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Sign up at harvest.org. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us learn to be full strength, fully developed, fully effective Christian disciples. A disciple must and will impact our culture.
One of the classic old CCM songs of days gone by was called Two Hands by Love Song. The song said, With one hand reach out to Jesus, with the other bring a friend. That's a pretty good description of discipleship in a nutshell. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us follow the Lord wholeheartedly and show others how to do the same.
We'll learn how to embrace the very purpose we're here to have fellowship with God and to bring others into that fellowship. We're in a series now on the topic of discipleship. In the last message I asked you, are you a disciple? Now I'm defining what a disciple actually is. And so go over to Luke 14 where Jesus really breaks down what it means to be a disciple. Verse 26, he says, If any man comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers, sisters, yes, in his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
I made this point in my last message, but in case you didn't hear it, I want you to know what it is. Number one, if you want to be his disciple, you must love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. You must love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. When Jesus says hate your father, mother, brother, sisters, etc., he's not being literal. Because in other passages I'm told to love my wife as Christ loves the church. I'm told to even love my enemies. Jesus is using a contrasting term to make a larger point. In effect he's saying your love for God should be so intense that your love for others would be like hatred in comparison.
So you must love God more than anyone or anything else. Love him more than your career. Love him more than your ministry.
Love him more than even your life. Point number two, the disciple must take up the cross and follow Jesus. Verse 27, whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. In Luke's gospel over in the ninth chapter Jesus addresses this again with a little more detail. He says, if anyone desires to come after me and be my disciple, he must deny himself, listen to this, and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever seeks to save his life will lose it.
And whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Now here's the problem. We have no idea what this means.
And I think it's even more complicated from the time we live in. Because what do you think of when you think of the cross? Probably the symbol of the church or Christianity.
You see a cross. You think that's a symbol of Christianity. The cross for many is a fashion accessory. It's a new tat on their arm.
It's something they you know maybe have somewhere. But the early church did not wear crosses. They died on crosses. So when you hear Jesus say take up your cross and follow me it means one thing. It means you die to yourself. And by dying to yourself or losing yourself you ultimately find yourself.
Point number three. The disciple must turn the title deed of their life over to Christ. The disciple must turn the title deed of their life over to Christ.
Or if you're a car guy give him the pink slit. Right. Verse 33. You cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. The King James translation is forsake all that you have. It's just remind ourselves we're actually not owners.
We're stewards. Because everything you have one day is going to be passed on to someone else. You know you can't take it with you. So what does it mean when Jesus says giving up everything that you own. Does that mean it's a sin to have a car or a house or some money in the bank or some clothes.
No no of course not. Here's what it means. It could better be translated surrender your claim to those things. If you want to be my disciple surrender your claim to everything in life. So it's a recognition God is the owner. God is the pink slip. God is in control of it.
And I recognize I'm just a steward over it for a period of time. See it's not wrong to have a career but it's wrong if a career has you. It's not wrong to have possessions but it can be wrong if your possessions have you. Your only real passion and obsession in life should be Christ and all these other things have their place.
But not the most important place. My granddaughter Allie loves to collect stuffed animals. She really loves them. And so whenever I go on a trip she'll say, Papa bring me back a stuffed animal. So you know if I'm traveling you'll see little stuffed animal heads sticking out of my carry-on bags.
I'll look for them and bring them home. And so the other day I was on a trip and I made a video of a bunch of stuffed animals. I said, which one do you like Allie? And I got her on the phone on FaceTime and we're talking. And she says, Papa I'm not obsessed with stuffed animals anymore.
I said, really? She says, I'm just obsessed with talking with you. I said, oh I like that.
It's very good. Girls try that line on a guy. Girls I think that line would work on any guy no matter his age. No matter your relationship. You know warm my heart. I think we all should say to God, Lord I'm obsessed with talking with you and walking with you and hearing from you and knowing you.
