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How to Not Be Born Again | Getting to Know Jesus

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 30, 2022 3:00 am

How to Not Be Born Again | Getting to Know Jesus

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 30, 2022 3:00 am

Ever wonder why the stars glow at night? No, not the scientific reason. Why did God make them visible to us, even though some are thousands of light years away? Maybe it’s a message. If He can create a universe that’s bigger than we can imagine, maybe He can solve a problem that’s bigger than we can handle. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us look at God’s power and His love . . . they’re demonstrated in how He sent His Son to save us from our sins.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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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. an insult to God to not realize His power that He wants to display in your life. Ever wonder why the stars glow at night?

No, not the scientific reason. Why did God make them visible to us, even though some are thousands of light years away? Maybe it's a message. If He can create a universe that's bigger than we can imagine, maybe He can solve a problem that's bigger than we can handle. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us look at God's power and His love.

They're demonstrated in how He sent His Son to save us from our sins. A number of years ago, I went to a mental institution. Maybe I should explain. I'm not as a patient. I was there as a visitor. In fact, I was going to pray for someone that requested a pastor. And so I'm there with a fellow pastor, and we meet a patient in the institution. And my friend says to this guy, have you ever met Jesus Christ personally? And this guy, without missing a beat, turns to me and shakes my hand and says, Jesus, it's good to meet you. He thought my friend brought Jesus into the mental institution.

But I mean, isn't that what we would all like to do? And by the way, coming back to that story, he starts shaking my hand. He says, Jesus, it's good to meet you. I said, no, no, no.

My name is Greg. I'm not Jesus. But wouldn't we just love to shake His hand? I mean, to actually see Him face to face. If you could pick any other time in history to live, would you pick 2,000 years ago so you could walk the streets with Jesus and talk to Jesus and hear the voice of Jesus? I mean, think about the impact He has had on the world.

More books have been written about Jesus Christ than any other person who's ever lived. I was with my grandson Christopher the other day, and I have some old typewriters in my office. They don't work. They're on my shelf.

They're more for decoration. But he really was fascinated by it. And so I took it down, and I said in front of him, he just starts typing away like he really knows what he's doing, clackety, clackety, clack. And so I said, Christopher, are you writing a book?

He said, no. I said, well, if you wrote a book, what would you write it about? And he's still typing the whole time. Typing, I mean, he says, Jesus. That's a great answer for a four-year-old. You'd write about Jesus. What would you say? He said, I don't know. And he just kept typing.

But I love that. That it's in his little heart. I'd write a book about Jesus. More books have been written about Him. More songs have been written about Jesus Christ. More art has been produced depicting Christ in any person who has ever lived. You know, I never get tired of talking about Jesus.

Do you? Do you ever get tired of hearing about Jesus? You know, when you come to church, I want to look at something that Jesus said, oh, no, not Jesus again.

No, it's the opposite, right? Oh, yes. I want to know what Jesus has to say. As the apostle Paul said in Philippians, he said his determined purpose in life in Philippians 3 10 was to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and participate in His sufferings becoming like Him in His death. And by the way, that should be the goal of every Christian to know Jesus, to spend your time learning about Jesus and more to the point becoming like Jesus. All right, well, let's grab our Bibles and we're going to turn to the Gospel of John. And the way it begins is amazing because he goes way back before the little town of Bethlehem. He goes way back before Mary and Joseph. He goes way back even before the Garden of Eden. He goes back to the solar system.

He goes back to the beginning of the beginning. So that's where we're going to start. John 1, chapter 1, starting in verse 1. We'll read verses 1 to 5. In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made in Him was life.

And that life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. So we'll stop there. Now this is interesting because there's not a definite article before the word beginning. Meaning you cannot pinpoint this moment in time where there was a beginning. So really when he says the beginning we don't even know where that starts. But John is taking us back to eternity past, further back than the human mind can imagine. And that brings me to my first point about Jesus if you're taking notes.

