Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God.
Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. Success or failure in the Christian life is dependent on how much of the Bible you get into your heart and mind on a daily basis and how obedient you are to it.
I've never met a Christian who's failing spiritually who is also studying the Bible diligently. Pastor Greg Laurie points out God's Word gives us all the resources we need for spiritual success. There's just power in the Word of God and we want to fill our lives with it. Do you take a vitamin every day?
It's a good idea. Make sure your body is getting what it needs to thrive. Well, God has provided some spiritual vitamins in His Word.
In fact, it's more than vitamins. It's our spiritual food, our spiritual sustenance. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how a regular diet of God's Word is just what Christian disciples need. If you're not signed up to get a regular dose of God's Word through Pastor Greg's daily email devotions sign up at Harvest.org.
All right. Well, let's grab our Bibles. We are going to turn to two passages today. We are going to turn to John chapter 8. The Gospel of John chapter 8. And also Psalm 19.
Psalm 19. And the title of my message is The Disciplines of a Disciple. Let's talk now about the things that a disciple does to stay strong spiritually. A disciple will carefully read, study, and live according to God's Word. A disciple will carefully read, study, and live according to God's Word.
What is that based on? Jesus said in John 8.31, He said these things to those who believed in Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Now listen. He says, If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples. That means you study it. That means you memorize it.
And ultimately it means it affects your thinking and ultimately your living and everything that you do. I love how someone describes that man that walks with him and it says, His delight is in the Word of God and in it does He meditate day and night. The word meditate means to ponder. Actually in the root it means to chew. Chew your food. Chew. Think it over. See I think sometimes we read the Bible with no comprehension. We see it as a religious duty.
We do it mechanically. You read three chapters. Read three chapters. What were they about?
I have no idea. But I read three chapters and I can prove it. Yeah but if it doesn't affect your life, if you don't even understand what you read you would be better off reading three verses. I mean I would rather you read one chapter of the Bible slowly, carefully, with contemplation, asking the Lord how it applies to your life than read ten chapters so you have bragging rights. I need to understand that this is the very Word of God.
And I read it that way. I am now reading the words of God. I am reading the autobiography of God. And I believe that this book will speak to me.
I love what Martin Luther said in his paraphrase. He says, The Bible is alive. It has hands. It takes hold of me. It has feet. It chases after me.
It is alive and it is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. So we must approach it like that. You know I find that when I come to church if I bring a notebook and take notes it really helps me.
Because I forget things very quickly. And that is why we put notes on the screen. We put points on the screen. We put Scripture references on the screen to help you for further Bible study. Listen. We need to listen carefully because success or failure in the Christian life is dependent on how much of the Bible you get into your heart and mind on a daily basis and how obedient you are to it.
I want you to think about this. Success or failure in the Christian life is dependent on how much of the Bible you get into your heart and mind on a daily basis and how obedient you are to it. I have never met a Christian who is failing spiritually who is also studying the Bible diligently.
It is usually when there is a neglect in this area. Billy Sunday became one of the great evangelists of his generation. He was before Billy Graham. And someone once said to him as a young man, William if you do these three things no one will ever write the word backslider after your name. He said spend 15 minutes a day talking to God in prayer. Spend 15 minutes a day letting God talk to you through the Bible. And then spend 15 minutes a day talking to someone else about Jesus.
If you do these things you will never be called a backslider. That is pretty good information don't you think? So we need to approach the Word this way because you see the Bible doesn't just contain truth. The Bible is truth.
It is the yardstick by which we measure all other so-called truth. And if you are a hungry person spiritually you are a healthy person spiritually. Healthy people are hungry people. That is how I know I am in good health. Because right now I am hungry. But I am always hungry.
I am not hungry 20 minutes after I eat but I am hungry shortly after that. And so that is a good sign if you hunger for more of the Word of God. You know when we do our crusades I speak in a lot of churches. I have spoken in churches all around the world.
And could I ever tell you stories. Crazy things that have happened in church services. But I have spoken to every kind of congregation large and small. I have spoken at Calvary Chapels and Southern Baptist churches and assemblies of God churches and Anglican churches and you name it I have probably spoken there. And I can take the spiritual temperature of a congregation in under five minutes. I get a very real sense of where they are at in their relationship with the Bible.
Starting with having them bring their Bible to church. How many of you brought your Bible to church today? Let me see your Bible. Just hold it up.
That looks good to me. And I see some of you are holding up phones and tablets. I am going to give you credit for that because I know the Bible is in it. But having said that I think it is really great to carry an actual Bible as well. And mark up your Bible.
