We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.
Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. And when you're born again, God gives you this amazing gift. The Bible calls it an indescribable gift.
It's a gift of eternal life. The Christmas holiday focuses a great deal on a birth, a special birth to be sure. But the reason for Jesus' birth was ultimately for our rebirth.
To miss that element is to miss the message of Christmas itself. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us consider the gift of God's Son, and how His payment years later at Calvary made it possible for us to be reborn as children of God. We'll open Scripture to grasp the miracle of God became man. Okay, let's grab our Bibles and turn to two passages together. Luke chapter 1 and Matthew chapter 1. Luke chapter 1 and Matthew chapter 1.
And the title of my message is, With God Nothing is Impossible. Luke chapter 1 verse 26. Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God, and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth the Son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great, and He will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His kingdom.
There will be no end. Then Mary said to the angel, How can this be? Since I do not know a man, and the angel answered and said, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
For with God nothing will be impossible. Do you think it ever crossed the mind of the very young Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah? Do you think if she sat in the synagogue and maybe heard someone read Isaiah saying that the virgin will conceive and bring forth the Son, and you will call His name Emmanuel that she said, That is me.
Yeah. I am seeing myself as the mother of the Messiah. I do not think that thought ever crossed her mind. Indeed, God handpicked her to be the fulfillment of this great promise. God chose this young, unknown girl in a relatively unknown city to bring about the most known event in all of human history. She was the fulfillment of a promise that God gave. And I love this statement when she simply says to Gabriel, just a quick technical question.
How is this going to happen? I am a virgin. He says, Yes, I understand. The power of the Most High will come upon you and that which will be born in you will be the Son of God. And then I love this statement for with God nothing will be impossible. Am I talking to somebody now that is facing insurmountable odds? You have a huge problem in front of you. You do not see any way that you can resolve this problem you have. And I want to simply remind you of these words from Scripture, with God nothing should be impossible.
Right? Remember that. Let me shift gears now and talk about the unsung hero of the Christmas story. One who played a significant role but is often overlooked and of course I am talking about Joseph.
There are no songs about Joseph. We have Mary did you know? What about Joseph did you know?
Round yon virgin mother and child. Wait, wait, wait. Joseph was there too. He played a role.
Listen to this. God chose Joseph just as surely as he chose Mary. And let me take that a step further. God the Father in heaven chose Joseph to be a step father if you will or father figure on earth for Jesus.
That is a big deal. Who is going to be the father figure for Jesus? The father in heaven says I am picking that guy. Why do you think he chose Joseph?
Joseph to me is like a salt of the earth kind of guy. He is a blue collar worker. He is a carpenter. This is a guy that chops down trees and knows how to put his back into a project. He frames houses. He builds tables. He is a man's man.
He is a responsible man. And he was the one that the Lord chose to have this important role in raising Jesus Christ. But you know as you can understand he kind of wasn't buying the whole virgin birth story. Mary comes and says Joseph I have got to tell you something. The angel Gabriel appeared to me and told me I am going to be the mother of the Messiah. I know we are a spouse. We are engaged to get married.
So is that good? Right. The Bible says he was going to put her away privately. Which means he didn't believe it. But he didn't want to embarrass her or expose her. But his heart was broken because Joseph loved Mary.
So what happens? An angel is dispatched to Joseph to give him this message. Bringing us to Matthew 1 verse 20. While he thought about these things we hold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying Joseph son of David don't be afraid to take to you marry your wife for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit and she will bring forth a son and you shall call his name Jesus and he will save his people from their sins. And much to his credit just as surely as Mary said yes I will do it Lord Joseph said the same. How easily Joseph could have said I am out.
No thank you. I mean I am honored you would want me to play this role but come on Lord. You think my friends are going to believe this down at the construction site? We are living in Nazareth of all places. And when I tell him Mary is pregnant but it is supernatural and they are going to make fun of me. The reality is Joseph went through his entire life with this stigma of being married to a loose woman. Mary had to go through life with effectively a scarlet A on her. Being thought of as an immoral woman. On one occasion the Pharisees said to Jesus well at least we weren't born of fornication. You know what that means don't you? Well at least we weren't conceived out of wedlock like you Jesus.
Those are fighting words. If we read after that and Jesus killed them we would say amen. But that was the reputation he lived with.
Oh you were conceived out of wedlock. That is the reputation Mary lived with. The irony is here is a godly person having to have a reputation like that. So it was a sacrifice. But remember Simeon said to Mary and Joseph when they dedicated Jesus in the temple. This child will be set for the fallen rising of many in Israel and a sword will pierce your soul.
What does that mean? That means it took Mary a while to completely understand who Jesus was believe it or not. Because on one occasion she came with her other children. By the way Mary and Joseph did have other children.
Jesus did have step brothers and sisters. And they came to take him away because we read they thought he had lost his mind. Even they did not fully get his mission. On one occasion Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem and they lost Jesus. How do you lose Jesus? They lost him. Wait didn't he glow in the dark?
No he didn't. So they got back home and wait where is Jesus? I thought he was with you. No I thought he was with you.