Number four. A disciple must impact their culture. A disciple must and will impact their culture. Look at verse 34 of Luke 14. Jesus says, salt is good for seasoning but if it loses its flavor how do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It's thrown away.
Anyone willing to hear what I'm saying should listen and understand. Hey what good is salt if it's not salty? Really. It's like coke without carbonation. You ever get a flat coke? Kind of gross. It's like an espresso without caffeine. What's with that?
I love like a triple espresso decaf. Get out. Really? It's like having a car without an engine. Also known as a Prius.
Sorry. And you probably have a Prius with a God is my co-pilot sticker on the back right? No that's not true. Because no Prius owner would ever have God is my co-pilot sticker. They would have a coexist sticker. Am I right?
Right? And I know because I've seen them. I've gotten behind them on the freeway. They always drive slow. That's because the wheels on a Prius are this big. And I have a sneaking suspicion that cats drive Priuses. I'm just.
They're all interconnected somehow. So when Jesus says you are the salt what good is unsalty salt? The point he's making is what good is a half-hearted Christian? What good is a deluded believer? What good is a decaf disciple?
Right? What good is it? Well the answer is not good for much. So what does salt do? Well we have to understand in this culture just like we misunderstand the cross we misunderstand salt. Salt was kind of a big deal in the first century. In fact it was so important and valuable that sometimes they would pay Roman soldiers in salt. Hence the expression. He's not worth the salt.
Valuable commodity. Also salt obviously has an impact. A little bit of salt goes a long way. You know with a meal put a little salt on it. Or hey if you have watermelon. I love watermelon.
A little bit of salt takes it to another place doesn't it? Works in cantaloupe too. I like it in cantaloupe. Also an oatmeal. Just a little bit. Don't overdo it or you'll wreck it for sure. So what does cantaloupe do?
Well cantaloupe is for sure. So what is Jesus saying? He's saying number one you're valuable and number two your life can make a difference. So when he says you're the salt. Saying you have value and you can make a difference. Another thing that salt does is it stops the rotting process.
Back in the first century without refrigeration the way they would preserve meat was by rubbing salt in it. And in the same way we sort of stop the spread of evil. A Christian may speak up in a classroom or speak up in an office or speak up in a neighborhood or speak up in our culture when something is wrong and speak up for what is right. But not only do we stop the spread of evil. We're not just there to stop bad things. We're there to speak up for the most important thing.
Jesus Christ. Because salt stimulates thirst. Now of course movie theaters know this well. They salt that popcorn. So you'll come back and buy a Coke that costs $100. And it's in a trash can.
So why does everything have to be so big and so expensive. But you know you get thirsty and I think the greatest compliment that can be paid to a Christian is when a non-believer says what is it about you. I admire you.
I want to know what makes you tick. Ah you've done your job Christian. You've done your job disciple.
Because you've created thirst in another. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. But Pastor Greg we mentioned last time that this Saturday is your 70th birthday. And I looked up the traditional gift for a 70th birthday and it's denture cream.
No it is not. I don't wear dentures. These are my real cheeks.
They rattle around a lot. Wow. What is the official gift for a 70 year old?
Is there one? Well they say a 70th birthday or anniversary is supposed to be platinum. Platinum? Yeah. What would you even do with platinum?
I don't know. I just got a sheet of platinum for my birthday. This is the greatest gift ever. But I was thinking you know our listeners might want to send you a birthday card. And I was thinking if they would take a few moments to jot a few notes in the card about how your teaching has impacted their life. I'm sure you'd love to read those those notes wouldn't you?
Absolutely. I would love that. You know maybe Dave we could open up a phone line for them to call in and leave a greeting. That would be great.
Leave a greeting as well and and we'll place some of those on the air. And look we just give God the glory for what he has done over these many years actually. And it you know it's something that that I do because it's a calling God's put on my life but it's also the joy of my life to share the gospel and to teach the word of God.