So I even like the fact that the Bible has symbolic power. You know what I am talking about. Sometimes I will be flying and you know I will get seated next to someone and we are chatting away and having a friendly conversation. And you know it may come out that I am a Christian somehow. I try to make it come out somewhere. And then before long I may reach into my briefcase and pull out a Bible. And I have seen people visibly recoil from my Bible. It is like you pull it out. It is like you pulled a rattlesnake out of a bag.
They are afraid it is going to like attack them or something. Here is my Bible. Sorry it is a living Bible. It gets very excited you know.
Keep it in a box with little air holes punched in. So the thing is there is just power in the Word of God. And we want to fill our lives with it.
And there are other things that can sort of pollute our minds so we miss what the Word of God says. Someone once came up to a great Bible teacher and said, sir I would give the world to know the Bible as you do. And the teacher looked at him and said, and that is exactly what it will cost you. I would give the world.
Yeah. Give up the world. Romans 12 says, don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you might know what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. How is my mind going to be transformed? It is going to happen through study of the Word of God. I love the fact that in Acts 17 it talks about the believers in Berea. And they listened very carefully when the apostles showed up.
We read there, the people of Berea were more open minded than those in Thessalonica. They listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas to see if they were really teaching the truth.
I love that they listened eagerly and also that they checked up on them. Checking out the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul who wrote a good part of the New Testament.
Yeah we are checking you out buddy. We will see if what you say lines up with Scripture. That is the right way to listen. In a moment Pastor Greg has some moving words about the preciousness of God's Word to disciples. You know Pastor Greg Harvest Ministries has used many different ways to get the gospel to people. We've done crusade outreaches. Of course we're here on the radio. We're on television and of course feature length movies. But our biggest asset isn't technology. It's people isn't it?
Yes. Friends who believe in the mission of Harvest to know God and make him known. Yeah that's really true Dave. You know we try to use every platform that we can. But it's always with a purpose and that is to proclaim the message of the gospel. The gospel according to the apostle Paul is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. And we want to proclaim that gospel message to as many people as we can but we need our friends to stand with us. If we all pray together, if we all work together, if we invest our resources we can do more together. So I'm asking you who listen to this radio broadcast A New Beginning to join us as a friend and help us financially so we can reach more people with the only message that can change people for time and eternity. The message of the gospel.
Yeah that's right and the need for that hope is so apparent today. Why not partner with us to make a real difference? Can we invite you to become what we call a Harvest partner? Give us a call today and we'll pass along all the details. Our number is 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 24 hours a day.
That's 1-800-821-3300 or just go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg has been bringing us insights on the disciplines of a disciple including immersing ourselves regularly in the truth of God's word. Let's continue now. All right with all of this in mind let's go to our second passage and we will conclude with this Psalm 19. Psalm 19. We will read just a few verses about the Word. We will read the phrase the law of the Lord. But that could just as easily be the Word of the Lord or the Word of God. You could even put the words the Bible and it would still mean the same thing.
Psalm 19 verse 7. The law of the Lord is perfect. Or the Word of God is perfect.
Or the Bible is perfect. Converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise as simple. The statutes of the Lord are right rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous all together. More to be desired are they than gold yes and much fine gold and sweeter also than the honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is your servant worn and in keeping of them there is great reward. Did you notice the cadence of those words? It almost sounds like a song doesn't it? Like the lyrics of a song. That's because the Psalms were originally songs. So you are reading song lyrics in a way inspired by God. So what do we learn about the Word of God?
Number one the Word of God is perfect. A direct contrast to the flawed imperfect reasoning of humanity today. Things are always changing. Things are always shifting. Culture changes. Fashion changes. Technology changes.
You got the latest greatest whatever phone and then a new one comes and quickly replaces it. Oh man hairstyles change too. You know we all look back in our high school yearbook photo with shock right. We always think what was I thinking. Was the mullet really a good idea.
I took it even further. I was bald and I had a mullet. That's like the worst thing imaginable. But actually rock that look for a short time.
You don't want to do that ever. But even a newspaper is dated now. Because you know we have access to all this news that we can get at the drop of a hat. But God's Word in contrast is always fresh. It's always new.
It's as fresh as the morning dew. The Scripture says of God his mercies are new every morning. Number two the Word of God is a treasure. The Word of God is a treasure. Look at verse 10. More to be desired are they than gold yes and much fine gold and there is great reward for those who obey them. It's like gold. There is a passage in Proverbs 2 speaking of searching Scripture as mining for gold from a modern translation and it says, if you make insight your priority and won't take no for an answer searching for it like a prospect or panning for gold like an adventurer on a treasure hunt.
