January 4, 2023 3:00 am
Some young couples spend a small fortune on their wedding, planning it down to the most minute detail. And the event is over in a few hours. Then, quite often, they don’t invest the same amount of care and attention in the marriage that they promised would last a lifetime. But it’s never too late to take corrective action. Whether you’ve been married 50 minutes, or 50 years, Pastor Greg Laurie has some important insight to strengthen your relationship. Glad you’re along today for A NEW BEGINNING.
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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 e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. You show me a marriage that's strong and vibrant and thriving, and I'll show you a marriage that people are giving attention to. God's plan for marriage is about leaving and cleaving, but today Pastor Greg Laurie explains how some don't cleave, they just let go. The moment you let go is the moment it's going to start weakening.
You have to constantly be giving attention. You have to be proactive, not merely reactive. Listen, you can't sleepwalk through a marriage. Some young couples spend a small fortune on their wedding, planning it down to the most minute detail, and the event is over in a few hours. Then quite often they don't invest the same amount of care and attention in the marriage that they promised would last a lifetime. But it's never too late to take corrective action. Whether you've been married 50 minutes or 50 years, Pastor Greg Laurie has some important insight to strengthen your relationship.
Glad you're along today for A New Beginning. This culture, this world, is not going to tell you how to have a successful marriage. I'm not going to look to culture for cues on how to have a successful marriage. But I am going to look to a reliable source, the Word of God, that tells us everything we need to know about how to have a strong and lasting marriage. The Bible tells us everything we need to know about marriage, everything we need to know about singleness, everything we need to know about life in general. Now I want to give to you the secret of a successful marriage.
So if you have a pen I want you to write this down. If you want to have a successful marriage do this. Two words. Marry yourself.
Seriously I did it and it worked really well for me. Let me explain. As you know my last name is Laurie. Yes it is a girl's name.
And I didn't enjoy that growing up by the way. Especially when I was in military school and everyone is addressed by their last name. So I was just Laurie. So when I met Kathy my wife now she is going to have two girl names Kathy Laurie right. And people still to this day mistakenly call Kathy Laurie. They will say, oh hi Greg. Hi Laurie. And they mean Kathy. But you know they get confused.
Ok whatever. So going back to our wedding day. Pastor Chuck Smith who of course is with the Lord now married us. And he took us to the vows. And then when we finally came to the point where he pronounces us man and wife and you kiss the bride he says, I now pronounce that Greg and Laurie are man and wife in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So I married myself. That is the secret. It has worked very well.
You might try it. And our marriage like any other marriage has faced challenges. It faces difficulties. And we have gone through storms like any other person that has gone through storms. The worst storm we have ever faced happened when the Lord called our son Christopher home to heaven.
It is devastating. And I have to tell you that many marriages do not survive the death of a child. And our marriage did not weaken.
It actually grew stronger. And I will tell you why. It is because from the very beginning to the present day our marriage was built on our relationship with Christ. And that is a foundation that will support you to the hardest of times. And that is what you want to keep your marriage relationship built on.
So here is my question for you. Is your marriage on the rocks or is your marriage on the rock of Jesus Christ? Because if it is on Him you will be ok. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave these familiar words. Anyone who listens to My teachings and obeys Me is wise. He is like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise and the winds beat against the house it won't collapse because it is built on rock. Jesus continues on and says anyone who hears these teachings of Mine and ignores them they are foolish and they are like a man who builds his house on sand. And when the rains come and the winds beat against that house it will fall with a mighty crash.
Notice Jesus did not say if the rain comes but when the rain comes. Storms will come. Hardships will come. Temptations will come. Challenges will come. Health issues will come. That is why in our vows we say for better or for worse.
For richer or for poorer. In sickness and in health I commit my love. Maybe we should update those vows for some today until a more attractive guy or girl comes along. Or until I get tired of you. Or when the marriage gets a little hard.
Hey that would be honest at least. But if you have made that commitment to your wife or your dear husband you need to stand by that commitment because the storms will come. And I want to tell you a little secret. One day when your life comes to an end if you have the luxury of a deathbed here is what is going to matter to you. When people are on their deathbed three things are important.
Really two. Faith and family and a distant third is friends. Faith, family, and friends. In other words when a person is on their deathbed they don't care anymore how much money is in their bank account because guess what?
They are going to leave it all. They don't care how beautiful or how handsome they are because that is going to become a non-issue quickly. Now what they think about is faith. And by that I mean they think about their lack of relationship with God. They will say, oh man I wish I went to church more. I wish I was closer to the Lord. I wish I read the Bible more. I have never met a single Christian on their deathbed who says, I wish I didn't go to church all those times. I wish I didn't memorize those scriptures. I wish I partied more.