I really do love to do it. I would even say I love it maybe more today than I did when I started. And I loved it a lot then but I think the reason one loves it is you see it changes lives. You see a marriage saved. You see a person who says I actually attempted suicide and now I have hope in my life.
You you see somebody else who was going the wrong direction in drugs or alcohol or whatever it might have been and Christ and Christ turned their life around and you think what else could do this for people. Politics can't do it. Technology can't do it.
Mere morality can't do it. But Jesus can do it. And there's power in the message of the gospel. In fact Paul said the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. So I want to keep preaching the gospel for as long as I can and do what God has called me to do.
Yeah yeah and we hope that's a long time to come. And friends if you want to send Pastor Greg a birthday card maybe jot a few words about what his teaching has meant to you and maybe include an investment so this ministry can continue just write him in care of A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or you can make a donation online at harvest.org or let's go ahead and open up our comment line if you want to call in a birthday wish to Pastor Greg. Jot this special number down. It's not for donations or resource requests. Just to leave a comment 866-871-1144.
Again that's 866-871-1144. Well as Pastor Greg continues his message he refers to a movie he had recently produced on the life of a famous Hollywood actor. As you all know this film about the life of Steve McQueen and some have asked why are you you know what is your deal with Steve McQueen? Okay it's not my deal with Steve McQueen.
It's a story of a transformation of a life that was like he was like a modern day Solomon. You know he had everything this world offers. McQueen in his day was the number one movie star in the world. He he had incredible wealth. He had women throwing themselves at him and he was a willing recipient I might add. He had the coolest cars, motorcycles. He bought an airplane hanger to just store his cool stuff. It was like the ultimate man cave. He lived the dream and saw the emptiness of it and walked away from Hollywood at the peak of his fame and moved to this little town called Santa Paula California.
It's like small town USA. Because it reminded him of the town he grew up in as a young boy Slater Missouri. And the reason he moved there also was because Santa Paula was the antique plane capital of the world. And Steve bought a Stearman biplane. A very old plane because he wanted to learn to fly. He didn't know it but he was setting himself up for what God had for him. Because there was only one guy qualified to teach people to fly in this Stearman biplane and it was a guy named Sammy Mason that was a totally committed disciple of Jesus Christ. But here's how Sammy reached Steve McQueen.
Not by fawning over him. In fact the cool thing is Steve calls says I want to learn how to fly and Sammy answers and says I'm not taking on new clients right now. New students. And Steve says well this is Steve McQueen. And he says I don't care.
I'm not taking on new students right now. Steve couldn't believe it. Whenever he said who he was everyone wanted to help him. So he called back I'm Steve McQueen. I'm a movie star. I want you to teach me how to fly. I don't care he says.
I'm not taking on new students. So later that day Sammy says to his son Pete. Yeah some guy called me an actor Steve McQueen wants to learn how to fly. His son's like dad that's Steve McQueen. We watch his movie The Great Escape all the time. Oh whatever.
Ok I'll take him on. That was Sammy. So they spent hours in the cockpit. And Steve saw something in Sammy that impressed him. And Sammy was a man's man. He was a regular kind of guy. He was a salt of the earth kind of guy.
And the best use of that phrase. And he wasn't ashamed to talk about his faith. And Steve said Sammy I see like you have a peace and I want this peace.
What is it? And Sammy said well Steve it's my relationship with Jesus Christ. And then Steve said well you let me come to church with you. So Steve actually asked if he could go to church with Sammy. He ended up in church. He heard Pastor Leonard DeWitt speak who is still alive. And I have talked with Leonard.
An amazing guy. And Steve came to faith. But you see it was someone living the life and stimulating a thirst in someone else for Jesus Christ.
Are you doing that right now? One last point. A disciple will bring forth spiritual fruit. A disciple will bring forth spiritual fruit. Now this is not here in Luke 14. This is in John 15 where Jesus says in John 15 eight, by this is my Father glorify that you bear much fruit. So shall you be my disciples. If you are really a disciple of Jesus you'll have fruit in your life.