I love that translation. You know when you open up the Bible you say man I am like Indiana Jones. I am Dora the Explorer here if you are a kid right. I want to see what is in the Word of God for me today.
How God can speak to me from Scripture. That is the way to approach it. You know I lost my iPhone the other day. And that is kind of a big deal when you lose your phone isn't it. So I use the feature find my phone. And you basically send out a signal and I have often found my phone with me.
Like find my phone. And it is like why is it at my house. And then I get the little chime. You know to make the sound so I can find you. And it is like in my pocket. Or it is in the cushion of the chair that I am sitting in because I am too lazy to go looking for it. By the way I also use this feature find my phone to find my wife.
They should just call that an app. Find my wife. Because my wife. Her phone is always on mute because she said I had it turned down for church. And so I can't find her.
She won't answer her phone so I hit the find my phone feature and a loud chime goes out. And then I will keep hitting it. Hitting it.
Hitting it. Just kidding. Find you. What. I said just wanted to know where you were.
How are you. Find my wife. Great feature. You know how you feel when you leave your house and you forgot your phone. You are half way to work. Oh no. I forgot my phone. I must go back and get my phone. What if you felt that way about your Bible. Oh no. I forgot my Bible.
I need to go get it. You know in our film Steve McQueen American Icon we tell the story of his conversion. Steve came to Christ when he was at the peak of his career as the number one movie star in the world. But six months later after he had been growing in his faith and going to church every week and studying the Bible with his pastor for an hour each week Steve found out he had cancer. And it was in the advanced stages. And he was told by his doctors just get your affairs in order. You are going to die.
You only have months. Well Steve really wanted to live. And now he had something to really live for.
He wanted to tell others about what Christ had done for him. And he heard about you know doctors down in Mexico with all of these treatments that they could cure cancer. And in desperation he started getting those treatments. And he found a surgeon who would remove the cancerous tumors that at that point had filled his entire body.
So he chartered a plane to fly down there and get the surgery done. But he asked his pastor Leonard DeWitt if he could somehow meet Billy Graham. Steve had seen Billy on television and Billy was at the peak of his ministry at this point. And Billy came to visit Steve. And I know because I shared this story earlier and I found out that one of the pilots on that plane went to our church. His name is Mike. And he came up and said, Greg I was one of the pilots on that plane.
I will tell you exactly what happened. And so he said, we are out on the runway. We didn't know we were picking up Steve McQueen.
We just had another name he was flying under. And suddenly there is a knock at the door on the fuselage and we open it and there stands up for us Billy Graham. And he said, I am here to see Steve McQueen. And then Steve pulls up shortly afterwards and they are in the plane and Billy speaks with Steve and they have prayer together. And then Steve realizes he has lost his Bible. And he sort of panicked about it and Billy says, it is ok Steve.
Here take mine. And he gives to Steve his personal Bible. And I have held this Bible in my hand. It has the name Billy Graham embossed on the cover. It is a very well worn Bible. A lot of notes in it from Billy's messages. And Billy inscribed it to my friend Steve McQueen.
May God bless and keep you always. And he wrote in the passage from Philippians he who has begun a good work in you will keep you under the day of Jesus Christ. So Steve held on to that Bible Billy Graham gave him. And he went down to Juarez Mexico and checked into a little clinic. And the surgeon performed the surgery that lasted for hours.
The huge tumors were removed. In fact the surgeon collapsed in exhaustion from the surgery. And Steve survived the surgery and he was wheeled into a recovery room. And sadly a short time later Steve entered eternity after dying of a heart attack. They went into the room and they pulled the sheet back of Steve's bed and he was holding on to the Bible of Billy Graham.
This book is so precious. Because when you get to the last day of your life you are not going to care about a cool car. You are not going to care about how much money is in the bank.
You are not going to care about what house you lived in. You are not going to care about your next vacation or the new iPhone or the new Android phone or the new anything. But I will tell you what you are going to care about. You are going to care about what the Bible says. Because this is the book that tells you how to get to heaven. And this is the book that prepares you to know God. The Word of God. This is how He speaks to us.
One last point and I will close. Keeping the Word of God makes you happy. Keeping the Word of God makes you happy. Verse 8 of Psalm 19, the statutes of the Lord are right rejoicing the heart. Listen. If you want peace, joy, meaning, and happiness it comes through knowing God's Word.
Luke 11 28 says, happy are those that hear the Word of God and keep it. You can have a happy life without sin. Oh you hear it said, oh no you need to get drunk and party to have fun. Or you need to do drugs. Or you need to have illicit sex.