Are you kidding me? It is the opposite. And then it is family. Often regrets. Oh I wish I was a better husband or wife. I wish I was a better parent.
Yeah those are the things that matter in life. So don't wait until your deathbed to deal with them. Deal with them right now.
One day the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah. He said, your days are numbered. You are going to die. So get your house in order. Here is my question for you. Is your house in order? Is your house right?
Is your home right? Are you being the husband or the wife or the parent or the single that God wants you to be? We want to have a strong and flourishing marriage. Far too often people will have divorce as you know sort of a trap door. Well if it doesn't work we will just get a divorce. I read an article the other day that said two-thirds of Christians who were interviewed considered divorce a reasonable solution to a problem marriage. What? A reasonable solution. Every marriage is going to have problems.
Listen. Wedlock should be a padlock. And if you don't believe it stay single. But once you commit yourself commit to that person for life. Now let me digress for a moment and say there are grounds for divorce in the Bible given to us.
And we will explore those in the future message. But let me say and I am reiterating now. Though there are grounds for divorce I have found in most cases when divorce happened it could have been avoided. The marriage could have been saved.
It was simply a cycle of selfishness the couple got themselves into. All right. Let's look at our text now. Ephesians chapter 5. Now I think when we think of this particular chapter we immediately remember the verses where Paul says, husbands love your wife as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it and wives submit unto your husbands as unto the Lord and so forth. And we will get to those verses. But we don't consider the verses that precede them. And in many ways the verses that precede those passages I just quoted lay the foundation for a strong and happy home.
So we are going to look at those preliminary statements in this particular message. Ephesians 5 starting at verse 13. All things are exposed. They are made manifest by the light. For whoever makes manifest is light.
Therefore He says, Awake you who sleep and arise from the dead and Christ will give you light. See them that you walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore don't be unwise. Understand what the will of the Lord is and don't be drunk with wine in which is dissipation but be filled with the Spirit speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ submitting to one another in the fear of God. So if you are taking notes here are some takeaway truths. Some points.
Point number one. If you want a successful marriage shine the light of God's Word on it. If you want a successful marriage shine the light of God's Word on it. Verse 13. All things are exposed to me. Manifest by the light.
Whatever makes manifest is light. You know when you lose something you turn on the light. I don't know why but I am always losing things in my car. You know my wallet drops between the seats or I misplaced a burrito from a year ago.
Where is it? And so sometimes I have to get a flashlight out and search under all the seats until I find it. So light exposes things. I heard the story of a drunk man who was down on his hands and knees under a street light looking for something. Someone came up to him and said, sir what did you lose? And he said, I lost my wallet. Told you he was a drunk man.
That is a drunk man there. And they said, oh did you lose your wallet here? He said, no I lost it two blocks back but there is no light there.
Ok that's no problem. It is not a very good idea to search for something if you look in the wrong place. I have a little device now I keep on my wallet called a tile. Have you seen those things? It is a little chip. A little electronic chip. And then when you press the button on your phone it will let a little sound out. So it will help you find your wallet.
I think I need to put tiles on everything now because I am misplacing things all the time. But you need to look for something in the right place. And the right place to go is to look at what the Scripture says. You know sometimes when marriages are having troubles they get counseling.
And I am for that. As long as it is biblical counseling. Counseling is not enough.
Listen to this. Just because a person says they are a Christian counselor doesn't necessarily mean they are giving biblical counsel. That is all that matters when it is said and done. Are you getting counsel from the Word of God? Because I have heard counsel that comes from people who are supposedly giving Christian counseling that frankly is contradictory to what the Bible says.
So we need the counsel of God's Word. And that is why when I sit a couple down that are having troubles I will ask them a couple of questions. I will often start with first of all are you Christians? They will always say yes. Number two I will ask do you believe the Bible is the Word of God again? They will say yes.
And then thirdly I will ask are you willing to obey the Word of God if you agree with it or not or find it difficult or not. And that is where some people choke. Because everybody thinks their marital problems are unique. But you know they really aren't. And after a while you see these are similar patterns that happen in people's lives because they disregard what the Scripture says. Now you might say well wait a second Greg what if you don't agree with what the Bible says.
Simple answer. Change your opinion because the Bible is right. And if you don't agree with it you are wrong.
Sorry to tell you that. But it is the truth. So we want to look to the Word of God because it gives us the answers that we need and tells us what to do. Principle number two we need to wake up. Wake up. Verse 14. Awake you that sleep.
