Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.
If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.
You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Pastor Greg Laurie points out believers need to disciple those who are new to the faith. We need to show them the way. New believers need an example. They need to see what a Christian looks like. They need to see a Christian like you. They need to see how a Christian drives. They need to see what it looks like to go to church with Christians and what you do and how you do it. They need to see what a single Christian looks like.
You see, some things are taught and some things are caught. Ever been hunting for something in one of those big box stores and you feel like you've been walking forever? You ask an employee, excuse me, where are the paper towels?
And you hope they don't just point to the other side of the store? The words you want to hear are, come on, I'll take you there. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie explains that new believers need that kind of assistance. We need to show them the way. It's personal, helpful. It's called discipleship, and that's our topic today. The title of my message today is Just Do It. Ever heard that anywhere?
All right. Remember when the first cell phone came out? Everybody knew it was going to be a game changer.
I don't think anyone knew how much. When this technology first emerged, the phones got smaller and smaller. But then Steve Jobs came along with a new paradigm, a new concept, what we now know as the iPhone. Now we have the Android phones and all the others that are like that. But basically he introduced to us a computer in your pocket. It was far more than a phone. He introduced the app. The app did not exist prior to that. So now we have apps and we have social media.
These things did not pre-exist before. And this is having an interesting effect on our country, and it's not good. In fact, there's a professor of psychology at San Diego State University. Her name is Jean Twenge. And she's written a book called iGen.
It's a name she came up with for people born between 1995 and 2012. iGen. She says, quote, members of this generation are safer than those that came before them. They drink less. They learn to drive later.
And they hold off having sex. So we're saying, well, that's probably a good thing, right? Well, not so much, she says. But psychologically they're far more vulnerable. She says it's not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades. And she says it's largely due to smartphones. She says because today's teens are spending less time with friends, they have far higher rates of depression and suicide.
She says, quote, look at the patterns of loneliness. It suddenly begins to increase around 2012. That's when the majority of Americans got a cell phone, end quote. Interesting trend, isn't it? And you see how people are disconnecting from real life and living in a virtual world, in a digital world, actually thinking those people on your Facebook page are really your friends. Or those people on Twitter are really your followers. And then with the phenomena of the Kardashians where you can be famous for just being famous.
That's a whole new kind of celebrity thing that has developed in a strange culture that has really created. But I think it gets down to what people really want in life. People want to be loved. People want to be needed. And people want to be appreciated. They want to feel that someone values them and cares about them.
And many try to do it through digital connection. But listen, this is where the church comes in. This is what we are here to do.
To give them what they're really longing for. And more to the point this is where discipleship comes in. Now as I said this is my last message on the topic of discipleship. And I want to focus on what it means to disciple others. I want to get to the bottom line. But before I do let's review what we have learned together.
If you are taking notes you might want to write these things down. Here is six things we learned about disciples. Number one. A disciple of Jesus loves God more than anyone or anything else. This is based on the statement of Jesus in Luke 14 when He said, if you want to be my disciple you must hate your father, mother, brother, sister, and your own life or you can't be my disciple. But remember I pointed out that He is not literally telling us to hate because in other passages we are told to love one another or even love our enemies. But it is a phrase that He uses to effectively say your love for God should be so intense that your love for anyone or anything else including yourself would be like hatred in comparison. So point number one. If you really as a disciple love God more than anyone or anything else.
Number two. A disciple takes up their cross daily and follows Jesus. Jesus said, if you want to be my disciple you must take up your cross and deny yourself and take that cross up daily. So every day we put God first in our life and deny ourselves. Thirdly the disciple must turn over the tidal deed of their life to Christ or the pink slip of their life to Christ because Jesus says there in John 14, if you want to be my disciple you must forsake all that you have.
That doesn't mean you have to take about poverty. That phrase forsake all that you have could better be translated surrender your claim to. So you recognize that your life, your resources, your family, your future, everything belongs to God.
Number four. A disciple impacts their culture. Because there toward the end of Luke 14 Jesus says, you are the salt of the earth. And salt in that time remember it stopped the spread of the rotting process and the meat.
They would rub it in and then also it would stimulate thirst. So we are there to do the same in the world. To stop the spread of evil and to speak up for our faith.
And then number five. A disciple brings forth spiritual fruit. Because Jesus says, here is how people will know you are my disciples that you bring forth fruit.
And that means results in your life. And then sixth and lastly a disciple will carefully read, study, and live according to God's Word. Because Jesus said, if you continue in my Word then are you my disciples. Now I want to look at what a disciple does. Hence the title, Just Do It.
