You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. It may not be an easy choice, but it's an important choice. I choose to be a friend of God. I choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. How many of you want to be that today?
Then go be it. What's right isn't always popular, and what's popular isn't always right. It's easy to go with the flow, laugh along with others at an inappropriate joke, remain silent when a coworker is about to do something unethical.
But those who never stand for something eventually will fall for anything. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us put our faith, our relationship with God, front and center in our daily lives. It's part of walking the rewarding path of discipleship.
All right. Well, let's grab our Bibles. Get your Bible quickly, quickly. And we're going to turn to two passages today.
They're going to be Matthew 28 and Luke 14. We're starting a brand new series on the topic of discipleship, the road less traveled. And the title of my message today is Are You His Disciple? 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's risen again from the dead. And He's going to ascend into heaven now.
So these are the last words of Christ to us. And they're a charge. They're a command. They're a commission.
That's why we call this the great commission. Matthew 28, verse 16, then the 11 disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. And when they saw Him, they worshiped 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're all commanded to go and make disciples.
But listen to this. It takes one to make one. And everyone should be a disciple of Jesus. Because really what is discipleship? It's 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's real Christianity. But I think some are reluctant to want to live that way because it seems, well, radical. That's 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's fulfilling.
It's hard but it's more than worth it. Because as I said, it's living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. And not everyone is a disciple who claims to be a Christian. You know it's 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 a sermon on the mouth. So we envision Jesus on the sermon on the mouth speaking to the multitudes. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Blessed are the meek. No 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 here is what Jesus says about discipleship.
There is more to say and we will get into it next time. But here is a beginning of what Christ said about discipleship in Luke 14 verse 26. If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes, in his own life he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Wow. These are perhaps some of the most solemn and searching words that ever fell from the lips of Jesus. Two times in this short passage Jesus says, If you don't do these things you cannot be His disciple. First He says that we must hate father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters in your own life or you can't be His disciple. Then He says you must bear the cross or you can't be His disciple. These are prerequisites to being a disciple. So if you want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ you must do these things. So Jesus is still asking us will you step out from the multitude and be a real disciple.
Will you be more than someone that is just curious or a fair weather follower. It reminds me of Facebook friends. How many of you have a Facebook page? Ok.
I have one. I also have a Twitter account and I also have an Instagram page. And I am always amazed at the different reactions in these different social media platforms.
You know if I put a picture up on Instagram people are generally pretty friendly there. Like I will post a little Scripture. I might post a statement from a sermon or something that we are doing in the future.
And then occasionally I will put in a picture of my family. Or maybe I eat this sandwich or I drink this cup of coffee. Hey I had this coffee this morning. I will put a picture of it on Instagram. Comments. Awesome. Looks good. Where did you find that coffee? I will take the same picture and post it on Facebook.
And I will get reactions like it must be nice to have coffee that expensive. There are starving people in the world. Really? What is wrong with these people? Is Facebook a place for people to just come and argue? Seriously there are a lot of nice people out there. But some of these Facebook friends I have to admit are a little on the weird side. And there is something I have done on Facebook and I shouldn't tell you that I have done it. I am not the only one who has done it in my account. But I have done it. I have deleted a few comments and I have blocked a few people.
And I liked it. I don't mind it if someone comes and disagrees with me or takes counterpoint. But when someone comes to attack or insult or promote their own agenda I might delete them. And every now and then I will block them. And my only regret is I can't do that with people in real life. Can you imagine? Someone who is just argumentative and mean is just block.
Can't do that of course. But I think Jesus has a lot of Facebook friends so to speak. And by the way when someone unfollows you you can find out. Have you ever been unfollowed? You are followed then unfollowed? I think there is a lot of people that say, Oh I am following Jesus. Oh I am unfollowing Jesus. Maybe they were never followers to begin with. So really what is Jesus saying when He says that you must hate mother, father, brother, sister, wife, husband, your own life?
Here is what it means. And this is my main point and I will close with this. The disciple must love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. The disciple must love Jesus more than anyone or anything else when he says, If you come after me in verse 26 and you don't hate your father, mother, wife, children, brother, sisters, and your own life you can't be his disciple. He is not telling us to hate people. But He said it.
Let me explain. Always compare Scripture with Scripture. Because are we not told as husbands to love our wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her? How can I love my wife as Christ loves the church and then hate her?
And are we not told to love our enemies and do good that those that hurt us and so forth? So certainly this doesn't fit with other passages. So you are saying, ah a contradiction in the Bible. Right? No.
Not right. It is a translation issue. Jesus is using the method of sharp contrast and He is effectively saying, your love for God must be so strong, so intense that all other loves would be like hatred in comparison. Or to put it another way, if you really want to be my disciple, the Lord is saying, and live the Christian life to its fullest, you must love me more than anyone or anything else. In just a moment, Pastor Greg warns us of the reaction we may get from friends and family when we draw closer to the Lord as His disciple. Important insight next. I don't know if you know about this, but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world.