Awaken from spiritual lethargy. Listen you can't sleep walk through a marriage. You show me a marriage that is strong and vibrant and thriving.
And I will show you a marriage that people are giving attention to. Sort of like starting a fire. Now we don't know a lot about that here in Southern California. We have dura flame logs and gas fireplaces. But in other places in our nation you know you will start a fire that will last and you may start with some kindling or some newspapers and some smaller twigs and such and then get some logs on it.
And then once the fire is going you put another log in the fire. And the same way if a marriage is strong especially over a period of time it is because they keep putting logs on the fire. They cultivate their romance.
They strengthen the marriage. The moment you let go is the moment it is going to start weakening. You have to constantly be giving attention. You have to be proactive not merely reactive. And what will happen is a marriage is neglected. The husband neglects his role. The wife neglects hers. One problem turns into another and it gets worse and worse and worse. Now we are in a state of crisis.
I say go back to the beginning and engage in preventative maintenance and strengthen it every day. Pastor Greg Laurie features something special as today's program continues in a moment. You know there is 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. You know there are so many questions surrounding relationships, marriage relationships, dating relationships. And Pastor Greg joined a pair of associate pastors from his home church to answer some of the often asked questions. Pastor Jason Powell begins. A really great question someone just asked. They've been with their boyfriend for four years and they're a Christian but their boyfriend is not. They feel like they're being pulled down in their relationship with God. He's pulling me down.
What do I do? I have to tell you this is kind of a no-brainer. The Bible is actually very clear in this one. It says, don't be unequally yoked together with non-believers for what fellowship does light have with darkness or righteousness with unrighteousness.
Here's the reality. You know in more cases than the believer pulling the non-believer up the non-believer pulls the believer down. And this is why God warns us about this. So this is a no-win situation where you know missionary dating is not a great form of evangelism. You know some guy wants to go out with you.
Seriously girls you say, I would love to see you. I go to church every Thursday night at harvest those seeds. Why don't you come and I'll buy you a cup of coffee afterwards. That'll weed them out quickly I'll tell you that.
But hey if he shows up great. He's not a believer. Wonderful. Sit next to him or her in church. Let them hear the gospel. So that's a good opportunity. But the whole go out with them and then you get into a relationship with them and next thing you know you're going down a road you don't want to be going down.
So that's pretty clear that one. And what better place to meet your spouse and connect with your spouse than in the church. I met my wife at a Bible study. Actually went to school together before that but reconnected with her at a home Bible study. You met mom while you were at church. How many of you met your spouse here at the church? That's awesome.
That's right. What better place could you think of to find somebody not at the bar. Not at the club.
Not at the beach sunbathing. It's like who knows what this person's all about. You come to the church they're going to have that worldview.
You know you've at least got that foundation to work from. That's right. Last question here and it has gotten texted a bunch of times. It says what about single moms? Should their priority be their kids or trying to find a father for their kids?
I'm confused. What should I do? Well I would say first of all their priority should be their relationship with Jesus Christ.
First of all be close to Him. You know Jesus makes a wonderful promise in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6 33. He says, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Contextually Jesus was talking about non-believers. He was saying don't be like the non-believers.
Only worry about what they're going to eat or what they're going to wear or what they're going to drink. Don't be that way. And that's what some people live for. But rather seek first the kingdom.
What does that mean? It means put God first in your life. And I believe as a single mother you put God first and walk closely with Jesus Christ because you're kind of having to be mom and dad there. It's a hard job. But pray that the Lord would bring that right guy along.
And I think Jonathan can speak to this from experience. Yeah I married a single mom. My wife Brittany and I both actually kind of came from a background where we were both living in the world as we were living a life that did not reflect wholesome living. We made mistakes but you know what I think that if you're a single mom here tonight you need to know that you made the right decision. Because you know as a church we believe that we're you know we believe pro-life. We're very pro-life here.
We believe that life begins at conception. And if you brought that child to term that's the other side of that coin. So we commend you for making that difficult decision. But as you have made that decision now you have to raise this child. And I think that it's a good thing to want to find a father for that child.
And for my wife and myself I can only speak from experience. But as we both began to seek after the Lord. As we both began to live a life that reflected wholesome living. As we both began to seek the Lord. That's just where we happened to connect was at church at church at a Bible study. And it began just really as a friendship hanging out in a group of friends. And then it developed more into a relationship. And then we ended up getting married. And so I believe that the Lord has the right person for you. But ultimately the Lord didn't bring Brittany to me and didn't bring me to Brittany.