Just Do It. You know when I first became a Christian I really didn't fully understand what I had done. I went forward at a little Bible study in my high school campus as I have told you many times. And I prayed this little prayer. I didn't know what was ahead of me. I didn't know what was going to happen to me. But I believed what I heard. And not long after that a guy comes up to me that I don't know from Adam's house cat. Did you know Adam had a house cat. I don't know if he did or not. Probably not.
But he says, hi my name is Mark and I saw that you went forward and prayed to accept Jesus the other day. I was kind of like resentful. Yeah so. No. But hey I want to help you. I want to take you to church. I am like no that is ok. I don't want to go to church.
No no. I really want to take you to church. And I have to tell you something about this guy Mark. Mark wasn't a cool guy.
He wasn't the kind of guy I would have normally hung around. But he was so doggone persistent. And he wouldn't take no for an answer. And the best way let me take you to church.
Finally I said ok. But he didn't just take me to church. He introduced me to other Christians.
He had me over at his house for dinner with his mom and his dad. We are just kids at this point. I am talking to Christians. I am asking questions.
No question was too ridiculous to ask. Here is what Mark was doing. He was discipling me. And if he had not done that I fear I would have fallen through the cracks. Because a lot of times after a person accepts Christ they don't know what to do next. And so he helped me in that transition. And what Mark did for me we need to do for others.
Because that is what the Great Commission is again. It is to go into all the world and preach the gospel and then make disciples of all nations. Listen. If you are following Jesus as a real disciple you will be leading others to Christ.
Let me reverse that. If you are not leading others to Christ are you really following Him as you ought to as a disciple? Again we must be salt.
And salt stimulates the thirst of another person. One of the greatest compliments a nonbeliever can pay a believer is when they say, what is it about you that makes you different? You have this peace. You have this joy. I am interested.
Oh that is so great. When it opens the door for conversation. Listen.
If you want to win some you need to be winsome. We are there to build those bridges. You know sometimes you sow a seed. Sometimes you water a seed. Sometimes you reap or others have sown and watered. Don't ever try to harvest a seed that is not ready to be harvested.
But don't miss the opportunity to harvest when it is harvest time. As the great theologian Kenny Rogers once said, you need no one to fold them. No one to hold them.
No one to walk away. Right. And so the idea is you need to pray for wisdom. Ok. This is seed sowing time. This is just being a witness.
Ok. This is a time to try to close the deal. Here is our commission again. Matthew 28 verse 16. Go therefore says Jesus and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given to you and lo I am with you even to the end of the age.
So here is our job. Here is discipleship simplified. I have told you what a disciple is. Now let me tell you what a disciple does or what it means to make disciples of others. Our objective is to go lead others to Christ. Establish them spiritually. And do it again and again and again.
Basically it is wash, rinse, repeat. Evangelize. Disciple. Stabilize. Repeat.
Do it over and over again. But somewhere along the line we have sort of separated evangelism from discipleship. And they are one and the same. We are not just called to invite people to Christ but then we need to take these new believers under our wing and help them get up on their feet spiritually. It would be like delivering a baby in a hospital and then just giving the little baby some pampers and say okay buddy God bless you.
Tough world out there but good luck. Goodbye. Go.
No. Little babies need to be nurtured and loved. And new believers need to be nurtured and loved as well. What are the specific things new believers need as they begin to grow as Christians? Pastor Greg answers that in just a moment. You know Pastor Greg you have talked about the Jesus movement. The Jesus revolution of the 60s and 70s. It was an incredible move of the spirit. A true spiritual awakening. That is right. But as we see the cultural decay in our cities and you know a moral decline across the culture.
A Jesus revolution really has to be a part of our future. Doesn't it? It really does. You know back in the 60s we use the phrase deja vu a lot. Yeah. And deja vu is sort of like oh well I've been here before.
Well almost in a technical sense it seems like hey we've been here before. Riots on the streets. Failing economy. Hopelessness in the air.
Young people searching for meaning in life. A drug epidemic. It was called the late 60s and early 70s. But I'll tell you what turned things around. It wasn't a political revolution. It wasn't a moral revolution.
It was a Jesus revolution. It happened before. It can happen again.
Now listen. We can't make a revival happen. But perhaps we can make a revival happen. But perhaps we can prepare the ground or let me restate it prepare the ground by praying for another Jesus revolution. Praying for another spiritual awakening.
I really think we're long overdue. And so please let's all be praying for this in our nation. And here at Harvest Ministries I want you to know that we're committed to the cause of proclaiming the gospel. That's one of the earmarks of the Jesus movement. There was a lot of evangelism. And I feel in many ways the church as a whole has maybe lost sight of the importance of preaching the gospel. We want to get the gospel to as many people as we can as quickly as we can in these critical days in which we're living.