And here it is. Jesus is God. Jesus is God.

That's a really important thing to understand and believe for a Christian. Jesus is God. Before there was a world, before there was planets, before there was light or darkness, before there was matter, before anything else there was the Godhead and there was Jesus. Jesus Christ co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Word was with God. The Word was God. And Jesus was and is God.

If you don't believe that Houston we have a problem. Most cult groups deny the deity of Christ. And when I say deity I mean his divinity or saying he's God. In fact if you want to find out where a religious group is at just cut to the chase and say who do you think Jesus Christ was. If they say he was a mere messenger or a prophet or one of many sons of God that is the wrong answer. The only correct answer is Jesus is the only Son of God who lived a perfect sinless life.

He was God in human form. For instance Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe Jesus was God. So when you're down at the mall and you see those friendly looking people behind the table and it says JW they don't believe Jesus is God you see and that's a big deal because you cannot have a relationship with the Father if you don't believe this. Jesus himself said in fact in John's Gospel unless you believe that I am a claim to deity you will die in your sins. Buddhists believe Jesus was a good teacher but he was less important in their estimation than the Buddha. Hindus believe that Jesus was one of many incarnations or sons of God. They specifically teach Christ was not the Son of God. He was no more divine than any other man and they also teach Jesus did not die for the sin of humanity. Muslims believe Jesus Christ was only a man.

He was a prophet they will acknowledge equal to Adam, Noah or Abraham all of whom are below Muhammad in importance. Okay so don't tell me all religions teach the same thing. So when someone says that it's their way of saying I'm an idiot and I don't know what I'm talking about. Seriously all religions teach the same thing. I have a sticker in my car coexist okay it's on my Prius and I'm getting kale for lunch.

Okay wait hold on. I'm all for coexisting and I like kale and Prius says get great mileage but but and I want to coexist. You know I think Christians are the most tolerant people on the face of the earth. You know we're often described as intolerant, unloving, bigoted.

Nothing can be further from the truth. I find the most intolerant people are the ones that talk about tolerance the most because they will not tolerate anyone who dares to say I believe the Bible is the word of God. They'll accept everything but that and so that's what the intolerant says. You know we're tolerant but at the same time we have our beliefs based on scripture. I know what Christ himself said and so all religions do not teach the same thing. Religions cancel each other out so you have to pick the one you believe.

In just a moment Pastor Greg relates some facts about creation that will give us some perspective on just how great our God is. That's coming up but you know Pastor Greg many people are looking for hope these days especially young people. They want to be part of something bigger and I know we have some big plans to reach them in the coming new year don't we? We do Dave and let me say here's where you won't find hope. You won't find hope in the culture. You won't find hope in technology.

You won't find hope even in many ways in politics. Now all of these things have their place but hope that comes from God. I like this acronym of hope that I heard H-O-P-E holding on with patient expectation. The Bible brims with hope and that is our message that we want to share with this young generation and all generations that there is hope for them in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and we want to offer this hope to as many people as possible in this coming year through our outreach ministries which of course include A New Beginning. I'm asking you to join us at Harvest and become a partner.

A partner is just a friend that makes a regular commitment to us each and every month. They stand by us and that enables us to respond to the opportunities that are coming our way. I think we would all agree we live in in many ways a hopeless world but through Christ we have hope. Life without God is a hopeless end. Life with him is endless hope. Join us and become a part of our team and let's reach the world with a much needed message of hope.

Yeah that's right and you know it's the most strategic time of the year and maybe the most strategic time in our history with the plans we have for ministry in the new year. Your investment can go further than ever so please get in touch today to become what we call a Harvest partner. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg is presenting some foundational truth today from one of his top 10 most requested messages called How Not to Be Born Again and you can get an instant replay of today's program at harvest.org. The Bible teaches that Jesus was the God man who spoke everything into existence.