And they go back and where do they find Jesus? He is in the temple. He is a young man now. He is speaking to the elders. They kind of correct them. Excuse us son.
We have been looking for you everywhere. And he sort of sets them straight and says, Did you not know that I must be about my father's business? Because he was doing the work of the heavenly father. And I don't think Mary fully understood who Jesus was until she stood at the foot of the cross and saw him dying for the sins of the world and then saw him rise again from the dead.
But to their credit they both said yes. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of today's message in just a moment. 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? 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 today we are considering the surprising reality for Joseph and Mary that the Messiah would be born into their family. It's from Pastor Greg's message with God, Nothing is Impossible. You know Joseph another thing I would point out about him is he did a couple of things that fulfilled Bible prophecies. An angel of the Lord spoke to him in a dream telling him to flee from Herod to Egypt. Remember Herod was murdering the little Jewish baby boys in his attempt to stop the Messiah. And so Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus go to Egypt. And then the Lord tells Joseph he returned back to Nazareth.
Well scripture says Messiah would be called out of Egypt and that he would be a Nazarene. So these things that Joseph did not only protected his family but they actually fulfilled Bible prophecy. Who knows why God directs us to do certain things. You know I look back on my life and I think of certain decisions I made. Why did I make that decision? And I look back and I see wow that was exactly what I should have done. In the moment it didn't make sense to me.
Like why am I doing this? This doesn't seem to be the right move at this moment. I look back and go that was the perfect move Lord.
Thank you for guiding my steps. And they could look back and see the very same. Let me close with this thought. Some would say well you know this whole virgin birth thing. I don't know if I really buy it even as a Christian. I think the fact is Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead. And I think if you believe that that is enough. No actually you need to believe in the virgin birth as well.
You say but Greg why? Well to simply say that you believe in his death and resurrection without him being divinely conceived in the womb of the virgin is to say he had a sinful nature. And if Christ had a sinful nature why was his death on the cross any different than the death of any other man on the cross? Listen if there is no virgin birth there is no sinless Christ. And if there is no sinless Christ there is no atonement. And if there is no atonement there is no forgiveness. And if there is no forgiveness there is no heaven. So you need to believe that this is what it is and that is why it is in the Bible.
And this is such an essential truth of what we as Christians believe. Let me close with three thoughts on why Jesus was born. Number one Jesus was born. He came to this earth to give his life as a ransom for many. To give his life as a ransom for many. We don't like to think of that sweet baby growing to be a man and that man going to a cross and dying for the sin of the world.
But the reality is that is why he came in the first place. He came on a rescue mission to planet earth to save us from our sins by dying on the cross in our place. And we read in Mark 10 45 Jesus said the son of man did not come to be served but to serve others and give his life as a ransom for many. Number two Jesus was born in Bethlehem to bring us life in all of its fullness. He was born to bring life in all of its fullness. John 10 10 Jesus said I have come that you might have life in that more abundantly. You know as Christmas gets closer we get all psyched up about gifts that we will either give or receive. But we need to remember that life in all of its fullness comes from a relationship with God. Not what is under a tree or what is in your bank account or any other physical material thing.
All of these things will come and go in time. But he was born that we might have life in all of its fullness. You know people today are trying to extend their lives. I have read about billionaires that are trying to find ways to freeze their brains so they can be reanimated later.
I read about one billionaire that was getting blood transfusions from 20 year olds hoping that would extend his life. The unexpected result was he had a strange new desire to play video games all day long. He hadn't planned for that part. Just kidding. But what I said was true. I don't know about the video game part.
One last thing though. God sent Christ who was born in a manger so we might be born again. Christ was born in a manger so we might be born again. Jesus said to Nicodemus a religious ruler in John 3, You must be born again. Sometimes people say, Well I am a Christian. I am just not one of those born agains.
I am sorry. You must be born again. It is not a request.
It is a demand. If you want eternal life you must be born again. I don't even know what that means. It means that you are born spiritually. Well does that mean being raised in a Christian home?
No. That doesn't cause you to be born again automatically. There has to come a moment in your life where you say, Jesus I know that I am a sinner. I believe you died for me on the cross and I ask you to come into my life. Have you been born again yet? And when you are born again God gives you this amazing gift. The Bible calls it an indescribable gift.
It is a gift of eternal life. You know when I first became a Christian at 17 the thing that appealed to me about following Jesus was I would find the meaning of my life. And I did.
And I found that. In these years I have been walking with you. The eternal life part mattered to me but it wasn't the most important thing. But as I have gotten older and I am closer to the end of my race and the beginning of it all of a sudden that heaven part is becoming more and more appealing.
Right? Because I am thinking after I die I will live forever in the presence of God in heaven. So this is a gift that becomes more precious with the passing of time. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
No batteries required. That God has for all of us who put our faith in Jesus Christ. Maybe you feel like a nobody in a nowhere town.
In the middle of nowhere. But God knows you. God loves you.
And He wants to have a relationship with you. You might say well Greg I don't know if I could really change. I have tried to change. I don't know that I can. Well you can't change yourself but God can change you.