And we want to see another spiritual awakening in America. Will you join us in that endeavor? Will you stand with us in your prayers and with your finances and help us to attempt to fulfill the great commission in our lifetime? Yeah you play an important part in that. So pray about being a partner with us as we share the hope of the gospel across town, across the nation, and even overseas. Your investments make a real difference in so many lives and it's an eternal difference.
So prayerfully consider a year-end investment. Won't you do that? You can call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. And now here's Pastor Greg with more of today's message. Read about an interesting study conducted by a large hospital where they discovered something. They noticed that the babies that were near the door were healthier and stronger than the other babies. And they wondered why. So after a careful study they noticed that the nurses were more prone to give attention to the babies near the door as they went about their duties. They would pick them up and hug them and speak to them. So they thought this is what the children need. Just a little baby can tell when they are being loved. When they are being embraced.
Or when they are being cared for. And the new believers need the same thing from all of us. Here is a few things a new believer needs.
Number one. They need assurance. They need assurance. They need to be reassured that God loves them and God has forgiven them and that their name is written in the book of life. One passage everyone should commit to memory is 1 John 5.13 where John writes, I write these things to you that believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. Reassure a believer of that. Because remember in the Garden of Eden Satan attacked Adam and Eve.
You remember how he attacked? He said to them, did God say what you really thought God said? And he will do that in the life of a new believer. And for that matter older believers sometimes too right? Are you really saved? Do you think Christ has really forgiven you? It is not based on how I feel. It is based on what God has done. New believers need assurance.
Number two. New believers need protection. They need protection.
When you are holding a little baby you have to hold them carefully and hold them in the proper way and support them and anything that could harm them you put yourself in the way of that thing. And new believers need protection as well. Galatians 4.19 says, my dear children I feel as though I am going through labor pains for you again and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your life. New believers are vulnerable to their emotions as well as being vulnerable to false teaching. Old friends will try to drag them down. Old girlfriends and old boyfriends will materialize out of nowhere. Temptations will come that maybe they have never experienced before right?
You remember that yourself. So they need to be protected. And just as in the parable of the sower Jesus talked about the seed sown on the roadside eaten by the birds. And He said, these are they that hear the Word of God but Satan comes immediately and snatches it away.
The new believer doesn't know what is happening but we do. So we need to help them. And number three they need food. They need food. You know when a baby cries it is usually because of two reasons. Number one they need their diaper changed. Number two they are hungry. By the way those are the same reasons I cry.
So Kathy always has a sandwich and some Depends nearby. No that is a joke. It is not true. I don't wear Depends. Wow.
How did I get up from that? That is just. But as I have said before you know healthy people are hungry people. So when you are a new believer you are hungry for the Word of God. Can you remember the first time you read the Bible as a new Christian? Now if you were raised in the church it was familiar but perhaps it came alive to you. But if you were more like me and you weren't raised in the church and you started hearing these things for the first time I am just a kid 17 years old. And I am reading these things in the Bible that relate to me as a 17 year old. And I still relate to them as a 40 year old with added years. And so it is relevant to you in your youth. It is relevant to you in your middle age.
It is relevant to you in your old age. Number four new believers need an example. They need to see what a Christian looks like. You see some things are taught and some things are caught.
Does that make sense? There is only so many things I can say from a platform teaching. They need to see a Christian like you. They need to see how a Christian drives. They need to see what a Christian married couple looks like. They need to see what it looks like to go to church with Christians and what you do and how you do it. They need to see what a single Christian looks like.
They need to know do you go to movies and what movies do you go to. They observe these things. As Paul said in 2 Timothy 3.10.
There is no 3.10. He says to Timothy, you have observed my teaching. Listen. My conduct. My aim in life and my faith. So it is not just my teaching. It is my conduct. It is my aim in life. It is my faith. You have seen an example.
Let's be honest now. Here is one of the reasons we don't want new believers in our life. We don't want to change our behavior. If I take a new believer with me to church and we go to lunch after and they are with me I can't gossip.
If I have a new believer with me I will probably drive the speed limit and I will probably talk about the message and do things that Christians ought to do already. Maybe we don't want that added pressure in our life. But we are missing out not only on helping them but on helping ourselves. You see here is the thing. There can come a point in our life where we can actually be guilty of overeating.
Let me explain. I like Thanksgiving. We sit around our tables. We have prayer.
We eat a wonderful meal. And we all go into a collective coma for two hours. Right. Because all that tryptophan and the turkey. And then we wake up and we stumble to the refrigerator and reheat some more. Right. But you know I love Thanksgiving but the last thing I want to do after I eat a big meal is go exercise.
Here is the thing. We can be in the church and we are having the finest meals. We are studying the Bible together.