When we were both living in a compromised way. He brought us to each other when we were putting the Lord first. And I believe that's the key like you said as we put the Lord first. And then all those things will be added on to us.
Yeah that's right. In the book of Genesis there's a story of Isaac and Eleazar the servant of Isaac's dead. Abraham went out to find a bride for him and he found her. And he brought back the beautiful Rebecca.
And it's interesting because the Bible says that when Rebecca was being brought to Isaac he was out on the field meditating or praying. And I think it's that principle of Matthew 633. He's putting God first. You know you can run after all these things and never get them or make the wrong decision.
Put God first and wait on the Lord and He will take care of you. He cares about you. I mean if He cares about what you're going to wear and what you're going to eat and what you're going to drink. If He cares about every hair of your head, which in my case is not a lot. He cares about you know every bird that lives and dies as Jesus says the Father knows all these things.
Certainly He cares about that person you would spend the rest of your life with. So put God first. If you're married put God first. If you're single put God first.
Wherever you are. If you're just a kid put the Lord first. If you're getting older put the Lord first.
All the way through life. That's the priority we should all live by. So why don't we pray together. Lord we're so thankful for this time to hear what the Bible says. That's all that matters.
Not what the culture says. You tell us in your word don't let this world squeeze you into its mold but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And Lord as we've just thought about scripture and heard scripture and heard biblical principles that renews our minds. And we want to live your way because you will bless that. So we commit ourselves to you and we thank you for this time to gather together. In Jesus name we pray.
Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie speaking with his associate pastors Jason Powell and Jonathan Laurie answering some practical questions about relationships. Good insight today on a new beginning from one of our listeners most requested studies of the past year. And then we want to make sure you know about the new film Jesus Revolution.
It's coming to theaters in just a few weeks. Of course it's the love story of Greg and Kathy Laurie set against the backdrop of the Jesus movement of the late 60s and early 70s. It's such an effective evangelistic film. Pastor Greg many people know that pastor Chuck Smith figured prominently in your story and the story of the Jesus movement and contemporary Christian music.
That's right. Well he's been in heaven now for almost 10 years. What do you think he would say about Jesus Revolution?
Yeah I think he would love it because it's a story of what Jesus did in a generation. It shows that Chuck was willing to leave his comfort zone. You know Chuck wasn't a fan of rock music. Chuck was just this kind of salt of the earth hard-working guy. I mean on his day off Chuck liked to build things.
Chuck was a construction guy. He you know he was um he was a man's man very practical and and so he was pastoring this church. It wasn't a really large church and he saw these counterculture kids doing crazy stuff growing their hair out long hanging out in the streets and he thought they all needed to get a haircut and get a job but his wife Kay had a real heart for these people and was praying for them and God brought a hippie evangelist into Chuck's life named Lonnie Frisbee and to Chuck's eternal credit he opened his heart to this and let this young man preach in his church and then Chuck opened his heart to these musicians that came in with their songs about God. You know we're so used to electric guitars and drum kits and all the things that we have in churches today but back in those days in the late 60s you didn't have that in church and this was a whole new thing and Chuck took risks and he took risks on a young guy named Greg. That's me and he helped me get started in ministry as well and I wasn't the only one. He did it for a lot of young men and a lot of young women. He was a real pioneer and he was a real trailblazer and so he's portrayed by Kelsey Grammer in a powerful performance.
Kelsey didn't try to take on the mannerisms or voice inflections of Chuck which were very distinct but he captured the character and sense of it in an amazing way and and you'll love it and so if you know Chuck you'll say oh well you know Chuck sounded a little different but but that's not the story. The story is what Chuck did and that is reflected in this film and so people a whole generation are going to discover the great man of faith he was and the risks he took and the result was a spiritual awakening. I think you're going to love this. Yeah it really is a moving film and it's a powerful evangelistic movie as well. Plan to bring someone with you who needs to meet the Lord when this film opens on February 24th in theaters across the country. When you come out to the movies and support this film you help us tell the story of the past to a whole new generation but more than that you just may plant the seeds of the next spiritual awakening like we saw during the Jesus movement. If you appreciate the work we do in sharing Christ in surprising new ways we hope you'll partner with us.
Would you consider that? If you can make a donation right now we want to send you Pastor Greg's book called Jesus Revolution. What a great resource to help you enjoy the movie even more. You can donate today by calling 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or just go online to harvest.org. Well next time more insight from Pastor Greg's message called Home Sweet Home. Join us here on A New Beginning with Master and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. 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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