You say but what does that mean fruit in my life. It means results. It means evidence. Another way of putting it if you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you. By evidence I don't mean Bibles laying around or Christian bumper stickers or things like that. I mean evidence. Or they would talk to people you know. Look at your lifestyle and say I can see the evidence in their life.
And one of the first things we do as a Christian is we bring forth what the Bible calls fruit in keeping with repentance you see. So your old buddy say hey man let's go out and get a drink after work. I don't do that anymore. What. You don't do that anymore. Yeah I don't drink anymore. Hey I found this poor incitement.
I don't look at that stuff anymore. Well what's wrong with you. Well it's not what's wrong with me. It's what's right with me. Christ is coming to my life. See they know you now by the fruit of your repentance.
You've stopped doing some wicked things. Now you are doing in their place godly things. And that intrigues them.
It also perplexes them. But you should be known by your repentance. That's one way to bring forth fruit. Giving praise and thanks to God is a way of bearing fruit. Because we're told by Him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually. That is the fruit of your lips. So earlier in worship when we sang the praises of the Lord that was bringing forth fruit. When we gave in the offering that was bringing forth fruit. Those are tangible results.
One other thing I could go on and on about this one. But one other thing is a change in your conduct and character is spiritual fruit. A change in your conduct and character. Galatians 5 22 says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Can people see the fruit in your life.
Let's review and conclude. Number one a disciple of Jesus Christ loves God more than anyone or anything else. Number two a disciple of Jesus Christ takes up his cross daily and follows Him. Thirdly the disciple of Jesus has turned the title deed or the pink slip of their life over to Him. Fourthly a disciple impacts our culture. And fifth and lastly a disciple brings forth spiritual fruit. Okay let's pull out the word disciple and insert your name in its place.
Greg loves Jesus more than anyone or anything else. How's that fit? Depends. I try to. I want to. Do I always measure up to that? Of course I don't. But that's something I should aspire to isn't it? How about this Kathy takes up the cross daily and follows Christ. Josh impacts his culture.
Mary brings forth spiritual fruit. Put your name in those places. And do you do that? And you say well no I don't know if anyone can do that. Who can even live up to these standards? Answer you can. I can. And you must if you're going to be a disciple. You say but I can't.
No. It's more like you won't. Don't you remember when your teacher used to tell you there's a difference between can't and won't. You can. You just won't. Don't say you can't because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Okay that's what the Bible says. This is not a can I do it issue. This is a will I do it issue. Will I do it.
Will I make that decision today and then make that decision again tonight and tomorrow morning then in the early afternoon then at lunchtime then after then into the evening then into the next day. Remember being a disciple is taking up the cross daily and follow Christ. You don't do it once a year or once a month.
You do it every day and really in effect multiple times throughout the day. That's what we are to do. Take up the cross. Listen and when we bring forth spiritual fruit it doesn't grow overnight right. You don't go in your backyard and pull up a chair in front of your peach tree and just look. I mean you can do that but you won't see anything. But if you set up a camera and did time-lapse photography over a period of a month oh you'd see dramatic growth.
But you look at it every day you may not see any growth but it's growing. So this takes time but we just need to start by saying I want to take up the cross daily and do it because I want to find the life God has for me. See living in this in-between spot is the miserable place.
Living in this sweet spot of commitment is where the life is. Listen to what Paul said. I'm crucified with Christ.
Nevertheless I live. Yet it's not I but Christ that lives in me who loved me and gave himself for me. Did you notice what Paul said? I'm crucified in Christ. Death, cross, cross bearing. Nevertheless Paul says I live.
See that he understood this. That's where the life is. As I lose my life which means give it to God I find my life.
I find my purpose and meaning in life by putting God first. As I quoted earlier becoming a Christian costs you nothing. It's a gift. But being a disciple costs everything.
Yeah being a Christian costs you nothing. Listen God has an awesome gift for you today. It's called the gift of eternal life. I love how the Bible calls it the unspeakable gift.