Or you need to do this or do that. It is all a lie. You need a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and you will find the happiness you wanted in life.
And a relationship with Him. And I want to close this message by saying do you have this relationship with God. See it is the Bible that tells me God loves me.
How would I know otherwise? It is the Bible that tells me God loved me so much He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross on my place. It is the Bible that tells me Christ rose from the dead three days after they crucified Him. It is the Bible that tells me Christ can come and take residence in my heart. It is the Bible that tells me I can be forgiven of all of my sin if I will believe in Him.
Again this is the autobiography of God. So have you asked Christ to forgive you of your sin? Do you know with certainty that you will go to heaven when you die? If not I wouldn't want to close this service without giving you an opportunity to believe. If you would like Him to come into your life. If you would like to find this happiness the Bible promises.
If you would like to know you will go to heaven when you die and have that confidence like Steve McQueen had. It can happen for you right now because Jesus says, I stand at the door and I knock and if you will hear my voice and open the door I will come in. Let's all bow our heads for a word of prayer please. Everybody praying with me. Heavenly Father I pray now for everybody here.
Everybody listening wherever they are. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will convict and convince them of their need for You and I pray they will come to You and believe now. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer.
And if you'd like to make that kind of change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg would like to help you with that and he'll do so before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. And then it's such a pleasure to have Kathy Laurie in the studio with us today along with renowned children's author Sally Lloyd-Jones. We're making available Sally's brand new book called Known. Details in just a moment.
Kathy? Sally, I wonder if you could explain to us why the subject matter of this book that you've written based on Psalm 139 that you titled Known is more significant perhaps now than it has ever been in a time when which with all the social media everybody feels like they know everything they need to know and they can find out anything they need to find out. But yet we're in a time where loneliness is just rampant and even little children may be feeling it. You know that their lives, they may feel their parents are too busy, no one sees them, no one knows them. And to bring them the biblical truth that God knows us completely, cares deeply about us, understands us fully, and loves us. And I think that bringing that truth to a little child is so important and significant that I think that speaks to the need for a book like this on a subject like this at a time like this. And what better place for a parent and a child or a grown-up and a child to sit together and be reminded of that truth that we all need and especially the little ones because little ones get lost in the mix don't they and everyone's doing the best they can and we're all overextended and there are so many demands on our time that it's easy to put a little child in front of a screen but here's an alternative for both of us you know adults need to not be in front of screens and that's the beauty of a book in the turn of a page and the voice of the grown-up it's all doing more than what it seems to be doing and it's building a bridge between you and it's also giving you a sort of place to rest in God's presence and however sure and it doesn't take very long to read obviously but even that's enough isn't it just a moment to go let's just take a breath and let's sit down and let's remind ourselves of what's really true and the reality that God is caring for us every single day and he made us and he's in charge not the news and that's good for us all to know as an adult isn't it and that will convey itself to the child in the peace that you have together as you read that's our special guest sally lloyd jones author of the new children's book we're making available called known psalm 139 can we send a copy your way it'd make a wonderful christmas gift it's our thank you gift to those who can partner with us as we reach out with the gospel in some innovative ways right now and your partnership makes all the difference so thanks for your investment in sharing the gospel and when you invest today please ask for the new book called known psalm 139 by sally lloyd jones you can call us at 1-800-821-3300 we are here around the clock to take your call that's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or go online to harvest.org well pastor greg you spoke today about having a relationship with the lord someone can enter into that kind of a relationship with god right now can't they yeah they really can that's the amazing thing i think people are surprised that it doesn't take years to become a christian it doesn't take months it doesn't take weeks it doesn't take days it doesn't even take hours you can believe on the spot and i would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask for his forgiveness a prayer where you can receive jesus christ into your life as your savior and lord so if you want christ to come into your life if you want him to forgive you of your sin if you want a second chance in life if you want to go to heaven when you die stop what you're doing and pray after me these words lord jesus i know i am a sinner and i'm sorry for my sin and i turn from it now and i choose to follow you from this moment forward as savior and lord as god and friend thank you for loving me and calling me and forgiving me forgiving me in jesus name i pray amen amen and listen if you have just prayed those words with pastor greg and meant them sincerely the lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin the bible says jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness and we'd like to send you some materials to help you begin to live this new life we call it our new believers growth packet just ask for it and we'll send it to you free of any charge if you prayed for the first time today with pastor greg call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or just go to harvest.org and click on no god well next time pastor greg brings us some of the most practical insight yet from his series discipleship the road less taken it's the final message of the series next time join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher greg lorry the preceding podcast was made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know god learn how to become a harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org
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