And obviously I want you to do that. And we should do that as disciples. And we are worshipping together. And we are learning together.
And that is all great. But if I don't have an outlet for what I am taking in that can be really problematic. I must give out what God has given to me or I can actually reach a state of stagnation. Kind of a spiritual obesity. It is called being sedentary. You know you need exercise when your dog is fat.
Right. And maybe that is because you push them around in a stroller. And I have a word from the Lord. I have a word from the Lord for you to push dogs in strollers. Stop. Exercise. That is not a word from the Lord.
That is just me. But the fact is if the TV and fridge were not so far apart we wouldn't get any exercise. But here is the point. We need to be giving out what God has given. This is a biblical principle.
Jesus says in Luke 6 38, give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full. Pressed down. Shaken together.
Running over. And poured into your lap. And the amount you give will determine the amount you get back. Pastor Greg Laurie pointing out God's plan for discipleship. It is encouraging and caring for those who are newborn in the Lord.
And there is more to come in this message here on A New Beginning. The title of the study is Just Do It. Look for that study at harvest.org if you would like to hear it again.
Again go to harvest.org. Or you can subscribe to our podcast by going to Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Well we are so happy to be making available a brand new book by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It is the children's book called Known, Psalm 139. And Sally is here talking with Pastor Greg and his wife Kathy.
Here is just an excerpt of the book read by Sally. God is a good daddy and I am his little child. He knows when I wake up and when I put my shoes on and when I run outside to play.
He knows my name and the color of my eyes and the dreams inside my heart. I just love the way that you speak Sally. Like when you go into a restaurant and you order something do you say things like I'll have a sandwich. A sandwich is good. A sandwich I don't know. But with your British accent.
I only speak in rhyme and I use my accent because it makes me sound like I know what I'm talking about which is helpful. Yes so if you went and you ordered a sandwich how would you say it? I might if I was really trying to be very British I would say I should like to have a sandwich. Yes and also in England they'll say things like if they want to correct you they don't say it to you directly.
It's sort of passive aggressive like one should remember when they are eating. Yes it's one should even though this is you. Well this is actually you've actually made me realize I wouldn't say that I would go and say one would like a sandwich please.
Would that be possible? Yes well we love the way you speak the way you write and God has given you an extraordinary gift. I was just curious you know speaking to children not everyone does it well. When you write to children are you writing specifically to them or are you writing to everyone? I'm actually writing to children because that makes me have to be really have to work harder that's like you said I have to work very hard to someone said it's like you have to go through complexity to get to the other side to simplicity.
If you don't understand it yourself and you don't go through complexity if you stay this side of complexity then you will dumb it down and it will not be it will be simplistic. So I think writing for children makes you work harder to understand theology enough that you can make it simple but not wrong that's always the thing but also children that because they're young it's a much greater responsibility on the writer to give the young the best work because because they're young you know some people have this idea that anyone can write children's books and as I heard one writer say well it's very easy to write a bad children's book so that's what I end up coming to. If you want to give children your best work it's not easy now it shouldn't look hard in fact that's a compliment if someone picks up your book and goes oh well I could do that you've probably done a good job because you haven't made it look hard and I'm not saying that to make out that I'm so great but it just I really feel passionately about children deserve our best work and sometimes we dishonor children by thinking that somehow anything will do because their children is quite the opposite. Yes when Jesus walked this earth the little children were drawn to him there was one occasion in scripture when the children were coming to Jesus and the disciples were sending them away and the Lord said let those children come on to me and don't forbid them for if such as the kingdom of God children are a great judge of character and they understood much of what Jesus said the Bible even says the common people heard him gladly. So Sally this new book known that you've written which is a paraphrase of part of Psalm 139 is going to impact a lot of children and I think some adults as well as they read it to their children and this book that we are offering right now called known by Sally Lloyd Jones is available to you for your gift of any size to our ministry so we can reach more people with the teaching of the word of God and the proclamation of the gospel so order your own copy of known because one should do this because it will benefit one if they do. Very good. And here's how one could go about that we're making it available to say thank you for your generous investment right now you know the timing is perfect we're reaching further than ever with the gospel and your investment will help us touch more hearts in the coming weeks and months and as and as you partner with us be sure to ask for your own copy of Sally Lloyd Jones new book called known Psalm 139 a great Christmas gift don't you think you can call us and make the arrangements at 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org you know there's nothing like hearing the word of God and worshiping the Lord together I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home it happens every Saturday and Sunday at harvest.org you can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the word of God together so join us for Harvest at Home at harvest.org well next time pastor Greg brings the finale to his series called discipleship the road less taken join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie hey everybody thanks for listening to a new beginning this is a podcast made possible by harvest partners so for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a harvest partner just go to harvest.org
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