. They were so convinced they were starting to follow Him. But at that point at that miracle they went from convinced to committed. Have you?

Have you gone from convinced to committed? You say, well what does it mean? What it means is it impacts you and the way that you live. And you say, now I want to be a disciple and I want to make disciples of others. Pastor Greg Laurie with good counsel today on the importance of discipleship. It's the first message in a new series called Discipleship the Road Less Taken. And there is more to come here on A New Beginning.

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. You know several weeks ago you presented a message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self here on A New Beginning. Yeah. If Johnny Cash had had the chance to speak a few words to his younger self, what do you think he might have said?

That's a good question. You know Johnny was a very honest guy. He was very reflective. He was very authentic. He never hid his struggles.

He never tried to appear to be something who he was not and that was part of his appeal. I'm sure Johnny as an older man would tell Johnny the younger man don't take amphetamines because you know he started out Dave as a gospel singer and then he recorded some songs Hey Porter and I Walk the Line and Ring of Fire and many others were to follow and and he became very popular and he was traveling around the country and someone said hey Johnny take these little white pills. They'll give you the energy you need. Well those are amphetamines and those became a lifelong struggle for Johnny Cash and then he would take also barbiturates. So he'd take amphetamines to get going and barbiturates to get to sleep.

Deadly combination. Add some alcohol to that and there were a lot of troubles and problems in the life of John R Cash but the good thing about Johnny is he knew where to turn. He had a deep spiritual faith as he described it an unshakable faith and he would always come back to the Lord and find the forgiveness that he needed. He also had a great friend in Billy Graham. I don't know that people realize how close Billy and Johnny were. They vacationed together.

They spent time together. Their wives were very close as well and Johnny performed at many Billy Graham crusades. So Billy was there to support pray for and encourage his friend that had his occasional lapses and so we're telling that story in a powerful new documentary film that is titled Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon. We have interviews with a lot of surprising people Winona Judd, Marty Stewart who actually performed with and played with Cash many many times. We also have interviews with Tim McGraw and Sheryl Crow all who admired Cash. We also talked to Johnny's sister Joanne his son John Carter Cash so you're going to get some insights into the spiritual life of Johnny you've never seen before. Oh yeah there have been other documentary films about Johnny Cash and rightly so but this film is different that's why it's called the redemption of an American icon and it's been done by some real pros my friends John and Andy Irwin also known as the Irwin brothers who produced and directed Woodlawn, I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe, American Underdog, the documentary film The Jesus Music and the soon to be released film Jesus Revolution.

This film is going to touch you deeply and another thing there's a gospel presentation in the film so you see what Johnny really believed and so get your tickets bring someone that does not know the Lord and come see this brand new film Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon. Dave tell us how we get those tickets. Yeah they're going fast so go to our website right away at harvest.org. We're happy to make tickets available to our harvest partners and other friends who generously support the work of evangelism through Harvest Ministries. It's a Fathom event and the dates are coming up soon. You'll find those dates at harvest.org or call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24-7 phone number so dial 1-800-821-3300. Well next time Pastor Greg offers more good counsel for those of us reluctant to stand up and be counted as one of the Lord's own. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-01 05:20:32 / 2022-12-01 05:30:31 / 10

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