You know why? Because with God nothing is impossible. Nothing is impossible. So I would like to close now with a prayer. And I want you to think about loved ones that you know out there who seem too far gone. I want you to think about the challenges you are facing right now. I want you to think about whatever obstacle is in your path and remember God is bigger than your problem. And I want us all to commit these things to the Lord because some of you have come to church today with a burden. You have come to church today troubled.
And I want you to put this in the hands of God. And after we do that I am going to extend an invitation to anyone here who has joined us who may not have a relationship with Jesus. You know I have been talking about being born again. Have you been born again? Is Christ living in you? Do you know that you will go to heaven when you die?
If you don't you can know it today when you receive the gift of eternal life. Let's pray. Father we come now with all of our burdens and all of our problems and all of our challenges and all of our questions and we present them to you. The Bible says we should cast all of our care upon you for you care for us. Lord we cast it on you.
We throw it over to you because you're bigger than any problem we will ever face. And we think of loved ones that maybe have wandered off and it seems like they'll never return but we're reminded of this statement of Gabriel with God nothing shall be impossible. Bring those loved ones back to you who've gone prodigal.
Bring those unsaved people to you. Extend your healing hand to those who need it right now wherever they are Lord. You're our creator. You're our healer. Lord we trust you.
We look to you. For with you nothing shall be impossible. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying. If you've joined us today and you're not sure that Jesus Christ is living in your heart. If you're not certain that your sin is forgiven. If you don't have the confidence that you go to heaven when you die I want you to pray a prayer with me.
Right here right now. You can pray it out loud if you like but I want you to pray this after me. Just pray Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know you're the savior who was born in that manger and died on that cross and rose from the dead.
Now come into my life. I want to be born again. I receive your gift of eternal life now and I thank you for it. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. An important prayer by Pastor Greg Laurie and there are some listening who will mark today this moment as the start of their life with Christ. If you prayed with Pastor Greg today here on A New Beginning and have meant those words sincerely we want to welcome you into the family of God. And we want to help you grow in your faith. We'd like to send you something called our New Believers Growth Packet. It's free of charge if you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg. Just ask for the New Believers Growth Packet when you call 1-800-821-3300.
That's a 24-7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or go online to Harvest.org. Well it's such a privilege to have author Sally Lloyd-Jones in the studio with us today. She's written a brand new book called Known based on a portion of Psalm 139 and we're making it available to our listeners. Sally what kind of feedback have you received on your books?
You know adults who've read these works to their children or grandchildren. What kinds of stories have you heard about the impact? Oh it's been amazing. I mean things that we never could have imagined and that you almost feel like it's hardly any of your business because it's so profound and moving and beautiful. But I get to hear these stories either when I'm out speaking and people come up to me and it's sort of a holy moment because you sort of feel like something's being shared with you that's between that person and God. What God did with what we gave.
It's sort of like the little boys lunch. You gave everything you had but what happens between that and what God does in someone's heart is his work. And so I hear these stories and I've come to realize when I hear them it's God's way of encouraging me to keep going because you know anyone in their job have days where you think why am I doing what I'm doing when it's hard. So when you get to hear these stories now I'm like Lord thank you for sending that person. So we've heard stories of people in the NICU ward who a couple who lost their child and they were reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to their child and then from then on they've set up a charity and they give the Jesus Storybook Bible to every parent in that NICU ward. We've heard about Japanese businessmen studying the book to learn English before work. We've heard about men in high security prisons learning that God loves them.
And you think about the shame that they must be under and the feeling of no way out. And so God is using this book in ways that none of us could ever have imagined. And it's really the beauty of the gospel. And I think what's happened is that because it's a children's book without any of us planning this it took away the obstacles to an adult.
So it's got pictures it's simple and so it's not a threat. And so an adult comes to it with all their defenses down and because it's focusing on grace and God's great love that never stops, never will give up. It's unbreaking. It's a story that's about him and what he's done.
It's not about me having to be good enough for God to love me. And I think what God's done with it is just miraculous and we're so blessed when we even hear anything. I love what you said about that holy moment because I've had people come up and tell me these stories of how they heard the gospel and they came to Christ and what happened in their family and I feel very removed from it. Like, oh thank you for sharing.
I want to thank them because I don't want to be rude thank you for sharing that with me. But I just feel as I'm an observer watching what the gospel did but thankfully yes, you know, God uses us to be the vessel he works through and it does encourage us to keep writing this book so I want to encourage you Sally on behalf of so many people to keep writing these beautiful books that are reaching so many people of all ages including your new one here that we're offering to our listeners for their gift of any size which is simply titled Known and it's based on the latter half of Psalm 139 beautifully illustrated by the artist Jago written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. We'll send you a copy for your gift of any size this month.
Yeah, that's right. Contact us for your own copy of Known Psalm 139. We're sending it to say thank you for your partnership as we reach unexpected people and unexpected places with an unexpected message reaching further than we ever have before. Your partnership makes a tremendous difference so thanks for prayerfully considering the part you play and 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 go online to harvest.org Well next time more good encouragement to prepare us for Christmas. Pastor Greg offers a message called How to Have a Joyful Christmas. 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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