Hebrews 1-2 says he has spoken by his son by whom he made the world. Now scientists tell us there are 100 billion stars in the average galaxy and there are at least 100 million galaxies in known space. How they come up with this I have no idea but as they come up with more powerful telescopes and peer deeper into the solar system they see more and more and they're finally figuring out God knew what he was talking about when he said that the stars were like the sands of the sea. You know there was a time historically when they thought they could actually count the stars.

One two three oh I gotta start over again. One two yeah well now we know that's virtually impossible. Einstein believed that we have only scanned with our telescopes one billionth of theoretical space. That means that there is something like 10 octillion stars in space. So what is octillion?

Okay so here's how it works. A thousand thousands is a million right. A thousand millions is a billion. A thousand billions is a trillion. A thousand trillions is a quadrillion. A thousand quadrillions is a quintillion. A thousand quintillions is a sextillion. Has nothing to do with sex.

Don't get excited. Three people just woke up. Sex and stars. Go back to sleep. Okay okay a thousand sextillions is a septillion and a thousand septillions is an octillion.

So 10 octillions is 10 with 27 zeros. So say well why are you telling us this? Well if Einstein's right and there may be more than this even but let's just say he's right. He's a pretty smart guy.

Uh just remember this. God made it all. Your God. Your father in heaven made all of those things. So I think when you have a problem God can handle it. You know sometimes they'll say oh we have this crisis and we've tried everything and all we can do now is pray. Oh you mean pray to the almighty God that created all these things.

Yeah I think that's the first thing you ought to be doing. What an insult to God to not realize his power. That he wants to display in your life. We're told in Matthew 19 26 with God all things are possible. So we sometimes fail to see how much God loves us and how interested he is.

Now look if God made all these things and was just this all-powerful God he didn't care about me that would be amazing but he cares about me. Remember Jesus was God among us and Jesus said fear not little flock it is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Don't you love that verse? Fear not little flock. So first of all he reminds us that he's our shepherd. Fear not little flock he'll take care of you. If you go astray he'll bring you back again. If you break your leg he'll mend it for you and it's your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. He's not just your shepherd he's also your king who's in control and he's all powerful but then the king who is your shepherd cares about you personally because he says to you fear not little flock. Point number three God who became a man shined his light on humanity. Look at verse four in him was life and the life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. I don't know about you but before I was a Christian I thought man was basically good and that's why I was so confused about life because in the 17 years of my life on earth I'd seen so many bad things.

I'd seen things no young boy should ever see. I was exposed to the worst underbelly of people and things they did and and I thought well if man's basically good why do people do such awful things and when I became a Christian and I realized man was not basically good but he was sinful everything started making sense right and this is clearly what the bible teaches because despite all of our advances technological advances scientific advances and we can point to all these things yet how much have we really changed. We've made no progress whatsoever in the basic ills of the human condition crime violence war injustice racism. If we would just get back to what God said in his word and how to live our lives things would change overnight but we disregard these things. We even mock these things. We even persecute people that believe these things.

I'm not saying we do as Christians but others do in our country. Look at verse five. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The word comprehend can be translated understood or overcome. In other words those who live in darkness don't get you as a Christian all right. So you can try to be the nicest Christian person who ever lived. You tip generously. You always have a smile on your face. When the parking lot is full and there's a space and you're pulling in and someone else wants it you give them the space. You say God bless you as they pull in. You pray for them as they go into the mall. You always have a kind thing to say.

You share your lunch with people. You just do every nice thing a person could do and you do it in the name of Jesus and people still don't get you. Why? Because the darkness cannot comprehend the light. Now I'm not suggesting we just abandon all these ideas and just go be mean and forget about it. We should seek to be godly loving caring people. Listen if you want to win some be winsome you know. So be a loving person. Be a caring person. But having said all that there's nothing you can say to help a non-believer figure you out because the Bible says the natural man or the non-believing man or woman does not understand the things of God neither can they know them because they're spiritually discerned.

So he said what do I do? What do you do? You just keep living a godly life and pray for them because you don't care because one day the light can go on for them and their eyes are open. Remember when it happened to you? I used to look at Christians like they were crazy people. I thought why would anybody live that way?