I like that word because it's effectively saying there's no word to describe it. It's so incredible. It's just unspeakable.
Why is it unspeakable? Because it's the only gift that becomes more valuable with the passing of time. It's not that the gift itself becomes more valuable but I think our understanding of it does. Because we see the depth and the width and the and the greatness of it and then as we get closer to the end of life on earth that's where we see the full power of the gift because it means we have the hope of heaven.
And I ask in closing do you have that hope right now that when you die you'll go to heaven. God offers you a gift. You say well how do I receive a gift.
Well how do you receive any gift. You reach out and you say thank you and you open it. So God offers you the gift of eternal life and you say Lord I receive that gift. You ought to admit you're a sinner. Turn from your sin and ask Jesus to come inside. And I would like to pray and give you an opportunity to do that. Father now speak to any that have joined us wherever they are if they don't know you yet. 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. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer about coming to the Lord to receive that gift of eternal life. And if you'd like to do that Pastor Greg will help you in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Well Pastor Greg we're so excited to share the new film Johnny Cash the Redemption of an American Icon with our listeners.
Yes. Why did you choose Johnny Cash as the subject for this film? That's a great question. So bottom line I love to see thousands of people come to Christ at Harvest Crusades and people coming to the Lord listening to our radio broadcast. But I also like to focus on how Jesus works in the lives of individuals.
You know some people are changed in a moment. Others have a lifelong struggle but the Lord is with them every step of the way and Johnny Cash he's one of those people. The Lord was faithful to him. The Lord loved him and Johnny loved the Lord but Johnny did struggle throughout his life. That's why it's a redemption story. So the title of this film we want people to go see is Johnny Cash the Redemption of an American Icon because it shows how patient God is how loving God is and how God wants to reach people no matter where they are in life. So I'm asking the listeners to help me tell this story and I'm asking them to support this film.
Yeah absolutely. Be praying about who you can bring with you to see Johnny Cash the Redemption of an American Icon. It's a strong presentation of the gospel and we're making tickets available to those who partner with us in our efforts toward teaching believers and reaching unbelievers. Thank you for your generous donation and tickets are limited so go online today to harvest.org or call us anytime around the clock 24 7 at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Pastor Greg a moment ago you pointed out the importance of coming to the Lord for eternal life asking Jesus to forgive our sins.
Yes. Could you help those who want to do that very thing right now? Yeah you know the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ stands at the door of our life and he knocks and if any man will hear his voice and open the door he will come in. Maybe as you've heard me speak today well you've heard another voice speaking to you it's the voice of God and you realize you need Christ in your life. You need your sin forgiven. You want the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die.
Well here's what you need to do. You need to pray and I would like to lead you in a prayer right now where you will be saying to Jesus Lord come into my life I choose to follow you. So let's pray. Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. I turn from that sin now and I put my faith in you being my Lord my Savior and my God and my friend. I choose to follow you Jesus from this moment forward. Thank you for loving me and calling me and accepting me. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. Listen if you just prayed that prayer I want you to know on the authority of scripture that Christ himself has come into your life. The Bible says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. If you just prayed that prayer in minute you can know today you have eternal life and may I be the first to say to you welcome to the family of God. Yeah and we want to help you grow as a believer so let us send you something called our new believers growth packet. We'll send it free of charge if you prayed with Pastor Greg today.
Just call us anytime night or day at 1-800-821-3300. Again ask for the new believers growth packet that's 1-800-821-3300 or request it online at harvest.org by clicking know God. We mentioned earlier that Pastor Greg's birthday is this coming Saturday. If you'd like to call and leave a greeting for Pastor Greg call this special number 866-871-1144. That's just for a birthday greeting not for resources or to make a donation.
Again dial 866-871-1144. Well next time we'll see discipleship is a giver receiver relationship. Pastor Greg says we should either be being discipled or we should be discipling someone else. More good insight coming your way. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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