Listen to this. We even have Harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the Word of God. So join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today, Pastor Greg is helping us see what it takes to step up to a higher level of relationship with the Lord called discipleship. His message is titled, Are You His Disciple? Billy Graham said, quote, salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have. And that makes sense, because some were kept back from Christ out of fear of what others would think.
In Luke 9, there is the story of a man that Jesus called. Jesus just said, follow me. And here's what the guy said, I need to bury my mother and father. Jesus says, let the dead bury the dead.
Follow me. Now you read that and you don't understand culture and you think, wow, that was kind of heartless of Christ, wasn't it? Like here's this poor guy. His mom and dad just died.
They are there on the road. He is actually digging a grave for them. Hey, follow me. Let me just bury my parents. Let them bury themselves. Let's go. Is that what happened? No.
It was a cultural term. And when someone said, let me go bury my mother and father, it was another way of saying, hey, look, I can't do it right now. Let me wait until my mom and dad have died and they are buried and then when it is easier or more convenient, I will follow you. So really it is a guy making up excuses. Why don't you follow Jesus?
Well, I would like to, but I am so busy right now I can't. Or if I followed him I might jeopardize this relationship with this guy or this girl I am involved with. Or it might cause tension in my family.
Nobody in my family is a Christian. If I become a Christian it will cause tension. That's right.
It will. Jesus said, do you think that I have come to bring peace? No. I tell you I come to bring division and a sword. For a man will be divided against his family. You say, ok, well now I am confused. I don't want to say I am a Christian because I don't want division in my family. Let me illustrate what this means. Because this is the division that can ultimately bring unity.
This is the friction that can ultimately bring peace. So let's take your family as an example. Maybe you are just all nonbelievers and family gatherings are one big drunken thing.
Right? Lots of dirty jokes. Lots of partying. Get together with all your odd uncles and strange cousins. And then one day you have to go and wreck everything and become a Christian. And they all heard about it.
Oh brother. So you show up and they are all partying and cussing and joking. And the meal is getting ready to be served and you say, let's pray.
Well you don't say it that way but that's how you sound. You sound like some preacher. Let's pray together shall we. Hallelujah.
All of a sudden your family you just became Debbie Downer or Bobby Buzzkill. Oh brother. Really. Really. Did you have to go and become a Jesus freak.
A holy roller. And so they go along with your prayer. Resent every moment of it.
They make fun of you. Ah but then one family member comes to Christ because you make your stand. And now oh wait.
Two family members have come to Christ. Oh wait. Now three. Now four. Oh look what happened. This entire family that was full of nonbelievers is now a Christian family passing on a godly legacy to the next generation.
Isn't that amazing. That's how it works. So you say, well I don't want to make that stand. I don't want to offend them or cause friction. Listen. You are either going to have harmony with God and friction with people or friction with God and harmony with people.
What do you want? If you want to be the world's friend you are going to be God's enemy. But if you want to be God's friend you will be the world's enemy. And know this. If you are a real disciple of Jesus people will hate you. Don't want to hurt you. Sometimes they will even want to kill you. I know a little bit about this personally.
But listen to this. Don't worry if you are persecuted. Worry when you are not persecuted. Because the Bible says all that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Yes it is this very friction that can bring transformation. So make a choice. I choose to be a friend of God. I choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. How many of you want to be that today? Well then be it.
Then go be it. So we are going to close now in prayer. By the way I have two more pages of sermon that I just threw out.
Because I am going to save that for next week. But listen. I want to close with a prayer. Kind of a twofold invitation.
Number one. I am going to invite people to believe in Jesus. By the way do some of you get tired of me inviting people to believe in Jesus? I am glad because I am going to keep doing it. All right. So I am going to do that because that is how I roll.
And then number two. I am going to do a separate invitation for Christians to become disciples. Well I thought those were interchangeable terms.
Not necessarily. As I said earlier every disciple is a Christian. But not every Christian is necessarily a disciple. What is a disciple? There is much more to say.
But let me just simplify it and just what we learned today and we will add more later. A disciple is someone who loves God more than anyone or anything else. Can we start there? Are you willing to say, Lord I want to love You more than anyone or anything else.
That is a good place to begin. So we will extend this invitation. And if there are some of you that would say, Man I want to be a disciple. I really want to live the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. I want to get on that road less traveled. You know I really want to impact people around me. In fact I don't want to just be a disciple. I want to be a disciple maker. I want to fulfill the Great Commission. We will have an opportunity for you to say that to the Lord.
But let me just add this. If you pray the prayer I will lead you in in a few moments saying you want to be a disciple. It is a dangerous prayer. Dangerous meaning that God will hear your prayer.
He hears all prayer. But God will answer your prayer and take you up on it so don't pray it if you don't mean it. So if you pray it I will assume you are not a disciple now but you want to be.
Or you are a struggling disciple and you want to be a better one. Or for some of you just want to reaffirm it. Or for you that don't pray maybe you just say I don't want to pray that prayer. You have that privilege and that right.
You decide. But let's pray now. Father we thank You for Your Word to us.
Thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross in our place. And then rising again from the dead. And I pray for any here that do not know You yet. Lord I pray this is the day they would go from curious to convinced.
And ultimately from convinced to committed. Help them to come to You and believe in You. And receive the forgiveness of all of their sin and the hope of heaven. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. An important closing prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. And if you'd like to do that, if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord. Pastor Greg will help you with that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Well Pastor Greg the new Johnny Cash documentary is just days away.
That's right. What do you think will surprise people the most when they see Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon? I think they'll be surprised by the amazing quality of it. I think they'll be surprised by the people that we interviewed that talked about the faith of Johnny Cash.
Like Winona Judd, Marty Stewart, Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow and others. I think they'll be surprised at how badly Johnny fell. But I think they'll also be surprised by that strong faith that sustained him through life.
The faith that he returned to toward the end of his life. I think they'll not only be surprised, I think they'll be inspired. Because this is a powerful film. It's like a modern retelling of the story of the prodigal son. I think one other surprise they'll find is that the gospel is presented in this film as well. Because it's a gospel that changed Johnny's life. He believed it.
Even though he strayed from it at times. So this is a powerful film. I don't think you've ever seen a film quite like this. The closest thing we've done would be Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon.
But this goes to the next level and beyond. So we want you to see this brand new film that's coming to a theater near you as a fathom event. So here's Dave to tell you more about how you can get tickets to see this brand new documentary film done by the Irwin Brothers.
Best known for their films American Underdog, I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe, and the soon to be released Jesus Revolution. Dave, tell them how they can get their tickets. Yeah, it's real easy. Just go to harvest.org. You'll find more details there and you can even arrange your tickets while you're online. And by the way, tickets are limited and they're going fast. We're making them available to say thank you to those who stand with us and support our outreach with a generous donation. Our outreach not only here on A New Beginning, but through our evangelistic events.
And through this evangelistic film, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. What are the dates of this fathom event? You'll find them listed on our website at harvest.org. It's coming up soon, so get in touch right away.
Go to harvest.org or call us any time 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Well Pastor Greg, if somebody listening right now knows that they need to ask the Lord to forgive them of their sins, could you help them with that right now? You know what Dave, I'd love to do that. It's an amazing thing to me that over the years I've heard so many stories of people who have come to know Christ listening to this broadcast. And they'll say things like, I prayed that prayer with you at the end of the program. One guy wrote me and said, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and prayed that prayer and Christ came into my life.
Just incredible. And I'd like to lead you in that same prayer. Because I don't have some super special prayer. It's just a basic prayer.
Based on scriptural principles of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. I mean if we want to get real technical, the only sinner's prayer, if you will, and we often call this prayer a sinner's prayer. The only real sinner's prayer in the Bible is a guy who just prayed, God be merciful to me a sinner. So I'm going to lead you in a prayer similar to that, but this is a prayer where you will be acknowledging your need for Jesus and putting your faith in him. So listen, if you want to go to heaven when you die, if you want to know that you are a child of God, if you want the Lord to forgive you of your sins, just pray these words if you would. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner and I'm sorry for my sin and I turn from that sin. But I know that you died on the cross of Calvary for my sin.
And rose again from the dead, so forgive me Lord. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. I want you to be my Savior.
I want you to be my friend. I want you to be my God. Thank you for hearing my prayer and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name I ask this.
Amen. Now I want to help you start growing spiritually, so I have something to send you at no charge. It's my gift to you. It's called The New Believer's Packet. And in it is a copy of the New Testament in a very friendly, understandable translation called The New Living Translation. It also has some notes that I wrote, hundreds of notes actually, that will encourage you in this commitment you've made. These notes will answer a lot of the questions you probably have right now.
And there's some other materials in this packet as well. So order your copy of The New Believer's Packet immediately. And thanks for giving me the opportunity to lead you in that prayer. And I wanted to be the first to say to you, welcome to the family of God. Well, next time we'll get back to basics in Pastor Greg's discipleship series. We'll ask the question, what is a disciple? But here's Pastor Greg once again to close today's program, a message called Are You His Disciple? How many of you would like to pray the disciples' prayer and say, all right, Lord, I want to be a disciple.
I want to love You more than anyone or anything else. I want to take up my cross and follow You. I want to be that person that brings change to those around me. And then, Lord, I want to go out and disciple others. If you want to be that disciple, you pray this prayer out loud after me. Again, don't pray it if you don't mean it. But if you do want it, just pray this.
Lord Jesus, I have heard Your Word today. To go into all the world and make disciples. Lord, I want to do that. But I want to first be a disciple. I want to love You more than anyone. I want to love You, Jesus, more than anything.
I want to reach others and make an impact on my world. So today I say to You, Lord, I want to be Your disciple. Lord, You heard that prayer. And You know the back story of every person who prayed it. And I know that You welcome each one that would want to go from curious to convinced to committed. And I pray, Lord, that these lives, each one that prayed this, that their lives would be impacted.
And then in turn that they would impact others. We commit ourselves to You and we thank You for this time in Your Word. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. God bless you guys that just prayed that prayer.
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