Why would anybody act away? What is wrong with these people and then one day I just for a moment tried a new thought on for size and the thought was what if they're right and I'm wrong? What if God can be known?

I thought no there's no way. I quickly dismissed it but after examining them more I thought I actually think that is true and then of course when I believed in Jesus it was true and then some but you need to pray for people because the darkness cannot comprehend the light. I know it's hard because you know we want people to believe but there's nothing you're going to do that's going to make them believe so just keep living your life as a follower of Christ and keep shining that light and actually it's at very friction that can ultimately result in conversion. Jesus said you think that I've come to bring peace on earth? No I tell you rather a division and a sword for a man will be divided against the members of his own family.

You're going whoa whoa wait what? Jesus I you know you have a lamb wrapped around your neck and you flash in a peace sign. What's this business about a sword and division? That's Jesus because when a person believes in Jesus let's take a family for instance maybe you're non-believers and every Christmas you just get drunk and and you do it on New Year's and you get together and there's a lot of you know off-color jokes and that's your weird crazy icky family and then you become a Christian and in their estimation you're ruining all their fun.

You don't have to say anything you just show up on Thanksgiving and and their reaction is here we go here we go you did nothing you walked in there here we go here we go hey how's everyone doing ah hypocrite fine hypocrite I bought the turkey yeah whatever hypocrite. See it's just it's a mindset and now division is in your family. They'll even say man we used to get along and we used to have fun together and now you want to pray before the meal and Jesus this and Jesus that you've wrecked our family.

No you haven't. This is where the division comes in. It's the division that brings unity. So now I've lost you I don't know what that means okay. See you had kind of this false peace and false unity around evil things but you came and sort of brought a division and now there's a tension so that friction continues and time goes by but then one of your relatives has a crisis.

Their child is sick and guess who they call? They don't want the drunks now they want the Christians. Would you come down to the hospital and pray for my son and you say absolutely and now their heart begins to soften a little bit and now they're open and now they come to church with you and now they've accepted Christ. Now it's two it's two of you and so yeah there was a division but this is the division that brings unity now it's three now it's four oh watch out now the whole family has come to Christ and it's a whole new life that's what happens. Pastor Greg Laurie pointing out how to let our light shine and what just may happen as a result. Good encouragement from today's study called how to not be born again.

Eddie has a final comment from the study before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes so stay with us. 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 you're being 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 boy's 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 men in you know 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 it's the beauty of the gospel and I think what what's happened is that because it's a children's book it took the 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. 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 and today is our last opportunity to mention this so get in touch right away 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.

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 returns to this study to reinforce the importance of being genuine in our relationship with the Lord but before we go Pastor Greg has a last word of encouragement for today by way of this story. I heard the story about a man who was a friend of Henry Ford you've heard of Henry Ford right thought of the Ford Motor Company and he had a friend named Charles Steinmetz and Steinmetz was a mechanical genius who is said to be able to build the engine of a car in his mind and if it broke down he could fix it in his mind. So one day the assembly line at Ford broke down in the plant and none of Ford's men could fix it so they called old Charlie and so he tinkered for a few minutes through the switch and it started running again. A few days later he sent his bill for ten thousand dollars so Ford wrote back it said now Charlie this seems like a pretty high bill for just spending a few moments to repair this and then Charlie said okay here's how the bill breaks down tinkering ten dollars knowing where to tinker nine thousand nine hundred and ninety dollars.

See that was Charlie's skill set. He knew where to tinker. He knew what to do. So when things are breaking down in life you serve the God who knows where to tinker. He knows where to work. He knows what to fix. He knows what's troubling you. Right now you come to this service or you're watching or listening and you have a burden on your heart and you're overwhelmed by it your God knows about it your God cares about it and your God is more than able to help you with it. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life share your story leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-30 15:17:37 / 2022-12-30 15:28:14 / 11

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